Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Outtakes 2020

I want to encourage everyone to get my calendar!  I actually do have a calendar, which has been published in conjunction with AM 950 Radio.  You can get the calendar by making a one time donation to AM 950 for $50, or become a recurring monthly member for $25 per month.  Not only do you get the calendar, but you also help sponsor AM 950 radio, the only Progressive radio station in the Twin Cities.  Thanks!

Here's the link: https://www.am950radio.com/featured_events/am950-membership-special-holiday-offer/

To whet your appetite, here is the best photo featured in the calendar.  It's the cover shot and also the main picture for September, taken on the Tracy Avenue Bridge over 9 Mile Creek in Edina. 


I wanted to post the best pictures we didn't include in the calendar for 2020, for what ever reason. First up are four images I took on January 1, 2020, at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. We didn't use these images due to concerns about copyrights.  The funny thing is looking back at these four images, part of a total of 8 pictures I took at MIA that day, it's almost like the art pieces were trying to give me a warning about what 2020 was about to deliver.





Little did I know the art was actually a scream for help for the year.  Even though 2020 delivered an insane amount of God awfulness, it did get me into the parks with my kids, giving me the chance to get better at photography and editing.

Although I wasn't able to visit the fantastic art museums on Minneapolis/St. Paul this year, I did get some time around art.  There are a few sensational sculpture gardens around which were nice to visit, but my two favorite art photos for the year were 1) the graffiti on the side of the building right on the Mississippi River in North Minneapolis. 


WOW! 2) was the Christmas window at the Kate Spade store in the Mall of America. 


The aftermath of the George Floyd uprising also demanded I, like many others, become witness.  It should be remembered almost everyone who has been arrested for the uprising was with far right racist groups, most of whom were not from Minneapolis/St. Paul.





Another interesting shot was from over by the old portion of Fort Snelling, fight next to the airport. 


I caught that one just right.  Most of the rest of the best photos not in the calendar were nature photos.  I love taking pictures of flowers.  All of these images were taken at various locations around the metro. 








I took this next image on the Iron Range, and I love it.  It is not out of focus, but it looks like it is.  I think that's why I decided not to include it in the calendar. 


I had a lot of good lake shots, but after including numerous others in the calendar, this was the first one I cut. That's Sand Lake in northern Minnesota.


I had a lot of great trail shots I didn't use.






I loved this headshot of one of the scarecrows from the Arboretum's annual Autumn display. 


And speaking of head shots, this is the one I used in the calendar itself.


And this is the one I didn't use, because I actually took it in January before the shutdowns and nastiness.  I felt it would not be right for the calendar. 


Finally, here is the best photo I took last year.  This was my son's final game playing baseball.  I loved watching him play.  He was really a great player and hit tons of homers.  He'd always shoot me a side eye whenever he did something good on the field.  Baseball brought my son and I together, and hence it was sad to see it end.  For his final evening, the sunset put on a show.


I think the reason I didn't include this was because it was a personal image.  I'm very proud of it for a lot of reasons.  I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for looking, and I will try to take more great photos for 2021.



Sunday, January 17, 2021

The Cost of War

Word War II started for the United States on December 7th, 1941, a date that will live in infamy.  The war effort encompassed the globe, with the bulk of US forces fighting in the Western European and Pacific Theaters.  In Europe, the hard fought northern Africa and Italian campaigns would be a precursor for Operation Overlord, the Normandy Invasion.  Through hard fought battle after hard fought battle, the US forces, along with the rest of the allies, brought Germany to its knees on May 8th, 1945.  The war was over for Europe.

The Pacific campaign was insanity.  Capturing islands the Japanese had secured and heavily fortified was a long and arduous task, but one the US and her allies managed to pull off.  Midway, Guadalcanal, Tarawa, the Philippines, Iwo Jima; every island was a challenge, every island was a battle. The decision was made to drop the two atomic bombs instead of attempting what would've been a drawn out land invasion of Japan.  Faced with the potential annihilation of their country, the Japanese surrendered on August 15th, 1945.

The US was at war with the Axis Powers for a total of 1347 days. The total US casualty count for WWII is listed as 405,399.

Today, January 17th, 2021, the number of US citizens who have died from Corona Virus has surpassed the total death count of WWII.  The number as I type (from Worldometer.com's tracking site) is 407,202.

The first US case of CoronaVirus was reported on January 20th, 2020, at a hospital in Washington state, meaning we've surpassed the total losses from WWII in only 363 days.

I remember when COVID-19 first got to the US and a conservative woman I'm friends with decided to lie.  "This is no more serious than the seasonal flu!"  It was such a tepid lie.  She, along with most Trump supporters, knew Trump was never going to be up to the challenge of a major pandemic, so they started screaming how 'it was no big deal' in an effort to win over expectations.  They knew Corona Virus would be bad, so they lied hoping some miracle would prevent them from having to admit they were wrong.  Seasonal flu kills around 30,000 people annually in the US, but my friend and the rest of the Trump fans changed their tactic when the death numbers contradicted their initial bellowing.  When the death count crossed 50,000, the lie changed to 'Corona Virus is NOW a myth, not really dangerous, not really deadly.'

It isn't a myth, and their intentional ignorance will forever be tied to the failure of Trump's response.

Trump has been a disaster with Corona Virus, even suggesting ingesting bleach as a method for treating the disease.  The United States is HANDS DOWN the worst place on the planet for the virus, primarily due to intentional stupidity.

