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    • And So Net Neutrality Ends In The US
      Not unexpected. This will make direct competition with entrenched players nearly impossible, since they will be able to buy access to customers, and upstarts won’t. The Internet as a place where anybody could start a new business will constrict. Oligopoly and monopoly providers (and many areas effectively have only one ISP) will extract even higher […]
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Giving Season

Granny Starver Ryan is planning to retire next year but that doesn’t mean the legislation he and his party passed won’t have an effect on less fortunate Americans.

Think about making a recurring donation to a charity or NGO that services the poor. Or consider donating to Puerto Rico hurricane relief at Somebody Help Us.

My choice is Feeding America. You will be surprised at how far your small recurring donation will go to make sure no child in America goes to bed hungry.

If you can’t give money, give your time. I have volunteered at my local food bank stocking shelves, preparing emergency food packages and helping clients fill their shopping baskets. Food banks help those who may have come up short in food stamps or are otherwise facing a food emergency. Get to know these people and fill your heart with compassion, not judgement.

Think out of the box.

Solstice is coming.

“Sire, the night is darker now

And the wind blows stronger

Fails my heart, I know not how

I can go no longer.”

“Mark my footsteps, good my page

Tread thou in them boldly

Thou shall find the winter’s rage

Freeze thy blood less coldly.”

In his master’s step he trod

Where the snow lay dinted

Heat was in the very sod

Which the Saint had printed

Therefore, Everyone, be sure

Wealth or rank possessing

Ye, who now will bless the poor

Shall yourselves find blessing.

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The New South is Rising

The data out of Alabama about who voted for Doug Jones in Tuesday should make the GOP nervous.

Be afraid, GOP, be very afraid.

There’s a very good reason why they’re trying to ram a bad tax bill through and want to hand the internet over to the Telecoms who will owe them big time next year.

I’m going to guess that turning the internet into just another packaged deal for the cable companies is going to turn out younger voters like you have never seen before. Net Neutrality may be the single thing that finally does the Republicans in.

Go ahead, touch that third rail.

In the meantime, guys like this one give me hope. Oh, sure, you might not be able to download him quickly after next year. But he’ll still be out there. Yep. Rednecks are liberals too.

**********************************

Texas Republican Blake Farenthold is a dick and a bully. No one should have to work under these conditions. Shame of the House of Representatives for not disciplining him and getting him to resign.

Michael Rekola, who was Farenthold’s communications director in 2015, described in an interview with CNN new details of the congressman’s abusive behavior. It ranged from making sexually graphic jokes to berating aides — bullying that Rekola says led him to seek medical treatment and psychological counseling, and at one point, caused him to vomit daily.

One comment from the congressman was especially personal. Rekola was about to leave town to get married in July 2015, when, he said, Farenthold, standing within earshot of other staffers in his Capitol Hill office, said to the groom-to-be: “Better have your fiancée blow you before she walks down the aisle — it will be the last time.” He then proceeded to joke about whether Rekola’s now-wife could wear white on her wedding day — a clear reference, Rekola said, to whether she had had premarital sex.

“I was disgusted and I left. I walked out,” Rekola said. Almost immediately after returning from his wedding, he gave his two-weeks notice.

Those crude remarks in the summer of 2015 marked just one of many instances in which Farenthold made sexually charged comments to or in the presence of aides, Rekola said. During the nine months that he worked for the congressman, Rekola said, he was also subject to a stream of angry behavior not sexual in nature — screaming fits of rage, slamming fists on desks and castigating aides, including regularly calling them “f**ktards.”

Blake Farenthold and Ted Cruz, Texas role models.

********************************************

Speaking of that third rail, Business Insider has a post about what you can expect after net neutrality is ended. This is how they do it in Portugal. You know how you can’t get certain channels on cable unless you buy stuff you don’t want? Something similar will happen with Netflix and Hulu or instant messaging. Yes! That unlimited messaging that you ALREADY pay your wireless service for could be charged again when you come home and switch to your home’s WiFi.

Isn’t that special?

If you like your health insurance choices, you’re going to love the new internet from Comcast under no net neutrality.

********************************

The Conversation has a post by Frank McAndrew, at the psychology department at Knox College about why year end celebrations like winter solstice, Christmas and Hanukkah are so important to people. To me, this suggests what it is that cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses are disrupting when they cut their followers off from those celebrations and why they do it:

The Zuni of the American Southwest, meanwhile, have long viewed the house as a living thing. It’s where they raise their kids and communicate with spirits, and there’s an annual ritual – called the Shalako – in which homes are blessed and consecrated as part of the year-end winter solstice celebration.

The ceremony strengthens bonds to the community, to the family (including dead ancestors), and to the spirits and gods by dramatizing the connection each party has to the home.

During the holidays, we might not officially bless our home like the Zuni. But our holiday traditions probably sound familiar: eating with family, exchanging gifts, catching up with old friends and visiting old haunts. These homecoming rituals affirm and renew a person’s place in the family and often are a key way to strengthen the family’s social fabric.

Home, therefore, is a predictable and secure place where you feel in control and properly oriented in space and time; it is a bridge between your past and your present, an enduring tether to your family and friends.

