George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, died November 30, at the age of 94.

I don’t remember Bush I particularly well. I was pretty young when he was president, so I wasn’t paying a lot of attention. He got us into the Gulf War, though, and a lot of kids I knew at the time had their dads sent off to war for that.

The thing I remember most was that at the time, if you had satellite TV, you could find raw feeds from various news agencies on different channels, showing footage from the Gulf. It was basically b-roll that news agencies were streaming back to their stations to be chopped up, edited, and played later on in the background while anchors did their thing.

A friend of mine had those stations playing pretty much 24-7 in her house. She was watching it in case her dad popped up on screen.

Bush I lied about Iraqis killing babies in hospitals to keep America ginned up and in favor of his war effort.

Bush I also arranged for a black high school kid to be lead into selling crack in front of the White House, so that kid could be arrested and Bush could go on TV to tell the nation that the drug epidemic was so bad, people were selling crack in front of the White House. He used this propaganda to kick off his War on Drugs, which has gone on to destroy the lives of, fuck, I don’t even know how many people.

He also helped shepherd the ADA into law, which I mention because this is the real world and almost no one is entirely bad.

He also insisted he wouldn’t raise taxes, and when he realized his tax policy was ballooning the deficit, went ahead and raised taxes anyway. This arguably lost him re-election because Clinton took him to school over it in the elections, but hey, it was fiscally responsible. It might have been the last time you’ll see a fiscally responsible Republican.

5 Things to Read Today

Photo: President George Bush on the Texans sideline. Houston Texans Vs. New York Giants Reliant Stadium. Houston, Tx. Oct. 10, 2010, by AJ Guel. (Source and licensing.)

Okay, got kind of a busy day/week ahead, and a lot of time sucked out of it already that involve things that do not actually equate to me completing my work, so this’ll have to be fast. Here we go.

5 Things to Read Today

Okay, that’s it. Go read good stuff!

I have three days to do a week’s worth of work and I already used up one of those days, so this’ll have to be quick.

🚀 First up, a new Oatmeal comic: On November 26th, a Mole Will Land on Mars. This is super neat and I just found out about it.

📚 Here’s a brand new free short story from John Scalzi: Automated Customer Service.

🍔 From Thrillist, “I Found the Best Burger Place in America. And Then I Killed It.,” the story of how a restaurant review killed an awesome burger place in Portland, Oregon.

📰 NiemanLab has an article on how journalists are being trained to detect “deepfakes,” or fake videos.

🤬 So, nationwide, cops are marking rape cases solved without actually arresting the perpetrator. Like, the rapist walks free, and the cops mark the case solved. Read it and get your rage on.

🚓 The New York Times has a longread about how cops failed to see the threat of white nationalism and now aren’t prepared to deal with it: “U.S. Law Enforcement Failed to See the Threat of White Nationalism. Now They Don’t Know How to Stop It.

💩 Bad news, guys. A significant percentage of the conversations you’re having online about current events are BS driven by bot accounts and bad actors. Read it in Wired.

⚠️ The Southern Poverty Law Center says “The Alt-Right is Killing People.” And yes. Yes they are.

🚨 Speaking of the “alt-right” and all that fascist, nazi bullshit, here’s a great article from Robert Evans at Bellingcat about how people get sucked into extremism.

📓 An oldie-but-goodie: Here’s an article in Strange Horizons, from 2005, about the Lovecraft influence in Stephen King’s writing.

To wrap things up, the Arrowverse crossover is coming up Dec. 9, and we’re up to four 30-second teaser trailers. Here they are:

Holy crap, I cannot wait for a full trailer to drop. These crossovers are the highlight of my TV year.

Lots to do and not much time to do it in today, so here we go:

  1. io9: There’s No Doctor Who Christmas Special This Year—It’s a New Year’s Day Episode, Instead
  2. Willamette Week: Jeff Merkley Seeks Oregon Law Change to Clear the Way For 2020 Presidential Bid
  3. Vox: Jim Acosta vs. the Trump White House, explained
  4. Washington Post: The Daily 202: Hate crimes are a much bigger problem than even the new FBI statistics show
  5. Arrowverse Crossover Teasers: Barry Allen | Oliver Queen. Betcha we get one for Supergirl on Sunday. Or maybe she’ll get the full trailer?

Apropos of nothing else in this post, the 2019 Game of Thrones teaser trailer is out this morning. The season’s scheduled for April 2019. Let’s all hope we make it that long.

Also, a trailer dropped yesterday for Detective Pikachu, a live-action Pokemon movie starring Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Pikachu. This movie is going to be a white hot mess and I am here for it, y’all.

5 Things to Read Today

⚖️ AP: FBI: 17% Spike In Hate Crimes In 2017 Marks Rise For 3rd Year In A Row

Hate crime reports were up again for 2017, making three years for increases in hate crimes. Hate crimes against Jewish people were up 37% in 2017.

🔥 Lifehacker: What Trump Gets Wrong About California’s Wildfires

Trump’s been blaming “bad forest management” for the California wildfires, which is BS. These are “urban interface” fires, which means they started in areas where people had built homes around flammable areas. The reason the fires are so bad is – drum roll, please – climate change, of course.

