Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


A group of staffers in Washington DC have put together a guide they are calling "Indivisible" that could show the way out of the Trump nightmare. They observed how the Tea Party claimed the GOP and urge Democrats and progressives to adopt those same techniques to take the government back from the know-nothings and the crazies.

This could seriously work. Since they published this guide, over 3,000 local groups have formed, and there have already been hundreds of visits to elected representatives. 

Since we have just moved out of Houston to South Padre Island (a heavily blue area), I am a little hesitant myself to dive in at this time, but I will. I want to get our new life (and new house) together before I turn my focus externally, but I urge all of you who care about our country to read this guide and take action. Our country may depend on it.


Donald Trump is the biggest popular vote loser in history to ever call himself President- Elect. In spite of the fact that he has no mandate, he will attempt to use his congressional majority to reshape America in his own racist, authoritarian, and corrupt image. If progressives are going to stop this, we must stand indivisibly opposed to Trump and the members of Congress (MoCs) who would do his bidding. Together, we have the power to resist — and we have the power to win.

We know this because we’ve seen it before. The authors of this guide are former congressional staffers who witnessed the rise of the Tea Party. We saw these activists take on a popular president with a mandate for change and a supermajority in Congress. We saw them organize locally and convince their own MoCs to reject President Obama’s agenda. Their ideas were wrong, cruel, and tinged with racism — and they won.

We believe that protecting our values, our neighbors, and ourselves will require mounting a similar resistance to the Trump agenda — but a resistance built on the values of inclusion, tolerance, and fairness. Trump is not popular. He does not have a mandate. He does not have large congressional majorities. If a small minority in the Tea Party can stop President Obama, then we the majority can stop a petty tyrant named Trump.

To this end, the following chapters offer a step-by-step guide for individuals, groups, and organizations looking to replicate the Tea Party’s success in getting Congress to listen to a small, vocal, dedicated group of constituents. The guide is intended to be equally useful for stiffening Democratic spines and weakening pro-Trump Republican resolve.

We believe that the next four years depend on Americans across the country standing indivisible against the Trump agenda. We believe that buying into false promises or accepting partial concessions will only further empower Trump to victimize us and our neighbors. We hope that this guide will provide those who share that belief useful tools to make Congress listen. 

We: Are former progressive congressional staffers who saw the Tea Party beat back President Obama’s agenda.
We: See the enthusiasm to fight the Trump agenda and want to share insider info on how best to influence Congress to do that.
You: Want to do your part to beat back the Trump agenda and understand that will require more than calls and petitions.
You: Should use this guide, share it, amend it, make it your own, and get to work. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

SpaceX launch!

It's great to see SpaceX roaring back with a successful launch, a deployment of ten Iridium satellites, and a successful landing on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean.  I cannot wait until they start launching from the Boca Chica spaceport. We will be able to see the launches from our house on South Padre Island!!

SpaceX sends 10 satellites into orbit, lands rocket booster on drone ship in first flight since September explosion.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, carrying 10 satellites, lifts off from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Jan. 14, 2017. (Matt Hartman / Associated Press)

Four months after a launch pad explosion, SpaceX returned to flight Saturday morning, delivering 10 satellites into orbit and landing its first-stage booster on a floating drone ship.
Analysts had described the launch as “all-important” for the Hawthorne space company to reestablish customer confidence and momentum after a Sept. 1 launchpad explosion in Florida destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket and a commercial communications satellite perched on top. But beyond the specter of the accident, stakes were high for Saturday’s launch because it involved deploying the first 10 satellites of a new commercial constellation for well-known operator Iridium Communications Inc. 

The new satellites have more capability than their older counterparts, including higher data speeds. Saturday’s launch is the first of seven that SpaceX will perform for Iridium to carry a total of 70 satellites into orbit.
“There was a lot riding on this for SpaceX, but also for Iridium, and I think they can breathe a sigh of relief,” said Marco Caceres, senior space analyst at the Teal Group.
The launch occurred at 9:54 a.m. Pacific time from Vandenberg Air Force Base, north of Santa Barbara. About eight minutes after liftoff, the first-stage rocket booster landed upright on a floating platform called “Just Read the Instructions” in the Pacific Ocean.
About an hour after the launch, company Chief Executive Elon Musk tweeted that the mission “looks good.” By 11:15 a.m., Musk tweeted that all satellites had been successfully delivered to the correct orbit.
Boca Chica spaceport
The launch comes after an investigation into the September explosion that was led by SpaceX and assisted by the U.S. Air Force, NASA, the National Transportation Safety Board and industry experts, with oversight from the Federal Aviation Administration. The investigation concluded last week that the cause was the failure of a pressure vessel that stores cold helium to maintain pressure in the liquid oxygen tank.
The company said the failure of one of three such tanks, inside the rocket’s larger, second-stage liquid oxygen tank, probably occurred after a buildup of liquid oxygen between the vessel’s aluminum inner liner and its carbon overwrap ignited.
The FAA said last week that it accepted the accident report and closed the investigation. 
SpaceX said it would change the configuration of the vessels and change helium loading operations.
Every mission until about 2018 will be watched closely, as SpaceX and Boeing Co. are both contracted to build capsules to transport astronauts to the International Space Station.
NASA has said that the first uncrewed flight of SpaceX’s spacecraft is set for November, and its first flight test with humans aboard is scheduled for May 2018.
“Every mission will be crucial,” Caceres said. “But this one was particularly crucial because you don’t want two failures in a row. So I think this was a huge success.”

