Wednesday, July 20, 2016

GOP Adviser Resurrects 2008 ‘Lock-And-Load’ Meme

Josh Marshall voices his concern over the Trump campaign's winking at staffers' and other RWNJs' threats to murder Hillary Clinton. His specific example is the ranting of New Hampshire state Rep. Al Baldasaro, an adviser to the Trump campaign on veterans' affairs, who, speaking recently on a RWNJ talk show, said of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, "[Clinton] should be put in the firing line and shot for treason" for her actions regarding Benghazi.

Marshall's primary concern is that Trump and company are "wink-winking" at campaign staffers and spokespeople who make such threats, thus implicitly advocating the assassination of his opponent. One spokesperson for the campaign (see first article linked above) said, "We’re incredibly grateful for [Baldasaro's] support, but we don’t agree with his comments." Wink-wink, indeed; I fully agree with Marshall's assessment of the intended message, and of its direly unacceptable nature.

The only thing Marshall omits (as far as I can tell) is that THIS IS NOT NEW BEHAVIOR FOR THE GOP IN A PRESIDENTIAL RACE. Surely other Democrats remember Sarah Palin's repeated exhortations to "[l]ock and load," delivered to audiences full of gun-toting Republicans more concerned with their personal right to carry than anyone else's right to stay alive.

This is a trend. This is the second consecutive presidential election in which a candidate or his/her surrogates has urged a Republican audience to exercise their Second Amendment right by threatening (at least) to shoot an opposing candidate, or opposing voters, or anyone they don't like the looks of. THE GOP HAS BECOME THE PARTY OF VIOLENCE DIRECTED AGAINST ITS POLITICAL OPPONENTS. I cannot put an end to the threats, but I damned surely can voice my objection to them. America is in theory a representative democracy; WE DO NOT SETTLE DISPUTES ABOUT LEADERSHIP BY MURDERING POLITICAL OPPONENTS. PERIOD!

I am somewhat relieved to see that the Secret Service is investigating Rep. Baldasaro about his naked threat against Secy. Clinton... not that I really expect them to do anything about it, but at least they are making some noises that they will take an "appropriate" action. It's not much, and it won't save Mrs. Clinton from a Glock-toting RWNJ, but it's better than nothing.

Monday, July 18, 2016

GOP National Convention Starts Today, Monday...

... but a quick flip of the remote will transport me to Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.

♪ Would you be my neighbor? ♪ And honestly: which of these two would you welcome in your neighborhood?

Each of them lives in his own land of make-believe; the difference is that Daniel Tiger admits it upfront.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Pounds For Trump, Pence For Indigent Women And All LGBTs

Trump is about to choose Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate.

Should you care?
  • If you are an American woman of childbearing age, especially one who doesn't have the money for reproductive healthcare, you have a strong financial interest in Pence and his unconcealed efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.
  • If you are an LGBT American, you have a deep interest in Pence's efforts to pass the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which would allow business owners to refuse to serve LGBTs on religious grounds. (He signed such a law, later mitigated slightly, but if he were the Veep instead of a state governor, he would surely push for a law on the national level. Never forget what President, uh, I mean, Vice President Dick Cheney managed to ram through when second to a president about as incompetent as Trump would be.)
  • If you can remember the roaring 1990s, remember that Pence was then a right-wing radio talk show host, known by some people as "Rush Limbaugh on decaf."
Trump has made his first presidential decision, and it couldn't be a worse decision if he tried. Never forget it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Hillary Clinton For President

My head and my heart are both with Bernie Sanders... but Bernie is no longer running for president.

We surely owe Bernie a debt of gratitude for what he accomplished both in influencing Secy. Clinton's policy positions on a great number of issues and in using his five members of the Democratic Party's Platform Committee to embed those improved positions as planks in the platform. Many of us had serious hopes that, in the process, Sen. Sanders would amass enough convention delegates to win the nomination himself. That hope has since been dashed, and Sanders has taken the sensible step of withdrawing from the race and formally endorsing Secy. Clinton for president. That alone is reason to consider, seriously, voting for her.

But you all know there's another reason for doing so: clearly our nation's next president will be either Hillary Clinton or... wince... Donald Trump. No third candidate has a remote chance, and Sanders, unlike (say) Ralph Nader, understands the folly of a third-party run.

So as the slogan goes, I'm with her. The YDDV endorses Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. Do some reading about her; we could do much worse... we could, for example, end up with the DT without even taking a drink.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Cat's Paws

I started out looking for my speaker wires, lost since our move seven or eight years ago, so that I could set up the one stereo in the house that can connect with my decent turntable. That task proving hopeless, I switched to searching YouTube for a particular piece from the Glogauer Liederbuch, a set of 13th-century partbooks with some truly charming ensemble works including this one, called Die Katzenpfote, which in my playing days I had the pleasure of playing many times and actually performing a couple of times.

Here are four settings by several different ensembles; the third one probably most resembles our performances:

Monday, July 4, 2016

‘We Lived So Well So Long...’