It explains so much about how ex-JW kids react to the holidays.

People, do not do this to your children.

************************************

We’re all in this together. Everybody sing:

Leahy on Net Neutrality.

Enough with the afterglow, people. Net Neutrality is going down tomorrow.

Senator Patrick Leahy released the following statement about how Ajit Pai is about to break the internet and turn it into just another rent seeking asset for the cable company:

More from Detroit Free Press on what is at stake.

Didn’t that feel good?

BiFF woke me up with a ping when the election was called for Doug Jones in Alabama:

Come on, you know that kicking Donald Trump’s ass was the most satisfying thing that has happened in the last year.

Bringing him to his knees, making him apologize to Kirsten Gillibrand, would be delicious. But I’ll take Doug Jones winning the senate seat from deep Dixie Alabama. That was orgasmic.

I want multiple orgasms. Let’s do it again deeper and harder in every Congressional district in the country.

THANK YOU, ALABAMA!!

******************************

The biggest losers after last night are evangelical “Christians”. I’m listening to CNN this morning and the disgust with them is palpable. They have exposed themselves as the stupid and hypocritical people some of us have always thought they were. They are starting to look like crazy fools.

Emphasis on fools.

Their spokesmen are going to be mocked on talking head shows for decades.

I’d like to think they are toast but the have a weird ability to see “The Signs” in everything.

Please.

{{rolling eyes}}

Can we stop being so damned respectful to these immoral, destructive people?

(By the way, if you are religious and you are offended with me lumping you together with the self-righteous supporters of the pussy grabber in chief who champions guys like teen chick magnet Roy Moore and sadist Joe Arpaio, then it’s up to YOU to distance yourself from them. Otherwise, you’re going to get splattered by the same crap)

*********************************

And then there is this from USA Today:

Here’s my opinion, FWIW:

The public sentiment is not on your side anymore, Trump voter, if it ever was. There were just an awful lot of very complacent people last year who thought the Lady was going to win because they knew she was the most honest, decent and intelligent candidate there was. I kid you not. So they sat out the election because they thought only ignorant idiots would vote for Donald Trump. It turns out that they didn’t realize how the electoral college could be worked or that Russians and hackers might get involved.

You never were the majority. You never represented anyone except well off white men. If you are a woman and you voted for that putrid orange rot in the Oval Office, then you collaborated in demotion to second class citizen for yourself, your daughters and granddaughters.

He’s had almost one year to strip decency, the rule of law and equality from this country in order to reward himself and his rich cronies. You know this and you cheered him on.

But now the heat is on him because we are angry and we want him and his party of conciliators out.

So, I expect that in the next couple of weeks while we get even more incensed over the loss of net neutrality, the gutting of our federal budget and his steadfast stubborn adolescent refusal to apologize for calling Kirsten Gillibrand a whore, you, Trump voter are going to be treated with the same disregard and anger as you showed poor people, poor mothers with children, African American people, trans people who just want to use the fucking bathroom, Muslim people, women who want to time their children or have none at all, non-believers, disabled people, immigrants who were brought here as children and are American in every way but name, the list goes on and on.

They did nothing to deserve callousness and scorn. YOU did.

I expect that many of you will pretend to reform yourselves. “Oh, I see now what a jerk he is”, you’ll say. “I don’t know what I was thinking”. And you’ll try to fit in to polite society and not be like one of the last desperate holdout white guys whining about how unfair life has been to them.

But we’ve seen your ugly hearts and we would be stupid to EVER turn our backs on you again. What is in you is part of who you are. You showed it to us. You were just waiting for the right leader to come along to let it out. You are dangerous to the rest of us.

We are going to root your people out of government and avoid you at parties and in our neighborhoods. You can all commiserate together and that’s fine with us because when you’re all together, you’ll be easier to see and avoid.

We know who you are now.

*********************************

Donald is busy with some blaming and revisionist history this morning:

Pathetic.

**********************************

Now, Net Neutrality.

“Without Net Neutrality, your internet connection becomes more like Cable TV@

It’s ok when Republicans do it?

This story in the NYTimes about Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold is interesting:

WASHINGTON — When Lauren Greene, a former communications director for Representative Blake Farenthold, sued him claiming sexual harassment, among her complaints was that he “disclosed that a female lobbyist had propositioned him for ‘a threesome.’”

Mr. Farenthold, in legal documents, said that Ms. Greene had it wrong. The woman wasn’t a lobbyist, he said.

Have you seen Blake Farenthold??

All together now:

Ewwww

I don’t get it. I wouldn’t want to get within20 yards of the guy much less join a threesome with him. Is it the power thing that goes to their heads or do they really think they’re hot?

Must be a Republican thing.

In any case, he’s supposedly notorious for having a hostile work environment. So, I’m sure we can count on him to do the right thing and resign.

I know right? Hysterical.

*******************************

Good luck to Doug Jones in Alabama. There are many good reasons to vote for him. He’ll be a crucial vote to protect social security, Medicaid and Medicare. He prosecuted domestic terrorists who murdered little girls, and he has nothing against women and African Americans exercising their right to vote.

