Category Archives: Politics

California Voting

Like many states, California has midterm primary elections coming up in a month or so. With that on the horizon, today I got, within the course of about three minutes:

  • A text message from the LA County Registrar of Voters, telling me that my mail-in ballot had been mailed today. I should get it within a week.
  • A voice mail message from the LA County Registrar of Voters, telling me that my mail-in ballot had been mailed today. I should get it within a week.
  • An email from the LA County Registrar of Voters, telling me that my mail-in ballot had been mailed today. I should get it within a week.

I spent about two seconds thinking about how this was overkill, but then reality set in and I remembered how many states (guess how many of them are controlled by an uber right-wing, conservative political party?) are banning mail in voting, early voting, drop boxes for voting, and doing everything they can, legal and otherwise, to prevent folks from voting. I’m a demographic (male, white, reasonably well off) that probably wouldn’t suffer much from those efforts, but I have no interest in living in one of those states where people like me are working so stinking hard to completely screw over people who are not like me.

So I’m going to be grateful to be in California in general and in Los Angeles County in particular where voting is encouraged, even for those who aren’t necessarily like me. They can bombard me with helpful, transparent information all they want.

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Filed under Paul, Politics

No Context For You – May 03rd

I have few coherent words at the moment given the news of the past 24 hours and the rage it has ignited in me. And that doesn’t even take into account the ongoing horrors in Ukraine.

So take an odd picture without any context, because there isn’t any there to be had.

Meanwhile, while thinking about the 19-year-old, Eisenhower Republican, Midwestern, raised strict Catholic Paul who would be totally gobsmacked to see mid-60’s Paul sharing this, have some interesting and possibly extremely useful information for the days ahead…

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Filed under Freakin' Idiots!, Moral Outrage, Paul, Photography, Politics

Not Just Another Pretty Flower

I spent my grade school years in Kansas City, so sunflowers and I go way, way back.

It’s refreshing and heartwarming to see the new gig that they’ve gotten as a symbol of Ukraine.

It’s good to see them available in the stores to brighten up our kitchens and homes.

Not that it would be easy to forget about what’s going on in Ukraine right now, but having these around to make it even harder.

I think when this is over and the spectacular Ukranian people are rebuilding their cities and their lives and needing some cash to do it, perhaps an influx of American tourists would help.

I’ll buy into that when the time comes. I love visiting Europe. Brussels. London. Prague is one of my favorite places on the entire planet. Time to see Kyiv in person, see the museums in Lviv, see the architecture in Odessa.

And I’ll also have to make sure to find a huge field of sunflowers under a bright blue sky to just stand in and soak up the beauty. (And the pollen.)

 

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Filed under Flowers, Photography, Politics

My October 2021 Wish List

And so we’re officially 3/4 of the way through 2021. I will say that, at least for me, it’s better than 2020, but that’s relative, not absolute. It hasn’t been a great year so far, or even a good one. But it’s slightly less horrible than 2020, and the four years of horror that preceded.

Sure, The Former Guy is gone. At least, gone-ish. We still have to deal with all of the monsters, fascists, and subhuman slime that are today’s GOP in the Senate, House, Supreme Court, a thousand lower courts, and so on. And TFG is still spewing BS on a regular basis. But at least he doesn’t have his finger on the nuclear missile button.

And I do have a great job now with people I really like working with, which was not always the case four or five years ago. So I’ve got that.

And while we’re still eyeballs deep in COVID and the unspeakably insane, evil, and psychotic anti-vaxx crowd, so far all of us in the family are in good shape.

But again, that’s all a case of, “Cool! We personally have only a 72% suckage rating, while last year it was 82% and for many folks even now it’s in the 98%+ sucakage range!” Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

So I have a wish list for October. I’m not going to wish for the statistically ludicrous (yes, winning the Lottery is always a given, I would love a nine-figure bank account, thanks!) or any fantasy-based  ridiculousness (i.e., having that whole GOP crowd vanishing off the face of the Earth and being transported physically to the deepest depths of Hell by an Act of God) but I do have a few changes, simple and not-so-simple, that I wouldn’t mind seeing.

In no particular order:

  1. Can the Chiefs pull their collective heads out of their collective asses and start playing like a team that’s been in the last two Super Bowls and would like to be there again this year?
  2. Along another sports line, while the Angels have again broken my heart by playing so below their expectations, can the Kings, just starting the 2021-22 NHL season, return to their Stanley Cup form and bring joy to my soul?
  3. Can I never again see one of these spam ads online? I’ve lost track of how many HUNDREDS of them I’ve seen (and deleted and blocked and muted and cursed to Hell) over the past two months or so. It’s always the exact same video and always the exact same text, even though the “sponsoring” account is always different. “blumbergfamilydentalcare” is selling these kinetic art pieces instead of, you know, doing family dental care? (Sorry, might be some funky HTML formatting there)
  4. Can we get a ton of “back burner” items taken care of at work (which got pushed there after two months of “OH GOD, we’re all gonna die!” priority items) and also not have any more of the latter pushing them back onto the back burner? I’ve got a feeling the year-end is going to get hairy, and it would be nice to have a basic level of accomplishment and a clean slate going into that.
  5. Ditto for the CAF hangar work
  6. Can I please get this string of minor, non life threatening, annoying as hell medical and dental things to just stop and leave me alone? This “growing old” thing sucks and I would like to talk to a manager.
  7. Can the juncos return soon? Instead of Solo Junco I’ve now seen two this week, but I miss having a couple dozen every day, fighting the finches over the bird seed.
  8. May I please get a little bit of time every now and then (maybe even every day?) to just sit and read a bit?

