Monday, June 18, 2018

A Single Photograph Speaks

I think by now, everybody in the country has seen this picture.  It's just heart breaking - she's two.

The Washington Post published an article about how this photograph was taken.  I think if Border Patrol had anticipated the outrage that would be sparked by this image they would not have allowed the photographer to ride along.  Until I read this article, I did not understand why parents would come to the US if they knew their children would be seized.  The fact is, they did not know.  This policy changed while they were in route from South America.  The "he" in the first paragraph is John Moore, the photographer.
He knew that when loners crossed the river by day, they tended to run or hide from Border Patrol. But the large groups that crossed at night often surrendered themselves to the first U.S. agents they found.
The night-crossers were often families, exhausted and terrified from their journeys, seeking asylum from whatever terror had driven them from home.
While they had been evacuating their homes and traveling — some for weeks — the United States had changed the rules. Pleas for asylum that had been accepted for years might now be rejected. Mothers and fathers, who would have been released to await court hearings, would now be jailed. Their children would be seized and held from them by a foreign government.
The American public had only just learned this. Moore and the Border Patrol agents who hid with him on the banks of the Rio Grande knew it. But the people on the rafts . . . “These people had no way to know that,” Moore said.
Yesterday Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen denied that children were being taken from their parents.  Today she said DHS would not apologize for doing their jobs.  Which is it?  Not taking the kids or we're not apologizing for taking the kids?   Those are two mutually exclusive positions.  This administration is just beyond venal, as is every Republican member of Congress.  Jeff Flake or Bob Corker (neither of whom are running for re-election) could walk across the aisle and vote with the Democrats to end this.  But nooooooo, it's too difficult to grow a pair.

I could go on, but I will spare you my despair over what is happening in this country.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Very Green Carnation Valley

We rode out in Carnation Valley today.  I think that's one of the greenest places on earth.  Those are espaliered apples on the fence.

There are bull frogs in this water.  It's amazing how much noise they can make.

It was a very pleasant ride.  We're still not doing too many miles, but it's a start.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Seattle and Runaway Growth

Today was good. It wasn’t all that warm, but it quit raining and the skies were blue. We decided to go into downtown Seattle and walk around.  Walking was somewhat difficult because the streets were full of people from a cruise ship.  It was docked up at Pier 91, which is pretty far north, so we couldn’t see it.  Given the number of people on the streets, it must have been big.  There were also tour buses eveywhere.  It’s so weird when the place you used to live becomes a tourist destination.

This is one of the mysteries of the universe.  There is always a line for Piroshky Piroshky. Why?  There are so many places to eat in Seattle, why do the cruise ship people stand in really long lines for this?  They also queue for the original Starbucks which is also inexplicable.

We walked down closer to the water and looked back at the city.  It’s just amazing how much it has grown.

This was taken at the Bell Street Pier.  Lower right is transient moorage.  Those are all classic boats, they’re going to be open to the public this weekend.

This is one of the piers where the cruise ships dock. 

On the way out of Seattle, we saw a new giant hole in the ground.  Neither one of us can remember what used to be here.

Here we are back in Issaquah traveling on I90.  That used to be open land, 30 acres.  The developers have bought it and are building apartments.  Two separate developments are going in on the land.  One is the Issaquah Senior Gateway project.  There will be 146 units of restort style living for active old people.  The buildings in the photo are the Issaquah Gateway project.  That project consists of 398 (653 bedrooms) apartments. Approximately 425,600 sf in 19 separate buildings on a 30 acre site.  Getting out of there in the morning is going to be difficult.  Locally there has been some pushback about dumping that many cars on a two lane road with blind corners.  The developer has assured the citizens that the increase in traffic will decrease speeds so all will be well.  I’m not sure that was the most persuasive argument for increased traffic volumes.  The article is here.

This is the first rabbit we’ve seen since we got back.  They used to be plentiful, but the the predators got them.  There’s a lot less rabbit poop on the site.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Creeping Angst

Yack.  It has been a day.

A judge approved the Time Warner and AT&T merger.  The quote is from the NYT article on the subject.  AT&T owns the satellite company, DIRECTV.  I strongly suspect they’ll be raising the rates for DISH to access Time Warner content.  We, of course, have DISH.
The deal would put AT&T in charge of Time Warner’s vast portfolio, which includes HBO and CNN, rights to major sports leagues, and valuable film franchises such as Harry Potter. John Stankey, an AT&T executive, would oversee the integration of these units into AT&T and eventually lead the Time Warner business.
“We want people engaged with their mobile devices all day watching movies and video,” Mr. Stephenson testified at the trial.
The second paragraph is interesting – they want people on their phones ALL DAY watching movies?  This will be doable because AT&T will be exempting their content from data caps.  We can expect to see higher prices, more mergers and less choice.  I was really hoping this would go the other way.

In other news, the DOJ is bringing suit against the ACA to do away with protections for people with pre-existing conditions.  That would be just about everybody.  If those protections are removed, it’s going to make it virtually impossible for sick people to buy insurance at all.  I don’t understand why this administration is so eager to hurt the populace.  NYT wrote about the ramifications of this lawsuit.

And then, there is the summit meeting between the two dictators (phrase courtesy of Fox news.)  Can you imagine how South Korea is feeling about the announcement that joint military exercises would be cancelled?  They were blindsided by that announcement.  If that wasn’t enough, the president went on to say that he thought US troops could be removed from South Korea.  What an ally the US turns out to be.  There is no language about timetables, inspections or verification. Just warm feelings on the part of our president.  The members of the G7, particularly Canada, were castigated at their summit.  However, the president can’t say enough nice things about a dictator who consolidated power by murdering his half brother and others, who maintains gulags to this day and who had a hand in the death of Otto Warmbler.  He praises this human rights violator and calls Justin Trudeau names.  Great, really great.

I have not been this despondent since the election.  I knew it would be bad, I just didn’t think it would be this bad.

The bright spot of my time on the internet can be found here.  It’s a tweet thread from Britain about a fox sunbathing on a roof.  Is he cute or what?