30 November 2020

Video of the day -- nonsense song

In 1972, Italian pop singer Adriano Celentano responded to the popularity of English-language songs in Italy by releasing this song, with "lyrics" which were designed to sound like English but were actually meaningless gibberish.  The imitation of the phonetic system and speech rhythms of American English is near-perfect, which is why you'll keep feeling like you should be able to understand it even though you can't.  Pretty cool music video, too.

29 November 2020

Link round-up for 29 November 2020

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

o o o o o

Debra She Who Seeks observes American Thanksgiving.

Rawknrobyn is having entirely too much fun with this turkey.

Comedian Eddie Griffin pwns religion and politicians (I didn't personally care for the second video, but the first one is perfect).

Hunt the tail.

For a wizard, clear penmanship is important.

See the faces.

Sorry, it's not flat.

This village is not Fucking any more.

Getting baptized?  Have some fun with it.

Here's a way to raise some cash for the government.

Check out these German castles.

Soar, poetically, despite pain.

A mask is not a political statement.

Fight for consumerism, die for consumerism.

How will the birds cope without winter?  How will we?

They knew how to make a statue back then.

The kraken has been released -- and it can't spell.

The New York Crank hands out some awards.

Greg Fallis explores pioneer cemeteries.

They built a monument to a marriage they thought could never be.

Some thoughts here about the holidays, consumerism, and the need for connection.

Rest in peace, Darth Vader.

Imagine if Biden behaved like Trump.

Samantha Bee endures a covid-19 Thanksgiving.

Here's where we are now in the election process.

Tiny deskTiny deskTiny desk!

Trumpanzees find themselves a Japanese role model.

Thursday's Supreme Court ruling was a win for theocracy and death.

To those who want to "reach out to" the wingnuts, try this one.

If there had been Trumpanzees on the Titanic.....

Are atheists less sociable than religious people?  It's a real question.

Celebrities can be thugs too.

Trumpanzees on Parler are calling for a boycott of the Georgia runoffs to punish the Republican party for not supporting Trump insanely enough.  More of this, please.

Full-on capitalism plus the virus equals catastrophe.

Stop playing the sap for Republicans.

If Christianity is merely a lie, why bother opposing it?

Fox News frets about being out-wingnutted by Newsmax and OANN.

Harris has an option for defanging Moscow Mitch.

The trans fad is seducing kids, with potentially life-ruining consequences.

No, atheism does not mean being like Russia.

Money doesn't matter in politics as much as people think.

Dear Evangelicals -- hope those 30 pieces of silver were worth it.

Green Eagle explores the wingnutosphere so you don't have to.  It's not a happy place right now.

Are lesbians threatened with extinction?

This is no time for political suicide.

You can't bargain with a virus.  Healthcare workers are already being devastated, and 1,700 have died.  The holiday season will bring a bigger surge of deaths than anything we've seen yet.

Don't flinch -- call Trump's bluff.

Libertarianism takes an unrealistic view of racism.

Dominion responds to wingnut accusations about their voting machines and company history.

A professor at Berkeley (!) is advocating book-burning.

Yes, the Electoral College is an abomination.  No, it isn't possible to get rid of it.

Trumpanzees are weaklings, valuing conformity above truth.

Religionists plotted secretly for weeks to hold a huge covid-19 super-spreader event in Brooklyn.

Wingnuts remain delusional about the election.  The alt-right is ramping up threats of violence.

Here's another reason to avoid putting anything personal on social media.

54% of Republicans say they'd support Trump for the presidential nomination in 2024.  Trumpism will retain its grip on the party.

"Every day another woman loses her job and a witch-burning occurs on Twitter."  But women aren't supposed to talk about their own issues any more.  We seem to be in the middle of another episode of hysteria with an inquisition mentality, like McCarthyism or the Satanic Panic of the 1980s.  Such episodes pass, but they do a lot of damage.

A Catholic bishop warns his herd to refuse any covid-19 vaccine developed in defiance of Catholic taboos.

Republicans are doing better with Latinos by talking about class instead of race.  And for fuck's sake stop using "Latinx".

Here are ten things Biden can do without needing the Senate.

A few Republicans are telling Trump to face reality.  As his presidency ends, he's piling up new prosecutable offenses.  We need to know just how big a threat to national security he is.

Violent mobs in Portland continue to attack large and small businesses and, for some reason, the Mexican consulate.

One of red America's best-prepared hospitals is already overwhelmed with covid-19 victims.

No, these nuns did not "mean well".  This was evil.

France's president Macron calls on the country's Muslim leaders to support secularism and freedom.

Poland's right-wing government continues its harsh crackdown on massive demonstrations for abortion rights.

This is Azerbaijan.

Elephants owe their extreme largeness, enormity, and biggitude to a mutant gene that suppresses cancer.

Annie Asks You has assembled some worthwhile information about those new covid-19 vaccines.

A better understanding of telomerase should help us fight both aging and cancer.

Doctors confirm that going vegan can reduce the severity of covid-19.

More links here.

