Saturday, September 24, 2022

Everybody please just stop it

 Farmers in Britain are losing thousands of pounds and tons of grain because idiots are creating crop circles in wheat fields.  It couldn't happen at a worse time, as prices climb due to widespread drought and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  These circles are very elaborate and obviously labor-intensive; they would be beautiful if Tibetan monks were making them out of colored sand.  As it is, they're just vandalism for vandalism's sake.  Why?

Anything on social media billed as a "challenge" should be viewed with deep suspicion at this point since so many of them end in death or serious injury.  The FDA had to issue a warning about the latest stunt, Nyquil chicken, which is exactly what it sounds like, cooking a damn chicken in an OTC cold medicine.  It originated on 4chan, a message board for the most feckless and unhinged demographic, young males.  Since young males don't do a lot of cooking, I have to wonder who is behind this.  

It looks like Italian voters have decided to mark the centenary of Mussolini's March on Rome by trying fascism again, in the person of Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy party.  I'm not too worried -- it's Italy, they'll have a new government by January.

Some observers are wondering if Putin's call-up of reservists will be the blunder that finally brings him down.   But what he needs to worry about is the other gangsters -- his fellow oligarchs who are tired of his inability to win a two-week war, now in its seventh month.  This war is bad for business.  Their assets in the west have been frozen, their yachts seized.  One had to sell Chelsea Football Club.  Putin should not venture higher than the fourth floor of any building without a parachute; Russian gravity is treacherous.

Take Anatoly Gerashchenko of the Moscow Aviation Institute.  On Wednesday he fell down "several flights of stairs," presumably because the first flight didn't quite do the job.  Two weeks earlier another aviation executive, Ivan Pechorin, fell off a speedboat near Vladivostok.  Hey, let's be careful out there, tovarich.

Tudor Dixon wants to be the fascist governor of Michigan but she has an unusual view of crime.  She thinks kidnapping is funny when the presumed target is a Democrat.  The plot to abduct and "try" Gretchen Whitmer, for which several men have been imprisoned, is exactly the same in her mind as ordering businesses to close during a pandemic.  Needless to say, she carries the Trump Seal of Approval.  

The media were so transfixed by the QAnon one-finger salute and marching song at this Trump rally in Ohio, they neglected to point out the disappointing attendance, or attributed it to being scheduled during a minor league football game of local interest.  Very circumspect.  Or very dishonest.  At tonight's hatefest in Wilmington, North Carolina, some of the faithful did the Q but were apparently told by King MAGA's goons to tone it down.  Where they go one, they go one or two at a time.

Tomorrow Cuba will hold a referendum on a new Family Code which could legalize same-sex marriage.  That's right, Yanquis, when it comes to personal liberty we're losing ground to Cuba.  

Amusing coda to Kevin McCarthy's blink-and-you-missed-it "Commitment To America":  the wannabe speaker adorned it with a quote he attributed to Lincoln, who the party continues to pretend to admire.  Except it's actually from a 1986 Lehman Brothers ad in the Wall Street Journal.  Close enough, Qevin!  Remember when Goldman Sachs warned us about a house divided against itself?


Thursday, September 22, 2022

Morality police and other disasters

I don't know what all of this means, so I'll just put it down.

When I saw that the Bishp of London is a woman, I thought the Church of England has made remarkable progress since it refused even to ordain women.  Not in every category, though.  Rev. Mpho Tutu-van Furth of Shropshire, the daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, has been forbidden to conduct the funeral service of her godfather Martin Kenyon in church because she is married to a woman.  The funeral had to be held in a marquee, like an episode of Bake-off.  And her marriage is supposed to be celibate.  This church is tied in more knots than Houdini.

When I think of Melania Trump I think of "fucking Christmas."  Doesn't everyone?  They wanted her to skip her Botox to approve the decorations other people would put up at the White House -- four times!  So I was not even a little surprised to read that she's marketing a line of ornaments for $35 to $45 with "a part" of the proceeds going to some scholarship scam.  Oh, you need a link to her website?  That's too bad.

