Sunday, November 3, 2019

Idle Thoughts: Just Another TV Talking Head

Tweets from October, 2019:
  • 2019-10-01: "Jeffress is just another TV talking head, selling his apocalyptic tomes, and always searching for another Other to demonize." -- Rob Wilonsky. (Link)
    Yep. He says he's powerless to bring on the Apocalypse, but that doesn't seem to stop him from trying, no matter what he says.
  • 2019-10-01: Downton Abbey (2019) Faithful to the TV series. Julian Fellowes gives every story line that wasn't wrapped up in the series finale a happy ending. If you've never seen it, you'll be lost by all the characters and subplots, and raise your eyebrows at some plot contrivances. B+
  • 2019-10-01: Shame on you, President Trump. 45 million people died under Mao's Great Leap Forward. It's time for China to quit honoring that legacy. And it was never time for an American President to honor one of history's greatest tyrants. (Link)
  • 2019-10-01: Trump's tariffs have forced Bayou Steel Group, an American steel company, into bankruptcy. They used recycled scrap metal that is largely imported and subject to tariffs to produce new steel. Another failed promise. (Link)

After the jump, more idle thoughts.

  • 2019-10-02: Pete Sessions is running...running away from a rematch with Colin Allred, that is. Sessions is rumored to be planning to run for Congress in a gerrymandered safe GOP seat in Waco. Run, Pete run. Run away. (Link)
  • 2019-10-02: "President Trump's agriculture secretary said during a stop in Wisconsin that he doesn't know if the family dairy farm can survive."
    Just brainstorming here...maybe farmers' faith in Trump was misplaced.
  • 2019-10-03: Country Music (TV 2019): 16 hour Ken Burns love letter to 100 years of an American art form. It's all here, hillbilly, bluegrass, Western swing, rockabilly, stars. Educational, entertaining, fast-paced. Could use more critical introspection of business and politics. Yeehaw! A-
  • 2019-10-03: Have you noticed when Trump is guilty of something, he accuses his critics of that exact thing? In 2016, fake news was used to smear Hillary. So Trump made "Fake News" his own go-to cry. Now, when people question his mental state, he says his critics are "deranged." Projection. (Link)
  • 2019-10-03: RT @Texas_Trees: "Want to find the most impressive views of fall foliage throughout Texas? There's an app for that."
    It's called New England Fall Foliage Tracker. (Link)
  • 2019-10-03: Four stages of Trump normalization...
    1. Deny he did something illegal.
    2. Claim that it isn't illegal.
    3. Admit he did it and would do it again.
    4. Do it in front of cameras on White House lawn."
  • 2019-10-03: "Pete Sessions announces campaign for open Bill Flores seat."
    Not his old north Texas seat. He says his support for Trump is "unwavering." Guess that means he too is in favor of pressuring foreign governments to interfere in our elections. (Link)
  • 2019-10-04: Wind/Pinball: First two works, from 50 years ago, by maybe my favorite author, Haruki Murakami. No real plot, no narrative arc, just stories by a young, unnamed Japanese narrator drifting through life. Early hints at themes and symbols are here. C+
  • 2019-10-04: Remember when GOP wanted to impeach Obama for abusing power of the IRS for political purposes? Charge was baseless and GOP dropped impeachment talk, but precedent was set. Now they'll agree that Trump's abuse of government to harass Biden is impeachable. Right?
  • 2019-10-04: Rod Dreher: Sure, Trump is a crook, but vote for him because the Dems might advance gay and transgender rights.
    Is there anyone who has so lost his moral compass as Dreher? (Link) "
  • 2019-10-05: This feeling is the closest I have come to the feeling I had when the Nixon tapes were revealed.
  • 2019-10-05: Somehow you just knew that Rick Perry didn't have the smarts to stay the hell away from this trap. (Link)
  • 2019-10-05: "Pete Sessions says he contemplated a rematch against Rep. Colin Allred, but was asked by Republicans to run to replace retiring Rep. Bill Flores."
    LOL. That's not what they're saying in Waco. It's not what even Bill Flores is saying. (Link) "
  • 2019-10-05: "You'll never have Romney's hair."
    -- Ana Navarro-Cardenas, speaking to Trump. (Link)
  • 2019-10-06: "Trump blames Energy Secretary Rick Perry for Ukraine call at center of impeachment inquiry."
    If you had Rick Perry in the "who will Trump throw under the bus" office pool, ding, ding, ding, you win.
  • 2019-10-07: The Kurds have borne more injustice than most peoples. They were America's most faithful ally in the War in Iraq, and in the war against ISIS, now repaid by America with abandonment to face slaughter at the hands of the Turks. Because Trump likes dictators like Erdogan.
