Thursday, April 30, 2020

Pump up the Jams!

Lately, I've been dancing to end out the radio show each day.  I'm not sure why, but people like it.  I think they feel if I can smile at the end of all this they can too.

Here are some of the songs I've featured over the last few weeks.  No preference or list, just good booty shakers.  Enjoy!

And the song that started it all off...

Shake your booty!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Tread Lightly

Joe Biden is the presidential nominee for the Democrats.  When he became the nominee, and Bernie Sanders withdrew, I wasn't surprised Tulsi Gabbard also withdrew, a candidate who only looked to be running in case there was a need for a third party moderate Democrat candidate (it remains to be seen if she was coordinating with the Russians/Trump or not).

I also wasn't surprised there was suddenly an allegation of sexual misconduct against Joe Biden.

I'm not here to negate Tara Reade's story.  She makes an allegation and the allegation deserves to be heard.

Reade's story is all over the place. In April of 2019 she specifically claimed Biden mistreated her by demeaning her, adding that her allegations were not a "sexualization."  Compare that with the story she told in March 2020 where suddenly it was an actual sexual assault allegation.

Inconsistency is a hallmark of Tara Reade.  That is still not negating her story, only stating a fact.  If you want to read the eyebrow raising inconsistencies yourself, check out the Medium story which leaves you with FAR more questions than answers.

Also you can read the New York Times story on the allegations.  Although they just reiterated this doesn't prove Reade's lying, they found no evidence to back up her claims.  To quote their story:
Once again, this isn't saying she's lying, but she needs to clear up the bountiful inconsistencies in her story.

There are a few other issues I have with Reade's allegation.  Once again, I'm not discounting her, just stating facts.

The Obama Administration - You're telling me, in a time when right wing organizations were paying TOP dollar for anything that could smear the Obama Administration, no one came forward with this?  Not one friend, not one co-worker, not an ex-boyfriend, not a family member, NO ONE?  That by far is the hardest element of this story.  There was such pressure to find dirt on Obama and Biden the media made outrageous claims about dijon mustard, chewing gum, umbrellas, mom jeans and bowing too deeply in an effort to tarnish them.  There was a constant spotlight on that White House, with thousands of Republican operatives trying to dig up dirt.  It seems impossible this could've been missed.

Let me go back to how inconsistent her story is - She can't remember anything about the assault. She allegedly told one friend who will not go on the record.  She allegedly also told her brother, but he's being coy with interviews.  Another person who says she told her of this 'incident' was a former landlord.  Really?  Once again, facts might get blurred in a high stress situation, and it's easy to understand why a person would not tell too many people.  Her story on why she left DC is also all over the place, talking about job offers, then talking about getting blacklisted and then saying she had become disinterested in Democracy itself.  Plus she was outright praising Biden as recently as 2017, and her initial allegation specifically said she was not assaulted sexually.  You don't dismiss Tara Reade, but she needs to give a credible timeline.  She also needs to have others who supposedly can back her up to do so publicly, on the record.  

The House and Senate Republicans are being VERY quiet - This tells me a lot.  You can't have these hearings without Democrats being able to ask questions themselves.  The second they do, Reade's entire story will likely fall apart.  The Republicans don't want to look like they're pushing a trumped up allegation in an effort to discredit a candidate.  If Reade is telling the truth, they potentially could have a weapon to ruin the Democratic challenger to Trump, but so far they reluctance to use Reade tells me they themselves already know the allegations have issues.

This undeniably helps Trump - Like I mentioned earlier, much like Tulsi leaving the race when a third party moderate could no longer help Trump win (speculative), this allegation is incredibly convenient for Trump.  Trump has DOZENS of far more credible allegations against him.  Would Trump and the entities who want to see him win (Russia) fabricate an allegation as a way to take Trump's sexual assault allegations off the campaign table?  Of course they would!

The Russia Connection - Reade needs to do a FAR better job at explaining her Russia connection, and her never ending praise of Putin over the last few years (something explored in the Medium story), but this isn't the only Russian connection I've seen.  With my radio show I have a social media presence.  Like all major stories, I've posted links to articles about these allegations.  That was weeks ago.  Almost every morning I wake up to find comments on these weeks old stories, comments which are posted at 1 or 2 in the morning (9 -10 AM Moscow time).  The comments are always a 'How dare Democrats claim to be #MeToo and not believe Reade's story 100%.  I guess your outrage is one sided!'  When you click on the accounts posting theses comments, they're all troll accounts.  There's no content to them at all, featuring names like 'Steve Smith' and 'Mary Andrews,' claiming to be wholesome Americans, with stock images as their banner and avatar.  One of them even had Russian letters on their page.  The Russians are CLEARLY trying to push this story, and that alone is enough for me to question it.

