"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

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Today in Disgusting People

So there's this person who goes from state to state helping Republican governors slash their budgets:

A few days after a powerful earthquake hit the state last November, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) issued an order increasing the power of the state’s budget office, led at the time by a woman who had lived in Alaska a mere two weeks.

In her newly empowered role, Donna Arduin — an infamous budget-slashing expert — and Dunleavy went on cut to hundreds of millions from the state budget. They aim to trim even more in her second year in the remote state.

It’s hardly Arduin’s first rodeo. The budget consultant has served in several Republican-led governor’s offices, slashing state expenses while cutting or resisting efforts to increase tax revenue.

She's hardly worried about the effect on the people who actually live there:

The University of Alaska’s Board of Regents, at a meeting in which they declared financial exigency last week, sounded less enthusiastic. The institution has been “crippled,” its president said, by the governor cutting roughly 40% of the school’s state funding — over $130 million. Thousands of students across the state found their state-funded scholarships suddenly defunded with the school year looming. “We will not have a university after February if we don’t make a move,” one regent noted.

Another Alaskan who had scheduled a dentures appointment four weeks after having his teeth extracted was left with gums flapping in the wind, after the governor eliminated Medicaid dental coverage for adults. That saved the state $27 million.

And she's crippled social services in other states:

In the process of cutting $8.1 billion over five years in Florida, the Los Angeles Times later reported, “Florida eliminated money for eyeglasses, hearing aids and dentures for poor seniors and forced 55,000 low-income children onto health insurance waiting lists.”

At a time when there is broad support for universal health coverage, assholes like Arduin are cutting funding. Her rationale?

“I joined government to shrink it,” she said.

Spoken like a true libertarian, which is possibly the most morally bankrupt philosophy that I've ever run across.

Of course, she doesn't have to bear the consequences.

Via Bark Bark Woof Woof.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

This Week at Green Man Review

The usual mix, and a couple of surprises:

Lord Dunsany, The Mother Tongue, Chocolate Cake, Anime, Cajun Music, and more

Did I mention that there's more? Check it out.

Tweet du Jour

Campbell's strikes back:

With thanks to commenter Уильям at Joe.My.God.

Sadly, the "Customer Service" response was a fake, according to Snopes. Unfortunately, Snopes's response is on Facebook, which I refuse to participate in, so do follow the link to see the commercial (which, incidentally, is several years old).

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Saturday Science: Darwin Who?

A new poll from Gallup that has some sobering implications:

Forty percent of U.S. adults ascribe to a strictly creationist view of human origins, believing that God created them in their present form within roughly the past 10,000 years. However, more Americans continue to think that humans evolved over millions of years -- either with God's guidance (33%) or, increasingly, without God's involvement at all (22%).

The latest findings, from a June 3-16 Gallup poll, have not changed significantly from the last reading in 2017. However, the 22% of Americans today who do not believe God had any role in human evolution marks a record high dating back to 1982. This figure has changed more than the other two have over the years and coincides with an increasing number of Americans saying they have no religious identification.

My first reaction is to think that this is a result of the "dumbing of America" due to the right's attacks on public education, but if you look at the timeline, the only significant change is the increase in those who believe that man evolved without divine interference.

And of course, it's tied to religious belief and education:

As has been the case historically, Americans' views on evolution and creationism vary sharply based on their religious identification, how often they attend church and their education level.

Majorities of Protestants (56%) and those who attend church at least once a week (68%) believe that God created humans in their present form. Meanwhile, 59% of those who do not identify with any religion believe in evolution without any intervention from God.

Those with a college degree are much more likely to believe in evolution than creationism, while the opposite is true of those without a college degree. However, even among adults with a college degree, more believe God had a role in evolution than say it occurred without God.

Unfortunately, the report doesn't include any information on methodology -- where and how the survey was taken, the actual questions asked (particularly a more precise identification of religious affiliation: were there any responses from non-Christians? I.e., Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. Apparently, Gallup believes there is only one religion in this country.)

