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Wisdom from the Doctor

Two of my favorite Fourth Doctor quotations as well. And, yes, quite pertinent these days.
“You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common,” the Doctor said. “They don’t alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views.”

Still one of my all-time favorite Fourth Doctor quotes along with: "There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."
Forty years ago today, Doctor Who aired an episode where the Doctor cautioned his soon-to-be companion Leela all about the dangers of people altering facts to “fit their views.” Huh, now where does that sound familiar?
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Neko Atsume ... the Movie?

Apparently so. Here's the trailer.(via

This one's for +Margie Kleerup and +Kay Hill. 
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So about those tax returns Trump promised to make public?

In a development that should surprise nobody, Trump has declared that his tax returns -- which every presidential candidate in the modern era has shared with the public, and which he said he could not share during the campaign because he was under IRS audit, but which he promised he would share once that was all settled ...

... will not be shared with the public.

So, yes, a breaking of a prominent campaign promise (along with the flacks offering up a lie that nobody is interested in the tax returns) is how we kick off the Trump Administration.

It's good to be the king.
The announcement came in response to a petition, reversing Trump's promises to release his returns after an audit is completed.
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In the scheme of the human lives devastated by the theocratic thugs of ISIL, this is relatively meaningless. But it still diminishes humanity as a whole, by destroying a piece of our common heritage.
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The Case of the Progressively Unreal Detective

While I would never say that I didn't enjoy Sherlock in Series 4 (just wrapped up, and SPOILERS for that finale within, sweetie), I will say I agree with the author here: as the show has become more fantastical (S.3 in particular, but this series as well), it has gone from being fantastic to merely pretty darned entertaining.

Which is nothing to sneeze at, to be sure, but ...
Sherlock never needed to be more than the detective melodrama we saw in "The Final Problem"'s final montage.
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+Jennifer Hartshorn Well, after super-heroing her ...

That said, I'm not sure the F-term applies here, given her subsequent appearances and the inevitable arc of the Holmes-Watson relationship. I'll give it some more thought.
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Deflecting, Diverting, Distracting

It's difficult to tell the degree to which the tactics described here are consciously applied by Trump and/or his team, or simply have the effect described. There's danger both in thinking Trump a diabolical evil genius and in thinking him an undisciplined dolt, and when you mix in the overall Team Trump it becomes even muddier.[1]

Still, the effect is much as described, whether intended or not.

I'd add in a fourth D: Dividing. One thing Trump & Co. (and the GOP / Conservative movement as a whole, over the past 3-4 decades) has been in framing discussion over what is true as an ideological one. It's less important, the message has been, whether a statement is true as to whether it comes from your team. If Trump says the sky is green, but the Lying Media says the sky is blue, a true Trumpster will scream down the Lying Media.[2]

The question is what to do about it. The suggestions given aren't bad ones. Another is to pick one's battles (and fact check before picking them), as a constant protest against everything is all the easier to tune out or to treat as partisanship-as-usual. Another is to remember that pointed mockery may be more effective than outrage.

But the most important thing often not mentioned is what one does constructively. Stating and reaffirming one's patriotic and human principles, esp. when they seem to be in opposition to what's going on can be of more value than pointing and yelling. Doing positive things in the community, social and political, is even more important, both to mitigate damage and to show that there's an alternative for those who don't like what they see.


[1] This has direct analogs from the George W. Bush era, and was echoed back at Obama during his administration.
[2] This is not solely an attribute of the Right, but they seem to have been the most systematic and successful at it.

The first step to resisting President-elect Trump is understanding how Trump and Kellyanne Conway deploy their big lies: deflect, divert and distract.
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Tweetizen Trump - 2017-01-23 "And Now the End Is Near"

Morning, Donald. Here it is, first Monday of your Presidential term, the day you said you'd be actually getting to work (because who works on the weekends, amirite?).

And, hey, you have a brand-new Twitter account, too -- @POTUS is now officially yours. I hope this doesn't mean twice the tweets as usual. Though it's already leading to some weird cases, like the official @WhiteHouse account being retweeted by @RealDonaldTrump about a post in which they reference @POTUS.[7] This might take some careful keeping track of.

Well, at least you're noting which tweets are by you on the @POTUS account, and which are by Dan Scavino, your media guy (who is not really the POTUS, but plays one on Twitter).

I chose the title for this post from the "first dance" song you picked at the Inaugural Balls. While "I Did It My Way" is a surprisingly good thematic choice, it has a rather unfortunate first line. (Also, it was an awful pop cover of the tune, but presumably that wasn't under your control.)

