Saturday, May 21, 2022

Can anybody else smell that?

 Desert Island Discs has been running on the BBC since 1942, asking guests ("castaways," as they cutely call them) to name a book, a luxury item and eight recordings they would want on the proverbial desert island.  Mostly they ask for very long books and wine or a piano.  It's a bit like The Archers -- listeners expect escapist fare.  Rarely does the program make news, even when John Cleese requested "a statue of Margaret Thatcher and a baseball bat."  (The one newly installed in Grantham has already been attacked with eggs, but there is no indication of Cleese's involvement.)

So it was an event when the castaway was Fiona Hill, Russia expert, adviser to George W. Bush and Barack Obama and attempted adviser to Trump.  She described sitting next to Putin at a banquet (apparently because she was considered nondescript and would not distract from the great leader) and how he smelled -- "almost like he had stepped out of some special preparatory bath or something, into the moment."  She was close enough to note his expensive clothes and watch and also his vanity.  ("He really could have done with glasses" but instead had cards with huge words telling him "who was who and what he should say.")  He neither ate nor drank.  Perhaps he fears being poisoned, as Hill was during a visit to Chechnya.  Putin's Russia sounds like the court of the Borgias minus the art.

Hill had nothing to say about Trump's odor, but she was appalled by his ignorance about everything from history to women (he assumed she was a secretary and addressed her as "darlin'").  The day after she testified in the first impeachment Hill got the usual death threats, and a male friend wondered if they should seek extra security.  "No," she said calmly.  "They're cowards."   Trump has taken to saying things like "She'd be nothing without the accent," because although she was born to a working-class Northern family and never tried to acquire a posh accent, to him she sounds like Dame Maggie Smith playing a countess.  So...the coarse kid from Queens is still intimidated by Brits.  I'm glad.

The rest of the news is the usual madness.  

How many plagues can we endure?  Let's see, fire, drought, war, famine...monkeypox.  The WHO thinks it's spread by sexual contact and will spike during this summer's music festivals.  David Heymann says, "There are vaccines available" but many Americans will choose antifungals or exorcism because, well, you know.  

Something about being mayor of New York gives politicians delusions of adequacy.  According to the New York Post, so maybe untrue, Bill DeBlasio wants to run for Congress, after toying briefly with the idea of running for governor.  The current mayor, Eric Adams, reportedly wants to skip all that and run for president.  Dare to dream, guys.  Neither one of you is making people say "Fiorello who?"

The airlift hastily (and badly) named "Operation Fly Formula" will begin delivering infant formula from Europe this weekend.  But what of the dijon mustard disaster?  The mustard seed harvest was halved by extreme heat in Canada and the Burgundy region of France and the shelves are emptying.  It looks like a windfall for the black market.  You can't expect the French to use Gulden's.

Meanwhile British pubs, clubs and bars are having to cut back hours because of a severe bouncer shortage.  Imagine:  the big men (and some women) who size up your clothes and shoes and find you wanting have moved on to jobs with better hours and less projectile vomiting.  Cheer up, covid is back big time.  Maybe lockdown will resume.

A mustard shop in Dijon.  All your mustard needs under one roof.  

"There is more Met than Yankee in every one of us."  Roger Angell, baseball's "reluctant poet laureate," has died at 101.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Blame it on the coronavirus

"He was very paranoid about getting covid...and then he got covid just a few weeks ago," said Sandra Komoroff, described as a relative of Payton Gendron.  "And when you're home all day on the Internet you're missing out on human contact.  There's a lot of emotion and a lot of body language you're not getting when you see their face."  Millions of us were in that position without killing anybody, but sure, there's always room for another theory.  Laura Ingraham blames the media -- not the Murdoch outlet that pays her and Tucker, of course, but the ones who try to restrict hate speech of the kind Gendron lapped up.  Logical thought is not Dr. Laura's specialty subject.  So to recap:  A false-flag furry radicalized by violent video games and driven mad by "China flu."  He probably chose a supermarket to call attention to Biden's theft of formula from little white babies.  Did I miss anything?  Was he groomed by Pedodems?

(Of course, it wasn't the Biden administration that decided to "protect" domestic producers by slapping a tariff on Canadian formula.  You don't hear about this when the cable news pans over empty shelves.)

