Ever-fresher hells

I picked a hell of a time to start a new business venture. I’ve been so flummoxed by the election that I can barely think straight, let alone take constructive steps and try to drum up business.

In a mixture of comfort and scab-pulling, I am about halfway through Season 3 of The West Wing. It is difficult to say the least to imagine the next administration’s cast of characters in any of these roles, in particular the Martin Sheen character.

There is a real inability for me to picture what’s going to happen next.

Hypothetical 1: DJT assumes office and is immediately impeached for the numerous breaches of ethics and emoluments violations, leaving us with a Pence administration, which would be Inquisition-level in its civil rights, human rights, and social benefits rollbacks but potentially not catastrophic in the way a Trump one would.

Hypothetical 2: DJT assumes office and is not immediately impeached, bringing his rotten progeny, mad cabinet, and white supremacist staff to do things one can barely bring oneself to imagine.

Hypothetical 3: DJT or Pence assumes office and proceeds to cut Medicaid/Medicare, stunning all those old white guys who ignored or applauded the racism of the candidate and his people to stick one to the liberals (YES IT’S ALL OUR FAULT FOR LEARNING THE SKILL OF CRITICAL THOUGHT! SORRY ABOUT THAT). Said OWGs then stage a revolt, the effectiveness of which I can’t gauge. These are the same guys who voted in the Tea Party, not seeing the logical end of their actions, so not sure what sort of candidate they might vote for in the midterms. Two things are for sure: they generally have the time to demonstrate, and they’re well armed.

One thing that seems assured at this point is a Puritanical SCOTUS and the seeding of the Federal courts system with anti-civil rights judges. This is particularly worrisome given DJT’s apparent disregard/ignorance of the Constitution.

Things to do: there are several lauded lists of actions to be taken, out there on the internet. My own actions have included emailing my representatives, urging an audit of DJT’s finances/tax returns for conflicts. I am not sure if this is effective given that I’m not registered to vote (roll on 2019), but it seemed like a possibly helpful gesture. My US Senators are Democrats so they’re already on it, but my House Representative is a Republican, and I’m not sure how hard he may be fapping about the GOP wins versus aghast at the prospects before us. SO I wanted to remind him that not everyone in his district is GOP.

I am also volunteering at a local domestic violence shelter. I’m in training now so not sure what I will be actually doing, but even though California is the promised land of liberalism, who knows what’s going to happen to Federal programs that help battered spouses and their kids. So pitching in to try to help people with nowhere else to turn seems like a worthwhile endeavour.

Here are some of the lists of actions.

Indrani Sen on Quartz

Emine Saner in The Guardian

Sarah Mirk on Bitch Media

Jen’s Google doc outlining actions, with links and fact checks, and some great information

Today’s Giving Tuesday and if you haven’t already earmarked all of your donations, those lists have some great options for giving. This year I’m in a weird place without my usual Christmas bonus to donate, so I’ll be talking to my MD about who we can support. Locally, I’m planning to help the animal shelter where we adopted Eddie Lack; I’ve already sent some $$ to the ACLU this year, and I think Planned Parenthood is going to be on my list. The SPLC is also high on my list of organizations we really need and will continue to need.

Anyway. This is today’s jumble of stuff. You can see my brain is just bouncing around right now.

On public service.

To me, public service is exemplified by people like JFK and Justin Trudeau (don’t laugh: he could be successful at any number of things that don’t require him to bear the brunt of criticism he currently does: he’s good looking and intelligent and not poor).

It’s the kind of thing that you have to be really driven, or a trust fund baby (or both) to be able to do…unless you’re the kind of person who’s motivated by power and influence, of course, which I think unfortunately covers quite a few of the people who run for office.

Public service means doing things that are for the greater good rather than for your personal benefit, and deferring things like big salaries for the satisfaction that comes from, to be corny, helping others.

At some levels, you can be a public servant (keyword: servant) without much personal upheaval: local office, county office, state office generally allow you to maintain your home base and leave your family in place. Some travel might be required, but I think lots of families are able to maintain nearly their status quo ante. Federal public servants are in a trickier place: they are required by the job to be in Washington, DC for some amount of time each year. Some politicians are able to maintain two residences so their families can continue at home; their DC homes tend to depend on their financial position. There are some dorm-like houses in DC that resemble frat houses or other college residences, because the cost of living in the District is pretty steep, and their residents may travel home seldom. Some people are rich enough to keep a proper house or apartment for the time they need to spend in DC, and fly back and forth as often as they wish.

