Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Keith Olbermann Returning to MSNBC?

Image from source, Examiner
I'm leery of getting too excited about this one. So far, the sources I've read have seemed skeptical themselves. But if it's true, it's very good news. With the loss of Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report (we keep Stephen, but it's not quite the same, is it?), having a good strong voice for progressives. Crossing fingers, I guess time will tell.


MSNBC working to bring Keith Olbermann back to the network, report says
After falling behind Fox News and CNN in the ratings, the liberal leaning MSNBC has struggled to rebound. While the network has shifted to a more centrist position, it appears one of the most popular liberal hosts in the channel's history could be making a comeback.

MSNBC started to make changes in the summer, dropping "The Ed Show," "Now with Alex Wagner," and "The Cycle," and replacing their mid day opinion shows with a more traditional news format. Veteran news anchor Brian Williams, and host of "Meet the Press," Chuck Todd, have also returned to the network to provide a more balanced approach. With these changes also comes the possibility that the network is not done fine-tuning their brand. According to Mediaite on Oct. 6, Keith Olbermann could be returning to the front of the camera. . .

Read more at: The Examiner

Breaking News: Wednesday is Judgment Day, Goodbye Everyone!

Wow, if I'd realized that Wednesday was it, I might have had more fun this weekend. Hey, at least I got to watch the premieres of The Flash and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. So, I wonder what time the end is coming? Everyone have their hell-bound handbaskets ready to go? I think it's safe to say, that's where most of us are headed, right?


Christian group predicts the world will be 'annihilated' on Wednesday

While our planet may have survived September’s “blood moon”, it will be permanently destroyed on Wednesday, 7 October, a Christian organization has warned. The eBible Fellowship, an online affiliation headquartered near Philadelphia, has based its prediction of an October obliteration on a previous claim that the world would end on 21 May 2011. While that claim proved to be false, the organization is confident it has the correct date this time. . .

Read more (with video) at: The Guardian

Sunday, October 4, 2015

SNL: Taran Killam's Donald Trump is HUGE on Premiere Episode!

All summer, I've thought that Lorne Michaels and Darrell Hammond would be just itching to get back on the air, so that they could skewer Donald Trump. I was half right. Hammond--who returned to replace the late Don Pardo as announcer last year--didn't get to play Trump, one of his signature impressions. But current SNL male lead, Taran Killam--bizarrely named, but very talented--had clearly been spending his summer perfecting his Trump impersonation, because it is spot on. Cecily Strong also continued to prove that being moved out of Weekend Update and back into prominence in sketches was the right move. She's terrific too, as Trump's most recent immigrant wife.

Over Time with Bill Maher, October 2, 2015

Bill Maher and his guests, Richard Dawkins, Angela Rye, Adam Gopnik, Matt Welch and Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson.

SNL Scores with Hillary Clinton Appearance

This weekend marked the 41st season premiere of Saturday Night Live, and there I was, just as I had been for season one, watching live. It's the first time in a long time for me, since I've been in the Pacific time zone for the past twenty years. But I have watched most season openers, even if they were on tape delay. And usually--oddly--the first episode is shaky, like a bad first day of school. This one wasn't, in my opinion. It was fairly strong. Particularly the political stuff.

One of the best bits was something SNL does fairly often, but not often well: the appearance of a real-life presidential candidate in a sketch. In this one, Kate McKinnon, whose Hillary impression is getting better but not on the mark yet, meets with the real Clinton for some fairly good--and politically effective--banter. Good job!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Computer Woes: The Un-Googleable Computer Problem That Only Affects YOU

This happens to me all the time (and I'm barely exaggerating): I have a computer problem. It can be a common, irritating problem that occurs on more than one computer (work PC, home PC, laptop), on more than one platform (PC, Mac), on more than one browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari), using more than one internet app (Facebook comments, Twitter, Disqus). I seek out help, via Google or elsewhere, and nobody else seems likewise afflicted.