J.R. Majewski probably loves Trump more than Melania does.  He once painted a mural of the Orange One on his lawn.  So when the Ohio Ninth was redrawn to favor Republicans he duly sought the endorsement of King MAGA and began lying about his military record.  His claim of service in the Air Force in Afghanistan collapsed when some liberal media hack revealed that he spent most of his hitch in Japan, apart from six months loading cargo in Qatar.  Also he supports/does not support QAnon.  And he took part in the coup attempt but did not break the law.  And a few other lies.  He sounds perfect.

Abbott and DeSantis may well owe Trump an apology.  It looks like abusing immigrants was his idea, with bells on.  According to Miles Taylor (New York Times readers will remember him as "Anonymous"), Trump "wanted us to identify the murderers, the rapists and the criminals and, in particular, make sure we did not incarcerate them, and we put them in those cities" -- the cities to which migrants are now being flown and bused.  The assumption that murderers and rapists walked from Honduras to the southern border in significant numbers is of course pure Trump.  

The name of Mohamed Bouazizi is not well enough known.  He was the shopkeeper whose self-immolation touched off the Arab Spring in Tunisia in 2010 and led to the ouster of President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.  Will Mahsa Amini turn out to be the Bouazizi of Iran?  The country is racked with rioting since Amini's death at the hands of the morality police, who didn't like the way she wore her hijab.  It doesn't help that the economy is causing widespread pain, or that the Kurds (Amini was one) are tired of their treatment.  

Next week Japan will finally hold a state funeral for Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated in July.  Japan is nominally a democracy but most people have little faith in the system, dominated as it is by the enormous American military presence -- now in its sixty-seventh year -- and one-party rule, or as they call it in Washington, "stability."  Connections between Abe's Liberal Democratic Party and the Unification Church have also angered many Japanese, including the man in his seventies who immolated himself to protest the state funeral, which will cost $12 million.  

Say this for John Gibbs, Trump's candidate for Michigan Third -- he's not climbing on the misogyny bandwagon.  Gibbs has hated women since college (Stanford), when he started the Society for the Critique of Feminism.  He knows women can't reason, are too emotional, and the Bible is pretty clear about their place in the food chain.  Also, the Founding Fathers didn't think women should vote and Gibbs is an Originalist.  (They would have counted him as three-fifths of a man and denied him all rights but let that go.)  I'd call him an incel, but he's clearly a babe-magnet.

 And his opponent is a woman, which makes it perfect.

Do you want to know what the FBI was really looking for when they invaded Mar a Lago and made a mess on the perfect carpet?  Hillary's emails.  That's what Trump told SpongeSean Squareface last night when people could hear him.  Even Hannity was confused.  He stayed that way when King MAGA asserted that he could de-classify documents "by thinking about it."  None of it makes sense but it fended off questions about Letitia James, which would have evinced something racist and misogynist and also would not have made sense.

Inspired by Neuter Gingrich's "Contract with America" the House Republican leadership devised a "Commitment to America" which promises to raise prescription drug prices, pave the way for cuts in Medicare and Social Security and for all I know bring back the military draft.  We'll never know what other intensely unpopular things they have in store because it vanished from Kevin McCarthy's website like a fart in a hurricane.  A work in progress, no doubt.  Henry Connelly, Speaker Pelosi's communications director, managed to save a few pieces.

"I know this sounds idiotic, but I'm from New Jersey.  I feel like an idiot, it sounds idiotic and it is."  Thus Hitler impersonator Timothy Hale-Cusanelli to the jury that convicted him of obstruction of Congress (he claims he had no idea Congress was even in session on January 6, 2021).  It looks like Hale-Cusanelli's last public performance was at the Trump rally in Wilkes-Barre, as Judge Trevor McFadden gave him four years -- enough time to learn German and read Mein Kampf in the original, and may god have mercy on his soul.

Leonard Glenn Francis, a/k/a "Fat Leonard" has been recaptured in the Caracas airport.  While thousands of people fled Venezuela, he headed for it.  Sneaky, but not sneaky enough.

I'm watching people get mauled and arrested by men in riot gear and I do not know if it's Iran, Russia or someplace else.  I need my glasses.

