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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Lesbian Dramas

Found My Days of Mercy on demand and the two leads go back to playing lesbians. One might not think (Ellen Page's dad is on death row; friend of the family of Kate Mara ["Mercy"] was murdered) being on the opposite side of death penalty protests would be where you fall in love. Still ... overall good movie with much of the focus on Page and her siblings with the upcoming execution of their dad (convicted of murdering their mom). No happy ending execution-wise but the relationship is given a shot at the end.

The Children's Hour was on TCM and only saw part of it, including much of the rather melodramatic final reel (Shirley MacLaine's -- darn she looked good and acted well -- suicide was like "you knew this would happen" given how over the top things were). It is implied (and her character eventually tearfully admits she fears it) that she at least was really a lesbian. The play/film was as much as about the problems of gossip ruining lives and the characters as much as lesbianism. It was too much at the end but overall it was good.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Post-Mueller Testimony

Per my "Joe Paulson" handle, I provide various comments to this thread on impeachment. The writer belittled impeachment as a sort of empty symbolism so this more "well okay" tone is basically notable. Anyway, one can go there to read various back/forth. 

As I noted there, a petition to obtain grand jury information (some deem this as an ill-advised lost cause) was just submitted that flagged an impeachment determination is involved.  This is flagged by some to argue an "impeachment inquiry" basically is occurring even though it is not bluntly called as such by some.  But, it is not like we are just imagining things. There is a concerted concern about using the "i" word from Pelosi on down.  This probably is tampering down support -- if the Speaker of the House (and others) are belittling the importance of impeachment and/or finding reasons (excuses) to not firmly support an inquiry, it means something. So would this move though how much is unclear.

We continue to get negative responses from people who are aware at the stakes and are of the right basic ideological sentiments.  Take this from someone cited earlier:
I note in closing my genuine amazement at the House Democrats’ handling of the days leading up to the Mueller hearings this week.  Even if they genuinely believed Mr. Mueller would be a cooperative witness – and he had given ample indications that he would not be – raising expectations that he would clearly describe “high crimes and misdemeanors” in a way the diffident public could understand all but guaranteed that the hearing would be perceived as a disappointment.
Those moron Democrats!  This framing to me is tiresome.  Mueller was basically a witness under duress, but how many times did he have to agree with blatant high crimes and misdemeanors that Democrat after Democrat summarized in ways the "diffident public" could understand for him to be impressed?  Who is the "diffident public" anyway?  The public still processing the Mueller Report and quite open to learning more about just what it entails (see, e.g., the Lawfare new podcast)?  He also reaffirmed things like he wasn't aiming to be the head of the FBI again, that Trump's talk of spreading the Wiki leaks being great is bad, talked about ongoing attempts (while McConnell blocks election security legislation) to interfere with our elections.

This sort of framing is self-convincing.  At least, the person admits (to some degree) his feelings are just that, not a result of some specialized knowledge: 
As to the first group, I am uncomfortable with the indulgence of constructing abstract moral duties for ourselves on uncertain foundations at a time when an overwhelming, concrete moral duty – ensuring that President Trump is not re-elected – is upon us.  I also am skeptical that an impeachment process would educate or persuade swing voters so much as it would enrage and motivate the President’s supporters.  Today’s electorate is very different from that of 1973-74.  I will not, however, claim sufficient political expertise to have much of value to contribute on that question.
The use of words like "indulgence" in blog posts without comments tends to rub me the wrong way when they rest on dubious grounds. The understanding that there is moral duty here -- and resting on any one ground is somewhat artificial in practice -- is basically trivialized by using that language. A dubious matter but it is basically just assumed.  Not impeaching would have problems too.  It is an indulgence to skip over that part.  As to the second part,  there seems to be an idea that only one side would be helped.  Everything goes wrong for the Dems apparently. Yes, I wouldn't rest on your political expertise going by such logic.

[It is suggested that perhaps a President Pence would not be much better but it is put aside for other matters.  Let me say that I think overall though Pence is a horrible person that he is at least marginally more credible as Trump though you know that isn't saying much. Plus, I think it would be harder for him to be re-elected on the top of the ticket.  Finally, the idea that there is absolutely nothing he did that was impeachable seems off to me. I saw people suggesting one or more things he did in that respect. Plus, how much would that change from the current situation?] 

I cite this as a general sentiment since after all he is but one person and as a sounding board.  This is generally a usual reason to do this and I have been doing it since I was a teenager working off newspaper editorials.  As to talk of a group that think an impeachment will lead to an early departure, I don't know how sizable such a group really is.  Some do think we should work toward impeachment and see what happens there. They don't want to assume failure as to removal but not sure how many are sure there is a good chance for that to happen.  The idea is more that the process will help in various ways, including to get information and other unclear things that only will occur while we are in the middle of things.

The final thing is talk of how McConnell will find a way not to bring it to a vote or even have a trial. It would come to a vote in the House. As to the Senate, what he says is fairly unsurprising though we get a few more technical details.  I don't think we can just assume what will happen here. But, even granting the lack of any trial at all, he frames it more negatively than the facts now warrant:
As in 2016, this will generate considerable condemnation, but that outrage will come almost entirely from people who would not support Republicans anyway.  Moreover, it will be directed at Senator McConnell alone, leaving all other Senate Republicans free to say whatever is politically expedient, just as they did on the Garland nomination. 
Why would it only be directed at Sen. McConnell?  The discussion crafts a way for him to say the rules require it to get the "support" of his fellow senators.  It is generous of him to give them pointers though sure given his lack of political expertise surely experts on that side know about them too. But, even though the senators will support him, the outrage will only be him alone? Since he is god and none of the other senators have agency?  I reckon that can be a way to go but it's not necessary any more than it is right.

How swing voters who might vote Republicans will respond is not totally clear to me.  But, at the very least, assuming Republican senators will not get any blame is facts not in evidence. Tossing up one's hands as if that is a given as well.  People DID blame Republicans for Garland as well.  Not enough but then I have seen even former aides to the Senate Minority Leader at the time say in hindsight not enough was done to address the situation.  We are doing that early, I see this time. It's defeatist b.s.

I'm glad there are some Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee, from the chair on down, who are showing some positive desire to do their impeachment duty.  I am not somehow pie in the sky about what will happen, but the breadth of the problem suggests the tools used.  And, assuming the worse across the board is not the only way to go.


