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Category: Miscellaneous

Russian entanglements, fear at heart of militarized Trump administration

Russian entanglements, fear at heart of militarized Trump administration

Donald Trump’s flirtations with Russian president Vladimir Putin likely started out as a give and take, leaving Trump to trust that someone as corrupt as Putin could be bullied into silence using a threat of exposing his corruption, a narcissists code of honor, or an unscrupulous attack on his reputation.

In our world, Trump is the guy who disregards all of his social obligations to focus on the privilege our social contract has afforded him, and then that guy wins a democratic election despite how obvious it is that he’s a sociopath with no goal other than enriching himself at any cost. He’s the worst of us.

But in Trump’s world, Putin is that guy. Trump found himself played by his own game and by then, Putin had everything he needed to put Trump in a bad, bad place. He tried repeatedly to lose the election. He gave it a lot of effort. He knew that he’d be Putin’s puppet forever if he managed to ascend to the most powerful office of Putin’s most powerful enemy. Losing to Hillary Clinton would give him a less dramatic undoing.

But now that he’s in, and he’s identified the long-term threat, he needs to circle the wagons and regroup. Militarizing the Executive branch must be signaling to Putin that Trump is finally understanding what’s actually happening here.

Will Colin Kaepernick Stand for the Canadian National Anthem

Will Colin Kaepernick Stand for the Canadian National Anthem

San Francisco’s backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick (#7) is coming to Seattle on Seattle’s annual Canada Day game. The Canadian national anthem, “Oh Canada” will be played before “The Star Spangled Banner”. Kaepernick started the national-anthem protests against police killings of unarmed black people across the country. What will he do during the Canadian national anthem? Stand? Sit? Kneel?

kaepernick-anthem-kneel

Since the Canadian anthem will precede the US anthem, I think he will be standing for that (Canada doesn’t have a racist-cop problem do they?) and take a knee before “The Star Spangled Banner”. He has probably thought this through to the media reaction: He stood up for Canada but not the US?!!!!!! What horrible ungrateful, military-hating man! Who does he think he is? Why doesn’t he just move to Canada?!!!!!! And all the racists  will say: “Move to Canada N***R!”, or worse, “MOVE BACK TO AFRICA WHERE YOU CAME FROM N****R!!!!” Who knows? It certainly would keep people talking, and that is the whole point of protest.

You will have to watch the pre-game festivities at 1:00 p.m. on Fox tomorrow to find out what he does and how the media reacts.

 

Dear Diary,

Dear Diary,

I sat down with my iPad last night and was bored out of my skull because there was nothing engaging on Facebook and I was at least three days caught up on all of my newsfeeds, so I started up Paper by 53. Previously I had looked at it and played with it. But then I dismissed it completely when I discovered the useful brushes and tools were in-app purchases.

Until last night. Bored and grumpy, I opened it up just to draw something. It presented me with a blank sketchpad with around 10 pages and I started experimenting. Well, to make a long story short, this morning I posted this to YouTube. I don’t even know where all of this came from. A very limited set of tools, fingers for brushes, and a complete lack of familiarity with the UI of this app and my imagination went somewhere completely unfamiliar to me.

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Rules for Walking in the 21st Century

Rules for Walking in the 21st Century

This new century needs new rules for walking mostly because of cellphones. Some people are so engrossed by what’s happening on the tiny screen in their hands, they have no idea what’s going on around them or how many other people are out walking at the same time they are. So here’s a list of rules: Some of them haven’t changed since a hundred years ago when cars took over roads, and people had to learn rules for walking on sidewalks or sides of roads; the new ones are pretty cellphone-centric.

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Technological solutions to common problems

Technological solutions to common problems

A guy on the bus the other day was openly criticizing those around him for abandoning the world around them in favor of the pale imitation our handheld devices offer up.

A friendly woman next to him unwisely* offered up a different perspective. “It’s interesting to think about whether this is any different from reading a book or newspaper on your commute. Some might be studying or reading the news. I wonder if we have always tended to isolate ourselves in these situations, and the difference now is that anyone who is unfamiliar with one method or the other makes assumptions about what’s going on on the other side of that barrier.”

Early 20th Century commuters immersed in printed newspapers
All this technology is making us antisocial

For a second I thought she was bravely bridging a gap with this old guy who had an armful of old, used (out of print looking) vinyl records and sheet music he’d obviously just acquired. But no. The old guy flew into a rage about how the internet is a “breeding ground for witches and slutty feminists who have no respect for our Christian culture!” He angrily sputtered on about the muslims, the gays, and abortion culture tearing the fabric of society apart until he disembarked at 15th and Pine.

It was sad because this old guy was dressed in dapper digs from the 40s, on the 10, and looked like a Capitol Hill native. He looked like a fascinating old guy and I would bet he has a trove of stories that would enrich all of us to hear, even if it is tinged with bigotry. I mean, Cap Hill has has a much more varied past than you might know just living here now.

Greetings from Ballard SeafoodFest

Greetings from Ballard SeafoodFest

Where you can buy ceramic coffee mugs.

Ballard SeafoodFest coffee mugs

And play bocce ball on Astro Turf laid down over gravel in an empty lot across the street from Bastille Café and Bar.

bocce ball lot at SeafoodFest

And fill up on fried oysters.

seafoodfest fried oysters

Before heading to the beer garden, which is really what SeafoodFest is all about now. Ballard has ten local brewpubs within about a one-mile radius. They were all featured in the lineup of around 50 beers on tap and, if you were lucky to be in the right line, you were served by a Sonic-jersey-wearing, sunburned Viking.

seafoodfest viking bartender

And listen to the local music of The Flavr Blue.

