Posts about things that happen in the news. Sometimes light, sometimes cynical. Often critical.

You can't always get what you want

You just might find: you hate what you get

“You can’t always get what you want”. This old hit of the Rolling Stones was used by Donald Jumanji Trump during his campaign for president that never stopped even when he was elected president. The Stones weren’t amused, but since they’re even older than Trump it took them till june 2020 to force the Donald to get rid of his campaign closer.

And as we see the end of the Donald Trump presidency: him not conceding, much like Bill Maher has predicted for years, and inciting an insurrection that was as predictable as it was hopeless, folly and – much like his bid for president – still more succesful than it should have been in the first place, I think back on this song.

It may symbolize the Trump era as a whole: Trump grabbed it, and when you are a star, they let you do it. He’s used it for years at the end of his never-ending campaign rallies, even as people were dying in them. And when finally someone stopped him, it was too little, too late. “Gone, gone, the damage done”, as per Neil Young. Something tells me the US will be assessing the damage for years to come, because most of the damage will not be in the form of broken glass at the capitol.

To me, the song always sounded like a two trick pony trying his flirt routine at the bar on the last woman that had a little too much, convincing her to take a chance. And somehow, that’s exactly fitting for Donald Trump. A two trick pony convincing a drunk nation that it’s either him or not getting laid at all. Well, as I’m pretty sure any woman settling for the last availabe guy at the bar ’round closing time knows, the reality has a different lyric. “You can’t always get what you want. But you can try some time, you’ll prolly find: you hate what you get.” Quod. Erad. Demonstrandum.

Seriously, easyJet, what the hell?

Oh, hello and welcome to a new episode of Flight Horror. Our current perp: easyJet . Because, apparently, easyJet planes now come with optional back rests.

That’s what Matthew Harris tweeted on the flight from Luton to Geneva. We don’t rightly know why this is. Perhaps Easyjet got sick of complaints about reclining chairs and decided to remove back rests altogether? Or maybe it is, as Matthew points out, an attempt to one-up Ryan-air with the ‘pay extra for shit that you’re expecting to be included’-policies?

Easyjet is taking this matter very seriously by first and foremost being concerned about having such damning pictures online. Never mind the safety and comfort of their customers.

What on earth does that mean? Before you can investigate? Bringing it to your attention? How is this even legal? If it happens to be, it must be because nobody thought they’d have to make a law out of the back rest of a plane seat being on the damn plane! Seriously, easyJet: what the hell?

Update: easyJet claims these chairs were due for repair and that no-one was allowed to sit in them. According to Matthew, however, this lady got assigned the seat anyway.

GOP demands credible witnesses with a clean record and it’s fake oversight

Today, Michael Cohen appeared before the House Oversight Committee and we may not have watched all of it. To be honest: they’re on break right now, but watching the GOP trying to discredit Cohen as a witness was beyond what we could bear. Not for the sake of Cohen – by all means, he’s a criminal, a liar and a fraud, as stated by attorneys from NJ criminal justice law firm.. but he’s been convicted of that and the point is that he’s testifying about the things he had knowledge of, and the point of hearing witnesses is to hear what the witness has to say wether you believe them or not. The point is not to hear yourself talk. To avoid such situations, it is advised to contact experienced lawyers from who will listen to you and fight for your rights.

A purpose the GOP in this hearing has failed to respect, much less adhere to. A few defense attorneys for DUI charges even commented on the ethics they have to follow. And from the few rants that we were able to cope with, one stood out in particular. Not enough for us to remember which of the white old dudes it was – they all look alike. But anyway, one of the GOP ranters went on about wanting witnesses that hadn’t lied to congress, gave false statements to banks, broke campaign finance laws and weren’t convicted criminals.

When your investigation subject is Trump that kinda leaves NO-ONE, though. Gotta hand it to the man though: that’s a very novel and non-violent interpretation of the phrase: “leave no witnesses”.

