"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Saturday, August 17, 2019

I'm gonna live forever!

8 cups is my warm-up....

Cone Back Colin Kaepernick, All Is Forgiven

The protesters wave American flags and sing our national anthem, and Trump gives China propaganda fodder.

But the anthem and the flag only matter in football games?

Friday, August 16, 2019

Keepin' It Klassy

Israel acted inappropriately from the beginning. Israel gets more foreign aid from the U.S. than any country in the world. There is a simple, fundamental issue if Congressional oversight which the President declared secondary to his political gain.
Says the fat guy who mocked a fat guy at his last rally. Always a noble representative of our fine country. Keep America petulant and ugly!
If he can't use Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez' full last name, can we start calling him "Rump"?

Remember when....

...Trump was going to scream "electoral fraud!" and screw the election and end the Republic, and oh, dear, whatever shall we do?

Well: now whatever shall we do? Keep track of the strawberries?
I guess Queeg was "somewhat conspiratorial," too?

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Keep Texas Wild

I knew this because they used to occupy my backyard in East Texas (before DDT and insecticides shrank their range to far west Texas) and I read about them.  (And that illustration is wholly inaccurate.  They do it from the corner of the eye, nearest the snout.  And it goes forward, not backward.)

Never saw one do it, though.   Apparently I wasn't enough of a predator.  

My undying affection for them extends to my license plate.

"NRA? I don't even know the NRA!"

So much for pushing gun control legislation.  Didn't really expect that to last much longer, did you?
It works this way:  mentally ill people shouldn't have guns.  People who shoot as many other people at once as they can are mentally ill.  We know that because they just shot a lot of people.  They shouldn't have had a gun.  Gun owners are trustworthy, stable, mentally healthy people; until one of them shoots a lot of people at once.  Then they are mentally ill, and shouldn't have had a gun.  But only then; never before then.

It's people who are the danger; not guns.  Or, if you want it straight, no chaser:

The gun is not a mere tool,” writes Garry Wills, or “a bit of technology, a political issue, a point of debate. It is an object of reverence. Devotion to it precludes interruption with the sacrifices it entails. Like most gods, it does what it will and cannot be questioned. Its acolytes think it is capable only of good things. It guarantees life and safety and freedom. It even guarantees law. Law grows from it. Then how can law question it?”
I can go around and around and around in these circles for far too long a time.

Actually, it's Tlaib and Omar's fault!

Of course it is!

Two Can Play At That Game

The disrespect for law and order comes from political figures, of course.  No, not the President of the United States; the District Attorney of Philadelphia.

I get why this is being done, and it's disgusting.  The U.S. Attorney besmirches his office, but he's just following the lead of the man who appointed him.  But if we're going to talk about a "violent culture" and not about the presence of guns in the first place, why not scream about a political culture, too?

It's gets just as much done on the gun problem in America.  And isn't that the point, after all?

Surely the End is near

If this is not a sign of The End, what is?

Stepping Into the Way-Back Machine

This is what happened in July of this year:

The House of Representatives voted Tuesday by an overwhelming margin to pass a resolution condemning the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel and to endorse a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

This is what Rep. Tlaib said on the House floor before the vote:

 “I stand before you as the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, parents who experienced being stripped of their human rights, the right to freedom of travel, equal treatment,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan said on the House floor. “So I can’t stand by and watch this attack on our freedom of speech and the right to boycott the racist policies of the government and the state of Israel.”
Hardly a call for a boycott, or a condemnation of the state of Israel.  Her complaint was with the resolution, though you wouldn't know that today.  Rep. Tlaib's vote can be reasonably interpreted as standing for 1st Amendment rights of Americans.  It cannot be reasonably interpreted as a call for a boycott of Israel.

15 other Representatives voted against the resolution.   None of them were called out by the POTUS for their votes:

Some other notable opponents to the resolution included Reps. Pramila Jayapal of Washington and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and libertarian Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, the lone Republican to vote against the measure.

As Charlie Pierce asked, is Rep. Pocan likely to be barred from visiting Israel (or Rep. Massie)?  Yeah, probably not.

So here's where we are, in the world of ETTD (out of a Twitter thread worth reading entirely):

That would be nice; but I'm not holding my breath.

