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The Diaries
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    From the very first day Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president, he established his credentials as the Republican Party's foremost spokesman for white nationalism and the racist hate groups who rallied to his campaign. And trump hasn't been shy about his gratitude for their support. This week he even told a Fox News reporter that he isn't concerned that white nationalists are "finding common cause" with his racist remarks.

    Following Trump's brazenly bigoted Twitter rants against Democratic women of color, there has been a deafening silence from his GOP colleagues. They are either too scared to take the ethical road and condemn Trump's racism, or they agree with it. And now there is a new Reuters poll that really tells us all we need to know about today's Republican Nationalist Party:

    "Support for U.S. President Donald Trump increased slightly among Republicans after he lashed out on Twitter over the weekend in a racially charged attack on four minority Democratic congresswomen, a Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll shows. [...] his net approval among members of his Republican Party rose by 5 percentage points."

    There you have it. Trump may be an avowed white supremacist, but his public utterances affirming that are clearly a deliberate strategy to appeal the members of his party who are lapping it up. They like him even more when he's articulating overtly racist messages. That can only serve to incite ever more repugnant hate speech from the President and his Klannish confederates.

    For contrast, approval from Democrats and independents both declined in the poll. And a separate poll from USA Today confirmed these findings. It showed that overall large majorities of 59 percent of voters called Trump's tweets "un-American." And 68 percent said they were "offensive." But a majority of 57 percent of Republicans said they agreed with Trump's racist tweets.

    Contrary to the disgust by most Americans for Trump's racism, he continues to dig himself deeper into the abyss of blatant bigotry. On Wednesday morning he quote-tweeted a Fox News commentary by GOP Sen. John Kennedy, who said that "the four horsewomen of the apocalypse" are "Wack Jobs." And somehow Trump thought that would help his argument that he isn't a racist scumbucket. He also tweeted a poll of his own to bolster his lagging defense:


    First of all, let's not ignore that Trump is once again maligning four women of color, who were elected to represent their districts, with his obviously sarcastic thanks to "the vicious young Socialist Congresswomen." It's part of his reelection strategy to fire up his Deplorable base by dehumanizing his critics.

    As for Rasmussen, it is a thoroughly disgraced, right-wing purveyor of deliberately slanted surveys. Nevertheless, Trump posts a similar tweet every time Rasmussen puts Trump at 50 percent. Never mind that the same poll also shows Trump with a negative "approval index" wherein his strong disapproval always exceeds his strong approval. What's more, whenever Rasmussen hits 50 percent for Trump, it only lasts a few days before he is once again in negative territory. And this is with the most Trump-friendly pollster on the planet.

    So Trump is caught in an endless loop where Rasmussen puts him at around 47 percent, then he pops to 50 and Trump squeezes out a tweet. Then he drops to the mid forties again. Then he spikes back to 50 triggering another tweet. This has happened at least fourteen times just this year. You have to wonder if this is a strategy on Rasmussen's part to give Trump some phony survey data to brag about.

    Although, it hardly seems worthy af bragging when Trump can't even manage to get half the nation to approve of him for more than a day or two in a notoriously pro-Trump poll (most polls have him in the low forties). And it is downright disastrous when Trump's Republican Party support goes up after he spends several days ranting like the Klan's Grand Wizard. But that should inform America's voters that the problem isn't just Trump. It's the entire GOP. And in 2020, all of them need to be exorcised from our local and national governments.

    Your support would be appreciated by following me on
    Facebook and Twitter.

    Also, visit News Corpse on the web.

    And check out my books on Amazon:

    Fox Nation vs. Reality:
    The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.

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    The Trump Administration has systematically turned away tens of thousands of asylum seekers fleeing violence in their country because they resist the drug cartels and the corrupt governments. As Christians they are charged to “love one another as I have loved you”. As Christians they cannot allow the cartels to take their sons and turn them into smugglers, drug dealers, thugs and murders. They cannot stand by while the children are killed.

    Hitler Youth
    Hitler Youth demanded all young men join. Those that did not join, found their families shipped off to concentration camps. Judaism is both a religion and culture/ethnicity.

    The Trump Administration has turned away these asylum seekers additionally because of their ethnicity. The Administration has made clear that some people are real Americans and some are not. Some people are welcome as refugees (see Trump invite to Norwegians).

    We have seen this human rights horror before. No matter that  today in American history we are talking about Guatemalans and Salvadorans and others and not Jews fleeing Nazis whose ship was turned back at NY harbor, WE HAVE SEEN THIS BEFORE.

    The vast majority of current asylum seekers at the southern border are Christians and overwhelmingly Catholic. By living their religion they must not allow themselves or their children to become the evil soldiers of drug cartels and corrupt governments.

    Why are the evangelicals silent?  Where is the usual outcry about Christians being victims ? These people really are overwhelmingly Catholic. Where is the Pope? No joke. I really don’t get it.

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    Professional dirty trickster and white suit abuser Roger Stone is facing prosecution for lying to Robert Mueller’s team, obstruction of justice, perjury before Congress, and other crimes. 

    Federal Judge Amy Berman issued a gag order prohibiting Stone’s social media use.  After he blew off the gag rule, she gave him a second chance, but he continued to spout off on-line.  He said former CIA chief John Brennan is a “psycho” who should be executed for treason, and called House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff a “con man,” among 9 other violations of the judge’s order.

    Now Judge Berman has muzzled Stone more tightly, denying him from using his favorite forums, like Facebook and Instagram, to concoct and spread “Deep State” lies.

    On a strangely related note, the end of Mad magazine is another sign of the rapidly approaching Apocalypse.  Its demise speaks for itself as a harbinger of this country’s intellectual and cultural decay. 

    In the meantime, here’s to the late, great Cuban-American cartoonist Antonio Prohías (1921-1998), creator of “Spy vs. Spy,” may he rest peacefully!

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  • 07/17/19--12:48: OUTRAGEOUS DK SECRET
  • I have been trying to find out how to delete my account from DK for about a year now. I did not receive an answer from the forum or help desk either time I asked.  I finally have that answer, and it is — well — terrifying. THIS IS IT:

    We don't allow people to delete accounts.

    If I had known this at the outset, I would never have opened an account in the first place. It is extremely bizarre to me that an organization that presents itself as "liberal” and "democratic” would perpetrate such a blatant manipulation on it's members.  BTW, you can “abandon” your account, but it is not erased or removed.  I am deeply saddened by this uncharacteristically controlling behavior.  If there is a point to this that benefits us, now would be a good time to state what it is.

    This information may have been hidden somewhere in the participation agreement and I overlooked it; after all who suspects a liberal organization like this of such things?  I submit that if this policy continues, it needs to be a headline on the sign up page IN BOLD CAPS.

    As a far better, and far more "liberal” and Democratic” approach to this issue, I would suggest you change this policy ASAP, and apologize for it to the DK er's who, like me, did not or do not, know this.

    I hope those who agree will contact DK and let them know. There is a poll below to make this easier.


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  • 07/17/19--12:48: Cartoon-Nibbled To Death
  • Yesterday, Liz Cheney decided to stick her oar in and as Kevin Kruse said on his twitter page,  ‘ "Hey, let's put Liz Cheney out there to win people over to our side," is the kind of statement that should get you immediately fired and escorted out by security.’ 

    Using the usual GOP tactic of saying anybody who brings up race is the REAL racist and then lobbing in a good old abortion bomb for good measure.

    And just when you think you’ve hit outrage fatigue.

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    Two-hundred and forty combined Congressmen and women voted to officially condemn Donald Trump, for maligning 4 American female members of Congress, of color, as interlopers, who should “go back” to the country from “which they came.” With racism staring him squarely in the face yesterday, Mitch McConnell defended Donald Trump with a cheap imitation.  “Everyone ought to tone down” their rhetoric, said McConnell, “I think the tone of all of this is not good for the country, but it’s coming from all different ideological points of view.” If that sounds reminiscent of “very fine people on both sides” that is not an accident. Senate Majority leader McConnell’s shoes must have been smoking with the ferocious tap dance he used to maneuver around the truth.

    Racism is not a political argument; it is a vile condemnation of human dignity. The mistake most politicians make is to discuss race as a vote-getter or loser as opposed to having an automatic revulsion to its immoral corrupting effect.  There are not two sides, there is only one—rejection. When a bigot says, ‘I am tired of talking about race’ what they really mean is, ‘I am angry you unmasked me.’ 

    Back in the good ole’ days, of the Reagan/Bush Republican Party, conservatives used the inside voice their mom(s) taught them to discuss race. You have seen it, white people will take a glance over each shoulder, push in close and say quietly in public settings, ‘there is a black guy over there.’ I am a black man and I have been guilty of that in reverse, I have hoped white folks do not give “me a hard time.” Black people do it in preparation of our involuntary superpower of invisibility; not being able to hail a taxi, slow or no service at restaurants and not finding a salesperson in high-end stores (there is kryptonite to that intergalactic power, security sees through your cloak of invisibility every time). White people do it much too often to fend off a perceived or imaginary threat, that lately has been going viral on a weekly basis.  

    This may all sound like bitter ramblings, but it is not.  Your black neighbors, friends and those whose experience is foreign to you, have lived this reality and have become necessarily numb.  Even more insidious is that people of color expect, adjust and accept it every day. Mitch McConnell and House minority leader Kevin McCarthy saying yesterday that Mr. Trump is not a “racist” is not a surprise to the people who live it.  I was born before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and I remember my great-grandmother, whose grandfather was a southern slave. She was born in rural Maryland and was afraid the law would pass and put her in danger.

    She beamed proudly when I showed her my voter registration card in 1977 and told me never to be scared to vote—like she was.  I have voted in every election since that time. I am a proud American and that gives me the right to critique her, scold her and love her, even when she has not always loved me back.

    Vote in 2020 for Change.        

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    Just a little free speech love note to freewayblogger from SF.

    There was a maintenance worker doing some touch-up painting on the bridge when I arrived. I asked him if he’d mind if I put up the sign or if he’d take it down. I showed it to him and he said, “What sign? I don’t see anything!”

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    The Discovery Historic Loop Trail in Vancouver, Washington, runs from historic Fort Vancouver National Historic Site across the Confluence Land Bridge designed by architect Johnpaul Jones, in collaboration with artist Maya Lin, to the Old Apple Tree Park. Along the Vancouver Land Bridge there are several displays and murals depicting historical events.

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    Welcome to the weekly edition of Helping Humpday, dedicated to Kossacks helping one another. HHday resides at the Street Prophets Coffee Hour, the intersection where politics and religion and history and ethical values conveniently meet and sometime collide.  

    Humpday — because we’re smack dab in the middle of the work week and getting over that hump sure looks sweet. But for some folks in this community, the humps they need to get over are far more daunting than looking forward to the weekend. That is where Helping comes in. Helping Humpday is specifically about generating community support for struggling Kossacks who find themselves facing an imminent financial need like keeping the lights on, avoiding eviction, getting to work, paying medical bills. Our goal is to publicize the Community Needs List and other fundraisers for needy Kossacks as widely across the site as possible. Our motto is simple: many hands make light work.

    Support Someone on the Community Needs List

    Consider A Donation To a Kossack In Need. The folks on the Community Needs List are struggling. Some need help with a one-time emergency. Others have struggled for months. They are working towards financial independence and self-sufficiency, but still need some help. Your small gift can help a family or individual find stability for another month in the face of a crisis.  Even $3, or $5, or $10 helps. Thank you so much.

    Also, tip, rec, comment here and in the individual diaries. That helps spread the word.

    Highlighted Emergency Need

    DEM Needs Help   It isn’t easy to remain hopeful when he has been through so much. Things were looking up, when another disaster struck. In fact, things are still on track to a new life if Dem can get over this final hump  — with just a bit more help. He has been offered a room in the home of a kind and generous Kossack. He just needs to get from Texas to Arizona. 