Pro-Trump elements are desperately trying to make this story stick.  Much like the Russians, they imply Democrats are frauds because we aren't throwing Biden off the ticket.  These same people never demanded Trump be thrown off the ticket, even though we have definitive proof of his sexual deviance.  Nor did they demand Brett Kavanaugh's SCOTUS nomination be withdrawn.  The people pushing this story are demanding Democrats double down on their Democratic standards, remove Biden and concede the 2020 election, while at the same time they're embracing the non-existent Republican standards, never having any intent at EVER holding their politicians accountable for their FAR MORE credible allegations.  

I've repeatedly said you give Tara Reade her moment.  Let her speak.  If she wants to clean up her timeline and her story, by all means.  If she wants to testify under oath, I think that would be a good idea.  I won't dismiss, but that doesn't mean I won't ask questions.

If you never once demanded Trump or Kavanaugh be fully investigated, or demanded they needed to step aside until we find out the truth, you can officially shut the hell up.

Part of the Trump strategy is to get the Left to focus on Reade's allegations, to make the 2020 Election about Biden's faults, and not the horrific presidency of Trump.  Part of this effort will be to encourage Democratic voters to stay home and not vote.  I was hesitant to even write this piece, as I didn't want to give this story far more attention than it currently deserves, but here we are.

Supporting #MeToo and supporting women means you don't dismiss, but it doesn't mean you do ask questions.  I won't revisit this unless something FAR more concrete develops.

Friday, April 24, 2020

The Friday Link for 4/24/20

Three unrelated videos for you today.

First up, with art museums closed, I wanted to get something artistic for you, and there's a doozie I've wanted to feature for awhile.  Video games have changed a lot but I'm hard pressed to find one more visually pleasing than Cuphead, a game which was released in 2017, and was inspired greatly by the art style of the early 20th Century.  This game is one of the few I can enjoy while not playing it.  The creativity is nuts.

On a side note, I don't want to know how long it took this guy to learn how to play all of the levels of Cuphead to get this good at it.  He's pretty impressive.

The Honest Trailer guys take on Tiger King.  I don't think there is anything else to explain.

***Warning! Language and Adult content!!!***

Finally, Nathan Lane visited Colbert this week and it was gold.  His Walter Matthau impression is amazing.

Have a great weekend everyone.  Remember Social Distancing and washing hands!

Sunday, April 19, 2020

The GOP Thinks You're Worth Less Than 2K

It has been stunning to see the Republicans demand American citizens, during a pandemic, leave the safety of their 'Stay at Home' environment and get back to work.  It's not like they've been subtle with their demand.  They outright insist a few thousand dead is tolerable, as long as the economy gets going again.  To hear the political party who's spent the last 50 years screaming how they're 'Pro-Life' openly call for a mass culling of HUMAN BEINGS is frightening.

But as always, there's a very simple explanation for why the GOP is manically calling for a mass kill off of US Citizens.  Many of us have already received, or in the process of receiving, a one time government stimulus check.  The check's base about is $1200, with either you receiving more for a family with kids, or less as your income bracket creeps higher.  And not everyone in the US is going to get a check.  For the ones who do get one, this one time check will not sustain most of us for more than a month, but the GOP has ZERO intent of sending another check to middle and lower class Americans.

It's not like Republicans don't like sending out welfare.  THEY LOVE IT! They send tax payer checks worth billions to profitable corporations who pay nothing in taxes.  Republicans have multiple times borrowed money from other countries, with interest, just to give that money to wealthy Americans, solely because they're wealthy!  CRAZY!

As Republicans resisted sending every day Americans a pittance (because they believe workers getting government checks makes them lazy), they've been sending out trillions to corporations and the wealthy.  They just gave over 40,000 millionaires a one time 1.7 million dollar windfall, EACH!  This was intentional!  The Republicans want the middle and lower class back to work because they've already promised all the tax payer money to the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations.  And, if they can convince Americans to go back to work freely, they don't have to tell 90% of Americans "you're on your own!"