Reminder to trolls -- read this.

o o o o o

28 November 2020

Typhoid Marys, court-empowered

Thursday's Supreme Court ruling against New York state's efforts to fight covid-19 by restricting church gatherings is an example of what we can expect now that the appointment of Coathanger Coney has entrenched the religio-wingnut majority on the highest court in the land.  Decisions will be made based on the interests of Christian supremacism, with some threadbare "reasoning" tacked on as an afterthought.

An example of the latter would be Gorsuch's comparison of church services with going to a store to buy a bicycle or a bottle of wine, as if just one person stepping inside a building for the few minutes such a transaction requires could be compared with packing many people indoors for an hour or two of singing, chanting, and whatever other intensive virus-spreading behaviors their particular sect's weird occult rituals require.  We already know how this works.  There have been countless examples of church services and events causing large-scale outbreaks of covid-19.  I have yet to hear of any such disasters being traced to liquor stores.

More salient is the assertion that New York's restrictions infringed the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion.  Here's why that's nonsense.

A guarantee of the right to free exercise of religion doesn't logically extend to behavior which is harmful to other people.  For example, if the Aztec or Phoenician religions still existed today with large numbers of adherents on US territory, would anyone argue that they should be allowed to perform human sacrifices as they did in their heyday, even though such sacrifices were absolutely central to their beliefs and practices?  Of course not.  And no other Constitutional guarantee is interpreted to include a right to inflict life-threatening danger on other people.  You can own a gun, but if you shoot somebody with it, except in self-defense, you'll be arrested.  You are free from unreasonable searches and seizures, but if the local authorities find out that you're storing large quantities of explosives in your house that could endanger the whole neighborhood, they will do something about it.  Even lesser infringements on other people's rights are not rendered acceptable by appealing to a Constitutional provision.  Yes, you have the right to "peaceably assemble", but not on my front lawn, if I don't choose to let you. It's absurd to claim that the "free exercise of religion" includes a "right" to amplify a raging pandemic.

But logic and consistency are beside the point here.  To the Christian supremacist mind-set, their primitive stew of ancient ritual, taboo, and superstition takes precedence over such concerns -- and over other modern considerations such as the actual meaning and intent of the First Amendment.  Due to a sequence of historical accidents, that mind-set has now secured a majority on the Supreme Court.  In the near term, not much can be done about this other than enlarging the Court, which is looking less likely given that it will depend on winning the Georgia runoffs and abolishing the filibuster and prioritizing Court enlargement at a time when the government will have many other problems to fix.  The time may have come to take a fresh look at the whole concept of judicial review.

27 November 2020

Video of the day -- wingnuts get pwned

See them losing it as their Chosen One flops big-time with the voters.

26 November 2020

Lightening up a bit

24 November 2020

Deprogramming Trumpanzees for fun and profit

[I suspect not many people will be convinced by my main point here.  I'm writing this more in a spirit of hoping that ten or fifteen years from now, some readers will recall this post and think, "well whaddaya know, he was right."]

Since the election, a common theme on liberal blogs has been, "How the hell are we going to deprogram these people?"  Some large chunk of the US population, evidently in the tens of millions, has been brainwashed into what I call the "fever dream" -- an alternate reality of conspiracy theories, bizarre baseless beliefs, cultish loyalty to Trump, fantasies of armed violence, disdain for science and logic, hostility toward anyone who doesn't subscribe to the alternate reality, and avoidance and rejection of any source of information that contradicts it.  The most prominent and consistent feature of the fever dream is a sustained tone of hysteria and paranoia -- it's less a belief system than an attitude.

Getting so many people out of this state of mind seems impossible.  How do you argue with or persuade people who dismiss logic, insist on made-up facts, reject any conflicting source of information as "fake news", believe almost everything outside their own alternate reality is part of some vast evil conspiracy -- and cling to all this with the kind of fanatical passion normally associated with religious cults?  Surely it can't be done.  Experience shows it's pointless to try.  Many cultists will abandon and attack even figures they trusted who turn against the fever dream in some way.  Some cling to a cherished delusion like "covid-19 is a hoax" even while dying of it.

But deeply-held beliefs and attitudes, even religious ones, can change, and surprisingly fast.  We've seen it happen.  A couple of decades ago the taboo on homosexuality was still deeply entrenched in the US; today it has eroded to such an extent that even gay marriage, once barely imaginable, is now accepted by at least two-thirds of the US population -- even widely accepted in the South.  Preachers who still rant against homosexual "sin" are generally seen as fringe bigots similar to the KKK.  Twenty years ago "nones", people with no religion, were negligible in numbers in the US and often viewed as weird and suspect.  Last time I checked, we've reached 26% of the population and still growing fast -- and in some parts of the country and some social levels, being non-religious is not only accepted but practically the default assumption.  (Comparable changes are also happening in seemingly-unpromising places like the Arab world.)

This is more relevant than you might think.  I've argued before that the ultimate roots of the wingnut fever dream mentality are religious.  For decades fundies and their ilk have cultivated a disdain for science and evidence and expertise in order to preserve their belief in concepts like creationism, Noah's flood, and a 6,000-year-old Earth which were long ago refuted by science.  Once entrenched, that disdain for evidence was easily expanded to reject global warming, the immutability of sexual orientation, and any other unwanted fact, the latest example being the seriousness of the covid-19 pandemic.  Rejection of evidence to sustain one irrational belief can and will eventually metastasize to sustain any irrational belief a person or population cares to embrace.  Trump didn't cause or start the fever dream -- most of it has been in place for much longer than five years.  It has embraced him because he embraced it, calling it out of the shadows by offering it legitimacy and a high-profile voice, stepping into the role of its advocate, its prophet.

