No Shit, Pope Sherlock.

Pope Francis addresses a joint meeting of Congress in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 24, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jim Bourg.

Pope Francis has issued a statement that nuclear war would be bad. I’m sure most of us just didn’t know that one already.

According to CNN, the pope was traveling from Egypt to Italy when he echoed earlier remarks about the danger of a “piecemeal third world war.”

“It’s piecemeal but the pieces are getting larger, and are concentrated in places which were already hot,” Pope Francis explained. “Today a wider war would destroy, I won’t say half of humanity, but a large part of humanity and culture. It would be terrible. I don’t think humanity today could bear it.”

Nuclear war will have wide ranging, catastrophic effects well past what and whoever is caught in the initial blast zones. That’s been common knowledge for many a decade now. That would be the faster option when it comes to killing ourselves. Right now, we’re going with the somewhat slower option of driving climate change.

“I think the United Nations has the duty to resume its leadership, because it has been watered down a bit,” the pope said, adding that a third-party nation like Norway could help mediate talks between North Korea and the United States.

How about you ask that impotent god of yours to get off its ass, and magically enlighten the fucking idiot parading as the U.S. president? He’s not terribly keen on that whole united nations stuff, and boy, does he love havin’ himself some nukes. As for Norway, pardon? Anyone ask the Norwegian people what they think about that idea?

Via Raw Story.

Trump Doesn’t Know What He’s Talking About. Shocker.

Donald Trump (CPAC)

Oh here’s a big ol’ shocker – the Tiny Tyrant is running his mouth without the slightest hint of knowledge behind it. Mr. Tweet had a Twitter frenzy this morning, screeching out “Obamacare is dead!” and other shite. He kept spewing shit in an interview, making it as plain as could be that he doesn’t have the slightest idea of what comprises his “great new healthcare plan”. Fucking idiot.

In an interview with Face The Nation’s John Dickerson that aired Sunday, it appeared that President Donald Trump did not fully understand what was in the latest version of the Republican health care bill.

When Dickerson pushed Trump to acknowledge why there are critics of the bill, noting higher premiums for older people, Trump interrupted him to say that issue was fixed. Throughout the interview, Trump insisted that the latest version of the bill addressed all of the problems Dickerson mentioned, even though the bill has only become worse for low-income people, older people and people with pre-existing conditions.

When Dickerson asked Trump explain how higher premiums were “fixed” under the new health care bill, he didn’t have an answer.

Think Progress has the full story. Honestly, this level of incompetence should be an automatic disqualification.

Sunday Facepalm: Guns & Death Edition.

Image credit: STILLFX.

The NRA is all fired up by Donny’s sucking up. They really didn’t expect the Tiny Tyrant to win, and hadn’t planned on having a new target, as they were completely focused on Clinton. They’ve had to do a bit of scrambling to identify a new enemy, and as the Tiny Tyrant is doing such a good job of shoving his head up the NRA arse, they’re supporting him in the ‘enemy’ department.

But with President Trump’s win — unexpected even for many here at the NRA’s annual meeting — the group had to reorient itself around a new target able to drive just as much anger in its millions of members.

ISIS or other international threats may have been easy marks. But judging by the rhetoric used by NRA leaders and President Trump in Atlanta this week, the gun lobby has set its sights elsewhere: the media.

“It’s up to us to speak up against the three most dangerous voices in America: academic elites, political elites, and media elites. These are America’s greatest domestic threats” LaPierre told thousands of NRA members on Friday at the group’s Leadership Forum, explaining that the media is trying to destroy Trump and his administration.

When do we get to talk about dangerously obsessed gun fondler elites? I’d like to have that discussion.

“Leftists media elites deliberately deceive and spin and twist the truth to grow their anti-American agenda,” he said. Later he asked: “When did the media stop being journalists and start becoming PR flacks for the destruction of our country?”

Taking it a step further, LaPierre told his members that the job of the NRA is to give “the media the big fat black eye it so often richly deserves.” Dana Loesch, a conservative media personality and NRA spokesperson, later used similarly incendiary language in a video segment, saying gun owners need to “fight this violence of lies with a clenched fist of truth.” And Chris Cox, the group’s chief lobbyist, claimed that the media “drew their knives from the very beginning” and led a “vicious” attack against Trump.

