Category: The Site (page 1 of 1)

No Slope, No False Equivalency. Just the Same. Damn. Thing.

Immoral, indecent, inhumane. There is no slippery slope; this country is on a well-trodden path dating back at least to 1492. There is also no false equivalency. We are running concentration camps and human beings are dying. [Full Stop]

Details are in the OIG report to DHS. Full report is here.

Stupor Bowl Sunday As It Happens Happened

Have no earthly idea why, but s I’m livebloggin’ this thing. You could encounter boredom and outrage and other acts of writing regurgitation.

17:36: After stomping down the field with run plays, Brady’s first pass is intercepted. Crap on a cracker.

17:39: Rams do nothing. Third and out. Juli’s punt return not great. Now for the usual over-hyped commercials.

17:41: Hulu smashes it outta the park with a Handmaid’s Tale ad throwing Reagan’s “Morning in America” barf campaign ad back in his face. Awesome.

17:47: Time out early, Pats. Neither team has calmed down from early hype. If NE can keep Brady on the field, they can wear out the Rams defense.

17:49: Turkish Airlines: A Ridley Scott film? Seriously?

17:50: Give Gronk ball. Gronk run. Run, Gronk, run. Gronk run 17 yards. Good Gronk, good.

17:52: Second Pats timeout? Whuh?

17:54: Weird social justice/Dr. King legacy/NFL trying to … blackwash (?!) their Kaepernick problems … without mentioning Kaepernick. Ridiculous.

17:56: Gostkowski … misses a field goal?! That’ll come back to haunt them.

18:03: Rams got nothin’ but a penalty. Brady coming out for third time from their 19.

18:07: Hogan drops a pass. Y’all need to settle down, boys.

18:08: Julian gets a good one.

18:09: What are you doing, Tom??!! Yeesh!

18:10: Go, Gronk, go!! Smash, Gronk, smash!

18:11: And they have to punt. Is this gonna be a boring one? Rams have 24 yards of offense and Tom has been kinda weak. End of first quarter. 0-0.

18:17: Rams still go nuthin’. Almost bobbled an interception, which would have been a touchdown.

18:21: Gronk catch, but Gronk short.

18:22: Go Juli! Go Juli! Awesome.

18:23: Tom misses Chris. Long third down.

18:24: Gronk get ball, but Gronk short again. Tom mad. Gostkowski redeems himself for the earlier miss? Yes! Finally points. 3-0, Pats. The ice breaker?

18:28: Rams are only running. Not far, but they’re running.

18:29: Jared finally tosses an 18-yarder. Should have been challenged. Where’s Bill’s head right now?

18:30: Rams stuffed on ground again. Good on yer, Pats defense. And they have to punt. Get your act together now, Tom!

18:31: Complete asshole/bro dipshit/douchy whiteboy commanding everything around him to respond to his commands because … he owns a Mercedes. A pox on thee, Mercedes, a pox.

18:40: Some things happened. The commercials are idiotic as always. I’m bored. Why do the Rams keep running the ball? Why don’t they let the Saints suit up and take over?

18:41: Goff just got smacked to the ground. Van Noy!!! Awesome. And then they punt. And here comes more insipidness. Every year, for the millions spent on these stupid ads, they could … end homelessness. Buy patients drugs they can’t afford. Ensure health care for millions. God.

18:47: Two-minute warning. Halftime. Which will be completely ignored. Maybe I’ll go scrub the toilet. That would be more fun.

18:49: Sarah Jessica Parker and Jeff Bridges doing a Stella Artois commercial with her flaunting big cleavage and him flaunting his ability to still remember his lines?

18:50: Mass confusion. Rams have 14? men on the field.

17:36: After stomping down the field with run plays, Brady’s first pass is intercepted. Crap on a cracker.

17:39: Rams do nothing. Third and out. Juli’s punt return not great. Now for the usual over-hyped commercials.