    Last week, just as Dem was about to set off for his new life in Arizona, he had another major setback. His car broke down again. He was able to get some help for the thousands of dollars in necessary repairs. The car is now sound and will make the trip. But the delay meant that the money he had set aside for travel had to be used to pay for another week at his room and for his weekly meds. Then his laptop gave out. With the help of Kossack KentState1980, Dem has a used computer and pulled together a diary asking for help one more time. Help Needed, Move Delayed

    Dem needs $800 for a week of meds, travel money for him and his senior cat Fluffy. HE NEEDS TO LEAVE NEXT WED. He feels his job prospects are good in Arizona. If Dem can’t get to his new room with the bit of social support it provides, he fears he faces the real prospect of homelessness. Dem doesn’t have family to help. This generous community here on DKOS is all he has right now. Dem is frightened but cautiously hopeful. Please stop by and help make this fundraiser a success with tips, recs, comments, and donations if possible. Read about his journey to hope and this final push here: Help Needed, Move Delayed

    Current & Expanded Community Needs List

    Community Needs List as of 7/12/19 with updates where I have them. Fundraisers who want a diary to be or stay on the list: PLEASE kosmail requests and donations received to njm5000 by Thursday evening to be included on the Friday morning updated list.

    Living on the financial edge—need help? Check out the Helping Directories before your next emergency.

    Education Fundraisers

    JTG is fundraising for tuition and expenses $5000 2760 2500 1184 1009 979 800 $280 New Update Diary: Help Request & Teaching Credentials Update.  Original diary with the whole story is here.
     PayPal (James at

    Housing and Transportation Fundraisers

    KM WehrsteinNeeds $1900 1740 1625± towards purchasing a reliable vehicle. Carless in the country, asking for help
    PayPal: please choose “send money” rather than “pay” if you can — by clicking here.

    SNOOPYDAWG — Has a fundraiser diary: Need help: Car repairs and Woozle bills. PayPal is snoopydawg at earthlink dot net. Needs $3700 2385 2370 2350 2315 to pay off these debts. Snoopy would love to meet this need with sales of photographs, so check out the link: see this amazing talent.

    Medical and Veterinary Fundraisers

    MICHELEWIN—needs help with medical bills. $3900 2690±
    Diary: Caregiver Burnout: Help Needed New diary 5/9:
    PayPal is michelewilson327 at gmail dot com

    Time Sensitive: Matching Fund Challenge Ends This Saturday

    SaraR & WINGLION: $3000 Matching Fund Challenge . WOW!!! This just in. A generous donor is offering a $3000 Matching Fund Challenge to Save Catnip Manor. If Ann and SaraR raise $3000 $594 in donations from any sources by the end of this week, the money will be doubled!!!!  GoFundMe Save Catnip Manor.

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    I have seen several stories in magazines, on the web, and on cable, recently about the farsighted vision of Chinese leaders as they are pursuing a Belt and Road Initiative to increase their international influence.  China is definitely a world leader in manufacturing consumer goods and electronics.  Most of our cell phones, computers, and video equipment come with Chinese manufactured components.

    Chinese manufacturing is creating a demand in their educational system for engineering and math, finance and accounting.  The cash flow into China provides money that is seeking a place for investments.

    Chinese leaders are building infrastructure for the future — at home and internationally.  This is a list that was compiled in a recent article

    China's Belt and Road Initiative includes the following projects:

    • Temburong Bridge in Brunei.
    • Peljesac Bridge in Croatia.
    • Punta Sierra wind farm in Chile.
    • Yamal liquefied natural gas project in Russia.
    • Isimba hydroelectric power station in Uganda.
    • Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway in Indonesia.
    • Abuja-Kaduna railway in Nigeria.
    • Colombo Port City and Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka.
    • Piraeus Port in Greece.
    • Doraleh Multipurpose Port in Djibouti.
    • Muara Port in Brunei.
    • Gwadar Port in Pakistan.
    • Mombasa-Nairobi standard-gauge railway in Kenya.
    • Vientiane-Boten railway in Laos.…

    Chinese investments do not come without repayment terms.  The investment guarantees long-term Chinese presence in shipping, building, finance, governmental presence. 

    The initiative "has given rise to concerns about debt dependency by the recipient countries. That has been raised by Pakistan and Malaysia and other countries," said Richard Cooper, an economics professor at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.

    Sri Lanka, whose government received about $1 billion from China to build a port in Hambantota, couldn't pay back the debt and leased the port back to China for 99 years, starting in 2017.

    The contrast between Chinese infrastructure and the failing American infrastructure is stark. High-speed rail travel is available between most Chinese cities.  Chinese appear to recognize that comfortable travel in spacious, comfortable trains is superior to travel on uncomfortable, packed tubes through the sky. Really, wouldn’t you rather be able to get up and walk around, sit down and enjoy a meal at your leisure, convenience and choice, rather than sit down elbow-to-elbow, with your knees under your chin, packed in a tiny tube while unhappy flight attendants maneuver through the aisles rationing cardboard pretzels and selling overpriced soft drinks?


    The USA was once a world superpower and what did it do? It gave away graft to the people who said that they would do what we wanted, never asked for any concessions, and built disposable weapons further enriching the military-industrial corporations that already had more money than they could spend. We don’t read and hear about “Chinese munitions manufacturers”! We don’t hear about Chinese soldiers fighting endless wars! They understand that those are for Americans!

    I would like to see a Democratic candidate address the issue of what the United States government should be doing differently to confront the changing world that we see around us. 

    China can build high-speed rail because the cost of acquisition for land is not a major obstacle.  In the United States, the government gave land to the private railroad companies for them to build rails and so the Vanderbilts became rich from their government lands.  Now, if the government wanted to build high-speed rails, the government would have to repurchase the land that was originally given away for no cost.  Another option would be to build in the Interstate highway corridors but retrofitting would be dangerous and extremely expensive.  Aircraft companies have profited from their government-funded support with airports, military aircraft manufacturing, and they have lobbyists in place to oppose any opposition.

    The USA has many challenges and the fear of Science and Reality may be the greatest. The Republican faith in lies, religious faith, trump lies, hypocrisy, and American Oligarchy may not be options that are compatible with economic competition.

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    According to the Washington Post, Sens. Rand Paul (KY) and Mike Lee (UT) have placed “holds” on the bill to fund the 9/11 first-responders’ fund for seven decades, citing the need to demonstrate the “offsets” that will pay for it.  Never mind that they didn’t demand any offsets when slashing taxes of corporations and billionaires……  They have no humanity; if that wasn’t clear before (it was), it certainly should be clear to everyone now.

    I have quite simple, obvious and elegant ideas, as do the many commenters in WaPo, on how to offset the funds.  Here’s my favorite one:

    We stop paying private companies $700 per day per person to detain and torment asylum seekers, and let them live with relatives or sponsors, reunite with their families, get jobs, and pay taxes, as most undocumented workers do, while they await their hearings on their asylum claims.  A win-win-win solution.

    Please add your suggestions in the comments.  Thanks for playing.

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    I woke up Tues morning to Rezident Thumbs, furiously tweeting what a victim of Racism he was. I admit, I lost it. I was so devistaded that 'The Peoples House' was being used as a platform to spew and promote blatant Hate and Racism. I was livid, depressed, disgusted, outraged and Complicit. Yes, I was being Complicit because of my silence! 

    I wrote the following Pledge and shared with my Comfort group of Friends and Family. After wonderful validation and support, I felt empowered and liberated, but lacking satisfaction. Later, I began to ponder on what I had said, how to stay true to it, how to own it and last but definitely not least, how do I ensure it does not become just more empty rhetoric?!? It became quite clear that I had not given the words their due, in actions. So, call me what you will, but I'm taking the leap and putting my Pledge out onto public record. Feel free to share or sign mine, make up your own, or whatever. Please, do not just sit and accept Hatred like I was! Stand up to be counted with me.

    My All In Pledge

    I am done just getting pissed, I am done sitting idly by. I am done walking eggshells with Trump supporters and keeping my mouth shut because it is easier. I am done mourning for my Country. And I am most done with not speaking out about/for, or allow the persicution of people of, any color or stripe
    The Oval Office Occupier is a Grade A, First Rate, ultimate Racist and Bigot. Anyone, let me repeat and be perfectly clear so there is no mistake, Anyone who supports Trump, or any of his dispicables, stays silent or refuses to call out in protest of the vitriol is a Racist also. Pure and simple! There is not a grey area here. There are no 'whataboutisms' and Absolutely no defense for vile hate. You are either All Inclusive and accepting of all Peoples (made in God's own image- (for all you hypocritical, so-called 'christians' who are supposed to be loving the least/marginalized of us the most!) on the Earth, Or you are Exclusive. Period, end of story, good night now.
    If you do not Call out and Condemn Racism, then you are Complicit and Condone it !!! Again, no grey area here and absolutely no defense!!
    I feel I am no better than anyone else that inhabits this Earth nor do I feel I count more than anybody else. I am standing up to say I am proud to be Accepting, Open and Affirming, of all Peoples inhabiting the Earth. We of all colors and etc. Count, and We All Matter!!


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    Most state capitols have a museum that celebrates the state’s history. Connecticut’s is not very big and is tucked away inside the state archives and library building, but it has some interesting stuff to see. Some photos.

    State capitol

    State archives and library is right across the street

    Inside the museum

    Portraits of former Governors

    The Royal Charter of 1662 establishing the colony

    The 1818 state constitution

    A Connecticut state flag that went to the Moon with Apollo 15

    One of the original muskets produced by Eli Whitney with interchangeable parts

    An American copy of a Daimler gasoline engine from the 1890s

    A pair of 1894 model Gatling guns from the Spanish-American War

    A lathe and a cutter from the Pratt and Whitney Company

    Lunchbox and bottle from the Thermos Company

    Frisbies pie pan, the original model for the Frisbee

    Voting machine from 1988

    Underwood typewriter. For the youngsters in the audience, this is what we old farts used to write “letters” before computer “emails” were invented.  ;)

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    Right now we’re facing one existential crisis: Trump, the Republicans, and the White Supremacists along with the oligarchs, are trying to turn this country into South Africa during apartheid. (Yes, Godwin’s Law has been suspended, and Trump thinks Mein Kampf is an instruction manual, but for the time being I suggest that apartheid just might be a more accurate model than Nazi Germany; ie, the GOP doesn’t want to kill all non-whites when they can enslave them instead.)

    But let’s assume that somehow, in spite of dark money, Russian hacking, voter suppression, and other chicaneries, we manage to survive this assault on the very ideal of the United States. (“Ideal” because it’s a vision more often honored in the breach than in the observance, but at least it’s our stated goal.) There’s another crisis heading our way, and I don’t see any way out of it that doesn’t split the country permanently.

    By 2040, the rural, smaller, more conservative States will control >2/3 (68%) of the Senate, although they will be 30% or less of the total population.

    Two-thirds of the Senate is needed to pass a treaty and convict on impeachment. 3/5 of the Senate can block a fillibuster (assuming there still is one). 50%+1 of the Senate can block anything the House wants to pass, and can approve nominations for federal judges and executive positions. That means that 30% of the people get to rule the other 70%.

    Put it another way: The Census division estimates that in 2040 the total population will be about 380 million people. A projection of population by states in 2040 shows that the following states will account for just about half of the total: California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Illinois, and North Carolina. These are the states — especially California and New York — where all the money comes from, which are the most diverse, which have the most immigrants, which are the most urban.

    Since around 1920, more Americans live in cities than in rural areas, but now the urban-rural divide is becoming more extreme and more polarizing.

    The crisis is the product of the original urban-rural divide (actually, the large state-small state divide) that resulted in the Article I provision that every state, no matter how large or how small, shall have two Senators, and that the Senate shall be the more powerful body. Back in 1790, the population differential between the largest state (Virginia) and the smallest (Delaware) was 11.7; bad enough, but as of 2019 it’s California and Wyoming and the differential is 69.4. The 572,000 residents of Wyoming have as much power in the Senate as the almost 70 times that number who live in California (39.7 million).

    The only way to get out of this and survive as a country is to amend the Constitution to change the makeup of the Senate. Doing that means getting 2/3 of the Senate and House to agree (and the chances of Senators giving up all that power are approximately the square root of -1), and then getting three-fourths of the States to accept it (same chance). Or have a Constitutional Convention — but we don’t want to open that can of worms.