I will note, however, that according this survey, the more Christian you are, the less likely you are to live in the real world.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Today's Must-Read: What Independent Press?

This morning's "Must-Read" is a comment thread (for which, unfortunately, Disqus won't give me a link, so you get the whole thing here), courtesy of commenter billbear1961:

From Political Wire:

disqus_lWwzrwNaw6 17 hours ago

Margaret Brennan on CBS pulled off the same little trick George did at ABC: in her interview with Liz Cheney, she struggled to get Cheney to say something critical about Donald's timing, or to acknowledge that "some might say" there's something an eency weency bit racist about how "some interpret" Donald's tweets, while allowing Cheney to get away unchallenged with vile, incendiary lies about what the four Democratic representatives actually said.

No challenge at all from Brennan on that ground. None.

Disgraceful: but over the last quarter century or so, this kind of journalism is how the Republican Party has taken total power.

I was horrified, although not even remotely surprised, by the extent to which George Stephanopoulos let the odious Mercedes Schlapp get away with suggesting that a) the old orange goon had denounced the chant but b) the representatives had indeed said terrible, anti-Semitic, anti-American things.

George challenged Mercedes a little bit on the idea that Donald had immediately denounced the chant, although that line of questioning got muddy as Schlapp pulled the usual Frank Luntzed agitprop routine, but he let stand without challenge the outrageous, incendiary, and deeply false suggestion that any of the four had said anything remotely anti-Semitic, inflammatory, or anti-American.

He let it stand, as one knew he would---most of the press establishment has decided the hair to split involves Fat Donald's reaction time, and whether Fat Donald really means it, and not the toxic, dangerous content of the allegations the Republican Party is making against these women, which may yet lead to bloodshed and death. It would be so impolite to force the Republicans to deal with that one.

This is not only open racism and fascism, but it's based on easily disprovable right wing agitprop, Frank Luntz mantras, and Murdoch Big Lies.

Yet the national press still equivocates about calling Donald a racist ("some say," "critics charge"), and still will not explode the lies about what the four members of Congress actually said.

The press is allowing the Republicans' Big Lie campaign to stand unchallenged.

The real disgrace is that the press is refusing to correct the record: refusing to point out, again and again, as often as it takes, that the Congresswomen didn't say any of the things the Republicans claim they said. This filthy Republican lie is hardening into fact because the press doesn't want to "take sides" and correct the record.


And this is ME speaking--just as the corporate-FASCIST press have, in effect, abandoned the children in the concentration camps, they are helping Trump and the GOP endanger the lives of the "Squad" be refusing to call them out for the LIES they are spreading about what these women have said.

And that pretty much echoes my thoughts on how the press is a failure.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

What's New at Green Man Review

It's a really mixed bag this week -- even more so than usual;

Welsh Mythology in Fiction, Gazpacho, Bounty Hunters in Outer Space, a New take On Spider-Man, Lots of English Music, and more,

And it's waiting for you right here.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Giggle du Jour: A Look Back

Teenagers trying to figure out a rotary phone:

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

About Those Racist Tweets

There's a series of posts at Hullabaloo that pretty much nail all the ramifications. Start at this post by Tom Sullivan and just work your way down.

Culture Break: Aziz Herawi

I don't know the name of this piece, or even if it has a name. I have one of Herawi's albums, which I enjoy thoroughly:

From Wikipedia:

Aziz Herawi (born c.1952 in Herat, Afghanistan) is a noted musician from Afghanistan. He specializes in the dutar and rubab, both plucked string instruments. Afghan musician Aziz Herawi was seven years of age the first time he heard the strings of the dutar being plucked. He talked one of the family servants, who hid it in a blanket, into buying the instrument for him from a shepherd. The boy would wait until his father was asleep, then sneak into the woods surrounding their home. Alone, in the dark, he practiced, teaching himself to play the long-necked 12-stringed dutar.

