The Opposition Party that Isn’t

The Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmation hearing has come and gone. It was, not one bit surprisingly, a very disgusting bit of political theater of the absurd. As of today, only one GOP senator has voiced support for her confirmation. That one person is a white woman, if that makes any difference. Not that Ketanji needs even a single GOP vote to be confirmed, as she needs only a simple majority of 51 votes and VP Harris can break a 50-50 tie if need be. When she does get confirmed, she will become the first Black female to become a member of SCOTUS. The first African-American on the Court was Thurgood Marshall, who was a member from 1967-1991.

The Katanji Brown Jackson nomination and the sickening racist circus that took place last week has compelled me to explain just how historically cynical and corrupted a matter it is regarding both Democrats and Republicans since Thurgood left SCOTUS over three decades ago, replaced by the now quite notorious Clarence Thomas. You know, the second ever Black to be seated on the Court.

Thurgood was known for being a passionately progressive attorney He was the embodiment of a very thoughtful jurist who fought to right the wrongs that were visited upon his fellow Americans, for equal justice under the law, and who necessarily became most involved in confronting the vicious racism of the notorious Jim Crow era in the U.S. Most notably, Marshall won the Brown v. Board of Education case in 1954, a case that involved ending the “separate but equal” precedent that barred Black students from attending white-only public schools.

When Marshall retired in 1991, then President George H.W. Bush was tasked with nominating a replacement for him on SCOTUS. Bush decided to “honor” Marshall by nominating a fellow African-American. That nominee turned out to be Clarence Thomas. I recall that Senate hearing that was tasked with judging judge Thomas. In short order, in addition to his having a rather modest judicial portfolio, the hearing became embroiled in serious accusations from numerous women who worked with Mr. Thomas while he headed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. One such woman was Anita Hill, also African-American. She alleged, with descriptive detail, sexually harassing words and actions on his part. As a result, Thomas’ nomination appeared to be quite in jeopardy.

At the time of the hearing, the Democrats held a 57-43 majority in the Senate. The Chair of the hearing was none other than Joseph Biden, our current President. When more and more women sought to corroborate Mr. Thomas’ seeming penchant to sexually accost females under his authority at EEOC, he famously accused the Committee of “an electronic lynching”. Anita Hill was then cynically treated with increasing suspicion of having a delusional personal vendetta against Thomas, and ultimately he was confirmed by a 52-48 vote. In other words, that 57-43 Democratic majority was not able to hold together, with 11 of them voting for Thomas in spite of his possibly, probably, extremely dubious character and clearly anemic judicial experience. Do I need remind anyone how damaging Thomas’ presence on the Court has been? He votes against cases seeking recourse to civil rights injustices, and at this very moment, thirty-one years into his LIFETIME APPOINTMENT, is now considered to be a conspiracy theorist proponent who is on board with GOP voter suppression legislation. He is a clear and present danger to democracy. And we have the Democratic Party to thank for this nightmare scenario that now even includes Ginni Thomas (his wife) accused of being actively involved in the January 6 insurrection. Yes, well done Donkeys, and especially Joe Biden who Chaired that hearing that should have ash-canned Clarence rather than overseeing the folding of their Committee cards in the face of a race-baiting hail-Mary.

Remember, G.W.H. Bush chose Thomas to replace Thurgood Marshall! Certainly, he had to know he wasn’t picking someone who deserved the slightest consideration in such a context, or even in ANY context as per a SCOTUS appointment. Which brings this back to Katanji Brown Jackson. She, who is immensely qualified as a jurist, had to sit and endure idiotic and offensive questioning from the Republicans on the Committee. That, as I asserted above, was no surprise, but keep in mind that again, the Democrats now have a slim but undeniable majority in the Senate, and this time it was Democrat Richard Durbin as the Chair. Durbin, a decades -in-the-making, ineffectual, timid legislator, had the gavel and could have–should have–shut off the microphones of the most egregiously disrespectful Republicans attacking Ms. Brown. But you see, the Democrats don’t want or know how to fight in any manner, even to honor the memory of Thurgood Marshall, the antecedent of the “appoint a Black” framework encapsulating Jackson’s nomination. It makes one wonder (especially yours truly) if they even care about justice, writ large or small, then or now. That slim but real majority they now hold has not be used at all to push back legislatively against the voter suppression tactics, the LGBTQ-bashing, the attack on women’s reproductive rights, the Big Lie narrative of January 6’s “stop the steal” bilious bile. or follow up on raising the minimum wage, forgiving student debt, protecting worker’s rights and so much more that this country desperately needs.

