How to Destroy the Democratic Party and the Country

>> Tuesday, April 25, 2017

I know, I know, I was supposed to write more of these but I was unexpectedly sucked into more book stuff and then ended up in the hospital...well, you know how it can go. And I was all psyched, gonna write something that isn't politics.

Well, so much for that.

There's been a big debate, when people aren't going on and on and on about how horrible Hillary is, even in the face of the monstrosity we have in the White House, about how to "fix" the DNC. What can we do after this calamity?

Here's my short answer: Don't fix it. That's not what's broken. Well, it wasn't.

Could use a bit more spine, of course, but that plays into why it's struggling so much now while the GOP is circling the drain. This should be when the DNC has it made. Unfortunately, we're so convinced we suck that we're going to throw away what makes us great out of fear. That's stupid. I need a state-sized hand to smack this country a couple times. Snap you out of it.

Now, here's my long answer: What the hell is wrong with you people? The biggest problem the DNC and people who are sympathetic to the DNC have is that they've been told no one agrees with them, so they are constantly second-guessing themselves. Too often, they are unwilling to make a stand in case it upsets some group of voters because, if they're not in power, they can't get anything done (especially with the current state of the GOP). That's whacked thinking of course, but slightly less whacked than the alt-left and the alt-right/now mainstream GOP which has been told everyone agrees with them (and they believe it) and think they walk on water because that's insane. These folks think they can do anything and it won't come back to bite 'em in the butt, that they can espouse any horrific notion and there will never be repercussions. They believe their own lunacy. They forgot they were even lying.

There are a couple things everyone who isn't currently part of the Trumpian mind meld (and I use the term "mind" loosely) or part of the Sanders mind meld keep forgetting.

For the past 60-70 years, all the good governance, all the recovery from fiascoes and blatant government corruption, all the sound economic policies and civil rights, all the improvements that so many have had in the past seventy years have had Democratic fingerprints all over it, even some of what happened on a Republican president's watch. All the unnecessary wars, the slicing back of safety nets, the fiscal irresponsibility, the deregulation, the environmental looting, that's GOP.

The Republican party hasn't had a clue how to govern in decades, which is why their presidents do so much damage but not as much as they might because they rarely have had a Republican Congress at the same time, and they've made their total inability to accomplish anything but catastrophe a point of pride. They not only willingly but gleefully picked up the ugly mantle of bigotry when the Dems (who had it first) began to realize how totally unsavory it was. They wear it unabashedly while telling us that bigotry doesn't even exist and probably never did.

Part of the Dem's good governance--and this is important--is that they never forgot the Republicans were part of the citizenry, too. That they looked at the big picture, were willing to wheel back their wants and wishes at times, accept half a loaf, often finding out the half a loaf was too much at once and adjusting. They LEARNED. The DNC wasn't just about winning, it was making the country greater, more inclusive, better for everyone and they would have gotten a lot further on that if they hadn't spent so much of their time cleaning up after GOP messes and, honestly, trying to make it work with difficult people who kept saying the opposite of the truth as if that could make it reality.

Someone's got to be the grownup in the room, got to do the grunt work, and make the sacrifices required for making this country function. And, more and more as decades progress, that was falling into the hands of solely the Dems instead of being something at least a few Republicans were trying.

What about the communists and stuff, the independents? I'll get there. The alt left has a bit in here, too, but it's not what you think it is and it's got nothing to do with governance.

Now, since the GOP was busy forgetting anything they might ever have known about leadership, they had nothing to do but line their pockets by passing out favors (and, yes, there are Dems guilty of this, too, and--gasp!--independents, but for blatant self-serving corruption, the GOP are masters. They don't even pretend they're not profiting off their legislation anymore) and figure out how to win. Because that's all they got. And winning, it turns out, is much easier than governance because no (self) sacrifice is required, no truth, no accountability, no thought. It's all about emotional manipulation and, since they've got the evangelicals in their fold now, they know just how to manipulate with hatred and fear, rage, all the things that have led to the ugliest chapters in human history. It works because emotional responses turn off thinking (literally) and outrage (for real events or false) becomes the catalyst to convince people to constantly subvert their own best interests.