Herawi is now 57 and a resident of Sacramento, California. He has lived in northern California since 1985 and released several albums. His music is a blend of Persian and Hindustani instruments and styles and considered to be typical of Herat, Herawi's hometown, near the northeastern border with Iran.

Monday, July 15, 2019


I just checked, and we've indeed had higher than normal rainfall this spring -- 6 inches above average, over 18 inches total.

To bring it into perspective, I was riding the bus up Lake Shore Drive this afternoon and notice that:

The lakefront just north of where the bus leaves Michigan Avenue and enters the Drive is paved and slopes down to the water, which is normally, say, eight to twelve inches below the paving. About a foot at the edge of the paving is under water.

The two most northerly sections of Fullerton Beach are completely submerged.

The doggie beach in Belmont Harbor, which normally extends about fifteen or twenty feet into the water, is almost complete gone.

It's obviously a Chinese hoax.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

From the Wingnut Wurlitzer, Or 1984 Redux

Up is down, black is white:

As thousands of immigrants face getting caught up in ICE raids this weekend, Fox News hosts are shilling for these Gestapo-like raids by trying to criminalize those advising immigrants of their Constitutional rights.

Fox & Friends seems to have taken the lead this morning in smearing those who want to abide by our Constitution - while posing as patriots. Cohost Griff Jenkins, once again moonlighting from his day job as a supposedly objective reporter, said, “the Democrats are putting themselves in a unique position of running against the rule of law.”

Actually, it’s Fox News running against the rule of law since Democrats have merely been publicizing rights under the U.S. Constitution. Despite all the insinuation, I have yet to see a Fox host actually dispute the rights' existence.

Not surprisingly, immigrant-hating Katie Pavlich took the dishonest insinuation a step further on Outnumbered today. She accused Democrats of “advocating for [immigrants] to continue breaking the law by not answering the door when ICE agents show up.”

In fact, disallowing an ICE agent to enter without a judicial warrant is abiding by the law. But Trump lickspittle and cohost Harris Faulkner endorsed the falsehood. “It’s what Katie said,” Faulkner said. “They’re here illegally,” as if she’s too ignorant to know that even the worst criminals have rights under our Constitution.

And a footnote to that last statement by Faulkner: Under U.S. law, an immigrant on U.S. soil has the right to apply for asylum, no matter how they got here. The Trump regime is violating the law by deporting them without due process.

And of course the trumpanzees will swallow this bullshit whole.

This Week at Green Man Review

It's that time of the week again, and it's a really interesting mix this week:

Writings Based on Music, A New Mythology, Japanese Photography, Cider, Supervillains, Nordic Music from the Midwest, Aaron Copland, and other goodies

So scoot over and enjoy.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Antidote: Welcome Home!

From the description: "Watch these dogs welcome home their soldier moms and dads!"

Sunday, July 07, 2019

What's New at Green Man Review

Happens every Sunday. And this week we've got:

A Magical Family, Historical SF, Chocolate, The Cat In the Hat, Music, Traditional and Not, and other neat stuff

And here it is.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Saturday Science: Wandering

Although it sounds like this little critter had a destination in mind:

A young Arctic fox has walked across the ice from Norway's Svalbard islands to northern Canada in an epic journey, covering 3,506 km (2,176 miles) in 76 days.

"The fox's journey has left scientists speechless," according to Greenland's Sermitsiaq newspaper.

Researchers at Norway's Polar Institute fitted the young female with a GPS tracking device and freed her into the wild in late March last year on the east coast of Spitsbergen, the Svalbard archipelago's main island.

The fox was under a year old when she set off west in search of food, reaching Greenland just 21 days later - a journey of 1,512 km - before trudging forward on the second leg of her trek.

She was tracked to Canada's Ellesmere Island, nearly 2,000 km further, just 76 days after leaving Svalbard.

