Monday, October 31, 2016

Intensive Care Unit Babies Become Superheroes In Kansas City

An itty bitty Batman rests in the NICU of
St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City. Photo by Sally Morrow
I'm not a dad, but I can imagine how crushingly scary it is to have a newborn baby in the intensive care unit.

These parents really just want their kids to have a nice, normal childhood free of hospital stays and worries about health and death. 

You can't take ill babies out the NICU, but you can take them into Halloween, and the normal kid stuff they should enjoy today.

So, the NICU at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City and the March of Dimes teamed up to make sure these little babies had their own Halloween costumes, says Good Morning America.

The kids are too young to understand Halloween, of course. (Hell, I'm 54 and I still don't understand Halloween). But the parents get a little levity and "normalcy" for themselves and their kids.

Parents get to pick out the Halloween costumes, based on the personality of their kids. There's lots of superheroes and butterflies and princesses in the NICU, and a couple of the obligatory Kansas City Royals baseball players.

Additionally, the families get the following, says Good Morning America:

"......the volunteers and nurses provided the families with a 'trick or treat, smell my feet' card with the newborns' tiny footprints, a hand-crocheted pumpkin filled with treats and a Halloween book that the parents and babies can read together next year."

This is a great idea that I hope spreads to NICU's all over the nation.

My Choice For Halloween Music: Elton John's "Funeral For A Friend/Loves Lies Bleeding"

Everybody is playing dark, or humorously dark songs today as they play their favorite Halloween tunes.

It seems most people focus on "Monster Mash," and "Thriller."

Michael Jackson's "Thriller" is good, especially the Vincent Price spooky part.  

But the song I always turn to at Halloween is the epic Elton John classic "Funeral For A Friend/Loves Lies Bleeding."

I know Elton John and his songwriter Bernie Taupin weren't thinking Halloween when they came up with this song.

 It was about a bitter breakup. But the spooky synthesizer opening followed by the angry piano and guitar cords in the "Loves Lies Bleeding" second half just fit the mood of the day perfectly.

It's a long, sweeping song, but it's worth the listen today.

So here it is:

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Bachelor Party Ends In Mass Puppy Adoption

Guys at  bachelor party in the remote Tennessee
woods found abandoned puppies and the pups'
mother, so they adopted them on the spot. 
When you think of bachelor parties, the first words that come to mind aren't usually, "sweet." "kind," and "awwwwwww"

But one such bachelor party ended up just that way.

A bunch of guys from Michigan were celebrating the upcoming nuptials of one of their buddies in a remote cabin in the Tennessee woods.

It would be a fun five days of four wheeling, carousing, boozing and a grand old time.

During the guys' stay, a skittish, obviously malnourished dog showed up at the cabin door. They fed the dog, who hung around, knowing there'd be more food.

But the guys got alarmed when they noticed the dog had recently given birth and kept going off into a certain place in the woods.

So they followed and found the dog's seven puppies in a den under some brush.

Mitchell Craddock, the groom to be, described the situation to Michigan Live:

"'We're guessing they were maybe aroud five or six weeks old,' Craddock said, and although their mother was very malnourished, the pups were robust. 'We were proud of her,' he said. 'She gave everything she had to those puppies.'"

Smart mom, too, having the nerve to ask for help from humans even though she'd obviously been mistreated by  humans.

The guys naturally pulled the pups out and took care of them, too.  The stash of money for beer for the guys immediately turned into a puppy food fund instead.

The bachelor party dudes got so attached to the pups that they knew they couldn't just leave them when their four days of fun in Tennessee was over. So they took the pups home.

 Craddock adopted one of the puppies and four of his groomsmen adopted puppies as well. The other puppies and the mother were adopted by relatives of the groom and groomsmen, said the Huffington Post

All the dogs are doing well, and see each often because everybody who adopted the dogs lives fairly close to one another.

For the record, the puppies' names are now Brimmie, Rosie, Daisy, Knox, Gunner, Bear and Finn.

This turned out to be one of those bachelor parties where the strippers didn't strip, the booze didn't flow and nobody got arrested.

However, it was certainly one of the best bachelor parties ever. I know the dogs liked it a lot, too.

If you want to see for yourself how the puppies are doing, Michigan Live put out this little YouTube video of them:

Saturday, October 29, 2016

U.S. Deporting Man To South Korea; He Hasn't Been There Since He Was Three Years Old

Adam Crapser, 41, is about to be deported to South Korea
even though he hasn't been there since he was three years old.  
In a case that's both strange and mean-spirited, the United States is deporting a 41-year-old man with a wife and kids to South Korea.

He hasn't set foot in South Korea since he left that country to live with foster parents in the United States.

Adam Crapser was brought to the United States when he was three, but his abusive foster parents never filed his citizenship paperwork, reports Slate and numerous other news outlets.

He ended up being abused by various foster parents until he was kicked out of the house at 16. He was kind of messed up from the abuse and ended up committing a burglary, and getting an assault conviction for a fight with a roommate. He also violated a protective order from an ex-girlfriend when he tried to phone his son.

This all happened when he was young. Crapser by all accounts has cleaned up his life and is a law-abiding stay-at-home father to four children.

Well, he was until he was detained.

Slate says Crapser has been in detention for nine months and couldn't stand being there any longer. So he waived an appeal to fight the forced removal from the United States, says his attorney, Lori Walls.

According to the Associated Press:

"In an email Walls said Adam was eligible for a deportation reprieve called 'cancellation of removal' but the 'judge decided he did not deserve this relief.'

'He will be deported as soon as Immigration and Customs Enforcement makes the necessary arrangements,' Walls said. 'Adam, his family and advocates are heartbroken at the outcome.'"

I guess immigration officials figure rules and rules and they have to be adhered to no matter how nonsensical the results are of following those rules.

Crapser has little idea about the language, culture and job situation in South Korea, and unlike in the United States, he has no known family there.

But nope. His abusive foster parents didn't do the citizenship papers, and his criminal history means he's got to go. Even if he's been a good American for the past decade or more, even though he isn't officially American, in terms of citizenship papers.

