Saturday, June 22, 2019

If it wasn't true, it wouldn't break your fucking heart... or spirit

Looking Back at 1996 - Ed's Arrival

Eddie and I were watching an episode of "Lucifer" last night, and got a great look at Hollywood and the road system.  We got nostalgic. Here was Ed's welcome kit to California.

A car-duster - this is (really) the Pacific Coast Car Duster (R). No where it rains, this might not make sense, but it doesn't rain a lot in LA, so we have big car dusters. Ed laughed, but used it almost immediately after a Griffith Park fire near his work where the ash fell light a light snow.

A Thomas Guide. Yes kids, before Google Maps and Waze, you had to look up where you were going in a map. And LA, Orange County was so dense we all had to use Thomas Guides.  Bonus pic below that shows page 49. Lynn used to live in the C 4/5 area. I dated someone in A2 for a long time (he was okay, but the beach access was worth it.)

Finally, the Fountain Freeway. A relic - probably now destroyed by speed traps and red light cameras, Fountain Blvd between La Cienega and Vine was a stretch of road that was speed posted at 35, but if you went 45 you could hit all the lights AND avoid he traffic of Santa Monica Blvd (below) and Sunset Blvd (above).

Friday, June 21, 2019

Not like a "Summer Camp" I've been too....

Republicans have gone batshit crazy because AOC has described the camps where migrant children are being held as "concentration camps". They admit that these ex-Japanese Internment facilities DO  meet the definition of concentration camps - but it hurts there feelings to call them concentration camps.

They have described them as "summer camps". Now, I did hate a few days at Griffith Park Boys Camp, but not because I hate to care for a 2 year old with no food or diapers.


Two Comments: Re Pete Buttigieg's Response to a Police Shooting

Two comments regarding in Pete's response to a shooting in South Bend.

First - it is an intelligent response from a white male in power regarding a white police officer killing a black man. It is compassionate, honest and respectful of history and respectful of the family, without being anti-police.

Second, it is masterful politically. I hate to be Machiavellian here, but it is a perfect response from a white man to the shooting of a black man.

Now, I BELIEVE, that it is an honest commentary because Pete has been mayor of a South Bend for 8 years and this is his hometown. After all, I moved back to LA after the riots because I wanted to help my home. But if you hate him (and there are plenty on twitter that do) you will think it is a con.  I can't help that. But I know what it is to be heartsick that your city is hurting.

His commentary (for an email sent to me)...


Right now, my hometown of South Bend is hurting. This past weekend, a member of our South Bend community – a Black man named Eric Logan – lost his life at the hands of another member of our community – a white police officer.

While the case is still being investigated, we do know this: a South Bend family is enduring the crushing and inconsolable anguish that far too many Black and Latino families across the country have shared. Our city, and our nation, demands answers about the dynamic between our police officers and the communities they are sworn to protect.

I am not from a community of color, and I pray that I’ll never get the terrible phone call that Eric Logan’s family received last Sunday. But Eric’s death – no matter what details emerge about the circumstances and the actions of the officer involved – shines a bright light on a subject that impacts my life, your life, and the lives of Americans from all walks of life. All police work and all of American life takes place in the shadow of racism, which hurts everyone and everything it touches. Historic racism, present-day racism, and generational racism – they all secrete a kind of poison into the bloodstream of this country. And we must join together to make things right, no matter how demanding that process may be.

When someone sees police car lights in his neighborhood and is filled with fear instead of reassurance, that should move all of us to demand a change in how policing is done. When someone gets followed around a store by a security guard because she committed the sin of shopping while Black, that should spark outrage in all of us, whether we know her or not. When a parent is forced to discuss with their child how they – differently than their white peers – must be cautious in how they move and speak when confronted by a police officer, that should break all of our hearts.

There is a direct relationship between what happened in our nation’s past and what’s happening now. We cannot take racist policies and replace them with neutral policies and expect things to even out; the consequences of racial hurt for the economic and physical security of all Americans, and especially Black Americans, shape our times.