I’m thinking if the Universe is in a good mood, I might get at least bits and pieces of four of the eight wishes. We’ll see. (And I’ll take that Lottery thing as a bonus – I’ve earned it.)

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Filed under Health, KC Chiefs, LA Kings, Paul, Politics

They Found Out

When I went to check the mail this afternoon, I started to notice feathers on the lawn as I approached the mailbox. Lots of feathers.

Feathers on the sidewalk. In the flowers. In the dirt.

Feathers on the sidewalk. Feathers in the street for 50 feet or more downwind in the street.

Somewhere nearby, there was a hawk (or an owl) who was going to eat well tonight. And one less mourning dove. (They’re a long, long way from rare.)


WARNING: From here I start to spout off about California and US politics…

So, let’s think about today’s California gubernatorial recall election, where currently, just before 23:00 PDT, the New York Times page is showing the recall failing 66% to 34% with 64% of the votes counted…

Let’s say that the mourning dove was the GOP, sitting fat and sassy, oblivious to reality, believing themselves immune from consequences…

Let’s say that the hawk (or owl) was the people of California, completely fed up with this 100% high grade toxic bullshit that the GQP is pushing…

Like the mourning doves, there’s plenty more where that one came from.

This is where the analogy starts to break down, because the least of those mourning doves is a veritable Rhodes Scholar compared to the GQP’s finest. Comparing the IQ and common sense of a Republican to a mourning dove is an insult to the mourning dove. I had better not be parking my car under any of the wires they perch on.

Case in point, the GQP started releasing web sites yesterday alleged voter fraud that cost them the election. Yep, they were saying that over 24-hours before the actual election. So take their fraud allegation story with a large grain of salt and recognize it as the insane, fascist, undemocratic lie that it is.

The reality that they can’t accept is that there is no massive secret conspiracy to rig the election in favor of the Democrats. The simple fact is that the Republicans are lower than whale shit and folks are no longer believing their lies.

As I’ve noted, my pinned Tweet says:

No need to change that any time soon that I can see.

And finally, to paraphrase a popular joke about lawyers:

What do you call 1,000,000 Republicans buried up their chins in sand?

Not enough sand!

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Filed under Birds, Photography, Politics

Random Season Changes

It seems that with the pandemic and work-from-home thing for 18 months and feeling busier than God 24/7/365, the “seasons” have cut loose from their traditional moorings. As a result it’s feeling more and more like daily life in the Twilight Zone.

One thing here in California is that it seems to now be open season for the GOP television ads on the gubernatorial recall to be shown on every channel all day. (I’m assuming – there are a LOT of channels I don’t watch, and never will, but they seem to be on every channel I’m watching. I must be their target audience.) I’ve seen them for four different candidates already today. It invokes absolutely no surprise to see that each one is a bigger douche canoe than the previous one.

That’s going to get really annoying really fast. I might turn into a crotchety, cranky old man over this one. I might have to limit my television between now and September 14th to “Ted Lasso” next Friday and the Chiefs’ game on the 12th. However, given that the Chiefs’ game is right before the election, the ads might make it unwatchable. Perhaps I’ll listen to that one on the internet radio instead, even if it is on TV.

And Halloween candy went on sale at the grocery store three weeks ago. My first display sighting was on the weekly grocery run on the 8th. I know they get earlier and earlier, but really? A full month before Labor Day and we’re already getting Halloween candy?

Any bets on when the first Christmas stuff will hit the grocery stores? This week?

When my faith in the future of humanity is taking heavy fire from all quarters on a minute by minute basis, this isn’t helping. If you see something on the news about someone going berserk in a SoCal grocery store over Christmas candy in August…

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Filed under Death Of Common Sense, Paul, Politics

Propaganda Processing

Trigger warning: Politics

A group of lunatic Republicans (like there’s any other kind left) has managed to push through a recall election on California’s governor. Election Day is September 14th, but being a sane state for the most part, EVERY registered voter gets a mail-in ballot, or you can go stand in line next month. This political stunt will cost the taxpayers of CA something in excess of $250,000,000, which seems like a particularly stupid thing to be spending funds on when we’ve got massive brush fires covering close to a million acres of the state. Oh, and that little pandemic thing also. And a monstrously huge homeless crisis. And the global warming thing that’s going to kill EVERYONE ON THE PLANET in a couple hundred years, if not much sooner.