Judge Aileen Cannon has been on the federal bench for about two hours but she's already been overturned bigly.  A three-judge panel of the 11th circuit Court of Appeals says she had no grounds for allowing Trump his special master and that the Justice Department can proceed in the Case of the Purloined Intelligence Secrets.  The ruling was unanimous even though two of the three judges are Trump appointees.  I imagine the Mar a Lago staff are unsurpassed at cleaning up ketchup stains by now.

A student at the University of Utah who was really pumped about the game against San Diego State wrote on Yik Yak, "If we don't win today I'm detonating the nuclear reactor on campus."  She was arrested and charged with making terroristic threats.  I can hear you asking, "What the hell is Yik Yak?"  I can't help with that but Utah won 35-7.  Be cool, the police have no sense of humor.  


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

This is not a bluff


This is the Admiral Kuznetsov, flagship of the Russian navy.  It burns a low-grade fuel called mazut intended for power plants, which is why it smokes like a 1959 Studebaker.  When it holds exercises, tugs have to stand by in case it gets stuck.  The Big K has been laid up for repairs since 2017 and is expected to return to service in 2024, barring further accidents.

Why bring it up?  Because Vladimir Putin is losing so badly in Ukraine, he didn't dare show his weaselly face at the United Nations, where people would be snickering and making faces behind his back, probably.  He went into his safe space, Russian television, to announce a call-up of 300,000 reservists and to blame his troubles on Ukraine and the west.  Apparently we want to destroy Mother Russia, but not as much as her own reservists.  Airline and train tickets to anyplace else are selling like mad and the Kremlin had to order that no more be sold to men 18 to 65.  Suddenly everyone's crazy to see Istanbul.  Or Berlin, Sheboygan, wherever.

(By the way, Ukraine told Russian troops that if they surrender, they can choose not to be repatriated.  A much better deal than Soviet citizens got in 1945, when they were sent home against their will and spend years in the gulag for the crime of being captured.  Operation Keelhaul -- somebody had a dark sense of humor.)

The little guy also reminded everybody that he has lots and lots of nuclear weapons and he is completely prepared to use them, which is a really bad idea if your country is right next to the one you plan to radiate.  "This is not a bluff," he added, which means all of the other threats were.  Now the world has to wonder if the nukes work any better than the tanks and the (Iranian) drones and the Admiral Kuznetsov.  And his Ferris wheel!  

Volodymyr Zelensky doesn't have time to travel to New York so the General Assembly voted to let him Zoom his speech, a sign that they like him better.  Joe Biden and others condemned the Russian atrocities while Emmanuel Macron called out "imperialism."  And because the UN has to deal with everybody's shit, President Guillermo Lasso of Ecuador begged other countries to help with the flood of Venezuelan refugees; Ecuador is getting the worst of it, no matter what some posturing governors say.  Bolsonaro, the Trump of the Tropics, used his speech to campaign for re-election because he is both crass and trailing Lula da Silva in polls.  

Naturally Original Trump had to put in his oar.  He's having another bad day, beginning with Attorney General Letitia James's announcement of a civil complaint detailing two hundred pages of fraud and tax evasion by him and his oldest spawn.  If New York wins it will be entitled to $250 million dollars from what James called "the art of the steal."  Cue the wailing chorus.

Yesterday this was ruled by Raymond Dearie, the special master Trump demanded in his unfolding espionage case:  "The government gives me prima facie evidence that these are classified documents."  And you give me bupkus, he implied.  "As far as I'm concerned that's the end of it."  Oh, and one more thing:  Fuck you, pay me.  Yes, the losing side wanted his services so they owe.  Cue the death threats and the claims that Dearie, a former FISA judge appointed by John Roberts, is part of the woke mob and a racist Trump-hating agent of the deep state.  Did I miss anything, Tuckums?  Too busy lining up your Russian talking points for tonight?  Egging the crazies on to attack hospitals and schools?  That's what Putin does in Ukraine. 

