Friday, January 17, 2020

The Friday Link for 1/17/20

Sometimes when I'm working on a certain project, or if I'm writing a certain blog piece, I get very committed.  At least I used to think I did.

The Friday Link is a new standard in commitment.  For some reason, maybe because I watched a domino video (where some group of kids sets up a huge domino design) I had the following video show up in my suggestion box.  It comes from Jelle's Marble Runs and this is nuts.

It's a marble olympics.  Not an olympics of people playing marble games.  NOPE! This is all about the marbles themselves, in what could only be described as a crazy obsession exposed to the world. The time it must have taken to put all this together probably rivaled the actual olympics.  

This is two and a half hours, TWO AND A HALF HOURS(!!!), of marble competition you never knew existed.   I can't do this justice.  Watch it, and be somewhat terrified, somewhat intrigued, and somewhat entertained.  Seriously, I started actually caring which marbles were winning certain competitions.

And for the record, the play by play guy is actually one of the better play by play guys I've ever heard.  Seriously!!!  Ninety percent of play by play guys should listen to him for hints on how not to ruin a sporting event by being a way too enthusiastic announcer.


Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, January 13, 2020

A Letter to Nicole Marie

I made a mistake with a politically right leaning woman named Nicole Marie.  I thought when she said 'educate me' she was actually open to a discussion of the topic she was blindly defending, Beltrami County, Minnesota's racist and bigoted decision to ban any new refugee resettlements.

I learned about a decade ago there's no point in trying to engage in an actual discussion with a Republican in this day and age.  After the 2008 election, and in 2009 when people started screaming about birth certificates, the Republican Party went off the rails, no longer willing to engage in a debate on the issues.  Instead they resorted to screaming their opinion in your face as loud as they could, and whenever you counterpointed their ignorance, they completely change topic to avoid having to admit you're right.  They offer nothing to a legit debate, so I usually just ignore them, blocking them if applicable.

But Nicole Marie got my attention by (purposely?) misinterpreting what my initial point was.  I said due to the Beltrami County board's vote, I would not spend money in Beltrami County until they reversed their decision.  Nicole Marie seemed to interpret my dislike of the county boards vote as bad mouthing Beltrami County as a whole (I wasn't).  She then seemed to use that point to jumpstart a diatribe against the Twin Cities (sounds like you got some issues).  She then went after socialism (What the...?) and then suggested a boycott of her own, black listing Minneapolis/St.Paul (Good luck with that!).

I love how she thinks working class socialists are the people going to sporting events in the metro.  Also, it should be noted she rails against socialism and her job listed on Facebook is working at the post office.  HAHAHAHAHA!  Who wants to tell her?

I initially had blocked Nicole Marie on Twitter and to my surprise she contacted me on Facebook. After a little back and forth, she asked for me to 'educate her' on my opinion, something I was willing to do, but first I had to run my daughter to soccer.  I told her I would respond in 45 minutes, only to have her shut down our conversation.

So here, since I dedicated time to this, is my response to Nicole Marie:

First off, there was no need for Beltrami County to do this considering they haven't recently gotten any refugees.  They haven't been a refugee destination for over 5 years! Considering this is a non problem, there was no need to ban them, but yet, with a room full of bigots and racists, the board decided to do just that.

For those who challenge me, insisting this decision isn't racist but rather financial, let me once again point out BELTRAMI COUNTY HASN'T HAD ANY REFUGEES SO YOU HAVEN'T SPENT ANY MONEY!  Considering the lack of refugees wasn't costing the county a damn thing, and considering there didn't seem to be any pending refugee resettlements scheduled for Beltrami County, this entire argument is empty, a thin veil pulled around the racism, an attempt to hide the true motivations in plain sight.

But if you're upset about a refugee family getting a few dollars of tax payer money to help get them on their feet and settled, then you should be freaking outraged by the hundreds of millions of dollars Trump has spent golfing at his own golf courses while President, FAR more golfing than President Obama ever did (remember when Righto's used to constantly bellyache about his golfing?  That was racist too!).  But like a lot of things today, Republican outrage is very selective.

The reason Beltrami County voted for this was because of Trump.  Trump is starting to do something Republicans never thought possible.  Due to his horrific unnecessary trade war, and the subsequent hardships bestowed upon the Ag sector, support for Trump in rural America is starting to falter.  Brazil is now the worlds largest soybean distributor, Russian wheat is taking away the US's position in China, the US dairy sector is sinking and fast, and the US pork markets are barely holding their own, terrified of what happens when China's swine flu epidemic runs its course.  On top of that, farm debt is at an all time high, farm foreclosures are up to a ten year high, healthcare costs more, tariffs have raised the cost of all products, and wages have not risen in decades.  In addition, Republicans refuse to do anything about climate change even though it is undeniably leading to environmental disasters in farm country, and the Ag bailout (almost twice as big as the Auto bailout Republicans hated, although the Ag bailout won't get even partially repaid) has pretty much only gone to the big Corporate farming outfits.

But what about steel.  I remember northern Minnesota praising Trump as he talked about bringing back US steel.  He hasn't.  As a matter of fact, US steel production is at all time lows, with US Steel announcing 1500 layoffs in December.  The reasons are simple.  Trump never had a plan in place to revitalize America's foundries.  Without adequate processing facilities, the main markets for our raw product are still overseas, but they're now moving away from the US's raw ore.  The rest of the world stopped ordering processed US steel, and undercut their own prices so even with tariffs it's cheaper to buy foreign steel than the US equivalent. Less demand for the steel means less demand for taconite, and it's not going to turn around any time soon.

