Sunday, January 31, 2021

This Affinity Scam Has a Silver Lining

 Generally speaking, it's not a good idea to place too much credence in an anonymous 4Chan shitpost. 'Insider' Anons, individuals claiming to have inside information from positions of power in various institutions, have long been a feature of imageboard culture.  In the wake of the recent Game Stop short squeeze, which is motivated as much by rage against hedge funds as it is by pump-and-dump operators, here's an even more ambitious scam masquerading as a short squeeze on silver which is supposed to tank the entire banking sytem:

Gotta dig that over-the-top supervillain dialogue, down to the cliche "You fools." It's the sort of monologuing that wouldn't fool even the most gullible of... oh, dear:

The real problem with shitpost culture is that one can never be sure if a post is in earnest or not. This is the culture that gave us 'ironic racism', which is, you know, racism. Nothing these people write can be taken at face value. Conservatives are especially susceptible to precious-metal trading scams, remember this asshole

I suspect that, in the case of this accelerationist wet dream of tanking the entire banking system, the scam artists are playing on the rubes' belief in NESARA, a pipe dream perfectly explained in this letter to the editor. A financial reset is integral to the QAnon 'Great Awakening', so it is to be expected that a bunch of affinity scams of a financial nature will spring up in the wake of the failure of the anonymous Q's prediction that Trump would win the 2020 presidential election in a landslide.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

MTG Is Not Playing With a Full Deck

 Ah, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Cloudcuckooland)... what can we say about this QAnon obsessed freshman congresscritter?  She has come under intense scrutiny for her role in the 1/6 Capitol invasion, having amplified the 'stolen election' narrative, even stating that House Speaker Pelosi should be executed, but she's always been trash.  A decent human being does not stalk and harangue a youth whose classmates were murdered in order to push an anti-gun control agenda.

Greene has never met a conspiracy theory she doesn't like, from 9/11 trutherism to the Borg-like QAnon conspiracy complex which has assimilated other conspiracy theories in a Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory.  Perhaps the most outré conspiracy theory that Greene has pushed is straight out of the Protocols of the Elders of Cylon, an assertion that the Rothschilds and George Soros used lasers to ignite the 2018 California wildfires:


Conspiracy theories always eschew the solutions with the most parsimonious explanation, operating not on the principle of Occam's Razor, but of Jones' Gluegun... the wildfires could not have been caused by a cigarette carelessly tossed out of a moving car, or lightning, they were started by Jews in Space.  Yeah, conspiracy theories inevitably end up in antisemitic tropes, which makes them cease to be fun.

As I noted, Greene has always been trash.  It's noteworthy that she ran unopposed in the general election because her Democratic opponent dropped out of the race due to the death threats he received.  I doubt that she will be ejected from Congress, a two-thirds vote being needed to accomplish that.  Also, she's the face of the Republican party now, the culmination of decades of conspiratorial-minded lunacy begun by the John Birch Society, and spiraling downward through Bill Cooper and Alex Jones to the current 4Chan/8Chan/8Kun ecosystem of anonymous shitposters.  She'll be the House minority leader by year's end.

About the post title, I realize that Marjorie Taylor Greene is dubbed MTG on Twitter in order to save characters, but the abbreviation also smacks of an odious attempt to cast her as a right-wing 'counterpart' to AOC.  MTG is also the abbreviation for the collectible card game Magic the Gathering, wildly popular in the 1990s.  I never played it, but it sounds like a Pokémon game for the Dungeons and Dragons set... it's adjacent to my nerd interests, but not among them.  From what I've heard, victory in the game depends on some extent to the size of one's collection of cards, which causes a consumption spiral as fanatic players stack their decks with new purchases.  At any rate, the MTG of the post title clearly isn't playing with a full deck.

Friday, January 29, 2021

In the Deep Freeze

The Northeast is gripped in a polar vortex, so temperatures here in the New York metro area are now hovering around 18F (-8C), accompanied by high winds that make it feel like 3F (-16C).  I took the flannel-lined jeans out of storage today for the occasion.  Wearing a mask helps while outside, it's not just for in-store wear anymore, and topping off with a scarf is now de rigeur.

On the work front, Ginger is on vacation at the home of one of our managers for the duration of the Deep Freeze, so I have a chance to brush the cat hair off of my backpack.  At home, my upstairs neighbor, cursed with a poorly insulated pipe close to an exterior bathroom wall, has to flush the toilet with water poured from a bucket filled in the sink... our landlady told her, "It'll get warmer soon."  In her defense, our landlady hasn't had the best time during the pandemic, she has a unit in upper Manhattan that lost a couple of tenants to the pandemic exodus from NYC.  The last time this happened, she had to hire a handyman to come by with a torch to quickly unfreeze the pipe, then set up a heater inside the wall to keep the flow going... not the sort of solution that can be sustained for long.

It's supposed to get warmer come Monday, though the warming is expected to be accompanied by a snowstorm.  I really shouldn't complain, it's winter in my beloved New York metro area, and this sort of weather is to be expected.  I can get through this, with my fancy flannel pants and a couple of layers of shirts under my water-resistant hoodie... at least I don't have to flush the toilet with a bucket.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Yet Another Bastard Favorite Has Exited Stage Left

 I learned of Cloris Leachman's passing, at the age of 94, via Tengrain.  Tengrain noted that Ms Leachman's knack for comedy was flawless.  I mean, who could beat this timing?

My favorite Cloris Leachman role is her amazing performance as Christina in the 1955 noir classic Kiss Me Deadly, which, if pressed, I would claim as my favorite movie.  The movie opens with Cloris, barefoot and clad only in an overcoat, using a desperate gambit to stop a motorist, the movie's protagonist:


While her screentime is relatively brief, Cloris Leachman's performance exudes charm and wit, contrasting well with Ralph Meeker's laconic, somewhat brutish Mike Hammer.  The dialogue is fantastic, and her delivery is perfect:

Christina: You're angry with me, aren't you? Sorry I nearly wrecked your pretty little car. I was just thinking how much you can tell about a person from such simple things. Your car, for instance.
Hammer: Now, what kind of a message does it send ya?
Christina: You have only one real lasting love.
Hammer: Now who could that be?
Christina: You. You're one of those self-indulgent males who thinks about nothing but his clothes, his car, himself. Bet you do push-ups every morning just to keep your belly hard.
Hammer: You against good health or somethin'?
Christina: I could tolerate flabby muscles in a man who may be more friendly. You're the kind of a person who never gives in a relationship - who only takes. (Sardonically) Ah, woman, the incomplete sex. And what does she need to complete her? (Mocking) Why, man, of course. A wonderful man.

