Monday, August 24, 2020

They knew. They still know.

Never forget what conservatives were saying about Donald Trump before he cowed them into submission.

(Sorry about the tiny size of the embedded video.  That's the default that Blogger gave me and I can't figure out how to adjust the size.  If it bothers you, click on the link above to see the original.)

Republicans officially endorse a Trump dictatorship

The Republican party has formally decided not to adopt a platform this year, instead passing a resolution that says essentially, "we will support whatever the Dear Leader says".  Since the resolution calls out the media for its biased reporting, I will quote the resolution here in its entirety, with the salient portions highlighted:

WHEREAS, The Republican National Committee (RNC) has significantly scaled back the size and scope of the 2020 Republican National Convention in Charlotte due to strict restrictions on gatherings and meetings, and out of concern for the safety of convention attendees and our hosts;

WHEREAS, The RNC has unanimously voted to forego the Convention Committee on Platform, in appreciation of the fact that it did not want a small contingent of delegates formulating a new platform without the breadth of perspectives within the ever-growing Republican movement;

WHEREAS, All platforms are snapshots of the historical contexts in which they are born, and parties abide by their policy priorities, rather than their political rhetoric;

WHEREAS, The RNC, had the Platform Committee been able to convene in 2020, would have undoubtedly unanimously agreed to reassert the Party’s strong support for President Donald Trump and his Administration;

WHEREAS, The media has outrageously misrepresented the implications of the RNC not
adopting a new platform in 2020 and continues to engage in misleading advocacy for the failed policies of the Obama-Biden Administration, rather than providing the public with unbiased reporting of facts; and

WHEREAS, The RNC enthusiastically supports President Trump and continues to reject the policy positions of the Obama-Biden Administration, as well as those espoused by the
Democratic National Committee today; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda;

RESOLVED, That the 2020 Republican National Convention will adjourn without adopting a new platform until the 2024 Republican National Convention;

RESOLVED, That the 2020 Republican National Convention calls on the media to engage in accurate and unbiased reporting, especially as it relates to the strong support of the RNC for President Trump and his Administration; and

RESOLVED, That any motion to amend the 2016 Platform or to adopt a new platform, including any motion to suspend the procedures that will allow doing so, will be ruled out of order.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Here we go again

 Here is a snapshot of the current map of temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) issued by the FAA across the western U.S.:

Almost every one of those red shapes is a major fire burning.  Compare that to a similar snapshot taken two years ago at about this same time of year.

The regularity of these extreme heat and fire events is starting to get really scary.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Irit Gat, Ph.D. 25 November 1966 - 11 August 2020


With a heavy heart I bear witness to the untimely passing of Dr. Irit Gat last Tuesday at the age of 53.  Irit was the Dean of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, California.  She was also my younger sister.  She died peacefully of natural causes.

I am going to miss her.  A lot.  I'm going to miss her smile.  I'm going to miss the way she said "Hey bro" when we talked on the phone.  I'm going to miss the joy she brought to everyone who knew her, especially my parents.

It wasn't always easy being my little sister.  I could be a real dick at times.  But mainly as she was growing up she found it difficult to forge her own identity.  Irit sometimes said she felt like she was growing up in my shadow.  I was two years ahead of her in school and an academic overachiever, which is a nice was of saying I was a geek without a lot of friends.  But the teachers all loved me, and so the first thing she usually heard from them was, "Oh, you're Erann's sister!"  That was hard on her because on the one hand it was true, and she loved me, and so she embraced it.  But on the other hand she was too nice to say, "No, I'm not, I'm me.  I'm my own person with my own identity, my own dreams, my own foibles, my own strengths."  And yet, she was all those things too.

Irit's main strength was an extraordinary ability to get along with everyone.  It's not something I appreciated when I was growing up.  It is only much later in life that I came to realize how important the ability to forge interpersonal relationships is.  She was a natural from the beginning.  She was on the homecoming court.  She was the prom queen, and I don't mean that metaphorically.  My little sister was literally the prom queen in her senior year.  Her peers liked her that much.  I was lucky if I could get through the day without someone pinning a "kick me" sign on my back.

She then went on to forge an extraordinary professional career.  She earned a Ph.D., did a post-doc at NASA, and was then appointed professor of psychology at Antelope Valley College.  I saw her teach once (and only once).  She was good.  She was poised.  She was prepared.  She controlled the class.  She consistently got excellent reviews on RateMyProfessor, with a 100% "would take her class again" rating.

After about ten years behind the podium she decided she needed a new challenge and went into administration.  She become department head, president of the academic senate, and finally, Dean of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

On a few occasions I told her how proud I was of her.  I wish I could tell her again.  Sis, if you're listening, I'm proud of you, and have been for a long time.

Irit never married, but she did find love.  Lots of it.  The outpouring of emotion from her students and colleagues has been extraordinary.  If these were normal times and we were able to hold a funeral, a whole lot of people would have shown up.  That is the measure of a successful life.

Irit was engaged to be married to extraordinary man named Bob, whom I would have been proud to call my brother-in-law.  She invariably referred to him as "my Bob."  They did a lot of traveling together.  Bob is an avid cyclist, and many of their trips were BackRoads cycling trips, so she was an athlete too.  (In fact, in college, she was a body-builder.)  They had grand plans to retire in a few years and move to Tuscon or some such place.  Retiring with "her Bob" was the one dream she never got to realize.  Other than that, she lived a full and happy life (except when her older brother beat her up before he grew up and got a clue).

I will miss you, little sis.  Rest in peace.