SCOTUS isn't only dropping mostly ignored (even by SCOTUSBlog, which still annoys me) summer orders. The big news was Justice Stevens dying. Justices also put themselves out there (more than one wasn't around for the funeral given commitments), including another RBG interview. As I noted over there, I'm not as annoyed as this piece, but it has some bite. Calling a partisan ass credibly accused of multiple acts of sexual assault "very decent" in particular is ... crossed the line. Breyer actually supported term limits. RBG sounds like an elite benefiting that doesn't want change. I'm tired of it.

Yesterday, barely ("among the reasons," citing one) explaining themselves, five justices allowed funding and plans of construction of part of a border wall to go on in the face of two lower courts. Breyer would have allowed negotiations but not building. The other libs just opposed the stay without opinion. With justices out of the country and all, wonder how they did this. By conference call? Conservatives selectively don't care about agency overreaching (with property rights implications). The "no standing" approach might not be a full win on the merits, but the results get you the same basic place.

More words for Stevens. In these times, they do help some. He particlarly respected Souter, whose brief words of honor was quite Souter-esque. I hope to hear a bit more from him too. RBG references talking to him about Stevens in her own remarks (formatted for an elderly person with vision problems?). O'Connor is ill but lingering. But, her death won't surprise.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Jazy Berlin

I sometimes discuss "after hours" programming on this channel and she popped up in some of the fare a few years ago, part of a familiar collection of faces. The Internet being made for that sort of thing, here is a (recently lapsed) registration of her name. She was amusing -- JB was a walking sexbot of a performer but acted with enough of a light touch to be fun. Like she knew she was ridiculous and ran with it. Porntube allows you to see more of her than shown on regular cable. I also see her Twitter is still active.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Federal Government Announces New Execution Protocol, Sets Five Execution Dates

I started a thing this year where I look at each person executed and turns out will have a few more with a new federal policy. Given the last person executed by the federal government is in the early Bush43 years, the usual long on death row problem will repeatedly arise (there were newer additions). One notes this wasn't done under Sessions though it is not exactly surprising or the worst you expect under Trump. Know one criminal justice policy guy who thinks too much attention is given to the death penalty (and supports it especially if done by the feds in certain cases), but net, this (as Chris Geidner noted) is a bad move there too.

ETA: OTOH, maybe they won't happen.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Mueller Hearings

Months after the Mueller Report was released, we finally had hearings with him personally (Judiciary and Intelligence), and we got a sense of what he thought about Trump. Other than little nuggets like that (such as references to ongoing investigations about the effects of what was found in the Report that seemed to surprise one or more members), the core was Dems reading snippets and getting him to agree or "generally" (whatever that means though many probably didn't take it to mean much of a qualification) about them.

So, hundreds of pages were summarized and blessed by Mueller. Meanwhile, as a whole, Republicans were trolls who tried to badmouth Mueller. Various spin belittled this in some fashion and/or told us how the Dems (who mostly were carefully scripted) screwed up, but net, it seemed productive to me. Rep. Nadler seemed to me publicly to have the strongest position (underlining if Trump wasn't in his current position, he would have been indicted) so this doesn't surprise me. More foot dragging. "Got to wait for the Report." "Got to wait for him to testify." "Got to wait for the judges to decide."

Big sigh. Anyway, I didn't expect magic and though Mueller did come off as someone who didn't want to be there and at times ill at ease, as a whole, I think it was productive. Anyway, it had to be done really, and provided a lot to work with especially if it is used with the care and force it warrants. Big qualifier, but useful even if imperfectly done.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Shy Girl

I read the autobiography of Justice Stevens, well timed so to speak given his death, but couldn't get into some other books. Did re-read this book, which I read years back (Fall 2000). The next one is even more ancient history. Anyway, a young lesbian comes back "home" to deal with her first love's mother's sudden illness and faces her past etc. It already is a short book (200 or so pages) and think it could have been shorter (like a novella though last fifty or so pages went quickly). First book. Seems like it could have been edited down, like it rambled or such. But, it was a good read overall. She's still around.

ETA: How Could You Do It, Diane is a young adult fiction regarding a teenage girl and her family dealing with the suicide of her stepsister. I first read it as a teenager (if older than her) but re-reading it now, it was still good. This review says ages 10-14, but the character (by the end) is 15 or so. So, why so young?

Monday, July 22, 2019

Mark Kleiman RIP

Earlier in my blog history, Kleiman was someone I regularly read and commented upon as seen by doing a search of this name (e.g., regarding Kerry's presidential run). I disagreed with him at times, including what I took as a too strict path against drug legalization. Did respect him. But, for whatever reason, I stopped reading his blog. He was particularly known for drug/criminal justice policy. A broad group respected him. RIP.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Various Matters -- Stevens/Planned Parenthood/Trump/Mets

This photo is from one of the entries discussing Justice John Paul Stevens and is from the oral argument (4/20/10) of Dolan v. U.S. The case involves a technical matter regarding the true final date a court can apply a restitution requirement on a criminal defendant. As discussed in the analysis of the case at the link, if somewhat boring for many, this is an important matter both for the defendant and the victim whose welfare the law in place aims to protect. The case itself involves an assault and decision by the court below that finding the correct restitution amount would not be possible by the date designated by the law.  The question was what missing the date means.
Congress's failure to specify the consequences resulting from a violation of Section 3665(d)(5)'s ninety-day requirement is, in essence, a statutory punt to the Court, which necessarily forces the Court to make for itself the difficult policy choice between either sacrificing victims' rights for the government's negligence, or granting the district court nearly unfettered discretion to drag out restitution proceedings as long as it wishes.
Liberal advocate Pamela Karlan (with a specialty in voting rights as well as a lesbian; she was Justice Blackmun's law clerk and worked on his dissent regarding same sex sodomy, Bowers v. Hardwick)  argued for Dolan. He lost by a somewhat atypical split -- the four most senior justices at the time was all in dissent (Roberts, Stevens, Scalia and Kennedy), which split Scalia and Thomas (who assigned). The split is partially explained by concern about textual meaning, Roberts arguing Breyer was too loose with the strictness of the rule in place.  I don't know who is right.