Colbert brutally crushed Chris Christie, and he was a good sport about it

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is somehow getting better and one of the prime examples of that is the recent appearance of Chris Christie. Christie, doing a book promotion tour, was welcomed with some brutal honesty about the reason for his debut on the show, despite multiple invitations.

The former New Jersey Governor, however, came back with “before we get into that: are we going to drink or not?” Well, shots of tequila were pulled out and the interview could get going. Colbert, a fierce critic of Donald Trump, asked Christie about several things – including his friendship with Trump, and at some point in the interview Christie says: “I know politics and sometimes you just have to be a big boy, pull up your pants and walk away”. To which Colbert retorted: “Because you got spanked?”

As much as the two apparently differ in opinion, however, the conversation did not have a feel of enmity to it. Despite at some point Colbert asking Christie what was his constituency, because he had a minimal approval rate in Jersey, Trump-opposers don’t like him for supporting Trump and Trump fans hate him for releasing a book on the presidency.

Watch the two piece interview on youtube for more.

A furloughed scientist used her time during the shutdown to factcheck Trump’s “border crisis”

If idle hands do the devil’s work, as the Christian saying goes, lo the devil must be science. At least in the case of Kristin Hook. As she was furloughed during the American government shutdown, she used her time and PhD skills to check Trump’s claim of a border crisis. And being the scientist she is, she wrote a report with conclusions, data, graphs and verifiable references in annotations.

The conclusions she draws aren’t spectacular. In short: President Trump is wrong and probably lying. There is no crisis, illegal immigration is at an all-time low and illegal immigrants reduce crime rates and violence rather than increase them

However, it’s 2018, so she wrote said report on Twitter. If you’ve never seen a scientific study in tweet-form, well… neither had we.

What every American should be asking themselves right now is this: what is the evidence that our border is so unsafe that it constitutes a crisis and the need to #BuildTheWall? Evidence that would be needed to support such a claim are that…— Kristin Hook (@Kristin_Hook) January 25, 2019

(A) there has been a dramatic increase in people crossing our border over time, (B) there is an increase in crime with an increase in immigration, and immigrants commit more crimes than those within our borders, and/or (C) current strategies for border security are ineffective.— Kristin Hook (@Kristin_Hook) January 25, 2019

So what do the data show?— Kristin Hook (@Kristin_Hook) January 25, 2019

There is absolutely no evidence for (A). In fact, the opposite is supported – unauthorized immigration rates actually slowed down between 2010 and 2016, when it fell to its lowest level in decades (1). Overall, the population of unauthorized immigrants shrank by 13%…— Kristin Hook (@Kristin_Hook) January 25, 2019

between 2007 and 2016 in the U.S. As of January 2015, there were an estimated 10.7 to 12 million illegal immigrants living in the United States (1, 2). That’s 3.3% to 3.7% of the total U.S. population, which was 328,337,383 on this very day in 2015.— Kristin Hook (@Kristin_Hook) January 25, 2019

For perspective, the current unemployment rate for people 16 years of age and over is 3.9% (3), greater than the number of illegal immigrants residing in our country. (Side bar: how is *this* not a national crisis?)— Kristin Hook (@Kristin_Hook) January 25, 2019

In looking at the data for total apprehensions of illegal aliens across multiple years by our border patrol, these numbers have also declined (4). Because I’m a scientist and love data, I acquired the raw data and made you a graph so you could see the trends for yourself.— Kristin Hook (@Kristin_Hook) January 25, 2019

So to conclude, there is no evidence for (A). What about (B)?— Kristin Hook (@Kristin_Hook) January 25, 2019

Studies on the subject have found no immigrant-crime link. NONE. This revelation comes from a study that attempted to correlate undocumented immigration and violent crime in all 50 states and DC using multiple data sources at the state level from 1990-2014.— Kristin Hook (@Kristin_Hook) January 25, 2019