17:41: Hulu smashes it outta the park with a Handmaid’s Tale ad throwing Reagan’s “Morning in America” barf campaign ad back in his face. Awesome.

17:47: Time out early, Pats. Neither team has calmed down from early hype. If NE can keep Brady on the field, they can wear out the Rams defense.

17:49: Turkish Airlines: A Ridley Scott film? Seriously?

17:50: Give Gronk ball. Gronk run. Run, Gronk, run. Gronk run 17 yards. Good Gronk, good.

17:52: Second Pats timeout? Whuh?

17:54: Weird social justice/Dr. King legacy/NFL trying to … blackwash (?!) their Kaepernick problems … without mentioning Kaepernick. Ridiculous.

17:56: Gostkowski … misses a field goal?! That’ll come back to haunt them.

18:03: Rams got nothin’ but a penalty. Brady coming out for third time from their 19.

18:07: Hogan drops a pass. Y’all need to settle down, boys.

18:08: Julian gets a good one.

18:09: What are you doing, Tom??!! Yeesh!

18:10: Go, Gronk, go!! Smash, Gronk, smash!

18:11: And they have to punt. Is this gonna be a boring one? Rams have 24 yards of offense and Tom has been kinda weak. End of first quarter. 0-0.

18:17: Rams still go nuthin’. Almost bobbled an interception, which would have been a touchdown.

18:21: Gronk catch, but Gronk short.

18:22: Go Juli! Go Juli! Awesome.

18:23: Tom misses Chris. Long third down.

18:24: Gronk get ball, but Gronk short again. Tom mad. Gostkowski redeems himself for the earlier miss? Yes! Finally points. 3-0, Pats. The ice breaker?

18:28: Rams are only running. Not far, but they’re running.

18:29: Jared finally tosses an 18-yarder. Should have been challenged. Where’s Bill’s head right now?

18:30: Rams stuffed on ground again. Good on yer, Pats defense. And they have to punt. Get your act together now, Tom!

18:31: Complete asshole/bro dipshit/douchy whiteboy commanding everything around him to respond to his commands because … he owns a Mercedes. A pox on thee, Mercedes, a pox.

18:40: Some things happened. The commercials are idiotic as always. I’m bored. Why do the Rams keep running the ball? Why don’t they let the Saints suit up and take over?

18:41: Goff just got smacked to the ground. Van Noy!!! Awesome. And then they punt. And here comes more insipidness. Every year, for the millions spent on these stupid ads, they could … end homelessness. Buy patients drugs they can’t afford. Ensure health care for millions. God.

18:47: Two-minute warning. Halftime. Which will be completely ignored. Maybe I’ll go scrub the toilet. That would be more fun.

18:49: Sarah Jessica Parker and Jeff Bridges doing a Stella Artois commercial with her flaunting big cleavage and him flaunting his ability to still remember his lines?

18:50: Mass confusion. Rams have 14? men on the field.

18:53: Going for a fourth-and-one. And … Gronk can’t hold on, just past his fingertips. Rams ball. Damn.

18:55: But Goff bites the astroturf. Then fires a pass, but too little too late. Then hits the turf with a low pass. 28 seconds left. Rams do nothing, nothing, nothing. Six punts. This one downed at Pats two, but the half is 16 seconds away. Don’t do something stupid here.

18:57: And here’s the half. Second lowest scoring Stupor Bowl in history. Stadium sounds like there’s no one in it.

19:18: Is this stupid halftime thing over yet?

19:23: ADT and Property Brothers threatening us that we’re gonna see a lot more of them. Please God, no.

19:29: Kick the ball and let’s get this thing going.

19:30: Goff passes right to … Highland, a New England defender, who can’t hold on to the ball. Then somebody runs. It’s pretty much the first half again.

19:32: Injury. And a guy in what looks like purple eyeshadow says something about Belicheck not saying anything of substance. Then a stupid ad with a kid being exploited to sell South Korean cars made in Georgia.

