Hope everyone's having a good day. Well, maybe not everyone. There are a few on my s**t list. Let me revisit the topic of Valerie Bertinelli because she's back in the news:
And, sorry, Val, I liked the Tom you sold on your show. He seemed like a nice person.
You made him part of your brand.
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot;"
At a Monday press conference the victims were identified: Kelly Loving, who just turned 40 and was "like a trans mom" to friends; Ashley Paugh, a straight 35-year-old mother who worked to find homes for foster children; Raymond Green Vance, 22, who was at the club for the first time to celebrate a birthday with his girlfriend and her family; Derrick Rump, 38, a "lively, loving" bartender and performer at the club who "made it what it was"; and Daniel Davis Aston, 28, a trans bartender and performer who'd just completed his medical transition and was, said his mother Sabrina, "the happiest he had ever been." Growing up, she recalled, Daniel told her at age four he was a boy and wouldn't wear girls' clothes: "Those are our children - we don't care how they dress or what they identify as. It doesn't harm anybody." After he began living as a trans man in such hateful political times, she "always worried" about him. "It's just unbelievable. He had so much more life to give," she said. "I didn't want to be part of this, the losing a child club." In a dark twist, he and the others were murdered minutes before Transgender Day of Remembrance, which honors the memory of trans people killed in anti-transgender violence." Club Q had planned to mark it; instead, people gathered at inter-faith events to denounce "theologies of hate" and ensure "our arms could be as wide as possible to embrace a community that's hurting."
Eerily echoing other massacres, from Columbine to Pulse to Uvalde, a makeshift memorial went up Sunday outside Club Q - flowers, candles, a plaintive sign for "Love Over Hate." (Maybe.) Police who'd arrived the night before praised the "incredible act of heroism" that ended a shooting that could have been even worse. For that, they can thank Richard Fierro, a 45-year-old brewery owner and veteran of four Army deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan who was there celebrating a birthday with his wife and daughter; when he saw the flash of gunfire, he instinctively "went into combat mode." Charging through the panicked crowd, he tackled the gunman, who he said weighed over 300 pounds, yanked a handgun away from him, and started beating him with his own gun while yelling for other patrons to help. A man shoved the shooter's AR-15 - another one! - away, a drag performer stomped on the gunman with her high heels, and Fierro kept pummeling as he and the gunman screamed curses at each other; he was so bloody police at first arrested him. Fierro was a major with two Bronze Stars when he left the Army in 2013: "I was done with war." He "never thought I'd have to deal with that kind of violence at home, (but) everybody in that building experienced combat that night...they were forced to." His wife's two best friends were shot; his daughter, who broke her knee running for cover, lost her longtime boyfriend, Raymond Green Vance.
The gunman, identified as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, remains hospitalized; he has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of a bias-motivated crime. He is the grandson of former mayor and outgoing California GOP state assembly Randy Voepel, who was almost expelled by colleagues after he praised the Jan. 6 attack with, "This is Lexington and Concord. First shots fired against tyranny." Aldrich's mother Laura Voepel praised her father online: "You work hard to improve our lives." In 2021, she also called police to report her son was threatening her with a homemade bomb and multiple weapons; after he refused to surrender, a tactical support unit evacuated nearby homes, a crisis negotiator was called in, and a standoff ensued. Aldrich was eventually arrested and charged with five felonies, including felony menacing and kidnapping, but charges were inexplicably never filed, thus allowing him to evade Colorado's Red Flag law and buy a shiny new AR-15, because America. Aldrich was living with his grandparents at the time, said a former landlady who recalled his "aggressive side," but he'd visit his mother to watch movies with her when not threatening to bomb her. She in turn often went online asking church members for help for her son: Does anyone have a fan to donate to him? Can anyone recommend a trauma/PTSD therapist? And in May, saying "he's made huge life changes," did anyone know a private boxing coach? "He's 6'6" tall," she wrote, "and hits like a freight train."
Nervously careful law enforcement officials have said the mass shooting at a gay nighclub is being investigated "through the lens of a hate crime." Ya think? You mean it might be connected to a right wing that deems every queer person and half the country's Democrats "groomers," or to a rise in rabid anti-gay, trans and drag show rhetoric, or to hundreds of state bills curbing the rights of "others," or to emboldened fascists proclaiming who should or should not exist? Or to bellicose Proud Boys disrupting peaceful Drag Story Hours in t-shirts that say, "Kill Your Local Pedophile"? Or to a Florida GOPer proposing to charge with a felony and terminate the parental rights of any adult who "brings a child to these perverted sex shows"? Or to the hate-mongering and bomb threats against hospitals offering health care - aka "castration" - to trans kids? Or to Herschel Walker, a day or so after the shooting, still running a trans-phobic ad with a young Aryan college swimmer whining "a man won a title that belonged to a woman, and Sen. Warnock voted to let it happen." Or to, let's not forget, Tucker Carlson, who accuses trans-supportive schools of "sex crimes," declares "no parent should put up with this for one second," and tells viewers their "moral duty" is to dole out "instant justice...no matter what the law says. "This is an attack on your children," he intones, "and you should fight back." On Twitter: "This language will get people killed." And so it has.
