Fabricated Flowers

Here are the promised pictures, Doc.

Woody is helping here with the layout of ‘Garden Bed’, which will be a full size quilt.  Someday…



This is a pretty rough, and crooked, mock-up for ‘Garden Variety Zebra’, which will be around 2’x3′ in size.  You can see how the off-white fabrics don’t blend in.  I’ll replace them, and I’ve already rearranged the way the stripes on its flank curve.  There may be added touches in the real thing, such as eyelash stitching (did you know zebras have substantial eyelashes?  Me neither) and stitching to accent its mane, and the tufts of hair extending from inside its ears; I hope they’ll add to the overall image rather than seem corny.   I hope I get it done before my sister’s birthday in June!

Moral vs. Immoral Conspiracy


This disturbing photo is fake, of course. Images of a 757 in flight and an explosion have been layered into a photo of the Pentagon. A military jet could perform the maneuver depicted because that is what they are designed to do, but it is beyond the capacity of a large airliner to maneuver out of the low altitude and cramped space available in front of the building.

As far as I know, no serious (meaning fact-based) students of 9/11 accept this image as anything more than a manifestation of someone’s desire to comment on the events of that day. Apart from this, however, the image does present problems to the official narrative (as it was no doubt designed to do). First of all, it reminds us of the relative size of a 757. Surely a plane that large would have caused more damage, and left more debris behind, than available evidence suggests. Second, the image also reinforces our awareness of the difficulty that faced the pilot of a high-jacked commercial airliner who, flying at top speed, executed a 330-degree turn and then maneuvered the craft for some distance very close to the ground. If the official narrative is accurate, this was an astounding display of skill on his/her part.

I bring up this painful stuff because a conspiracy narrative is once again gaining ground in our public discourse–Trump’s handlers and supporters are claiming that the election will be “rigged” against them. This claim fits comfortably within the paranoia that saturates far-right discourse. Indeed, paranoia might be said to motivate right-wing conspiracies, most of which imply that Americans are about to lose their freedom or their livelihoods through the machinations of some hated and feared other:  liberals, ISIS, the commies, little green men.

One of the more interesting features of 9/11 conspiracy discourse, OTOH, is that it is generally promoted by lefties. This reflects one big difference between leftist and rightist discourse (in America at least): the former is generally supported by investigation and factual evidence, while the latter relies on arguments from authority and the generalizations that rhetoricians call “commonplaces.”

To the extent that 9/11 trutherism is motivated by paranoia (and the media have done their best to criticize it almost into invisibility on that ground), the fear that motivates the discourse is generated by the possible culpability of named powerful actors–Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, the Saudi royal family–and suspicious events for which there are records–chase planes being sent out to sea rather than toward the high-jacked planes, and so on. Hence lefty 9/11 conspiracists are comfortable throwing shade on the photograph above, even though it might seem to support their overall claim that Cheney et al are lying about the events of 9/11, because the laws of physics render its depiction impossible.

In contrast, rightist conspiracy derives from voices that are considered authoritative in that community. Thus the community has fewer means of defense against deceptive depictions of what happened, because suspicion of authoritative voices can unravel the entire authoritarian world view. Limbaugh, Hannity, Jones, and now Trump are treated as the voices of God in rightist circles, voices that may not be gainsaid even if their message is confounded by evidence. For example, even though many women have now testified to Trump’s assault on them in language that perfectly fits his own account of his actions, wingers accept his repeated testimony that he didn’t do it. IOW, wingers cling to Trump’s pronouncements (and blame authorities they do not respect, such as the media) in order to keep their world view–perhaps even their identities– intact.

It is difficult for acolytes of an authoritative discourse to dissent without endangering their very selves (for proof of this, talk to any ex-Catholic who is now an unbeliever). Some years ago I read a number of accounts written by formerly evangelical Christians. To disentangle oneself from such a powerful discourse, one that is supported by an impressive network of institutions, is very very difficult. It takes many years, and those who have left the fold generally write that they have lost friends and family members and have become different people as a result of separating from that belief system.

If my analysis is correct, it imposes a huge moral burden on spokespeople who are deemed to be authorities in the winger community. That the Limbaughs and Hannitys prefer to maintain their status (and make millions into the bargain) testifies to their moral corruption.

Bams Lays Truth On Us


President Barack Obama spoke at a Democratic rally in Ohio this evening, and he told the truth.

He pointed out the cravenness of Republican officials who, knowing how immoral Trump is, endorse him anyway. He said that such people (ie sleazy Thugs like Paul Ryan) are far more unethical than the people who actually believe in Trump.