The line drew huge applause from the audience, and a mention of CNN later in the event led NRA members to take to their feet chanting “CNN sucks.”

Oh great, the aging white dudes think they are playing war. Did they not get the memo that guns are passé? Donny has nukes!

The NRA spent more than $30 million last year to elect Trump — more than three times the amount it spent on Mitt Romney’s campaign — and the investment paid off. Speaking on Friday as the first sitting president to address the NRA in over three decades, Trump confirmed his commitment to upholding the group’s agenda.

When it comes to attacking the press, the NRA appears ready to do Trump’s bidding. And its members are ready to fall in line.

[…]

With similar thinking coming from the Trump administration in Washington, that kind of language could translate into policy when it comes to freedom of the press. Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told ABC News Sunday that the president is open to considering changing the constitution so that he could sue journalists for unfavorable coverage.

Well, didn’t take the Tiny Tyrant long to focus on the merits of fascism once again. Speaking of, the Tiny Tyrant is all a gush over his new bestest buddy ever, Rodrigo Duterte. Donny really, truly admires Duterte’s war on drugs. Yeah, we’re very fucked here.

Full stories at Think Progress: NRA, Duterte, Suing Journalists.

The Elephant Not In The Room.

Highlights from Hasan Minhaj’s speech at the white house correspondents dinner. The full speech is available after the highlights video at The Washington Post.

Here are some of the harshest jokes from Minhaj’s speech.

— “I would say it is an honor to be here, but that would be an alternative fact. It is not. No one wanted to do this. So of course it lands in the hands of an immigrant.”

— “Don Rickles died just so you wouldn’t ask him to do this gig, alright? RIP to Don Rickles, the only Donald with skin thick enough to take a joke like that.”

— “A lot of people in the media say that Donald Trump goes golfing too much. . . which raises a very important question: Why do you care? Do you want to know what he’s not doing when he’s golfing? Being president. Let the man putt-putt!. . . The longer you keep him distracted, the longer we’re not at war with North Korea.”

— “We gotta address the elephant that’s not in the room. The leader of our country is not here. And that’s because he lives in Moscow, it is a very long flight. It’d be hard for Vlad to make it. Vlad can’t just make it on a Saturday! As for the other guy, I think he’s in Pennsylvania because he can’t take a joke.”

— “There was also another elephant in the room, but Donald Trump Jr. shot it and cut off its tail.”

— “Jeff Sessions couldn’t be here tonight, he was busy doing a pre-Civil War re-enactment. On his RSVP, he just wrote ‘NO.’ Just ‘no,’ which happens to be his second favorite n-word.”

— “Is Steve Bannon here? I do not see Steve Bannon. I do NOT see Steve Bannon. Not see Steve Bannon. Not-see Steve Bannon.”

— “Betsy DeVos couldn’t be here, she’s busy curating her collection of children’s tears.”

— “Fredrick Douglass isn’t here, and that’s because he’s dead. Someone please tell the president.”

— “Mike Pence wanted to be here tonight, but his wife would not let him because apparently one of you ladies is ovulating. So good job, ladies. Because of you we couldn’t hang out with Mike Pence.”

— “Even Hillary Clinton couldn’t be here tonight. I mean, she could have been here, but I think someone told her the event was in Wisconsin and Michigan.”

— “[Sean Spicer] has been doing PR since 1999. He has been doing this job for 18 years. And somehow, after 18 years, his go-to move when you ask him a tough question is denying the Holocaust. That is insane! How many people do you know that can turn a press briefing into a full-on Mel Gibson traffic stop?”

— “Donald Trump is liar-in-chief. Remember, you guys are public enemy number one. You are his biggest enemy. Journalists, ISIS, normal-length ties.”

— “It is amazing to be among the greatest journalists in the world, and yet, when we all checked into the Hilton on Friday we all got a USA Today. Every time a USA Today slides underneath my door, it’s like they’re saying, ‘Hey, you’re not that smart, right?’ USA Today is what happens when the coupon section takes over the newspaper. Is this an article about global warming or 50 cents off Tide? Either way, the pictures are so pretty!”

