31 May 2020

Link round-up for 31 May 2020

Various interesting stuff I ran across on the net over the last week.

o o o o o

Every dog has its dayMore here.

It's a crazy world.

Now this is the way to play basketball.

Consider some enjoyable new words (from 2006).

It's looking like that kind of year.

Go to Hell -- Lego style (found via Mendip).

Some signs just go together.

Let Nancy take care of it.

I see dead people.

Blogger Sixpence Notthewiser gives us a house tour.

An art book of the paintings used in the Night Gallery TV series will soon be published -- perhaps right around Halloween (found via Mendip).

People in the 1950s and earlier also used Lysol in.....questionable ways.

Don't try to learn science from comic books.

There are probably more unbelievers around than you realize.

Artist Jian Guo does the planets, stained-glass style.

Hackwhackers goes Kink-y.

This person exists.

The customer is not always right.

Spot the difference.

Here's some politics as usual, and why Trump stands like that.

The decline of religion can be explained by education, the internet -- and embarrassment.

On June 4, some wingnuts will celebrate "Killdozer Day" -- but the real event was not quite what they think.

Trump shows us what "running the government like a business" actually means.

If you're OK with what happened to George Floyd, you shouldn't be a cop.

Girls' sports are for girls, at least for now.

American fundamentalism is "the Trump University of religions".

Drone video shows the devastation left by the October 2019 tornado in Dallas.

Remember Larry Kramer.

CNN calls out Trump's "vile distraction" and "shameful performance".

"This is not a protest."  Some of the violence and vandalism is being committed by white supremacists.

Instacart shoppers are cruelly exploited.

It's a great success story (have a barf bag ready with this one).

Biden warned us.

Destroying businesses, even chain stores, does real harm to a neighborhood.

Unemployment benefits are high, but.....

A sign of privilege, or of ignorance.

It's not cool.

Summer may bring frequent electrical blackouts.

It's tyranny (found via Octoberfarm).

Safely re-opening schools is basically impossible.

"Back to normal" needs to be normal for the elderly too.

Green Eagle brings back another huge steaming pile of lunacy from the wingnut internet.

If you don't want to go along with rules which are necessary for everyone's safety, there's another option.

There was a covid-19-positive person at that huge Ozarks pool party.

Trump's social-media executive order is pretty much a dead letter.

Republican officials are hiding and distorting data on the pandemic.  Florida is an egregious case.

The human capital stock are restless.

"Exponential" growth has a more specific meaning than just "very fast" -- here's a pretty good explanation.

The economy won't revive as long as most people don't feel safe.

Religionists ghoulishly hope the pandemic will cause a religious revival (but they hope that about every crisis and it never happens).

You're never safe around Republicans.

Kellyanne Conway flounders around trying to discredit voting by mail.

Some make sacrifices, others don't.

Wisconsin begins to see results from re-opening.

The military has to plan for reality, not for Trump's delusions.

"But are we willing to kill people?.....We have to say yes."

Humans take holidays, but the virus never rests.

Honor the dead by not increasing their numbers.

"Because this is how you get a second wave and another lockdown."

Trump thrives on the pleasure of hating.  His followers thrill to his reality-denial.  And the cruelty is the point.

Minnesota bishops declare the Catholic Church to be above the law.  Small wonder when this kind of mentality prevails.  But it turns out churches aren't above the law after all.

The meat industry is a viral disaster area, but officials won't enforce the rules.

"American exceptionalism is killing us."

Republican governors vie to host Trump's big August super-spreader event.

Covid-19 antibody tests are so inaccurate as to be almost useless.

Neanderthal genes help humans reproduce.

Death Valley can and should become a lake.

The US has risen steadily among the ranks of the world's most obese nations.

In Germany, more than 100 covid-19 cases have been traced to one church.  The country is re-opening too fast.

Dr. Christian Drosten, Germany's Fauci, also faces attacks and threats from local wingnuts.

Italy risks a second wave of the pandemic.

Even in strongly-Catholic Poland, the truth about priestly molestation is emerging.

Brazil sinks into disaster under its uncannily Trump-like president.

An honor killing spreads shock and anger across Iran.

Dâ'ish (ISIL) is still around, largely due to Trump's backstabbing of the Kurds who had it beaten before (found via Mock Paper Scissors).

A hero of the fight against Islamic terrorism is the latest target of Mohammad bin Salman's murderous regime.

South Korea isn't messing around -- police have raided the super-spreader Shincheonji cult and charged its leader with homicide.

After a slow start, covid-19 surges in western India.

Interesting view of China's military here, from an Indian YouTuber.

China's new planned "security" law is the beginning of the end of freedom in Hong Kong. Here's one way to punish the regime.  The UK is considering similar action.

Fascists retaliate against those who seek the truth.

Sub-Saharan Africa is highly vulnerable to the pandemic -- though its governments took action faster than most.  But quack cures won't help.

One is a leader, the other is a spoiled brat.

Republican stupidity is partly driven by desperation.

Here's why Tara Reade's lawyer ditched her as a client.

Texas Republicans didn't learn anything from Wisconsin.

There are several possible reasons why Trump is freaking out so much these days.

More links here.

[Image at top found via Hackwhackers.]

29 May 2020


China seems likely to become a significant issue in this year's US election.  It's important to remember the grim reality behind the various narratives which will be constructed for domestic political reasons.