Monday, January 9, 2017

Trump week

I remember some people, during the presidential campaign, thinking that, since Donald Trump was such an enigma, maybe he would turn out to be a liberal. Ha! One might think that Trump, if he were anywhere near normal, would have appointed some Democrats to his Cabinet. After all, he lost the popular vote by over 3 million votes, even though he lies (as usual) and claims he won the popular vote. 

We have never had a narcissist and serial liar like Trump in the White House, and the worst thing about it is that his supporters don't seem to care.

Here is a recap of a week in the life of Donald Trump. Is any of this liberal?

While we were distracted by tweets:
The federal week in review:
1. Trump fires all Obama-appointed Ambassadors and Special Envoys, ordering them out by inauguration day.
2. House brings back the Holman rule allowing them to reduce an individual civil service, SES positions, or political appointee's salary to $1, effectively firing them by amendment to any piece of legislation. We now know why they wanted names and positions of people in Energy and State.
3. Senate schedules 6 simultaneous hearings on cabinet nominees and triple-books those hearings with Trump's first press conference in months and an ACA budget vote, effectively preventing any concentrated coverage or protest.
4. House GOP expressly forbids the Congressional Budget Office from reporting or tracking ANY costs related to the repeal of the ACA.
5. Trump continues to throw the intelligence community under the bus to protect Putin, despite the growing mountain of evidence that the Russians deliberately interfered in our election.
6. Trump breaks a central campaign promise to make Mexico pay for the wall by asking Congress (in other words, us, the taxpayers) to pay for it.
7. Trump threatens Toyota over a new plant that was never coming to the US nor will take jobs out of the US.
8. House passes the REINS act, giving them veto power over any rules enacted by any federal agency or department--for example, FDA or EPA bans a drug or pesticide, Congress can overrule based on lobbyists not science. Don't like that endangered species designation, Congress kills it.
We - progressive, liberal, libertarian and conservative - need to all wake up to what is actually happening to our beloved country.

No doubt this is going to get worse. You can follow Trump's antics on many sites, and here is a good one.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sundrop Farms

The rest of the world is not standing still with regards to solar energy while the US gazes at its navel and cannot seem to get anything done. It's a damn shame that one political party - the GOP - seems intent on stopping any type of progress on anything, except for cutting taxes on the wealthy. We can't even get any desalination plants going, and we have some serious droughts across the country!

Australian desert farm grows 17,000 metric tons of vegetables with just seawater and sun.

This incredible farm makes tomato plants bloom in the desert using nothing more than sunlight and seawater. Needing no soil, fossil fuels, groundwater, or pesticides, Sundrop Farms grows crops in a hydroponic greenhouse lined with water-drenched cardboard. The 20-hectare farm officially opened on October 6th near Port Augusta, and their desert-grown tomatoes are already for sale in Australian grocery stores.

Sundrop Farms works agricultural magic. Conventional farming won’t work in the desert region, but that doesn’t matter for this desert farm. It obtains water from the Spencer Gulf, and desalinizes the water using renewable energy. 23,000 mirrors reflect light to a receiver tower to generate solar power. When the sun is shining, the system can provide 39 megawatts of clean energy – that’s enough to keep the desalination plant working and power the greenhouse, which is heated during the winter.

The facility can grow 17,000 metric tons of produce each year. 18,000 tomato plants grow in the greenhouse, and Sundrop Farms aims to grow other crops like fruit and peppers. Plants are grown in coconut husks, and the farm employs “predatory insects” to control pests that could harm plants.
The farming system cost $200 million to build – but Sundrop Farms CEO Philipp Saumweber says the hefty price tag will pay off over time because the farm won’t need to purchase any fossil fuels. The farm can hook up to the grid if there are winter solar power shortages, however its ultimate goal is to progress to the point where it’s completely self-sufficient.
According to Sundrop Farms, “we are breaking farming’s dependence on finite resources.” This year they broke ground on a farm in Tennessee, and they recently finished their first European farm in Portugal.

