Sunday, May 31, 2020

Across The Universe, Cont.

(click on image to enlarge)

From NASA/ ESA, May 25, 2020:   Far away in the Ursa Major constellation is a swirling galaxy that would not look out of place on a coffee made by a starry-eyed barista. NGC 3895 is a barred spiral galaxy that was first spotted by William Herschel in 1790 and was later observed by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Hubble's orbit high above the Earth's distorting atmosphere allows astronomers to make the very high resolution observations that are essential to opening new windows on planets, stars and galaxies — such as this beautiful view of NGC 3895. The telescope is positioned approximately 570 km above the ground, where it whirls around Earth at 28 000 kilometres per hour and takes 96 minutes to complete one orbit.  

Credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA, and R. Barrows

Vid Of The Day -- Looters

Who are the real, big- time looters?  Let's review:

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Ed Hall,

(John Deering, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

(Curry Catura, El Diario de Coahuila, Mexico)

(Matt Wuerker, Politico)

(John Darkow, Columbia Missourian)

(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

(Ed Wexler,

(Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star Tribune)
(John Cole, Scranton Times-Tribune)

(Tom Toles, Washington Post)

Resources For Delivering Meals And Food Support

With at least 40 million Americans unemployed, as best you can, please help get food to those in need -- whether it's through donating or volunteering or both.  Support your local food bank, and/ or one or more of these national organizations helping feed those in need:

Feeding America: With a network of 200 food banks across the US, this organization is helping food banks support communities impacted by the pandemic.

GENYOUth: They are providing grants to schools to supply resources for meal distribution and delivery so students can be fed even when they are not at school during the coronavirus crisis.

Meals on Wheels provides home delivery of food to seniors. The organization faces an increased need for volunteers and donations right now as many seniors find themselves more isolated and in need than usual.

Save the Children: Actresses Jennifer Garner and Amy Adams have teamed up with Save the Children to launch #SAVEWITHSTORIES. The program is providing children in America’s poorest communities with nutritious meals, books and other learning resources during the outbreak closures.

United Way: They are using their Covid-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund to stock food banks with essential staples to help feed children who rely on schools for meals.

World Central Kitchen: Founder Chef José Andrés (who merits a Nobel Peace Prize for what he's been doing now and in other disasters) is turning the kitchens in some of his restaurants into community kitchens offering free to-go lunches for those in need.

Even a modest donation can make a big difference (for example, $100 to Feeding America provides 1,000 meals).

If you're still getting an income, please also consider supporting your local restaurant carry- out or delivery services.

Thank you.

Biden Statement: "Turn Anguish To Purpose"

Joe Biden released the following last night:
These last few days have laid bare that we are a nation furious at injustice. Every person of conscience can understand the rawness of the trauma people of color experience in this country, from the daily indignities to the extreme violence, like the horrific killing of George Floyd.

Protesting such brutality is right and necessary. It’s an utterly American response. But burning down communities and needless destruction is not. Violence that endangers lives is not. Violence that guts and shutters businesses that serve the community is not.

The act of protesting should never be allowed to overshadow the reason we protest. It should not drive people away from the just cause that protest is meant to advance.
I know that there are people all across this country who are suffering tonight. Suffering the loss of a loved one to intolerable circumstances, like the Floyd family, or to the virus that is still gripping our nation. Suffering economic hardships, whether due to COVID-19 or entrenched inequalities in our system. And I know that a grief that dark and deep may at times feel too heavy to bear.

I know.

And I also know that the only way to bear it is to turn all that anguish to purpose. So tonight, I ask all of America to join me — not in denying our pain or covering it over — but using it to compel our nation across this turbulent threshold into the next phase of progress, inclusion, and opportunity for our great democracy.

We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us. We are a nation enraged, but we cannot allow our rage to consume us. We are a nation exhausted, but we will not allow our exhaustion to defeat us.

As President, I will help lead this conversation — and more importantly, I will listen. I will keep the commitment I made to George’s brother, Philonise, that George will not just be a hashtag. We must and will get to a place where everyone, regardless of race, believes that “to protect and serve” means to protect and serve them. Only by standing together will we rise stronger than before. More equal, more just, more hopeful — and that much closer to our more perfect union.

Please stay safe. Please take care of each other.
Sounds like a real President to us.

