Time for y’all to say hello to fall!

So, today is the Autumnal Equinox, the official beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere.

Which usually feels much more momentous to me, but time has become a fog since the pandemic. I’ve been working from home full time since mid-February, and I have a very difficult time remembering what day of the week it is. The year seems to be whizzing by at breakneck speed, while individual workweeks drag like molasses in a Winnipeg winter storm.

Seriously, every Tuesday or Wednesday by midday I feel mentally exhausted as if I’d enduring ten days of overtime with no days off. It’s just weird.

Autumn (also known as Fall) has long been my favorite time of year. The coming of Autumn always makes me think of new projects or breathing new life into old projects. I assume the pattern was set by my years as a kid where Autumn meant the beginning of a new school year. But it might also be the fact that I have never been comfortable in warm weather, and the coming of cooler (but not yet cold) days after a sometimes grueling summer felt like another kind of renewal.

I had Monday off again (work has made changes to vacation policy forcing many of us to use some of it up or lose it). I had intended to use the day to sweep and tidy up the veranda, finally plant the spot color flowers I picked up just as the air quality was taking a turn for the worse, and try to get some writing done. I did basic sweeping, got the flowers planted, and working on this blog post. Only a subset of the goals, but progress is progress, right?

Now the smoke has cleared and it is raining again, I hope that it will start feeling like Autumn to me and will trigger some creative energy, because it’s been very difficult to muster any for some time now.

Surviving the massive smoke plume, or the ninth plague of 2020

“I don't need an inspirational quote. What I need is a freaking cup of coffee.”

Words to live by…

I kept not finishing this post, nor two others regarding sci fi topics. I have resolved to do better this week! You may be aware of the fact that week before last wildfire smoke from California came to the Seattle region via the jetstream. Slowly our air quality went from Good to Moderate to Unhealthy for Sensitive Individuals. Than Saturday before last the air flow below the jetstream also shifted, and we got smoke from Oregon as well as more from California. The air quality went through stages of Unhealthy for Everyone, Very Unhealthy, and Hazardous for a bit over a week.

Meanwhile, only a few hundred miles south of us (where some friends and relatives live) the air quality was frequently “too bad for the sensors to measure.” So I was also feeling a lot of anxiety about their safety.

Despite closing up the house and changing the hepa filters in the air cleaners, I started coughing eight days ago (and had almost constant headaches and itchy eyes). After calling my doctor to verify that the inhaler he has me keep around for when I get bronchitis was okay to try to use for this, I began using it. I’m only supposed to use it four times a day, and each time it gave me relief from the coughing for about an hour at a time. Which isn’t much out of the day, but better than nothing.

My husband had headaches and a little bit of coughing during the same period, but nowhere near as bad as the symptoms I had. I blame past me. While I quit smoking 27 years ago, I did smoke for a number of years (which is why I tend to get bronchitis so often), whereas he never did. So I suspect part of the reason I reacted so badly is the damage done to my lungs back when I was a smoker.

It was not fun keeping all the doors and windows closed as much as possible, as things got uncomfortably warm and stuff on several days.

The good news is that we finally got real rain over both our state and Oregon for the last two and a half days. The Air Quality Index starting Saturday morning was all the way down in the Good range! I still have a bit of a cough but things are definitely improving.

Unfortunately, wildfires are still burning in Washington, Oregon, and California (not to mention many other parts of the world), so I’m not sure how long we’ll keep having good air quality.

In other news, I have a significant birthday coming up, and we have toyed with trying to do a virtual party, Unfortunately I don’t have a guarantee at this point that I won’t be called in to work despite having requested time off months ago because I’m the only Tech Writer that hasn’t quit, been laid off, or retired over the last few years in the entire division, and we have software releases this week.

I’m also still reeling from the news about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. That has really done a number on my mood.

Still, we have to keep resisting, right?

Weekend Update 9/19/2020: What the F*ck Else, 2020?

Photo of Ruth Bader Ginsburg with the phrase, "Can't spell TRUTH without RUTH."

Rest in Power, Justice Ginsburg


It is once more time for a post in which I link to stories that either didn’t make the cut for this week’s Friday Five, or broke after I composed the Friday Five, or are an update to a story I’ve linked to and ranted commented upon in a previous post. This is going to be a bit different than my usual Weekend Update, it gets personal a couple of time. You’ll understand why, I’m sure.

