Zombie Conservatives

A good (but long) article on modern US / UK conservatives.  The focus is UK politics and the motivation is clearly Brexit madness, but the asides that compare the UK and the US are good reading.  Always fun to get the view of an outsider looking in.

‘A zombie party’: the deepening crisis of conservatism

Thee traditional right is clinging on to power – but its ideas are dead in the water.

The quote that is the source of the title:

In the UK, Conservative party membership has been dwindling for decades. At its peak, in the early 50s, it was 2.8 million. Last year, it was 124,000 and the party received twice as much money from dead members, through wills, as from the living. Katy Balls, political correspondent of the usually pro-Tory Spectator magazine, describedthe Tories last year as “a zombie party”.

Texas Voter Purges

A subject near and dear to my heart.  About a decade ago I went to vote here in Texas.  Had my voter registration card, had been in the same house for a decade and had been voting from this same location just as long.  Oddly my name wasn’t on the rolls.  Even odder, my wife, in pretty much the exact same situation, was still registered.

I refused to go away and perhaps held up the line a bit.  Eventually someone brought over a judge, with an unlikely German accent.  I told him the facts, and he said (maybe a bit dramatically): let this man vote!  I believe my ballot was only provisional, though.

My wife suspected shenanigans.  She had recently given our first, small, political donation to a local candidate who had helped out our neighborhood with a road construction issue.  Yes, the candidate happened to be a Democrat.

I was pissed and tried to find out what had happened.  I wrote all of my Representatives.   Only Lloyd Doggett replied.  I eventually learned that there were “problems” with the company contracted to management voter rolls.  Yeah, right. I still want someone to go to jail for this, but I couldn’t get any traction. I’m suppose I could have hired a lawyer or called the local TV station.  Today I would.  I see little has changed here in Texas.  It seems to have gotten worse.  I suppose someone has been held to account in some way, but I think another hatchet man did his job and took his fall.  Anyone wanna bet he ends up in a cushy job with political connections?

Texas secretary of state resigns after leading botched voter purge that questioned the citizenship of almost 100,000 people



Facebook and The Media

I started this blog as a bit of a protest against the way Facebook operates.  Mostly I am concerned about privacy, but the 800lb gorilla in the room is the question:. Is Facebook a media company, or a common carriers (like a phone company)?  Clearly it is a media company.  It may be other things too, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is an ad selling distribution entity like a TV or radio station.

A good NYT opinion piece on this.  Like Noam Chomsky said, the media can’t tell us what to think, but it can tell us what to think *about*.


Time Off

Taking some time off.  Saw a band this afternoon.  Went to Round Rock with and old friend for lunch and coffee yesterday.  Hung out with another old friend last night.  Cleaned the stovetop.  Went to dinner tonight for another friends birthday.  Making some sauerkraut.  Used my phin to make some Vietnamese coffee.  Went to my son’s high school graduation.  Plus some yard work and swimming.  Cats also enjoying themselves.


Italy’s Political Marshmallows

You don’t need to know much about Italian politics to enjoy this one.  I wish more Americans were similarly undisciplined.  I remember when the Soviet Union broke up and Gorbachev stated he was aiming for an “Italian style democracy”.  One commentator quipped that it was surely one of the most modest political goals he had ever heard.

Depleted Uranium Weapons

A somewhat long and detailed study of the used of Depleted Uranium (DU) weapons in the Gulf Wars.  Linked to 2x or more increases in cancers and a possible link to Gulf War Syndrome and other health issues our veterans face.  It does help answer the question: How do we dispose of our hazardous nuclear waste?

Depleted Uranium and Radioactive Contamination in Iraq: An Overview

By Prof Souad N. Al-Azzawi

Global Research, August 22, 2017

Functional Disorders

An article from the New York Times on the health issues encountered in the Havana U.S. Embassy.  It goes into the poorly understood world of Functional Disorders and mind / body interactions.

Invisible Attack on U.S. Diplomats, or Something Stranger?

An “unknown energy source” has been blamed for debilitating symptoms suffered by Americans posted in Cuba. The real cause may be more surprising.