Of course Trump has the answer.  "They have to respect your leadership, if they don't respect your leadership they're gonna walk all over you," he explained to his new friends at Newsmax who treat him better than those doody-heads on Fox.  "They're people you have to know how to deal with," thug to thug.  After a tangent about how much tariff he extracted from China because he still doesn't know how it works, "The Ukrainian conflict [sic] would not have happened if I were president."  Nor the typhoon that devastated Japan, I'm sure.  One minute you get a lousy seat at a funeral and the next minute they're nuking Los Angeles.  R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

At least he's finally acknowledging the 2020 loss.  Not Mike Lindell, who just can't quit his conspiracy theories even as vendors abandon MyStore because "The FBI scares them.  They don't want to get cancelled, you know?"  Retailing is hell, Mike.  Maybe if your face wasn't on the products.

In short, it's mid-week on earth and the wheels are coming off and I'm done.  Be kind, damn it.


Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Now, where were we?

 As the British prepared (and prepared) to bury their queen, a different ritual of death was being performed in Izium, Ukraine.  Retreating Russians had left behind more than 440 bodies in mass graves, many with their hands tied behind their backs, some showing signs of torture.  There is no reason to think that more will not be found.  When the Polish intelligentsia and officers were murdered in 1940 in Katyn Forest they were not tortured first, only shot in the head.  Russians today are more depraved than their grandfathers under Stalin, a proud achievement.

Puerto Rico was still recovering from Hurricane Maria and the incompetence and malice of the Trump regime (which dreamed of swapping it for Greenland) when it was hit by Hurricane Fiona.  It is flooded and entirely without electric power, road and bridges have been destroyed, and many people lack clean water.  At least they won't have to deal with this:

Speaking of Americans without water, Gov. Tate Reeves opened a speech by saying, "I've got to tell you it is a great day to be in Hattiesburg.  It's also, as always, a great day to not be in Jackson."  Thank you, folks, I'm here till 2024.  Try the fried okra!  

To the dismay of public health experts Joe Biden told 60 Minutes "We still have a problem with covid...but the pandemic is over."  If by a problem he means four hundred deaths a day and a struggle to get more money out of Congress, yes.  At its height we were seeing over a thousand deaths a day and healthcare workers giving up out of exhaustion.  Now there are multiple effective vaccines, drugs like Paxlovid and remdesevir, Jared Kushner is no longer hoarding the ventilators and hardly anyplace requires a mask or a test (which may account for those four hundred deaths).  When the 1918 pandemic was declared over in April 1920 it lingered in many parts of the world.  Chengdu, China, population 22 million, is in lockdown; there is "movement restriction" in Shenzhen.  Not over.  

But with Americans out and about again, the country is seeking a spike in sexually transmitted diseases including syphilis (26 percent), HIV (16 percent) and our new friend monkeypox.  Complicating this set of problems is the inevitable return of the morality police and those who would restrict even condoms lest they be used in contraception.  No doubt someone will blame all the new STDs on the hedonistic Democrats and demand the return of Bible-waving King MAGA.  Not yet, but when Trump is indicted I guarantee fucking in the streets.  Also the parks, the public pools, on planes, in trees, dangling from bridges, while sky-diving...

I say "when" because even his lawyers now admit the possibility.  Raymond Dearie, the special master approved by Judge Aileen, wants to know which of the stolen documents recovered by the FBI Trump had decided to "declassify."  He wants to know by October 7, which does not fit in with their plans to delay, delay, delay until the possible election of a fascist House (the Senate is slipping away) which will do nothing but impeach Biden three times a day.   Trump's principal defense is threats of unimaginable violence on radio shows and weird ritualistic hate rallies allegedly in support of various candidates.  And even in Merrick Garland holds off until November 9, why should Fani Willis?  Georgia's prisons are especially unpleasant, Donzo.  I'm sorry to say chain gangs have been abolished.

Maybe Trump should follow the example of the load he selected to run for the Senate in Georgia.  Herschel Walker is signaling not to expect much of him when he debates Raphael Warnock on October 14 (or after he's elected, assuming he is).  "I'm a country boy.  I'm not that smart.  He's a preacher, is smart and wears these nice suits."  White southerners still need to be assured that smart Black people are the exception to the rule despite all the degrees and Nobel prizes and statesmanship.  Good ol' Herschel ain't uppity, he won't ask for nothing,' hell, he'll be grateful for a chance to be a senator.  And he'll say sir and ma'am.  He's the Birth of a Nation candidate.  With a little dementia.