Their robust analyses reveal the opposite relationship: increases in the undocumented immigrant population are generally associated with significantly *lower* rates of violence (5). Other studies reveal that illegal immigrants have *lower* conviction and arrest rates…— Kristin Hook (@Kristin_Hook) January 25, 2019

relative to native-born Americans in the U.S. In my home state of #Texas alone, a study of 2015 data found that the homicide rate for illegal immigrants was 16% *below* that of native-born Americans; for all criminal convictions,…— Kristin Hook (@Kristin_Hook) January 25, 2019

illegal and legal immigrants had criminal conviction rates 50% and 66% *below* that of native-born Americans, respectively (6). Together these findings undermine statements that undocumented immigrants are criminals and/or are bringing crime into the United States.— Kristin Hook (@Kristin_Hook) January 25, 2019

In looking at statistics from the U.S. Border and Customs Protection, two things are clear: an increase in funding (7) & an increase in staffing agents (8) over time is correlated with reduced rates of apprehension of illegal aliens. I made you more figures so you could see this.— Kristin Hook (@Kristin_Hook) January 25, 2019

So if you are concerned about keeping these numbers low, these observations suggest continuing to fund this agency and maintaining a steady number of agents on the ground may be an effective way to do so.— Kristin Hook (@Kristin_Hook) January 25, 2019

An alternative explanation is that there are fewer people crossing our border over time (which is supported by the aforementioned studies above). Regardless, these results do not support (C) and instead suggest that the border security strategies currently in place are effective.— Kristin Hook (@Kristin_Hook) January 25, 2019

In sum, there is NO EVIDENCE that there is a border crisis that requires building a wall. The number of immigrants coming into the US are decreasing, and they are not causing any upticks in crime. A wall is an unnecessary feature and would be a total waste of taxpayer money.— Kristin Hook (@Kristin_Hook) January 25, 2019


Your neighborhood scientist born and raised two hours away from the US Southern Border in Texas who is now on day 59 without pay.— Kristin Hook (@Kristin_Hook) January 25, 2019

Here are my sources:
(1) “Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population Residing in the United States: January 2015” from the Office of Immigration Statistics, the US Department of Homeland Security
(2) “Facts on U.S. Immigrants, 2016” from the Pew Research Center— Kristin Hook (@Kristin_Hook) January 25, 2019

(3) “Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey” from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US Department of Labor
(4) “U.S. Border Patrol Monthly Apprehensions (FY 2000 – FY 2017)” from the Stats and Summaries page of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection— Kristin Hook (@Kristin_Hook) January 25, 2019

(5) Light, Michael T. and T. Y. Miller (2018). Does undocumented immigration increase violent crime? Criminology 56(2): 370-401.— Kristin Hook (@Kristin_Hook) January 25, 2019

(6) Nowrasteh, A (2018). “Criminal Immigrants in Texas: Illegal Immigrant Conviction and Arrest Rates for Homicide, Sex Crimes, Larceny, and Other Crimes.” Immigration Research and Policy Brief No. 4, Cato Institute.— Kristin Hook (@Kristin_Hook) January 25, 2019

(7) “The Cost of Immigration Enforcement and Border Security” from the American Immigration Council. January 2017.
(8) “U.S. Border Patrol Fiscal Year Staffing Statistics (FY 1992 – FY 2017)” from the Stats and Summaries page of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection— Kristin Hook (@Kristin_Hook) January 25, 2019

Man, Millennial Monopoly makes me mind Monopoly

Hi. I’m Writey and I’m a millennial. Apparently all is fair in mongering and marketing, because not only do conservative babyboomers bash my generation at every turn when they’re not blaming blacks, non-normatives or some kind of non-existent elite other than the one they’re part of for everything they imagine is wrong with their lives: there’s a new player on the block.

And that player is Hasbro. Hasbro is a games company, if you’re not familiar with them, and despite all their faults we kinda have to love them because of the Joy for All robot animals. Have you seen those things? They’re cute as hell. However, less cute is this latest addition to the increasingly desperate Monopoly franchise.

Monopoly for Millennials. Right: first off, ‘for millennials’? I played Monopoly on an old DOS PC long before the term was even coined or widely known and Hasbro comes with a board version of Monopoly ‘for Millennials’. That should be your first hint that this fucking thing was not created with actual millennials in mind.