We hope his words are heeded.


BONUS II:  First things first: let's remove those cops who seem to be rioting in OmahaSan FranciscoPortlandColumbusDallasNew York and Denver  as well as, of course, Minneapolis.  We wonder who they feel enabled by...

BONUS IIIThis is the police union leader in Minneapolis.  They need to take out the trash.

Sunday Reflection

"If one really wishes to know how justice is administered in a country, one does not question the policemen, the lawyers, the judges, or the protected members of the middle class. One goes to the unprotected - those, precisely, who need the law's protection most! - and listens to their testimony." -- Novelist and essayist James Baldwin, from "Notes of a Native Son" (1955).

Saturday, May 30, 2020

QOTD -- Prescience

"On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." -- H.L. Mencken, nearly 100 years ago (July 26, 1920) in Baltimore's The Evening Sun.  Man did he nail it, unfortunately for us!

Tweets Of The Day -- White Supremacists Creating Mayhem, Violence

Right- wing white supremacists (a.k.a., the Republican base) are doing what they told everyone they were going to do -- stir things up to start a race war.  More in the media need to take note and report this honestly:

Elsewhere --

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Pat Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune)

(Nick Anderson, Counterpoint)

(Signe Wilkinson, Philadephia Inquirer/ Daily News)

(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

(Dave Whamond,

(Bill Bramhall, New York Daily News)

(Steve Breen, San Diego Union-Tribune)

(Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News)

(Kevin Necessary, The Cincinnati Enquirer)

(Mike Thompson, USA Today)

What the rest of the world sees:

(Bas van der Schot, De Volkskrant, Netherlands)

(Hassan Bleibel, Daily Star, Beirut, Lebanon)

(Gary Clement, National Post, Toronto)

(Marco De Angelis, Cartoon Movement, Rome)

Wisconsin's Death Panel

The Republican-majority State Supreme Court of Wisconsin tried it's mightiest in April to suppress the vote by requiring in-person voting in most circumstances. It was hoping to preserve one of its right-wing judges, Daniel Kelly, but the gambit failed when angry voters turned out in large numbers to defeat him and send the radical wingnut court a message that they wouldn't be suppressed.

As if to punish Wisconsin by endangering its health, on May 13, the Trumpist court struck down Dem Gov. Tony Evers' stay-at-home order. One radical Trumpist judge, Rebecca Bradley, called the stay-at-home order "tyranny" and disgustingly compared it to the unconstitutional internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Soon, Wisconsin's bars and clubs were filled with numbskulls packed shoulder-to-shoulder sharing the fun of spreading COVID-19.

Now, two weeks later, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services is reporting increases in COVID-19 cases, with a record 733 being reported yesterday. The reported deaths from the virus have steadily risen to 568, and the deaths subsequent to the court's action lifting the stay-at-home order are squarely on them and the heedless covidiots that ignored public health guidelines.

No Longer Downplaying The Insanity?

Two articles on the front page of the Washington Post this morning seem to demonstrate that, at least at one newspaper, reporters' gloves are off in describing the divisiveness and insanity emanating from the Oval Office.

First, Philip Rucker and Toulouse Olorunnipa on two actions taken by the Orange Shitgibbon (with the headline "With ‘shooting’ tweet, Trump inflames rather than soothes tensions amid Minneapolis unrest"):
Nobody forced the crisis in Minneapolis upon President Trump. He chose to inflame the tinderbox himself when he issued an ultimatum to people protesting the death of a black man there under the custody of a white police officer.
In a pair of tweets sent at 12:53 a.m. Friday, Trump threatened to deploy the National Guard to use lethal force against demonstrators he denigrated as “THUGS.” His ominous warning — “when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!” — was flagged by Twitter as a violation of the social media platform’s rule against glorifying violence.
Having contributed to another national cleavage over racial justice, a president who was elected to lead the nation through crises effectively retreated from the responsibility of doing so on this one.
At the same time, Trump on Friday abdicated the traditional role of an American president abroad, ceding global leadership by announcing that he was “terminating” U.S. membership in the World Health Organization.
Later in the article, they quoted a political scientist who nailed the Orange Shitgibbon's utter failure at this moment in history:
“He’s perfectly incapable of exercising leadership because he doesn’t understand what leadership is,” said Max Skidmore, a political scientist at the University of Missouri at Kansas City and author of a book on presidential leadership during health crises. “He thinks of leadership as whipping up outrage from a crowd, and having them yell and support him.”
Second, Matt Zapotosky and Isaac Stanley-Becker on the crises facing America (with the headline "Gripped by disease, unemployment and outrage at the police, America plunges into crisis"):
A global pandemic has now killed more than 100,000 Americans and left 40 million unemployed in its wake. Protests — some of them violent — have once again erupted in spots across the country over police killings of black Americans.
Both articles also reported on Joe Biden's calming remarks, in which he described the "open wound" of racism and urged a restoration of "the soul of America."  An easy compare and contrast.