While the pivotal mid-terms are now only a bit more than seven months away, the so-called “opposition party” that used to be embodied by FDR or Thurgood Marshall, and most certainly is in the democratic DNA of a Black woman named Katanji who should have been confirmed for SCOTUS in all due haste, appears to be the party of do-nothingness. There are many pejoratives to describe the ugly, racist, far-right fanaticism that has become the Republican Party. Too many people, however, still seem to believe that the Democrats can and will step up to save our democracy. Many express disappointment, but cling to hope that Biden and his majority are going to act, that they have a plan, that they must have a plan. Those people are asleep. Their hopes are only alive in a dream world from which they need to awake. But even then, as with the last 40-plus years, even when we the people choose that “opposition party” there is little to no return on that electoral investment.

I’d most sincerely like to think there is still hope, but my eye are wide open. So, for now and perhaps until there’s a reason not to feel this way, I say (and a tip of the hat to Bill S.) A Plague on Both Your Houses! you goddam Donkeys and Elephants. Stinky, dark, dank and duplicitous houses they are. The evil of two lessors. But I must stop, least I be accused of damning with faint umbrage…

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A Woman Scorned

Happy Friday, March 25, 2022. It’s officially spring in the northern hemisphere, and Ma Nature will do her best to give visual representation to the season’s symbolic affirmation of rebirth, renewal and regeneration. She is, however and most regrettably, under siege from humanity’s penchant for fouling her water with industrial waste products dumped into once pristine oceans, rivers, lakes, streams and creeks, and polluting the air with fossil fuel exhaust spewed from tailpipes of internal combustions engines for well over one hundred years now. Her icecaps are melting at both Poles. And so much worse than even any of the above. However, Mother Nature is no delicate flower, unable to defend herself. Oh, hell no! Recall the expression, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!”.

As a retort to such abuse, she is wreaking chaos with weather extremes, each now typically a matter of historical proportions, be it hurricanes, tornados, floods, wildfires, or oppressive heat waves, She has a wicked sense of bitter irony in all this whacked out weather, as depending on where one resides on her planet, it may be a matter of severe drought, lack of potable water, crop failures and ensuing food famines. Oh, she is SO pissed. And why not? It’s tantamount to a mother whose children keep running around creating havoc, knocking down the knickknack rack, upending coffee tables meticulously adorned with a few fancy artifacts, smashing into the large potted plants, with repeated warnings of severe consequences heard but not heeded. Why should they care? It’s in their nature to be badass, bad seeds. Typically it is the boys being boys. Wired for aggression, they often are. Mom may have to have to ultimately take action–and drastic action at that.

That’s about where we are with climate chaos. The Big Boys who control government and corporate, capitalistic operations just can’t seem to not just hear but LISTEN to Ma Nature warning them that they will regret being such ginormous assholes. Profit must not concede to the demand for reform. Unfortunately, while incorrigible little boys can be held to account, many of them still grow up to be incorrigible adults. Who become powerful office holders, or titans of industry. And they don’t have to, nor care to, listen to anyone about anything that may be detrimental to that bottom line mojo that evidently precludes any concern for Mother Nature. She being the one to provide for their children or their children’s children’s future, as far as maintaining a livable habitat. Their extended families may have comfortable digs, but they will still go down with the ship, first class and steerage passengers alike. After all, it was Mother Nature that created the iceberg that sunk the “unsinkable” Titanic. Should not the captain or crew have seen that coming?

So, we’re all on the Titanic, folks. But many are screaming about the danger that looms large on the not too distant horizon, while those at the controls just won’t listen. They don’t see what danger by now should be in plain sight. Our Mother Ship has yet to sink, though. That’s the good news. The bad news, our ship is doomed if we don’t change course. And much much sooner than later. The lifeboat won’t help, either, because even that bit of backup to the best laid plans going wrong costs to much to provide. Nothing personal. It’s just business. It’s that almighty bottom line. In the meantime, stock up on provisions. Call for action, demand they listen. Don’t give up the ship!

Ha! Just kidding. We’re doomed. So, live it up. The future, as I continue to assert, is now. Hey, I’m just trying to distract all of you who may be currently more concerned about BA2 Omicron finding you, or global thermo-nuclear war vaporizing humanity. Didn’t Nostradamus predict all this, anyway? Or was it Karnak, the Magnificent? No, wait, I read it when I tore into my fortune cookie at Ming’s in Chinatown. Hmm. Not sure. Maybe it’s all just a bad dream, and soon I’ll awaken…to spring and renewal, regeneration and rebirth. Yeah, I think I’ll go with that one.