Trump got what he wanted; Netanyahu got what he wanted; and the cost is paid by the United States and its representatives in Congress.  Confidence in Congress stepping up to counter this is not high.

I guess....

...calling them a "disgrace!" for having different political opinions is not so much of a problem?

This is what Trump reduces us to; litmus tests of what is the proper subject of outrage.

Because we can....

even more interesting:

The two Democrats “were scheduled to meet during their stay with Israeli and Palestinian civil society groups, humanitarian workers and young people and see one of the East Jerusalem hospitals affected by recent cuts in U.S. aid to the Palestinians,” according to the Post, which noted Rep. Tlaib had “hoped to stay some extra days to see her grandmother, who lives in a West Bank village.”
People don't matter.  Only politics matters.  Right?

The Fight for the Democratic Nomination being waged on Twitter.

But this raises a reasonable question:  if Beto can carry Texas (and polls now are not crystal balls into the campaign in 2020), can he carry any other states (besides California, because Democrats)?

Me, I dunno.....

Trump Shits On Everybody

Not just his staff:
Greenwald tries to put the blame entirely on Israel, giving Trump the benefit of the doubt ("the Trump Administration" did this, not the man himself, and really they aren't players in this game.  With friends like this...).  Trump, of course, removed all doubt and blame on others a little later in the morning:
Note the time stamps. 

I don't mind Greenwald getting egg on his face, but this is why ETTD.  It's a rule of nature, a fact of life, a law of the known universe.

Pretty much what Trump said.  And the problem is, still:  they are members of Congress.

Here We Go Again

I'm getting tired of this:

“We do not sell military-style rifles, and we believe the reauthorization of the Assault Weapons ban should be debated to determine its effectiveness in keeping weapons made for war out of the hands of mass murderers,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in prepared remarks on Thursday. “We must also do more to understand the root causes that lead to this type of violent behavior.”

Access to guns is the primary "root cause."  It's as simple as that.  The Gilroy Garlic Festival shooter, at a public event with a large police presence, was able to kill 4 people and wound 13 others in the time it took police to respond.  That kind of slaughter is impossible with anything but a firearm.  You can't terrorize a busy shopping mall with a knife, not the way you can with a gun.  The fundamental root cause of "this type of violent behavior" that government can control is access to weapons and to ammunition.  Maybe government should do something to counter the culture of violence, but violence is as American as cherry pie.  Government can't change hearts, but it can change access to weaponry.  It's really that simple.

As the mayor of Philadelphia said:

"Our officers deserve to be protected and they don't deserve to be shot at by a guy for hours with an unlimited supply of weapons and an unlimited supply of bullets. It's disgusting and we got to do something about it ... quickly," the mayor said. "This government, both on federal and state level, don't want to do anything about getting these guns off the streets and getting them out of the hands of criminals." 

You want to end that?  Tax ammunition.  You may have a "right to keep and bear arms."  You don't have an untrammeled, tax-free, right to reload.

Inquiring Minds Want To Know!

According to the Constitution, the House and Senate get to decide who is a legitimate member of their respective bodies.

So is it a problem if the President now makes that decision?

"Return to Normalcy"--No, that's been taken....

No shit.

This American life

And when Lewandowski flames out because the NH GOP doesn't even want him in the state, Trump will disavow any knowledge of his candidacy and blame the candidate for his failure.

God is Indeed Good

I've been looking for an excuse to never again board the flying cigar tubes.  Now I have it.

Excuse me, I have a test to administer

Seriously?  Who has a chalkboard anymore?

So the student in my English class, waiting for me to hand out the final exam, is complaining to fellow students that education is not practical enough.  "Why Shakespeare," he asks?  "Why not teach us how to write a resume?"

I have been thinking lately, again, that my life represents always being on the wrong side of every door.  Self-pity, mostly, but I was qualified intellectually to be a lawyer; I just never had the personality for it (I'm not going into details; take my word for it).  I was a spiritually sound pastor; just not a very good one otherwise.  I'm a terrible administrator, which didn't help me in ministry and wouldn't help me if I ever worked in a hierarchy (academia, e.g.) long enough to need to rise to my level of incompetence.  I fell into teaching, my true "calling," but I'm part-time; I'll never be full-time, much less tenure track.  And I'm prickly enough it should probably stay that way; it's better for me and any organization that I have as little contact with people as possible, mostly because I'm preternatually shy (life has only re-enforced this in me) and that comes across as aloofness or even quiet arrogance.

