Monday, April 29, 2024

My Latest Post on the Intersection of Geography and Economics

I think it is a bit fascinating what people are taught and what they are not about our history in our schools. Maybe I just find things are more relevant to understanding our situations than other people do.

Anyway, I remembered a lot and learned even more writing this.




shitstorm in miniature

We can see headlines sometimes and imagine the massive problems of fundamental disagreements and what to do about them. And then sometimes we see crazy.

Take the issue below. In a small town in New Hampshire where, the progressives and conservatives (think Democrats and Republicans) try to ignore politics and get along. This town has been "torn apart" by the mural painted in an effort to help restore some blighted areas. A town councilwoman believes that they are Satanic and push homosexuality. Getting all worked up over this and imagining the worst is easy.


But it is a shitstorm in a teacup. Here are the "Demonic" murals that will bring the wrath of God down on the city.

The "murals" are in a blighted part of the city, and a non-profit is trying to make it a little less blighted by removing graffiti and trying to beautify an unattractive corner.

It is not a set of landing lights for Satan's airport.

But when cultural disagreements start, rational thought goes out the window.

The city is contemplating outlawing all public art because of this disagreement.

The Town Manager (like a mayor) resigned because the rhetoric was too much for him. The Manager has a gay teenage son, and all the hate that has focused on the son since this all started was too much.

I just want you to remember this was not a problem until long after the art was up and people liked it. There were no issues until a self-described Christian Board Member decided they were gay demonic murals pushing an LGBT message. Suddenly, after the murals had been painted and accepted, they were terrible. AND only then did hate start springing up. It is almost like she was looking for something to cause a blowback.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Hike in Morongo Valley Preserve

 On Saturday, Eddie and I took a hike a Morongo Valley Preserve. 


Morongo Valley is fascinating. It is situated on a plateau/valley that is literally halfway between the low desert—Palm Springs and the entire Coachella Valley—and the high desert—Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree National Park.

The high desert gets much colder at night, and some of this seems to affect this valley as well.

The preserve is in a diverse riparian ecosystem that seems to have water most of the year. It is home to a zillion birds, and birders visit to take close-ups a lot.


This is a desert marshland when rains come.


Eds thinks the dead Yucca spikes look like the hazy Loch Ness Monster pictures.

An oasis in the desert



I loved these flowers. They are called "Apricot Mallow".


One is Attacked by the Police and One is Ignored by the Police.

 Guess which protest is the cause for Police Action.



10 points to Gryffindor for the correct answer.

Friday, April 26, 2024

And there go her Vice-President Chances.

 You can do a lot of things and get away with it as a politician - but not this.

Full story here (including her shooting the family dog AND goat in front of her kids)

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2024/apr/26/trump-kristi-noem-shot-dog-and-goat-book

Trip to White Water Preserve with a friend

 A friend was here this weekend and we had a great time. 

On Tuesday, we went to the White Water Preserve in one of the desert canyons. It was dreamy.

Desert versus Mountains driving in

One of the three catch ponds blocking water for animals

A great view of the 2nd water pond catch basin

The grassy area is the play / camping area

Very small creek area we walked in (between to catch ponds and the actual river)

Shelly and I along the creek and the Riparian Vegetation

Random shot of wildflowers downstream


Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Gaza Protests vs Vietnam Protests

The reporting of the Gaza protests at Universities makes the actions today seem unprecedented. They are not.  


They may not be the same, but similar protests occurred on many more campuses during the Vietnam War. Many of these were focused on the draft, but many more were focused on the results of the United States' actions in Southeast Asia.

Vietnam Protests at the University of Washington, University of Wisconsin, University of California at Santa Barbara, and Kent State


Our college years (whether in college or not) are when we begin to assert our independence. Our views start to take shape and often result in a rejection of our parents' and their generation's rules and assumptions. It might be a simple rejection of their values, or it might be the expansion of their value system but with fresh eyes and fresh results.

During Vietnam, young people began to push back on the idea that communism was worth killing people. In particular, young people pushed back on the idea that killing people to change a governmental system was wrong. IN the 1960s and 70s, they pushed back against killing innocent people to enforce America's ideas. Thousands of US deaths and more than 3 million Viet deaths on both sides drove resistance against the War.

The Gaza protests are similar, with some significant differences. 