She steals the scene that she's in, using the same chops which made her such an effective comedic actor.  Her charismatic performance makes her (no spoiler warning needed, this is a noir, after all) Very Bad End at the hands of Very Bad Men all the more upsetting. 

Cloris Leachman's body of work is vast, spanning decades, with diverse roles, so I know how I'm going to pass some of my downtime this weekend.  Her turn in Kiss Me Deadly was her first major role, and while not as iconic as her turn playing Frau Blucher in Young Frankenstein or Phyllis Lindstrom in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, it was a harbinger of things to come.  It's a performance that I can watch repeatedly, and I shall.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Secret Science Club Zoom Lecture: Perchance to Dream

 Tonight, I am participating in a Zoom lecture with my great and good friends of the Secret Science Club.  Tonight's lecture features sleep researchers Dr Antonio Zadra, professor of psychology at the Université de Montréal and a researcher at the Center for Advanced Research in Sleep Medicine, and Dr Robert Stickgold, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of the Center for Sleep and Cognition. Drs Zadra and Stickgold are the authors of When Brains Dream: Exploring the Science & Mystery of Sleep

Dr Zadra began the lecture by joking that he and Dr Stickgold would be running the lecture like a tag-team wrestling match- he would set the stage and Dr Stickgold would wrestle the topic into submission.  He then posed the question: why study dreams?  We all dream, and these vivid experiences are usually quickly forgotten.  What are the origins and meanings of dreams?  Dreams are as old as humankind and feature in literature, philosophy, and medicine.  Both as a concept and an experience, dreams are trickier than most people imagine.  Dreams are often dismissed... "it's just a dream" is a common rejoinder to a dreamer.  It takes a while to understand what dreams are.

Dr Zadra noted that his five year old nephew had a pretty good handle on what dreaming is all about, believing that dreams occurred before his eyes.  Questioning the lad, he'd tell him that his eyes were closed while he was dreaming, resulting in consternation.  He joked that, now that he has children of his own, he doesn't have to torment his nephews. 

Most preschoolers believe that dreams are real, that they originate outisde the body, and can be seen by others.   Usually by ages six to eight, children realize that dreams are private, originate in the mind, and cannot be perceived by others.

An understanding of dreams requires the ability to distinguish between real and imagined event.s  Narcolepsy effects the sleep-wake cycle and can interfere with this distinction.  False awakenings, a dream that an individual has awakened, also occur.  Confusion between dreams and reality can manifest themselves in different ways.  Among our ancestors, supernatural causes were often posited to explain dreams

 Thre are challenges to studying dreams.  Being private, dreams cannot be studied, only dream reports.  An analogy is that pain is difficult to study, patients must describe pain for physicians to study it.

There is no real consensus about what counts as a dream.  A broad view of dreaming encompasses everything from fragmented, thought-like dreams to sweeping, epic dreams with dramatic imagery and emotional content.

In sleep labs, heart rates and brain patterns can be measured. Patients can be awakened soon after REM sleep to increase retention of dreams.  Home dream journals and questionnaires can also be used to study dream reports.  Dream reports can study settings, characters (real or imagined), social interactions, emotions, bizarreness, length.  

Four questions drive dream research.  What are dreams?  Where do they come from?  What do they mean?  What are they for?  Dr Zadra then turned over the lecture to Dr Stickgold.

Dr Stickgold started his lecture by stating that he would address the cognitive nature of dreams.  He described dreams as 'memory evolution'.  During the day, we form memories, but have little time to process them.  We 'file them away', but these memories evolve overnight, over a lifetime.  In one experiment, subjects typed a number sequence over and over, in a thirty second cycles interspersed with thirty seconds of rest for twelve minutes.  They would be sent away for twelve hours and return, if they conduct the test at night and re-test in the morning, their performance improves in terms of speed and accuracy.  Given a more complex task, a number reduction problem, ten percent of the subjects figure out a shortcut to figuring out the pattern (Dr Stickgold joked that they are taken out back and shot).  Given a period of sleep and re-tested in the morning, subjects are two and a half times better at discerning the pattern.

Dr Stickgold's student Erin Wamsley tested subjects with a maze problem.  Individuals allowed to sleep performed better the following morning.  She also had her subjects report dreams.  Subjects reporting no dreams didn't get faster at performing the task.  Subjects who dreamed about the maze solved it an average of three minutes faster, using one hundred fewer grid movements.  Subjects reported dreaming about swimming above the maze, seeing everything, or looking for a friend in the maze, or being in a real labyrinth, such as a hedge maze.

Drs Stickland and Zadra formed the NEXT UP model of dreaming: Network exploration to explore possibilities.  Dreams are related to memories of recent events.  Dreams don't just replay memories.  Our dreams search for, discover, and activate related memories.  Most sleep dependent memory processing serves to extract information from recent memories, seeking answers.  Dreaming seeks possibilities, potential uses of memories.

Dr Stickland then moved to the subject of dream cycles, a brief onset of sleep, then cycles of slow wave sleep and rapid eye movement sleep throughout the night.  Different stages of sleep play different roles in memory evolution.  Different stages of sleep have impacts on different memory tasks, such as word pairs, motor skill tasks, or emotional memory tasks.  Sleep onset identifies and 'tags' memories for processing.  Non REM sleep explores strong associations.  REM sleep involves the exploration of weaker, more distant associations.  

The hard problem of dreaming is the question of are we talking about dreaming or about the underlying processes.  Why can't this processing take place in the background of consciousness.  Consciousness can be described as a 'gimmick' evolution gave us as a new means to solving problems.  It creates the world of the imagination, the world of planning and prediction.  A crucial value of sleep is to discover and evaluate previously unexpected associations in our minds.

Dr Zadra then took the mic in the tag-team match and returned to the NEXT UP model, which helps to explain recurrent dreams, nightmares, lucid dreams, and even dreams which seem to predict the future.  He likened dreaming to an artist who creates a work, then asks people to interpret the art, which is what people often do with dreams.  There is no 'one true meaning' to any dream.  To understand a dream, the artist, the dreamer, must be involved in the analysis.  Working with dreams can be useful in a therapeutic context- it can contribute to the alliance between therapist and patient, increase client involvement in therapy, enhance the understanding of the clinical progress, and improve patient well-being.

Dr Zadra advised us in remembering dreams- he advised us to close our eyes and review everything before recording the dream.  Once recorded, the dream can be re-read and re-examined.  Then you can explore the meaning- the images and emotions, the settings and people or animals encountered.  What associations come to mind?  Do your dreams remind you of things that you are experiencing?