We’re going to start with sad (and for me, devastating) news first. I’ve already cried a few times over it: ‘Devastating loss’: Bay Area, state leaders react to Ginsburg’s death.

Special thanks to my friend, A Muse Dreams for sharing this post:

I know your first impulse is to despair. To say we’re fucked. To feel desperate and hopeless. I feel it. We all feel it.

But Notorious RBG would not have wanted us to lie down and accept defeat.

She’d have wanted us to fight like hell. And that’s what we’re going to do.

Call your house rep: Find them by Zipcode.

Script: “Hi, my name is ____ I am one of your constituents. I am calling to ask Congressperson ______ to go on the record saying they will respect Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wishes as well as the precedent set in 2016 to not nominate a new Justice until after a new president is installed. Thanks for your time.”

Call your senator: (202) 224-3121 Capitol Switchboard
Don’t know who your senator is? Find your senator.

Script: “Hi, my name is ________ and I live in (STATE). I am calling to ask Senator ______ to go on the record saying the Senate will not hold hearings on any potential replacement for Justice Ginsburg until after a new president is installed, per Justice Ginsburg’s last wishes and the precedent set in 2016. Thank you for your time.”

Gov. Cuomo planning statue of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Brooklyn.

McConnell Vows Quick Vote on Trump Pick to Fill Ginsburg Seat. Because of course the ghoulish bastards are going to try.

Let’s move on…

I have been trapped in the house since last weekend, thanks to the Air Quality Index ranging from Unhealthy for Everyone, Very Unhealthy, and not very far south of us sometimes Hazardous. When the haze first came in more than a week ago and they started forecasting worse to come, I replaced the Hepa filters and Charcoal filters in both of our air cleaners. Even so, by Saturday night I was coughing. We did our best to keep everything closed. I converted our two box fans to air cleaners (take a 20 inch Merv-13 rated furnace filter, bungy it to the back of the box fan, set up the fan somewhere in the middle of the room and let it run. Do not put the fan in a window. Keep the windows closed.).

I’ve been coughing all week. I started using an inhaler a few days ago and that helped a bit. But yesterday, finally, we got rain: Seattle Weekend Forecast: Less Smoke, More Rain – Rain showers this weekend should be enough to push out the rest of the smoke and keep it from returning. Here’s a look at what’s in store.

They had originally predicted thing would get better on Monday, but that was wrong for a variety of reasons: What makes smoke forecasts so hard to predict — and how tech could help. The fires themselves are not probabilistic, for one. Another is that the smoke itself changes the weather in ways that break our forecasting models.

We finally got enough rain over a wide enough part of the region to clean things out. I was so happy, after checking the Air Quality Index, to open our windows. It was too warm and stuffy inside!

And now to an old, old adversary...

911 Call From Intoxicated Jerry Falwell Jr.’s House Last Month Describes ‘A Lot Of Blood’ – Becki Falwell told the operator that her husband had cuts on his face from falling after he’d been drinking.

In case you need a reminder, I’ll just drop this hand sum-up I’ve referred to before:

Sometimes when a man and a woman love each other, and the man is the president of an evangelical Christian clown college and is friends with the pussy-grabbing authoritarian president of America, they get married and then they meet a 20-year-old pool boy named “Giancarlo” and they are like “Oh hey, Giancarlo, is that the Holy Bible in your pocket, or is it your boner?” and he is like “Oh it’s just my boner” and they are like “Good, we really aren’t into that Holy Bible shit when we aren’t profiting financially from it” and the pool boy is like “cool” and they are like “cool” and so they start having a sexual affair with the pool boy for years and years, where the lady does nakeds with the pool boy while the clown college Christian leader husband plays shadows puppets with his weener and watches in the corner, and they end up giving the pool boy SWEET business deals that kinda sorta look like payoffs, and fly him all over the country in their jet, and maybe there’s a similar arrangement with the hot jacked personal trainer, but we’re not sure yet, but anyway then everybody finds out and the man has to quit being a clown college Christian leader, WOMP WOMP.
The Wonkette

And there are continuing developments:

Text messages reveal Jerry Fallwell Jr’s wife told Miami pool boy to ‘stay off social media’ because it is ‘all left wing nut jobs’ after he threatened to kill himself over their affair.