Eco-fascism!  The Rightzis have taken to blaming immigration and over-population for "degrading" the environment, also an obsession of the Christchurch and El Paso mass murderers.  How strange, then, that Rightzi policies about abortion and contraception can only lead to more Americans being born in states that already have little or no interest in pre-natal screening, daycare or early childhood development.  Ingraham is not the only practitioner of pretzel logic.

Tomorrow:  How the murders were planned on Hunter Biden's laptop.

                                                       * * * * * * * * *

This is the expression I have when I wake up.  I need some time off.

I need a break from Elon Musk, his incredible expanding ego, his adventures in fake money, his on-again off-again acquisition of Twitter, his future voting plans and the most punchable face of all time.

Had enough of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, also, too.  I liked him in Ed Wood, I never heard of her, and I wish they would settle their bloody dispute and go away.  This is happening in an actual courtroom, where serious things could be going on.  

Likewise Wayne Rooney, his wife Colleen and some other woman.  Don't even tell me what "Wagatha Christie" means, I won't listen.  Sod off, the lot of you.

Oh, Jordan Peterson, the Canadian Piers Morgan?  Has anyone ever jumped from the CN Tower?  Be the first.

Junior Trump has an opinion about NATO and Finland and Uncle Vlad?  Junior can shove it up his nose.  Why are you still here?  Baby Tuckoo says you're being replaced.

I could go on but I have a bad knee.  Papa Francesco and I are going out for tequila shots.  

Monday, May 16, 2022

It's all true!

 Se non e vero e ben trovato, says the adage ("If it's not real it damn well should be").  Well, I believe the Republicans are using a secret weapon against Democrats similar to "Havana Syndrome," the mysterious neurological disorder afflicting diplomats who have lived in Cuba.  In February Senator Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico had a stroke, recovering just in time to vote for the confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.  This week Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland also had a stroke and remains hospitalized.  And days before the Pennsylvania primary Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, a candidate for the Senate, announced that he is recovering from a stroke.  Do you believe in coincidence?  How about leprechauns?

White racist inspired by Trump and Tucker Carlson drives to Buffalo to kill ten Black people with easily obtained military-style weapons.  It can't be that simple.  Was the poor kid let down by (Biden's) failing mental health system (Margie Greene)?  Was he radicalized by violent video games (Jon Scott of Fox News)?  Gendron was a federal agent.  Another false flag event to touch off a race war (Arizona psychopath Wendy Rogers).  No, Future Governor Kandiss Taylor for the win:  Gendron is a "furry," a perversion she has already addressed in Executive Order #6SJ7GT.  Governor JesusGunsBabies already has a public school dress code which will forbid students to dress as animals, which is apparently out of control.  I wonder if Governor Kandiss knows the Queen of Canada.

I hate to say it but Margie Greene isn't completely wrong about the failure of the mental health industry.  In Canada, too.

Anyway, something is attacking our brains.  Could it be PFAS?  (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances), the "forever chemicals" we've been using since the 1940s to achieve non-stick frying pans, microwave popcorn bags, stain-repellent carpet and other miracles.  Even if you live in Borneo and never leave, you have been exposed and probably absorbed this stuff.  I choose to believe it's been at least partially responsible for everything from Trump to Brexit to that Austrian guy who locked his daughter in the cellar for twenty-four years and impregnated her seven times (Republican governors, please read).  Some historians think the Roman Empire was fatally weakened by lead-lined water pipes and cooking vessels long before it was destroyed by Christianity.  Nobody knows what this shit is doing to us, or how long it's been doing it.  JAMA recommends you donate blood and plasma.  Pass it on to someone else!  That's the ticket.

Here's an amusing cartoon I saw before I read the rumor about Putin's "blood cancer."  Now it's not so amusing.  What if he thinks, "Fuck it, I'll take everybody with me"?

Maybe it's for the best.  Enjoy the spring weather while you can.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Mid-May roundup

I know, "May you live in interesting times" is not a real Chinese curse but it probably should be.  No one can say the times are boring.

The war in Ukraine is going as well as can be expected, which is to say the invaders are getting kicked in the Donbas.  President Zelensky says Ukraine has re-taken territory and shot down at least 200 Russian aircraft, the worst losses since the early 1940s.  The Russian logistics ship Vsevolod Bobrov was burning in the Black Sea two days ago.  British intelligence reported an entire Russian tank battalion lost as they tried to cross the Siverskyi Donets River.  The Russians are retreating from Kharkiv.  Best of all, one of Putin's fellow robber-barons (oligarch is such an ugly word) was overheard telling someone he has "blood cancer" (presumably leukemia) and will undergo surgery (presumably a bone-marrow transplant).  

