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    • What May’s Brexit Deal Tells Us About The EU and Britain’s Future
      So, May has a Brexit deal. It’s a terrible deal, which makes the UK subject to many EU laws, and which doesn’t allow Britain to withdraw from the deal if the EU doesn’t want it to. This has caused ministerial resignations, and Corbyn has come out against it. But the interesting part is what the […]
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Shout out to Atmika Pai

If you’re into Astronomy and Coding (and I know who you are), check out The Universe 42. Sounds like Atmika is a Douglas Adams fan.

Her blog description reads:

“Astronomical Coder: Learn to code the universe at your fingertips.” She’s using VPython. BiFF knows how I struggle with coding but you’re never too old, right, BiFF?

I SAID, RIGHT, BiFF??

I love blogs like Atmika’s. So much to read there. She’s got a fantastic post on super moons and eclipses over India. Best wishes for her to fill it out with wonderful content and develop an audience of millions.

Also, don’t forget to check out Mike’s blog Elemental Fractal for fractal art. Beautiful.

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Theme Song for the Trump Years

SOTU: Bigger, Better, Faster, MORE!

Hey, time for the live blog of the first (and perhaps last) Trump State of the Uniom address. The theme of this speech is “Safer, Stronger, and Proud”

Let’s review:

Safer – this follows the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas

Stronger – yep, he really scared the bejeesus out of Kim Jung Un.

Prouder- Ok, let’s not go there. We’re never going to live Trump down.

Annnnnyway, fill your glasses. Let’s drink to:

Safe, strong, weak, proud, terror, Guantanamo, urban, shot, murder, fear, strength, immigrants, gangs, opioids, drug dealers, drug dealers from Mexico – in gangs… you get the picture.

Son of American Carnage

oh and unity, unify, infrastructure, tax cuts, stock markets

Let’s do it. Everybody drink.

Dinner for State of the YumYum

Food porn

High Crimes, Misdemeanors and Devin Nunes

Did I recommend Slow Burn a Podcast about Watergate? Host Leon Nayfog takes listeners to the backstory about Watergate and how a seemingly inconsequential break-in of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in 1972 lead to the resignation of Richard Nixon.

At the beginning, no one had any idea how serious the initial crime and subsequent coverup would be. Republicans circled the wagons at first, trying to protect their guy and brushing the whole investigation off. But slowly, over the course of two years as more information leaked out, public sentiment started to shift. By the summer of 1974, the president who had won the White House in a landslide had a 25% approval rating.

Today’s episode is about the impeachment process. What we should have learned back in 1972-74 was just how full of holes the Constitution is. There are only a few terms that refer to concrete actions, such as treason, that are punishable by impeachment. “High crimes and misdemeanors” was ill-defined. Elizabeth Holzmann, Democratic House Representative from Brooklyn was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee that was tasked to draw up articles of impeachment. She said they first had to understand what high crimes and misdemeanors meant. And here is the key: at the time the Constitution was drafted, the US had no criminal code. So, high crimes and misdemeanors referred to a political act and/or an abuse of power.

See where I’m going here?

If not, review the way Trump harassed Andrew McCabe, his subordinate, about his wife losing the seat she was running for in Virginia or how he lost his temper when McCabe allowed Comey to take a government flight back to Washington after he was fired. Trump does not understand self-restraint. He is a mean spirited, vengeful man and he abuses the people who work for him. You might think that he’s just a tough boss but it goes farther than that.

Ok, so Holzmann says she sympathized with her Republican colleagues because some of the districts they represented went big for Nixon. And there were a couple Republicans who had the guts to impeach Nixon but they thought they were the only ones. It turns out they weren’t.

I bring this up because Rodney Frelinghuysen, a Republican representing NJ-11, representing the working class but particularly the swank suburbs of Passaic County, indicated yesterday that he was retiring at the end of his term. That’s one more Republican who will have a little more leeway to vote his conscience, provided he has one.

But what about Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence committee and zealot who appears to be ready to burn secret government assets in order to protect the president from scrutiny? He’s a Republican from California’s Salinas valley. We can pretty much guess how his constituency of rural residents and farmers voted in 2016. Still, the tax “reform” bill is going to slam California’s residents and there was little ambiguity about the fact that the Republicans and president’s intent in passing it was partially to punish the blue states.