So, yeah. Guess where I stand on the issue?

Anyway, I got my first piece of Republican propaganda in the mail today. It annoyed me. I wanted to shred it instead of simply putting it into the recycle bin.

Not good enough.

Now, mind you, I’ve got a decent shredder.

It doesn’t just cut things into strips, it does the whole cross-cut bit with little tiny pieces.

Not good enough.

So I pulled all of the shredded bits out and ran them through the shredder again!!!

Look at how much smaller and closer to total disintegration those pieces are now!!!

It took a few minutes, made a mess, and was harder than I thought, but it was worth every second.

As it says on my pinned Tweet:

I don’t think that’s a wishy-washy or vague position. Do you?

If you’re in CA, grab that ballot, vote “NO” on Question One, leave Question Two blank, and get that ballot back in to your local election board. These psychotic fascist Death Cult members have to be stopped.

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Filed under Photography, Politics

Making Plans

I did some ordinary things today that I was surprised to see felt very much not ordinary. I blame COVID and the last fifteen months of quarantine and pandemic conditions.

First, there was an announcement that Elton John’s final US tour was coming in 2022, and it will end with two concerts at Dodger Stadium on November 19th & 20th, 2022. Tickets don’t go on sale to the general public until June 30th, but there are presale deals for American Express customers, so I was able to get “floor seats” (the stage will be in the outfield, we’ll be sitting on the outer edge of the infield dirt just to the right of 2nd base – which was not ever a sentence I expected to write…) for a very reasonable price. (Let’s define “reasonable” as considerably less than the $500 to $1,000 each, which is what I expected to be paying for those seats.)

So, seventeen months from now, we’ll presumably be at Dodger Stadium seeing Elton John live.

Or at least that’s the plan – what was the world like seventeen months ago and how much has it changed? How “normal” will the next seventeen months be?

Shorter term, the 79th Worldcon (World Science Fiction Convention) will be in Washington, DC in mid-December. It’s normally in August or early September, but a huge problem with the convention hotel going bankrupt due to COVID has caused a change in schedule. It’s also caused the convention to only have about a quarter of the hotel rooms they normally would have reserved. While the hotel room block opened up just on Monday, it’s already sold out. We’ll be staying at the Hilton about a mile away and figuring out how to grab cabs or Uber or Lyft or whatever to get back and forth between the venues. I also went over the schedule with my bosses since that’s a busy time for us and made sure we had a plan for me to be gone then.

So, six months from now, we’ll presumably be in Washington, DC seeing friends we haven’t seen in a couple of years and probably on our first plane trip in over two years.

Or at least that’s the plan – what was the world like six months ago and how much has it changed? On that time scale the changes are mostly for the better, but only because it was so bad at the beginning of 2021. Watching the news, both medically and politically, I think we’re all a lot more sensitive to how fast things can change for the worse and I know that I personally am not convinced at all that we’re completely safe and away from the thin ice.

Yet…

Hope springs eternal. We see threats coming on the horizon, but they’re vague and uncertain. We’re exhausted from the last eighteen months of COVID, and even more exhausted from the previous four years of one political party trying to turn our country into a third-rate dictatorship – yet we’re making plans. Plans for travel, plans to see friends, plans to go to concerts.

It feels normal and simultaneously feels anything BUT normal.

We might need to get used to that feeling, as much as we may dislike it.

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Filed under CoronaVirus, Politics

That’s Better

That’s much, MUCH better.

There’s no magic wand to make the pandemic go away, or to change the fact that for four years the white supremacist evil in our society has crawled out from under its rock to challenge our democracy. But we have adults in charge now – honest, intelligent, rational adults. That’s a big step in the right direction.

A day of celebration! And then back to work.

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Filed under Photography, Politics

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

A few days ago I mentioned a YouTube webcam site called “Hundreds of Hummingbirds.” Normally during the day it looks like this:

But I’ve noticed a couple of times that something’s wrong:

Over there on the right – that’s not a hummingbird. It’s a house finch, like the ones we watched build a nest, lay eggs, and raise fledglings last year.

I guess he figures if he can do the “carrier landing” he deserves a meal. Unlike the hummingbirds, which come in and hover to land, the finch comes in like a bat out of hell and just grabs on. Once in the area they’ll jump from feeder to feeder to feeder, each time going from hole to hole to hole. And I suspect due to the short, thick beak, it’s not getting any food at all since the holes are long and thin and designed for the hummingbird’s beak.

But they keep trying. I guess they figure if all of those other birds are there eating there must be something there to eat. Well… yes and no? Hope springs eternal – I see them there once or twice a day every day.


Speaking of hope springing… It’s about nine hours to go before the next era in American politics begins. Let’s hope that things go peacefully, smoothly, and we can get on with our lives.

Literally.

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Filed under Critters, Politics