— “The news coming out of the White House is so stressful, I’ve been watching ‘House of Cards’ just to relax. Oh man, a congressman pushed a journalist in front of a moving train? That’s quaint!”

— “Even if you guys groan, I’ve already hired Kellyanne Conway, she’s gonna go on TV on Monday and tell everybody I killed, so it really doesn’t matter.”

(To the press) “Remember election night? That was your Steve Harvey/Miss Universe moment.”

— “It was all fun and games with Obama, right? You were covering an adult who could speak English. And now you’re covering President Trump, so you gotta take your game to a whole new level. It’s like if a bunch of stripper cops had to solve a real-life murder.”

— “Tonight is about defending the First Amendment and the free press, and I am truly honored to be here, even though all of Hollywood pulled out now that King Joffrey is president and it feels like the Red Wedding in here.”

— “We all know this administration likes deleting history faster than Anthony Weiner when he hears footsteps.”

— “[Donald Trump] tweets at 3 a.m. sober. Who is tweeting at 3 a.m. sober? Donald Trump, because it’s 10 a.m. in Russia. Those are business hours.”

— “This has been one of the strangest events I’ve ever done in my life. I’m being honest with you. I feel like I’m a tribute in ‘The Hunger Games.’ If this goes poorly, Steve Bannon gets to eat me.”

— “Fox News is here. I’m amazed you guys even showed up. How are you here in public? It’s hard to trust you guys when you backed a man like Bill O’Reilly for years. But it finally happened. Bill O’Reilly has been fired. But then, you gave him a 25 million dollar severance package. Making it the only package he won’t force a woman to touch.”

— “I know some of you are wondering, Hasan, how do you know so much about Fox News? Well as a Muslim, I like to watch Fox News for the same reason I like to play Call of Duty. Sometimes, I like to turn my brain off and watch strangers insult my family and heritage.”

— “MSNBC is here tonight. And I’m glad you guys are here. That way if I’m bombing, Brian Williams will describe it as stunning.”

— “MSNBC. It’s hard to trust you guys when you send so many mixed messages. On the one hand you tell us the prison industrial complex is the problem, and then you air five straight hours of ‘Lockup.’ You can’t be mad at corporations profiting off of minorities in prison when you’re a corporation profiting off of minorities in prison.”

— “I had a lot more MSNBC jokes, but I don’t want to just ramble on, otherwise I might get a show on MSNBC.”

— “CNN is here, baby. You guys got some really weird trust issues with the public. I’m not going to call you fake news, but everything isn’t breaking news. You can’t go to DEFCON-1 just because Sanjay Gupta found a new moisturizer.”

— “All you guys do is stoke up conflict. Don, every time I watch your show it feels like I’m watching a reality TV show. ‘CNN Tonight’ should just be called ‘Wait a Second Now Hold On Stop Yelling At Each Other with Don Lemon.’”

— “You guys have to be more perfect now more than ever. Because you are how the president gets his news. Not from advisers, not from experts, not from intelligence agencies. You guys. So that’s why you gotta be on your A game. You gotta be twice as good. You can’t make any mistakes. Because when one of you messes up, he blames your entire group. And now you know what it feels like to be a minority.”

— (Later, addressed again to the media.) “By the way, you guys aren’t really minorities, you’re super white.”

— “It’s 11 p.m. In four hours, Donald Trump will be tweeting about how badly Nikki Minaj did at this dinner. And he’ll be doing it completely sober. And that’s his right. And I’m proud that all of us are here to defend that right, even if the man in the White House never would.”

Hasan did a fantastic job, and didn’t pull any of the well-deserved punches. There were a number of distinctly unamused faces in the audience, and that’s good, because at least some of those remarks hit home.

Via The Washington Post.

Karl Blossfeldt.

Karl Blossfeldt, Cucurbita sp., pumpkin, tendrils (courtesy D.A.P.).

Karl Blossfeldt, Polystichum munitum, western swordfern, young furled frond (courtesy D.A.P.).

As someone who gets obsessive about shooting plants, all the various bits, and finds them endlessly fascinating, Karl Blossfeldt has long been a revered icon. There’s a new book of his photos out, and they remain some of the most beautiful botanical photos ever taken. That beauty is magnified by the fact that Blossfeldt was using a homemade camera.