To continue to give corporations and the wealthy welfare, Republicans have adopted a pseudo threat as their validation; "they're the job creators!"  The implication:  'Sure we're giving massive money drops to these wealthy entities, but in turn, they're creating jobs.'  The problem is the Republicans never require this money to be used specifically for job creation.  They give away this money and HOPE the wealthy create jobs.  In reality, they know most of the money ends up in some wealthy executive's trust fund so their great, great, great, great grandson can drink champaign on a tropical beach, AND Republicans don't care.  They've delivered the goods!  As long as some of that welfare ends up in their campaign coffers, or as long as there's a cush lobbying gig waiting for them when their political career is over, they'll keep the welfare checks for the wealthy rolling.

The job creators line also implies 'if we stop giving them this money, they'll stop making jobs.'  Does some of this money create jobs?  Sure, but most of it does no such thing!  Some millionaires have even gone on record saying if the welfare checks stop, then they will lay people off.  This isn't capitalism; it's an old fashion mafia shakedown.  'You'd better pay your protection money, or else!'

Two things we've learned from the world when it comes to CoronaVirus.  First, countries who have done the best at mitigating this disease are the ones who made the hard decision to shut down their country's economy, in order to save as many of their citizens as they possibly can.  Any country who's placed their economy over their people (like the Republicans want to) have seen skyrocketing cases and deaths.  This is a terrifying prospect for a country (USA) who already has the highest case count and the highest death count on Earth.

We've also learned that human life is FAR more respected across the globe than it is in the US.  Some countries (particularly Denmark, South Korea, The Netherlands and the UK) are ensuring their people are getting at least 70% of their salary during this lockdown.  Australia is giving their people $1000 a month.  Canada $2000.  But here in the wealthiest country on the planet we've gotten one check for $1200, and the Republicans seem determined on that being it.  And remember not everyone in the US is even getting ONE check.  For a group of people who claim to be Christian, they've forgotten the teachings they insist they embody.

Let's review:  realizing they might have to help the middle and lower class by subsidizing their finances during the pandemic for more than one check, the people pulling the strings in the GOP and the party's biggest Ayn Rand zealots scream 'Hell no!' They order the GOP politicians and talking heads to start implying 'Stay at Home' orders are not about safety, but rather are restricting freedoms.  The Right starts demanding the working class get back to their jobs.  Not only will this derail the safest path in dealing with CoronaVirus (which is stay at home as much as possible and have the government send you further stimulus checks to offset your lost wages), it also creates the ability for Republicans to wash their hands (!) of any pain the working class experiences ('it's not our fault you were evicted or are starving!  Since you can go get a job during the pandemic, anything bad that happens is on you!').

Next Republicans get the most loyal anti-Government and anti-Democrat selfish dupes to go make signs and attend some astro-turf, petri dish of a manufactured political rally.  The idiots act as if not bowling, not getting grass seed or not getting their nails done is some grand injustice (If I want to die on the floor of a Dave and Busters, so be it!).  Then the Right sends their bought and paid for media out to cover the fiasco as some sort of new civil rights movement.  They just have to hope this stunt doesn't kill off too many of their most loyal followers

All of this to hide the truth.  The Republican Party DOES NOT CARE ABOUT THE MIDDLE AND  LOWER CLASS, AT ALL!  They have evaluated your lives and determined they are worth less than $2000.  They will not send non-millionaires and billionaires another check, so the middle and lower class had better get back to work, during a deadly pandemic.  It's the only shot 90% of us have got in their heartless world.

At least until November...

Friday, April 17, 2020

The Friday Link for 4/17/20

I apologize for not having any new posts this week.  Even though I'm staying at home with Minnesota's 'Stay At Home' Order. I've been far busier with work and a few other projects.  I promise a few posts this weekend.

With sports gone, let's revisit the only new sports currently being made, marble racing! Thanks Jelle's Marble Runs!

I know this might inspire an eye roll, but seriously, watch this.  The races are actually compelling, made so by the play by play announcer who's absolutely sensational. Seriously, this guy should be doing other sports and the Olympics.  Plus the intro graphics and courses are amazing.

Here are all the races from the 2019 Sand Marble Rally.

The folks at Jelle's also did their own racing series (similar to Formula One or NASCAR) and here are two of those races.

Watch all of the races.  If you do like sports, it's not a bad option until the major leagues start back up again.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Friday, April 10, 2020

The Friday Link for 4/10/20

Hi all.  I took today off.  The weight of the news in this pandemic is outrageous.  Every day I keep waiting for Trump to do the bare minimum of effective leadership in a time of crisis and every day I end up staring wide eyed into the distance after hearing Trump brag about his ratings.

It's getting to be too much.  I needed to take a day.

Although it will be a very different Easter than ones we've had in the past, I'm looking forward to it.  If you're celebrating Passover or Easter this weekend, Ramadan later this month, or just like eating candy, I hope you have a great weekend.

