Posted in Current Events, Issues, WTF?

Come Tweet About Me

Saturday morning. My weekend commences. Had to make myself a list this morning of the many destabilizing actions of President Trump on all fronts – domestically, internationally, psychologically, environmentally. Slice it anyway you like. Make your own Venn diagrams.

The purpose of my list was to get it out of my head and down on paper so I can focus on something besides the national nightmare that is the Trump presidency. I mean, we all need a break from time to time, and I have a big writing project in the hopper. It was also to take a comprehensive look at how Trump’s actions undermine U.S. democracy and serve Vladimir Putin.

Writing in the NY Times (October 11, 2019), Jennifer Senior quotes Brian Baird on the Republicans, “They live in fear that the narcissist will turn on them.” Senior continues: “So they try to manage the unmanageable. They keep two sets of books, function with two different brains, and buy in – at least partly – to Trump’s grandiose message: You’d be worthless without me.”

The Republicans won’t/don’t stand up to Trump. Meanwhile, everything Trump does serves Putin. Russia is winning bigly.

Bret Stephens (NY Times, October 11, 2019) lays out possible scenarios resulting from Trump’s order to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria:

It will put thousands of Kurdish lives in jeopardy. It will deepen Tehran’s influence in Syria. It will increase the likelihood of an all-out war between Israel and Iran. It will underscore the inefficacy of U.S. sanctions to curb Tehran’s ambitions. It will ratify the wisdom of Vladimir Putin’s decision to intervene on Assad’s behalf. It will strengthen Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hand, not only in northern Syria but also in Turkish politics, just as he was finally beginning to experience serious reversals.

And it will fundamentally jeopardize the gains made against the Islamic State, around 10,000 of whose fighters are in the custody of the Kurdish forces who are now being attacked…

It also increases the likelihood that Turkey will tell the U.S. to take our fighter jets, nukes, and other goodies and get out. Germany already got out of Turkey and moved to Jordan. Let’s not forget Trump’s many anti-Nato statements.

When I think about the geopolitical and environmental destruction being foisted on the U.S. and the world by the Trump administration, I doubt (but keep hoping) that Republicans will make their way to the Land of Oz and find their brains, their hearts, and their courage. This is about not overturning the results of the 2016 election. It is a rational response to the psychic trauma and international tragedy of the Trump presidency.


What Trump Sees on the Men’s Room Door:

What Trump Sees When He Looks at the Bathroom Door

Posted in Current Events, England, Green & Pleasant Land, WTF?

Jacintha Saldanha

Perhaps you have heard about Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse at the London hospital who answered the telephone call from the Aussie DJ’s looking to have a bit of a laugh at the British Royal Family’s (BRF) expense. Saldanha put the call through to the nurse in charge who then prattled on about Kate’s condition to the DJs unimpeded by any suspicion of “humor” in the making.

Now Saldanha is dead of an apparent suicide. The woman must have been terrified. She was the first line of defense between the BRF and the ravenous world-wide media. Were I in her shoes, my thoughts would have been something like this: How could I have been so stupid? Why did I believe the caller was the Queen? Now I’ve gone and done it. I will probably lose my job. I have disgraced myself and my family by not carrying out the simplest of tasks. I will be an international laughing-stock. There is no hope for my future. I will never work again. Cameras will hound me for weeks, and then my permanent status as a pariah will be cemented forever. Might as well end it now…

Forgive me for conjecturing about the thoughts of an apparent suicide, but I find Saldanha’s alleged act the logical conclusion of a rational person who couldn’t bear her mistake.

Let’s play the blame game, shall we? Royal Family, I know you’re trying to be like us, but you deserve a severe dressing down on this one. When one of you (Kate) ends up in an institution inhabited and run by us mortals, here’s a suggestion: Lady-in-waiting (with staff), 21st century style. Think Valerie Jarrett (Obama’s left-hand woman).

Kate is in hospital. A phone call comes in regarding Kate? All inquiries about Kate go directly to the royal staff on duty no matter what. Ah, so simple, isn’t it? Oh BRF, how do you not have protocol for how to handle one of your own being amongst Muggles?

Am I missing something? Was such a protocol in place at the hospital? Was Saldanha’s mistake not handing the telephone off to the royal staff on duty? In my cursory glance at today’s news, I see the BRF apparently treated the initial debacle with a “Ho, Ho, Ho” and nothing more. Saldanha was, no doubt, waiting for the next, and certainly less sanguine, royal utterance.

Now that Saldanha is dead, the least the BRF could do would be to arrange for her body to be flown to India.

Many of us will pray for the repose of the soul of Jacintha Saldanha, and for her grieving family, friends and co-workers. I urge the Royals to take responsibility for their own lack of management in what should have been a routine hospital stay. BRF, Jacintha Saldanha thought of herself as one in your service. She believed her error was irreversible, and she fell on her sword in service of you and your unborn child. She deserves your highest respect and honor.

Posted in Current Events, Life, WTF?

Jessica Ghawi, who wrote under the name Jessica Redfield, was a victim of the shooting in Aurora, CO on July 20. She survived an earlier shooting incident at the Eaton Center in Toronto in early June. Her blog post about that event is above.

A Run On of Thoughts

I can’t get this odd feeling out of my chest. This empty, almost sickening feeling won’t go away. I noticed this feeling when I was in the Eaton Center in Toronto just seconds before someone opened fire in the food court. An odd feeling which led me to go outside and unknowingly out of harm‘s way. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around how a weird feeling saved me from being in the middle of a deadly shooting.

What started off as a trip to the mall to get sushi and shop, ended up as a day that has forever changed my life. I was on a mission to eat sushi that day, and when I’m on a mission, nothing will deter me. When I arrived at the Eaton Center mall, I walked down to the food court and spotted a sushi restaurant. Instead of walking in, sitting…

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Posted in Current Events, WTF?

Impeach Jay Bybee

Who is Jay Bybee?  He’s a federal judge (life appointment) on the US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.  Yes, that very same Ninth Circuit that hears cases in Pasadena (among many other places).

Who is Jay Bybee?  He is the guy who signed off on the so-called “torture memos” while he was at the Office of Legal Counsel.  He was John Yoo’s supervisor.

Who is Jay Bybee?  He is the guy who defends the content of the torture memos, which controvert the Geneva Conventions.   From the New York Times, April 2009, ““The central question for lawyers was a narrow one; locate, under the statutory definition, the thin line between harsh treatment of a high-ranking Al Qaeda terrorist that is not torture and harsh treatment that is.  I believed at the time, and continue to believe today, that the conclusions were legally correct.”

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Posted in Travel, WTF?

Very Large Array

We didn’t make it to the Gila Cliff dwellings as I had hoped. One must look at the larger context here—The Scout was driving from Arkansas in the “late model” Oldsmobile Intrigue that his mother gave him (“late model” meaning, in this case, “no longer in existence”). He’d spent three weeks with his mom helping her prepare to sell her house and move into an assisted living facility in South Carolina. Major detours to historically significant sites aren’t the wisest choice on the tail end of the emotional upheaval (and fatigue) that accompanies major life changes.

On the other hand, minor detours are not out of the question.

nm-vla-scout-11

Continue reading “Very Large Array”