Thursday, August 24, 2023

Science post -- China pulling ahead in tech knowledge, the remains of a supernova, India's historic first on the Moon

 Okay, again, no Court news so another science post. 

First, and I'm not linking to any now-or-former Mother Tucker Carlson publication, THE DAILY CALLER is lamenting that China's supposedly poaching scientists and will win the tech war (against the US).

Okay, when did you call out Ron DeSantis and what he's done with Florida schools and colleges?  Never.  But when you put inept idiots in charge and they don't believe in climate change and they assault African-American studies and they assault gender studies and they live in a world where they think it's acceptable to not say 'gay' from K through 12?  

Of course we're going to fall behind.  We're trying to turn out young people into idiots.  Of course, that's going to cost us.  Did I highlight Ava and C.I. yesterday?  I think I did but it bears repeating:

Now before we go further we have to cover something else. It's about the words above. 

Gay is not sexualization.  You can argue against sex education -- which is education on how humans have sex -- but gay is not sex education.  People are gay.  They've been gay for longer than "two weeks."  And having a gay character in a DISNEY film is not sexualization.  Nor was it sexualization to have straight couples in DISNEY films since the start of DISNEY films.

Are we too damn stupid to grasp that?

This is not about protect the kids from sexualization.  That's the garbage crackpot whores like Naomi Wolf serve up.  

They want, as these haters infamously made clear earlier this year, to "eradicate" those they don't like.  They were just talking about transgender with that public announcement.  But now, in Florida, they've made it clear that it goes far beyond LGBTQ+ people and they now wish to "eradicate" all Democrats.

This isn't about education and it's not about sex.

They're not concerned that second graders are going to learn about blow jobs.

They are concerned -- flat out afraid -- that children might realize there's a whole world out there and it includes all kinds of people.  

It's outrageous that straight people have let them get this far with it.  (That includes us.  We didn't start noticing what was going on until this extreme right-wing playbook was utilized at the end of September to try to destroy the film BROS.)  


No one's saying Jane, a straight teacher in Florida, can't have a photo on her desk of her male husband.  But if Terry, a gay teacher in Florida, has a photo on his desk of his male husband, suddenly, this is teaching sex to children.

That's not sex.

Now we get it, Ronald is a lazy lay -- he's got that Small Dick Energy.  And he's confused and unclear on what sex is.  

But those of who are adults know damn well that a photo of your significant other on a desk in your classroom is in no way a lesson in how people copulate. 

So don't come up me, Mother Tucker, with your faux concern about our level of informed citizens when you have actively worked to overturn education.

If you click here -- and you can if you don't live in Florida (hopefully you can even in Florida), you can see something that Chinese astronomers first spotted in 185 C.E. that they called "guest star."  It was a supernova but now it is just the remains.

India has succeeded in placing a rover on the Moon — making it one of two countries with active rovers on the celestial body, the other being China.

The success continues the stellar track record of Chandrayaan-3's "flawless" mission, as the Indian Space Research Organisation put it, and soft landing on the Moon on August 23.

India is the fourth nation to ever land on the Moon, and the first to land on the potentially water-rich lunar south pole.

Well good for India and their historic first.  If you're wondering -- I was -- why we don't have a rover on the Moon, it appears to be for a number of reasons including that it was hard to drive on the Moon due to low gravity and that there are issues with the solar power that would be needed (apparently the moon gets two weeks of sunlight that is around the clock and then two weeks of darkness and for some reason this impact reliable restarts).  But good for India and applause for their scientists.  They are the first to reach the south pole.  Who knows what they'll discover.  

File the next one under "They must have been taught in Florida."  AFP reports a 'scientific' study has been withdrawn:

Top science publisher Springer Nature said it has withdrawn a study that presented misleading conclusions on climate change impacts after an investigation prompted by an AFP inquiry.

AFP reported in September 2022 on concerns over the peer-reviewed study by four Italian scientists that appeared earlier that year in the European Physical Journal Plus, published by Springer Nature.

The study had drawn positive attention from climate-sceptic media.

The paper, titled "A critical assessment of extreme events trends in times of global warming", purported to review data on possible changes in the frequency or intensity of rainfall, cyclones, tornadoes, droughts and other extreme weather events.

Several climate scientists contacted by AFP said the study manipulated data, cherry picked facts and ignored others that would contradict their assertions, prompting the publisher to launch an internal review.

There's enough garbage in the world without fake 'studies.'  And there's enough garbage in the world without us refusing to educate our children.  I raised three kids and, no, I did not want them to learn less than I did.  I wanted them to learn everything.  I wanted them armed to the teeth and ready to take on the world.  I wanted them to be smarter than I was at their age and to start out of school with as much knowledge as possible.  I wanted them to read books they loves and, yes, books they hated.  I wanted their brains to question, not just spit out rote memorization.  

I get more and more bothered by Florida parents with each passing day because they are short changing not just our future as a country but also their own children's future.

And I know it's not fair to paint with a broad brush.  I know it's not all Florida parents.  It's just a very vocal and pushy group.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Thursday, August 24, 2023.  The GOP goes wild on the debate stage while Robert F. Kennedy Jr. remains silent after one of his supporters murders a woman.

