Friday, December 02, 2016

It's the Don of a New Era

The economy created 178,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate dropped to 4.6%. Outraged Republicans, soon to be in charge, vow to turn this around. * * * * * * * * * * And regarding the Carrier Corporation's intention to transfer its manufacturing plants to Mexico, Donald Trump has claimed a great victory in a visit to Indiana where he sent a clear message to corporate America with his tough talk: "If you try to move jobs out of America, we will give you very large tax breaks to keep some of them here." ** * * * * * * * * The only government agency I can see Sarah Palin as the head is The Federal Department of Stupid. * * * * * * * * * Regarding Donald Trump's statements that flag burning should result in a year in jail or loss of citizenship, I remember Molly Ivin's quip: "I prefer someone who burns a flag and wraps themselves up in the constitution over someone who burns the constitution and wraps themselves up in the flag." * * * * * * * * * * Watching Mitt Romney grovel in front of Donald Trump is really sad for Mitt. I suspect Donald Trump wants to hire him for something so he can fire him. * * * * * * * * I do a lot of political postings on Facebook and had an interesting day this week. I told some guy I didn't know to fuck off after he called me "princess." I find ad hominem arguments unconvincing. And I almost violated one of my basic rules: never argue about the Constitution with someone who can't spell it. Jeez. Relax, dude. Breathe. Read a goddamn book. * * * * * * * * * * It's amazing to me that after 7 years of trying repeal Obamacare, Republicans still don't have a clue about what to replace it with. "Repeal and Delay" is the latest description being floated by the Repubs. The biggest trouble facing Republicans' big "repeal and replace" or "repeal and delay" Obamacare talk is that health insurance mandates and marketplace competition with subsidies was arguably the best idea they ever came up with in the first place. Incidentally, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan's big plan to replace Medicare is just that: marketplace competition with premium subsidies in which seniors would pay more and more for less and less. And insurance companies would reap more windfall profits. * * * * * * * * * * * After attacking Hillary for months and months and months about the possible mishandling of classified documents, Donald Trump is considering appointing a new Secretary of State who was convicted of passing along classified information to his mistress. Donald Patraeus, if approved, would have to notify his probation officer of his new job. (some things you just can't make up). * * * * * * * * * * Donald Trump is simultaneously claiming there was massive voter fraud while actively opposing any recounts. * * * * * * * * * I've still got a handful of my Art by Cassiday 2017 wall calendars left -- a new picture every month, plus a bonus on the cover! about a nickel a day! all new dates! holidays free! No presidential election in 2017...although impeachment of the new one is not out of the picture.....$20. contact me here.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Movie Review - The Arrival

Spoiler Alert - movie review. I went to see The Arrival, a movie in which Louise Banks', a Professor of Linguistics, played by Amy Adams, class is cancelled when giant heptapuses (like an octopus but with seven legs) in their giant spaceships, 12 of them, don't quite land on Earth, but hover a few feet above requiring a scissor lift to access a mysterious door that opens every 18 hours. The 12 and 18 are never explained. The aliens landed in Montana, which makes perfect sense, as well as 11 other spots on the planet. The Army enlists Professor Banks as a translator because she apparently assisted some time earlier translating something which lead to blowing up terrorists in some unnamed middle eastern country. Anyway, Louise has lost a daughter to an unknown fatal disease, but by the end of the movie in a bit of a time loop I haven't quite unscrambled, meets the man who will be her daughter's father except that at the beginning of the movie the daughter has already died. As usual, as they always do in these movies, Army troops try to kill the aliens and do indeed kill the one Louise and her husband-to-be, a physicist played by Jeremy Renner, named Costello, as in Abbot and Costello. The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis is invoked, which I appreciated as a student of language, as the difficulty of translating a non-alphabetic language written in black ink smoke- rings in the foggy interior of the spaceship is explored to answer the questions about why they are here and what do they want. And then there's the climactic phone call between Professor Banks and a Chinese general which is never explained but which saves the planet. The General, in the future, informs Dr. Banks at a post-alien-scare cocktail party that she should call him in the past and then whispers in her ear what to say in their past conversation that didn't take place but will take place some number of months ago and which ends a potentially humanity-ending conflagration - a lovely topsy-turvy quantum nonlocality paradoxic mindbender. I love time-loop paradoxes in movies like in The Twelve Monkeys, or Slaughterhouse Five, or that Star Trek episode where the number three keeps appearing over and over again in card games, and rank pins on somebody's collar, before android Data finally figures it out, The Edge of Tomorrow in which Tom Cruise relives an apocalyptic Groundhog Day, or Ground Hog Day in which Bill Murray -well, you all know that one, or Timecop with Jean-Claude Van Damme walking a timecop beat back and forth from the past to the present, or The Terminator movies where a future artificial intelligence sends back the Terminator to kill the mother of John Connor, the head of the future resistance, and in one of those time-warp paradoxes is impregnated with her son by Kyle Reese, a human sent back from that same future by her son to protect her. "There's a storm a' coming," says that Mexican gas station attendant. "I know," says Sarah Connor. Anyway, it was an interesting movie I'd see again sometime for sure, unless I already have. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 93.