Is it doomed if we don't stop it? Absolutely. And they'll take a lot of good people with them. The damage could go from years of recovery to total annihilation, and not just because our Trumpian toddler wants to play with the big red button. No way, unchecked, this ends in a pretty way. It never has.

So, Bernie's and other alt-left icons are the answer, right? I mean, obviously, he knows how to counter the GOP's winning strategy and can bring brightness and light into all the dark recesses of the DNC. Ugh, I just threw up a little in my mouth. Where's that state-sized hand again? We need another smack.

The alt-left is not without its uses. Historically, here and there, they have pointed out abuses no one notices and stirred up outrage that prods the DNC and other to stand up and address.  But occasional screaming is not the same damn thing as governance.

The LAST damn thing the DNC needs is to hand over the controls to ANOTHER group that's never had ANY experience governing (except in several Latin American countries riddled with poverty, violence, and corruption). Or assume a man who couldn't even win a contest among lefties can win over a whole country of everyones, even using the same tactics as the GOP (which he did). And still lost. He's not even good at it. Oh, sure, he tried the divisiveness and the "us vs. them" rhetoric, the hate-the-rich mantra, then moved on to the smear the one with governance experience by insisting that there's nothing worse for the country than knowledge and experience. That was quite the logical fallacy. And he failed conclusively so that everyone knew it (but him and his most rabid followers).

Now, personally, I'd love to forget about Bernie. Not only has he lost all relevance sometime in April, but he's a never been, rather than a has-been, and knows diddly poo about leading because, if he did, he wouldn't be tearing the DNC apart under the guise of "unity." But, sometimes, even someone not worth one's time says something that just can't go unchallenged, and this is especially so now that the DNC has (idiotically) embraced them as their messiah: tossing away civil rights as if it's something we can pick up later, no problem, once the "real" problems are dealt with.

That's total horseshit. Not just because those civil rights for immigrants, Muslims (and Jews, too), blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, women, LGBTQ, disabled people, the elderly, are all on the chopping block while Bernie whines about corruption, though they are, but also because this is what separates us from everyone else. Not just the GOP. If the DNC decides, "Oh, we're not going to even try on this stuff now. We'll get back to it," there will be nothing to stop the wholesale dismantling of more than a half-century of hard-won progress because there is no one else defending it, no one else standing up for it, no one else who gives a shit.

As soon as you make the human rights of any citizen of this nation negotiable, something we can live without, no one is safe. As soon as you take away a woman's autonomy over her own body, she is less than human, not even able to decide her own life. As soon as you tell a black man, "Suck it up, the new minimum wage (which will never happen) will help you, too," without any cognizance that he can't get a good education without improvements, will find himself in jail on trumped up charges, or otherwise marginalized from the potential he might otherwise have had, you have become complacent that he'll never be treated as a full human being, deserving human decency

And that's the thing. Bigotry isn't just cruel and mean-spirited. It's STUPID.

Let me repeat that in case you missed it. It's STUPID. You can't marginalize half and more of your population without the country, as a whole, suffering for it. That potential, the minds and ideas and breakthroughs and culture and classics and everything that will never come to pass make the world that much darker. For what? So some fat cat somewhere can get a second yacht?

Stupid. Bad governance.

And suicide for the DNC because, right now, the blocks that come out, year after year to help them in the voting booth are women and minorities. Not because the Dems have always given them all they want, but because they'll at least try, because everything different between now and when "colored only" was a common sign, happened because the Dems fought for it.

If the Dems tell them, "Hey, you're really not worth it," not only will these still-marginalized people have no one to protect them, but the Dems will have lost the people who were most loyal to them.

And we'll have deserved it.

This whole notion is so illogical and asinine, so utterly self-destructive, it stinks to high heaven of GOP anti-logic and manipulation. I don't know about you but I'm sick to death of being manipulated by the stupid party. So, DNC, stop it. It's embarrassing.