  • 2019-10-07: That didn't take long. Trump's threats are empty threats. Lesson learned around the world is that America is an untrustworthy ally. (Link)
  • 2019-10-07: Fear of Trump backlash doesn't keep GOP senators from criticizing Trump for abandoning our Kurdish allies in Syria to Turkish onslaught. So fear of Trump backlash can't explain their silence on Trump trading military aid to Ukraine for dirt on Biden. Must be they think it's OK.
  • 2019-10-09: Joker (2019): Origin story for Joker, a mentally ill clown who is bullied and exploited until he snaps. First movie (or comic book or TV show) I've ever seen where Joker is a believable character. Explains a murdererer, doesn't glorify him. Give Joaquin Phoenix the Oscar now. A-
  • 2019-10-10: Imagine living in a world in which you can be fired from your job just for being gay. No need to imagine it. It's already happening in America, with @marcorubio's support. (Link)
  • 2019-10-10: Pete Sessions hopes the voters in Waco either won't notice or won't care. (Link)
  • 2019-10-11: A good explanation of "the climate crisis and the failure of economics. (Link) "
    1. Price of oil doesn't factor in environmental damage.
    2. Society is biased towards the present, not the future.
    3. Money in politics prevents govt solutions.
  • 2019-10-12: Says the president who is sending 2000 US troops to Saudi Arabia. (Link)
  • 2019-10-13: Says the man who is sending 2,000 US troops to Saudia Arabia. (Link)
  • 2019-10-13: Other Mark Stegers in the news: "Allenton Fire Department Deputy Chief Mark Steger reminds us that on Sunday from 8 am to 12 noon there will be a great Pancake Breakfast. As part of Pancake Breakfast there will be a demonstration of the Turkey Fry fire."
  • 2019-10-14: "The NBA kneeled to a weak, repressive regime." -- Tom Giovanetti
    That's the first sentence. China is repressive, yes, but weak? Hardly. I confess that because the premise is preposterous, I didn't read the rest. Why does The Dallas Morning News give this guy space?"
  • 2019-10-14: All the nice things I've said about Jim Schutze's journalism over the years appears to be no longer operative.
  • 2019-10-15: In 2019, Elvis Presley will have been dead longer than he was alive, if, that is, he is really dead.
  • 2019-10-15: El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019): In series finale, Jesse Pinkman got away. In this sequel, he (spoiler) still gets away. An unnecessary movie, but same look and feel as the TV series and a welcome encore for a favorite character. He's even learned a thing or two. B+
  • 2019-10-15: Why the Prop 4 ban on income taxes isn't what it seems. Prop 4 would repeal a constitutional requirement that if voters ever passed an income tax, revenues would have to go to public education and property tax reduction. Vote NO if you support public education. (Link)
  • 2019-10-15: "Fake news 24 hours a day."
    "Immature desperation to impeach the president is an embarrassment."
    "Political circus the liberal socialist Democrats create."
    -- Don Huffines.
    He used to be able to make his rightwing politics at least sound reasoned. Now, he just sounds unhinged."
  • 2019-10-15: Another reason why the Prop 4 ban on income taxes isn't what it seems. It "prohibit[s] the imposition of an individual income tax." Because courts defined corporations as people, Prop 4 makes Texas' corporate franchise tax unconstitutional, blowing a hole in Texas finances.
  • 2019-10-15: Secret recording of Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen: "With all due respect to Trump --who I love, by the way -- he's killing us in urban-suburban districts. I mean, Angie Chen Button, by polling, she's even, she's down 15 points." (Link)
  • 2019-10-15: The feds close in on Pete Sessions. (Link)
  • 2019-10-19: Disgraced former Baylor University President Ken Starr presided over a massive sexual assault scandal at Baylor. Using him as a character witness is a typical Trump move. Oddly, also appropriate. (Link)
  • 2019-10-21: Conclusion I reached surveying tornado damage: young trees bend, old trees snap. Kind of like people."
  • 2019-10-21: Headline: "Some U.S. Troops May Remain In Northeast Syria To Protect Oil Fields."
    If you don't like the Forever War, do something to wean the US from fossil fuels. (Link) "
  • 2019-10-23: Judy (2019): Last months of Judy Garland's life, on a London tour, filled with depression, pills and alcohol. Unrelentingly depressing, with nowhere near enough glimpses of the brilliance that made her a superstar. Not a tragedy, just sad. Renee Zellweger deserves Oscar nom. B-
  • 2019-10-23: Headline: "Obamacare choices to increase, costs to dip. Program grows more stable even as Trump tries to kill it."
