Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Lessons at the Border

Lobbing tear gas at refugees -- including infants and children -- besides being technically a war crime is not just a bad idea. It's a sure-fire way to be certain the young adults in our nation lose what little faith they have left in our government and its ability to do the right thing.

That's the progressive kids.

Worse, almost certainly, is what lobbing tear gas at infants and children does for conservative young adults among us. They too see us attacking children with chemical weapons, but they hear from all those around them -- their parents, their preachers, Fox News, their coaches, their friends and neighbors -- that this attack is the correct action. These young people are told, with great earnestness, that immigrants are dangerous invaders, that they are rapists and terrorists and gang members, and thus that any action our country takes against them is justified.

Which group of kids is being damaged the most? It's hard to say.

UPDATE: Don't miss Nicole & Maggie's comment -- take action!

Friday, November 23, 2018

The GOP and Reality

The GOP has literally lost touch with reality.

According to the GOP, "middle class" means someone who makes between $70,000 and $125,000/year. That's (1).

(2) is that -- according to the GOP -- people making this amount of money are "working class."

I mean, who doesn't make that, am I right?

And anyone who makes less than $35,000 a year? Those people just don't exist, apparently.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving on the Rise

It's a chilly sunny day here in Arkansas. Sweet potatoes are roasting the oven. That's the only part of the feast I'm responsible for -- the sweet potato casserole. This year I will make it with ginger, cinnamon, maple syrup, brown sugar, butter, and bit of orange juice and orange zest, with lots of home-made marshmallows on top.

Other items on the menu:

  • Roast turkey
  • potatoes dauphinoise
  • green bean casserole
  • sourdough bread
  • fresh cranberry sauce
  • turkey gravy
  • a cheese, fig, olive, and grape plate
  • Pumpkin pie
  • babka
Wine or ginger ale, depending on preference

Uncle Charger and the kid's bff and new roommate Clover will be attending. We'll be dining around five. Aside from making the sweet potato casserole, my main charge is vacuuming and setting the table.

Hope all y'all have a splendid day!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

This is What I'm Talking About

I don't know if UBI is the solution.

But we do need some solution. The current economy is broken.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Every 30 Year Old Should Have A Unicorn and a Magic Ring...

This sort of delusion bullshit just goes to show that "financial planners" and "experts" have no idea how most of the USA actually lives.

In fact, less than 60% of our country now earns enough to live a secure middle-class existence. Almost no one can afford to save any money, much less a "three to six months of living expenses." Almost everyone is in debt -- almost always due to living expenses, including medical expenses. Only 40% of the country can handle a $400 emergency.

This is America right now.

Frankly, I am impressed that Ocasio-Cortez had $7000 in the bank, and I promise you she only had that much because she had no children, and has had no medical emergencies. Before I was married and before I had cancer, I had a big chunk of money saved too.

"Plan to save 15%" is charming advice. Plan all you like. Life has other plans.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Oh Look

Trump's favorite philosopher:

Scamming People for Jesus

Over at Patheos some time back, Libby Anne wrote about a tactic young Evangelicals use -- are taught to use -- which is quite similar to one con men use, not surprisingly.

They find an "in," some area of commonality between them and the 'target,' as Evangelicals call it (or 'mark,' to be more honest about what they're looking for).

In other words, they're looking for common human ground between them and their mark, something they can play on. Once they find this common human ground, they exploit it.

This has happened to my kid, up in Fayetteville, more than once now. My kid is very sweet, with a lot of empathy. They also look gay -- so gay. (Dyed bright purple hair, plaid denim jacket, no makeup.) Invariably a pretty little Evangelical Christian child will sit down next to them and say, in friendly voice, "I like your hair!"

Among the LGBT kids, this is code for, I'm queer, are you queer too?

So my kid responds with a friendly, "Thank you!"

And the Evangelical Christian does some friendly chat, just as if she actually likes the kid, and actually wants to be friends with the kid. And the kid is thinking, aw, I've found a friend, a queer friend, this is nice.

And then the Evangelical asks if the kid wants to come learn about Jesus.

And now my Kid feels stupid, like they're an idiot for thinking anyone would actually want to talk to them, or be friends with them. This Evangelical has made it very clear that the only reason anyone would sit down next to them is in order to run a scam on them -- to lie to them, to cheat them, to con them.

Because they're broken, obviously.

Because they're something that needs to be fixed.