To be fair, our healthcare system was glaringly ill prepared. Abused by greed, we no longer had a health care system focused on healing the sick, but rather one based on maximizing profits.  It was grossly inadequate when this crisis began, and still today seems more held together by the brave medical professionals who have to work under money driven corporate overlords.  Bubble gum and prayers...

The only two massive death events in US history WORSE than COVID-19 are the Civil War (620,000 dead) and the 1918 Flu Outbreak (which ALSO was not just the seasonal flu. 675,000 dead).  Due to Trump ceasing to care at all about the crisis after he lost the election, and due to the Trump Administration lying about the amount of vaccine we had as a nation in reserve, there's a legit chance we could surpass one or both of those death counts.

Because of stupidity.

In most towns in America, both big and small, there are Veteran's memorials.  Most towns I know have both a WWI and a WWII memorial; hallowed ground to be solemnly revered.  As a Veteran myself, I always get a touch emotional when I see those memorials.  Now I'm forced to ask if we'll have to build new statues in every community, a new reminder of the great Corona Virus losses we've endured.

I'm sure most Trump supporters will begin to take Corona Virus seriously...on January 21st, just like reigning in deficits and limiting executive power.  They'll convince themselves of a brand new lie.  'Not a single person died of COVID-19 under Trump's watch, but as soon as Joe Biden took command, 407,202 people died immediately.  HOW DARE HE FAIL US!'  Trust me, they'll convince themselves Trump wasn't responsible.

One of the saddest parts of this crisis is how many of the last survivors of WWII have been taken by the virus.  The last veterans, both of combat and from the home front, are now in their 90's.  The Greatest Generation sure as heck didn't deserve to be treated like this in the end.  Nor did the Baby Boomers.  All age groups have lost people to COVID-19, and regardless of age, these are human beings we are losing!  Conservatives react to the elderly passing like a TV show getting cancelled. "They were old and past their prime anyway."  The elderly of this country don't deserve the be put on a Viking boat, set it ablaze and pushed it out into the lake just because dismissing their existence makes for better talking points for Trump.

Republicans like to remind everyone of the major sacrifices made by the men and women who died in WWII, but are not willing to make minor sacrifices to save more people from dying from CoronaVirus today!  It's a shame the same people who've claim to respect for the elderly have shown us how little they ever cared.

The cost of war is always great, especially when it's a war we could've won months ago.





Friday, January 15, 2021

The Friday Link for 1/15/21

What a freaking surreal time in America.

Trump's going to go down as the President who tried to overthrow the government to stay in power. A bunch of his followers took time off of work, traveled to Washington DC, (after being encouraged and cheered on by Trump) they stormed the Capitol, broke into the Capitol, killed one police officer, injured dozens more police officers, threaten to kill Vice President Pence, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and numerous other Senators and Representatives, vandalized one of Americas most historic buildings (and the seat of one of it's branches of power), attempted to overthrow Democracy itself, took video and photos of themselves doing it (!), BRAGGED ABOUT IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA (!!!), and then they all thought they would just go back home and back to work like they hadn't crossed the line to outright terrorist traitors.  Not only is this an example of the obscene white privilege which exists in America, but it shows you these people, not being the smartest folks, hadn't really thought this through.

Four videos tonight for some perspective on the last week and a half.  First off, the leader the Republicans don't deserve; Arnold Schwarzenegger taking these terrorist fools to task and labeling them correctly! 

Next up, one of the bravest pieces of journalism I've EVER seen.  Jordan Klepper was there, at the rally to do one of his Daily Show bits when things turned. 

Also from The Daily Show, they did an on point collage of the people who are really responsible for what happened on January 6th.  These are the people who poured gasoline on the fire.  These are the people who kept throwing the rocks at the beehive.  All of these people should be condemned as the anti-American enablers they truly are! 

Finally, thanks to Randy Rainbow.  I agree with you. You shouldn't go to the same musical well too often, but this is so freaking perfect. Thank you for making me laugh during an unGodly insane time.


This weekend, the terrorists are threatening violence.  Be careful.  Be safe. 

Down with Traitors! God Bless the United States of America! 





Saturday, January 9, 2021

The Undeniable Gasp

Do you remember what it felt like when the second plane hit the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001?  For most of us there was a gasp, a moment where there was a realization this wasn't just some tragic accident, that something far darker was transpiring.  I'll never forget the continual feeling of dread throughout the morning, as we heard multiple planes had been hijacked, that the Pentagon had been hit, that another plane was down in Pennsylvania.

This week we had another gasp.  We need to come to grips with what exactly happened in Washington DC on Wednesday.  It'd be easy to dismiss it as riled up Trump supporters losing control and storming the Capitol, but as more and more evidence comes to light, it's becoming clear there was a sinister agenda in place.  The time and date were chosen specifically.  People were headed for specific areas of the Capitol, looking for specific people.  The type of people leading the coup, what gear they had with them, and what was being said points more than just an angry mob.

There were two different groups of MAGA terrorists storming the Capitol, the unruly mob and the individuals with an agenda.  The unruly mob was just that, unruly, unaware they were a weapon being used as cover to get more nefarious elements into position to attempt far more damage.  

Let's look at the evidence, starting with what some of these Terrorists brought to DC:

  • Working Pipe bombs, some of which were placed at the RNC and DNC headquarters.
  • Molotov cocktails 
  • Guns
  • Plastic handcuffs for holding hostages 
  • Maps of the layout of the Capitol, the Capitol building, and the tunnels underneath.
  • Military tactical gear including bullet proof vests
There are also unconfirmed reports of at least one other vehicle found near the rally site with additional guns and bombs inside.  CLEARLY there was more than just an unpredictable riot going on.  The clear intent, just from what they brought with them, was to take hostages, cutting off escape routes, or tracking Congressional staff down in the escape tunnels underneath the Capitol.