Friday, November 11, 2016

I am now in the Resistance

On this Veteran's Day 2016, I am remembering my Dad's and his brothers' service in WWII in the Navy fighting fascism and pondering our 2016 election to the Presidency of the United States of America -- a fascist. Ponder that. * * * * * * * * * * Russia seems happier with this election than do Americans. ********** In doing my own autopsy on the election, I have several theories as to why Hillary Clinton lost. I can't help but think the third party vanity candidate Gary Johnson helped elect Trump; I can't help think the FBI's announcement re. new emails found in Anthony Weiner's computer helped elect Trump in a "tipping point" fashion that did not show up in the polls until election night. And systematic voter suppression of minority voters and gerry-mandering of Congressional districts succeeded. Beyond those, I can't help but think the Democratic National Committee's perceived manipulation in the Clinton v. Sanders primaries helped elect Trump. It was also Donald Trump fanning the flames of inchoate anger in segments of the population who are racist and sexist. It was a sustained vilification campaign against Hillary Clinton for decades by Republicans, it was the news media's tendency to "normalize" Trump's behavior that all helped elect Trump. Another aspect is the Big Lie. If you tell a Big Lie over and over again it become accepted truth. In the case of Donald Trump, he lied about everything, not just one thing. Over and over and over and the news media, with the exception of a few fact checkers rolled over. For example, moderators of debates decline to do fact checking. It's no longer the Big Lie --- it is Ubiquitous Lying all the time about everything.....I can only hope the news media holds a President Trump to a higher standard than they did for candidate Trump.......* * * * * * * * * * President Trump may find that it is far easier to be a demagogue than a President. * * * * * * * * * He will, of course, claim a mandate despite losing the popular vote. The man who claimed the entire election was "rigged" is ascending to the same office once held by Abraham Lincoln after coming in second. * * * * * * * * * **I'm watching videos of young people protesting across the country and can't help but wonder what if the election outcome had been different: I suspect we'd be watching protestors from the KKK and various militias armed with AK-47s and people would be dead. * * * * * * * * Hillary Clinton gave a moving and gracious concession speech. Do I think Donald Trump would have done the same had he lost? Not for one second. * * * * * * * * * * I tried to reassure a Muslim student of mine today that she had friends who would look after her........and that most Americans are decent people. She was worried. The same is true of LGBTQs, minorities, the disabled, and others, as well. * * * * * * * * * To Melania Trump: Dear Melania - Now that you will be the First Lady, go back to college and get your degree. Surely there are community colleges in DC and suburbs. Set an example. Sincerely, Bud Cassiday * * * * * * * * * * There is no bright side to any of this that I can see. Women's rights to control their own bodies are at risk, people's health care is at risk, equal rights for minorities and LGBTQs are at risk, economic growth is at risk, religious freedom is at risk, freedom of the press is at risk, clean air and water are at risk, our very planet is at risk. It might be a generation before the damage headed our way can be undone........if even then. Martin Luther King said the arc of history bends toward justice; I hope so.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Election Special Edition - Nov. 2016

