Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Action-packed adventure

I sure hope I never again have to wake up from surgery during a shift change.

Having noticed that the Parliamentary Labour Party has effectively demolished it's own leader in the polls, the Tories saw their chance and Theresa May has announced an election. Labour has never been so weak, thanks to the efforts of the Blairites, and it seems pretty clear that they have no chance. Smart Tories have an ace up their sleeve: "Nicola Sturgeon and yes, Jeremy Corbyn, would demolish May in debate. If any party other than the Tories was declining to take part in debate, the media would quite rightly attack them for it. Do not however expect any more than token remonstration from the broadcasters; they are far too complicit in the cottonwool packaging of May, and have too deep an investment in the Unionist project, to rock the boat. Indeed, the media will now seek to frame any debate between opposition leaders which does go ahead as a gathering of losers, a carnival of grotesques. Any resemblance between this British general election and democracy is purely coincidental."

Meanwhile, the DNC goes to court and not only admits that the primaries were rigged, but claims a right to rig them. "DNC Shatters The Illusion Of American Democracy In Order To Keep People's 27 Bucks: Well that didn't take much. After all the time and effort that those of us in the alternative media have been pouring into our attempts to show people that democracy does not exist in America, the political establishment has stepped forward and admitted it candidly with its own face hole. A recently-released transcript of Florida court documents has revealed that the Democratic National Committee's first line of defense in their motion to dismiss a lawsuit against them by defrauded Bernie Sanders supporters is to state that they are under no contractual obligation to provide the American people with real party primaries."

So Trump bombed Syria. What's remarkable to me is the sudden emergence of members of Obama's circle who are suddenly erupting in vast applause for Trump bombing Syria - apparently, he was reining them in for all this time. The Washington press corps has suddenly decided Trump is "presidential" now that he's bombing someone for no good reason and with no plan. The neocons and the TV faces all have a tingle down their leg. But Robert Parry says it's "Trump's 'Wag the Dog' Moment: Just two days after news broke of an alleged poison-gas attack in northern Syria, President Trump brushed aside advice from some U.S. intelligence analysts doubting the Syrian regime's guilt and launched a lethal retaliatory missile strike against a Syrian airfield. The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter conducts strike operations while in the Mediterranean Sea, April 7, 2017. (Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ford Williams) Trump immediately won plaudits from Official Washington, especially from neoconservatives who have been trying to wrestle control of his foreign policy away from his nationalist and personal advisers since the days after his surprise victory on Nov. 8. [...] But a number of intelligence sources have made contradictory assessments, saying the preponderance of evidence suggests that Al Qaeda-affiliated rebels were at fault, either by orchestrating an intentional release of a chemical agent as a provocation or by possessing containers of poison gas that ruptured during a conventional bombing raid. One intelligence source told me that the most likely scenario was a staged event by the rebels intended to force Trump to reverse a policy, announced only days earlier, that the U.S. government would no longer seek 'regime change' in Syria and would focus on attacking the common enemy, Islamic terror groups that represent the core of the rebel forces." That story buries the lede, though, which is that there's no reliable evidence that Assad was guilty of the charge in this case. "New Evidence that Syrian Gas Story Was Fabricated by the White House" - Does this sound familiar?
* Really, no one is taking The White House Report seriously, are they?
* Norman Solomon, "Russia-Baiting Pushed Trump to Attack Syria - and Increases the Risks of Nuclear Annihilation."
* Hm, I wonder where this stuff comes from.... "MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Sees a 'Russia Connection' Lurking Around Every Corner."
* "Five Top Papers Run 18 Opinion Pieces Praising Syria Strikes - Zero Are Critical."

Of course, this was an opportunity for a bit of proxy warring against Sanders by attacking Tulsi Gabbard for not instantly supporting Trump's attack on Syria, instead saying: "'This administration has acted recklessly without care or consideration of the dire consequences of the United States attack on Syria without waiting for the collection of evidence from the scene of the chemical poisoning.' Gabbard added she would support Assad's prosecution and execution as a war criminal if the attacks were proven, though she still wouldn't support military action. 'A successful prosecution of Assad (at the International Criminal Court) will require collection of evidence from the scene of the incident, and I support the United Nation's efforts in this regard. Without such evidence, a successful prosecution is impossible.'" Clintonites claim this statement was "pro-Assad".

