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December 13th, 2017

I just came to bed, almost one in the morning -- but I couldn't tear myself away from the TV reporting of the thrilling results of the 12/12 election for Senator in Alabama.

Trump's godawful choice, the pedophile Roy Moore, lost a close race to the very good Dem candidate Doug Jones. It wasn't easy: that seat has been in Repub (now-AG Sessions') hands for almost three decades, and Trumpsky won Alabama easily last year.

This solid rejection of Trump comes at a good time, especially after Repubs lost the Virginia and New Jersey governorships and other offices last month. It says the Dems can DESTROY the Trumpies in 2018's midterm Congressional elections!!

December 3rd, 2017

THREE new books on misogyny

Today's Post carries a superb review by a top book-critic (a man, no less) of new work on American misogyny -- important in today's gender warfare context.


Of the three, the one I'm hitting the library for tomorrow is Kate Manne's "Down Girl -- the Logic of Misogyny." Lozada picks out what seems to me the crucial definition in the conflicted field: "misogynists EXPECT [my emphasis] women to dutifully provide 'feminine-coded goods' such as attention, adoration and indulgence while they enjoy 'masculine-coded perks' such as leadership, authority, money and status,"

And I cannot pass up her word for the system's built-in infalability accorded to men: "himpathy."

Moving on to Zoe Quinn* and her "Crash Override," she's evidently thought about last year's election a lot, singling out the causes: "white men[;] white women who will do anything to maintain the protection of white men [;] a few sexist men of color [and] stone-cold racists." This is, she says, "the left's common wisdom and enduring anger re the election."

Sounds like the recipe for a civil war...

* Quinn is a video-game "developer and anti-online-abuse activist" who survived a "notorious episode known as Gamergate... [terrible] digital harassment against a woman who had the temerity to make inclusive video games that grapple with subjects like mental illness...[She] recounts how an ex-boyfriend in 2014 "incited a relentless mob of 'online white supremacist movements, misogynist nerds, conspiracy theorists, and dispassionate hoaxers' who got their kicks threatening and harassing Quinn and her friends and relatives..."

December 1st, 2017

Last week, I read with interest the new book by Sen. Jeff Flake (he of the truly unfortunate family-name!), "Conscience of a Conservative." It is far better written and more thoughtful than any screed by a Republican in my experience.

BUT, today, Dec.5, he appeared on TV, seated next to Trump at the White House, somehow coaxed to smooth things with him...

So, while I acknowledge the literary effort, I lament his particularly strange kow-towing to GOP unity. (He also voted for the outrageous Senate version of the tax bill last Saturday -- some fucking conservative HE is!)

Back to the book: Flake is brutal on illicit tech warfare (though not explicitly blaming Russia) -- "...Seldom if ever in human history have we witnessed [in the 2016 campaign] such an explosive social experiment, and seldom have we had less understanding of the effect of technology on us, both as a society and as individuals; and seldom have we seen business [firms] with the potential to do both good and harm grow with such speed and on such a grand scale."

As a stalwart Republican, Flake HAD to append: "Countermeasures from the Pentagon and our national security apparatus to combat this problem notwithstanding, this is where market solutions come in. Simply put: bad information HAS TO BECOME [caps are mine] bad for business."

I added a few other quotes by way of comments (below). A thoughtful book -- but I'm disappointed that Flake seems not to have read it!

Our next cruise

For vacationing, Joanne -- as you regular readers may recall --adores cruises, whether ocean or river. They are certainly less bother than taking an airplane and checking in and out of different hotels every few nights.

We've gotten hooked on Holland America Lines in the past decade; not as "party hearty" as Carnival, nor as elderly-oriented as Royal Carib, nor as posh* as others.

So, it'll be 12 days out of Fort Lauderdale, including Cuba (Havana on the north side and Cienfuegos on the south), Mexico (Yucatan), Jamaica (Montego) and Grand Cayman.Both Christmas and New Year's aboard, as we did last year. (A mini-tradition emerging...)

It's kind of fun witnessing Joanne negotiating the whole package. (It's WAY more complicated than is the pricing of airline flights these days -- as someone said recently, "literally everybody on a given flight is paying a different price for their seat.,.")

Just one small example: the view from one's stateroom is no small matter -- a classic porthole is cheap, though rare in modern liners. (And an inside cabin cheaper still...)

However, possible claustrophobia is easily avoided by a "picture window" -- or even a glass wall onto one's own "veranda." Ah, but one must be sure not to get an "obstructed view" -- say, looking out straight at a hanging lifeboat!

And then the question of "trip insurance" -- which I never bothered with when flying. But enough can go wrong on an expensive cruise, it seems, so insurance (it adds 5-10% to the bottom line) is perhaps advisable.

If you're injured or severely ill, they even pay thousands for a helicopter [!] to haul your sorry ass off to the mainland...

(Same thing as the "maintenance plan" they flog when you buy a new car; I'd usually skip it, Joanne tends to listen respectfully to the dealer's well-practiced spiel -- BUT, since I've got a lot of experience with cars [hell, the basic warranty is free], I usually argue her back out of the extra cost.)

Sorry -- hadn't meant to digress so badly! Suffice to say it'll be fun to "do" Cuba before Trump breaks relations with them. Yeah, it's probably coming! Hell, he'll fuck things up with lots of places before he's done -- even the UK this week!! (I hope the Brits cancel his long-announced regal visit there -- given his stupid and insulting "tweets"...)

* Actually, the Brit word "posh" derives from ocean voyages. In the 19th century, the top category for one's classic trip to India was "port outbound starboard home" -- the sun being mainly south of the standard Suez route, it was cooler on the ship's left side going out to Bombay and on the right returning.