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Ups and Downs

What’s news? Hmm. Let’s take a peek at the clickbait: Oil spikes back above $100 a barrel. Hmm. Then I see “If U.S. gets less than 5% of its oil from Russia why is gas pushing five bucks a gallon?”. Are we running out of fossil fuels? I don’t think so. Ask Joe Manchin about it.

Beef prices are ramping way up, too. Are we running out of cattle? No way. According to the latest Hightower Lowdown, the price of beef and most everything else in the supermarket costs more only because of corporate greed. Jim states that nearly every economic sector in the US (from high tech to farm and food) has been locked down by a handful of overpowering corporate giants. It’s 21st century consolidation of ownership of just about everything we need (or just want) with little competition to keep prices–well, competitive. Can you say monopoly? It’s euphemized by the corporatists as “pricing power”. During the pandemic some of the big dogs–Amazon, Proctor & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark among others–have scored massive profits. Whatever supply-chain shortages may have impacted costs, these behemoths could easily absorb the expense and keep prices from spiking. But Gordon Gecko rules the CEO offices of corporate America, and we all know what he had to say about greed being good. Just ask Joe Manchin.

What else is heading skyward? Oh, right. The Fed is raising interest rates. Need a loan to pay for some necessities? Like gas or beef? Pay up. (Of course, those 1%-ers barely notice these cost increases. They have been the beneficiaries of trillions of dollars being transferred from the working class to their leisure class. Can you say Reaganomics?). Ask Joe Manchin.

Then there’s evermore dire studies indicating our climate is collapsing. There’s a years-long drought that has the American West drying up. Up? In this case, it’s not a matter of alarming increases, but rather decreases. Lake Powell is slowly disappearing. A recent study states from 2000 to 2021, the West has became its driest in 1200 years. Thus, we are running out of water, but with little meaningful action being taken, here and abroad, we apparently must have a large supply of time with which to solve this problem. Again, ask Joe Manchin about it.

Other news of the day: BA2 is looming large. That’s an Omicron variant making its presence felt in Europe. The UK Health Security Agency shows that the BA2 subvariant of Omicron is growing at about 80% faster than BA1. So maybe think twice about going into some packed Irish bar today (St.Patty’s!) thinking we have have come out of the other end of the tunnel. Well, perhaps we have, but seemingly the daylight between the original Covid tunnel, then the Delta tunnel, then the BA1 tunnel may forever lead into yet another tunnel. So, there’s that. And don’t worry about the 5 buck a gallon gas in your SUV tank that will get you to that bar, or the jacked up price of the corned beef sandwich, or asking for some water–unless you are partying in Lake Havasu or Vegas. And even then–ah fuck it. You think Joe Manchin cares about it?

Oh, and then there’s the dread of a nuclear war. If that happens, then all of the above won’t matter, anyway. All problems solved. All anxieties, angst, anger and aggravation of trying to simply live a life without all the rip-offs and creepy autocratic attempts to control us and exploit us will be alleviated. And maybe just as well. All arrows have been pointing downward for the better part of all of of lives. If we get nuked, I’ll be comforted in knowing that Joe Manchin will become radioactive toast, too. That thought calls for a double Jameson on the rocks.

CHEERS!

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No Fly, No Way

Ukrainian president Zelenskiy asked for a no-fly zone to be implemented in a live video address to Congress today. He was passionate and purposeful in his pathos-laden appeal for meaningful assistance in fighting the Russian army, especially their jet fighters that now rule the sky above his country. When he concluded he received a standing ovation from his remote-viewing political audience.

Then, our president conducted a brief podium appearance with his response. That no-fly zone? Uh, that’s a hard NO Vlad. But we’ll keep finding new sanctions, and send weapons that your military can use to defend the Ukraine sky, plus several hundred million more dollars. But he did not even mention the no-fly zone, while asserting the Ukraine struggle will be a “protracted” affair. That had to be a profound disappointment to Zelenskiy and the people of Ukraine. I mean, Z was emphatic about the need for that no-fly zone. And of course he knows why the West won’t agree to provide that strategy: that could mean WW3. Which is what NATO was designed to avoid. And your country, Vlad, is so NOT a member of NATO. But if you WERE a member, we’d start that war and the threat of nukes be damned!

Or something along the lines of that cold-hearted looping logic.

And in addition to the sanctions, etc, our president now refers to Putin as “a war criminal”. How about that?! We’ve unleased the harsh language option. Does that help your struggle?

