"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

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Culture Break: Moby: Extreme Ways

You may recognize this from the Bourne Trilogy movies -- closing titles.

Regrettably, I missed seeing the latest one when it came out.

He is a little strange, but that's what I like about him.

Everyone's On Script: It's Obama's Fault

The Michael Flynn debacle, that is. First, from Press Secretary Sean Spicer:

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday insisted to reporters that it did not have a responsibility to provide documents used in the hiring of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn because they were filled out in the days before President Donald Trump took office. . . .

“How about these calls made where [Flynn] was working during the transition on behalf of a future President Trump?” Garrett wondered. “Aren’t those things that you should have some responsibility or obligation to provide if you can?”

“It’s a question [of] if you can,” Spicer replied. “To ask for every call a national security adviser made is pretty outlandish.”

“Those calls were made on behalf of the Trump transition were they not?” Garrett pressed.

“When?” Spicer said. “We started this administration on Jan. 20. All the information that they’re talking about occurred prior to him being at the White House.”
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“Working for the transition!” Garrett exclaimed.

“Not at the White House!” Spicer shot back. “Everything that is being questioned occurred prior to Jan. 20th.”

I'd class this as unbelievable, but then, think about whose regime we're looking at -- lying to the press is a game they play.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the mantra gets repeated by the small rodent who's about to be the former chair of the House Witch Hunt Committee:

The latest Flynn scandal concerns potential violations of federal law by not disclosing payments from Russia while seeking a security clearance to work in the Trump White House.

“It was the Obama White House that this would have fallen under,” Chaffetz claimed. “I don’t think what happened here is really the fault of Donald Trump.”

Words fail me.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tweets du Jour

Via Balloon Juice.

Monday, April 24, 2017

He Thought He Was Being Funny

A follow up to this story: AG Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III on the blowback from his "island in the Pacific" comment:

“I think that was a perfectly correct statement,” Sessions defended his remarks on MSNBC Friday, and now, amidst laughter, he dismissed them entirely as “nobody has a sense of humor anymore.”

Apparently Sessions thinks the idea of an independent, co-equal judiciary is a joke.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

My Sentiments, Exactly


Via Balloon Juice.

What's New at Green Man Review

Mostly books and music, but interesting, nevertheless. Hit the link for goodies.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

March for Science, Earth Day, 2017

Everybody's getting into the act:

In honor of Earth Day and the March for Science, the Monterey Bay Aquarium held it's own mini Science March with several of its African penguins.

The aquarium dubbed its livestream the "March of the Penguins for Science," and it included their African penguins taking an "enrichment walk" through the Kelp Forest gallery.

Video at the link.

via Joe.My.God.

Friday, April 21, 2017

An Island in the Pacific

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III preparing to perjure himself before the Senate
I've made reference before to the notion that Trump's attorney general, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, seems stuck in the 1950s. He just nailed it, discussing Trump's disastrous immigration order:

"We've got cases moving in the very, very liberal Ninth Circuit, who, they've been hostile to the order," Sessions said. "We won a case in Virginia recently that was a nicely-written order that just demolished, I thought, all the arguments that some of the other people have been making. We are confident that the President will prevail on appeal and particularly in the Supreme Court, if not the Ninth Circuit. So this is a huge matter. I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the President of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and Constitutional power."
Emphasis added.

The judge "sitting on an island in the Pacific" is Judge Derrick Watson, of the U.S. District Court of Hawaii; the island is Oahu.

Hawaii became a state on August 21, 1959.

The breathtaking ignorance is deliberate, don't doubt it for a minute. The message, from this lifelong advocate of states' rights now that he's part of the federal apparatus is simply another attack on the judiciary, following in the footsteps of The Hairpiece.

Remember, this is a man who believes, from the bottom of his heart, that if you're accused of something, you must be guilty. He also believes, apparently, that the president gets to make the law, without challenge.

Which is just another demonstration of something I've maintained for a while now: not only do Republicans not believe in our foundational principles, they're vehemently opposed to them. If you doubt that:

In the interview on Tuesday, Sessions also added that judges shouldn't "psychoanalyze" Trump when he was asked about potential judges Trump would appoint.

"I think our President, having seen some of these really weird interpretations of the executive orders that he's put out, I think he's more understanding now that we need judges who follow the law, not make law," Sessions said.

"The judges don't get to psychoanalyze the President to see if the order he issues is lawful. It's either lawful or it's not. I think that it will be real important for America to have judges in the model of Judge (Neil) Gorsuch and (the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin) Scalia, people who serve under the law, under the Constitution, not above it, and they are faithful to the law. They honor it and don't try to remake it as they'd like it to be."

This has become standard right-wing cant for any court decision they don't like. Remember the cries of "lawless" when the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Obergefell? Aside from the obvious oxymoron, it's another way of avoiding the substance of the decision, especially when it rests on constitutional guarantees of individual rights. (And contrary to Sessions' assertion, legislative intent has always been an important factor in weighing the validity of laws.)

Via Digby, who notes:

He is an authoritarian monster, the worst of all possible world, the scariest member of the scariest administration in American history.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Giggle du Jour

Note the chyron:

Via Balloon Juice

Culture Break: Arcangelo Corelli: Concerto in F Major Opus 6 No. 2

I have an album of Corelli concerti grossi that's one of my favorite morning things. This particular piece isn't on it, although there are other works from Opus 6. At any rate, it's a nice break from the normal noise:

Strangely enough, I've not reviewed any Corelli, except as a "B side" to Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

Reefer Madness

Lord love a duck:

Two days after downplaying the role of marijuana in the nation's drug war, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly changed course Tuesday, calling it a "potentially dangerous gateway drug" and saying his agency would continue to arrest and investigate those who traded in it in violation of federal law.

"Let me be clear about marijuana: It is a potentially dangerous gateway drug that frequently leads to the use of harder drugs," he said in his first major speech since being sworn in. "Its use and possession is against federal law and until that law is changed by the United States Congress, we at DHS, along with the rest of the federal government, are sworn to uphold all the laws that are on the books."

Forget the science that says otherwise: Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III has spoken:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has decried pot use and has advocated a crackdown. In a speech last month, Sessions said marijuana was only "slightly less awful" than heroin, and he declared at a Senate hearing last year that "good people don't smoke marijuana."

Kelly's remarks Tuesday seemed to be an effort to bring his position on marijuana more in keeping with Sessions', two days after he took a decidedly softer line. On Sunday, Kelly had said marijuana was "not a factor" in the war on drugs, and that the search for solutions to the drug problem in the U.S. should focus on addictive drugs and not "arresting a lot of users."

Sessions likes putting lots of people in jail, especially if they're not white. Makes him look really butch. He thinks. I guess Kelly got the word: pot is an existential threat.

You think someone's stuck in the 1950s?

(I wonder where all those states' rights advocates are hiding on this.)