19:35: Broken arm. Gets the biggest crowd reaction yet. Bloodthirsty buggers down there in Atlanta.

19:37: Goff heads for the bench again. Pats getting the punt. Go Juli. He has more yards gained than the entire Rams offense.

19:38: Tom calls “Reagan! Reagan!” It’s a run to the right. Like Reagan, overblown.

19:40: Julian takes a pass and gets 37 yards. Woooooot! Julian MVP? He has 120+ yards, so why not?

19:43: And they have to punt. <sigh>

19:46: Rams in the hole, get a penalty.

19:47: Am I the only one bugged that the navy blue on the Rams’ helmets doesn’t match the blue on their jerseys? And Goff almost gets a safety. And they make their eighth punt. But it’s a 65-yarder … longest punt in Stupor Bowl history. It’s a dubious achievement, but there it is.

19:48: More feel gooding, this time first responders get their due in order to be exploited by those assholes at Verizon. Love first responders, Verizon can bite me.

19:56: We popped over to the Puppy Bowl in time for some nauseating exploitation. But I hope it helps some puppies.

19:57: Fourth first down? They’re showing signs of life? And Romo is a totally sarcastic smartass. And the Rams get one more first down.

20:02: Suddenly Rams show a spark. But McCordy smacks the ball outta the hands of the Rams receiver in the end zone. Frustration on the sidelines.

20:03: Goff gets totally snuffed into the turf. Bam! From Hightower.

20:04: Rams get a long field goal. It’s 3-3. How thrilling. First 50+-yard field goal in 15 years.

20:08: Holding on the Rams.

20:10: And three quarters are gone. 3-3 at 53.

20:13: First Stupor Bowl ever where there hasn’t been a touchdown in three quarters. And then Tom hits the turf. And they punt.

20:16: Goff flubs it and marches 5 yards back.

20:18: 12:23 to go and Pats take timeout. Please God don’t send us to overtime.

20:22: Goff gets plowed into the turf again. Flag on field: Holding, Pats. Geez, boys.

20:24: Holding on the Rams.

20:26: Goff gets bowled into the sideline spectators. Then a pass that was nothing.

20:28: Burger King digs up Andy Warhol’s corpse to flog whoppers. Now it’s folk songs calling for communist overthrow being used to flog beer.

20:29: All Pats Super Bowls decided in last three minutes and by small number of points. Yup. Go Gronk go!!!!

20:31: Julian’s 10th catch. Nice.

20:32: GRONK GRONK GRONK!!!! Will we finally get a TD in this game?

20:33: PATRIOTS SCORE TD FINALLY!!!!! WOOOOOT! Thank you Gronk! 10-3. Whew.

20:35: Not amusing Amazon commercial. Cripes.

20:36: Okay, you got 7 minutes to go boys. Do it.

20:41: Thank God. Some Rams things happened then a beautiful interception. Pats defense should be MVPs!

20:45: 26 yards gets them some space. Plus illegal use of hands by the Rams.

20:47: Some confusion over time. Time out LA.

20:48: 26 yards by Burkette. Yes!

20:50: Two Patriots penalties?! Justified, I’m afraid. Calm down.

20:51: Belicheck is MADDDDDDDD. No one knows what happened. Two minute warning!

20:55: Washington Post “Democracy Dies in Darkness” ad. Hmmmmm. You should have given murdered and threatened journalists much more airplay. But it’s a start.

20:58: Gostkowski wins the Stupor Bowl for the Pats. Good on ya boys!

21:00: Here’s the last minute. Rams’ last gasp.

21:03: 48 yard field goal try, but won’t work. It’s wide left. Brady and company celebrating.

21:04: Kneel down, Tom. And congrats. That’s the ol’ ball game.

21:09: Madness on field. MVP should be Juli. And it is.

21:26: Finally the trophy. Yeesh. Belicheck is touching a child. Wow.