Andrew Cuomo announces free college for New York, and it sure sounds to me like a bit of a fraud. For one thing, you can't be a part-time student or one who takes a semester off to try to earn some money to keep going. It doesn't cover books, which are pretty expensive these days.

"Irish Citizens Assembly votes to amend abortion laws: Pro-choice campaigners disappointed by vote to amend, rather than repeal, Eighth Amendment." Still, a very big deal. "A special committee set up to discuss Irish abortion laws has voted in favour of changing the constitutional clause which effectively criminalises abortion - but stopped short of repealing the law entirely. The Eighth Amendment to the Irish constitution protects the 'right to life of the unborn', and termination is illegal in Ireland in all but the most exceptional circumstances, where there is a 'real and substantial risk' to the mother's life." But I'm with Siobhan Fenton, who tweeted: "Not going to lie lads, I am crying my eyes out. Irish women have waited so long for this. Huge day for the country."

Payoff time: "Obama to net $400K for Wall Street speech: report: Former President Obama has agreed to speak at a Wall Street conference for $400,000, according to a new report. Obama will appear at Cantor Fitzgerald LP's healthcare conference in September, Fox Business Network first reported Monday. Fox Business said it confirmed Obama's appearance with senior members at Cantor, a financial services firm." The worst Clintonite troll in my twitter feed is manfully defending this receipt of a bribe, but Obama telegraphed it in The Audacity of Hope. He was happy to describe it, but he wasn't going to go against it. (More of that in this piece from a year ago.)

"The retail apocalypse is creating a 'slow-rolling crisis' that is rippling through the US economy: Retailers are closing thousands of stores and going bankrupt at a rate not seen since the recession, and tens of thousands of people are losing their jobs as a result. The effects of these job losses will hit local economies hard, according to Mark Cohen, the director of retail studies at Columbia Business School." Scary.

"The Long, Lucrative Right-wing Grift Is Blowing Up in the World's Face." As has been obvious for a while now, the fountain of "conservative" rationalization of insane policies the oligarchs have been feeding the rubes has worked beyond their wildest expectations, actually convincing so many that they have run for office and taken their seats sincerely believing the nonsense that was never supposed to be taken seriously by anyone in power. But a considerable portion of Congress, and now the White House, is finally occupied by those very rubes, and no one knows how to control them. Pity the Democrats didn't make the arguments when they had a chance to stop this train.

This was rather amazing, given how solidly red the seat has been, but a progressive Dem came within six points of taking it. "The Kansas Democrat who nearly pulled off the impossible has some advice for his party: James Thompson says Democrats can't ignore red states." But Senator Sanders says the DCCC could have done more. (Of course, in my Twitter feed, Clintonistas are demanding to know where Bernie was. He was, of course, in Kansas.) Gosh, I wonder why someone stole the machines.

"Jeff Sessions Getting Rich Filling Private Prisons: It's more than a conflict of interest. The more people Attorney General Jeff Sessions sends to private prisons, the more money he shoves in his pockets. From announcing he wants federal law enforcement agencies to bust people for a little bit of weed, to ordering federal prosecutors to find ways to convict more immigrants, Sessions is looking for ways to provide more clients to private prisons that are contracted by the federal government. [...] As Attorney General Sessions fills these private prisons, he is making money. According to his latest financial disclosures required by congress, dated December 23, 2016, he divested of other investments that were found to be in conflict. In these disclosures, he also lists numerous Vanguard funds. Vanguard owns more private prison stock than any other investment management company. None of the Vanguard funds listed below were included in the divestiture."

"After $30k lawsuit, regional Massachusetts SWAT team releases use of force policy." They tried to claim they were a non-profit and therefore didn't have to.

Something tells me Rahm just isn't all that serious about police reform and transparency. "City delays release of police shooting video despite 90-day policy."