Then he reviewed a long litany of Thug obstruction of Democratic efforts to pass legislation that will actually help people, starting with their refusal to support the auto bailout–which was crucial to workers in Ohio. He didn’t mention their repeated attempts to shut down the government altogether, or their refusal to pass any legislation at all (ie Zika funding). Nor did he point out how few days congresspeople actually spend in Washington DC. I waited for him to mention their obstruction of his supreme court pick, but he passed on that.

But even without all of this, he had plenty to say. The speech was a work of art, and SO refreshing because there was absolutely no weaseling, no bullshit. I recommend that my reader(s) find a video and watch it.  If your reaction is like mine, you will be humming a lively tune when you finish.

Rodentia Familiaris

spermophilus_variegatusNot Tufty But A Reasonable Facsimile

A wonderfully playful squirrel visits my back porch nearly every afternoon. She (I presume her gender) perches on one of the concrete blocks that support the roof posts. Sometimes she chases birds who wander into her territory, but more often she simply lies there for as long as an hour, taking in the sights and the sun.

The internets tell me that Tufty is probably a rock squirrel, a species native to Arizona. She seems not to be afraid of predators but then she no doubt knows the coyotes and hawks and, less often, bobcats who visit my back porch usually appear in the very early morning hours. Luckily for her, none of my neighbors allow their dogs to run loose.

I have named her “Tufty” because something (or someone) once took a chunk of fur out of her otherwise luxurious tail. The tuft that remains near the end of her tail is a sign that the daily appearances are indeed made by the same squirrel. It’s nice to have a pet (sort of) who is so entertaining and who does not require regular feedings. I sort of hope that rock squirrels don’t hibernate.


Wingers meet for drinks

Last night’s debate has left me despondent. I was anxious before it began, shocked while it was under way, and thoroughly depressed after. I got little sleep and this morning I’m having trouble concentrating. My symptoms are similar to those suffered by victims of abuse, which is not surprising given that all Americans (at least those of us who can still think) were subjected last night to abuse dished out by a master of the art.

I wept for Hillary, who was forced to stand there and endure not only verbal abuse but stalking. Anyone who missed the psycho-sexual dynamic enacted on that stage is blind. After last night, nobody need wonder if she can stand up to Putin or Assad.

The debate does seem to have triggered a veritable cascade of eloquent posts from lefty bloggers pointing out that Donald Trump’s candidacy is the inevitable result of twenty years of right-wing delusion. (For examples, see Charlie Pierce at Esquire, Roy Edroso at alicublog, and/or The Rude Pundit.)  Here is a taste of Charlie:

“The ridiculousness of the political party, energized for decades by hayshakers, Bible-bangers, voodoo economists, jackleg preachers and the altogether crazy-assed elements of almost every political phylum, made it inevitable that a ridiculous man would run a ridiculous campaign one day. What very few people counted on was that the man and the campaign and the party would become so ridiculous that they would make everyone else ridiculous, too. Lord save us, he even managed to get the word “fuck” into the New York Fucking Times. Horseman, pass by!”

So This Is Schadenfreude!

All over the internets men are talking to one another about their so-called “locker room” talk, trying to prove to themselves that Trump’s talk is somehow an exception, different and of course worse than the things they and their friends say. (See the discussion on Lawyers, Guns, and Money if you need an example. Of course, if you are a woman, you don’t.)

I wonder:  will this be the moment that Robin Morgan’s generation has been waiting for all these years?

Nah. For a second there, I fell into another round of “is this it?”


The Birds Still Come Here


Sassy waits for birds to show up for their morning seedfest on the back porch

My last post garnered exactly zero readers. That’s what I get for failing to post more often. OTOH, I am still read in some quarters. Or at least purchased. A royalty statement from a publisher shows that one brave soul recently bought a copy of a book I published in 1998.  And it has been available free on their website for several years.

Thanks, serious hands-on-preferring book reader, wherever in the world you are.

What will eighty-five cents in royalties buy these days?  A cheap beer?

I tried to watch the veep debate last night. I really did. But as soon as Pence began spouting Thug talking points (as soon as he opened his mouth, actually) I had to turn it off because nausea set in. This morning pundits are trying to save the horse race by claiming that Pence won. But the clips I’ve seen show a substantive, if rowdy, performance by Kaine. The twitterverse apparently agreed, thus informing Chris Matthews that his trademark snap judgements are no longer the only game in town.

Pence’s former colleagues in Congress called him “Mike Dense.” Which poses an interesting chicken-and-egg problem: are the less intellectually gifted among us attracted to Christianism? Or does professing Christianism cause one to descend into the stupids?  Women who lasted until the end of the debate heard Pence declare that they can’t be trusted to make their own reproductive decisions. In Dense-world, such decisions must be left to God’s daddy-substitutes here on earth–men just like Pence, one presumes.