The lecture was followed by a Q&A session.  The first question involved talking in one's sleep... could sleep apnea be a factor?  Sleep talking can occur in all stages of sleep, and can be in the form of gibberish, or be articulate.  One's statements can be related or unrelated to a dream, and can hear others and respond to them.  Sleep talking has no disruptive effects on sleep, and has no connection to sleep apnea.  Another question regarded lucid dreaming- there are practices during wakefulness to foster it, and gadgets of dubious value marketed to improve it.  Lucid dreaming draws a lot of attention and is learnable, but learning it is difficult.  What are factors in remembering dreams and are dreams really in grayscale, rather than in color.  Dr Stickgold noted that remembering dreams is best done by lying down.  People usually don't have the opportunity to remember dreams- they fall asleep quickly without hypnogogic dreams, they sleep deeply, and wake suddently to an alarm clock.  He suggested drinking a lot of water to cause one to wake up during the night.  Some people dream in gray but others dream in color.  Dr Zadra interjected that people who remember dreams often experience micro-awakenings, then mentioned that, until recently, people didn't report dreaming in grayscale.  Perhaps the advent of black and white photography had an effect on this perception.  Perhaps colors are not registered as important parts of dreams.  Some bastard in the audience asked how dreams affect our sensory cortices- these areas of the brain are activated during dreaming, but it is unclear if these activations are important.  The memories that are recalled activate the visual and auditory circuits and this might strengthen the sensory encoding of these memories.  Answering another question, Dr Stickgold indicated that his biggest regret was not studying the connection between memory and dreams until Erin Wamsley devised the maze test.  Another question regarded sleep among animals- sleep occurs throughout the animal kingdom.  Even fruit flies sleep, and mice and rats (and even fish) display sleep-dependent learning.  We have to shut down every so often and process information- what we learn during the day is the easy part, it makes us smart, but learning how to process the information requires sleep- that's what makes us wise.  Another questioner noted that she kicks when she sleeps- while in REM sleep, the body experiences muscle paralysis, but some individuals experience REM sleep behavior disorder, in which they can leap out of bed (this is distinct from sleep walking) or otherwise act out dream behaviors. 

Once again, the Secret Science Club has served up a dream of a lecture.  Kudos to Drs Zadra and Stickgold, and Dorian and Margaret.  Both Dr Stickgold and Dr Zadra have videos posted on YouTube.  Pour yourself a beverage, sit back, and soak in that SCIENCE!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

New Jersey to the Rescue!

 Alternate title: Scooped by Tengrain.

I've been toying with writing an aspirational post, a list of things that I wish the new Democratic majority should prioritize, and one of those items is reinvigorating the United States Postal Service.  In 2006, the Republican-led Congress created a fiscal disaster for the USPS by mandating the funding of post-retirement healthcare for the following seventy-five years.  Last year, the Democratic-led House of Representatives voted to overturn this ridiculous mandate.  With a Democratic majority in the Senate, this problem should be rectified.

In the meantime, Representative Bill Pascrell, of New Jersey's 9th District, is prioritizing the preservation of the USPS:

It's always a good thing to find a politician who is simpatico with your own ideas.  In an article by Rep. Pascrell in Washington Monthly, the congressman doesn't pull any punches:

For the most part, these harmful “reforms” have originated on the political right. To argue that the Postal Service needs to be privatized, conservatives need to show that it is dysfunctional, and there’s no better way to do that than by weighing the agency down with impossible financial obligations. It continues a generation-long pattern of institutional vandalism by Republicans across government. But ultimately, both parties bear responsibility. I should know: I was in Congress when we passed the 2006 bill. And, along with all my colleagues, I made the mistake of voting for it.

He takes the blame for his vote, which is good, but generally speaking, a party which works under the principle that 'government is the problem' should not be allowed to govern.  I suspect that, besides wanting to hobble the USPS in order to boost private carriers such as UPS and Federal Express, much of the animus on the right against the USPS is, like just about every other animus on the right, racially motivated.  As Bill Pascrell points out, the USPS has, since the 1930s, provided well-paying jobs to African-Americans and other minority demographics.

I am especially excited by Rep. Pascrell's championing of postal banking, providing financial services to individuals unable to maintain minimum balances and unable to pay ATM and overdraft fees.  These individuals, and their families, are shackled to a system of check cashing and payday lending businesses that extract usurious fees.  The USPS also operates in communities, rural and urban, that are 'banking deserts', and could rectify this situation without congressional legislation, merely approval from the Postmaster General.

I've used postal banking while traveling in Europe, and must say that I am a fan.  I also have a grudge against Trump and DeJoy for their crippling of the USPS in order to suppress voting-by-mail, I still haven't gotten a sizable check that I should have received back in November, and am going to have to request a reissue.  Sure, I got my BS $600 'economic stimulus' check, which is money I paid in the form of taxes, but I'd rather have received that larger sum that I actually earned.

I'm happy that Bill Pascrell is so passionate about returning the USPS to fiscal, institutional, and societal health.  As a New Yorker, I am obligated to rag on New Jersey every so often, but it's all meant in loving fashion... to be frank, I am happy to see one of my Jersey neighbors taking a lead in rescuing the Postal Service.

Monday, January 25, 2021

You Don't 'Gotta Hand It to Them'

One of the mainstays of 'Weird Twitter' is a wag going by the handle Dril, who regularly tweets out satirical, sometimes surreal missives. A few years ago, he wrote a satirical tweet regarding one of our nation's current enemies:

In this light, I present Josh Hawley's teenage paean to domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh, a letter in a local paper: 

"Many of the people populating these movements are not radical, right-wing, pro-assault weapons freaks as they were originally stereotyped. Dismissed by the media and treated with disdain by their elected leaders, these citizens come together and form groups that often draw more media fire as anti-government hate gatherings. Feeling alienated from their government and the rest of society, they often become disenchanted and slip into talks of 'conspiracy theories' about how the federal government is out to get them." 

 Mr Hawley's youthful musings on accusations of racism being a function of 'political correctness' is also just as bad as you can imagine. The warning signs were there... Hawley's radical right-wing views were apparent even when he was a teenager, and his stints at Stanford and Yale did nothing to de-radicalize him. A look into his background should have rendered him too politically toxic to succeed in electoral races on any level, but the GOP has become a farrago of conspiracy theorists, seditionists, and fundamentalists... all too comfortable with political violence. 

