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Zorro's Journal
Zorro's Journal
November 18, 2021

T-Mobile $50/mo unlimited 5G wifi home internet anyone?

This offer has just crossed my path, and was wondering if anybody has any experience with T-Mobile's 5G service.

Sounds mighty tempting, since Charter and Cox keep jacking up their rates as streaming services become mainstream.

November 18, 2021

Insurrectionists are finally receiving justice. But the GOP is more unhinged than ever.

Jacob Chansley — the most memorable figure in the Jan. 6 violent insurrection, and certainly the most bizarre given his painted face and horned cap — received 41 months in prison on Wednesday plus a $2,000 fine for obstructing the congressional certification. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly L. Paschall made an impassioned plea, both in the courtroom and in her sentencing memo, for the stiff penalty.

In a direct rebuke to former president Donald Trump and his apologists, Paschall made clear at the hearing that Chansley was no peaceful protester. He stormed the Capitol, confronted police, entered the building through a broken window, charged to the dais in the Senate chamber, shouted a vulgar threat (“time’s up, motherf-----s!”) and left a threatening message for Vice President Mike Pence (“It’s only a matter of time. Justice is coming!”).

As Paschall argued in her sentencing memo, “The government cannot overstate the seriousness of the defendant’s conduct as a one [sic] of the most prominent figures of the historic riot on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. . . . The defendant’s consistent argument throughout this case that his actions on that day were peaceful is undermined by the evidence submitted to this Court, but demonstrative of a persistent mindset that could lead the defendant to commit similar acts again.”

She might have said the same of the person who inspired the attack: Trump. If Chansley was “quite literally, their flagbearer,” Trump had beaten the drum for weeks, spread the “big lie” about a stolen election, demanded his followers “stop the steal” (at the moment Congress was assembled to certify electoral college ballots), and then refused to come to the rescue of lawmakers and the vice president after protesters stormed the building.


November 18, 2021

Trump's rage at Georgia Republicans should unsettle us all

Earlier this year, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the most nationally scrutinized “election integrity” bill in the country. The Republican governor plainly hoped this would atone for the sin of being insufficiently corrupt on Donald Trump’s behalf, by insulating him from Trump’s attacks on his refusal to help overturn the 2020 election.

In this apparent calculus, while Kemp wouldn’t destroy his reputation by engaging in full-blown corruption to help overturn U.S. democracy and keep Trump in power illegitimately, at least he’d be seen championing one of the worst voter suppression bills in memory. That would count for something, right?

Oddly enough, this doesn’t appear to have had its desired effect.

CNN reports that Kemp is now facing the prospect of a serious primary challenge from David Perdue, the businessman and former senator. He very well may have Trump’s backing, and Republicans in the state say Kemp could lose if it happens.


November 18, 2021

What's Your 'Home Maintenance' Style?

Finding your place on the Fixer/Non-Fixer spectrum

Since ancient times, humans have believed that the world is divided into two types of people: those who perform timely routine maintenance and repair on their homes, and those who don’t.

Fixers take great pride in their understanding of the complications and quirks of their home and how to keep it all working. They possess many tools and manuals. A stud finder. Soldering gun. Extra copper piping in the cellar. A toilet snake. They sometimes won’t stop talking about gutters.

Non-Fixers are overwhelmed, uninterested or too busy to learn the basics of maintenance and routine household repair. They’re terrified that if they try, they’ll start breaking stuff that worked perfectly well. Or they very reasonably believe that if they learn to do one maintenance thing and demonstrate any proficiency in it, they will be on the hook for learning and doing all the other maintenancey things their home requires. Many pay others to do the work. Some Non-Fixers just ignore their house maintenance and repair needs thinking they will go away. Actually, many Non-Fixers do this. Others could be Fixers, but their life is filled with other things they would prefer to do, such as drink martinis on the couch and watch ‘Full House’ reruns.

Conventional wisdom holds that we are assigned a Fixer or Non-Fixer designation at birth and that it is an immutable trait that cannot be altered during our lifetimes, like eye color or a hatred of cilantro. Alternatively, some fervently believe that our maintenance style is a choice, and that we can simply decide which type of person we wish to be. The extremists among this group also believe that being a Fixer is the only proper, moral choice, and that Non-Fixers are broken, bad humans.


I'd consider myself a late-life fixer. Before retirement it was just more cost-effective to hire someone else to do the work around the house.
November 18, 2021

Democratic divide puts congressional action on marijuana in doubt

A split on Capitol Hill over marijuana policy has lawmakers confronting the possibility that they could again fail to pass any meaningful changes to the federal prohibition of cannabis this Congress, even as polls show vast majorities of Americans support at least partial legalization of the drug.

The clash, on one level, follows familiar contours for Washington policymaking: A narrower measure with significant bipartisan support — one that would make it easier for banks to do business with legitimate cannabis firms in states where marijuana is legal — is in limbo while a smaller group of lawmakers pushes for a much broader bill.

But it has also become infused with questions of racial equity and political competence that have pitted key Democrats against each other as they seek a way to roll back federal marijuana laws that have gone largely unchanged since the height of the War on Drugs in the 1980s and 1990s.

The conflict has come to a head in recent weeks after a push by Democratic and Republican lawmakers to attach the narrower banking legislation to the must-pass annual defense policy bill, which would ensure its passage in the coming months. The bill’s advocates say it would offer a substantial step toward legitimizing and rationalizing the cannabis industry in the 47 states that have moved to at least partially legalize marijuana — allowing businesses to move away from risky cash-only operations.


November 18, 2021

Are We About to Find Life on Venus?

A small gas you’ve barely heard of could be the key to discovering whether or not we’re alone in the universe.