I have to wonder how far Devin Nunes’ approval rating has to drop before he starts feeling the heat. Where is the resistance movement in Fresno? What are they up to?

And what about the recent signs that the media may be regretting what it did to Hillary Clinton? How about the op/ed by Jeffrey Toobin admitting that he willfully engaged in false equivalency coverage of Clinton or WaPo’s recent post about Hillary Clinton’s still steadfast supporters who would vote for her again. Or the outburst of cheering at the Grammys the other night when she read a passage from Fire and Fury in a skit on best spoken word?

Is it any wonder that Trump is still obsessed with Hillary and her win over him?

We like her. A lot.

Nayfog ended the first season of Slowburn with a series of whatif questions. The resignation of Richard Nixon was never assured. So many things had to happen and so many people had to agree to do the right thing and put the country before their own personal fortunes. It’s less likely that Republicans will hold Trump accountable even though his high crimes and misdemeanors are at least equal to Nixon’s while his personality, character and intelligence doesn’t even come close to that the worst president we have ever had.

Who is going to stand up to him?

Well?

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

BiFF is in town. We’re going to watch the state of the uniom speech tonight. Stay tuned for a live blog later.

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

Tweet du Jour:

Ruh-Roh.

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

Sometimes it’s difficult to know who to follow on twitter when it comes to matters dealing with the department of justice. I’m recommending Preet Bharara, the US Attorney that Trump fired last year. The reason is because Preet doesn’t come off as a partisan hack and he doesn’t get your hopes up about the Mueller investigation. He tells you straight on what is happening based on his personal experience and what the limitations of the justice system are. For example, don’t get the idea that Robert Mueller is some kind of liberal hero. He doesn’t have an agenda. He’s just doing his job to get to the truth and serve justice. If there’s no there there, Mueller is not going to act like some kind of partisan Javert and keep digging and digging until he finds something on Trump. Preet also seems to be a guy with good ideas about how to keep this from happening again. So, follow Preet and be sure to subscribe to his podcast. You’ll get a good background for following what’s going on without BS or bias and you’ll be a much harder target for misdirection and obfuscation.

The sound of the resistance wins a Grammy

Portugal the Man won a Grammy last night for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance over the ubiquitous Despacito.

No surprise there really. The song is the sound of something bubbling up. The video is full of resistance imagery like a burning “Info Wars” newspaper, a raised fist and Black Lives Matters.

Many awards shows are platforms for whatever messages the artists think are important at the time. The Golden Globes a couple weeks ago was all about #metoo. It’s very of the moment. But Feel It Still was a hit last summer and seemed destined to be swamped by Despacito being played almost non-stop.

Not so fast. Feel It Still is for anyone who is still feeling the anger of having our country taken over by a minority of ignorant bigots who don’t seem to know when the billionaire class is robbing them blind. The rest of us are going to be feeling it all the way to November.

Art is more than pretty pictures and bubbly music. Artists are very powerful. The backlash is coming but this resistance has got legs. It’s no exaggeration to say it has the safety and prosperity of the world in its clenched fist. It’s a little more important right now than a Spanish flavored jelly roll.

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

Puzzling tweet this morning:

Really? I’m surprised that anyone in Congress is struggling with the ethical implications of Donald Trump firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The misdirection, faux indignation and smearing of reputations is significant from the right but it’s remarkably easy to blow all the smoke away when you compare what Trump is alleged to have done with what Nixon actually did that eventually forced him to resign before he was impeached. While the methods may have changed, the plot of the story is weirdly identical.

Both Trump’s and Nixon’s campaigns illegally broke into the DNC and stole information. The break ins were reported at the time but they were played down. Then when they got caught, both presidents tried to cover it up and obstruct Justice. Both presidents tried to fire the investigators. Nixon succeeded. Trump appears to be waiting forhis party’s propaganda machine on Fox News to sway public opinion by throwing sand in its audience’s eyes. THEN he’ll fire him, claiming that it will be impossible to get a fair hearing.

The thing is, Trump has been so used to paying his way out of trouble all his life and never being held accountable for anything that he thinks this might actually work.

But the similarity to the Watergate scandal is just too hard to miss, unless you actually *prefer* being a fool. My aunt was telling me how confused she was just the other night and in less than 2 minutes, I cleared up any confusion by comparing the details of The Russia affair to watergate and Trump to Nixon. It was that easy. She’s been foolproofed. It will be harder to distract her now.