Like I said let's just follow the "rules" even if they don't actually help anything.

Last year the Oregonian quoted him thusly:

"I care....I want to be here. I want to stay here. So I just ask everybody to just please,  you know, have some leniency on me... All I want to do is be the best American I can be. I don't want to be this broken, screwed up guy. Just don't take me out of the United States."

I'm sure South Korea is just itching to get this guy, too. I mean, couldn't he contribute more to American society than South Korean?

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Toronto Hospital For Sick Kids Has Ad That's Sick In A Great Way

A still from a great inspiration video from the Toronto
Hospital for Sick Chidren
The Toronto Hospital for Sick Children in Canada has struggled with its name.

Sounds depressing. A place where children go to suffer and be alone and have miserable lives.

Of course that's not the case. The hospital has put out a great new ad that turns the ill children at the hospital, and their parents, into superheroes.

That idea has been done before, but the way this ad works is incredible. Watch. It's awesome!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

I'd Vote For This Republican Based On His Great Campaign Ad

Charlyn Daugherty INTENSELY hopes her husband
Gerald is re-elected to the Travis County, Texas County Commission
I almost wish I lived in Travis County, Texas.

That's because Republican Gerald Daugherty is seeking re-election to the Travis County Commission.

The reason I'm gushing is because he might just win the competition for best campaign ad of 2016.

In the ad, we get why Daugherty's long-suffering wife really, REALLY hopes her husband gets re-elected.

Watch and enjoy:

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Latest Outrage: Pentagon Clawing Back Enlistment Bonuses To California Guardsmen

Robert D'Andrea, a retired Army Major, has been toldhe has to
repay $20,000 in enlistment bonuses because
recruiters improperly  issued the bonuses. So he's being
punished for somebody else's misdeed. Photo by Al Seib/LA Times. 

A couple days ago, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter suspended the clawbacks of bonuses given to Californial National Guard members.

It's possible the clawbacks might be reinstated at some point, at least for some people, though that's in doubt.

And what do you do with the people who already repaid the bonuses, which were given improperly, though the people that received them had no idea they were given the money wrongly.

Congress might step in and wipe the slate clean for everybody involved. But you can't trust Congress with anything these days.

It was nice of Ash Carter to suspend the clawbacks, but why did he, along with everybody else, wait to take action until bad publicity, courtesy of the LA Times, caused the uproar?

THAT, I'd like to hear.


I guess when you don't need extra soldiers to fight your wars, you throw them under the bus.

That seems to be the case with nearly 10,000 California National Guardsmen, who were enticed to serve with bonuses of up to $15,000 to fight in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Los Angeles Times, which broke the story Saturday,  tells us.

Says the LA Times:

"Nearly 10,000 soldiers, many of whom served multiple combat tours, have been ordered to repay large enlistment bonuses - and slapped with interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens if they refuse - after audits revealed widespread overpayments by the California Guard at the height of the wars last decade."

In other words, the California Guard brass improperly offered the bonuses, but its the soldiers who took the bonuses that are being punished, even though they had no idea the bonuses were improper.

The soldiers, understandably, are angry the Pentagon is reneging on ten year old agreements and imposing terrible financial hardships on veterans.

As one of many examples, The LA Times cited Robert Richmond, 48, who received a bonus, and then received permanent back and brain injuries in a road side bomb blast in Iraq. The Pentagon is trying to claw back more than $19,000 in bonuses, penalties and interest from Richmond.

He's too far in debt to qualify for a home loan, and doesn't know how to pay back the money.

"I signed a contract tht I literally risked my life to fulfill.....We want the somebody in the government, anybody, to say this is wrong and we'll stop going after this money," Richmond told the LA Times.

 So far, it does not appear the crooked leadership of the California Guard is getting in all that much trouble.

After a federal investigation regarding the bonuses started, Army Master Sgt. Toni Jaffe, California Guard's incentive manager, pleaded guilty to filing $15.2 million in false claims and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison, the Los Angeles Times said.

OK, fine, but, again, why are they punishing the soldiers who took the bonuses in good faith?

As always, it seems, the mucky-mucks don't get screwed for their misdeeds. Instead, their victims get victimized again.

Aren't you proud to be an American?

Now that the Los Angeles Times has thrown a harsh light on this scandal, politicians are finally falling all over each other to fix this mess.

The Pentagon says they were required to seek the reimbursements from the soldiers because it was a matter of law, something that only Congress can do.

God save us.

Anyway, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said there would be a House investigation on this issue, and called the situation disgraceful.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle now say they want to change the law to void the repayments.

Where were they, though, before the shit hit the fan and the publicity struck? After all, I'm sure some of these soldiers and veterans who were being harassed to repay the money contacted their local Congress Creatures, asking for help.

Couldn't legislation have been introduced before so much of this heartache happened? The Los Angeles Times said Congress has known about this situation for two years and did nothing. Why?

I hope this isn't another  case where we make soldiers risk their lives and throw them away. Can't we do better than this?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Another Journalist Arrested, Jailed For Covering Anti-Pipeline Protests In North Dakota.

Filmmaker Deia Schlosberg was arrested in North Dakota
for filming anti-pipeline demonstrators and could face
up to 45 years in prison. Add caption 
Last week, I thought sanity finally prevailed when a North Dakota judge dropped charges against Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman.

She'd documented an anti-oil pipeline demonstration by Native Americans that turned rather violent. (Guards for the company building the pipeline pepper sprayed protestors and threatened them with attack dogs.)

Goodman was charged with "rioting," mostly because her film of the incident turned viral, but a judge last week said the charge was unwarranted.

Yay! right?

Um, no.

Another journalist/film maker, Deia Schlosberg, was arrested in North Dakota more than a week ago and faces up to 45 years in jail, charged with conspiracy, along with activists Samuel Jessup and Michael Foster.

Reuters says the criminal complaint accuses Schlosberg of agreeing with Jessup and Foster two weeks in advance to "engage in conduct that would constitute theft of property" and of traveling to the pipeline site in the same vehicle as Jessup and Foster.

According to Reuters and other sources, Schlosberg was taken into custody early this month. For 48 hours, she was reported denied access to a lawyer.