China today is a nightmarish fascist state.  China is committing de facto genocide against the Uyghur native population of Xinjiang, with over a million Uyghurs held in "re-education" camps, widespread forced sterilization of Uyghur women, and large-scale migration of ethnic Chinese into the territory.  China imposes internal surveillance, and restricts its people's access to information, to a degree almost no other state has managed.  China is destroying what remains of Hong Kong's freedom in brazen disregard of its 1997 commitments.  China is probably the most racist country in the world.  China is engaged in naked territorial expansionism and aggression in the South China Sea, encroaching on the rights of neighboring countries such as the Philippines.  China aims to absorb democratic Taiwan on the basis of shared ethnicity, language, and history, much as Hitler's regime laid claim to Austria.  China, not Trump's US, is the new Nazi Germany.  China's rise toward superpower status is an intolerable menace to the democracies of East Asia and the world in general, and will eventually need to be stopped at almost any cost.

As in the 1930s, there are appeasers at large among the leaders of other countries, people who for whatever reason prefer not to acknowledge the seriousness of the threat or the nature of the regime.  Foremost among them, in our own country, is of course Trump himself.  Whatever he's saying now, Trump previously kowtowed to the Chinese regime as he has done with so many other tyrant states.  In the early weeks of the covid-19 pandemic, Trump repeatedly praised the regime and took its shoddy lies at face value.

Fortunately Biden seems willing to be blunt about the issue:

The economic shock wrought by the pandemic seems to have awakened some other democracies to the madness of allowing themselves to become dependent on China.  The UK and Japan, for example, are already taking steps to lessen that dependence and bring critical production capacity back home.  We, too, will need leadership that can see the problem with clear eyes and act in our real national interest.  That can't be provided by a man whose positions shift around like a wind sock as political expediency dictates, and whose first instinct has always been to coddle dictators while sabotaging our relationships with fellow democratic nations.  Trump's utter failure to recognize and confront the covid-19 threat is closely paralleled by his similar failure with China.

27 May 2020

Videos of the day -- The Kinks

When I posted this song parody a couple of weeks ago, I was surprised to discover that some readers were apparently unfamiliar with the music of The Kinks, even though they're considered one of the most influential bands of the 1960s.  Fortunately, for those who are interested, this is easily rectified.  To start with, here is the original 1970 song "Lola" on which the parody was based:

A personal favorite of mine is "The Village Green Preservation Society" (1968), a paean to British traditions and everyday life:

This is "Victoria" (1969), a satirical look back at the British Empire:

The band remained active long after the 1960s.  This is "Come Dancing" (1982), which I remember seeing frequently on MTV back when they actually played music videos:

The Kinks were a prolific group and had many other songs besides these which became iconic in their own way.  After all these years, it's music I still listen to.

25 May 2020

Improving words (16)

Some more revised word definitions, based on what the words visibly should mean.....

Adversity:  A college that teaches advertising

Assailing:  Suffering from a disease of the posterior

Candidate:  A tryst at the chocolate store

Catching:  A bell-like sound made by felines

Contest:  The opposite of protest

Descent:  To get rid of a smell

Determine:  To scare off excavation to extract minerals from the ground

Examination:  The land of your former friends from France

Fanfare:  Food for enthusiasts

Impeccable:  Immune to attack from woodpeckers

Incapacity:  I have a whole large town inside my hat

Industrial:  A legal proceeding against a large river in Pakistan

Lapsing:  To perform a song while resting on the thighs of a sitting person

Mentally:  A count of the number of adult males

Misspelt:  The winner of a beauty pageant featuring fur clothing

Program:  In favor of a tiny metric unit of weight

Reverse:  To put a text back into poetic form

Tenant:  Nearly a dozen small insects

Tuberculosis:  The act of shoving a potato up the ass of one's Spanish sister

Weevil:  Us be real bad people

[The previous "improving words" post is here.]

24 May 2020

Link round-up for 24 May 2020

Various interesting stuff I ran across on the net over the last week.

o o o o o

"Dinner!  You came back!"

Three nuns were talking.....

Some fine Trump pwnage here (found via Hackwhackers).

Study the sacred texts, and you will believe.

Faces, faces everywhere.....

It just gets worse.

This book has a lot of pages, but you'll get through it really fast.

Dellgirl records a record of English pronunciation anomalies.

RO looks at jigsaw puzzles, Netflix, pigs, and Alaska.

Trump thwarts a dastardly liberal plot against the potatoes of Virginia.

Chlorine, chlorine, chlorine, chlorine.....

Appearances can be deceiving.

You could live in the desert, in a house made of urine (found via Miss Cellania).

See a round-up of Trump memes.

Petula Clark gets a modern update.

This is a real animal.

It's a good thing Trump doesn't do scented candles.

Theology is a fake field of unsupported assumptions about things that don't exist.

Orwell warned us about forcing people to use language that reflects an official alternate version of reality.

Any man's -- or mouse's -- death diminishes me.

Not all protests are alike.

Civil Commotion observes Bertrand Russell's birthday with some of the great man's own thoughts about religion and sexuality.

How do you feel about dating someone much younger than yourself?

Will the real Jesus please stand up.

You cannot reason with those who embrace self-deception.

This is unacceptable in a civilized country.

"Faith" leads to careless living.

"I'm not saying that.  God is saying that."

The pandemic is real -- the president is a hoax.

Pastors tell us man is wicked, and seem determined to prove it themselves.

