Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Some of these days

After three days of rain and gloom, the sun was shining this morning.  I turned on the computer and things just kept getting better.  Everywhere I went, good news.  Unbelievable.

The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that Planned Parenthood can keep getting paid by Medicaid, and states run by misogynistic fanatics who rage about "baby parts" can't stop them.

Nick Ayers doesn't want to be Pence's chief of staff anymore, and he doesn't want to be Trump's, either.  The search goes on for someone to fill John Kelly's big racist shoes.  Sideshow Bob?

A jury in Virginia which convicted James Fields of first-degree murder for the death of Heather Heyer has recommended that he spend his life in prison.

Milo Yiannopoulos is broke, having been banned from various online venues and cut off by his rich patrons.  Moreover, he is allegedly two million dollars in debt.  I know someone who needs a chief of staff.

At a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) asked Google CEO Sundar Pichai, "If you Google the word 'idiot' under images, a picture of Donald Trump comes up.  How would that happen?"  Mr. Pichai explained about algorithms, as if she didn't know.  Meanwhile thousands of people Googled "idiot" just to check.  I don't know much about algorithms, but I'm pretty sure that only made it better.  Worse, I mean worse.

Mr. Pichai could have referred the Congresswoman to today's comedy matinee, "Wall or Nothing At All."  He's still at it, demanding billions to wall out the diseased terrorists and drug mules, or America will cease to be.  What was apparently supposed to be a photo-op with Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and the newly embalmed corpse of Mike Pence turned into a televised debate/tantrum, with Trump repeating "wall" over and over while Pelosi tried to explain that even now, the House won't give him the money, and in three weeks it even more won't.  Meanwhile, Schumer maneuvered Trump into bragging that he'll "shut down the government" and take full responsibility.  By actual count he interrupted Pelosi nineteen times in ten minutes and repeatedly called her "Nancy" because that's how Daddy taught him to talk to bitches.  She was unimpressed, and no doubt will continue to be unimpressed until 2021 or the end of Trump's presidency, whichever comes first.

Curtain line:

The Dealmaster:  "We can go two routes with this meeting -- with a knife or a candy."

The Speaker:  "Exactly."

He's done.  Ask Ann Coulter, author of Trump Is My Co-Pilot or whatever her campaign effusion was called.  Today she tweeted (concerning his claim that the Wall's already rising), "Does Trump think his supporters are dumber than a WaPo reporter?"  You tell me, supporter.

Michael Cohen sentencing tomorrow!  I'll bring the finger sandwiches.


Sunday, December 09, 2018

Double standard, meet Both-siderism

Remember Zoe Baird?  She was Bill Clinton's first choice for attorney general way back in 1993.  Her nomination was withdrawn because of a cataclysmic scandal the media tagged with the lazy term "Nannygate."  It  seems she and her husband had employed two undocumented Peruvians as nanny and chauffeur, and failed to pay Social Security and income tax for them.  A nation was shocked, shocked, and the ground was prepared for the Whitewater Follies and eventual impeachment.

It seems that Both Sides Do Indeed Do It.  Four women have now come forward, risking deportation, to say they were employed as housekeepers at the Trump Intergalactic Golf and Sedition Center or whatever it's called, in Bedminster, New Jersey.  One of them gave details of being alternately tipped by Cadet Bonespurs and excoriated for failing to get the orange makeup out of a white golf shirt.  Really.  I couldn't make that up.  Yes, the management knew they had no papers and told them to acquire phony ones.  Their names and countries of origin are known to the media, and now presumably to the ICEstapo.

I can picture a weary Robert Mueller saying, "Holey socks, I'm not starting another charge sheet at this point.  I'd like to wind this thing up before my grandkids finish college."  But it would be worthwhile to point out that 1. Clinton didn't break the law, and 2. Clinton didn't spend every day raging at poor people who come here to work and have a better life, not to mention 3. Clinton didn't put their children in cages.  I'll bet that with a little digging, the Liberal Media could find any number of undocumented busboys, caddies, gardeners, porters and dishwashers at any number of Trump properties,  rather than waiting for them to get fed up with the racist attacks and come forward.  It would look like they were doing their job.  