And he says, "What do you love to do?Outside your worldWho spends time with you?From whom do you learn when you're not working, sweet girl?
"Where would you go if you had the time?"Crossing some crazy state line somewhere?To whom do you cryWhen people are unkind, sweet girl?"
But I chose to dance across the stages of the worldEveryone said I'd never learnAnd I still hear your wordsI waited all my life for you, sweet girl
-- "Sweet Girl," written by Stevie Nicks, first appears on Fleetwood Mac's THE DANCE

Watching the GOP presidential contenders debate last night, I kept thinking of Stevie's song.  "Sweet Girl."  Who was the sweetest?  To me the sweetest girl was Ronald DeSantis.

A pledge had been signed, a moderator noted, by all on stage to support the eventual GOP presidential nominee yet Donald Trump was supposed to be turning himself in to be booked at a jail today (he also wasn't on the debate stage and, though the moderators failed to note it, had refused to sign the pledge they were invoking) so would they support Donald if -- convicted felon or not -- he was the eventual nominee?  Ronnie looked right, Ronnie looked left.  When four out of eight hands went up, Ron Ron put his paw up.  Such a sweet girl.  Eventually seven of the eight put their hands up in the air,  to prove that when it comes to democracy, they just don't care.

But then it turned out Chris Christie didn't understand the process.  He was raising his hand for something else.  Maybe he thought the question was: Does anyone want to split an order of fries?

He raised his hand -- during this vote -- because he wanted to speak.  And he did.      

So that dropped it down to six: Ronald DeSanits,  conspiracy freak Vivek Ramaswamy, forgettable Mike Pence (was he on stage?, he makes no impression at all),  former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Senator Sen. Tim Scott and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. 

Christie stated, "Here is the bottom line. Someone’s got to stop normalizing this conduct.  Whether or not you believe the criminal charges are right or wrong, the conduct is beneath the office of president of the United States."

Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson understood the voting process and didn't raise his hand in error.  When he spoke he stated the issue was important and that Donald was "morally disqualified from being president again" -- and not just morally but potentially legally as a result of his interpretation of the 14th Amendment.

He's referring to section three of the Fourteenth Amendment:

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Scholars are split on whether or not this would apply to Donald Trump.

So we can argue that presently.  (I would argue that the 14th Amendment does apply.)

But what we do know is that DeSantis isn't much of a leader and will only make a decision when half the people in any group have already stated their own opinion.

Sweet girl.  He chose to dance across the stages of the world.

Tim Scott didn't invoke the Constitution -- I'm not sure he understands it or much of anything that's not a lie spat out by FOX "NEWS."  Naming California, among other states, he whined that "we cannot let states have abortion on demand up until the day of birth.  That is immoral.  It is unethical.  It is wrong."

What you're saying is 100% wrong because it's a damn lie.  There is no state in this country, even when ROE was law of the land that was performing abortions at the nine month mark.  Find me the state, pop-eyed man, that did it because, outside of the junk fed brains of FOX "NEWS" viewers, it just doesn't exist.

I really want to meet that mythical woman who exists only in the minds of idiotic morons -- that woman who is sitting at the dinner table thinking, "Do I give birth tomorrow or do I abort?  I know I've had forty weeks to make a decision but I wanted to put off deciding until the night before."

She doesn't exist.  She never has. 

Again, Tim Scott didn't invoke the Constitution.  He did invoke . . . something.  The Declaration of Independence.  But I've never heard "declaration" pronounced that way before.  Tim Scott proving you don't have to come from another country or have parents from another country to need ESL.  DECCA-UH-LUH-RAY-SHUN.  I think that's how he said it.  

He then repeatedly gripped his bosom while dramatically insisting, "We can't leave it to Illinois.  We can't leave it to Minnesota.  We can't leave it to Illinois.  We must --"  Huh?  Since he'd  said Illinois once already,  I fear he discovered something -- maybe a lump in his breast -- when he was palming himself.  Hopefully, he'll have it checked out.  Remember, early detection is key and self breast exams are important.  Even apparently when onstage during a debate.

Nikki jumped into the fray to ask about Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.  

Well I guess that's one way to waste your time on stage.  And she already wastes all her time on the campaign trail so why not waste her time on stage as well.

There's a reason she's got a national name but no traction at all in the race.

That should become even clearer as we note Daniel Villarreal (LGBTQ NATION):

At the first Republican presidential debate tonight, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum said the claim that “every teacher is somehow indoctrinating people is just false” when responding to a question about transgender girls playing on girls’ sports teams.

In the debate’s second half, the Fox News debate moderator Martha MacCallum said, “[Former South Carolina] governor [Nikki] Haley has said that biological boys playing in girls sports is the women’s issue of our time. You said that, even though you signed a ban on this in North Dakota, there hadn’t been one instance where it was actually needed. Are you saying that you think that too much is made of this issue?”

No, Nikki, it's not a woman's issue.  Women don't play girls sports.  It's a girls issue.  It could be a parents issue, if you wanted to argue that.  But girls aren't women.  An if you don't understand that basic fact, I don't know why you think you can lecture the world on 'biological' or what have you.  Simple truth, women do not play girls' sports.  They may play women's sports but not girls' sports.  Girls' sports is not and cannot be a woman's issue.

I guess when you're so eager to attack women's reproductive rights, you'll desperately try to pass anything else off as a woman's issue so you don't appear as hollow and callous as you really are.

Such as when she was yelling at the conspiracy nut onstage.  

GLAAD put out the following ahead of the debate:

The first GOP presidential primary debate will be held Wednesday night, August 23, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Frontrunner Donald Trump has said he’ll be skipping the debate, but eight other candidates are expected to participate, including North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former Vice President Mike Pence, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.