Nancy Pelosi visited Kyiv two weeks ago, so Mitch McConnell decided yesterday that it was safe for him to drop in on Zelensky with some of his colleagues (Susan Collins, John Cornyn and John Barrasso).  Always be seen with the winning side.  I assume McConnell explained why Rand Paul is being a manchin about the $40 billion aid package the Senate passed otherwise unanimously ("He's an asshole, Mr. President").  Then they posed for pictures at the gloriously named House of Chimaeras in the presidential compound.  

Ukraine triumphed on another front, winning the Eurovision Song Contest in Turin.  Of course, the European Broadcasting Union had banned Russia.  Zelensky (should I be spelling it Zelenskyy?) says Mariupol will be ready to host next year's event, which is pretty ambitious.

Pink Floyd (minus Rogers Waters) released a song last month in support of Ukraine, their first in 28 years.  Perhaps inspired by Pink, the original cast will join Rob Reiner for a sequel to This Is 'Spinal Tap,' scheduled for release in 2024.  New drummer, of course.

Mehmet Oz is Trump's hand-picked candidate for Pennsylvania Senator, but he's not the only Republican in this week's primary.  One opponent, Kathy Barnette, wrote in 2015 that "pedophilia is a cornerstone of Islam," and Oz, a Muslim, calls it "disqualifying."  Not much fun when the hate you live by comes back to bite you, is it, Donny?  It's important to stay focused on the big picture.  Like Melania, who gave an interview to Fox News and whined that Vogue has put Michelle Obama and Jill Biden on its cover but never her.  (In fact the cover featured her in 2005, wearing her wedding dress -- a day she understandably wants to forget.)

Even China is struggling to cope with the newest covid mutation, so it must be unimaginably bad for North Korea to admit there's a problem.  "Great turmoil" is the term used by Kim Jong-un himself, who may now regret turning down offers of vaccine from China and Russia.  At least there are no North Koreans refusing to be masked and yelling about "Freedom!"  Count on it.

From the WaPo:  "The Dallas police chief announced Friday that a recent shooting at an Asian-run hair salon that left three women wounded may be a hate crime and could be connected to a series of similar incidents at other local businesses run by Asian Americans."  Really?  The department has come along wonderfully since 1963.  Y'all keep it up now, y'hear?

All the little gatekeepers

 On a mild spring Saturday in upstate New York, eighteen-year-old Payton Gendron decided it was time to act on the manifesto he had posted to 4chan.  He put on his helmet and body armor, collected his legally-acquired weaponry and drove two hundred miles from Conklin to Buffalo, the nearest city with a significant Black population.  Arriving at Tops Supermarket around 2:30 he opened fire.  When he stopped several minutes later thirteen people had been shot, eleven of them Black.  Ten would eventually die.  Gendron had thoughtfully attached a camera to his helmet to livestream the fun to his friends on Twitch.

 One of his role-models was Brenton Tarrant, who murdered 51 people in a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019.  The rest of the manifesto, according to NBC's psycho-whisperer Ben Collins, was pretty much straight Tucker Carlson/Great Replacement/critical race theory argle-bargle, the usual Jewish plot.  According to Collins, Gendron was specific about his plans last Thursday, but at that point he was only exercising his First Amendment rights.  The Second would come later.

(Read in high-pitched Baby Tuckoo voice):  "I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term 'replacement,' if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World."  Who still uses the term "third world"?  Carlson's fellow trust-fund baby Tom Buchanan called them "the colored empires."  He read a book once.

I know ten people who won't vote at all this year.  One witness, Grady Lewis, spoke for all:  "There will be candles, probably have a march, some preaching.  But nothing that needs to be done is going to be done."  On the contrary.  California passed a law prohibiting the sale of semiautomatic weapons to  anyone under 21, like Payton Gendron.  Last week Judge Ryan D. Nelson struck it down, as it "infringed on the Second Amendment rights of those 18-21."  He cited "the heroism of the young adults who fought and died in our revolutionary army," which is going back to pre-Second Amendment times.  Clearly an Originalist.  Moscow Mitch, take notice.  