Utah has essentially decriminalized polygamy.

This guy wants the schools to force children to talk to his imaginary friend.

Pastor Tony Spell, even under house arrest, vows to continue his efforts to spread covid-19.

Mississippi blogger Jack Vance details his escape from religion.

The House is considering an important step toward internet privacy.

This is what the IFB church movement is like.

Where decency is lacking, sometimes public outrage works.

Norma McCorvey of Roe v Wade was paid to recant.

A star of Christian rock sees the light.

A cult is a cult, unless it's our cult.

Their wealth grew this much in one week.

Moscow Mitch is packing the courts with wingnuts as a hedge against the day when Republicans can no longer win national elections.

We need to do something about Amazon.

The right-wing internet is a vast sea of delusion.

The media need to stop treating truth and lies as equally worthy of respect.

A few wingnut-owned businesses are refusing customers who do wear masks.

Nothing is more absurd than Trump calling Obama incompetent.  The idiot doesn't even know what "per capita" means.

Mastercard will let most employees work from home until they feel safe returning to the office.  More of this, please.

Read the comments on this post, and try to imagine having a rational discussion with these people.

The Bright hearing brought out Republican dumbth.

Alabama offers a foretaste of the disaster looming ahead.  By Hook or by Book has a report and rant from the state.

Bruce Gerencser reports from northwest Ohio, land of God, guns, and disease risk.

You can donate here to help the Navajo and Hopi (scroll down).

If the pandemic is a message from God, then God is stupid.

This Christian, who believed covid-19 was "a fake crisis", no longer believes thatMyths about disease are dangerous.

An outbreak at a food-processing plant squelches its re-opening, at least for now (this is just a few miles from me).

There's a new kind of "useful idiot" out there.

Re-opening now will throw away whatever progress we've made in containing the virus.  The worst spikes in infection may hardly show up in official numbers.

Here's what covid-19 did to a young, strong man.

The pandemic is accelerating the collapse of cable TV.

Florida officials seem to be trying to hide data about viral spread.  More here.

"I believe that faith strengthens your immune system.  If you really believe, you won't catch it."

Just stop talking about the Holocaust, you moron.

Trump isn't the only world leader to admire Henry Ford.

A just-opened Georgia church re-closes after an eruption of infections; another in Texas does the same.  A new report on the March Arkansas church event highlights the danger.  Evidently someone got fed up with the churches' disdain for others' health.

Racist attacks on Asian-Americans are still rising.

It's dangerous to rush approval of medical treatments.

Marijuana shows promise in alleviating covid-19.

Video calls feel exhausting because eye contact doesn't work, among other things.

A brief 1935 video of the now-extinct thylacine has been discovered.

There's more and more evidence that plant protein is healthier than animal protein.

Perhaps the Tunguska meteorite just bounced off (found via Miss Cellania).

There are hundreds of billions of solar systems in our galaxy, and most of them seem to be nothing like ours.

Canada now recognizes incel violence against women as terrorism.

The UK seeks to end the madness of relying on a hostile fascist regime for vital supplies.

This is France.

Data from Spain show that the virus hasn't yet reached most of the population.

A visit to a Brazilian ICU belies Bolsonaro's Trumpesque rhetoric.  The pandemic is now devastating Brazil, especially its remote Indian communities.

The Iranian theocracy has lost the support of most of its subjects.

Southern India's jackfruit, once a minor crop, is now a hot export item thanks to the rise of veganism.

Even in death, this religious con man helped spread the virus.

India, not the US, will likely dominate distribution of the covid-19 vaccine.

There's some evidence that the virus is evolving.

The new outbreak in northeastern China has the regime -- and people -- nervous.

Faith healing doesn't seem to work on covid-19.

The Republican election strategy is pure projection.

Trump is losing some support among Evangelicals and older voters.

Our chances of taking the Senate look better than ever.

Dozens who know Biden well say the Tara Reade accusation lacks credibility (see the links at the end of the post too).

This time, Democrats are fighting back against vote suppression.

Non-voters are dangerously out of touch with reality.

Trump's unpopularity and migration from blue states are making Arizona winnable.

Biden will likely be the most liberal president in US history.

More links here.

21 May 2020

Video of the day -- rural America

The Liberal Redneck argues that many rural Americans aren't hard-core Trumpanzees and are reachable.  Worth a listen.

20 May 2020

A rigid mind

Trump's response to covid-19 has seemed bizarre because it's so obviously contrary to self-interest.  He repeatedly says it will just disappear, perhaps by magic, though common sense would tell him it's unwise to go on record predicting something so unlikely.  He keeps pushing "re-opening" and deprecating precautions, in hopes of reviving the economy, though common sense would tell him that a hugely increased death toll (caused largely by the course of action he urged) would hurt his re-election chances more than the recession would.  He ignores and rejects expert advice, though common sense would tell him that it's of practical use in navigating the crisis which will now define his presidency.

It's actually a huge missed opportunity.  Before covid-19 came along, Trump was already suffering from low approval ratings, a highly-motivated opposition, and the disdain of most of the public outside his own blind cult following.  If he had handled the pandemic well -- as much as Cuomo has in New York, for example -- he could have won widespread acclaim and probably guaranteed his own re-election, even a landslide.  Why didn't he see this?

It's not a matter of pandering to the Trumpanzees and Republican politicians who are downplaying the crisis.  It's they who have followed his lead in doing so, not vice-versa.