Jerry Falwell Jr.’s fatal miscalculation.

Opinion: Bittersweet vindication follows Jerry Falwell Jr. scandal.

When Falwell Junior finally was forced to resign and the university opened investigations into possible financial improprieties, certain commenters out there opined that this was either part of Falwell’s kink (the pool boy and the other pool boy situations seeming to be on the cuckold fetish spectrum) because many cucks like being humiliated publicly, or that he was slamming his fist on the self-destruct button because he is tired of pretending to be an evangelical leader.

I didn’t buy either of those scenarios at the time for a variety of reasons. Only one of them being that first drunk call Junior made to a conservative radio show a few days after the Instagram post with his arm around a woman who wasn’t his wife, with his pants on done and a glass of what he later claimed wasn’t alcohol, but “black water” in his other hand.

No, the reason why is because I’ve known men like Junior before. White straight men, often from a conservative southern background (though not required) who are used to “getting away with it” over and over. They think they are invincible. They think the rules don’t apply to them. They have always been able to lie their way out of it before, and they are confident that they will continue to do so.

Let me give a very personal example. Content Warning: I’m going to be discussing my dad’s physical abuse of more than one family member and the death of a pet.

There are no further news links, so if you want to stop reading, now’s the time.

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Okay, mind the content warning…

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I was nine years old, my alcoholic and abusive father was hung over, and he had yelled at my four-year-old sister several times to keep it quiet. But she was in a hyper mood (many years later when she was diagnosed as, among other thing, bipolar, we would refer to these days as one of her manic periods). Eventually, Dad snapped and he beat her viciously… and left her lying apparently unconscious on the floor of her bedroom.

When she roused it was clear that something was seriously wrong. On the drive to the hospital, Dad drilled us with the cover story that we were all to stick to: she was being rowdy and won’t settle down and she fell down the stairs.

Among her injuries was a fractured skull. At some point during her medical treatment, she apparently told the nurse that “after the third time Dad hit me everything went blurry, so I don’t remember what happened.”

About a week later a state patrol officer or a county deputy (I don’t remember which) and a man from Child Protective Services showed up at our house. The tiny town we were in didn’t have any state agency offices, and the guy had had to come out from a city somewhere.

Each of us was taken by the guy from CPS individually to a nearby park to tell our version of events. I had learned my lesson about never contradicting Dad’s version years ago, so I dutifully repeated that Dad had told her to settle down several times, but she kept running around singing and then fell down the stairs.

I assume that Mom, my sister, and Dad all told the same story.

There was a glaring problem with our story.

There were no stairs.

We lived in a three-bedroom mobile home. It was a fancy mobile home, with an Extandal (as they called it at the time) which made our living room twice as wide as the rest of the trailer. But it was a single-story home with no stairs.

The CPS guy never asked any of us to show him the stairs.

The CPS guy and the officer left. Dad was angry for days afterward, but also on his best behavior even when no one was around. Eventually he learned that there would be no charges and the investigation was closed. Dad was still angry about my sister breaking the rule and contradicting his story, but because he was afraid people were still watching, he couldn’t do his usual thing of punishing one of us and explaining to my sister that he was hurting me or Mom because sister had screwed up.

So, instead Dad killed the family cat in order the punish my sister for telling the truth.

He got away with it. And his job had us move a few months later, and there was an incident where I was the one who wound up in the hospital… and he got away with that. And continued to with each of my younger half siblings and the only time he ever faced consequences was when he slapped one of the grandkids hard enough that she wound up in urgent care… but even then, the only consequence was that for a time all of my younger siblings had restraining orders on him that he couldn’t be around his grandkids without supervision.

Anyway, to get back to Falwell Junior…

I don’t have any knowledge that Falwell Junior was ever abusive of his kids or his wife, and I’m not claiming that he is that kind of abuser. But we know that for the last several years he has done other things that should have had consequences (talking repeatedly at work about his personal sex life, sending pictures of his wife in fetish gear to a number of university employees who didn’t ask to see them, attending nightclubs and consuming alcohol in direct violation of the university rules which are supposed to apply to employees, the shady real estate deals that some former employees started talking about last year, the pool boy’s shady real estate deal that reporters contacted the university about years ago, et cetera). And I’m pretty sure that Junior has been getting away with various things like that his entire life.