We should also note that the national evening news broadcasts are not blinking in describing the Orange Shitgibbon's words and actions and juxtaposing them against Biden's.  Guess it's finally hard to ignore the crazed elephant in the room when there are over 100,000 deaths, 40 million unemployed and cities starting to erupt in violence, all at the same time.

Killer Cop's Wife Seeking Divorce

There won't be any tearful, supportive spouse scenes in the future for Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd last Monday. Chauvin's wife Kellie has filed for divorce, according to her attorney:
“This evening, I spoke with Kellie Chauvin and her family. She is devastated by Mr. Floyd’s death and her utmost sympathy lies with his family, with his loved ones and with everyone who is grieving this tragedy. She has filed for dissolution of her marriage to Derek Chauvin,” reads the statement released by Sekula Law Offices.
Coupled with Chauvin's history of misconduct in uniform over the years, his soon-to-be former wife obviously has seen Chauvin up close and personal over their 10-year marriage. Her strong reaction to Floyd's murder by her husband, and her quick action to divorce him, speaks volumes about what she's witnessed with him.

Friday, May 29, 2020

The Next Jamal Khashoggi?

The sinister ruler of Saudi Arabia, sociopath Crown Prince Mohammed bin "Bone Saw" Salman, apparently hasn't learned anything from his disgraceful role in the hacking death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He's willing and eager to go after political opponents on foreign soil, despite the international outrage that the Khashoggi murder caused. His latest target is his nation's former top counterterrorist official, Saad Aljabri, whose main offense was to be tied to Bone Saw's predecessor, deposed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef.

Such is Bone Saw's desire to get his hands on Albabri, who currently lives in Toronto, he's grabbed Aljabri's son Omar and daughter Sarah and is holding them hostage in Saudi Arabia in exchange for their father's return. Of course, Bone Saw has several trumped up charges against Aljabri to justify his hostage taking. Despite Bone Saw's hatred of his former official, allied intelligence officials say Aljabri has saved countless lives:
"Aljabri, in supervising this operation and many others, helped save hundreds — perhaps thousands — of lives, say former U.S. and British counterterrorism officials. In the fight against al-Qaeda, Aljabri was one of the Arab heroes. Now, he and his family inexplicably are targets of a brutal campaign, and Western governments are not doing enough to help."
Whether enough pressure can be brought on Bone Saw to allow Aljabri's two children to join him in Toronto remains to be seen. What we have seen is that Bone Saw thinks he can ride out repercussions of his deeds, as with the Khashoggi murder, as long as foreign friends like fellow autocrat and sociopath Donald "Mango Mussolini" Trump look away.

Minnesota State Patrol Arrests CNN Correspondent For Reporting While Black

It seems Minnesota has a big problem with police organizations that act like racists and then try to cover up that racist behavior.  Last night CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez, who is of black and Latino descent, and his crew were arrested by Minnesota State Patrol officers while doing their jobs documenting the unrest in Minneapolis.  They've since been released and an apology was issued, not by the police, but by Democratic Gov. Tim Walz.

Here's the State Patrol's explainer, written as if video hadn't yet been invented and as if you're a dumbass for believing your own eyes:

So, let's go to the videotape:

It must be noted that another CNN crew filming in the area, led by white reporter Josh Campbell, was treated "very differently" than the one led by Jimenez.



Is Minnesota just recruiting its cops from the Klan and the Boogaloo Bois?