November 2nd, 2017

A liberal Website called "Daily Kos" several days ago had a tough article detailing what's publicly known about the Trump camoaign's efforts (especially the involvement of Don Jr.) to collude with Putin, It is pretty damning, especially THIS long portion:

"...Despite the fact that Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was invited to Trump Tower [in June 2016] on the basis that she was bringing official documents from the Russian government as part of a government program to back Trump’s candidacy, both Veselnitskaya and Trump Junior have maintained that she was a private player there on behalf of clients.

"But now it’s clear that the document she brought to the meeting was based off the same presentation [in mid-2016] that Russian officials made to pro-Russian Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)..."

I hope that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is paying attention to Rohrabacher -- who is seldom mentioned in conection with Trumpsky's flirting with Putin. I recall that the Congressman announced sometime back that he wouldn't run for re-election in 2018. Im going to dig into that for a new post.

October 10th, 2017

Fucking Weinstein

I was quietly blogging on Tumblr a few minutes ago, when I found on my longtime friend Anna's site the news that her idol, one Benedict Cumberbatch (aka BBC's Sherlock), tonight denounced the shithead (a gender-neutral term) Harvey Weinstein as a serisl sexual infractor.

I just congratulated her with the following:

Dear Anna, I was chatting about my new girlfriend Carrie, whom I'm gonna introduce personally quite soon! (Yay!).

But, in getting you on Tumblr, I discover your Nearly God, Benedict, has once more justified our faith and trust: this stupid Weinstein fiasco has incinerated a Hollywood fraud well deserving of utter ignominy! Not directly YOUR fight (or even BC's, since he misses a chromasome, or something), but what a pleasure to find ALL the "good-guys" (NB "guy" henceforth a gender-neutral word!) on OUR side!

The shithead henchforth loses "Harvey" as a name, and it reverts to its honorable existence as a 1940s celluloid alcoholic rabbit (sic). You can look it up...

September 29th, 2017

David Brooks is a busy journalist. He goes from being the Friday co-prophet on PBS Evening News to writing important op-eds in the New York Times. He picks pop music for today's column:

"Sometimes pop culture seems completely prepackaged and professionalized, so when somebody steps out and puts on a display of vulnerability, trust and humility, it takes your breath away.

"That’s what Chance the Rapper did on Monday on 'The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.' He debuted a new, untitled song... about the perils of stardom ...[The] artist humbly baring himself before his audience, trusting them to understand, sympathize and receive his bid for intimacy. There’s always something multilayered when people tell you a story about the ground that they have honestly walked.

"It’s interesting to compare Chance’s song with Taylor Swift’s new song, 'Look What You Made Me Do,' which is also about a young star coping with celebrity. The former stands out from the current cultural moment; the latter embodies it. Swift is a phenomenally talented and beautiful songwriter who has lost touch with herself and seems to have been swallowed by the ethos of the Trump era."

At least I give a fuck about Taylor... and may learn to like Chance. There is ZERO chance (heh heh!) I will ever sympathize with The Don.
Paul Krugman's NYTimes column ia great today.

He opens, "According to a new Quinnipiac poll, a majority of Americans believe that Donald Trump is unfit to be president." It is ALL downhill from there.

"The administration has refused to confirm whether it will pay crucial subsidies to [health-care] insurers that cover low-income customers. It has refused to clarify whether the requirement that healthy people buy insurance will be enforced. It has canceled or suspended outreach designed to get more people to sign up...

"Why are the Trumpists doing this? Is it a cynical calculation — make [Obamacare] fail, then claim that it was already doomed? I doubt it. For one thing, we’re not talking about people known for deep strategic calculations. For another, [Obamacare] won’t actually collapse; it will just become a program more focused on sicker, poorer Americans...

"No... sabotage is best seen not as a strategy, but as a tantrum. 'We can’t repeal Obamacare? Well, then, we’ll screw it up.' It’s not about achieving any clear goal, but about salving the president’s damaged self-esteem."

The miserable motherfucker!

September 22nd, 2017

Back in March 2016, I posted about Trump looking alarmingly viable as a candidate: https://devifemme.livejournal.com/2030252.html

A week ago, I received an anonymous comment re that posting; I opened the LJ screen (the sender evidently NOT an LJ member), and it read:

"learn your skills [subject line]
"Find out what you need to improve in yourself to become more effective!"

Below it, dated a day earlier, was a second reply, in Russian except for the title of my post:
"This is the 2016 outcome??
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Ooh, interesting: someone (presumably a Russian) commented on my year-and-a-half-old post on Trumpsky* being a new force in the primaries. THEN. he repeated it in [puzzlingly non-political] English.

Sadly, I was right about Trump!

I'd really LIKE to know who ferreted out this post at THIS time. I'm thinking it is a Russian speaker. I doubt it's Russian government or GRU, since -- well, why give up the "op" so needlessly.

Thanks, friends!

* I only nicknamed him "Trumpsky" a couple of months after this post, when the first reports of his collusion with the Russians came out.

September 21st, 2017

Sorry I haven't been posting in past weeks. Somehow wishing Trumpsky would evaporate HASN'T done the trick, so I'm looking for a new way.

Perhaps Kim Jong Un is onto something, or at least his translators have found a Middle English insult that works MUCH better than old Elton John songs. (C'mon, dudes, "Rocket Man" is fucking lame!)

Apart from its kinship to the delightful current coinage, "fucktard" (is there a hyphen??), the Koreans' "dotard" apparently has the same lineage as harmless "dotage" -- or simply old age. But Un's translators' choice of word also connotes losing one's marbles due to age -- which certainly applies to the erstwhile current occupant of the Oval.

I'm looking forwsrd to Un's hardworking translators reaching into their Chaucer for further suitable expressions of opprobrium.
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