Saturday, May 14, 2022

Won't somebody think of the children?

 It seems we can't think of anything else, usually in grossly political terms.

Abbott Laboratories, one of only two companies in the US manufacturing formula and baby food, shut down its facility in Sturgis, Michigan, in February after contaminated products caused the death of two infants and sickened several others.  The company says it will be another six to eight weeks before they can begin shipping again.  Low-income families are especially affected because Abbott was the exclusive supplier to agencies administering the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.  Rationing by some stores and empty shelves in many states are a nightmare for millions.  The mess is made worse by lingering supply chain problems making it hard to obtain ingredients.

Malnourished children are nothing new for the richest country in world history, which may be why red-state governors have decided this is THE campaign issue of the year.  Not promising to pay attention to the needs of the poor or anything but blaming Biden and those baby-killing Democrats.  Did you know they're taking nutrition away from white American babies and giving it to "illegal" brown people?  If you didn't, you will.  "Joe Biden continues to put America LAST by shipping pallets of baby formula to the southern border as American families face empty shelves," squawks Elise Stefanik.  (That's when Joe's not siphoning water out of the Colorado River and selling it to France.)  Greg Abbott (no connection, we hope) seized on another way to demonize asylum seekers, issuing an OFFICIAL STATEMENT about "our most vulnerable, precious Texans" -- please use the airsick bags stored in front of your seat -- and the wickedness of sacrificing them to babies who can't even speak English.  For his part, Biden acknowledged that the crisis could have been averted "if we'd been better mind readers" and hinted he might have to use the Defense Production Act.  Calls himself a president and he doesn't even blame China?

By way of researching this (yeah, I do) I looked into the local WIC and found they have an office at Fort Stewart, Georgia, home of the Third Infantry Division ("Rock of the Marne!").  Is it conceivable that serving members of the American military need help feeding their children?  Well, what do you think?

It's right-wing dogma that Democrats hate babies.  They don't want them to be born to girls of thirteen who were raped by an uncle; they don't want them to be neglected and abused because their parents (usually just mothers) can't provide for them; they don't want them to have to grow up in places like Satartia, Mississippi, where a carbon dioxide pipeline that ruptured last year poisoned dozens of people; they don't want politicians deciding what they can read or what they can be taught about science, history and even math; they don't want them to inherit a planet that is no longer viable.  To that end, millions of people in all fifty states are in the streets to demand that the government stay the hell out of their medical decisions.  I'm not saying they're all Democrats, but I don't see any MAGA hats or Confederate flags.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Vultures, vultures everywhere


Oops, they did it again!  The choice ninjas created another message for Susan Qollins, not as decorative as the first but it still must have taken several minutes.  It appears to be a well-lighted patch of sidewalk, too.  I assume she doesn't have a dog or a neighbor who likes her well enough to give her a call.  (What is it with Republicans and hostile neighbors?)  Once again the Bangor Department of Public Works was summoned to power-wash it away so Senator Snowflake would not be offended by free speech.  It must be a comfort for her to know that Senator Cuisinart-hair (a/k/a Marsha Blackburn) wants to lock 'em up!

Watch the network news if you dare and you'll be treated to at least five minutes -- a lifetime in MSM terms -- about inflation and especially gas prices.  So the House Oversight and Reform Committee is a little confused about why Trump legacy Louis DeJoy ordered a new fleet of postal trucks, nine out of ten gas-powered and getting a staggering 8.6 miles per gallon.  There are Russian tanks rumbling around Kharkiv that are more fuel-efficient.  Chairperson Carolyn Maloney doesn't think this is the best use of $11.3 billion, but the USPS is resisting calls for its records.  Maybe they're lost, like Trump's phone.  Maybe a dingo ate them.

Here's a consequence of Brexit nobody saw coming:  Ukrainian refugees who arrive in Ireland and then cross to the UK in small boats could be passed along to Rwanda.  Why Rwanda?  Apparently Madagascar said no.  Why would traumatized Ukrainians have trouble adjusting to a country in central Africa?

Here's a consequence of global warming nobody saw coming:  As the level of Lake Mead drops, mob victims of the past are revealed, two in the last week.  This is what happens when you don't want the  effort of burying them in the desert.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Some days...

...I just report the news.  

"He'll maybe be the best person to have.  I mean, how mad can you get at Joe Biden?"