The human trafficking continues, with Governissimo DeSantis sending a planeload of immigrants to Delaware because somebody told him Biden lives there.  ("He should come visit, we have a beautiful shoreline," Biden said, mocking the state that has nothing to recommend it but shoreline.)  But at least one member of law enforcement is taking notice.  Sheriff Javier Salazar of Bexar County, Texas, wants to know how people were "lured" from the county's Migrant Resource Center and flown to Florida and then on to Martha's Vineyard.  County Judge Nelson Wolff (in Texas a county judge is like an executive) agrees it could be a crime.  Kidnapping is a federal offense -- what does the Justice Department say?

In case there was any doubt that Trump is insanely jealous of DeSantis (who is, after all, younger, thinner and somewhat smarter), Rolling Stone reports that he's accusing the Governissimo of stealing his idea by kidnapping and trafficking penniless asylum seekers.  If he was still president, and who's to say he isn't, Trump would be using his personal Air Force to fly them to Nambia or someplace like that.  He insists that last month's FBI search gave him a "ten-point boost" in polls of probable fascist voters, but he's lost a powerful backer:  Joe Rogan has switched allegiance to DeSantis, who is crueler, equally racist and has better hair.   Maybe he stole Trump's idea but would Trump ever have thought of censoring dictionaries and outlawing LGBTQ people?   Then again, would DeSantis have torpedoed a Senate candidate by telling the mob, "J.D. [Vance] is kissing my ass he wants my support so bad"?  That's what people look for in a senator -- slobbering subservience.

But Trump did have one happy moment on his way to prison -- he was glued to the state funeral and saw the Bidens, who arrived late, sitting in the fourteenth row.  "That's what happened to America in just two short years.  No respect!...If I were president they wouldn't have sat me back there -- and our Country would be much different than it is right now!"  I believe him.  He would have belly-shoved his way to the front, probably displacing the Queen of Denmark, and told everybody in earshot how much the late queen loved him and how she secretly made him the Duke of London.  As for how different our Country -- I mean country -- would be, I can't bear to think about it. 

If I may return to The Funeral for one wee paragraph, it was stage-managed to perfection, clearly the result of years of planning and rehearsal.  One moment was unsurpassed.  Paul Burns, Piper to the Sovereign, used to wake her every morning playing outside her residence.  As her coffin awaited internment in St. George's Chapel he played "Sleep, Dearie, Sleep."  Then Pipes -- as she called him -- turned and walked slowly away as the music faded to silence.   Of course it's the only way to achieve dynamics on the bagpipes, but whoever thought of that is a genius.  Excuse me, dust in my eyes.




Saturday, September 17, 2022

The mourning after

 Slowly the illusion of a people united in grief breaks down.  And it was always an illusion.

On Thursday night two women waiting to view the queen's coffin reported a man who exposed himself, grabbed them from behind and then jumped into the Thames.  He faces two counts of assault and two counts of breaching a sexual harm prevention order, meaning he's done this before.  I guess that crowd of people was irresistible.

Last night a man shoved a little girl aside, ran up and tried to touch the coffin.  He has also been arrested.  No explanation was given.  Nor is there video, as the camera was switched off when the disturbance began.  Like a streaker at a sporting event, they don't like to encourage others.

Tik-Tok seems to be the chosen venue for disparaging comments and worse about the new queen and perennial hate object Meghan Markle.  Photos are posted comparing Camilla today with the way Diana looked twenty-five years ago.  Also, Elizabeth II did not die because she was 96; she was murdered to prevent her disclosing information which would have led to the arrest of -- wait for it -- Hillary Clinton.  (Come on, QAnon, can't you let the British enjoy their own batshit conspiracy theories?  It's only ten days.)   I'm sure George Soros had something to do with something.

The Sussexes continue to stir debate.  Were they invited to the state reception Monday and then un-invited?   Is Harry allowed to wear his uniform or not?  This has re-ignited the rumor that Charles is not his real father -- ginger, you know.  (Wouldn't that make the sainted Diana a bit of a slag?)  And what are they going to do with Uncle Andy?

