An Attempted American Coup

Make no mistake about it: what we witnessed tonight was an attempted coup d’état.

Call me old-fashioned but when armed insurgents storm the U.S. Capitol at the behest of the recently defeated, but as of yet still seated U.S. President, for the stated purpose of reversing the nation’s lawful election results, I call that what it is.

These lawless, violent, destructive riots — and in the case of tonight, acts of domestic terrorism — carried out by the MAGA crowd, must be put down — immediately and permanently.

No one — NO ONE — has any problem with peaceful demonstrations*, but when an armed, lawless group of violent protesters break the law — especially at the behest of the President — we cannot condone this as “protest,” and must call it what it is: domestic terrorism.

These MAGA thugs need to be put down. Now.

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* Except, of course, the MAGA crowd, if the subject of the demonstration is something they don’t like.

Deadliest Days in American History

People, take note that 6 of the deadliest days1 in American history have taken place in the last 8 days. This pandemic is booming, and we all need to do our part: wear a fucking face mask, socially distance, and wash your fucking hands.

DEADLIEST SINGLE DAYS IN AMERICAN HISTORY
(description — date — fatalaties)

  1. Galveston Hurricane — 8 September 1900 — >6000 (possibly as many as 12000)
  2. Battle of Antietam (Civil War) — 17 September 1862 — ~3675
  3. San Francisco Earthquake — 18 April 1906 — >3000
  4. Terrorist Attacks — 11 September 2001 — 2996
  5. COVID-19 on Last Wednesday — 2 December 2020 — 2733
  6. COVID-19 on Last Thursday — 3 December 2020 — 2706
  7. COVID-19 on Yesterday — 8 December 2020 — 2622
  8. COVID-19 on Last Friday — 4 December 2020 — 2563
  9. Okeechobee (Florida) Hurricane — 17 September 1928 — >2511
  10. COVID-19 on Last Tuesday — 1 December 2020 — 2473
  11. COVID-19 on Last Saturday — 5 December 2020 — 2461
  12. Attack on Pearl Harbor — 7 December 1941 — 2403

Legend:
~ = approximately
> = at least
(hyperlink) = sources

 

UPDATE: cf. Slate: That Viral List of the Deadliest Days in American History Is Very Wrong.

 

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1 Please note that these are not the deadliest disasters in American History, but merely the deadliest single days in American History, and furthermore, the deadliest single days in American History examining deaths from only one single specified event.

For example, Hurricane Maria in 2017 with 3059 fatalaties is certainly one of the deadliest natural disasters, but the events of Hurricane Maria took place over more than a week.

Understanding Donald Trump by Understanding Narcissistic Personality Disorder

I’ve said for over four years now that I often feel guilty making jokes at the president’s expense because it’s not right to make fun of someone with a mental illness just as it’s not right to make fun of someone with a physical illness, and our president suffers from a mental illness recognized by the American Psychiatric Association: Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

As you might expect, an awful lot of Trump supporters are, shall we say, a little reluctant to acknowledge the president’s mental illness. But, as I’ve told my work colleagues repeatedly, it’s not easy to spot unless you’ve actually lived with it, which my wife and I unfortunately have.

So what is NPD? Well, many, if not most, websites that discuss NPD simply lay out the nine criteria specified by the DSM-5:

  • A grandiose sense of self-importance
  • Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  • Belief that one is special and can only be understood by or associate with special people or institutions
  • A need for excessive admiration
  • A sense of entitlement (to special treatment)
  • Exploitation of others
  • A lack of empathy
  • Envy of others or the belief that one is the object of envy
  • Arrogant, haughty behavior or attitudes

and indicate that individuals individuals with NPD will exhibit five or more of the nine. This is helpful, but let’s be honest, these criteria are a little “clinical” and therefore not necessarily easy to spot in an individual (which makes sense, since most of us are not qualified to diagnose according to the DSM-5!).

The Mayo Clinic website, on the other hand, actually lists the types of behaviours a person with NPD is likely to exhibit, which I think makes it much easier:

Signs and symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder and the severity of symptoms vary. People with the disorder can:

  • Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration
  • Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerate achievements and talents
  • Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people
  • Monopolize conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior
  • Expect special favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations
  • Take advantage of others to get what they want
  • Have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Be envious of others and believe others envy them
  • Behave in an arrogant or haughty manner, coming across as conceited, boastful and pretentious
  • Insist on having the best of everything — for instance, the best car or office

At the same time, people with narcissistic personality disorder have trouble handling anything they perceive as criticism, and they can:

  • Become impatient or angry when they don’t receive special treatment
  • Have significant interpersonal problems and easily feel slighted
  • React with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make themselves appear superior
  • Have difficulty regulating emotions and behavior
  • Experience major problems dealing with stress and adapting to change
  • Feel depressed and moody because they fall short of perfection
  • Have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation

Now, does that sound like anyone you may have voted for or against recently?