We can't argue tens of millions of people out of this world-view any more than we argued them out of homophobia or argued a quarter of the population away from religion.  People weren't argued into those things in the first place.  Religion and bigotry are mostly imparted in childhood, by parents and community.  The wingnut fever dream was built up and inculcated over time by the dank ecosystem of talk radio, Fox News, and far-right internet sites and forums of varying degrees of lunacy.  Neither case involved logical persuasion or argument.

I've long observed that political junkies are foolish to disdain mass pop culture.  The latter, in one form or another, reaches most of the population, including the substantial majority that doesn't follow politics closely and hardly looks at political news or ads.  If you're not familiar with the case I make on this point, please read this, this, this, this, and this.  The drastic decline of homophobia and religious belief over the last two decades was not mainly caused by people reading and being persuaded by logical arguments against those things.  Rather, they were eroded by the steady, subtle, almost subliminal effect of movies, TV, popular music, etc. presenting gay characters as normal and likeable, showing religious extremists and traditional values and prejudices as weird, comical, or menacing, and otherwise depicting a new reality and set of attitudes as an existing default.  People naturally absorb their attitudes and values from their cultural environment, and pop culture is so vivid, colorful, and attractive that it can to some extent form a kind of substitute cultural environment, swaying those attitudes and values little by little.  Younger people are more malleable to such influences, so the younger generation even in conservative regions of the country has developed more progressive views than their elders, and generational turnover is part of the process of change.

It's a slow process.  It has to be subtle, because people react to being preached at by putting their guard up.  Any hint of explicit politics or argumentation would kill the effect.  It works because pop culture is light, fun, colorful, entertaining, and non-political.  And its reach is nearly universal.  Fundies and Trumpanzees actively avoid MSNBC, CNN, liberal blogs, or anything else that explicitly reminds them of the reality outside the bubble -- but except for those few who are in literal cults, nearly everyone consumes some kind of pop culture.  The global reach and popularity of American (and Japanese) mass culture has even helped foment such changes in attitudes in regions like the Middle East, Latin America, and parts of East Asia.

And the enemy has no power to fight back in kind.  The talent and skill are simply not there.  Efforts to create a countervailing wingnut pop-culture scene -- "Christian movies", "Christian rock", PureFlix, etc. -- have produced nothing but clunky, preachy embarrassments with no appeal beyond the circle of those who already believe.

I believe the people who create and shape mass culture know exactly what they're doing and have a fairly consistent agenda, even if there is no overall leadership or coordination.  It's not a conspiracy; shared values and aesthetics make a conspiracy unnecessary.  Dismantling the wingnut alternate-reality bubble hasn't been a priority, but now that the Trump episode has made clear the magnitude of the danger lurking in the hinterlands, I expect that we'll start to see the same kinds of influences and imagery that have been eroding homophobia and fundamentalism brought to bear against the various delusions and attitudes which comprise that threat.  It won't be fast.  It won't be obvious.  It will hardly be noticeable.  But over time -- not with all of them, but with many -- it will work.

23 November 2020

Video of the day -- the monster turns on its creator

Yeah, it's just one guy and one mob, but you know this kind of thing is going to proliferate among Trumpanzees nationwide as more and more Republican leaders accept the reality of Biden's win and urge Trump to do the same.  If forced to choose between Trump and the Republican party, they'll go with Trump every time -- especially if he starts railing against the party for "betraying" him.

Republican leaders, you brought this on yourselves.

You assholes should have read Lovecraft -- "Do not call up that which you cannot put down."  You gloated while Fox News and talk radio brainwashed these herds of morons into a Frankenstein's monster which you hoped would destroy us.  You cultivated their rage and hate, their paranoia, their refusal to listen to reason.  But it's in the nature of monsters that they get out of control, and now your monster is starting to turn against you, as any intelligent person could have predicted it eventually would.  And you have earned every iota of the pain it's going to bring you.

22 November 2020

Link round-up for 22 November 2020

Please consider donating or otherwise helping the Georgia runoff effort at these links -- Fair Fight, Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock.

o o o o o

Debra She Who Seeks dishes out pun-ishment, some of it medieval.

Big Bad Bald Bastard contemplates dinosaur dongs.

A magician's mishaps make his act even more entertaining.

Nobody is normal.

"Help me with this jigsaw puzzle."

Time for some reptiles.

Take things literally.

Having a big nose is no excuse.

Blue Jays Mom! (NSFW).

Watch him as he climbs.

Not everybody likes Christmas.  (But hey, there are only 343 days to go until Halloween!)

If 2020 were a.....

"We had one of those but the wheels came off."

The music won't be very good.


It's my body.

I hope all Republicans in Georgia heed this message.

Hmm, a science-fiction movie that isn't just another tired "explosion and bullet laden feast for the senses" but makes you think?  Needless to say, it isn't American.

