"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

Monday, December 09, 2019

Image of the Week

Or maybe of the year. This is dedicated to all those "Christians" who support the acting president's immigration policies. (They're the same assholes who get all bent out of shape because some store clerk says "Happy Holidays!")

From the accompanying article:

Ristine described the Holy Family as “the most well-known refugee family in the world” in the post on Saturday.

“Shortly after the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary were forced to flee with their young son from Nazareth to Egypt to escape King Herod, a tyrant. They feared persecution and death,” she wrote, asking: “What if this family sought refuge in our country today?”

“Imagine Joseph and Mary separated at the border and Jesus no older than two taken from his mother and placed behind the fences of a Border Patrol detention center,” she continued, adding: “In the Claremont United Methodist Church nativity scene this Christmas, the Holy Family takes the place of the thousands of nameless families separated at our borders.”

It's nice to know there are some real Christians left.

Merry Christmas.

With thanks to commenter Bite Me Fan Boy at Joe.My.God.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

What's New at Green Man Review

The usual mix of this, that, and something you hadn't expected:

Scarecrows, A Classic H.G.Wells’ Novel , Metallica in Antarctica, So-so chocolate, Improv Jazz, Steeleye sans Maddy and Other Interesting Matters

So grab your coffee and dig in.

Snowflake du Jour

None other than former governor and current trumpanzee Mike Huckabee, whose knickers are twisted because someone said mean things about him:

When a persistent critic, a lawyer on the public side of the beach access battle, tweeted back with sarcasm and humor, Huckabee tried to silence him by filing a formal complaint with the Florida Bar. The complaint should be tossed out as a sham and an abuse of the system of disciplining lawyers.

In his Bar complaint, Huckabee accuses lawyer Daniel Uhlfelder of “vile and unprofessional attacks” and “repeatedly posting disparaging information about me,” which Huckabee claims violate Bar rules on integrity of the legal profession. Huckabee argues that the Bar is the right forum because the lawyer’s Twitter profile mentions his law practice.

The one that really got Huckabee's goat:

In his bar complaint, Huckabee accuses Uhlfelder, who has a mere 422 Twitter followers, of disparagement. The complaint points to a tweet in which Uhlfelder joked that Huckabee’s Secret Service code name should be “beach thief.” “He accused me of theft, a crime of moral turpitude,” Huckabee’s complaint reads.

Well, if anyone should know "moral turpitude," it's Mike Huckabee, whose son tortures animals for fun and whose daughter is a professional liar.

This is just another variation on a relatively new tactic of "convervatives": use the courts (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) to harass people you disagree with. And interestingly enough, although the "offensive" tweets happened months ago, Huckabee filed his complaint shortly after Uhlfelder retweeted photographs showing him in the company of two of Rudy Giuliani's pals, currently under indictment, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. Of course, I'm sure that has nothing to do with the timing of the complaint. Yeah, right.

And here's the capper (turn off your irony meter):

As for Huckabee, he’s on Twitter promoting a new documentary entitled No Safe Spaces, which features two conservative radio talk show personalities in an examination of restrictions on free speech on college campuses. Without a hint of irony, Huckabee tweeted: “The 1st Amendment right of Free Speech is precious, but it hangs by a thread.”

Via Joe.My.God., who has these articles and more, including some very pointed editorial cartoons and a link to a delightfully snarky opinion piece. I do recommend reading the whole thing and following the links. If nothing else, it will give you a good take on just how petty and vindictive "conservatives" are these days.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Another WTF? Moment

From Glorious Leader, of course, who somehow, at a small business conference, got focused (if you can call it that) on water conservation measures. I think. Here's what he said:

“We have a situation where we’re looking very strongly at sinks and showers and other elements of bathrooms, where you turn the faucet on in areas where there’s tremendous amounts of water, where the water rushes out to sea because you could never handle it. And you don’t get any water. You turn on the faucet — you don’t get any water. They take a shower, and water comes dripping out, it’s dripping out very quietly, dripping out.

“People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once. They end up using more water. So EPA is looking at that very strongly, at my suggestion. You go into a new building or a new house or a new home, and they have standards where you don’t get water. You can’t wash your hands, practically, there’s so little water comes out of the faucet. And the end result is you leave the faucet on, and it takes you much longer to wash your hands. You end up using the same amount of water.”