This looks to me like something more bizarre and alarming than his standard selfishness and greed.  It looks like a strange kind of mental rigidity, an inability to shift gears.  He was committed to the narrative of a booming economy leading to his re-election, and he can't shift away from that narrative to respond to a change in circumstances even when it would obviously be in his own interest to do so.  He hasn't been able to recognize that the pandemic is both a crisis and an opportunity, one which could doom him if he mishandles it or hugely boost him if he rises to the occasion.  His response has been to try and brush it away as soon as possible, in any way possible, so he can get back to the original narrative about the booming economy.

A president with a normally-functioning mind, even if he were totally venal and concerned only with self-interest, would realize that the virus has irreversibly changed the whole dynamic and that he would now be judged almost entirely on his response to it.  Trump can't seem to do that.

I don't know whether it's an effect of age (although 73 isn't all that old) or just some bizarre mental deficiency.  But it seems crippling since it prevents him from adapting to change and acting in his own self-interest.

Trump has lived most of his life in a position where his wealth and power protected him from suffering serious consequences from making bad decisions.  He became president against the will of the majority of voters due to a black-swan combination of freak circumstances.  He's survived in office because competent and intelligent evil men like McConnell chose, for reasons of their own, to shield him and prop him up.  If Trump had not been born rich, he would probably be homeless or dead by now; he couldn't function in a normal job or a normal life situation which requires normal thinking processes.

We should be able to get him out in November.  It's too bad that so many people will die in the meantime because, largely, of this odd glitch in one man's brain.

18 May 2020

Video of the day -- The Herd

Life on a farm can be tough.

17 May 2020

Link round-up for 17 May 2020

Various interesting stuff I ran across on the net over the last week.

o o o o o

If you can spare a few bucks, Mary K at Dark Thoughts could use some help (scroll down).

Flying saucers portend a terrifying plot against mankind.

Time for some birds.

Whoever drew this knew exactly what he was doing.

Such a disappointing meal.

What is its name?

It's so annoying when a cat does this.

Welcome to life under quarantine.

The cat armored division wins a new recruit.

Hint, hint.

Trump's stupid "America leads" banner gets pwned.

Cats discover something better than a cardboard box.

Elephants like music too.

Frogs, now available in ultra-mini size.

The platypus, nature's oddball.

Stockholm's subway system gains something in translation.

Get an early start on Halloween decorations.

Always remember, she was right.

Language is illogical.

If you don't get a test.....

There's something more important than applauding health-care workers.

Admit it -- Star Wars just isn't very good.

What a sad and screwed-up stance toward life.

You can't say what you really think.

Real patriots know their flags.

"Grand reopening".

This is creepy.

How much privacy would you give up for how much safety?

In this time of crisis, Trump takes decisive action by unveiling the new flag of the "space force".

Fantasy is not reality.

Impressive nature photos here.

Here's a list of harm-reduction resources for sex workers.

Robert Landsburg didn't let his last moments go to waste.

Don't celebrate SpaceX.

Cleaning-product poisonings doubled after Trump's idiotic remarks on the subject.

Arch-wingnut Matt Shea's anti-Satanic antics just cost him $4,761.34.

If it sounds like bullshit, it probably is bullshit.

Remember these women warriors of World War II.

With Trumpcare, everyone will be covered.

Religious nutters will perpetuate the pandemic even after a vaccine is available.

Not all deaths are equal.

The Trump-vs-Fauci dynamic is giving me a strong whiff of Pope-vs-Galileo.

It's politics for an extraordinary time.

Globally, 77% of workers want to continue working from home after the pandemic ends.  The practice brings huge benefits to everyone.

Why doesn't God give his followers "discernment" about viruses?

They can't even keep the White House safe.

Sorry, it's still there even if you refuse to look at it.

These people are just thugs.  But if the virus doesn't get them, the hydroxychloroquine will.

Which governor's covid-19 policy gets the lowest rating from his citizens?

Sports will soon become a viral battleground.

Individual freedom doesn't include a right to endanger others.  People used to understand that.

The wingnut bullshit machine is revving up to push re-opening.

Here's the kind of raving lunacy some wingnuts are spouting about Fauci -- and they're starting up on Obama again as well.

It's not socialism, it's a failure of capitalism.

Crooks and Liars looks at the court ruling that has opened up Wisconsin to the virus.

43 million Americans will probably lose their health insurance due to the pandemic.  No country with a national health system faces such a problem.

Defy the lockdown, face the consequences.

A meat-packing plant has apparently spread covid-19 to a nearby town.  The virus is already spreading fastest in rural areas.

The Trump regime has wasted the time we bought at such cost via the lockdowns.

The US unemployment system is terrible -- intentionally.

The arrogance of "American exceptionalism" keeps us ignorant.

The fundies are believing their own bullshit as the culture war spirals into madness.  As usual, churches are at the forefront in promoting the pandemic -- but they're determined not to be held accountable.

Who will succeed Sanders as the leader of the movement he built?

One of the world's most prominent medical journals has a prescription for us.

Here's a good analysis of the covid-19 infection risks in various situations (found via Darwinfish 2).

Contact-tracing apps have a lot of problems.

Five sailors who tested positive for covid-19 and then tested negative have been re-infected, suggesting that being infected once does not confer immunity.

There's a case that antioxidants aren't all that good for you.

The US is not even remotely the world leader in dealing with the pandemic.

