Wake Up: Six of one, a dozen of the other

That was quite the night yesterday.

Around 1:41am local time (UTC+8), there was a 6.6 earthquake north of Taitung, Taiwan, one of the small cities on the east coast.  Fortunately this is a sparsely populated area (barely 100,000 people).  This far other than collapse of a bridge under construction and a few minor injuries (e.g. an 88 year old man cut by glass), this has been remarkably uneventful.

What has people worried was the seventy two aftershocks within a 50 km radius over the next forty minutes, according to the Central Weather Bureau’s Seismology Centre.  This one kept going and going.  As of now, twenty-seven hours later, there have been 150 aftershocks around the island, a few dozen on the west side of the island near the inland city of Chiayi.  There is no risk of tsunami because the subduction zone is under the island, not offshore.

Normally I wouldn’t quote “Taiwan News” due to its low quality, but when feet on the ground are closest to the event…

Magnitude 6.6 earthquake strikes southeast Taiwan

Taiwan sees 150 aftershocks, another magnitude 6 possible

Giant boulder falls on southeast Taiwan highway after magnitude 6.6 earthquake

It’s like something out of Wile E. Coyote:


There are several collections of surveillance video already on youtube.  This was the best of the lot:



I doubt we can blame China for this one.

Dog Races: TERFs won’t like this one

Anti-Trans bigots and media have been promoting fictionalized accounts Lia Thomas’s results in NCAA swimming, falsely claiming she has been “dominating” and “breaking records”.  I don’t see how an eighth place and fifth place finish are “dominating”.  Will the TERF trash start calling Gretchen Walsh a “man” for winning the national title?

Lia Thomas finishes 8th in 100-yard freestyle, final race of collegiate swimming career

Penn swimmer Lia Thomas’ collegiate swimming career ended with an eighth place finish in the 100-yard freestyle on Saturday. Thomas, a transgender woman, posted a time of 48.18 seconds, 0.81 seconds slower than her qualifying time of 47.37 seconds.

Virginia freshman Gretchen Walsh won the title in 46.05 seconds to land her first individual NCAA championship. It was a familiar spot for Virginia swimmers, who won seven individual titles and four relays to propel the Cavaliers to their second straight national championship in dominant fashion.

Three other Transgender athletes (one retired, one a current competitor and one from last year) have gotten less notice because of their sport: the Iditarod sled dog race in Alaska.  I’ll bet the TERFs and other anti-Trans bigots will ignorantly call it “unfair competition!” for a Transgender woman to compete against cis women there.

Except that the Iditarod does not have separate male and female divisions.  It’s an open event, women and men compete directly against one another.

First up, NBC’s item on Quince Mountain, from June 2021:

Iditarod’s 1st transgender dog musher races to beat anti-trans sports bills

Quince Mountain, the Iditarod’s first openly transgender dog musher, is using his popularity on social media to combat anti-trans sports bills in his home state, Wisconsin, as well as a slew of similar bills introduced in dozens of states. The two Republican-backed measures being debated in the Wisconsin Legislature seek to ban trans students from participating on sports teams that match their gender identities.

“I don’t think I’ve been angrier about an issue than I am about this sports thing,” said Mountain, 41.

Mountain became the first out transgender musher to compete in the 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race through Alaska in March 2020 (he was forced to stop about 250 miles shy of the finish line because of the Covid-19 pandemic). Now, Mountain, who has garnered a sizable following on social media, is racing to educate the public and state lawmakers about the potential dangers of anti-trans sports bills.

“It sends a message to trans kids that they’re a problem to be dealt with, and that message, I think, is lethal,” he said. “This is so punitive. It’s using kids as a political cudgel.”

Second, two items on Apayauq Reitan (a link to her twitter page), a Transgender Inupiaq woman who competed in the 2022 Iditarod race:

Inupiaq musher set to make history in Iditarod

An Indigenous musher is set to make history Saturday, March 5, by becoming the first transgender woman to compete in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, the premier sled dog race in the world.

Apayauq Reitan, Inupiaq, one of four Alaska Natives competing this year, said she hopes to inspire other transgender people.

“Part of why I’m entering the race again is because I want trans people to be able to see themselves, to see that you can be any kind of person you want to be,” she told Indian Country Today. “No matter what your interests are, you can transition and keep doing the things that you want to do. You don’t have to change your whole, entire life if you don’t want to.”