Three for you this Friday.  First up is John Oliver's sensational takedown of OAN, the extreme far right fringe "news" network.  It's not news, it's a Trump version of that TV station in North Korea which just exists to heap praise on their dictator.  Seriously, that's all OAN is.

Oliver is correct about one thing.  Back in the mid-90's I remember watching Fox News when it first started up.  I laughed.  Who in their right mind would want to see this bias outrageous far right validation machine masquerading as news.  I grossly underestimated the amount of people who didn't want to hear the actual news, but rather just wanted their narrative validated.  Thanks in large part to Fox News, we had 8 years of W., an insane litany of far right incompetence serving in state and federal government, anti-American far right racist and religious groups given a platform to promote their extremism, and Trump.

OAN is trying to do the same thing, but instead of mimicking Fox News, they're trying to outdo them. They look at a worthless joke like Louie Gohmert and say 'how do we get many more of him?'  I actually think OAN might be a deep fake from Fox News themselves to try to make their news network seem more mainstream.  Regardless, if we don't take this threat seriously, how long before we have a propped up right wing Republican Presidential candidate who makes Gohmert look like a Rhodes scholar.

If you haven't seen OAN, let Oliver break it down for you.

Next up a great lesson in resourceful cooking.  A few of the cooking channels have tried to put out 'recipes to get through a quarantine with.'  Townsends, the historical cooking people I love, recently had a great soup recipe which was made form only old bread and cheese.  I won't feature it this week because I just had them on, but I encourage you to find that one on You Tube.

Bon App├ętit, who has all of their chefs currently cooking from their own kitchens, had them all do a simple pantry pasta.  It is a sensational episode with many of the recipes being amazingly quick and easy, with minimum ingredients.  And they are all family friendly when it comes to making them.

Finally this week, I'm going to post the State Of the State speech from Minnesota Governor Tim Walz.  Minnesota has been able to slow down the spread of CoronaVirus better than any other state in the country.  We've done it behind his leadership and decisions.

As we keep waiting for any signs of leadership from the Federal government, listen to this speech and find the one thing we've been missing from Trump and his supporters, hope.

Thank God for Governor Tim Walz.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Life or Death

When you look at the countries who were able to stop CoronaVirus from wiping out thousands of their citizens, there comes a definitive decision point, either early in the virus' campaign or later, after bodies started to pile up.  The choice was simple:  Are the lives of the citizens more important than the country's economy?

Countries who locked down, dramatically limiting human interaction, also seem to be the countries where the government started early mass testing, something we're still woefully behind here in the US.  By taking this disease seriously, they were able to limit the spread of the disease.  South Korea, who had their first case the same day the US had theirs, have managed to keep their total case count down to around 10,300, and their total deaths at 186. (all numbers were attained from the Johns Hopkins CoronaVirus tracking website as of Noon on Monday, April 6th, 2020)

China, where the CoronaVirus started, eventually made the decision people mattered more than the economy, and through extreme measures, they were able to keep their total infection rate from exploding.  They have a little more than 82,600 infections and 3,335 deaths (numbers which might be underreported due to it being China).  They have recently reopened up parts of their country, a decision which might be wrong, but only time will tell.  They announced Tuesday they had their first day without a new case, three months after they started extreme measures.

Italy, a county where international travel brought the virus to them, eventually instituted a dramatic quarantine shut down, limiting all people to a near house arrest status.  This after the country clearly did not take the CoronaVirus seriously to begin with, opting to keep tourist areas open, initially placing money over human lives. They ended up with 132,547 cases of the virus and are the current leader in deaths with 16,523.

The United State already has near tripled the amount of cases Italy has, and by the end of this week the US should lead the rest of the world in number of people killed by CoronaVirus.  The current tally in the US is near 350,000 cases with 10,335 dead.  It also should be mentioned that due to a lack in testing, the case numbers are dramatically undercounted.

A 'human life verses profit margins' decision should be an easy one, but (not surprisingly) it's exposed the fraudulent nature of the Republican Party.  They insist they value human life (pro-Life) and constantly remind us of their affiliation with Christianity, a religion based on caring for our fellow man, including the meekest of us all.  If they are who they claim to be, they should heed the evidence of other countries, lock down the US for at least two months, and stem the tide of this disease before the death count gets into the 6 figure level.

Instead, many Republicans have doubled down on the belief that rescinding all 'stay at home' orders and reopening the country for business will somehow yield a different result than everywhere else it's been attempted.  When you point this out this strategy has failed repeatedly, many 'Christian, pro-Life' Republicans argue 'maybe it's best to have CoronaVirus kill off a few hundred thousand people, as profit margins are more important than saving grandma.'

