Why Silence From Trump and Iowa GOP On Celia Barquín Murder?

Richards was sent to prison last year only after he tested positive for methamphetamine and marijuana, failed to complete an anger-management course he started four times and didn’t pay court-ordered fees to a halfway house, court records show.

Even then, the two-year sentence was reduced to about seven months after credit for good behavior and some jail time already served.

After his release, Richards was arrested weeks later for public intoxication. Soon, he was living in a tent in a homeless encampment in the woods near the Coldwater Golf Links in Ames. He told an acquaintance that he had an urge to “rape and kill a woman,” police said. He allegedly stabbed Barquin and left her body in a pond near the ninth hole.
— Read on www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-iowa-stabbings-reaction-20180919-story.html

Apparently murdering while brown, employed, but undocumented is a terrible, very bad thing that becomes a national outrage.. Murdering while white, homeless and an incorrigible ex-con does not merit commentary from the national GOP/NRA sound machine, or even a tweet from the Scrotus En Queef.

In both cases, the victims were young women who were engaged in solitary athletic pursuits – running and golfing. Women who dare to be alone, sweaty, and physically fit in public must really be triggering to these predators.

Get Ready. Long Blog Post Percolating.

It seems like forever since I wrote anything longer than a tweet. Especially since @Twitter went from 140 to 280 characters. And I’ve stayed off of Facebook mostly to avoid seeing propaganda ads (sorry friends and family).

And even “forever” is longer now in the Drumpf era. Today on Twitter, I joked that if dog years are 7 human years, 1 newscycle day is 24 years, and one newscycle year is 14,600 human years. How long ago was it that we thought “One Scaramucchi = 11 days” was funny?

I haven’t even touched my desktop computer in months (ie., several thousand years) because I’ve been avoiding some necessary tasks, so even blogging after a long Drumpf-inspired hiatus is a form of procrastinating.

Events of the last few weeks/experiential years have had me pondering various topics and themes – the #MeToo movement, the current debate in the national press and online communities over the #Kavanaugh nomination, and the insidious influence of the Washington elite old-boy network that seems to secretly run the Kabuki-theater proceedings, at least on the Republican/Theocrat side.

Phew, that last paragraph was exhausting. As is life as a sentient, progressive American these days.

My extreme Twitter addiction can be seen over there in the right column. Gradually, over the last 2 years, I’ve been spending more and more time on the microblogging platform, because of the immediacy of breaking news, crazy fads, and the possibility of interacting with celebrities. As in “ZOMG that one time @Rosie retweeted me!” Or the time @Lawrence “liked” my comment reacting to a recent @TheLastWord commentary.

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My Twitter addiction goes hand in hand with my @maddow dependency. Not long after returning from our 2016 vacation (we were in Hawaii, so we filed absentee ballots), I met new friends at church who were looking for a spiritual home with a side of progressive community. The older lady exclaimed “I can’t get to sleep now unless I watch Rachel to tell me what the hell is going on!”

And I have to agree, except that the last few months, I’ve been staying up later and later watching Rachel and Lawrence on @MSNBC, I’ve been watching former GOP operatives who’re now #NeverTrumpers (and who are responsible for getting people like Roberts, Gorsuch, and McConnell confirmed are re-elected) till all hours. And I keep checking Twitter through the night, hoping for some late-breaking ray of hope.

And aside from such delightful distractions as the #MPRraccoon and #CivilWarPotluck it’s really not good for me or my health.

Bike? I haven’t ridden any of my bikes since July, and very little before that.

Self care? I’ve been eating crap food, and let’s not speak of my love for Payday bars.

Laundry? My husband David does most of it. My clean but unfolded laundry is everywhere.

Much of what I’ve read, commented on, and brooded over has been pinging around in my head, not all of it to do with the travails of women who report being sexually assaulted or raped whenever they damn well decide is the right time to declare it. I don’t have much to report on the #MeToo front, fortunately. I certainly partied and took risks by accepting rides, etc. I never fit the profile of the easy target, so I survived my young womanhood mostly unharmed except for unwanted buttgrabs.

The recent piece on obesity and self-acceptance struck a chord, though. Especially with the photographs of the interview subjects, who got to direct their own photoshoots to show them exactly as they wanted to be portrayed. The images are revelatory.

