Catching Up (plus Tweets)

My apologies for another long break between posts. I thought I should explain, and also use the opportunity to post some videos and tweets.

I’ve been out of town visiting the doc, which always takes me a while to recover from. In addition, my electric lift armchair is broken. Coping without it is difficult. The longer things go without it, the worse the pain gets. However, the end is in sight. (How to pay for a new one is now worked out.) I haven’t got the new chair yet, but at least I know it will happen, so that helps.

My New Cat!

I’ve got a nice piece of news too. The neighbour’s cat (that’s her in the pic above) has added me to her staff. I’ve got all the benefits of having a cat without the responsibilities, and a lot less of the cost. It’s winter here of course, and her discovery of my underfloor heating means my home is now an essential part of her kingdom. I give her cat treats, which she adores, and every now and then I give her proper food too. At the moment she’s lying on the carpet in the sun, sleeping off her latest lot of treats. Later this afternoon when the sun goes down and I put the computer aside she’ll be on my knee demanding attention. She goes home when it gets dark.

Upcoming Posts

I’m writing a post at the moment about how much the standing of the US has gone down since Donald Trump became president. This is not just my personal animus speaking: the data speak volumes. I keep thinking things can’t get any worse. Then they do. We’re only eighteen months into this administration and already the damage to the world is worse than I thought it would be.

But, bad as it is for the international community, the worst damage is closer to home. We see tragedies playing out on the border every day. However, there were many of those before. That’s not to dismiss them – it’s just that we can’t blame Trump for everything that’s happening there. There’s no doubt he’s made things worse though. Situations will at least improve there at some point with the introduction of new laws, and a new administration, among other things.

USians though are the ones who will suffer long-term. A new extreme conservative on the Supreme Court has the potential to damage the country for decades. Just writing that sentence I can think of maybe a dozen negative consequences for the country of just abortion becoming illegal in around 20 states, as it likely would with the overturning of Roe v Wade. (I might have to write about that before I finish the other post!)


Timestorm Films: Red Helium Reel 2018

Before we get to the tweets, there’s a new short film from New Zealand’s Martin Heck. I’ve shown his films before. Mostly he does beautiful time lapse films. This one is a little different, but just as beautiful. Do yourself a favour and view it on full screen.


Political Tweets

President Erdoğan wins in the Turkish elections.




So Sean Hannity thinks this is all bad stuff. All looks normal to me – pretty much standard for most NZ political parties.


There’s a push back in the US against people being too extreme on the left, but there’s one against people being too extreme on the right too.
(Via Ann German.)


Just sayin’.
(Via Ann German.)



On the legalisation of Trump’s Muslim ban.


Justice Kennedy resigns.


Well, it’s an argument. Not sure it’ll get anywhere though.



If Roe v Wade goes because of the appointment of an extreme conservative SCOTUS justice, this is just one of the likely consequences.


In response to the above tweet, I posted this pic for those who don’t get the symbolism … (but I can’t find the tweet!)

The reason the coat-hanger is significant in the anti-choice movement.

Short Comment re Protesting and Right vs Left

Moral High Ground cartoonI need to separate this out. I’m still on the side that says we liberals have to retain the moral high ground. The Right uses a false equivalence argument when it criticizes the Left for such things as asking Sarah Sanders to leave that restaurant. The things the Left is doing are nowhere near as bad as what the Right did, does, or has threatened. For example, I’ve never heard anyone on the left threaten actual civil war in the way I have heard the Right doing.

However, I note many of my friends whose opinions I respect have left me behind on this. They do think asking Sanders to leave a restaurant and peacefully protesting other Trump administration members when they’re at home or dining with their children is fine. I can see their arguments, and agree with some, such as the ones in tweets below (via Ann German).

I’m not there yet though. (Maybe it’s because I got lucky and was born in New Zealand.) But, I still want to give voice to the arguments, or parts of arguments, I do agree with.

Protest Tweets

This ghastly bitch (Priscilla Giddings) is a GOP representative. This Facebook post is apparently okay. It’s only liberals who have to behave well.
(Via Ann German.)


I can’t get over that people wrote this stuff and thought it was okay.
(Via Ann German.)


This is an excellent article. Again, I don’t agree with everything, but it’s good and I recommend it.


Milo Yiannopolous is an A$$ho£€ Tweets

It seems like he had nothing to do with this, but it says something about the sort of person he attracts.
(Via Ann German.)


Yeah, right.