Thus, Ukraine, it’s three weeks and counting, and your people are so brave, but it’s going to go on for a while longer. You know. Protracted. As in, until Putin gets the job done, possibly. Because you are David. Russia is Goliath and good luck chopping off his head. But then maybe. Just maybe. We’ll keep supplying the high-tech stones, you can count on that. But not that no-fly zone. And without a direct aerial counterforce, your country may have to become used to living in bunkers and basements. But again, we stand with you. And again, it’s only because we’re scared shitless of the nukes that Russia has. Nukes! Egad! Who created these horrific things? Oh, right. We did. And we have almost as many nukes as Russia. And we have the biggest badass nuke of them all. That we don’t want to EVER use, and likely we wouldn’t have to, because of, you know, M.A.D. You see how we’re kinda left with no choice but to provide guns and money, but you aren’t worth risking WW3 nuclear holocaust end of days for. Even though most expert analysts doubt Putin is willing to sign his own death warrant. That would be MADness. He holds all the cards, see? But if he invades a NATO country, we call his bluff. Okay?

Life is tough, straight up. Oh, but of course you already know that and you are one bunch of tough motherfuckers, you Ukrainians! The world admires your grit and guts. But we just can’t risk…and NATO… and nukes…and…and…

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Endgame

Everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die. But of course. But die we all shall. For that matter, time being the tyrant that it is, eventually this planet we all call home will succumbto absorption by the sun–in about 7.5 billion years. Hey, so still time to work on ourselves, mind, body and spirit-wise, huh?

Of course I’m being ridiculous about the matter of life and death. Consider, however, how many humans have already lived and perished since homo sapiens evolved from the slime or whatever of long, long loooooooong ago. Researchers estimate that number to be around 117 billion, with several billion of us still hanging around right now. We humans have recycled ourselves somewhere around 7,500 generations worth.

And what a species we are!

We are very intelligent and supremely stupid all at once. We have used our smarts to create many comforts, while simultaneously creating circumstances that render those comforts meaningless. That is, here I sit creating this blog post using computer technology. I have bluetooth earbuds, and a “fitness watch” not far away. But I have no desire to use the watch and the earbuds aren’t all that comfy when stuffed in the holes on each side of my head. But I appreciate how facile a matter it is to use technology for passive pleasures and at other times to see, hear and consider happenings from around the world, in real time in some cases. And right now, in this moment of our human history, what I often see from near and far is death, destruction, oppression, exploitation, greed, pettiness, and other forms of hatefulness that boggle my mind. Certainly, there are many acts of kindness and compassion occurring as well. Sadly, in many cases that goodwill and kindness is generated as a response to self-inflicted horrors against ourselves.

The minds, bodies and spirits of too many of us have not been keenly honed to respect one another. History is essentially an account of the wounded madhouse that is humanity. We seem incapable of working together, sharing and caring for one another, in the big picture. I’m feeling fairly secure right now, but I damn well know there are others out there who want what I have, without knowing I have not much in monetary or material wealth. The petty hood can jack my car, or blindside me with a billy club in order to empty my pockets on the chance doing so provides for a prominent payoff. Yeah, the forces of evil, writ petty or prodigious. A wounded madhouse might seem hyperbolic but why did we need to create police and military forces? Even organized religion causes as much trouble as it does peace, love and understanding. My evidence? History!

The essence of our self-destructiveness can currently be seen–via those modern marvels of technology–in how just one man can dictate death and destruction without provocation. And if that isn’t a potent “Exhibit A” in my case against humanity, then we have “Exhibit B”. That would be many, many, many, many, many other (mostly) men standing around and refusing to do anything about that one man that needs being done. It’s akin to watching an innocent kid getting his ass kicked from pillar to post in the playground by someone five times his size, while others, some individually, let alone collectively, big enough to rescue him from the savagery. And the reason they won’t help, even though all these others standing around watching this sickening sight do not at all like the one doing the ass-kicking, is that the victim hasn’t paid for their protection. He has to keep taking the beating while clearly understanding that he is likely to die on a technicality of non-membership, the qualifications for which are supposedly to keep any bully from doing what this bully is doing to him. Can you follow this analogy?

Oh, that’s right. I’m leaving out the part about the bully having a really powerful weapon that could kill all of the bystanders, never minding that many of the bystanders, especially the biggest of the them all, have the exact same powerful weapon that could kill the bully. But they’re trying to appease the bully as he keeps battering the kid–who has really been fighting back with all he has but is running low on staminaso that no one will use that really powerful weapon. The bully, who is vastly outnumbered, thus gets a pass. The kid being victimized gets sympathy and moral support. Sorry, kid, don’t take it personal, it’s just business.