Oh, other "computer gurus" will try to help, always with the same "well, what were you trying to do when it happened?" or "what programs/services/apps are running?" They're fishing. They don't know the problem or the solution at this point. If they did--if they had any idea what my problem really was--they'd start with a list of solutions, and not be trolling for more information.

By far, my biggest annoyance with my usual surfing/blogging and other online activities is with what has got to be the simplest, most basic computer function: typing. I'm a touch-typist, and have been for over 30 years. I type almost as fast as I can think. But I'm constantly thwarted by a typing delay. The cursor suddenly stops moving. Sometimes, it will catch up, and everything I have typed will just appear in an instant. Other times, random letters will have been skipped. Still other times, everything between the initial pause in typing, and when it "catches up" will have been lost, and the typing will resume.

This happens most often when typing in comments via Disqus or Facebook commenting (either within Facebook, or on a site that uses their system). It also can happen in Blogger (a blogging platform), or in any other internet area that might require typing, such as a petition or any other form requiring input. As previously stated, it happens to me fairly regularly irrespective of platform, browser or system. It happens more often on a PC than a Mac, more often in Internet Explorer than any other browser, but it can actually happen anywhere.

The only thing that I do on computers that the more common user doesn't, that I can think of, is that I commonly have more than one browser open at a time, and it's not uncommon for me to have several tabs open at once. I realize this uses processor power. But I'm not using bargain basement Celeron PCs with 1 GB of RAM either. My home PC has a high-mid-range AMD quad processor, with 16 GB of RAM! My laptop is a MacBook Pro Intel i5 with 8 GB of RAM. Not top-of-the-line, but not hand-me-down Tandy TRS-80s either.

Typing is just about the most basic thing a computer should have to do. Processor power should never be so bogged down that something that basic gets caught in a time warp. And if it does? If there is so much processor power being hogged by something, that it's causing this much drag? Shouldn't--by now--there be a friggen' E-Stop button, program, or notification that let's you just DUMP whatever is causing the problem?

If I could beg a programmer to come up with a new function for the next version of any operating system, I think that would be it. A big, red E-Stop button, like on an amusement ride panel, whether hardware or software. A button that just dumps you out of whatever processor hog is doing. Something better than CTRL+ALT+DEL or the Apple equivalent. Something that looks at the thing that is causing soooo much drain, and asks you in plain English: "Stop [level 3 diagnostic, or whatever] to free processor?" Something better than "Service Host: Local System (Network Restricted) (12)." Something that gets you out cleanly. Even if it includes the option, "Exit all running, non-system required processes and programs."

In the meantime, I'd love an answer to what's going on with my specific typing pet peeve. I'd love an answer that doesn't start with fishing. Something that starts with a solution, or a list of possible solutions. Anyone?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Many Faces of Donald Trump

Click to embiggen. Source: Salon.

This is right up my alley, for a number of reasons, but chief among them: the cartoonishness of Donald Trump. I'm glad that some of the air is finally going out of his balloon, and hoping it either pops or just slowly pffffts in a twirl, down to the ground.

But I call the Powerfrown the "Nurse Diesel," with apologies to Cloris Leachman.


The Many Faces of Donald Trump: A handy guide to the Trumpsplainer, the PowerFrown, and more

Donald Trump has taken the political world by storm, catapulting from joke– to frontrunner–status in the space of just a few surreal, xenophobic months. You simply cannot avoid his face right now. . .

Read more at: Salon


Monday, September 28, 2015

Campaign 2016 (A Rocky Mountain Mike Parody)

People of a certain age (hovering around 50) will remember a short-lived novelty style, popularized by Dickie Goodman, where short songs are inserted into an interview, as responses to questions. Goodman's Mr. Jaws set the standard, in the mid-70s. Rocky Mountain Mike has put together a great homage using the 2016 GOP debates as his backdrop. Great work, Mike

For more Mike, go here. And buy his album, Politically Incoherent on Amazon!


Saturday, September 26, 2015

John Boehner Calls it Quits

You can tell that my blogging reflexes have slowed to a crawl when John Boner Boehner up and quits, and it takes me this long to comment. But I had to say something. There are few politicians I've had as much fun poking, as the weepy, orange-faced Speaker of the Souse House.