This should be considered murder.

Denmark has tamed the pandemic and saved its people's jobs, while spending less relative to GDP than the US.

Russia now ranks second in covid-19 cases (after the US), with its hospitals overwhelmed and health workers dying as the regime's inept bureaucracy flounders.

This is radical Islam -- shooting newborn babies in the cradle.

Covid-19 is surging in Mumbai, India's financial center.

The US pushes back against fascist China's efforts to dominate the South China Sea.

The pandemic poses a threat to African wildlife.

Biden and Sanders are working to unify the anti-Trump forces for November.

Even red states are moving ahead with voting by mail.

Reade has something of a history (found via Yellowdog Granny).

Leaders of the radical left of the 1960s address modern progressives; Electoral-Vote comments.

Biden is realizing he needs to think big.

Trump voters stand by their man as the corpses pile up.  But if he alienates the elderly, he's doomed.

More links here.

[1,214 days down, 248 to go until the inauguration of a real president.]

14 May 2020

Video of the day -- the frenzy

An early ad from The Lincoln Project.

12 May 2020

Institutionalized stupidity

Militant Trumpanzees' rejection of the scientific consensus on the dangers of covid-19, and on the best methods for preventing it, looks insane, self-destructive, and inexplicable.  In fact, it's the natural culmination of a generations-long anti-intellectual and anti-scientific trend among a large segment of our country's population.

About a third of the US population has a strong predisposition to reject and disdain science, and expertise generally.  Like most forms of human stupidity, this is ultimately rooted in religion.  Religion has been hostile to science for centuries (going back at least to Copernicus and Galileo, and arguably back to the destruction of Greco-Roman civilization), because science constantly makes discoveries which are at odds with religious dogma.  The most obvious example is evolution.  The most fervently-religious groups, in order to preserve their belief in their ancient myths and superstitions, have trained themselves to reject science and the general concept of establishing truth by evaluating evidence (that’s what science basically is).  Once that mental pattern was established for the sake of rejecting evolution, it easily got broadened to dismiss other inconvenient truths like global warming.

So we now have tens of millions of people who are culturally primed to react with hostility against any manifestation of expertise or any assertion of fact based on evidence instead of on ideology or tradition.

Most of the public figures now promoting stupid responses to covid-19 are Republican politicians.  The Republican party for decades has represented the interests of the ultra-wealthy against the rest of society, and has exploited religious fundamentalism to win elections; over time the fundamentalist element has become more and more dominant even in the upper levels of the party due to the rising influence of its grass-roots supporters.  What started off as a strategy to manipulate the rubes into voting for the party has become its real soul. It’s as if The Man Behind The Curtain had himself gradually come to believe that his projection of Oz the great and terrifying was a real entity.  And the fundamentalists themselves are now totally committed to Trump and his siren song of lies and delusion.

To that toxic situation another element has been added -- Republican leaders' fear, since around mid-2016, of crossing Trump and incurring the wrath of his hordes of fanatical, stupid, easily-enraged, and heavily-armed followers.  So the positions and statements of these politicians are rooted in two factors -- a specific form of stupidity, and a specific form of cowardice.  These exist in different proportions in different individual cases, but the practical result is pretty much the same.

Covid-19 is bringing the dangers of this mentality to the surface in ways we have not seen before.  The harm done by rejection of evolution or of climate science is long-term and generalized to the whole society -- an individual holding such anti-scientific views typically suffers no visible, immediate harm from doing so.  The harm done by rejecting the scientific consensus on covid-19 can be both personal and immediate, both to the dogmatic individual and to innocent people in his vicinity.  Our society is getting an object lesson in the dangers of irrational thinking.  And with so many states prematurely loosening their lockdowns and so many Trumpanzees and church leaders defying them, that object lesson is about to become a lot harsher.

10 May 2020

Link round-up for 10 May 2020

Various interesting stuff I ran across on the net over the last week.

o o o o o

What if Hitchcock worked on Sesame Street?

They're just compensating.

Monday was pun day.

See the cat armored division (link from Nonnie9999).

It's a haunted house with a difference.

Choose your mask wisely.  You don't need to take this one off to have a drink.

Here's how you get a low-maintenance, pigeon-free balcony.

The first few steps are the hardest.

Georgia Marfels makes mini-art for the pandemic (and other creepy things).

Who was he talking to?

There are some tough-looking gangs on the prowl.

Knowledge vs experience.

Here's the best format for long text documents (found via Bluebird of Bitterness).

Less than 559 feet.

Try to be optimistic.

A simple bus trip across California turns a bit Twilight-Zone-ish.

Dumb animals are protected by smarter animals.

Every death impoverishes the future.

Some pithy observations on the lockdown protests here.  And one more.

This is not love.

The enemy is preparing to fight.  So must we.

Wingnuts have achieved their own form of herd immunity.

54% of Americans who have been working from home want to continue doing so after the pandemic ends.

"So glad for that place called HELL."

They are a cult.

As if we needed another reason to avoid going outside.....

If you don't agree with every detail of my beliefs, you're blinded by Satan.

Old people are people.

Yes, abortion can be beautiful.

Bruce Gerencser looks at the world of Baptist missionaries.

The shots fired at Kent State fifty years ago still reverberate.

Don't get trapped in a lifelong career you know is a lie.

Here's how to deal with dental issues during the pandemic.

Guess which one the police shot.

Blood, blood, blood!