I’ve noticed less Fox News on these days as well. It’s not in every waiting room any more. And there are very few other news outlets that are following its lead. I think the lack of a soul, ethics, morality and decency are starting to be more blatantly obvious on Fox and the people who once found punching liberals entertaining are less amused by how the channel makes them feel like they need a shower lately. There’s no feeling more powerful in politics than disgust and decent people will avoid it if possible.

I’m more likely to find my formerly Fox watching relatives tuning in to Rachel Maddow these days. Her way of telling a story is mesmerizing and it might just be giving Hannity and Carlson some legit competition. Oh, sure, Fox could always find a way to triumph but like I said, the confusion is easy to clear. Too easy.

If I were the Republicans, I’d be worried more about that than putting on the kabuki theater of trying to protect the president’s “honor”.

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

Trump says he is not a feminist.

Apparently, this is news. 🙄

He is for EVERYONE! Isn’t that special? KellyAnne Conway, who was a post doc under Satan himself (or Newt Gingrich), had this to say about why she is not a feminist:

“It’s difficult for me to call myself a feminist in the classic sense because it seems to be very anti-male and it certainly is very pro-abortion, and I’m neither anti-male or pro-abortion. So, there’s an individual feminism, if you will, that you make your own choices . . . . I look at myself as a product of my choices, not a victim of my circumstances.”

There’s another good reason why Kellyanne is not a feminist. I’m pretty sure she failed the entrance exam.

Anti-male and pro-abortion are not in our bylaws. Does anyone know anyone who is PRO-Abortion? What does that even mean?? I mean, seriously, it’s funny to imagine how a PRO-abortionist does activism. Is it mandatory to get pregnant first? What if you’re a woman and you can’t have an abortion because you can’t get pregnant. Can you still be a feminist? I guess a PRO-abortionist is by definition anti-men since any person in their post feminist utopia who can’t get pregnant would be a second class citizen. Would there really be a purpose for them if they couldn’t fulfill their responsibilities of citizenship?

I’m just pulling your leg, Fox News ladies. We know you have trouble with humor and satire so we’ll point this out as we go along to make it easy for you.

🙄

In the same article we find this more accurate definition of feminism:

Author and professor Cheris Kramarae once famously said: “Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.”

There is no personal feminism that promotes your own humanity but not the humanity of other women. Conway’s personal feminism does not exist. No, no, don’t even. It doesn’t count if you’re just the one in charge in your family.

Work on that before the next entrance exam coming up in November. There will be an essay question. And don’t use the label until you get your card in the mail. We’ve got standards.

{{sigh}} Where to begin…

No, seriously, I have to do some deep cleaning this weekend and I don’t know where to start. Apartment Therapy usually runs their January Cure at the start of the year but I didn’t sign up for it this year. Let’s face it, even when I sign up for it, I put it off until February. Then reason that it’s a group activity and I’ve missed out. It’s hard to clean solo instead of with all the other thousands of readers busily getting their sh*t off the floor and scrubbing their bathroom grout with a toothbrush and a paste of baking soda and water.

Does anyone actually use that stuff for cleaning? What’s wrong with apocalyptic purification with bleach and ammonia? Ok, not at the same time. But you know what I mean.

One thing I’ve come to realize is that I live in this three bedroom house by myself so why the hell am I stuffing all my clothes into one closet?? I can jam things into multiple closets without guilt. I can be as irresponsible as I want to be with my things. And I have been. They are literally everywhere. In fact, at the end of the sofa where I am sitting, there is a pile of sweaters and scarves and a jacket on top of the pillows and two unfolded throws.

How long can I put it off while I’m writing this?

Grrr…

Ok, I need some audio book recommendations. Preferably 5 star distractions so I will be absorbed in the cleaning thing. Please no romance novels. 🙄 I like historical fiction, speculative fiction, sci-fi/fantasy, mysteries (think Jo Nesbo and Tana French), biographies, war histories (The Irregulars and The Last Lion were fantastic), science and anthropology (anything by Jared Diamond). Stuff like that. I have 4 credits. Go!

And a little cleanup song:

Hey! What are the chances I’ll finally paint the spare bedroom and hang the drapes??

Yeah, didn’t think so.

SOS: send cleaning crew.<<<<<
t;<<<<
gt;<<
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