Differences:

  1. The cause of this war was the Hamas attack and murder against Israelis. This cause meant that early support of Israel was widespread and came with much goodwill towards the Israelis.
  2. The US has no troops involved in the War
  3. There is support for both sides of the conflict: Israeli and Palestinian.
  4. New media shows the viewpoint of both sides almost immediately, whereas traditional media only shows one side.
  5. The leader of Israel seems gleeful of the destruction they are carrying out. American leaders at least pretended to be concerned during Vietnam.

Similarities:

  1. The argument is that killing more people is the only way this conflict will be ended.
  2. There is no reasonable solution we can impose on the parties to stop this war; we just keep going. We are throwing more carnage and death after carnage and death, just like we threw more and more troops at Vietnam with no question.
  3. The US power system again assumes that students don't understand the real world and can be ignored.
  4. People have no voice in these killings that are made possible with American weapons.
  5. The American government is supplying weapons and supporting the death of innocents with no input from the majority of Americans.
  6. Only hostile action by Gaza forces is shown (or earlier North Vietnamese). No one in power comes out against this war.
  7. Traditional media showed only one side of the Vietnam conflict, but as the visibility of the effects increased, opinion slowly moved. We have experienced a similar change, but new media drives this change much quicker.
I am not saying that protests against the Israeli - Hamas war have the SAME causes or are even equivalent. But I am saying that as we look at the protests, we should at least try to understand the students position. Right now all the coverage is about the protests, not about what they are protesting. This myopic view IS the same as the protests of the Vietnamese War. And if we don't understand this, it will continue along a similar trajectory.

Monday, April 22, 2024

What folks don't get

 Bill Donohue, walking bag of disgruntlement, thinks we liberals are obsessed with the bad things in life.

We are not. Like most other people, we spend our days working and trying to be the best people we can be. 

Bill Donohue only sees liberals this way because he is or agrees with the opinions of those who only see:  oppressors, racists, sexists, homophobes and their victims.

Life is too short to listen to Bill Donohue. After all, we live in North Korea now. Note: He said passing gay marriage in New York State would make us "Just Like North Korea."

He preaches hate. That is why people don't smile when they meet him. I wouldn't smile at a Klu Klux Klan member either.




It's Earth Day

 The idea of Earth Day has roots in the 1960s in the US, driven by the Santa Barbara Oil spill of 1969. But today isn't a day to scold or complain about the many threats to our planet. 

Instead I want to share the idea that "Earth Day" is when we should look specifically at how much we admire the natural world, even when not looking for that. Here are some pics from last year showing how the natural world simply "is." And we are all the richer for it.




And so today I encourage you to look at the natural world and notice the nature part. That part of the world that provides the backdrops to live that make you feel better.

PS - Ignore the snow.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Archie Moore's Fantastic Display at the Venice Biennale

 The Venice Biennale is an every other year exhibition of Art. Its exhibitions include private works, but the real "competition" is between the national pavilions.


This year's theme is Indigenous people. It doesn't have to be about people displaced by locals; for example, Germany's theme includes a set piece on a German Artist.

This year, the "winner" is Archie Moore's exhibition kith and kin at the Australia Pavilion. It has been awarded the Golden Lion for Best National Participation at La Biennale de Venezia 2024. It is the first time an Australian artist has received this award.

His exhibit is this.


For his installation, “kith and kin,” Moore has drawn a family tree in chalk on the walls and ceiling of the Australia Pavilion. The web of names encompasses 3,484 people and Moore says it stretches back 65,000 years, although he has smudged some details so that they are hard to read. In the center of the room is a huge table covered with stacks of government documents relating to the deaths of Indigenous Australians in police custody. (copied from NYTimes).



For those who want to see the American Exhibit. Jeffrey Gibson, the first Indigenous artist to represent the United States did the pavilion.



For those who want to see the British Pavilion. Tough, the did not participate this year.

Well, THAT only took 6 months



 I am not to dunk off the 1/2 of the Republican House Representatives that voted against this. Because gloating is to call for bad Karma. But I am happy this finally passed.

We'll Always have Paris

The idiot may or may not win, but to see him be REQUIRED to site and listen to potential jurors talk shit about him just warms my heart...

Per AP: 

One such potential juror has gained a bit of social media fame for telling the judge that he wouldn’t believe a word from Trump’s mouth “even if his tongue was notarized.”