"Alabama Senate votes to allow church to form police dept. MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama Senate has voted to allow a church to form its own police force. Lawmakers on Tuesday voted 24-4 to allow Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham to establish a law enforcement department. The church says it needs its own police officers to keep its school as well as its more than 4,000 person congregation safe. Critics of the bill argue that a police department that reports to church officials could be used to cover up crimes."

"Police Arrested This Cop Watch Activist - But Then Recorded Themselves by Accident: Last August, Jose LaSalle, a prominent New York City Cop Watch activist, was arrested after filming a stop-and-frisk near a housing project in the South Bronx. Though filming the police is legal, LaSalle was charged with 'obstructing governmental administration.' LaSalle claims he was standing far away from the incident. To continue documenting his own arrest, the veteran activist left his two phones and a GoPro camera turned on and recording as he was being taken to a nearby police station."

"Broken door, broken promise: Police renege on pledge to ask judges for permission in no-knock raids: WORCESTER - After a 2015 'no-knock' SWAT raid that found a shaken family at gunpoint instead of the targeted criminal"

"How the Government Is Turning Protesters Into Felons" - Basically, this amounts to treating a protest even as a crime in itself, and then saying everyone who attended was complicit in any property damage that occurred. And then throwing the book at them.

"Minnesota police department wins Twitter again with hilarious 4/20 tweet."

"New Orleans district attorney has been sending fake subpoenas to witnesses to make them testify: The Orleans Parish district attorney's office has been caught issuing fake subpoenas that threatened if the recipient ignored the notice he or she would be fined or imprisoned, according to The Lens."

"Report: Body of country's first female Muslim judge found in Hudson River: Sheila Abdus-Salaam served as an associate judge of the Court of Appeals. She was the first African-American woman to serve on New York's top court. She was 65."

California fighting the trend and going for single-payer, but of course, Big Corporate Money Opposes Single-Payer Proposal. "As health care premiums rise and insurers threaten to leave Obamacare's state exchanges, polls show that a majority of Americans now support the creation of a universal, government-funded health care program. The so-called single-payer system has been a long-sought goal of progressive groups, who now hope that California lawmakers will pass a bill to create such a system. Proponents hope the system could then begin moving the United States to follow Canada, which saw its own national single-payer system first begin in the province of Saskatchewan. But before that happens, single-payer proponents are going to have to overcome powerful resistance. While California is known as a liberal stronghold, industry groups with a financial interest in blocking the measure are lining up in opposition - and they have poured cash into the campaigns of key state lawmakers who will decide the fate of the bill."

Rob Levine with some original research, "Free to choose a Walmart school: Poverty Academies, Segregation Academies and a foundation plan to destroy the Minneapolis public school district

"Fifty Shades of Green" - Thomas Ferguson, Jie Chen, and Paul Jorgensen at the Roosevelt Institute, on the effect of money in politics.
* "Does Money Buy Votes? Most Americans Say Yes; A New Study Says They're Right [...] The researchers found that for every $100,000 the financial industry spent on campaign contributions for a House Democrat who voted for Dodd-Frank, they were able to increase the likelihood that same Democrat would vote to dismantle parts of the bill by 13.9 percent, according to the study."

David Dayen on "How Congress Could Make Steve Bannon's Wildest Dream Come True: Beyond the competing sets of spin about the success or failure of Donald Trump's first hundred days, even the most committed liberal partisan can admit that he has allowed corporate America to run wild."

"'Superman Is Not Coming: Erin Brockovich on the Future of Water [...] 'It's not just one Flint. It's hundreds of Flints," Brockovich, who became a household name in 2000 when Julia Roberts portrayed her in an Oscar-winning film, tells me in an interview. 'We've already slipped and we're on the cusp of Third World conditions when it comes to our water supply.'"

The first event of Bernie Sanders' and Tom Perez's Come Together Fight Back Tour - Portland, ME.
* "The Democratic Party's messaging rift, in one short video: But serious differences between the Democratic Party's factions remain. On Wednesday, Sanders and Perez appeared with MSNBC's Chris Hayes for their first joint interview - and it didn't take long for Hayes to pry open the split in the politicians' worldviews."