LGBTQ rights, freedoms, and lives are under attack across the country, in legislatures, and in the world, as are allies of the LGBTQ community, so these candidates have a responsibility to tell the American people how they will protect LGBTQ Americans. 

Some 7% of Americans are lesbian, gay, or bisexual, according to Gallup, including 20% of GenZ, the youngest population cohort studied and most out generation in history. Polling and turnout analysis from the 2020 election indicate that LGBTQ voters played a deciding role in the victory of Joe Biden for President and in key battleground states, including in Wisconsin, flipping the state Donald Trump had won in 2016. 

The results of the 2024 general election will have profound implications for LGBTQ people in Wisconsin and across the country. The Fox News primary debate will provide an important opportunity to discuss what’s at stake and the LGBTQ records of the candidates. Media covering the debate should note the candidates’ LGBTQ records.

Below are partial records on LGBTQ issues from the candidates appearing on tomorrow night’s debate stage. For more complete records, visit the GLAAD Accountability Project.

Ron DeSantis

Ron DeSantis

  • Signed the “don’t say gay” law which prohibits public schools from having “classroom discussion” or giving “classroom instruction” about sexual orientation or gender identity from kindergarten through third grade.
  • Requested and was granted a ban on classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in all grades, expanding the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
  • Signed into law HB 1521 that would make it difficult or impossible for transgender Floridians to access appropriate restrooms, domestic violence shelters, correctional institutions, or other spaces that match their gender
  • Signed into law bans on transgender healthcare for youth which also enacts obstacles for adults to access treatment
  • Signed into law bans trans students from being able to use their correct pronouns, an anti-trans sports ban
  • Signed a drag restriction law
  • Issued a survey to Florida’s 12 universities and 28 state and community colleges asking which of these institutions provide services to transgender students.
  • Falsely compared puberty blockers to “chemical castration”
  • Backed the Florida Department of Education’s advice to schools to disregard proposed federal guidelines that protect transgender youth
  • Directed state agencies to issue guidance to begin to strip Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming care, despite the fact that it is supported by every major medical association
  • Targeted small business owner hosting drag brunch
  • Condemned the Walt Disney Company following Disney chief executive Bob Chapek’s acknowledgement of error in staying silent on Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation and subsequent public opposition to the legislation which DeSantis signed into law.
  • Signed a restrictive transgender youth sports ban into law, banning transgender girls and women in public secondary schools and colleges in Florida from participating on girls’ and women’s sports teams.
  • Vetoed all funding for LGBTQ programs from the $101 billion state budget, including funds for mental health programming to support survivors of the Pulse Massacre, funs to house homeless LGBTQ children, and funds for Orlando’s LGBTQ Community Center
  • Signed an anti-discrimination order for state employees that excludes protections for LGBTQ people 

Vivek Ramaswamy

Nathan Howard/Reuters
  • Says Target “spit in the face of conservatives” in an anti-transgender attack on the retailer for selling swimwear designed to accommodate a variety of body types
  • Said he would sign into law a ban on health care for transgender minors if it reaches his desk in the White House. Every major medical association in the U.S. supports such care for trans youth
  • Expressed harmful and baseless indoctrination rhetoric calling acceptance of transgender people a “cult” and claiming that LGBTQ people are interfering with “our kids.” “In the name of rights, what they’ve actually done is created a new culture of oppression in the opposite direction, imposing that on kids,” he said. There is zero basis for his claims, and he offered no backup. 
  • Presidential campaign website features a section called TRUTHS including a list. #2 reads, “There are two genders.” 
  • Has signaled support for a 6-week abortion ban
  • Opposes the study of critical race theory

Mike Pence

Mike Pence

Extensive anti-LGBTQ record can be found at Mike Pence’s GLAAD Accountability Project record. Select statements and actions are below:

  • Said he would again prohibit transgender Americans from serving in the military, as was the policy when he was vice president under Donald Trump, and falsely cited “unit cohesion” as an area of military readiness affected by transgender personnel. Unit cohesion suffered because of the anti-trans ban.
  • Falsely characterized essential health care for transgender youth in CNN Town Hall as having “profound negative effects”; and refused to explain how his support of parents’ rights did not include supporting parents of transgender people and their private health care decisions.
  • Tweeted the false claim that the charity group Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is a “hateful group,” and criticized the L.A. Dodgers for including them in Pride Night.
  • Neither President Trump nor VP Pence recognized the third anniversary of the horrific shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub, which killed 49 LGBTQ people.
  • As governor of Indiana, Pence earned national notoriety for signing a so-called “religious freedom” bill that religious conservatives in his state (many of whom Pence invited to attend the private bill signing) championed for the purposes of allowing business owners the right to refuse service to LGBTQ customers. After outcry and boycotts, Pence was forced to sign an amended version that made it clear the law cannot be used to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Supported anti-LGBTQ Federal Marriage Amendment with claims that being gay is a “chosen lifestyle,” and a warning that “societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.”
  • Claimed repealing the military’s discriminatory “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy would turn the Armed Forces into a “backdrop for social experimentation.” Sought to end “don’t ask, don’t tell” and restore a full ban on openly gay soldiers.
  • Claimed federal hate crimes legislation was really designed “to advance a radical social agenda.”
  • Stated that LGBTQ-inclusive hate crime legislation would “silence” groups that promote so-called conversion therapy.
  • Behind closed doors advocated for the removal of healthcare benefits for transgender service members within the U.S. military.
  • In a closed-door and unannounced opportunity, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence posed for a photograph with notorious anti-LGBTQ activists who wish to promote so-called “religious exemptions” that would harm LGBTQ Americans across the nation.

Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley

  • Falsely claimed that transgender girls playing sports contribute to teenage suicide ideation. The claim is baseless. The Advocate reports, “It wasn’t the first time Haley made the unsupported claim that teen girls are being negatively affected by transgender teen girls’ participation in sports. She made the same assertion in New Hampshire” one month prior.
  • Misgendered and disparaged transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney
  • Said President Joe Biden’s support of transgender rights will destroy women’s sports
  • Opposed marriage equality as both South Carolina state representative and governor.
  • Rejected matching funds for a program offering HIV medication to lower-income patients.
  • Signed a voter ID law, which critics contend is racist and/or meant to suppress the Democratic vote.

Tim Scott

Tim Scott

  • The “Issues” section on his campaign site reads, “The radical Left wants to indoctrinate our children, not educate them. Tim Scott will fight to ensure that America’s kids are learning how to read and write, not about gender transition and sexual identity before it’s appropriate.”
  • Introduced a bill in the Senate that has many similarities to Florida’s “don’t say gay” law
  • Voted against the Respect for Marriage Act
  • Considers homosexuality a morally wrong choice, like adultery.
  • Supported the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on LGB people in the military
  • Supported The First Amendment Defense Act, which would’ve prevented “the federal government from taking adverse action against individuals or institutions based on their definition of marriage or beliefs about premarital sex.”
  • Voted against the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which would have granted basic job protections to LGBTQ people

Chris Christie

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via / CC BY-SA
  • Vice Chair of the Trump Transition Team
  • In 2017 “signed two bills instituting broad new protections for transgender New Jersey residents: one directing schools to let students use bathrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity or provide ‘reasonable alternative arrangements,’ and another prohibiting health insurers from discriminating against transgender residents.”
  • In 2015 vetoed “a bill that would have eased access to accurate birth certificates for transgender people.”
  • Abandoned his long fight against same-sex marriage in 2013, “concluding that signals from the court and the march of history were against him.”
  • Signed a bill barring licensed therapists from trying to turn gay teenagers straight, making New Jersey the second state to ban so-called “conversion therapy,” after California.
  • Vetoed legislation in 2012 that would have brought marriage equality to New Jersey.
  • Vetoed legislation that would have more easily allowed transgender citizens to change their birth markers, calling the idea “beyond the pale.” New Jersey legalized allowing changes to birth certificates without a court order, doctor letter or other medical evidence in 2019, after Christie left office.

Doug Burgum

Doug Burgum
Stephen Yang | Getty Images
  • Signed a bill into law that allows public school teachers and state government employees to ignore the pronouns their transgender students and colleagues use. 
  • Signed two transgender athlete bans into law, prohibiting transgender girls and women from joining female sports teams in K–12 and college. Two years ago Burgum vetoed a nearly identical bill that would have banned transgender girls from playing on girls’ teams in public schools.
  • Signed a bill into law that restricts transgender health care in the state, immediately making it a crime to give gender-affirming care to people younger than 18.
  • Signed a total of eight discriminatory bills into law in 2023 including those above; restrictions on drag performances; a “religious refusal” bill permitting discrimination; and bills adding additional rules for gender markers on birth certificates that discriminates against transgender people. 
  • Defied his party in a rebuke against an anti-LGBTQ resolution that was passed by hundreds of Republican legislators in the North Dakota legislature. Burgum said the resolution, which states that “LGBT practices are unhealthy and dangerous, sometimes endangering or shortening life and sometimes infecting society at large,” is homophobic and divisive.

Asa Hutchinson

Asa Hutchinson

  • Signed Senate Bill 354, an anti-transgender bill that bans transgender women and girls from participating in sports
  • Said the state legislature has gone a “step way too far,” when it voted to override his veto on a bill banning treatments for transgender minors
  • Signed into law legislation allowing doctors to refuse to treat LGBTQ patients based on religious or moral objections
  • Signed into law a revised religious freedom bill that could allow discrimination against LGBT people
  • Refused to veto and allowed to become law a discriminatory bill that prevents cities and counties from enacting civil rights protections of LGBTQ people

For more complete records, visit the GLAAD Accountability Project at

Let's move on to a different topic, we can revisit tomorrow if we have to.

Travis Ikeguchi killed Lauri.  Bevan Hurley (INDEPENDENT) notes:

In social media posts, Travis Ikeguchi claimed to be a Christian, posted anti-semitic statements, followed and boosted rightwing personalities Jordan Peterson and Matt Walsh, and expressed support for anti-vaxx presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr.

Travis Ikeguchi had a burning Pride flag pinned to the top of his account on X, and retweeted a post comparing Nazi children with swastika flags to schoolchildren with Pride flags.

Robert F. Kennedy Junior wants desperately to be the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and no humiliation is apparently too great.  Well, if you missed it, he lost a supporter last week.  27-year-old Travis Ikequchi will no longer be able to support Junior in the primary due to the fact that he is dead.

