We just keep winning

It’s morning again in America (From the Pew Research Center):

Although he has only been in office a few months, Donald Trump’s presidency has had a major impact on how the world sees the United States. Trump and many of his key policies are broadly unpopular around the globe, and ratings for the U.S. have declined steeply in many nations. According to a new Pew Research Center survey spanning 37 nations, a median of just 22% has confidence in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to international affairs. This stands in contrast to the final years of Barack Obama’s presidency, when a median of 64% expressed confidence in Trump’s predecessor to direct America’s role in the world.

Look at the last two. Those countries do not have our interests in mind.

Happy Fourth of July.

Thanks, pump truppets.

Advertisements

Beyond clouds: Meet the Milky Way

Here’s a timelapse flight from Europe to South America and the view a pilot has at night.

Now I know it’s beautiful, but I can’t help thinking “wouldn’t it be great to get from Europe to South America in less than three minutes?”

According to the pilot:

Our flight is packed and some 340 passengers are settling in for a long night flight. Its my turn to be at the flightdeck for the first part of the journey, as my other co-pilot gets the chance to rest in the crew bunk above the passenger cabin. We are heading our westbound, along the clearly visible Alps to our left. Just before reaching Geneva and the western tip of Switzerland we are making a shallow left turn to join the Rhone valley leading us to Marseille and onward onto the Mediterranean Sea. Our routing will bring us towards Algeria and on across the northwestern part of the vast Sahara. We will be flying past Dakar in Senegal where we will be heading out onto the Atlantic Ocean. Our south-westerly course will get us across the wide blue – in fact it was pitch-black during the night – to the north eastern shore of Brazil. Landfall is expected just north of Rio de Janeiro and the remaining few hundred miles will get us straight towards Sao Paolo. Our landing is expected around 6am local time, still before the sun will rise.

Ben Carson am being educated by Betsy DeVos

Transportation for immigrants, according to Ben Carson

After the education secretary’s stupid remarks about how black colleges were excellent examples of school choice during the Jim Crow era, you’d have thought that the orange menace’s administration would have sent a memo to it’s cabinet chiefs saying “Ix-nay on the ack-blay.”

Ben Carson didn’t get the memo:

Ben Carson compared slaves to immigrants seeking a better life in his first official address Monday as Housing and Urban Development Secretary, setting off an uproar on social media.

In what appears to be an embarrassing pattern of mis-steps on race for the Trump administration, Carson told a room packed with hundreds of federal workers that the Africans captured, sold and transported to America against their will had the same hopes and dreams as early immigrants.

“That’s what America is about. A land of dreams and opportunity. There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less,” said Carson, speaking extemporaneously as he paced the room with a microphone. “But they, too, had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great grandsons, great granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”

OK, let’s deal with a certain flaw in this logic:

The early slaves weren’t thinking about prosperity and happiness. They were facing abuse, torture and murder. And that’s what they expected for their children, because before the civil war, there was no hope for freedom.

Screenings, premieres and seeing people true stories are based on

So, I’m on my way to a baseball game, because the Washington Nationals have a deal where you can pay $75 for standing room tickets to all of the team’s home games in September. And as I’m about to go into the Metro, my brother calls and asks if I want to go to a special movie screening at the Newseum.

Let’s see: Use the $5 ticket to stand up for a nine-inning baseball game, or get in free on a movie that will cost $12 when it opens in D.C. theaters on Sept. 23. Movie it is.

But here’s where it gets strange (for me. I’m sure other people do this all the time and are used to it). It’s at the Newseum, and there’s an open bar. Free drinks!

Waiters are carrying around hors d’oeuvres. Free food!

And as we walk into the theater, there are boxes of popcorn and candy and bottled water. Free snacks!

So into the theater and head up to the cheap seats, because, like, it’s free and there’s no such thing as a cheap seat when you’re not paying anything. But someone comes along and asks us to move to one of the rows closer to the screen, because they don’t want the stars of the movie coming out to talk to empty seats up front. OK.

But before the movie, there are speeches.

So we get one from a Disney executive, since it’s a Disney movie.

Then we get one from a congresswoman from Brooklyn.

Then we get one from a congresswoman from California.

Then we get on from a senator from Delaware.

And all of them make it a point to recognize the senator from New Jersey sitting in the row in front of us.

(Is this how we do movie screenings in the nation’s capital?)

And when they’re done, they bring out two people who are the main subjects of the film, “Queen of Katwe,” based on a true story about a female Uganda chess prodigy.

And then the two stars of the movie: David Oyelowo, who was nominated for an Academy Award for playing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the movie “Selma” and Lupita Nyong’o, who won the Academy Award for “12 Years a Slave.”

Here’s the background trailer:

So this is the second time in a week that I’ve been to a performance where the subjects of the story actually show up at the event. Last week, it was at Ford’s Theatre (yeah, the place where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated) for the second night of a new musical about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. (And yes I realize how potentially tasteless that sounds, and no, the name of the musical wasn’t “Springtime for bin Laden.”)

The musical, “Come From Away,” was very good and is headed to Broadway. It’s the story of how the citizens of Gander, Newfoundland, pulled together to take care of the people on the 38 passenger jets that were rerouted to the small island community when all of the air traffic to the United States was grounded. The special appearances were by the woman who was the captain for a Paris to Dallas American Airlines flight, and a middle aged couple (Brit man, Texas woman) who met and fell in love during their five days in Newfoundland and later got married.

Following the performance there was a half hour Q&A with the playwrights and the subjects of the musical.

(Oh, by the way. The Nats lost in 10 innings.)

Decoded: Racist stereotypes that used to be the opposite

Let’s just say that somehow the racists still find a way to apply all of these stereotypes to African-Americans. Which can in itself be a loaded term, because Africa is a big continent, and it consists of black and white people.

Like how many of you refer to this person an African-American?

Yes, Charlize Theron is African American. She became an American citizen in 2007. She was born in South Africa, and when she won the Oscar for the 2003 movie “Monster,” it was considered an honor for the nation. Nelson Mandela said so, so it must be true.

Now if we ever become a land that elects a caramel clown for president, and people just like these two weren’t world famous but still had high moral character, which one do you think the alt-White/alt-Right folks would let in while claiming the other was a terrorist sympathizer?

That was a roundabout way of saying that the stereotypes in the first video aren’t applied to African Americans, they’re applied to blacks. And since all of these once ethnic stereotypes have been turned on their ear, repurposed into racial stereotypes, let’s deal with the fact that race, from a scientific standpoint, isn’t real:

And now that we’ve done our dissertation on skin color, let’s get to the issue that is guaranteed to further fuel the Trumpster fire that’s making America hate again.

Are Hispanics/Latinos white?

Well, yeah, there are whites who are of Latino heritage (I’m old. It’s going to take a while for me to reach Latinx).

One immediately comes to mind, and he’s a hero to the alt-racist crowd:

George Zimmerman says he acted in self-defence

That’s George Zimmerman. He’s the pseudo-Neighborhood Watch fascist who got away with murdering Trayvon Martin, a black kid headed to his father’s house, in 2012. Zimmerman was born in America (Virginia to be exact). His father is American and his mother came from Peru. But he was white until someone down in Florida decided to make him Latino so people would stop saying the murder was racist.

Which is was. And still is.