I know I’m bringing some of my personal baggage into this, but every time I have seen Junior speak, I have recognized that cocky smirk and the look in his eyes that say he knows the rules don’t apply to him. Because I spent 15 years of my life being raised by a man who had that some smirk and the same glint in his eyes.

Now Junior’s finally facing consequences, and he doesn’t know how to handle that. Self-medicating by drinking heavily constantly is only the tip of the iceberg, I suspect.

Friday Five (he let tens of thousands of people die edition)

Welcome to the third Friday in September. September, the month when superior people are born.

The air quality index has remained in either the Unhealthy for Everyone or Very Unhealthy range all week. I only started getting partial night’s sleep when my doctor confirmed that the inhaler I have incase I get a case of bronchitis can be used for this. I’m coughing slightly less now that I’m using the inhaler four times a day. I really hope the rain comes and cleans us out soon!

It’s time for me to roll out this week’s Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories about the haters & deplorables & related, and five videos (plus something I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

Alcohol possibly from Prohibition era found in walls of Queen Anne home.

CA governor signs law to equalize punishments for gay & straight sex offenders – The law gives judges the ability to keep LGBTQ teenagers off the state’s public sex offender registry if the teens are of similar ages, the same leeway the state already gives straight teens.

A gas found on Earth that signifies life has been detected in the clouds on Venus.

Culture Wars Masquerading as Social Science: New Survey Illustrates Evangelicals’ Election Year Anxieties .

Trump Admin Sues Grocery Giant Kroger Over Firing Of Two Staffers Who Refused To Wear “Rainbow” On Apron.

This Week in Haters and Other Deplorable People:

This ex-Trump voter got deprogrammed — thanks in part to watching Stephen Colbert.

911 Call From Intoxicated Jerry Falwell Jr.’s House Last Month Describes ‘A Lot Of Blood’ .

ICE whistleblower: Nurse alleges ‘hysterectomies on immigrant women in US’.

LGBTQ: The letters Republicans didn’t utter.

The Slow-Fingered President – Donald Trump has been eager to tweet on many subjects—but notably reticent to emphasize public health.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update 9/12/2020: It’s 2020 Everywhere….

Videos!

Trump Blames “Blue States” For COVID Deaths: A Closer Look:

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Former Trump Officials Defect To Back Biden:

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Former FBI official Peter Strzok goes one-on-one with Maddow:

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The Pandemmy Awards: Honoring the Greatest Achievements of the Coronavirus Pandemic:

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Quarantinewhile… What Pairs Best With Taco Bell Wine?:

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Weekend Update 9/12/2020: It’s 2020 Everywhere…

“It's no longer 5 o'clock somewhere. It's 2020 everywhere. Drink whenever you want!”

“It’s no longer 5 o’clock somewhere. It’s 2020 everywhere. Drink whenever you want!”

First let’s start with some good news, since there seems to be precious little of that these days: Canada reports zero COVID-19 deaths for first time since March. At least some countries are handling this thing better than we are.

So, you may remember that some of us were sharing stories about how Malania Trump oversaw tearing up the White House Rose Garden that has for decades adhered the Jackie Kennedy’s design (including digging up a bunch of healthy crabapple trees and who knows what actually happened to them) and replaced it with something that was super ugly? Well… Three weeks after its unveiling, Melania’s rose garden is dying and needs emergency repairs.

But what else do we expect from people who are already known to never pay their subcontractors?

Speaking of the corrupt one… Donald Trump stole art pieces from the ambassador’s residence in France.

And this reaction to the “revelation” that Trump knew the pandemic was deadly but didn’t care is spot on: Oh, Come On. The Only Thing Trump Cared About ‘Panicking’ Was The Stock Market – We know Trump only cares about himself, and what affects him. Let’s stop pretending, shall we?

Meanwhile, in my neck of the woods, I’m staying indoors, have the windows closed, have all the air cleaners going, and hope that the weather turns soon: Dangerous air quality as smoke from fires in California and Oregon pours into Western Washington.

Seattle air among world’s worst: How to check your town’s air quality and protect yourself from wildfire smoke – Saturday morning, air quality ranged from unhealthy for sensitive groups to very unhealthy in western Washington, according to AirNow.