The reports don't make clear what Schlosberg was supposedly going to steal, and of course a documentarian with a point of view would travel with people she's interviewing, and probably agreeing with.

Reuters said the Pembina County Sheriff's Office has repeatedly declined to comment. As if shutting up will make this mess go away.

Especially with the publicity this latest round of North Dakota anti-First Amendment censorship is getting.

A number of random celebrities are rallying around Schlosberg, including Neil Young, Mark Ruffalo,
and Daryl Hannah.

Whether the celebrities have any influence or not, North Dakota prosecutors really need to brush up on their Constitution.

I'm sure Schlosberg's work has a specific point of view, a slant, a bias, if you will, that North Dakota prosecutors don't like.  I'm guessing for sure she's on the side of the anti-pipeline demonstrators.

Of course those prosecutors are under no requirement to like her work. They, too have the First Amendment right to say she's biased, her journalism is unfair, her work is shoddy, if that's what they believe. They can yell these opinions from the rooftops and we'll all just have to suck it up and let them.

That's the deal in America.

What the state's attorneys and prosecutors in North Dakota can't do is shut journalists and documentarians up via criminal charges because they don't like what they're saying, or the way they're saying it.

State sponsored censorship, anyone?

State's Attorneys in North Dakota are elected positions, and it would be interesting to find out to what extent the oil pipeline companies contribute to their campaigns. I wonder how much those likely contributions are influencing decisions to press charges.

Meanwhile, the protests against the pipelines continue in North Dakota, with or without people filming it. About 80 people were arrested in demonstrations Saturday, says Reuters. 

Dramatic Video Shows Cop Saving Three Year Old Boy's Life

From a dash cam video. Granbury, Texas Police Officer
Chase Miller takes a boy who is not breathing from
his distraught parents and begins CPR. It worked. 
A viral video is going around showing the actions of a Granbury, Texas police officer saving the life of a three year old boy.

If you haven't seen it, it's scary, but a must-see. It's at the bottom of this post.  

Brayden Geis came down with a fever, had a seizure and suddenly stopped breathing one day earlier this month. His frantic parents called 9111.

Granbury, Texas Police Officer Chase Miller wasn't directly called to respond to the crisis, but he was in his cruiser nearby so he raced to the scene and got there before the ambulance showed up.

You could tell Miller is a pro. His dash cam shows Miller calmly taking the boy from his frantic mother and immediately start CPR. The mom, Bethany Hoover, obviously distraught, turns away, unable to look.

At one point, Miller needs to go get a CPR mask from his cruiser and calmly instructs Brayden's father, John Geis, how to continue CPR on his son, which he does until Miller comes back with the CPR mask.

After a few excruciating moments, you see everybody step back a bit in extreme relief. The boy is breathing again.

Thankfully, he's fine now. The doctors got his fever under control, and he's back to being a normal three year old.

As the NBC affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth reported, the boy and his parents returned later to the police station to thank Miller.

Miller, it turns out is so modest that he didn't tell his own wife when he got home that he saved the kid's life.

It's a dramatic video, but it's nice to see a good ending. Watch:

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Cher Updates "I Got You Babe" With James Corden, And It's Weird

James Corden and Cher have an, um, interesting take
on the classic "I Got You Babe."  
It's been a half decade since Sonny and Cher recorded the classic hit "I Got You Babe."

So, it's time for an update.

This week Cher and Late, Late Show host James Corden paired up to do an updated version of the song to keep up to date with our online culture.

Corden, dressed as Cher, and Cher, dressed, as, um, Cher, did an updated version called "I Got You Bae."

For the uninitiated, "Bae" means "before anyone else" and is Internet shorthand for "babe."

The Corden/Cher video is a little NSFW, but it is hilarious.

And given that Cher, now 70, is a big hit on social media, especially with her very active Twitter account, means that this version of the song works perfectly.

It does get a little weird. Sample (updated) lyric:

"When I text you an eggplant/You'll send me a nude on Snapchat."

Yeah, we haven't advanced much, have we?

Anyway, here's the bizarre and fun video:

Friday, October 21, 2016

Gold Star Father Khizr Khan Has New Devastating, Emotional Ad For Hillary, Against Trump.

Khizr Kahn is back with a devastating Hillary Clinton
ad, once again taking Donald Trump to task for the
kind of "America" Trump envisions.
Remember Khizr Kahn?

He was the American Muslim Gold Star dad who stood up at the Democratic National Convention last summer in support of Hillary Clinton, who questioned whether Donald Trump had ever even read the Constitution.  

Kahn's American military hero son died in Iraq in 2004, but his actions in the moment he died saved several other soldiers.

Donald Trump had a totally unnecessary feud with Kahn in the days and weeks after his convention appearance, which helped to erode Trump's popularity. (To be fair, Trump has done a LOT of things to erode his popularity.)

Khizr Kahn is back in the closing days of this sordid presidential campaign in a new, devastating ad for Hillary Clinton.

The highly emotional ad (If you watch it, below, there's a definite Kleexex alert with it.)

Kahn tells us the inspiring, tragic story of his son, then says, "I want to ask Mr. Trump: Would my son have a place in your America?"

Good question, Mr. Kahn. Most normal people would say absolutely. Kahn's son represents the best of American values and sacrifice.

Trump? I'm not so sure.

Watch the new Khizr Kahn/Hillary Clinton ad and judge for yourself:

Uber Driver Goes To The Dogs In Best Possible Way

Uber driver Jonathan Guarnano. (left) helps passengers
greet rescue dogs during his drives.  
Uber driver Jonathan Guarano wanted his passengers to know that rescuing dogs from shelters is a good thing.

OK, good, but he went one step further. He put rescue dogs in his car for his passengers to greet when they got in for rides to wherever they're going.

According to The Dodo, Guarano checked with animal welfare people first to make sure his car is safe for the pups.

Here's the resulting, charming video:

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Weird Couple Tells Waitress She Should Be Home Taking Care Of Her Nonexistent Husband

A South Carolina Cracker Barrel waitress recently
received a "tip" to stay home and be a housewife
because Jesus. 
It seems there's a certain segment of the population that gets off on telling wait staff in restaurants what to do with their personal lives.

