Cower And Kowtow: When you’d rather kill people than upset Beijing

How serious the coronavirus is depends on where you get your sources and who you believe.  But I think we can all agree it’s a major concern and countries have a good reason to have accurate and up-to-date information on the spread of the disease.

Given that fact, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) needs to explain why they refuse to provide Taiwan with information on the disease, and why a PRC national in charge of their twitter account is banning anyone criticizing the ICAO.  As Jessica Drun of the Project 2049 Institute says, “This is how a virus spreads.”

UN aviation agency blocks critics of Taiwan policy on Twitter

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has blocked numerous Twitter accounts — including ones belonging to Capitol Hill staffers and D.C.-based analysts — after facing online criticism for excluding Taiwan from membership.

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Jessica Drun, a non-resident fellow at the Taiwan-focused Project 2049 Institute criticized ICAO in a Jan. 22 tweet:

Want to drive the point home that two orgs, @WHO & @icao, refuse to share knowledge w/ Taiwan authorities. This means civil aviation authorities for one of busiest regional airports do not receive up-to-date info on any potential ICAO-WHO efforts.

This is how a virus spreads.

Jessica Drun (@jessicadrun) January 22, 2020

Drun noticed on Jan. 25 that ICAO had blocked her on Twitter.

Qining Guang, a Chinese national who previously worked for the Civil Aviation Administration of China, is responsible for ICAO’s social media accounts, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Numerous other Twitter accounts were blocked around the same time, Axios has learned, including the accounts of several Hill staffers, analysts and an English teacher in Guangzhou. The accounts had posted similar criticisms.

It’s reckless and petty behaviour by the criminals in Beijing.

Made To Suffer: Bill Lee cares about rapists, not children

Tennessee, 2020:

Tennessee rape-ublican governor Bill Lee has signed a “law” which allows the state’s adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQIA people, and using public tax dollars to do it.  All under the hate-based fiction of “protecting the children”.

Tennessee governor signs anti-gay adoption bill

Tennessee has become the latest state to assure continued taxpayer funding of faith-based foster care and adoption agencies even if those organizations exclude LGBTQ families and others based on religious beliefs.

Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed the bill Friday without fanfare or an official announcement, making it the first law to be implemented in Tennessee this year.

Previously, Lee said he endorsed the law because he believed defending religious liberty “is very important.” The Republican has often cited his Christian faith throughout his first term as governor.

It looks to me more like he is protecting rapists, pedophiles and murderers who want access to children, but doesn’t give a damn about the kids.

Tennessee, February 2019:

Father charged with rape after missing Tennessee girl is found in Wisconsin

A 14-year-old girl who disappeared from Tennessee more than two weeks ago has been found alive in Wisconsin and her father is now charged with rape, authorities said Thursday.

The girl is “doing fine,” Sheriff Tommy Jones of Monroe County, Tennessee, said Thursday.

Randall Pruitt, who adopted the girl, was arrested Thursday in Tennessee and charged with rape, the sheriff said. “(The girl) would be the victim in that,” Jones said.

There’s more below the fold….

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Septic Tank: Brexit is the free-for-all before the free fall

Boris Johnson and his cast of clowns decided to “commemorate” brexit by melting down circulating coins to create a septagon.

In five years, they’ll commiserate over the country when its economy has gone septic.  And they’ll blame everyone except themselves.

Brexit day 50p coin unveiled by Chancellor Sajid Javid

A commemorative 50p coin marking the UK’s departure from the EU has been unveiled by Chancellor Sajid Javid.  The coins bear the inscription “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations” and the date of 31 January.  Mr Javid had first ordered production of the coins in advance of the UK’s original 31 October departure date.

But the Brexit delay meant about a million coins had to be melted down and the metal put aside until a new exit date was confirmed.

The clowns were melting down coins before the election, so certain they were going to ram it through parliament.

Don’t be surprised if these “commemorative coins” turn out to be lower quality metal than standard coins, and Boris Johnson is the new Septimius Severus.  The Romans destroyed their own coins and economy that way.  And I’ll bet his Tories committed some form of financial corruption as they did it.