Related, it would be funny if it weren’t so dangerous: ‘Antifa Arson’ Hoax Rumors Spread About Wildfires In Besieged West Coast Areas – Right wing extremists are doing all they can to pin the west coast wildfires on liberals, Black Lives Matter, and Antifa. The “proof”? Police scanner recording where rangers, firefighters, and various levels of police are exchanging information and refer to territory that is under control of the Federal Bureau of Land Management (a rather large swath of each of the western states) and “BLM land”. The idiot MAGA-boys think that forest rangers are talking about Black Lives Matter protestors whenever they refer to federal land. Oy!

And I’m just going to close with this:

Wildfires on US West Coast turn day into night | DW News:

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Okay, not quite done. I decided the above meme needed a bit of Betty White, so I made this:

Friday Five (gender reveal wildfire edition)

Welcome to the second Friday in September. September, the month when superior people are born.

We’ve had a rare September heat wave this week, coupled with unhealthy air quality thanks to smoke from wildfires each of us and south of us.

It’s time for me to roll out this week’s Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories about wild fires, five stories about science and sci fi, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about the pandemic, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and some things that I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

Toppled Confederate monument in Capitol Hill’s Lake View Cemetery won’t be restored. This is one I’ve written about a fe times before, erected in a cemetery where the only Civil War veterans (a very small number) are Union soldiers and sailors. Not single Confederate grave in the place. Good riddance.

In a first, a person’s immune system fought HIV — and won – Analysis of 1.5 billion cells from this rare case found no trace of the virus.

How a Massive Bomb Came Together in Beirut’s Port.

Portland approves strictest ban on facial recognition technology in the U.S..

At Least 37 Million People Have Been Displaced by America’s War on Terror.

This Week in Wild Fires:

West Coast fires: Hundreds of homes burned to ground, Oregon governor says.

Scores of wildfires scorch U.S. West Coast, killing at least eight.

California fire that killed 3 threatens thousands of homes.

‘The entire town is gone’; Malden devastated by wildfires, most homes destroyed.

California wildfires: Gender reveal party blamed for fire.

This Week in Science Fact and Science Fiction:

A weirdly warped planet-forming disk circles a distant trio of stars – The bizarre geometry of this system is the first known of its kind.

This hummingbird survives cold nights by nearly freezing itself solid – The black metaltail goes into a state of suspended animation, becoming ‘cold as a rock’.

Retro Review: “Black God’s Kiss” by C.L. Moore or How to Suppress Women’s Sword and Sorcery Writing.

‘Mighty mice’ stay musclebound in space, boon for astronauts.

Lovecraft Country: making the best of the horror icon – An interview with author Matt Ruff.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

Georgia church splits from United Methodists over UM refusal to support gay rights – More than a third of the congregation at Asbury Memorial Church in Savannah are LGBTQ, according to its minister.

For His Birthday, a Gay Atheist Is Raising Money for an LGBTQ-Inclusive Church.

Donald Trump unveils new Supreme Court shortlist packed with deplorable homophobes and it’s bad, bad news for LGBT+ rights.

Texas Assistant AG Fired for Anti-LGBTQ+ and Other Outrageous Tweets.

Feds capture man who detonated bomb in front of a gay gym – He had “substantial quantities of bomb-making materials, numerous weapons,” and body armor in his home.

This Week in the Pandemic:

Emails show HHS official trying to muzzle Fauci – Emails obtained by POLITICO show a top aide at the department dictating what the nation’s top infections disease expert should say during media interviews.

It’s not a scam: Snohomish County contract tracers searching for people who tested positive for COVID – As the county monitors case counts after Labor Day weekend, the health district had to shut down some testing sites due to poor air quality.

‘This is deadly stuff’: Tapes show Trump acknowledging virus threat in February – In a series of on-the-record interviews with Bob Woodward, the president struck a very different tone about the disease.

America Is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral – As the U.S. heads toward the winter, the country is going round in circles, making the same conceptual errors that have plagued it since spring.

As students return, the deaths of at least six teachers from covid-19 renew pandemic fears.

In Memoriam:

Dame Diana Rigg: Avengers, Bond and Game of Thrones actress dies at 82.

Diana Rigg, Star of ‘The Avengers’ and ‘Game of Thrones,’ Dies at 82.

Joe Ruby, TV writer and producer who co-created Scooby-Doo, dies at 87.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Meme-date 9/5/2020: Just some quickies.