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star Tribune)
(Steve Breen, San Diego Union Tribune)

(Joel Pett, Lexington Herald-Leader, KY)

(John Darkow, Columbia Missourian)

(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)
(Bill Bramhall, New York Daily News)

(Drew Sheneman, The Star-Ledger, Newark, NJ)

(Dave Granlund,

(Michael de Adder, Toronto Star)

(Walt Handelsman, The Times-Picayune, New Orleans)

(Matt Wuerker, Politico)

(Rob Rogers,

(Tom Toles, Washington Post)

BREAKING: Minneapolis Killer Cop Taken Into Custody

WTF took so long --
Fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been arrested four days after George Floyd’s fatal arrest that sparked protests, rioting and outcry across the city and nation.
On Friday, John Harrington, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, announced that Chauvin was taken into custody by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
Chauvin is the former officer in the video seen around the world with his knee on Floyd’s neck. He’d been with Minneapolis police for 19 years.
It was not immediately clear what the expected charges Chauvin could face are. Answers will likely be provided by Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, as he has scheduled a press conference at 1 p.m. concerning a “major development” in the case.
Things were getting way out of hand because of the county prosecutor's incomprehensible foot- dragging.  This was nothing but a slam- dunk, but it took four days of prodding by the mayor, protests, rioting, and at least one more death for these slugs to get this killer cop behind bars.  What's the "major development" -- did he finally look at the video?  We'll see what the charges are, and they'd better not be some lesser offense.  Now, how about the other three who stood by and watched the murder unfold?

Somehow, we're not comforted.

Weekend Kink-y Music

Fellow blogger Infidel 753 stimulated our Kinks pleasure zone earlier this week with some songs from that highly influential British band, who sounded like no one before them or since. We found it hard to pick from their massive discography, but we decided to limit our selections to songs released in what might be thought of as their "primordial" days as a rock band (1964-67).  They're all songs we grew up on, listening to them on a dinky AM radio or a "record player."  The power and uniqueness came through anyway.  In chronological order: "Tired of Waiting for You" (1964), "Till the End  of the Day" (1965), "Dandy" (1966), and "Waterloo Sunset" (1967).  The songs demonstrate the range of Ray Davies' songwriting talent, from reflective, to exuberant, to sarcastic, to nostalgic.  Great musicianship from Ray, brother and lead guitarist Dave Davies, drummer Mick Avory, and bassist Peter Quaife (RIP). Great, great band.  Hope you enjoy.

Zuckerberg The Trumpist

While we're watching the back-and-forth between lawless demagogue and pathological liar Donald "Disinfectant Donnie" Trump and Twitter (the latest being Twitter labeling Trump's tweet glorifying violence in Minneapolis), we can't ignore Facebook's Mark "Szucks" Zuckerberg's obvious pandering to the right wing and to Trump's agenda. In an interview with his friends at Fux "News", Zuckerberg washed his hands of fact-checking the dishonest and vile material posted by Trump and his toadies, saying "Facebook shouldn't be the arbiter of truth."

For the past three years, Zuckerberg has been reading the political winds -- wrongly -- as favoring Rethugs and Trump, and has bowed to their false accusation that social media has a "liberal bias." As Parker Malloy writes in an important article for MediaMatters, Zuckerberg is both dishonest and hypocritical when it comes to fact checking:
"Let’s review the simple truth about Zuckerberg: He’s a hypocrite and a Trumpist. It might seem Facebook has followed this 'free speech' approach in turning a blind eye to Trump’s many lies, but  he's shown he’s more than willing to be an 'arbiter of truth' for others. Facebook does fact-check posts, and it does limit their reach and flag violations based on what third-party fact-checkers determine -- but it has also carved out a Trump-sized exemption for politicians."  (our emphasis)
Malloy cites many examples of Facebook's inconsistent application of their policies that almost always favor Trump and the right wing. Predictably, when it came to "fact checking" after the Russia-aided Trump campaign's false news, Zuckerberg added such partisan organs as the Daily Caller and Weekly Standard alongside the Associated Press, ABC News and PolitiFact to Facebook's "fact checking partnerships."