And despite very much not wanting to, we have to discuss the rest of this. Just to vent. The tag-line of this version of monopoly is ‘Forget real estate, you can’t afford it anyway’. So, the Millennial-version of the game that has the primary objective to GET ALL THE FAKE REAL ESTATE AND MAKE A FUCKTON OF FAKE MONEY is telling you to forget about real estate.

So what, pray tell, did the geniuses at Hasbro come up with to replace the main goal of Monopoly with? EXPERIENCE POINTS. Seriously? You’re replacing money with XP? First and foremost: that’s stealing from your other franchise. XP is the thing you gather in Dungeons and Dragons, you drunk morons. And it’s not per definition a millennial thing either: a few generations of geeks have now been using the system for character improvement based on experience.

However, even more seriously: fuck you, Hasbro. Because gaining experience instead of money is one of the reasons we can’t afford real estate. And guess whose fault that is? Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you and fuck you. Ever tried paying your bills with experience? NO THAT DIDN’T WORK DID IT!

So anyway, you’ve replaced money with XP. What did you replace the fake real estate with? Well, you gain XP by visiting the hottest destinations: “from your Friend’s Couch, to the Vegan Bistro, to a Week-Long Meditation Retreat”.

Right. It’s become very clear to me that this fucking game has one fucking target audience: your conservative uncle. He’ll buy this kind of shit for Christmas to give to you, just so he can piss you off. Our advice? The best possible experience points you can gather by letting it immediately visit the hottest destination. Yes, that would be the fire place during christmas. Happy holidays to all (except Hasbro: fuck you), I’m off to play D&D and hug robot cats.

Drinking milk is racist, according to PETA.

According to PETA, drinking cow’s milk is a symbol of white supremacy. Yeah, you read that right. Cow’s milk is now racist.

And that’s not even cause it’s white. You see, caucasian persons are lactose tolerant more often than humans of another ethnic origin. That’s a genetic difference. Apparently, white supremacists have now decided that this is proof of them being ‘genetically superior’. Yeah, soooo superior that you don’t have to shit out your guts because you can keep on drinking stuff that was meant for calves way after the age of not being a baby. Real Third Reich material there. Adolf would’ve been proud of you drinking your milk.

Yeah, of course this is ridiculous. But it’s just as ridiculous for PETA to claim that drinking milk is now a white supremacist symbol. First of all, that’s because PETA itself is insane. Remember them ruining the life of a photographer because they claimed a monkey deserved the copyright of a picture?

Second, however, is a very important principle that we think PETA should take to heart: just because a racist does a thing, doesn’t make the thing itself racist, you idiots! Haven’t you thought this through? Really? Because if white supremacists chugging milk makes drinking milk racist then being a vegetarian essentially makes you Hitler.

Making a Murderer - Season 2

Spoilers: Making a Murderer Season 2 – Is there justice in Wisconsin?

Anyone who has watched the entire first series of the Netflix-documentary “Making a Murderer” will at least vaguely remember the rollercoaster of emotions that is generated by watching this series. When the first season ended, viewers were left wondering about the guilt of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey, but anyone with an ethical bone in his body and anyone with any respect for the judicial process couldn’t help but being marvelled, shocked and appalled by the way this investigation and its subsequent court proceedings ended with two persons being jailed.

Making a Murderer – Season 2 is that same rollercoaster of emotions. We’ll try to summarize what we learned. If you’re planning on still watching the new season: there will be spoilers. Lots. In this season Kathleen Zeller is hired as Steven’s new lawyer to clear the charges for theft of a car. Remember that he tried to become his own lawyer in the first season of Making a Murderer? Well, she’s taking over, and she’s doing a tremendous job. Right from the start, she starts doing a serious investigation. She buys the same car as Teresa Halbach had. Then, she starts by trying to reproduce the narrative that got Steven convicted.