And just what is a “weekend,” three-day or otherwise?

Tuesday Tidbits 9/8/2020: News cycle continues to be disheartening.

Videos!

Trump Lashes Out Over Report that He Insulted Fallen Soldiers: A Closer Look:

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Reformed Neo-Nazi Explains How People Fall Prey to QAnon Online | MSNBC:

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Gender Reveal Wildfires, Daniel Prude Protests & Jessica Krug | The Daily Social Distancing Show:

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Bruce Springsteen – Letter To You (Official Video):

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Cameron Hawthorn – To Break Hers:

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Tuesday Tidbits 9/8/2020: News cycle continues to be disheartening

“You elected a billionaire that appointed other billianaires to fix the system that made them billionaires? You're a special kind of stupid, aren't you?”

The meme omits a couple of important bits, though: “You elected a billionaire that appointed other billionaires to fix the system that made them billionaires BY STEALING FROM YOU? You’re a special kind of stupid, aren’t you?”

‘A tale of 2 recessions’: As rich Americans get richer, the bottom half struggles – The trend is on track to exacerbate dramatic wealth and income gaps in the U.S., where divides are already wider than any other nation in the G-7.

REPORT: Louis DeJoy May Have Broken Campaign Finance Laws AND Lied To Congress About It – DeJoy allegedly reimbursed employees from his company for donations to GOP candidates – which is illegal.

‘Conmen, grifters and criminals’: why is Trump’s circle so at odds with the law? – Apart from legal trouble, what Bannon, Manafort, Flynn, Cohen, Stone, Gates and Papadopoulos have in common is the president.

“The history of Nazis holding rallies in lef-wing areas of Weimar Germany, instigating street fights, and then telling the press that only they could save Germany from the 'violent communists' seems like an important thing for people to be studying right now.”

Seems so, doesn’t it?

Department of Homeland Security draft document: Domestic white supremacists are greatest terror threat.

Lawyer of accused Kenosha shooter resigns from defense fund.

Kenosha shooting suspect faces more homicide charges.

Quote Of The Day: Armed Militias Target BLM Protests – Just when you thought right-wing militias were “anti-government,” they’re all for Trump’s fascism..

Jacob Blake appears in court from hospital on sex assault charge, while police gun down suspected Portland shooter.

“Never forget: the Trump family is not allowed to operate ANY charity in New York because they stole from a kids cancer charity.”

There is no low they haven’t already sunk to…

Trump campaign criticised for mocking Biden as he visited family grave – Biden’s late son, first wife and daughter are buried in cemetery.

Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’ – The president has repeatedly disparaged the intelligence of service members, and asked that wounded veterans be kept out of military parades, multiple sources tell The Atlantic..

Fox News Correspondent: Two Top Officials Who Were on France Trip With Trump ‘Confirmed to Me Key Details’ of Atlantic Report – .

Trump Wants Fox Reporter Who Confirmed Atlantic Story Fired For Hurting His Wee Feelings.

Trump’s Contempt for the Sick and Disabled Is Written All Over His Covid-19 Response – The president’s disgust for anyone he deems weak is key to understanding his handling of the pandemic.

Room rentals, resort fees and furniture removal: How Trump’s company charged the U.S. government more than $900,000.

I don’t have a funny exit line, and I’m just not up to ranting about it.

And just what is a “weekend,” three-day or otherwise?

“30 days hath September, April June, and November, all the rest have 31, except for 2020 which has 5328”

Time has gown from being a river, to being a fog, to being a swarm of locusts…

I always feel guilty on days like Labor Day, because most of the people who work in the kinds of jobs that Labor Day is supposed to honor have to work on this day, while white collar office workers such as myself are goofing off. My father, for instance, was an oil field worker, and so far as I can remember he always had to work the holiday. Mom worked in retail, and since almost all of her positions were union jobs, she at least got paid more for working on the holiday (though management usually countered that by cutting her hours later in the week), but again, she seldom had the day off.

And as retail and other essential workers will all tell you, it’s not just that they don’t get a three-day weekend, most of them don’t get weekends. They get days of, but since they aren’t usually the same days that the rest of us think of a time when we could schedule fun activities with friends, it’s just not the same.

Thanks to the pandemic, and the huge number of us that are working from home, and all the school kids who are attending virtual classes from home, things get even more confounding.