Followup: Critics are already at work on this.

 

 

Nancy Drew: The shortest straw, and it broke the camel’s back

In 1893, Arthur Conan Doyle wrote “The Final Problem”, his 24th Sherlock Holmes mystery short story, along with two novels.  He killed off Holmes in a “blaze of glory” because he wanted to move onto other types of fiction.  However the public backlash made the character’s retirement impossible.  It was arguably the first time that fandom affected what the authors did and wrote.  Conan Doyle resurrected Holmes in “The Adventure of The Empty House”, writing 32 more short stories and two more novels.

It’s worth mentioning Conan Doyle killing off Sherlock Holmes, because the writers of Nancy Drew decided to “honour” the ninetieth anniversary of the character by killing her off, and having the Hardy Boys solve her murder.

Where did the HB’s find her body?  In a refrigerator?  Unless the writers plan a return like Holmes in “The Empty House”, this isn’t going to go over well.  Nor should it.

New Nancy Drew comic celebrates beloved sleuth’s 90th birthday by killing her

But it’s okay — the Hardy Boys are on the case

Nancy Drew, one of the most beloved characters in children’s literature, is dead. Don’t worry though, the Hardy Boys are on the case. At least that’s the premise of a new comic from Dynamite meant to celebrate the young sleuth’s 90th anniversary.

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Despite the characters’ long history as friends and collaborators, killing off a female character and handing her job to two young men isn’t a great look. And hey, even if a quick plot twist reveals that Nancy’s death was all a fakeout, it sure doesn’t seem like the best way to publicize your Nancy Drew anniversary story. Especially given how strongly Nancy Drew has resonated with young women for nearly a century. Heck, in the introduction to the Nancy Drew Wikipedia page she’s cited as an inspiration for women like Sandra Day O’Connor and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

It’s not a good look, especially whith the way popular media has and still treats women as disposable, still uses the rape and murder of women as a motivator for men’s actions.  Killing one of the brothers and team up the two would not be as outrageous, unless you believe the world revolves around men and women are just tokens and accessories.

As a kid, I mostly read Encyclopedia Brown and Choose Your Own Adventure books, not Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys.  Even I knew then that the second class token treatment of Sally Kimball was problematic.  Imagine the uproar of Donald Sobol had killed off Kimball or Brown’s mother-without-a-personal-name as a plot device.


Nancy Drew books 1-56 can be found here and the Hardy Boys books 1-58 are here on the same site.  The legality of both is questionable.

The entirety of Sherlock Holmes is public domain, so there’s no worry about them.

The Final Show: Jim Lehrer, 1934-2020

Journalist, author and playwright Jim Lehrer died on Thursday, January 23, 2020 (NPR).  He was 85.  The Guardian also wrote an obituary.

Unlike most US journalists, Lehrer was objective and credible, never putting his personal agendas or opinions into his job.  He could (and probably should) have been harder hitting in some of his interviews, but he was respected by all sides (except perhaps Cheetolini and rabid republicans of today).  Even Fox Nuisance managed to publish a respectful obituary of someone who never kowtowed, sold out, or participated in their phony-baloney form of “journalism” (see: Bob Woodward).  Lehrer moderated twelve presidential debates between 1988 and 2012 when he retired. Too bad he wasn’t around in 2016, maybe people would have seen Cheetolini for the clown that he is.

I’m genuinely surprised that no one else has mentioned Lehrer.  He’s one of the few who won’t receive or deserve heavy criticism or endure character assassination when people look back on his career.

Vow To Disavow: Two tales of confessionals in one week

One good, one bad.

“Confessionals” are allegedly absolutes and absolution – You can say anything inside and be “forgiven”, but those who do expect that to apply to the temporal plane as much as the aethereal.  Most of the time, it’s either a way for the abhorrent to be excused of crimes that would result in prison or worse (re: in the 1970s, the current pope giving absolution” to participants in death flights), or a place where deviant individuals can get their jollies telling a priest or pastor what they’ve done with no consequences.  Perverts like showing off.