Ikequchi was a hateful troll who murdered Lauri Carleton.  He hated people who were LGBTQ+ and Lauri, who was straight, displayed Pride flags which was just too much for the tiny dicked loser so he killed her.  Then he was killed by the police.  He will not be present to vote for Junior.

That may be why Junior again went on FOX "NEWS" recently as he tries to gather more right-wing nut jobs to support him. 

Let's put a pin in Junior's media because we'll come back to that topic.

But for right now let's turn to Junior.  You know Junior has so little to stand on that he's constantly invoking his father and his uncle and noting they were both shot dead.   He wants your sympathy -- and you're sympathy vote -- but, please understand, he's not going to do anything to reduce access to guns to anyone.  Kind of a contradiction.  He also ridiculously insisted in July that he needed Secret Service protection.  From people squirting water guns at him?  He needs protection, he believes, from people with guns.  

Since Junior can't stop talking about people in his family who have been shot he needs to find time to talk about his followers after one of them shot dead a woman.

Lauri is gone.  She leaves behind a great ache in the hearts of those who knew and loved her such as her husband, their nine kids and her friends.  

What is it, Junior, that attracts those people to you?

You won't address LGBTQ+ issues.  You hang around with Moms For Bigotry that might be one reason.  You refuse to speak out against the repeated violence against LGBTQ+ people and against women -- yet, again, you can't get through an interview without invoking your father and your uncle.  Does violence only matter when it's a Kennedy?

Are there no victims of violence not named Kennedy?  

Or Shriver?

You want to be president some day -- a goal that seems very unlikely.  Yet you can't stand up and say, "What happened was wrong.  We need to stop persecuting the allies of LGBTQ+ people and we need to stop persecuting LGBTQ+ people."  That's too much for you.

You can support Roger Waters and praise him.  Until a week or so later when you don't praise him and you don't support him.  You can waffle on every issue in the world, in fact. You have actively courted the right-wing media.

And let's go back to you and the media.  You insist you'll never, ever run as a Republican because your wife wouldn't allow it.  You say that, as you damage Cheryl's own reputation and image daily.  And then you go on another right-wing media show.

THE VANGUARD thinks you'll run as a Republican.  I would say, "Never!" because who would want to be seen as that much of a liar and a hypocrite but, as I reflect back on your very brief campaign thus far, clearly being called out for lies and hypocrisy doesn't really bother you.

But who do you think you're reaching on FOX NEWS or any of the right wing YOUTUBE programs?  

Right now, you're supposedly running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  Do you really think you're reaching a significant number of Democrats by doing these programs?  If not, it would appear that either you are considering running as a Republican or your hungry ego can never be fed.

Either way, it doesn't look good for you.  

You've created a very repugnant image in the last three or so months and it has attracted crackpots and hate merchants.  And you know to keep those crazies that you can't take any real stands.  

One of your loons murdered a woman.  It's time for you to have a public dialogue and make clear to everyone -- including other crazies supporting you -- that you do not condone murder, that you do not condone hatred of the LGBTQ+ community.

Now I know that would be a big lift for you -- someone who's spent most of his life letting everyone else lift for him.  But, guess what, being president requires a lot of big lifts and if you can't even call out your supporter who murdered a woman, then how are we supposed to see you as strong enough -- let alone brave enough -- to be President of the United States?

Truth is, you're losing support and not all due to crazy supporters committing murder and then being killed by the police.  Your unfavorability ratings continue to increase -- in one recent poll, you've dropped 21% in favorability.  

Laura Ann Carleton, 66, a California business owner, was shot and killed last weekend after a gunman tore down an LBGTQ Pride flag hanging outside her store and shouted homophobic slurs. Since then, law enforcement has revealed that the gunman — who was killed in an encounter with police — also posted numerous anti-LGBTQ posts on social media accounts they believe are affiliated with him.

These statements included a post that described LGBTQ inclusion as a “cancer” and one that contained a photo of a burning Pride flag. Although police have not tied the killing to any specific posts featuring politicians, the attack also comes as Republicans have ramped up their anti-LGBTQ commentary and legislation, including measures like Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which prohibits the discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation in schools, and legislation in at least 22 states targeting gender-affirming care for trans youth.

In May, the Department of Homeland Security issued a report noting that the threat of violence toward LGBTQ people was intensifying as more policies were being directed at members of the community. Now, the California shooting has only highlighted concerns about violence toward members of the LBGTQ community in the wake of conservatives’ heightened rhetorical and legal attacks on queer people and trans people.

“Threats against the LGBTQ+ community and our allies have evolved from violent rhetoric on social media and from anti-equality political leaders to, now, real-world violence — and let’s be honest, no city, state or person is immune from this brutality,” Kelley Robinson, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, a group that advocates for LGBTQ rights, told Vox in a statement.

Carleton did not identify as LGBTQ herself, but she was a supporter, according to a local LGBTQ organization in her town of Lake Arrowhead, California. In addition to hanging a Pride flag, she included a section of rainbow-colored merchandise in her Cedar Glen store. Her children have called for police to investigate the shooting as a “hate crime,” though law enforcement has not yet indicated how it will proceed.

Seems like that could be a sketch in a book entitled PROFILES OF COURAGE.  So maybe Junior could find the courage to speak to the topic?  

The following sites updated:

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

The attack on history is an attack on reality and who we are

Noting the topic of history tonight -- the assault on it.  Alia Wong (USA TODAY) reports:

It wasn’t until his senior year of high school that Dylan Holley began to learn about all the facets of Black history. Not just snippets focusing on pain and suffering and victimization but full stories also featuring the contributions, triumphs and joys of, as he put it, “people who look like me.”
“In U.S. history (class), we’re taught to view ourselves a certain way,” said Holley, 17, a recent graduate of Maynard Holbrook Jackson High School in Atlanta.
Last fall, then a rising senior, Holley signed up to take the Advanced Placement African American Studies course, which was being tested out at Maynard Jackson High as part of a national pilot.

“I learned a different narrative when it comes to the history of my people,” he said. This narrative highlighted the African kingdoms that thrived before slavery and colonization, for example, as well as the activists who’ve challenged systemic racism through the modern Black Lives Matter movement. It highlighted the nuances of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech – and the stubborn persistence of the racism that speech 60 years ago described.

Opportunities such as these to learn a more inclusive version of the country’s history are, after decades of advocacy and activism, becoming more common in the nation’s public schools. And already, they’re being stamped out.

Republican political leaders in all but a few states (44 total) have since 2021 proposed legislation or policies restricting lessons about race and racism in the United States – what many inaccurately decry as a graduate-level framework called “critical race theory.” As of June, 18 states had such laws on the books, according to an Education Week analysis.

I'm really tired of the nonsense.  It's outrageous that way some extremists are trying to control this country and destroy all the progress that has been fought for.  It's an insult to our ancestors and all that they survived.  It's outrageous.  It's disgusting.  There's no excuse for it.  

Their bigotry should not be the law.  Their bigotry should be called out.  Instead, we find some on the 'left' like Max Blumenthal and his wretched wife embracing these hate merchants by sharing stages and events with them.  It's outrageous.  And don't forget that Medea Benjamin was more than willing to share the stage with those racists and homophobes.  CODEPINK's rank-and-file members called her out.  So she didn't get on stage.  But she still attended.  Medea is nothing but the ultimate Karen.

From the same article:

The late Toni Morrison, the first Black woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, had her books removed in districts ranging from Spotsylvania, Virginia, to Davis County, Utah.

In Chapin, South Carolina, an Advanced Placement (AP) Language teacher was forced to remove MacArthur Genius Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me,” a widely acclaimed memoir about race, identity and Black experience, from a unit meant to prepare her students for their upcoming exam. Several students wrote to the school board saying the lesson made them feel “ashamed to be Caucasian” and alluding to a South Carolina state law that bans the teaching of “divisive concepts.”

Sapphire’s “Push,” which inspired the Oscar-winning movie “Precious,” was banned a dozen times – most within the span of a few months – this past school year. Complaints typically pointed to its descriptions of sexual and emotional abuse.

Black and LGBTQ authors and books about race, racism and queer identities have been disproportionately affected in the book bans documented by PEN America, a free speech and literary organization, since fall 2021.

It's not about protecting children, it's about eradication.  Ava and C.I. are exactly right:

Now before we go further we have to cover something else. It's about the words above. 

Gay is not sexualization.  You can argue against sex education -- which is education on how humans have sex -- but gay is not sex education.  People are gay.  They've been gay for longer than "two weeks."  And having a gay character in a DISNEY film is not sexualization.  Nor was it sexualization to have straight couples in DISNEY films since the start of DISNEY films.

Are we too damn stupid to grasp that?

This is not about protect the kids from sexualization.  That's the garbage crackpot whores like Naomi Wolf serve up.  

They want, as these haters infamously made clear earlier this year, to "eradicate" those they don't like.  They were just talking about transgender with that public announcement.  But now, in Florida, they've made it clear that it goes far beyond LGBTQ+ people and they now wish to "eradicate" all Democrats.

This isn't about education and it's not about sex.

They're not concerned that second graders are going to learn about blow jobs.

They are concerned -- flat out afraid -- that children might realize there's a whole world out there and it includes all kinds of people.  

It's outrageous that straight people have let them get this far with it.  (That includes us.  We didn't start noticing what was going on until this extreme right-wing playbook was utilized at the end of September to try to destroy the film BROS.)  


No one's saying Jane, a straight teacher in Florida, can't have a photo on her desk of her male husband.  But if Terry, a gay teacher in Florida, has a photo on his desk of his male husband, suddenly, this is teaching sex to children.

That's not sex.

Now we get it, Ronald is a lazy lay -- he's got that Small Dick Energy.  And he's confused and unclear on what sex is.  

But those of who are adults know damn well that a photo of your significant other on a desk in your classroom is in no way a lesson in how people copulate. 

And if you're not Black or LGBTQ+ and thinks this doesn't effect you, give it a month or two because the hate merchants are coming for everyone.

By the way, nothing but love and prayer to the family of Lauri .  Ann and C.I. have both been covering this and doing a great job but I want to speak up and say that Lauri sounds amazing and it is so sad that she was murdered due to these hate merchants.  If you don't know, some Matt Walsh-devotee shot Lauri dead because Lauri put up Pride flags.  In the world of hate these evil people have created, this was acceptable.  Lauri deserved better.  The world deserves better.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Wednesday, August 23, 2023.  Turkey meets with Iraq and Turkey has demands (yes, Turkey), no capture in Baghdad's nearly year-old heist of the century, hate merchants in Iraq go after LGBTQ+ people while in the US we are still reeling from the death of Lauri Carleton who was murdered thanks to the climate the hate merchants here created.