Suddenly the Clintonistas are going all purity troll because Sanders and Perez are out there campaigning for Dems who aren't perfect. The New Republic, of all places, launches a defense, but frankly the whole tempest is pretty rich when you have Nancy Pelosi saying "'Of course' Dems can be against abortion" - and then of course, there was this candidate.

Yves Smith, "Democrat Disunity: Hypocritical Media Attacks on Sanders: On every conceivable front, the Democrats double downing down on the strategy that led them to hemorrhage losses in representation, meaning power, at every level of government. In keeping, more and more voters are leaving the party. The latest repeat of a failed strategy is to try to smear Sanders in a cack-handed effort to win over his base. This is as likely to succeed as calling Trump voters 'deplorables' did."
* Alas, there's not a prayer that these people who are attacking Bernie will realize the effect they are having on the polls and cut it out.

No, seriously, it may be true that President Trump is least popular president at 100-day mark, it's even worse for the Democrats.

"The DNC and DCCC Confirm They Won't Support Progressive Candidates [...] Rather than this special election representing an anomaly or misstep from the Democratic leadership, there's a prevailing trend within the party's establishment to select and support weak, centrist candidates who provide the party with opportunities to fundraise from corporate donors. This trend is symptomatic of a revolving door within the Democratic Party leadership, where party officials often sell out to work for Republican lobbying firms. The Intercept's Lee Fang pointed out Mark Squier, John Donovan, and CR Wooters as just a few examples."

"The Democratic party is undermining Bernie Sanders-style candidates: Since losing the presidency to a Cheeto-hued reality TV host, the Democratic party's leadership has made it clear that it would rather keep losing than entertain even the slightest whiff of New Deal style social democracy."

Paul Street still thinks, "Bernie Sanders, the Company Man" is just corralling us for the Dems. I think he's looking at it the wrong way, but we shall see.

"Quick thoughts about airline economics [...] There are two things wrong with this line that air travel is awful because consumers' true revealed preference is that it should be awful and cheap. First, there is the fact that air travel managed by the main domestic carriers in the United States is uniquely awful, and there is no evidence that US travelers are any more price conscious than consumers in other countries. No frills, discount air travel is popular in Europe as well, and it is sometimes awful, but it is on the whole much cheaper than 'discount' air travel within the US. Mainstream carriers almost everywhere else in the developed world are notably less awful than the big American carriers, and often just as cheap."

Naomi Klein on "How to Jam the Trump Brand"

"'Trump Is Just Tearing Off the Mask': An Interview with Eric Foner [...] ? It's very easy to say, 'Oh, Trump's gone off the reservation.' But actually, this is part of the American political culture, past and present. Our politics has not always been like the Lincoln-Douglas debates, some high-minded discussion of important issues. Even those debates weren't like that! We have seen the low road many a time. Go back to the Know-Nothings, George Wallace, Richard Nixon, the Southern strategy. This is an important strand of our political culture. That's a more frightening thought than calling Trump a lunatic and an aberration. He is the logical extension of the way the Republican Party has been operating since Barry Goldwater. This is how the Republican Party has gotten votes for 50 years - Trump is just tearing off the mask. Now he just says right out the racism that was only barely hidden for so long. An accurate history would show that it's always been there. We shouldn't just talk about how weird Trump is.

"Bernie Sanders Condemns Threats Against Ann Coulter Speech At Berkeley: 'To me, it's a sign of intellectual weakness.'"

"A Bernie Sanders Campaign Adviser Was a Russian. Now He's Speaking Out: A high-level adviser and operative for the 2016 Sanders campaign was Vitali Shkliarov, a Soviet-born citizen of Belarus. Shkliarov, who had previously worked on the 2012 Obama re-election campaign and for several other successful Democratic Party campaigns, has also become increasingly in demand as a political adviser and campaign manager in Russia, working for liberal candidates in opposition to President Vladimir Putin. Possessing a unique background and vantage point, Shkliarov, now that the 2016 election is over, has many interesting observations to express on the state of American politics, the Democratic Party, U.S.-Russian relations, and the impact of rising anti-Russian sentiment in the U.S."

"Exclusive: Julian Assange Strikes Back at CIA Director and Talks Trump, Russia, and Hillary Clinton [...] 'For the head of the CIA to pronounce what the boundaries are, of reporting or not reporting ' is a very disturbing precedent. The head of the CIA determining who is a publisher, who's not a publisher, who's a journalist, who's not a journalist, is totally out of line.'"