I'm going to skip over the generic "Hey! Inauguration!" tweets. Let's see if you have anything else worthwhile from this weekend.


Today we are not merely transferring power from one Administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring...power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People. #InaugurationDay [1]

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. From this moment on, it’s going to be #AmericaFirst [2]

We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth - and we will bring back our dreams! We will follow two simple rules: BUY AMERICAN & HIRE AMERICAN! #InaugurationDay #MAGA [3]

That was a lot of typing over the course of a very few minutes. And that's not counting the three Facebook messages you put up and linked to (but I only do Twitter, so we'll ignore them.

More interestingly, there's a curly apostrophe in there, which is not something that would come from normal typing into a phone or desktop Twitter account -- but would come from typing in advance into a word processing program, then cutting and pasting into Twitter. It's a lot less spontaneous that way, but, hey, curly apostrophes!

As to the messages themselves, it will be interesting to see what this "transfer of power" actually looks like in reality. Not to say I'm skeptical, Donald, but I'm skeptical.

Also, you really should look into the past of the phrase and movement "America First."[6] I know it's the sort of phrase that your head ideological czar (or whatever is official title is) Steve Bannon would get down on. Indeed, it's a phrase he uses a lot. Indeed, I think he used it a lot in co-writing your Inauguration speech with Stephan Miller.[4] You know, the one that you assured us you were officially writing?[5]

NO DREAM is too big, NO CHALLENGE is too great. Nothing we want for our future is BEYOND OUR REACH. #AmericaFirst [17]

Again, really, you ought to look into that "America First" movement. It's in all the history books (for the moment).[18] Though, to be fair, that tweet at least wasn't written by you.


Signing documents to allow Mattis and Kelly to be sworn into Cabinet and an executive order on #Obamacare. [15]

We already talked about how eager you were to sign a waiver letting you skip over an inconvenient Federal Law. The ACA executive order looks good for the Twitter stream, but doesn't actually do that much legally [16] except let HHS back off of enforcing its regulations. Which is the sort of thing the GOP wails about when a Democrat in the White House does it, but, hey, this time it's for a righteous cause, right?


Had a great meeting at CIA Headquarters yesterday, packed house, paid great respect to Wall, long standing ovations, amazing people. WIN! [8]

Is this where you reassure the American people that the US intelligence community, which you've spent the last two months describing as bunglers who are trying to take down your administration with all their crazy "Russia" talk, are actually swell people who support you overwhelmingly?

Was this the speech that spent less time talking about the CIA and the sacrifices of the agents listed on the Wall, and more time about how the media was lying about your Inauguration attendance numbers, or in creating the impression (by quoting you) that you mistrusted the intelligence community? Where you mentioned again that maybe we should have kept the oil in Iraq? Where you speculated on how many of the people in the room voted for you? [9] Where the applause seemed to be mostly coming from the folk who came with you? [10]

Yeah, that speech.

Also, what does it say that you feel the need to assure us (or brag to us) about the "great respect" you paid to the Wall? I mean, doesn't that strike you as a little strange to actually say it?


Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn't these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly. [11]

Hey, Donald -- people can actually gather up and "peaceably assemble" even when there's not an election going on. It's such a cool thing, it's actually in the US Constitution, in the Bill of Rights.

Also, what makes you think these people didn't vote? Oh, I know, it's easier to pretend that they're all a bunch of crybabies, but it's also kind of a cheap shot, don't you think?

And, hey, speaking of which, today's gratuitous slam at an "enemy," the "celebs" who, for reasons you don't explain, "hurt cause badly."

Well, at least you came around on that whole protest thing a couple of hours later:

Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don't always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views. [12]

How gracious of you.


Wow, television ratings just out: 31 million people watched the Inauguration, 11 million more than the very good ratings from 4 years ago! [13]

Still obsessed with ratings. And still offering a bit of a spin, since the Inauguration 8 years ago had 37.8 million watching.[14] (Ronald Regan, 36 years ago, had 41.8 million.)

So, sorry, Donald. But Number 3 is a perfectly respectable number, especially if you assume that "watched" means "supports".


You also tweeted about the Inauguration (many times), and how Top Executives are coming to meet with you (in both accounts).


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+Stan Pedzick Secret agents, indeed!
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The Era of "Alt-Truth" (continued)

'The question for Trump and his aides is simple: If you’re willing to lie about stuff this minuscule, why should anyone believe what you say about the really big things that matter?'

