Friday, July 28, 2017

He's Mavericky Like That!

I wondered when John McCain voted to allow Senate debate to start the other day whether he planned to sink the ship in a spectacular fashion. I recall seeing commentary that opening debate might be a Pyrrhic victory for the Republican party. Indeed, that proved to be the case:
Video of the vote, tweeted by entrepreneur and activist Michael Skolnik, shows McCain walking to the front of the Senate floor before his name is called, stretching out his hand, pausing and saying “No” loudly enough for all to hear. His colleagues gasp, and some applaud as he makes his way back to his chair.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

So, What New Surprise Will Mitch McConnell Pull Out of His Ass?

Getting ranker by the day:
The drama -- Republican senators imploring their own colleagues across the Capitol to vow that they would not pass the bill they are about to pass -- crystalized the remarkable dissatisfaction and deep reservations that Republican members feel about weakening Obamacare and threatened the prospect of providing a long-awaited legislative victory to the party and President Donald Trump.

"Go Republican Senators, Go! Get there after waiting for 7 years. Give America great healthcare!" Trump tweeted late Thursday.

After a phone call with House Speaker Paul Ryan, GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham and Ron Johnson said they had received the reassurances they needed and would vote yes.

But McCain was uncharacteristically silent as he left the Senate chamber.

Ivanka the Complicit

I find it amazing that any living soul was ever so stupid as to think Ivanka could influence her dad. That's not how it has ever worked:
Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic consultant in New York, said he heard from Republicans, Democrats and independents after Trump’s stunning victory who were hopeful about Ivanka Trump’s influence.

“They all had wishful thinking,” he said. “It was a nice wish but there appears to be no history for this. When has a first daughter influenced anything? It’s absurd. Americans are hopeful people and very naive...She has no influence.”

The Largest Bait-and-Switch in U.S. History

It's astonishing. The Senate Republicans have set themselves up for the largest bait-and-switch in U.S. history. There won't be a conference. Any fool should be able to see it:
A senior Democratic aide told TPM that these expectations and assurances are worthless.

“No matter what McConnell says—and what the Freedom Caucus is saying now—once a skinny bill leaves the Senate, the House can take it up and pass it,” the aide said. “There is nothing Senators who had hoped for another bite at the apple can do about it.”

Once the train has left the station, the aide added, more grim possibilities present themselves. “They could use this vehicle to bring full-blown Trumpcare back to life, with all of the Medicaid cuts and other policies that moderate Republicans in the Senate claim to oppose, and here too there is almost nothing they can do.”

This news came as a shock to some lawmakers.

“Say what?” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said, clearly taken aback at the news the House could vote on the bill as early as Friday. “Come again?”

Asked if he thinks the bill could become law or is merely a vehicle to get to conference, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) frowned. “If you pass a bill,” he began, before trailing off. He then admitted, “I haven’t thought it through.”

Man Stands Trial For Homeless Woman's Death

Last August, a homeless woman was murdered at the Broadway/Highway 99 underpass. A man is now standing trial for that murder.

I was always bothered by that underpass, so never walked Bella there. I was creeped out enough walking her through the neighboring X St./Highway 99 underpass. Something about the unusually-large number of homeless people in the area, the darkness, the distances, and the many hiding places. Not as warm and cozy as the underpasses under the W-X freeway.

Not that any of that matters much when dealing with a murderer:
By Aug. 1, 2016, Brownlee was “fed up” with his living situation, he told detectives. He was unable to get a job. Police chased him from sleeping spot to sleeping spot. The streets were filled with heroin addicts and prostitutes. His mental health was suffering.

After an argument with his girlfriend that evening, he said, he was wandering along Broadway when he spotted Brandow rustling through her belongings at her camp.

“I snapped,” he said, and began strangling her. Once he saw Brandow’s eyes roll back in her head and her body go limp, “I basically panicked and just took off,” he said.

He was silent about the crime until Sept. 18, he said, when he told a friend, LaShon Mitchell, that he had killed a woman “by the freeway.” He told her he wanted to confess, in part to get off of the streets.

Diamond Dez - "POW POW"

Intriguing Sacramento rapper. We have 2 mutual friends on Facebook, so she's just outside my circle. This video has a Kreayshawn vibe:

Photo-bombed the Video

This evening, the traffic light turned green, and I started turning left onto Capitol Mall. Suddenly, ahead on the grassy mall, I saw a young woman wearing a backwards-turned baseball cap singing earnestly into a camera. I couldn't stop the turn, so my orange Saturn and I photo-bombed the video. Watch for us on the Web!

I wonder who she was? A rap or hip hop video? Sacramento-based? She vaguely looked like the woman singer here. Was it her, or was it someone else?:

Lana del Rey is Casting Hexes

I was surprised to hear that Lana del Rey has been deemphasizing the image of the American flag in her recent concerts, since the flag has figured prominently before. Blame that bastard Trump, who ruins everything he touches. But I was amused to hear that her and her Twitter followers have been casting hexes against Trump.

There are many parallels between her songs and "Breaking Bad" too. I sometimes wonder if Vince Gilligan and her compare notes, or whether they just happen to share the same zeitgeist.

Revenge on Tiny Hands shall be sweet:
We end by talking about magic and the power of words. Firstly, Donald Trump. He’s still the president, which means that the hex Del Rey asked her Twitter followers to cast on February 24 hasn’t worked (yet). So did she get involved and do it herself? “Yeah, I did it. Why not? Look, I do a lot of s**t.” Do you cast other spells at home? “I’m in line with Yoko and John and the belief that there’s a power to the vibration of a thought. Your thoughts are very powerful things and they become words, and words become actions, and actions lead to physical changes.”