Finally, there's Colorado's gun-toting, queer-bashing, deeply hateful Lauren Boebert, who had "the f**king audacity" to fake-grieve the "absolutely awful" shooting and declare, "The victims & their families are in my prayers." Wait. Is this the same Boebert who's ceaselessly trafficked in anti-LGBTQ hysteria? Who's attacked the left as pedophiles and "sick, demented groomers," warned drag queens to "stay away from our children," equated LGBTQ-inclusive flash cards with "indoctrination," charged a kid-friendly drag show was guarded by masked Antifa guards with AR-15s - "Remember, they only want YOUR guns. They want to use theirs to protect their depravity" - and urged, "Take your children to CHURCH not drag bars," though God knows how many children have been molested in church; in drag bars, evidently zero. The furious response:"This is on you...You are to blame...LGBTQ people like me are less safe in this country because (of) people like you...Conservative identiy politics puts homicidal jerkoffs into motion...You are the hate that leads to violence." And from one woman, when Boebert tried to make it about generic crime - "This lawless violence needs to end" - "Good gosh she's an awful thing." Ditto, said AOC, who called out the hypocrisy: "You don’t get to 'thoughts and prayers' your way out of this. Look inward and change." And change your grotesque Christmas cards - same to the other MAGA freaks - with your four spawn clutching AR-15s. Fred Guttenberg: "This is what grooming looks like."
Abbas Hashem fixed his worried gaze on the horizon — the day was almost gone and still, there was no sign of the last of his water buffaloes. He knows that when his animals don’t come back from roaming the marshes of this part of Iraq, they must be dead.
The dry earth is cracked beneath his feet and thick layers of salt coat shriveled reeds in the Chibayish wetlands amid this year’s dire shortages in fresh water flows from the Tigris River.
Hashem already lost five buffaloes from his herd of 20 since May, weakened with hunger and poisoned by the salty water seeping into the low-lying marshes. Other buffalo herders in the area say their animals have died too, or produce milk that’s unfit to sell.
“This place used to be full of life,” he said. “Now it’s a desert, a graveyard.”
Iraq is battling several years of drought, the governments of both Iran and Turkey are blocking the flow of the two big rivers running through Iraq (the Tigris and the Eurphates), everyone is expected to be effected by climate change; however, Iraq has been named the fifth most vulnerable country in the world. Dust storms are increasing in frequency and in force. Speaking to the United Nations at the start of October, the US Deputy Rep to the UN, Ambassador Richard Mills, noted that climate change was one of the challenges Iraq is facing, "Complicated challenges face the next government – including passing a budget, developing oil and gas legislation that is acceptable to the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government, improving the provision of electricity, combatting climate change, promoting private sector development and job growth, and increasing women’s participation in the workforce." Last month, the International Organization for Migration pointed out, "Displaced families are likely to be among the most vulnerable to climatic and environmental changes that can impact livelihoods, food security and social cohesion. Sustainable return and rein-tegration can be determined by many factors but the role of climatic change and environmental degradation in return dynamics is insufficiently understood."
Earlier this month, Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) reported:
Iraq must take quick action to combat climate change as its affects would make it one of the most water scarce countries in the world, the UK’s ambassador to the country told The National.
Iraq is the fifth most vulnerable country to climate breakdown, impacted by high temperatures, droughts and frequent dust storms, presenting a serious threat to the public’s livelihood, according to the UN.
“There are a range of challenges for Iraq, reduced rainfall, desertification and increased droughts. There’s a wider list of things that needs to happen for Iraq to curb climate change,” Mark Bryson-Richardson told The National.
He said the new government in Baghdad must focus on water management as a “real priority” to improve its usage and prepare for and manage droughts.
“It’s going to be a challenging journey, Iraq will be one of the most water scarce countries in the world in the coming years,” Mr Richardson said during a visit to the UAE this week,
The diplomat’s comments come as world leaders gather for the UN climate summit in Egypt this week.