In Oregon, Timothy Samuel Johnson told members of his mormon church how he had sexually abused his daughter for four years.  To their credit, one of the leaders called the police.  Johnson is now serving fifteen years in prison.  Unfortunately, his wife Kristine Johnson seems to “think” the mormon church owes her US$9million for “violating privacy”.

Child Molester’s Wife Sues Mormon Church for Violating Confidentiality Rules by Reporting His Crimes

Timothy Samuel Johnson of Oregon confessed to sexually abusing his daughter over the span of four years to his church panel, the church reported him to authorities who investigated, convicted and jailed him. Now his wife is suing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, alleging that they violated his right to confidentiality.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Kristine Johnson filed suit in Marion County Circuit Court on January 3.

In 2017, Kristine discovered that her husband had been involved in inappropriate sexual content with their daughter throughout her tween and teen years. Following church doctrine, he confessed before the clergy and the church court at their ward in Stayton, a small town outside of Salem, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

One of the clergy members who heard his confession reported the act to police. Johnson was then arrested for first-degree sodomy, sexual abuse and unlawful sexual penetration, the newspaper reported.

He pled guilty to four counts of second-degree sexual abuse and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He is incarcerated in the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution in Pendleton.

Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, military priests violated the privacy of gays, lesbians and bisexuals.  They told superior officers, and those outed in violation of “rules” were thrown out.  Hypo-christianity is on display again.

Priests broke confession confidentiality to out gay soldiers to military

A British politician has apologized after it emerged some chaplains with the British armed force told superiors about gay and bisexual military personnel in the 1990s.

The UK dropped its ban on openly LGB people serving in the armed forces in 2000. However, before this time, gay military personnel were routinely dismissed if their sexuality became known. 

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The newspaper spoke to veterans who say they confided in their chaplain, only to be questioned days later by military police.

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It’s believed both Church of England and Roman Catholic chaplains were involved with the practice. It’s uncertain if the information led directly to soldiers being dismissed.

“Confession” is nothing more than a “get out of hell free” card, and it’s used like a credit card with no spending limit.  Priests and pastors are con men, not professionals like doctors or lawyers.  It’s time to end the privilege religion gives to criminals.  If someone tells of a crime they committed, priests and pastors are required to turn them in or face legal consequences.

Would that stop criminals from confessing?  Probably not, because as I said above, sadists and deviants like to brag about their conquests.  They won’t be smart enough to shut up.

 

Word Salad Censors: Vegetable English defeats Korea Fish

It would not surprise you if I said that the mainland mass murderers in Beijing tried to censor any discussion of Taiwan’s election last Saturday with the Great Firewall.  They obviously didn’t want anyone in the prison camp nation getting any ideas like democracy and fair representation.  But people being people, they found a way around it and shared the results around the country by using homophones and coded language.

Re-elected president Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was nicknamed “Vegetable English” because her family name Tsai (蔡) is a homophone for vegetable (菜).  Ing-wen (英文) is the Mandarin word for the English language.

Defeated KMT candidate Han Guo-yu’s (韓國瑜) family name and part of his personal name are the word for Korea (韓國).  The second half of his personal name, Yu (瑜), is a homophone for fish (魚).

Being the ignorant furriner that I am, I didn’t find out about this until after the election.  I couldn’t understand why last Friday and Saturday, kids kept saying “Korea fish!”  Now I know.

Self Harm: Anxiety is taxing

I recently read a FemPositive item from November 2018 about anxiety and the forms it can take.  And while she doesn’t mention all types of mental health issues, they’re certainly included.  I didn’t do the same as her, but I understand her words.

I had my own nervous tics when I was younger.  My hands suffered endless knuckle cracking and nailbiting, but the skin stayed intact.  It was my lips and inner cheeks that suffere, biting and pulling skin to the point of bleeding.  I now only bite my cheeks when nervous.