The answer is clear, and flips the question on its head: if enough people are willing to accept the trivial, minuscule, venal lies[1], then why doubt that they will accept lies about "the big things that matter?"


[1] Because they match their confirmation bias, or because they simply trust their Dear Leader, or because their identity and reality is so bound up in a partisan position behind Donald Trump -- "I voted for Trump, I spoke up for Trump, so if Trump says something, I don't dare disbelieve it, or else I'd have to admit that I made a horrible mistake."
If the president and his aides will tell easily disproven falsehoods about crowd sizes and speeches, what else will they be willing to dissemble about?
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It amuses me that people seem to have forgotten George the Second's administration and their hatred of the "Fact Based Community".
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Forget about "Alt-Right" ... this is the era of "Alt-Truth"

And if that sounds Orwellian ... well, it should.


;Kellyanne Conway, a senior White House aide, told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday Spicer had merely been offering “alternative facts”, a phrase that was received with widespread astonishment.'

Sadly, not so much astonishment as one would expect.

'“If Trump can’t handle the press on crowd size, just wait until they report on the economy, budget and healthcare,” said Adam Schiff, a Democratic congressman from California. “Anything unfavourable he will call a lie.”'

Count on it.
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Again, this is nothing new.
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Yup. Paid Actors

All those cheering folks at Trump Tower when Donald announced his run for President? Yeah, a lot of paid extras. As documented by the Federal Elections Commission, which decided to drop any criminal complaint about delays in reporting the campaign expenditure as required by law.

A trivial lie, perhaps, but ... well ... indicative.
His campaign would later admit paying $12,000, but given the "modest" amount, the FEC is exercising discretion and dismissing a complaint he violated reporting rules.
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The Delicate Ego of Donald Trump

Most people, on attaining the Presidency of the United States are humbled by the moment. They look out across those crowds there at the swearing in and all they know is that a heck of a lot of people, both there and at home, are ready to support them, ready to offer their prayers and acknowledgment and support and best hope for the future.

Donald Trump is instead worried whether his box office draw is best of all, and, when reports are made that it isn't, accuses those reporting the shortfall as being part of a vast Lying Media conspiracy to disrespect him.

It's not enough to be President of the United States. He has to be the Most Popular President of the United States Ever.

There's a word or three for someone whose ego is so fragile that he not only has to know that he's the Best in his heart, but has to have everyone else acknowledge it, too.

(Note: the Evil Genius Theory of Donald Trump would suggest that this is merely another repetition of the Big Lie that the media are untrustworthy and disloyal, to continue to gradually add weight to that narrative so that when he does something truly outrageous, nobody will believe it when the media calls him on it.)
The president and his press secretary excoriated the news media for what they said were deliberate efforts to understate the number of people at the inauguration.
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A bit more detail on the press secretary's calling together the media to tell them they were all lying liars: - Sean Spicer held a press conference. He didn’t take questions. Or tell the whole truth.
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The Axanar brouhaha seems to have been settled

The Prelude movie, and a two-part Axanar feature will be posted on YouTube -- without any ads or other commercial inducements.The Axanar makers will admit they stomped all over CBS/Paramount's intellectual property. CBS/Paramount will stop looking so much like ungrateful bullies. The Axanar makers will stop looking like creeps who exploited both fans and the studios.

Now, if only we could get CBS to backtrack on their plans to force folk to subscribe to their silly streaming channel to watch the new Star Trek TV show, all would be well in the Federation.
The long and winding tale of CBS and Paramount versus Axanar has finally come to an end. Much later, I think, than anyone wanted.
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Better only in terms actually having rules, however harsh, and setting a precedent of and allowable case. 
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Husband, father, writer, gamer, diplomat, theist, civil libertarian, techie, pointy-haired manager, traditionalist, Coloradoan, wordsmith, reader, blogger, magpie, nice guy.

I write about politics, religion, my particular geeky pop culture kinks (SF, Fantasy, Comic Books), and whatever other shiny objects attract my attention from moment to moment.
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Excellent Italian, good service, good wine list, very popular.
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All the pizza options you want, served up fast. Good stuff.
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Tasty food, great piece sours. Hard to ask for more.
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57 reviews
Great, homey Asian/Burger fusion; friendly service.
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Very tasty food, but Sunday mornings are always crowded, and service definitely suffers.
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Limited seating for the number of customers they get.
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reviewed 4 months ago