Sunday, February 23, 2020

On Being Melancholy

Hey-ho as the blogger in Wales says.  Or as Kurt Vonnegut used to write, and so it goes.  I'm fairly melancholy about the state of the nation (I know, what else is new).  However, after watching  National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien say he had no knowledge of the Russians' election interference this morning, it's become perfectly clear that this issue will not see the light of day until after the election. Additionally, I remain incensed about the president's complete and total lack of respect towards former acting DNI Admiral Joseph Maguire.  For someone who professes to love the military, we're not seeing much of that.  Huff Post had a good article with video clips of George Stephanopoulos questioning O'Brien if you missed it.

There has been hiking, and there was a mediocre sunset.  These are teddy bear cholla, they look so nice, but are so hard to remove from one's skin.


Sunset yesterday, after a day of rain.


We spent today on stage one of taking out two bougainvilleas.  The amount of debris they create has out weighed how pretty they are.  Each winter they drop almost all of their leaves which are difficult to remove from the yard.  They go everywhere.  After a lot of thought and debating the subject we decided to take them out.  They look horrible all winter, and we were getting tired of the looking dead and the debris removal.  So this guy has gone across the rainbow bridge for plants.  So has the one off to the right.  I'm really hoping we don't regret this, I still feel kind of bad about it. 


We're keeping the one next to the driveway.  He's equally messy, but it's easier to use the blower to move the dead leaves and blossoms into the street and down into the wash.  Other than this paltry offering, I have zippity-doo-dah all on offer.

Friday, February 21, 2020

The Desert and the Politics

Greetings and salutations people of Earth.  It's hard to post about daily life these days as we stand by watching the wanton destruction of the most successful democracy to date.  Having said that, I'm putting my political stuff at the bottom so you can click away if you're tired of it.

Here are some nice pictures from recent hikes.  Today a front is moving in with some pretty good wind.  Tomorrow is forecast to be raining, cooler and windy.  Bleah.





OK!  Begin politics.

All it took was one ego maniac and the willingness of the republican party to go along with him.  Why don't the republicans decry the recent naming of Richard Grenell as acting DNI?  He knows nothing, he has no background, his only qualification is his unrelenting support of the president.  This appointment came about because there was a classified briefing that discussed the fact that Russia is still interfering with US elections.  Rather than do something about this state of affairs, the president called the acting DNI (Admiral Joseph Maguire) in to his office, gave him a dressing down and then sent him packing.  So, at this point the intelligence community is learning to not discuss anything that might irritate the sensitive-one in chief.  This censoring will also make it that much easier for Russia to do what they want again.

The following is from a KOMO article.  KOMO is a member of the conservative Sinclair network, so it's interesting to me that they're allowed to do this kind of reporting.
The background of Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany since April 2018, is primarily in politics and media affairs. He lacks the extensive national security and military experience of the acting director he replaces, Joseph Maguire, as well as previous holders of the position. Such experience appears to be required under the 2004 law that created the post to coordinate the work of the nation's intelligence agencies.
"He is probably the most unqualified individual ever appointed to this position," said Larry Pfeiffer, a former longtime intelligence agency official who helped establish the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Dating from his time as spokesman for former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton, Grenell has had an antagonistic relationship with members of the media, whom he frequently criticizes for perceived liberal bias. He has issued demands for retractions and corrections over unfavorable reports later confirmed to be accurate.
Last month, he took to Twitter when The Washington Post reported the Trump administration threatened to impose a 25% tariff on vehicles manufactured in three European countries, including Germany, unless they met U.S. demands for actions against Iran.
Grenell slammed the Post reporter who wrote the story for "Fake News."
The following day, a German foreign ministry official confirmed the Trump tariff threat in a briefing to a parliamentary committee.
WAPO wrote a piece about the events.  It's a very coherent summation of what happened and why.

But wait, there's more!  I can't stand it.  Read more here.
Richard Grenell’s tenure as the nation’s top intelligence official may be short-lived, but he wasted no time this week starting to shape his team of advisers, ousting his office’s No. 2 official — a longtime intelligence officer — and bringing in an expert on Trump conspiracy theories to help lead the agency, according to officials.
In other news that is pissing me off, three weeks ago the president signed a memo giving the Department of Defense an exemption from the law that gives federal employees the right to unionize.  The official excuse is "national security."  The real reason is union busting.  This will affect 750,000 people who do stuff like build aircraft carriers and etc.  It's not clear to me why people buy in to his shtick that he's a friend of the working person.

Currently the administration is dynamiting its way through Organ Pipe National Monument to build a section of the wall.  In addition to blowing up Native American burial sites, the contractors have drained an aquifer to mix concrete.  These are damages that can not be repaired.  There has been no negotiation with the local tribes, they just went in and did this.  You can read about this here.

Meanwhile, John McEntee, the president's former body man, has been reinstated and appointed to run the presidential personnel office.  Basically his job is to root out people who are not seen as sufficiently loyal to the president.  This is looking more and more like a dictatorship

.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine's Day

Yes!  HVD, now let us all go out and commit vehicular homicide. The traffic is just nuts.  Safeway this morning was just nuts, full of men with their hands full of infantile balloons, stuffed animals and chocolate.  Jim later drove across town to pick up his freshly de-virused laptop and reported that the red light running and tail gating was way worse than usual.  I can't imagine what traffic will be like as they head out for their romantic dinners.  I'd be interested in seeing the stats on accidents for tonight.  I personally detest Valentine's day, it's a complete and total made up event, conjured up for the sole purpose of getting people to buy stuff.  Anyway, enough grumbling, I'm starting to sound like a old person.

Speaking of the elderly and their declining memories...   We've made the Chicken Adobo instant pot recipe three times.  It calls for scallions to be chopped up as a garnish at the very end.  The first two times we made it, we left the scallions in the refrigerator.  The third time we managed to get them out of the refrigerator and chopped up.  Mind you, this cutting board is about three inches away from the rice cooker.  We got the rice, we got the chicken, and then somehow managed to walk right by the cutting board to get the scallions.  I begin to fear for us, name tags may be next.  The next night we left the basil for garnish in the refrigerator after plating the Chicken Provencale out of the crock pot.


This is a terrible picture.  I was inside the house waving a point and shoot camera trying to capture this.  The feeders were recently filled, so the fluid level is close to the hole in hummingbirds stick their beaks through.  There is a small seed eater who likes to come and sit on refill days.  I think it's a Verdin.


The hummingbird was not amused by this.  He spent quite some time buzzing the seed eater, and then started flying at him as if to stab him.  Eventually the seed eater got tired of it and flew off.


As always there are restorative walks in the desert.  There was also some side hill mountain biking, but I did not get pictures since I left my camera at home. 



Other than this, I have zippity doo-dah all to report.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Sunset

It was a windy cloudy day.  We were not expecting a decent sunset due to the depth of the clouds.  We were mistaken!