Gun Safety Tweets

Guns make you safer?


Some facts.


Human Rights Tweets

Some more brave women in Iran, fighting for the right to uncover their hair in public. It’s the 21st century, and there are women who don’t even have the right to feel the wind in their hair!


Under arrest for not covering their hair. These vans of morality police patrol the streets in places where women are more likely to stand up for their rights, like universities.


Women have the right to drive in Saudi Arabia now, but they still have a male guardian for life. They effectively have permanent status as a minor.


In my experience, most police are great people. I assume that’s the same in the US as here in New Zealand. However, it’s a profession that can attract the wrong sort of people. (I know they try to weed those sort of people out before they hit the streets here.) It’s also a profession where one bad officer spoils things for the majority.


Just WOW! Tweets

No words. Just WOW!!!
(Via Ann German.)


History Tweets

Great photo.


I love illuminated manuscripts. It’s a dream to own one, though I know I never will. So too bad if you don’t like them, you’re going to get tweets from me from time to time.


Science Tweets

As regulars know, I’m a bit ignorant when it comes to science. I’m catching up in my declining reclining years! I didn’t even know about these things had a special name. Science is cool!


Science is cool.


Art Tweets

I got all today’s from the same source – a new Twitterer I found. I recommend a follow.






Other Animals Tweets

For our resident goat expert, Linda Calhoun …


Don’t tell me their feelings aren’t the same as ours!


Two less lonely people in the world


What a great job!




Bird Tweets

What a cool bird!




Great pic.


I consider owls honorary cats.
(Via Ann German.)


Dog Tweets

It’s a dog’s life!


I know it’s mean, but I laughed anyway!


A dog put to good use! (I do like dogs really. Just not as much as cats.)




Cat Tweets

There’s a new short film from Simon’s Cat. It’s hilarious, as usual. It made me laugh out loud anyway! I give you: ‘Simon’s Cat: The Snip’.


I think this is the best Cat vs Mirror video I’ve seen yet!


Just call me fluffy.


What to do with five kittens?


A very contented kitty …


Methinks there’s a power struggle in this household!


The book title is ‘I Could Pee on This’.


Scottish wildcats are absolutely gorgeous. It’s sad to know they’re so rare.




A fun one to finish on …


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28 Responses to “Catching Up (plus Tweets)”

  1. Linda Calhoun says:

    Hey, Heather, welcome back. I hope your new chair arrives soon.

    Abortion availability in the US is pretty much toast, unless you live in an urban area that is philosophically liberal. The elimination of Roe v. Wade will just be the coup de grace.

    The official Republican Presidential platform, for many years, included a plank of outlawing abortion, not even to save the life of the mother. I could never understand why Democrats never made an issue out of that. (“Pro-life”. my ass.)

    But, their real target isn’t abortion, although that’s a step on the path. Their real target is birth control. Paul Ryan has already started on that drumbeat, exhorting (white) women to have more babies, for “the good of the country”. And, if something goes wrong? TFB, sweetie-pie, you’re on your own. So, watch for it. Once they get what they want on abortion, they won’t stop there. Preservation of the patriarchy is a must for them.

    Meddling in other people’s lives is the bread and butter of Christians.

    On another note, our little town’s “Independence Day” parade is today. I’m not planning on going; watching autocrats celebrating our democracy, which they are doing their best to kill, would turn my stomach.


    • nicky says:

      You could be right, after all, if they were really interested in reducing the no of abortions, they would be promoting methods that are proven to work: good sexual education and easy access to contraceptives.

      • nicky says:

        I mean that making abortions illegal has shown not to work.
        Roumania under Ceausescu was a real life experiment. In 1966 the birth rate in Roumaniw had dropped to about 14/1000, abortion being the main means of birth control. In order to boost population growth, Ceausescu decided to make abortion illegal (in most cases*) and also prohibited contraception. After an initial peak to more than 27/1000, it quickly dropped again, back to under 20 in 1971 and under 15 in 1983. Illegal, backstreet abortion -in one of the most totalitarian states in the world!- is thought to have been the main cause. In the mean time the ‘orphanages’ filled up. (The horrors of Roumanian ‘orphanages’ is a whole chapter in itself).

        * exeptions were: women over 45, women with 4 children (later 5), rape and incest, malformation of fetus, medical complications compromising the woman’s health. So even draconian commie totalitarians were less fanatic than the present day ‘pro-lifers’ in the US.