"Bernie Sanders Spoke From A Ben & Jerry's Tub Podium And Twitter Users Couldn't Cope"

"How this garlic farm went from a labor shortage to over 150 people on its applicant waitlist: Christopher Ranch, which grows garlic on 5,000 acres in Gilroy, Calif., announced recently that it would hike pay for farmworkers from $11 an hour to $13 hour this year, or 18%, and then to $15 in 2018. That's four years earlier than what's required by California's schedule for minimum wage increases. Ken Christopher, vice president at Christopher Ranch, said the effect of the move was immediately obvious. At the end of last year, the farm was short 50 workers needed to help peel, package and roast garlic. Within two weeks of upping wages in January, applications flooded in. Now the company has a wait-list 150 people long. 'I knew it would help a little bit, but I had no idea that it would solve our labor problem,' Christopher said." He had no idea.

David Dayen talked to Sam Seder about The Hidden Monopoly Driving Drug Prices & President Gary Cohen, on The Majority Report. (Show starts around the four-minute mark, I think.)

"Everything We Knew About Sweatshops Was Wrong" - Well, actually, a lot of us already knew this, but it's nice that some people who believed the hype are finally catching on.

The Washington Post knows perfectly well that the US Post Office does fine and that its on-paper losses are a fabrication, but it persists in promulgating fake news trying to hide this Congressional accounting hoax. "The paper's latest pot shot was in an alarmist editorial declaring, 'The US Postal Service continues to hemorrhage red ink." Embracing their owner's anti-government ideology, the editors grumped that postal unions have made our mail service outmoded and insolvent, running up "a net loss of $5.6 billion last year.' That is pure bovine excrement -- and the editors know it. In fact, thanks to our amazing, innovative and efficient postal workers, the nation's public post offices racked up a $610 million operating profit last year, and a $1.2 billion profit the year before. The $5 billion in red ink that the paper's editorial propagandists touted is not real, but instead, is a deliberate bookkeeping hoax created by Congress to make the public think that our Post Office is a hopeless money loser that should be privatized."

"How Do You Know When A Candidate With A 'D' Next To His Name Isn't Really A Democrat? " When right-wing Republicans are campaigning for him over the official Republican nominee might be a clue. Sadly, there were too many Dems in that race, so it's looking like this.

Ted Rall, "Why is Trump So Hated? It's the Tribalism, Stupid [...] Remember all the antiwar rallies in 2012? Remember how Obama got primaried for destroying Libya and Syria? Neither do I. But don't be surprised if the streets fill with signs opposing Trump's Syria war - signs that might have made a difference to the hundreds of thousands of Syrians killed by American-made and -funded weapons under Obama. [...] The worst thing about America's political system is that it has no politics." I actually disagree with Rall's main statement here, but when it comes to forgiving our own, Democrats are just as bad as Republicans with the tribalism.

You can tell Clinton partisans are over the edge when they put Consortium News and Alternet in the same category as Infowars, like this. And, apparently the post would seem to come from a member of the biggest fake news site on the "left".

Katie Halper answers the attack on young women who supported Sanders, "A Millennial Feminist Explains the New Feminism to a Boomer Feminist Philosopher [...] I had assumed, perhaps falsely, that every feminist to the left of Sarah Palin sees a living wage as a feminist issue, given that two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women. But you didn't even address this significant difference. It's your prerogative to focus more on the gender dynamics and micro-aggressions that you perceive to be at play between Clinton and Sanders than a policy that will improve the lives of millions of people, the majority of whom are women. But that's a very entitled feminism."