Is this what Evangelicals think their God wants them to do to people? That's what Jesus commands them to do?  Lie to people? Treat them like marks to be cheated and conned into their churches? Make them feel like fools and idiots for trusting people?

I hope one day these people grow up and never stop cringing at how they treated their fellow human beings.

UPDATE: Just to make it clear, I don't blame this little Evangelical child. She's been sent out by someone -- likely someone as brainwashed as herself -- and told to do this horrible thing to her fellow human beings. She's been given a script to follow. She's been told she has to do this, or these poor LGBT sinners will burn in hell. So no. I don't blame her. It is still an evil thing to do, and it is an evil thing to teach her to do. There is a reason bearing false witness is a sin.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sunday Links

Have some links!

Anne Theriault makes a connection


Why Trump (and his base) want to repeal the 14th Amendment (Spoilers: it's because they're racists)

This YouTube series on Mad Max: Fury Road is really good. Kind of long, but it's broken into 8 or 9 minute segments, so you can pace yourself.

Doggo has a COMPLAINT:

Saturday, November 17, 2018

My Kid Does Comics

You should be reading my Kid's comic!

You can find it here or here!

We'll Get the Rest in 2020

Some Good News

Update on Rod Dreher's Exorcism

This is my surprised face:

I mean, really, this isn't even remotely funny. This poor woman and her terrible husband are deeply disturbed, and since he probably has her convinced that she's possessed by demons, she's in deep trouble.

Religion can do a lot of good in the world. I've seen that happen. But it can also do horrible, ugly, evil things like this. This is the main reason I'm so wary of it. I've seen it destroy too many people and their families. Once you start believing in one impossible thing, it's very easy for a charismatic leader to make you believe in other impossible things.

Once you lose your ability to determine what is factually true, to tell what is real from what someone is making up -- once you can no longer evaluate evidence, in other words, and determine what is real and what is fantasy or myth or propaganda or just something someone else made up, for whatever reason -- you are lost.

Anyone can tell you anything, and make you believe it. How will you know? This demon is why your tooth hurts. That chemical is why your child can't read. This crystal will cure your backache. Those people are possessed by witches, they are the enemy of the people. Any of those could be true, or all of them. You have no way to tell. You'll just believe whatever the 'right' people tell you, and disbelieve whatever the 'wrong' people tell you.

And then you'll end up drinking Kool-Aid in a jungle somewhere, or voting for Donald Trump, or having your husband hold you down while a priest performs an exorcism on you, grimly insisting that the reason you hate him is that you're infested by a demon.

Yeah, that's the ticket.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Two Posts

Yesterday Rod Dreher tweeted this:

(This seems to be the 'friend' he is talking about. Notice how earnestly he insists these people must be believed because they travel in Europe.)

Today, he posted this charming item, in which he detailed, scathingly, a young trans man's interview about his journey through an adolescence marked with anxiety and depression, among other things. As someone who has dealt with the psychiatric community, I know how much a 'diagnosis' is worth. And I know why Scout calls himself crazy -- it's a way of reclaiming the word.

Rod uses inaccurate and frankly vicious language about Scout, misgenders him, and finally claims that he's an "abomination." This is typical of Rod, of course. I don't know what his issue is with queer people in general, and trans people in specific, but boy does it run deep. It's not just hatred: He's obsessed.

Anyway! My point, and I do have one: Who do you think needs more time in a therapist's chair at this point, Scout or Rod?

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Review of my Novel at Analog

This is nice -- my novel Fault Lines got a lovely review in Analog:

Fans of fun space opera are a sure audience for this book, but you might also consider giving it to anyone who likes stories of families, either biological or chosen. Those who fancy historical tales about mercantile dynasties would also enjoy it.

New Review up at Strange Horizons

My review of Virginia Bergin's Who Runs the World is up at Strange Horizons.

Go here to read it!

Moving to the Left

Camestros makes an interesting argument here.

I may just like it because I have thought for years that we should move further to the Left as a country, mind you. What we call 'Left' in the USA is laughably conservative.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Doing Without

So it's been almost two weeks now without gluten, and I'm feeling much better.

Sadly, this makes me conclude that gluten is probably the culprit.

Sadly, because that means I've gotta continue to give up gluten. I've been living on fruit, eggs, nuts, rice, and cheese, potatoes, coffee and cream for the past 13 days. I am here to tell you it is a diet that can get old.