It’s the third consecutive year in which a transgender athlete has competed in the Iditarod, a 1,000-mile trail from Anchorage to Nome through flatland tundra, treacherous inclines, blizzard-prone summit passes, steep gorge descents and frigid river overflow.

Quince Mountain, a veteran of several mid-distance sled dog races, was the first trans man to compete in the Iditarod, making it about 714 miles into the 2020 race before race officials withdrew him, citing a rule related to competitiveness.

Will Francis Troshynski was the first transgender athlete to complete the Iditarod, finishing 34th of 36 in 2021. Nine mushers — including a former champion — scratched that year and one musher was withdrawn.

Reitan, Mountain and Troshynski say that the mushing community has been supportive of them as human beings and as athletes. Mushing is a socially isolated sport — when she’s not in Norway, Reitan is in Kaktovik, a village of 283 on Alaska’s Northern Slope — so a lot of support comes via social media.

Reitan won the Red Lantern Award for last place finisher.  That award is not an insult, because the Iditarod is like the Dakar Rally or the Tour de France.  Just finishing the 1600km race is a massive achievement in and of itself.  From Alaska News Source:

Iditarod live blog: Iditarod 2022 complete, musher’s banquet tonight

By Alaska’s News Source Digital Team

Published: Mar. 6, 2022 at 1:26 AM UTC|Updated: 22 hours ago

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – This live blog is where the Alaska’s News Source team will post breaking updates, race standings and more throughout the 50th annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

March 20 – 2:10 p.m.

Reitan takes home Red Lantern Award as final musher to arrive in Nome

Apayauq Reitan of Kaktovik has won the Red Lantern award, as the last musher to finish the Iditarod this year. Yuka Honda of Healy was not far in front of her, finishing just 11 minutes ahead of Reitan.

Reitan finished with seven dogs in 13 days, 8 hours, 39 minutes, and 13 seconds, crossing the finish line at 11:39 p.m. Saturday night.

“There was a part where it was blowing pretty hard from the side and we were going like almost at a 45 degree angle with the sled forward,” Reitan told Iditarod.com at the finish line. “It’s very nice to be here and for so many people to have shown up. It’s nice to see.”

As the final finisher, Reitan extinguished both the Widow’s Lamp and the Red Lantern to signify that each musher had safely gotten off the trail.

In total, 37 mushers finished the Iditarod and 12 mushers scratched.

Finally, a screenshot from the reddit group, r/traaaaaaannnnnnnnnns.  I love these two comments:

DragonOfTartarus: Don’t you know? Dogs prefer trans women over cis women, so they work harder for them! Clearly trans women need to be banned from mushing!

SlayerOfDerp: Actually it’s that dogs can smell evil like in movies and that’s why they don’t like terfs specifically.

Music Rules: How timely

Two albums hit their fortieth anniversaries this week, and considering world events, this borders on strange coincidence.

Men Without Hats released their debut album “Rhythm Of Youth” on March 20, 1982 (link to youtube playlist).  Two of the band members are (were) brothers Ivan Doroschuk and Stefan Doroschuk, their younger brother Colin Doroschuk also playing on the album.  They are Canadians of Ukrainian descent.  While I can’t find any interviews or items with him, I’m sure Ivan Doroschuk has something to say about the invasion.  Men Without Hats were always a political band.

Iron Maiden released their third album “The Number Of The Beast” on March 25, 1982, playlist seen below.  This album is the epitome of “All killer, no filler”.  The album’s opening track “Invaders” tells the story of the 9th century Viking invasion of England, of murderers, rapists, and plunderers, and the people arming themselves to fight back.  Gee, that doesn’t sound anything like current events, does it?  The album’s first single (of two) was “Run To The Hills”, about the 19th century genocide of First Nations people in North America.

And while not on the original album release, the song “Total Eclipse” (youtube link) is included on CD reissues.  The song is about environmental collapse, how having all the wealth of the world means nothing if the planet is unlivable, something oligarchs of every country have failed to grasp.

Great Ideas Never Die: They just get improved upon

On Pi Day this week, Ars Technica published an item on the PDP-11 Minicomputer, arguably the most influential minicomputer in history (or most influential computer, period), as well as longest in production (more than 20 years), outliving the Apple II (1977-1993).  The PDP-11 cost US$20,000 in 1970, which is US$146,000 today.