See these animals as they truly are.

The media outrageously fail to cover tiny gatherings of delusional nitwits.

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Blogger Keith looks at the best of Star Trek.

Longfellow's epic Evangeline brings the tragedy of the Acadian deportation to life.  This is one of the most interesting posts I've seen on the net in a while.

Fox News out-stupids itself yet again.  Unbelievable.

The approach of December brings the usual wingnut bleating about the holidays.

Does this man even have any right to be in America? (found via Octoberfarm).

Trump is too lazy to destroy democracy.  He's going for fascism, but incompetently.  Republicans are afraid he'll wreck their chances in the Georgia runoffs if they don't pander to his delusions.

Christianity tries to take over Thanksgiving.

Good hat.

Commemorate Giuliani's last stand (found via Octoberfarm).  But don't watch this disgusting clip if you're eating.

Wingnuts want more Americans to embrace a Biblical world-view.  Good luck with that.

".....as the least intelligent people alive attempt to overthrow the US government by punching themselves in the crotch over and over again."

To fundies, even hugs are problematical.

If you support making nice with the Trumpanzees, think of how you'd justify it to this guy, not to me.  Lo Imprescindible knows it's a waste of time (do watch the video there, it's a real circus of idiots), as does Jen SorensenRead this too.

Parler is a refuge where wingnuts can escape from reality.

Fuck this guy, and the toadies he rode in on.

"It's very impressive, all this raising of questions."

Here are some companies you may prefer not to buy from (found via Mock Paper Scissors).

Watch a sample of Raphael Warnock as a speaker.

Have a cruelty-free Thanksgiving.

Civil Commotion is doing a poll on whether Trump should be prosecuted after leaving office.

The ACLU turns against freedom.

Ivanka Trump's social life will never be the same again (boo hoo).

The "million MAGA march" was a bizarre protest.

At last -- a couple of victories against "cancel culture".

Kristi Noem, champion plague-spreader.

Here's an example of what many wingnuts are reading and believing about the election.  And this is a news site, not some crackpot blog.

At least one school district has now re-defined "people of color" to exclude Asians.  Expect more of this.

Christian pastors continue their covid-19 super-spreader role by warning their sheep against future vaccines.

Ellis county TX needs to be dragged into the modern world.

Remember, Trump lost and we won.  All over the US, Republicans are desperately flailing around trying to disenfranchise people.

It is difficult for the brilliant to understand the militantly stupid.

The terrorists who planned to abduct and murder Michigan's governor intended to kill a lot of other people as well.

This person exists.  Absolutely disgusting.

Early signs are that Biden's administration will take a tough line on Wall Street.

The majority of Catholics in the West disregard their own religion's taboo on homosexuality.

An attorney considers the possibility of Trump going to prison.

Oregon now has two new sanctuary counties.

Voting by mail is here to stay.

Progress, progress..... Kamala Harris has expressed support for decriminalizing sex work.

Here's the reality behind talk of a "civil war" among Democrats.

The New York Times seems to be sinking into the political correctness tar pit.

Part of the reason the election results didn't match the polls is that most undecideds went Republican.

When the covid-19 vaccines become available, those who need them the most will rightly be first in line.

The "hidden deplorables" who turned out for Trump this year will likely stay home when he's not on the ballot.  But we need to understand why he did better in 2020 than in 2016 with every demographic except white males.  For one thing, there's no such thing as "the Latino vote"Don't take any voters for granted.

Covid-19 is increasingly concentrated in parts of the country where people believe it's a hoax and militantly oppose all efforts to stop it.

Supervisors at an Iowa meat-processing plant entertained themselves by placing bets on how many workers would get infected with covid-19.

Win support for liberal policies by using more accurate language.  I can't believe this isn't already obvious to everyone.

The US faces a huge wave of evictions in January.  70,000 unemployed workers in Oregon will likely lose their benefits right after Christmas.

The mentality of Franco nostalgia in Spain sheds some light on the mind-set of American Trumpanzees.

Trains loaded with horrendously dangerous explosive material will soon be rumbling through American cities.

Here's how Stacey Abrams and her allies saved democracy in Georgia.

Wingnuts will be intensifying the covid-19 surge over the holidays.  Stay away from them and let natural selection do its work.

As Georgia's critical runoffs loom, Republicans in the state are bitterly divided.

Doctors without Borders brings relief to a shithole country that can't manage the pandemic on its own.

Trump becomes irrelevant as the world moves on.

The right-wing Polish government's attack on abortion rights is part of a broader drive toward authoritarianism.

There's clear evidence that covid-19 is hitting Russia much harder than official figures suggest.

The president of Brazil is an asshat.

A religious festival ends in literal shit-flinging and wallowing in filth.

The Arecibo radio telescope hasn't been maintained properly and may have to be abandoned.

Some differences between languages reflect the way different cultures structure the relationships between concepts.

There are no out-of-place fossils.

Exercise is good for your brain.

Birds have been terraforming the Earth for millions of years.

Some questions remain about the new covid-19 vaccines.

"Deserts of vast eternity....."

