You couldn't be here if stars hadn't exploded.
To the question, “Why me?” the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply, “Why not?”
Atheist: Natural Morals, Real Meaning, Credible Truth

07 July, 2018

Monstrous

The Trump adminstration separated children from their parents at the border.
They did this with no real means to reunite them.
They announced that DNA testing will be used to try to search for parents and connect them with their children.
I suppose this is a step in the right direction.

But separating kids from their parents without a plan or means to rejoin them?
This would be less monstrous if

  • They had put RFID chips under the kids scalp.
  • They had clipped livestock ID tags to the kids ears.
  • They had tattooed a number on the inside of the kids forearms.
But no.  They didn't bother to keep track.
They are just brown children of brown people and not worth the effort to track.

The people who took care of the kids after separation seem to have some level of morals.  Most of them, not all.

The demonizing of "others" like immigrants and Muslims is a tool of fascism.  This whole immigration "debate" is nothing but fascist theater.  Immigration isn't a problem in the US.  We need the people, we assimilate immigrants better than any nation in the world. The fears of crime and job loss to immigrants is not based on evidence. 

But the fascists need a target because they've got nothing else.

Watsonville Fire In The Sky open house and fireworks

We had a WEACT and EAA119 Young Eagles booth at the open house this year.  The Red Cross guys next to us gave me some tips on how to take pictures of fireworks.  Came out ok!


Watsonville Fireworks

02 May, 2018

Remembering Dad

Today would be Dad's (William Roger Hail) 85th birthday.  Since his passing away in December I've been trying to compose my thoughts. I knew the day was going to come but I wasn’t ready for it.
Dad had been in decline for years due to Parkinson's disease. I don't think it affected his personality any but it hit him physically and with hallucinations. He was frustrated as a person who had always been very active and busy; to see things that he knew (or was told) couldn't be there; to be unable to move or even read the way he wanted.  That is a hard way to fight the last years of your life. I suspect there is more I could have done to help him, I think I let him down in that battle.

There are a lot stories to tell, things he did, places he visited and worked.  There are a lot of things I don’t know.  That is a hard part about losing someone, you think of things you didn’t know and now can’t ask. It is probably always that way unless you are a real tight family where there are few secrets with an open and honest relationship.  We weren't that in some ways.  Dad worked hard for us, he was out in the field a lot doing work he seemed to love.  I don't fault him for it, it was what was expected of his gender and generation but I grew used to some distance from him.  It also didn't help that I didn't share his love for hunting and fishing, I tried but wasn't into it.  The same for sports, Dad played baseball, football and basketball in high school and college. We went to games and watched on TV but for me it wasn't all that interesting.  Peter did a lot better in those departments although I think I ended up being a better shot.

Were we did click was military history.  He studied it like nobody else I know and because it was interesting to me, I picked up a lot of it. I could never study it like he would, reading all 15 volumes of Morison's History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, more than once for example.  He could answer any question I had about WW-I or WW-II or of many other conflicts in history.  He and I were never in the military but we had a sense for how conflict starts, how wars progress, mistakes that end up killing innocents, and the evil of those trying to remain in power.  I think he studied military conflict to understand who we are as people, not to be impressed by things being blown up.  He studied the planning, the execution, the consequences of action, and the leaders who were successful in honorable ways and and then showing them to me as examples.  I learned a lot from him, he definitely had an impact on who I, Peter, and Louise became.

His work was pulling out of rocks and mountains the secrets they had about water and where it would go and do.  From ranches in Lassen County to flooded Bengali plains to African deserts to a Caribbean island to Middle East deserts to Peruvian mountains to the US Rockies, he found his working knowledge of water and rocks to be a fulfilling and worthwhile career.  I think, I never asked that question, but I am pretty sure it was for him. I learned what it was to be an engineer by watching him work and on occasion going out to the fields with him.  He showed me responsibility, I could see his work led to important, expensive decisions that would be made from his data and conclusions.  I could see being precise and concise was important in communicating his results. And I could see, which is true in engineering, that many things don't have to be precise, that some things are not significant, they can be rounded off.  Not sweating the insignificant details is part of my engineering career. Not always a good thing in personal relationships I eventually learned.

And then there was the fishing. Everywhere, how was the fishing?  From the smallest creeks of Lassen County, to the Sacramento River, to any river running to the sea in Northern California, to Alaskan rivers, to Russian rivers on the Kamchatka peninsula, to rivers everywhere in the US Rockies, to probably every fishable river in New Zealand.

So many stories with Dad.
Fishing around Snag Lake.
Fishing at Bear Lake.
The cabin on Clear Lake.
Hunting Chukar at Pete's Valley.
Showing me fossil sea shells in a mountain range.
Forgetting the trigger lock key for my shotgun, having him look at me, roll his eyes and leave me at the truck to figure it out.  (I used the hacksaw blade on his pocket knife to cut the lock casing and then joined him on the goose hunt.)
Telling me not to shoot yet, I shoot anyway, the goose shakes it off and takes off again.
Snorkeling in the Caribbean looking for lobster and coming eye to eye with barracuda in the murky water.
Logging data from a water well test in the middle of a sugar field.
Listening to him tell ranchers that water witches are hooey.
Listening to him tell uncles Ray and Leo where to try to find water on their land and what was happening to the water table in the Susan River valley.
His smoking cigars and drinking scotch with grandpa Evan.
Talking to grandpa Bill about rocks and fishing.
Trying to teach me poker and cribbage.
My taking the head off the Ford Falcon engine and putting it back on, his amazement it ran again.
His telling me to turn that crap down when he caught me playing Black Sabbath too loud. (I thought the speakers were off, I had headphones on.)  Dad was a classical guy.
Taking him for an airplane ride for the first time in the Bonanza and the door popping open half way through the flight. The one door was right next to him.  Not a problem.
Snake charmers in our yard in Dacca.
He and I searching for the guys who tried to kidnap me in Dacca.
Taking me to the hospital after Peter ran me over with his bicycle.  "Hey Dad, I think I did something to my elbow."
Regrets for not flying to Fort Collins to attend his retirement party.
Going to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
All of us flying to Tokyo in 1966 on a Pan Am 707.
All of us climbing around the Acropolis in Athens.
The Imperial War Museum in London.
Riding a train up into the Bengali tea plantations.
Golfing around a Hindu temple.
Hanging around the pool at the club.
Watching a movie on 16mm film at the Embassy.
Watching a very unexpectedly raunchy cowboy movie.
Watching John Wayne movies.  He loved John Wayne.
Watching the original Star Trek original broadcasts.
Only getting to see so many cartoons Saturday morning until the basketball or football started.
Going to a Giants game with Willie Mays.
Having Raiders season tickets.
Watching Peter play football.
Vegetable gardening with the mali in Dacca.
Vegetable gardening in San Jose.
Vegetable gardening in Fort Collins.
The story of catching a goose by its leg.
The story of him shooting grandpa Bill in the foot.
Showing me how to clean fish.
Sliding off the road in uncle Glenn's station wagon one icy snowy night out of Susanville.
Throwing up on the road between Chico and Susanville.
Helping Jill birth her puppies.
Telling me I had to take my "tree house" out of the almond tree, which was probably crazy dangerous.
Showing me how to write the number four properly, as an engineer.
Letting me do what I wanted in college, as long as I was an engineer.
Backpacking in the Sierra Nevada.
Backpacking in the Cascades and he has a heart attack, we found out when we got back after three days.
Backpacking in the Rockies and denying we made those nice pine bough beds the nice ranger people found behind us.

I'm glad Dad is no longer suffering, I hope he was ready.  He lives on in my memories.  I am sure in many others.



20 April, 2018

Slander becomes the tool of the loser?




"When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser" -Socrates
Let’s disassemble this.
1. There is no evidence of this being a quote of Socrates. It has been attributed to him in various social media since 2008 but no scholarly source has it as a quote. But then experts.

2. Since it isn’t a quote, I’ll call it a phrase and we can parse it out.
“When the debate is lost” – What debate is that? Our Presidential election was a debate?  In the context of this posting that seems to be it.  So how was the debate lost? Trump didn’t have a landslide win despite what people tell him and he believes. 46th out of 56 elections, since Kennedy in 1960 his win is better than only Carter’s and the two GW Bush elections and only 48% of the vote.  An election isn’t a debate in any case. It is a battle between competing ideologies and policies. The “winner” gets to try to implement their ideologies, that doesn’t mean in any way they are correct or that the “losers” are wrong.  That is a false dichotomy logical fallacy. But then logic.

3. “slander becomes the tool of the loser.”  slan . der  noun   the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person's reputation.  So who’s reputation are false, damaging statements being made against? Trump’s? Maybe his policies or those of the GOP? First there is an assumption here that false statements are being made.  What would those be? That Trump’s campaign personnel talked with Russians before the election and lied about it? That Trump has made many trips to Russia over the last few years with no deals made and lied about it? That he owes millions to Germany’s Duetche Bank which has been fined 100’s of millions for illegal laundering of Russian criminal money. That Trump is making money personally from his being President, in direct violation of the Constitution? There are so many. Are any of them false? There are a lot of investigations ongoing that seem to be finding evidence. Any of this slander? They are valid questions, more valid than questioning Obama’s US citizenship for which “Slander! Slander!” was not cried. To say Trump is a child molester could be slander because there is… oops, there is evidence of that.  To say Trump was born in Peru of Peruvian parents would be slander.  But then Kenya.

4. The insidious part of this phrase is that it implies that the winner is right, the loser is wrong, and that the loser is lying. Not just lying, committing slander in a legal sense. To be shut up in a legal sense. This is fundamentally un-Constitutional and un-American, directly violates the First Amendment. If acted upon by the government, fascist. The first amendment establishes free speech against the government. Trump is the government now. He is in the big boy game now, not his New York real estate wheeling and dealing bullshit life. Slander is off the table for him and his supporters now. But then World War II.