    So we can — and we should — fight to retake the Senate in 2020, along with taking back the White House and keeping the House. But that only postpones the day of reckoning. I’m open to being talked out of it, but right now I think California is going to have to become a separate country if it’s going to save itself, possibly joined by New York and a few others. (One reason we haven’t left the US over Trump is that we live in CA.)

    The Washington Post had a long article on this in July 2018 —In about 20 years, half the population will live in eight states — but otherwise I haven’t seen very much on this topic. (I was a programmer during the years leading up to Y2K and I watched complacency give way to panic.) With all the day-to-day crises, outrageousness, and distraction going on, it’s important to step back every now and then to think about long-terms problems as well.

    (Subzeroepsilon reminds me that Art. V means we can’t even amend the Constitution for this purpose without the consent of the States affected, which means unanimous consent. That makes it even more likely we’ll end up as different countries eventually.)

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    Donald Trump was 19 when these landmark bills were passed. His entire political career has been an attempt to undo the landmark civil rights legislation of the 60s, which includes the immigration act that removed the hard racial quotas for immigration which had existed before then.

    — @subirgrewal

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    John Merrill, the current Secretary of State of Alabama, recently asserted, among other bizarre and archaic ideas, that people are “too interested in homosexual activities” and that’s why he can’t find any good television. As reported by Yellowhammer News, an Alabama-based publication, Merrill went on to clarify that by good TV, he has shows like The Virginian, Bonanza, and I Love Lucy in mind.

    “That’s what we’ve allowed to happen,” he said on the loss of golden TV… and the rise of homosexuality?

    Merrill, by the way, is running in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate in 2020. Yup: Doug Jones’s seat. He’s actually one of five Republicans looking to oust Jones; the list stands at former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, Representative Bradley Byrne, former university football coach Tommy Tuberville, and lastly, state Representative Arnold Mooney.

    But back to today’s story.

    The answer came about because Merrill was participating in a town hall in Dekalb County over the weekend. One audience member asked Merrill about cultural shifts, and how our country’s principles have “eroded.” While a question that’s probably clearly coded for this sort of response, Merrill’s doesn’t shy away from hate.

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  • 07/17/19--13:40: The New Mt. Rushmore
  • The New Mt. Rushmore: Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley, Omar and Tlaib

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    My wife spotted this TED talk by Carole Cadwalladr, discussing the results of her investigations (for the Observer) into the “below the radar” and very carefully targeted Brexit “Leave” campaign, the various players in that campaign, and the connections to campaigns in the US, Europe, Myanmar, etc.  She started her investigation shortly after the leave vote by going back to South Wales where she grew up and to the town of Ebbw Vale (pronounced to my ear like “Ebbie Vale”) because they had the highest proportion of “Leave” votes at 62%.  Oddly enough, despite people she talked to saying they’d gotten nothing from membership in the EU, big chunks of local infrastructure to replace the old coal industry and aging infrastructure had been paid for with EU funds.  Despite people fearing immigrants, she only found one Polish woman there who told her that she was basically one of a very few immigrants in the town.  (I’m sure the woman must have been terrifying though — a veritable horde of … one.)

    Further investigation started uncovering hints of what was going on

    • Carefully selected “persuadables” were receiving targeted messages via Facebook (and also Google and Youtube) to create a fictitious story about the horrors of staying in the EU — only the persuadables were getting these messages.  People who might have known better were not seeing these messages, including authorities responsible for enforcing election laws
    • Funding for the campaign came from shadowy sources
    • When she took on the investigation it was initially impossible to connect the dots because of careful targeting AND the ephemeral nature of the connections — Facebook (for example)has the metadata — but wasn’t (and still isn’t) giving it to anybody

    It took a whistleblower (Christopher Wylie) to help her piece together the moving parts.  Cambridge Analytica AND Facebook threatened to sue to stop publication by the Observer (who published anyway — yay Observer!).  All this shadow infrastructure is in place and waiting to be used again (and IMHO, probably already warming up), and Facebook and the other big data tech firms are refusing to cooperate in understanding the scope of the problem or how to defend against this type of shadow messaging.

    She makes a very powerful case that the tech firms providing these powerful tools are making it impossible for liberal democracy to function.

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    Photos from the last couple days during a state Land Management Review of Florida public lands — Panhandle edition.


    The cover photo is Purple Passionvine and then I found a Maypop — the regional name for the fruit of the Passionvine. This was in a restored area with baby Longleaf pines. Converting old silviculture to Longleaf is a big push in this area of the state. With Longleaf as they grow and prescribed fire is implemented on a 2-3 cycle that mimics nature, you end up with all the herbaceous plants that should be there — not a monoculture of Loblolly, Sand or Slash pine.

    Here’s one flower just forming..


    Ahhh —at the moment, late afternoon in Tallahassee, and the usual rain has started. So much for drying all the clothes I wore the last 3 days during these reviews in very Hot ‘n Humid days. My fancy solar dryer doesn’t always work right ;)

    The first day we saw lots of Butterflyweed in the sunnier areas where it is burned every 2-3 years.

    Zebra Longwing.

    I posted this in comments the day before. Didn’t really take all the photos I usually would since that was not the purpose. But, I know where to go back to, and less than 10 miles from my place.

    another DYC to figure out...

    On the way home I stopped on the back road right across from the Flying J truck stop. Help ID the young bird plz. There it was in the middle of the road….


     I thought it was grabbing bugs off the pavement so I stopped and starting shooting thru the windshield and — you guys know the technique — get the first and then creep in and get another and another. I got close enough so that it decided to turn and head back...


    but then it got to the shoulder and stopped.  A juvie I assume, the size of a Cattle Egret but the bill is much longer.

    So I did 2 LMRs over the 3 days and covered a whole bunch of land around the man-made Lake Talquin. Totally appreciate the state workers, underpaid, understaffed, and dedicated.

    That’s all for this late bucket, see ya in the comments :)

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    Trump now claims he’s an agent against antisemitism. Are you not distracted?

    This Trumpian noise has the same logic as medical professionals withholding care or service because their ideology, granted legitimacy by various sky-fairies, says they can faithfully reject human rights.

    Trump talking about civility (“bad words”), forever rings hollow.











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  • 07/17/19--14:22: The I word game
  • Trump has railed against Democrats “bringing up the I word” in reference to him and his presidency. Which got me thinking about a  game in which the participants take turns coming up with words that fit the category and are applicable to Trump.

    Warning! Do not use this as a drinking game! Carries high risk of alcohol poisoning!

    To wit:
    illegible (his signature looks like the EEG of a meth head)
    incandescently orange
    ichthyotic (as in fishy)
    illegitimately elected
    And hopefully, one day, incarcerated.

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    Former GOP Rep. Claudia Tenney spoke for the first time in months about her 2020 plans, and she not only said that she was still considering a rematch with freshman Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi in New York’s 22nd District, she added that she was “leaning closer to running.” Tenney, who lost the seat to Brindisi 51-49 last year, also said the NRCC encouraged her to run because “[t]hey know that I am the only one who can win it.”

    That’s a truly ludicrous thing for anyone to believe given what happened back in November. This upstate seat backed Donald Trump by a wide 55-39 margin, making it the Trumpiest seat that a House Republican managed to lose in 2018. In fact, of the 235 Democratic-held House seats in the nation, the only Trumpier one is Minnesota’s 7th, which has been represented by Rep. Collin Peterson for decades. According to Bloomberg’s Greg Giroux, Republican gubernatorial nominee Marc Molinaro also carried New York’s 22nd by a wide 56-36 margin as Tenney was losing, so she managed to alienate quite a few conservative voters.

    Indeed, Tenney had a knack for attracting plenty of bad headlines for herself during the campaign. In just one of many examples, she hurled hoary anti-Italian slurs at Brindisi last year by saying his father had represented "some of the worst criminals in our community" who were members of "organized crime"—in other words, mafia figures. In September she doubled down on line of attack, a very bad strategy in a seat where one in seven residents are of Italian descent.

    If Tenney runs, she’ll need to get through a primary against Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell, who announced in early July at the start of the new fundraising quarter, before she can get another shot at Brindisi. A few other Republicans are running, but none of them look particularly formidable right now. Perennial candidate George Phillips had just $54,000 to spend at the end of June, though that’s still better thanteacher Franklin Sager, who had exactly zero cents on-hand. Brindisi had $771,000 in the bank to defend this seat.

    Want more great elections coverage like this? Sign up for our free daily newsletter, the Morning Digest.

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    Ninety percent of Americans will experience temperatures of 90 degrees or above this week, as a record-breaking heat wave begins its onslaught throughout the central and eastern United States.

    This particular heatwave is notably heedless of any political affiliation, as residents from Oklahoma to Massachusetts will be impacted by it.  The “heat index” ( how the temperature “feels” to the human body when the air temperature is combined with the relative humidity) during this particular heat wave will range from 100-110 degrees “from the Plains to the Great Lakes and the Middle Atlantic to NYC,” according to BAM Weather Meteorologist Ryan Maue.

    Additionally, 123 new records for the warmest daily low temperature are forecast to be broken or tied this week, according to the National Weather Service. But eventually, possibly within a week, those temperatures are expected to revert back to their seasonal norms, at least for a little while, bringing people some relief from the searing, debilitating heat.

    In two or three decades, however, those temperatures will not revert.  They will not drop. Those heat index temperatures will stay in the high 90’s and 100’s, in some parts of this country, for up to months on end.

    If you think it's hot now, just wait awhile.

    As the globe warms in the years ahead, days with extreme heat are forecast to skyrocket across hundreds of U.S. cities, a new study suggests, perhaps even breaking the "heat index."

    “Our analysis shows a hotter future that’s hard to imagine today,” study co-author Kristina Dahl, a climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in a statement. “Nearly everywhere, people will experience more days of dangerous heat in the next few decades."

    Assuming the planet continues to warm at its current pace, and assuming nothing is done on a national or multinational level to slow that pace, hundreds of U.S. cities are expected to see month-long stretches of 100 degree “heat index” days by mid-century, according to a widely-reported study released this week by the peer-reviewed journal, Environmental Research Communications. The study is part of a larger report prepared by the Union of Concerned Scientists, also published this week, and is the first study that takes the “heat index” into account in determining the impacts of global warming. The study sets forth its findings assuming no significant action is taken to curb greenhouse gas emissions, or assuming that some, limited action is taken.

    The study’s conclusions are sobering. Even if some steps are taken to curtail carbon dioxide emissions, the number of days in which the heat index exceeds 100 degrees throughout the lower 48 states is expected to double. If no action is taken, the outcome will be worse, and possibly “incalculable.”

    On some days, conditions would be so extreme that they'd exceed the upper limit of the heat index, rendering it "incalculable," the study predicts.

    “We have little to no experience with ‘off-the-charts’ heat in the U.S.,” said Erika Spanger-Siegfried, lead climate analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists and report co-author. “These conditions occur at or above a heat index of 127 degrees, depending on temperature and humidity. Exposure to conditions in that range makes it difficult for human bodies to cool themselves and could be deadly.”

    One of the concerns raised is that some of the states (such as states in the upper Midwest and Northeast) that will be effected do not have an infrastructure in place to cope with such extreme heat events (the study also comes with an interactive map and search tool which allows users to determine the average posited heat index for a given region). As for the states that already experience severe heat conditions, the temperatures are forecast to be significantly higher than they have ever experienced. As explained in Inside Climate News:

    For example, states like Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island have averaged only about a week out of every year with a heat index of 90°F or higher, the study says. But by midcentury, even with some action taken to reduce emissions, that number jumps to more than a month. For historically hot states, like Florida or Texas, the number of days hitting 100°F or higher on the heat index jumps to more than 100.

    (emphasis supplied)

    That would be the equivalent of over three months of 100-plus degree “heat index” days. Or an entire summer in the states of Florida and Texas.  Does anyone in those states want to live through that, year after year?

    “Our future promises a hotter climate; there is no way to avoiding that outcome,’’ the analysis said. “It is not a future the children of the 21st century will choose for themselves. The rest of us choose for them.’’