What specifically was targeted in the Capitol is another sign something far more dangerous was going on.  The terrorists were specifically looking for the House and Senate floors.  The traitor Ashli Babbitt was shot and killed as she tried to climb through a window into the lobby outside of the US House, as frantic security and staff were trying to evacuate everyone out of the House Chamber.  They also attacked the Senate, seeming to specifically target the Senators and the Electoral College votes themselves, which had been smartly spirited away.  They were looking for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's office specifically.  Where that might not be too surprising for an unruly right wing mob (considering how vilified she has been for decades) the intent to get into her office, the third most powerful person in the US Government, points to a larger plan.

And we need to discuss who was in the crowd.  The unruly mob was a hodgepodge of fantasy dwelling far right terrorists, but mixed in were quite a few military veterans, police and fire officials from across the country.  During the coverage, there seemed to be two distinct groups of coup attempters; the fools who weren't even trying to hide their faces, and others completely decked out in tactical gear, hiding their faces and identities.  These secret terrorists seem to be the ones who were moving with a specific agenda.

On top of that A DOZEN GOP ELETED OFFICIALS were taking part in the rally/coup attempt, at various levels of participation, from only being at the rally, to actually storming the Capitol itself (!!!).  You also had numerous politicians who had encouraged participation in the DC rally/soon to be incursion.  In many states there were local rallies held with angry Trumpers, many of which featured official members of the individual state's Republican parties, many of them calling for violence and threats (this happened in St. Paul too, with numerous MNGOP politicians taking part).  If this was a foreign country, and we had learned 12 members of a specific political party were involved in a coup attempt, along with hundreds more taking part in other rallies at the same time across the country, we'd insist the political party was a major part of the overthrow attempt.  National Republican officials having not immediately expelled every one of the 12 traitors is another sign of possible party tolerance for these actions.

And listen to what was said!  MAGA Terrorists were screaming "Hang Mike Pence," the Vice President!  This points further to a much darker agenda to the rally. 

When you factor all the evidence from what we saw in the videos originating from the terrorist mob, this was a coup attempt.

(And the second plane hits...)

Let's step back and look for more evidence (both pro and con) to clarify if this was indeed an attempted overthrow of the US Government. 

Trump at a debate this Fall told extremist supporters to "stand back and stand by," implying he might have had something in the works.  Since the election, the Right, both from the GOP itself and from the far right groups which intermingle and intertwine with the Republican Party, have been pushing the lie that massive voter fraud cost Trump the election.  It didn't, and most of them know it.  They only wanted to placate their base so they pushed 'the election was stolen' to validate their base's desired narrative.  They kept pouring gasoline on the fire, they kept throwing rocks at the beehive, whipping the Trump supporters into a frenzy.  They started to build false hope within their followers; 'even though the states and courts had failed them, the Congress, led by Trump's buddy Mike Pence, would cast aside the legal ballots and install Trump in the White House for another term.'

The White House's legal scholars scoured over the laws and realized Mike Pence could do nothing of the sort.  Congressional GOP'ers could file a formal complaint over an individual state on January 6th, but their objection would get voted down soundly in both the US House and Senate. At no point could Pence himself cast aside a state's selected electors and overrule the will of the American voters.

The people behind this overthrow attempt focused on January 6th.  Not only would the House and Senate be in session, but Vice President Pence would have to be at the US Capitol too, along with the official Electoral College votes.  A decision was made to hold a rally in Washington DC...on a Wednesday...in the morning (?)...in January...  The selection of the time and place for this Trump rally is pretty much an admission something was up.  You have multiple members of the Republican Party urging people to go to DC on a Wednesday morning, even offering people transportation too and from the rally.

Mike Pence was not willing to do what Trump wanted.  During the morning of January 6th, Trump turned on Pence, lashing out at him on Twitter and at the rally itself.  During the rally, as the crowd was getting more riled up, the clear message was to point towards the Capitol and scream "ALL THOSE PEOPLE ARE STOPPING TRUMP FROM WINNING!"  Trump called for a march on the Capitol, pointed the angry mob in the right direction, and let them go! 

This unruly mob was perfect for sneaking a more organized group into the Capitol, one armed with tactical gear, handcuffs, weapons and maps, with a specific agenda to capture Mike Pence, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Electoral Votes and maybe certain members of Congress.  If you successfully capture these people, you then put a gun to their head and say "either you appoint Trump as the next President or we'll execute you!"  Start with Pence, if he doesn't do it, then you go to the 3rd in command Pelosi.  Even if you failed to capture any high level hostages, you could capture and destroy the state's Electoral College Votes.  At the very least, you could stop the mandatory counting of the Electoral College votes until after the legally mandated day of January 6th, hoping the courts would negate the election for failing to comply with established law. 

In planning for this, security forces would be an issue, especially if they looked like they did when people protested this last summer.  There seems to have been an intentional decrease in security for a rally of this size, with (intentional or unintentional) confusion by the leadership of the Capitol police.  Trump refused to call out the National Guard.  It was only when Pence called them up himself did order at the Capitol get restored.  

Then comes the reality.  This was Trump's last stand.  The voters voted him out, the state Republicans failed to overturn their individual state results, the courts were not about to throw out the votes without evidence, the party over country Republicans in the House and Senate were outnumbered and unlikely to win on the procedural votes, and finally Trump's number 2, Pence, had betrayed him with his unwillingness to make up rules and laws to overthrow the will of the people.  

