Thursday, October 31, 2019

My Kid Does Art

Last day of Inktober! This is the Kid's roommate, and also the roommate's cat, Banksy. An excellent portrait of both of them, by the way.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Statement from Vindman

You can read it here.

Key points: The decision to pressure Zelenskyy to "investigate" Burisma and Biden predated the call, and involved Trump and his team. Vindman and others knew it was inappropriate, advised Trump of it at the time, and reported the action and its inappropriate nature to the lead counsel of the National Security Committee.

Vindman heard the call, and he and others who heard the call were concerned about the nature of the call at the time:

I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications forthe U.S. government’s support of Ukraine. I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma, it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained. This would all undermine U.S. national security.

They reported it at the time, again to the lead counsel of the NSC.

Trump's team is smearing Vindman on Fox News, from what I understand, and certainly on Twitter. Apparently they're very worried about what his testimony will do to them.

Monday, October 28, 2019

The Philosophy Guy Talks Queer

We like the Philosophy Guy anyway, but if you're interested in a deep dive into cutting edge queer theory, this is pretty good:

Sunday, October 27, 2019

It's Funny Because It's Capitalism

I mean, it would be funny if it wasn't my actual life

Read This

Erik Loomis is a labor historian at the University of Rhode Island, famous for (among other things) his This Day in History Posts.

Here's a tweet thread version of one of those.

If you're in favor of deregulation, this is what you're in favor of. If you're pro-Trump, this is also what you're in favor of -- this is what Trump is taking America back to, just as fast as he can.

Incidentally, this is also why Libertarianism is a pipe dream, as is anarchism.

Friday, October 25, 2019

The Kid Makes Art

More Inktober art

Your Daily Reminder

...that everything Trump says is a lie.

I Believe We Call This

...the cut direct:

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Raining at the New House

It's raining here, and also one of my writing days. I'm drinking coffee and  writing and watching through the French windows as the rain falls on our little forest while the cat sleeps on my feet.


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Kid Does Art

More Inktober. This one might be my favorite:

Sabbatical Application Submitted

I have turned in my sabbatical application for Fall 2020.

Wish me better luck this time, y'all!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

If You're Not Reading Barry Deutsch... probably should be. He runs Alas, a Blog, where you can always find interesting and civil political discussions, along with some of the best political cartoon around. Here's his new one:


Monday, October 21, 2019

More Bonus Pictures

Here is Heywood sitting on the windowsill, as is his wont:

You can see some of our yard outside.

Here is Jasper, sitting on the windowsill likewise:

Tonight, as I was coming home after workshop, I saw a fox in the yard. So, maybe we're more rural than I thought.

Elizabeth Warren: A Class Act

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Bonus Pictures!

Here are some pictures of our woods*:

And here is the little dog:

All taken by the kid, from his bed on the couch. You can see the living room there in the background of the last picture.

*Not really a wood. Just our yard full of trees.


Saturday, October 19, 2019

The New House

We've lived in the new house closing on two months now. Everything is unpacked, all the books are on the shelves (though not yet back in order), and the cats have reconciled themselves to their fates. It is time for an update!

Good things about living in our new house:

(1) It's less than half a mile from the university, so when I'm done working for the day, I can walk home. (Previously, I had to hang around waiting for Dr. Skull to finish working and come pick me up, and on days when I had workshop at night, I had to stay all day and into the evening, which meant an exhausting 14 hour day.) This means I am able to write every day, instead of just on the weekends and sometimes on the days I don't teach.

(2) Because I'm walking home, I get more exercise. Also it's a beautiful walk.

(3) The house has lovely hardwood floors, and big windows with wide window sills. It also has a tiny screened back porch, which the French doors open onto. Now that fall has (finally) arrived, we have the windows and the French doors open most of the time. The cats love the little porch, and the dog loves sitting on the window sills grumbling at the squirrels in our little forest.

Jasper on the window sill

(4) As I think I mentioned previous, the house sits on about an acre of wooded land. This gives it a secluded feeling which really isn't legitimate -- we're right in the middle of the city, maybe two miles from the heart of downtown Fort Smith, and only a mile from the interstate. But all these trees create a sound barrier, and someone very close by has chickens, and a rooster, so it feels rural here.

(5) Also we have rabbits living in the hedgerow.

(6) Did I mention we have a hedgerow?

(7) The house is maybe sixty or seventy years old, and has all the features of an older house -- the doors are all solid wood, the doorknobs are all heavy brass, the floors are wooden, the windows are casement windows, sort of, vertical windows that crank outwards. There's a swinging door on the kitchen, and the only closet is in the master bedroom, and has clearly been added on. The garage is detached, and also had been clearly added on. There's a little dog run between it and the house. Also, it has a tin roof, which is proving to be interesting, now that the oak trees are shedding their acorns. In short, there are many adorable features. Did I mention the metal chairs under the fruit tree out back? I can't figure out what the fruit is. Maybe in the spring.

(8) A gas stove. I love gas stoves.

(9) A gas fireplace. It hasn't been cold enough to use this yet, but I am expecting to love it.

(10) Wonderful spaces in wonderful rooms. I wish I hadn't lost my phone, because I'd like to insert a picture here of the tiny area where I have my office. Maybe I will get the kid (the kid is home for his fall break -- he took the picture of the cat above) to take one for me later, and add it in. The front room, where we have most of the books, and also our work table, is also beautiful. That's where the fireplace is. Here's the view from Dr. Skull's office:

Also a view of our back acres

(11) A wonderful landlord. Seriously, not only has he fixed everything that we've asked him to fix, promptly and at once -- including a tree that went down the first week we moved in -- he has, of his own free will, bought a new air conditioning and heating system to replace the ancient heating system and window units that the house came with.

