Pence’s Pandering.

Yesterday was Focus on the Family’s 40th anniversary. I remember 1977 well enough, and I remember the low stirrings of this evil beast of christianity. Back then, no one took this sort of nonsense seriously; Wildmon was ranting about decadent television shows, which had little more effect than to boost ratings for said shows. The anti-abortion groups were just starting up, and most of the fanatical groups were focusing on that during the remains of the ’70s. They didn’t start getting serious traction until the mid ’80s.

Before Pence took the stage, Focus on the Family president Jim Daly announced that the group would donate an ultrasound machine to a crisis pregnancy center in Indiana in the vice president’s honor.

Pence began his speech by delivering greetings from Trump, “a good friend of mine, who’s a leader, who’s a believer, who’s a tireless defender of the values that will make America great again,” and praising firebrand Focus on the Family founder James Dobson as a “friend” and a “mentor.”

“I promise you, Focus on the Family, you have an unwavering ally in President Donald Trump,” he said.

This is why I wish people wouldn’t keep nattering on about how Pence would be so much worse than Trump as far as the presidency is concerned. Trump is beginning to lose support even among his faithful, he cannot afford to alienate those christians who would like a theocracy. They are, unfortunately, a powerful base, one most moderate christians won’t oppose for one reason or another. So far, Trump has gone out of his way to give these fanatics what they want.

Pence assured the group that Trump would stand beside them in defense of “those who are persecuted for their faith, no matter the country they call home or the creed they profess,”

Um, I, uh, no. No, that’s not what’s happening, not at all. The Tiny Tyrant is busy persecuting the hell out of a whole lot of theists.

“President Trump has stood without apology for the most vulnerable in our society, the aged, the disabled, the infirm and the unborn,”

:Snort: Yeah, right. The ‘unborn’ aren’t people. I’m aged, and while I don’t consider myself disabled, I do have specific health problems which impact my quality of life. Whatever side Trump is on, it’s certainly not mine, and it’s not anyone else’s, either, unless you count billionaire’s row. Stripping people of healthcare and safety nets? That’s not care, of any kind. The only thing Trump stands for is his own pockets.

But Pence saved his most impassioned praise for Trump’s opposition to abortion rights, telling the audience that Trump “stands without apology for the sanctity of human life.” He cited the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy, also known as the global gag rule, the elimination of U.S. support for the UN Population Fund, and the passage of a law allowing states to pull funding from Planned Parenthood.

“And this summer, when we repeal and replace Obamacare, we’re going to defund Planned Parenthood once and for all,” he promised.

Oh, there’s the wet dream of all those fundies: no more Planned Parenthood. Today would be a good day for donations. There’s video of the whole mess at RWW.

Driftwood People.

Installation at Mount Fuji, November 2008.

 

“Gathering bits of wood from here and there, like an insect building a nest, I create sculptures”.

Artist Nagato Iwasaki‘s lifelike driftwood sculptures are perfect examples of the uncanny valley — the feelings of revulsion and uneasiness one experiences from non-human objects that appear a bit too similar to real human beings. Japan seems to excel at this in areas like robotics technology, and indeed, the term “uncanny valley” itself was coined in 1970 by a Japanese roboticist, Masahiro Mori. Iwasaki takes this concept out into nature, blurring the line between flesh and wood.

Over the past 25 years, Iwasaki has been crafting these sculptures as part of a collection he simply calls “torso.” The sculptures themselves are life-sized at around 180 centimeters tall, or 5 feet 9 inches and made entirely of driftwood the artist collects in various locations in Japan. No one sculpture is exactly like another which makes them all seem like individuals with their own quirks and personalities. Descriptions of Iwasaki’s sculptures by viewers run the gamut from scary, unsettling, and imposing, to profound, intriguing, and otherworldly.

I love these sculptures, perhaps because I’ve always seen wood as flesh. You can read and see much more at Spoon & Tamago.