The exception to these residential shenanigans is the POTUS. The POTUS is expected to make his residence at the White House. It’s a secure location that contains all of the peculiar things presidents require…meeting rooms, entertainment spaces, staff offices, a staff, secure communications, a Situation Room, and possibly more important than all of these, propinquity to the rest of the government to confer on a daily basis if need be. For presidents who need to see trees and such, there’s Camp David, which is similarly equipped as far as security and secure communications. Most presidents take brief summer vacations that make local populations crazy, but give them a change of scene. Bush 43 spent unprecedented amounts of time at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, which the Secret Service were at least able to secure to their satisfaction due to its rural location.

PEOTUS, who has been charging the Treasury Department to transport his Secret Service detail all over hell’s half acre on his private plane during the election ($1.6 million, apparently), plans to further disrupt the lives of New Yorkers by spending weekends at his NYC monument to ego and bad taste. This may require the long-term closure of a small byway called Fifth Avenue. Apparently shoppers in the area are already subject to security and bag checks. I have to think that this type of thing in the long term would be detrimental to local businesses.

The future FLOTUS will stay in New York with their 10 year old son, whose life, to her dismay, has already been disrupted by the election. They don’t plan to move him to a DC school, as every president’s school-aged child in recent memory has done (Sasha and Malia Obama; Chelsea Clinton; Amy Carter; Bush 43’s daughters were in university as I recall, with a different set of challenges). Hard to be the people’s hostess when you’re two hours away, wouldn’t you say? she is, however, planning to redecorate the White House more to her (execrable, to me) taste, which, based on her current residence, will evidently entail lots of gold leaf, marble and the sort of conspicuous display of wealth more suited to an African despot or 18th century monarch than the elected head of a democracy. I suppose the rococo regurgitation would be slightly more palatable if they were planning on actually living in it.

Perhaps PEOTUS should have conferred with his spouse before undertaking a presidential run, and talked to his youngest son about what the change would mean to him. I mean this is merely one more norm cast aside or ignored in a ridiculously long list of them, but the President is expected to live in the White House for his convenience, but also for everyone else’s. He is expected to have a First Lady present to act as hostess, however anachronistic that is…but unmarried or widowed presidents have recruited a female relative at the White House to fulfill that role.

The costs to the Federal Government associated with having full security details at two locations will be astronomical. The costs to the NYPD and NYC taxpayers will also be high. The costs in lost commerce to surrounding businesses will be notable also. The numbers of people who may be required to travel to NYC as a result will be eyebrow raising and also not free. None of this seems to faze a man who has gone to shocking lengths to avoid paying taxes to anyone.

This man is incredibly selfish. He has long been notorious for his boorish behaviour as a private citizen, and doesn’t seem to even grasp, let alone care about, the implications of public service. Never having had a sense of noblesse oblige, he has no concept of the obligations a POTUS has to his country or his staff. I understand that he plans to take a salary of $1 due to his personal wealth; perhaps he thinks that means he’s not going to be a public servant at all? but guess what, mister: you will be working for us, however little most of us will care for the arrangement. Try to keep it in mind.

DNS

So this morning apparently bad people attacked twitter, and because I’m a twitter addict I noticed.

I dropped in to ello.co but didn’t see anyone there.

I wanted to pick up some notebooks for my little company so I shopped for some, not on Amazon in an effort to support other online retailers…my MD was out with the car so I couldn’t shop locally (if there’s even a local retailer who would have anything I was interested in buying at a price I could afford, which I doubt–nothing against the local retailers but there just aren’t that many; I’m not keen on spending money at WalMart). Anyway I found someone with some cute Moleskine notebooks on clearance, and went to buy them, and PayPal is down.

Went back to ello and they’re down, now, too.

Domain Name System?

Do not share

Do not shop

Meta

I added a new link category there on the right, internet meta. I will add links to my web infrastructure providers.

Starting with hover.com, where I have been registering my various domains for several years now. They’re very straightforward and it’s easy to see which domains need renewing right meow. They don’t have the very lowest prices, but they do have access to a lot of domain extensions you might not have known existed! so if you have an idea for a company or a site, it’s a great place to work with. The link above and on the side is related to my account, so if you do go and sign up with them, I will get a $2 credit, which would pay for…less than 5% of my annual domain registration charges, so it’s not a lot but hey every little bit helps 🙂 I think I registered my first domain maybe 15 years ago? and hover is the place I have settled in, after trying 3 or 4 places, and also trying to do it through my hosting service.

Here’s a tip: don’t register your domain with your hosting service. If (when) your relationship turns sour or the prices go up or you hear enough horrible things about the company CEO to make you vomit and vow never to give them your money again, it can be really tricky to move your domain somewhere else unless you set it up just so and plan ahead. If you keep all your registrations in one place, you also have less chance of forgetting about one (oops) and/or needing to attend to one after you’ve moved or changed email providers and lost access to the email address or phone number on file. (Yes, all these things have happened to me.)