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan on Tuesday denounced a separatist Kurdish group that operates in Iraq as an enemy of both countries and urged the Iraqi government to ban it as a terrorist organisation, as Ankara has done.

Mr Fidan called on Iraq to designate the Kurdistan Worker's Party, or PKK, as a terrorist organisation during his first visit to Baghdad since taking office.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to visit the country shortly, after months of escalating hostility between Turkey and Turkish-backed groups on one side, and Kurdish fighters in Iraq and Syria on the other.

 AFP notes, "The issue of water and dams on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, both of which have their sources in Turkey before entering Iraq, is a particularly sensitive topic for the two countries."  However, the big issue will be the PKK and Turkey's actions with regards to it.  The water issue?  That would require reflection and an admission of guilt and the Turkish government never takes accountability for anything.  The Armenian genocide at the start of the last century?  The Turkish government still lies about it.  Recep visits the US and his thugs assault US citizens?  He just ignores it -- and so did the White House at the time.  

No Turkey doesn't want the water flowing so it's not going to happen.  The Turkish government doesn't give, it just takes.

So it'll stomp its feet and make demands and I guess we'll find if Iraq has a real prime minister or just another poser.  

Iraqi officials, especially those affiliated with the Iran-backed Shiite Coordination Framework, will likely raise their own security concerns.

  • Parties close to the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) have objected to the presence of Turkish troops on Iraqi soil, in particular at a base in Nineveh Governorate.

  • Sentiment against the Turkish military presence became particularly vocal after Turkey killed nine Arab tourists in an artillery barrage at a resort in July 2022.

And they point out:

There were at least five major airstrikes in Iraqi Kurdistan between Aug. 6 and Aug. 11. At least seven people were reportedly killed, including five civilians. Turkey has not confirmed its involvement. However, it has notably been targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the area.

  • On Aug. 6, a civilian was reportedly killed and another was wounded in an airstrike in Duhok Governorate’s Chamanke district. Earlier in the day, a separate airstrike killed one person near Aghjalar in Sulaymaniyah Governorate’s Chamchamal district.

  • On Aug. 9, another civilian was reported to have been killed and a second injured in an airstrike near Dukan. The attack took place on a major road between Sulaymaniyah and Erbil used by many personal and commercial vehicles.

  • The same day, an alleged PKK fighter was killed in an airstrike in Sulaymaniyah Governorate’s Mawat district.

Two days later, on Aug. 11, an airstrike reportedly killed three civilians. The victims were traveling on the busy Penjwen-Sulaymaniyah road. The route links Iraqi Kurdistan’s major cities with a border crossing with Iran.

  • The Kurdistan Counterterrorism Service, affiliated with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), was quick to claim that PKK militants were killed in the attack. However, this assertion was later dismissed by local reports.

  • Telecommunications company Asiacell on Aug. 11 confirmed that one of those killed was a local employee. The man had apparently been traveling with his neighbor and her daughter to the border crossing to meet another daughter who is studying in Iran.

Who's the terrorist here because it doesn't appear that the Turkish government meets with the clean hands doctrine itself.  ALJAZEERA notes, "Baghdad has regularly complained that Turkish air attacks in northern Iraq constitute a violation of its sovereignty, despite Ankara’s claims that it is trying to face off a force that has “occupied” parts of Iraq."

Meanwhile, corruption continues to run rampant in Iraq and the government remains humiliated by the 'heist of the century' that was revealed last fall.  In an update on that theft, Joe Fatallah (SOCIALIST PARTY) writes:

On 5 August, the government of Iraq called for the extradition from the UK and US of four former officials accused of embezzling over $2.5 billion of public money between September 2021 and August 2022, in one of the worst cases of corruption in the history of the country.

Five companies cashed 247 different cheques written by state employees, and the funds were then withdrawn from the company accounts. Most of the business owners concerned have also fled Iraq. Interpol red notices have already been issued for three of the suspects. These are Raed Jouhi, cabinet director for former prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Ahmed Najati, al-Kadhimi’s personal secretary, and Ali Allawi, who held the offices of finance minister and deputy prime minister. Jouhi and Najati hold American citizenship, while Allawi is a dual British national. The final suspect Mushrik Abbas, al-Kadhimi’s media advisor, is believed to be in the United Arab Emirates.

Corruption is endemic at the top of Iraqi society. Former president Barham Salih claimed in 2021 that $150 billion of money from the oil industry had been illegally exported from the country since the US-led invasion in 2003. Transparency International’s corruption perception index scored Iraq 157th out of 180th countries ranked, with one being the least corrupt.

A law amendment in Iraq has proposed capital punishment for homosexual relationships. Campaigners have called it a “dangerous” escalation in the country where people already face frequent attacks and discrimination. However, life for queer Iraqis hasn’t always been this way. As with so many stains on worldwide human rights, the worsening homophobia and transphobia in Iraq can be traced back to the British empire.

Iraq: debating the death penalty for LGBTQ+ people

The amendment to a 1988 anti-prostitution law passed a first reading in parliament last week. It would enable courts to issue “the death penalty or life imprisonment” sentences for “homosexual relations”. This is according to a document seen by Agence France-Press (AFP). The amendment would also set a minimum seven-year prison term for “promoting homosexuality”.

Currently, no existing laws explicitly punish homosexual relations. However, the state has prosecuted LGBTQ+ people for sodomy, or under vague morality and anti-prostitution clauses in Iraq’s penal code. This also comes at a time when the state and the media are also cracking-down on open discussion about LGBTQ+ issues.