We must do more. Here at home, building on past work that has included civilian oversight, police data transparency, bias and civil rights trainings, we are now taking further steps to end the divide of distrust between police and those they serve – with transparency and accountability as our central guides. 

In new ways, we will elicit community input on the policies that decide how the police department does its work – policies on body cameras, the use of force, and the prevention of bias – and we will empower community members to help shape how these policies are put into practice.

No diverse community – least of all our country as a whole – can move forward without directly confronting how racism undermines everything we work to achieve. In our past and our present, we have innumerable moments in which racial injustice came at the hands of those trusted with being instruments of justice, and this fact burdens all of us.

I believe that if there is any place that can overcome the things that are pulling people apart, it’s here in America, especially my hometown.
I thank you for your moral support in these efforts as we seek to build a safer and more just city and country. 


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Good God, No Joe!

Joe Biden, all around nice guy and terrible candidate, has proven, again, he is the wrong person to go after Trump.  Look, if he is the nominee I will work for him. I like anyone over Trump...

Okay, not Bernie. I mean I will take Bernie over Trump, but I don't like Bernie, but I digress.

Joe Biden, human gaffe factory, is at it again. This time he awkwardly tried to get out of a situation that was annoying the base. He has been saying that he could work with Mitch McConnell and the Republicans. The Democratic base has said, "What the fuck? These were the guys that didn't work with the ACA. Stole and Senate seat and shut down the government's work when you were Veep."

Now Joe should have just let the whinging go on for a while.

Instead he tried to say, "Even if you don't agree with people, you can often finds was to work with them." But what he said was... well...
“I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland,” Biden said at Tuesday’s event, adopting a drawl, according to a pool report. “He never called me boy, he always called me son.
That is bad on so many levels. First, those southern segregationist were Democrats - so you weren't reaching across the aisle. Second, the word "boy" wasn't a slur directed at white men of any age. It was a derogatory term used to belittle black men. So you sound racist and tone deaf.


Refugees / Migrants / Immigration and the US Problem

So, there is a lot of horse-shit being spouted by both Republicans and Democrats over migrants and refugees.  Let's talk about it and dismiss the stupidest arguements, because there are some real issues here we all have to deal with.

  1. America is facing an invasion of migrants. (source, Trump / Fox News)
    1. That is super inflammatory AND incorrect. We are facing highly elevated levels of asylum seeking refugees and it will only get worse. But it is not an invasion and we cannot view it as such. Why? Because the laws are very different between refugees and migrants - as are the underlying reasons for fleeing and therefore our ability to mitigate the influx.
    2. Why is being said? Well, the truth is complicated.
  2. A Wall will reduce this immigration. (source, Trump / Fox News)
    1. No. A "wall" (i.e. physical barrier) has helped and will help with illegal migration. This is why so much of a wall is built already. But the refugees are not sneaking in at all. IN FACT, they are going to legal ports of entry and requesting asylum. This is what legal refugees do to gain admittance.
    2. Why is this being said? It fires up Trump's base.
  3. Democrats / Congress could fix this in a minute (source, Trump)
    1. Absolutely not. If "Democrats (i.e. Congress) could fix this,  then the Republicans could have fixed this when they held the legislative / executive branches between 2016 - 2018. 
    2. This is not US legislative problem. We abide by (and in most cases - developed) rules for refugees after WWII, with our international partners. These are governed by Treaties not US law. But we didn't not expect climate change / abdication of political power in other countries / permanent war to create so many refugees near our borders.
    3. Why is this being said? Political gain only, so it is almost impossible to counter.
  4. A Wall is Barbaric (source, Nancy Pelosi)
    1. No. Democratic and Republican administrations have developed barriers. It is not barbaric, we cannot afford a wide open border.
    2. Why is this being said? Political gain only, so it is almost impossible to counter.
  5. There is an easy fix (source, Trump -Republicans and Democrats)
    1. No. There is no easy fix because this migration problem isn't the same as it has been historically. Mexican economic migrants are, for the first time EVER, not the main source of refugees / migrants.