The fact that the Court had to make a "difficult policy choice" was discussed in the analysis.  There was some criticism of Congress not clearly deciding it for themselves. But, this is something they sometimes do. They for whatever reason, often because legislative compromise involves this, let certain things be decided by the courts. Justice Stevens flagged this himself in his book, citing an example of Congress doing this when he was general counsel for the minority of a committee back in the day.  One value of his book was pointing out such complexities of judging where simple answers are not always there.


A few days ago, the president of Planned Parenthood was fired after less than a year of being in office.  This is unfortunate in part since an Asian female physician seemed to provide a promising path to add a good perspective to the organization.  However, as discussed there and here (see also comments), it was not a smooth fit.  Given the important place Planned Parenthood has in providing family planning and other health related services, this story is one that appears to be of some importance.

Dr. Wen wished to focus on the organization as providing medical services (which to me is on some level a good thing -- abortion should be covered by health insurance, e.g., because it is part of health services) and clashed with those who had a more political mentality. It also is reported that she did not handle the organization aspects of her job very well.  The coverage I have seen (not too much really though a few conservatives, including the one chosen by Politico to analyze it, had unsurprising "yeah they are just about abortion" comments)  has a bit too much of a "sources say" quality.


This piece: "What Americans Do Now Will Define Us Forever: If multiracial democracy cannot be defended in America, it will not be defended elsewhere," is a powerful warning.  This includes concerns about the "foot dragging" of the Democrats. Some people still are loathe to criticize Pelosi and other lead Democrats, even when people like Rep. Nadler show dissent (he voted against tabling the latest impeachment vote). But, at this point, given the stakes, that to me is mistaken.


I'm just going to delete my long ramble on the Mets.  Suffice to say they looked pretty good vs. the Marlins (after a hiccup start) and Twins (though see original note) but not so much vs. the Giants.  Well, the pitching was pretty good.  Three low scoring extra inning games (each a loss, each in its own way) and a good outing by a spot starter (the one game they won, 11-4).  But, outside of that one game, neither team had much offense. (Three runs in the ninth vs. a call-up by the Giants in that game.)

Net out of the gate for the second half that's 5-4, which could have been a series win and two splits.  Guess you can look at it that way. Other than getting cash (after giving up a prospect) for helpful middle reliever/long man Font, the Mets have yet to done any trading. Expect little tbh.


I said "still surging," but looking at the standings, they are but 2.5 games ahead of Cleveland, the Indians now a wild card (about tied with the As).  Was never completely sure about the Twins, perhaps the surprise of the American League this season.  They better be careful.  The Rays led the AL East once upon a time, but faced the buzz-saw of the Yankees, who seem to basically always beat them.  They are 1.5 back from the playoffs completely and also better watch out.  The playoffs basically are those teams (and Houston) though only 3.5 back, cannot really count out the Red Sox.  The Rangers lost seven in a row to fall out of contention.

The Mistletoe Promise

As Christmas in July on Hallmark Channel continues, a few that I like the most have been replayed. This is a little gem, helped a lot by Jaime King, who is a bit of different look for these movies. A song involving "figgy pudding" has a special place. This is another case (see also, The Nine Lives of Christmas) where the movie is better than the book.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Plan Nine From Outer Space

Some things should be done at least once and watching this famously bad film might be among them. And, it is bad in various ways, especially some of the dead people ["Plan Nine" involves raising the recently dead] and over the top narration. But, it has some good points: the overall plot is okay and credibly handled more or less (any number of 1950s sci fi flicks aren't really much better). So, yeah, I think the film's reputation might be a bit overrated.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

RIP Justice John Paul Stevens

In 2005, a year before his death, Ford wrote, in a tribute to Stevens, “For I am prepared to allow history’s judgment of my term in office to rest (if necessary, exclusively) on my nomination thirty years ago of John Paul Stevens to the U.S. Supreme Court.” Fair.

I took a break from reading his autobiography (he just got on the Court) and saw he died. ETA: The book is pretty good though the court years was too much about cases; needed more snapshots of being a justice, behind the scenes stuff. Also, he talks about his childhood and pre-court years but little about his married life. Nearly nothing about his first wife (over thirty years married) though more references of his second. Few comments about his kids.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Public Sentiment & Yes, We Have Work To Do

The importance of changing public sentiment, which is not just a matter of votes (it helps but not being strongly anti-gay matters even for a Republican who helps support bad GLBTQ policies), is the focus here. This arose in debates over the strength of AOC and her allies. Public sentiment matters even without the votes. A majority, especially in our bottleneck fulled system, operates factoring in many pressures.

The discussion, from a progressive p.o.v., is right to warn that our society is greatly divided. I think it does exaggerate the 2016 election results though understand forgetting about Jill Stein. Clinton/Stein is not "right wing" and received 49.25% of the popular vote. A few fractions also came from the left. We also don't have run-off voting. Even factoring in Gary Johnson (who represented libertarians, who are not "far right" on various issues), all the "right" candidates received about one percent more (write-ins seem to provide the balance).

I think the protest conservative candidate led to a few more people voting and again gay rights/open borders etc. can be "libertarian." But, yes, the "majority" here is unclear. This also doesn't erase the problem with gerrymandering and other methods that artificially make things more conservative than truly is the case. We have work to do.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Christmas in Homestead

I also like this Christmas movie with a male lead who popped up in another one repeated recently and the female lead (Taylor Cole, who looks like a young Sela Ward) who pops up in many Hallmark movies. It's sweet and Cole repeatedly is fun in these films. Everyone is generally natural feeling and there is chemistry. Sometimes, this is a bit lacking. As usual, a key issue is pacing and things go well until an obligatory problem fairly late.

SCOTUS Watch: Orders etc.

During summer recess, the Supreme Court schedules three set days to release orders on various things, generally uncontroversial and not really notable matters. Order days during the regular term often are of the same caliber. For some reason, SCOTUSBlog does not put these summer days on the calendar provided on their website. I flagged this to them one year, noting the days are scheduled in each case. My opinion was duly noted as much as it usually is.  Anyway, first some general court news.

The citizenship question ruling in June was not the end of the line, leaving open a question not only in the future but possibly the present, though some thought practicably it was the end of the line there.  At first, it seems there was and ending -- an announcement that the new census forms would not have a question. But, Trump didn't like that.  Fake news!  So, the process to find a new method started, including replacing the current lawyers involved in defending the question. Two judges were "not so fast."

Finally, Trump basically admitted defeat though said (as was suggested originally) he will try to get the information some other way.  This whole thing poisoned the well and now census officials will try to run the 2020 census while many people are suspicious. This would include any other means used to collect data, including citizenship data.  The Republicans see the data as a means to apportion districts based on the number of citizens there, allowing a state's population as a whole to be based (per the Constitution) by persons, but districts drawn in a way that can favor one party.  This seems problematic, including on racial discrimination grounds, but it was left open as a possibility in a past case.

Meanwhile, yet again, the Trump Administration (as in the census case) wants to skip a level to rush things to the Supreme Court (border wall).  This is not common behavior and they have tried it more than the last two administrations (sixteen years) combined.  I'm sorry.  Almost 3x as much in less than three years. The census case suggests the limits of Trump's breach of the law, down to apparently some government lawyers perhaps being unwilling to defend a clearly specious argument.  Court orders have been followed and so forth.  But, this only goes so far, and their moves to use existing law in troubling ways remains clearly documented.

The partisan gerrymandering opinion has been subject to continual discussion.  I found New York's own rules, which blocks that sort of thing. How well this is applied is unclear.  Talking about blocking, the court of appeals held that Trump cannot block people on Twitter, noting various things make it clear his account (as compared to any account of a government official) is a public forum. For instance, it is covered by the presidential records law (though his status as a "president" to me is somewhat dubious).

Okay, so let's cover those orders. Nothing happened.  A request for bail was denied as were various petitions of lower court re-hearings being denied. For instance, following the docket number, Anson Chi's handwritten petition. There will be various actions on cases found only on docket pages and various stand-alone orders (various executions scheduled in August). But, these summer orders tend to be dull.  We are for completeness here.

(The bail request is a doozy.  First it was submitted to Gorsuch, he denied it, and then it was re-submitted to Sotomayor.  The request has a bunch of exhibits, totaling over one hundred pages.  Skimming, one is a handwritten petition.  The person's address is "Federal Prison," so she does have a lot of time on her hands.  It seems notable she posts her email at one point using an AOL email address.  [Hey, one of mine still is.]  A news article.)  

Christmas at the Palace (aka Generic Title Alert)

It's Christmas in July on Hallmark with a marathon of Christmas movie with some favorites mixed in. This one is charming, helped by leads that fit their parts well. The daughter really has that "sorta European" accent that works well for these stamp sized kingdom type films. The two women are cute and widower suitably ill at ease but pining for the heroine. The daughter (who has a limited IMDB) also plays her scenes very well. Generally well paced.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

A Year of Biblical Womanhood

After the tragic early death of the author, blunt words of the raw pain of her husband and a video of the funeral is available, I'm reading her books and checked out some video. After her latest on the bible, I'm reading this. Her progressive, humane, snarky and questioning style is appealing. She comes at this as a believer, which particularly matters for lots of women. (A reference to the woman who cooked the recipes in the Julia Child cookbook led me to see ... well, she became a bit of a slut.) This book was written before she had kids and so on; knowing what happened is a bit creepy at times. The whole thing is not TOO profound really or THAT deep of a dive but good for the soul. This time with pictures.

ETA: She noted during her "year" that she got around a barrier to speaking in church by considering it "prophecy" and she has been called a prophet. The power of her work might be somewhat lessened by those looking from the outside.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

I'm Team AOC

ETA: To get a sense of what is at stake, a discussion of a means used to push refugees on Guatemala, which is not exactly best able to handle them, being a place people flee from already. Meanwhile, a mother from there testifies about her daughter dying, after poor treatment in a camp. Clearly, the problem is AOC and "the squad."
The agitating that the freshmen are doing about the camps, in order to keep the issue in the news and try to force action on it, is something Dems failed to do on behalf of DREAMers in 2017 or on behalf of Garland in 2016. This is what advocacy looks like.
-- Brian Fallon (profile: "Executive Director, We Demand Justice. Former aide to Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer")
Last nite, on a day to honor a young pitcher/leader who recently died, the Angels had a hit parade and combined no-hitter (one walk), on the first home game after the death and the day before his birthday. His mom threw an excellent first pitch (know where he got his talent from!). The Seattle Mariners provided the thankless opponent role (the Angels used an "opener" and then someone whose recent outings were far from no-hit stuff for the next seven), down to a lackluster run out of the box to help make up for a possible hiccup on fielding the final out.

The Mets lost to the Marlins, a highlight six toss-overs to keep a pitcher close at first base with the at bat ending with Granderson hitting a two run homer, followed by another one. Somewhat different first games back. The first game was Thursday with the Rangers giving the Astros a run for their money again.  So, you know, the expected as well a bit of baseball magic. I like to snark about the Mets on Twitter, in part since on some level baseball doesn't matter. Sports do matter, but they still aren't life or death (most of the time).  It feeling good was shown by the women's soccer team (now just known as "the team" as compared to "men's soccer") winning the World cup.

[The Mets then won the next two games, the second one via two runs in the eighth -- scoring in that inning an ongoing theme in winning games -- the second basically by DeGrom pitching well (NS did too) while the Mets offense actually showed up some.  My general sentiment here is BFD. Will they do a 2018 and suddenly have a good run?  And, then the team won't really do anything different since you know this year was just a quirk.]

Okay.  Yes, the opening quote.  After Pelosi publicly asked Democrats to stop sniping at each other in public, the House Dems Twitter feed (without deigning to suggest they even knew who he was) reached back a few weeks to find a tweet to call out AOC's chief of staff. Talking Points Memo summarizes things, an appropriate citation since the head of that blog last night also tweeted about the dust-up.  People, including myself, can be too concerned with Twitter, but let's say the tweet got a lot of attention. The basic sentiment of many was "what the fuck are you doing?"  Of course, some had to take the other side, and call out AOC and others.  Some with stupid .gifs or pictures.

There is now always a feeling that we have to fear anyone making strong comments that come off as divisive are really "trolls" or don't reflect any real sentiment as a whole.  "It's only Twitter."  This can be taken too far.  First, Twitter is a thing and like Facebook and other social media has real effects and reflects real sentiments, if all having some means to exaggerate and all that bad stuff. The same can be said about cable news, traditional media and most anything of this caliber.  Second, the divisions expressed here were made elsewhere. Pelosi and others have shown their feelings in other contexts and even a resolution that was at least partially a subtweet against one of the four new POC* House members referenced by some as "the squad."  This isn't just their supporter's imagination. #Gaslighting Noting the importance of perspective.

Josh Marshall (TPM) as noted tweeted, noting Pelosi and the House Dems were wrong ... well, let me get the exact language.  Marshall started his blog during the Bush v. Gore fight (11/12/00 in fact) and his voice here is worth singling out since he's an important expression of a long term political commentator.  My concern reflects this as compared to you know a random Twitter person.  Anyway, later on he spoke of the "courage" (his scare quotes) of a Democrat in a safe distict though also retweeted the Fallon's comment. But, like comments sympathetic to Biden if concerned about him being the candidate, his tweets aired out his sentiments.

First tweet:
Democrats are talking about some dumb shit tonight. Pelosi has done herself/her caucus no favors with her dismissive comments. It’s also mind boggling that AOC and crew can try to upend their caucus at every turn and then be shocked they’re “singled out”.
2/ The four of them have every right to be rebels/insurgents. They’re elected reps. But who expects to be insurgents and also think you’re going to get achievement ribbons from the people you’re surging agst? Regardless they all need to figure out how to put this shit to bed.
This "both sides" business is a bit much and not evenly handled, showing his sentiments some.  It is "Pelosi" (the leader of the caucus with decades of practice at this) on one side and "AOC and crew" on the other.  They are "at every turn"  (#hyperbole) trying to upend their caucus. Uh huh. Like the "problem solving caucus" voting against the leadership position or even against Pelosi herself?  AOC et. al. voted for Pelosi.  They didn't try to find someone to challenge her as speaker. Likewise, the dismissive "achievement ribbons" comment.  This all pissed me off as unbalanced this even beyond her being my representative and liking she is (rather skillfully though I remember she just got there, so is still a bit raw) strongly speaking out.  The times warrant it.
A reply (again, one really can spend too much time with these**) argued he was being a "technocrat" and not seeing how AOC is being a "visionary."  He replied: "don’t lecture me about politics and causes."  As the person noted, "get off my lawn" is implied.  See also, Rick Hasen (Election Law Blog) worried about speaking of "stolen elections" and when people call him out, he gives his bona fides as a voting rights warrior. Sure is and great. But, you can be wrong about something. And, Pelosi has been too.

I know who the true enemy is here.  I saw 1776  (movie reference), but  the tweet (without providing the context, as the COS tweeted in a reply he supported the choice of the person he criticized running and considers her a friend ... using her first name, therefore, was not some grave act of disrespect on his part) reflects a problem in knowing how to battle them.  it was particularly asinine when the original tweet was an in the moment raw reply to the emergency funding border bill dispute.  In the news yesterday was Pence and company visiting the concentration camps and even after the Democrats supported the funding bill (with no real teeth), calling out Democrats for not providing means to support them.  AOC and the others taking a hardline here comes off rather well in the fact of that shit.

Over at another blog, the second of two somewhat related discussions (with lots of comments) on basically what "republican government" means (including the true meaning of "one person, one vote") in part discuss strategy.  Movements as well as legislative caucuses need to keep this in mind.  AOC and others provide a valuable function.  We can debate how far she should go (including challenging long term incumbents in safe seats, shades of Republican conservative efforts), but overall, her fire is both helpful and not just a chaotic force.  As the lead tweet notes, something like this would have been helpful with Garland (not sure about the Dreamers -- seems there was some voices there).  This is not just from me or "Twitter liberals" but also from aides to leadership, including Harry Reid.

I think an impeachment inquiry is warranted and not only is just but pragmatically helpful.  Looking it up on Wikipedia, the formal process for Nixon started in October 1973 with the end game starting in May (still active when he resigned in August 1974). Before then, there were Watergate hearings.  Now, we have scattered hearings with no overall umbrella with various ongoing lawsuits to get documents or people to testify.  Pelosi seems not to want that personally and this influences the state of the caucus as a whole of which only a fraction publicly are on board.  Think her comments on it have been bad either way.

Overall, glad my representative is pushing and screw the haters.


* It is notable that the four vocal women representatives at times singled out (though "Justice Democrats" make up a wider number) are POC and people find it offensive that they personally seem to be targeted. Others say it is outrageous to suggest Pelosi et. al. are somehow racist, but our party generally seems to understand the complexities of racism, including disparate impact.  Taking care to avoid feelings of disrespect isn't too hard and is something taken into consideration back to the days of dueling.

** A few weeks ago, though I still read and favor some tweets, I started a policy of not tweeting on weekends.  I admit to a Twitter addiction in part since I enjoy giving my .02 and it is a means to vent. Plus, it's fun and informative.  You engage with some great people. Monica Lewinsky, e.g., "liking" a tweet ... come on.

Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China

The author's second book covers a lot of the same ground but is more about feminist activism [building off the last chapter] in China so this book (written a few years before) was helpful as well. "Leftover women" is a term used in China to label women who don't marry (by around 27) and it reflects and advances gender inequality there. Of special note: home ownership.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Scared Topless [Showtime After Hours]

I'm amused this trailer found enough non-explicit content to fill over a minute of playing time. Other than what to me is an annoyingly artificial "facing the viewer" toss-in (a sort of breaking the fourth wall), the first ten or so minutes of the film is pretty good. Putting aside the use of color in "found footage" from c. 1940 or so (first it sounds like the 1930s, then he is sent on some military mission), the opening is good. A touch of humor too. A lot of boring big breast sex action soon kicks in. Two of the "students" (a bit long in tooth) are familiar faces.

Mueller Report

I read the version put out by the Washington Post (not the one with an intro by Alan Dershowitz; looking, doesn't seem that version adds more commentary) and it is mainly the report itself other than various additional documents (e.g., indictments and Michael Cohen sentencing transcript; these have helpful brief intros). The volume intro and Mueller/Trump article are both a tad thin though latter interesting. Some notes ala some editions of classics regarding the report proper would have been helpful. The legal glossary was helpful; the list of people cited found in the report itself is very helpful. The redactions were not too bad though made a few things (including involving Manafort) unclear. 

There are two parts though the "speaking indictments" provide important helpful details too: Russian trolls/hacking (with Trump campaign involvement) and Trump obstruction of justice (live performance version very good; overall that section is easier to read too). I really don't expect the average person to plow thru hundreds of pages; parts of the first volume particularly hard going. Summaries that bring things together and Mueller testifying (next week) etc. are therefore very important.  Again, the indictments provide some good material (shades of the Libby one) and the sentencing hearing transcript is interesting as well. 

There is clearly enough there to show obstruction, especially his interference (recall his actual position as chief executive) of ongoing investigations and prosecutions. This beyond somewhat closer calls involving the Comey firing and so on.  As to some sort of conspiracy with the Russian "government" (notable qualifier) to interfere with the election, "coordination" might not be provable (notable qualifier*) in a court of law. But, numerous engagements (some of which Trump on down blatantly lied about) with Russians and Russian operatives are shown.  Clearly wrong and impeachment worthy.  (Note, e.g., Kushner, now a chief member of the Administration, was involved.)

And, the in depth look at use of trolls to get involved in electoral politics (how much did this change the result?) and hack (plus use Wikipedia as a funnel device) the Democrats (though unclear how much this mattered in the end) was striking.  Roger Stone's role, including reference in his indictment of various unnamed major Trump campaign personnel, is notable here. Briefly touched upon: hacking actual state election databases.  Trump blatantly bs-ing about Russian not being involved (who knows?) and afterwards still saying getting information in this fashion would be okay is notable. Finally, after his "sarcastic" invite to get Clinton emails, huh, right away the Russians started to try to get them.

It is to be recalled this investigation was overseen by the former FBI head, picked by George Bush Jr.  The limits of a criminal investigation (see note) as well should be kept in mind.  All the same, there is an in depth examination of whether there was evidence Trump might be guilty of obstruction.  The report proper ends with a legal analysis on why he could be, a sort of rejoinder to AG Barr. In his public statement later on, after Barr's spin job, Mueller underlined Trump's guilt was purposely left open. (Note too he said he was open to providing parts of the report earlier but the "AG" rejected that approach.)   And, more.

I won't try to analyze things further. See, e.g., these articles.


* Other than things like protected communication of counsel (e.g., attempts to influence witnesses via Trump's personal counsel likely was not on the person's own but involved Trump), the report noted various things hindered the investigation. This includes destruction of evidence, the limits of obtaining certain information given lack of hard evidence, lying to investigators and Trump himself trying to obstruct (which the report says only "mostly" failed).  There are also legal rules that might have been applied too strictly, such as regarding Donald Trump Jr. Anyway, the amount of smoke here requires gas masks.

[Redactions might hide something, but I also am unclear how Manafort passing internal campaign poll data, including for swing states, to a Russian operative is not itself illegal.  Unlike Donald Trump Jr., he is well aware of the rules and poll data was cited at one point as covered by campaign finance rules.  Manafort at one point is said to deny knowing the guy involved has a connection to the Russian government, but that's hard to believe, and Manafort's deputy agreed the connection was apparent. Finally, this seems a form of actual "coordination" in some fashion.]  

One telling bit that received a lot of attention was when Trump himself was annoyed that someone was taking notes. The person retorted that as a "real lawyer," that is what one does. It might not even been his notes, but that of an aide.  But, it reflects Trump's mob mentality and it is another problem with proving things in a court of law.  Finally, he never was convinced to agree to a face to face meeting.  His replies to written inquiry was a bit of a joke: almost half of it was repeating questions, another quarter or more "I don't recall."  Full cooperation though. 

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Stop it, Please (Pelosi Edition)

Smart Twitter person says non-smart things: "The people insisting that impeachment would magically get Trump to go away sound just like the people who say “you should report that!!” every time I talk about my experiences with discrimination." No one actually says that. Meanwhile, Pelosi being reported badmouthing AOC as some outlier with no support. At some point, might we say she has a problem with a sizable group [note vote] in the caucus? She's starting to be tiring. Is she upset the kids are stealing the thunder from her left?

July ... Same Old Mets?

ETA: After reports the GM threw a chair and badmouthed Callaway after yesterday's game and a lot of drama in this one (ejections included), the Mets survived four innings of pen including .2 by Matz. The Philly starter was bad, NS only went five but the pen just hung on. A good defensive play helped.  Diaz with a clean ninth. It is a game you have win sometimes.

After the Mets won two straight, both times via strong eighth innings by the bats (the second vs. the Yanks was 4-2, so pitching helped), they went back to losing. The second Subway Series game was okay; but tied 2-2, after DeGrom went seven/two runs (the second questionable but they ran out of challenges), Lugo did the eighth but Diaz/Famalia gave up five in the ninth. Avila got the final out. The challenge is one of those cases where Callaway can be blamed. Will all scoring plays be automatically reviewed? At least close ones.  Four game sweep plus one more loss vs. Phils.

DeGrom did his job here but overall has came down to earth. After struggling in April, he has been fairly consistent, but especially with this pen, a bunch of 6-7 inning games isn't enough for your putative ace. "Quality" starts not enough. The Mets playoff odds are under 1% though they are marginally in it being seven games back in the Wild Card. Too many teams in front of them. Ending hope on some level is less stressful, but the result be limited trading deadline moves and dubious (if splashy) post-season ones? If the manager is fired, will it matter?  A true game changer might but the GM and ownership is often the real problem, Callaway's statements sounding like official lines.

Nimmo being out hurts, including symbolically, though at this point I think he is largely forgotten. Injuries again hurt them but your alleged ace closer being totally off is a killer too. Finally, the offense (a few standouts) has been inconsistent. Again, the bats were key to those two wins. Defense is suspect and the minors limited. Might pay to give up a bit more to build it up. And, I still wonder what trading Wheeler a year earlier would have brought. Still can win the series. But, losses like this killed the season.
I don’t care how much you hated the Cano deal. NO ONE could’ve predicted this level of regression from Diaz/Cano, let alone guys like Familia, Ramos, and Syndergaard. Regression, sure. But this significant? Had even just a few of them worked out, this would be a different season.
So argues a leading Mets Twitter account.  The problem being that there always seems to be something with this team -- speak as a fan since the late 1990s (basically the Bobby Valentine years), this all seems unsurprising. The Mets had an unofficial rebuild in the Terry Collins years and had an exciting run probably a year earlier than expected. Ended in depressing fashion, helped by breaking a better defender's leg (mattered defensively in the World Series).  Seemingly by spit and bailing wire, they got a Wild Card spot in 2016 but Famalia blew it after the other two went mano-o-mano against Mr. Baseball.