Like I asserted earlier, we humans seem not to ever get along very well for very long. Knowing how we tend to succumb to violence as a means of resolving disputes, we have created an Ultimate Weapon. Right now, the threat of using that weapon by one man shields him from being held to account. If that’s the case, then this world has no future right now, not 7.5 billion years from now. By creating such a terrifying weapon some 77 years ago, humankind assured that a moment such as this one would become inevitable. The bully has no clothes! His turf isn’t even under attack. He is a global pariah and even his closest allies intellectually know that to allow his use of that weapon means they will all perish from its power, sooner if not later as well (didn’t this stare down come and go in 1962, albeit with a much different geographical framework?). But regardless, we seek to appease. Like I said humans are both very intelligent and supremely stupid all at once. We are absolutely our own worst enemy.

If this current generation of humanity is to be the last one, then we will simply have gotten what we deserved for creating the endgame scenario that will always be a clear and present danger, one way or another. Letting women and children be sacrificed on a technicality reflects a species that doesn’t deserve preserving. The only thing we have to fear right now is fear itself, as FDR famously said.

So, can we please save that little kid with the big fight in him? His, and our future, is now.

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Fear and Loathing, Ukraine invasion edition

Clearly, Russia’s president has commenced to attack Ukraine, in spite of Ukraine not having given him a shred of credible justification for doing so. His blatant objective of forcefully taking an independent country west of Russia’s borders has garnered condemnation, anger and anxiety, not only for Ukraine and its citizens, but also for the people of other countries worldwide. This development exists, after all, in the broader context of a potential repeat of the triggering antecedents that resulted in two world wars. Could we be on the brink of a third world war? And if so, would it culminate in the use of nuclear weapons? It defies comprehension, but recall that the last world war ended with the deployment of two atomic bombs in 1945, a not so distant past. Ever since, humanity has had to at once acknowledge the potential for nuclear annihilation while simultaneously denying such tactical insanity would ever come to pass. Geo-political cognitive dissonance, one could say.

Now, owing to Russia’s unwarranted invasion of Ukraine, and the prospects of further aggressions against other countries in Eastern Europe, the thousands of nukes created by the terrors of science, owned mostly by Russia and the U.S., require all of humanity’s attention. More than 76 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the notion of those nukes slumbering in silos scattered over several of the world’s nations coming to life, is not an abstraction but a looming nightmare of starkly detailed potential chilling reality.

In the immortal words of Rodney King, Can’t we all just get along? Alas, poor Rodney, but history teaches all of us another stark lesson in cold reality: that it has always taught us nothing. No doubt, this apparent inability to learn from history’s grim lessons in cause and effect is what led James Joyce to invoke “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.” The current David and Goliath encounter between Ukraine and Russia should not be happening, that’s for damn sure. But yet, there it is.

I personally feel that the West (i.e., the United States) needs to do more than blather about sanctions against Russia. Of course, I’m talking about utilizing our military directly in support of Ukraine. It might be a roll of the nuclear dice, but letting that prospect preclude any truly immediate and meaningful action in confronting Russia’s sickening attack on an innocent nation is morally and militarily wrong. Consider that, unlike Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, which were all needless deployments that essentially benefitted that notorious military-industrial complex, literally confronting Russia would be putting our post-WWII, 780 billion dollar-a-year armed forces budget to a clearly dangerous but quite practical, use once again. To those (and I’m sure it’s a vast majority of people) who would say this isn’t our fight, I’d say then why do we even have such a well financed and sophisticated military machine? It IS our fight, and the fight of all other countries that profess to be on “the right side of history”. Nuclear mutual assured destruction will forevermore be a clear and present danger. But letting Russia use that same threat to be allowed continue killing innocent people without any justification certainly is to tacitly surrender to an evil entity that doesn’t give a shit about “sanctions”. This is a turning point and a tipping point in world history, akin to the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. It’s an inevitable offshoot of ever having created the Ultimate Weapon. Confront that fear again. The way I see it, there’s really no choice to be made here. Stop Russia now. Just like in 1962, another history lesson that, unless action is taken, will again have taught us nothing.

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Same as it Ever Was

CNN clickbait: A lot of voters want alternatives to Biden and Trump in 2024, CNN poll shows. What??!!?! There are polls asking about a hypothetical Biden/Trump ’24 election? First off, I can’t imagine Cadaver Joe even wanting to run again. He’ll be on the dark side of 80 and needs to retire. Along with other fossilized, top-ranking Donkeys who are marinated in corporate conflicts of interest. As for that other guy, the nightmare from Mar-a-Lago, how can he run for President again since he is in maximum security lockup, facing 200 years, no bail, no parole? Oh wait, I keep forgetting, that’s an alternate universe that Rod Serling might be able to chew on. But Serling is dead but the January 6 committee supposedly is represented by living, sentient beings. That committee is still doggedly digging for more evidence of DJT having EVER committed a crime, before, during or after his fascist, hate mongering four years of residency at 1600 Penn.