Don't be gay, don't be fat, whatever.

A waitress at a South Carolina Crackle Barrel was recently told that she shouldn't be working, that her job is to stay home and take care of her husband and kids

Never mind said waitress has neither a husband, nor kids, notes television station WBTV in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Instead of leaving a monetary tip, the couple left a "tip" in the form a handwritten message on a napkin.

I'll leave the grammatical mistakes intact in the note, as that's not exactly the biggest problem. Here's what the note said:

"The womans place is in the home You're place is in the home. It even says so in the Bible. You may think that your  contributing to your household by coming into work, but yournot.

While your in here 'working' this is the reason your husband must see another women on his way home from a long day at his work. Because you shoudl be home taking care of the household duties. You may think what you are doing 'working' is right, it is really essentially a disgrace to his manhood and to the American family.

So instead of coming to your 'job' and ooking for hand out's to feed your family hows about going home and cleaning your house and cooking a hot meal for your husband and children, the way you're husband and God intended, and help make America great again. Praying for families and our nation.

The Watley's."

As you can imagine, I don't know where to begin with the Watleys'  note. How many households can even affort to have someone stay home to be a housewife?

I'm being Captain Obvious here, but if a guy's wife is working and is so distraught by that he has to go find another woman to screw around with, isn't that the guy's fault and problem, and not the wife's?

Do the Watleys believe men have absolutely no self control?

If we took all the women out of the workforce so they can play wifey homemaker at home, wouldn't that screw things up. And the Watleys must be completely freaking out that a woman is poised to become the U.S. President instead of staying home and feather dusting the furniture at home to make Bill happy.

For the record, WBTV says the waitress who got the note does have a boyfriend who she says it's quite supportive of her going to work. Especially since she's using some of the income to further her education. To you know, find a more rewarding job where she doesn't have to put up the the Watleys' nonsense.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sadly, Arizona Republic Learns That Any Opinion Warrants Death Threats

In the current sad state of affairs, the staff at the Arizona
Republic newspaper has been getting numerous death
threats for endorsing Hillary Clinton. The paper's
editorial on it reaction to the threats is a must-read
An editorial in the Arizona Republic newspaper is going viral for a very sad reason.

Another editorial several days earlier in the traditionally conservative newspaper in the conservative state of Arizona endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.  

Until now, the paper has always endorsed the Republican candidate, but the Arizona Republic's editorial board couldn't stomach Donald Trump.

Sure, some conservative readers of the Arizona Republic got mad at the Clinton endorsement, complained loudly about it, even canceled subscriptions.

All that is fair.

But a number of people -not just a few - lobbed very gross death threats against the people who work at the Arizona Republic, thereby continuing a strange, awful new tradition in America:  Threaten to kill anyone who doesn't share your worldview.

In this past Sunday's editorial, Editor Mi-Ai Parrish listed the threats the Arizona Republic received for the "high crime" of endorsing a Democratic presidential nominee for the first time in 125 years.

Among them:

"You're dead. Watch your back."

"We will burn you down."

"You should be put in front of a firing squad as a traitor."

I know, it's just a bunch of yahoos who make these kind of threats. Still, it's a sensitive subject, especially at the Arizona Republic.

Back in 1976, a car bomb killed Arizona Republic investigative reporter Don Bolles  because somebody was pissed off that he was looking into a crooked land deal.

You have to take death threats seriously.  
A 1976 car bombing killed an Arizona Republic
investigative reporter who was looking into a shady land deal.

Still, you absolutely have to read the Arizona Republic editorial on the death threats, if you haven't already.

The editorial has gone viral as a master class for all of us on First Amendment rights, civics, civility, and the need for a free press. And it's a tribute to all the good employees at the Arizona Republic.

The Arizona Republic is still a conservative paper. I'm an East Coast liberal. I bet I could find a ton of Arizona Republic editorials that annoy me, that I disagree with, that I think are dumb.

That's fine. But how does one make the leap from being annoyed at something you read to want to kill the person who wrote it, and all the people who work in the building with that author?

Something is wrong in this country, and it's not the editorial page at the Arizona Republic.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Dark Video, Cheerful Video And Mahna Mahna Video As We Slog Our Way Toward Election Day

A dark film trailer about a dark guy.  
Today, I've got three incredibly contrasting videos that help sum up this year's tragicomic election season.  

The first one will be very dark. The second one is bright and cheerful. (The fact the second one is from Canada explains the pleasantness.)

The third one at the bottom of this post is my favorite, and I think might be yours, too.

The first video is set up as a movie trailer for a film called "The Sociopath."

It features most of what you've seen from Trump and his very unmerry band of Trumpeter fans, but it's put together quite well.

This, apparently, is a real trailer and a real effort to make a film about Trump. One highlight: Every time I see or hear Trump lately, I think of the Radiohead song "Creep." The kids chorus morosely singing "Creep" in the trailer is a nice touch.

It's next, and below that video, is the cheerful one:

Donald Trump's catchphrase is, of course, "Make America Great Again."

Canadians, knowing that many of us are down in the dumps because of this horrible election, seek to cheer us up by telling us that America is already great.

It is an earnest Canadian effort to make us feel better and it kinda works. Watch:

Finally, we have the best ever recap of the last presidential debate. Since Trump talks nonsense anyway, they inserted the classic Muppets song "Mahna Mahna" into it.

I've ALWAYS loved that ditty since I was a little kid. My sister Lynn and I would do the skit. I would do the Mahna Mahna part, and she would do the "Dee DeeDee Dee" part.

When I got carried away with the Mahna Mahnas as the song calls for, she'd give me a dope slap.

The only way the video you'll see next could possibly be better is if someone were giving Trump dope slaps. Watch and enjoy!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Newspaper Decides Therapy Kittens Are Necessary For Next Debate Watch

The Bangor Daily News in Maine has hired therapy kittens
 to help people get through the next, sure to be trying
U.S. Presidential Debate  
It's come to this:

Therapy kittens are now required to get people through the next sure to be tawdry U.S. Presidential Debate.    