Quality Time

Quality time with our grandson, S.J.:

Trump’s Latest Loss in Pennsylvania

Republican Judge Matthew W. Brann of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania takes the Trump campaign to task in a scathing opinion issued yesterday:

In this action, the Trump Campaign and the Individual Plaintiffs (collectively, the “Plaintiffs”) seek to discard millions of votes legally cast by Pennsylvanians from all corners – from Greene County to Pike County, and everywhere in between. In other words, Plaintiffs ask this Court to disenfranchise almost seven million voters. This Court has been unable to find any case in which a plaintiff has sought such a drastic remedy in the contest of an election, in terms of the sheer volume of votes asked to be invalidated. One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption, such that this Court would have no option but to regrettably grant the proposed injunctive relief despite the impact it would have on such a large group of citizens.

That has not happened. Instead, this Court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence. In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state. Our people, laws, and institutions demand more. At bottom, Plaintiffs have failed to meet their burden to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Therefore, I grant Defendants’ motions and dismiss Plaintiffs’ action with prejudice. (emphasis added)

Trump and the Trump campaign talk a good game in the press, but when it comes to actually presenting actual evidence in a court of law in order to rectify their claimed vast, rampant voter fraud, they can’t produce the first shred of evidence that actually passes the laugh test.

Fucking fakers.

The Best and Worst of Us

Donald Trump1 is clearly the worst of us — just the worst of humanity. Dolly Parton, of course, is the best of us.

If aliens ever visit the Earth, we can tell them almost everything they need to know about our species by simply pointing to these two individuals, the worst and best of us.

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1 or, Comrade Trumpski as he is better known, or President Loser, as he’s been known for the last couple weeks…

Bitching much about face masks?

They’ll likely never admit it, but the people bitching endlessly today about wearing a fucking face mask, and staying home if you don’t need to go out, and keeping your distance, and not gathering in large groups, etc., are the same type of people who would have bitched endlessly about rationing during WWII. And the first is every bit as fucking UN-AMERICAN as the second.

Sometimes in America — not often, but sometimes — we’re just called upon to think of the greater good rather than our own self-interest.

Being Non-Racist vs Begin Anti-Racist

Emmanuel Acho in his truly wonderful YouTube series, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man:

Being non-racist is still tolerating racism, but not volunteering yourself as a racist. Being anti-racist is speaking out against racism whenever you see it.
— Emmanuel Acho, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, E10 with Chelsea Handler @ 10:16.

Fitting Bookends for a President Who Often Seems to Live in a Parallel Universe

Jacob Sullum, writing at Reason.com:

Donald Trump began his presidency by asserting, based on “alternative facts,” that he had attracted “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration.” He is ending his presidency by averring that Saturday’s pro-Trump rally in Washington, D.C., attracted more than 1 million people. And just as he claimed that he would have won the popular vote in 2016 if it weren’t for “the millions of people who voted illegally,” he is now insisting that the Democrats stole this year’s presidential election by altering “millions of ballots.”

These are fitting bookends for a president who often seems to live in a parallel universe shaped by his ego’s demands. While Trump’s fantasies about massive election fraud may be more consequential than his fictitious crowd numbers, both kinds of misrepresentations reflect his need to twist reality into grotesque but self-flattering shapes. While that tendency is often amusing, it is also more than a little disturbing to anyone who thinks truth should count for something in political debates.

Truth should count for something.

How to Upgrade to a New iPhone and AppleWATCH at the Same Time

It doesn’t happen often, but this year I just happened to receive both my new WATCH Series 6 and my new iPhone 12 Pro Max yesterday afternoon — on the same day at the same time.

So, the question becomes which should I upgrade first? Do I pair my new WATCH to my old iPhone and then upgrade the iPhone, or do I upgrade to my new iPhone and then upgrade to my new WATCH?

The answer is, well, kinda both. The only way to backup your WATCH is to unpair it from your iPhone, so what you’ll need to do — in broad strokes — is unpair your WATCH, then backup your iPhone and restore to the new iPhone, then pair your new WATCH to the new iPhone and select “restore” from the pairing options.

There are plenty of great articles online about how to move your WATCH to a new iPhone and what to backup before moving to your new iPhone (see links below, for a few of the artciles I followed), so I won’t repeat that information here, but just a general outline would look like something like this:

  1. Unpair your old WATCH from your old iPhone. This will create a backup of your WATCH on your iPhone.

  2. Backup your old iPhone. Personally, I like to do this step manually using Finder, but there are other options. Make sure you read about how to ensure you don’t lose your photos, messages and other data!

  3. Manually backup any other things from your old iPhone that are critical. This list will vary depending on the apps you’re using, but one thing I’ll specifically point out is 2FA apps. If you are using a 2FA app that does not backup to the cloud, then let me suggest Microsoft Authenticator or Authy.

  4. Setup your new iPhone and transfer the data from your old iPhone to the new iPhone.

  5. Ensure that your new iPhone has all the restored apps and data that it’s supposed to have. Personally, I usually wait 3-5 days before I wipe my old iPhone, just to be on the safe side.

  6. Pair your new WATCH to your new iPhone and restore your backed up WATCH data.

Last but not least, a word of advice: read through all the how-to articles before you start. Please, please, please, make sure you understand all the steps and the order in which to perform them before you start the process.

Good luck!