So, what is going on - outside of political theater?

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

McConnell - Statehood for PR and DC is " Pure Sociaism" and more...

Mitch McConnell - is calling Statehood for Puerto Rico and Washington DC " Pure Socialism"
Donald Trump - calls anything he doesn't like "Fake News"

To both I say...

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Art of the Deal


Let's first accept that we tore up a deal that was negotiated in good faith between Iran, our allies, Russia and China.

Then, after we tore it up, we put crippling sanctions on to "force" them back to the negotiating table.

Iran spent a year abiding by a deal, THAT WE TORE UP, before telling everyone a month ago, they were going to breach it if the other signatories couldn't keep their part of the deal up.

Our allies were threatened with lose of US markets, access to international funds and law suits - by US - their ally!-  if they held up their parts of the treaty.

Now, we are freaked out that they may ignore a treaty we tore up.

What the holy fuck.

Highland Coo Day

I've decided it's Highland Coo Day here on Nincompoopery. Because looking at Scottish Cows is more fun that our fucked to death political process.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Colombus Georgia Genetrification

When visiting Columbus two weeks ago, one thing I loved was the reuse of facilities. Columbus had been a huge textile town before the mills moved offshore. There were 2 spill over damns that powered the mills.

When one of the power plants was hit by lightening, the city took the money and tore down the damns, turning that part of the river into an urban water water / kayaking course.

Since then the old mills have been reworked into lofts and condos. It is very well done. Above is the old power plant. Rather than tear it down, the new condos use it for common areas (patio tables, game room, gym, etc.).

 The picture above shows hte mixed public / private use. The building interior is all common space for the condo, but the island has picnic tables and is for public use.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Trump's Twin Dangers Come Back

President Trump's strength is based, on large part, by his loyal following (and only them) believing his lies and his ability to demonize his enemies.

With a possible actual problems with Iran, these two features are coming back to plague him.

First his loyal following believes his lies, but that group isn't a majority of this country. He barely opens his mouth without some untruth falling out. There have been over 10,000 since office - over 171 misleading, false or untrue statements a day (LINK) !). The country and media have just gotten inured to the crap coming out of his mouth and tuned them out.

So if there are real troubles in Iran, many people don't know what to believe it, because he lied to break the original treaty. And lies all the time since then. But NOW you want us to believe you.

Second he demonizes everyone who isn't his voter.

At a general level, it is hard to support a man who constantly calls all Democrats liars, cheats, traitors who want the worst for this country. These aren't just officials, but regular voters. He has never even tried to be a President for all Americans, but you can't call people that don't fall in line traitors if you never reached out to them.

Specifically re Iran, he has blasted the intelligence community (prior to this) as unreliable and working against him. But now we are suppose to believe them?

And what media supports this. He has blasted real media as fake and Fox as real media and during the Iran crisis they have been carving out time to say Joe Biden might have some hidden illness.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

A Gift from My Class

The class in Georgia sent me off with a few gifts... A bank coffee cup, a bank writing pad and pen.  Oh yea, and a bottle of their favorite bourbon!

You may wonder why I haven’t posted about our dear leader in a while.  Because there is nothing new. It’s the same old shit.

Last week he pretended to threaten tariffs against Mexico. The market dropped, his friends made money from shorting the market, then no new deals. He declared victory and moved on. The news media supported that.

Then he and his kids went to Europe:

  1. Met the Queen and her family (except the one he called “nasty”). They all got to dress up in their best hooker-goes-to-prom dresses and eat fancy.
  2. Got to have a lovely Fox interview where he went off on US Congress people in front of the DDay graveyard (great optics).
  3. Then he flew to a few places where we paid millions of dollars so he could play golf at his country clubs (Ireland).

Yesterday - President Trump agreed to take information about his competitor from a foreign government. That is:

  1.  Illegal campaign donations from a non-US source.
  2. The definition of “traitor” in the US Constitution - giving that a foreign government is trying to undermine our elections.
  3. Exactly the collusion he keeps saying he didn’t do.
  4. No surprise.
Just business as usual now in the USofA

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Friday, June 7, 2019

"I Get Why It's Hotter, but Why Wetter?"