But of course he’s still a free man. He is the Teflon Don. His Teflon is provided by a sociopathic GOP that seems to be terrified at the thought of turning on him–while the same GOP is in lockstep against any sensible legislation that helps the working class, and that includes complete morons like Marjorie Taylor Green and Lauren Boebert, two elected office holders that bespeak the overall incompetence of what passes for a national government. That incompetence very much includes the Democratic-APPOINTED Attorney General of the U.S., Merrick Garland. He, along with the January 6 committee that clearly has no bark, no bite and certainly no teeth, provide a Teflon covering for the guy that CNN includes in a poll that exasperatingly pre-supposes a Trump re-election bid. This is the political world here in the U.S must endure. Two parties, both corrupted by corporate donors, with the Democrats having complete control, by a razor thin margin, but control nonetheless, and doing next to nothing that desperately needs being done.

The mid-terms are nine months away. That idiotic CNN poll may become a reality the way things are going. But that nightmare is 3 years away. There are numerous other polls that show how much the electorate wants economic programs that help them, rather than Wall Street, that provides for affordable education, affordable healthcare, climate mitigation, protection of voter rights and other reasonable uses of our very wealthy country’s money. If in the next several months, the Donkeys don’t bring Teflon Don to justice, or unite to overcome the filibuster that stops any needed legislation in its tracks–especially voter suppression–of course the GOP will regain power–and use it, to repress, oppress and depress rational minded people.

Why anyone would vote for a Republican unless he/she was a billionaire, or a blathering bigot, or a science denying magical thinker is beyond me. Not so many billionaires, but those otherwise working class slobs who specialize in voting against their best interests are large in number. But not large enough to win free and fair elections. Which brings this back to the Donkeys. Who seem unable to understand how to read into the polling numbers that reflect real attitudes, opinions and beliefs by tens of millions of people sick of the same old same old. Same as it ever was, to quote the Talking Heads.

Just blowing off steam here. On the bright side, it’s Super Sunday! Wings, dips, chips, pizza, cheese, lots of gooey cheese, all of which cost a lot more than not long ago. That’s not inflation, folks, it’s corporate greed. Record profits = price increases? But don’t worry about it. Just sit back and enjoy the game. The polls show L.A. is favored. If CNN took the poll, however, I’d bet on Cincinnati, for sure.

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The Little Sniffer

About sixteen months ago, amidst our ongoing pandemic, and just prior to the divisive Biden/Trump electoral showdown, along with the increasingly alarming documentation of looming climate collapse, I came across a very refreshing. extraordinary story about a young and talented individual helping to make part of this looney tunes world a better, safer place. His name: Magawa. His job: identifying left behind land mines from Cambodia’s infamous “killing fields” during the genocidal reign of the Khmer Rouge. ***************************** Ugh, right? Did I have to remind anyone about that bit of sickening history? Can’t you just be left with your meds and cheese-lovers pizzas, your 100 proof hootch, and streaming services? Hey, those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. So, do NOT forget to remember. Thus, consider this a reminder of that adage that you better not forget. Just trying to help here, okay? And the point here is not simply that our human history is abundant with horrific reminders of what a nasty, heartless, homicidal species we, Homo Sapiens, are. Who needs to be reminded of that? We’re genocidal, homicidal, suicidal, petty, gullible, lazy and rather ignorant, evermore given to dark, dangerous magical thinking. An then there’s the Republican Party on top of all that. The Party of Nothingness. ****************************** But wait. This posting is about Magawa. And my initial posting about him was a feel good story, a story about a hero, a tireless seeker of hidden land mines that still kill Cambodians over 40 years after the Khmer Rouge regime was defeated. Magawa, awarded a gold metal for his ability to find those mines and do so quite efficiently. You could say he possessed a real “nose” for detecting them. He and his excellent sniffer could cover an area the size of a tennis court in 30 minutes. Before Magawa came along, that same area would take four days to cover. Magawa’s success was aided by his being very small, a true lightweight. If fact, Magawa’s weight was slight enough that even if he stepped on a live, hidden mine, it would not explode! How so? How light can one be to do that?! Well, you see, Magawa comes from the species known as African Giant Pouched Rat. “Giant” clearly is a relative term in this case. Yes, Magawa is. or was, a rat. ****************************** Sadly, Magawa has died. He saved many lives in his years of selfless duty to humankind. He was only 8 years old. Well, given that most rats rarely make it past 5, Magawa was long-lived. He elevated the image of rats everywhere, I’d say. Ha, you snicker. Rats? Elevated? What? You still loathe any rat, right? Fine, be that way. Just remember this, however: no rat would create a device designed to kill itself. Humans love making things that can kill themselves. Who’s frightening now, eh? *************************** I get it though. Rats do not make for charming encounters. But next time you do see one and want someone, anyone to please KILL IT, just remember Magawa. ************************* Have you ever been awarded a gold metal for magnanimity?
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Bombs Away?