I get it.  I understand why the right froths at the mouth on the subject of "political correctness."  We may not mean exactly the same thing -- they believe it means denying their right to be racist, sexist and generally obnoxious -- but I think I can tell when people get silly about words spoken (or written) in innocence and drafted into our endless game of Moral Preening.

The topic of today's homily is Frank Loesser's 1949 song "Baby, It's Cold Outside," which has been banned by a number of radio stations because someone decided it celebrates date-rape.  I just went over to YouTube and treated myself to the supremely sexy Betty Carter-Ray Charles recording -- research, you know -- and apparently the objectionable line is "So what's in this drink?"  The people enraged by the song apparently stopped listening at that point and didn't hear the woman add "At least I'm gonna say that I tried."  In other words, for all her protests -- "I really can't stay" -- and reservations -- "My father will be pacing the floor" -- she is more than happy to take advantage of the weather and spend the night with this man, and to hell with her maiden aunt.  (People, any song that references "maiden aunts" is not to be taken seriously.  See also Dorothy Fields's lyric for "A Fine Romance.")  The drink is just a drink.

Before we awake in an Andrea Dworkin dystopia, where all sex between men and women is unavoidably rape-y, I direct you to another songwriter, Tom Lehrer, who advised us that "filth, I'm glad to say, is in the mind of the beholder" ("Smut").  Here endeth the lesson, and I'm going back to  YouTube to check out the Leon Redbone version.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Too much caffeine

Midweek madness...Trump's cybersecurity expert Rudolph Giuliani doesn't know how Twitter works, so he inadvertently abetted the creation of a new website, G-20.in.  Go there.  You'll like it.

Michael Avenatti is not running for president after all, and neither is Deval Patrick.  Neither am I, for  that matter, and my decision is final.

The national debt has now topped $21 trillion, thanks in large part to demented military spending, Republican tax cuts, and the sabotage of American industry and agriculture.  Asked if this is likely to make the economy implode, Tariff Man replied, "Yeah, but I won't be here."  In other words, it's what Douglas Adams called SEP -- somebody else's problem.  Meanwhile, blame will be shifted to Medicare, foreign aid, Headstart (if that still exists) and the damnable expense of natural disasters.  Tighten the belts!  Rake the forests!

"Substantial assistance" to the Mueller investigation may keep Michael Flynn, Sr., out of jail.  I don't care, as long as at least one Trump goes in his place.

Eight hundred points in one day!  Glad I'm not an investor.  Thanks, Obama.  We haven't worked out all the details, but I'm sure it's your fault somehow.

The White House Correspondents Dinner organizers couldn't find a comedian who was either right-wing and funny, or liberal and prepared to endure death threats from the Q Continuum, so they have asked the biographer Ron Chernow to speak instead.  A delighted Trump, who believes he ended the career of Michelle Wolf, has threatened to attend.  He should probably read (hah!) Mr. Chernow's op-ed in the September 23, 2010, New York Times, "The Founding Fathers Versus the Tea Party."  It might not be the tongue-bath Donnie anticipates.

Trump is still trying to get the post office to raise its rates just for Washington Post proprietor Jeff Bezos.  That should bring Amazon to its knees.

CIA director Gina Haspel told Senators it looks like the Saudi crown prince is up to his houndstooth red tablecloth in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.  I was shocked, too.

I just checked, and the world is still laughing at Trump's G-20 antics, especially the part where he left the president of Argentina alone onstage and wandered off, saying, "Get me the hell out of here."  It was clearly the fault of President Macri (Argentina) and President Macron (France) for having practically the same name.  He also has trouble with Balkans/Baltics and June/July.

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke has concluded that he might now be Senator-elect Beto O'Rourke had he asked Barack Obama to campaign with him instead of, say, Willie Nelson.  He has had several meetings with Obama to discuss running for president in 2020.  Not that there's anything wrong with Willie Nelson.  Why not both, Beto?