Things we don't like:

Really not much. The old house was within walking distance of a post office, a branch of the public library, and a wonderful little grocery store, and this house is within walking distance of nothing except the university, so we have to drive if we want to go buy anything. That's the one drawback, I guess.

Oh, and for the first three weeks we got mail only now and then, which caused us to miss paying some bills, which annoyed the electric company. But that's all straightened out now and we're getting mail regularly at last.

Thanks again to everyone who helped us move! We love it here so much!

In better news...

Red Wombat attends a protest.

Thread here



Friday, October 18, 2019

My Kid Does Art

A self-portrait for Inktober:

Thursday, October 17, 2019

I'm Told...

....that it's my duty to share this tweet, and far be it from me to shirk my duty to free speech, God, and country:

Friday, October 11, 2019

The Propaganda Machine Works

An October 3 USA Today/Ipsos poll found that while non-Fox viewers support impeachment by a margin of 51% to 31%, Fox viewers oppose it 71% to 17%. As Media Matters’ Matt Gertz wrote last month, this is why Fox News exists

More here

Monday, October 07, 2019

What's Impeachable about the Phone Call?

In case you're still confused, Vox Media put out a simple and clear explanation. It even gives background on the Biden/Burisma issue. All in less than seven minutes!

More Inktober Art from the Kid

This might be my favorite:


Warren's Rise in the Polls

538 has an interesting post on why Warren is shooting up in the polls. Read it here.

This chart interested me especially:

Her support is rising among moderates and Conservatives as well. I suppose that might be "moderate Conservatives," by which 538 means "not MAGA Americans." So not people watching Fox News; or not people who have lost the ability to differentiate between facts and propaganda.

But still!

(To be perfectly clear, I will vote for a yellow dog if that's what the Democratic ticket runs. Anything but the GOP. We have to votes these liars and thieves out of power. Still, I have to say, I like Warren.)


Saturday, October 05, 2019

When You Get Your Information from People

...who are paid to lie to you, well, don't be surprised when they tell you lies:

Mr. Flyover Guy

You may have seen the post David Brooks wrote, a purported dialogue between "Urban Man" and "Flyover Man." For those of us who actually live in what Brooks considers flyover country, the middle of the country, and for those of us who know white men who support Trump, reading this editorial was an odd experience.

In this lazy piece of writing, Brooks selects one parodic talking point after the next: Democrats want open borders; Trump supporters are hard men who work with their hands while East Coast Liberals are Softies who sit in offices all day; Democrats are Radicals;Trump supporters are just worried about making a living and protecting their Way of Life.

It is clear, from reading this editorial, that Brooks didn't bother to speak to someone from the "Flyover Country" he pretends to have such sympathy with.

But fortunately, in this article, "In the Land of Self-Defeat," we have someone writing about "flyover country" who not only does speak to actual people from the middle of the country, but who is from these parts. Monica Potts is from Arkansas, about 150 west of where I live. I don't know her, but the struggle she talks about, to get more money for the local library, is one we recently went through here in the Fort. (We lost, for the exact reasons she and her town lost.)

...many here seem determined to get rid of the last institutions trying to help them, to keep people with educations out, and to retreat from community life and concentrate on taking care of themselves and their own families. It’s an attitude that is against taxes, immigrants and government, but also against helping your neighbor.

This is an article you should read if you want to understand Trump voters: their determined ignorance, their short-sightedness, their xenophobia, their meanness (in both senses of the word). This is what motivates them. The key line is the one where the woman says they don't need a librarian with a four-year degree, because how hard is it to learn the Dewey Decimal system?

When we were trying to get a quarter-cent increase on property taxes here in Fort Smith so that we could get more funding for the library, the talking point our MAGA Americans put about was why did the library need more funding? The shelves were already full of books.

When we first moved here, I wondered why none of the streets had sidewalks. I wondered why the local parks were so terrible. They've only gotten worse. And recently, of course, the local animal shelter has shut down for lack of funding. Stray animals wander around, sick and starving. Liberals start GoFundMe campaigns to rescue sick kittens, while MAGA Americans rage about how terrible it is that "those people" dump their animals by the highway.

And my students work 30 hours a week while taking care of their little brothers and sisters, or their kids, and carrying a full-time load. But don't worry! If MAGA Americans have their way, soon these students won't be getting a university degree at all. They'll all be working service jobs, for minimum wage, with no health care, and being mocked for living in their parents' basements.

Read the article. See the real MAGA American. See the USA the GOP wants us to live in.

Friday, October 04, 2019

My Kid Does Art

This is today's Inktober Art:

Thursday, October 03, 2019


Elizabeth Warren responds to Jacob Wohl's bizarre claim that she's a cougar:

No wonder she's shooting up in the polls.

My Big Question... how are these people getting such cheap health insurance?

Ours costs nearly $7000/year with dental and vision, and that's subsidized by the UA system. That's for the family plan. And that is with a serious yearly deductible (nearly $6000 a year) and co-pays on almost everything. As I've noted before, that deductible means, in practice, that we can't really use the health insurance, since we can't afford the co-pays for anything at all.

Apparently we've got really crappy health insurance.

ETA: Or apparently those numbers are bullshit

Donald Trump Tweets

Imagine thinking this will impress anyone.

Now imagine being someone who is impressed by this.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019