Karl Blossfeldt originally made detailed photographs of plant specimens as teaching tools for his applied art students, building his own camera to magnify the sculptural qualities of seedpods, pumpkin tendrils, and horsetail shoots at up to 45 times their size. The 1928 publication of his book Urformen der Kunst (Art Forms in Nature) suddenly brought the Berlin professor widespread artistic acclaim, with critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin describing the “astonishing plant photographs” as revealing “the forms of ancient columns in horse willow, a bishop’s crosier in the ostrich fern, totem poles in tenfold enlargements of chestnut and maple shoots, and gothic tracery in the fuller’s thistle.”

[…]

We’re so familiar with macrophotography today that it may be hard to return to the early-20th-century context and imagine how these images would have startled viewers with their revelations of intricate beauty in even the smallest bud of a violet. Yet they remain compelling examples of looking closely at the world around us.

I love macro photography, and indulge in it often enough, but for me, none of it takes away from Blossfeldt’s work. There’s a joy and purity to his photos which are simply unparalleled.

Hyperallergic has the full story.

The Daily Bird #338.

Birds in a cherry tree, from Charly: To brighten the day a little.  The female tree sparrow was busily picking insects and I just could not get her in close up. The male tree sparrow was just swaggering and grooming himself.  The female bullfinch was grooming herself and just sitting there sleepily. The male bullfinch was busy gorging himself on the buds but I managed to get him in the end. Who would have guessed that bullfinch is a de-facto pest and sparrow is useful.  Click for full size!

© Charly, all rights reserved.

The Mad, Maniacal Dash.

Tucker Viemeister.

In spite of the Tiny Tyrant’s insistence that the first 100 days just don’t matter, he’s tipped over into the obsessed side to rack up something, anything, and he’s driving everyone else more than a bit crazy. So basically, business as usual, amplified by magnitudes of order.

President Donald Trump has dismissed the idea of measuring the success of his first 100 days in office as “ridiculous.” But the president and his top officials have made a number of startling moves this week with the deadline in mind, and Trump has privately obsessed over getting a win before the cutoff.

The last-minute moves have frustrated some of Trump’s allies, caused a scramble across his government and proved once again that decisions are made by one man on his whims — and often with an eye to his media coverage.

To his supporters, it looks like the kind of action Trump promised as a candidate. “That’s how a CEO makes decisions,” said Rep. Chris Collins, a New York Republican.

Trump’s promise last Friday to deliver a tax plan within five days startled no one more than Gary Cohn, his chief economic adviser writing the plan. Not a single word of a plan was on paper, several administration officials said, and Treasury officials worked all weekend to draft a one-page summary of his principles with a news conference the president demanding the action.

“The reason your head is spinning on this is that the plan isn’t even written yet,” one senior White House official said this week as conflicting details emerged about what would be in the plan. “This was all about doing something in the first 100 days and really it’s doing the process backwards.”

When White House officials demanded last week a health care vote by the 100-day mark, Speaker Paul Ryan was traveling in Europe and taken aback. The leader of the House of Representatives wasn’t in on the plan, had no desire to vote this week and feared it wasn’t even possible. No one even knew what the bill would say because the language had not been written.

“It was totally insane,” one senior GOP aide said. “It made no sense. There was no reason to say a vote was happening this week.”

[…]

Still, aides described the lead-up as mad-dash, even by the typical Trump White House standards, with more focus on optics than substance.

Definitely business as usual for the regime. There’s much more to the story, click on over to Politico for the full article.

Still Workin’

Work, Work, Work 80. After playing about a bit, I decided to use DMC Perle 3 for the foliage; I have it in abundance, thanks to the generosity of Kestrel, and in all the colours needed for Autumn foliage. I hadn’t noticed at the time Kestrel sent me all this bounty, but all of the Perle is vintage, all the labels are old style, and there’s not a bar code in sight! As I’m already using a good amount of vintage threads, that makes the choice all the better. The quality of it is fantastic, and it’s a joy to use. Current Hours: 1,098.5 1,100.* Skeins Used: 161. For those who don’t know, one skein is 8 meters (8.7 yards). Click for full size.

*Updated to include today’s hours.

© C. Ford.