So much for Joe Biden to do on Day 1

climate change

joebidenI’ve been reading lots of people’s advice about what Joe Biden should do “on Day 1.” Most of it I tend to agree with philosophically. The trick is that his “first day” would have to be 2500 hours long.

Obviously, his initial focus will be the coronavirus pandemic, which is getting worse in the US every week. And the desire to get vaccines in people’s arms is of utmost importance. (My wife is getting her first injection in mid-February, me at the end of March.)

The related economic downturn also needs to be addressed. Bernie Sanders says $2,000 checks should be the “first order of business” for the new President and Congress.

Clearly, we cannot assume that the seditious violence we saw on January 6 has passed. Not only do federal authorities have to continue to find more folks to charge but to stem future attacks.

What on earth 

Beyond that, there will be a lot of Biden undoing what his predecessor did. He’s repeatedly promised on his first day in office to have the US rejoin the Paris climate accord. Fighting climate change has been a key priority on the campaign trail. The previous environmental policy has been a disaster.

djt “declined to tighten standards on industrial soot emissions, despite the evidence linking dirty air to respiratory illnesses.” For instance, the EPA reviewed standards. “The agency’s scientists warned of the links between the pollutants and deadly outcomes in respiratory illnesses (like COVID-19).

“It recommended tightening the current emissions rule set by the Obama admin in 2012. But EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said there wasn’t enough scientific evidence to merit a change. The policy decision came as the admin has worked to roll back over 100 environmental regulations.”

I’ve wondered if Biden had a shadow Cabinet this past autumn. Undo, undo, reinstate, undo, reinstate. He will have the country rejoin the World Health Organization, part of the effort to protect our nation’s health.

I believe he should commute all federal death sentences. His predecessor was cranking up the gallows in his latter months.

Of the people, et al.

I’m all for reforming the government, “including expanding on and codifying into law an ethics pledge.” The policy had been instituted in the Obama administration. It “addresses lobbying issues and also any improper or inappropriate influence from personal, financial, and other interests.” Wow. I thought we had that already but certain people were just ignoring it.

He favors expanding early voting, allowing more time to register and request ballots, and letting voters track their ballots. New York State was very slow to get to the first two and hasn’t achieved the third yet.

Biden listed a number of other priorities on the campaign trail that, while worthy, may be more difficult to achieve in even 100 days. Advancing racial equity by addressing systemic racism. Expanding protections for union employees

The ACLU has its Civil Liberties and Civil Rights To-Do List, fortunately not all on the first day or even first 100 days.

All of this is to say, I’m planning to cut Joe some slack, just a little. Frankly, the outgoing guy is sucking up a lot of oxygen in the room, as he always does.

January rambling #2: Jerks on the Loose

The Wife and I saw Something Rotten at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady.


‘Doomsday Clock’ Moves 30 Seconds Closer To Midnight

From the Barmen Declaration: 8.18 We reject the false doctrine, as though the Church were permitted to abandon the form of its message and order to its own pleasure or to changes in prevailing ideological and political convictions.

“I was a stranger and you did not welcome me.” and What the Bible Says About How to Treat Refugees

Christians’ Call to Speak Truth to ‘Alternative Facts’

Crowd statistics worldwide, 21 January 2017

If you’re looking for those climate change and LGBT rights and Native American pages on whitehouse.gov that disappeared on January 20, know that they are archived at https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/

Obama Foundation

The legitimacy and illegitimacy of 45 and A Guide to His Huge Debts—and the Conflicts They Present. Mr Brunelle explains it all

Inaugural speech was the most dreadful in history

This Is Our Most Dangerously Retrograde Government in 150 Years, including, but not limited to, intentionally lying to us and/or gaslighting us and attacks on the freedom of the press – Historically, tyrants have tried to control the press using 4 techniques and getting payments from foreign governments, though we have no idea what they are and Aides Keep Leaking Embarrassing Stories About How He Can’t Handle Embarrassment and struggles badly to pass a test of presidential maturity, while using the White House page for puffery

The “Muslim ban”, which these politicians fought, is “Immoral,” “Stupid,” and “Counterproductive” and excludes those countries from the ban that have killed Americans on US soil, while including those that have not. Quebec Mosque Terrorist Is White Christian Pro-Trump Fanatic

Not to mention: controlling Voice of America and silencing EPA and the cone of silence on USDA scientists. Is this a trial balloon for a coup?

Make of this what you will: his mother was a Scottish immigrant. And his father’s middle name was Christ, pronounced Krist, the surname of Fred’s mom; Fred said he was Swedish, when his parents were German.