On the other hand, doing with stomach cramps, nausea and exhaustion is quite nice.

I guess I'ma have to start reading some of those gluten-free cookbooks.


Saturday, November 10, 2018

Shared Mythos on the Right

For my sins, I read more RW blogs than are probably good for me, and I can attest that the common myths Camestros discusses here are right on.

One of them, the Islamic takeover of Europe, featured on Rod* Dreher's blog just today. And of course, there is the ever popular notion that at universities we do nothing but brainwash students and shriek about gender issues and racism sexism trans people. One blog I visit which makes these claims is run by someone who works at a university, so it's not that this person doesn't know better.

Of course I know why conservative bloggers push these lies and nonsense -- it gets eyes on their pages. Anything for money, I suppose, here in America, where the One True God is Capitalism.

*To be fair, I think Rod Dreher might actually believe these conservative myths. He really is that gullible, after all -- he's always running stories on his blog about how some ghost or the other spoke to someone's dying cousin, or a statue bled ichor that cured some orphan in some mountains somewhere. If he had lived in the Middle Ages, he'd have a house full of One True Crosses and finger bones from Saint Peter.

Thursday, November 08, 2018


Yeah, here's a shock.

The White House has shared [doctored] footage posted by an editor of [the] conspiracy theory website [Infowars] showing Jim Acosta making contact with a Trump aide, in a bid to justify its suspension of the CNN reporter’s press pass.
Mr Acosta “placed his hands on” a female aide trying to retrieve a microphone as the journalist repeatedly questioned the president, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed in a statement posted to Twitter.
Apparently the whole "Acosta assaulted that poor girl" started on the White Nationalist Twitter feed, and -- of course -- the Trump White House picked it up and made it part of their narrative.

And the mainstream Conservatives seized on it, because White Nationalist narratives are their brand.

This is America.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Who You Gonna Believe?

This thing with Acosta is amazing.

We have it on video. We can all watch the video -- over and over if we want to. We can all see that Jim Acosta did not, in fact, "lay hands" on the White House aide.

And yet, Trump supporters are coming out with escalating stories, ramping up their versions. I just saw one who claimed that Acosta "threw her aside like a rag doll."

I suppose that once you start down that road, leaving facts and evidence aside for lies and propaganda, once you start making up the world, reality soon becomes entirely irrelevant.

ETA: Yes, this:

ETA #2:

NOW someone on Twitter is claiming that in the video Acosta "clearly" grabs her breast. And therefore it is sexual assault. OMG.

Rod Dreher claimed on his blog that if Democrats didn't take the House back liberals would "lose their minds." I guess as usual he was projecting, since we see what's happening to conservatives now that Democrats did take the House.



Okay Then

This was not the victory of my dreams -- in that victory, we took both the House and the Senate, and also McCaskill won in Missouri, and Beto won in Texas, and this stupid, stupid voter ID law lost here in Arkansas.

But I'll take what we got. Winning the House, and defeating that smug fuck Walker in Wisconsin ain't nothing. Also, all the LGBT candidates who won, and the women, and the people of color -- that cuts some of the sting.

Also the passing of Amendment 4 in Florida. That really gives me hope for our country.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Did You Vote?

We drove up last weekend and got the kid, and then voted Saturday morning.

No line at all. But there never is. IDK if that's because of where we vote -- downtown at the courthouse -- or because no one is voting early here.

If you haven't voted, vote. And get your friends to vote. This one matters, y'all!

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Exploring a Possibility

As readers of the blog know, I've been sick for about six months now. My PCP has no real idea what's wrong -- she thinks maybe a parasite, though two long courses of antibiotics have not really cleared up the issue. Her next move is to send me for (expensive) tests.

These tests will mean $$$, and that will be $$$ out of my pocket, obviously, since my health insurance has a huge deductible. (It's something like $5000, though I'll admit I haven't checked the exact number yet. I don't even want to know at this point.)

So before I agree to the expensive tests, I'm think I'll try other things. According to Doctor Google, one other thing that might be wrong is a gluten allergy. I know going gluten-free is very woo, but I'm trying it. It's better than putting a couple thousand dollars on the credit cards.

On the other hand, my current diet is very gluten-heavy.

So! Recommendations for gluten-free foods?

Cheap gluten free foods, if possible. (Currently I am living on oatmeal, oranges, and potatoes. I can see that this diet will get old fast, however.)