That's Paul Simon, from American Tune... suitable Independence Day music for young and old alike. I've already put on my blue-and-white shirt and red shorts; now all I have to do is put on my best singing voice... [ahem] never mind. If that's not what you had in mind, here's something bombastic, pretentious, LOUD; in other words, thoroughly American...

Monday, June 27, 2016

Finally I Get It - Why Bernie Must Stay In The Race Until The Convention

It took The Young Turks to explain it to me... well, them and the short Bernie clip they play in this segment. Bernie cannot drop out now and accomplish his most significant goal, specifically, shifting the Democratic Party... the party platform and Clinton's expressed positions... leftward far enough to make a difference.

Bernie is not stupid, far from it. And I understand he would make a great president... if there were a way for him to get from here to there. But there's not. Any honest American (and that certainly includes Bernie) knows that the president who takes office in January will be the candidate of one of the two major political parties, Democratic or Republican, not anyone else. Bernie will not be one of those candidates... but even so he has a real opportunity from his current position to influence the behavior of one of those parties, by staying in the race all the way to the Democratic convention. If he withdraws earlier, he loses that power. If he announces a third-party presidential run, he becomes Ralph Nader writ large, almost certainly assuring a President Trump (about whom, not so incidentally, I agree with Bernie: America would collapse in chaos within a year if Trump became president).

So Bernie, smart guy that he is, does the one thing open to him that accomplishes the most significant of his goals. In support of his run... even if its success in the usual sense is certainly unrealizable... I continue to endorse him, on this site and in personal conversations, until he and his surrogates have accomplished what they can at the convention. At that point, if I'm still alive, you can anticipate a "Clinton for President" banner in the left column of this blog. Politics makes strange bedfellows, a fact that in this case I willingly accept.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Two Must-Read Posts From Staff

I've come to believe that no one has assembled a more astute team of political analysts than Bill Moyers. In these posts, my belief is reinforced; both are well worth your time:
  • What Will The Democratic Party Stand for in 2016?
    Analyst John Light begins
    Last week made clear that Bernie Sanders won’t be the Democratic nominee. But a meeting of the Democratic Platform Committee in Washington also made it clear that the Vermont senator will wield considerable influence over the party’s future.
    and follows through with an examination of the role of the Democratic Platform Committee, including excerpts from testimony before it.
  • The ‘Truth’ According to Trump
    Prof. Todd Gitlin (jounalism, sociology; Columbia U.) examines how Trump uses a vituperative personal style to convey half-truths and unprovable outright falsehoods to stir up a base that is all too ready to believe the worst about anyone but themselves:
    After the weekend’s carnage in Orlando, Donald Trump didn’t wait long before launching yet another guided missile full of insinuation. He didn’t exactly say that the massacre was the doing of an unreconstructed Mau-Mau descendant born in Kenya. Trump is craftier than that. Monday morning, he told Fox News:
    Look, we’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind. And the something else in mind — you know, people can’t believe it. People cannot, they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can’t even mention the words “radical Islamic terrorism.” There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable. There’s something going on… [Obama] doesn’t get it or he gets it better than anybody understands — it’s one or the other and either one is unacceptable. [[Gitlin's] italics]

    Later he told NBC’s Today’s Savannah Guthrie:

    … There are a lot of people that think maybe he doesn’t want to get it. A lot of people think maybe he doesn’t want to know about it. I happen to think that he just doesn’t know what he’s doing, but there are many people that think maybe he doesn’t want to get it. He doesn’t want to see what’s really happening. And that could be. [[Gitlin's] italics]

    Something else in mind… Can’t believe it… There’s something going on… Maybe he doesn’t want to get it… People cannot believe… A lot of people think… These are Trump’s characteristic high-frequency whistles, repeated and restated and re-repeated to make sure he gets through to the feebler dogs out on the periphery of his adoring crowd. [Final boldface SB]
That is precisely what Trump is doing. If the American electorate buys into it, we are, in the words of George H.W. Bush, "in deep doodoo." And even if they don't, we're in for a campaign season as unpleasant as any we've ever seen, facing perhaps the most vulgar man ever to run for President.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Bernie Sanders For President Admirable Person Of The Year

I understand how difficult it must be for Bernie to step aside. But I hope he faces this inevitability as he has courageously faced so many others: the delegate counts simply aren't there for him, and Secretary Clinton, FBOW, will be the Democratic Party's candidate for POTUS. Considering the likely catastrophe threatening our nation if Trump should become President, Sen. Sanders would best serve our nation by ending his own run for that office.

What we progressives owe him is incalculable: the public dialog on traditionally progressive/liberal issues has moved noticeably leftward thanks to Sanders's run, and he has surely made Clinton a better candidate by engaging with her on those issues.