More links here.

o o o o o

In case you missed it -- last week I posted a video on orgasms, the latest collection of "improved" words, and two more videos on the madness of Trumpanzees and woketards.

[Image at top:  the Arecibo radio telescope]

19 November 2020

Videos of the day -- crazy people

Trae Crowder takes a look at Parler, the wingnut flight from reality, and "bridging the gap".

Bill Maher makes the case that the "woke" fringe is costing us the blue-wave victories that we could otherwise achieve.  No, we won't get the Trumpanzees to vote our way no matter what we do -- they're just nuts -- but there is a sensible center, and this crap is killing us with them.

18 November 2020

Improving words (18)

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

Apex:  Counting two primates back from chimpan-Z

Chestnut:  A devotee of bosoms

Chrysanthemum:  A golden national song, uh.....

Coarse:  A fellow British posterior

Codification:  The act of transforming something into a codfish

Continent:  To scam a tree-like mythical creature made of flimsy metal

Despicable:  A word racists who favor the deportation of Hispanics use to describe the US

Disturbance:  The removal of an Indian/Mideastern head covering

Hammock:  To ridicule pig flesh

Heart:  Masculine creative expression

Honest:  A place where bird prostitutes live

Inevitable:  Capable of being swallowed by the wife of an Argentine ruler

Manganese:  The language of Japanese comics

Matching:  The metallic ringing sound made by a carpet

Molasses:  (a) The rear ends of burrowing mammals; (b) More girls, please!

Polymath:  The art of enumerating parrots

Proton:  In favor of a massive weight

Restore:  The mineral from which relaxation is extracted

Supporter:  What's goin' on, luggage-carrier?

Yankee:  A person who is being abruptly pulled

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

Student loan debt

This Friday, YouTube is streaming a town hall meeting on the student loan debt crisis -- details here.

17 November 2020

Video of the day -- orgasms

This one is longer than the videos I normally post, but I think it may hold your attention.  NSFW here and there (duh).  Toothbrushes, dead people, hiccups, pigs, a semen connoisseur, and more!

15 November 2020

Link round-up for 15 November 2020

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

o o o o o

A pigeon's desire to eat a bagel has some drastic consequences.

Lego has its evil side.

You have been warned.

Some do win the prize.

British names change over time.

Win the lottery, have some fun.

Beware of humans.

I suspect some really do see us this way.

"For a brief moment in time, though, Rudy Giuliani was....."  Here's where his next press conference will be held.

Taiwan and Japan embrace "mundane Halloween".

Raistlin0903 recommends some movie and book blogs.

The British always make time for tea, no matter what.

Write the name of liberty, poetically.

Compare word order in different languages.

Biden voters are serving Satan and must repent.

Used tea bags can still serve some purposes (I haven't tried any of these).

Get a preview of the Trump presidential library (found via Mock Paper Scissors).

Performative apathy is lazy and embarrassing.

Here's the simplest possible guide to understanding the election.

Not black, and probably not gay.

In an ad-clogged and corporate-dominated internet, AO3 remains a shining model for the future.

Meet the First-Dogs-Elect.

Kenneth Copeland haw-haw-haws his way to reality-denial.

Twitterers relish the collapse of Trump's election-stealing efforts.  Don't miss Jonathan Pie's rant!

Remember the people who mattered, not the worthless asshole.

Some people make their mark on the world, while others.....

Long-suffering Portland small businesses get hit with another night of window-smashing and arson.  Anybody who wants to run a business in this city and employ people must be out of his mind.

It's not gloating, it's relief.

Covid-19 has been bad for condom sales.  I suspect there's just less casual sex going on, due to reduced contact with strangers generally.

Wall Street to Trump:  You lost, get over it.

QAnon's "Q" fell silent after the election, leaving the qrackpots to work out their own conspiratardia.

Reactionary extremism is poisoning business and government.

A surgery bill illustrates the dysfunctional side of the American health-care system.

See clips of post-election celebrations around the country.

Bruce Gerencser has some questions for "nice" evangelicals.

Electoral-Vote debunks some of the common fantasies of how Trump could supposedly still cling to power.

Avoid dehumanizing language.

Another church, another super-spreader event.

A tow-truck driver refused to help a customer with the "wrong" bumper sticker.

Liberals must now defend liberal values not only against the right wing, but also against the totalitarian-minded "woke" element.  The latter, in essence, have become conservatives.

"Give it up, Don.  You're toast."

A covid-19-infested meat-packing plant files suit after being ordered to close down.

Trump's legal antics won't overturn the election.  Maybe they're just promotion for a new TV channel.  He wants to challenge Fox News, but it's not clear which of the two is more powerful.

Here's one way to deal with anti-vax nuts.

A comment by Tommykey here (scroll up slightly) raises some points Democrats will need to deal with.

See how various demographic groups voted.  Among veterans, there was a major swing toward Biden.

Bullshit thrives better when fact-checking is kept out.

The wingnutosphere is descending into utter madness with election-fraud fantasies.  But the courts are throwing out all of Trump's bullshit.

Mind-boggling:  a cop involved in the Breonna Taylor killing is suing her boyfriend for fighting back.

It was Republicans who tried to cheat.  They're just really bad at it.