So, what do we do?

Guess that will have to do with the next post.


Screw the Gimmicks; We Need to be Fighting for Substance

>> Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Facebook, if nothing else, often provides me food for thought. Not because I'm dealing with idiots--because I don't deal with idiots any more; fresh out of patience for that nonsense--but from people I like, admire, appreciate who say something that, the more I think about it, the less I agree.

As one might guess, a good portion of the thinking public is trying to wrack their brains to figure out how they can (a) minimize the damage from the Trumpster Fire currently in office and (b) change the dynamic drastically in the next election so we can limit it further and perhaps even start on the long ugly slog of cleanup.

Of course, that means hashing and rehashing "what Hillary did wrong" but, hey, "we're not attacking her." And I get the rationale for trying to find ways of dumbing down our complex messages and weighty dreams into palatable chunks for the electorate so they feel special this time. I totally get why they're doing it. I even applaud the intent.

I just think it's wrong. It's not only wrong to do, it's going in the wrong direction and we've done too much of that already.

This past election was a war between actual meaningful verifiable substance and celebrity hateful garbage that didn't even pretend it was real. And the latter won, not by much, but by enough.

It's not the first time I've heard this cry: it's the same battle between climate change scientists and deluded deniers, healthcare practitioners vs. the rabid and totally debunked antivaxxers who insist that killing your child is better than autism, economic realists begging us not to once again try tactics that always end in abysmal ugly failure but sound good to the people who will get no benefits ("Lower taxes!"), those who realize that vilifying a religion is not how you get rid of terrorists, it's how you make 'em, etc, etc, etc.

These battles shouldn't be battles at all because the war between substance and empty rhetoric should be a shoo-in for substance, especially with the overwhelming data for any culture that wants, hey, a future of any kind.

And yet...

And that's why, finding the right gimmick, the right tagline, the right front man even if he (always a he) has got no depth is the wrong direction to pursue. Because, as soon as we become the party that says gimmicks are better than substance, we're no different than the other party. Once substance doesn't matter, once the truth doesn't matter, once the reality of governance becomes less importance than someone with snappy lines at the podium, it's only a matter of time and no one will be defending substance. 

Sound extreme? It's not. I come from a scientific background. That's why I know the "scientists can't be trusted" nonsense is just that. If you're smart enough to be a scientist, believe me you could get rich quicker in many other fields if you were willing to compromise your integrity. Science is all about finding the truth, the how and why, the substance in the laws of nature that rule our existence so we can manipulate them or use them to the best effect. You can't go looking for the truth by ignoring it in favor of glam. Unlike politics, in the world of science, a single fudged study or manipulated result gets you exiled forever. You can have wild theories and hypothesis, but fake thedata and pretend it's real: you're outa there. Because every lie, every misrepresentation of the truth hides the substance and makes openings for more falsity to come and obscure reality and delegitimizes the good hard work they do.

Climate science doesn't need to find a new more straightforward way of explaining what's happening. What's happening is pretty straightforward: our crazy energy usage (primarily fossil fuels) is dumping shitloads of CO2 into the environment which makes the environment not only hotter but more volatile and chaotic, kills ecosystems in the water and, even worse, threatens Disneyworld. The specifics are complicated, but the general message: burning oil, coal and natural gas (at least that we don't make ourselves) is killing us off and we need to stop doing so. It's not that the layman can't grasp that message, it's that he's been offered an alternative and we've let that be acceptable. "It's fine. Nothing to worry about. The earth does this all the time. Let's dig some more wells, and, hey, don't lift a finger to find ways to save yourself money, reduce your energy usage, change sources, etc."

Well, no worries, then. All such a man needed was a viable alternative to believe and its complete lack of substance doesn't matter because there's no penalty for things that have no substance. They get the same  (or more) air time so it must be legit.

We don't need to dumb down our message. We shouldn't dumb down the message. Governance is a hard task. We shouldn't have stupid people in positions of power. We shouldn't have people that are bought and paid for in positions of power. We shouldn't have people who ignore science and reality and substance to convince their constituents to elect them in a position of power.