But it's hard to have very much fun with it, when it seems as though Boehner himself is so cool with the notion of quitting. You don't get much happier than singing "Zippity Doo Dah" on your way to the press conference. So, we won't have Drunky McCriesalot to kick around anymore. And in time, the new guy (probably Big Giant Head, Kevin McCarthy) will become as much a target as anyone before him. And hey, at least Boehner escaped the fate of the past three Republican Speakers, who have all been mired in scandal. As far as we know. It took years for Denny Hastert to get found out.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Justice Scalia Proves Himself Unfit for the Bench

Image from Washington Post
I got a bit of a snicker out of hearing that Justice Antonin Scalia still has his face all in a scrunch over the Obergefell gay marriage decision. I mean, the man is such a harumphy sourpuss, it's hard to not take a little joy when he's extra pissed about something.

But Scalia goes a bit beyond whining about the result, and finger-wagging at the other justices. No, in my opinion, when he reaches for something so stupid as to say that the decision goes against a lot of peoples' religious beliefs? That my friends, is where the man proves himself unsuited to his own job.

Why? Because he apparently is unclear on the separation of church and state, which is rather important for a justice whose job is to help decide the constitutionality of things. But even more than that, Scalia also seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding about what Obergefell was about in the first place.

So listen up, Tony, you demented little religious tyrant: The entire marriage equality movement has been about--has always been about, and only been about--civil marriage. Not holy matrimony. Not church weddings. Religion DOES NOT ENTER INTO THE EQUATION. Even if for some bizarre reason, a person thinks a civil contract between two citizens is against a third party's religion, it does not matter. There is no religious component to a civil contract, any more than there is for a business license or a building permit.

I can't believe he's stupid, and he has no need to pander to any constituancy. So, I can only think he never really grasped the fundamentals of the cases before him.


Justice Scalia Is Still Hopping Mad Over The Gay Marriage Ruling
With less than two weeks before the start of the new Supreme Court session, Justice Antonin Scalia is still lamenting Obergefell v. Hodges, the June ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. At a Tuesday speech at Rhodes College, which his grandson attends, the justice blasted the decision, calling it the "furthest imaginable extension of the Supreme Court doing whatever it wants," according to The Associated Press. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Monday, September 21, 2015

2016 GOP Clown Car Update: And Then There Were 15; Scott Walker Bails Out

Sleepy-eyed, shiny-bald-spot-sporting Scott Wanker Walker is taking one for the team. Sort of. Seeing his numbers get worse and worse, he's jumping out of the 2016 GOP Clown Car, allegedly to better position his competitors to take out Donald Trump. He's hoping, he says, for a bit of a Clown Car exodus of the lower tier (or back seat, if you prefer), with the hopes that someone, anyone will take The Donald down a peg.

It's not a bad strategy, were it the truth. I think the reality is, he just wasn't the great hope they all said he was, and he was unable to make even a tiny splash in the press. I wouldn't think the effort was worth it either. Bye, Felicia!


Wisconsin's Walker exits '16 race with harsh words for Trump

Warning that the Republican presidential race has become too nasty, Scott Walker exited the 2016 campaign on Monday and urged others to quit, too, and "clear the field" so someone can emerge to take down front-runner Donald Trump.

The announcement marked a dramatic fall for Walker, who was struggling to generate money and enthusiasm after surging into the race's top tier earlier in the year. He will return to his job as governor of Wisconsin, where his term runs through 2018. . .

Read more (with video) at: MSN

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Carly Fiorina: Strong and Wrong!

Image from source, Esquire
Well, Carly Fiorina did well the other night, didn't she? She kicked and screamed enough to get removed from the kiddie table debate, and into the proper (though "adult" doesn't sound right) one, making a nice. . .even?. . .eleven candidates. Or contestants. Whatever. But, she did it, she got in, and by all accounts, she actually won the thing.