    Imagine how much better America's healthcare coverage would have been if Trump and GOP actually tried to support it.
  • 2019-10-23: Trump is handing Russia their talking points.
    All roads from Trump somehow lead back to Putin. (Link) "
  • 2019-10-23: I remember the days when I didn't know the names of any of the President's personal lawyers.
    (Thanks, Obama.)
  • 2019-10-23: What would cause GOP officials to abandon Trump? If pressuring a foreign govt to dig up dirt on Biden in order to get military aid didn't do it, nothing will, I thought. Now I think there's one thing that will. If GOP concludes that Trump 2020 is toast, they could abandon him.
  • 2019-10-23: In the leadup to the World Series, I noted that this is a rare championship contest where I don't have a rooting interest. Sadly, now I do. Go Nationals! (Link)
  • 2019-10-24: Headline: "Republicans storm impeachment hearing as escalating Ukraine scandal threatens Trump." (Link)
    GOP follows the old advice to trial lawyers:
    If the facts are on your side, pound the facts.
    If the law is on your side, pound the law.
    If neither is on your side, pound the table."
  • 2019-10-24: FDR: Not a bad idea to get U.S. troops out of the way if Nazis planned to 'ethnically cleanse the Jews'.
  • 2019-10-24: Putting ads in my Twitter feed that lead to a paywall irritate me more than entice me to subscribe. IJS
  • 2019-10-24: Wall Street Journal editorial: "It may turn out that while Mr. Trump wanted a quid-pro-quo policy ultimatum toward Ukraine, he was too inept to execute it. Impeachment for incompetence would disqualify most of the government."
    Wow! This is the best defense Trump's defenders have.
  • 2019-10-25: Something Deeply Hidden: A welcome explanation of the reality behind quantum mechanics, using the Many Worlds interpretation. No mathematics presented here but it's still hard to grasp what it means that we are just vibrating quantum fields branching into multiple universes. B+
  • 2019-10-25: I'm a native English speaker and I can't answer this: which is a heavier rain, a drizzle or a sprinkle?
  • 2019-10-25: I've noticed GOP officials have quit trying to answer the question whether it's OK for the President to withhold military aid to an ally in an effort to get dirt on a possible political opponent. They distract us from that by making an issue of the impeachment process itself.
  • 2019-10-26: Tell Me Who I Am (2019): Documentary. Alex wakes from a coma with amnesia, remembering only his identical twin, Marcus, who fills him in on his life story, starting with childhood. Except for a dark family secret. Alex turns obsessive detective. Marcus clams up. All well done. B-
  • 2019-10-27: "Two die and at least 12 people shot at party near Greenville."
    But our Texas governor is distracting us with his dispute with the mayor of Austin over how that city deals with homeless people. Basic rule of politics: when you don't want to deal with an issue, find a distraction.
  • 2019-10-28: The Laundromat (2019): Satire with no bite based on "Panama Papers" leak showing how billionaires and corporations use shell companies to avoid taxes and hide corrupt money. Too many disconnected stories. Not even Meryl Streep can save this. Why is she even in it? C+
  • 2019-10-28: Dems were shocked when GOP chanted at their national convention "Lock her up" at a former First Lady and candidate for President. Now baseball fans chant at the World Series "Lock him up" at the President. Trump has normalized such behavior and America is the poorer for it. (Link)
  • 2019-10-28: "Hi, this is Anne with the warranty department. Our records show that your vehicle warranty has expired or is about to expire. This is your final courtesy call ...
    Hmm, I think this was my umpteenth "final courtesy call." I wish."
  • 2019-10-29: Texas already has a ban on an income tax. Vote YES or NO, there will still be a ban. There's no way to enact a ban that can't be repealed the same way it's enacted. Look deeper to find why @leachfortexas wants Prop. 4. It removes protection for public schools. (Link)
  • 2019-10-31: Congratulations to the Washington Nationals. (Link)
  • 2019-10-31: The Lighthouse (2019): Two men confined in a lighthouse descend into madness. Dark. Unsettling. Intense. Like a punch to the gut. Who's mad and who's sane? What's real and what's hallucination? Is it all damn metaphor? Did you like it is the wrong question for this movie. A-
  • 2019-10-31: Texas Senator @JohnCornyn introduced what he calls a bill that will reduce mass violence in the wake of the El Paso shooting that resulted in the gun deaths of 22 people. Cornyn's bill (S.2690) contains 4,660 words. Nowhere in his bill appears even once the word "gun." (Link)

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