📰 CNN: CNN sues President Trump and top White House aides for barring Jim Acosta

CNN just filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration to get Jim Acosta’s access to the White House restored.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has changed their story about why Acosta’s press pass was taken in the first place. The White House initially said they yanked Acosta’s press pass because he hit one of the press interns, and tired to back that claim up with an altered video of the incident. Clearly that wasn’t going to fly, so now they’re trying to say Acosta’s press pass was pulled because he wouldn’t yield the mic to the intern.

🏛️ ABC News: Trump planning shakeup, eyeing new chief of staff and DHS secretary: Sources

Apparently Trump’s fixin’ to fire John Kelly, his Chief of Staff, and Kirstjen Nielsen, Kelly’s handpicked replacement at Homeland Security.

Trump’s decided he hates Kelly, and that’s fine, because Kelly’s a hateful trash person. Unfortunately, he’s also one of the so-called “adults in the room,” and god only knows what slow-motion train wreck Trump’ll get to replace him.

Kirstjen Nielsen is the hardline hate machine responsible for enacting Kelly’s plans for separating children from their parents at the border, the child concentration camps, and other atrocities, and she’s apparently being fired for not being enough of a hardline hate machine.

Hold on, kids. Shit’s gonna get real rocky before the Dems take the House in January.

👨‍⚖️ NBC News: State of Maryland asks judge to declare Rosenstein acting attorney general

To wrap things up, Maryland is asking a federal judge to declare Rod Rosenstein the acting attorney general, instead of Matt Whitaker, the toady Trump tired to – possibly unconstitutionally – appoint to the job.

I’m not sure that’ll actually work? I dunno, folks, we’re getting deep in the weeds when it comes to the legal guts of government.

As far as I can tell, Rosenstein should have become acting attorney general when Sessions was fired, and Trump should not have appointed a replacement, because there was already a chain of command in place. That seems to be the prevailing argument at any rate.

We’re almost finished with the second season of “The Good Place,” and this show is delightful. We’re apparently the last people to know that. But in case we’re not, and you haven’t watched it either, you should. It’s on Netflix.

5 Things to Read Today

💣 NBC News: Two packages sent to Joe Biden, one to Robert De Niro match other mailed pipe bombs

More mailed pipe bombs, this time to former VP Joe Biden and Robert De Niro, Bombs have also been sent to the Clintons, the Obamas, George Soros, John Brennan/CNN, former AG Eric Holder, and Rep. Maxine Waters. You can read more about this in the New York Times, Vox and NBC News. JJ McNab, extremist expert, has some thoughts in this Twitter thread, too.

📱 New York Times: When Trump Phones Friends, the Chinese and the Russians Listen and Learn

Trump’s using an unsecured iPhone to make calls to whatever passes for his friends, and the Chinese, Russians, and let’s be honest here, probably others, are listening in. Not a guess, this is apparently a thing our intelligence people know. The good news is that since Trump doesn’t read anything and can’t be bothered to learn anything, he’s probably not giving away that much. (That’s a joke. You know he’s bragging up any classified information he’s managed to retain, constantly, to everyone.)

🇲🇽 CNN: Mattis expected to send 800 more troops to southern border

You must be aware by now that there’s an extremely large caravan of refugees, mostly from Honduras, headed our way. There are several thousand of them, and they plan to seek refugee status when they get here. They’re weeks away. Also, unarmed, and likely exhausted. Probably sick and hungry, too. Mattis is sending troops to the border to “stop them.” It’s a political stunt. You can read more about the caravan itself at Vox.

🌀 Vox: Super Typhoon Yutu, one of the strongest storms ever, just pulverized a US territory

I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but there’s a frickin’ massive typhoon tearing ass through the Pacific Ocean right now, and it just wiped out a couple of islands that are US territories.

👽 Nerd Processor: E.T. Is Secretly the Scariest Movie of All Time

And finally, to wrap things up on a lighter (?) note, Rob Bricken explains in his new column, Nerd Processor, that E.T. is actually a monster, and I really can’t argue with it.

Every year in October I tell myself that I’m gonna review all my TV show episodes and every year I fail almost immediately, so this year I’m not gonna try that hard at it. I watch a lot of TV and it’s hard to keep up. Especially with all this “life” and “work” and “Trump” junk that keeps getting in the way.

5 Things to Read Today

Jamal Khashoggi is a Saudi journalist who was an American resident and a columnist for the Washington Post. He went “missing” recently, and it seems pretty damn certain that Saudi Arabia had him assassinated. Trump is, of course, doing nothing about it, because the guy works for a paper Trump hates and he’s a non-white person. Also because the Saudis own Trump.

Black Lightning Season 2

Black Lightning

I am consistently thrilled with Black Lightning. It’s excellently written, has fantastic acting, and it’s topical. It’s one of the best superhero shows the CW is putting out right now.

Riverdale Season 2

Riverdale

Riverdale is my guilty pleasure. This show is a melodramatic soap opera packed full of terrible people doing stupid things, but the acting and writing are great and the show is frequently hilarious. Plus, Cheryl, who is my Patronus.

Supernatural Season 14

Supernatural

We re-watched the whole run of Supernatural over the summer, which was the first time I’d ever done that, and it was a lot of fun. You forget how far these characters have come. I’m pretty tickled with the setup for this season. I can’t wait to see how it plays out.