But if you paid attention to what she said, she was just wrong all over the place. It won't matter. Why? Well, it's that whole, Republicans prefer strong and wrong over weak and right. So long as you believe what you're saying to your core--or at least express yourself as though you do--and espouse a few hard right ideas, you're golden baby. Attention Jeb!, Bobby and the rest: Get confident, stupid!

So, Carly can make stuff up about Hillary Clinton (ironically while accusing her of lying), or she can invent a fake--but horrific!--Planned Parenthood video, but if she stares at the camera like a cobra about to strike, while delivering the lie in a resolute, confident voice? Pure. Conservative. Gold.

It shouldn't surprise me, from a group that absolutely gobbles up "truthiness," fact-like nuggets that feel true, rather than are necessarily actually true. It explains perfectly the whole phenomenon of Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, and "sincerely held beliefs" that require no doctrine and no evidence.

And it contrasts rather sharply with Donald Trump's much coarser version of the same thing. Fiorina is the refined version, Trump the larval stage. Where he's got pure id, with a child's penchant for tantrums and flair with vocabulary, Fiorina is polished and refined. But don't mistake her strength and confidence for accuracy or honesty.


Carly Fiorina: Strong, Crisp, and Effective if You Ignore the Facts

Let us take one more tour of the battlefield before we retire to the gift shoppe at Ronnieworld to pick up some Fawn Hall Authorized Confetti (Guaranteed 100 percent Genuine Secret Government Documents!) or, perhaps, for the kids, a Junior TOW Missile Commander suit complete with Iranian flags on the sleeves. What we saw last night, and I stayed awake for the whole damn thing so I now know all I care to know about Chris Christie's secret crush on Abigail Adams, was the triumph of fiction over fact, of fantasy over reality. In other words, what we saw was the most fitting tribute to Ronald Reagan ever produced. Congratulations, one and all. The final fealty of the Republican Party to total and complete bullshit has been sworn. . .

Read more at: Esquire

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Impressions: 2016 GOP Debate #2


Fascinating. Entertaining. Baffling, Crazy. Boring. Interminable. Endless. And ultimately, still embarrassing.

The GOP/conservative/Republican/Tea Party contingent is a confounding, self-contradictory mélange of mostly crap with the occasional flash of wit or inspiration, dashed with horrifying lack of self awareness, anti-American and anti-constitutional (but simultaneously allegedly patriotic) fervor, and crazy religiosity. Impressions:
Image from source,
Washington Post
- Carly Fiorina acquitted herself nicely, and was unquestionably the winner. She's awful, but for this crowd, she was terrific.

- Donald Trump hurt himself with thinking people (who he was already not doing well with), and hopefully with some less fervent supporters. If he goes up in popularity, it's not for any reality-based reason from this debate.

- Ben Carson came off slightly better and a tiny bit more animated than he has in the past, though could get a job voicing Winnie the Pooh.

- Ted Cruz was just as creepy and face-punchable as ever. Jesus and meanness and creepy facey-ness.

- Marco Rubio was smart (-ish), and articulate, but oddly juvenile, while also bearing huge old man ears.

- Chris Christie managed to be more amiable and dickish.

- John Kasich looked like he woke up after a long slumber with his face pressed against a pillow, and bed head. He made sense (sometimes) but looked like hell.

- Ron Paul looked extra-weasely, and landed few punches, though he tried. He actually sounded a little reasonable. . .too often to make me comfortable.

- Mike Huckabee is a Dominionist prick who should never, ever be near the levers of power.

- Scott Walker was sleepy-eyed, but occasionally reared his head and made a semi-coherent point.

- Jeb! Bush was mostly reasonable, but not above pandering. I can't imagine he'll budge an inch.

From the kiddie table, you had two Jesus freaks (Jindal and Santorum) and two sorta-kinda normals (Pataki and Graham). They arguably got more airtime than they every would have otherwise, particularly without Rick Perry, but fit the tone of this clown show pretty well.

Embarrassing is still my assessment.


Fiorina emerges in GOP debate, but Trump still dominates conversation

The second Republican debate, a three-hour affair that veered from sophomoric insults to policy to late-night silliness, ended after 11 p.m. Wednesday, with an outsider candidate — former tech executive Carly Fiorina — challenging front-runner Donald Trump in a way few rivals have.
 . .