Yes, the plexiglass shields in stores do serve a practical purpose.

If it's a time for unity, then Republicans are the ones who need to "reach out".  Until then, no negotiating with terrorists.  Try to imagine making nice with these guys, or this guy.

Religion poisons family relationships.

Annie Asks You looks at what to expect from Biden, depending on whether we take the Senate or not.

Trump hunkers down for Götterdämmerung Scheißkopfdämmerung.

Non-religious voters were 34% of the Washington state electorate, helping to pass a sex-education bill which churches opposed.

Having won Georgia for Biden, Stacey Abrams pivots to the Senate runoffs.  Republicans are propping up Trump's delusions because they're worried about Georgia.  Trump himself is now accusing Republicans there of "collaborating" with Abrams.

Trump's threat to run for president again in 2024 could paralyze the Republican party.

Vox and Electoral-Vote look at what went wrong with the polls.

This guy actually thinks Trump must have won because preachers prophesied it.  Evidently God got it wrong.

As expected, the "million MAGA march" in Washington drew only a few tens of thousands -- and they were a veritable bestiary of exotic crackpots.

Alito is a bigger threat to democracy than Gorsuch or Kavanaugh.

We need to figure out why more Latino voters went for Trump this time than in 2016.

Biden's win was bigger than you think.  Thank goodness we nominated a likeable moderate.

Message to poor white people:  Trump despises you.

Jared and Ivanka's covid-19 carelessness gets their kids kicked out of school.

Trumpanzees harass people in the streets (found via By Hook or by Book).  They're easily enraged -- expect more of this.

Darwinfish 2 looks at the road ahead, seeking ways around the Moscow Mitch roadblock.

Trump will pose a national security threat after leaving office, but there are things we can do about it.

An evangelist who advocated executing gays and blamed covid-19 on "sin" has died of the disease.

A Holocaust survivor remembers the day of liberation.

Trumpanzees threatening to move to Canada won't be welcomed there.

Fellow democracies celebrate with us.

Here's how Ireland's RTÉ network ended its newscast on Nov 7.

If you value free speech, stay out of Norway.

A psychiatrist remembers the Paris terrorist attacks of 2015.

India looks forward to a deepening relationship with the US under Biden.

He beat her to death in public, no one intervened.

Militant Islamists behead dozens of people in northern Mozambique.

Hear the voice of Jupiter.

Brain-computer interfacing offers new possibilities for paralyzed people.

Covid-19 is highlighting how damaging obesity is to health.

More links here.

o o o o o

In case you missed it -- this week I posted on election analysis, foreign leaders congratulating Biden, wingnut tantrums vs our fight for Georgia, and insanity set to music.

[1,396 days down, 66 to go until the inauguration of a real president.]

14 November 2020

Video of the day -- song of the wingnuts

Religio-political mania is more fun when set to music, even if not more sane.  Found via Miss Cellania.

13 November 2020

Fake fight, real fight

With the election over, both sides are gearing up for what they see as the next battle. But one side is engaging in a pointless protest against objective reality and math, while the other is preparing a sober assault upon the last bastion of entrenched right-wing minority rule in Washington.

Trump, of course, has been spattering out a random barrage of legal challenges against the voting processes and outcomes in various states, while refusing to cooperate with the normal transition of power -- a strategy about as dignified, and as likely to succeed, as a toddler's screaming fit against the arrival of bedtime.  This was the most secure election in US history.  Officials of both parties, in every state, have affirmed that there's no sign of fraud or irregularity.  Biden's margins of victory in even the closest states are too large for recounts or other such maneuvers to reverse the outcome.  79% of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, accept that Biden has won the election, while only 3% say Trump won.

Die-hard Trumpanzees, of course, are not taking all this lying down.  Small clumps of them have been holding "Jericho marches" to support Trump in various state capitals -- allegedly every day and in every state capital, though I haven't heard of anything in our own capital (Salem) since one pro-Trump protest of only two hundred people right after the election.  Others are planning a "million MAGA march" in Washington tomorrow, though based on the last few years' pitiful track record of "million"-this-or-that wingnut events that fizzled out, I'd be surprised if more that a few thousand actually show up.

I suppose all this ostentatious public praying, camo cosplay, and waving guns around is therapeutic for the participants, but such displays have no impact on who actually wields power.  To affect who wields power, you have to actually vote -- and we already did that.

Which brings me to the fight being organized on the left, which is for the runoffs for Georgia's two undecided Senate seats -- where there is still more voting to be done, on January 5.  If we win both, the Senate will be split 50-50 with Harris as tie-breaker.  This would dethrone Moscow Mitch and put the more ambitious parts of our agenda -- Medicare expansion, Supreme Court enlargement, DC and Puerto Rico statehood, a federal ban on state gerrymandering and vote suppression -- back on the table.

Are these runoffs winnable?  We certainly have a fighting chance.  Biden carried Georgia, however narrowly.  And Stacey Abrams's Fair Fight organization, which deserves much of the credit for turning Georgia purple since 2018, will be fully engaged.  If you want to help, it's probably best to donate to them -- the money will go toward voter contacts, registration, legal action against vote suppression, and the like, far more effective than the negative ads most political campaigns spend most of their money on.  Trump is too focused on raging against his own fate to do much campaigning for the Republican candidates in Georgia, and may even turn against the party as more and more of its top figures break ranks with his denial of Biden's win.  Top Democrats, by contrast, can be expected to give Ossoff and Warnock as much help as they believe might be useful.