Saturday, January 7, 2017


Yeah, this "awesome" land of the free and home of the brave's Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) just reclassified CBD (cannabidiol) as a Schedule I drug. How fucking ignorant can you get?! 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Russian Dossier

I have all kinds of angst and reservations about Donald Trump "running" (ruining?) this country. On the one hand I think, well, they are just Republicans, how bad can it be? On the other hand, it's Donald Fucking Trump, the documented liar and lousy businessman with a chip the size of the rock of Gibraltar on his shoulder. The next four years are going to be a frustrating mess, and the wife and I are retiring and leaving Houston before his Inauguration. I just hope we have a world left when he leaves office.

When words and disgust fail, I turn to The Rude Pundit.

Let's Just Pretend the Russian Dossier Is True Because Fuck That Trump Guy

If you were unfortunate enough, you got to watch or listen to the freak show this morning where President-Elect and human/gila monster hybrid Donald Trump sputtered and free-associated his way through what you might consider answers to the questions in a press conference. It was one of those embarrassing moments for the entire nation that we all better get used to. At some point, Trump is going to be at a gathering of world leaders and one of them is going to say, "What the fuck are you saying, you fucking brain damaged moron? Fuck, I thought Bush was dumb." And most of us in the United States will just look away, ashamed of Trump, like he's our boyfriend's racist grandpa who can't stop talking about what "the blacks" need to do.

What Trump said today doesn't matter because he's a filthy liar who traffics in the kind of hyperbole that'd make P.T. Barnum go "Whoa, there, man, calm that shit down." He's lying about the extent of his separation from his business. He forced his tax lawyer to lie about the emoluments clause of the Constitution. Essentially, he said, "You should be so fortunate to have me as president that I shouldn't have to do anything that every other modern president has done, but here's a couple of bones so you can shut the fuck up." Motherfucker, you ran for president. You asked for the office. Divest or get the fuck out. But he won't because truth and honesty don't matter.

What does matter is that he is so obviously deranged, so blatantly incapable of complex thought, that he more or less just repeated everything from his campaign, layering on extra degradation for members of the press that he didn't like. When Jim Acosta of CNN tried to insist on getting in a question because Trump kept attacking his network, I wanted him to keep going until Trump went into a full-blown Captain Queeg-like strawberry-seeking paranoid fit. 

Meanwhile, so many questions surround the dossier prepared by a former UK spy as oppo research for some campaign (maybe JEB!'s). It's sopping wet with allegations of Russia trading DNC email releases through Wikileaks in return for Trump backing off criticism of the annexation of Crimea, as well as the desire for Trump to criticize NATO's expansion, both of which he did. There's the corruption, with the allegations of bribes and kickbacks in deals with China. Then there's all the hookers and golden showers and other possible blackmail material, most of which would fall on deaf ears like drops of urine running down Trump's manboobs. God, how the media are flagellating themselves and each other over the material, over whether it should have been released, how it hasn't been corroborated, no matter how reliable the sources are, what it means for future allegations and...

You know what? Fuck it. Let's act like Republicans for a little while and just state everything as if it's true. In fact, even if it's proven to be 35 pages of utter fantasy, let's just keep saying it's true. Because, see, Trump made his political career, fuck, much of his entire career, on lies, and almost all Republicans didn't have the honor to say, "No, sorry, that's just something he's pulling out of his ass." The mainstream media had no problem doing story after story about whether or not Barack Obama was born in the United States, a lie that Trump fingered and humped like it was the American flag with a pussy. Facts are dead, as Reince Priebus and Newt Gingrich and other Trump surrogates told us. We create our own reality, real reality be damned. So fuck it all. Trump can say he won in a "landslide" (he didn't), he can say he didn't say things that he said on video or that he tweeted, he can push a voter fraud fable like it's beyond reproach, he can claim that inner cities are hellholes of crime, and he can say that his political opponents are doing, have done, or will do things that are not even in the realm of actual. And he just doesn't care if you tell him he's wrong or there are facts that contradict him. It doesn't matter.

And I haven't even gotten into the sea of Republican and nutzoid conservative lies over the decades that drowned Hillary Clinton, up to and including the email controversy and the completely bugfuck insane Pizzagate.

So fuck it. It's time for Democrats to have some fun. Let's not even allow the idea that the Russian dossier isn't true. Let's just go with that it's totally true. It's right there in writing. Page 27: Trump "paid bribes to further his interests" in doing business in St. Petersburg, where he "participated in sex parties. Or page 2: "The Kremlin had been feeding Trump and his team valuable intelligence on his opponents, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, for several years." Let's just repeat it over and over and demand investigations and more investigations if those don't turn up what we want and let's force the media to keep talking about it and make it the only talking points so that all we can think about with Trump is that he is a corrupt loser who watches hookers piss.  It feels like it's true, so let's go with the truthiness instead of the truth. Why should we be left behind in the rush to jump off the cliff of reason?

Trump force-fed us his nonsense. He's still doing that now. Instead, make him choke on this dossier. 

(Note: Of course, we won't do it. Because at the end of the day, we sadly still have some sense of devotion to facts. It is our tragic flaw as liberals.)