The PDP-11 sales numbers of 600,000 look unimpressive only if you think in terms of microcomputers that sold millions.  This was a minicomputer used by universities, governments, businesses, militaries, etc. As with the Apple II and ZX Spectrum, the Soviets and East Bloc countries tried to clone or steal the PDP-11.  There’s an apocryphal tale from the 1970s/1980s of a VAX headed for Berlin going missing on the Autobahn, but I can’t find a confirmed source for the story.

The AT item talks not just about the history of the PDP-11, how it led to the Unix operating system (and its descendants) and the C programming language, it provides the basics of its architecture, programming in assembler.  I never used a PDP-11, but its assembly language looks near identical to its descendant, the VAX 11/780 and 4500 that I used in college.  Reading this was like hearing a dialect that you understand enough to pick out many phrases, but not a whole conversation.

A brief tour of the PDP-11, the most influential minicomputer of all time

The history of computing could arguably be divided into three eras: that of mainframes, minicomputers, and microcomputers. Minicomputers provided an important bridge between the first mainframes and the ubiquitous micros of today. This is the story of the PDP-11, the most influential and successful minicomputer ever.

In their moment, minicomputers were used in a variety of applications. They served as communications controllers, instrument controllers, large system pre-processors, desk calculators, and real-time data acquisition handlers. But they also laid the foundation for significant hardware architecture advances and contributed greatly to modern operating systems, programming languages, and interactive computing as we know them today.

[. . .]

The PDP-11 was introduced in 1970, a time when most computing was done on expensive GE, CDC, and IBM mainframes that few people had access to. There were no laptops, desktops, or personal computers. Programming was done by only a few companies, mostly in assembly, COBOL, and FORTRAN. Input was done on punched cards, and programs ran in non-interactive batch runs.

Although the first PDP-11 was modest, it laid the groundwork for an invasion of minicomputers that would make a new generation of computers more readily available, essentially creating a revolution in computing. The PDP-11 helped birth the UNIX operating system and the C programming language. It would also greatly influence the next generation of computer architectures. During the 22-year lifespan of the PDP-11—a tenure unheard of by today’s standards—more than 600,000 PDP-11s were sold.

[. . .]

The UNIX operating system started life on a PDP-7 but was perfected on a PDP-11. The first version of UNIX was written in PDP-11 assembler; it had 34 system calls, it was written in 4,200 lines of code, and it ran on 12KB of main memory. Files were limited to 64K in size. It provided a hierarchical file system, the roff text formatter, the ed editor, system administration tools for dealing with disks, magnetic tape, and paper tape, and it included Blackjack, Chess, and tic-tac-toe.

Most importantly, UNIX provided an interactive, time-shared system that was accessible from inexpensive terminals. PDP-11 with UNIX opened the floodgates for inexpensive interactive computing, which then led to an explosion of office productivity. People finally had a means of editing, storing, and printing office documents. This was big in the corporate world, obviously, but things were just getting started.

According to History Computer, many PDP-11s are still in use today (US Navy, Airbus, et al) because they are so robust and reliable.  Now defunct Irish company Mintec continued to service hardware and software after Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) went out of business, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get help for the PDP-11.  Multiple vendors (ComWareTech, StromaSys, StrobeData) provide migration to emulation on Intel hardware.  User and service manuals for the PDP-11 (in PDF form) can be found easily.

There’s also a PDP-11 emulator for the Raspberry Pi called the PiDP-11.  This writer explains his assembly of the kit, plus there are others talking about it (e.g. Hackaday).

There is (was?) a clone called the PDPii in mini-ITX form factor.

He Was Easily Caught: Talk about a smoking gun

Some people think or claim that I exaggerate in what I say about smokers, or accuse all smokers of being guilty by asphyxiation . . . I mean, association.  But that doesn’t mean things that appear in the news aren’t true.  It’s not proven that smoking directly makes people violent, but its addictive effects change the brain and negative changes to people’s personalities can’t be ignored.

From the US, January 2022:

Man upset over smoking fee shoots up Idaho motel with assault-style rifle

A man upset with being charged a $150 fee for smoking in his motel room fired multiple rounds from an assault-style rifle into the building before driving away, authorities in eastern Idaho said.

The shooting occurred Friday morning at the Motel 6 in Rexburg, Idaho, and no one was injured, Rexburg Police Assistant Chief Gary Hagen said.