Like many newspapers in the nation, the Bangor Daily News in Maine is hosting a debate watching party, in which they invite readers to stop by, watch the debate and react to it for their coverage.

Community minded as the paper is, the Bangor Daily News is taking special precautions, because we all know how traumatic the debates have been for the American public.

The newspaper will have therapy kittens on hand to calm the jangled, angry nerves of the people who will be watching the debate this coming Wednesday.

As the Bangor Daily News noted in its announcement of the debate event, "Kittens tend to make most things better."

As an added bonus, the kittens are adoptable. The Animal League of Greater Portland will have adoption surveys on hand in case somebody is helped by a kitten so much during the debate that they want to make the cutie a permanent member of their household.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Three White Terrorists Planned Car Bombing At Kansas Mosque, Apartment Complex, Say Authorities

These three guys were arrested in Kansas for plotting
 a terrorist attack on an apartment complex where
many Somali immigrants live.
I get why people are worried about ISIS - inspired terrorist attacks in the United States.

They do happen, as we saw last year in San Bernardino and this year in Orlando, Florida.

Now, if we haven't done so already, apparently we need to start worrying about white terrorists attacking Muslims in this nation.

Yeah, it keeps getting worse.

The New York Daily News reports that the FBI has arrested three white guys for conspiring to blow up an apartment complex where many Somali immigrants live. The guys involved in the plot apparently call themselves "The Crusaders."

The apartment complex the three targeted has a mosque where many of the Somalis frequently gather for prayers.

According to the Daily News:

"Curtis Allen, 49, Gavin Wright, 49, and Patrick Stein, 47, were charged Friday with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction, according to the Department of Justice's national security division. The Crusaders call Muslims "cockroaches" and they had discussed brutal attacks on Muslims for months, federal prosecutors said.

FBI agents working on tips from an undercover informant said the three men planned to blow up four car bombs at the Garden City apartments. Allen, Wright and Stein hoped the attack on the 120-resident complex would 'wake people up,' the feds said."

I guess ironically,  "The Crusaders" MO was much the same as ISIS. Do a splashy terrorist attack to demoralize their enemies and more importantly, inspire like-minded idiots to do more of the same.

I obviously can't hold Donald Trump directly responsible for what these idiots planned, but I do blame him for doing a large part in creating a hostile culture that might have helped inspire these three idiots. 

Frighteningly, the "Crusaders" came pretty close to being able to carry out their plan. A paid informant helped squash the plot, though.

More from The New York Daily News:

"Allen, Wright, Stein and the informant met multiple times at Wright's business, the G&G Mobile Home Center in Liberal (Kansas). At one meeting in July, he used Google Maps to drop pins labeled 'cockroaches' on locations of potential victims, according to the complaint.

They talked about attacking targets such as city or county meetings, landlords who rent to Muslim refugees, organizations that assist Muslim refugees, a mall frequented by Muslims and Garden City's African Community Center, investigators said. They decided on the W. Mary St. apartment complex in August, according to the complaint."

Police also found a metric ton (!!) of explosives and detonators with these guys.

Glad that they got these guys. but here's the fear:

The climate is so toxic now, that if Trump loses the Presidential election, which seems quite likely now, his most ignorant, racist, hostile, misogynistic fans will erupt in extreme anger.

They already are, fueled by some pretty violent rhetoric, especially around the meme that the election is supposedly "rigged" if Hillary Clinton wins.

Even people in supposedly authority are using this rhetoric. Sheriff David Clarke, a Trump surrogate, tweeted it's "pitchforks and torches time" if Hillary is elected because she would "rig" the election.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, who should know better, is also accusing people of "rigging" the election.

Trump's true believers in the crowd are even worse.

Dan Bowman, a 50-year-old contractor told the Boston Globe at a Trump rally this week: "If she's (Clinton) in office, I hope we can start a coup. She should be in prison or shot. That's how I feel about it.....We're going to have a revolution and take them out of office if that's what it takes. There's going to be a lot of bloodshed. But that's what it's going to take... I would do whatever I can for my country."

That is, if "doing whatever he can for his country" is committing treason, I guess.

There's quite a few people like Bowman, who, fired up by Trump's incredibly irresponsible and wrong speech, won't accept an election, won't accept democracy.

Some people will act violently, I fear.

Ah yes, just what we need, domestic terrorists by people who are in a snit because the majority of us rejected a spoiled rich kid jerk/moron for president.

Don't you love people like Donald Trump who insist on making things worse for all of us?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Charges Dropped Against Amy Goodman, So Journalism Continues.

Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman is still facing
charges from her reporting in North Dakota, shown
here, of an anti-oil pipeline protest. Add caption

A North Dakota judge has declined to proceed with a rioting charge against Amy Goodman, her news organization, Democracy Now! just announced.

District Judge John Grinsteiner did not find probable cause for the charge, Democracy Now! reports.

So, journalism and the First Amendment lives for now, it seems.


It seems the State's Attorney in North Dakota is digging in much more, in a bid to discourage journalism, or get publicity. Whatever.

After Amy Goodman announced she would go to North Dakota to answer the bogus trespassing charges for her coverage of a Native American anti-oil pipeline there, they want to up the criminal charges against her.

Goodman on Saturday announced the attempt at the steeper criminal charges on the Democracy Now! website.

The State's Attorney, Ladd Erickson, wants to add a charge of rioting against Goodman, who, as you can see in her video from the protest, isn't exactly rioting.

Kinda just filming and asking questions, like, you know, journalists tend to do.

A judge will decide Monday if there's probable cause to add the rioting charge.


A couple months back, we mentioned Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman, who faces charges in North Dakota for the crime of covering a protest, mostly by Native Americans, against an oil pipeline that was under construction.

Freedom Of The Press Foundation quoted Goodman yesterday as such:

"I will go back to North Dakota to fight this charge.... It is a clear violation of the First Amendment. I was doing my job as a journalist, covering a violent attack on Native American Protestors."