“My son and I both like to play the hero. There wasn’t necessarily any intentional symbolism in the costumes we chose, but I am definitely a member of the rebellion, and I see my role as an eating disorders researcher as trying to fight for justice and a better world. Also, I like that I’m sweaty, dirty and messy, not done up with makeup or with my hair down in this picture. I like that I’m not hiding my stomach, thighs or arms. Not because I’m comfortable being photographed like that, but because I want to be—and I want others to feel free to be like that, too.”— ERIN HARROP

I love this image. This is Erin Harrop and her son. So much awesome strength.

All of this makes higher-weight patients more likely to avoid doctors. Three separate studies have found that fat women are more likely to die from breast and cervical cancers than non-fat women, a result partially attributed to their reluctance to see doctors and get screenings. Erin Harrop, a researcher at the University of Washington, studies higher-weight women with anorexia, who, contrary to the size-zero stereotype of most media depictions, are twice as likely to report vomiting, using laxatives and abusing diet pills. Thin women, Harrop discovered, take around three years to get into treatment, while her participants spent an average of 13 and a half years waiting for their disorders to be addressed.

Woops, this sounds disturbingly familiar. I’ve got a doctor’s appointment next week that I’ve canceled and rescheduled once already because I’m supposed to be setting up several routine but not particularly pleasant “checklist” health procedures. I haven’t lost weight, I stopped exercising and eating right (in contrast to 2-3 years ago when I was much more motivated and less obsessed with Drumpfian corruption). I don’t want to be lectured by the doc for my “noncompliance.” Maybe I’d better figure out my login for the medical practice website to see her recommendations again.

Some of the other peoples’ quotes about being bullied for being bigger resonated with me. I’m bigger than an average-sized woman; taller and heavier, with an appearance best described as “unconventionally not too horrible.” I was bullied as a kid for being bigger than most, looking different than almost everyone, and not going to the right church in order to fit in. Still, I had it easy, compared to some.

Not fitting in seems to be the common thread for young (and older) women who speak out about being abused or raped. Dr Christina Blasey Ford is currently in hiding, getting death threats and more for going public with her allegation of sexual assault against Judge Kavanaugh dating back to the early 80’s. She was popular then, but she’s sure getting the outcast treatment now.

Compare that to Amber Wyatt, a young woman who was raped in high school in Arlington, Texas (rather horribly). Back then, she didn’t fit in socially with the well-to-do kids whose parents enabled them to throw massive drunken parties, although she was a cheerleader and was about to move up in the social strata. After the awful event, she became a pariah, was eventually forced to transfer to another school, spiraled down into drugs and self-destruction, and eventually recovered.

More than a decade later, a very thoughtful piece by a reporter who happened to go to the same high school has resulted in Amber receiving an outpouring of support, compassion, and even apologies from some of the people who tormented her AFTER her assault, because she reported it immediately.

Apparently, in America, if you speak out against your attackers, it’s almost a worse crime than being violated….if you’re female and they’re male.

So all this has been on my mind, and has been the big narrative of the last couple of week-centuries. Thinking about the bullying now happening to Dr Ford (by the US Senate, various patriarchal/theocratic astroturf groups, and the Idiot in Chief) led me to think on my own experiences as a bullied or ostracized kid.

It could have been a lot, lot worse. It was bad enough at the time. But thanks to Google, I just stumbled across the current name of my worst old childhood nemesis, the person who made grade school and junior high a daily gauntlet of taunts, physical abuse, humiliation, and desperate attempts to escape any way I could.

But that’s for the ACTUAL long blog post. This was just a foreword; I’m just happy to have survived yet another Infrastructure Week.

Technical Difficulties, Please Stand By

A horrible thing happened Friday night. My iPhone went for an unexpected swim. There was a scream of horror, right after the most awful kerplunk sound ever.

I fished it out and turned it off as quickly as I could, but I wasn’t quick enough. David had pounded upstairs to see what was the matter, and quickly found a container of rice we still had – we stopped cooking rice for dinner quite a while ago. Into the rice it went and I waited, phoneless, for 2 days.

I blame a phone commercial that shows someone dropping their phone in a lake, I’m sure it suggested something to me.

Meanwhile, 2 days later, David brought the phone to me, we powered it up and charged the battery. It seemed to be working, until I tried to use if for the thing you’re supposed to use a cell phone for: making a phone call. I couldn’t seem to connect, or hear if the call was connecting. Turns out, it was.

It took some attempts and texts to discover that my earpiece speaker was fried, and also the speaker for playing music.

Well, shit.

However, all is not lost; David just bought an iPhone 8, and his previous phone could be wiped and reassigned to me. So I’ve bee somewhat frustrated today – using a familiar interface, but a bigger form factor. I’ve been mostly using it as I normally do, but keep running up against missing passwords (most made it over, not all) and signing back in to apps and tools.