I have friends with bipolar and other issues, and their compulsive behaviours are obvious even to the untrained eye.  One of my coworkers (not a friend) has an obsessive habit of clicking her pens, 10-20 times per minute.  All day.  Every day.

Woman’s Facebook Post Shows That Anxiety Is So Much More Than An Inability To Relax

The conversations around mental health, fortunately, are becoming more open in today’s society. People are getting more comfortable to talk about their mental health problems and issues, although not everyone experiences them the same. This difference in people’s experiences doesn’t discredit anyone’s pain and struggle in life.

For some people anxiety manifests with panic attacks and hyperventilation, for others, it is simply the inability to relax. For others, all the symptoms are more severe.

Facebook user Megan Lynne Ferrero decided to openly share her experience with anxiety and it went viral because of so many people related to her story.

Ferrero posted a photo of what her hands look like after biting her nails due to anxiety.

 

I Hope I Die…: People over 30 are too old

Well, that’s according to a voluntary survey, anyway.  I turn 53 next month and I’m still dancing until all hours at clubs, though I couldn’t name you a single hit song of the past ten years.

Deezer, a music streaming service, said (in 2018) that on average people hit the wall around 30. I was still into new music and listened to everything until I moved abroad at age 34 (2001) and got “set in my ways” around 37-38.  I was physically isolated from new Canadian or foreign music for years. After I started clubbing again, I thought, “This ‘music’ sucks!” but I still dance anyway.

I live for 1980s parties.

Something Strange Happens To Your Taste In Music At Age 30

There’s a reason your grandparents still listen to Elvis, your mom still loves Bon Jovi, and you still have a strange affiliation with the crap bands you liked when you were 14.

A recent survey by the music streaming service Deezer asked 1,000 people in the UK about their musical preferences and their streaming habits. According to their findings, people tend to experience a “musical paralysis” at around the age of 30.5, whereby they stop listening to new artists or genres and tend to stick to what they know.

Musical discovery peaks at an average age of 24 years and five months, although women generally hit this peak around a year earlier. At this age, almost 75 percent of respondents said they checked out 10 or more new tracks per week, and 64 percent said they listened to five or more new artists every month. Around 60 percent of people feel like they are in a music rut and struggle to break out of playing the same old artists over and over again.

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There is possibly another factor at play. During our younger years, especially as teenagers, we are the most influenced by the music around us. In The New York Times, data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz wrote about how the songs that were popular in our teenage years, particularly between the ages of 11 to 14, tends to remain our most streamed songs on Spotify.

One funny thing: I’ve heard it said that the number 1 song on your 14th birthday defines your life.  I thought it was a load of codswallop until I found out what mine was.  It turns out to be true for most people I know.

“The Tide Is High” was #1 in Canada, the middle of February, 1981:

Dig Deeper: The back story of the DC Sniper is fascinating

I was recently pointed towards a podcast called “You’re Wrong About”, and their episode on the Beltway/DC Sniper shootings of 2002.  The episode is 110 minutes long, but worth listening to.

It wasn’t “domestic terrorism” and had nothing to do with islam. It was “domestic violence” (aka Intimate Partner Violence) and everything to do with a custody dispute.

Mildred Muhammed, ex-wife of John Allen Muhammed, is a fascinating and heroic person.

US police proved themselves incompetent once again.  If they had taken IPV seriously, the seventeen victims would still be alive.

And the first victim of the DC Sniper is the most important, overlooked because no one wants to examine IPV seriously.  The story of the shootings is eerily reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s book, “The A.B.C. Murders”.

Preliminary Report: Tsai Ing-wen is likely to be re-elected

The resutls of Taiwan’s national election (yes, it is a country) are not yet complete, but every intermediate count is showing the same result: Tsai Ing-wen (DPP) leads with over 58% of the presidential vote, with Han Guo-yu (KMT) second at 38%, and James Soong (PFP) a distant third at 4%.