(From here)

Kellyanne Conway on Donald Trump, BEFORE he hired her

I Was Trained for the Culture Wars in Home School, Awaiting Someone Like Mike Pence as a Messiah

Possibly the worst news of the month: Steve Bannon Gets A Seat At The NSC Table

Steven Mnuchin Unmasked By Samantha Bee – he’s the Treasury Secretary nominee

Joy Reid of CNN: “We have to think about how do we, a free press, operate with an increasingly authoritarian regime and change everything we’re doing. We can’t just report what he says and live on his Twitter feed.”

1984 climbs the bestseller list — almost 70 years after it was published

How to lose the war on terror

Out Here, No One Can Hear You Scream – The dangerous culture of male entitlement and sexual hostility hiding within America’s national parks and forests

Something Rotten (Boston Globe review) – When the Wife and I saw it at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady earlier in the run, we laughed uproariously.

PK Miller, an Albany original and colorful character, dies at an uncertain age – I’d see him often at our monthly concerts at my church, among other places. we’re FB friends, and a couple weeks after he died I got one of those cloned invitations to Friend him.

When I posted on Facebook that Miguel Ferrer had died of cancer at the age of 61, people kvetched about what shows Variety noted. NCIS: Los Angeles (his current gig, which I’ve never seen) and Crossing Jordan (which I watched regularly), as opposed to Twin Peaks and Robocop and Star Trek.


John Hurt: 1940-2017

Della Street, er, Barbara Hale, R.I.P.

Dick Gautier, R.I.P.

Dan Savage speaks frankly about Savage Love

Mark Evanier: Rejection – a wilderness guide for writers

John Oliver returns February 12

Historic Albany Foundation Inventory – An attempt to document the oldest structures in Albany, NY

News anchor sets off Alexa devices around San Diego ordering unwanted dollhouses

Now I Know: New Jersey’s Shockingly Dangerous Water Slide and How Pride Makes Basketball Players Worse

Fortune teller who uses ASPARAGUS to predict the future

NOT ME (guy in Australia) WHEN Roger Green was nominated for the Clarence Valley Local Hero Award, he had raised more than $64,000 in 12 years.

Music

Gimme Some Truth- David J

Get Up Stand Up – Bob Marley

Ladies First – Queen Latifah

“Kellyanne Conway” cover Chicago’s “Roxie” on SNL

I saw the Roches a couple of times and got several of their albums. So I was sad to hear about the passing of Maggie Roche, at the age of 65, from cancer. Listen to We and Hammond Song and Hallelujah Chorus and Keep On Doing What You Do/ Jerks On The Loose and about 100 more tunes. Also Was a Sunny Day – Paul Simon featured Maggie and Terre Roche; Liquid Days (Part I) – Philip Glass Ensemble has Maggie and Terre and Suzzy; Forgetting – Philip Glass Ensemble has Linda Ronstadt and the Roches.

Derrick Boudwin: For Utah Father, Music Eases the Pain of Going Blind

Jeanne Mitchell: America’s First Young Lady of the Fiddle

Butch Trucks, Allman Brothers Band Drummer and Co-Founder, Dead at 69

The passing of Soul Survivors vocalist Richie Ingui

Coverville 1156: The Warren Zevon Cover Story II – he would have been 70 this month

Orion, The Would-Be Elvis

Paul McCartney sued Sony/ATV, the massive music publishing company that owns, among other things, all of The Beatles’ songs written by Lennon and McCartney. Paul wants his 50 percent share of the songs back.

Buddy Greco, Jazz Pianist, Vocalist and Las Vegas Mainstay, Dies at 90

Movie Reviews: Wreck-It Ralph, and Paperman

It’s rather clear that, in Wreck-It Ralph, Disney is trying to create that layered, interconnected universe that is typical of Pixar movies.

The local Police Athletic League was sponsoring movies at the nearby Madison Theatre Monday morning, $3 for kids, $5 for adults, and this included a small popcorn and a drink. There were three PG-rated choices playing: Life of Pi, which I thought might be too intense for the Daughter; Parental Guidance, with Billy Crystal and Bette Midler, which was the most attended, but not something I particularly wanted to see; and the animated Disney film Wreck-It Ralph. The cartoon won out.

There was an utterly charming animated short called Paperman, which was done with no dialogue whatsoever; one of the best pieces I’ve seen in a while. No wonder it’s Oscar-nominated for best animated short.