5. But then emails!

21 July, 2017

Initiative

It appeared the light at the construction site between 236 and 35 was stuck this morning.  I came up on it and there were five or six cars there in front of me, I had let most if not all of them by me at the 9/236 intersection. Ok, it should change soon. We waited. Cars behind me beyond the curve.  We waited.  A car came through from the other direction.  We waited. Another truck came through.  This is wrong. The road workers were out of sight. I thought I could pull off to the right and find one to kick the lights. But someone honked behind me. Shit. I’ll just go and flag off any oncoming cars until this gathering passed through.  I pulled left, no one coming (I could see, I was in my Jeep and tall enough) and I passed the six in front of me. 
As soon as I passed the second car in line the light turned green!
Woo hoo!  I’m in front of an angry crowd on Hwy9 in my slow and poorly handling Jeep!
I suspect I kicked the motion sensor at our end into wakefulness.
Lesson: If it seem you aren’t getting through… maybe move forward a little to wake up the sensor.  The people up front seemed content to wait forever.

30 January, 2017

Immigration Ban

Fought with conservatives about Trump’s Holocaust Remembrance Day immigration ban.  Why is it that conservatives don’t get that ethnic, religious, sexual discrimination is unconstitutional? What is so incomprehensible about it?

How is it a good idea to ban immigration from these countries at all anyway?  What threat does refugees from here pose? No terrorist attack in this country has been committed by a refugee from these countries. Instead our troops are at higher risk because we are reneging on hope and promises for those in the region that they can escape in return for the help they gave us.  People are getting screwed, it could be people die.  So the question is, how many more terrorists did Trump create with this ban?  Nothing new here.  Our name is further trashed internationally.  Russia laughs at us.  Who knows what China is thinking?

What a fuck up Trump is.

One web site I read thinks this is all testing of the waters for a coup d'├ętat in US government, where would resistance come from, give an idea who would support such a thing.  I think that’s farfetched but the testing goes on.  Is the administration going to back down in the face of court orders?  Trump fucking better. What is disturbing is that the Department of Homeland Security seems to be following unconstitutional orders without question.

26 January, 2017

Fascism Short Description

Fascism doesn't play by the rules. It subverts them to gain power and then eliminates them completely. There's no freedom of speech under fascism, there's no democratic process, no freedom of press, no politely disagreeing about political views...
Fascism abuses our cherished and most fundamental values and turns them into fatal flaws. If you play by the rules against fascism, you die by the rules.
Fascism is also inherently violent.

Actions to take against Trump

Join (Organization who will go to court or help elect who you want.)

-          Planned Parenthood - https://www.plannedparenthood.org/

-          American Civil Liberties Union https://www.aclu.org/

-          Union of Concerned Scientists http://www.ucsusa.org/

-          Southern Poverty Law Center (good civil rights org but they pissed me off)

-          Emily’s List http://www.emilyslist.org/

-          Freedom From Religion Foundation  https://ffrf.org/

 

Subscribe (A free press supported by readers is needed to keep tabs on Trump.)

-          Washington Post - https://www.washingtonpost.com/

-          The Guardian - https://www.theguardian.com/us-news

-          Slate - http://www.slate.com/

 

Call (Tell your congress person what you think, what you want.)

-          Senator Feinstein and Harris - https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?State=CA

-          House Representative - http://www.house.gov/representatives/#state_ca

-          (Calling is easy… State one sentence of what you want, they’ll ask you your zip code and maybe name.)

-          (“Hi, I’d like to register my opposition to Senator Sessions being confirmed as Attorney General.” They ask your name and zip. Done)

 

There’s more…

Follow activists on Twitter and Facebook

Comment on Facebook and Twitter, don’t be silent.

Comment on news articles. You’ll get criticized and called names but f—k them.

March. Trumpie didn’t like the bigger crowd after his big day.

There is a March for Science coming up soon.

There will be immigration marches.

 

25 January, 2017

Thoughts on 25 January 2017

President Tr…. erp…  gulp… <gag> … Tru… <cough> <gag> <cough>

I can’t say it. The baby handed manbaby took the oath of office last Friday and the real horror show has begun.  EPA scientists silenced. A wall has been ordered. Extreme vetting discussed. Funding for any organization that is connected or mentions abortion is banned. The killing of women has begun. The martial speech was horrifying. Somehow crime will now end. ISIS will now somehow be destroyed.

And all the news about Putin’s influence has disappeared for the moment. The DNC has no leadership. 

The fascism of this administration is hardly hidden anymore.

The whining about how bigly his inauguration crowd was compared to 2009 Obama’s. The man is a child. The lying continues, the sheep are lapping it up.

The Supreme Court pick is coming out next week. I can’t imagine what this horror is going to bring. It may be good that I watch zombie shows and movies, I’m somewhat prepared for dystopia.

 

The day after the inauguration Liz and I marched with 30,000 other people in San Jose. A couple of million around the world. That was good. The things to do in response to this cluster fuck are: Join ACLU, UCS, Planned Parenthood, Emily’s List.  Subscribe to good journalism because we need that more than ever now; Slate, NYTimes, Washington Post, The Guardian, NPR.

 

The rage at this isn’t going away. Rage at the DNC and Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, Sanders supporters, Sanders, Clintons, Lynch, Comey, Assuange/Putin/Wikileaks.  All still there. I can’t believe this happened.