THIS was Trump's last chance to stay in power.  The scariest part is how far they got, but they wouldn't have succeeded regardless.  If they would've taken hostages, the military would have lit them up, with most of those MAGA terrorists being taken out in body bags. 

We need to know who was behind this, not just the rally, but the clear attempt to infiltrate Congress and overthrow the election.  We need to find out if this plan originated in the Oval Office itself.  It's not only possible, but it's likely Trump attempted an overthrow of the US government to stay in power.

The undeniable gasp.

Arrest the traitors! Save the Nation! God Bless the United States of America! 


Friday, January 8, 2021

The Friday Link for 1/8/21

 Hi all!

This has been a bit of a touch and go week.  The good news is I have started a new radio show, moving my current radio gig from 3 PM, to 4-6 PM.  I'm now doing two hours and it was feeling pretty good by the end of the week.  I had to re-learn my pacing.

The other bit of good news is I'm now a published photographer.  I KNOW!  I have a calendar out and you can get one by becoming a member of my radio station.  Go to www.am950radio.com and click on the membership tab to find out how you can get the calendar.  You can have a little bit of me all year long!

On the downside, there was a credible attempt to overthrow the government by Donald Trump and his Terrorist followers. 

...(SIGH)...

Tonight, I want to post the compilation video The Daily Show made of their corespondent Jordan Klepper going to all the Trump rallies.  I rewatched this on Thursday and I have to admit my perspective of these clowns has changed dramatically.  Don't get me wrong; it's still enjoyable to see these idiots get shown up by the comedic mastery of Klepper, but now I have to ask how many of these people actually just stormed the US Capitol building and tried to overthrow the government.  

It's a little bit like watching a true crime documentary about a mass killing.  You know the people are going to do something horrible, but they seem relatively normal before they stormed the House and Senate, at least as normal as these brainwashed loon balls can look. 


Arrest the Traitors to the country.  Down with the #MAGATerrorists!

Long live the United States of America!   





Friday, January 1, 2021

The Friday Link for 1/1/21

Happy New Year Everyone! 

Another short and sweet post as I'm getting ready for my Doctor Who New Year's watching, something which has become a regular tradition over the last few years. To be honest, it's a bit of brilliant counter programming to football by the BBC.

Speaking of Doctor Who, some Doctor love for tonight's Friday Link.  First up the best episode (in my opinion) since the relaunch is the episode Blink, from the 10th Doctor's run.  Not only does it feature one of the best doctors in David Tennant, not only does it feature future Oscar contending actress Carey Mulligan, and not only does in introduce one of the best villains ever in the Weeping Angles, but this clip is one of the best bits they EVER did on the show.  A conversation, via DVD eater eggs, between two people 40 years apart. 


Also tonight, let's get you the Honest Trailers for both the classic and new versions of the series: 




Finally, I like Jodie Whittaker's version of the Doctor.  I'm looking forward to the New Year's special.  Here's the teaser trailer for you.  Captain Jack and the Daleks are back too! 


Have a great weekend everyone, and HAPPY 2021!!!





Friday, December 25, 2020

The Friday Link for 12/25/20

Short and sweet as it is Christmas.

My favorite version of A Christmas Carol is the 1970 musical version Scrooge with Albert Finney. 

Enjoy!


Merry Christmas everyone! 

Friday, December 18, 2020

The Friday Link for 12/18/20

 I HAVE FINISHED!!!

All of the holiday shows are recorded! Here is a sneak peak...



Plus a two separate full hour shows with special guests, and a live show on New Year's Eve.  Thanks to producers Brett and Patrick who worked their cabooses off to help get this all recorded. Very appreciated!

Then, the first week of January, we've got a big change coming!  No peaking at the Christmas gifts yet. 

For this week's Friday Link, we start with math!  Once again, the Trump campaign throws out numbers and hopes no one actually checks the math they're claiming to be true. 

Enter Matt Parker from Stand Up Maths, who we featured a few weeks back.  He noticed in the Texas lawsuit which went to the Supreme Court they were throwing around the number 'quadrillion.'  Since Matt is not a guy who takes number usage lightly, he started to look at the math behind the Trump campaign's argument the odds that Biden won in Georgia are a one in a quadrillion chance.  Spoiler alert, it wasn't.  As a matter of fact, the dishonesty behind the claims is shocking when you think about this being sent to the Supreme Court for an official case.

I'll let Matt explain it from here. 


The second video this year is becoming a holiday tradition.  The Late Show with Stephen Colbert has a new Christmas special.  The Bumble being MAGA makes a lot of sense. 


I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  Stay healthy and stay safe!







Friday, December 11, 2020

The Friday Link for 12/11/20

 So a few weeks back I thought I would be able to write more...

(sigh)

Two problems with that theory.  First, Trump has done everything to carry this election into the next one.  Just a few minutes ago his last legal avenue was shut down for Trump, as the Supreme Court annihilated the laughable Texas two step attempt to overthrow our government.  It's not Trump being a petulant cry baby which is the most annoying.  It's his supporters cheering on overthrowing the Constitution and Democracy, all for a man who (in case you haven't been paying attention to the Corona Virus numbers) DOES NOT CARE ABOUT THEM!

The other issue is a good thing.  I have begun recording out my shows for the holidays.  About 6 years ago we started to record shows in advance of my Christmas vacation to prevent from having to air two weeks of best of shows, or asking people to come off their vacations to cover my radio show.  The pre-recorded shows have gone over great.  So far I have four shows completed and this next week should get me another 3.  It takes a lot of time to record out two weeks of shows, so thanks to my producers and the guests who make it happen.