“So we’re looking at, very seriously, at opening up the standard, and there may be some areas where we’ll go the other route. Desert areas. But for the most part, you have many states where they have so much water that it comes down — it’s called rain — that they don’t know what to do with it. So we’re going to be opening up that, I believe. And we’re looking at changing the standards very soon.”

Here in Chicago, we have a lot of water, and we know exactly what to do with it: we store it next to the city -- it's called a lake -- and it's there when we need it.

Of course, this is by way of setting the stage for gutting what we have left of water standards -- now that industry is pretty much free to dump their crap in our drinking water, the idiot in chief thinks we should use more of it.

The post has several responses to the diatribe, but this one appealed to me as an overview:

And there you have it. If we needed any more indication that Trump is completely disconnected from reality -- well, I don't know what could drive the point home more effectively.

"It's called rain" -- seriously?

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Today's Must-Read: What He Actually Said

Mustang Bobby has a very good post at Bark Bark Woof Woof on the flap over Pete Buttigieg's oft misquoted remarks about his standing with the black community, quoting extensively from Jonathan Capehart at WaPo:

When you’re black and gay, there are times when you feel that the two identities integral to your whole self are in conflict. Actually, let me rephrase that. There are times when other folks put your two identities in conflict and you feel compelled to respond.

When I thundered against the ugly lie that homophobia among African Americans was the reason Democratic presidential contender Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., wasn’t gaining their support, I had more than a few white gay men lecture me about black people as they hurled studies at me in the worst-ever display of apples meeting oranges. Those folks were blocked. Now, I have to push back against African Americans who are ripping Buttigieg for what they see as his equating his experience being gay with that of being black.

That’s not what happened. That’s not what he said.

The WaPo piece is behind a pay wall, but Bobby has what seems to be almost all, of not all, of it. Read it.

Today in Digusting People: Getting Blatant

I actually ran across this one yesterday afternoon, but I'd had enough disgusting people for one day. This is our Attorney General, the country's top law enforcement official, speaking to a gathering of police:

Speaking to a roomful of police officers and prosecutors on Tuesday, Attorney General William P. Barr drew a parallel between protests against soldiers during the Vietnam War and demonstrations against law enforcement today. But this time, he suggested, those who don’t show “respect” to authority could lose access to police services.

“Today, the American people have to focus on something else, which is the sacrifice and the service that is given by our law enforcement officers. And they have to start showing, more than they do, the respect and support that law enforcement deserves,” Barr said in pointed remarks delivered at a Justice Department ceremony to honor police officers.

Barr added that “if communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.”

It doesn't take much imagination to get the meaning: "Nice community you got there. Be a shame if anything happened to it."

Alternate reading: "Shut up and do what you're told. Or else."

It's getting more and more obvious that we're dealing with a bunch of fascists making a power grab -- and I'm not just name-calling: Trump and his cronies and cultists really are fascists, and true to form, they've put together an unholy alliance of business, churches, and political figures.

Sound familiar?

But our fascists can't even make the trains run on time.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Culture Break: Real Life: Catch Me I'm Falling

I'm not sure how I ran across Real Life -- probably when their first big hit, "Send Me An Angel", was inescapable. (I also seemed to be hearing a lot of Australian bands at that point -- Duran Duran, Icehouse, and there were a couple of others.) This is their other big international hit:

From the description at YouTube:

Real Life are a Melbourne-based Australian New Wave/synthpop[1] band that had hits with their debut single, "Send Me an Angel" (1983) and with "Catch Me I'm Falling" (1983), both of which were featured on the band's debut album Heartland (1983).

Today in Disgusting People: A Twofer

First, Secretary of "Education" Betsy DeVos (whose family money, you will remember, comes from the Amway pyramid scheme). It seems the DoE wasn't really enthusiastic about cancelling student load debt incurred through scam "educational institutions":

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her Department of Education (DOE) violated a court order which prohibited the agency from collecting student loan payments from defrauded borrowers–and then she drastically under-counted the number of former students who were impacted by that initial illegal decision.

In a 14-page compliance report filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Tuesday, attorneys for the DOE confessed to unlawfully collecting such payments from nearly 46,000 students (45,801 to be exact) who were scammed by for-profit colleges.