Anyway, I can recommend hover, they are totally easy to use and clear. They’ll help you if you need help figuring out all that DNS whatnot for your domain, too.

9/11: the most terrible moment of our age?

I saw this posted on facebook, from an Australian news site, that had a bunch of pictures of 9/11 and posited it as the most terrible moment of our age.

I remember 9/11, and how it felt to hear the morning rock DJs in Vancouver on my clock radio, talking about this event that was clearly outside of their usual, as I woke up, and trying to understand what they were talking about, then going to the computer briefly, and then the TV. I *think* I saw the second plane hit, live? but I’m not sure. Everything was replayed continuously and I at this point can’t recall how early I woke up. I know I saw the towers come down. I was late for work and then basically spent my day going from news site to news site, trying to find out more information.

It was shocking, it was horrific, and I guess we all wondered if it was the first of a series of attacks on North America. What’s going to happen next? The first place I lived when my mum and I moved to the US in the 1970s was Mount Vernon, 26 minutes by train from the City, and even though I hadn’t been back since I think 1986, visiting with a friend from Queens, I felt a connection to NYC as I imagine most people who have spent time there do. So even though I didn’t have any friends living or working downtown at that time, it still felt personal. The volume of images and commentary, and the fact the US media is largely based in NYC meant that we had access to so much more than would have been the case if it had happened in, say, Saskatoon, but really that’s the whole point, isn’t it.

I am the cynic who commented at the start of the first Gulf War that they timed it so Peter Jennings could announce it to the country on the ABC evening news, 6:30 pm Eastern. We used to watch while we ate dinner; we were living in Philadelphia at the time. I also somewhat by memory and mostly by reading all the spy novels I could get my hands on, was pretty aware of the terrorism–bombings and kidnappings, mostly–that were common in Europe and the UK during the 60s and 70s. North America had been inexplicably spared much of this, or at least what there was was on a relatively small scale, and scattered around. Patty Hearst, that truck bomb under the WTC, the Oklahoma City bombing. I read a lot of Tom Clancy, too, and I imagine I was not the only one who would have had second thoughts at that point about going to a stadium for a big sporting event.

9/11 was awful enough to get me to set foot in a church, for a mass, despite my absolute contempt for the Catholic Church and their policies in the face of AIDS. I left the back of the full-to-bursting church before the priest finished his sermon, as he decided it was appropriate to condemn abortion in the middle of it.

It was definitely a before and after moment, and there have been tangible changes to all of our lives as a result.

In a way, though, I think the most terrible moment of our age was the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003. The invasion of Afghanistan was relatively straightforward, there was a clear connection to the attacks, and there was an enemy we could name. But Iraq…I was living in Canada, and we were just aghast at the whole idea. Peace demonstrations in the US were being shut down with rubber bullets, tear gas, wooden projectiles. There were demonstrations all over the world, including in Canada, and literally hundreds of thousands of people bothered to march in protest. I don’t think the US news carried much of this. They were busy showing Colin Powell lying to the UN, George Bush lying to the US, Tony Blair lying to the British.

That misbegotten, profit-driven, shit-show has led to unknowable numbers of dead and injured, and a slowly spreading pool of coups, destruction, and terror that has directly affected whole regions, as well as creating literally millions of refugees trying to escape American bombs dropped by Americans and by our doughty allies, and by those pesky Russians, on top of the home-grown religious terrorists whose bountiful arms are largely courtesy of shortsighted US policy and action, and whose funding is courtesy of Putin. Refugees that many Americans want as little part of as possible, which is really just doubly chilling.

9/11 was the pivot point. The moment the terrorists returned the serve in a game going back decades but which to that point had been contested almost exclusively “over there.” But when you have whole cities in Syria destroyed, whole cities in Iraq destroyed, whole cities in Afghanistan destroyed, thousands tortured, imprisoned and killed over the past 15 years, hundreds of refugees drowning in the Mediterranean while attempting to reach a safe haven, hundreds of thousands of refugees in appalling camps in Jordan and elsewhere, we are really spoiled for choice for “most terrible moment” of the 21st century.

Vote! but not for a politician…

for me!

Edited to add: direct link

You may have noticed that I like to cook…I also like to watch cooking shows on TV :p

Chopped is one of my favourites and they’re having this Chopped at Home Challenge with Sargento Cheese. At first I thought, “Oh well, I don’t have any recipes of my own really, what would I put? it has to be original.” And then I thought of the amazing polenta I made with pimento cheese (and I used shredded cheese in that), and I thought, in the words of Chef Tony Minichiello, “Why the hell not?!”