Maybe I'll write more over the holidays...

First up this week, Epic Rap Battles of History places Harry Potter Verses Luke Skywalker, with Legos!  It's actually pretty good.


Next up a little holiday fun. The Carpenters were such a universally liked duo. Their songs still hold up today and their Christmas music was great. Here is their TV Christmas special from 1978.  

By the way, this is a very caucasian Christmas special, but it's a lot more relatable compared to the Dean Martin Special from 1968.  That one was like a jar of marshmallow fluff being held by Beymax in the middle of a blizzard in Idaho.  I decided to go with the Carpenters.


Finally tonight, more relevant history.  As we hear people today complain about their lack of "freedom" because people are daring to try to save their lives, it's also good to remember sometimes it goes the other way.  People being so afraid of disease, it erupts into a battle.  The History Guy reminds us of the forgotten story of The 1858 Staten Island Quarantine War.


I hope everyone has a fun, and safe weekend!





Friday, December 4, 2020

The Friday Link for 12/4/20

 Howdy all.  To get you started, here are the highlights of the MN United win over Kansas City last night. That second goal is such a thing of beauty!  And how about that cat like save by our goalie! 


It's weird seeing fans in the stands.  I would not be going to a game.  

Next up two really good ads from Match, the online dating service. I only post ads which are really good, and these are darn near perfect. 



Finally tonight, a lost historical figure, Captain Robert Stobo. Not only did he play a role in the pre-Revolutionary War history of the United States, he also was an important figure in the formation of Canada. His story is quite amazing and worth learning about, although the end is quite sad. 


Three completely unrelated topics for you tonight.  Have a great weekend everyone! 





Friday, November 27, 2020

The Friday Link for 11/27/20

This week, let's start with the turkey's striking back!

Earlier this week there was an uproar about a turkey in Bloomington being shot by police.  It seems the turkey had taken up residence at a busy intersection, and while some people considered the animal like a pet, others were being harassed by the creature.  Sad to see it go, but to those who insist the animal was harmless, don't fool yourselves!

We've talked often on the radio show about the turkeys in nordeast Minneapolis and how they're dangerous. Those things are freaking vicious. Turkey's are wild animals and they have plenty of weapons to cause damage.  Here is a compilation of turkey's going after people.

By the way some adult language, and I do not condone the people laughing as their friends, kids, family are running for their lives!


Also tonight, as we get ready for President Biden, let's also revisit the great President...ial impressions of the last 45 years from Saturday Night Live.


By the way, We need someone a lot better than Jim Carrey to be the regular Biden impression.  I love Carrey, but he's playing it too by the cuff.  Sacrifice the exacts about his behavior and you can deliver a great impression.  Just look at how well Colbert does with just a pair of sunglasses.

Finally tonight, otters! Super cute, and they apparently will chase a turkey!


Have a wonderful and safe weekend everyone! 



Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thankful

This Thanksgiving is shaping up to be familiar, but also strange.  

For me and my family, it's business as usual.  I'm making up the usual Thanksgiving feast I always make. I was thinking of cutting back on the amount of food this year, but instead we're offering Thanksgiving to multiple neighbors and friends.  The offer of a complete Thanksgiving meal, for some of them, was greeted with relief; an undeniable joy there's an option for them this year.

Corona Virus is horrible.  I wish we all could have a normal holiday, but the recognition of the danger is making many people change long standing traditions.  They're choosing to be safe.  I applaud the sacrifice, but not because I'm against Thanksgiving.  On the contrary, ignoring the unstable allegations from far right loon balls, I love the Thanksgiving holiday, something I cook for days prior to the event.  The happiness and warmth I get from seeing guests enjoy a really nice meal is so rewarding. 

Not having a traditional Thanksgiving is a real emotional blow for many.  The public reactions I'm noticing on social media seem to fall into four different camps.


The Ambivalent:  These are people who are going through their normal routines even though this is not a normal year.  On one side there are the hosts, who seem to be cooking like normal, even though they're not going to be hosting anyone (guilty as charged!).  On the other side are the people who are usually guests for these events, someone who might make one side dish, might buy a can of cranberry sauce (YIKES!), or might grab a bag of rolls as their meal contribution, but since they're not going anywhere, they're treating the day like a normal day.  There's a sad acceptance to this situation, but since neither side (hosts/guests) wants to give up their usual tradition, they're going through the motions, keeping their motors running in neutral, and hoping November 2021 will be back to normal. 

The Culinary Challengers:  There are some people who have never made a Thanksgiving dinner, or a real nice meal before, but they've decided to give it the old college try.  The woman who cuts my hair beamed as she showed me a bacon wrapped turkey breast she is making.  She also was shocked at how easy it was to make cranberry sauce from scratch.  I have more than a few friends who are dusting off the pots and pans and trying to make something this holiday season. The great thing about Thanksgiving is that you don't have to make a turkey.  You can be thankful with any meal, so cook what you are comfortable with.

The Belligerent:  Some people are pushing the idea there's no need to change our behavior during a pandemic; that the pandemic is a lie, not nearly as dangerous as the death rate shows.  They've decided they won't let the liberals win, so they're planning on having a normal large Thanksgiving get-together.  I know they'll have smug toasts about how they're not living in fear, bragging about how they're not caving to the liberals demands to kill the Thanksgiving tradition.  