The surviving members of the Daley machine and Tammany Hall have written to North Carolina Republicans to protest that they have never seen this level of election fuckery.  All right, I made that part up, but it could have been true.  Who came up with door-to-door "collection" of mail ballots?  Inspired.


Monday, December 03, 2018

Drag ball

Don't keep next January open.  The Silver Jubilee has been cancelled.

Friends of Rudolph Giuliani -- and they totally exist -- were planning a party to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of his becoming mayor of New York, after a campaign whose naked racism prefigured Trump's.  (Remember the Giuliani rally/near riot of cops outside City Hall, ramping up  hatred of the incumbent "washroom attendant" David Dinkins?  Good times.)  An article in today's Daily News quotes an unnamed source as saying America's Mayor is "too toxic" to party with, owing entirely to his current employment as Trump's loyal mouthpiece.  The source goes on to compare the proposed shindig to a "mafia wedding," with LEOs and reporters studying, filming and photographing the guests for future reference.  The article says planners "struggled to find supporters willing to pay for tickets."  Well, sure, who wants to go to a party where you have to pay?  Even Roy Cohn never demanded cash for the privilege of attending his parties.  Of course, he wasn't saving up for his third (probable) divorce.  Free food -- that's how they got people to show up for Scrooge's funeral.  And one day, Giuliani's.

Thursday, November 29, 2018


The year winds down and the prize-givers limber up.  It's time for another season of "Here's Your Award, Choke On It."

Most awards are vaguely controversial, at least among those who don't win.  "It's an honor just to be nominated" may be the most dishonest sentence in the English language.  But this year, in keeping with the national mood of simmering rage, every piece of honorary bric-a-brac seems to be trailing drops of blood and specks of saliva.  For example, the Mystery Writers of America are giving their Edgar Award to Linda Fairstein, presumably because they like her crime novels.  Before she turned to fiction, Fairstein was the Manhattan assistant district attorney who prosecuted the Central Park Five, the Latino and African American teenagers accused of raping and nearly killing a jogger in 1989.  Their convictions were vacated in 2002 when another man confessed, and after they had spent nearly thirteen years in prison.  I can understand why this case continues to anger people, especially since Fairstein maintains that the five somehow "participated" in the crime.  Donald Trump goes further (of course), insisting even now that the men should be executed.  Well, if he can't stand to admit he was spectacularly wrong, why should she?  And what has any of this to do with Fairstein's abilities as a novelist?  The MWA aren't naming her Humanitarian of the Year.

We have already seen what Trump considers to be outstanding service to America -- earlier this month he handed out Presidential Medals of Freedom just like a real president.  Well, sort of.  The lucky winners included Orrin Hatch, now ending his career as a reliably far-right monster; Antonin Scalia, already ended; Roger Staubach and Alan Page of the NFL Hall of Fame (Page also served as a judge); Elvis Presley (sure, why not?); Babe Ruth (but not Rogers Hornsby, Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Roberto Clemente, Nolan Ryan, Bob Gibson...); and most egregiously Miriam Adelson.  Adelson is a physician and researcher, but nobody doubted for a second that she was honored for being married to Sheldon Adelson, sugar-daddy to the right.  (If this were Britain they'd be Baron and Baroness Baccarat or something.)  Freedom's just another word for "keep those checks coming."

Trump presided over the event with his customary Friars Club-roast panache, leering at Mrs. Scalia's fecundity, singling out Hatch's most important quality ("He likes me") and generally making every non-Trumpanzee who witnessed the proceedings yearn for the eloquence and grace of George W. Bush.  The award to Elvis must have triggered one of his lone remaining synapses, because weeks later, campaigning for Cindy Hyde-Smith in Tupelo, he suddenly remembered that in his youth he was often mistaken for Elvis.  The sneer, I'm guessing.  Once again the Kennedy Center Honors will be celebrated in the blessed absence of Trumps, and probably not just because they can't be arsed.  The host will be Gloria Estefan, and even if she is from Cuba, she is the face of naturalized immigrant America and everything Trump hates.  Philip Glass?  Wayne Shorter?  Who the hell are they?  Cher?  She must be like a hundred.  The creators of "Hamilton," the show where the audience and the cast all tried to kill Mike Pence?  No thanks.  That just leaves Reba McEntire.  Does she like me?