If Bernie Sanders "doesn't connect with people of color" and is only supported by sexist white men, how is it that his popularity among blacks is +62% and at +31% among women? (For those so inclined, here's the boring data .pdf.)
* But why do people think Bernie "doesn't connect" with those among us who are not particularly white or male? Well, that's because it was Clinton campaign propaganda from the git-go. "A New Harvard Study Just Shattered the Biggest Myth About Bernie Supporters [...] "Before he was chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez encouraged the Clinton campaign early on in the primary election cycle to demean her opponent by labeling him as a favorite of white men and unpopular with the African American, female, and the Latinx demographics. According to emails leaked by WikiLeaks, Perez encouraged Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta to use the Bernie Bro myth in order to win the Nevada caucus: 'Nevada is an opportunity to fight back on so many levels,' Perez wrote. 'First, the current storyline is that she does not connect well with young voters. Given that Nevada is far more demographically representative of America, I am confident that HRC can do well with all African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans (don't forget the sizeable[sic] population of Asian Americans in Nevada, including Filipinos.).' '[Clinton campaign Nevada state director Emmy Ruiz] and the team have a good plan to attract all minority voters,' Perez continued. 'When we do well there, then the narrative changes from Bernie kicks ass among young voters to Bernie does well only among young white liberals - that is a different story and a perfect lead in to South Carolina, where once again, we can work to attract young voters of color.' In addition to Perez, staffers within the Democratic Party infrastructure used the term 'Bernie Bro' to loosely describe anyone who wasn't a ride-or-die Hillary Clinton supporter. In one email thread, when SiriusXM producer David Guggenheim reached out to DNC communications staff to request an interview with Debbie Wasserman Schultz, DNC communications director Luis Miranda and other staffers snidely commented that because Guggenheim was likely a 'Bernie Bro,' they should decline the interview."
* Meanwhile, Shaun King still says, "Now is the perfect time to discuss how and why Bernie Sanders could've beaten Donald Trump."

Meanwhile, a book has come out about how messed up the Clinton campaign was, and it's called Shattered. Naturally, the Twitter machine is going hot and heavy. I'm being called a white man again, some more!
* And here's the Sander's quote: "It's so phony."
* Matt Taibbi, "Yikes! New Behind-the-Scenes Book Brutalizes the Clinton Campaign: Shattered, a campaign tell-all fueled by anonymous sources, outlines a generational political disaster"

Interestingly, even Bloomberg has noticed "The Emerging Anti-Corporate Majority". But they're not worried.

Jon Schwarz says Michael Moore, who didn't just make the film Sicko but put his money where his movie was, saved his life. "My Skin in the Game: How Ted Cruz and the Right Want to Help Cancer Kill Me, and Maybe You: Huh. That looks weird. Has that always looked like that?"

"The US Charging Julian Assange Could Put Press Freedom on Trial [...] But if the US Department of Justice prosecutes Assange, as it reportedly may soon, he could become something else: the first journalist in modern history to be criminally charged by American courts for publishing classified information. WikiLeaks may not look like a traditional journalism outlet, but it shares the same ends - publishing true information from its sources. And that means legal action against Assange could threaten the freedom of the press as a whole." I don't know why they said "could" there. It absolutely would.

John Oliver on Gerrymandering

Bravely, Nicole Sandler interviews Roger Stone: "I don't usually interview right wingers. I can't learn anything from them, and have no desire to give them an outlet to spew their bullshit. But every once in a while, an opportunity presents itself to interview someone so full of themselves, so wrong on just about everything, so completely devoid of humanity that I just can't resist."

"There Can be No Progressive Coalition Without Working Class Whites [...] Second, it simply is not possible to create a coalition that genuinely serves the poor but also excludes poor whites - especially while it enthusiastically ushers Wall Street under the tent. That certain liberals can simultaneously attack Sanders for emphasizing an economic message which, if manifested, will disproportionately uplift people of color and women, while celebrating women and people of color who have sold out the interests of their demographic groups again and again, speaks to the negative power of weaponized identitarianism, and is one of most serious threats faced by the progressive movement."

"The Duke Lacrosse Scandal and the Birth of the Alt-Right [...] Richard Spencer, the fourth speaker, is now America's most famous self-identified white nationalist. 'In this funny chain of events, the Duke lacrosse case changed the course of my career,' Spencer told me recently. 'My life would not have taken the direction it did absent the Duke lacrosse case.' The speech at the Thai restaurant - 'Ironic, isn't it?' he said - pushed him from an academic track toward a more activist one. McConnell commissioned Spencer to write a piece for The American Conservative about the case, and, by the end of the semester, Spencer had dropped out of school to work at the magazine full-time. A year later, he coined the term 'alt-right.'"

