The fire down below. #AustraliaIsBurning #AustraliaFires

Photos from the fire down below. Links below on how to help.


“My last day of the decade felt like the apocalypse.” Matt Abbott

Photo by Matthew Abbott, @mattabbottphoto

“My last day of the decade felt like the apocalypse. Been covering the Australian bushfires for the last 6 weeks, but haven’t seen anything like yesterdays fire that decimated the town of Conjola, NSW. #bushfirecrisis #AustralianBushfires #NSWisburning work for @nytimes” Photo by Matthew Abbott, Instagram link

That’s an amazing photo that instantly puts you in a place. When I was learning to be a photographer the teacher at the Nikon School of Photography said, “No guts, no glory. If your photos are weak, you are probably too far away.” For me that meant stepping into the middle of a 4th of July parade to take a photo of Shriners walking toward me. I wonder how long he had to wait in that fire zone to get that kangaroo in the shot? These photographers have some real guts.

Now that you have an idea of where the fire is, here’s a graphic for how big it is. I found this on Reddit where they like to compare the size of things . . . → Read More: The fire down below. #AustraliaIsBurning #AustraliaFires

Lost In Space, Season 2 review. In the future smart women still scare men

I just watched Lost in Space season 2. My take away is in the future smart, competent women still scare people. Huh. I guess the good news is we have come far enough that they exist and are part of the world, but they make people uncomfortable. To be okay with her successes people needed to take her down a few pegs.

A smart woman solves the problem again! Now let’s focus on what’s wrong with her!

In this season multiple characters, both men and women, point out that Maureen Robinson is “calculating” and “focused” and not a perfect person, especially toward her children.

The show does attempt to show that there are other intelligences other than scientific intelligence. Why? To make people feel good about their own skills? To show that you need a variety of skills to survive? I like the problem solving nature of the show. Someone described each episode as “an escape room they have to get out of in under an hour” but what I found interesting was how much push back and resentment certain characters had toward the mother and her science-based solutions. Would they had the same attitude toward . . . → Read More: Lost In Space, Season 2 review. In the future smart women still scare men

What To Do If A Trump Supporter Threatens You

A case study in what one woman did after being threatened by one of Trump’s “tough people” in the police. (First published in Crooks & Liars on April 19, 2019)

Trump has a long history of making threats. He also directs others, like Michael Cohen, to make threats to specific people. Trump supporters also hear that Trump expects them to “be tough” when Trump is attacked.

This week Trump explained to a Brietbart editor that when his people in the military and police reach a certain point he expects things will be “very bad, very bad” for his enemies. Trump Again Threatens Violence If Democrats Don’t Support Him

It is clear to me that we cannot stop Trump from inciting and suggesting violence, rather than trying to stop a jackass from braying, I want to focus on what you can do if a Trump supporter threatens you. Below is a case study of someone who was threatened online and the steps she took to deal with it. Here are the first three steps:

1) Don’t ignore them 2) Demand an investigation of the threats made and the person making them–establish the facts There should be due process for the . . . → Read More: What To Do If A Trump Supporter Threatens You

The Christmas Cauliflower Miracle

Mrs. Spocko lost her wallet today. We retraced her steps. On the way to the farmers market where she thought she lost it there was a rainbow. I said, “The end of the rainbow is right where it will be!” And it was!

A woman at the organic produce stall she was shopping at found it and turned it into the market’s information booth. All the contents were untouched. A Christmas miracle!

We went back to thank the woman at the stall who turned it in. She was happy too. We bought an extra large cauliflower from her.

On the way back we stopped at the bar by the farmers market where we had asked if someone had turned it in. We told the bartender we found the wallet and she said, “It restores your faith in humanity.”

I thought, “What does that comment actually mean?” If someone says that a certain action “restores their faith in humanity” it means they are holding onto an idea that humans are terrible and bad acts are normal. The returning of the wallet restored the idea that humans are good and good acts are the norm. I understand the benefits to thinking . . . → Read More: The Christmas Cauliflower Miracle

Where is the exculpatory evidence for Trump’s crimes?

Anything that clears someone or something of guilt or blame is exculpatory. Exculpatory comes from the Latin word exculpat, meaning “freed from blame.” The verb exculpate means to free from guilt or blame.

Pelosi defined exculpatory evidence for Trump, so why doesn’t he provide it?





More incriminating evidence of Trump’s crimes can keep coming in every day. So can evidence that would show his innocence. If Trump had exculpatory evidence he would bring it. If he had witnesses to clear him of guilt he would let them testify. He hasn’t. Instead he has had his legal team block potential sources of additional incriminating evidence and witnesses instead of looking for exculpatory evidence and witnesses.

This should cheer up people who worry about how the Senate will vote about Trump’s impeachment.

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How The Right Uses The Joy Of Hate To Stop Action On Climate Change

For decades powerful forces have willfully exploited people’s misunderstanding of science and their feelings of being belittled by others.

The right wing media radio and TV hosts tap into listeners’ feeling of inadequacy and turns that into a weapon to use to attack scientists, liberals and anyone who represents them.

“Those smarty pants liberals think they are smarter than you! They aren’t! They aren’t perfect! Look at how they were wrong in the past about the climate! Why listen to them now?”

Greta represents all the people who laughed at them. She is also young and female.