Phosphine is a colorless, flammable, toxic gas that smells like rotting fish. Humans manufacture it to use in pest control and the production of computer chips. But it’s also a waste product from a certain kind of “abiotic” microbe that lives in oxygen-free environments. Its presence is a potential sign that there’s something alive.

The gas with the chemical name PH3 has been at the center of a passionate debate among scientists concerned with, well, life: what it is, what it needs to survive, and where it could be located elsewhere in the universe.

On one side are are scientists and their supporters who, a year ago, claimed they had detected signs of phosphine in the practically unlivable atmosphere of Venus—the second planet from the sun best known for its boiling, 800-degree-Fahrenheit surface and thick clouds made not of water, but acid. Whether intentionally or not, these researchers set off the alarms that perhaps we have discovered signs of extraterrestrial life on another world.

On the other side are critics who have credibly questioned the science behind the original phosphine claim. And between the two camps is a powerful mediator: NASA’s top scientist, who recently penned a paper to address the increasingly heated argument over a very stinky gas and its possible presence on Venus, and to urge scientists searching for alien life to be a little more careful.

November 18, 2021

Oklahoma Guard commander defends rejecting vaccine mandate as Pentagon warns troops who refuse

Source: Washington Post

The Oklahoma National Guard’s commanding general Wednesday defended his directive countermanding federal requirements that all U.S. military personnel be vaccinated against the coronavirus, telling troops in a private town hall event that he was following orders from the state’s Republican governor and meant no disrespect to his superiors at the Pentagon.

Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino, speaking to several dozen members of the Oklahoma National Guard in Oklahoma City, cast himself as an apolitical leader bound by law to answer to Gov. Kevin Stitt (R), who fired the state’s previous National Guard commander last week and ordered Mancino the next day to issue a policy allowing members to avoid the vaccine.

The extraordinary move by Stitt has prompted interest among multiple governors and National Guard commanders to explore similar policies in their states, Oklahoma officials said, while leaving the Biden administration with little recourse but to hold individual service members accountable for refusing lawful orders that their immediate chain of command has disavowed.

“I did not initiate a civilian-military crisis just because I thought it was cool, right?” Mancino said, according to a recording of his remarks obtained by The Washington Post and later confirmed by the general in an interview.

Mancino said during the town hall that he had consulted with National Guard lawyers and appeared to point out a path for the Pentagon if it wishes to assert its authority, saying that if he is placed on federal orders, he will carry out the vaccination mandate, which is a centerpiece of President Biden’s strategy for bringing the pandemic under control. The general showed deference to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in his remarks, noting that the two had served together in Afghanistan and joking that the secretary is “a very big individual who can crush me like a bug with his hands.”

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2021/11/17/vaccine-mandate-oklahoma-national-guard/

Prepare to get crushed.
November 18, 2021

Paul Gosar made a murderous video. Kevin McCarthy is murdering democracy.

Rep. Paul Gosar, the Arizona Republican who used congressional resources to produce and release a cartoon video of him murdering Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), deservedly became the 24th person in history to be censured by his House peers.

But Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) is the one who truly has earned the censure of posterity. In his craven attempt to maintain himself as the House Republican leader, McCarthy showed once again that there is no level of violent, hateful or authoritarian speech that goes too far. By condoning threats and intimidation in the people’s House, he is inviting actual violence — and signing democracy’s death warrant.

Ten days ago, as the world now knows, Gosar, a dentist/insurrectionist, tweeted from his official congressional Twitter account a manipulated anime in which the Gosar figure flies through the air and slashes the Ocasio-Cortez figure across the back of the neck. Blood sprays profusely from the neck wound. Ocasio-Cortez’s lifeless head snaps back. Gosar moves on in the video, swords drawn, to confront President Biden.

Gosar didn’t apologize for the video. He mocked the “faux outrage” and labeled as “laughable” the “shrill accusations that this cartoon is dangerous.”


November 17, 2021

Ted Cruz Attacks Bob the Builder for Spreading Pro-Infrastructure Propaganda

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In his latest attack on a fictional character beloved by children, Senator Ted Cruz has lambasted Bob the Builder for spreading what the legislator called “blatant pro-infrastructure propaganda.”

Cruz said that Bob, who originates from the United Kingdom, should “stop throwing his precious wrench into the American economy by supporting runaway government spending.”

“Whenever you see Bob the Builder, he’s maniacally building something,” Cruz said. “Our children are being exposed to his sick and twisted message that functional infrastructure is good.”

Because of Bob the Builder’s “extreme pro-infrastructure views,” the senator said that he has banned Bob’s program from the Cruz household.

“Sorry, Bob the Builder, but I like my TV shows without the stench of socialism,” Cruz said.


November 17, 2021

The right-wing culture war just got worse. Liberals need a better response.

With the culture-warring around education and race from Republicans and the right escalating, some Democratic strategists have issued a new call for a more aggressive response. This would entail hitting Republicans for trying to stoke civil conflict, politicize the classroom and suppress discussion of hard historical truths.

That’s all fine, but it raises a deeper question. What principles can Democrats and liberals set forth that could form the basis for their own answers on these issues?

I propose looking for an answer in the tradition called “egalitarian liberalism.” Developing this might help clarify our own commitments, and the true nature of our differences with the culture warriors.

This week, Christopher Rufo, who created the conflict over “critical race theory,” tweeted: “It’s time to clean house in America: remove the attorney general, lay siege to the universities, abolish the teachers unions, and overturn the school boards.”

These folks are flush with crusading zeal: After winning in Virginia by harnessing parents’ frustrations over a host of issues, including “wokeness” invading school curriculums, they believe the purge of subversive cultural leftism is only beginning.


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