Back on September 3, Goodman was the only journalist, or at least one of only a few journalists, who were on the scene as Native Americans went onto the property of the pipeline construction, and were met with security guards wielding pepper spray.

Goodman and her crew got it all on video, and that video went viral. It got no fewer than 14 million views on Facebook, and the video and story were picked up by major news outlets like CBS, NBC, NPR, CNN, MSNBC and Huffington Post.

Days later, the Obama administration suspended construction of the pipeline, pending further review. The protestors feared the pipeline would contaminate drinking water and despoil Native American burial grounds.

As I noted when I first mentioned this outrage, it seems to me the increased publicity brought on by Goodman and the resulting shutdown annoyed state officials, many of whom benefit politically and maybe financially from the oil industry.

They were trying to teach other journalists a lesson: Stay away, don't criticize, don't cover or ELSE.

Amazingly, North Dakota prosecutors have not backed down, despite the additional uproar over the likely unconstitutionality of charging Goodman.

As Freedom Of the Press Foundation notes, the prosecutor in the case said, "Everything she reported on was from the position of justifying the protest actions."

In other words, the problem for prosecutors is they thought Goodman was biased. Even if she was, you don't get to press charges against the journalist who created the allegedly biased reporting.

There's this little item called the First Amendment. Unless Goodman intentionally spread false, damaging information about people - which she didn't - you don't charge her. In fact, even if she was spreading malicious falsehoods -again, she wasn't. - you can try suing in civil court, but criminal courts stay out.

I'm not sure why North Dakota prosecutors are still pursuing this losing case. You'd think they'd have something better to do.

But we all ought to pay attention. With Donald Trump also less than enthusiastic about press freedoms to say the least, we need to keep on top of these things every time they happen. 

Dumb BMW Driver Gets Instant Karma

Impatience is not a virtue, learns BMW guy  
Be patient on the roads, my friends.

Case in point is the video at the bottom of this post. It's a dash cam view in a car that begins with the driver of the dash cam view stopping to let a school bus in from a side street.

The school bus is a bit to leisurely and the guy who let him through is a bit too kind to the school bus driver, decides the guy in the BMW behind dash cam guy.

So the BMW honks, tries to pass to the right of the dash cam guy, to make the light, which has turned yellow.  Such impatience doesn't always have its rewards, as the dash cam video below shows

Instant karma!   (h/t BoingBoing)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Dumb Guys For Trump Would Repeal Womens' Suffrage

A very blue pro-Clinton electoral map
if only women were votiing in the upcoming
presidential election, says FiveThirtyEight 
A trending hashtag on Twitter for awhile yesterday was #RepealThe19th.

It was a drive to get rid of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote.

This nonsense was all the fault of the poll data crunchers at FiveThirtyEight.

At least sort of.

Yesterday, FiveThirtyEight published an electoral map of this year's presidential election showing the result if just men voted, and the results if only women voted.

Donald Trump would win in a near-unanimous landslide if it was only guys voted.  Hillary Clinton would win in an enormous landslide if only the gals voted.

Of course the reality is, Clinton is ahead in the overall polls, but it won't be unanimous, let me tell ya.

Dumb guys, mostly dumb white guys, who are totally enthralled by Trump went apeshit. At least some of them. To their little minds, women are too stupid to vote, and the FiveThirtyEight electoral maps proved it.

Hence the hashtag #Repealthe19th.

I'm sure some of the popularity of #RepealThe19th was just created by bots created by a handful of Trump supporters to make that "movement" seem bigger than it is. But still, they're out there, folks.

Of course, women went on line to hashtag #RepealThe19th to respond to this, though they seemed to be pretty much in favor of the 19th Amendment, naturally.

One women tweeted that she was surprised these male Trumpsters realized there were more than two amendments to the Constitution.

Another woman said she wasn't paying much attention to the #RepealThe19th hashtag because she was too busy voting.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Comedy About A Rigged Economy Angered Me, And That's A Good Thing

The play "American Hero" now running at Vermont
Stage Company, is a comedy that might leave you
feeling frustrated by the state of America these days.
That, actually, is a very good thing. 
Last night, I went to a preview of Vermont Stage Company's latest production, a comedy called "American Hero."

The play was excellent and I recommend it, for sure, but still, I left after the show feeling kind of pissed off.

That's NOT a diss at all against Vermont Stage.

The cast and crew at this small Vermont theater company did their usual excellent job with this production, and "American Hero" certainly accomplishes its goal of making me and the rest of the audience have quite a few good laughs.

"American Hero," set in troubled shopping mall sandwich shop, is totally worth seeing during its official October 12 to 30 run in Burlington, Vermont.

Without giving too much away, "American Hero" touches on how the economic system is rigged. The haves are thoroughly corrupt in taking, taking taking, while the have nots who are highlighted in the play struggle with the consequences of what the 1% are doing to them.

The goal of Bess Wohl, who wrote "American Hero" was indeed to anger its audience, despite the laughs. It's another example of pop culture underscoring the absurdity and rotteness of the current Guilded Age.

When entertainment taps into an issue that needs all the attention it can get, that's always a hopeful sign. We see pop culture highlighting the rigged economy and income inequality in other venues, such as in the television comedies "Superstore" and "2 Broke Girls."

Musicians like Bruce Springsteen have also been covering this topic for decades now. Keep at it, Bruce!

The attention the New Guilded Age is beginning to receive away from the economic papers and the dull newscasts means regular Americans are Fed. Up. with things.
Television comedies like "Superstore" can help
propel the national discussion of income inequality.

As if we didn't know that already.  Polls over the past year indicate 7 in 10 Americans think the economy is rigged against them. 

People are so insanely mad about the situation that a substantial portion of Americans are prepared to vote for Donald Trump, a misogynist, racist, thin-skinned, ignorant, spoiled rich kid con man because he says the system is rigged against all of the regular people out there.

Never mind that Trump is one of the people who is rigging the economic system against the 99 percent. Like I said, he's good at being a con man.

I suppose Trump is a form of entertainment, so the fact that he mentions the New Guilded Age, even though he helped create it, is probably a good thing, as long as he doesn't win the Presidential election.