Before the late queen's body left Scotland about a hundred employees of Clarence House, the residence of the Prince of Wales, had already received pink slips.  Not only was this more crass than class, it seemed to signal a diminished royal household.  After all, there's still a Prince of Wales; won't William need people to arrange his appointments, open his mail and iron his shoelaces?  (I swear, someone does that for Charles.)  

By now everyone has seen Pengate, the worst thing to befall the monarchy since Oliver Cromwell.  The king was invited to sign the visitors' book at Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland and was handed a fountain pen which leaked.  IRA sabotage is suspected.  He handed the pen to Camilla and left, wiping his hand with a handkerchief.  Apparently a different pen and inkstand annoyed him as he signed his Accession document.  I hope they sort this out before civil war erupts.  A gold-plated Biro?

Speaking of Andrew...

And that's not even the strangest tribute.


Words no good

 Our MAGAt of the week is Jeremy David Hanson of Rossmoor, California, who narrowly defeated a crowded field when he threatened to "shoot up and bomb" the offices of Merriam Webster in New York and Springfield, Massachusetts.  He didn't care for their definition of "girl" as "a person whose gender identity is female."  Hanson calls this "pander[ing] to the tranny mafia" and goes on, "The only good Marxist is a dead Marxist."  (I haven't read much Marx but I'm pretty sure he was more concerned with economics.)  Hanson's mother says he is "reclusive" and under her supervision, but the 34-year-old is still looking at prison; that wasn't the only threat he made.  

Down in Florida, the Sarasota County School District is not accepting donated dictionaries until they can be examined by the official censor certified education media specialist, lest similar incendiary definitions corrupt children.  It's not clear how they expect to shield children from online dictionaries, but I imagine the sort of filter that now blocks pornographic terms like "cock" and "breast" would work.

Now that he has an excellent chance of finishing second in the Arizona senatorial race, radical left Democrats are firing up their search engines to discover egregiously stupid things Blake Masters said on the road to prominence.  Apparently he caught Trump's eye with an interview last March in which he was asked to name a "subversive thinker" Americans should know better.  Masters came up with Theodore Kaczynski a/k/a the Unabomber.  "He had a lot to say about the political left, about how they all have inferiority complexes and fundamentally hate anything like goodness, truth, beauty, justice."    Ted can't campaign for Masters as he is serving four life sentences for murdering three people and injuring many more, but he must be pleased to see his work inspire a new generation of sociopaths.

Speaking of sociopathy, meet the Universal Aryan Brotherhood, an organization inspired by California's Nazi prison gangs and currently terrorizing an area near Oklahoma City.  Police in Logan County think they have found a body dump behind the UAB's compound walls but they've tried to keep the investigation quiet to protect witnesses.  A 2016 report from the Anti-Defamation League calls such gangs "the fastest-growing and most dangerous arm of the white-supremacist movement" but that was before Trump was "elected."

Louie Gohmert's Congressional career is in its final days but he's determined to leave his mark.  When anti-vax loony/January 6 insurrectionist Simone Gold left prison after her sixty-day term Louie presented her with a flag from the Capitol and a certificate of same, calling her a "political prisoner."  A rioter who happens to have political opinions is not a political prisoner.  Louie needs a good dictionary.

Trump apparently trusts hack judge Cannon to solve his little legal problem with the Justice Department.  He put an empty "classified" folder and a "Situation Room" brochure on display in the 45 Wine and Whiskey Bar of his Manhattan eyesore.  But you can't just gawk -- a couple who tried to get a look were told by a security guard they would have to "order food."  

Also in our continuing survey of junk food and Trumpism, this happened:

Yes, Jabba the Putt thinks Christie is fat.  Words fail.

Some of our leaders have given up on words altogether to concentrate on other forms of communication.  The young activist group Voters of Tomorrow tried to discuss gun violence with Marjorie Taylor Greene, who kicked eighteen-year-old Marianna Pecora out of her way.  Greene subsequently called the protesters "foolish cowards" and "idiots" so she can still imitate human speech when it suits her.  