And the reason they are there is because too many of us have stopped defending substance, have been all accommodating when someone trots out something that's demonstrably false instead of blasting them or laughing them off the stage, off the screen, off the newspaper. If I'm coming on a news show to explain the established facts of climate change, I don't need some paid shill up there tossing a snowball around like that means anything and we shouldn't continue to support shows that do so, we shouldn't read papers that do so, we shouldn't take as serious contenders anyone who does so.

And that's a much harder task because the celebrity depthless crap has become established as reality, that's why people can still talk about how Obama was a bad president or Reagan was a good one.

Tens of millions of people supported Hillary because they knew she had the chops to do the job. The background, the experience, the fortitude to withstand the horrific elements that come with the job, the understanding that answers are rarely simple binary yes or no's when we come face to face with complex problems that have short term and long term implecations. She was substance and this country repudiated her.

We have to change that, not find someone who will impress the same idgets that repudiated her but make them see that substance matters, that truth matters, that reality matters. Trump should help with that, he and his Congressional phalanxes of soulless jerks rubbing their hands with glee at the notion of taking away food from school children and old folks. We have the opportunity to say: "This is what you get when substance doesn't matter. When the truth doesn't matter. When reality doesn't matter. Suffering and damage that may take generations to recover from, if, in fact we do." And that's what we should say. Not that we'll try our own version of bullshit to see if we can compete.

We can't. They've been doing bullshit way longer and know how to tweak our bullshit to favor themselves. They've got a pipeline that stinks around the world. As they did in this last election.

Instead, we have to staunchly defend capability and know-how, science and reality, facts and humanity. Even if it isn't easy because that's what makes us different. That's what makes real progress. That's what makes change. Fighting for reality and walking the walk.

And the only way to do that is to eschew anyone who humors the bullshit. Anyone who gets all even-handed with lies instead of reality. Anyone who gives equal credence to nonsense, especially harmful nonsense, but really any nonsense. Turn off their shows. Write in to the papers. Make them back claims. Challenge when they misrepresent scientific studies. Don't back down when stereotypes against this group or that group get trotted out. We're all one people and we only succeed if we all succeed. Every other methods always ends ugly. That's historically factual. Some haven't ended yet, but you can see it coming.

And it will be coming for us, because a country that refuses to govern itself on substance deserves to fail. And will. If we don't want it to, we, as the electorate have got to change or we'll have the end we deserve.

Oh, and speaking of reality, can we stop pretending Hillary didn't win the primary? Let's be on the side of truth, shall we?


Dems Need to Drop the Double Standard

>> Monday, March 27, 2017

Yeah, yeah, it's late. Take it up with management.

So, wait, you may be thinking, weren't you just talking about double standards last blog post. (If you think I was nagging, go back and read it again. It clearly didn't sink in). Yes and no. Obviously the double standard that comes with misogyny is a big part of what helped put Trump in the White House.

But that's only part of the problem.

Dems/liberals/progressives have a serious problem. Not just that much of the country, whether we like it or not, is apparently hateful, ignorant or both--though that's pretty frustrating. No, we're also our own worst enemy.

Despite the abysmal failure of Republican policies when implemented, despite the historical failure of Republican policies, particularly economically, despite the overt cruelty inherent in many of the Republican policies and their fingerprints on several of the huge problems Obama inherited that people hated, they've managed to win a large foothold in local, state, and federal governments while they've been failing. That's absolutely mind-boggling to a thinking person as myself, especially with the heinous results seen to date. And then they get more power. How is that possible?

Propaganda is part of it, but there's something else that's key. When Republicans have a candidate, even one that tips their scales in sleaze, corruption or stupidity, they will still get plenty of support if they agree with one of several "pet" positions that have next to nothing to do with actually doing a decent job: abortion, gun regulation, gay rights. Those supporters don't expect perfection or even a modicum of humanity, which might explain the slippery slope of buffoon/psychopath/freaking criminal their candidates have taken over the years until we have the morass of incompetent cruelty we have now. That's insane.