Other politicians like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, are having their day in the sun because they hammer away at income inequality and a corrupt economy every chance they get.

I hear the talking points from the 1 percent entering right now. They're saying that how dare you suggest taking away hard earned money from people who got rich through ambition, hard work, and creativity.

Of course, that's a fallacy. Even on my, Sanders' and Warren's worst days, we all agree it is a very good thing in America to get rich through honest work, smarts and moxy.

Just as long as you don't screw over everybody else while doing it. And screwing over people seems to be the current ethos in corporate boardrooms, political back rooms and in political lobbying offices across this nation.

So when popular culture, even in small venues like Vermont Stage Company use satire and gallows humor to poke at the 1 percent, that's always a good thing.

It fires people up. It makes us feel like we could and should keep working for change, even if the odds seem stacked against us.

Yes, I left "American Hero" last night annoyed at the world around me. Americans are already pissed off. Channeled correctly, with a solid dash of humor, we might actually end the New Guilded Age.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

You Will Hear Bruno Mars' New Song As Incessantly As "Uptown Funk"

Bruno Mars has a new song that you will hear
constantly for the next year. Be forewarned.  
Unless  you've been living alone in a cave for the last decade, you've probably heard all you can possibly hear of the Bruno Mars song "Uptown Funk"

It's been played at every possible party, wedding reception and warm up event, and it's been parodied and copied a million times online.  

Now Mars has a new song called "24K Magic."

I guarantee it will do just the same as "Uptown Funk." It will inspire lots of Internet parodies, and yes, be played at every party and wedding reception for the next decade.

"24K Magic" is a good song, and for most of us, it's too soon to be sick of it yet. In case you  haven't heard it yet, here ya go:

Monday, October 10, 2016

"You're So Vain" Reworked Brilliantly To Attack Trump

 Carly Simon slightly tweaked her classic song
"You're So Vain" for an awesome anti-Trump ad.  
Probably my favorite song ever is the  Carly Simon's classic "You're So Vain."

It's the perfect pop song. Catchy music, funny, sarcastic lyrics about a man who has a high opinion of himself, sung by one of the best voices in the business.

Simon has never been clear about exactly who she was talking about in that song. Part of it seems to be about Warren Beatty, but I like how we never really know who Simon is talking about.

However, now "You're So Vain"  been used wonderfully by the Patriots Artists and Creatives Super Pac to attack Donald Trump in a pro-Hillary Clinton ad.

The original song plays as we get all kinds of examples of Trump's vanity and temperament.  I love the part where Simon sings "and all the girls dreamed that they'd be your partner," and the video shows pics of Trump with his three wives, then a photoshopped image of Trump with a shirtless Vladimir Putin on horseback.

If you listen closely, one lyric of "You're So Vain" has been changed for this Trump ad.

A line in the original version of "You're So Vain" is "your scarf, it was apricot."

The new Trump ad version changes the lyric to "your face, it was apricot."

They just couldn't resist, could they? I wouldn't have been able to, either.

Anyway, here's the ad, featuring the song that you swear was meant to be about Donald Trump. (You'l have to click on "Watch on YouTube" to actually see it. )


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Reminder: Here's How Trump Performed In Last Debate

A look back on how Donald Trump performed in the last
presidential debate
As we get ready for tonight's presidential debate here's a refresher of how Donald Trump did in the last debate.

As you can see, things got off kinda.....screechy. And then......well, just watch:

Breaking: Horrible Man Kills Five People On Vermont Interstate

From WCAX, the wreckage of the stolen police cruiser
that a man took the wrong way on Interstate 89 in Williston,
Vermont, killing 5 people. 
I've delayed going to work this morning because a section of Interstate 89 in Williston, Vermont is closed for a terribly tragic crime.

A man, driving the wrong way on the Interstate, caused several crashes. He then stole a police cruiser, and continued driving the wrong way on the highway. The multiple crashes killed five people and injured numerous others.

Television station WCAX in Burlington, Vermont is reporting this morning that all of the dead were teenagers in a car that burst into flames when the wrong way driver hit it.

NECN identifies the horrible person behind this as Steven Bougoin, 36, no hometown given. He survived and is hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, says NECN.

The identities of those who died had not been released as of 9 a.m., pending notification of families.

NECN said Bougoin drove the wrong way on Interstate 89 between Bolton and Williston, Vermont, causing several crashes.

Then, he came to a stop. Then, one police officer was trying to pull a woman from a Volkswagon Jetta while another officer was trying to squelched the flames with a fire extinguisher.

At that point, Bougoin stole the police cruiser, blasted down Interstate 89, turned around to drive the wrong way on the Interstate again, causing more brutal crashes.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Scary Thing Is, Donald Trump Will Probably Get Even Lower Than This

Yes, Donald Trump could probably sink even lower.
He probably will.
The news is dominated today by that old clip of Donald Trump being a scary, creepy, ultra vulgar predator against women.

Plus, there's Trump's "apology" video that makes other videos of hostages being forced to say things look like the height of sincerity.

He would have done better just quoting the lyrics to that old Radiohead song "Creep":

"I'm a creep.
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here."

You sure don't, Donald!

I think some of the best Twitter reactions to Trump's awfulness have come from Huffington Post reporter Ariel Edwards-Levy, who echoed Trump's famous Muslim ban quote by tweeting, "I'm calling for a total and complete shutdown of Donald Trump interacting with women until we can figure out what's going on."

Edwards-Levy also reminisced about the olden days of last week when Trump's biggest problem was his taxes. And she rightly complained sarcastically that her childhood dream of being a reporter included being online at 1:07 a.m. on a Saturday writing about Donald Trump saying "pussy."

I'm sure Trump's core supporters will stick by him, no matter what. He can do no wrong, in their eyes.

Hillary Clinton probably didn't go far enough when she said some of Trump's supporters were part of a "basket of deplorables."

Not all Trump supporters are as deplorable as Trump himself. Most aren't, in fact. But a few have been learning well from Trump on how to be despicable.

An example: There's a Newsweek reporter who has been aggressively covering Trump. This reporter happens to have epilepsy. So Trump supporters have been sending the reporter videos that are designed to cause epileptic seizures.