Could you walk over 2,000 miles in just over two months?


Friday, July 05, 2019

Climate Change: A Possible (Partial) Solution

Someone has finally done a study on the carbon-storing capacity of forests:

Good news: we can help halt climate change through a massive campaign of reforestation, according to a new study published Thursday.

Bad news: it would require covering an area the size of the United States in new trees, and even then some scientists are skeptical about the paper’s conclusions.

Of course, scientists being only human, there's some controversy:

Some experts who were not involved with the study, however, expressed skepticism about some of its findings.

“Restoration of trees may be ‘among the most effective strategies,’ but it is very far indeed from ‘the best climate change solution available,’ and a long way behind reducing fossil fuel emissions to net zero,” said Myles Allen, a geosystem science professor at Oxford.

“Yes, heroic reforestation can help, but it is time to stop suggesting there is a ‘nature-based solution’ to ongoing fossil fuel use. There isn’t. Sorry,” he added.

Here's the comment I left at the site:

This is one area where I have to take both sides. Yes, reforestation is necessary and would be more than a little helpful, but it's not the solution. We really do need to cut fossil fuel use drastically. (It wouldn't hurt to start pushing birth control; there are way too many people on this planet.)

Side note: This article reveals the "either/or" thinking that seems to plague us and is most glaring when considering "opposing" scientific theories. I've run across several instances of scientific controversy over opposing theories, and in most cases, they aren't mutually exclusive. (Most notably, how did organic molecules appear on earth, created in deep-sea vents or on meteorites? And how did people come to the Americas, via land bridge or by boat following the coasts? My answer to both questions is "Yes.")

Side note 2: In the first decade of this century, the City of Chicago planted over half a million trees, ostensibly as part of a "beautification" program. I've noticed that we are now able to plant types of trees along the streets (oak, basswood, even bald cypress) that we couldn't plant before. Our air is that much cleaner. (Not to discount tighter standards on automobile emissions, but don't tell me the tree-planting didn't play a part.)

Today's Must-Read: It's the Press, Stupid!

Rebecca Traister takes a hard look at the man -- and they are almost all me -- who will be framing the optics of the 2020 election, and it ain't pretty:

In past weeks, the curtain has officially been raised on the vast and diverse field of candidates for the Democratic nomination, many of them politicians who would not have been seen on a presidential debate stage — and never in these numbers — even a decade ago. Six of the 25 declared candidates are not men; six of them are not white; there is one openly gay man and one Jew who’s also a democratic socialist. During the first round of debates, several candidates made efforts to speak Spanish that, while performative, reflected an overdue acknowledgment that they were speaking to a broader swath of the country than the moderate white men in diners to whom so much Democratic messaging has been directed for decades. Beyond their representational expansion, many of the candidates are offering up compelling, progressive policy ideas: pushing the party into fights for single-payer health care, subsidized child care, free college, a Green New Deal, a stronger commitment to reproductive justice and a push for more humane immigration policies.

But we’re also getting our first real taste of the punditry that will frame this next year and a half, and so far, it is the opposite of fresh, diverse, or forward-thinking. Rather, the analysis coughed up by some of the nation’s loudest and most prominent talking heads sounds familiar and stale. The dispiriting truth is that many of those tasked with interpreting our politics are — in addition to being extremely freaked out by the race they’re covering — totally ill-equipped for the historic task ahead of them.

She names names. Read it all.

With thanks to commenter Gustav2 at Joe.My.God.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Another Day, Another Flash Mob

It's that kind of morning.

I'm not sure the dancers were a good idea, but the finale is spectacular.

Monday, July 01, 2019


Wouldn't you just love to have a nice kitty around?

Via Balloon Juice.

Stonewall: The Real Story

A very interesting video by a number of historians, some of whom were actually at Stonewall, that serves to debunk a lot of the myths and attempts at appropriation: