Friday, January 31, 2020

Can you find it on a map?

Mike "Pompous Ass" Pompeo has been here in Ukraine informing us that America does give a f**k about Ukraine but that Trump will not meet with Zelensky in the White House, I assume because Zelensky has not yet announced that he will investigate the Bidens. After suggesting that Americans did not, in fact, give a f**k about Ukraine, Pompeo asked international journalist Marie Louise Kelly to find Ukraine on a map, which she did. Pompeo pretended she pointed to Bangladesh. I doubt he could find his ass with both hands in a snowstorm but I digress.

Radia Free Europe/Radia Liberty posted this quiz on Facebook:
 Can You Survive The Pompeo Challenge? Name These Unmarked Countries.

So I and a few of my FB friends took the challenge. I confused Georgia with Azerbaijan which is not good as I live in this neck of the woods and was here when Russia invaded Georgia in 2008. So I figured I better brush up on my grade school geography. In grades 6-8, we took Current Events as part of our Social Studies. Those were the years that Great Britain and France were shedding their colonies and there was a new map of Africa every month.  Has some great and simple political maps of the continents and various parts of them eg SE Asia, Oceania, Middle East, etc. I downloaded and printed a number of labeled political maps and their blank counterparts and began to practice naming the countries. Blank maps are not all on one website and must be Googled.

Learned lots of trivia, like Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan are actually in Asia, not Europe, or Brunei is two pieces as is Oman. I can now place both Andora and Monaco on a map. The most useful piece of information I found when looking on a map of Africa for Upper Volta (Russia has been described as Upper Volta with nucs). Could not find it nohow. Burkina Faso, I had heard of. The shock was to find that Upper Volta had been Burkina Faso since 1984.  I'm not keeping up.

I need to really work on Africa, SE Asia, and Oceania. The rest I think I can point to if you give me a name or give you a name if you point to a place.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

I am a social democrat, a 'small l' liberal.

The following is copied from an FB post. The original author is unknown and I have edited and added to more closely fit my own beliefs.

I am a social democrat, a 'small l' liberal.
  1. I believe a country should take care of its weakest members. A country cannot call itself civilized when its children, disabled, sick, and elderly are neglected. PERIOD.
  2. I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege. A national healthcare system would require everyone to chip in, and will not be devoid of flaws, but I have yet to hear an argument against it that makes "let people die because they can't afford healthcare" a better alternative. I believe healthcare should be far cheaper than it is, and that everyone should have access to it. And no, I'm not opposed to paying higher taxes in the name of making that happen.
  3. I believe education should be affordable. It doesn't necessarily have to be free (though it works in other countries so I'm mystified as to why it can't work in the US), but at the end of the day, there is no excuse for students graduating college saddled with five- or six-figure debt.
  4. I believe companies should be required to pay their employees a decent, livable wage. Somehow this is always interpreted as me wanting burger flippers to be able to afford a penthouse apartment and a Mercedes. What it actually means is that no one should have to work three full-time jobs just to keep their head above water. Restaurant servers should not have to rely on tips, multibillion-dollar companies should not have employees on food stamps, workers shouldn't have to work themselves into the ground just to barely make ends meet, and minimum wage should be enough for someone to work 40 hours and live a decent life.
  5. I believe that labour laws ought to provide for at least three weeks paid holidays plus paid statutory holidays plus earned sick leave plus at least 6 months paid maternity leave, enforce time and a half for hours over 40 per week and support creation and honest operation of unions to the point the workers have the same bargaining power as management.
  6. I am not anti-Christian. I have no desire to stop Christians from being Christians, to close churches, to ban the Bible, to forbid prayer in school, etc. (BTW, prayer in school is NOT illegal; *compulsory* prayer in school is - and should be - illegal). All I ask is that Christians recognize *my* right to live according to *my* beliefs. When I get pissed off that a politician is trying to legislate Scripture into law, I'm not "offended by Christianity" -- I'm offended that you're trying to force me to live by your religion's rules. You know how you get really upset at the thought of Muslims imposing Sharia law on you? That's how I feel about Christians trying to impose biblical law on me. Be a Christian. Do your thing. Just don't force it on me or mine.
  7. I don't believe LGBTQ people should have more rights than you. I just believe they should have the *same* rights as you. I do not believe people who self medicate with drugs are subhuman. I believe they have a right to live whether they are able or willing to change and that we need to work on fixing the systemic problems that cause people to self medicate.
  8. I believe in immigration and taking in refugees including those from America which is no longer a safe country. Undocumented immigrants should be dealt with fairly and promptly and refugee status granted for much more than fleeing from war. Newcomers to our country strengthen it and help build our economy.
  9. I believe the systemic racism and misogyny in our society is much worse than many people think, and desperately needs to be addressed. Which means those with privilege -- white, straight, male, economic, etc. -- need to start listening, even if you don't like what you're hearing, so we can start dismantling everything that's causing people to be marginalized.
  10. I believe in the enforcement of current gun laws and enacting new, common-sense gun regulations including registration of all firearms and banning of 'assault rifles", clips holding more than 5 rounds, pistols other than for licensed security, law enforcement, and shooting clubs. 
  11. I believe in so-called political correctness. I prefer to think it’s social politeness. If I call you Chuck and you say you prefer to be called Charles I’ll call you Charles. It’s the polite thing to do. Not because everyone is a delicate snowflake, but because as Maya Angelou put it "When we know better, we do better". When someone tells you that a term or phrase is more accurate/less hurtful than the one you're using, you now know better. So why not do better? How does it hurt you to NOT hurt another person?
  12. I believe in funding sustainable energy, including offering education to people currently working in coal or oil so they can change jobs. There are too many sustainable options available for us to continue with coal and oil. I believe in living in the world we have while we work to make it better. 
  13. I believe that women and men should be treated as equals, with equal respect, equal opportunity and equal pay for equal work. The Public and the courts need to take into account the woman's word as truthful in the same way they now treat the word of men.
  14. In summary, I think we should take care of each other.  I don't believe there is any scenario in which preventable suffering is an acceptable outcome as long as money is saved.
The linked article is well worth reading. 

Why do liberals believe the things that they do?

from the article

Friday, January 24, 2020

Tanya's Flower Garden

Tanya's flower garden runs between the house and street across the front of the house and from the street to the edge of the outbuilding along the side of the house. It never looks the same from one year to the next as she is always digging stuff up and moving it. Lately, she has begun planting shrubs such as boxwood, or dwarf cedar to reduce the area. What it will look like after this mild winter is hard to predict. Some bulbs are starting to show green through the dirt and plants that would benefit from snow cover are left to the elements. If we get a hard cold snap, say -15 to -25, it will do some damage too.

For a while, she ordered every new tulip, iris, or gladiola that showed up in a catalog or online. And of course, roses. Long stem and climbing.

Anyhow to make up for a dreary cold winter on the Canadian Prairies and a dreary political scene elsewhere, here are some of her flowers from over the years.

Click on the pictures to make them larger. They are not in any particular order.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Prophet of Doom

These days the 'sad' emoticon on FB gets used more than any other.  I no longer have the energy to be angry at everything that I should be. I wish they would add a BS icon that is easy to use. Instead, I use the HaHa making it do double duty.

If it were not for pictures of people's kids, people's pets, people's cows, and miscellaneous other critters, my NewsFeed would be beyond redemption. Which is pretty well how I feel about the world right now. I am not privileged enough to ignore the world around me.