He has to be removed from power, his probable role in the January 6th insurrection makes him unfit to serve in Congress.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Ya Know, I Dunno Yano

 I figured that I needed a break from politics and plague today, so I'd put up a music post.  The genesis of this post is the upsetting news that Bastard fave Ryuichi Sakamoto has been diagnosed with his second bout with cancer.  Me being me, this inspired me to listen to a lot of Sakamoto-san's music- solo experimental stuff, soundtrack work,  and his extensive body of work with Yellow Magic Orchestra.  While poking around, I found a cute video of Sakamoto playing a piano duet of Tong Poo (interspersed with a concert performance of the song) with then-wife and YMO bandmate Akiko Yano:


 I'm primarily familiar, by which I mean solely familiar, with Akiko Yano's work with YMO:


 I paused, said to myself, "Ya know, you dunno Yano." Then I decided to rectify this inexcusable gap in my musical knowledge in the best possible way, by starting with her first record... 

Tokyo-born Akiko Yano learned to play the piano at the age of ten and became a jazz pianist and session museum. In 1976, she recorded her first album, Japanese Girl, with the first side being recorded in the US with Little Feat as her backing band. It's a fantastic album, recently released internationally for the first time, a jazz-rock fusion masterpiece with inflections of Japanese folk music, and in the track Tsugaru tsuā, perhaps a touch of Jamaican music (I'm hearing a hint of Monty Alexander in Ms Yano's piano) :


 Here's Funamachi uta Part II, from the first side of the album, with Little Feat backing:


 Oddly enough, Funamachi uta Part I is on the second side of the album, recorded in Japan and featuring more traditional Japanese elements, with backing by musicians including future YMO bandmate Haruomi Hosono on bass:


 The entire album is terrific, a bravura performance by an artist who displayed technical and creative brilliance at the age of twenty-one. 

I've also worked my way through her second album, Iroha Ni Konpeitou, which incorporates more electronic elements in parts, but for the sake of brevity, I will keep this post focused on the first album. There's a wealth of material from Akiko Yano to explore, material for future blog posts. I'm somewhat chagrined that I wasn't familiar with this music, which never made it to the alternative music stations that played YMO, but I've forgiven myself, even congratulated myself for having this musical exploration to look forward to.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

1/6 Was an Inside Job!!!!

The scariest thing I've read all year (which is significant in this second plague year) is the Washington Post item about the Capitol invasion having been planned in advance to a great degree.  Most of the story is, in the vernacular, a no-brainer... groups such as the Oath Keepers and Three-Percenters have long fantasized and 'trained' to fight against government institutions on the local, state, and federal levels.  The true horror of it all hits home when one reads that the invaders had help from 'unspecified' individuals with inside knowledge:

In charging papers, the FBI said that during the Capitol riot, Caldwell received Facebook messages from unspecified senders updating him of the location of lawmakers. When he posted a one-word message, “Inside,” he received exhortations and directions describing tunnels, doors and hallways, the FBI said.

Some messages, according to the FBI, included, “Tom all legislators are down in the Tunnels 3floors down,” and “Go through back house chamber doors facing N left down hallway down steps.” Another message read: “All members are in the tunnels under capital seal them in. Turn on gas,” the FBI added.

 I'm  not going to publicly speculate about the identity(ies) of these unspecified senders, but I have my suspicions.  I'm sure the DoJ and FBI have the information they need in order to bring these persons to justice.  I will say, though, that I would not be surprised if a handful of Republican members of Congress are going to be in, expressed in formal legal terms, Deep Doo Doo.  If they aren't charged with sedition and removed from office, the whole country will be in Deep Doo Doo.

Post title taken from this soon-to-be-twenty-year-old trope.

Friday, January 22, 2021

COVID Comes Close

Today has been... let's say it's not been ideal.  I received a text message from a good friend, a former landlord/housemate from back in the day when I lived in a 'beach house without an ocean' twenty years ago.  He's also the captain of our bar trivia team, from the Before Times.  He tested positive for COVID earlier this week.  I'm not too worried, he's the kind of guy who's run numerous marathons, so his base level of health and fitness is extraordinary.

Soon after, my upstairs neighbor informed me that she and the kids tested positive.  Again, she's run marathons and triathlons, so I think she'll be okay. Likewise, the kids are athletic.  

Thankfully,  my friends have been able to do their grocery shopping online, so they are well-provisioned.  I offered to run errands for them if needed.  In the meantime, I think I might have to go full hermit mode.  I spoke to my mom earlier this week, and she told me that she called her county health department in northern Virginia and that, even at the age of 79, she will probably have to wait until June for a vaccine.  That doesn't give me confidence that I will be eligible for a good, long time.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Impeach Sleepy Joe!!!

As soon as Joe Biden been sworn in as President of the United States, one of the looniest of the Republican newcomers in the House of Representatives has filed articles of impeachment based on, get this, his actions as President Obama's Vice President, over eight years ago:

“President Joe Biden is unfit to hold the office of the Presidency. His pattern of abuse of power as President Obama’s Vice President is lengthy and disturbing.  President Biden residing in the White House is a threat to national security and he must be immediately impeached.”

The Republicans being a minority in the House, her articles of impeachment are a non-starter.   Marjorie Taylor Greene (R- QAnon) knows that Biden won't be impeached, so this stunt seems like clout chasing among the Trump dead-enders.  The articles aren't even part of a genuine impeachment effort, merely a performative trick.

The best thing about Greene's statement regarding her articles of impeachment is her set of accusations against Hunter Biden, who I don't recall being an elected official.  These are particularly humorous in light of Trump naming his daughter and son-in-law as advisors:

Dragging the president's children into an impeachment proceeding doesn't seem to be a smart move while Trump's impeachment is ongoing.  If Greene were really smart, she would impeach Hunter Biden's massive dong, basically playing the GOP's greatest hits.  Every generation of Republicans needs a Democratic penis to threaten it, and Marjorie Taylor Greene is just the Republican to take the mantle from Ken Starr.  If she demands that Sleepy Joe drop his drawers to show what he's packing, we might have to change his moniker to Mighty Joe Hung.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Sleepy Joe's a Dream

 I'm a judo player, and our platonic ideal is to use the energy of our opponents' attacks against them in order to defeat them.  It is in this spirit that I have wholeheartedly embraced the 'Sleepy Joe' moniker for President Joe Biden... we will all be sleeping better with an adult in charge of the executive branch.  

I was all-in for Elizabeth Warren in the primary, seeing Joe Biden as too much of a centrist for me, but I think today's Joe Biden is a better man than 1980 Joe Biden or even 2012 Joe Biden.  To crib a line from the Good Professor, Joe Biden has suffered incredible bereavement throughout his life... His grief he will not forget; but it will not darken his heart, it will teach him wisdom.  I believe that the Joe Biden who swore the oath of office today is wiser than those previous incarnations.