The Cold War is back, Did it ever leave? Not really. But with this current Russian/Ukraine confrontation getting lots of news spin-cycles, the situation may or may not be anything more than sabre rattling, military/political posturing on Putin’s part. That part of the world is far away from the placid, peace-loving, brotherhood of humankind mojo that is the U.S. of A. We’re all getting along fine here, with no indications whatsoever that life for all races, ethnicities, religions, political affiliations or selective sport fan bases are the least bit troubling. We are the world’s greatest Democracy! Land of the brave, home of the free…and possessor of several thousand nuclear bombs. Ah, the Bomb. It’s the only aspect of life here in the USA that might cause some concern. While we otherwise have very little in the way of any intrusion upon our tranquility–excepting maybe the occasional frustration of stray cat fighting in the dead of night costing some otherwise blissful sleepthere is the matter of those nukes. We don’t worry about much here in Pleasantville, but every so often North Korea will test a missile, the media reports on it with the implication that Kim Jong Un is fixin for a fight, in spite of the fact that he knows he’s simply wanting to be noticed as a possible wrench in the machinery of the nuclear age. The U.S. or Russia don’t fire missiles as a P.R stunt. Why should we/they? Anyone over a certain age knows that 95% of the world’s nukes belong to Russian and the U.S.(about 6500 bombs each). Thus, as we go about another perfectly peaceful, loving and compassionate day in our great Democracy, knowing that those in high office are all working together to maintain such a blissful equilibrium, the Ukraine crisis gets more and more coverage, and for some of us maybe those many nukes begin to unsettle a stomach or two. All it takes is one impetuous order to use a nuke to set off thermonuclear global annihilation. That’s a thought that exists in farthest recesses of our survival mode psyches. But all it takes is… …even just one medium size missile could cause the dreaded Mutual Assured Destruction that supposedly preempts any such impetuosity from transpiring, right? But it’s those computers that will automatically do the thinking in such a scenario. NORAD is ready. NORAD is ready with probabilities. It’s all computer code. Smart machines. Amoral machines. Deadly practical machines, machines that might decide in a nano-second that it’s time to rid itself of the human element–even we humans here in the most peace loving, kum-by-yah culture on the planet, the glorious United States of Amerika. The machines both East and West coordinate. Launch codes are being captured as mere humans futilely try to use manual override. No such luck. We gave them A,I. and now the machines are using it. In just a mater of minutes the master launch code is secured… CPE1704TKS Missile silos here and there perk up, building blast off energy. Each of the thousands having target protocols: Demmark Massive; Chile Confrontation; South African Subversion; Greenland Domestic; Iceland Heavy; Thai Variation; Northern Territorial; Polish Paramilitary; English Thrust; Burmese Maneuver; Arabian Offensive; Indian-Pakistani Imperative; Hong Kong Variety; SEATO Decapitating; NATO Territorial; Sudan Suprise; Turkish Heavy; Cambodian Decoy; French Alliance; Arabian Clandestine; Czech Option; NATO Containment; Gabon Takeover; Romanian Decoy; Libyan Local; Kenyan Option; Ugandan Maximum; Panama Misdirection; Jordan Preemptive; Polish Decoy; Mexican Takeover; Middle-East Massive; Baltic Subversion; Chilean Fallout; Canadian Take-down; Great Britain Redirection; Wabash and 9th Violation; Chinese Nullification; Madagascar Mutation; South Wales Shake-n-bake; German Comeuppance; Cameroon Cancellation; Senoran Reconfiguration; Hawaiian Escalation. So, maybe we should get our bomb shelters updated. Or not. After all, machines taking over our lives and destroying them is nonsense. Nuclear war set off by A.I. evil? Not going to happen. If you have any doubts, just ask Alexa or Siri. Your Fitbit might even reassure you.
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It Could Be Worse

Mother Earth. Everyone’s orbiting home. All species. The birds, quadrupeds, plants, insects, fish and humankind. From whence did this wonderful place called home come? I mean, all that we see, smell, taste, touch or hear exists because we have a livable atmosphere, perfectly placed in distance from a ball of fire around which we rotate, with much of our planet quite livable.

