Friday, December 09, 2016

"The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils." - William Shakespeare

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Proceed, proceed: we will begin these rites, as we do trust they'll end, in true delights.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Clever Trevor

Trevor Noah takes his first major step forward as Jon Stewart's replacement in your Friday Night Video.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

is AI real?

ICYMI, a company controlled by Donald Trump secretly conducted business in Communist Cuba during Fidel Castro’s presidency despite strict American trade bans that made such undertakings illegal, according to interviews with former Trump executives, internal company records and court filings.  Source
"Good riddance to Fidel Castro, that lying authoritarian pro-torture false-populist thug who betrayed his supporters." -Trump fan on Twitter, per John Fugelsang

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Fact-checking web site today refuted the allegation that the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) was re-routed toward the Standing Rock Indian Reservation because white residents of Bismarck, North Dakota feared for their water safety.   

As Snopes explains, there was once a route under consideration that was subsequently rejected in favor of the Standing Rock route.  According to a Bismarck Tribune article cited by Snopes:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers evaluated the Bismarck route and concluded it was not a viable option for many reasons. One reason mentioned in the agency’s environmental assessment is the proximity to wellhead source water protection areas that are avoided to protect municipal water supply wells. 
In addition, the Bismarck route would have been 11 miles longer with more road crossings and waterbody and wetland crossings. It also would have been difficult to stay 500 or more feet away from homes, as required by the North Dakota Public Service Commission, the corps states. 
The Bismarck route also would have crossed an area considered by federal pipeline regulators as a “high consequence area,” which is an area determined to have the most significant adverse consequences in the event of a pipeline spill.
The fact that it was an Army decision and not the white population of Bismarck that made the decision scarcely makes it any better.  Both routes pass through hydrologically vulnerable areas, Bismarck's wellhead-protection area and Standing Rock's limited tribal land.  Both routes pass through "high consequence areas" in the case of a spill, Bismarck's residential areas and Standing Rock's sacred sites and burial grounds.  The justification for the Standing Rock route appears to be 11 fewer miles on a  1,172-mile-long pipeline, or 1% of its total length.  

This doesn't make me feel any better.  Army bureaucrats and engineers apparently took it upon themselves to reroute a pipeline away from white resident's vulnerable watersheds to Native American's vulnerable watersheds, and away from white residences and toward Native residences, all to save 11 miles of pipeline cost.  And when the Native Americans protested, they were met by a militarized police using brutal repression tactics.

America's, and really the world's, scarce freshwater resources are being threatened by development, pipelines and pollution, by fracking, by rising sea levels and salt-water intrusion of our aquifers, by overuse and unwise water management, and by the politicalization of the problem and of the remedies.  There are alternatives to natural gas and oil - there are no alternatives to water.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently passed a resolution, introduced by Board President London Breed, in response to the election of Donald Trump. The resolution reads as follows:
WHEREAS, On November 8, 2016, Donald Trump was elected to become the 45th President of the United States; now, therefore, be it 
RESOLVED, That no matter the threats made by President-elect Trump, San Francisco will remain a Sanctuary City. We will not turn our back on the men and women from other countries who help make this city great, and who represent over one third of our population. This is the Golden Gate—we build bridges, not walls; and, be it 
FURTHER RESOLVED, That we will never back down on women’s rights, whether in healthcare, the workplace, or any other area threatened by a man who treats women as obstacles to be demeaned or objects to be assaulted. And just as important, we will ensure our young girls grow up with role models who show them they can be or do anything; and, be it 
FURTHER RESOLVED, That there will be no conversion therapy, no withdrawal of rights in San Francisco. We began hosting gay weddings twelve years ago, and we are not stopping now. And to all the LGBTQ people all over the country who feel scared, bullied, or alone: You matter. You are seen; you are loved; and San Francisco will never stop fighting for you; and, be it 
FURTHER RESOLVED, That we still believe in this nation’s founding principle of religious freedom. We do not ban people for their faith. And the only lists we keep are on invitations to come pray together; and, be it 
FURTHER RESOLVED, That Black Lives Matter in San Francisco, even if they may not in the White House. And guided by President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, we will continue reforming our police department and rebuilding trust between police and communities of color so all citizens feel safe in their neighborhoods; and, be it 
FURTHER RESOLVED, That climate change is not a hoax, or a plot by the Chinese. In this city, surrounded by water on three sides, science matters. And we will continue our work on CleanPower, Zero Waste, and everything else we are doing to protect future generations; and, be it 
FURTHER RESOLVED, That we have been providing universal health care in this city for nearly a decade, and if the new administration follows through on its callous promise to revoke health insurance from 20 million people, San Franciscans will be protected; and, be it 
FURTHER RESOLVED, That we are the birthplace of the United Nations, a city made stronger by the thousands of international visitors we welcome every day. We will remain committed to internationalism and to our friends and allies around the world—whether the administration in Washington is or not; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That San Francisco will remain a Transit First city and will continue building Muni and BART systems we can all rely upon, whether this administration follows through on its platform to eliminate federal transit funding or not; and, be it 
FURTHER RESOLVED, That California is the sixth largest economy in the world. The Bay Area is the innovation capital of the country. We will not be bullied by threats to revoke our federal funding, nor will we sacrifice our values or members of our community for your dollar; and, be it 
FURTHER RESOLVED, That we condemn all hate crimes and hate speech perpetrated in this election’s wake. That although the United States will soon have a President who has demonstrated a lack of respect for the values we hold in the highest regard in San Francisco, it cannot change who we are, and it will never change our values. We argue, we campaign, we debate vigorously within San Francisco, but on these points we are 100 percent united. We will fight discrimination and recklessness in all its forms. We are one City. And we will move forward together.