Joe Biden's ascent to the Presidency is an ascent to country wracked by the American Carnage that his ignominious predecessor spoke of, and subsequently created.  Even before he was sworn in, Biden's attendance at a COVID-19 memorial service signaled his empathy and capacity for compassion.  He will be burdened with the national pandemic response, a disaster that he inherits from an incompetent, corrupt scoundrel, and I personally don't see a turnaround in the bad situation for another six months or so... but he WILL respond.

Watching the inauguration ceremony, I was relieved to see that people with normal human emotions, empathy and camaraderie, had replaced an individual motivated purely by greed and grievance.  Kamala Harris, a transformative figure as the first female, African-American, and Asian-American Vice President, radiated joy.  Joe Biden himself delivered a much-needed call for unity (I expect that he will task his underlings in the DoJ to do the requisite ass-kicking):

But the American story depends not on any one of us, not on some of us, but on all of us.
On "We the People" who seek a more perfect Union. This is a great nation and we are a good people.
Over the centuries through storm and strife, in peace and in war, we have come so far. But we still have far to go.  We will press forward with speed and urgency, for we have much to do in this winter of peril and possibility. Much to repair. Much to restore. Much to heal. Much to build. And much to gain. 
Even more importantly, President Biden is demonstrating his commitment to a progressive agenda with his executive orders rejoining the Paris climate accords, aggressively responding to the COVID pandemic, rejoining the World Health Organization, extending moratoria on evictions and foreclosures, reversing the travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries, reining in oil and gas extraction at national monuments, working for racial equity in federal programs, committing to giving the 'Dreamers' a pathway to citizenship, and other policies that appeal to the more progressive members of the Democratic Party.  Today's Biden looks to me to be a changed man, much more liberal than the senator from business-friendly Delaware.

It's up to us to keep the pressure on the Democrats, to better reflect values of the progressive electorate that put them in the seats of power.  We need to force Sleepy Joe to be a dream for us, even if it means he is a nightmare to others... such as these creeps.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

The Last Days of Dicko

We're in the home stretch as a nation, with Vulgarmort passing his last night in the White House, and CNN reports that he is bitter and aggrieved... well, moreso than usual.  Trump has been in a state of rage ever since the failed coup at the Capitol on January 6th, as his staff deserted him.  As a final rebuke, apparently, nobody wants to attend his farewell ceremony tomorrow morning... why would anyone want to see a traitor and, in Trump parlance, a loser, take his final Walk of Shame?

It's clear that Trump has been the worst president in US history (a year ago, I would have said that Dubya was worse, having started unnecessary wars that killed millions), but 2020 saw the nadir of American presidentin', marked by mass death, authoritarian proclamations, and a mob attack on the bedrock of our democratic institutions.   

In his farewell speech, Trump listed a bunch of fake accomplishments, but his true legacy will be a half-million dead Americans and a failed coup by a bunch of racist whackaloons.  Even Trump's vaunted economic accomplishments are BS, as the unemployment rate rose dramatically because of his incompetent pandemic response.

I always pictured Trump's last days in office like the ending of Werner Herzog's gorgeous horror film Aguirre: The Wrath of God, with  Trump playing the role of a bloated, partially melted Klaus Kinski (Trump even calls to mind the incest subtext of the film).  The private meltdowns must be rather grotesque.  It's the last days of dicko, and all that's left now is for him to dance off into a senescence marked by derision and despond:



Post title taken from this dramedy, which I confess I've never seen.

Monday, January 18, 2021

The Annual Torrent of Hypocrisy

It's Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr Day, so that means that it's a day of right-wingers trying to claim the moral mantle of a man that they hate. The authorities persecuted King throughout his life and accused him of being a communist. King won, though, and has come to be regarded by the broader culture as a national saint, so right-wingers have tried to co-opt him for a decade or so. I mean, look at this hypocritical nonsense: MLK would have repudiated everything that Trump, the son of a klansman, stands for: his racism, his greed, his belligerence. There is no way that King would have supported the MAGA agenda, no matter what Deplorable trolls would have you think. It's an all-day cavalcade of grotesquerie from even the most unexpected quarters:

King, were he alive today, would be an unapologetic Social Justice Warrior (a peaceful one, of course), a crusader for economic justice, and a proponent of Black Lives Matter. Conservatives should just stop trying to claim his legacy... it's disgusting and it's not fooling anyone.  

POSTSCRIPT: THIS makes me want to holler.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

There's a Kind of Hush...

All over the land today. Thankfully, the long-dreaded militia demonstrations in DC and all fifty state capitals never quite panned out today. There were a few half-hearted, poorly attended events here and there, but on the whole, there was, as Herman's Hermits sang, a kind of hush all over the land today.

 Obviously, when twenty-thousand National Guard troops are bivouacked at the Capitol and various state police and National Guard units are deployed at state capitals, the tough-talking wannabe warriors punk out. One of the most vocal proponents of armed insurrection on social media purported to be a retired Lieutenant Colonel but turned out to be a schmuck in Texas who never served the public in any capacity... proving once again that righties love stolen valor more than anything. An armed insurrection against the Big Battalions is a non-starter among the tough talkers, though the typical 'lone wolves' might show up.

 On January 6th, the MAGA Morons flew, like Stupid Icarus, too close to the sun, and a lot of them are in, in technical terms, Deep Doo Doo. The general consensus among temporarily chastened right-wingers was that today's planned uprisings were a trap set by the Feds

My sincere hope is that the 6th was an anomaly, a failure that will make mass-scale right-wing demonstrations untenable for the near future. I have no doubt that there will be continuous low-scale violence, analogous to The Troubles, but the cynic in me notes that such a situation wouldn't be all that different from the undercurrent of gun violence that has plagued this nation for decades.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

The Dimmest Bulb in a Constellation of Dimbulbs

 Among the dimmest of the dimbulbs who stormed the Capitol last week is one Anthime Gionet, whose nom de ranged is 'Baked Alaska', who was recently arrested for his participation in the invasion.  Gionet is basically a professional edgelord who went over the edge into neo-Nazism.  