But, no matter how we pretend it was all them, part of it was us, because liberals, too often, are the opposite of conservatives in terms of how we vote. We can agree with almost everything someone stands for, but one vote we don't like, one position we don't agree with, one decision that didn't pan out, and we turn our backs on our own candidates.

Think I'm talking about Hillary? Well, she fits, too, but it's much bigger than that.

Let's talk about Obama, handed two horrific failures of wars, (and the terrorist organizations growing as a result), the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and a concerted campaign aided and abetted by MSM to treat him like the anti-Christ. In amazingly short order, the worst of his crises had begun to reverse themselves and he managed to pull off as close to universal healthcare as our Congress would let him. He is not only intelligent, thoughtful, level-headed, strategic, and compassionate, as well as a hard worker (all key components for someone in his position), he is an expert in the Constitution, articulate, a great speaker, handsome, and an unabashedly devoted family man. Babies love him to an unprecedented level.

How did we reward this amazing man who took us from very maw of extreme failure and even gave us some key accomplishments? We freaking elected a red Congress. So, the many other accomplishments of his Presidency: gay marriage, drastically reducing our dependence on foreign oil, drastically increasing our efforts into green energy, putting some backbone into environmental regulations, imposing restrictions on banking to help preclude another collapse, Iran peace deal, Environmental accord, mending some very broken fences with allies around the world, even (gasp!) the TPP to help keep China from undercutting our future (but, hey, brainiacs, congrats on ruining that. Guess y'all want to be fry cooks) all had to be done without support. And, thanks to a grateful nation making his Congress increasingly red so that he couldn't even fill a SCOTUS seat (as if that was reasonable), he did it all almost single-handedly.

He should be treated as a bloody miracle, at least by the left, especially given the level of vilification on the right. The treatment he received, not just by the extremist "conservative" (racist) media, but tacitly accepted and reinforced my main stream media, down-played his incredible strengths and magnified even the tiniest misstep as if it were malicious, corrupt, or inept. And much of the left totally bought into that. The longest streak of job growth in history was blown off. Not good enough. More people insured than ever before and people with preexisting conditions, completely excluded from health care options before, could now find coverage. Not good enough.

Even his strongest supporters felt they had to make caveats, "He's a great president if only..." Does that mean I agree with all his choices? Why should I? I don't agree with all of anyone's choices, not my ex-husband's, not my mother's, not my daughters'. We're individuals. That's how things get worked out among grownups, we use our differences and our bits of commonness to work for the common good. That's how real people get things done, whether it's a craft club, a family, or any other organization. Dissenters are not tossed out the window summarily. We don't have to agree with everything. We're people.

Folks, that's what will keep us from being successful. Good men, good women will suddenly face a huge wave of truly amazing hatred by their fellow liberals if they don't agree on every topic, if they use their actual experience, knowledge, or judgment to do things they think best and others don't agree. That is also insane.

It's not just the far right that insists on perfection in liberal politicians but still have the warm fuzzies for their own even if they turn out to be pedophiles. The left also insists on perfection and gives the same pass to the right by normalizing monsters to the same level as devoted and capable people.

People aren't perfect. They make mistakes and the smart ones learn from them. As long as we insist on someone who pretends to be perfect, we'll be split from those who notice the lack of perfection and therefore reject, and those who understand that wanting perfection is stupid (and doomed to disappointment). How about competence and integrity instead? Because the other side not only is willing to vote for the woefully incompetent, they're apparently willing to keep doing so in the hopes that eventually pans out.

Someone has got to be smarter than that. I'd like it to be the people who care about the future and many of the most vulnerable groups in this nation.