For years the right wing has lived in a dank fever dream of delusions, conspiracies, and reality-denial.  It seems only fitting that the drama of this election comes down to them marching in the streets, yelling and waving signs, imagining that this can reverse a defeat that has already happened -- while we soberly focus on the one remaining actual contest which could deliver full control of this nation's government.

12 November 2020

Video of the day -- the world reacts

Leaders from around the world -- including some known for working closely with Trump -- recognize and congratulate Biden as president-elect of the US.

10 November 2020

Some final observations on the election

It's been a week and most of the dust has settled.  Here's my take on what happened.

1) Biden did better than the party as a whole.  We missed capturing most of the Senate seats we expected to flip, and some of them weren't even close.  And we actually lost a few House seats.  But Biden will probably end up carrying the popular vote by seven million, and flipping at least four states that went for Trump in 2016.  This seems to debunk any claim that we would have done better with a different presidential candidate.

2) Polling is broken.  Yes, polls correctly called which states Biden would flip -- but predicted that the margins would be big.  They were small.  Polls told us Florida and Texas were toss-ups.  Trump carried both, and it wasn't all that close.  The pollsters also got most of the Senate races completely wrong.  They'll need to overhaul their methods and deliver more accurate results for a couple of election cycles before we take them seriously again.

3) High turnout isn't unambiguously good for Democrats.  Yes, our fervor to get rid of Trump brought out millions of new voters -- but fervor to support him did the same for the other side.  Our side's turnout went up more than theirs did, but still, it's not only Democrats who have an untapped reservoir of extra voters to work on.

4) Money doesn't matter as much as people think.  In almost all of the really contested Senate races, the Democrat far outspent the Republican, yet we lost most of them.  Bloomberg's hundred million dollars spent to win Florida for Biden accomplished nothing.

5) The Senate hinges on the Georgia runoffs.  This is already obvious to everyone (analysis here).  If we win both, the Senate will be 50-50 with Harris as tie-breaker.  Otherwise, Moscow Mitch remains majority leader -- unless Biden is willing to play dirty.  (I've seen claims that we have an outside chance of winning the still-uncalled Senate seat in Alaska, but after seeing how other races went, we'd be fools to count on flipping a red-state seat at this point.)  Stacey Abrams and her Fair Fight organization, which helped make Georgia, well, a fair fight, now take on national importance.

6) We'll probably get the Senate majority in 2022.  None of the Democrats up for re-election in 2022 are at any real risk of losing, but several Republican-held seats in purple states are up -- three of them with no incumbent because those senators are retiring (map here).

7) Due to point 6, Republicans in the Senate and Supreme Court may curb their extremism.  Even if they keep the Senate majority, those at risk in 2022 may not want to be seen as totally obstructionist.  It may be possible to get a Republican vote here and there for cabinet appointments or for obviously-popular measures like covid-19 relief or Medicare expansion.  Those on the Supreme Court know that there's been a lot of talk about enlarging it.  They'll know that if they issue legally-unfounded rulings to block one Democratic reform after another, they're making such enlargement a virtual certainty after 2022 -- which would render them impotent forever.

8) The cultural issues are still going our way.  Five states, three of them deep red, voted for marijuana decriminalization, while Oregon and DC legalized teh shrooms.  California voted for tougher internet privacy rules.  Florida enacted a $15 minimum wage even as it went for Trump.  Voters, it seems, like our issues better than our candidates.

9) Other democracies will never quite trust the US again.  Especially since the margin of Trump's defeat was smaller than expected, they will need to take into account the risk that another authoritarian isolationist -- perhaps smarter and more dangerous than Trump -- could someday come to power here.  They will certainly welcome our country back into full membership in their ranks, and back into the fight against global warming, but they'll know that they can no longer permanently count on us to reliably perform the main function of the world leader -- military deterrence to keep the Chinese and Russian gangster-states contained.  Expect to see continued deepening of the India-Japan-Australia alliance against China, and of German-British-French diplomatic cooperation (despite Brexit) to deal with Russia and the Middle East.  And the option of an independent Japanese nuclear arsenal as a final checkmate against China will remain on the table, which would mean the emergence of a new superpower -- perhaps Trump's most significant legacy.

10) We don't yet fully understand the impact of Trump on the overall picture.  The 2018 blue wave wasn't replicated this year, due to higher right-wing turnout -- but it was real in 2018.  It may be that those extra Republican voters in 2016 and 2020, whom the polls failed to anticipate, are mainly Trump cultists who don't show up when Trump himself is not on the ballot, as he wasn't in 2018, and won't be in future years (certainly, Democrats doing worse in presidential years than in an off year deviates from the historical norm).  We won't know for sure until we see what happens in 2022 and 2024.