    So, yet again, for the record, while Donald Trump is fiddling away our future and wasting our precious time with his vile, racist Tweets, we will all get a small reminder this week of what’s in store for us if we do not stop the continuous dumping of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. 

    Man-made global warming, aka climate change, is caused by the burning of fossil fuels such as gas, coal and oil, which emit greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane into the atmosphere. This extra CO2 causes temperatures of the atmosphere and oceans to rise to levels that cannot be explained by natural factors, scientists say.

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    Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is a branch of economic thinking among progressives which is challenging the conventional macroeconomic wisdom regarding federal deficits, monetary and fiscal policy. At the same time, it has been discussed as a possible solution to funding major social initiatives such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. Although criticized as unrealistic by some on Wall Street and the Fed, MMT has drawn the attention of Congress as well as Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street money managers. The most visible discussion of MMT has been in the academic and political arena. Stephanie Kelton, a Professor of Economics at Stony Brook University, has been a leading public proponent of MMT. Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have spoken in favor of MMT. [It should be noted that Professor Kelton was an advisor to the Sanders campaign].

    Traditional economic theory has assumed that federal budget deficits and the national debt are generally bad things except in recessionary periods, and should be controlled through spending limits and balanced budgets. The “deficit hawks” believe that government deficits will (a) cause interest rates to rise since government Treasury debt will be competing with private debt (known as “crowding out”); (b) excessive deficits will lead to high inflation; and (c) the government risks defaulting on their debt if it becomes too burdensome to service. If we compare the US debt as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to other countries, it is among several with debt exceeding 100% of GDP. However, it ranks far below Japan, whose national debt is over 230% of its GDP. Japan’s deficit and economic resilience is cited by MMT proponents that larger deficits are manageable. It should also be noted that deficits in the United States have occurred in both Republican and Democratic administrations, starting with consistently high deficits during the Reagan administration.

    What about the Fed and monetary policy under MMT? Mainstream economics holds that in addition to controlling deficits, the Federal Reserve should if necessary, raise interest rates to fight inflation and protect the US dollar versus other currencies. In the Fed’s view, inflation is primarily demand-driven by an overheated labor market and strong economic growth.

    MMT is based on the principle that the US government has the power to print money. Since the dollar is sovereign, the government cannot default, i.e. it can’t run out of money. In this scenario, the government can continually inject money into the economy. Deficits do matter under MMT, but its main concern is that deficits will cause hyperinflation, or acceleration of prices in the economy. However, inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), has been increasing at only a 1.5% annual rate since 2008, a much slower rate than in past periods such as in the late 1970s. The main inflation concern for MMT proponents is not from aggregate demand being too high, but from higher prices from firms with market power and from supply side impacts such as the high cost of health care and spikes in energy prices.

    MMT sees  the Fed as keeping interest rates near zero. The main MMT macroeconomic tool is fiscal policy (taxes and spending) as well as regulation. For example, higher taxes can help control inflation while transferring dollars to the government for future spending. In addition to taxes, MMT suggests that regulations, in the form of tightened credit standards and regulation of monopolies, can help stabilize inflation. The most striking (and controversial) MMT policy prescription is a Job Guarantee (JG) for all citizens as an economic buffer and as an alternative to unemployment when the economy slows. The JG harkens back to the government jobs program under FDR in the 1930s. Will the JG lead to high inflation? MMT believes that people working under the JG won’t demand higher wages, though others disagree.

    MMT has been advocated by its supporters as a means of helping to pay for programs such as Medicare for All (MFA) and the Green New Deal (GND). Deficits do matter under MMT, but in an environment of low inflation, deficits should not be as much of a constraint on spending as traditional economics believes. The Ocasio-Cortez proposal for the Green New Deal does propose as part of its financing, raising the marginal tax rate on incomes over $10 million to over 70% to help pay for the program. The 70% marginal rate is actually lower than the top rates under the Eisenhower Administration, which were over 90%. Several academic studies which account for the impact of tax policy by tax base, occupation and income bracket argue for an optimal tax rate in excess of 70%.

    Despite controversy over its principles (which have been at least partly politically driven) It appears that MMT will gain traction both as economic policy and  in Wall Street, going forward, due to: (a) inflation remaining at relatively low levels; (b) the likelihood that central banks will continue to lower and maintain interest rates toward or even below zero; (c) the convergence of US political parties in the thinking that deficits which fund spending priorities are more permissible in the current environment; and d) continuing concerns about underlying deficiencies in the labor market, including underemployment and income inequality.

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    I have always been a fan of Science Fiction, but sometimes science fact  can be a bit worrisome:

    From the Guardian. by Julia Carrie Wong

    Elon Musk’s secretive “brain-machine interface” startup, Neuralink, stepped out of the shadows on Tuesday evening, revealing its progress in creating a wireless implantable device that can – theoretically – read your mind.


    Two years later, Neuralink claims to have achieved major advances toward Musk’s goal of having human and machine intelligence work in “symbiosis”. Neuralink says it has designed very small “threads”– smaller than a human hair – that can be injected into the brain to detect the activity of neurons. It also says it has developed a robot to insert those threads in the brain, under the direction of a neurosurgeon.

    “I think this is going to be important at a civilization-wide scale,” Musk said at the event. “Even under a benign AI, we will be left behind. With a high bandwidth brain-machine interface, we will have the option to go along for the ride.”

    “We definitely need to address the elephant in the room, the monkey in the room,” Musk joked. “A monkey has been able to control the computer with his brain. Just, FYI.”


    And Elon has been worried about A.I.    How’s he feel about Cyborgs?

     Yes , I know this is a serious subject, worthy of a better diary, but this is what I got. Feel free to do a better one. I promise I’ll read it.

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  • 07/17/19--14:52: Trump... 4th Reich coming?
  • ...New York Times Publisher Calls Out President Trump’s “Dangerous” Tweets In WSJ Op-Ed

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    The vast majority of people alive today only know a world fueled by oil. Because of its abundance and usefulness as an energy source, oil has driven industrialization of many a country, has been the key energy source in globalization, and has often dominated world politics. The Era of Oil is, however, about to end, due to the advent of modern, technologically-advanced electric vehicles that can easily utilize clean energy from renewable energy, especially from solar power.

    Here’s why BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) will cause the extinction of ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles :

    • BEVs can easily utilize clean energy from renewable energy sources. As electricity on the grid gets cleaner, so do BEVs. ICE vehicles, on the other hand, cannot easily utilize this clean energy source and are only making slow advances at getting cleaner, due to being a very mature technology. While you can install solar power on your roof and then charge your car with sunlight, you’re not going to be able to have a gas station in your back yard.

    • Batteries still have a lot of room for improvement. BEVs thus are still at an early stage of the cost and tech curve. It is therefore virtually inevitable that BEVs will become better and cheaper with time, while ICE vehicles are having a very hard time becoming more efficient without raising costs. The current downward cost curve for batteries strongly resembles the one previously seen with solar power, which has now become the cheapest source for new electricity generation in most of the world’s countries. For this reason, BEVs are set to become the most economical form of land transportation in the near future.
    Photo by Tommi Aittala
    BMW i3 charging on street
    • BEVs have a tremendous potential for ease of use, ie. one can refuel them wherever electricity is available. All one has to do is plug in while at home, work, or shopping. While this is still a weakness for those who live in apartments where charging is not currently available, this will improve greatly as more charging spots become available. The days of having to drive to the gas station are coming to an end.

    • BEVs have far less moving parts than ICE vehicles, so they will end up requiring considerably less maintenance, in addition to requiring less service. All those pesky and sometimes unreliable oil changes and cooling fluid changes will go out the window. Due to regenerative braking in electric vehicles, you can also expect considerably longer intervals between brake repairs.

    • There is a very strong incentive for countries with limited or no oil reserves to push for BEVs, as this reduces oil imports and has a considerable potential to make these countries far more energy-independent. This is especially true for developing nations, where the health of their economies is often dependent on a low oil price. The incentive is even higher in countries like China and India, where the external cost of heavy pollution from ICE vehicles remains a serious problem in large cities.

    • Battery Electric Vehicles already are considerably more efficient than ICE vehicles and will only improve as they progress on the technology curve. While ICE vehicles waste lots of their energy potential through waste heat and inefficiency of power transmission, BEVs have little energy-transmission loss and produce very little waste heat.

    • Unlike ICE vehicles, battery electric vehicles produce very little local pollution. Expect cities, states, and countries that are struggling to reduce toxic air pollutants like nitrogen oxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, and particulates to increasingly push for vehicle electrification.
    Photo by Tommi Aittala
    Emmy rideshare electric scooter
    • There is a considerable “fun factor” with electric vehicles. Because of their direct power transmission, they accelerate much faster than comparable ICE vehicles. Due to their low center of gravity, they are also less likely to fly out of a curve or roll over.

    • Last but not least, BEVs cause much less noise pollution than ICE vehicles. Would you rather live next to a busy road with only BEVs driving on it or one with noisy motors assaulting your hearing?

    Vested corporate interests and their pet politicians have been spending lots of money and energy on preventing, or at least delaying, vehicle electrification, despite it being clear to informed observers that large-scale vehicle electrification is inevitable. With visionary companies like Tesla already proving that Battery Electric Vehicles can be as good, or better, than Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles, it’s only a matter of time before other automobile manufacturers go all-in with the mass production of BEVs.

    It’s no accident that Motor Trend named the Tesla Model S the most influential “Car of the Year” ever. Don’t be surprised to soon see BEVs becoming dominant in the “Car of the Year” awards of virtually all automobile magazines.

    Crossposted at Medium

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    Professor Marc Lamont Hill, a progressive activist of color, who lost his job at CNN for standing up for Palestine, is now once again under attack! He is being accused anti-Semitism because he pointed out that some news network blatantly produce pro-Israel propaganda under the guise of news. The REAL “fake news media,” aka the alt-right media, is saying things like this:

    Former CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill said certain news outlets were “Zionist organizations” that produced “Zionist content."

    Here is the truth:


    Progressives of color are coming under attack from Drumpf, the media, especially God forbid should they support Palestine. Americans only support Israel because of Islamophobia, that Israelis are white and Palestinians are brown; as well as they hate Muslims more than Jews, not for any other reasons. 

    Let’s stand with Marc!!

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    When I turned 65 I had a choice to make — regular Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan. The choice is between a government-administered plan or one administered by a private insurance company.  I chose Medicare because it seemed to offer more flexibility — for starters, I could choose to remain with my current health care provider.  I have been happy with my choice.  I’ve never had a problem with Medicare rejecting a claim, payments are made fairly promptly, and my insurance has been accepted in various states when I have traveled and found the need to see a doctor.  I do have supplementary insurance to help cover the 20% that Medicare doesn’t pay.  

    My brother, who considers me just short of being a communist, doesn’t trust the government so naturally he has a Medicare Advantage plan.  He has had health issues and cannot always see the best doctor for his ailments and has hassled with payments.  I cannot seem to convince him to switch because….. you know, bureaucrats in D.C.

    Now a new report on NPR points out another problem with these private insurance plans.  They cheat!  They have overcharged Medicare by nearly $30 billion over the past three years alone.  The report states that:

    Officials have known for years that some Medicare Advantage plans overbill the government by exaggerating how sick their patients are or by charging Medicare for treating serious medical conditions they cannot prove their patients have.

    Getting the money back has proven extremely difficult.  Under pressure from lobbying efforts by the private insurers, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has folded again and again.

    The whole sordid tale is laid out here:

    Unfortunately, these plans have enrolled over 22 million seniors, about one in three people on Medicare.  And by continuing to cheat, they are bleeding money from a very good government program.

    To me, this is one more reason to boot the private insurers from our health care.  Profit should not be the number one factor in a national health care system.  As Joe Biden says, a Medicare for All would change Medicare.  Yes, it would eliminate that 20% currently not covered.  It would add services such as prescription drugs, eye and dental.  It would eliminate the hassle of annually choosing a plan and fights with private insurers.  It would eliminate medical bankruptcies.  

    Those of us on Medicare are grateful for the peace of mind it provides.  It’s not perfect but can be improved.  And we want everyone to share in its benefits. 