So I made up this plate to the Chopped specifications (use pork tenderloin, Sargento Shredded 4-State Cheddar, broccoli and grape or cherry tomatoes; feature grilling), and I sent it in. In the unlikely event that I win, I will get to go to NYC and be in a little Chopped thing with some other home cooks, and I think that would be so fun! so I’m asking you to vote! five times every day! or whatever. I’m at a bit of a disadvantage to people with huge facebook friend lists and such, but it’s worth a shot!

So please go to the Food Network, and admire my Pork Tenderloin, Zesty Quick Pickles & Pimento Cheese Polenta (my super yum dish), and then vote for it! five times a day! then tell your friends! 😀

Thank you kindly!

Pork Tenderloin, Zesty Quick Pickles & Pimento Cheese Polenta

Pork Tenderloin, Zesty Quick Pickles & Pimento Cheese Polenta

On rape, and getting drunk, and judges.

So you have presumably heard of the case of the young woman who attended a party, got drunk, blacked out, and was assaulted by a hitherto-squeaky-clean Stanford student, on the ground behind a dumpster (so romantic!).

She wrote and presented to the court a victim impact statement that has gone viral, as they say, outlining what happened, and stating some of the physical and emotional results of the assault, which will no doubt continue to affect her for the rest of her life.

The perpetrator’s father wrote a completely risible and tone-deaf letter to the court requesting leniency for his precious baby, saying that the son’s “20 minutes of action” with this woman have already had such terrible impacts on his life, including losing his swimming scholarship, that going to jail wouldn’t serve any purpose. It becomes apparent where the son learned his concepts of right and wrong, cause and effect, and appropriate behaviour.

***

They blame the victim for being so drunk she can’t remember what happened, or that (Brock Turner claims) she consented.

Setting aside the fact that the “consent” of a drunk person, if it was actually given, is invalid on its face, what kind of person thinks that it’s OK to have “20 minutes of action” on the ground behind a dumpster with a person who is drunk/passed out? (The witnesses who chased and captured Brock Turner at the time of the rape did so because the person he was lying on top of wasn’t moving in any way and appeared to have passed out.)

How does being drunk at the time you commit a crime make it OK, as his father seems to believe? if you have a car accident while driving drunk, do we consider that OK? If you were drunk when you stabbed someone who was drunk or passed out, would we just write it off and let you lecture highschool kids on the dangers of alcohol and say “Oh, that’s OK! you were drunk, it doesn’t count!”? how is that any different than committing three felony sexual assaults on someone who was drunk/passed out?

***

And then we get to the sentencing. Brock Turner was convicted of three felonies:

1. Assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated woman;
2. Sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object; and
3. Sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object.

The judge, Aaron Persky: “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him. I think he will not be a danger to others.”

The prosecutor recommended 6 years (that is, less than half of the maximum of 14) in state prison. The judge thought 6 months in county jail would be more appropriate. It seems that the severe impact of being raped pales in comparison to severe impacts on rapists, who we don’t, apparently, want to suffer too much. Brock Turner is apparently going to appeal his conviction, apparently agreeing with his dad that he shouldn’t have to face any consequences at all.

***

While I am the first person to agree that getting blackout drunk is a bad thing, and something one should strive to avoid for any number of reasons, I don’t in any way think that anyone who does so deserves any horrible thing that happens to them. The consequences of getting blackout drunk should probably include…having a horrible hangover, being ashamed, and working on exercising more self-control in future. They should not include being assaulted by some punk who thinks just because you’re drunk you agree to anything he cares to do to you. They should not include having to go through the physical examinations and probing. They should not include hours of police questioning. They should not include being blamed for what another human being decided to do to you while you were unable to verbally or physically defend yourself. They should not include the misery of a trial where the roles of “victim” and “assailant” are poorly defined. And they definitely should not include having your suffering and the violation of your person and your rights being considered immaterial to the judge gently sentencing your rapist.

Happy Anniversary

So today is my parents’ wedding anniversary. I’m a bad daughter, because I don’t recall exactly which one. Somewhere in the high 30s, I’m thinking.

I was reminded of this fact when writing a cheque (not working means I hardly notice things like dates anymore).

My dad called me earlier to tell me he was calling the ambulance to take Mummy down to the hospital in Kamloops; he can’t carry her to the car to drive her. This has happened before: she is on antibiotics and her response to this given all of her rheumatoid arthritis meds is basically nonstop diarrhea, which eventually dehydrates and weakens her to the point where she’s incoherent. Her sleep schedule is so erratic that you can’t blame my dad for not noticing until it’s dire, because normally if it seems that she’s sleeping, that’s a good thing and he won’t wake her.

Anyway. Waiting for an update. Last time this happened, it was quite bad and I didn’t realize until it was over…he’s under orders to let me know if I can help at all (not working means I don’t really have a pressing need to be one place over another).

Update: After 5 days in hospital, she was released and all is well.