11) Demographic change is slow, but inexorable.  Yes, more Americans, for whatever reason, favor Trump than we expected.  The fact remains that year by year the country becomes more educated and less religious, and with every election cycle two years' worth of older conservative-leaning voters die off, while two years' worth of more liberal young people reach the age of voting consistently.  Change is coming.  It may be slower than expected and setbacks will happen, but change is coming.

08 November 2020

Link round-up for 8 November 2020

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

o o o o o

Darth Vader is unexpectedly thwarted.

Statues fight back, a cat becomes a god, and more.

Don't push your tractor engine too hard.

Have some fun with election signs.

How did that get up there in the first place?

Too little time, too many carrots.

Trump objects to naughty language.

A man in Saudi Arabia got caught stealing hand sanitizer.....

Voenix Rising does Halloween hardcore.  Debra She Who Seeks prefers selfies.

See the winners of the Manitou Springs skeleton craze.

Big collection of varied photos here.

Never stop making art.

Jenny_o encounters some confusion with putting the clocks back.  We need to just stop this nonsense.

The communists have won.

Here's the Moon setting off the Oregon coast.

It's life under stress.

"I wonder if we will ever see them return."

USA leads!

Fake Trump is better than real Trump.

Which party is winning the all-important zombie demographic?

Re-imagine the election as a fantasy film.

Blogger Bilbo reports on his day as a poll worker.

Debra She Who Seeks watches from Canada.

Kamala Harris, demographic pioneer.

Angels are coming from Africa to help Trump defeat the "demonic" Democrats.  This nutbag has become a musical meme (see links).

Is there a shortage of atheist women?

You can buy a commemorative rifle celebrating the Trump win that never happened.

Covid-19 has some interesting parallels with the Black Death.

This is a mandate.

Wingnuts mourn Trump's defeat with an occult ritual.

Cartoonists and Twitterers respond to the election drama.  More cartoons here.

In Portland, a mob of thugs set fire to city hall and attacked a city commissioner's home.  I've long wanted to get out of this city, but lately it feels increasingly urgent.

See the comments thread here for how rank-and-file Trumpanzees are reacting to the election.  QAnon qrackpots perceive a convoluted Trump plan to "expose" Democrats.  Here's a religio-wingnut analysis.

Eventually, he believed.

Trumpanzees sour on Fox News as it ventures out of the wingnut unreality bubble.

Gingrich jumps the shark.

Bill Maher reacts to the election.  More humorist commentators weigh in.

Replacement of plain words with euphemisms and jargon leads to confusion and failed communication.

With Coathanger Coney in place, fundies hope the Supreme Court will entrench their position as a privileged caste.

Make nice with TrumpanzeesFuck their feelingsDavid Simon speaks for me.

White evangelicals again overwhelmingly voted for Trump.

Counseling (and blogging) helped Bruce Gerencser overcome the devastating effects of a traumatic childhood.

It's been a good election for drug legalization.  California scored a major win on internet privacy.  And Florida became the eighth state to enact a $15 minimum wage.

The early evolution of the Jesus myth paralleled other cults of that era.

Here's a list of the major election lies circulating among right-wingers, with the facts in each case.

Remember -- land doesn't vote, people do.

The wages of stupidity is death.

If you're disappointed that it wasn't a landslide, read this.

Fittingly, Trump goes down in a torrent of lies.

Sports fervor leads to warped reporting in the media.

At least this Trump voter is honest about his reasons.  More Trump voters here.

Why is some nonsense considered more credible than other nonsense?

The Trump crime family whines that not enough Republican leaders are on board with their election-stealing efforts.  Their defiance of reality is becoming a joke -- even pathetic.

Anti-Semitism gets updated for the times.

Catholic archbishop Viganò endorses the full range of US wingnut conspiratardia.

Schadenfreude time!  Green Eagle has a round-up of wingnut reactions to the election results.

Religio-fascist intolerance of "blasphemy" is exactly why we need robust protections for free expression.

Vote suppression made a difference in Florida.

Robbed of Georgia's governorship two years ago, Stacey Abrams got busy and turned it into a swing state.

Like many of us, JoAnn Williams hopes for a return to decency.

Don't pardon Trump -- it will just encourage the next one.

Bob Felton has run out of pity for self-destructive Christians.

Nixon set the standard for being a sore loser -- until this week.

"Punishment conservatives" must not be confused with supporters of law and order.

What evangelicals preach is nothing like what Jesus said.

Here's another way to play hardball with Moscow Mitch.

This is what erasure looks like.

"The arc of history doesn't bend towards justice on its own; it takes serious elbow grease to wrestle that fucker into place."

Trump taught us some unpleasant truths.

Foreign leaders offer congratulations to Biden.  They won't need to deal with Trump any more.

Canada's Trudeau fails to defend free expression as fully as Macron did.

France deserves the support of all civilized people.

A hundred thousand people swarm the streets of Warsaw to protest Poland's new abortion ban.

The village of Thulasendrapuram, India watched the US election closely.

Hypocritical Muslim governments ignore China's Uyghur genocide because they're too busy screaming at France for defending free expression.

This is what the planet Venus sounds like.

Hard at work out in the cold and dark for 43 years.

More links here.

[1,389 days down, 73 to go until the inauguration of a real president.  Toldja!]