Read more at: MSN

Monday, September 14, 2015

Donald Trump: All Surface, No Substance

Image from source, The Daily Banter
Since Donald Trump finally stopped crying wolf, and actually ran for president (after decades of toying with the press), he has been both at the top of the GOP polls, and in the rundown of every cable news show, every day. And while some programs, mostly liberal ones like The Rachel Maddow Show or The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell may point out that the emperor has no clothes, mostly the media just covers Trump being Trump. Transcription and video playback, devoid of any context beyond polling; jockeying for position in the horse race. And of course, he's out in front. Bigly.

What is largely missing outside of those liberal shows is that there is virtually no substance to Trump. It's all P.T. Barnum, no circus. The best they can usually do, is go on about how tired the populace is of "politics as usual," and that Trump offers something different. It extends to the milder support for Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson. None has ever held elected office, or has any particular expertise at politics. People are so thirsty for something different, they'll drink the sand. But--as we learned in The American President, they don't drink the sand because they're thirsty, they drink the sand because they don't know the difference. Trump, in particular, offers nothing but sand.

In recent months, I've allowed this blog to get rather thin, and that is largely because my former fervor to rage against modern American politics turned to something akin to apathy. I mean, what can you do, when the average Trump voter is absolutely impervious to reason? When he can say something outrageous, something that would disqualify any other candidate, and his followers will defiantly shout that they DON'T CARE, that it only makes them like him more? When the cult of personality is so strong, that he can defy even their supposedly most cherished "deal breaker" positions, and remain popular? It's even worse when the fact is, I've despised Donald Trump (or at least his public persona) for decades. I find his current popularity as appalling as I would if he were a member of the Kardashian clan, or from any of their innumerable spinoffs. It almost feels like after this is over, Andy Cohen should be having a Real Candidates of the GOP reunion show.

But my apathy as a citizen hobbyist blogger should not extend to the actual press. They shouldn't be falling down so spectacularly on the job. There couldn't be an easier candidate to trounce for misstatements, mistruths, gaffes and pratfalls. They're quite simply not doing their jobs. And I haven't seen that explained very well, until I read the following excerpted column by personal favorite Bob Cesca. Please give it a read.


Sorry, Folks, Ignoring Donald Trump Won’t Make Him Go Away
". . .For its part, the traditional press is only doing half its job, so I understand the frustration with the Trump coverage. Yes, it’s perfectly acceptable for print and cable news to relentlessly highlight all of Trump’s nincompoopery. He’s dangerous in so many ways, with long-term repercussions that could irreversibly poison the discourse. So the coverage is mandatory.

What the press isn’t doing, however, is putting the nincompoopery into the proper context. Simply reporting on Trump’s horrendous comments and substance-free exclamatory remarks about how much “winning” he’ll be responsible for is only half the story. At the risk of inciting cries of “liberal media bias,” the press has a responsibility to underscore that presidential-level politicians shouldn’t behave like this — that Trump is nothing more than a well-paid YouTube commenter who’s been thrust into a position that’s too damn close to the Oval Office. . . .

Read the rest (it's good) at: The Daily Banter


Friday, September 11, 2015

Rick Perry Bails Out of the 2016 GOP Clown Car

The Other Half was just telling me earlier today that he originally thought Rick Perry would be a contender, back in 2012. I thought the same, I thought he'd be more of a force. I was less worried about it this time, after his goofy performance four years ago. But for all the hype and buzz he used to have, he's the first one to have his torch snuffed out. Oops.


Rick Perry drops out of race for 2016 Republican presidential nomination

Former Texas governor Rick Perry has announced that he is dropping out of the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Perry is first in the Republican field to exit the race. His campaign ran into financial trouble after he did not poll high enough to participate in the first presidential debate.
. . .

Read more at: The Guardian

My Remembrance of September 11, 2001 [Revisited]

The following is my annual repost of my personal remembrance of September 11, 2001, with slight revisions and additions. . .