“How dare a 16-year-old girl tell you what to do? Who does she think she is?”

Encouraging people to be aggrieved is a powerful part of right wing media appeal. Digby, Atrios and Sam Seder have pointed this out for years. They also push the underlying theme that liberal elites have been laughing at conservative listeners. Now that they are in power it’s time to rub that laughter into their smug liberal faces.

People ask me. “Why do people deny human caused climate change?” One answer I give is obvious.

Their job/income depends on disputing the science.

Some ask, “Why do . . . → Read More: How The Right Uses The Joy Of Hate To Stop Action On Climate Change

Why we must punish the Trump mob for witness intimidation

I’m happy Trump’s witness intimidation was called out in the impeachment report. (Link)

The President engaged in this effort to intimidate these public servants to prevent them from cooperating with Congress’ impeachment inquiry. He issued threats, openly discussed possible retaliation, made insinuations about their character and patriotism, and subjected them to mockery and derision—when they deserved the opposite. The President’s attacks were broadcast to millions of Americans—including witnesses’ families, friends, and coworkers.

It is a federal crime to intimidate or seek to intimidate any witness appearing before Congress. This prohibition applies to anyone who knowingly “uses intimidation, threatens, or corruptly persuades” another person in order to “influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding.” Violations of this law can carry a criminal sentence of up to 20 years in prison.|

The report called out specific ways he intimidated witnesses before during and after the most recent hearings. What it doesn’t include is his history of doing this during the Mueller investigation. I want witness tampering to be part of his impeachment because he needs to be punished for it. As the report says:

The President’s campaign of intimidation risks discouraging witnesses from coming forward voluntarily, . . . → Read More: Why we must punish the Trump mob for witness intimidation

Justice in fiction vs reality. Learning from Watchmen, Chernobyl and The Good Place

I just watched Episode 6 of The Watchmen. My friend Greg Basta said it was impressive and I agree. I’ll watch it again after reading this EXCELLENT analysis by Melanie McFarland in Salon. HBO’s “Watchmen” trolls history and heroic whiteness in the most extraordinary episode yet

Watchmen Season 1, episode 6: This Extraordinary Being, Screencap HBO

I know that some people don’t like the super-hero genre and I totally understand why. What I like about this series (and this episode) is it explores who created these heroes and what function they serve for some people, but not all.McFarland’s piece brought insight I missed, enriching my experience. It’s a MUST read for fans of great TV cinema writing. It reminds me of the work of two of my favorite writers on TV and cinema, Matt Zoller Seitz and Mick LaSalle.

I was talking to some friends about the presidential race the other day. I recalled this comment from Joy Reid, but not the specifics, so I looked it up, Here’s the clip.

“So the idea of united and coming together, that sound fine for Pete Buttigieg to say to middle class white America that wants to come together . . . → Read More: Justice in fiction vs reality. Learning from Watchmen, Chernobyl and The Good Place

US requires Ukraine to keep Javelin missiles 100’s of miles from battlefield

Remember those additional javelin missiles that Ukrainian President Zelensky wanted? It turns out that the US requires they be kept 100’s of miles from the battlefield. From an article in Foreign Policy on October 3rd, 2019 Far From the Front Lines, Javelin Missiles Go Unused in Ukraine

“Under the conditions of the foreign military sale, the Trump administration stipulates that the Javelins must be stored in western Ukraine—hundreds of miles from the battlefield. ”

“I see these more as symbolic weapons than anything else,” said Samuel Charap, a senior political scientist at Rand Corp. Experts say the conditions of the sale render them useless in the event of a sustained low-level assault—the kind of attack Ukraine is most likely to face from Russia.

A U.S. Marine fires a Javelin at a simulated enemy tank at Pohakuloa Training Area in Hawaii. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps) From Raytheon Javelin Weapon System Gallery

So who wins with the sale of these missiles that aren’t available to use? Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. Each missile costs $109,000 each.

When the discussion of military aide came up Sen. John McCain taunted Obama for giving the Ukrainians “blankets and meals,” instead of lethal support. Trump . . . → Read More: US requires Ukraine to keep Javelin missiles 100’s of miles from battlefield

Who charges Don Jr. and Breitbart for witness tampering? 

Wednesday Don Jr. linked to a Breitbart article naming the alleged Whistleblower.

“Don Jr., Thug That He Is, Outs Person He Claims Is Whistleblower” Following Rand Paul’s lead, Don Jr. decides to tweet out Breitbart’s article identifying the person they *think* is the whistleblower. That puts a target on the person’s back, whistleblower or not. By Aliza Worthington Crooks and Liars

I knew this was coming and it pisses me off. The good news is that most organizations have held off naming the person. But that doesn’t stop the intimidation.

Aliza Worthington addresses this excellently in this C&L piece, so I’ll repeat it here:

We won’t link to it here, because WE respect the law. WE recognize that the information might be incorrect. WE don’t want to put the target on the back of either a misidentified person, or a correctly identified whistleblower who is entitled to full legal protection of privacy and personal safety the president’s demon spawn just obliterated.

It’s worth noting that as of this writing, none of the cable news channels have reported this person’s name, either, even Fox News. (Though, it’s also worth noting that many on Fox News are saying the whistleblower is . . . → Read More: Who charges Don Jr. and Breitbart for witness tampering?