Trump knows he's made a mess, that's why he's trying to shore up his base by letting Republicans vote for racism.  He created this mandate, where each state and each county had to vote to accept refugees.  So far most rural counties hadn't taken the bait, but Beltrami County couldn't help themselves.  They seemed to relish in the thought that they could tell non-whites they weren't welcome!  Trump baited the hook, and the Beltrami County racists couldn't resist.

If you're Christian, this should make you livid.  This denying refugees goes directly against one of Jesus' main teachings; 'welcoming in strangers from strange lands.'  We just ended the holiday season where this teaching is played out to the glee and joy of the most Conservative Christians.  If you believe in Jesus, then you should be for welcoming in refugees.

Some Christians are trying to use a different argument.  They say I'm all for welcoming, but countries have laws!  Putting aside the fact Jesus never made that concession to his welcoming refugees command, if you believe that, then let me remind you of another story from the Christmas season.  If you feel the laws of the land are the most important thing, then you're for baby Jesus being handed over to King Herod.  After all, that was the law of the land back then.

Before you think I am being too negative, let me make some other points.  When I lived in Beltrami County in the mid-90's, I thought it was one of the prettiest places I'd ever lived. The fishing is great and the state Park on the north side of the lake is magnificent.  This is not about the community itself, more this bigoted decision by the county board.

Also, I can only speak for myself.  I won't spend a dime in Beltrami County until this monstrosity of a vote is overturned, but that is my own decision.  That's my right as an American.  Everyone else can make their own decision.

The fact I'm not the only one coming up with this sentiment ( shows me Beltrami County might actually send a message completely opposite of what those three pig headed jackasses intended.  I guarantee other counties in the state will heed the warning of Beltrami County, and vote against an open boycott of their county.  So far, no one is vowing to boycott counties who vote to allow refugee resettlement, so the decision from this point forward seems easy.

There you go.  And remember Nicole, YOU came to MY page.

Friday, January 10, 2020

The Friday Link for 1/10/20

This week I have not been feeling the best.  I have that mild cold which causes you to cough and makes you tired.  I've been sleeping a lot so I've not been able to post anything new this week, but I promise some posts this weekend.

Whatever I was going to post prior to this afternoon doesn't matter. Neil Peart, the drummer for the Canadian band Rush died today of brain cancer.  I've not been shy about my love of the band.  I grew up with them.  Their albums were a constant companion through my life and I have been to 12 concerts.  They're my favorite band.

I lost a friend today.

Rush is an amazing band.  I would place Geddy Lee as the greatest bass player of all time.  Alex Lifeson is definitely a top 25 rock guitarist of all time, and rock fans have a constant debate on whether Neil Peart or Keith Moon is the greatest drummer of all time. I'll go with Neil.

First up, from David Letterman's Drum solo week, the finale was Neil:

From Rush Live in Rio, a whole bunch of Brazilians enjoying YYZ.

Next up is the best opening they ever did with Spirit of Radio at the end of it, from the 30th Anniversary tour.

And of course a drum solo.  One of his better ones, also from the 30th Anniversary show in Frankfurt Germany.

And finally Rush's appearance on the Colbert Report.  There isn't much here because Comedy Central seems to be blocking the videos, but here is the opening.

I am going to be sad for awhile.

Friday, January 3, 2020

The Friday Link for 1/3/20

Tonight we're going to point out the STUNNING level of hypocrisy from Republicans when it comes to outrage.

Mind you, today we discovered Trump ordered a, Iranian military leader, from a country we haven't declared war on, to be assassinated while he was in a third country (Iraq).  Trump and the Administration did so claiming they had HARD evidence this Iranian general was targeting US interests, but they've not come forward with said evidence to justify this almost unjustifiable action. Trump also failed to mention this assassination attempt to the Democratic leaders of the Congress, including the Speaker of the House, the 3rd most powerful person in government, even though they (once again) claim to have an iron clad case to conduct an assassination.

On top of that, a former Fox News host stated in a book she was openly propositioned by Trump during the campaign.  This would be the 40th or so woman to claim sexual misconduct by Trump, a group of women who've been collectively dismissed as 'liars' by Trump and his allies.

Trump is speaking at an Evangelical gathering tonight where religious leaders will cheer him on.  They will cheer him for assassinating someone.  They will cheer him on for having yet another woman claim sexual misconduct against him.  They will cheer him on even though he has children locked in cages on the US border, one of the most un-Christian things a person could EVER do.

Nothing. Silence. And I'm not even bringing up countless other things which should cause his most staunch supporters to turn on him.  Heck, even Republicans who claimed to have 'valid' criticism of  President Obama for his golfing and budget deficits are stunningly silent in the face of FAR worse behavior from Trump.

Let's travel back to a time and age when Republicans used to get triggered far easier.  Tonight's Friday Link is The Daily Shows top ten Obama scandals.  Date night, bowing too deeply, selfie sticks, latte salutes.  We forget some Republicans were calling for President Obama TO BE REMOVED FROM OFFICE because of some of these made up scandals.

To be fair, if the same people ever held Trump to the same standard they held President Obama, they'd explode.

Have a good weekend everyone, and remember if Trump wants to get us into a war, make sure to tell his supporters only cowards expect others to fight wars they think are justified.  Tell them to sign up their kids for military duty!

Don't expect others to die for YOUR causes.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Best of 2019 Photos

Here are (in my opinion) the best photos I took in 2019.  I'll start with my favorite, followed by the rest of the top 5:

Here are the rest in order:

Spiro Agnew eats at the Rainbow is the greatest piece of graffiti ever.

At Rock the Garden.  I'm usually not in the press row.

Favorite art piece of the year.

That's my dog hiding as she has to get a shot at the vet.

I picked the Mister Wives concert over the others because this was my daughters first concert. And it was sensational.

And finally this one:

That's my son pushing my father in a wheelchair a month before my father passed away in February.  I miss him everyday. 

Happy New Year everyone!