Somethings changing make sense, other things - like super wet weather - don't make sense right off. That is the thing with climate change. It isn't a uniform change.

Why are some places so much wetter than they used to be? Well, warmer air is able to hold a lot more moisture. That's why hurricanes air around the Caribbean so much.  Warm air picks up a lot of water in the Caribbean then dumps it on land.  With MUCH wetter air, the hurricanes are more powerful and hold more water and hold it longer.

"But then why is desertification happening in the south of the Sahara desert and in our own Western States?" Well, the air is a lot warmer, but it can't pull water from the ocean if it can't get there. Our Western states are blocked by the Sierra Nevadas and then the Rocky Mountains. But changes in the wind patterns have allowed new jet streams to by-pass these western areas and dump tons of rain in the mid-west.

Climate change is fucking up lots and lots of areas.

Don't Buy Into a Flase Narrative of Them vs. Us

David Brooks - whom I do have a problem with generally, but I am not angry here - brings up an interesting issue. But I think he gives America a false choice.

First his issue. He gives a quick history lesson here (which I agree with)...
When I was a boy I was taught a certain story about America. This was the land of opportunity. Immigrants came to this land and found an open field and a fair chance to pursue their dreams. In this story Benjamin Franklin could be held up as the quintessential American — the young hustler, who through his ingenuity and dogged self-improvement created new businesses and communities, a new sort of person and a new sort of country.
This was a unifying national story. When it dominated, politics was over which party could offer the most opportunity.
 But then he gives us a false new narrative. He divides the new thought process into "multiculturalists"  and "Trumpists".  Here is what he thinks.
Both Trumpists and their opponents have also de-emphasized the Ben Franklin narrative and embraced narratives that put race at the center. Trump’s narrative is: We real Americans (white) have to protect our culture from the alien (brown) who would weaken it.
The opposing narrative is something like this: America began with a crime — stealing the land from Native Americans. It continued with an atrocity, slavery. The American story is the conflict between oppressors who seek to preserve white supremacy and people who seek to move beyond it. The essential American struggle is to confront the national sin, have a racial reckoning and then seek reconciliation.
I think this is a false choice, completely.

I believe that, of course, we started from a bad place. But that doesn't mean ALL those old white men were horrible. The stealing of American was possible because of ravages of illnesses the natives weren't  immune to (I think that is pretty well defined). And the crimes of slavery were terrible.

But the answer is neither his choice A nor B. No. The only way to go forward is to make the "American Dream" accessible to all of our citizens. Spend less on military and more on people, on school, on opportunities. Build infrastructure for all. Create access for the internet in rural areas - we can do that. Open the American dream up to all Americans. Children in Westchester shouldn't have much better schools (and opportunities) than children in Harlem or the Bronx or SouthCentral LA.

We should have an option for public higher education. We opened High School up to all students because it was important when we did it. Now college or trade schools are important for all. I am not saying pay for Harvard for all, but I paid $700 a year for UCLA when I went in the 70s / 80s. It is $21,000 a year now (for in-state!). Public schools should be free or affordable.

Health care shouldn't bankrupt middle class after one accident!

We need a country that works for everyone. And that doesn't mean poor get "free stuff", it means that America runs for all of us.

That still leaves immigration a problem, I know that. But first things first.

OMG! - Nest Advice Request Evah! (My Mother-In-Law tried to set my mom on fire!)

Wow, you thought your mother-in-law was bad....