You may already assume this blog will again bemoan the climate science’s irrefutable evidence that our Earth and it’s livability are in decline. That is true. And if you are a critical thinker, you already are aware of this reality. I have nothing to add to any of it.

However, consider how bad things were, say about 3 billion years ago, as you sit and sip your favorite beverage or chow down your daily dinner. No, seriously, if you think our climate is spiraling downward, this blog is meant to convey nothing new to you, the critical thinker, consumed with concern about such a reality. We are supposedly in a “sixth mass extinction” after all.

Those 3 billion years ago, the planet was essentially one big rock covered in magma oceans, buffeted by comet and asteroid strikes. Continents were formed by convulsive subterranean upheavals, only to be torn apart; mountain ranges appeared, then disappeared; ice caps spread, then receded. Talk about climate chaos!

The next 1.5 billion years included the formation of evermore complex animals. Research has more recently shown that microscopic fossils of bacteria-organisms, single-cell protozoans and algae date as far back as the far end of that first three billion years ofEarth becoming more and more a place for life to evolve and selectively flourish. There is also–according to research documenting a timeline of evolutionary life on Earth–a period of about a billion years when Mother Earth was more static than dynamic, taking a break from doing anything much of importance. Much like our Congress. This period is noted as“the boring billion”.And you thought a pre-pandemic reality had already become a distant, hazy memory, a blurred sense of time standing still.

So, there you go. It could now be worse, I mean, what if Earth never permitted a modern mode of life, like drive-throughs, no instant gratifications and short attention-span theater mindsets. Life in Maslow pyramid basement. Is it even fathomable? We’d also not have: Cable TV and 800 empty calorie channels. No superhero movies littering the cultural landscape. Amazon would not even be a river let alone a soul-crushing corporate behemoth. No avocado toast! No Internet, But then no cyber hackers, crypto currencies, no hackers stealing what we barely have, no hustlers, no wingnut conspiracies spread other than by grunting emphatically with malice in the eyes, no political corruption!, no January 6 Committee, no insurrection to warrant the 1-6 Committee, no Orange Bloated Blob to instigate the insurrection in the first place; there’d be no banana republics banning books and spewing hate and divisiveness. There’d be no George Orwell saying I told you so from the grave; no lapdog media at all, thus no willful ignorance as it spreads Big Lie delusions; no nitwits, halfwits, dimwits to repeat such ignorant attitudes, and its undermining of Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest. Gratefully, there would also be no colossally vapid creatures know as Kasdashians.

So, hey, it could be better by knowing it could be even worse.

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Zeldar from Zardoz, capturing so-called “blogosphere” transmission. Zeldar still unable to process Mountain Sphere’s indigenous life form’s intelligence level. Maximus XL analytic capacitor now digesting and decoding It Could Be Worse “posting” which by mentioning–yet again as with all previous Zeldar observational visitations–a Sixth Mass Extinction triggered by algorhythmic alert. Posting confuses Zeldar and Zardoz Command. Mountain Sphere noted as being now approximately 4.5 billion years in existence, with seeming lack of logical sequencing as to its advancement beyond slime creature phase to organisms referred to as Orange Blob, George Orwell, and Kardashians. Analysis not able to define meaning of posting. Zeldar continues to probe Mountain Sphere in hopes of answers, but A.I. systems again revert to red-line warning as Mountain Sphere gibberish is height of linguistic outputs. Mountain Sphere inhabitants defy logical cause and effects, thus rendering Zeldar’s missions as repeating a virtual short-circuiting of Maximus XL wiring. Zeldar having to repeatedly obtain wiring upgrade following Sphere data input, including jibberish such as “batshit crazy,” SNAFU and FUBAR. Analytic capacitor using all its acceptor atoms, autotransformers, bipolar junction transistors, input impedance circuit resistors, phase-shift oscillators, rectangular waves, and Zener diodes in effort to ascertain intellectual quantification. Zeldar not holding A.I. breath.

Zeldar and Zardoz command both now trapped in A.I version of so-called cognitive dissonance after these many visits to Mountain Sphere. Command calling Zeldar back to base, where blog post will also be analyzed by Zardozian Committee to Confirm Credible Lifeforms of Deep Space. Zeldar assumes Zardoz Committee not “toothless”, as with Sphere’s alleged status. Will report finding at a later date. Blogger may be A.I. asset. Either confirm Sphere’s impending doom, or at least be source of Zadoz Committe reacting with A.I. output laughter.

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