For comic relief we turn to Mexico, still unwalled, whose outgoing president is having fun with the people who didn't re-elect him by presenting the Order of the Aztec Eagle -- and remember, I'm making none of this up -- to slumlord-in-law Jared Kushner.  He credits the s-i-l with exercising "restraint" which kept Mexico in NAFTA, or whatever non-Clintonian name it carries now, and with preventing a full-scale US invasion.  Imagine what the House of Saud owes him.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Satire, how does it work?

National treasure Randy Newman is 75 today.  Happy birthday, Randy!  We have a problem.

Remember when you had a rare top-40 hit with "Short People" back in 1977?  Some listeners, lacking a sense of humor as well as height, or perhaps just unfamiliar with your other songs, failed to understand that this was a non-didactic attack on prejudice.  You could say it went over their heads.  And you had to explain that you, a tall person, do not hate short people and that they do indeed have a reason to live.  Although for me, life without a sense of humor is not worth living, but anyway.

The issue has come up now because that...occupant of the White House gave another of his Sundown Sermons to the Washington Post.  I have no idea why, since he hates all real newspapers and especially the Post, which is owned by a self-made billionaire who won't tell him how you do that, even with huge piles of daddy-cash.  Amid the tangle of lies, fantasies, boasts and incoherence that have become depressingly familiar, he let slip that he doesn't want to appoint Janet Yellen to a second term as chair of the Federal Reserve because she is only 5 feet 2 inches tall.  We know that "little" is a term of abuse with this jerk -- "Little Marco," "Little Bob Corker," etc. -- which is probably just the result of having a second-grade vocabulary.  But what if "Short People" was on the radio one night as the limo sped him to Studio 54 and it lodged in his already disordered brain -- "they got little hands, little eyes, they walk around telling nasty little lies" -- remember, Spy was already calling him "short-fingered" -- and it's still in there?   How would you like to be responsible for the Federal Reserve being turned over to another Cabinet-level fuckwit who will assume his assignment is to do to the economy what Carson is doing to public housing and DeVos to public education and -- oh, lordy, I don't even want to think about the rest of them?  How about that, Mr. Birthday?

Jesus, what if Trump heard "Political Science"?  Right after the "inauguration" he was demanding to know why we have nuclear weapons if we never use them.  "Let's drop the big one and see what happens" -- are you prepared to stand behind those words, Mr. Funny Song Writer?

I know.  In 1977 Jimmy Carter was president and the Democrats controlled Congress and it seemed as if reason and law were in the post-Watergate saddle forever.  You could afford to be a little edgy, a little oblique and tricky with the lyrics.  What sane person could have imagined Trump, even with the drugs available in those days?

It's not just you, Mr. Newman.  If someone re-printed A Modest Proposal and substituted "black" for "Irish," there would be riots, and not only because Swift is not taught in our high schools as he should be.  Any number of Republicans, Proud Boys, Fox News pundits and MAGAts would hail it as the solution to most of our national problems.  The people at snopes.com are exhausted from researching every quote to see if it originated with Stephen Miller or The Onion.  I don't know about you but I'm tired of living in a world where everything is at least plausible.  Remember the Caravan of Doom that posed such an existential threat before the election?  I'm pretty sure the part about refugees having leprosy originated with some zany blog like this one.  Leprosy in 2018 Honduras -- but some charlies bought it.

So enjoy your birthday.  I mean it.  This is not your fault.  And you are a national treasure.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Joy to the world

Got my White House Christmas Card today.  Right back at ya!