Those students attended various campuses owned by the Corinthian Colleges chain and were enrolled in educational programs which DeVos has personally described as “worthless.”

Note that DeVos is a big believer in for-profit colleges -- especially the "Christian" variety.

And second, none other than Trump's Department of Agriculture, implementing another step in the "Christian" dream: starve the poor:

The Trump administration announced a plan Wednesday to end food-stamp benefits for about 700,000 Americans, issuing a new regulation that makes it harder for states to gain waivers from a requirement that beneficiaries work or participate in a vocational training program.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the new rule will move more food-stamp recipients “toward self-sufficiency and into employment.”

In an economy in which jobs are vanishing. I guess they can always take the jobs that undocumented immigrants won't touch.

It's not totally draconian:

The work requirement covers “able-bodied” recipients. A U.S. Department of Agriculture spokeswoman said it doesn’t apply to recipients who are over 50, disabled or pregnant, or anyone with a child under 18.

It's still 750,000 people without adequate food.

Both stories via Joe.My.God.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

There's No Bottom. Part ?

Long and interesting article by Digby about just what a piece of merde our "President" is. I'll let Digby introduce it:

"The president called out her name as he acted out an orgasm in front of thousands of people at a Minneapolis rally on Oct. 11, 2019"

That's the title of her post. It goes on:

It was one of the grossest moments at any of his rallies and that's saying something. It was so gross that it prompted Lisa Page, the "Lisa" he was mocking in that depraved speech to speak on the record for the first time. She spoke with Molly Jong Fast for the Daily Beast:
That was the moment Page decided she had to speak up. “I had stayed quiet for years hoping it would fade away, but instead it got worse,” she says. “It had been so hard not to defend myself, to let people who hate me control the narrative. I decided to take my power back.”

You have to ask yourself what kind of person -- the president of the United States, for crying out loud -- would behave that way? And what kind of people would applaud and cheer?*

It's worth reading the whole thing -- although it's pretty appalling -- or it would be, if we hadn't become hardened to this kind of corruption over the past three years.

* As for the kind of people who cheer on that kind of disgusting behavior, this post gives a thorough analysis of Trump's narcissistic personality disorder, but this bit is, I think, key to understanding his cultists:

It's a long and interesting article about how he's alienated insiders who tried desperately to help him. That, apparently, tracks with what narcissists usually do. But how can we explain his hardcore, unmovable base? That' the strange part. He attempts to explain it:

Those who can’t point to specific achievements may remain loyal supporters because they hear relatively little that is expressly negative about their hero. If the president shot somebody in the middle of Fifth Avenue, would Fox News even cover it? Trump supporters and Trump detractors live in different worlds. They may not speak to one another about politics, knowing that such a conversation is likely to end badly. They get their news from different sources. They stay faithful to their respective political tribes.

But the crux of the matter—the secret to Trump’s success with the base—may be that if bad news can’t quite pierce the Trumpist bubble, neither, in a way, can Trump. The millions of American voters who adore the president do not have to interact with him directly. Unlike the White House staff, they do not have to endure Trump’s incendiary outbursts or kowtow to his unpredictable whims. As anonymous members of a television audience, they can gaze upon their hero from afar.

If they want to get a little closer, they can attend a Trump rally. In the local sports arena or civic center, they can sit just a few hundred feet away from the president, cheering and chanting. They can express their love for the him in the presence of thousands of others who love him too. They can laugh at his jokes and partake of the anger and disgust he expresses toward his enemies. Excitement fills the arena. What outlandish thing will he do? What will he say to capture the headlines of the next day? A Trump rally is a safe space for Trump supporters. They can sit back and enjoy the performance, because whatever he says cannot directly threaten them. He will be gone tomorrow.

And there it is -- Trump keeps the loyalty of his base because they don't have to deal with him on a one-to-one level. They can just worship from afar.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

What's New at Green Man Review

In spite of the rain, snow, wind, and other harbingers of Winter, there are, as always, reviews:

Tattoos, The Tempest, Dr. Who (Again), Peanuts, Reggae, Beethoven, and more

As you can see, it's our usual mixed bag, so snuggle up and enjoy.