So I think before I spiral down any rabbit holes, I will just repost this bit about what Labor Day is supposed to represent which I wrote a few years ago:

If you don’t know labor history, you’re doomed to repeat the bad parts

Originally post September 4, 2017

“Union Accomplishments: Safe working conditions; Safety regulations; No toxic dumping; No child labor abuses; Standard minimum wage; 40-hour work week; Overtime pay; Paid vacation; Pensions; Healthcare; Equal Pay for Equal work.”

“Union Accomplishments: Safe working conditions; Safety regulations; No toxic dumping; No child labor abuses; Standard minimum wage; 40-hour work week; Overtime pay; Paid vacation; Pensions; Healthcare; Equal Pay for Equal work.”

Both of my grandfathers were life long union workers. Dad moved in and out of union and non-union portions of his industry. When Mom re-entered the work force after my parents’ divorce, she became a union member and other then a few stints in management, remained one until she retired. I, on the other hand, work in an industry that has fought to keep unions out, and for various social reasons, the same co-workers who complain loudest about how everyone is classified as “professional” and therefore exempt from overtime pay and the like, are also convinced that unions would be a disaster.

Which is really sad. Mostly I blame the decades-long war on unions waged by mostly the Republican party. They have managed, somehow, to convince people to believe, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that businesses have always given out wages and benefits out of the goodness of their hearts.

I don’t understand how anyone who has worked for any business larger than a mom-and-pop operation can believe that.

“If unions are bad for the economy, why did America's greatest era of prosperity have more workers under union contract than any other time in history?”

“If unions are bad for the economy, why did America’s greatest era of prosperity have more workers under union contract than any other time in history?”

It’s not that profits are driving business decisions, it’s that maximizing benefit to business leaders while milking short-term profits without investing in workers and their skills for long-term benefits.

You can keep talking about the economic insecurities of angry white guys, but you have to recognize that the source of economic insecurity is not market forces, or immigrants, or equal opportunity laws. It’s the people in that top 1%. And somehow we’ve got to get those scared angry white guys to recognize that they are being duped.

“Did it ever occur to you that union workers aren't overpaid, maybe you're underpaid? Where are the gains going? From 1970 to 2010, in inflations-adjusted dollars, income of private sector workers fell from an average of $32,000 to $29,000, while income among 'job creators' rose from $2-million to $16-million.” Source: nyti.ms/saez-and-piketty-on-inequality

“Did it ever occur to you that union workers aren’t overpaid, maybe you’re underpaid? Where are the gains going? From 1970 to 2010, in inflations-adjusted dollars, income of private sector workers fell from an average of $32,000 to $29,000, while income among ‘job creators’ rose from $2-million to $16-million.” Source: nyti.ms/saez-and-piketty-on-inequality

Weekend Meme-date 9/5/2020: Just some quickies

“When someone tells me they are a christian... I ask!! Classic Jesus... or Republican Jesus?”

“When someone tells me they are a christian… I ask!! Classic Jesus… or Republican Jesus?” The second option can also be called White Supremacist Jesus

“Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are.”

“Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are.” — That is correct, and so sometimes it means that you are the kind of person who recognizes an insensitive jerk.

“Vote out every Republican in 2020”

“Vote out every Republican in 2020” And keep doing it for the next few cycles, because nothing else is going to change that party from the alt-right neo-Nazi enabling wreck it has become.

“Vote” in bold letters in front of a rainbow flag.

“Vote”

Resist!

“Resist!” Because voting isn’t going to be enough.

Friday Five (how will you vote edition)

And here were are at the first Friday in September. September, the month when superior people are born.

We had a relatively cool week, though temps have been edging up into the range where I start to melt, and the long term forecast says we might be up in those insane temperatures late next week. Which is really weird, because September almost never gets that warm here. Speaking, my quest to find a replacement to local weather blog since my former favorite has, over the course of the last couple years: become a climate change denialist apologist, claimed that quarantines and other measures weren’t necessary to stop the pandemic, starting supporting Blue Lives Matter, and finally compared the Black Lives Matter protestors to Nazi Brownshirts. Fortunately a local nonprofit news blog noticed all of us searching and came out with a list of suggestions (only one of which I’d found before). So, yay!