Everyone, including Democrats, Liberals and Progressives, wishes Thanksgiving could happen like normal.  The Belligerent's stubbornness to win an argument in their own mind will end up getting a lot of people killed.  I don't want anyone to get sick.  I don't want anyone to die.  The best way for you to make sure that doesn't happen is to be Corona Virus responsible, but I can't stop you from being stupid.  Just do us all a favor and don't act shocked when family members start getting sick in December.  I'll feel sorry for you but your pleas for compassion need to factor in your own ignorant decisions from Thanksgiving before you demand empathy from others.

The Sad:  This group worries me most.  There are a lot of cries for help on social media right now.  People are posting how hard it is they can't get home to family, people frustrated this pandemic is still raging 9 months after it started.  The depression is very real, very understandable, and contagious.  

The other day my wife and I were discussing our daughters.  The stress of the pandemic was clearly getting to them, but I had to remind my wife this is the new normal.  What's to like?  As hard as that sentiment is, we shouldn't be walking around demanding people 'turn that frown upside down!'  We have to teach people to live in a pandemic world, a world full of sacrifice and sadness.  It's like the Great Depression.  There was a lot of sad back then, people losing everything, people begging for the basics, people dying in the streets.  As hard as those dark days were, there was always the promise things would get better, and they did.

For the record, I'm incredibly sad right now but I know things will eventually get better. I won't dismiss your depression.  On the contrary, I'll validate it.  It means you're normal.  Even though things like Thanksgiving will be tough, we'll get through this.  We will.

I'm thankful for my family, my health, my life, my job, and my community. I'm thankful for cold mornings and hot nights.  I'm grateful for the nature around us and the incredible modern world at our fingertips.  I'm grateful for all the friends I have, some very dear, some far away, and some I need to catch up with dearly.  I'm grateful for everyone who reads this blog and I'm grateful for everyone who has ever listened to one of my radio shows.

I hope you have a safe, healthy and blessed Thanksgiving, no matter how it manifests itself.





Friday, November 20, 2020

The Friday Link for 11/20/20

Cable television is depressing!  It's not sad due to great heart tugging scripts, but rather it's sad because most cable networks don't even try anymore.

I grew up in the pre-cable TV era.  I remember the 3 networks and PBS.  If you were lucky, you had a fourth local channel which broadcast syndicated shows and movies all weekend long, but that was it.  I remember the first top loading VCR my family got.  The fact we could choose to watch something we wanted to watch at any time felt like a freaking revolution.  It was freedom to be able to tape a show and watch it back at our convenience.  

I remember when we moved into our first neighborhood with cable.  It was Edina, MN in 1983.  Before we moved there, I was living in Georgia.  I'd been hearing about all these cool new TV channels; a sports channel, a weather channel, a channel which played music videos only!  I wanted to see them, but our neighborhood, in rural Buford, was years away from getting cable.  We had a neighbor who had one of those HUGE satellite dishes.  We were allowed to go watch "all the channels" he had, but all he had was the east coast and the west coast feeds of the major networks, and a channel from Brazil.  That was new.

Edina being a wealthy community, cable TV was already in every neighborhood by 1983.  One of the first times I hung out with kids in Minnesota was about 10 of us watching MTV.  Three hours of watching music videos, and we all felt like we had just gotten into the most exclusive club.  As the 80's rolled on, cable TV just got better and better.  A cartoon channel, a fine arts channel, a comedy network, a history network,  a food network; eventually when it exploded with news and sports options it became the place to go.  I think late 90's and early 2000's cable TV was it's golden age.

But then it faltered.  Most cable networks stopped producing as many shows, or moved into reality shows which were inexpensive.  The more they could cut costs the more simplistic the programming became.  I started to look at cable TV with the same disdain I had for network TV.  I remember in the early 1990's when I started watching more cable TV than network TV, but cable TV was now unoriginal and tired.

As unwatchable as cable TV is today, it's a shame they didn't learn from their own success.  Case in point, the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day broadcast.  A 24 hour span of MST3K riffing at its finest.  Imagine if a cable TV channel continued to air this sort of programming instead of abandoning it for cheaper fare?  I remember in 2013 when Shout Factory streamed a version of Turkey Day and I watched it there. The minute Cable TV drove people to find programming in other places because their 200+ channels were not entertaining enough, it was over. 

About three years ago, I started watching FAR more streaming services than Cable TV.  I think the only reason I have cable TV today is sports.

Back in 1991, MST3K aired it's first Turkey Day Marathon.  Here are all of the promo bits they did for the original broadcast.  It's so cool someone saved these.


And for your Turkey Day love, a revisiting of the Thanksgiving Day broadcast of Night of the Blood Beast!
 

Have a great weekend everyone! 





A Drunk in a Dark Bar, Swinging at Flies

Let’s recap:


·      There is NO evidence of the “extensive voting fraud” Trump’s campaign says exists.  NONE!

·      Trump’s campaign has repeatedly gone to court in multiple states to overturn election results.  They have gone to court in both red states and blue states.

·      So far, Trump's campaign team has won one case, were a minimal amount of PA ballots were tossed out, a few dozen.  Seriously, the parameters of the votes thrown out are rare to say the lease.  A few dozen might be a large exaggeration.  He has lost the other 31 other cases.  In each case they come to a point where they have to show their evidence, AND THEY DON’T HAVE ANY!

·      Even Conservative news outlets have offered them a platform to make their case, as long as Trump’s team can produce the evidence. The Trump campaign has never complied.