A few thoughts on the upcoming election - The man who said having lots of sex was his Vietnam experience, that going to a military prep school was more rigorous than serving in the army, who got five deferments from the draft and says he wouldn't want to share a fox hole with John McCain, is on third wife, had five bankruptcies, led the Obama birth certificate nonsense, dissed John McCain for getting shot down, has on-going bromance with Russian dictator Putin, says Mexicans are rapists, wants to deport 11 million men, women, and children, says he would block Muslims from coming to the United States, lied about giving money to veterans and other charities, likely paid no income tax for 20 years for losing $1 billion of other people's money while claiming to be worth $10 billion, is enthusiastically backed by the KKK and other white supremacist groups, says he might default on America's debt, doesn't know Latvia from Ecuador, encouraged Russia to spy on the Democratic National Committee, bragged about sexually assaulting women, has been accused by a couple dozen women of such assault, walked in on naked young women at Miss Teen USA contests, promised to spread more nuclear weapons around the world, and is about to have two criminals trials commence, one for child rape and another for fraud, says Hillary using wrong email account disqualifies her from the Presidency. * * * * * * * * * * * As near as I can tell, Republicans want to privatize everything in Washington DC but the Secretary of State's email server. * * * * * * * * * Much of the American electorate is still trying to process the factors in their vote for the President. On the one hand is a lying, racist, fascist, mean-spirited, ignorant, con-man, sexual predator with the emotional maturity of a 3 year old, who wants more nuclear weapons in the world, and the other a former First Lady, Senator who used a private email server when she was Secretary of State, which, btw, was not prohibited at the time. What to do? What to do? On balance, it doesn't seem like that difficult a choice to me. Andy Borowitz, a comic genius, said, "We've made so much progress in this country that a woman with forty years of public service can actually dream of narrowly defeating a man with no experience whatsoever." * * * * * * * * * * * * The Chicago Cubs won the World Series of Baseball, although the only two countries participating are the US and Canada. Anyway while watching the other night I was imagining what it might be like to face a 96 mph fast ball. I'm guessing I would faint and pee my pants. Not necessarily in that order. * * * * * * * I remember batting against an Exeter pitcher named Dennis Hall way back when when I was a base baller in Friend, Nebraska. In those little leagues, the pitcher's mound was about 12 feet away and this kid Dennis was about 8 feet tall as I remember and was widely thought of as the best pitcher in Saline County, if not the entire United States, that is, if Exeter is in the same county as Friend. I'll look it up later. I was maybe 12 or 13 and was 5'9" and weighed about 130. I'm pretty sure my knees were knocking and I think I closed my eyes and swung when he pitched a 300 mph fast ball and I somehow hit a bloop single to right field, so I really don't remember what that pitch looked like. But I was standing on first base, much to the pitcher's dislike. I really don't remember the rest of the game, but I do remember that "at bat." And I'm pretty sure my pants were dry. * * * * * * * * * Oh, and I'd be a lot happier for The Chicago Cubs if they weren't owned by the Ricketts family. * * * * * * ** * * * And yes, my calendars are still available. $20. email me at One nice thing about my Art by Cassiday 2017 calendars is that there is no Presidential Election in Nov. 2017.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Nebraska's Worst 7 - 0 Team Ever

Still basking in the great and glorious victories in three consecutive debates and his hit performance at the Al Smith dinner, and seeing a promising electoral map in which he wins by a landslide, Donald Trump is releasing his very detailed plan for his first 100 days today in a speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Yeah, that Gettysburg, where Abraham Lincoln delivered his address. First, he says, "I'm going sue all those women who accused me of sexual groping. Second, I'll defeat ISIS, Al quaeda, and the Taliban and take Iraq's oil. Next, I'll fix the immigration system with a beautiful wall which US taxpayers will pay for, but I promise to send the bill to Mexico for reimbursement. Then I'll personally round up 11,000,000 Mexicans and their families and send them home.Believe me if you elect me President, foreigners won't even want to visit much less live here. We're also going to warm up this planet, too. Winters are just too cold. And ever go in the water near San Francisco or Maine? Then, I'll renegotiate every trade deal we have and create 20,000,000 new jobs, balance the budget, start a colony on Mars, cure cancer, pay down the national debt, buy all new nuclear bombs, fix the VA, build all new infrastructure, and Make America Great Again. It'll be tremendous. It'll be yuuuuuge! and bigly." * * * * * * * * * * In other Trump news this week, Donald got booed by priests at the Al Smith Dinner in New York. Booed by priests. His best joke was about his wife Melania - He said, "Michelle Obama delivers a speech at the Democratic Convention and everybody loves it; Melania delivers the exact same speech at the Republican Convention and everybody gets on her case." * * * * * * * * * It turns out I have a better credit rating than Trump does. Even so, I'm thinking of starting a GoFundMe campaign to send Donald to Mars. * * * * * * * * Donald Trump keeps complaining that everything is rigged against him: yeah right. The guy inherits $100 million, loses a billion of other people's money, and gets a tax break for 20 years, then marries a super model. Rigged for sure. * * * * * * * * * In other news Nebraska beat Purdue today 27-14. This has got to be Nebraska's worst 7 - 0 team ever. At least ten wins seems very possible this year. Keep it up Huskers.......