Unimpressed by laws about kidnapping and human trafficking, Greg Abbott, Doug Ducey and Ron DeSantis have shipped asylum seekers,, mainly Venezuelan, to northern cities as a stunt for their supporters and a random act of cruelty.  Decent people in Chicago, Washington and New York have shamed the fascists by welcoming them with food, showers, baby supplies and places to stay.  In a particularly egregious stunt, DeSantis chartered a plane to deliver several hundred people to Martha's Vineyard, where all liberals summer.  This delighted Tucker Carlson, America's answer to Julius Streicher, who apparently came up with the plan in July.  He stopped obsessing about testosterone long enough to suggest the migrants head for the Obama place for a "goat barbecue."  Also "The Vineyard is going to have to construct shantytowns...we're going to call them 'townships' after Obama's favorite country, and we're going to give them dignified names that suggest some kind of victory over adversity -- Mandela, Cesar Chavezville, Kamalopolis."  Come on, Tuckoo, what do you really think of the colored people?  Don't be subtle, you'll confuse your audience.

Carlson will be pleased to know that Alabama is still denying any sort of monetary compensation to Sarah Collins Rudolph, who lost an eye and still carries glass shards from the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963.  Governor Ivey managed a verbal apology but says anything more awaits legislative approval.  Of course, it's against the law in Alabama to make white people feel bad about the past -- you know, "critical race theory" -- so that legislation is going nowhere.  

Is "boo" a term of endearment on the bayou?  I ask because Rep. Clay Higgins (R-Bigoil) employed it while arguing with Raya Salter of the Energy Justice Law and Policy Center about petrochemicals.  He also called Salter, who is Black, "young lady" in that "I don't have to learn your name" manner employed by generations of white Southerners.  In an improbably related story, federal judge Trudy M. White revoked a permit Louisiana had issued to FG LA (Formosa Plastics) for a factory in the part of the state known as Cancer Alley.  Yes, its emissions would have disproportionately affected poor Black residents.  Yes, Judge White is Black.  Yes, she has already been the victim of an "imposter" Facebook account.  Yes, she is "controversial."  Want to make something of it, Tuckoo? 

I didn't think so.  Pussy. 



Friday, September 16, 2022

Two days to go

 Random thoughts while watching the lying-in-state at the BBC website:

I'd concluded that there was a creepy quasi-fascistic aspect to all the official mourning.  People arrested for dissenting opinions in the street, while columnists could write what they liked about the new king, monarchy in general, the Commonwealth, etc.  One woman was hauled off for holding up a blank sheet of paper, like that newsreader on Russian television last winter -- unsettling in a democracy.  Hospitals cancelling appointments on Monday, food banks closed, ordinary people's funerals postponed -- what the hell is this?  The NHS is so shaky, people have to wait months to see a dentist or psychiatrist and are now being sent to the end of the queue.  I can't believe the queen wanted this.

But the queue.  The one to see the coffin, six miles long -- no one can force people to join it or to wait up to twenty-four hours in it.  I saw things that moved even my cynical old heart.  A woman in a wheelchair blowing a kiss.  The lady in the Union Jack sari.  People with guide dogs.  David Beckham standing in line like a regular bloke.  Much bowing and curtsying.  The crying of babies cutting through the respectful murmuring.  People formally dressed and people in hoodies, all ages, all races.  (I love the periodic changing of the guard, like the most splendid production of The Yeomen of the Guard ever staged.)  Women in headscarves.  Men with military decorations.

What I don't see are phones, those ubiquitous indicators that say "Something is happening before my eyes, better take a picture so I can look at it later."  Maybe they've been told to put them away.  Or maybe this is a quasi-religious experience.  People pass the bier and then look back for a final glimpse.  This may be the last time in history nobody grabs for the Android.

They are saying goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II.  And perhaps to monarchy itself?  


Thursday, September 15, 2022

Things you need to know

 "I thought I was having a heart attack, " King Abdullah II of Jordan told a friend in 2018.  He was referring to a phone call from Trump offering him "control" of the West Bank, whose population is decidedly anti-monarchist.  Why did Trump imagine the West Bank was somehow his to give?  We'll have to read The Divider:  Trump In the White House 2017-2021 by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, to find out.  They also reveal his response to an unfavorable ruling from the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit:  "Let's just cancel it."  He ordered legislation sent to Congress and was ignored.  Apparently he was ignored a lot by people who assumed he'd lose interest, forget, or be distracted by something that enraged him even more.  It looks like a good read, especially for mental health professionals.

