State of the Rebellion (Open Thread)

Hubby and I opted to skip the SOTU in favor of continuing our Game of Thrones marathon. This morning, I watched WaPo’s three-minute highlight reel and read the transcript. Looks like our prediction yesterday — that the speech would be a discordant amalgam of white nationalist scaremongering and pseudo-loftiness — was on target.

As anticipated, it reflects its authorship, a committee comprising xenophobic incel goon Stephen Miller and Fox News-trained turd-polishers under the tutelage of network hack Bill Shine. But as many societies have discovered at great cost, when you give bigots a seat at the table, they consume the entire feast and then burn down the house with everyone in it.

I watched Stacey Abrams’ response in its entirety and am relieved that she escaped the SOTU rebuttal curse. She received scattered criticism for the staging, but the dim lighting, sharp focus on Abrams and soft focus on the crowd behind her appealed to me. It evoked a Star Wars rebel alliance leader’s speech on the eve of an attack on a Death Star. FWIW, I’d fly my X-wing up Trump’s bunghole on Abrams’ orders.

Still, for my money, Speaker Pelosi’s devastating exasperated participation-trophy clap was the highlight of the evening:

Wingnuts on Twitter are still sputtering with rage about her paper shuffling, impassive expressions during GOP applause lines, eye-widening as Trump unspooled particularly egregious whoppers, etc., so I gather she managed to strike exactly the right balance between decorum and disdain. Well done, Madam Speaker!

During our Game of Thrones marathon, I had an epiphany about which major character I find most relatable: Daenerys Targaryen. Like her, I recently returned to my ancestral homeland, where I am a stranger. I assembled a fleet (of canoes and a jon boat). And I am the mother of (snap)dragons.

Open thread!

Tuesday Afternoon Open Thread

Posted this on Twitter earlier during my trip into town:

This RV driver did a fair job of projecting “gullible asshole” based solely on his vehicle’s rear window, though he loses a couple of points for a lack of pro-gun and anti-choice representation.

I remember being amazed to see a lady at a MAGA rally break down in tears when complaining about how the media treats the orange fart cloud during a TV interview. She and the RV driver seem to sincerely believe a selfish shithead who wouldn’t piss on their heads if their hair was on fire is sacrificing himself for them.

I’ve got plenty of MAGA chuds in my family tree, but they’re garden variety bigots who aren’t quite dumb enough to think Trump cares about them personally. I’m not sure which is worse.

Open thread!

Nancy Nailed It

We’ve never had a president who is more needy and attention-seeking than Trump, so Nancy Pelosi’s move to deny him an invitation to deliver the SOTU during the government shutdown was brilliant, as most of us appreciated in real time. A report from The Times yesterday reveals for the record just how significant a role Pelosi’s use of the SOTU as both carrot and stick played in reopening the government:

Mr. Trump, aides said, views the speech and all of the pomp and circumstance that accompany it with some reverence, and aides said he puts more time into his script because it is one instance where he usually sticks to it. For all of the president’s fabled norm-busting, there are aspects of the conventional presidency that appeal to him, none more so than standing in the hallowed halls of Congress, with all eyes on him speaking to the nation…

In fact, the dark-wood venue and the history of the address appeal so much to Mr. Trump that his reluctance to deliver the speech in an alternative venue — something that was briefly discussed in the White House after Speaker Nancy Pelosi initially canceled the speech because of the partial government shutdown — was part of Mr. Trump’s calculus for reopening, at least temporarily, the government.

Take that in for a moment: Trump abjectly surrendered on the shutdown — humiliating himself politically, infuriating creatures like Ann Coulter, underscoring his entire party’s capitulation to its leader’s stupidity and irresponsibility — all so he could flap his gums and wave his stubby fingers in front of official Washington, DC and live on all the networks.

I’ve read reports that McConnell and Co. were ready to pull the plug on the shutdown anyway since Trump’s and the rest of the GOP’s approval ratings were cratering and they feared the damage would haunt them next year. Well, that’s to Pelosi’s credit too since she held her caucus together.

But from what we know of Trump — his addiction to adulation, his disregard of collateral damage inflicted on anyone not named Donald J. Trump, his craving for unearned respect — my money’s on the SOTU as the chief factor in the shutdown cave. Well played, Madam Speaker.

Are y’all going to watch the shit-show tonight? We may or may not — it’ll be a game-time call for us, depending on our mood at 9 PM ET.

According to The Times report linked above, it sounds like xenophobic incel goon Stephen Miller is wrestling with more conventional GOP turd-polishers over the tone of the speech. So, it might be interesting as a rhetorical artifact to watch the theme ping-pong between white nationalist scaremongering and pseudo-lofty pablum.

Open thread!

My Views On Nuclear Power

Last night we learned that Cory Booker feels that nuclear power will be important in our response to global warning.

So let me give a short summary of my feelings about nuclear power. They haven’t changed since I wrote this in August 2017.

We need nuclear power. I think that we can make it work. But there are a lot of reasons we might not. The fear of radioactivity is a big one. It’s irrational, it comes from a lack of education, the media fan it, and it seems impervious to any sort of persuasion.

The belief that there is no way to deal with the wastes is related, but separate. The repository at Yucca Mountain would be just fine except for politics. Nevada has decided that it won’t take other states’ radioactive garbage. So there. I can sorta sympathize, but not really. We do have a lot of empty space out here in the west, and not many people.

The time it takes to build a new reactor and the cost overruns, as they exist now, are disqualifying. This seems to be a problem in all sorts of areas, though. The solution may have more to do with contracting practices and bad incentives than anything else.

The new, smaller reactors that are being developed may be part of the solution. But it will take time to have them ready to go. Older reactors should not be shut down simply because natural gas is now cheap. Booker is right about that.

Overall, don’t give up on nuclear power. Learn about what radioactivity is. The nuclear industry and its proponents at DOE have to do a better job.

Show & Tell

Since the earliest days of the Trump administration, we’ve heard tales of the lengths to which aides and briefers must go to try to capture and hold the attention of their distracted, dumb, lazy, self-absorbed boss. As the Dothraki say, “It is known.”

But for some reason, this anecdote from a Time article describing how an intel agency tried to keep Trump from buying Kim Jong-un’s denuclearization bamboozle really brings it home:

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGIA), which oversees the spy satellites that map and photograph key areas, had tried to impress upon Trump the size and complexity of the North Korean site. In preparing one briefing for the President on the issue early in his administration, the NGIA built a model of the facility with a removable roof, according to two officials. To help Trump grasp the size of the facility, the NGIA briefers built a miniature version New York’s Statue of Liberty to scale and put it inside the model.

Mind-boggling. Maybe McConnell got Trump to cave on the shutdown with a demonstration in the White House driveway involving a steamroller labeled “Pelosi” and a stale circus peanut labeled “Trump.”