Just the high spots:

  • Putin is in the process of keeping himself in power for life, by changing the constitution.
  • That same constitution change also says Russia is not bound by any international law if it clashes with the constitution, not that they have ever paid any attention to international law anyhow, or their constitution for that matter.
  • Putin has been busy resurrecting Stalin, including passing a law that allows prisoners to be used for slave labour aka the Gulag rides again. China and America have been doing this for years anyhow.
  • I need to get an outside opinion on Zelensky but am afraid I already know the answer. The crooks and oligarchs still hold the whip. And yes, there are good things happening too.
  • Merkel and Macron seem to be siding with Russia on implementation of the Minsk agreements, leaving Ukraine isolated.
  • Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Lybia, Syria, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan and on and on.
  • Conservative governments, particularly those of Ford and Kenney, are busy wrecking their respective provinces all in the name of paying for tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations. Wall already did Saskatchewan and Moe is just keeping things going.
  • We are currently running 10C to 15C above the long term average, as is European Russia and Western Siberia (I have not checked the Far East). But we had a cold snap on the prairies, not unheard of in January, though this one broke a few records, and the usual suspects were out hollering that this proved climate change is a hoax. 
  • Lev Parnas just blew the lid off the intertwined corruption of the Trump administration. His information did not surprise those who oppose Trump and had no impact on those who support him.
  • Trump is at Davos, warning people not to listen to the prophets of doom regarding the climate. The rich of course are quite able to insulate themselves from any ill effects of climate change.
  • The White House will not mount any real defense against the articles of impeachment, arguing instead that the impeachment is illegal under the constitution and that presidents have unlimited power so cannot be charged with abuse of power.
Now I shall be a prophet of doom. 
  • Having predicted that 2012 would be the last fair and free election in the USA and that a Republican would be elected president in 2016 (I never predicted Trump), I shall repeat my prediction that 2020 will be the last presidential election that even resembles an election.
  • The Senate will find Trump not guilty and Trump will double down on the use of executive power claiming the verdict proved it was unlimited. Since no one has stopped him to date, no one will stop him after this.
  • Trump will win the 2020 election via the Electoral College, with a little help from his friends, where necessary. The GOP will hold the senate the same way.
  • The first four years of Trump will seem like nothing compared to the next four years as there is no legal way to stop him from doing anything he wants so long as he owns SCOTUS, the Senate, and DOJ.
  • He will use the DOJ increasingly to go after anyone he perceives as an enemy, which is to say anyone who is not fawningly loyal. Journalists will be on the front lines.
  • In 2024, Trump will run for a third term and win and no one will stop him. Other than the second amendment, the constitution will be observed more in the breach, like the Russian one.
Prove me wrong.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Let Sleeping Cats Lie

My News Feed is full of Trump, Election, Iran, Putin and miscellaneous other political bad news. Now for something completely different (for reals).

Sleeping cats are a never-ending source of amusement for Tanya, who loves to take pictures of their weird sleeping positions and places. We bought a cat bed once. It was explored and ignored. Cats sleep where ever they want. And change favourite sleeping places on a regular basis. So now we have hand towels on windowsills and other likely cat-crashing places.

On a warm day, Vovo sleeps on a mat in front of the balcony door. Now he sleeps on the couch, at Tanya's feet until she goes to bed. He may stay there or he may try to sleep at the foot of our bed.

In the morning when Tanya is busy in the kitchen, Bonya likes to sleep on the counter in front of the window. The registers are directly below the counter so it is nice and warm. He has his own set of towels to sleep on. Bonya used to sleep in the clothes basket at night, then on the shoe cupboard by the front door, now on top of the new washing machine. Or on top of our bedroom dresser. Sometimes in the middle of the night, he decides to sleep with us and there is this WHUMPF as he leaps from the dresser trying to land between us but usually on top of Tanya.

They don't stay long on our bed as I sleep like a rotisserie which annoys them some.

Tigritsa, when she is not trying to sleep on my arm as I work on the computer, likes to sleep in the windowsill across from my side of the bed. When she gets cold she sleeps on the register under the window until she warms up. In the night, I see often her sitting up and staring out the window.

It rained last night and today it was too wet to go out so the cats were bored. Vovo picked a fight with Tigritsa. The snarling alerted Bonya who has no love for Vovo and promptly inserted himself between them. More snarling and tail switching. Vovo got booted outside as it has dried up enough.

Bonya is melting

Tigritsa and Vovo not fighting

Tigritsa and Bonya

Both Tigritsa and Bonya can open drawers to sleep in

Nap attack

Vovo warming up on the register