Hagen said the man was taken into custody later that day in Alpine, Wyoming. His name hasn’t been released. Police said he was traveling with a female companion.

The mind boggles at the willingness of some to perpetrate violence because they don’t get their way (re: the rise in violence at prisons after smoking bans).  The willingness of a few to be violent doesn’t justify giving smokers their way.  Rather, it justfies more smoking bans, or actions like Denmark making it illegal for anyone born after 2010 to smoke and raising the prices to US$9 per pack.  Denmark’s goal is a smoke-free generation by 2030. , justified by a 2018 Nordic study linking aggressive behaviour in childhood and adolescence with maternal smoking during pregnancy. More below.

[Read more…]

Math Fascinates: But differential equations sucked

Why couldn’t I have one of these when I was in college?

I ran across this video by chance, made in August last year.  The narrator shows how differential equations and integrals were solved before digital computers were invented.

If all mathematics and calculus (and other sciences) were explained as clearly and simply as this young man does it, there would be more people in STEM.


Don’t Travel There: But book a room in Ukraine anyway

People have been trying to find ways to help Ukraine and Ukrainians, to get money to them directly, and have come up with a brilliant way to do it: book an Airbnb.

Only Russia is facing sanctions, not Ukraine.  The cell phone, SWIFT and credit card networks in Ukraine still work, which means they can access money sent to them.  So people around the world have started booking rooms in Ukraine (homes, not hotels) to get money to people immediately.  Those booking the rooms have no intention of travelling to Ukraine, but the money gets to people who need it.  It’s brilliant.

People are booking Airbnbs in Ukraine — not to stay, but to lend their support

Some people have found a novel way to get money to Ukrainians as their country is under attack from Russia: booking immediate Airbnb stays they don’t intend to use.

Sarah Brown, who lives in Salt Lake City, is one of those who got the ball rolling in a Facebook group for Airbnb hosts. She booked a stay in Kyiv.

Someone in the Facebook group noted that it was important to support Ukrainians in places other than Kyiv, so Brown booked two more stays in smaller cities, with plans for more.

Ekaterina Martiusheva is the host of the first apartment Brown booked in Ukraine.

Speaking to NPR from Kyiv, Martiusheva says the bookings mean a lot: “These days we do not have any income. We do not have any right to ask our country to help us, because all the country’s resources are for the war and for the victory.”

Airbnb hosts are paid 24 hours after a guest checks in, so people abroad are booking stays and letting hosts know that it’s a gesture of solidarity, and they don’t plan to appear.

The idea spread over the last few days, and Airbnb is waiving all host and guest fees in Ukraine for now.

Normally I wouldn’t praise a company, but this small gesture says and does a lot.  Kudos.

Continue from the item:

Martiusheva says the donations via Airbnb bookings have been valuable because of human connections. “It’s not just money, it’s the support and encouragement. We get these notes of people who are calling us brave, and it does feel great,” she says. “It’s just amazing, really.”

She has also been directing donors on Airbnb to contribute to a fund for the Ukrainian army as well.

It gets money to people who need it, and just as importantly, it lets people show support on an individual basis, not like the Red Cross which can feel impersonal.

Radio Waves: When high tech fails, go low tech

Ras-Putin enacted full media censorship as part of his power grab.  Independent news sources inside of Russia were either taken over by military force or chose to not talk about the invasion as the only way to stay open.  And news media from every other country has been forced to leave Russia.  There is no way from inside of Russia to report the facts to their people.

So, don’t do it from inside the country.  Do it from outside, in a way that Ras-Putin can’t prevent you from doing it.

The BBC has turned on their radio towers again, broadcasting into Russia on shortwave, just like they used to do during the cold war.  Russians with shortwave radios can listen for four hours a day, and Ras-Putin can’t do anything about it.

When high tech fails, go low tech.  Good thing the BBC never tore down the towers and transmitters.

BBC website blocked in Russia as shortwave radio brought back to cover Ukraine war

Access to BBC websites has been restricted in Russia, hours after the corporation brought back its shortwave radio service in Ukraine and Russia to ensure civilians in both countries can access news during the invasion.

State communications watchdog Roskomnadzor restricted access to BBC Russia’s online presence, as well as Radio Liberty and the Meduza media outlet, the state-owned Russian RIA news agency reported on Friday.

[. . .]

The BBC’s shortwave radio broadcast can be found on 15735 kHz from 4pm to 6pm and on 5875 kHz from 10pm to midnight, Ukraine time.