21:30: Juli’s kind of a goober like Tom. But congrats to his … amazing game. And I’m out. Night!


[Text by Steve. Photo by Nathan Gonthier on Unsplash. ]


—30—

His Majesty Objects


His Majesty the Roux, Speaking on a Subject of the Gravest National Interest

His Imperial Majesty the Roux is rather protective of the Royal Demesne. So whenever friend and neighbor, the talented Lars Thorson (who just happened to be on Good Morning America and the Colbert Show this week, but that’s another post) walks the incredibly adorable, majorly awesome puppy the Townes-ter, His Majesty and at least 3/4 of the Royal Court (Queen Sascha typically can’t be bothered to soil herself in territorial disputes) collectively lose their … little doggy minds.

After some interminably loud defending the walls of the castle, HIM the Roux comes inside and complains for 15 minutes to us churls about Townes very existence in the Royal Orbit. Part of the Complaint revolves around the undisputed Treasonous Conduct of us churls in Divers Huggings and Walkings and Flauntings of the Dangerous Interloper, but as long as we churls pay the castle expenses, a standoff situation is guaranteed to prevail.

(Also, see how His Majesty’s face is getting lighter and whiter? He’ll be a dead ringer for King Lear soon. His Highness shall be eight (8!) years old next month. Lord, His old age will be a Thing to Behold! Also, shhhhhhh. Don’t tell him.)


—30—

WWI Collides with D&D and Memes

It’s two years old, but I’m just seeing it for the first time. It’s « one of the best visual “explainers” » I’ve seen that describes the spark which ignited World War I.

It tells the story of that horrible June day in 1914 via a series of memes and the lens of a Dungeons and Dragons session.

Given that the spark (predicted by Bismarck to be some “damn fool thing in the Balkans”) ignited two large-scale global wars AND that over the next half-century upwards of 150 million humans and untold animals would die from the cascade of events following that spark, well, it’s a story well-worth knowing, telling, re-telling and making as relevant as possible to generations down through time.

BA223 Arrives

Welcome to KBNA, 787-8 BA223, arriving on 20R after an 8 hour, 56 minute flight from LHR.
British Airways began five-times-a-week, nonstop service between London Heathrow and Nashville International last week and I’ve been trying to get the beautiful Dreamliner on film all week and the stars aligned today. Not great lighting, but I got ‘er!!
Welcome to Music City, BA! Hope to fly Dreamliner flights 222/223 some day!

Posted by Steve Pollock on Monday, May 14, 2018

We Want Dinner!

What happens when Unca Frankie goes to the store without first serving dinner to the Royal Family.
(Kinda funny/sad at the end is Bosco, who is now pretty much just lying around, but who still feels well enough to join in the howling. I think he’s turned another corner and we don’t have long. Lotsa pain pills, lotsa love. As Dolly Parton says in “Steel Magnolias,” “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion!” Lotsa that around here lately.)

Posted by Steve Pollock on Thursday, March 15, 2018

I Have a Brain!

The whole Minnesota experience was mostly Minnesota Nice, always efficient and highly effective. It was also at times…

Posted by Steve Pollock on Monday, February 15, 2016

School Closures Hit Disproportionately

The Color of School Closures

Spread the [rather obvious] word:

“Mass school closings have become a hallmark of today’s dominant education policy agenda. But rather than helping students, these closures disrupt whole communities. And as U.S. Department of Education data suggests, the most recent rounds of mass closings in Chicago, New York City and Philadelphia disproportionately hurt Black and low-income students.”

From the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign.

As Seen On

The Bones are Richard’s

It’s Richard

Researchers in England confirmed this morning that the skeleton found underneath a Leicester car park is indeed that of Richard III, last Plantagenet king and the last king of the country to fall in battle.

There were cheers when Richard Buckley, lead archaeologist on the hunt for the king’s body, finally announced that the university team was convinced “beyond reasonable doubt” that it had found the last Plantagenet king, bent by scoliosis of the spine, and twisted further to fit into a hastily dug hole in Grey Friars church, which was slightly too small to hold his body.