(from Salon)

Dear Prudence,
My brother “John” married “Kim” last year. She is a perfectly nice woman, but we don’t have much in common and aren’t close. At the wedding, her mother got catastrophically drunk, sexually harassed the best man, and then got into a fight with the best man’s wife (a bridesmaid). The next morning, when the best man quietly moved tables so he wouldn’t have to sit with her, she screamed at him for “shaming” her and tried to stab him with a fork. No one on the bride’s side blinked an eye. The rest of us assumed they were just trying to salvage the rest of the day by keeping the peace, but when my brother asked Kim about it later, she said the best man shouldn’t have “flirted” with her mom and then “acted coy” afterward just because his wife found out. That’s … not what happened. We all saw her mother get out of control in front of everyone.
          .......       (but wait, it gets better).  .........
John said to let it go because weddings can get emotional. But then the same thing sort of happened at Christmas when Kim invited us all to their house for a party. This time, her mother tried to set fire to my mother’s dress, supposedly for flirting with her boyfriend. Kim said that it was my mother’s fault for being too friendly and that her mother had been cheated on a lot. John said that Kim knew her mother was in the wrong but was just really defensive of her. Now Kim has invited everyone to a birthday barbecue for my brother next month. We don’t want to go, but we also don’t want to skip my brother’s party. Every family has a difficult member (we have an uncle who gets drunk and angry if you won’t let him drive), but Kim’s mother actually tries to hurt people, both drunk and sober. How can we handle this? Not go? Go and do something if Kim’s mother gets upset again? (I wanted to call the police at Christmas, but Mom is worried that will alienate Kim and John. His best friend, the best man at the wedding, has already stopped talking to him because of the wedding day incident, which actually probably could have qualified as sexual assault if he’d wanted to push it, never mind his wife’s black eye.)
—Family Freakout

Thursday, June 6, 2019

An Open Letter to Apple - Why I Left You

Dear Apple,

I have been a fan for years and years. My family turned to Apple for iPods and iPhones when they first came out. I went through 3 of them, and my husband went through 4 (and still has one). But I had to break up with you.

I stayed went we all found out you were lying about the battery - we knew this in our hearts anyway.

I stayed with your computers - through the over-priced, under-powered crap because of ease of use. I still have a Mac Mini and we have a MacAir or two. I’m on my 3rd iPad. So it’s not like I don’t love you, Apple.

I saw her sing this...

Ed knows this. Okay, I tell everyone, so many of you might now, but Shelly H and I saw Olivia Newton-John since this song live. We were at our first Disneyland Grad Night (we went the next year also - long story), and at the Tomorrowland Stage (the one that used to come up from the ground near the submarines), Olivia Newton-John, a brand new singer from Australia, came up and sang her first big song, I honestly love you.

She sang it to a Winnie the Pooh doll (the one with the graduation cap, that we all paid $34 for). It was goofily magical.

Just Between You and Me: This Cover is Bullshit

The cover implies (doesn’t say, I know it) but implies that Jessica Alba’s residence on the cover is in either the Hamptons or Kentucky.  Bullshit.

That is LA. Look at the hills. Hamptons has no hills. Hell, out here “hills” are these little things we used to roll down in parks. For example, the Griffith Park Hills are MOUNTAINS out here.

Now look at the vegetation. That is chaparral scrub. Unless the Blue Hills of Kentucky have been recently overrun with mesquite in the foreground and a back drop of downtown LA in the background, that ain’t Kentucky.

I know everyone (who doesn’t live there) hates LA. But then don’t put a picture of my City on you fucking cover!  To quote Judge Judy, “Don’t pee on my foot and tell me it’s raining.”

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Columbus is about the nicest people I've been around

Look, no one is more surprised than I am to say this - but Columbus Georgia has about the nicest people I’ve ever met.  Everyone has smiled, been polite, offered advice when asked. Asked nicely about my husband. I expected a bunch of red-necks following women around to see if they’re pregnant - okay, not really, but I did expect overt conservatism and a lot of confederate flags.

But I have enjoyed myself tons. The people are great. The food is great (I would weigh a ton here in a matter of days). I don’t like the humidity, but that is about it. This city has been really trying to turn around the old buildings, rebuilt downtown.

They are lucky to have a good college and a big Army base nearby, but they have taken advantage of it all. I came down expecting to see a museum, teach and not leave the hotel much. But I am staying at a great place, eating lunch with charming people and tasting bar b que and bourbon at night.  Very nice.

About sums it up