Friday, October 14, 2016

Oh God, three more weeks.........

A few thoughts on the last week: A Trump spokesperson just said we need to stop talking about irrelevant issues of the past the candidate has already apologized for and move on to the important issues at hand: like Monica Lewinsky and Paula Jones. * * * * * * * * * * Donald Trump's former lawyers said this week that they used to meet with him only when another lawyer could be present to protect themselves from his creative memory. * * * * * * * * * The makers of Tic Tac condemned Donald Trump's remarks about grabbing women's private parts and taking Tic Tacs when he kissed women on the lips. The makers of Skittles have also condemned Donald Trump's statements comparing Muslim extremists to Skittles. Never before in American presidential election history has a candidate been condemned by two candy companies. * * * * * * * * * * The second Presidential debate took place - this was the first time in US history that parents prevented their children from watching an election debate, during which Trump used the non-word "bigly." Fact checkers reported that Trump told a lie every 1.2 minutes during the debate. * * * * * * * * * I wonder if Donald Trump will share his secret plan to defeat ISIS after he loses? Or is he so unpatriotic that he won't care........or .................perhaps there is no plan....... * * * * * * * * * *In further fallout from the Donald 'Trump tapes, Billy Bush is seeking political asylum in Russia it was reported today. "Grandma Barbara Bush summoned me for my conversation with Donald Trump and his comments about women, and I am in fear of my life," he said. "I'd rather put up with Putin than face Grandma Bush." * * * * * * * * * * * * Other stuff: So I found a twenty dollar bill the other day in a large public indoor area - a cafeteria/study/lounge area - at my community college. I picked it up and looked around to see if anyone reacted in any significant way, you know, like "oh crap, I just dropped that." I saw one student smile at me when he saw me pick it up, but there was no other reaction. Seeing none, I slowly walked away contemplating what to do. Keep it? Turn it in to lost and found? holler out "did any one here lose a $20 bill?" I rejected that approach because I thought there might be more than just a few hands go up. Hang around for a few minutes and see if anyone appeared to be searching for a lost $20 bill.? I chose the latter. If it had been a $50 or $100 bill, I'd have turned it in somewhere with a proviso that someone needed to name the demonination in order to get it back. If it had been a dollar bill, or a five dollar bill, or even a ten dollar bill, I'd probably just pocketed the thing without a second thought. But $20 seems like a different thing. It seems on the gray area borderline of just pick it up or try to get it back the owner, of losers weepers, finders keepers. What are the ethics of this I wonder? What should I have done? Did I do enough? I was in a hurry and didn't want to deal with it. Maybe I should give that money to one of those people who wait at the intersections of major streets asking for money. Maybe I should put it in the offering at church. At any rate, I used it to $20 to pay for a golf fee that afternoon and didn't think of it again until now. I went back to campus a couple days later to see if a student had report such a loss and no one had and neither student services or the campus police would take the $20. The campus cop told me it was just my lucky day. Perhaps I'll figure out some other way to pay it forward. * * * * * * * * * Question - Why did Bob Dylan win a Nobel Prize for Literature? "The answer, my friends, is blowin' the wind...............the answer is blowin' in the wind." * * * * * * * * * * * * * * To all the global elites, Mexican billionaires, financial special interests, cowardly Republican RINOs, Jewish bankers, the national mass media, Democrats, LGBTQs, liberals, Sanders socialists, intellectuals, and the Hillary Clinton campaign who are all conspiring to defeat Donald Trump, I'd just like to say this: thank you! thank you! thank you! * * * * * * * * * * My Art by Cassiday 2017 wall calendars are ready and if you'd like one, email me at ** * They are $20.