Update: Multiple scources report a voter turnout rate of 74.9%, this despite the fact that many people must travel to vote.  Unless people own property, they are required to vote where they grew up, a silly rule that needs to change.  Citizens are required to give the governmwnt their new address if they move, so the government knows where everyone is.  Let them vote where they live.

Preliminary voting counts were not allowed before 4PM when the polls closed.  Yes, that’s unusually early compared to other countries, but voter turnout is still high.  Taiwan is a single time zone and 90% of the population lives on the western side, so there was no risk of an east coast bias like there is in Canada or the US.  But it’s still a good idea to ban early returns to avoid morning voters influencing afternoon voters.

The News Lens is reporting live results as they come in.  The restriction on early vote counts has meant people are all checking the internet at the same time. Since 4PM until now (7PM as I write) several news websites have crashed from overloading.

All of the west coast counties have voted for Tsai except two, Miaoli and Hsinchu, which are farming districts.  Hsinchu City is where the industrial parks (i.e. computer and other industries) are based, so I would have expected them to lean rightward but instead they voted for Tsai.  (In those counties, Han only leads Tsai 50% to 45%.)  The east coast counties of Hualien and Taitung and two island counties (Kinmen, Lienchiang) are predominantly fishing and traditionally conservative areas, so it’s not surprising that they voted for Han.

The biggest surprise thus far is southern Taiwan. The southern half has always been KMT territory and pro-unification. Han was the mayor of Kaohsiung and rode a southern wave of popularity, yet he lost in his home district. He and his party’s repeated incompetence didn’t help matters.  All candidates are assigned a number, and voters choose them at the polls.  Han’s campaign chose to place 9, 2, and 1 together in a campaign ad, which angered people almost as much as using 911 in the US would (the September 21, 1999 eathquake that killed 2400).  Han inferrred recently that Tsai would bring dictatorship and invoked the “white terror”, ignoring the fact that it was his KMT that perpetrated the white terror.  And it came to light in the last week that Han had been seeking dual Canadian citizenship, something not allowed for presidential candidates.

It’s almost as if the KMT were trying to self-destruct.

The Stars Look Down: Neil Peart, dead at 67

When I first saw the headline reporting Neil Peart’s death, I was hoping it was “fake news”, but when CBC and others were listed as sources, I accepted it.

Peart was always a private man who kept his personal life out of the media.  When his first child died in 1997 and first wife in 1998, he asked for privacy and spent years away. I’m really not surprised that he never publicly revealed his diagnosis.  I wonder how long he knew and if he was in contact with Gord Downie during his last days.

Neil Peart, drummer and primary lyricist for Rush, dead at 67

Neil Peart, the virtuoso drummer of iconic Canadian band Rush who was revered by fans and fellow musicians as one of the greatest drummers of all time, has died at age 67.

The influential musician and lyricist died Tuesday in Santa Monica, Calif., after having been diagnosed with brain cancer, according to a statement issued Friday by family spokesperson Elliot Mintz.

His death was confirmed by Meg Symsyk, a media spokesperson for the progressive rock trio comprising Peart, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson.

“It is with broken hearts and the deepest sadness that we must share the terrible news that on Tuesday our friend, soul brother and bandmate of over 45 years, Neil, has lost his incredibly brave three-and-a-half-year battle with brain cancer,” his bandmates said in a statement.

They also called for privacy for Peart’s family and urged fans wanting to express their condolences to make a donation in his name to a cancer research group or charity of their choice.

“Rest in peace, brother.”

I thought I would be more upset than I am, but as I get older, I’ve gotten more philosophical and accepting of the inevitable. I’m just glad for what was.

Remember in the 1970s when being openly gay or queer (never mind being Transgender) was “shocking”?  Any time a celebrity came out, it was a message to young people everywhere, “You’re not weird or wrong.  There are other people like you.”

Peart, and Rush as a whole, were the same for me in the 1970s and 1980s: They said the things I felt, held the same points of view.  They told me I wasn’t the only one in the world, that there were others who felt the same way.  And it made living in a world of oppression just a little bit easier.  I will always be grateful to him.

Some songs are below the fold.

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