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    With all of the outrages perpetrated by Republicans every day on every front it is easy to miss the forest for the trees.  When Trump attacks the press as “fake news” he is not pressuring them to be nice to him or trying to fend off their criticisms, he is signalling to his base who they should or should not listen to.   He really could care less what anyone outside his base has to say about him.

    When McConnell violates every Senate norm to stack the courts with far right judges who openly reject 150 years of legal precedent he is not shifting the courts to the right, he is throwing out the laws that have been written over that period of time.  When conservatives talk about “originalist” interpretation of the law they are saying that any laws passed after the signing of the Constitution are basically illegal.  So say goodbye to labor, civil rights and environmental law.

    When McConnell shuts down lawmaking, when state legislators and governors gerrymander their states and throw Democratic voters off voter roles, when McConnell stops efforts to protect elections from foreign hacking, they are not simply tying the hands of the Democrats, they are rendering our government inoperative in order to shut it down.   And they are asking for help from our enemies abroad to do so.

    Meanwhile, by gutting regulatory law and authority they are setting up the libertarian corporatocracy they have always envisioned to operate in place of our government.  They are “drowning government in a bathtub” and giving free reign to a plutocracy run by the likes of the Kochs, Mercers, Adelsons, and so on.

    The Republicans are not playing the same game that we are playing.  Neither are they playing by the same set of rules.  They are engaged in open rebellion against the United States and are intent upon sidelining our government, rendering it obsolete and irrelevant in favor of an autocracy with a Machiavellian madman at the helm.

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  • 07/17/19--15:40: Lemme Tell Ya a Story...
  • Once upon a time there was a kid who went down a path that led him into darkness, misery, exultation, excitement, disappointment, stress, anger, and obsession. The path was the study of American politics, which ruined much of his life. The kid also studied history, which became his dominant interest. He grew up and became a teacher, and most people seemed to think he was pretty good at it. He loved being in the classroom. But he never took his eye off of American politics, which proved to be his ultimate downfall.

    During his tumultuous life his own views zigged and zagged between center-Right and center-Left. When the Republican Party began to be taken over by religious zealots and unyielding fanatics, he fled it, never to look back. And he finally recognized that the Republicans had become something he absolutely despised and hated: The Confederate Party. In the bad old days, the southern Democratic party had held that title, but beginning in 1964 it began to shift to the Republicans, who welcomed the despicable Strom Thurmond with open arms. Any party that raised the likes of Jesse Helms up high was not his. The scales finally fell from his eyes. He wondered why it had taken so long.

    He became a Democratic activist, a title he has held for 27 years. He happily embraced the program of the Democratic Party, which struck him as eminently sane, desirable, humane, and practical. But he noticed certain tendencies in his adopted party that disturbed him. He began to look at his party’s history, and he found troubling things.

    In 1968, in an America fearful of crime, disturbed by civil unrest, and convulsed by the Vietnam war, the Democratic Party was bitterly divided. Large numbers of the more liberal wing of the party either didn’t vote for the party’s nominee, Hubert Humphrey, or supported him tepidly. Richard Nixon won a narrow victory. The U.S. stayed in Vietnam four more years, and it was later revealed that Nixon had sabotaged a possible settlement to the war. A million people died because of that sabotage. With Nixon came a host of names that were to plague us for decades: Cheney, Rehnquist, Rumsfeld, Ailes, and more. In a sense, America never really recovered from Nixon. And Nixon crept into office because his supporters cared more than Humphrey’s did.

    In 1972 the Democrats were the targets of Republican dirty tricks. These dirty tricks were aimed at putting the weakest Democrat on the national ticket to oppose Nixon. They helped tip the balance just enough that the Democrats nominated George McGovern, a profoundly decent man who was well to the left of most Americans. McGovern’s campaign was run by bumbling, incompetent amateurs who allowed McGovern to be caricatured and lied about without a decent counterattack. In November 1972 war criminal Nixon won a huge reelection victory. It was an American tragedy.

    In the years that followed,  the political junkie noticed that many Democrats demanded that the party’s nominee conform 100% to their own views, and if the nominee did not, the nominee wasn’t supported. Sometimes such people voted for third party candidates like John Anderson. Sometimes they voted for people like Ross Perot (although Perot drew support from many parts of the political spectrum). Sometimes they voted for the Green Party. In 2000, such people ignored the most pro-environment candidate in American history, Al Gore, to vote for the wretched narcissist Ralph Nader. That made the result close enough for the Republicans to steal in the coup d’etat of 2000, and everyone saw what happened next—the disastrous Bush-Cheney administration, which did such grievous damage to the Republic.

    In 2016 he again saw the ideological purists turn their backs, this time on Hillary Clinton, and just enough of the purists didn’t vote or voted for third party candidates to allow a vile criminal to squeak into office, bringing with him a nightmare collection of racists, ideological fanatics, grifters, and Dominionists. The very survival of the U.S. was called into question. Some of the purists had even argued that Trump’s coming to power would hasten the “political revolution” that would lead to the ultimate victory of the Left. The political junkie wondered how anyone could be that stupid, that blind, and that delusional.

    But the political junkie noticed it wasn’t just the demand for political purity that repeatedly sabotaged the Democrats’ chances: it was the fact that a lot of people who sympathized with the Democrats never even bothered to vote. Young people, voters aged 18-29, tended to overwhelmingly support Democratic ideas. Their voting rate was shockingly low. Many older white middle class and lower class voters couldn’t be bothered to vote either, even though Republican positions were deadly to their own interests. And people of color met with barriers to participation in many places. They overcame many of these barriers, but too many of them despaired and gave up the idea of voting. Over 86,000,000 eligible voters skipped 2016; some 100,000,000 eligible voters skipped 2018. Survey after survey noted the wide gap between the views of all adults and the views of adults who were likely voters. The political junkie realized something crucially important:

    If the Democratic Party could mobilize these huge masses of non-voters, the Republican Party would not only be voted out of power, it would be crushed thoroughly enough to render it powerless for many years. 

    So the political junkie, who had been a member of the biggest progressive website for many years, became a nag, a pest, a broken record, a Johnny One-Note. Over and over again, with mind-numbing repetition, he pushed voter registration and Get-Out-the-Vote tactics. He begged people to not demand ideological purity from Democratic candidates. He urged people to see the Democratic Party as a Big Tent. He tried to make it clear that the very survival of America was at stake. He urged campaigners and canvassers to seek out voters individually, and to seek out huge numbers of them. Why? Because he knew in his heart that this was the path to victory.

    So he once more urged this on his friends and allies on the website. He respected them and knew that they were the hardcore of Democratic activists in America. It was from this nucleus of activists that a mighty campaign of national mobilization would emerge. He had all his emotional chips on the line. He was betting everything he had. It was the only way he knew how to live.

    And every day, he awoke more determined than ever to win the whole stack.

    Why Am I a GOTV Fanatic? Come Take a Look at This.

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    As expected. 




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    Not sure what got into the Courier-Journal’s coffee, but they had a lot of political news today.

    FRANKFORT — Boosted by big bundles of Wall Street contributions, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's reelection committee took in more than $3 million during the recent quarter that ended June 30.

    The biggest blocks of contributions during the period came from two global financial services firms based in New York: 29 people with Blackstone Group made contributions totaling $95,400; and 14 executives of KKR & Co. are listed as giving a combined $51,000.

    According to this report, only 9% of McConnell’s campaign funds came from Kentucky donors.

    Oh, and who is the Blackstone Group?  They are basically a hedge fund.  They have primarily given to Republicans, but they also contributed to Hillary Clinton’s 2018 campaign.  And according to In These Times, they are slum lords and shadow bankers.  And Blackstone Group got $20 billion dollars in investments from the Saudis.

    And KKR is the same group that brought us leveraged buyouts in the 80’s and 90’s.  They were direclty involved with the RJR-Nabisco leveraged buyout.

    • A well known and liberal radio host, Matt Jones, has been taken off the air for now.  Jones has expressed interest in taking on McConnell next year, and he is letting it be known that this “leave of absence” wasn’t his idea.

    LEX 18's General Manager Pat Dalbey announced on Tuesday that Jones is taking a leave of absence as host of "Hey Kentucky!" as he considers entering the Democratic primary for a chance to take on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

    Dalbey did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Jones expressed disappointment with the station's decision in a tweet and suggested other contenders may have been behind his removal.

    "I disagree with this decision but It is what it is," he said. "I still love @hey_kentucky and will return if I do not run. I am disappointed that candidates who raise massive amounts of money are then scared of allowing a person to do his regular job he created. But alas, here we are."

    In case you are wondering, he is talking about Amy McGrath pulling strings to get him placed on leave.  Whether or not this is true, Jones has been critical of McGrath’s campaign.  Jones has said that what helped McGrath in her previous run for the 6th Congressional District was her “authenticity.”  Her recent fuck up about “I would have voted for Kavanaugh for SCOTUS” then “I would not have voted for Kavanaugh” statements seriously dented her authenticity.  And Jones didn’t pull any punches on her campaign strategy:

    “I think she has let the national Democratic Party and the consultants consult her to death. They have literally taken the personality out of her,” Jones said. “I would say to Amy McGrath, be Amy McGrath. Because at the end of the day if you’re Amy McGrath and you lose, then you can look in the mirror and say look I did it. If you’re this person they created... you’re gonna lose and you’re gonna feel bad.”

    And Jones has an excellent point on the national Democratic Party.  I’ve written about how the national Democratic political consultants have gotten Kentucky wrong.  I was told by John Yarmuth in 2006 that the national Democratic Party insisted that he take on their political consultants.  Yarmuth refused and ran his own campaign.  Everyone said that Yarmuth was too liberal even for Louisville.  And Rahm Emanuel refused to give him money, but Emanuel spent millions on two Blue Dogs running for election in the 2nd and 4th Congressional Districts.

    Yarmuth won and the two Blue Dogs were defeated.  And Yarmuth has been easily reelected every since.

    I’ll admit that I am open to the idea of Matt Jones running in the Democratic Primary for the U.S. Senate. 

    • Republican Governor Matt Bevin and his Democratic challenger met at the Kentucky Farm Bureau, and they took to throwing verbal punches at each other.  The differences between the two are both personal and political.  

    And everyone has already heard about our fiscal deficit hypocrite Rand Paul’s actions on 9/11 responders compensation fund.

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    So what’s up, neighbor?

    Something smells good!

    Any fixin’s to share?

    Scary Tweet of the week


    Good Question— 


    4 Great Candidates!






    There’s an Emu on the Loose!


    Escaped emu eluding capture in Orange, Chatham counties

    The most emu-sing story you'll read today: Wild bird spotted around Orange County  [NC]

    ...Once animal services sends officers to the locations of the sightings however, the emu has been very hard to track down because of how fast it moves, Fox said. Animal services is worried about the safety of the emu, especially in the heat of the summer in North Carolina, Fox said.

    The best case for capturing the animal safely would be for it to be contained somehow, either in a place with natural barriers or in a pasture, Fox said.

    “There was a pig in Carrboro that was loose recently, and he walked into a dog park, into the fenced area, and some nice citizen was kind enough to just close the gate,” Fox said. “That’s how our officers got there and were able to corral him into a trailer without much trouble, because he was in a contained area. But even he was pretty fast, and I think this emu is faster.”


    Fox said an emu on the run is a rare occurrence in Orange County.  “If (a lost emu) has happened it was a very long time ago, like probably over a decade,” Fox said. “This is not something we deal with a lot.”

    And Finally—





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    CNN pimps its coverage, perhaps because Daniel Dale will do the fact-checking. Will post his tweets when they become available. This type of speech is nearly always covered by RW livestream on YouTube.









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    Absolutely no one and I mean no one is dumber than a democratic consultant. Trump is now gloating that Dems and Repubs OVERWHELMINGLY voted against his impeachment. Just brilliant strategy on Pelosi’s part. LMAO.

    Donald J. TrumpVerified account @realDonaldTrump

    The United States House of Representatives has just overwhelmingly voted to kill the Resolution on Impeachment, 332-95-1. This is perhaps the most ridiculous and time consuming project I have ever had to work on. Impeachment of your President, who has led the....