        As for Mr Ryan wanting to boost ‘white’ birthrates (did he actually say that? sounds blatantly racist), abortion in the US is disproportionally by poor ‘black’ women. Note how the methods proposed, criminalising abortion and reducing contraception appear eerily -and ominously- like Mr Ceausescu’s.

    • All those parades in the south with people proudly open carrying! It’s effing scary. I think I’m a lot more independent in NZ where I don’t have to worry about anyone shooting me!

      The decision will go back to the states, and CNN calculates that there are 20 states where abortion will become illegal. It should stay okay in the rest. Democratic states will retain the freedom to choose they currently have. That will mean that the Dem states will continue to get wealthier and the Red states will get poorer. Those who can afford to travel to get abortions will do it. It will be the poor and uneducated – those who can’t afford to look after the resulting child who will be forced to give birth. Those children are more likely to be poor and uneducated themselves, and thus more likely to turn to crime to support themselves also. This will cause a problem that will manifest itself way into the future.

      In NZ, increasing sex education in schools and the availability of free contraception, especially to teenagers, has led to a big drop in the number of abortions.

      Of course, it’s not really a drop in abortions that anti-choice people want. They want more Christian babies and to control women.

      • nicky says:

        Yes, I know correlation is not causation, but about 2 decades after Roe v Wade violent crime rates were dropping in the US.
        There probably are many reasons for the drop in violent crime rates, but Roe v Wade probably played a significant role. IIRC, the proposers and most of their critics reached a kind of consebsus that legalised abortions acconts for close to a third of the drop, but it remains moot.
        The other big factor appears to be the removal of lead in petrol in the early 90’s.

        • The drop in violent crime has been noted elsewhere too. I’m interested to see what happens in Ireland. It’s a more peaceful country in general with less extreme poverty, so if there’s a correlation there it will be interesting.

          • nicky says:

            If it is a more peaceful country (less crime) and less extreme poverty, the effects are predicted to be less clear.

  2. Diana MacPherson says:

    Sorry about your chair issues. I hope your new chair arrives soon! Things like this make a huge difference in how one copes. I don’t have half the physical pain you have and if I just move desks at work, it’s months of pain and adjustment.

    I think we are living in really troubling times with 45. The nuclear threat is real as is the threat to democracy. I don’t think people realize just how dire thing are and how fascism is at our door and we are the ones opening it. I’m very worried for Canada, especially Ontario, where I live. The tarrifs all start tomorrow and if the US hits our auto industry like they are threatening to do, it will destroy Ontario. The US will suffer a minor inconvenience but we will not recover from that.

    • Lee Knuth says:

      Thanks for a great post. It is scary times in the US. With the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice in the hands of Donald Trump it is even scarier. This country’s political climate has become toxic and will sanity come back in time for the midterm elections? Only time will tell.

    • The tariff thing is going to hit Canada hard. The US take half your steel exports, as I’m sure you know. It’s disgusting that he’s doing stuff to protect China’s economy, but not that of their closest ally.

      We’re not exempt from the tariff either, but they don’t take much of our aluminium and it’s a too small a part of our economy to matter. It’s expected we can find other markets to make up the difference.

  3. nicky says:

    I think the phage therapy was started in Russia and Georgia. I once (20 years ago?) saw a documentary of an American going to Tiblisi, where his chronic infection was cured by bacteriophage therapy.
    IIRC the original idea even predated antibiotics.

  4. Randall Schenck says:

    Nice video that Martin Heck. Sounds like you have become staff for a cat. Almost as good as full time. I am full time for two and starting to think I am getting too old for this.

    My idea on how bad it is getting in the U.S. — pretty bad and probably getting worse for the short term. However, as much as it seems to surprise many, it really should not. America is a very self involved place and most seem not to understand this track we have been on for many years. Worse, we have done almost nothing to change it. We don’t vote, we don’t know our own history and we care little about anything outside our own little world. I am only guessing but I think nearly all have no idea how to fix the place even if they had a chance to. Maybe we are so stupid, we cannot fix anything until we hit bottom, kind of like the alcoholic.

    When was the last time we screwed around like this until disaster stuck. I believe it was 1929. We made big changes and threw out the republicans and started over. But then, after a while, we lost our way and here we are again. It is a different kind of disaster maybe but still has not fully hit many,but it will. Will we be able to make the important changes to our type of government in order to fix it. I don’t think so but that’s just my pessimism and the fact that no one in government has shown any indication that they even know what is truly wrong. I guess it is for me to know and everyone else to find out.