The Wall Street Journal is in mourning today because Joe Biden and his Cabinet worked through the night to avert a national rail strike.  It's hard to remember a president who was more pro-labor (and pro-labor unions).

To which Biden tweeted:  "Thanks for your concern @wsj.  To answer your question:  Yes, the trains are running on time."  (And could we retire that particular tedious equation of railway timetables and a well-run state?  Italian trains ran just as well before Mussolini and his thugs arrived in Rome.)

Why would you think Paul Gosar wants to destroy the FBI?  Perhaps because on August 8 he tweeted, "We must destroy the FBI.  We must save America.  I stand with Donald J. Trump."  Three days later Ricky Shiffer was killed by police after attacking the Cincinnati FBI office with a nail gun.  Now Gosar says it was just a way of attracting attention, difficult when you have to compete with other Crackpot Caucusers.  What he really wants is "new blood in the FBI," perhaps an unfortunate choice of words.  Can we assume he also does not stand with Trump nor wish to save America?  It's all rather confusing, really.

At fifteen Pieper Lewis ran away from an abusive home.  Zachary Brooks, 37, took her in, raped her and trafficked her to other men, and she stabbed him to death.  After she pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter Judge David M. Porter of Polk County, Iowa, sentenced her to supervised probation and ordered her to pay $150,000 to Brooks's family.  Outraged, her math teacher Leland Schipper organized a GoFundMe which has now raised over $330,000.  I hope she gets to keep the rest.

Golden oldies:  Mandela Barnes is scaring the trump out of Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, so the NRSC rolled out a Willie Horton-style ad designed to tie Barnes to the driver (also Black) of the car that hit a Christmas parade in Waukesha, killing six people.  It goes on to lie about his position on cash bail and ends with scary images of Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Omar.  Trouble is, the Willie Horton ad worked, and America is even more viciously racist than it was in 1988.  We'll see if Wisconsin is.

We'll also see how much money they want to burn on Illinois gubernatorial catspaw Darren Bailey, who won the primary by calling Chicago a "hellhole."  Then he got an apartment there to "immerse myself in the culture" from the high rise formerly known as the John Hancock Center (farmer Bailey should be safe enough there even though "Chicago is living the Purge and the cops stand down.")  Like so many fascists he can't denounce abortion without going there (the Holocaust "doesn't even compare to a shadow" of the lives lost).  The next day he attacked the media for twisting his words but he didn't fix them:  "Jewish rabbis" told him he was "actually right."  I wonder where J.B. Pritzker will hold his victory party.  

Where's the bartender?  Putin went to Samarkand, Uzbekistan, to meet Presidents Xi (China) and Khurelsukh (Mongolia) and beg for help in Ukraine.  After a week of ass-kicking he ordered the bombing of a dam to flood Volodymyr Zelensky's hometown of Kryvyi Rih.  Has he forgotten the disaster that ensued for the Wehrmacht when Hitler became obsessed with a city named for Stalin?  Yuliia Paievska described the horrors she witnessed in Mariupol.  Read it if you can stand to.

Not a mob summit but something sleazier?  Trump and associates actually met at Sterling, we're told, to decide if it was classy enough to host a LIV Golf Tour/Saud Blood Money event.  So where was Ari Fleischer?  And why all the secrecy?  Are there bodies that need to be moved?  

Choosing a running mate is very important, many people are saying.  According to Baker and Glasser Trump has ruled out Mike Pence because he "committed political suicide" by following the law instead of tearing up all the electoral college submissions while shouting "TRUMP WINS!"  In the same book he passed over Nikki Haley because of her "complexion problem."  As in acne, or too much blusher, or the sort of complexion Fred told him never to rent to?  Unclear.  Best of all, Trump, who is afraid of nothing -- he would have lumbered right into Stoneman Douglas High School and ripped the gun out of Nikolas Cruz's hand -- was afraid, maybe still is afraid that Iran will retaliate against him for killing Qassem Suleimani.  He's probably glad they retaliated against Salman Rushdie instead.  Fuck that guy.

Be afraid, Donzo.  But not of Iran.