Per the NY Times:

As a kid, Donald Trump was “a brat,” according to his sister Judge Maryanne Trump Barry. He pelted rocks at other toddlers and was sent to a military academy for being disobedient. Ever since, he has listened to no one about anything.

Until now.

A big theme of the first week of his criminal trial is that Trump had to sit in a dingy New York courtroom he despises and listen as prospective jurors (who were not selected) trashed him. On Thursday he was called a “racist, sexist narcissist,” “unchristian,” “evil” and more. On Friday he heard a social media post from a few years ago describing his “egomaniac, sociopathic incompetence,” with one of his many critics concluding, “I do believe that he was the devil.”

Friday, April 19, 2024

Did anyone watch this?

 Ed and I watched One Day on Netflix. 

It is British, so the characters look like they should in real life. For example, the female lead is not supposed to be super pretty. In the 2011 movie, "One Day" the female lead was Anne Hathaway. They "dressed down" dear sweety Anne in the first part with glasses and lousy hair, which was shed rather quickly. In the Netflix series, the female lead is played by Ambika Mod - who is wonderful but not extremely pretty in the Anne Hathaway style. Note that it is much more typical in British movies to use actors who are not stunningly attractive. Leo Woodhall, as the male love interest, is beautiful in the book and not half bad in real life.

Ambika Mod and Leo Woodhall



Anne Hathaway (playing "dumpy" here) and Jim Sturgess

It covers a single day (July 15th, Saint Swithin's Day) over several years. The Netflix show is better able to show the 15+ year changes with 12 episodes rather than the movie's 1 hour, 45 minute run time. It gets to delve deeper into the characters and their singular struggles through the year.

It is heartbreaking, sweet, and infuriating. Heartbreak, sweetness, and positivity run through the entire show, with infuriating popping up towards the end.

I just wanted to share that I liked it, loved it, liked it, and then hated it while watching the entire run. So, did anyone read the book and does it follow.

By the way, if you see this and think, "Where did I see Leo Woodhall before?" Let me help you. White Lotus 2. He charms the American girl and is also gay for pay with the character Dominic Di Grasso.



PS No bus in the Netflix show.



But this very good news!

 MAGA-heads would have you believe that renewable energy is unreliable. That is is unstorable and would cause our TVs to turn off at night. California has proved them wrong for the last 30 days (ARTICLE).


CA created excess energy that was then stored:


And now, for the stupidest political stories of the week

 Remember "Chemtrails"? These are the streams of water vapor that show up in the right conditions after a plane travels. You know, the one that conspiracy folks thought dropped chemicals on people to make them gay or zombies or liberals or put microchips in them. These "theories" have all obviously been debunked. Well, Tennessee don't care about some da'gum truth out of Washington DC.

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After a few years of the Red States allowing child labor in dangerous jobs (which used to be filled by undocumented immigrants), they have now passed laws that enshire the exploitation of those children.

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Queen of the Loons, Marjorie Taylor Green, opts to fund space lasers over funds for Israel or Ukraine.

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To see the Republicans scurry around like headless chickens to denounce the Arizona State Ruling that allows a pre-statehood abortion law to stand. One that requires jail time for both the woman AND the doctor who performed the abortion to go to jail. One would think they are truthfully describing a situation that goes too far. One would think that, but one would be wrong.




But what happens to women in Arizona that must have an abortion because they were raped, or whose fetus has died, or just wants a damn abortion?  Well, Senate Candidate Kerri Lake has a solution.

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Florida, which outlaws teaching about slavery, the Civil War, the holocaust, and anything to do with gays, has a new law about the thing they MUST teach. Communism.

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(My personal favorite of the week)

This is a wild one. Montana's official Republican candidate for Senate was in the military. He claimed he was shot in the arm in Afghanistan. Then news turned up that he claimed in 2015 to National Park Police that he kept a gun in his car in case of Bear attacks - he dropped the gun, and it went off, hitting him in the arm. THEN they found the story he told to local police; he had the gun and accidentally shot himself in the arm. NOW he says he lied to the Police and Nat Park Police and really did get shot in Afghanistan - despite his earlier 2 lies about the gun in the National Park AND that the witnesses who heard the shot were wrong or liberals.


And, of course, a gaggle of Trump related stories that I have no need to post here.

Can plants communicate?

 The Atlantic has a fascinating article on plant communication with other plants. More information is being understood as research continues...