Stop Telling Me Hillary Gave Us Trump

>> Saturday, March 18, 2017

I've mostly stepped off the politics for a while, not just because the current administration not only makes me physically ill with their hateful callousness and cluelessness, not just because I feel helpless at this stage to do anything about it, but because I feel like this country literally kicked me in the gut with their choice for top executive, me and every capable, talented, hard-working, meticulous woman who has ever tried to meet every impossible standard and been deemed lacking while some know-nothing moron with the "right" plumbing took the job. Nor was it just a slap in the face for accomplished women everywhere (and, no, I don't think it's any better than many of the women slapped themselves) but also a direct attack on poor people, LGBT, Muslims, Jews, blacks, Latinos, immigrants in general (including those here legally) and disabled people. I felt like my own country, which I loved, had repudiated me, had repudiated all of us. I have never felt so betrayed.

So, if you intend to tell me to get over it, you're on the wrong page. I won't delete your comment, but I will make you wish you hadn't made it. You've been warned. 

However, as the real horror, the implications of having a hateful, self-serving, corrupt idiot in the most important job in the government tied with a Congress that has proven itself just as hateful, self-serving, and corrupt in the only position to provide a check to him letting him have a free hand, sinks in, even to the people who supported him (well some of them), the great finger-pointing mess has begun. Far too many folks, especially those who should know better, are rushing to point the finger at Hillary for not being good enough. 

Oh, no, that's not what happened. I've been the smart one in the room. I've been at the table where everyone agreed that my data was best and my conclusions were logical but, hey, we weren't going to do that anyway. I saw this election as a repudiation by my country of everything *I* am, not just Hillary. I watched her every step. She did everything right, and, had every step second-guessed by phalanxes of noisy pundits telling her (and more importantly us) what she ought to be doing - often insisting on completely opposite advice. And usually wanting her to do what someone else was doing and failing.

The supreme irony of blaming her is that the very same people who undercut her, refused to explain her many many strengths, in fact deliberately kept them hidden, are the same folks whining that she didn't do enough. So, not only for every Trump voter, but for every voter who stayed home, every idget who piously threw their votes away on equally know-nothing but possibly less hateful third party candidates, to every newspaper and, especially, news show who peed yourselves in glee to go on endlessly about Hillary's every perceived imperfection while ignoring Trump's total dishonesty, greed and deviancy and equally ignoring Hillary's impressive resume of real verifiable accomplishments and detailed plans to do more, but also those folks, even if you voted for Hillary, who couldn't keep yourself from making a dig at her at every opportunity, let me just say:

Fuck you.

I mean, I could say it more kindly and cleverly and try to cut you down with logic and reason, but, y'know, you weren't listening before the election. I don't expect it would make an impression on you now.

You might think that's too harsh, but I don't think it's harsh enough considering the pain you'll be inflicting on the most vulnerable in this country. The children whose educations you've destroyed. The old people you'll be starving. The sick people you've left to die unnecessarily. The environment you've murdered irretrievably in the forlorn and dangerous hope that your son can also become a coal miner. Every black man who knows no one will be standing up for his rights when he gets hurt. Every little girl in the country who just learned, firsthand, that no matter what she does, how accomplished she becomes, how intelligent she is, how perfectly she dots every i or crosses every t, she'll be passed over to suit the whims of the total and unabashed asshole with no accomplishments, skills or human decency. Every Muslim child who is treated like a monster.  Every Jew who sees his synagogue defaced or left burning. Every immigrant child or child with a Latino name who is treated like a criminal. Every gay teen left beaten and battered because the hateful feel vindicated in their hatred.

You have used your freedom to potentially destroy these peoples' dreams and possibly their lives. Yeah, you'll suffer, too, but that's not quite enough for justice.Your choice; your responsibility. That's the real price of freedom.

But one thing I won't stand for is you pretending Hillary was the problem when this nightmare is one you brought on yourselves. You media being belittled and squashed. You poor people finding out your only lifelines are being eliminated because you had to vote with your worst instincts. The GOP and the media have spent twenty-five years vilifying a woman who has done more good than most people in the world. This is all on you.

And spare me how she could have handled it better, that she lost "bigly".

Just the notion is absurd, and I noticed this in 2008, when Hillary had nearly as many votes as President Obama in the primary. For months--years--all I could hear was how she totally flubbed it.