If you have a masochistic streak, or are a fan of horror mixed with cringe comedy, you can check out video editing genius Vic Berger's video compilation of Gionet's actions, ranging from stupid, misogynistic street pranks to whiny fulminations about social media bans, to outright fascist rampaging at the 2017 Charlottesville riot.  He's also the epitome of a Backpfeifengesicht... I mean, just watch this four minute video of his idiocy: He has a particular knack for getting kicked out of places, and was awaiting trial for macing a bouncer in Scottsdale, AZ when he went to the DC insurrection. He's also addicted to filming his actions, and his livestream of the Capitol invasion has helped the FBI track down other rioters... again, we're talking about a dimbulb here. Apparently, he was dicking around on social media when he was arrested, being an 'extremely online' sort of asshole:

I don't think he will do well in prison. If fellow white supremacists don't shank him for being a snitch, someone in the general public will beat him to a pulp because the guy just can't avoid antagonizing people. He won't be dealing with teenaged convenience store clerks where he is going. As other members of the commentariat have remarked, Baked Alaska is cooked.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Yet Another Grim Milestone

 The current death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States has now exceeded four hundred thousand, with daily deaths exceeding four thousand on several days.  The official worldwide death toll has surpassed two million, but I really don't trust governments in Putin's Russia, Xi's China, Bolsonaro's Brazil, Modi's India, or Trump's US to release accurate figures.  

Last week's MAGA insurrection knocked the pandemic off the front pages for a while, but it sure looks like it will end up being a superspreader event that even affected Congress members sheltering in place.  One far-right troll claimed to have been COVID-positive while storming the Capitol, but he's a mendacious manlet, so who knows what to believe.  I can imagine the mass of maskless MAGA morons shouting and criming all day long spreading the virus throughout the DC community, and then bringing it back to their hometowns, where they await the inevitable knocks on the door that are coming.

Back in March of last year, I predicted that a half-million Americans would die of COVID-19 before this pandemic is brought under control... I think I might have been overly optimistic.  We should be in the home stretch, with a vaccine available, but the rollout of vaccinations is shamefully slow.  Anecdotally, one of my coworkers told me of a newly hired employee on his other job who died of the 'rona at the age of 41.  I'm not optimistic about sufficient vaccines being available before June at the earliest, even with a competent Biden administration in charge.  Ominously a sizable population remains rabidly anti-vaccine as well as anti-mask. I joked to friends about becoming an eremite until I get a vaccine, and then becoming a party animal once I leave the hermitage, bloodstream coursing with vaccine antibodies.

It can't come too soon, but I fear that the final death toll will be considerably greater than my predicted half-million.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

A King Among Idiots Is an Idiot King

 One of the most bizarre personalities involved in the MAGA terrorism last week is a grifter who currently goes by the name Ali Alexander, a 'Stop the Steal' organizer who claims he had assistance from GOP Congresscreeps:


Alexander is a convicted felon who used to go by the name Ali Akbar, and hopped aboard the 'Tea Party' grift about a decade ago. Before the storming of the Capitol, this charming fellow was chanting 'Victory or Death':

He was notably absent from the fray, despite his grandiose posturing:

After everything went to pieces, he went into hiding, begging his dupes to send him money for security, some of it because he is in danger from 'witches and wiccans'. 

He also released a 'cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs' video in which he claims he is a 'king among idiots', and prays to become a tool for divine vengeance. He also has some weird animus against famine-resistant people:

He says he refuses to cooperate with fat people, does that mean that he's dumped Trump and Alex Jones? Once again, I am thankful that this failed coup was planned by idiots, including their king.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

I Got Your Historical Presidency RIGHT HERE

Trump has long maintained, for no good reason, that his was a historical presidency. It's not like he's the first white guy to get elected to the office, or even the first idjit. That all changed today as Trump became the first president to be impeached twice... this time for his role as chief cheerleader of last week's insurrection at the Capitol. I have to hand it to Speaker Pelosi, she has no patience for Trump's crimes and misdemeanors, and this time, it's personal. I can't imagine Speaker Pelosi being able to forgive or forget the yahoos who threatened her life and crapped in her office. 

 Evan Hurst of Wonkette took on the Herculean task of liveblogging the impeachment hearings, adding enough dick jokes to leaven the proceedings. The main Republican objections to impeachment are farcicial- impeachment will divide the nation further and may lead to further violence. It's class abuser-speak... if you make me face the consequences of my harmful actions, I will harm you further. 

I'm not optimistic about the Senate voting to convict Trump, but the proceedings are a handy cudgel with which to beat these spineless creeps in upcoming elections. Basically, it's tying Trump around their necks like a millstone, hopefully to sink them forever. The impeachment had to happen, though, because Trump still poses a danger to These Here United States, and Pence is too gutless to play the 25th Amendment gambit to get rid of him. These being stupid days, the Representative from QAnon announced that she will initiate impeachment proceedings against Joe Biden before he is even inaugurated... and these are the people that the Democrats should seek unity with?

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Secret Science Club Zoom Lecture: An Exercise in SCIENCE!

Grrrr, I had a writeup of tonight's Secret Science Club lecture by Dr Daniel E. Lieberman of Harvard University, and I somehow managed to delete the entire thing.  The lecture, a companion to his book Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding, involved, you got it, exercise, which is a form of voluntary physical activity which is a recent behavior. Throughout human evolution and prehistory, physical activity was necessary for survival and for social status, so exercise per se was not a thing. 

Right now, I'm really mad at myself for hitting the wrong key and sending my detailed post into oblivion. I will make sure to link to the lecture when a video becomes available. I think I'm going to take a shot of whisky now to dull my self-recrimination. Apologies to Dr Lieberman, Dorian and Margaret, and my readers. Suffice it to say, this lecture has been fantastic. 

UPDATE: I figure I owe it to my readers, Margaret and Dorian, Dr Lieberman, and mostly myself to at least post a précis of last night's Zoom lecture. I was too miffed last night to post one, though, so here goes... I'm pretty much going to make it bullet point style. 

Dr Lieberman's interest in human's running ability stemmed from his study of human heads, specifically the evolution of the nuchal ligament, which supports and stabilizes the head for running. This ligament evolved about 2.2 million years ago, suggesting that this is when human ancestors began their careers as runners. 

Dr Lieberman was inspired to study exercise when he attended a conference while the Ironman Triathlon (a 2.4 mile open water swim followed by a 112 mile bicycle ride and then a full marathon) occurred. He was not so much interested in the reaction of the winner, who completed the event in eight hours, but in the reaction of participants who crossed the finish line close to the midnight cutoff time. He quipped that he himself has no desire to participate in this event, though he is a runner. 

After this conference, he was conducting fieldwork among the Tarahumara of Mexico, who are famous for their long-distance running abilities. He observed two races traditional to the Tarahumara, a twenty-five mile race conducted by women carrying woven hoops, and a race run by teams of men who kick a wooden ball ahead of them as they run. Dr Lieberman requested that his interpreter ask race participants how they trained for the races, but the concept of training was foreign to the Tarahumara. One middle-aged racer, Ernesto, responded, "Why would anyone run if they didn't have to?" 

Exercise is a particular form of physical activity, a wholly elective physical activity unrelated to work. It is a recent development, previous generations of humans typically got enough physical activity through the mere act of earning a living. Studies of the effects of exercise tend to be flawed because they focus on elite athletes. 

The US government recommends a weekly minimum of one hundred and fifty minutes of exercise, though only 20% of Americans reach this goal. It is beneficial to change up one's exercise routine somewhat, such as inserting high intensity interval training into one's regular workouts. 

There are myths about exercise, such as the myth of the 'athletic savage'- studies of hunter-gatherer communities suggest that they aren't typically stronger than people from industrialized societies, though they tend to retain more muscle strength later in life. The typical American or European sits for eight to twelve hours a day, while the typical hunter-gatherer sits for eight to ten hours a day. Activity costs energy, so people tend to save it for important actions. Humans tend to live beyond their child-bearing age, and grandparents are important providers for their families. Hunter-gatherer women of childbearing age tend to work two to four hours a day, while grandmothers tend to work four to eight hours a day, being free from child-nursing duties. 

We evolved from couch potatoes- our closest relatives spend a lot more time lounging around than we do. It is rare for chimpanzees to walk more than two to four kilometers a day, and gorillas tend to find a spot with sufficient vegetation and remain there as long as possible. 

 Dr Lieberman described exercise as not being a 'magic bullet' that prevents disease. Exercising can lower the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, respiratory ailments, depression, and osteoporosis, but it is better to think that a lack of exercise increase the incidence of these conditions, a subtle distinction. 

One of the themes that Dr Lieberman repeated throughout the lecture is that the important thing about exercise is to do whatever works for you, the importance is to exercise. Whether one exercises every day or several times a week isn't as important as exercising. He noted that it is not always easy to start an exercise routine, so incorporating exercise into one's social activities, such as finding a running partner, is helpful. 

When the recording of the lecture is posted, I will post a link. In the meantime, kudos to Dr Lieberman, and Margaret and Dorian for providing a fantastic lecture. One of the themes that Dr Lieberman incorporated into the lecture, one that he uses as chapter headings in his book, was exercise myths that people believe. Here is the good doctor recounting five of these myths: 


I feel better now, having picked up the ball that I fumbled so egregiously last night.

Monday, January 11, 2021

I Sense a Bit of a Theme Here

Last week was the longest, strangest decade of the 21st Century, so I figured I'd post, as Tengrain would put it, a palate cleanser. While 2020 was an utter crap year, it was a great year for music. I only put up two almost perfunctory music retrospective posts, but there are other songs from the year that I should gave covered. In this post, I will put up two songs with titles that express a somewhat common theme. 

From January, we have Burning Wooden Ship by London based music collective The Helipcentrics. Listening to this tune, I am very much reminded of the song Pendulum by Broadcast, a band led by Trish Keenan, who died all-too-young of complications of H1N1. Both songs have a metronomic quality, fronted by absolutely lovely vocals: 



The second song I'm posting is Ship by German band The Notwist, fronted by Saya, vocalist for Japanese band Tenniscoats. I love the sound, a sort of blend of electronica and Krautrock- it sounds to me like Kraftwerk and Can collaborated, and Saya's vocal is simply gorgeous, layered over the frenetic percussion: 



I have only peeked occasionally at the news today, last week being a Total News Overload. I know that things will be bad for the next few months, but I'm really looking forward to a return to Boring. I can find my own entertainment, thank you.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

African-Americans Saved Democracy All Week Last Week

One of the most jarring images from last week's invasion of the Capitol was a video from HuffPost's Igor Bobic of a hopelessly outnumbered African-American Capitol police officer facing down a crowd of MAGA marauders and making a hasty withdrawal up a stairway: Watching this footage, all I could think was, "Why is he alone, meant to guard this entrance without backup?" The reality of this footage is even more remarkable, the Capitol Police officer, Eugene Goodman, actually led the invaders away from the Senate chamber, delaying their attack enough to allow the Senate to escape: My admiration for the appropriately named P.O. Goodman is sincere... he used the ancient tactic of my beloved killdeer to protect those he was sworn to defend. It was a clever, risky ploy, and it worked. Kudos, good man! The sad fact of the insurrection is that, while it seemed that some Capitol Police dropped the ball or even sided with the invaders, African-American officers of the Capitol Police were subject to racist abuse from the Trump dead-enders. I've always been appalled at portrayals of Black Americans as being somehow 'un-American'... African-Americans have a loyalty to this nation, expressed in their disproportionate enlistment in the military and employment in civil service jobs, that is incommensurate with their poor treatment at the hands of government on all levels. Last week, African-American activists secured the Senate for the Democratic Party, breaking years of gridlock, and an African-American police officer secured the Senate from a bloodthirsty mob. Thankfully, the new acting chief of the Capitol Police will be an African-American woman who rose through the ranks and is currently Assistant Chief for Protective and Intelligence Operations. Last Wednesday was a failure of intelligence- Chief Yogananda Pittman doesn't come across as the sort of person who would ignore warning signs pointing to a white nationalist invasion of the Capitol.

Saturday, January 9, 2021


As appalling as Wednesday was, there IS a salutary result, which is that the Trump dead-enders are getting arrested for their insurrection... largely because they posted about it on social media.  These are not smart people we are talking about.

This Iowa idiot actually posted on social media that he was in the Capitol, and got arrested for his stupidity.

The Q Shaman shithead was taken into custody, his magical powers were not up to the task of warding off the Feds.

Newly elected West Virginia delegate Derrick Evans resigned, and was charged with multiple offenses.

Arkansas asshole Richard Barnett doesn't look as smug as he did sitting at Pelosi's desk after his arrest.

Florida Man Adam Johnson took his final stand before being arrested.

Former Air Force lieutenant colonel Larry Brock of Texas, recorded using body armor and carrying zipties, lost his job with an aviation company and will probably be arrested.

Perhaps the most interesting case, a fantastic narrative of in the aftermath of this insurrection is the hunt for this guy, who was actually done in by his expensive 'tacticool' equipment by activist groups The Sparrow Project and Opossum Press.  A by the Opossum Press and independent researcher Regina Morales.  Far from being a Blackwater op, the guy turned out to be Tennessee bartender and LARPer Eric Munchel.  