"I love mankind, it's people I can't stand."

And yet, as Willie the Shake almost said, "by heaven I think my life as rare as any life belied with false compare."

Why Shakespeare, and not resume building?  Because if you can think, you can do anything.  What accomplishments I have are owed to a liberal arts education.  My very first job out of graduate school was with a law firm.  I convinced them I could be a paralegal, even though I had no idea what the job entailed (fortunately, neither did they.  We learned together.)  The degrees I have which fit me for a specific task (my other two degrees are "professional", not academic, though a Ph.D. would be as particular and confining) left me high and dry (see above).  It is my broad academic background (English major, philosophy minor, lots of room in the undergrad requirements to study other fields, so I dabbled in Art History and even Computer Programming, back when that meant keypunch) that has carried me this far.

I could say I wasn't meant to be this way, to live the life I lived; but I was meant to.  Not by fate or doom or preordained cruelty, but because of who I am and what the world is.  So it goes.  But what I have done with what I have, is due to my liberal (in the old sense) education.  I know things; but more importantly, I know how to do things, because I know how to think about things.

I actually spent a short stint, while trying to make my legal career remunerative, writing resumes for people.  It was a mug's game, a matter of salesmanship more than writing ability.  Resumes are useless, anyway.  The best one never got you a job, and the worst one is no less regarded than the best.  Credentials, in the end, are all that matter for most jobs; credentials, or knowing somebody.

So it goes.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

It's not a deal breaker

But it's really not the way the head of the Administration and person charged with appointing the Attorney General of the United States, should be talking.

Maybe Trump is making me overly sensitive to this, but Warren really should know better than to write something out and then try to walk it back later.  Biden's gaffes are old news, except as they indicate maybe he's lost a bit too much to do the job at his age.  This kind of gaffe, a completely unforced error somebody should have caught before it went to print, indicates Warren has a lot do to if she's really gonna be ready for prime time.

It's Money That Matters

But how's that trade deal workin' out for ya?  Especially since you backed over your own declaration about the Chinese paying tariffs to say you suspended them so American consumers won't pay 'em in December?

And those protestors in Hong Kong waving American flags and singing our national anthem?


Figures Don't Lie, But....

I don't disagree with the basic argument of the article, that attacks on Trump didn't slow him down as he mowed through the GOP clown car in 2016 (but still, it was a clown car.  Marco Rubio?  Ted Cruz?  Jeb!?), nor on the way to the White House (although the thought of voting for Hillary was more than many could bear, and they less voted for Trump than not for Hillary), but the statement in the tweet is just reading one poll, or looking at 538's aggregate with one eye closed and the other squinting while saying "Yeah, that looks like it!", as ever, has the corrective.

At this moment, there is an 11.5% gap between Trump's aggregate approval rating and his aggregate disapproval rating.  His approval rating on this scale has never been higher than 45.5%, and that's when he was inaugurated.  It's been as low as 36.5% on December 15, 2017.  His disapproval rating hit a high of 56% on January 25 of this year.  It is currently at 53.3%, not exactly a marked improvement.

It has "hovered" around 43-45% the way a bee hovers around a flower by entering the garden.  And since his disapproval rating has exceeded his approval rating since February 1, 2017, it's rather disingenuous to say his approval rating even means anything.  It doesn't reflect that percentage of the electorate in November, 2020.  It doesn't even reflect eligible voters in November, 2020.

And for historical comparisons, the lowest Obama's approval rating ever got in his first term was 44.7%, a rating that Trump, especially right now (41.8%, as of today) would positively kill for.

Trump hasn't "hovered" around anything.  His approval rating has been underwater since 9 days after he took his hand off the Bible. Obama's net approval went negative toward the end of his first term, but never by a gap of more than 5%.  Trump's gap has been anywhere from 5% (early in his term) to 20% (December 17, 2017).  As of today the gap is 11.5%, a great "improvement."

He's still about as popular as a disease.

Seems Like Old Times

Yes, it is.  And a reminder we used to be even crazier than we seem to be now.  Although the prospect of the Russians deploying something like this (why would you shield the reactor on something that's just gonna blow up?  Besides, think of the extra kill options!) is less than comforting, especially if they were to deploy it across Europe on the way to Florida.