The BBC’s move to bring back shortwave came days after Russia launched two missiles on Kyiv’s TV tower, killing five people and knocking out some access to news and broadcasts.

Ukraine’s defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov, wrote on Twitter that the Kremlin was preparing to cut off communications and spread “massive fake messages that the country’s leadership has given up”.

Russia has clamped down on public dissent at home, while Kremlin-backed media organisations such as RT have been pulled internationally. The Kremlin has complained about the BBC’s coverage of the invasion, with Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova claiming without evidence that the BBC “plays a determined role in undermining the Russian stability and security”.

And from CNet:

BBC Brings Back Shortwave Radio Broadcasts in Russia

The move comes as Russia restricts access to the BBC’s websites.

The BBC’s shortwave radio broadcasts are back in parts of Russia and Ukraine, as Russia moves to block the British media outlet’s websites within its borders.

The two new shortwave frequencies are broadcasting four hours of news in English each day and can be picked up clearly in Kyiv and parts of Russia.

“It’s often said truth is the first casualty of war,” BBC Director-General Tim Davie said in a statement. “In a conflict where disinformation and propaganda is rife, there is a clear need for factual and independent news people can trust — and in a significant development, millions more Russians are turning to the BBC.”

“We will continue giving the Russian people access to the truth, however we can,” Davie said.

The truth, from the British Biscuit Company?  Compared to Ras-Putin’s propaganda machine, yes.  But it’s better than nothing.

Time Passes: And yet the movie still bites deep

The film Nosferatu: A Symphony Of Horror debuted in Germany on March 4, 1922, one hundred years ago, starring silent film actor Max Schreck, and directed by F. W. Murnau.  While not the first film featuring a vampire as a character, it is the oldest surviving vampire horror film.

I wasn’t planning to talk about the film here, but a few things I recently learnt about the film made it worth mentioning.



Nosferatu was plagiarized from Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, which was published on May 26, 1897.  Other than changes of character names and inventing the idea of the sun killing vampires, it is essentially the same story.  Bram Stoker’s wife Florence Stoker (née Balcombe) was the executor of his estate and sued the studio, demanding all copies of the film be destroyed.  All the originals were, but some of the copies sent out to theatres survived.  Those copies have been edited and altered in some way (e.g. colouring, editing of scenes), but it is essentially the same film.  The original release, however, has been lost to time and their is no true original anymore.  The legal action sent the studio into bankruptcy.

Claims have been made that the title character Count Orlok is an anti-semetic caricature.  If it is, the film was made three years (and released two years) before Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” was published in 1924.  It’s unlikely his own rabid ideas has much influence on the film; if any anti-semetism were in the film, it reflected general societal attitudes.  Jacinda Kumar: Murnau’s “Nosferatu” (1922) within the wider context of Weimar Cinema (PDF).

But an event of that era may have been an influence on the story: the Spanish flu pandemic of 1917-1918.  (The link below mentions March 15 as the release date; I have seen multiple dates, I’m going with the earliest, March 4.)  If this is true, the film makers’ willingness to make social commentary was impressive.  From Polygon.com, emphasis mine:

100 years ago, Nosferatu made vampire movie history out of a global catastrophe

Directed by F.W. Murnau and written by Henrik Galeen, the German Expressionist landmark turns 100 years old on March 15. Due to a legal battle with Stoker’s estate — after producers failed to purchase the rights to the novel, even though they credited it in the opening titles — Nosferatu spent its early life on the brink of erasure. But its narrative and visual language have echoed through the decades. These hallmarks grew out of a historical theme that has found renewed relevance in recent years: At its heart, Nosferatu is about fears of illness and plague. The silent-era classic opens with title cards describing a fictitious scourge, but its story was crafted in the shadow of the 1918 Spanish Flu, a pandemic that affected roughly a third of the world’s population. Like so much of modern horror, Nosferatu is a film where darkness consumes, light liberates, and color — yes, color — foreshadows both hope and doom.

[. . .]