It is better to acknowledge uncertainty than to be certain without evidence.

DarkMatter2525 imagines the trial of Kenneth Copeland.

The pandemic is spawning biting, classic cartoons.

Fair and Unbalanced referenced my post "The Culture War Turns Hot", leading to some further discussion.

The Screaming Idiot of Michigan acquires yet more renown.

It's an empty gesture from an empty man.

Just stop being poor!  And go die for the economy.

Here's a round-up of wingnut asshattery, plus a hopeful move by an athlete.

Yes, let her be known as "Grandma Killer" for the rest of her life.

Internal dissent at Amazon is rising to the top.

Yes, you do need to wear a mask in public -- don't resort to the same old Republican denialism.

Doctors are getting sick of all the conspiracy bullshit they have to deal with.

Green Eagle dives deep into the lunacy of the wingnutosphere.

Republicans have made the US a failed state.  They're now attacking the CDC's science-based re-opening guidelines on religious and political grounds.  Our country is leaderless, sinking into absurdity.

Ending lockdowns won't help the economy until people feel safe.

At least one Michigan legislator now feels a need for armed guards.

This is not what the heroes fought for.

Here's a pandemic report from the Shenandoah Valley.

Yes, people who talk like this are "the enemy", period.

South Dakota's Republican governor won't allow the Sioux to protect themselves against covid-19.

Here's a good illustration of what can happen when you don't observe social distancing.

She worked to keep others alive, and now insurance is letting her down.

Yes, the Lansing MI protesters have been spreading the virus.

Leonard Pitts will not die for someone else's stupidity, and neither should you.

Religionists step up their efforts to undermine the fight against covid-19.

It's not under control yet.  Don't quit before the war is won.

We're probably never going "back to normal".  Here's how the pandemic could change US politics.

Pastors and their dupes are being mowed down by the virus they refuse to take seriously.

People are setting themselves up for horrible suffering (found via Mock Paper Scissors).

Some meat-plant workers are refusing to come back to their dangerous jobs.

Apparently "religious freedom" includes the right to poison people.

Republicans do not speak for our country.

Every time you think people can't get any stupider, they do.

Some were prepared for the pandemic, others weren't.

Trumpanzees don't do introspection.

Security people trying to enforce anti-covid-19 precautions are being assaulted or even killed.

A Trumpanzee attacks a tribute to nurses in Pennsylvania.

Let the true ugliness of the enemy shine forth (be sure to watch the video within the post).

You can suffer from severe hypoxia without knowing it.

There are grounds for hope in the war against covid-19.  But don't count on warm weather to slow it down.

Octopuses probably aren't all that smart (but no, don't eat them).

A new genetically-engineered enzyme recycles plastic in hours.

British parents successfully push back against school rules that threaten girls' privacy.  The government may finally be listening.

Sweden is paying a "horrifying" price for its decision to eschew a lockdown.

Religio-nutters are undermining the fight against the pandemic in Russia too.

China probably has eighty million people out of work.

Trump is losing a chunk of his base.

Learn from Dukakis -- about what not to do.

Intrepid hog-deballer Joni Ernst is slipping in the polls.

Tara Reade's attitude towards Biden has fluctuated suspiciously.  No, this is not like the Kavanaugh caseAnnie Asks You and I Should Be Laughing explain why they doubt the accusation.

Trump's campaign airs a flagrantly-dishonest ad.

Crooks and Liars has more covid-19 links.  Still more links here.

[Image at top found via Hackwhackers.]

09 May 2020

Video of the day -- Co-ro-ro-ro-rona

The plague, in the unique style of the Kinks.

07 May 2020

Improving words (15)

Some more revised word definitions, based on what the words visibly should mean.....

Beginning:  The part of a baseball game set aside for craven requests

Centrally:  A large public gathering of pennies

Covenant:  A small insect that lives with a group of witches

Decorum:  A Caribbean alcoholic drink in the style of art from the twenties and thirties

Dickinson:  What happens when you leave your son alone with a Catholic priest

Diode:  A poem in honor of princess Diana

Dissect:  To insult a religious faction

Excoriate:  The former central part of an apple which I consumed

Garden:  A home for a certain type of fish

Hospitable:  Subject to being spat on by a prostitute

Incur:  Swallowed by a nasty dog

Improper:  One who uses a lasso to capture small demons

Pallid:  The thing you put on top of your friend's container to keep him from escaping

Pinafore:  With a tiny needle up front

Replace:  Delicate embroidery that expresses your reputation

Restoration:  A relaxing long speech

Searing:  A band worn around one finger to show your relationship with the ocean

Sewage:  The age at which you're old enough to attach pieces of cloth together with a needle and thread

Substance:  The correct way to stand in an undersea vessel

Summary:  A person named after the mother of Jesus who is good at addition

Thinking:  A monarch who isn't overweight

[The previous "improving words" post is here.]

05 May 2020

The choice

This November, one of two things will happen.  Either Biden will be elected president, or Trump will be re-elected.  Many people fervently believe there should be some third option.  There isn't.  It's going to be one of those two.

This post is addressed to those who, for whatever reason, don't like Biden.  Maybe you consider him too centrist or too old or too old-fashioned or "Republican-lite" or whatever.  Maybe you think the Tara Reade accusation has credibility (though there are good reasons to believe otherwise).  Maybe you think the process by which millions of rank-and-file Democrats chose the nominee (from among a remarkably large and varied group of candidates) was tainted in some way.  Maybe you hold that your vote has to be earned and Biden hasn't done this or that thing that qualifies him as having done so.