 

Step back for a second.  Trump fans are accusing multiple state's Secretary of State's offices, along with multitudes of County Election officials in a variety of states, ALONG WITH a large portion of the Judicial branches of both those individual states and the Federal courts, of being in on the steal.  We are now talking hundreds of thousands of people being involved in the conspiracy for it to be real.  You're freaking Loon Balls.

 

·      Trump’s new strategy is arguing that since black people voted so heavily for Biden, it must be a sign of fraud, hence their votes should be thrown out.

·      Once again, they have NO EVIDENCE of voter fraud.  And this is clearly as racist as it sounds.

·      Can you imagine what the right would be like if a Democratic campaign loser suggested Trump’s overwhelming victories in rural counties should be thrown out because all the white people voting for him must be a sign of fraud?

 

Now they are asking state Legislatures to throw out the LEGALLY CAST BALLOTS.


·      They want them to install a pro-Trump Electoral College, even though the state Legislatures could never do this without their Governor signing on, their states have specific laws on the books to prevent this exact sort of thing, and even the loyal Trump Republicans have said they can’t do that. 

 

 

It’s over.  There is no fraud. Trump lost!  To quote Trump supporters in 2016, “GET OVER IT!!!”





Friday, November 13, 2020

The Friday Link for 11/13/20

No need to fear Friday the 13th this year!  Earlier today the final states were awarded in the Presidential race (with Georgia for Biden and North Carolina for Trump) meaning Joe Biden, the President Elect, now has 306 Electoral College votes, the same exact amount as Trump got in 2016, something Trump referred to as a "landslide." 

I bet he doesn't regret that at all!

Trump has suggested he can somehow appoint himself to a second term, something he clearly can't do.  Not saying he won't try.  The problem for him is he needs to get multiple states to throw out their vote totals, undermining the voters of their state, and install him as their state winner.  Arizona and Georgia are run by Republicans and they've already called their states for Biden.  It'll be an interesting trick to convince everyone the Republicans of those two states were actually in the bag for Biden.

That doesn't leave a lot of options for Trump.  Sure the states of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have blindly loyal Republicans running their state Legislatures, but both states have specific rules about Electors.  Setting aside the fact that both states also have a Democratic Governor, a person who clearly has a say in the matter and who won't go along with throwing out the state's election tallies, the WI and PA Republicans themselves know this would be political suicide for them to actually throw out their election results.

But for argument's sake, let's say Trump convinces Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to throw out their vote totals and pledge their loyalty to Trump.  That's still only 30 Electoral College votes, leaving Biden with 276, still enough for the Presidency. Nevada is the next most likely state but they only have 6 Electoral College votes, so Trump would still need one more. He could try to flip the one Electoral College vote in Nebraska that went for Biden, or Michigan, but both are highly unlikely considering their margins for Biden.  

There is no where else to go. Trump will be anger eating the next few weeks.  Delicious!

Tonight for the Friday Link let's start off with Robert Reich addressing Trump's coup thoughts, and why they won't go anywhere. 


I've heard some Trump supports insist there is a fix in for Biden because his vote totals didn't follow something called Benford's Law.  I had no idea what Benford's Law actually was but the best Mathematician I know, Matt Parker, and his channel Stand Up Maths, had heard of this alleged conspiracy and he made a very informative video about how Benford's Law is unreliable and doesn't apply here. 



Finally tonight, let's move away from politics to something that stunned me.  Britain used to be connected to the European mainland, but I'm not referring to millions of years ago.  Around Eight Thousand years ago, a natural disaster of cataclysmic proportions occurred which destroyed the land bridge connecting England to Holland and The Netherlands.  What could have done it?  Simon Whistler at Geographics has the story. 


Have a great weekend everyone!





Thursday, November 12, 2020

Feeling Minnesota with Georgia On My Mind

 A lot of people are happy about the outcome of Election 2020, namely Trump losing to President Elect Joe Biden.  I myself was celebrating on Saturday when word came down of the win, but I have to admit, I'm mostly mad about what happened in 2020.  Once again the Democratic Party, while catering to the moderate wing of the party, managed to serve up an embarrassing set of losses. The Democrats couldn't take back the US Senate, and lost seats in the US House.  The Minnesota DFL (Democratic Farmer Labor) Party also failed at its quest to take the Minnesota Senate, and lost seats in the MN House.

This as a pandemic rages across the country, a pandemic which is far worse because of the Republicans.  AND they're the party trying to actively kill cheap healthcare. 

The Democrats should have mopped the floor with the Republicans, but yet here we are...AGAIN!

(Image via FiveThirtyEight.com)

Since 2006, when comparing Democratic Party results, we've seen a pattern in election seasons.  In years where the party runs unified, touting the benefits of a vibrant Democratic platform, the party wins, and wins big.  But in years where the party's message is controlled by Moderate Democrats, the results go from 'bland' to outright Republican ass kickings.

Let's talk the 2020 mistakes Democrats made by following the lead of the Moderates, both in Minnesota and across the country:

1) Moderate Democrats ran against their own party more than they ran against Republicans!  I can't tell you how many Minnesota DFL candidates I interviewed who vilified the Progressive side of the Democratic party FAR MORE than they vilified the Republicans.  Considering the only way the Republicans would win in 2020 was to make the Democrats turn on themselves, it's comical the Moderate Democrats fell for it so easily.

All Republicans had to say was "they want to defund the police" and Moderate Democrats wet themselves. Instead of saying "I'm running in this district.  When you have people being murdered by police officers on camera, there's clearly a need for police reform in Minneapolis, but I'll leave that to them.  I'd rather talk about issues which matter to my district," they did the Republicans bidding, bashing on Progressives as 'out of touch socialists needing to be reigned in.'