Today is the day when we look at the calendar, and nearly flinch. September 11, 2001 is distant to us in many ways, but now--amazingly--for the 14th time, we've all looked at that calendar page and have been taken back to where we were that morning.

I'm republishing my personal account of what happened to me that day, written in the early days of my blog. My story is no more special than yours, I know. But on a day when the date is sure to be used by many for political purposes, I wanted to have one post up that just remembers the day.

Photo of United Airlines Las Vegas-based Flight Attendants'
memorial service at Sunset Park, September 2001
(Originally published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal)*

Posts I've made today, and earlier in this blog's short history, have discussed or are related to 9/11. I'd rather not let the day go by without giving you the reader--and me the blogger--a little more, minus the political rhetoric.

I've become a deeply cynical person, you might say, at least as it regards politics. This is particularly true lately. But on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001 I wasn't thinking about any of that. Everyone who witnessed that day has their own story. Mine is no more relevant than yours, and is surely less traumatic than many.

I awoke that morning at my usual time, somewhere between 6:30 and 6:45 am. I had finished my morning ritual, and was just buttoning up my clothes when the phone rang. It was our friend, Larry, an American Airlines flight attendant, and he was crying. "Two planes have just hit the World Trade Center," he managed between sobs. This was startling news, but not yet sufficiently alarming for me to change my routine.

I passed the phone to The Other Half, and turned on the bedroom TV. There it was, and the slight alarm turned to a sinking feeling. This was big. We quickly learned that it was both United's and American Airlines' planes that hit the buildings, causing high alarm in the room, and on the other end of the phone. The Other Half, and our next-door neighbor/friend, were [and still are] both United flight attendants. And the neighbor was on a trip at an unknown location. My heart sank, and I nearly sobbed myself--with relief--that my partner was right there in the room with me, accounted for.

Not fully realizing the impact of what had happened, I began my journey to work. I switched on the radio, and was very shortly informed that the Pentagon was on fire. They did not yet know the cause. When I pulled into the parking lot at work, the radio announcer said that a plane was believed to have crashed in Pennsylvania. There was an erroneous report about an explosion somewhere else (maybe the White House?).  I said out loud, "the sky is falling." I fully expected at that point that a wave of attacks would continue throughout the morning. Thankfully, that did not come to pass.

Shortly after my arrival at work, The Other Half called, and told me one of the towers had fallen. Not long after, we heard the same about the other. We imagined the worst, that the buildings had fallen over, smashing all below. Thankfully, again, as bad as it was, it could have been worse.

We didn't get much work done that day. Someone went home and got a TV, and we spent much of our time in front of that fuzzy little picture. Later that day, we found that most of our friends, and their colleagues were accounted for. Our neighbor was stranded in New Orleans for over a week. We had quite the celebration upon his return.

The following days were surreal. I'd never seen Las Vegas without planes in the sky, and believe me, you notice. We watched hours upon hours of TV News, of course, like everyone else. And the casinos around town knee-jerk fired lots of people. We feared for our town.

Several days later, The Other Half went to a memorial service at Sunset Park, due east of McCarran Airport, with the Las Vegas United Airlines base crew. During the service, the first plane in days landed, flying right over the park. There was a swelling of spontaneous applause, as you'd imagine.

We were very lucky. We knew people who had friends-of-friends-of-friends who died that day, but fortunately (for our little world), were spared personal losses. One friend was quite well acquainted with one of the [United 93] pilots, and we had his wife to our house, but that was the extent of our direct contact. United, of course, had a very rocky ride of it, as did American. Many of the flight attendants left town, or left aviation. Las Vegas, predictably bounced back.


Las Vegas isn't feeling very bouncy this September 11th. Tourism is down, layoffs are widespread, hours (mine included) have been cut at many jobs. United Airlines and American Airlines are seemingly always under threat of going out of business. The neighbor moved to Florida not long after September 11th. The Other Half and I were married this year, and are doing well despite job worries. Whatever happens on November fourth, I think it will bookend 9/11/2001, and hopefully all of this will seem like a bygone era.