None of that is a good enough reason to let Trump be re-elected.

None of that is a good enough reason to let him saddle the whole country with a 7-2 majority of reactionaries and theocrats on the Supreme Court for decades to come.

None of that is a good enough reason to risk four more years of migrant family separation and kids in cages, or of rhetoric which blatantly scapegoats Latinos, Muslims, and whatever other minority makes a convenient target.

None of that is a good enough reason to leave this vicious and hateful man in a position where he could block laws to help the unemployed and the uninsured, laws to end gerrymandering and vote suppression, laws to protect gay equality and the right to abortion nationally, that a Democratic House and Senate might pass.

None of that is a good enough reason to tolerate four more years of the massive and flagrant banana-republic corruption we've seen.

None of that is a good enough reason to risk four more years of budget-wrecking giant tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, and efforts to sabotage Social Security, the Postal Service, and the Devil knows what else.

None of that is a good enough reason to facilitate four more years of bungling the response to covid-19 (yes, it will still be around long after January 2021).

None of that is a good enough reason to accept four more years of posturing brats like Kushner, malignancies like Barr, and the rest of Trump's crew of grifting toadies, keeping their hands on various levers of power.

None of that is a good enough reason to submit to four more years of undermining the separation of church and state.

None of that is a good enough reason to allow four more years of trashing our country's relationships with other democracies, and enabling and legitimizing murderous gangster regimes around the planet.

None of that is a good enough reason to risk four more years of the federal government actively sabotaging all efforts to fight climate change.

Perhaps you want to vote third party to "send a message" of some sort.  But look at history.  Nobody knows or cares what "message" Nader voters in 2000 or Stein voters in 2016 thought they were sending.  What mattered was who became president.  Do you think you'll be punishing Biden or the DNC by withholding your vote?  They won't suffer if Trump is re-elected.  It's the kids in cages, the unemployed and uninsured, the gay people and minorities, the countless additional people who will lose their lives or health to covid-19 -- they're the ones who will suffer.

Or maybe you think your vote isn't needed because Biden's victory is inevitable or you don't live in a swing state.  Yes, Hillary's victory was also "inevitable" in 2016, and look how that worked out.  And even if you live in a safe state for one candidate or the other, the popular vote matters, psychologically even if not legally.  If Trump loses, the wingnut noise machine will immediately go into overdrive attacking the legitimacy of the result.  The bigger the popular-vote margin, the less effective their sabotage will be upon the mass public mind.  The bigger the popular-vote margin, the more clearly our country will be seen by the rest of the world to repudiate the contemptible cruelty and madness of the last four years.

And it's not only the presidency.  We need to win it, yes, but we need to hold the House and win the Senate as well.  Leaving any one of those three under the Republicans' control would enable them to block almost all progress on expanding health coverage, protecting the right to vote, restoring abortion rights, saving the climate, or anything else.  And again, in the real world, the only way to end Republican control of those institutions is to achieve Democratic control.  There's no third option.

It's not only about Biden or the Democratic party.  It's about saving the country.

04 May 2020

Video of the day -- Krigsgaldr

Song "Krigsgaldr" ("War Chant") performed by the Scandinavian-German group Heilung.  The language is proto-Norse (ancestor of modern Scandinavian languages), with a little bit of English toward the middle; the lyrics are based on a 7th-century Runic inscription found in Norway.  Note this is not a conventional music video; it's nine minutes, and its theme is the horrors of war, or more precisely the horrors of barbarian raids -- some of the imagery in the second half is gruesome and disturbing, even in this highly abstract style of animation.

Worth using fullscreen.  Thanks to Professor Taboo for suggesting I check out this band.

03 May 2020

Link round-up for 3 May 2020

Various interesting stuff I ran across on the net over the last week.

o o o o o

Everyone can work from home.  Even a weather forecaster (found via Mock Paper Scissors).

A Yorkshire woman turned a piece of suburban sidewalk into Monty Python (link from Nonnie9999).

Dr. Trump is ready to treat you.  He'll even teach you medicine.

Dumbest sign ever.

Don't mess with the voodoo dildo.

Some gif-makers don't much like Trump.

Covid-19 is really putting a damper on pagan fertility rituals.

A name change makes old songs into old songs.

Geometry does have practical applications.

How would life evolve in a McDonald's universe?

I don't see any room for a brain at all.

It's a well-named mountain.

Bathsheba Sculpture sells this stunning laser-etching art (found via Billions of Versions of Normal).

Orangutans play with otters.

All-consuming vines turn ordinary things into weird and ominous forms.

Experience an optical illusion, and possibly a migraine.

Some nice photos of Michigan's Upper Peninsula here.

The Smithsonian is offering virtual tours.

Protect your e-books.

Meditation isn't my thing, but if you feel it may help you, here are some tips.

What do you call a group of Trumpanzees? (found via New Witch).

Don't worry too much if you received this blackmail threat.

Christian kitsch can't replace real popular culture.

Be like BrooklynDad.

Photographs can be misleading.

Gay pride 2020 goes virtual.

Blogger Shower Cap analyzes the conservative brain.

AO3 was created as a safe space, not a money-maker.

Here are some places to buy face masks (most will take some time to ship, though).

It's been six years and the Flint water crisis still isn't fixed.