Wreck-It Ralph is about an arcade video game called Fix-It Felix; think Donkey Kong or maybe Mario Brothers. Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) wrecks and Felix (Jack McBrayer, sounding a bit like Kenneth from 30 Rock, only a little more confident) fixes an apartment building. At the end of the day, the folks in the apartment building fete Felix. Meanwhile, Ralph lives alone in the dump. How can a game’s bad guy get more respect, maybe become a hero?

Ralph leaves his game for another one and creates chaos, especially for Sgt. Calhoun (Jane Lynch, sounding like Sue Sylvester from Glee, if she were armed like Rambo). Ralph does have some accidental success – catch Dennis Haysbert in a cameo – but then ends up yet in another game, having to negotiate with little Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) and King Candy (Alan Tudyk). If Ralph doesn’t get back to his own game soon, it might be unplugged forever.

It’s rather clear that, in this film, Disney is trying to create that layered, interconnected universe, in this case, of arcade games, that is typical of the Pixar movies. It works well much of the time. One does not have to be an aficionado of video games to understand it, but it wouldn’t hurt. So adults, as well as children, can appreciate it. The art and voices are great, and it’s no surprise that the movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Picture. Check out the trailer.
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The movie started later than its scheduled 10 a.m. start time, and I managed to miss President Obama’s entire inaugural speech. Fortunately, I could see it online. It was a great speech, as Chuck Miller will attest. I particularly liked the “Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall” part.

The second Obama term

The Republicans decided to go to clown school.

That first Barack Obama Presidential campaign had that whole “HOPE” thing going. The impression that most impressed me from four years ago was that even before he was actually inaugurated, how busy he was dealing with an economic disaster far greater than he possibly could have anticipated.

I should have known, though, that the honeymoon would be short-lived. Less than a week after he had officially become President, he was criticized, on FOX News, of course, that he hadn’t done enough for the economy. Then when he came out with the “bailout”, it was considered too large. (I remain convinced that it wasn’t large enough.) The Republicans, for the most part, became intractable in coming up with any solution that didn’t harm the poor and middle class.

I began to tire of the term “job creators.” The “job creators” can’t create jobs because the taxes are too high. But jobs were created in the US for generations with far high rates.

These “spontaneous” tea party folks started coming out of the woodwork fairly early on, screaming at their Congresspeople at public meetings, and having rallies, covered as though they were news events, rather than staged propaganda, by FOX News.

It took almost no effort to find references to the President as a Muslim – “his name is Barack HUSSEIN Obama!” Or a socialist/communist/fascist, by people who seem to have zero grasp of what those words mean. Here is almost every Obama conspiracy theory ever.

The term was an uphill climb. A lot of political capital was used on Obamacare, a term that was initially used derisively, but which is now the recognized nomenclature. Worse, the health care bill didn’t pass until 2010, with no GOP support. If it was a triumph, far less than the universal coverage some of us were seeking – that got thrown under the bus quite early in the negotiations – it was a muted win.

After the Democratic “shellacking” (Obama’s word) in the midterm elections, it was often suggested that Obama would be a one-term President.

The killing of Osama bin Laden muted some critics of the President for about five, maybe even ten minutes. Still, with an anemic economic recovery, it seemed that the Republicans should be in the White House this week.

Fortunately for Obama, the Republicans decided to go to clown school. There was actual talk about whether birther darling Donald Trump would enter the race. Buffoons such as Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Texas Governor Rick “what agencies WOULD I cut” Perry, and pizza man Herman “9-9-9” Cain all were frontrunners in the race at some point. Near the end, former senator Rick “don’t Google his last name” Santorum became a credible threat to what the Republican establishment thought was the inevitable nomination of Willard Mitt Romney.

While the administration was already the most progressive in terms of gay rights through 2011, after a hint by VP Joe Biden on a Sunday morning, President Obama came out in support of marriage equality. (It was 2012 was a very good year, in general.) I appreciated that the President took a principled stand on something.

In his first Presidential race, Barack Obama was dubbed as “no-drama Obama.” I believe that he spent his early years figuring out that he didn’t want to be perceived as an “Angry Black Man.” I remain convinced that his perceived anemic performance in the first debate with Romney was a function of that. His more aggressive demeanor in debate #2 generated the ABM charge in some circle.

Frankly, I was unsurprised about the difficulty of agreeing on federal tax rates and expenditures, and the debt ceiling, variations on the so-called “fiscal cliff.” Will the next four years be as frustrating as the last four? Will there be legislation passed on immigration, gun control, or any number of other issues?