Things in Las Vegas haven't perked up much in the last year. We have, of course, moved from the Bush Era on into the Obama Era. It remains to be seen how that will play out. I'm not a lock-step liberal by any stretch, but I'm willing to give the President time and space.


Still waiting for the economy to pick up in Las Vegas, personally and city-wide. We lead the pack for foreclosures, unemployment and several other "worst of" lists. We did place first in a "best roads" in the US story, so that's something. All of these woes are put at the feet of: a) Barack Obama, if you are a partisan conservative, b) George W. Bush, if you're a partisan liberal, c) Harry Reid, if you're Sharron Angle, or d) the snowball effect of many factors, with blame to be shared by both political parties. I'm going with the last one. But I do have to wonder what the state of the economy and the United States in general might have been like if that clear blue skied Tuesday in September 2001 had been just an ordinary day.

Wow, 10 years. There are parts of that day that seem eerily recent. And then you remember everything that has happened since. Our two (main) wars--started in the immediate aftermath of 9/11--are still going on in one form or other. The economy noted in the updates above, hasn't improved much. Las Vegas is hanging in there, but a bit beaten and battered. And as I noted in 2010, this economic pickle might have been a bit different were it not for that one day. Maybe we still would have had a housing bubble, maybe the bankers and corporate fat cats would've still been crooks. But the whole deficit/debt sideshow might've been in  much, much better shape. Ugh. I wish things were a bit rosier for the 10-year anniversary of that rotten day. Maybe the 20? Or dare I wish it, the 11th or 12th?


In my yearly updates, I see I've gotten away from "not being political." Sorry about that, but what can you do? Everything is political these days. In 2012, our household actually is better off than we were four years ago, with everything except housing values looking up. Everyone is looking toward November's election, but very little has been made this year about 9/11, other than that this year is the first (oops) second time it's happened on a Tuesday since that fateful day. Though American Airlines is in bankruptcy this year, but United seems to be doing well with its Continental merger. In good news, the Iraq War is over. Still don't know what that had to do with 9/11. And sadly, Captain Dahl's widow died this year, oddly enough at the house of a friend of ours. So, at eleven years and counting, it's kind of a mixed bag. Here's to the day when we have to think about it to remember how many years it's been.


President Obama spoke last night, on the matter of what to do about Syria. The proximity to September 11, and our botched response to it weighs heavy over the whole thing. Then again, it also informs us about overheated, foolish reactions. Also, we have to keep in mind that last year, we were attacked in Benghazi,. Hopefully this year's anniversary will go by without anything like that. This year makes a dozen years, which means we're getting well into a time where high school kids probably don't remember much about the day as it happened. Their entire worldviews are of the "post-9/11" variety.


Again, President Obama spoke last night on the matter of what to do about ISIS/ISIL in Iraq and Syria. We're not able to get out of that region it would seem, even 13 years later. And think about this: every school-aged child, and most college freshmen have spent their entire academic careers in  "post-9/11" world.


Since last year, The Other Half (who has since left United) and I have moved across the country. This is something we'd have been unable to afford to do at any other point in these updates. Which says that there has been economic improvement, at least in our household. The stock market has been rather shaky in recent weeks, but after an extended upswing, that seems inevitable. We're most of the way through the "Obama Era" now, and despite the FOX "News" doom and gloom, we seem to be better off in most ways.

* Full disclosure: photo contains an image of my husband, our friends and his co-workers.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

BREAKING NEWS: Kim Davis to be Released from Jail

Image from source, Qweerty
Okay, this should be interesting. Kim Davis, the infamous court clerk from Kentucky, is being released from jail on one condition: that she not interfere with the issuing of marriage licenses by her clerks.

This shouldn't be a problem for her. Her name isn't going on them. It has even less to do with her religion than it did before (though I'd argue that it had nothing to do with it anyway). If she interferes, it's back to jail, do not pass go.