Even for posting on this blog, the app I use is causing me problems; I can log in to all my blogs on the iPad version of the app, but I can only log in to 3 blogs on the iPhone. Not a big deal, but it’s frustrating – the WordPress app and the WordPress.com ”jetpack” plugin have these weird behaviors where I have to remember NOT to use the temptingly easy Gmail login, because that leads to duplicate logins that I made inadvertently. And inconsistencies between iPad, iPhone, and desktop “saved passwords” were causing me grief.

Still, at this point I have a working iPhone that I can live with, but I’d rather have my previous one; for one thing, I really like my case, which may be a dumb reason but it matters to me. A repair may be possible, and it’s not paid off yet, which really irks me; how I wish I had not fumbled it into the deep.

Meanwhile, at least I’m still able to keep an eye on the news and on Twitter; and I even texted a friend in Alabama to urge her and her husband to vote tomorrow. Get out the vote, Alabama- vote for Doug Jones and the future. Not for the man who represents the shameful past.

What I’m really thinking: the mother of a redhead via @TheGuardian

I bet my mom could have related to this article.

She got comments about me like this ALL the time. Her hair was auburn; my dad’s hair was fiery red when he was younger. I had no choice in the matter.

Cereal is still the best meal of the day.

We are not supposed to be offended. Yet if you replace ginger with any other unusual body part, it suddenly seems less acceptable

Link: What I’m really thinking: the mother of a redhead | Life and style | The Guardian

The collapse of Monarch: inside the doomed airline in its last days | Business | The Guardian

I’d never heard of this airline before last week. Then I caught a call from someone who’d been booked on them. There was no other way to help him, had to sell him a new ticket on a new carrier, and he’ll pursue refund with them himself.

In the week running up to the collapse of Monarch Airlines, one crew member noticed that something was awry. The soap had run out on a flight back to Gatwick and a request to replenish supplies was left unanswered. A few days later, on Monday this week, Monarch was no more: almost 2,000 staff would be laid off and the travel plans of 860,000 passengers would be disrupted.

Link: The collapse of Monarch: inside the doomed airline in its last days | Business | The Guardian

Stress-Induced Total Immobility Syndrome: Too Much SITS, not enough getting ‘er done (till now).

Here’s one of my church chums giving the sermon today, in a badass ensemble consisting of a prayer stole or preaching stole and a fine Cubs T-shirt. We’re still in Summer Casual mode at Holy Moly.

When I’m under pressure and feeling overwhelmed, I SITS around a lot watching TV, goofing around on Twitter, and sending texts and postcards to random Congresspeople and government departement secretaries. Yesterday, I was up against a hard time limit and solved a technical issue with one of my website/blogs that’s been frustrating me for months.

So, finally, I went back to church at Holy Moly for the first time since JUNE. I had to, today was the first day the choir was supposed to be “back in black,” hence my self-imposed hard time limit. The church website absolutely had to show updates, or I’d have to deal with more questions as to why outdated posts about EASTER were still visible on the static main page.

My conscience is now clear. You can see the result of much needless agita at St Nicholas Episcopal Church.

Still some cosmetic tweaks needed, but the timely content is front and center, and it’s easy to update. Now for figuring out the easiest way for a couple of more people to have update access. The biggest hurdle is cleared at last.

My extended absence each week kept getting longer and longer, because aside from not being able to figure out a frustrating technical issue with the church website (which is now licked), I had gotten much too slack and comfortable about Sunday morning sleep-ins.

It started out just being “the choir is off for the summer” but it turned into many more things left undone than I could cope with, and I didn’t want to show up until I figured them out.

However, late last night I finally implemented some dang useful tools for administering the Holy Moly website. They are the same tools that I was playing around with here at Blogula Rasa that greatly simplify and streamline the task of writing, publishing, and sharing a blog post to social media.

The problem starts with my own lack of confidence, exacerbated by a tendency to self-distract and hare off into an expending state of spin. If I had to get something done, I needed to get three or four other things done first that “weren’t working right” or bugging me. And those things would generate more and more things that frustrated or stymied me.

Since I have this blog, and a couple of other personal blogs, and the church website/blog to administer, if something stops working on one site, it has to be dealt with at the other sites, which all have different themes and back-end plugins and style sheets to cope with.