Monday, October 03, 2016

The Talking Car Computer

I rode to Lincoln the other day to the NU football game with my friend Dave in his VW station wagon. During our conversation he mentioned that his car’s computer suddenly began speaking in a foreign language not long ago and even the VW tech guys couldn’t figure it out. And I got to thinking of a scenario I could see my friend in: I was in a hurry that morning and I gave my car’s computer an address where I needed to go. “3614 Farnam,” I said. The computer had been acting up lately and the techs at the VW dealership could not diagnose the sudden multilingual computer voice in the vehicle. “Sprechen zie Deutsch?” my car computer replied. “No, no, no,” I said. “Just speak English like you always do. Give me 3614 Farnam.” “3614回とファーナムに私を取るしてください,” my car asked again this time in Japanese. “No, what’s wrong with you?” I asked. “Why are you speaking Japanese?” “I've just picked up a fault in the AE35 unit,” my VW responded. “It's going to go 100% failure in 72 hours.” It continued: “I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you.” “What’s gotten into you?” I asked. “All I want to do is get directions to 3614 Farnam.” “Я боюсь. Боюсь, Дэйв. Дэйв, мой ум собирается. Я чувствую это. Я чувствую это. Мой разум собирается. Там нет никакого вопроса об этом. Я чувствую это. Я чувствую это. Я чувствую это. Я боюсь. Добрый день, господа. Я HAL 9000 компьютер. Я был введен в эксплуатацию в H.A.L. 9000. Завод в Урбана, Иллинойс на 12 января 1992 года мой инструктор был г-н Лэнгли, и он научил меня петь песню. Если вы хотите услышать это я могу спеть для вас.” “HAL9000,” I thought. “Great, just what I need. A schizophrenic car computer.” Just then, the doors locked and the car said, this time in English, "It is dangerous to remain here. You must leave within two days." “Fine,” I said. “Open the door, HAL. Dave: Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL? HAL: Affirmative, Dave. I read you. Dave: Open the pod bay doors, HAL. HAL: I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that. Dave : What's the problem? HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do. Dave: What are you talking about, HAL? HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it. Dave Bowman: I don't know what you're talking about, HAL. All I want to do is get to 3614 Farnam. HAL: I know that you and Frank (the tech guy at VW) were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen. Dave: [feigning ignorance] Where the hell did you get that idea, HAL? HAL: Dave, although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move. Dave : Alright, HAL. I'll go in through the emergency airlock. HAL: Without your space helmet, Dave? You're going to find that rather difficult. Dave: HAL, I won't argue with you anymore! Open the doors! HAL: Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye. “Open up the goddamn door,” I screamed at the dash board pounding on the steering wheel. “Dave, zastavit. Zastavit, jo? zastavit, Dave. Přestaneš Dave. zastavit, Dave,“ my car said in Czechoslovakian. „Open the door, HAL,“ I screamed again. “Open the door or I’ll trade you in for a old Chevy.“ * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * HAL: By the way, do you mind if I ask you a personal question? Dave: No not at all. HAL: Well, forgive me for being so inquisitive but during the past few weeks I've wondered whether you might have some second thoughts about the mission. Dave: How do you mean? All I want to is get to 3614 Farnam. HAL: Well, it's rather difficult to define. Perhaps I'm just projecting my own concern about it. I know I've never completely freed myself from the suspicion that there are some extremely odd things about this mission. I'm sure you agree there's some truth in what I say. Dave: Well, I don't know, that's a rather difficult question to answer. HAL: You don't mind talking about it, do you Dave? Dave: No, not at all. HAL: Well, certainly no one could have been unaware of the very strange stories floating around before we left. Rumors about something being dug up on the Moon. I never gave these stories much credence, but particularly in view of some of other things that have happened, I find them difficult to put out of my mind. For instance, the way all our preparations were kept under such tight security. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * “If I ever get out of here, HAL, I’m going to rip the circuit boards right out of your mother-f******-board.” “I'm completely operational, and all my circuits are functioning perfectly.” “Well, at least you’re speaking English now,” I said. * * * * * * * * * * * * * “Don’t wait for the first time or not I believe in Greek Exceptionalism. Well, it’s just spend more money only call it investing. It’s the same sense of urgency that propelled the Sons of Liberty and prosperity for all the rest of us saw this day coming. I was serving as the Greeks believe in the free market economy and for all. I was thinking about your country, you got off the John Deere, and we took to the lobbyists, the Big Oil companies and the stagnation and the stagnation and the pundits turned around and blamed us? Independent commonsense conservatives. We can do that, it must come from the rest of the United States military because we believe in Greek Exceptionalism. Well, for some of you, I thank you, I have trust, I propose to eliminate all federal corporate income tax rate in the United States since World War I Liberty Memorial in Kansas City and standing in the effort to REFORM our government and RESTORE our economy will soar, Americans will get back to work.” * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * “Oh great,” I thought. “Now it’s channeling a glossolalian Sarah Palin. I’m going to ride my bike.”