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byronius's Journal
byronius's Journal
May 9, 2024

'Dark Waters' on Netflix will curl your hair.

Mark Ruffalo is brilliant in the primary role. I know this story, but the human side of it that the film presents left me in tears.

It's shocking. Must-see.

Dark Waters is a 2019 American legal thriller film directed by Todd Haynes and written by Mario Correa and Matthew Michael Carnahan. The story dramatizes Robert Bilott's case against the chemical manufacturing corporation DuPont after they contaminated a town with unregulated chemicals. It stars Mark Ruffalo as Bilott, along with Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, Bill Camp, Victor Garber, Mare Winningham, William Jackson Harper, and Bill Pullman.
January 10, 2024

'Prequel' by Rachel Maddow is an astonishing book.

It's amazing. She's an excellent historian -- most of this is brand new to me, and I've been a consumer of history for a long time. Intelligent, detailed, and utterly American -- just a beautiful work, full of detail and heart.

I got it for Christmas and I'm almost done. I'm at the finale -- the grand trial of 1944, in which eight prominent American fascists are being tried in a small Brooklyn courtroom for aiding and abetting Hitler's strategy to degrade the United States and keep us out of the war.

The villainous Nazi-enablers are predominantly Republican and the outnumbered heroes are all brave American liberals -- it's very much like watching a Marvel script, but it's absolutely real.

I loved it. So good. A powerful book.

October 23, 2023

What brilliant leader created FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Authority?

Jimmy Carter.

President Carter signed Executive Order 12127, effective April 1, 1979, establishing FEMA. Shortly after, in signing Executive Order 12148 on July 20, 1979, President Carter gave the agency the dual mission of emergency management and civil defense.

I was rewatching the old disaster movie 'The Day After Tomorrow' today. There's a moving scene depicting millions of Americans seeking shelter in Mexico from a massive latitudinal icestorm -- all being fed and sheltered by the Federal Emergency Management Authority.

Republicans tend to want to cut important programs, sell off the United States to the wealthy, and coddle up to foreign dictators for profit and power -- especially lately.

Democrats take care to preserve and protect the nation we live in.

Jimmy Carter was the first president I could vote for. Still proud of that day.

July 31, 2023

'Greyhound' on Apple is the best film I've seen. In 63 years.

OMG. Tom Hanks, tight action, amazing film. Brilliant.

It expresses my deep regard for the Mighty Democratic Underground. And my love of this nation.

Every Oscar, period. A Powerhouse.

Good night, my brave comrades.


October 6, 2022


"Happy Putinfall to one and all!"

"Have you put up your Putinfall decorations yet?"

"Hey, uhhh -- I was wondering -- if you wanted to go -- to the Putinfall dance with me --"

It's going to be a wonderful first Putinfall. My favorite holiday. The best season, a season of hope and renewal.


April 10, 2022

Yesterday I saw something I have never seen before.

I went to the Macy's at Downtown Plaza in Sacramento to get a pair of pants. Hadn't been there in a long time; I telework, and so even though my building is downtown I haven't been there in more than six months.

I parked in the underground garage and climbed the metal stairs to the surface -- a door let me out at the west end of the mall, right near the Macy's. The mall has an open-air corridor all the way through the center of it, and as I walked past it to get to the Macy's side door on the other side --

"DON'T PANIC!" I heard someone shout. From the corridor I heard other people shouting, a woman screamed -- and then suddenly from either side of the escalator in the center, I saw what the tumult was about.

Perhaps twenty to thirty (sixty?) high school kids were riding electric bikes at high speed right toward me, all of them popping wheelies, fat front tires spinning in the air as they came on at maybe twenty miles an hour --

"DON'T PANIC!" I saw one of the front riders shout again. I froze in place, trying to judge what to do next -- a kid coming right at me was having a tough time holding the wheelie, wobbling back and forth with a look of concern --

At the last second he lost it, and veered right at me. These bikes are heavy, with the big battery on the bottom below the pedals, heavy frames and super-fat tires -- if he hit me it was going to do some serious damage, so I judged the distance and jumped back to let him clear me -- right into the path of another kid roaring by right behind me. I scooted forward a millimeter and both kids shot by me so closely I felt the air pulse from both sides.

The rest weren't as close, but they were moving fast. A couple behind me shouted as they were nearly run down -- another man in front of me dodged a close call as the literal horde of electric bikes streamed by us -- and then the kids were gone, laughing harshly and whooping as they escaped down the wide concrete path that led past the Holiday Inn and toward the freeway.

I stood there for a moment, caught in the rush of fight-or-flight adrenaline -- and shock at a brand-new thing I'd never seen before. I felt like an elder witnessing the birth of a new generation, a bubbling up of tension and frustration I hadn't known existed.

The guy in front of me caught my eye, shook his head and cursed quietly. The couple behind me clutched at each other and looked around and into the mall corridor as if there might be more -- and then we all finally returned to our paths. I went into the Macy's with my heart still pounding.

I asked the sales clerk about it as I paid. "We can't stop them," she whispered, and looked around her as if they might hear her. "Sometimes they come in the store and ride around, go up and down the escalators and scare everybody." I raised my eyes with disbelief, but she nodded her head affirmatively.

As I walked back to the car I stayed light on my feet and kept my eyes on the corridor -- nothing but regular mall shoppers, though. I thought about it as I walked down to the car -- while I've been staying in my house working on my double screens with my laptop, the world had changed. I hadn't kept up.

I'm not the guy to judge these kids. I did some really stupid stuff at that age, and even after that age -- I get it. I've just never seen that particular manifestation of teen angst before -- an electric-bike high school gang terrorizing a big mall to display their feelings of anxiety and powerlessness in the face of an uncertain future.

"Don't panic!" Indeed. Thanks for that at least, kids. And good luck to us all.

January 27, 2022

A coworker went to Texas for her husband's job interview -- "No masks anywhere!" she gushed.

Shopping malls open. Restaurants packed. "It's like 2019 there!"

Her husband's been in bed for five full days now, headaches, bodyaches, nausea, fatigue. They can't find a rapid test at the CVS.

He's double-vaxxed, no booster, his company requires it. But she's not. Mentioned Facebook as the reason. No symptoms yet --

But the two little girls, 2 and 4, went right back to their private Christian daycare when they returned.

Flying back to California she felt the heaviness of the oppressive mask mandate return --

They're taking the job. Everything's cheaper in Texas, she says.

Like life, apparently.

January 21, 2022

Democratic Underground Date.

Oldie but goodie.
December 8, 2021

Villains for a thousand years.

They think they will write the history, but history begs to differ. People of good conscience will study these years and write the truth of it: frightened, ignorant Americans followed sociopaths down old dark roads known all too well to anyone who reads history.

The leaders of this clownish parade of mass murder and mayhem will be infamous forever, but the true highlights framed for the future will be the attempted overthrow of a democratic nation by frightened, ignorant Americans guided by hostile foreign interests and the cunning but criminal capture of a Supreme Court by those same zealots. Those two stories will stick.

They think the things they say will shield them from the harsh judgment of history, but their names will live on as popular villains of fact and fiction for the next thousand years. This will happen. Count on it.

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