The film makes a key historical association during Orlok’s voyage from Transylvania: The crew of the vessel he’s traveling on die off one by one, each with mysterious bite marks on their neck. While the audience isn’t made privy to their suffering, the specter of death looms over them beforehand — or rather, under them, in the rat-infested hull of their ship, where Orlok has stored several coffins filled with the cursed earth he needs to survive. It’s especially notable that rodents, the animals which once spread The Black Death on trade ships, can be seen burrowing through the very dirt that gives Orlok his power. Even Orlok himself has a rat-like appearance. (Many over the years have suggested the design could be an antisemitic caricature, and perhaps an inadvertent one. Galeen himself was Jewish, but the film certainly presaged more overt propaganda comparing Jewish people to plague rats in later years.)


Fortress of Solitude has a positive review, primarily of the film’s historical value, as does Horror Film History.  It is rated 97% on Rotten Tomatoes,  Roger Ebert rated it highly, as do reviewers on the IMDB.  Grunge goes into great detail about the film, its production and its messages.



Since the film is a hundred years old, it is obviously out of copyright and free to download and watch if you can find it.  There are multiple versions available on youtube, the Internet Archive, and elsewhere.  It’s worth two hours of your time.  Yes, overacting was the norm in the silent film era, but that was out of necessity, having to express ideas through body language (and the accompanying music) without voiced dialogue.


Music Rules: The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy at 30

I am not a rap fan and have owned very few rap albums over the years.  However, “Hypocrisy Is the Greatest Luxury”, the debut album by The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, is one that I have never tired of, an album whose politics remain relevant thirty years later.  It was released on March 3, 1992.  It’s not just because it’s Industrial/Hiphop that I like it.

“Satanic Reverses” is about the fight for progress against a system designed to protect the powerful and hypocritical.

“Famous and Dandy (Like Amos and Andy)” criticizes the stereotyping of Black men in the media, and how some are willing to live up to those stereotypes for the sake of fame.

“Television, the Drug of the Nation” is the most famous and standout song on the album.  It was everywhere in 1992, used on many TV programs as criticism of the medium.  I wonder what Franti would have said about the social media companies had he written the song today.

“Language of Violence” is a condemnation of homophobic violence, and of the organized violence of the US prison system.

“The Winter of the Long Hot Summer” was written about Bush Sr.’s first “Gulf war”, though it was just as relevant during the second and the US’s 20 year occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.  Oil and other companies profitted while ex-soldiers dealt with the consequences.

“Hypocrisy Is the Greatest Luxury” and “Music and Politics”, about the search for commercial success of the public versus personal failings with those closest to us.

“Everyday Life Has Become a Health Risk”, obviously an environmental song.

“INS Greencard A-19 191 500” uses recordings from the US government snitch line, edited and altered from the original messages, but showing the real intent behind the phone line.

“Socio-Genetic Experiment”, a semi-autobiographical story about a Black man of mixed ancestry growing up in the US.

“Financial Leprosy”, a condemnation of conspicuous consumerism and how it keeps people poor.

“California über alles” is a cover of the Dead Kennedys song, with help from Jello Biafra.  Performed in 1992, it was rewritten about Pete Wilson, not Jerry Brown as in the original.

“Water Pistol Man” sounds like a response to Billy Bragg’s “The Passion” (from Bragg’s 1986 album “Talking With The Taxman About Poetry”).  Franti mentions Bragg by name in the song, and quotes the lyrics.

Sadly, the group only made two albums before disbanding. Vocalist Michael Franti, who is an ardent socialist and human rights activist, went on to found the group Spearhead.

Here is the album on a youtube playlist:


Families Aren’t Valued: Greg Abattoir is a butcher

And rightwingnuts are massive hypocrites.  And water is wet.

It’s amazing how much can transpire in one week:

Greg Abattoir (a/k/a the Austin Assassin, the Butcher of Baylor, the White Supremacist of Wichita Falls) has dictated that providing proper medical care to Transgender children will be labelled “child abuse”.  And yet he said nothing (or he enjoyed it) when ICE agents in San Antonio were raping immigrant children in the concentration camps.  But that’s no shock from an individual that wants to criminalize anyone not white and male, willing to allow the poor to die in the cold.

Activist poses chilling scenarios parents of trans kids may face as Texas Gov. labels them abusers

This week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) sent a letter demanding the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) investigate parents who support their transgender children and allow them access to gender affirming medical care prescribed by their doctors.

In response, trans advocate Gillian Branstetter, the press secretary of the National Women’s Law Center, has been posting some of the horrific situations supportive parents of trans kids in the state may now find themselves in.

[. . .]

With permission, Branstetter has also been sharing notes she has received from the terrified parents of trans youth.