Let's be honest.  Republicans calling for a massive 'culling of the herd' aren't thinking about their loved ones dying.  It's everyone else's families who need to sacrifice for THEM.  Their family will stay protected.  Others, primarily Democrats and liberals, can preform THEIR penance.

To be fair, there are many Republicans who've done a good job at caring for everyone.  The Governor of Ohio was one of the first to see the danger of COVID-19 and shut down his state early.  Many Republicans in Minnesota have been advocates for Democratic Governor Walz' 'stay at home' order, with heartfelt pleas about how rural Minnesota's aging population and subpar medical facilities would spell doom for many elderly residents.  Their pleas are sincere and sobering.

But for every Republican trying to save lives, there seems to be another Righto trying to make the "I'm all for saving people's lives, BUT..." argument.  Republicans have demanded tourist locations reopen, they've implied all businesses should ignore the legitimate CoronaVirus threat, and they've even placed such auxiliary actives, such as dance studios and public beaches, at a far higher standard than they should, demanding they be allowed to reopen.  These Republicans try to cover their demands by insisting "with precautions" and "and only if people feel safe," but their intent and purpose is clear; for them, money is more important than human life.

You can't be pro-Life while at the same time endorsing tens of thousands of people being sent to die.  You can't be Christian while at the same insisting it's pious and righteous to create more sick and dead.

Until we get this under control, where we have a three day stretch with single digit new CoronaVirus cases, then we need to stay shut down.  If someone starts screaming "we need to reopen business," here's how that should be interpreted.

  • Is my wife, husband, child, parent, sibling, friend's life less important than some stranger being able to eat a footlong sub inside the restaurant?
  • Is my wife, husband, child, parent, sibling, friend's life less important than allowing tourists to go to a local tourist attraction?
  • Is my wife, husband, child, parent, sibling, friend's life less important than the profit margins at some massive corporation?
  • Is my wife, husband, child, parent, sibling, friend's life less important than some wealthy person's money?

If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, then you're not Pro-Life, you're not Christian, and you're not a human being who I'd ever want anywhere near me.  In the fight between Life or death, make no mistake.  I'll fight for Life every time.

Friday, April 3, 2020

The Friday Link for 4/3/20

The blog has been light this week because I've been buried in the news of the Corona Virus.  How about we go with three wildly different video clips to inspire you as we head into the weekend.

The first is Ryan Reynolds.  The actor most known for Deadpool was a guest of the revised Late Show.  I found hope with Ryan, and his incredibly talented wife Blake Lively, as they've both become the model for compassion in the age of Corona Virus.  Seriously, watch the video and listen to how much these two have done by themselves.  I know they didn't do this for accolades, but I will be their lead cheerleader.  They are hope in a time of crisis.

Plus he's freaking hilarious.

The second video is a guy makes good story, only the guy is not in this video.  Imagine the guy who has all his geeky 'toys;' the action figures, the trading cards, the posters, the things which are still in the box, never to be opened.  Now imagine the wife of this guy calling his bluff, taking his so called 'investment' to the Antiques Roadshow.  Then imagine as the truly excited appraiser tells her that not only is her husband's collection valuable, it's staggeringly valuable.

This woman's reaction runs the gamut from stunned wife, to disbelief,  to "oh my God, what else was I wrong about."

The next video is actually quite amazing.  The end of Washington's Army was 1783.  Portrait photography was really not common before 1840 (and that's being generous.  The first photo of a President was John Quincy Adams, after he left office, in 1843).  That means, going with a bare minimum age of 14 years old in 1783, and going with these pictures being taken in 1840 (which I guarantee most of them weren't) the youngest one of these guys could've been was 71.

Take a look at the old photos of the veterans of the Revolutionary War.  I know one has to be a painting, but still.  This is remarkable we have these photos at all.  The only photo with a label was one for Daniel Frederick Bakeman, who is listed as the last Revolutionary soldier alive in 1868; a spry 109.

Why do I find inspiration here?  These men grew up in a country where the average life expectancy in 1776 was 35.  They survived fighting the Revolutionary War, survived multiple other wars, multiple disease outbreaks, multiple lean years, multiple hardships and, in the case of Bakeman, the Civil War!

We can get through this pandemic.  We'll do it together.

And why not, I'll throw in Little Mix's latest song Wasabi.  This will be a huge hit.

I am eclectic!

Try to have a great weekend everyone.