    Actually some good might come out of this. First of all 95 Dems voted for it and the other Dems  who are afraid of their own shadows are now on record and I have little doubt their quiet little lives have been changed. Mueller next week and then August recess so constituents can hammer the hell out of these feckless representatives.

    Sorry, just gotta’ laugh. Pelosi’s strategy now has Trump gloating about how Dems have exonerated him because they voted down impeachment. He’s got his campaign slogan all ready to go. Nice work Dems !!! Why not just forfeit the coming election, be easier than dragging us through this insanity.

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    Sometimes you have to think outside the box if you want to come up with new effective medical therapies. For instance, for years doctors said that multiple sclerosis an autoimmune disease must be triggered by an infection that triggered an antibody effect. They sited as proof the fact that MS was rare in the (warm) South and more common in the (cold) north, where people were more likely to get respiratory infections. However in recent years MS began to strike those who grew up in the South, too. Were southerners becoming more like northerners? What did kids in the old South used to do that their northern neighbors did not? Answer: run around barefoot half the year picking up parasitic infections such as hookworm.  Nowadays, kids everywhere wear shoes when they play outdoors. It is more hygienic. But what if our inbred immune system that is designed to protect us from common diseases that plagued our ancestors like hookworm, trichinosis and strep do not like all this good hygiene? What if those natural immune factors that have nothing to fight start looking around for other things to fight—-like our own body tissue? This is an example of thinking outside the usual medical box. The study of controlled infections used to fight certain autoimmune disorders has shown promise.

    I would like to propose another kind of thinking outside the usual medical box. For years, those who have warned about the health effects of Agent Orange, the defoliant  used in Vietnam as well as at home have focused on the direct toxic effects of the plant killing chemicals which include two herbicides as well as trace amounts of dioxin, a necessary contaminant to the manufacture of one of the compounds. A direct toxin that builds up in your body tissue and poisons you for the rest of your life? Scary. Almost as scary as the thought of catching a cold and getting MS. What can you do for that kind of disease except suffer the associated illnesses—-like diabetes, neuropathy, genital-urinary cancers —and file a claim to up your disability rating when one of these diseases occurs?

    Before you accept your fate as an Agent Orange or dioxin victim, consider the possibility that these  chemicals might have an effect on the all important bowel flora—-all those healthy gut bacteria that we now know protect  us against asthma, allergies,eczema,obesity,diabetes, colitis and a host of other illnesses. And bowel flora can be replaced. True, if your body has stored up a chemical that is toxic to certain desirable bowel flora, you might have to replace the good bacteria continuously. But given the safety of probiotics and the misery of Agent Orange associated illness, it is worth a try.

    Here are some links.…  how dioxin disrupts gut flora…  a review article on the impact of changes in gut flora on human health… an article about how patients with diabetic foot ulcers experienced more rapid wound healing as well as better glucose and lipid control…  a gastroenterologists guide to probiotics.

    Also check out studies about how changes in the ratio of certain bowel bacteria are associated with diabetes and obesity. Does the diabetes cause the change or does the way that altered bowel environment affects the way we absorb nutrients cause the diabetes? 

    I am not saying that this a certain cure. But I think it should be tested. Especially given the ease and safety of doing probiotic studies for a condition that has no known treatment. 

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    Short diary. From Media Matters.

    CALLER: Republicans can nominate a young, potentially two-term president, one that believes in fiscal conservatism. We’re gonna have-- In 2019, there’s gonna be a $1 trillion dollar deficit. Trump doesn’t really care about that. He’s not really a fiscal conservative. We don't, we have to acknowledge that Trump has been cruelly used.

    RUSH LIMBAUGH (HOST): Nobody is a fiscal conservative anymore. All this talk about concern for the deficit and the budget has been bogus for as long as it’s been around.

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  • 07/17/19--16:38: AK Governor Does Not Agree

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy proposed sweeping budget cuts Wednesday that he said are necessary to resolve an ongoing deficit. Critics called his plan reckless and said it would devastate key services such as education.……

    Gov Dunleavy is disastrous to the state.  My husband and I still have friends and family there.  If we had not moved to Hawaii for retirement, we would move now!   The University has a number of programs relating to climate change that may be deleted.

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    In America, we have a violence problem. Every time there is a mass shooting, Republicans send “thoughts and prayers,” and reporters say that the survivors are “searching for answers.”

    Those answers hardly ever seem to include any accountability for gunmakers or gun dealers. Though maybe with Parkland, things are starting to change in that direction.

    The problem must be that our movies and TV shows are just too violent. In The Matrix, Neo (Keanu Reeves) says he’s going to need lots of guns, and then shelves and shelves filled with guns and rifles magically appear.

    Without that movie, it would have never occurred to the Columbine shooters that, even if they couldn’t get their hands on that many guns, they could still get more guns than any genuine hunting enthusiast would want or need.

    That was more or less the thinking back then, when the V-chip was still a new thing. Movie ratings have been around since 1968, but TV show ratings had to wait thirty years.

    The way it worked was that broadcasters would transmit, along with the video and audio signals, a rating code, corresponding to ratings like the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) gives movies.

    The ratings are:

    • TV-Y— This program is appropriate for all children.
    • TV-Y7— This program is appropriate for older children.
    • TV-Y7 FV— This program is appropriate for older children, but it contains “fantasy violence.”
    • TV-G— This program is appropriate for a general audience, from children and adolescents to adults.
    • TV-PG— Parental guidance suggested.
    • TV-14— Parents strongly cautioned. Children under 14 should not watch without an adult.
    • TV-MA— Mature audiences only. Children under 17 should not watch at all.

    The last three ratings can be modified with one to four modifiers from this set (listed here in alphabetical order):

    • D— Suggestive dialogue
    • L— Coarse language
    • S— Sexual situations
    • V— Intense violence

    As you probably know, the MPAA has a board that assigns movie ratings. This sometimes led to strange things like Klingons’ pink blood, but at least there is a single central authority.

    With TV ratings, the responsibility seems to be split among producers and broadcasters, occasionally leading to two different ratings for the same episode of a show.

    Then, theoretically, parents can activate the V-chip on their TVs and direct it, for example, to not show TV shows rated TV-14 or TV-MA. It can get even more nuanced than that, if desired. Like maybe TV-PG is allowed as long as it doesn’t have the V modifier, for example.

    I don’t know if the modifiers can be switched around, for example, to indicate that one of these is higher priority than the others, such as for example an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit with a lot of sexual situations but hardly any violence might be TV-14 SV.

    News and sports are exempt from these ratings. Though with Trump these days, maybe newscasts should be rated TV-14 DLSV.

    Studies show that very few parents actually activated the V-chips on their TVs. The few who did usually found the V-chip more restrictive than they expected.

    When I first thought about doing this open thread a couple of weeks ago, I started to write down the ratings of episodes of the various Star Trek series aired on the Heroes & Icons (H & I) digital TV channel as part of their “All Star Trek” line-up.

    Then I stopped because it seemed that pretty much episodes of Star Trek (the original series), Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager are always TV-PG, while Star Trek: Enterprise is always TV-PG DV.

    However, I noticed for one episode of Star Trek, the TV-G logo appeared at the beginning of the program, but my TV’s Display function said it was rated TV-PG.

    This inconsistency could be explained by the fact that broadcasters can modify content. For example, H & I aired the JAG episode in which Lt. Roberts (Patrick Labyorteaux) utters an infamous racial slur. Instead of bleeping it out, H & I just cut the sound.

    I wish I had thought to press the Display button on my remote control for that JAG episode. H & I could, in theory, decide that, without the slur, that episode is TV-PG, not TV-PG L.

    The important point is that these things are supposed to be decided episode by episode, not for all episodes.

    Last night, the Enterprise episode was “Bounty.” The main plot was that Captain Archer (Scott Bakula) is taken prisoner by a Tellarite bounty hunter.

    In the subplot, Subcommander T’Pol (Jolene Blalock) and Dr. Phlox (John Billingsley) have returned from a planet, infected with something or other, and now T’Pol’s pon farr is early: she must mate with a male, preferably a Vulcan, but Phlox will do, or she will die.

    That’s an intense sexual situation, right? Yet the episode was TV-PG according to the transmitted rating code.

    And maybe as T’Pol begins to slather decontamination gel “E” on her body she does not consider this to be a sexual situation. But the voyeuristic camera certainly does.

    The V-chip was available for more than half of JAG’s run, but not for any of Star Trek’s run or Star Trek: The Next Generation’s run. So it was probably easier to just give those two shows retroactive blanket ratings than to have someone go through the episodes one by one.

    And in any case, would it be a good thing to have different episodes of a given show have all different ratings? A kid would wonder: why can I watch this episode of Deep Space Nine but not that other one?

    A couple of months ago I watched Season 1 of Star Trek: Discovery on DVD. I didn’t pay attention to the ratings, but I imagine it would be at least TV-14 for any given episode.

    Tonight, H & I is slated to rerun the following Star Trek episodes: original series “For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky,”Next Generation“Up the Long Ladder,”Deep Space Nine“Meridian,”Voyager“The Raven” and Enterprise“The Expanse.” These are all TV-PG according to IMDb.

    Without parental involvement, all these ratings are pointless. The question I want to ask today for this open thread: Parents with young children, do you let your kids watch Star Trek? Everyone else, would you let your young children watch Star Trek?

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    Welcome to bookchat where you can talk about anything...books, plays, essays, and audio books.  You don’t have to be reading a book to come in, sit down, and chat with us.


    I just ordered the newest in the series of Chet and Bernie, Heart of Barkness.  The last book left Bernie in a bad place and I have waited quite a while hoping for a new story.  


    Spencer Quinn

      Dog On It (2009)  

     Thereby Hangs a Tail (2010)

     To Fetch a Thief (2010)

     The Dog Who Knew Too Much (2011)

      A Fistful of Collars (2012)  

      The Sound and the Furry

      Paw and Order

      Scents and Sensibility

      Heart of Barkness


    Other interesting mystery authors/books:

    Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

    The Eight by Katherine Neville

    The Louise Penny books with Armand Gamache.  (Newest one coming on Aug. 27th…A Better Man)


    The lists:


    Best Historical Mystery

    Of course, Ellis Peter’s Cadfael books are on the list and are favorites of mine.

    I liked the series with Falco set in Rome by Lindsey Davis.  

    Judith Rock’s mysteries set in France with Maitre Charles du Luc are good.  

    The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter by Sharyn McCrumb is special.



    By the Rivers of Babylon by Nelson De Mille

    The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas


    Best Literary Mysteries

    Tana French

      In the Woods

      The Likeness

    The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood


    There are so many great mystery writers and so many wonderful books and series that I can never mention them all though on other diaries I have tried, so please put your favorites in comments.  There are new worlds to be found thanks to you all.  





    SERIES (S)
    SUNDAY 6:00 PM Young People’s Pavilion The Book Bear


    7:30 PM LGBTQ Literature Chrislove
    MONDAY 8:00 PM The Language of the Night DrLori
    TUESDAY 8:00 PM Contemporary Fiction Views bookgirl
    WEDNESDAY 8:00 PM Bookflurries Bookchat cfk
    THURSDAY 8:00 PM Write On! SensibleShoes
    (FIRST THURS OF MONTH) 2:00 PM Monthly Bookpost AdmiralNaismith

    7:30 AM

    WAYR? Chitown Kev
    8:00 PM Books Go Boom! Brecht
    9:30 PM Classic Poetry Group Angmar
    SATURDAY 9:00 AM

    You Can't Read That! 

    Paul's Book Reviews

    9:00 PM Books So Bad They’re Good Ellid

    Kos Katalogue - For Your Guilt Free Shopping Needs



    AIDS Walk Austin is early this year



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    This guy. What a fucking asshole.


    This is about as clever as these budding Voltaires are ever going to get, but that doesn’t mean this “cheer”— a clear reference to Rep. Ilhan Omar — won’t gain traction. I mean, “lock her up” and “Deutschland über alles” were huge hits, right? (Godwin’s Law is suspended, remember?)

    How lazy. How boorish. How crass. How deeply, deeply un-American.