No one says that about Sanders this race, even though he lost by a relative mile. No one said it about Romney or McCain (well, except noting his VP choice) when they lost to Obama - how they totally flubbed it, even though they both lost, er, bigly.

But when Hillary loses, even if it's spurious, even if she does so well she's a hair breadth's away, it's all about how she totally failed, flubbed it, screwed up. Even during the most winningest moments in the campaign, primary and general, every article about her went into a long litany of what was wrong with her and why people hated her.

Didn't seem to occur to anyone that constantly being told how hated she was might have been an eensy teensy factor.

To be frank, given the constant bombardment of bad press, backhanded compliments, even pro-pieces, filled with caveats and subtle digs, it's probably more amazing how she continually did so well, connected, without fanfare, to so many millions of people while everyone was busy not noticing. Amazing. But, since we insisted on perfection for women, still not good enough.

That's how I see it. I am not alone in this thinking. There are a few other voices in the wilderness who get it, like here and here.

So, why is this important? Why harp on it? Because if we don't recognize the real criminals in this, the real reason why this country will be brought to the brink of ruin (if not tipped over), we can never do better. It wasn't Hillary. It's us. Trump is the president this country deserves. We deserved him because we refused to educate ourselves and let our blind hatred do our talking for us. Don't give me your sob story about how Hillary should have wooed you specifically or how disheartened you are that immigrants are taking your jobs (they're not). You brought this on yourselves and, if you want this country to be the great country it could be, you're going to have to take a look in the mirror and change your ways.

Trump won, at least in part because his hatefulness resonated with a large part of the populace. Partly because he's cultivated a persona of being smart and wealthy, no matter how belied by facts, and partly because the folks in this country, including plenty of women, are willing to believe the worst of a woman and the best of a man, no matter the evidence. I wish that wasn't so, but it clearly is.

If we survive this, it will be because we learned something. Because, if we don't, we don't deserve to survive.


Reality Can Trump Fiction...

>> Saturday, March 11, 2017

And nowhere I know of is that more true than in biology. Folks, there's some freakish stuff out there.

Some years ago, early in my blogging days, a fellow blogging nerd (that was the name of her blog: Observations of a Nerd) posted a series called "This Week's Sci-Fi Worthy Parasite." She was/is a marine biologist and moved on, but the blog is still in place with all it's glories intact.

Yeah, sure, you can get nightmares watching zombie movies or reading about real serial killers (I can recommend a good book but I know I can't read but a few pages at a time: Hunting Humans: An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers), but, if you REALLY want to never sleep again and curl up with your eyelids held open with toothpicks and a can of Raid in either hand, check out her blog.

Included in her honest-to-God real world of actual nasties are:
  • flies that turn ants into zombies before decapitating them (Phorid Flies) - these are actually under consideration for fire ant control.
  • Parasitic wasps which not only eat catapillars and maggots from the inside out, but coat their eggs with a virus to disable the host's immune system and castrate it. Before the caterpillar finishes up, he'll spin a cocoon to protect his invaders and even defend them 'til they finally take him down. There's a spider killer that makes the spider build it a nice platform for the cocoon. (she really likes the parasitic wasps)
  • Lice (not talking about it or I'll start to itch)
  • Human botfly where mosquitoes deliver a human flesh-eating parasite (there are videos)
  • Schistosomiasis where bunches of burrowing parasites travel through our blood systems and infest our liver, copulating and generally having a blood bender at our expense.