Arthur Silber on the magical powers of Putin vs. Voice of America.

"Suburban Sprawl Stole Your Kids' Sleep: Why does school start so early? Blame 1970s planning." I had no idea this was going on over there, yikes. (via)

A talk with the pastor who delivered his friend Harper Lee's eulogy, from Gary Silverman in The Financial Times, about "How the Bible Belt lost God and found Trump [...] Flynt says evangelical Christians are mainly mobilising against the sins they either do not want to commit (homosexual acts) or cannot commit (undergoing an abortion, in the case of men). They turn a blind eye toward temptations such as adultery and divorce that interest them. In 2010, the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution calling the rising incidence of divorce among its members a 'scandal'. A Pew Research Center study in 2015 found that evangelical Protestants in the US were more likely to be divorced or separated than Catholics, Jews, Muslims or atheists."

"America's first female mayor was elected 130 years ago. Men nominated her as a cruel joke."

Did I mention that eventually, The West Wing made my blood run cold whenever they actually talked about policy? Because they always spelled out the right-wing argument and then never answered it. I thought the business about Social Security was particularly chilling. Anyway, Luke Savage on "How Liberals Fell In Love With The West Wing: Aaron Sorkin's political drama shows everything wrong with the Democratic worldview." We enjoyed the original, British, House of Cards. Kinda glad I never saw the America version.

From Ansible, "Malgorithms. A recent news page at headlined 'Second Doctor Arrested in US Female Genital Mutilation Case' was helpfully illustrated with a stock photo of Patrick Troughton (1920-1987). [RR]"

RIP: Anti-Establishment Icon David Peel Dies at 73. He was so much a part of my neighborhood back in the day. His bandmate Billy lived in the apartment above us on East 5th Street. Used to run into David all the time, and still recall amusing moments like that time I was eating my breakfast pizza in the square and heard him shouting something, waving his album around, saying the last time the cops searched him, they found dirty underwear. Can't remember how many times I heard him sing this song.
* "Don Rickles, Legendary Insult Comic, Dies at 90." He was kind of ubiquitous back in the day. Lance Manion did a nice little appreciation of Mr. Warmth.
* "Guitarist J. Geils Dead at 71: J. Geils Band musician who appeared on rock radio hits 'Centerfold,' 'Freeze-Frame,' 'Love-Stinks' found dead at home." I never met him, but I went to a small school with Seth Justman, who used to sit in the student commons and play the piano now and then.
* Motown song writer Sylvia Moy, co-writer of Stevie Wonder's "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" and "I Was Made to Love Her", at 78.
* Carolyn Kelly, R.I.P., daughter of Pogo creator Walt Kelly and restorer and preserver of his work, as well as a talent in her own right. Condolences to Mark Evanier.

Beautiful APOD of stuff that glows.

Cool vids of a rotating supercell thunderstorm

My Twitter feed went crazy at the release of Thor: Ragnarok Teaser Trailer

"The Story Behind The Perfect Photo Of Sports' First Streaker
* Behind The Photo That Changed The Boston Marathon Forever

"Princess Leia's Stolen Death Star Plans/With Illicit Help From Your Friends" - I don't know if this can stay up, but it's rather amazing - the Star Wars story set to music from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.


  1. thanks, glad to have you back and gathering news we should read, hope all goes better now.

  2. Doesn't seem like much in the face of all else, but yesterday I offically retired! Gotta' go to work now 😏

    Been watchin' for you.

    1. Congratulations, you're a de facto aristocrat now.

    2. I wish you well, Avedon.

    3. I put my wishes in the wrong thread, but I wish you well, too, T.T.B. Cascadia!

  3. Hope you're doing OK Avedon.

    Recently read a longer piece on the "retail apocalypse" in the Atlantic:

    Was interested in the young-ins opting for more social-media oriented spending options (restaurants) and also the prospect of self driving vans full of clothes that I can browse at my curb. Of course, most of us proles will be living right there on the street, naked and hungry. So how convenient.