—The Guardian UK

I’ve long been fascinated by Richard and the War of the Roses; Shakespeare’s smear job/propaganda piece Richard III is my favorite of all the Bard’s work. I also loved the Ian McKellen cinema version of the play from 1995, which set the play in a 1930s fascist setting.

But it was Sharon Kay Penman’s fictional alternative, The Sunne In Splendour: A Novel of Richard III that captured my attention when it came out. It’s a portrait of the events, including the princes in the tower, done from Richard’s perspective, showing the perfidy of Henry Tudor and the Stanleys.

But now we have the real skeleton of the Last Plantagenet, curved spine and all and it’s a starting point towards separating reality from myth and truth from Tudor propaganda. Fascinating stuff.

As Seen On

Incomplete

Barack Obama

“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”

[Meanwhile, his gay brothers and sisters tap their feet, waiting impatiently. Well, then, hurry it up already!]

As Seen On

Academic Paywall Monetization Kills

The political consequences of academic paywalls

The suicide of Aaron Swartz, the activist committed to making scholarly research accessible to everyone, has renewed debate about the ethics of academic publishing. Under the current system, academic research is housed in scholarly databases, which charge as much as $50 per article to those without a university affiliation. The only people who profit from this system are academic publishers. Scholars receive no money from the sale of their articles, and are marginalized by a public who cannot afford to read their work. Ordinary people are denied access to information and prohibited from engaging in scholarly debate.

Excellent reporting from Dr. Sarah Kendzior on Aljazeera.com.

As Seen On

(quote)

Jim Horn

(My aside: It’s a salient point, but my reply is, sadly, no. You are dealing with people who truly believe that collateral damage (be it in Vietnam/Iraq/etc., or Newtown) is an acceptable price that must be paid for, in the case of the former, America being #1 (whatever that means), and in the case of the latter, the “Second Amendment” being the most important part of the Constitution. I.e., the Tree of Liberty must occasionally be watered with the blood of six-year-olds.

If 6,000 white male children and young adults were being murdered every year in the U. S, as is the case among African-American males, do you think we would see any hesitation in taking serious actions to restrict the availability of guns?

As Seen On

Idolatry of the Ancient Mythologists

Thomas Paine

I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life. All … institutions of churches … appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. … The Christian theory is little else than the idolatry of the ancient Mythologists, accommodated to the purposes of power and revenue; and it yet remains to reason and philosophy to abolish the amphibious fraud.

As Seen On

Sounds Like … Hmmm. (tumblr)

“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.” — Acts 4:32.

As Seen On

Jayne Cortez, RiP

Jayne Cortez: 10-May-34 — 28-Dec-12

“The poet Jayne Cortez, who has died aged 78, was unambiguous about her craft: “Words are musical – there’s nothing more to say about it. That’s it! … There is the sound of the voice … and your attitude you put on top of it.”

“And if we don’t fight

if we don’t resist

if we don’t organise and unify and

get the power to control our own lives

then we will wear

the exaggerated look of captivity

the stylised look of submission

the bizarre look of suicide

the dehumanised look of fear

and the decomposed look of repression

forever and ever and ever

And there it is.”

Lengthier obit at the New York Times.

As Seen On

How Many Slaves Work for You?

How Many Slaves Work For You?

My number was 43 … If anything, it shows that not much has changed in 150 years. Troubling that 150 years represents just … a slow beginning.

Background: The history/journalist geek in me notes that today is the Sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation – it’s Jubilee Day. Five days after the bloodiest single day in American history (Sept. 17, 1862) left 23,000 dead, injured or missing in the fields, lanes and bridges around Antietam, MD, Lincoln issued his preliminary proclamation, which went into effect 100 days later, Jan. 1, 1863. It helped keep Britain and France out of the war and led to the passage of the 13th Amendment in December of 1865. Lincoln referred to it again on the field of Gettysburg when he spoke of a “new birth of freedom.”