    Okay, Trump. You’ve found your bugbear. And — oh, what a surprise — she’s black, female, and Muslim. Way to go back to the same poison well over and over and over again.

    We’re way, way past needing our “have you no sense of decency?” moment.


    This fucking guy.

    Is Trump still singeing your sphincter? Dear F*cking Lunatic: 101 Obscenely Rude Letters to Donald Trump and its breathlessly awaited sequel Dear F*cking Moron: 101 More Letters to Donald Trump by Aldous J. Pennyfarthing are the salve you need! Reviewers have called these books “hysterically funny,”“cathartic,” and “laugh-out-loud” comic relief. And you can get them for less than the price of a cup of coffee ... or a black-market Xanax ... or five minutes of therapy. It’s time to heal, my friends. Buy now!

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    Still under the weather, but hope mrs side pocket is doing much better today. She was certainly missed during NN.

    side pocket and mrs. s p
    Sweetest couple ever

    Something to cheer up everyone: 


    ​link (I prefer watching without sound.)

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  • 07/17/19--17:35: Stories You Can Ignore
  • There is a flood of “news articles” about Trump and the Republicans out there on the Web, far too many to read on a daily basis.  My criteria for reading such stuff is whether or not it will have any significance in the future. Otherwise, it’s just click bait Intended for you to read and feel better for a few seconds — junk food for the  Dems.   Such stories make you feel good for a moment, but have no long term value.  Using that filter — will this story mean anything down the road? — here are the types of stories you can safely ignore:

    Any story about Trump with the word “could” in the headline. Stuff that “could” happen rarely does, and if it does, you can read about it then.

    Any story about Trump with the term “ex-Prosecutor says” in the headline. They are always wrong.

    Any story about an election less than 60 days out with the word “investigation “ in the headline. If your side needs an investigation of the opponent to win, you are losing. Move on to something else.

    Any story about a Republican official you never heard of and sex.  Since you don’t see similar stories about Dems doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Members of both parties are humans, which means they both commit such crimes. 

    Any story about White House staffers being alarmed,  concerned, frustrated, angry, whatever. They don’t mean anything.

    Any story about Contempt of Congress. Like Barr is going to prosecute anyone. Waste of electrons. If you disagree, look up “Eric Holder” and “contempt of Congress” on the Google.

    Stories about pronouncements from “presidential historians”. 

    Comments from ex-GOP officials criticizing Trump.  The Deplorables don’t care about what they have to say. The percent of actual Republican voters who would pull the lever for a Dem presidential candidate is less than 10 percent. 

    Any stories about national polls and Trump’s numbers. There are literally millions of Dems in New York and California who hate Trump, and who respond to polls. Those “excess” millions in New York and California heavily impact national polls.

    ”MSNBC Commentator Trashes Trump” = “Water is Wet”.

    Stories about Trump and campaign finance violations. Do you really care if Trump’s campaign pays a fine?

    i hope you find this useful.

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    Executive Summary

    The only hope left for democracy in the USA is:

    1. That Democrats win the Executive, the Senate, and the House in the 2020 election.
    2. That Democrats pass effective legislation to save democracy.
    3. That such legislation is effective enough to thwart the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) from abolishing democracy.

    If these things do not happen, America will forfeit its democracy. American democracy will be at risk the same way Germany was when Hitler came to power. Can America survive that in the age of global warming, nuclear weapons, and global increases in right-wing authoritarian politics?


    First off, I am Canadian. I am saddened by the state of society for my American Cousins to the south. This is not entirely an altruistic sadness, but if democracy falls in the USA, it will likely fall in Canada as well. But my main point is I am offering a perspective from someone outside of the USA.

    Years ago I wrote a book called “12 Steps for America” where I similarly started out with my concerns for my American Cousins to the south. In my book, I recognized that America had a serious addiction problem, and proposed that what Americal was addicted to was bullshit. I never published the book because I thought it was too over the top, written in the Obama era. Now I look back and realize the book did not go nearly over the top enough. While I still believe America is largely addicted to bullshit, similar to Kurt Anderson’s “Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History,” I now realize America has bigger problems than that.

    Plutocracy, Kleptocracy, and Authoritarianism

    In the late 19th century the ‘Gilded Age’ of America rewarded the wealthy with unreasonable control and influence over the rest of the country. Fortunately, politicians were able to pass legislation that resolved much of the unfair and inequitable state of the day, such as by raising taxes on the wealthy and putting limits on inheritance to minimize the development of powerful dynasties.

    By the 1950’s the middle class was growing and more people than ever before were sharing the fruits of technical and economic growth in the US.

    By the 1980’s, in the middle of the Sixth Party System, the Regan Era sowed the seeds of a return to Plutocracy and the beginnings of Kleptocracy through the undermining of democracy. One such key change was the Regan Administration reversed a long-time FCC rule that news organizations had to tell the truth. This laid the seeds for organizations like Fox News that increasingly fabricated facts that were red meat for the extreme right, and were generally false or highly distorted truths. The Regan Administration legitimized commercial propaganda.

    By the 1990’s the Clinton Administration overturned the last of the economic protections put in place because of the Great Depression, giving banks and bankers free rein to profit by gambling with the economy.

    By the 2000’s the Bush Administration ignored economic red flags which led to the 2008 world financial crisis. After 2008, during the Obama Administration, no bankers were held accountable for their roles in the world financial crisis, thereby signaling to the world that America’s plutocracy could not be held accountable, thereby inviting an increasing practice of kleptocracy.

    As a Canadian, I like to remember a quote by Tommy Douglas:

    Once more let me remind you what facism is. It need not wear a brown shirt or a green shirt. It may even wear a white shirt.

    Facism begins the moment a ruling class, fearing the people may use their political democracy to gain economic democracy, begins to destroy political democracy in order to retain its power of exploitation and special privilege.

    America is now at that point where the ruling class is destroying political democracy in order to retain its power of exploitation and special privilege. Fascism is based on Authoritarianism, and not only is Donald Trump clearly an Authoritarian, but the entire Republican Party is gleefully supporting this practice.

    America is now at a moment in history where the President of the United States, does not even recognize the constitutional rights and duties of the United States Congress to investigate and oversee the actions of the Executive Branch, and the Republican Party seems complicit in that.


    Unless Democrats win the 2020 election with the ability to pass new legislation, democracy in America will be forfeit. Republicans will destroy enough of America’s democratic system that they will control and win all subsequent elections, and govern indelibly.


    The recent SCOTUS decision to ignore state efforts to gerrymander electoral districts has only one remedy. If congress passes legislation to ban gerrymandering, then SCOTUS can no longer ignore the issue. But it has to be iron-tight legislation. Even after SCOTUS ruled that Obamacare was constitutional, it is still under attack, and a new SCOTUS could rule otherwise.

    Voter Suppression

    There needs to be clear legislation to prevent the increase in voter suppression, especially in Republican-controlled states. The onus should not be on people demonstrating they have a right to vote, rather the onus should be on the state to legally prove someone does not have a right to vote. Furthermore, there should be legislation to prevent any attempts to prevent someone's fair access to the voting booth, including making elections a civic holiday.


    Much of the difficulty in holding Donald Trump et al accountable for colluding with foreign state actors is that there was not sufficient legislation prohibiting this. While there are no laws against collusion, there clearly needs to be.


    In retrospective, Donald Trump has committed and attracted unprecedented acts of corruption and illegality. Just as when there is a riot, and people start looting, people have seen the acts of corruption committed by Trump and his supporters, and have felt entitled to act just as corruptly or worse. If America can learn anything from the Trump Era it is that America is not a nation of laws, it was merely a nation of conventions, and Donald Trump and Republicans have successfully destroyed many, if not most, of those conventions.

    Congress needs to really take a broad brush protecting some cherished American values, not by conventions, but by clear and effective legislation.

    Dark Money

    This problem in Americal continues to get worse and worse, fundamentally eroding democracy. SCOTUS basically dared Congress to do something about the famous Citizens United ruling. So the remedy is Congress should pass clear legislation that evades the court’s corrupt interpretation that money is speech. Money is no more speech than ducks bark like a dog.

    Much More

    There are many other legislative remedies that Congress should define and pass.

    Wakeup Call

    Finally, Democrats need to have a wakeup call and start thinking and acting more strategically and long term. Right-wing forces in America have been gaslighting America for decades now, pulling the entire country further and further to the right, further and further towards Plutocracy, Kleptocracy, and now Authoritarianism, and Democrats have largely ignored this. Democrats largely seem unable to deal with the evil geniuses on the right. It’s not that Democrats are stupid, it’s just that they have been naive in how corrupt their political adversaries can be.


    If these claims seem extreme it is only because, America, and Democrats in particular, have been behaving like the proverbial frog in hot water. The erosion of American values has been deliberately slow and methodical by right-wing forces, as well as strategically brilliant. If Donald Trump had acted before the election like he does today, would he have been elected? It has been the slow and methodical practice of increasing corruption, the training of America and American institutions to tolerate more and more corruption that has let him and others get as far as they have.

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    Sorry but this constant harping by Republicans on their fears of Socialism and anyone who even mentions it has grown into one of the most absurd forms of political push back that I have seen in the past 50 years. We engage in so called “Socialist” activity as a nation on a daily basis much of which the GOP have promoted and supported for decades. Public roads, public transportation, public utilities, public property, public libraries……………………………….and so on and so forth. There are great numbers of things that we share as a people and a nation, it would be stupid not to. After all what is it we are paying our taxes for, services and structures that serve the common good of all the citizens. Not just those who are wealthy enough to pay for everything in their private self contained bubbles.

    So please can we at least talk about this honestly instead of name calling that is akin to something you might hear on a middle school play field. The real underlying issue is the hidden and dishonest way our politicians talk about and act on where our tax dollars go. It is very similar to a massive shell game, we are told one thing only to find that something completely different is actually what’s happening. Like the way the GOP is constantly telling their supporters that they will do whatever it takes to insure they have good affordable healthcare, but it’s completely obvious that they are not willing to put our tax dollars behind that effort, they don’t even actually believe the American public deserve it. Even if they start talking about health care just to placate their constituents their corporate masters in the medical and insurance industries get extremely upset and they would totally freak out if they actually followed up on their hollow promises. So no.

    Why can’t we afford so many things that in the minds of most Americans make perfect sense, like safe roads and bridges, like electrical grids that don’t collapse when a single transformer blows ? Like the ability to be treated for a medical emergency and not go completely bankrupt. Because we keep wasting our tax dollars, not on the vital things that would make the lives of average Americans far and away better, hell it would make the whole nation better. Instead we blow those dollars on the stuff that almost always makes things worse.

    We are constantly being told we have to spend ever more larger amounts on the military to protect us from a litany of imagined and yes some very real threats. But because so many of those in congress are in the pockets of defence contractors we are constantly doing stupid stuff like buying aircraft that eventually cost billions of dollars each and never really work as advertised or at all for that matter. Military contractors are seeing huge profits while we are throwing away the vital education of millions of American school children and dozens of other vital activities that are ignored because we spend our tax dollars not where they are needed but to enrich the wealthy.  How can we even begin to consider modernizing our infrastructure if our elected officials keep using our tax dollars as some form of charity for massive multinational corporations and individuals who’s income puts them in the top 1% of this nations richest private citizens. And this stuff is going on constantly in hundreds of different ways, our taxes go to corporations and persons that are all ready making massive profits with the specific point of making them even richer. What’s left over is not nearly enough to accomplish the massive overhaul this nation needs to fix many of it’s decades old problems. And so you hear the constant complaint that “we can’t do that it’s too expensive and we just don’t have the funds”. But you know what ? We actually do.

    So come on Republicans lets cut the crap……………………..there is not a battle of capitalism verses socialism going on here, as much as you would like your single issue supporters to think that progressives would actually support such nonsense. There is literally no one who is suggesting that we pay everything to a centralized government  who in turn only gives us what we need to survive, it ain’t happening. We are a capitalistic republic and in a weird way it does usually work in fact for a great many it allows them to flourish and prosper. The issue that Trump and the Republicans and for that matter some Democrats are constantly get their noses bent out of shape about is the horrific notion that the American people themselves should actually have a say in where our tax dollars are spent. I know ……’s just a incredibly crazy idea………………..well no it’s not, and that’s what they find incredibly scary. That they would lose control of those trillions of dollars and their corporate overlords  would find them unworthy.