I normally don't compare people to Nazis but these wacko supporters are as really as bad as Nazi brown shirts.

Trump will trundle on, having promised to bring up Bill Clinton's sexual escapades during the debate scheduled for tomorrow night. That ought to be a show.

I'm sure Hillary will just fall apart when Trump brings that up. At least Trump believes that, if nobody else.

I can't wait to hear what Hillary has to say during the debate about Trump's "fondness" for women.

Again, that ought to be a show.

By the way, Trump would note that his remarks about women that triggered this latest firestorm were made more than 10 years ago.

But Trump, commenting on sex-scandal prone Anthony Weiner said this three years ago: "Weiner is a sick puppy who will never change - 100% of perverts to back to their ways. Sadly, there is no cure."

This morning, the Donald tweeted, "Certainly has been an interesting 24 hours!"

I don't think interesting is quite the word for it.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Best Dad Ever Makes Awesome DIY American Ninja Warrior Course For Daughter

Lylah, age 5, goes through an amazing American Ninjah
Warrier course built by her awesome father. 
Some fans of "American Ninja Warrior" are people are building backyard Ninja courses, but one man really outdid all the others.

A guy named Gavin MacCall built a particularly awesome Ninja Warrior course for his five year old daughter Lylah.

The course is a perfect mockup of the Ninja Warrior course we're familiar with on television. .MacCall is definitely in the running for father of the year.

The family made a wonderful video of Lylah going through the course, complete with the hyper-excited color commentary of her making it through, and an audience of stuffed animals cheering her on, too.

Here's the delightful video to brighten your day.


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Jesse Watters Has To Go

Jesse Waters inflicting his stupidity in Chinatown. 
Jesse Watters' segments on the Bill O'Reilly Show are the most annoying things on television.

He does this stupid man-on-the-street interview schtick, in which he "demonstrates" how dumb everybody who is not a conservative, Bill O'Reilly fan is.

Watters is kind of like those obnoxious little kids who incessantly tells stupid fart jokes to get attention, and you just want to slug the little brat.

This week, Watters got even worse. He went into Chinatown to get areas residents' thoughts on the presidential election.

He does seem to love his Asian stereotypes, asking people such,  um, hilarious questions, such as "Do you know karate?" and "Is Chinese food in China just food?"


The Asian American Journalists Association has demanded an apology from the show, but I'm not holding my breath that such an apology will materialize.

Watters tries to make everybody look dumb. But, black, meet kettle.

Here's the video, if you can stand it

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

RNC Said Pence Won Debate Two Hours Before It Started

The RNC said Mike Pence won the debate. They
announced the win two hours before the debate started
Some people might say some Republicans are psycho.

Turns out, some of them are psychic. 

At least that's the impression I get from a press release from the National Republican Committee.

Two hours before the Tuesday debate between Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence, the RNC informed us that Pence had won the debate,.

This, remember, is way before neither Kaine nor Pence said a word to each other.

Apparently, we all watched the debate before it happened, too. Amazing.

According to CBS News, the RNC put out this statement nearly two hours before the debate:

"Americans from all across the country tuned in to watch the one and only Vice Presidential debate. During the debate we helped fact check and monitor the conversation in real time. The consensus was clear after the dust settled, Mike Pence was the clear winner of the debate."

So real time is two hours from now? I'm confused.

Also, we're told by the RNC that the debate that nobody heard yet was "resonating" with the American people.

Probably all those psychic rays or something.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Chicago Cubs Pitcher Jon Lester Is NOT Lester Holt, Despite What Trump Fans Say

Some Donald Trump fans HATE Jon Lester, apparently.
To clear things up for some Trump fans the guy on the
right, Lester Holt, moderated last week's debate. The guy
on the left, Chicago Cubs pitcher Jon Lester,
had nothing to do with the debate, OK?  

Jon Lester is a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, but some of Trump's followers think he is Lester Holt, and they are MAD at him, says Deadspin. 

Lester Holt is the NBC news anchor who moderated last week's debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Trump, and some of his fans, think Holt was biased against Trump (though most observers thought Holt was pretty fair.)  

However, Jon Lester's last name is the same as Holt's first name, so I guess that means they're the same person, in the eyes of the more stupid Trump fans anyway.

Apparently, anyone with a first or last name "Lester" is as much to blame for anything at the debate as the one and only Lester Holt of NBC News is. 

Our Chicago Cubs pitcher has been getting lots of hate tweets from people saying he was biased during the debate against Trump.

Jon Lester has been patiently Tweeting back at the haters, saying thing like, "I'm pretty busy doing my own thing so I think I"ll be OK. Perhaps you should send this to Lester Holt."

And, "You might want to take that up with Lester Holt."

Often, people accuse Trump of ignoring facts. I guess some of his fans do, too.  

Sunday, October 2, 2016

French Man Mysteriously Trashes Apple Store With A Steel Ball

The guy in the pink t-shirt and glasses smashed
several Apple devices in a French shopping mall
because upset he was not reimbursed for something.  
A weird guy came into an Apple store inside a Dijon, France shopping mall and decided to start smashing iPhones and other goods with a steel ball.

I guess that's the stupid news of the day.  

It appears our gentleman was dismayed that the Apple store did not give him a refund he thought he deserved.

According to The Independent, the man, dressed in sunglasses, a maroon sweatshirt, a pink shirt and a white Michael Jackson-esque glove on one hand, said, "Apple is a compnay that violated European consumer rights. They refused to reimburse me. I told them, 'Give me my money back.' They said no. So you know what is happening? This is happening!"

He said this as he smashed down on one iPhone after another with the steel ball in his gloved hand.  He also smashed a few Mac books. '

Shoppers video'd this guy, so there were plenty of witnesses. He tried to run away as security guards approached him, but of course they caught him.

I have a feeling that he's going to out a lot more money than whatever he thought Apple owed him. Police arrested him and at last check he was in custody.

Here's a video or two of this Apple hating guy in action:

Here's a video of the guy after his rampage trying to escape, and looking like he's unhappy he's being detained: