Massive wind turbines have blades carefully shaped to cause them to spin as the Earth’s winds stream across them. This rotational motion turns an AC generator which sends, on average, 1.67 megawatts to your house. If the blades ice up in freezing temperatures, they stop working. They slow to a stop.
Off-shore wind turbines and those operating in northern climates are fitted with heating elements that melt off the ice before it can retard performance. Such modifications are costly but necessary.
Texas, currently suffering from massive electric power outages, gets about 7% of its power from wind turbines. The power grid in Texas is operated by Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). ERCOT foolishly decided to install wind turbines without the heating elements, because “Hey, it’ll never get that cold down here!”
Well, Karma’s a bitch and this week, it came to Texas, the state most responsible for America’s contribution to global warming. Texas’s unchecked production and distribution of petroleum and natural gas has created the extreme weather events we are experiencing, and this week it came to bite them in their collective asses.
Now, to be fair to the wind energy business, 93% of Texas’s electric power comes from natural gas fired turbines. Texas is unique in that they don’t store their natural gas. They pump it directly from the gas field to the power plants. Just like the wind turbines, Texas’s natural gas pumping equipment wasn’t designed to operate in extreme freezing temperatures. These natural gas wells froze up, and the power plants went offline. This week, Texans had to endure rolling blackouts, deep freezing cities and towns for days at a time.
So, why would the government of Texas be so foolish, be so unprepared for a cold weather emergency as this? The answer is simple: Republicans.
Republicans have been in control of Texas politics for many decades. The Republican Party caters only to the rich – the billionaire class. Their mantra is low taxes, no regulation, and minimal spending on infrastructure, etc. The billionaires who have bought off the Republican Party operate on this singular financial principle: “What have you done for me this quarter.“
That short-sighted view has damaged the United States. The Republican leaders play only the short game, never looking to future needs (what have you done for me this quarter?). That kind of leadership would be prone to buying the wind turbines without the blade heaters, because it enhances the short-term profits, keeps taxes low.
The Republican promise of lower taxes and no regulations sounds seductive. But, when you vote for that, just be prepared to endure more power blackouts. These extreme weather events are going to get worse.
43 Republicans voted not guilty. The evidence against Trump was overwhelming. The mob, attacking the Capitol on January 6th and egged on by Trump, intended to kill any Senators and Congress Members attempting to do their duty and count the Electoral College votes.
So, why would anybody give a pass to the man who encouraged a violent mob to attack them?
The answer is simple: abject greed. The Senators love their vaunted position, the staff that comes with it, the PAC money, and the bribes from the rich to keep them in their seats.
Both of my Florida Senators voted “Not Guilty.” Senator Rick Scott, the giga-criminal who stole nearly a billion dollars from the Government in a Medicare Fraud scheme, is now one of the leaders of the Republican Sedition Caucus. Senator Marco Rubio has the spine of a jellyfish and the taint of hypocrisy that will never wash away.
These 43 Republicans are saying that your vote doesn’t count. If they don’t like the election result, they claim the right to simply overturn the election, by violence if necessary.
If you you voted for these 43 Republicans, or intend to vote for them in the future, you share in their treason.
Disgraced former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial begins today. I’m a realist; he’s going to be acquitted again in the Senate. I’m not OK with this, but I won’t be disappointed.
The situation is kind of like my beloved Buffalo Bills. I knew that the thuggish Kansas City Chiefs would eventually prevail and win the game two weeks ago. But I also realized that the Chiefs would get their comeuppance someday. Karma’s a bitch. It came Sunday night at the hands of football’s most skilled and successful quarterback, Tom Brady, and an inspired team who chased the Kansas City quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, all over the field.
Trump is guilty of treason (trying to overthrow the government). The evidence is overwhelming. He incited a riot. He urged a mob to attack the capitol and stop the usually perfunctory tabulation of the Electoral College votes. Below is an image of them swarming the Capitol building, looking to hang Vice President Pence, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and anybody else that was chastised daily by Fox News.
As former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said on January 10th:
“I think if inciting to insurrection isn’t [an impeachable offense], I don’t really know what it is.”
So I expect the Republicans (most of them traitors) to say. “Why are we bothering with this? Trump is out-of-office,” or resort to a laughable technicality like “He didn’t exactly say ‘Go Kill Mike Pence.'”
No, this impeachment trial is for the history books. Trump is the worst President ever elected in the United States, hands down. He will be the only President impeached twice. Like Lady Macbeth’s bloodstained hand, two impeachments are a stain that cannot be erased. The Republican Senators who vote to acquit will be seen by historians as the unprincipled and traitorous fools who hastened the end of the Republican Party.
And to all you people who bought MAGA hats, attended Trump rallies, and then voted for this liar, you’re now circling the drain as history flushes Trumpism down the toilet.
Thomas B. Edsall, a political journalism professor at Columbia University, wrote this analysis of the January 6th Trump riot.
“There is no question that out-and-out racism and a longing to return to the days of white supremacy were high on the list of motivations of the pro-Trump mob that ransacked the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Thomas B. Edsall, New York Times, January 13, 2021
So the MAGA insurrectionists wanted to return us to the days of Ozzie and Harriet, a lily-white utopia where people of color are relegated to a permanent status of second-class citizenship? Good luck with that. For like the Confederacy, this is a lost cause. In fact, it is already game-over.
When I went to college (Ohio University) in the early 1960s, the Engineering Department required all students to take two years of Liberal Arts courses to broaden our perspective, so to speak. I signed up for history, philosophy, speech, and social studies, among others. I still remember one lecture in a Sociology class; the professor’s analysis stayed with me all these years.
He explained that the media drives change. The example he used was cigarette smoking for women. Initially frowned on by polite society, the movies turned out to be the prime mover for glorifying women smoking. Specifically, he mentioned Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers – the song-and-dance darlings of 1930s movies. In one of those movies, Fred lit up two cigarettes and handed one to Ginger. It wasn’t long before the cigarette brand, Camel Cigarettes, included him in print advertising.
In hindsight, cigarette smoking turned out to be a very bad idea. It killed both of my parents and to some extent my brother, Tim. I have never smoked, but grew up in a house that was filled with smoke.
Fast-forward to today. Is the mass media advocating a return to white supremacy?
The answer is a resounding NO. Look at the movies on Netflix and other streamers. Pay attention to advertising on regular television and streaming channels. All you see today is mixed-race couples and families.
Once again, the movies and media are driving public opinion, just like my professor suggested in 1964. Is the media doing this because it is the right and just thing to do, or is there a profit angle involved? The answer is probably a little bit of both.
The younger demographic is the one doing all the buying in today’s society, not the over-fifty crowd that ransacked the capitol. The movie, streamer, and advertising business all recognize where the country is heading (a multi-racial society), and that’s where the money is.
Pretty stark choice, isn’t it? Do you want the Trump reality show (white supremacy)?
Or do you want the Netflix show “How to Get Away with Murder,” with a racially diverse cast.
My Sociology Professor was right. The media makes it pretty clear that the nation is rejecting white supremacy, gravitating inexorably to a racially diverse society. The MAGA crowd can’t stop it. They just don’t know it yet.
Wednesday, we swear-in the first woman-of-color Vice President. Twelve years ago, we swore-in the first mixed-race President. I’m still hopeful about this country.
Wednesday, January 6th, 2020 was a date that will live in infamy.
A mob of Trump supporters, stoked into a volcanic rage by Donald Trump, his family, Rudy Giuliani, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and a phalanx of other Republicans, attempted to enter the US Capitol, murder and kill Vice President Pence, House Speaker Pelosi, and any member of Congress doing their Constitutional duty to count and certify the Electoral College votes. Fortunately, they did not succeed.
There should be no mercy for those who traveled to Washington, DC to overthrow the government. Fortunately, there is a mountain of video and social media evidence showing the faces of those who assaulted our seat of democracy. The most severe penalties should be meted out to those who actually entered the Capitol.