Unlike his opposition.

See? I didn’t mention pedophilia once.

We shall see how screwed up Alabama is by the end of the day.

Try to surprise us, y’all.

*********************************

Spotify says this was one of my most played songs of 2017. Weird. I can’t remember playing it at all. Must have fallen asleep with it on a loop.

Drosselmeier

I saw my first Nutcracker at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in July 1972. That’s where the NY City Ballet does its summer performances. It was a hot day, I had to take my little sister who couldn’t sit still through the performance, the amphitheater was filled with camp kids on a field trip and the best seats I could get on my babysitting money was partial vision behind a pillar.

Still, it was magical. I was in awe when the Christmas tree grew and grew and Marie’s bed twirled and flew across the stage. The tempo that the NYCB dances to made the ballet fast without any dull spots. And for a kid who grew up without a childhood filled with Christmas and presents, it was the best I was going to get. It was spectacular.

The whole NYCB performance from 1993 is available on youtube. There’s an ABT version as well featuring the ethereal Gelsey Kirkland with Mikail Barishnikov but I prefer this one because the emphasis is on the integration of music with dance instead of star power.one of the surprising things about Balanchine choreography is how much he gives the corps to do. His corps dancers are not just standing around striking poses. Their pieces are technically challenging and fast. Not surprising for a company that might pull a corps dancer into a major role on a moments notice. In the NYCB, a corps dancer is not just background filler.

If you are looking for a star in this version, McCauley Culkin dances the part of The nephew of Herr Drosselmeier, the magical godfather who brings Marie her Nutcracker. Darci Kistler is the Sugarplum Fairy and the choreography is outstanding. I just realized that the part that takes place at Marie’s house takes up the first half of the ballet and it’s so festive and lively that time flies. Not a single snowflake falls until half way through. Then it’s waltzes and flowers and Mirlitons and flutes and dreams of sugar plums.

Take a break from the news. Refresh and recharge. Have a peppermint stick and cocoa and enter a fairyland of Christmas.

Here are some other Nutcrackers to keep the kids entertained while you’re wrapping presents, making cookies or trimming the tree. Every version is different with varying dance styles, story lines and folk dances.

San Francisco’s Ballet (2007)

ABT Nutcracker (Kirkland and Barishnikov)

Snowflakes from A Hard Nut 😏

Mariinsky (Kirov) Nutcracker.

Bolshoi Nutcracker

Nutcracker in 360° (Royal Ballet)

Slovak National Ballet Nutcracker

Cascanueces- Paris Opera Ballet

Slurs

I saw the clip of Donald slurring his words during his speech about his short sighted and possible dangerous decision to recognize Jerusalem officially as the capital of Israel.

I’d like to think it’s dementia so that we could invoke the 25th amendment but then Pence has been chomping at the bit since the beginning to displace Donald in a coup and usher in a theocracy.

But what it actually looks like is someone who is old, overweight, unattractive and stupid who simply hasn’t had enough rest. He looks like he lacks stamina. He’s weak and pudgy and soft. He’s slurring his words because his mouth is dry and his tongue has lost muscle tone (sooo, Melania is safe). He’s looking and sounding his age, which is no small feat for a guy who has money to burn, could afford a personal trainer and definitely needs a better esthetician to deal with the tanning bed raccoon eyes. So, there’s my personal assessment.

He probably thinks he’s still hot. Or anyway, his money is hot for women who have incredibly low standards. In his mind, he’s like Austin Powers. “Do I make you horny baby? Do I make you randy?”

Ew.

**********************************

Preet Barhara interviewed chess champion and Russian dissident Gary Kasparov this week. Kasparov’s take on the Flynn involvement doesn’t have anything to do with money laundering or the Magnitsky Act. Kasparov says to understand how Flynn is involved you have to look at how Putin stayed his hand when he could have dismissed American diplomats from Russia in retaliation for what Obama did to punish Russians for their interference in the election. That’s where Flynn passed the message to the Russian ambassador to Putin that Trump was going to fix things. Kasparov says he is 100% sure that the assurance came from Trump to Flynn. I don’t know how he knows this. Maybe he has special knowledge, maybe he just gamed it out.

Anyway, good interview, worth a listen.

******************************

If Franken goes out today, I hope he takes a slew of Republicans with him. What he’s accused of doesn’t sound like harrassment to ME. (I tweeted a #metoo on one thing but I could have tweeted about another). Ok, maybe the last one does but I’d have to understand the context. In any case, doesn’t pass the Roy Moore test by any stretch. And where there are Democrats culling their own, I’m betting there are a HUGE number of Republicans who are worse.

*******************************

I had a good run last night and burned off the petit fours. Felt so good I ran up the stairs to the fourth floor this morning and skipped the elevator. And I haven’t slurred a single word yet.

Every morning when I wake, a feeling soon begins to overtake me.

Ringing in my ears resounds through my brain; it finally surrounds me.

There is fire, there is life, there is passion, fever and fury.

There is love and there is hate, there is longing, anger and worry.

Oh, I have a flame; feel it touch my heart.

And down at my core is the hottest part.

I can burn without fuel.