2018 is following in the footsteps of 2017 though it seems like it started with more safeguards. (June was more horrible last season but be it more one note, relief pitching standing out, the late June losing streak got the team about the same place).  Take the quote. Okay. Starting pitching. Problem was that the team didn't get a safety there really.  Guys like "Thor" had troubles in the past.  Again, I think DeGrom is somewhat more notable though him pitching well lately made him seem not the problem. If Vargas suddenly didn't become the latest version of Big Sexy in reliability, the team would be in even worse shape.  Starting pitching was no lock even id dreams of a great bunch were possible.

Famalia. When he was the closer, he was pretty reliable. This season he has not been in the set-up role and then he was out on the "IR" -- was he hurt before and they didn't say?  The problem there was that he was not so clearly clutch that they should have signed him for a three year deal (which upon looking, is back-ended, so he costs less this season).  His struggles are somewhat surprising.  But, again, they aren't shocking really.  Plus, this is a theme, there always seems to be SOME issue with this team.

Diaz/Cano. This was a controversial move since you had to pick up multiple years of Cano (though some of the money was addressed), who already old in baseball years. The hope was that he could give you something now.  He provided something but repeatedly was injured and his defense/baseball behavior has been repeatedly dubious.  Coming off a steroids punishment and given his history, this is not really shocking.  See a theme?  The rolling snowball effect might be somewhat surprising, but the pieces yet again are not really too surprising. Too many question marks.

You needed something to balance this out. Diaz was a key possibility but there was some risk because there was some concern he was injury prone, we are talking about two years as a full time closer and the relievers are fickle (Blevins struggled after two good years). And, you gave up some prospects plus have to deal with Cano (another expensive player who they have for multiple years with limited value; old news).  Closers are key and if he had even an okay May/June, the Mets would be hanging around the Phils/Nats for the WC.  This was the biggest surprise though there might be various reasons, down to changes in the ball.*

The other balance was a better "B" team and maybe Ramos. Ramos has had an injury history and reliance on him probably is questionable though it was somewhat reasonable to think him an upgrade.  The pen didn't pick you up either -- early on Diaz was reliable if repeatedly not lights out. Lugo and to a lesser extent Gsellman were too.  Then, they weren't (or Lugo was hurt; Lugo had blips lately).  Wilson and Avilan (a "B" type really anyhow) were hurt. A key super-utility guy never played. Nimmo got hurt and Cespedes is just out for the season.  J.D. Davis turns out to be the only one of those promising off-season pick-ups that have consistently contributed. And, though some bats like Smith provided some offense, lately it hasn't been enough to balance the poor or average pitching.  The Phils aren't really this good. 

Long term, the Mets outperformed expectations in one year (helped by some deadline acquisitions and the Nats struggling) and fought through adversity to get a respectable wild card berth.  Other than that, losing baseball. And, even in the mix there was some bad baseball (pitching carried them in the first half of 2015).  At some point, repeats are not too surprising, though the specifics might be somewhat novel.


* The Mets last month fired the pitching coach that helped various pitchers and the bullpen coach. An old vet came on to replace one and someone returned to replace the other.  Rather unclear what value this brought in the last two weeks, the pitching situation if anything worse right after. Is this the team's idea of a big move to shock the system?  Perhaps, try to make the team more professional overall. For instance, that thing with Callaway and Vargas against a reporter was handled badly. Public statements to me often come off as 'bs' and a reporter complained the GM is AWOL. And, the team does not seem to be crisply run.

There is some question of what to do with Diaz. Should he shift down and deal with his problems?  But, who would close?!  Well, after Famalia left last season, they figured out the closing situation (Gsellman often closed and Lugo had a few).  So, figure we can figure something out now too, if they wanted to try that.  Using Matz (who stepped in as a LOOGY in a game this week) as a closer, was floated, which seems silly -- he often struggles in his first inning plus has injury issues and suddenly you will try to make a starter into a closer, especially one who is something of a mental case?  I rather not.  He's basically a fifth starter now.

On some level, it doesn't matter and maybe he will snap into gear somehow. After all, he started okay, if a bit iffy. But, the pen repeatedly blowing it has to affect the rest of the team, including a starter who is gun shy about making any mistakes.  Anyway, another possibility is they pick a good reliever in a trade and that might work as a spot closer when necessary.  Wilson also is a maybe. It is less important for a losing team.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

The Lady From The Black Lagoon

The Creature From The Black Lagoon series has been on Svengoolie. This book is about the life and career of the woman who worked on the monster, Milicent Patrick. Mixed in with the at times somewhat rambling account (mostly fun; various footnote asides) is the story of the author's efforts in researching the book. She is in the industry herself (portrays herself as a big nerd though she looks kickass in the author photo) and it is a work of love.

Happy 4th of July

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Sensual Survivalists

And Also: Trump doesn't want to admit it (hopefully), reports are that the citizenship question won't be on the new census form.  I would caution the challengers to be real careful, but it does seem that (no thanks to four members of SCOTUS) good actually won.  The battle still tainted the census, many likely still scared and some might still not want to fully take part. Also, the ruling remains precedent, including its bad parts. [Unsurprising update.]

I will expand the last entry some.

[Note: getting some hits; I apologize to those who are expecting more. This blog is not geared to reviewing porn. But, there are a few good links here.]

People do read me on Twitter though they don't really come to this blog (going by the hits). But, guess if any do, they can see by most of my entries that I'm not some sort of porn freak. But, along with late nite The Nanny reruns and so far, you do have some soft porn options on places like Showtime. This includes free movies on demand with your regular package.  If you want more hard core options, which some of these films are before they are edited for this sort of thing (repeatedly with name changes; for instance Sex-Life Crisis was Girlfriends).

The unedited versions have things like penetration while the edited version follows the general principle of all types of movies, including "R" rated ones, that you don't show penis.  For instance, in the film Single White Female (a regular thriller), you see a penis at one point and it is striking since it simply isn't done.  On the other hand, all types of female nudity is standard. This was also the "rule" is a nudist themed film that again was not a porn -- the nudity was somewhat restrained, but breasts and a few shots of female pubic areas were shown. The double standard applied there. A penis is seen as "X-rated."  I'm not just trying to be "gay" here.  It both adds to the the realism of the scene and evens the playing field. Even occasional exposure would be okay; but it is so obvious the other way.