Not enough blood, too much DNA and way too clean

And she does that with attention to detail. The blood in the car? Turns out – it should have been on a lot of places, but not where there was blood. The DNA under the hood? Way more DNA was found there than opening the hood would explain. Also, the sample was squeaky clean. Not at all the way a swap from under the hood of a car would have looked. She then discovers that there was actually DNA taken from Steven’s groin (try and unsee that). It was never entered into evidence. Yeah, it probably got swapped. The DNA on the key was also 10 times more than you would find on a key that a person held. And every time the results were way too clean for a normal crime scene.

Blood spatter patterns don’t match the story

The blood spatters on the back door of the car matched a pattern that was different from what the DA said might have happened. She wasn’t thrown in the back of the car. The blood doesn’t have the right pattern. Someone probably hit her with a hammer while she knelt at the back of the vehicle. So, that rules out shooting her in the garage.

Bullet didn’t have skull fragments

Which does explain the fact that there was no bone residue on the bullet that had her DNA on it, the one that supposedly went through her skull. It probably only went through a piece of wood. So how did her DNA get on it? Well, the DNA-samples that were taking from Teresa’s apartment didn’t follow the rest of the evidence but made their way onto the Avery-territory. And they included a chapstick, which probably explains the greasy substance seen on the bullet.

So now there’s no murder bullet, the blood spatters indicate the murder wasn’t inside, Steven’s blood in the car couldn’t be reproduced by someone bleeding from a cut and the DNA sample from the hood is too clean. Also, an expert on burning bodies indicates that the firepit Steven is supposed to have burned Teresa in with two tires isn’t possibly enough to destroy an entire body. So what happened to the rest of Teresa?

Wait, there’s more (bones)!

Turns out there were more human bones, far outside of the Avery property! Well, how convenient.. maybe somebody should have said so during the trial? I mean, human bones. With cut marks, even. They were spread out over the terrain near where the cell phone records said she was last – so, no longer on the Avery property. That means they found evidence that she was cut up and not burned in a huge fire. Leaving that out of the trial… at some point you can no longer conclude that “hey, maybe he did it and they were just incompetent?”

Pure, diabolical evil

During the 10 episodes that this season of Making a Murderer offered, the feeling of evil really started to take a hold. Pure, diabolical evil of the dark overlord-kind. The system decided that Avery was guilty and nothing could stand in the way of that. Not the lack of evidence, not the evidence to the contrary. At one point in the documentary, a witness came forward that had spotted Teresa’s car by the side of the road. This was before they found it at the Avery site. Sure enough, he reported it to a cop. Which cop, you ask? That couldn’t have been a cop involved in his previous wrongful conviciton, right? Well… you might very well think that, but you’d be wrong. Remember: Avery served 18 years for a previous crime that he didn’t commit and was suing the police at the time. A detective had rung the officer in the 90s saying that he had found the real perp…. and the agent answering the phone didn’t act on that information.

Of course it was!

Yes, that was the same cop who now got information from a truck driver on the whereabouts of Teresa’s car. And he verified that it was Teresa’s car via phone, but never reported seeing the car standing by the side of the road. IT WAS THE SAME DAMN COP!

The rollercoaster is real…

You can’t help but be convinced that malificent wrongdoing got Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey into jail, not just astonishing incompetence. The above is just a summary of evidence that Kathleen Zeller collected. The season is so much more than just that. It tells the tale of the suffering of families, particularly the mothers of both Steven and Brendan. Zeller looks at possible other suspects. Making a Murderer makes you feel the frustration of the elderly Avery’s as they are missing their son (56) who has now been in prison for more than half his life and the clock is ticking for them. It makes you feel anger at Ken Kratz, who has stepped down as DA for unprofessional behaviour, but is actively doing a media tour with the highlight of him doing a press conference at the day of an appeal where he has no business being.

The soundtrack does an amazing job of supporting this rollercoaster of emotions in what is, in essence, a slow-paced documentary. It’s made to make you feel the importance of each discovery and it does exactly that.