The FBI should patiently analyze every video clip, every social media post, of those who attacked our Capitol. Offer a reward to people who identify these criminals and extradite them to the District of Columbia for booking and prosecution. There has to be severe consequences for these acts of sedition.
Next in line for legal scrutiny will be the media giants who stoked this rage (Rupert Murdoch and Fox News). More on that in a later blog post.
The short answer is “You Can’t.” These followers of Trump (about 40% of the nation) are members of a cult. They are wallowing in conspiracy theories, faithfully devoted to a despicable President, and willing to bring our democracy to its knees with no idea what to do next. The next time they rush the Capitol, they will come with guns blazing.
I know about cults. I was born into one: the Roman Catholic Church. You know, the people who taught me that eating meat on Friday would send you to Hell. All religions qualify as cults, to varying degrees. The Catholic Church has moderated quite a bit since the Middle Ages.
Cults are everywhere you look. Some examples:
Mega-churches that preach the Prosperity Gospel.
The anti-abortion crowd
right-wing anti-gay people
Ultra-conservatives who want to return to our white supremacy roots
Then there’s the Trump Cult, born of a totally phony NBC reality television show, The Apprentice starring Donald Trump. The Trump cult members happily overlook Trump’s lack of character, incessant lying, utter stupidity, and dismal record as a business failure. He’s their leader and they will follow him off a cliff if asked. Which they did yesterday when they staged a mob attack on the US Capitol Building.
Of all the images of yesterday’s insurrection in Washington, DC, this one of Adam Johnson blithely scurrying out of the Capitol Rotunda with a lectern is my favorite. Turns out that Adam is 36 years old, married with 5 children, and lives in Parrish, Florida. Apparently he has a rap sheet with drug and alcohol citations.
How do we know this? These Trumpers foolishly posted photographs of their Capitol Invasion on social media. People in Parrish, Florida identified this idiot as soon as this photograph appeared. If Adam Johnson makes it home, he can expect a visit from the FBI. They will no doubt make an example of him, with charges of sedition, theft of government property, criminal trespass, and so on.
So comes the suggestion, posed by some pundits, that we need to to listen to these Trump cultists, understand what their grievances are, and maybe come to an understanding. FAT CHANCE.
The typical Trump supporter is powered by conspiracy theories, in most cases the conspiracies promulgated by the shadowy group QAnon. Trump has re-tweeted QAnon conspiracies often last year. Here’s a photograph of a typical QAnon adherent.
Let’s unpack this lady’s countenance and message. She’s “woke” which means that she’s now cognizant that the government is run by lizard people (re: my last blog post). “Q” refers to the QAnon group, who have made a raft of predictions that have fallen flat. The line about “Pedophilia” is a code word to evoke sympathy for a cause we all believe in – fighting child abuse, giving QAnon a smidgen of respectability. Last, but not least, is the reference to “Pizzagate is Real.”
Pizzagate is a conspiracy theory that appeared in 2016, during the Presidential campaign. The claim was that Hillary Clinton ran a child pedophilia operation out of the basement of the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C. (the Comet Ping Pong restaurant has no basement). On December 4th, 2016, Edgar Maddison Welch showed up with an AR-15, fired three shots, and demanded to see the basement where the pedophilia ring was in operation. Welch was arrested and sentenced to four years in the slammer.
As ridiculous as this conspiracy theory is, QAnon supporters still believe that it’s true, including recently pardoned felon General Mike Flynn. If you explain to any Trump/QAnon supporter that this Pizzagate conspiracy is ridiculous and thoroughly debunked, they’ll angrily respond with “Fake News” or you’re an “Enemy of the People.”
Can a normal person communicate with a member of a cult? The answer is usually “No,” for anytime a cult member encounters speech that contradicts the cult’s dogma, they go into a brain freeze and refuse to listen. Their replies are usually automated, like “Fake News” or “Stupid Liberal.”
So, the answer to the question “Can You Reason With A Trump Supporter?” is simply “Hell, No!”
In fact, after yesterday’s attempt to overthrow the Government, I think the proper answer to any Trump Supporter is to use your best Arnold Schwarzenegger imitation and say “Fuck You, Asshole!“
Adam Christian Johnson, the guy pictured above carrying a lectern out of the US Capitol last Wednesday, was booked into Pinellas County, Florida jail shortly after 9 p.m., Friday, January 8th. Adam’s home is about 40 miles from me. (we’re practically neighbors!)
The FBI has entered a single felony charge, but expect more to come. Here’s his mug shot.
Last Christmas Morning, 63-year-old Anthony Warner parked his camper van on a Nashville Street, across from the AT&T offices. After giving Police fifteen minutes warning that he was going to explode a bomb, he killed himself in a massive explosion.
Fortunately, thanks to quick action by the Nashville police, Warner was the only casualty in the explosion. Sadly, a year earlier, Warner’s girlfriend disclosed to the Nashville Police that he was building bombs in his truck. They arrived at his house, but when he wouldn’t answer the door, they left without any other investigation (They should have called the FBI).
FBI explosives experts speculate that Warner created a practical fuel-air bomb, using propane as the fuel. He apparently got just the right mix of propane and air in the truck, and then used an electronic timer to detonate it. It’s not known when he killed himself, but his flesh and DNA was recovered from the debris.
So, the question is: “Why did Anthony Warner do this?”
Apparently, it has come to light (interviews with neighbors, social media, etc.) that Warner was a conspiracy-theory nut. He believed an obscure QAnon theory that “Lizard People are Running Our Country.” So, where did this nutty idea come from? Allow me to explain.
In 1983, NBC exhibited an entertaining mini-series called “V” which refers to alien Visitors. These extraterrestrials looked just like us, promising to help the Earth with its problems. The big reveal in the show was that these Visitors were actually reptilian lizard people with fake human skins. In a climatic scene, the good guys ripped off the facial covering of the leader, John, on national television.
Of course, John and the Visitors claimed Fake News, Hollywood special effects, and whatnot and began a round-up of all the “Dirty Scientists.” The V mini-series was spun into a two season television series, and a few years ago was rebooted with a new cast and special effects.
In the past several years, we’ve seen the rise of the conspiracy group, QAnon, whose crazy theories have been re-tweeted by President Donald Trump. Buried within the usual conspiracy theories (Moon landing faked, 9/11 an inside job, John F Kennedy Jr is still alive, Barack Obama born in Kenya, and so on), there is the conspiracy theory that the government is run by Lizard People.
That’s right, there are people in the government that are actually disguised lizards. (They’re Democrats, of course). Why, I could be one of these Lizard People.
While this might all sound like good, clean comedy fun, the United States has gone crazy. Next Wednesday, a number of well-educated Republican Senators and Congressmen are going to attempt to overturn a peaceful and fair election that elected Joe Biden in a massive landslide.
Shame on them and everybody who voted for these traitors.
As I write this (Dec 23rd), the current COVID-19 death count in the United States is at 323,000. In my state of Florida, our Governor Ron DeSantis is trying to hide the state’s death count, just as President Trump has directed. Last December 7th, DeSantis had the police raid the home of Rebekah Jones, a data specialist who exposed DeSantis’s efforts to hide the COVID-19 death toll.
Trump did absolutely nothing to mitigate the pandemic, apparently fearful that taking decisive action would rattle the stock market. Unfortunately for Trump, Bob Woodward has him on audio tape admitting to knowing the danger of this pandemic last January. Best estimates are that we will hit 500,000 dead before Spring.
On September 16, 2007 in Baghdad Iraq, during President George W Bush’s abortive occupation, this boy, Ali Kinani was just 9 years old, sitting in his father’s car in Nisour Square. Mercenary soldiers from a security company called Blackwater, owned and operated by Erik Prince, stopped traffic and started firing indiscriminately at the stalled cars. They blew little Ali’s head to bits, his brains fell between his father’s legs.
The men who killed Ali Kinani and 17 other innocent Iraqis that day were these men, former soldiers, as is Erik Prince, the owner of Blackwater at the time.