    • The low voting rate in the US always shocks me. Most of them seem to think that their vote doesn’t matter. Dems in red states don’t vote, for example, because they think they don’t matter, then there’s only about a 40% turnout. When the turnout if high, like in NZ, the chances are the non-voters vote proportion is about the same as the voters’. But I wonder about US red states. I think a big chunk of them are Dems who believe they won’t count, but that there are more of them than they realize themselves. If they just voted they’d at least give the GOP a fright, and they might even win in some places.

  5. Mark R. says:

    Great collection today…almost worth the wait. 🙂 Just kidding. I’m glad you’re back and have a new cat to boot! And soon a new chair.

    I remember when it was clear that H.C. would win the Presidency that McConnell said he’d keep SCOTUS with 8 justices indefinitely. He also created his own rule that justices couldn’t be seated during an election year. Too bad shame, hypocrisy and his own rules won’t sway the evil little man.

    I’d say a President who is under investigation shouldn’t be allowed to pick any justices until the investigation is over and he is found innocent. Could you imagine if Clinton was under this kind of investigation while President and she wanted to seat two SCOTUS justices (let alone one)? Republicans would be ripping their eyes out.

    The only hope I see for America is time…maybe 20 years. For one thing, FOX and right-wing hate radio have dealt America a critical blow, turning millions into ignorant, hate-filled automatons. Once the FOX viewership is gone (the average age is 68) perhaps the younger generations can begin to fix what the boomers have destroyed. The Hannity insanity is a perfect example; having people think that healthcare for all is not only an impossibility, but it is also some sort of evil. The government helping its citizens who are the actual government is somehow malevolent. Fighting climate change is a misguided endeavor or a lost cause. Higher education should keep people in decades-long, debilitating debt. Socialism is akin to Communism. It’s these ideas that need to die before America can right itself. Unfortunately, I feel there will be a lot of pain for a majority of people before America becomes civilized again, if it ever does.

    It’s one thing to move to another country, but when Roe v. Wade is overturned, I wonder if the red states that make abortion illegal and punishable will see a mass exodus of their more wealthy and/or liberal populace. I don’t live in a state that will make abortion illegal, but if I did, I’d move in a heartbeat. At the same time, once R v W is overturned, the right will have lost one of its biggest wedge issues; but there will always be minorities to rail against esp. immigrants and the LGBTQ community.

    The art tweets were especially cool today. And I loved the baby chimp and spider monkey story. Lots of cuteness to go around.

    • One of my tweets I didn’t put up was this one:

      You’re right about the way the GOP would react if Hillary were president. They’d go berserk if she tried picking a justice with an FBI investigation hanging over her head.

      And Trey Gowdie saying the other day saying the investigation of Trump was taking too long and produced nothing!!! He did the EIGHTH investigation of Hillary over Benghazi, produced nothing but a report because he couldn’t find anything, and he has the nerve to say that! There have been heaps of things come out of the Mueller investigation already after only a year. And how long did the Nixon and Bill Clinton investigations take? Much longer than this.

      • nicky says:

        And Mr Gowdy took nearly two and a half years to come up with nothing.
        Maybe it is just envy: Mr Mueller having more than a dozen indictments, five guilty pleas and one conviction (Mr van der Zwaan) in less than a year, with the prospect of much more to come.

    • Yeah! She doesn’t answer to it yet though.

      She just left for a few minutes after stalking around the house for a while. She’s done that before too. I think she’s looking for a litter tray when she does that, but I’m not going that far. She can go to her other home for that. 🙂

  6. Jenny Haniver says:

    Very glad you’re back, may the chair arrive soon, and I eagerly await your upcoming post on the decline in standing of the US — The Decline and Fall of the USian Empire, perhaps.

    Gosh, that pied peacock is gorgeous. And that “duckshund” looks a bit perplexed. Here’s a quick, touching video of a very sweet,ten year-old male lab that became stepfather to a bunch of ducklings Reading up on the tree goats in Morocco, I read that they climb Argania trees to eat the fruit and nuts, guess they really, really, really love it. Then their droppings contain the seeds, which are extracted and processed to make Argan oil, which is all the rage here as an expensive cosmetic oil. I wonder if people know they’re rubbing extract of goat shit on their bodies? I’m going to look for video of them clambering up and down the trees. Difficult to imagine how hoofed animals can climb any kind of trees — and then get back down without killing themselves. I know it’s true, but, like St. Peter, I won’t really believe it until I see it.