As ambivalent as I am about Hillary Clinton, I admit Hillary is easily the most qualified candidate between the remaining two who have a realistic chance of winning (or, in Trump's case, stealing) the presidency. I'd like to give Sen. Sanders a day or two to make his own endorsement of Secy. Clinton before I remove my own endorsement of him from this site and (as seems likely at this point) begin my advocacy for Hillary Clinton.

More as it happens...

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day: Americans' Love Of The Fantasy Of War

Planning on voting for Trump? Before you join the army of goddamned fools intending to install the ultimate fool as President, please at least read The Guardian's Ben Fountain in his assessment of Trump, war and the outright folly of the American electorate, Endless war: Trump and the fantasy of cost-free conflict.

Trump had four or five draft exemptions (depending on who's counting) that prevented him from seeing a single day of combat in Vietnam, and I can only hope at least one of his was as legitimate as my one grudgingly granted exemption. Yes, I was glad not to go, but dammit, at least I was genuinely crippled. Gawd help the poor bastard, not to mention everyone in his unit, who went to war in Trump's stead.

Read Fountain's entire article. Toward the end, he quotes several GOP presidential candidates including Trump, a couple of Democratic candidates as well, and a few military "experts" both actual and self-proclaimed. If America continues to be led by people who think war is a good idea in almost all circumstances, I am practically certain that our nation will not outlast my own presumptively brief lifetime. War is not a hobby, or something to boast about, or a way of getting oneself elected to office, or a way of growing obscenely rich. War is hell... nothing more, nothing less. Those who endure it in our stead merit our sincere thanks. Those who send others to needless wars deserve to be heaped with shame.

Dammit, Americans, STOP VOTING FOR FOOLS!

(The blog break continues.)

Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday, April 29, 2016

Here We Go Again... Certain Heavy Rain, Possible Floods, Hail, Tornadoes, ...

Where, exactly? They'll be able to tell us immediately before it happens, not sooner. How bad? Ditto. Houston and surrounding areas, some already saturated, are expected to get 2"-7" rain in some places; needless to say, 2" is a lot less damaging than 7". Oh, and this could happen anytime from tonight to, uh, Monday. We have our cell phones charged up and the ABC13 weather app installed; I already had the NWS site linked... not exceedingly mobile-friendly but I'm accustomed to working it with two fingers. With luck, we will come through this one with as little damage as we had last time (see previous post). When I can post here, I will post here...

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Surviving The Weather Event

You may have seen some terrifying photos on the national news of the impact of the storm(s) from the western US as they passed through Houston yesterday. The main difference here is that the same images, along with many more, appeared on the local news, which ran continuously for over 24 hours. The sheer scale of the thing reflected the fact that the storm and its aftermath had no precedent in recorded Houston and Harris County history. Welcome to the new reality, folks.

Stella and I and the kitties are unharmed, and the house we rent was largely undamaged. Apart from a tiny leak under one of the glass doors in the den, we have experienced no flooding to this point. Indeed, the cats found new places to nap through the whole thing. This is in stark contrast to the effects in much of the city:

  • At least 13 local bayous topped their banks, or are expected to do so as rain that has already fallen swells the bayous and creeks upstream of us. We may yet see some high water here.
  • Many, many Houstonians are now homeless. In many cases, families found themselves trapped in their flooded homes and apartments; locating these people, removing them (often from upper floors) and transporting them through frequently obstructed streets (think: swamp boats and big trucks) to quickly established new shelters is a major and ongoing undertaking.
  • Despite best efforts, a few people died: it is hard to imagine, sitting at home, dry and comfortable, why anyone would attempt to drive their small vehicle through a completely flooded underpass (often with flood depth markers, in feet, painted on the columns), but that is one of the most common causes of death in such events here.
  • More rain is on the way today and for a few more days. Ground saturation assures that a much smaller quantity of rainwater implies large problems still ahead. One can only hope and pray that a) people show good sense, and b) we don't get additional large quantities of water at Our House.

Thank you for your patience. I'll probably blog a bit more than I have in the past month, but not as much as I might like. Stay dry, folks...

Monday, March 21, 2016

Blog Break

Not me... I mouse left-handed
and my hair is gray!
Before I had a smartphone, I always imagined it would be much more convenient to do research for blog posts when I'm away from home if I had a mobile device literally always with me. As it turns out, that aspect is true... but the phone does not provide me with any more time or energy actually to write those posts. I made a new folder  in my email called BlogThis and began sending myself links and notes each time I ran across an article or post worth my time (and presumably my readers' time as well). Indeed I blogged a few of those, but the rest of life goes on... significant weather events, my health and that of my friends, household matters, etc. ... and at the moment I have a backlog of 33 articles in the BlogThis folder.

In short, I'm getting the research done, but the blogging is going by the boards. Many of the pending BlogThis entries are obsolete by now, so I believe I'll take a break of a few days, let them all obsolesce, and start fresh, knowing how the presence of the new phone changes things. Please bear with me; I'm not ready to quit blogging yet. But there's this article I found that I just have to make notes on for a future blog post...

Static Pages (About, Quotes, etc.)

No Police Like H•lmes