From Wikipedia: “On October 22, 2014, a Federal District Court jury convicted Nick Slatten of first-degree murder, and three other guards (Slough, Liberty and Heard) guilty of all three counts of voluntary manslaughter and using a machine gun to commit a violent crime. On April 13, 2015, Slatten was sentenced to life in prison, while the other three guards were sentenced to 30 years in prison.”
Last night, President Trump pardoned all four men. Why would he do this? The answer is corruption, pure and simple. Let’s have a look at the murdering scum involved in this miscarriage of justice.
First up is Erik Prince, the founder of the Blackwater private security firm (now called Academi). Erik is a former Navy Seal, with a net worth of $2 billion. He is a convert to Catholicism. Prince lost his first wife to cancer, and has married twice since her death. Prince donated quite a bit of money to the Family Research Council, a anti-gay hate group.
Erik Prince’s sister is Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Secretary of Education. Betsy’s family is the 88th richest in the United States, having made their fortune from Amway, a pyramid scheme that sells cleaning products to suckers. They are as crooked as they come, but they still made a fortune fleecing “distributors.” Betsy DeVos is noted for owning seven yachts, two mansions, and a fleet of 12 private jets. Her net worth is estimated to be over $5.4 billion.
Do you see the connection now? Betsy DeVos’s immoral brother, Erik Prince, has one significant black mark on his record, the Nisour Square Massacre. By asking Trump to pardon the Blackwater killers, Betsy erases her brother’s biggest mistake. “Look, they’ve been pardoned, nothing to see here. Move along.“
Betsy DeVos was a controversial choice for Secretary of Education, having just a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and no experience whatsoever in teaching. Vice President Mike Pence had to break a tie vote to confirm her. Over 450 lawsuits have been filed against the Department of Education, the most in the department’s history.
Sadly, Betsy DeVos proves one thing: that the rich are now so brazen, they think they can buy their way out of any jam. They can commit any crime, and just buy their way out of it. The list of these entitled rich people buying justice grows daily. Look at Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly who got a rape charge buried by paying the victim $30 million to keep quiet.
If you’re a friend of President Trump, you can get away with murder. You can buy a pardon. A little boy is dead. Who cares? Betsy DeVos bought a pardon for his killers.
I’ve already written about how wonderful the Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit” is, with 23-year-old actress Anya Taylor-Joy staring down her older chess opponents, who just can’t believe that they’re being vanquished by a teenager. Set in the early 1960s, the attention to detail in this production is marvelous, from the old cars to the rotary telephones hanging on the wall with coiled cords. How many kids today have ever heard a dial tone?
Being a bit of a movie buff, there’s a specialist in the movie business called the continuity person. That’s the employee who makes sure that between takes, the position of items on a coffee table have not moved, the same costume is used, a bracelet is on the same wrist, things like that. A famous lapse in continuity recently was Queen Daenerys’ Starbucks cup spotted by viewers of the HBO series “Game of Thrones” (this kerfuffle caused the special effects department to digitally remove it).
Anyway, it’s fun to discover these little goof-ups in drama productions, and I’ve spotted one in “The Queen’s Gambit“, which I will reveal for the first time today.
In episode 2 of “The Queen’s Gambit“, Beth Harmon’s adoptive mother, Alma Wheatley, sends young Beth to the nearby drugstore to fetch three packs of Chesterfields, a brand of cigarettes popular in the 1950s. She gives Beth a note and enough cash for 3 packs. When Beth presents the note to the druggist, he retrieves just one pack of cigarettes from the display and gives it to her.
Leaving the store with the one pack of Chesterfields for her adoptive mother and her purloined copy of a chess magazine hidden within the newspaper, Beth strolls away.
Re-entering the house, Beth is seen with three packs of cigarettes for her mother, just as Alma had requested.
Did I just waste your precious time? Possibly. But the next time you discuss “TheQueen’s Gambit” with friends, you can impress them with “Did you know that the druggist only sold Beth one pack of cigarettes and she returned with three?” They’ll think you’re a genius, like Beth.