Friday, September 25, 2015


Inside every cynic is a softie.  I'd like to think that after the Pope's address to Congress and some kind of Ebenezer Scrooge experience, John Boehner woke up clutching his bedpost and resolved to spend the rest of his life digging wells for African villages.  But I don't think so.  I'm not sure Dickens believed in personal transformation even as he was writing.  In the real world, Scrooge replaced Bob Cratchit with a twelve-year-old who did his job for three shillings a week, and Boehner will be back in Washington lobbying for the tobacco industry before the construction frame comes off the Capitol.  And weeping.


Friday, September 18, 2015


I've been busy all week decorating the cave for Walk Like a Pirate Day, which is the holiday the really cool bloggers celebrate.  Did I miss anything?  Another "debate"?  Really?  The usual gang -- Doc, Trumpy, Sleazy, Carly, Crazy, Christie, Dopey, Dopey, Dopey, Dopey, Dopey, Dopey, Dopey and Crosseyed?  I thought Dopey had dropped out.  Why is everyone surprised that Doc seemed out of it?  Doctors have access to drugs the rest of us can only dream about.  But the real excitement occurred outside and slightly to the right of the Reagan Mausoleum, when Anna von Coulter momentarily let her inner Goebbels out on Twitter.  The fraulein may want to hold her fire until Bernie Sanders wins a primary or two.  If he does, it is going to get very ugly very fast, and not only for the "f---ing Jews."

Meanwhile, we have to make do with Islamophobia.  A Texas schoolboy named Ahmed Mohamed built a clock and brought it to school to show his teachers, whereupon he was arrested and handcuffed.  He's lived in Texas long enough to know that it's only acceptable to bring a handgun to class.  Being fourteen is no excuse.  But he's enjoying his celebrity, so that's something.  A happier ending than the California jaywalker who was brought down by an entire SWAT team yesterday; he's still alive, at least.  So is James Blake, the tennis player, who survived arrest at the hands of the NYPD, another case of standing-on-Forty-second-Street-while-black.  Blake was slammed to the ground but not choked to death, so I guess all the post-Eric Garner re-training has paid off.  Who is policing the police?   


Friday, September 11, 2015

Wilkommen, bienvenu, later

It's Casablanca in reverse.  Tens of thousands of desperate people, trying to get from the Middle East and North Africa to Germany, exploited by human traffickers more pitiless than Ugarte and Ferrari, abused by officials who make Louis Renault look like the Dalai Lama.  Watching them, you realize what was absent from the classic film:  children.  Old couples, young couples, Ilsa and Rick briefly reunited, but no children.  Not even Moroccan children playing in the bazaar.  The filmmakers understood that children change everything.  They break your heart.

How magnanimous of the world's richest nation to promise it will take in ten thousand refugees, next year some time, if they remembered to bring their passports and birth certificates and can be vetted by the Ministry of Love  Department of Homeland Security.  Economically struggling Ireland, with a population smaller than New York City's, has agreed to accept six thousand.  We could settle ten thousand people in depopulated cities like Detroit and New Orleans and never notice, but it's an election year (when is it not?) and our right-wing xenophobes can out-scream Hungary's any day of the week.  I suppose Pope Francis will bring it up when he speaks to Congress, but as soon as he mentions climate change and economic justice, most of them will tune out and start playing with their phones, scheming to grab a selfie with the pontiff for their Facebook pages.

This being the fourteenth anniversary of the Worst Day of All Time, it occurs to me we can finance this, and much besides, with an Ill-Gotten Gains tax.  Cheney, Bush, and everyone else who benefited financially from the pointless, unjustifiable, region-destabilizing invasion of Iraq, should be assessed one percent of their personal wealth to cope with the consequences of their greed.  It's not realistic to expect them to face trial as war criminals, and they will still be obscenely rich.  Because this is only going to get worse.  As their country is bombed daily by the Saudi Arabian air force flying American and British aircraft, the Yemenis will be the next to hit the road.  Expect a lot more Libyans to flee that mayhem and put their fate in the hands of the Italian navy.  The Turks will keep on harrying the Kurds, against all reason -- who else has had as much success fighting ISIS?  And then there's Somalia...

But let's keep arguing about Tom Brady and his footballs.