A new movie available currently on demand is Sensual Survivalists, which takes a plot that I thought was prime for adult movies -- those naked survivalist programs, which let me note involve crazy people.  That is, it is sort of a Survivor type reality program (but it doesn't seem like it's a competition) but people are nude. It being basic cable, you don't really see much nudity. Here you have a chance for more, but this cut didn't really show that much of the time in the wilderness (one shot where they get to be covered by a blanket actually provides a quick shot of a penis, if in a non-sexual way).  So, it sort of doesn't take full advantage of the premise. Is there someone who does?

A couple [like her/NSFW/nice voice and some ability to act] familiar faces pop up later (the guy is into polyamory).  The main woman is okay enough -- she has some personality (personally find that useful) -- though the other guys are a bit unpleasant. Her bf or husband looks a bit dorky and the other survivalist is a creepy looking guy with too many tattoos. It appears as a whole that the women often go further on tattoos, often favoring big ones including with writing. So, at times, you have people who are supposed to be fairly average sorts (or young adults) with tattoos not quite character friendly.  To me, a little tattoo goes a long way.

The referenced actress is Chanel Preston and she popped up on another film that was on last night. The film is one of those big-boobed specials (favored in the film highlighted, but that one aimed to have some story too) and I'm not really into that sort of film.  The "read it for the articles" thing is a joke, but do like to have some story, acting and so forth in these films. Plus, yes, after a certain amount of time, it is a bit boring just watching sex. Like basketball, I'm sure there is a lot of effort involved here, especially since (though you might know it) a lot of these films do have penetration. But, that doesn't mean I want to see extended viewing of just either one.

[Chanel Preston does YouTube segments on sexual matters.]

Chanel Preston has big breasts (there are a range of sizes in porn) but she also has personality.  The best scene -- it is rather well done -- in this film allows her to shine.  She comes on a woman staff member being flirty with a newbie and when the woman denies that she was really into it, Chanel Preston's character is all "oh come on, you really are a slut." And, threatening to get the two in trouble with their bosses, presses her to take part in a three-some.  It is a sexy scene, made more so by CP's dirty talk.  Finally, as with other films she pops up in on Showtime, she has enough talent to act good enough to not just be there for the sex.  An explicit cut can be found here .

The film as a whole is more tiresome though a scene where a Mexican groundskeeper fills in for a "massage" therapist has a bit of humor involved.  Jessa Rhodes (the second woman in that scene), who by the way is somewhat less endowed, also has some flair.  She seems familiar -- there was a film about some young woman running an animal charity with a more slutty friend and said friend looks and sounds like her. Her IMDB resume underlines the amount and type of films many of these actresses do.  Sounds sorta tiring.  I'm still interested in reading a good in depth book of experiences there.  The various nuances on making them and so on.  I have a movie-making book for ordinary film!

As seen, there are a lot of free videos available online though some places might not be good for the computer. Still, places like PornTube seem to be semi-official type places.  For those into that sort of thing, you know who you are, there are some good videos.  Such as this Naomi Watts type whose voice alone is very sexy.  And, like fiction generally, yes, many (in no way all) of these things are not something you would like in real life. Some mother using her boyfriend to deal with a gay daughter (the guy is great; "are you sure?"  ha ha), for instance, is surely going to offend.  But, all types of people use sexual fantasy for just that.  It's not supposed to be real though, yes, even fiction influences reality and we should have more diversity.  OTOH, if not quite on Showtime, there is all types out there. The same with written erotic/pornographic writings. 

(Again, it adds something for the actors in these sort of films to have some acting chops. I thought the scene in the last segment well done including the girl saying something was just a physical reaction.  Of course, much of this is not high quality, and sometimes that is part of the charm. The same can apply to a romance novel or whatever.  RIP  Judith Krantz.)

Okay. So, this is what happens when SCOTUS goes into recess?


I'll toss in a bit more porn related content appropriate for this entry.  This is an extended short subject that is rather well made.  It involves a mom and the former boyfriend of her daughter.  She has porn star breasts but like comments note it is emotionally true -- I'm glad that I'm not the only one who appreciates that sort of thing. The opening is particularly a good set-up with a good sense of chemistry. The sex is also professionally done. Again, it's not real life, but it has a real to life feel.

This one is more taboo but on that level is well made though the stepdad overacts.  The star here is really the therapist (there is also a short version), who quietly encourages them to role play as husband and wife.  The clip (an edited version of a longer film) ends with a nice touch. With all the soft porn that is on "after hours" on Showtime and such, this is again a bit of hard core involving actual male parts and semen.

Here is one with India Summer, who sometimes pops up on "free" porn on Showtime and such. One amusing comment: "I think this production company is thinking outside the box. Looks like a dark episode of Law & Order: SVU. Guess Olivia can't save them all."  This suggests the theme (the video is at one point captioned "The Fosters" -- no, not the lesbian couple on Freeform though that plot is prime for this sort of thing).  The foster daughter has some good early reaction shots.

(The websites has various scenarios for whatever your personal taste might be of varying skill. I won't link [have fun looking!] sing mother/son video where the "son" is supposedly in college but appears about the same age of the mother!  Who knows if that was intentional -- after all, the neighbors on Married ... with Children regularly role played a bunch of things.)

You can waste time online on Twitter, on blogs/websites, on Youtube specifically and doing this.

Monday, July 01, 2019

SCOTUS Watch: Summer Orders

For your planning purposes, summer order lists are scheduled to be issued on July 15, August 5, and August 23, 2019. Summer order lists usually consist of actions taken by the Court on motions in pending cases, petitions for rehearing, and other miscellaneous matters. Emergency orders, such as in applications for stays, will continue to be released as required.

SCOTUSBlog et. al. might ignore them, but hey, I'm for completeness. There are multiple executions scheduled in August, to give an "emergency order" example. Meanwhile, always had a citizen question? Not really. Justices on vacation and speaking/teaching jaunts.

ETA: Meanwhile, we get a first taste of the new term with October Sitting.