Slavery, even in the United States, still exists in various forms, however. AgainstOurWill.org reports that between 12 and 27 million people worldwide are estimated to be enslaved. The State Dept. estimates that 600,000-800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year to feed the market. More than 70% of those are female, half are children.

Demand for goods and services produced by trafficking victims is what makes human trafficking a multi-billion dollar industry. So, on this sesquicentennial, get an estimate on how your lifestyle feeds the trafficking industry from http://slaveryfootprint.org/. Take the survey and find out … how many slaves work for you?

My number? 43. An estimated 43 human beings held against their will, around the world and here in the US, work to make things like our furniture, my iPad, the fruits and vegetables in our refrigerator.

In other words, celebrate today as the moment when slavery yielded to freedom, a moment purchased by the blood of a million Americans in the Civil War. And remember today that we still have much work to do to ensure that that blood expenditure was not made in vain.

As Seen On

It's Hell Being Offline

Posting and pictures have been temporarily disrupted because internet service hasn’t started at the new house. I’ll have things to post, especially pictures, hopefully later today as our service provider gets its act together.

Things are good, but we’re very tired and sore. We are in Brentwood, the dog has his backyard, the stuff arrived safely from Ann Arbor (except for some minor damage on the big screen) and I’m posting this from my spiffy new classroom, which is truly fabulous.

More later!

Oops.

Has it really been almost two months since we posted anything? Yeegads. Apologies.

Let’s see. In the past two months, I’ve survived a narrow brush with winter, a hellish brush with three intense grad school courses orginally designed to be taken over four months crammed down into one, hideously exhausting but fun days in the second grade, a professor or two from hell, a blond undergrad from Toledo who smashed up the side of my Jeep, an unfortunately less-than-fruitful trip to Colorado and … skinned knees, winter-induced arthritis pain, a small fire in the clothes dryer and missing by only two hours one of A2’s two winter suicides who chose the parking garage my classmates and I use while we attend classes at the School of Education.

Plus, Frank has news. I won’t let on except to say that ASquared AirBeagle’s days are numbered; come mid-May, one-half of us will be returning whence we came and come mid-July, the beagle and the other half of us will be joining him back in whence we came (I have to stay here to finish my master’s on June 15th and end the lease on the townhouse).

(Weird side-note: WordPress has this cutesy little plugin which produces quotes from Hello Dolly at the top of the administration panel. The one currently up there as I write about leaving Michigan says, ‘It’s so nice to have you back where you belong.’ Which is both sorta cute and sorta creepy at the same time. Maybe a better song selection would be, ‘California, here we come. Right back where we started from.’)

All of which is anxiety-inducing, so I have to go plan a writing workshop minilesson for tomorrow. Apologies for the long silence. Thanks for following A2 AB for this three years; it’s been quite an … interesting time here in the great white yankee north. There’s still four months to go, so I’ll have lots more to say. Maybe when by July when it finally gets warm again up here and my fingers thaw out.

Ciao.

Attacked

Over the last week or so, we’ve finally been getting slammed by comment spam, the scourge of Movable Type-powered ‘blogs, that we’ve been hearing about. We had been lucky so far, but it got so bad today that I had to install a copy of Jay Allen’s MT Blacklist plug-in, which is a powerful tool which should reduce comment spamming until MT releases version 3.0 shortly.

Couple of things: If you’re having trouble posting a comment, please e-mail me and I’ll see what I can do. It should be working fine with no problems.

Second, when MT 3.0 comes out, I will probably take advantage of its comment registration function, which will require anyone wishing to post comments to register with AirBeagle.com at least once. This should stop the nasty pharma peddlers from Rumania and Bulgaria in their tracks. I know it’ll be kind of a pain the first time, and to our regular commenters, we apologize. But, I’m afraid, it’s become all too necessary.
Back to the kvetching …