This specialist is still doing hair, nails, and make-up, and appointments are easy to arrange.

The Black Panthers helped launch the practice of serving food at school.

"Saving yourself for marriage" can lead to disappointment and worse.

The cash-worshipers want to sacrifice us on the altar of the economy.

Militant stupidity has a long history in our country, and it's still very active.

"It is a public crime to act as though there were no God" -- Pope Leo XIII.

As Amazon workers organize, the management limits their internal communications.

Yet another survey shows an ongoing decline in religion in the US.  Even among Pentecostals and Charismatics, fewer and fewer really believe.

I'm struck by the blunt language CNN uses to describe Trump's untruths.  I've seen them use "falsely says that....." or even "lies that....." about his statements quite a few times.

From 1992:  A leading Independent Fundamentalist Baptist preacher expresses flagrant racism (the linked video is a must-watch).

The Catholic Church condemns reconciliation with modernity and separation of church and state.

Official coins commemorate Trump's great achievements (gag).

Here are some options if you can't pay the rent.

A Florida man stages a brilliant protest against the state's premature re-opening.

This gentleman feels rather strongly that the government is not doing enough to help the average person (found via Mock Paper Scissors).

There's an abundance of candidates for covidiot of the day.  Here's one more contender.  And this person is just a regular idiot.

The Postal Service is more vital now than ever; we can't let the Republicans destroy it.

Eagerly they march to revive the economy (found via Hackwhackers).

Don't be like Pence -- wear a mask.  Oh, and he doesn't like it when you prove he's lying.

Cuomo pwns Moscow Mitch.

The pigs ate all the money, but you can't eat them.

"God can heal anything," or maybe not.  Church leaders who down- played the pandemic are dropping like flies -- and others suffer too.

The wife of Maryland's governor scores 500,000 covid-19 tests, while the wingnuts keep churning out bullshit.  It's clear enough who the enemy is.

The pandemic exposes substandard conditions in nursing homes; in one case almost 70 elderly veterans died.

One New Mexico town has had to be sealed off.

Most Americans oppose the rush to loosen social distancing, despite Republicans talking nonsense.

This is no time for moderate Christians to be neutral.

Trump is trying to force meat-packing workers back to their jobs with no legal recourse if they get sick (and Moscow Mitch strongly concurs) -- but many may not show up.  Some unions are already becoming more militant.

Loosening the lockdowns probably won't help the economy much.

An innocent US Army sergeant is now doomed to endless harassmentConspiracy-theory bullshit is not harmless.

The Central Park field hospital is far from the first time that Franklin Graham has expressed bigotry against gays.

He gave his life for..... (found via Hackwhackers).

The pandemic is starting to hit rural America hard, spreading into Trump country.

Arizona's Republican chairwoman encourages anti-lockdown protesters to dress up like healthcare workers to confuse the media.

Florida Republicans act to obscure the state's true covid-19 death toll.  Georgia, already suffering a new viral surge, moves the same way.

Silver lining -- church donations are way down.

If the governor's mansion isn't ready to open up, neither is the state (second link found via Octoberfarm).

This Catholic bishop wants to stop the development of any vaccine which doesn't fit his religion's taboo system.

Self-poisonings are on the rise since Trump's idiotic remarks about cleaning products.

The religious-nutjob leader of North Carolina's anti-lockdown protest is now sick with -- hell, I don't even need to say it, do I?

World leaders launch a joint initiative to develop a covid-19 vaccine, but Trump refuses to join in.

Warm weather won't slow down the pandemic much.

Covid-19 can cause blood clotting and strokes.

We now have a complete geological map of the Moon (found via Boat Bits).

Per NASA, over the last 16 years Antarctica and Greenland have lost enough ice to fill Lake Michigan.

Canada's worst-ever mass shooting casts a sad pall over Nova Scotia.

Europeans are horrified at America's ill-considered rush to re-opening.

My imaginary friend is more important to the country than the National Health Service.

In Germany, social distancing revives drive-in movie theaters.

Sweden didn't opt for a lockdown, and now it's paying the price.  On the positive side, the country has now completely weaned itself off coal.

Brazil, like the US, suffers from a wingnut denialist president undermining states' covid-19 responses.

Covid-19 is getting a strong grip on Russia.

Turkey's Islamist president stands up for anti-gay bigotry.

India's very low covid-19 death toll (even allowing for undercounting) has focused attention on a tuberculosis vaccine widely used there.

Here's the new "normal" in post-lockdown Wuhan.  Heilongjiang province in the north is China's new viral hotspot.

Like Trump, the Chinese regime responds to covid-19 by whipping up anti-foreigner sentiment and racism.

This is even worse than the bleach-drinking "cure" (warning -- gruesome verbal description).

Take this as a warning against overconfidence.  And the wingnuts are laying the groundwork to claim fraud if Trump loses.

Green Eagle spots an interesting coincidence about the Tara Reade accusation, and points to this skeptical assessment.  And why didn't this come up in 2008 when Biden was being vetted for VP?

Spread these ads around.

Keep an eye on North Carolina.

Internet voting is not the answer.

Every major Democratic demographic group agrees on the best running mate for Biden.

The southwest is turning blue.  Even Georgia might be in play.

Biden has an "old" path to victory.

Our chances in the Senate keep looking better.

More links here.

[Image at top found via a comment by Brucedesertrat at Mock Paper Scissors.]