The national media and communications commission is considering banning Iraq-based publications from using the term “homosexuality”. Instead, it would advise media outlets to use the derogatory term “sexual deviance”. It also wants to ban the term “gender”.

The Iraqi government should immediately withdraw a proposed law currently before parliament that would impose the death penalty for same-sex conduct and imprisonment for transgender expression, Human Rights Watch said today. If adopted, the bill would violate fundamental human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression, association, privacy, equality, and nondiscrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people (LGBT) in Iraq.

On August 15, 2023, Raad Al-Maliki, an independent member of parliament, introduced a bill that would amend the “Law on Combatting Prostitution,” No. 8 of 1988, to explicitly make same-sex relations and transgender expression a criminal offense. If passed, the bill would punish same-sex relations with the death penalty or life in prison, punish “promoting homosexuality” with a minimum seven years in prison and a fine, and criminalize “imitating women” with up to a three-year sentence. In introducing the bill, Al-Maliki said its purpose was to “preserve the entity of the Iraqi society from deviation and calls for ‘paraphilia’ [abnormal sexual impulses] that have invaded the world.”

“Iraq’s proposed anti-LGBT law would threaten the lives of Iraqis already facing a hostile environment for LGBT people,” said Rasha Younes, senior LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Iraqi lawmakers are sending an appalling message to LGBT people that their speech is criminal and their lives are expendable.”

Though consensual same-sex conduct is not explicitly criminalized in Iraq, the authorities have used vague “morality” laws to prosecute LGBT people. The introduction of the anti-LGBT bill follows months of hostile rhetoric against sexual and gender minorities by Iraqi officials, as well as government crackdowns on human rights groups.

The bill reviewed by Human Rights Watch equates same-sex relations with “sexual perversion,” which it defines as “repeated sexual relations between members of the same sex … if occurring more than three times.” The law also provides for seven years in prison and a fine between 10 million Iraqi dinars (US$7,700) and 15 million dinars ($11,500) for “promoting homosexuality,” which is undefined.

The bill specifically targets transgender women, with a prison term between one and three years or with a fine between 5 million dinars ($3,800) and 10 million dinars ($7,700) for anyone who “imitates women.” The law defines “imitating women” as “wearing makeup and women’s clothing” or “appearing as women” in public spaces.

The bill prohibits hormone replacement therapy and what it calls “sex change” based on personal desire, as well as any attempt to change one’s gender identity, punishable by prison terms between one and three years. The same penalty applies to any surgeon or other doctor who performs gender-affirming surgery. The law makes an intersex exception for cases that require a surgical intervention to confirm biological sex, based on the binary categories of male and female.

Violence and discrimination against LGBT people is already rampant in Iraq. The targeting of LGBT people online and lethal violence against LGBT people by armed groups in Iraq has routinely been met with impunity, Human Rights Watch said.

On August 8, the Iraqi Communications and Media Commission issued a directive ordering all media outlets to replace the term “homosexuality” with “sexual deviance” in their published and broadcast language and banning use of the term “gender.”

On May 31, a court in the Kurdistan region of Iraq ordered the closure of Rasan Organization, a human rights organization in the Kurdistan Region, over “its activities in the field of homosexuality.”

In September 2022, members of the Kurdistan regional parliament introduced the “Bill on the Prohibition of Promoting Homosexuality,” which would punish any individual or group that advocates for the rights of LGBT people.

The Iraqi government is responsible for protecting the rights of all Iraqis, Human Rights Watch said. The proposed law contravenes Iraq’s Constitution, which protects the rights to nondiscrimination (article 14) and privacy (article 17), as well as its obligations under international human rights law. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Iraq ratified in 1971, affirms the rights to life, liberty, privacy, free expression, and security of the person. Similarly, the Arab Charter on Human Rights, of which Iraq is a member, affirms these rights.

Unequal protection against violence and unequal access to justice are prohibited under international law. The ICCPR, in its articles 2 and 26, guarantees fundamental human rights and equal protection of the law without discrimination. The United Nations Human Rights Committee, the international expert body that provides authoritative interpretations of the covenant, has made clear that sexual orientation is a status protected against discrimination under these provisions.

“The Iraqi government has failed to tackle discriminatory practices that underpin violence against LGBT people,” Younes said. “Instead it has promoted anti-LGBT ‘morality’-based legislation that fuels violence and discrimination against already marginalized sexual and gender minorities. The Iraqi government should immediately abandon the proposed anti-LGBT law and end the cycle of violence and impunity against LGBT people.”

There are hate merchants all over the world.  In the US, they're responsible for the murder of Lauri Carleton.

Her daughter Ari remembers her mother in the video below.

Chris Hayes covers the story in the video below.


This is a time in which a disturbingly violent segment of society feels entitled to lash out against those who promote the self-evident truths upon which this nation was founded. Carleton, like many others before her, appears to have died for expressing her conviction that sexual orientation and gender non-conformity have no role in determining who does or does not belong.

So fly the flag that Carleton flew, in her memory and honor, and in support for the right to express oneself and be oneself. Fly it in defiance of killers and terrorists who undermine personal freedom and expression. Fly it in support of our unalienable rights. Fly it in support of the LGBTQ+ community and its righteous defense against bigotry. Fly it for pride.

The following sites updated: