"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Friday, October 20, 2017

What's Next? Put Them In Camps?

It's not just Trump -- the whole Republican party has lost any claim to humanity. Take this, for example:

[State Rep. Betty] Price's suggestion came Tuesday during a two-hour meeting of the House Study Committee on Georgians' Barriers to Access to Adequate Health Care. Price – a medical doctor and wife of Dr. Tom Price, the former Secretary of Health & Human Services – asked Pascale Wortley if quarantining people was an option given how much the state spends on care for people with HIV. Wortley, director of the HIV Epidemiology Section for Georgia Department of Health, was discussing HIV treatment with the committee.

“My thinking sometimes goes in strange directions, but before you proceed if you wouldn’t mind commenting on the surveillance of partners, tracking of contacts, that sort of thing. What are we legally able to do," Price said.

"And I don’t want to say the quarantine word, but I guess I just said it. Is there an ability, since I would guess that public dollars are expended heavily in prophylaxis and treatment of this condition. So we have a public interest in curtailing the spread. What would you advise or are there any methods legally that we could do that would curtail the spread,” Price added.

This is even more revealing of her attitude:

It seems to me it’s almost frightening the number of people who are living that are potentially carriers, well not carriers, with the potential to spread, whereas in the past they died more readily and at that point they are not posing a risk.

So, I guess it's OK if people with HIV die off quickly. Sort of like the Republican health care plan.

Via Joe.My.God.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Today's Must-Read: Told Ya So

More and more people are now subscribing to the idea that belief in God is not necessary to be a moral person, according to Pew Research:

Most U.S. adults now say it is not necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values (56%), up from about half (49%) who expressed this view in 2011. This increase reflects the continued growth in the share of the population that has no religious affiliation, but it also is the result of changing attitudes among those who do identify with a religion, including white evangelical Protestants.

Surveys have long shown that religious “nones” – those who describe themselves religiously as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – are more likely than those who identify with a religion to say that belief in God is not a prerequisite for good values and morality. So the public’s increased rejection of the idea that belief in God is necessary for morality is due, in large part, to the spike in the share of Americans who are religious “nones.”

There's more, including all sorts of neat visuals.

This just points up what I've been saying for a long time: morality is hard-wired, a function of our existence as social animals: we take care of each other. That's not that same as obeying a set of arbitrary rules cherry-picked from the tribal taboos of Bronze Age Middle Eastern nomads.

Via Joe.My.God., who includes a reaction from the Catholic League (a/k/a Bill Donohue and a fax machine). (Warning: Donohue's diatribe comes close to word salad.)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

What's New at Green Man Review

It's Sunday again, and pretty much autumnal. Books, TV, graphic lit, and of course, music. Hop on over and enjoy.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Next Target

This should come as no surprise:

President Trump skewered the free press Wednesday, telling reporters that "it is frankly disgusting that the press is able to write whatever it wants to write."

The comments followed Trump's tweets Wednesday morning, which reacted to an NBC News story that claimed the president had called for the nuclear arsenal to be increased "tenfold." "With all of the fake news coming out of NBC and the networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their license?" Trump asked.

Via Joe.My.God., which has some of the Twitter reactions.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


I seem to be stuck in the "Ds" -- started off with Dead Can Dance, and have worked my way to Depeche Mode.

Have no idea what I'll pick next.

Coming Attractions: The Last Jedi

Coming December 15.

Today's Must-Read: Double-Barrel

A pair of posts from Hullabaloo on the NRA and how it's weaseled its way into the core of the conservative movement. The first is from Digby, focusing on this NYT OpEd from Charlie Sykes, whom she characterizes as a "right-wing apostate":

For years, Republicans have effectively outsourced their thought leadership to the loudmouths at the end of the bar. But perhaps the most extreme example of that trend has been the issue of guns, where the party has ceded control to a gun lobby that has built its brand on absolutism.

And now, again, we are about to see the consequences of that abdication. Congress did nothing in the wake of the mass murder of children at Sandy Hook, and except for a largely symbolic ban on bump stocks, it’s likely that nothing meaningful will happen in the aftermath of the shootings in Las Vegas. Instead, Republicans will round up all the usual clich├ęs and excuses for inaction.

We’ve seen this before, and it is a script written by the National Rifle Association. The N.R.A.’s blessing of restrictions on bump stocks — devices that make semiautomatic weapons fire faster — is designed to pre-empt anything more serious by giving the illusion of action. It substitutes accessory control for actual gun control.

He goes on to relate his experiences in Wisconsin, when concealed carry was set to pass, with appropriate training and licensing requirements -- the NRA thought that was too restrictive.