If you're beating up your own party during an election year, you don't convey confidence or integrity.  You look pathetic and foolish.  Democrats and the Minnesota DFL need to make a new standard: Attacking fellow Democrats WILL NOT BE TOLERATED!  

Dear Lord, is that so F-ing hard?!?

2) Republican-lite doesn't sell.  If you have a choice of a regular version of something or a 'lite' version of the same thing, you go for the regular.  Moderate Democrats are convinced their path to victory is NOT to embrace the tens of millions of Progressive voters they ignore, but instead sacrifice their party and platform in the feeble attempt to convince a dozen or so Moderate Republicans to vote for them. 

The last two months of the Election cycle, most of the Democratic candidate ads I heard were like this:  "Hi, I'm the DFL candidate for ____ and my first priority is to make sure I work with Republicans.  All my bills will get Republican approval first as I'd rather work with Republicans than work with my own party.  And if I win, the Republicans have told me I can sit near them in the cafeteria!"

Once again, if you're not proud of being a Democrat, then why should I vote for you, THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE?  You come across as a person without principles

3) And Moderate Democrats, Republican-lite is toxic for the rest of the Democrats.  Dean Philips was one of those Democrats whose ads talked about how much he loved working with the Republicans.  I know his campaign will insist it worked, as he got re-elected.  Great, but it cost the party; Traditional Democrats and Progressive Democratic candidates in his district never had a chance because of Dean's campaign approach.  Not only were they having to campaign against the Republicans, but members of their own party as well. 

In Dean's district, I know at least four great Traditional Democrat and Progressive Democratic candidates who never were able to get traction.  All of them lost.  Whether national races or local ones, Moderate Democrats embracing the Republicans over the Democrats puts the rest of the party on the defensive.  I'm tired of the horror movie "Do you agree with ______ candidate that parts of the DFL party are too extreme or are you part of the socialist gestapo your candidate says is killing America?" phone call coming from inside the DFL's own house!  

Seriously Moderate Democrats, if you can't run without beating up your own party or cosplaying a Republican, go find a different party.

4) Moderate Democrats, terrified of having to defend progressive ideas, made the election ONLY about Trump when the FAR more effective issue was healthcare.  In 2010, after the Democratic Party passed what should've been a signature piece of legislation for decades, the Affordable Care Act, Moderate Democrats, brainwashed by Republicans, vilified the ACA and actively campaigned against it.  It ended up being a disastrous election cycle because Moderate Democrats were too fragile when it came to Republican bullying.  They should have been proud of what they accomplished, instead of cowering away from it.

In 2020, Moderate Democrats were scared to death of having to defend single payer healthcare, so they mostly abandoned healthcare as a primary tentpole issue.  I was astounded they shied away from the issue during a pandemic, especially after it was such a winning issue for them in 2018.  They made the campaign only about Trump.  They managed to get him out of office, but their lack of quality message beyond 'Remove Trump' hurt them pretty much every where else. 

And before Moderate Democrats start bickering, I do know there was some talk about healthcare on the campaign trail, but it was a secondary issue.  Anti-Trump sentiment was strong, but I don't think there was any NEW convincing voters Trump was a bad guy.  The people's minds were made up, so all you had to do was get those people to the polls.  Meanwhile, healthcare is an issue which makes moderate Trump voters reconsider their choice, and Moderate Democrats didn't hammer that home, especially in rural America.

5) All Democrats became convinced the early voting numbers were enough.  In the end they were, but just barely. This should've been a blow out, but Democrats were too busy patting themselves on the back to realize most Republicans were planning on voting in person on 11/3.  There should've be a FAR More aggressive voter engagement program, especially in rural parts of Minnesota and this country, 

6) Democrats in Minnesota and nationwide seem have given up on any seat outside of the large metro areas. In Minnesota, the F in DFL means 'Farmer,' but the way the party seemed to ignore the districts outside of the metro areas made me ask if they had even heard of a farm.

If you give up on a district, I guarantee you will never win it.  In 2006, the Democrats had the 50 state strategy and tried to compete in every district.  It worked!  In 2018, I heard stories from campaign workers telling us it was the first time a DFL'er had knocked on most of these doors in years, and we got great results that year too!  By putting forward a lackluster effort in rural Minnesota, only focusing on the cities and suburbs, the Democrats are back to being a non-existent contender in many rural districts.

And Democrats, I understand there are Republican bullies in rural Minnesota.  I know it can be scary, but if you don't stand up to the bully, the bully always wins.


Winning as a Democrat is not hard:  Run proud Democrats in every district, get them the support system they need to win, campaign on Democratic principles, no bad mouthing other Democrats, don't run a campaign where it sounds like you're a Republican, get voters registered, and make sure they all get to the polls and vote! 

That's what happened in Georgia this year, and look at the results.  The Democrats were able to take a reliably red state and turn it blue.  Was it scary at times?  Damn right it was!  For God's sake, a Q-Anon candidate won a US House race, but if you don't challenge the bullies, the bullies always win.  Thank you Stacey Abrams for standing up to the bullies!  Georgia did it right.

In the days since the election, Moderate Democrats have gone on the offensive.  "The reason we didn't win more was because of those damn liberals!  They need to step back and let us lead."

Go F- yourselves! The reason we failed to gain more wins in 2020 is because you Moderate Democrats sold out the rest of the party and were only in it for yourselves. YOU failed us.  It's time for YOU GUYS, Moderate Democrats, to step back and let the rest of the party lead from here on out.  If you don't like that, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.