No justice in Wisconsin

But the most astonishing thing about Making a Murderer – Season 2? At the end of the season, both Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey are still in jail, wasting away their life while Zeller is bent on proving Averies innocence and Dassey’s legal options to fight against the heartwrenching so-called “confession” have apparently run out. None of the facts line up and yet, it looks like no-one on the side of the prosecution is willing to take a stand and start looking for the real killer. Ultimately, it makes you feel like there is no room for justice in Wisconsin, and maybe not in America.

If you’re happy and you know it, you didn’t read the news: did SMB murder Khashoggi for Trump?

The latest news includes the murder of a Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi who worked for the Washington Post. He actually got barred from writing in Saudi-Arabia for criticizing then-candidate Donald Trump. It’s sad how all this tends to be connected. It makes us, at Reasonish, want to invest in aluminum.

You can’t go wrong with an investment like that, really. Trump tends to believe in all kinds of conspiracy theories (like “rogue killers murdered Khashoggi”) and he associates with guys like Alex Jones, whose conspiracy theories are off the fucking charts, so if Trump somehow never has to pay for his numerous, partly alleged, crimes – you can still profit off them a little.

And in the mean time, surely some formerly sane people are starting to believe there is a conspiracy. Trump probably at least tried to conspire with Russia. Wikileaks is somehow in on it, and now we’re seeing signs of what really might just look like MBS had a journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, murdered as a favour to Trump.

Trump – at least – is ignoring the call of duty (he has a record of that) and defending the Saudi prince. The innocence-presumption that he uses to defend both Kavanaugh and MBS is not something he would call a principle, though. The reason? He’s got a good weapons deal going on with the Saudi’s. They’re paying a lot of money for weapons “and other things”. But did they throw in an extra service? As Trump would say: “Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows?”

Flying Spaghetti Monster

Pastafarians forbidden to wear colander on passport photo

The Dutch Council of State has ruled that Pastafarians are not allowed to wear a colander on their passport photograph. The main reason for this is that it’s not a ‘real’ religion. The Council deemed wearing a colander to lack seriousness. Sure. Because covering your head with a cloth or putting a quarter of a soccerball on it makes perfect sense. Apparently raping kids for hundreds of years and/or suppress women are key ingredients for a ‘real’ religion then?

The ‘Flying Spaghetti Monster’ was first described in a satirical open letter written by Bobby Henderson in 2005 to protest the Kansas State Board of Education decision to permit teaching intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in public school science classesIn the letter, Henderson demanded equal time in science classrooms for “Flying Spaghetti Monsterism”, alongside intelligent design and evolution. After Henderson published the letter on his website, the Flying Spaghetti Monster rapidly became an Internet phenomenon and a symbol of opposition to the teaching of intelligent design in public schools.

National branches

National branches of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster have been striving in many countries to have FSMism become an officially (legally) recognized religion, with varying degrees of success. Pastafarianism/FSMism is recognized as a religion in the Netherlands. In New Zealand, Pastafarian representatives have been authorized as marriage celebrants, however members of other movements considered to be “alternative philosophies” rather than religions are also recognized as celebrants under New Zealand law. (Source: Wikipedia)

A no go

Mienke de Wilde, a Pastafarian from Nijmegen wanted a new ID and drivers licence two years ago. She was denied her photograph with a colander on her head by the municipality. One of the rules for a picture on official documents are that the head must be bare. But there are exceptions. Religious headwear like a turban or a headscarf are allowed. According to De Wilde this was the case for her, so she turned to a judge. Her claim was denied. Now her appeal to the Court of State has been denied as well. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is not a recognized religion, they said, so the regular rules should apply to De Wilde.

A real religion

What counts as a real religion anyway? A deity to whom you can pray? A book of fiction? Followers? Guidelines? In those cases the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster ticks all the boxes. So far we have seen other things in the current recognized religions though. Murder in the name of the deity. Suppression of women and minorities. Wars in the name of the religion. We can carry on for a while. We don’t think those parts are making the world a better place. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster should be recognized for being a more peaceful religion alone. Wearing a colander makes as much sense as a yarmulke. It’s a thing on your head because you believe in something fictional. What is the difference? Why should some people get preferential treatment for their fiction, while others are denied it?