And it's not just guns:

Last fall, the N.R.A. started its own television news outlet, known as NRATV. As Adam Winkler, a law professor at U.C.L.A. and the author of “Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America,” notes, NRATV does not focus merely on guns. “Now it’s focused on immigration, race, health care,” he told The New Republic. “We’re seeing the N.R.A. become an extreme right-wing media outlet, not just a protector of guns.”

It’s actually more than that. The N.R.A. has effectively turned itself into the Id of the right. Despite the largely symbolic ban on bump stocks, the result is paralysis, both political and moral.

And as if that weren't bad enough, Tom Sullivan details how the gun lobby controls the discussion. This, from David Frum, is especially noteworthy:

The deadliest mass shooting in American history has restarted the long debate whether something can be done to impede these recurring slaughters. That debate is conducted pursuant to rigid rules. . . .

Rule 3. The debate must always honor the “responsible gun owners” who buy weapons for reasonable self-defense. Under Rule 1, these responsible persons are presumed to constitute the great majority of gun owners. It’s out of bounds to ask for some proof of this claimed responsibility, some form of training for example. It’s far out of bounds to propose measures that might impinge on owners: the alcohol or drug tests for example that are so often recommended for food stamp recipients or teen drivers.

Rule 4. Gun ownership is always to be discussed as a rational choice motivated by reasonable concerns for personal safety. No matter how blatantly gun advocates appeal to fears and fantasies—Sean Hannity musing aloud on national TV about how he with a gun in his hands could have saved the day in Las Vegas if only he had been there—nobody other than a lefty blogger may notice that this debate is about race and sex, not personal security. It’s out of bounds to observe that “Chicago” is shorthand for “we only have gun crime because of black people” or how often “I want to protect my family” is code for “I need to prove to my girlfriend who’s really boss.”

He goes on to note Josh Marshall's argument that the unlimited ability to "collect" as many guns -- and ancillaries -- as one wants is itself a public health hazard, finishing with a story of his own:

Stories go around the business community I work in about a colorful character we might loosely describe as a "gun nut." I won't name him, but he's known by a nickname straight out of "The Dukes of Hazard." In one of the stories, he shoots himself in the leg while practicing his fast-draw. In another, his house catches fire. But his basement was crammed full of gunpowder. By the time firemen arrived, canisters of the stuff were exploding and hundreds of rounds of ammunition were "cooking off." The fire department backed away to a safe distance and let it burn.

Other than that, one of the NRA's responsible gun owners, not violent, and just the kind of guy you'd want living next door to your house with a basement no one knows is filled with explosives.

For the love of pete, you can't legally drive in any state in this country without passing a whole battery of tests and getting a license. But the NRA wants to eliminate all requirements for carrying an AR-15 around?

Monday, October 09, 2017

Today in Disgusting People

Mike Pence, vice president and Trump's lap dog (one of many), who spent who knows how much of our money to fly to Indianapolis for a football game he planned on walking out of because The Hairpiece told him to:

Vice President Mike Pence left a football game between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday after some players knelt during the National Anthem, saying he did not want to "dignify" the demonstration.

"I left today's Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem," Pence wrote on Twitter.

The vice president went on to issue a full statement opposing the protest.

And of course, there's a tweet.

(Via Joe.My.God.)

(I should note that the replies/comments to Pence's tweet are not supportive -- to say the least.)

Note how he's doing his bit to reinforce Trump's lie about "disrespecting our soldiers," etc., etc., etc. This, from one of those who supports Trump throwing loyal servicemembers out of the military because they're trans. I can hardly wait until they try to reinstate DADT -- or something worse.

As might be expected, the world at large is having none of it. A couple of the better responses:


All just to remind the trumpanzees how much they hate black people.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

It's Sunday Again

And of course there's all sorts of goodies at Green Man Review -- and just to whet your appetite:
Red Clay Ramblers offer up Halloween Music, Black cat awareness month, Philip Glass’ “portraits”, the folklore and folkways of American Indians, Ursula le Guin on Coyote, and her Buffalo Gals fantasy

So click on over to see what you should be reading, hearing, eating, whatever.

Food Is a Privilege

So we've been told by one of the dimmer bulbs in the Senate. That is, of course, one of the bases of the Republican philosophy, and once again, they're getting ready to put it into action:

The budget resolution passed by the House on Thursday will push millions of already struggling people off food stamps, leaving the neediest Americans—children and the elderly among them—without food.

The $4.1-trillion budget will take over $150 billion away from several poverty programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which helps low-income people keep food on the table, by giving them small amounts of supplemental money to spend on groceries—anywhere from $100 a month to $700 a month for a family of five, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

If you can't take their health care away, just starve them to death. I wonder whether any of them know that the majority of people on welfare are poor whites -- and whether that would make a difference: to Republicans, it seems that the poor are an ethnic group.

This is one of the ways Republicans figure to pay for the tax cuts for billionaires.