Wednesday, December 07, 2016

As I have said, one cannot, nor should one, respond to every asinine tweet of Donald Trump - However...

As I have said, one cannot, nor should one, respond to every asinine tweet of Donald Trump - However...

It is also critical to understand when a tweet is not just wrong, but bad for the country.  For example, this one....



Apparently thousands (at least 133,000) believe this. Worse, in my book, Congressional Republicans and Rance Pribus shrug and say "who knows - I can't prove it isn't true".

We all know or should know it is bullshit. If YOU REALLY DON'T know Paul Ryan, you have a sworn Constitutional duty to investigate, right? Right, when you put your hand on the Bible and SWORE to uphold the laws of the country. Are you suggesting that you are ignoring your sworn duty?

And, normally I could ignore the bullshit that gets tweeted out. But see, here we are setting up a situation where the Republican (winner) says that 3 million people voted illegally.

What if the next Republican looses, but - say - 1 million votes. They have set up a policy where they get to claim voter fraud with a built in base of at least 133,000 that will believe them.

Our country fails when we lose that much trust in an electoral system.

Traveling to Odd Spots 3

The next odd spot came from the news and has blossomed into one of my favorite spots in the world.

In 2013 (I think) Eddie and I went on vacation with Jane, Barbara, Gareth and a bunch of fun Brits in Croatia. In checking where we were, I found we were close to Mostar.

I had heard about the destruction of the Mostar Bridge as one of the most idiotic of the acts of the Bosnian War. It was built by the Ottomans over 500 years ago. Which is twice as long as we have been a country. And the bombing of it was particularly strategic, just a random act of violence.

So Eddie, Jane and I went to Mostar. And, the rest, as they say, is history.
During the war on the 1990s, it was originally built in 1566.

After it's destruction

The rebuilt bridge in Mostar, Bosnia Herzegovina

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

OWS

I always get a little cranky around this time of year.

I have OWS - Onset of Winter Syndrome.

Traveling to Odd Spots 2

On Lynn's 50th birthday, she wanted to go on safari.  Which was perfect because we had seen "Where In the World Is Matt?" on NBC Today show.

Matt showed up on a helicopter over the Zambezi River at Victoria Falls.  So that is where we went on Safari.  It was super cool.
.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Let's Say - Just for Shits and Giggles

Let's say, just bear with me for a moment. Let's pretend, you're an African American tonight. Really, just for one second, let's pretend you are.

And you watch the national news.

The very first story is a mistrial in the cop who put 8 bullets into the back of a black man in North Charleston. AND the entire thing was captured on video. (LINK) 8 shots. Into a black man running away and was 18 feet away before you fired the first shot.



Into his back. And unarmed black man. And then, THEN the cop moved his taser to plant it next to the African American man. AND it was ALL ON VIDEO (see Link above).

And what happened. Nothing. The jury couldn't agree that it was murder. OR Manslaughter. Maybe it was an accident.

BANG
BANG
BANG
BANG
BANG
BANG
BANG
BANG

PICK UP TASER
WALK TO MAN YOU SHOT 8 TIMES.
DROP TASER TO MAKE IT APPEAR HE GRABBED IT.

No wronging doing.

And then next story - THE VERY NEXT STORY was about a white man who was sentenced to LIFE IN prison without the possibility of parole AND 32 years for killing his little white baby. Now the mother testified that the father couldn't have done it on purpose. There is no, say video proof of him doing this on purpose. But he gets life plus 32 years.


What does that tell you, an African American, about the value of your life versus the life on a white person.

And, if you can't be honest about this, I'll give you a hint. It means that your life isn't worth shit compared to a white person's life. It ain't worth shit.

Just remember that next time some asshole tells you that racism is fucking dead in this country.

Let

Thinking About Traveling - Spots We Traveled to for Odd Reasons

So I was thinking about spots we have traveled to, and often loved, because of weird reasons. I though I would run some of them down this week.

We start with the "Soggy Dollar Bar" on Jost Van Dyke. Jost Van Dyke is a tiny island in the British Virgin Islands. Eddie I stayed on the US Virgin Islands, but we took a boat out to the Soggy Dollar Bar because Kenny Chesney sings about it. First on Somewhere in the Sun and on his latest album on Cosmic Hallelujah.

It is the "Soggy Dollar Bar" because there isn't a really anchorage and pier.  You just drop anchor and swim or wade in. It was fantastic.




Sunday, December 04, 2016

This Takes Me Back

So, in 1980 UCLA went to the finals of Men's Basketball. We were beating Louisville until very late in the game when we fell apart. As that happened 2 of the song girls started the waterworks.

They knew, as I did, that they would be the "picture of heartbreak" on the newspaper the next day. This wasn't a surprise as our song-girls had already been featured on NBC and Sports Illustrated that year. Well, Julie Hayeck, who later became Miss USA and runner-up for Miss Universe, started crying next to me.

I know how gorgeous Julie Hayeck was (and is, we're friends on facebook), so I shoved my face right into her hair to comfort her. And I would NOT schooch no matter how much those damn camera men tried to dislodge me. And there I was on the front page of a million papers the next day. Okay, It was Julie and 1/2 my face, but I couldn't be completely cropped out (this was before photoshop kids).

I think of this when I saw the recent picture of Team Madrid in general, with Cristiano Renaldo in particular.  See what I mean below.


PS - Julie Hayeck at the final four game with Bryant Gumball.
This was one day one, before the famous "sad Julie" picture I shoved my head into.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Mascot of December - West African Black Rhinoceros


These are two beautiful West African Black Rhinoceros. These two are dead.