“I’m so scared for her,” wrote the mother of a 14-year-old trans girl who lives outside of Houston.

She added, “I can’t take her to the doctor or have her dress like she wants or change her name or get her affirming care even therapy because then what will that be coercion to accept abuse? Mind control?”

The mother also feared what would happen if her daughter was ever actually taken away from her.

“When they remove the kids because the abuse doesn’t stop, are they going into housing where people will abuse them and make them detransition? Every prospect scares me for her.”

Meanwhile, the “moral majority” proves once again it is neither.

“Family values” Republican drops re-election bid after raunchy texts reveal extramarital affair

Van Taylor, a “family values” Republican Texas representative with a wife and three daughters, has dropped his re-election campaign after the public saw a raunchy sext he sent while having an extra-marital affair with Tania Joya, the widow of an Islamic State fighter just last year.

The sext requested her to perform analingus on him while he enjoyed a drink and then suggested that she give him deep oral intercourse.

A xian school in Texas believes “LGBTQIA kids are sexual predators!” while simultaneously protecting a cis hetero toxic male who raped another student during a hazing “ritual”:

5 officials at Christian school in Texas charged with failing to report alleged sexual assault of student

Five officials at a Christian school in Texas have been arrested and charged with failing to report the alleged sexual assault of a ninth-grader that unfolded in the locker room during baseball practice, officials say. 

The faculty members, two coaches and three administrators at Midland Christian School, were arrested Wednesday and charged with failure to report with intent to conceal neglect or abuse.

The five were: Jared Lee, school superintendent; Dana Ellis, secondary school principal; Matthew Counts, secondary assistant principal; Gregory McClendon, athletic director and head football coach; and Barry Russell, baseball coach, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by NBC News.

[. . .]

The victim, who was not named, said he entered the locker room to change when the lights suddenly turned off. He said he heard someone say it was “freshman initiation day” and a 10th grader began to hit him. He said he could hear people screaming as he was hit, the affidavit said.

He was then allegedly sexually assaulted with a baseball bat by another student, according to the affidavit. 

As I’ve said before, and it still holds true:

The more publicly prudish, the more privately prurient.

I have no doubt Abattoir took glee in hearing a woman was murdered last weekend in Houston.  What is the likelihood that the cops do a slipshod job of “investigating”, that they deadname the victim (which amazingly the media didn’t)?  Or they try to pin the crime on her boyfriend?

Transgender woman found dead with multiple gunshot wounds in southwest Houston apartment, HPD says

A transgender woman was found murdered in her southwest Houston apartment Saturday evening, according to police.

The victim was found shot to death around 8 p.m. inside an apartment on Dunlap and Clarewood. Her boyfriend discovered her body after he arrived, noting the door was unlocked, police say.

Neighbors told investigators they didn’t hear the shooting. Authorities believe the shooting happened during the day on Saturday when few people were home. There was no sign of a break-in, investigators say.

Thankfully, there seem to be a few people in Texas, willing to stand in the way.  There’s a judge who blocked Abattoir’s attempt to abuse a child and remove her from her family:

A judge has blocked a Texas investigation of one transgender teen’s parents

A Texas judge on Wednesday blocked the state from investigating the parents of a transgender teenager over gender-confirmation treatments, but stopped short of preventing the state from looking into other reports about children receiving similar care.

District Judge Amy Clark Meachum issued a temporary order halting the investigation by the Department of Family and Protective Services into the parents of the 16-year-old girl. The parents sued over the investigation and Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s order last week that officials look into reports of such treatments as abuse.

Meachum wrote that the parents and the teen “face the imminent and ongoing deprivation of their constitutional rights, the potential loss of necessary medical care, and the stigma attached to being the subject of an unfounded child abuse investigation.”

And a few educated district attorneys not willing to be political pawns.

5 Texas district attorneys push back on Gov. Abbott’s ‘child abuse’ claims on transgender care

Five Texas district attorneys pushed back on Gov. Greg Abbott’s directive in which he called gender-transitioning and affirming procedures as “child abuse.”

In a letter signed by district attorneys who represent some of the most populous counties in the state, they called the directive “un-American.”

“We are deeply disturbed by Governor Abbott and Attorney General Paxton’s cruel directives treating transgender children’s access to life-saving, gender-affirming care as ‘child abuse,'” the letter read.