The MAGA morons flew too close to the sun, and like Stupid Icarus, a big crash is a-coming.  Their white privilege isn't going to protect them from the FBI and the Biden Administration DoJ... I call them PokéMAGA, because you gotta catch 'em all.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Tweet Purges Nacht

In a tragic case of 'way too little, way too late', Twitter has suspended a whole 'digital army' of QAnon figures: The number of relatively large QAnon celebrity accounts that have been nuked from orbit is quite heartening:

Tragically, this ban of Q-whackaloonery took place way too late to prevent the women who were shot and trampled (Marx famously said that historical entities appear twice, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce... the Trump Era is a third appearance, tragedy-as-farce) from traveling to the Capitol to meet their doom. I guess the Capitol invasion was a bridge-too-far for the Twitter executives, but as I wrote, it's way too little, way too late. Disinformation kills. 

When I started writing this post, I had no idea that Twitter had permanently suspended Donald Trump's account. Again, this is occurred way too late to have any salutary effect. Trump was allowed to act as a one-man Radio Rwanda, spouting disingormation and radicalization to millions of sycophants. The plug should have been pulled years ago, the damage has been done, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dead Americans and an unprecedented terrorist attack on the corridors of American power. Thanks, Jack, pfffffttttt. 

Post title taken from my favorite holiday.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

At Least SOME Heads Are Gonna Roll

One of the main themes of my post yesterday is that the DC Capitol Police exhibited such incompetence that I suspected, and suspect, complicity. I mean, look at this and tell me that the police opposed this attempted coup: The most infuriating detail about the police response to this insurrection is that journalists who research online extremist movements, such as NBC's Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny knew for weeks that there plans to storm the Capitol: I'm not a professional, but I knew that there was talk of storming the Capitol on the 6th. Why the hell didn't the FBI and Capitol police mount a serious response these expressed threats? Thankfully, Nancy Pelosi isn't taking this lying down (hell, her life was at risk yesterday), and has called for the resignation of the chief of the Capitol police: The Sergeant at Arms has also announced his resignation. In her place, I'd have the guy fired, and then investigated. Mere resignation, even forced resignation, is just not enough. I'd also like to see an investigation of each and every officer who was on duty yesterday, to determine their conduct during the whole sorry kerfuffle. I've been in a pissy mood lately, so I think an angry song is in order, via heavy metal titans Judas Priest: 'Priest' frontman Rob Halford splits his time between the UK and Arizona, and describes himself as a 'royalist', so it's doubtful that he would run for political office, but I would be ecstatic if he ran against Paul Gosar. We need a representative who looks like this.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Capitol Crimes

Not having to start work until 9PM, I spent much of the day checking out various Twitter feeds from reporters covering the MAGA uprising in Washington DC.  The most appalling thing about the riot, which involved the storming of the Capitol building, necessitating an evacuation which disrupted the electoral vote certification, was the way in which the Capitol Police seemed to be in on the whole siege.  I mean, look at the leisurely manner in which the Capitol was 'stormed':

If the rioters had been left-of-center, they would have been met with tear gas and impact munitions, not this half-hearted, half-assed approach: The police were also lackadaisical in their response to attacks on the media, and destruction of their equipment: Yeah, their response to an insurrection was tepid at best, complicit at worst: If these had been people of color, they would have been shot with live rounds: One of the craziest scenes was when the police literally turned their backs on the mob (Sensei drilled into me never to turn my back on an opponent, even during a friendly sparring session, punctuating it with a size fifteen foot in the middle of my back after he'd thrown me). This looks like capitulation, if not complicity: Thankfully, this insurrection only delayed the inevitable certification of Biden's win, but I'm going to be watching to see if any of the perpetrators are arrested. The identities of several are known... these idiots shot video of themselves criming. It's been a long, infuriating day.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Georgia on our Minds

I decided not to obsess over the Georgia senate runoff elections all day because I knew that the results would not be apparent until well after the polls close.  Even now around 9:30PM, the margins are razor thin, the results not clear.  I'd occasionally pop in for a peak, seeing the typical news of long lines at the polls in majority minority districts.  I sure hope that Ossoff and Warnock win, but the mere fact that they are running neck-and-neck with their opponents is, as Joe Biden might put it, a BIG FUCKING DEAL.  Stacey Abrams and her Fair Fight organization have done immeasurable good in fighting voter suppression in Republican-run states.

Georgia's population is over thirty-two percent African-American, and if African-American voters are not prevented from casting ballots, that statistic goes a long way toward turning Georgia blue, when it is, surprisingly to me, already purple.  Mississippi and Alabama also have large African-American populations, so the reality of a solidly 'red' South is largely contingent on chicanery at the polls.

I doubt the runoff will be resolved before the clock strikes midnight, so I foresee having, like Ray Charles, Georgia on my mind for a while.

I just hope that the voters will have sent crooks Perdue and Loeffler packing by the time I get up tomorrow.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Henry's Bad Day

It looks like self-described Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day:

His arrest was confirmed by the NYT: To top it off, he was caught with two high-capacity firearm magazines, a no-no in DC: Regarding his destruction of property charges, he admitted to burning Black Lives Matter banners stolen from a historic African-American church, so he might be facing hate crimes charges. The 'against the wishes of my attorney' ups the Schadenfreude level: Hank doesn't seem like a very smart boy... he's also a convicted felon: Hopefully, he'll still be cooling his heels in the pokey by the time the January 6th MAGA Denial Rally takes place.  I even more sincerely hope that his arrest and jailing serves as a warning to the rest of the potential attendees to leave their shooting irons at home, that the DC Metropolitan Police and Capitol Police mean business this time.  It's going to be a shitshow, to be sure, but having one of the major poo-flingers in custody is somewhat reassuring. Thank goodness this current crop of fascists is universally stupid, from Trump on down to his lowliest footsoldier-wannabe.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Stupid Watergate

 It involves the Washington Post, a recorded conversation, and electoral chicanery, and it's really stupid, so I am calling it Stupid Watergate.  Here it is, Donald Trump trying to pressure Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to 'find' 11,780 votes to flip the Georgia election:

This is a perfect distillation of Trump: divorced from reality, corrupt, willing to cajole then threaten someone he wants something from... not to mention incoherent.  Mr Raffensberger deserves kudos for rejecting this illegal vote-tampering effort.

This is an impeachable offense, and the House Democrats should bring another impeachment proceeding against Trump.  Sure, he lost the election, and he will be kicked out of the White House on the 20th, but Nancy Pelosi should impeach him again just to mess with his head.  Let the Republicans in the Senate try to defend Trump again, force them to submit to this wannabe-tyrant again.  

Maybe Trump could resign, continuing in the vein of the Stupid Watergate tradition.