He's also loaded his top management echelon with Rethug operatives in an effort to please his new friends:
"Facebook Vice President for Global Public Policy Joel Kaplan, the man who reportedly pushed for Facebook to partner with right-wing groups like The Daily Caller and Breitbart, is a former deputy White House chief of staff for George W. Bush. Vice President for U.S. Public Policy Kevin Martin is another former member of the George W. Bush administration, serving at the Federal Communications Commission. Public Policy Director for Global Elections Katie Harbath is a longtime Republican operative and former chief digital strategist for the Republican National Committee." 
Wishing to cement his ties to Trump and the right, Zuckerberg has met privately with Trump and various right wing leaders to assure them that he's on their side:
"In October, Zuckerberg met secretly with Trump for dinner at the White House. It’s anybody’s guess what the two of them discussed, but there’s only so much time one can devote to telling Trump that he’s 'No. 1 on Facebook.'

Last year, Politico reported that Zuckerberg had connected quietly with conservative commentators, media executives, and politicians in a series of private meetings."
There's more than a whiff of corruption in Zuckerberg's secret meetings, likely with people that would have influence over whether and how Facebook is regulated. His "arbiter of truth" statement clearly signals he'll be on Trump's side in the upcoming campaign.

Today In Moscow Mitch McConnell

The Lincoln Project turns its lethal laser on the second biggest threat to American democracy after the Orange Shitgibbon: Kentucky Sen. "Moscow Mitch" McConnell (a.k.a., "Rich Mitch"):

It'll be tough, but how great would it be to kick this smug, malevolent asshole out of office in January?  If you can help, please support Amy McGrath.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Vid Of The Day -- Swish!

How some of us are spending our stay- at- home time:

If there were a Nobel (or "Noble") Prize for Rube Goldberg Engineering, that would be your winner for 2020.

Trump's Twitter Bluff

Malignant narcissist and pathological liar Donald "Disinfectant Donnie" Trump has been feverishly trying to distract attention from the disastrous pandemic and unemployment news resulting from his catastrophic, sociopathic ineptitude. Twitter has become a favorite vehicle for Trump to throw his chum in the water, whether it's accusing a critic of murdering a female employee 19 years ago, or going ballistic when Twitter fact checked his lies about voting by mail.

Trump is blustering about curbing his ability to spread lies and vile innuendo through Twitter to his cult followers, lying about "conservatives" being "censored" by social media. He's got a draft Executive Order meant to intimidate Twitter and others who would attempt the difficult task of fact checking his flood of lies. He wraps his rage in the "freedom of speech" canard, clearly showing his ignorance that the Constitution protects people against the Government barring free speech, not private institutions like Twitter having their own standards. He wants to threaten them by taking away their immunity from liability for content posted on their sites (though, see Bonus, below).  In other words, while claiming to be championing free speech, he's trying to shut it down.  But the bottom line is, he's a Twitter addict and he's afraid to quit it.

So far, Twitter has stood by their meek action to fact check just two Trump's tweets, but Trump is lawless and reckless, and desperate about his stumbling election chances. He'll bluff and bully to the extend he has to in order to get free rein to lie and slander his way to November 3. It would be poetic justice if a put-upon Twitter ultimately decided to ban him altogether.

BONUS The ACLU weighs in with a reality check --
“Much as he might wish otherwise, Donald Trump is not the president of Twitter. This order, if issued, would be a blatant and unconstitutional threat to punish social media companies that displease the president,” the American Civil Liberties Union noted on Twitter.
“The president has no authority to rewrite a congressional statute with an executive order imposing a flawed interpretation of Section 230,” the ACLU continued, referring to the section of the Communications Decency Act that shields platforms from being held liable for what users publish on them.
“Ironically, Donald Trump is a big beneficiary of Section 230,” the legal nonprofit continued. “If platforms were not immune under the law, then they would not risk the legal liability that could come with hosting Trump’s lies, defamation, and threats.” (our emphasis)
Be careful what you wish for, dumbass.  You could also be sued for your frequent, defamatory language if the rule changes.

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Christopher Weyant, Boston Globe)

(J.D. Crowe, Alabama Media Group)

(Mike Thompson, USA Today)

(John Deering, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

(Tom Toles, Washington Post)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Matt Davies, Newsday)

(John Cole, Scranton Times-Tribune, PA)

(Rick McKee, Counterpoint)

(Mike Peters, Dayton Daily News)

(Michael de Adder, Counterpoint)

(Gary Markstein,

(Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News)

(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)