Flavr Blue at SeafoodFest

Greetings from Lincoln Park in West Seattle

Greetings from Lincoln Park in West Seattle

Where geese incubate eggs.

Lincoln Park Geese

Where today the tide was very low.

Lincoln Park Low Tide

Where today Colman Pool hosted a swim meet.

Colman Pool

And a from where a few miles north and around a corner to the east you will find Alki Beach.

Alki Beach Low Tide

Excellent day for a long bike ride in Seattle. 30 miles from Ballard to West Seattle and back.

All photos taken with a Sony NEX-5. They are 50% resolution so I could get them down to a size I can upload to this site. Click on the photos to embiggen.

The Coathangers Tour – coming to Seattle

The Coathangers Tour – coming to Seattle

The Coathangers (my most recent favorite band ever are touring. 

Here’s their schedule, from their Facebook post at https://www.facebook.com/TheCoathangersATL?fref=photo:

TOUR STARTS AGAIN IN 2 WEEKS
THE COATHANGERS
THU JUL 24 – New Orleans LA, Siberia
FRI JUL 25 – Houston TX, Fitzgerald’s
SAT JUL 26 – Austin TX, Red 7
SUN JUL 27 – Dallas TX, Club Dada
MON JUL 28 – San Antonio TX, Ten Eleven
WED JUL 30 – Albuquerque NM, Sisters
THU JUL 31 – Tucson AZ, 191 Warehouse w/ Ceremony and Nothing
FRI AUG 1 – San Diego CA, Soda Bar
SAT AUG 2 – Santa Ana CA, Burger a-Go-Go @ The Observatory
WED AUG 6 – Los Angeles CA, The Echo
SUN AUG 10 – Santa Rosa CA, House show
MON AUG 11 – Santa Cruz CA, Don Quixote’s
TUE AUG 12 – San Francisco CA, Rickshaw Stop
WED AUG 13 – Reno NV, Holland Project
THU AUG 14 – Portland OR, Doug Fir
FRI AUG 15 – Vancouver BC, Cobalt
SAT AUG 16 – Seattle WA, Pizza Fest @ The Highline
MON AUG 18 – Salt Lake City UT, Urban Lounge
TUE AUG 19 – Denver CO, Larimer Lounge
WED AUG 20 – Kansas City MO, Czar Bar
THU AUG 21 – St. Louis MO, Firebird
SAT AUG 23 – Chattanooga TN, JJ’s Bohemia
FRI SEP 5 – Lafayette GA, Meltasia Music Festival

So Seattle on the 16th of August. I can probably arrange that.

Here’s some information on tickets:
http://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/607371/tfly?utm_medium=api&utm_medium=291182

I guess tmblr is their official website:

http://suicidesqueezerecords.tumblr.com/artists/thecoathangers

GOP’s selective outrage on display with VA scandal.

GOP’s selective outrage on display with VA scandal.

Over at Vox.com, Ezra Klein puts the current Veterans Administration healthcare scandal into much needed perspective by wondering why there isn’t similar outrage over the 4.8 million Americans who fall into the Medicaid gap because their GOP governors and/or legislatures have refused that program’s expansion under Obamacare – an expansion paid for 100% by the federal government for the first three years and 90% thereafter.

Of that 4.8 million, about 250,000 are poor veterans. Their situation is far more precarious, as Klein points out, than that of veterans caught up in the VA’s care backlog.  However long and outrageous the wait times may be for VA care, those eligible for it at least know that quality care will come eventually.  Veterans not eligible for VA care but eligible under the Medicaid expansion who happen to reside in one of the 24 states which have opted out can expect no relief, no help. For them it is not just a delay in care that is at issue but its complete absence.

So where is the outrage for the almost 5 million souls affected, particularly from those Republicans and conservatives who are practically frothing at the mouth over the VA revelations? We know the answer from the din of silence, and it’s not difficult to figure out why. There’s political mileage to be made out of the VA’s problems even though they’ve been a long time building. But the lack of coverage for those in the Medicaid gap is the GOP’s exclusive shame and the less said about it the better.

No one would argue that our wounded veterans don’t deserve the very best care we can provide. But why stop there? It’s not a zero-sum game, after all? We can show our concern for both vets and the uninsured working poor can’t we?

Klein provides the roll of shame of states which have refused the Medicaid expansion and the total number of people in each who would be eligible, together with a separate figure for vets. It’s nothing short of a disgrace and as a civilized society we should be every bit as outraged over the plight of those in the Medicaid gap as we are over the VA’s deficiencies.

It’s Sometimes Sunny in Seattle

It’s Sometimes Sunny in Seattle

There’s a TV show titled It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Of course it’s not always sunny in Philadelphia. There isn’t a TV show titled It’s Always Rainy in Seattle, but most people think it rains all the time in Seattle. It is miserably wet and dark from November through February, and annoyingly rainy during March and April but, as these photos show, sometimes it’s sunny in Seattle (Click on an image to open the photo viewer.)

And for the record, the average annual rainfall in Seattle is 38.6 inches, and the average annual rainfall in Philadelphia is 41.5 inches.