Add to that, a disinclination to spend much time at my “home computer” desk, which is a bit of a cobbled-together arrangement that’s not all that comfortable. I used to spend hours and hours online, chatting or fooling around with a 3D design program (which is fiendishly frustrating in itself). But more than a year ago, I stopped going online, and started spending more time discussing the bizarre events of the American presidential election on Twitter and Facebook. I kind of dropped a lot of balls with my online social contacts.

And add to THAT, complete frustration with trying to update my two most important blog/websites on a small mini iPad rather than wrestling with an older laptop that’s badly in need of updating. I use WordPress, and the web interface on the iPAd in Safari is hard to work with, with a maddening tendency to throw a “server not responding, lost connection” error that is related to the wireless keyboard I use. I’d find myself spending an HOUR just trying to write, annotate, and SAVE (save, save, save) a draft. Forget trying to publish, that took at least 5 or 10 tries and required turning off the wireless keyboard and pressing the Publish button for JUST the right amount of time. Sometimes I’d start updating and give up, furious. The desktop was uncomfortable, the laptop unworkable, the iPad a complete torture.

Frankly, it was easier to just post something on Twitter, rather than make my self crazy trying to write anything longer than 140 characters.

Meanwhile, all the blogs used a variety of plugins that were supposed to automate the task of reposting content to various Facebook pages and Twitter. It worked for a long time, and then gradually, some plugins stopped working, other plugins announced they were ceasing to be supported. Don’t even get me started on how Google stopped developing Picasa, that was the backbone of my large collection of seasonally appropriate images for the church website, that also semi automated sending photos to the church Facebook page and Flickr.

I stayed away from church because I got tired of explaining to people why the church website wasn’t getting updated each week; one of my church chums is a solid rock of dependability who sends nicely formatted Constant Comment newsletters every Tuesday without fail; all I have to do is copy/paste some essays, news items, and stock images, and aside from the back-end plugins not working, the church website at least could be a snap. Except that I kept putting off wrestling with it, for months.

For a while I relied on IFTTT recipes to deal with reposting at Facebook (the church likes FB’s ability to show events, photos, etc.) and also reposting to Twitter. But that was cumbersome. I couldn’t face my chums (or Father Manny), so I stayed away.

Then, at Blogula Rasa, I stumbled on to a whole suite of plugins called Jetpack, that everyone else in WordPress-land has been using forever.

One plugin replaced four or five (or more ) other plugins, and solved their weird conflicts and interdependencies. It even simplified how stuff is displayed on the side column (though I’m still using a creaky old method for “sideblogging” that requires me to use the horrible Safari web inteface).

Jetpack made it simple to link multiple blogs to the clean interface at WordPress.com, and also to the vastly improved (and beautifully un-distracting) editor for the WordPress for iOS app. Either way, I write a post that can be saved as a draft, and published, with NO crazymaking “lost connection, failed to save” errors. I deleted all the outdated, superfuous plugins, surrendered to the iOS app, and suddenly, it’s easy and pleasurable to write again. All the little extra doodads and widgets that I had, have Jetpack versions that are powerful, configurable, and a snap.

Once I started implementing and updating at the church website, I had one set of somewhat tedious tasks that I had been procrastinating on.

Even though “recent posts” showed up as links in the Holy Moly sidebar, the folks at church wanted to see news and upcoming events as posts on the main page, which is static. I hadn’t used “sticky” posts, I had been messing with adding excerpts by hand (and it was a pain). I looked at “under the hood” solutions that I didn’t understand, and then found one more plugin for pulling in content that is highly recommended, implemented on more than 50,000 sites, and recently updated.

Now, I have 3 different categories visible as slick sliding menus; I could make them look like a grid, or nested, or whatever. But any post I create in those 3 categories will appear on the main page of the Holy Moly site. As long as I add a featured image, they display nicely without resorting to the macro-keys I used for adding my beloved (but horribly dated) drop shadows. This is another reason I was using the horrible Safari browser interface for blogging, because it had access to my customized editor.

I went to church this morning with a clear conscience, knowing that the front page of the church website has updated content about upcoming events. Never mind about all the stuff I never got around to posting for events over the summer.

As my church chum Bill’s sermon covered forgiving a sinner up to 77 times, I figure I was stuck on 76rpm…right up until I found the way to simplify my process and just get ‘er done. The sensation of not spinning or flailing is wonderful.

No longer immobilized by stress, there’s the matter of my online social and technical obligations to tackle, and a rather big birthday coming up next week. And a new chair for my uncomfortable desk. And more bike riding. And…

Well, that’s enough to go on with for now.