Again: one of these things is not like the other

So which is correct?  Do tariffs cause inflation, or do tariffs cost China billions and the U.S. nothing?

Very Interesting Timing

Especially the non-white ones who are not from Europe:

"Of course that poem was referring back to people coming from Europe where they had class-based societies, where people were considered wretched if they weren't in the right class, and it was written one year after the first federal public charge rule was written," he added later.

So the poem wasn't talking about immigrants today, and it doesn't apply anyway because:

"That plaque was put on the Statue of Liberty at almost the same time as the first public charge was passed -- very interesting timing."

And the law he is now enforcing again, hasn't been enforced in this way almost since that law was passed.  "Very interesting timing."

But it's not racism; none dare call it racism.

Without question. And in many ways, he embodies nearly every aspect of a racist. He's someone who regularly expresses racist ideas, like Latinx immigrants are invading this country, that Mexicans are, are animals, that black people live in hell, that their communities are infested. But then he simultaneously is supporting policies that specifically target racial groups. We're seeing what's happening at the southern border, primarily targeted towards Latinx immigrants. We see the ways in which his policies — he's not seeking to protect black people being killed by police. We can see the Muslim ban. And then when you put that all together, when we charge him with being racist, what does he say? He says, "No, no, I'm not racist. I'm actually the least racist person you've ever interviewed. I'm actually the least racist person in the world." And so his consistent denial of his racism is the heartbeat of racism.
Because racism is bad; and we all know, bad people are easily recognized and kept apart from the rest of us; the good people. Who are the people we want to come to America.

"We have a long history of being one of the most welcoming nations in the world on a lot of bases, whether you be an asylee, whether you be coming here to join your family or immigrating yourself," he said at the White House, adding that the regulation "will include a meaningful analysis of whether they're likely to become a public charge or not."
I just don't want my daughter to marry one.

Cuccinelli thinking:  "Feature, not bug."

Speak Boldly and Carry a Small Trump

Like this?

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

As long as they refuse any government subsidies

...or tax breaks, right?  Right?

Oh, why do I bother?

I'm old enough to remember

When Clinton gave a SOTU that ran well over an hour, and everyone complained about how rambling and tedious it was.

But at least it wasn't a stream of unconsciousness....

Forward Into the Future!

I knew people in my church who grew up on farms in what is now "suburban" Houston (not a mile from my house stand the old silos where grain was stored and transferred to rail cars for shipment.  The tracks are gone, the farms are gone, the silos now serve as storage facilities.  It would take a nuclear blast to knock 'em down.).  They told me about folk cures for sore throat (a rag soaked in kerosene and wrapped around the neck), and treating something else (chest cold?  sore throat, too?) with the topical application of raw bacon.  Never asked if they cooked it or threw it away after that.

They never told me anybody treated anything by drinking bleach.

It's not just the cruelty

Cuccinelli also said the law the Administration is now using to punish immigrants, was passed (first version, anyway) at the time the plaque was put on the Statue of Liberty, so there, libs!

He really is clueless, as well as being a racist xenophobe.  Economic insecurity takes such strange forms, doesn't it?

And yes, it's also the racism:

So Donald Trump should be really, really afraid?

And Jeffrey Epstein should have died in jail because of Florida, not awaiting trial because he didn't even get a wrist slap from the U.S. attorney in Florida?

Yeah, I didn't think so.

Monday, August 12, 2019

No jury...

...composed of people like me would convict.

Biden is a gaffe machine

...which is nothing new; but it seems old age has not taught him to improve that.

Bernie, on the other hand, is a cranky old man.

Don't we have one of those already?  Do we need another whiny old man who can't understand why people don't praise him?

I know it's all about the voters in South Carolina (that seems to be where all the black voters who think Biden is Obama's grandpappy live, according to the reigning media narrative) and voters in Iowa are of paramount importance (well, until February 11, 2020), but I think this age issue is going to kill some of our "frontrunners".

I, for one, welcome our under-50 overlords (no, I don't think Warren is any better a national candidate than Hillary was).

Is this the "very beautiful letter" Trump received from Kim?

One wonders if it was properly perfumed, as well.

Support Our Brits!