The district attorneys stated they “will not irrationally and unjustifiably interfere with medical decisions made between children, their parents, and their medical physicians” to ensure the safety of transgender youth.

They added, “We will not allow the governor and attorney general to disregard Texan children’s lives in order to score political points.”

Zelenskyy Caught Trying To Bribe!

Just not the way the republiclowns wanted.

Here’s a news story most western media have failed to cover: Ukraine’s government is offering money and asylum to Russian soldiers who surrender.  It sounds expensive, but think about it: nobody gets hurt, and the Russian army gets weaker.

Ukraine offers amnesty and money to Russian soldiers who lay down their weapons

Ukraine will give amnesty and money to Russian soldiers who lay down their weapons, the defense ministry said on Monday as Kyiv ramps up efforts to end Moscow’s assault on its territory.

“We offer Russian soldiers a choice: to die in an unjust war or full amnesty and 5 million rubles [$47,293] in compensation, if they lay down their arms and surrender voluntarily,” Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov said on Twitter.

It’s genius. It’s non-violent, it reduces the enemy forces, and it’s the most demoralizing thing you can say to them: “If you keep fighting, you’re suckers.”  Even at the lousy exchange rate of the ruble, US$47,000 in Ukraine would last for years.  Ukraine’s per capita income is US$3,740.

As Beau of the Fifth Column notes, most Russian soldiers are conscripts, including dissidents and (only alluded to) LGBTQIA people forced in to “make a man out of you”.  Ukraine’s views on LGBTQIA rights aren’t perfect, but they’re leagues ahead of Russia’s and would likely change when EU membership requires it.


Compare And Contrast: Taiwan’s situation is not like Ukraine

I’m sure you’ve seen a variety of reports and opinions about Taiwan’s situation with China compared to Ukraine’s with Russia, so here’s one more (before I give mine) from the Central News Agency using google translate:

Indian expert: The situation in Russia and Ukraine affects the Taiwan Strait and China will not take the opportunity to invade Taiwan

Two experts on China from India believe that although the Ukrainian crisis may indeed affect the situation in the Taiwan Strait, Beijing should still prefer to wait and see changes at this stage and will not rashly invade Taiwan.

[. . .]

Citing history, Vijay Kranti said China encouraged North Korea to start the Korean War in 1950, while Beijing seized Tibet while Washington was busy supporting ally South Korea. When asked whether Taiwan or Ukraine is more important from the perspective of U.S. strategic considerations?  Kranti said that, personally, it is likely Ukraine, because all US allies are involved in the Ukraine crisis, and the US anti-Russian mentality has not been eliminated.

[. . .]

On the other hand, Gaurie Dwivedi, a visiting scholar at the United Service Institution of India, a think tank, told the Central News Agency that while China may see the Ukraine crisis as a similar template for encroaching on Taiwan, it does not escalate provocation to Taiwan. Dwivedi, author of Blinkers Off, How Will The World Counter China, believes that the current situation is turbulent and unpredictable, and if China takes relevant actions, it will trigger a strong response from the United States, so “China should wait and see what happens at this stage.”

I doubt things are going to change for at least the next two years.  Some things about Ukraine and Taiwan are undoubtedly similar, but there are a lot of major differences that make an armed invasion unlikely here.

Then again, I could be dead wrong (figuratively and literally).  More below the fold.

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Music Rules: Little Earthquakes shook everybody

Tori Amos’s album “Little Earthquakes” was released on February 25, 1992, thirty years ago. It was her second album, her first as a solo artist. It’s on many “Greatest Ever Albums” lists, selling over ten million worldwide.

The record is Amos’s personal statement, and yet it’s so universal that every woman who listens can relate to these songs: “Crucify”, “Girl”, “Little Earthquakes”, “Winter”, “Tear In Your Hand”, and many others.  But the song that hits hardest has to be “Me And A Gun”, a vocal with no instrumental accompaniment at all.  It’s a fictional account by a narrator who murdered her rapist and is on the run.  Amos, who was raped a few years before writing the album, founded RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, the largest nonprofit anti-sexual assault organization in the US.

Here is a stream of the full album from her official youtube channel, plus extra tracks (a full list below the fold). Her cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is staggering, seething anger instead of violent outrage.



It’s not just Tori Amos who is worth mentioning.  1992 may well be the greatest year in music for women recording artists.  A partial list of 1992 albums recorded by women is below the fold.


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