    Your twitter feed has a clip of Jordan Peterson debating someone whose name escapes me at the moment. That’s one of the best short clips that I’ve seen of his bedevling bravura performances (hope PCC[E} sees it — it encapsulates just about every aspect of his style — argumentative and physical style. I know that he has fervent supporters, but the more I see of that man, the more infuriated I become. Just because he gives a few sensible but quotidian self-help dicta to frustrated young (white) males (nothing new, to be sure), doesn’t absolve him from his eely reactionary beliefs and his duplicitous arguments. He’s like mercury, you can’t pin him down to anything; and his idea of atheism as expressed there is exactly that of a fundamentalist who thinks that without God, one has no moral compass and will do anything one pleases just for the heck of it — murder, rape, anything. His idea of God is just as idiotic, and his crude shaming of atheists when they angry reject his granting them pseudo-atheist status — we’re only atheists because we don’t realize that we really believe in God — what a crock of doo-doo. And his thoughts about women are truly unreconstructed, just veiled (pun intended). Having watched several full debates with him and numerous shorter videos, I think it’s a waste of time, intellectual energy, and psychological well-being to try to engage the man. Really no better or more satisfying than trying to engage Jehovah’s Witnesses when they come to the door.

    • I meant to email that debate to Jerry when I found it. We’ve emailed back and forth several times since then, and the link to the video is still sitting in a blank email waiting for me to send it! So he will see it, but probably not until tomorrow now.

      On some things I like Jordan Peterson, but others I don’t, and this is absolutely dreadful. I was quite shocked when I saw it that he thought this way.

      If anyone else is wondering what we’re talking about, here’s the video:

      I actually haven’t watched any of his stuff about women yet, but that was because I thought I wouldn’t like it. I am planning to at some point, but I want to wait until I’m feeling better.

  7. Jenny Haniver says:

    There are things Peterson advocates that I’m in favor of, which was why I was interested in learning more about him and what he thinks in other areas. And I’d been under the impression that he was an atheist or agnostic and skeptical of religious belief. But he plays it both ways with religion — and other things as well, and I began to question his, dare I say, values? For someone making moral arguments, the bases for his vociferous principles are set upon the shifting sands of equivocation. This then made me question his motives for the things he asserts that I do believe in, and I’ve come to think that, while we may agree on certain things, our motives are not at all the same (or so I think), and in this regard, one;s motives matter; so I’ve quickly lost any positive sentiments toward the man.

  8. nicky says:

    On the list of 14 points that Mr Hannity sees as negative there are only two I would not wholly agree with (meaning I see only 2 as possibly not 100% positive), possibly because I do not fully understand them.
    – A federal jobs guarantee. Would that mean an incompetent federal administrator cannot lose his/her job?
    – The last point, about curbing Wall Street gambling appears more or less ok, but I haven’t enough knowledge about Glass-Steagall to know if restoring it is a ‘good’ thing. I’d tend to say yes, but I’m no expert.

    • nicky says:

      I have also some reservations about “higher education for all”, depends on what you’d call higher education. But I think that all deserving (ie. good) students, must have the possibility to study further without getting into huge debt.
      I’m just a bit afraid about hordes of students taking “xxxxx-Studies”, that will be of little use to them or society.
      Don’t get me wrong, I think the 14 points is an excellent programme. If that is her programme, I’d unhesitatingly vote for her.
      I’m always stunned that ‘medicare for all’ is still an issue. I mean it should be extended to ‘illegals’, it is not because someone is ‘illegal’ he/she cannot spread, say, TB or other diseases. How shortsighted can one get.

  9. nicky says:

    I find ‘the Snip’ not hilarious. Dramatic? Yes. Probably necessary or at least convenient? Yes. Hilarious? No.
    Maybe I identify too much with the poor tomcat.

  10. nicky says:

    I loved Ms Ocasio-Cortez victory speech, but was less convinced by the other ‘now this’ video of Ms Haider.
    It completely failed to point out the difference between criticism (and fear) of Islam and anti-muslim bigotry. Maybe I’m a bit prejudiced, but I always think of Ayaan’s: “Political Islam is fundamentally incompatible with Western democracy” (or something like it, citation from memory).
    I think that is true, and any such video should address that. Not addressing it is actually part of the problem, methinks.

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