You may wonder how I can say that with certainty. Well, within the last decade, the West African Black Rhinoceros has gone extinct. There are no more.

Why?

In parts of Asia (Vietnam and China specifically) the horn is worth more than its weight in gold. It is ground up and used in medicine. So they were hunted into extinction. The horn is not magical. In fact, we have studied this since trying to find a valid scientific reason would have allowed us to come up with a replacement. But they are no medical properties or even magical properties.

We know that Rhino horns are made of keratin - the same material that makes our fingernails and hair. Knowing the truth, who would believe that Rhino horns are magical? Are those believers stupid?

Easy for us to say. They could easily ask of us, who would believe:
  • Vaccines give autism
  • 3 Million undocumented aliens voted in California
  • Hillary Clinton murdered Vince Foster
  • Bernie Sanders would definitely have beaten Donald Trump
  • Electrocuting children will make turn them from gay to straight
  • Hiring a Goldman Sacks man to run the Department of Commerce is "draining the swamp"
  • A Muslim Family who lost their Army Officer son are terrorists
  • Giving millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation doesn't buy access
  • Global Climate Change has nothing to do with man's adding carbon to the atmosphere at a historical high levels
We all have our own beliefs that we cling to. Let us hope we can see the truth before something else goes instinct.
These are dead too

Yep, this on too.

One Might Wonder Where My Trump Posts Are

One, reading my blog over the years, might wonder where the outrage is over our President-Elect Trump and his policies. To which I can only reply - he is, at least, being honest.

He ran as a vain, insecure, narcissistic sociopath. And he won. As we expected (and his children promised) he is letting Mike Pence - virulent hater of gay men* - do the day to day running of the country (in this case the transition).

A Galapagos Albatross. I do love the coloring on his (or her) undercarriage.

So I have no outrage as Pres. Elect Trump overturns the norms of the country. I have no outrage as Mike Pence and President Elect Trump select the most rabidly anti-Gay, anti-Women's Rights, least informed and out-of-touch Cabinet in history. This is exactly what they promised.  What is to get upset about? I consider it a small victory he isn't grabbing women by the pussy in his victory tour.

This is what a majority of the voters, in a majority of the electoral college voted for. It is truth in advertising.

The only thing I don't respect right now is myself.

I promised myself that if President-Elect Trump was elected I would make Ed purchase an apartment in Spain so we could get some money out and an escape valve before they takes away our passport and our savings. We have agreed to wait until after our new condo closes this spring / summer and I only hope it isn't too late.

Before you laugh that I am over-reacting, our new Vice-President Elect, Mike Pence, believes that homosexuality is a mental disorder and that it can be cured by regressive therapy. His thoughts are explicitly shared by the new Secretary of Defense, Attorney General, Secretary of Health and Human Services and Secretary of Education. It is also shared by the official Republican Party Platform, which controls the House of Representatives and the Senate. Once you have a majority of the Government who thinks a class of people are mentally ill, what prevents them from freezing our money and our passports - even if only "for our own good"?

But I digress. I don't complain about Trump / Pence because we are getting what the majority of the country voted for. And, again, he never lied about it.

*Mike Pence hates gay men - this isn't an opinion. He himself states that he is a "Christian" first, a conservative second and a Republican third. His brand of Evangelical Christianity believes that homosexuality is a mortal sin. And he has repeatedly supported gay conversion therapy (as does the Republican platform). Gay conversion therapy is a method of trying to beat and electroshock men out of their sexual orientation.
VP Elect Pence thinks we (gay men) are mentally ill sinners. He is not homophobic, as he does not "fear" gay men. He simply thinks we are all mentally ill sinners. He despises us. Many (if not most) of the current cabinet agrees with this position.  The Sec of Defense and  Att. General have explicitly stated the same.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

How Did That Work Out For the Sequester?

Oy..

From Politico: "
Prepare for the Obamacare cliff.
Congressional Republicans are setting up their own, self-imposed deadline to make good on their vow to replace the Affordable Care Act. With buy-in from Donald Trump’s transition team, GOP leaders on both sides of the Capitol are coalescing around a plan to vote to repeal the law in early 2017 — but delay the effective date for that repeal for as long as three years.
They’re crossing their fingers that the delay will help them get their own house in order, as well as pressure a handful of Senate Democrats — who would likely be needed to pass replacement legislation — to come onboard before the clock runs out and 20 million Americans lose their health insurance. The idea is to satisfy conservative critics who want President Barack Obama’s signature initiative gone now, but reassure Americans that Republicans won’t upend the entire health care system without a viable alternative that preserves the law’s popular provisions.

Now this might sound vaguely familiar to many of you. "Didn't we do this before with something..."


Yes, the government played this same game with "the Sequester".

To get a budget passed one year, earlier in the Obama Administration's second term, Republicans and Democrats signed up for "the sequester". That held that funds would stay even and not increase either for Defense or Discretionary Spending unless it was overturned.

It was like a game of chicken, where everyone assumed that Republicans would want to increase Defense Spending and Democrats would want to increase Social Spending and a real budget would come about.  Four years later, we are still in the Sequester.

So, what does this portend for the Affordable Care Act. That it will collapse after 3 years. Which is, not surprisingly, after the midterm elections of 2018.  You see, in 2018 more Democrat Senate Seats are at risk. So if they can look like the "repealed Obamacare" without any problems in 2018, votes will break their way.

That means, of course, that 2019 / 2020 will be a catastrophe, but long term planning isn't their strong suit (obviously).