If she raises any sort of stink now, it will blow whatever shred (and it's in tatters) of credibility she has left. It will become clearer that this is about denying gay people civil rights acknowledged by the Supreme Court, and not about her "sincerely held beliefs" being violated.

Even more interesting: what happens to Mike Huckabee's jailhouse rally?


BREAKING: Kim Davis To Be Released From Jail

U.S. District Judge David Bunning just ordered that Rowan County clerk Kim Davis be released from jail, reports The New Civil Rights Movement. On Thursday, Bunning placed Davis in contempt of court, ordering her to stay in jail until she agreed to do her job and give marriage licenses to same-sex couples or leave her position. . .

Read more at: Qweerty

The Kim Davis Cellblock Tango (Randy Rainbow Song Parody)

Tremendous! A trifle harsh, except that this story is one that deserves a little counter-punch. Kim Davis' quest is much more than her misguided quest to protect her alleged "sincerely held beliefs." She's a deliberate test case, an early phase in an attempt to squelch the practical application of the Supreme Court's Obergefell decision. The sheer disingenuousness that surrounds the case, from Davis' own mouth, her husband's out-sized one, and her (even according to FOX "News") relentlessly stupid lawyers from Liberty Council, is more than enough to justify a little over-the-top schadenfreude. And this is so well done--beginning to end--I couldn't resist.

Hat tip to The Other Half's cousin Geralyn for the link!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Faux Christian Martyr Kim Davis in Jail, Conservative Twitterverse in Full Outrage Mode

Image from source, Boston Globe.
Yes, the Kounty Klerk from Kentucky has refused to do her job, issuing marriage licenses (to either gay or straight people), all the way to jail. She's flat-out wrong in her assertions that religious beliefs trump the rights of her constituents, or that they have any relevance whatsoever to her job duties. She honestly has no legal leg to stand on, and this is clear if you know even basic civics, and have a working, functional brain, unclouded by "truthiness" or overpowered by religious fervor.

Overwhelmingly, public sentiment (at least most places I've frequented in my admittedly unscientific studies) seems to be against Kim Davis and her quixotic quest. But a vocal (and very loud) contingent of conservative keyboard commandos is in full outrage mode. And so are several politicians and pundits, including some GOP presidential aspirants.

Now, while many of these people are crazy, there are sane, smart people among them. I may have a visceral distaste for some of them, like Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee, but I don't think any (okay, most) of them are stupid people. So that leaves a few options here:

1. They are genuinely confused by the difference between "holy matrimony" and civil marriage, and/or ignorant of the fact that they are legally not the same thing.
2. They haven't thought through the ramifications of allowing a county-level politician to choose which laws to follow, or the consequences of giving religious exemption to a religious clerk over which laws they should enforce.
3. They are ignorant of the premise of the separation of church and state in the United States.
4. They are so blinded by homophobia, that it stunts their thinking processes.
5. They are pandering to the prejudices of the base conservative voter, either for their votes or to other ends (such as chipping away at the already earned right for same-sex couples to marry).

I'm betting on a mixture of 4 and 5. Ted Cruz can't really believe this is persecution for religious belief. It isn't. Ms. Davis' religious beliefs are intact, no matter if she issues legal documents or not. She is not a pastor or church official, she's civil servant. Her beliefs have nothing to do with the issuance of marriage licenses, anymore than it does with hunting licenses, gun licenses, driver licenses, business licenses or building permits.

She is 100% wrong, and anyone defending her now, or alleging some phony "War on Christianity" is either seriously confused about the facts of the case, is too invested in religion-based bigotry to see the facts clearly, or is being disingenuous. Period.


Kim Davis follows the footsteps of George Wallace
Kim Davis is in jail for contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but make no mistake: this uncivil civil servant isn’t a religious freedom fighter. She’s a homophobe, pure and simple. “The court cannot condone the willful disobedience of its lawfully issued order,” said Judge David L. Bunning of Federal District Court. “If you give people the opportunity to choose which orders they follow, that’s what potentially causes problems.” Davis, county clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky, will be released when she complies with the law and issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples. . .

Read more at: Boston Globe
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