Trump-O's For Breakfast

"Nine To Five" - Sacramento's Music Circus

Opening night; Tuesday night. Had a great time! Go see the show - you'll have fun.

[More later]

The Octopus Gives Thanks

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

American Slavery Rears Its Head Again

That Southern slaving impulse reappears given the slightest opportunity. A North Carolina church gets creative and enslaves Brazilians:
Oliveira, who fled the church last year, is one of 16 Brazilian former members who told the AP they were forced to work, often for no pay, and physically or verbally assaulted. The AP also reviewed scores of police reports and formal complaints lodged in Brazil about the church’s harsh conditions.

“They kept us as slaves,” Oliveira said, pausing at times to wipe away tears. “We were expendable. We meant nothing to them. Nothing. How can you do that to people — claim you love them and then beat them in the name of God?”

The Brazilians often spoke little English when they arrived, and many had their passports seized.

Many males worked in construction; many females worked as babysitters and in the church’s K-12 school, the former members said. One ex-congregant from Brazil told AP she was only 12 the first time she was put to work.

Although immigration officials in both countries said it was impossible to calculate the volume of the human pipeline, at least several hundred young Brazilians have migrated to North Carolina over the past two decades, based on interviews with former members.

The revelations of forced labor are the latest in an ongoing AP investigation exposing years of abuse at Word of Faith Fellowship. Based on exclusive interviews with 43 former members, documents and secretly made recordings, the AP reported in February that congregants were regularly punched, smacked and choked in an effort to “purify” sinners by beating out devils.

The church has rarely been sanctioned since it was founded in 1979 by sect leader Jane Whaley, a former math teacher, and her husband, Sam. Another previous AP report outlined how congregants were ordered by church leaders to lie to authorities investigating reports of abuse.

The AP made repeated attempts to obtain comments for this story from church leaders in both countries, but they did not respond.

Under Jane Whaley’s leadership, Word of Faith Fellowship grew from a handful of followers to about 750 congregants in North Carolina and a total of nearly 2,000 members in its churches in Brazil and Ghana and its affiliations in Sweden, Scotland and other countries.

Members visit the Spindale compound from around the world, but Brazil is the biggest source of foreign labor and Whaley and her top lieutenants visit the Brazilian outposts several times a year, the AP found.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Heat Sneaks Back

I got back to my house at 11:30 p.m. It felt like the inner sanctum of Hades. The temperature was 90 degrees inside. I was so surprised I checked to see if the furnace or oven was on. Blame thermal inertial instead. From 3 pm to 5:35 p.m., the outside temperature was pegged at 100 degrees F. THAT will do it!

Saturday Night in Woodland

We are easily amused.

A Few Cartoons From The Eighties

The Eighties were a great decade for cartoons. Toles, for example, was just starting his stellar career. But the decade had plenty of other great cartoonists too:

Climbing Santa Fe Baldy

Memories again. Here, I'm climbing Santa Fe Baldy from Katherine Lake in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico; likely early summer 1973. Photo by David Baltz. Also accompanied by Jeff Anderson.

Bomb Threat

Back in the mid-Seventies, I was a UNM work-study student at Kirtland Air Force Base Weapons Lab. At the time, there was a spate of bomb-threat phone calls, so the authorities came up with this form to have handy in the event you had to field the call. Reasonable questions to ask an unreasonable person:


Superb movie!:
“But it was much, much more than that. The escape of the British army meant that the war could continue. Because if the British Army had been taken prisoner, then almost certainly Britain would have had to surrender because it would have had no army to defend itself. Now, if Britain had surrendered, then effectively you would have had the Nazis in control of Europe.”

Loved the theme music! A little "crunchier" than previous Hans Zimmer scores, and with an intense emphasis on TIME, the crucial element at Dunkirk....

"Wonder Woman"

A Lynda Carter fan from way back!

Saw "Wonder Woman". Didn't quite know what to make of it.

All Hallows Eve

Memories of the Eighties. Doing pirouettes a la seconde as 'Hobgoblin' for Tucson Community Ballet's (currently Tucson Regional Ballet) presentation of "All Hallows Eve" for television cameras (likely KGUN TV-9) on October 9, 1986. "All Hallow's Eve" was presented with "Giselle" at the Tucson Community Center Little Theater on October 24-25, 1986.

Not That I Ever Indulge in Despair About the Future

This was my motto in the Seventies. Posted it on my dorm wall. From "Reginald on House-Parties" by Saki:
"Not that I ever indulge in despair about the Future; there always have been men who have gone about despairing of the Future, and when the Future arrives it says nice, superior things about their having acted according to their lights. It is dreadful to think that other people's grandchildren may one day rise up and call one amiable.

There are moments when one sympathises with Herod."

We May Insert Key to the Atom

Going through old newspaper articles from the 1980's.

Sometimes in typesetting a newspaper, there is a little corner where you have room to insert only the tiniest of articles. Here's one such article (undated):
"We may insert key to the atom - Associated Press

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Within a few years, scientists probably will be able to understand the exact workings of the atom - of which everything is made.

If so, it will be possible to create anything, including things that do not naturally exist today."

And that's it. Did that happen? Just wondering.