  • The brain-eating amoeba Naegleria Fowleri (shown up in a couple of medical shows but the transmission method and survivability was whacked) - this is ameobic meningitis and it takes no prisoners because it tells your brain it belongs there and your brain goes, "never mind then" until it's too late. I wanted to infect a character with this and let him survive, but my husband absolutely put his foot down. No amoebas were going to eat his favorite character's brain. They are bad to the bone, though.
  • The loa loa worm, aka the African eye worm. Do I have to explain?
  • Cookie cutter sharks that literally take a divot of flesh from the unsuspecting
  • Hairworm - using zombie control again, this time on grasshoppers its eaten from the inside
  • The Mountain Acon Blue Butterfly which convinces red ants to drop everything and feed it like a queen using her forms of chemical and aural communication.
  • Pearlfish that literally make their homes in the anuses of sea cucumbers and starfish (and, some of them chow down on their hosts while they're there. No need to go out for dinner. We'll eat in.)
  • A parasite that "kills" a fish's tongue and then takes it's place, acting like a normal tongue and keeping the fish alive for further feeding.

  • The human (and other flesh) eating screwworm, basically maggots that favor living flesh, or at least until they're through with it. (Yuck)
  • The toothpick fish which is attracted to ammonia products and attach itself via spines to dig it's way in until it reaches a blood vessel. That's some pretty painful digging whether your its intended prey (fish) or a human. 
Really, you could read for hours. I'm having to stop myself .

Now, I've mentioned them before, but, here's the good part, trying to find them again allowed me to stumble over another collection of biological oddities: Absurd Creature of the Week on Wired. Jackpot! Not just parasites (though those, too) but all kinds of odd critters. You don't even have to be a writer to have a good time.

Actually, both the blog and the column on Wired are very entertaining reading in addition to being educational. And, on that note, I'll leave you with this video.

You're welcome.


Rocket Scientist is going to be revived!

>> Sunday, March 5, 2017

First, some blog news for a change.  For those of you hardy souls who still check back or follow or haven't entirely given up on it, good news, I'm still alive and I'm going to start updating it more regularly. I like talking about this, that and the other. Lord knows I'm opinionated enough. No reason I can't share it here on my blog where someone might actually want to read it. (I've always been a dreamer).

There will be some science stuff. Some politics (stop groaning; it's not like I elected him!). Some general philosophy. Whatever, really, just like it's always been and hopefully no less entertaining.

Still will make note of new releases as they happen, but it will not longer be the focus. I won't be posting daily--got three blogs and a girl's gotta sleep--but I'll try to post something at least weekly.

For those who are still deeply interested in the writing itself, but don't like checking back on blogs and stuff, I'm starting a monthly newsletter. You can sign up on the right.

You'll get notifications of new releases and the single monthly newsletter and that's IT, but only to people who signed up, who actually want to know all that.

The newsletter will include some insight into my writing, why I love it, what I think about it and what I like or don't like, a handy reference for all my existing books and news about forthcoming events, and an original short story so my "fans" can get a first look on my stories. I want it to be fun and hope it will be because, though I hate "marketing" I love interacting with people and sharing things I hope they'll like.

If you're one of the people interested, sign up. I will not be using your email for any other purpose.

First Newsletter will go on next Friday, March 10.


Saving Tessa: Now it's Science Fiction!

>> Thursday, February 9, 2017

I have reworked Saving Tessa to be a science fiction YA adventure (though it was close to that already).

In the year 2045, smart tech is everywhere, much of it devised by the teenage prodigy Dylan Chroz. But being at the top of the technical world means being in demand. Sometimes, by people who should be looking out for you. Sometimes, by people who won't take no for an answer.

Tessa alone makes Dylan's life more than schematics and computers, a spot of vibrant color and irrepressible life in a dreary world of users and frauds. 

So what do you do when someone steals your girl to make you perform your technical wizardry on their sketchy hardware? Do you curl up and cry? Do what they want? Defy them? Or do you outsmart them and do your damnedest to smoke out every one of them so they never can do this again?

That is, if Tessa doesn't beat you to it.
Also, as with Curse of the Jenri, I'm going to make it available in book form. Proof is on it's way to me now and I'll announce it when it's available. Eventually, I'll do this with all my books, but I'm excited about this one because I have a character frighteningly like me there.

Thanks for the gorgeous cover by Ryn Katryn.



One of the things I did with this story when I moved it to 2045 is work on a post-Trumpian recovery. I found it therapeutic.



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