It’s time for me to roll out this week’s Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories about science and sci fi, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about good things, five stories about the pussy grabber in chief and his enablers, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and some things that I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

The Destabilizing Loss of Chadwick Boseman: Chadwick Boseman Gave Us Something We Had Not Had Before – He brought King T’Challa to life in a way that transfixed the world and spoke uniquely to Black Americans.

Athletes’ Racial Justice Protest Last Week Made History. But It Wasn’t the First Wildcat Strike in Pro Sports.

How Robert Mueller failed America.

Becky Albertalli: I know I’m late. A very interesting tale about coming out, denial, and other topics…

An Ohio man built a backyard squirrel bar with seven varieties of nuts on tap.

This Week in Science Fact and Science Fiction:

The Midwest Sees a Spike as Covid-19 Cases Decline Elsewhere – In nine U.S. states, case numbers are still rising or setting records. The virus is pummeling the economies of India and South Korea. Hong Kong began a Beijing-backed testing program.

Another astronomical doomsday that doesn’t actually exist: The solar micronova.

Cosmic signal rattles Earth after 7 billion years.

Ugandan gorillas in Bwindi park have ‘baby boom’.

Star Trek will get its first transgender characters this year – Congrats to actors Ian Alexander and Blu del Barrio who will play the first-ever out transgender and non-binary characters on the 54-year-old sci-fi TV series.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

California’s legislature just passed a bill to treat LGBTQ & straight sex offenders the same – The bill’s sponsor got death threats for saying that LGBTQ people should be treated the same.

LGBTQ advocates notch legal win in fight against Trump health care rule.

Federal judge: State Department must recognize U.S. citizenship of gay couple’s daughter.

Jacob Blake’s Transgender Cousin Responds to Anti-LGBTQ+ Threats.

Dictionary.com just added a lot of LGBTQ words but will use “homosexuality” less.

This Week in I Need a Break From Bad News:

I’m not going to reopen my shuttered restaurant. I’d rather feed children in need.

‘We’ll take care of you’: Tennessee Kroger gives job to woman who slept in the store’s parking lot.

Man‘s Best Buddy is a Red Robin That Helped Him Through Trauma – Watch it Feed From His Hand.

Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones Raises $100,000 After GOP’s Anti-Gay Smear Effort – “Their efforts to attack an Air Force and Iraq War veteran who served under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell clearly backfired,” said her campaign.

Cher raises $2 million for Biden at LGBTQ virtual fundraiser.

This Week in the Deplorable Thug Occupying the White House:

Operation Undermine 2020 at Full Throttle as Trump Again Suggests Voters Vote Twice.

New Study Shows Republicans Willing to Embrace Fascism to Preserve Dream of a White Nation.

Department of Health and Human Services Preparing to Launch $250 million Pandemic Propaganda Campaign- The proposed communications contract comes as the agency faces growing questions about its independence from the Trump White House.

Trump Flotilla Leader to be Charged with Felony, His Lawyer Says – The charge is “written threat to kill or bodily harm” and carried a potential sentence of up to 15 years. Gavidia previously served time for marijuana trafficking.

Facebook, Instagram Ban Pro-Trump Operative Jacob Wohl.

In Memoriam:

‘Black Panther’ star Chadwick Boseman dies of cancer at 43.

Remembering Actor Chadwick Boseman.

This 7-year-old boy held a heartbreaking memorial for Chadwick Boseman.

‘Black Panther’ Director Ryan Coogler Pens Emotional, Beautiful Tribute to Chadwick Boseman.

Chadwick Boseman visited terminally ill children during his own cancer battle.

‘We lost our own superhero.’ How Chadwick Boseman — as a Black superhero on the big screen — made families feel seen.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update 8/29/2020: The virus and the fascism are the enemy, not the masks.

Dirty Deeds Coming Home to Roost, or, What’s Happening with those Evangelical Pool Boy Chasing Devils?

It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion….

Tread all to pow’rs of darkness down, or a queer ex-evangelical looks at circular reasoning.

Confessions of a Rambler, or, my blogging style is verbose, okay?

Videos!

RNC 2020 & Kenosha: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO):

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Some Unconventional News | The Daily Social Distancing Show:

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NO TIME TO DIE | Trailer 2:

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Do you like PDA?:

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The Boys in the Band | Official Trailer | Netflix:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

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