    The irony is that with our current corrupt system of unnecessary tax breaks and corporate welfare, it is similar to a form of socialism, our politicians take our hard earned tax dollars and just hand them over to the corporations and massively wealthy individuals who for all intents and purposes dictate to our elected officials the direction and character of our country. And in what amounts to typical operating procedure for the Republicans, they are doing everything in their power to accuse and blame others of exactly what it is they themselves are doing, so there’s that.  You know like screaming Socialist every time one of their political opponents points out that we are wasting our valuable resources on pointless expenditures. 

    So enough with the racist BS, the American public like no time since this nations founding is beginning to have a much clearer idea of how they have been conned, and spending our tax dollars where they really belong on the needs of the citizens and vital projects to improve this nations future health, safety, and progress makes perfect sense. And just to be clear it’s not Socialism, what it actually is is fairness, honesty, and common sense, three things that the Republican party apparently has no knowledge of whatsoever.

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  • 07/17/19--18:02: Crossing the (color) line
  • I’m white. That’s not an identity statement. It’s just to get that out right up front. White. Old white guy. That’s what people see.

    Since I also farm and drive a pickup and live in a rural part of Washington state, it’s easy to assume that along with the white “farmers tanned” skin goes a red hat and maybe even a rebel flag. Trump voter for sure.

    But that would be wrong. Way, way, way wrong.

    I don’t identify as a color but I do have an ethnic identity: Quebecois. I was also born and reared in deeply racist north Florida in the deeply racist 1950s and 1960s.

    I know what crossing the “color line” means. I remember when it was dangerous to do so.

    I remember it supposedly fading away and supposedly being put firmly into its historical final resting place when America’s first African-American President took the oath of office. I cried that day, in belief our country had fundamentally changed.

    I cried in November 2016 because we had not.

    But now it’s not change I fear. It’s change back to something far worse. To something that’s supposed to be dead and buried: the color line.

    I will not stand for it being reimposed.

    This is a story of crossing the color line. But first, a little background to that story.

    My mother was born and grew up in Michigan, just across the border from Quebec. Several of her aunts, who lived just across the border, spoke only French. Her ancestry was wholly Quebecois. Her father came to America just before WWI broke out, determined to serve in the American army rather than be drafted and sent to fight for the British, as he put it.

    He did not identify as a citizen of British Canada. He was Quebecois, an “ethnic group” strongly discriminated against by the British when Canada was their colony and long after by the “English” majority after colonialism ended. Many Quebecois were, in turn, forcibly transported from the Brittany region of France, including my mother’s ancestors.

    They were not immigrants.

    They were exiles. Despised by the French, and later, hated by the English.

    Some called the Quebecois the “n-word” of the North”. I have heard that, and not said in jest. Relations between the French and British ancestral groups in Canada have not been warm. Even into the 1970s and 80s large portions of Quebecois supported independence from the rest of Canada.

    I did then. I do not now.

    My grandfather did serve in the American army in that war, but he was murdered by a drunken farmer just before my mother was born, just months after mustering out. His death led to my mother being raised by her mother’s grandmother, and when she died when my mother was 16, landing up in Florida to live with her Quebecois grandfather. There, she met and married my father, an offspring of French immigrants who either stayed in parts of New France when it was ceded to the British, or who refused to return to France or stay in Canada under the British. That was my great, great, great grandfather, who lived in the wilder parts of northern New York and Western Massachusetts between the fall of New France and the birth of the United States, until the Revolution. In his 70s, he and his sons took up arms against the British in the Battle of Saratoga, a key turning point on the road to American independence.

    In short, I don’t identify as a WASP.

    Not even close.

    But my father’s father was a literal “cracker” in Florida. The term Florida cracker supposedly epitomizes the rural racist white population of Florida. But the term derives from the mule drivers who “cracked” whips over the mules as they cleared roads and railway lines and then as farmers clearing land and plowing. He left the heavily French origin part of Indiana first to fight in the Philippines in the Spanish-American War, and then to the frontier of Florida to work on Flagler’s railroad, after an unfortunate encounter in Virginia. A tenant-farmer there, he put birdshot into the backsides of both the local judge and sheriff after they wrecked his corn field the third time while fox hunting with horse and hounds. Wisely, he packed up his family and fled to the south Florida swamps in 1909. There they stayed until the 1926 hurricane killed one of his baby sons and wiped out his farm (literally washed it down the river after the Lake Okeechobee dikes broke).

    So I grew up in North Florida, to all appearances a “white boy” in good ole boy cracker country, born not even a century after the Civil War. The anniversary of that war, 1961-65, was also the height of conflict over finally ending it by ending the “Jim Crow” system of racial segregation and discrimination.

    It was 1966, just as I started my teenage years, with the struggle for civil rights still raging, that I saw my mother and father try and fail to cross the color line.

    My father, a construction supervisor, engaged two African-American workers who worked with him to help him dig a new septic line. My mother didn’t want a digger running over the yard and garden, so they (including me and my father) dug it with shovels, by hand. At lunch we headed inside. My mother had added the center board to the table, and had two extra places set for the workers to join us for lunch. Instead, they sat on the steps outside and broke out their own sandwiches. My mother sent me out to invite them inside to eat with us, even if they just wanted to eat their own sandwiches. They politely said thank you to me, and said they preferred to stay outside in the fresh air. When I asked my mother why they didn’t want to come inside (it was a hot Florida summer day), they told me the men didn’t want to get us into trouble with our neighbors. I knew the retired cop who lived next door was very racist. And the slightly older boy who lived next door on the other side had told me his mother, a waitress, refused to serve N-words until her boss told her the law had changed and she had to or she would lose her job.

    They didn’t want to get us into trouble by “crossing the color line” and joining white folks at table. I also suppose they didn’t want to risk getting confronted as they left by the neighbors either. Especially, I guess, because we had full plate glass windows in the dining room and our neighbors would easily see us sitting together.

    The “color line” was a community imposed set of behaviors you were supposed to observe or pay the consequences. It applied to both white and black, but of course penalties were more severe for black than for white. I remember as a child drinking from the colored fountain instead of the white fountain. My mother never said a word—“water’s water” is what she said. Ignore the kids. And we also went in and out of the “colored entrance only” door of the dentist we went to. I don’t remember when that sign disappeared—I was too young to remember—but I do remember that it was in a town that was a naval base that closed when I was about 9 years old. My father admired the white dentist for doing dentistry for both AAs and whites, even after the base closed, just like he did when it was open, but he had to have a separate treatment room well into the 1960s. I don’t remember when that segregation ended, but it had to be sometime in the mid 1960s.

    I also remember when, in 7th grade, I think this was 1966 or so, the first African Americans entered class with the whites. Calvin was the first AA in my math class. Toward midyear he dropped out of school, even though I knew he was smart and should have stayed in school. I knew his mother and older sisters, who had come for months while my mother was ill and my brother and I were 5 and 7 years old, respectively, to help us with cleaning and cooking. He never came with them—I suppose now his mother didn’t bring him over because she was afraid we would play with him in front of neighbors and get him into trouble.

    It was in seventh grade that I also had a long series of fist fights with real “good old boys” who thought “something was wrong with me”, that my mother was a Yankee and I was a Yankee. That included the neighbor boy next door, but extended to 5-6 other boys who kept trying to impose their values on me, or at least make me afraid to cross the line.

    Like my ancestors who fought for the North in that war, I licked the Southerners, good and proper. Even when it was four to one. They then left me alone. But changes in the country also began to intimidate these boys, and I guess their parents as well.

    I remember when George Wallace stood in the door. I also remember when he ran for president.

    I got my first African American teacher as a junior in high school. He was a one-armed sociology teacher, a man “who happened to be black” as he put it. He lived in a house, a house that was actually pretty well built, that had tar-paper exterior walls. Those, he told me, privately, when I asked out of curiousity, were there to protect him, to hide how nice his house actually was so as not to incur jealousy and anger from whites. That was apparently common practice in the south among the better off African-Americans in small towns and rural areas.

    It was some time not long after I graduated high school in 1971 that his house got a proper exterior siding installed.

    I do not know for sure when the color line disappeared in the south. I left it in 1979 and never lived there again.

    And won’t to this day. I lived 27 years in China, as a minority. I missed a lot about changes in American life while living abroad, but I don’t miss racist dog whistles. And some whistles are not inaudible to all but dogs. While we lived there, a Chinese woman accosted my wife on the sidewalk, shouting “Go back to your country, bitch! Go back to your country.” Telling someone to “go back to their country” is racist.


    Trump is trying to reimpose that “color line” of the old South via his attacks on immigrants. His real target is reimposing white supremacy, and all that means. He uses Twitter to try to resurrect the notion that minorities must practice “proper behavior” or be censored or worse. I recognize what his attacks on AOC and the squad are.

    I won’t have it.

    And Nancy Pelosi needs to stop attacking them too. She may think they have a proper place and limits because they are young and freshman congress people, but Trump is using her chiding of the squad, to get them to conform or at least “respect” their elders, as a means to resurrect the color line notions and practices.

    Telling someone to go back to their country is overtly racist. But it clearly says someone doesn’t fit. They don’t belong. They must change their behavior. They must stifle themselves before their betters.

    They must get back on their side of the line.

    We must be alert.

    We must be alarmed.

    We cannot go back and let Jim Crow crawl out of its historical grave.

    We cannot let Trump re-impose “proper behavior”— the color line—on us again.

    Nancy, fellow Democrats. WAKE UP! RESIST!

    There is a line, and that line is the line against racism, however hidden or overt. Cross that line, and there is no stopping until full white supremacy is restored. Do not cross it. Be aware of it. Be aware that Trump and his supporters are bent on restoring white supremacy. Nothing else really matters to them. It is their way to become “great again,” to restore a time when the least white person was “better” than any minority person.

    We cannot go back. We will not go back.

    In Canada, Quebecois no longer push seriously for independence from a fully multi-cultural country. Yes, it has warts and issues, but the discrimination disappeared and the line between French and English blurred as Canada accepted and implemented multi-culturalism.

    We must do the same.

    E Pluribus unum.

    Thanks for reading and commenting, if you will.

    And by the way, extra points if you recognize the picture above. That too, is commentary on our past, and present.

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    Time magazine listed the top 50 American foods of modern times.

    My favorite, as you can tell from the above photo, biscuits and gravy, came in at number 38th on their list.

    Want to make some biscuits and gravy by yourself? here is a yummy recipe.

    So… how about you? Is your favorite on the list from Time?

    Their top 5 (In reverse order):

    Philly Cheese Steak

    Hot Dogs

    Reuben Sandwich


    Thanksgiving Dinner.

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    Where is the list of Democrats who supported Trump by voting NOT to impeach him?

    I, and many cohorts, are well prepared to defeat them ASAP with cash, social commentary and everything else we can think of..

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    I have examples to share with you.  I will describe my intention and show what the camera captured.  The machine shown and I sometimes have different opinions what a good photo should look like.


    I was after the squint of ET’s (Mom cat) right eye.  There was a twitch along with the, “I just bit a lemon” response.  ET was always a patient and generous model when photographed.


    I was intrigued with the dew drop on the right side of this rose.  I got lucky here.


    I wanted the depth when I got this Great Horned Owl.  I was miffed when I saw the blur.


    I liked that I got the small glint in the Cedar Waxwing’s eye.


    The garlic blooms where less than crisp.


    I want expression from my subject (when they can provide them).  Purdy’s displeasure and the box turtle’s delight was a thrilling moment.


    I strive for composition sometimes.  Sometimes, it just a matter of
    perspective.  The tiny turtle is one of those times when you can’t explain size without a photo.

    I miss the Kodak Brownie.  Here is ours.  It is stamped inside with the code, YMRO (March 1956).  I still have the users manual and easy carry case.  I can’t get the 620 film or know someone with a dark room.


    Some photographs are just exactly what they appear to be.  The camera captures the moment and the story is complete. 

    Thanks for indulging me and my mind’s eye.