Because trade arrangements between countries are simple matters easily decided over a light dinner, right?

And trade contracts between private companies are as easily established as switching the garden hose to a new spigot, right?  Or just shipping goods to a new store when the old store goes out of business. Happens as easily as redirecting the truck, doesn't it?

It's really quite frightening how stupid and clueless the people running our government are.  U.S. "support" to Great Britain will amount to basically a tweet saying "WE SUPPORT YOU!"  I'm old enough to remember when everyone bought magnets saying "SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!"  I'm sure that did the troops a lot of good, too.  Somehow.  Some way.  Anyway, it was about as much support as the U.S. can offer Britain when it crashes out of the E.U.  Maybe there'll be a market on yellow magnets again.

I should get in on the ground floor of this....

Ah, dem was de days!

Texas is not in play in 2020

Right?  RIGHT?!!!????

I don't push this as proof of anything to do with the future.  But the Texas Democratic Party has been moribund since W. beat the Gov. Miz Ann (may she rest in peace), and it finally got its spirit back with Beto almost defeating Cruz, and several House and state races going to Democrats (who are in striking distance of controlling at least one house of the Lege, for the first time in my daughter's lifetime).

The Dems in Texas need a reason to believe and a reason to TRY HARDER!!!!  And maps like that help give them that reason.  These maps don't predict the future, especially if you think they do the work for you.  But these maps indicate a reasonable projection of the future, if you take the inspiration and work with it.

(I really wish O'Rourke and Castro would come home and run in Texas.  And Trump losing to Warren, Harris, Sanders, & O'Rourke?  More reason for O'Rourke to come home and defeat Cornyn!, who we could certainly do without.)

I grow old, I grow old

I keep seeing mention of this, and I've decided it's a generational thing.

My phone tells me about YouTube videos I might enjoy.  It will even broadcast them to my TV, so I can see it on a much larger screen.  AutoPlay makes sure the next video pops up after the last one, or I can skip around to other titles that might be interesting.  I get how this works.

I just don't get how it's addictive. Which doesn't make me a superior brain or something.  I spend way too much time watching re-runs of shows I never watched when they were on originally.  Mostly it's the "binging" aspect of broadcast TV, where digital channels allow local broadcasters (the big 3 affiliates, but everyone else who wants to) to have several channels on air, most filled with reruns of one type or another (the joy of seeing "Burns and Allen" is not to be negated, even at the price of so much more dreck on air than ever before).  I understand "video addiction."  Netflix relies on it, too.

I just don't get it.  I never watch the next thing up on Netflix, and I only watched some of the YouTube videos during the gap between "Infinity War" and "Endgame."  And most of that was crap, I soon realized.

I watch a lot of crap.  How YouTube is particularly addictive, however, is, I think, another media narrative.  Makes for a convenient story line and a "villain," but mostly it's same as it ever was.  When people passionately awaited the next installment from Dickens, it as little different from waiting for the next episode of GOT.  But somehow it has to be different now, because we're more...advanced?

Or is it just the arrogance of the present, convinced of our superiority over the past?

Somewhere in the "heartland"

Well, I know this can't be true:

 American farmers are attacking President Donald Trump in the wake of a new hit from China, which comes as part of the lingering trade war between the countries. 

Because I saw an Iowa farmer interviewed on MTP over the weekend, and he said he still supported Trump despite the fact agricultural trade with China was practically nil.

(I actually suspect the truth is somewhere in between, and it doesn't really matter what farmers think en masse in the long run, but media gotta narrative (is that a verb now?), just like Iowa caucuses gotta matter (even though they don't).)

Not a racist bone in his body

It's just that all them furriners need to go back where they came from!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

With friends like these...

There is no response here to what Tribe said, just a "me or your lyin' eyes" response to the photograph Tribe references and Cornyn waves away with "fake news!"

Cornyn implicitly declares the hospital staff who spoke to reporters "liars," but ignores the ghoulish photograph of Trump giving a thumb's up beside a child who has lost his parents. Because that photo us indefensible, he just pretends it doesn't exist.

And that photograph was released by the White House.

Well, when you put it that way....

...but then raisi g questions about Trump = treason?

All the more reason... note that businesses which support Trump, support racism.

There are many reasons why Trump should not be in office in 2020. Choosexas many as are effective.