It's not a thundering endorsement but it makes a pretty good campaign slogan coming from Lindsey Graham.  And oh lordy, there is tape.  CNN played it today in connection with This Will Not Pass:  Trump, Biden and the Battle for America's Future by Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns.  They caught up with Graham when he was still shaken by the January 6, 2021, coup attempt.  No matter how hard he back-pedals now, I think he's played his last round at Lago de Merde.  Trump is probably looking for another brain-damaged ex-football player to run against him in a primary.  Poor Lindsey.

The women's lacrosse team from Delaware State University was driving through Georgia when a Liberty County sheriff's deputy decided they looked like Freedom Riders from the 1960s.  He pulled the bus over for allegedly traveling in the wrong lane and then decided to search it for drugs, "rifling the suitcases of team members and using K-9 dogs."  No drugs were found and now people are angry, including Delaware Governor John Carney.  "Moments like these should be relegated to part of our country's complicated history," he said, revealing a worrying familiarity with critical race theory.  "The past is never dead.  It's not even past," said William Faulkner.  Let his estate sue me if they like.

Speaking of complicated histories, Lufthansa barred a group of Orthodox Jews from a Frankfurt-to-Budapest flight after some of them (not all) refused to wear masks.  The egregious case of profiling was denounced by Uwe Becker, antisemitism commissioner of the state of Hesse.  This is why they still need one.

Veterinarian/hog farmer Jim Pillen has won the Nebraska gubernatorial primary, defeating Trump-approved groper/grabber Charles Herbster and seven others.  Is the magic fading?

The UK will sign a security assurance declaration with Sweden promising assistance in the event of Russian attack.  Sweden managed to stay neutral through two world wars, but everything is up for grabs now.

Steve Daines (R-Idiot) can't understand why there are legal protections for the eggs of sea turtles and eagles but not for the eggs of humans.  And I can't explain it because my head just exploded.  But Daines is a bit of a RINO on this issue because his party is now worried about the rights of unfertilized eggs, too.  They're ready to overturn Griswold, the 1965 decision that married couples have a right to contraception.  Does anyone now doubt that this is a war on women, those over-educated nuisances who think they have a right to think?  Keep your eye on the Nineteenth Amendment.

How about some Esper-anto?  Trump hated General Stanley McChrystal and Admiral William McRaven so much, he wanted Esper to un-retire them so they could be court martialed for criticizing him.  What, not Colin Powell?  According to an anonymous source, the stable jenius wanted war with China so bad that he asked if the Chinese had attacked us with a "hurricane gun," which would constitute a hostile act.  Yet Rick Scott (R-Medicarefraud) says it's Biden who's "incoherent, incapacitated and confused." But Esper has been put on notice by Pigpen Bannon:  he will be subject to swift vengeance "when we come to power."  Scorched earth, man.  

Want to know about the South Carolina man who dropped dead while burying the woman he strangled?  Fair enough.

I saw this coming.  Jen Psaki tired of finding new ways to tell Pete Doocy he's an imbecile and quit.  Her replacement is her former deputy Karine Jean-Pierre.  Now:  what does Tucker Carlson hate?  Women, women who get prominent positions, LGBTQ people and Black people.  Jean-Pierre ticked all his boxes.  She was even born in Haiti, and you know what a free ride those people get.  As of today, Jean-Pierre has held more White House briefings than Stephanie Grisham.  

As the horror in Ukraine drags on we celebrate any positive news.  Like:

Millions of Russians are downloading virtual private networks (VPNs) which give them access to news sources blocked by the government.

Ukrainians are shooting down Russian SU-34 fighter planes with rudimentary GPS devices taped to the dashboard.  Do they still have Radio Shack in Russia?

Forget May 1.  Now it's Victory In Great Patriotic War For Mother Russia Day Parade!  That's where old Russia hands go to try to guess the future.  As the parade began Putin appeared to have trouble walking, coughed a lot and was bundled in a blanket.  

"In discrediting democratic elections in 2011 and 2012, Vladimir Putin took on the mantle of the heroic redeemer and placed his country on the horns of [Ivan] Ilyin's dilemma.  No one can change Russia for the better so long as he lives, and no one in Russia knows what will happen when he dies."  (Timothy Snyder, The  Road to Unfreedom, 2018)

Sergei Lavrov thinks he knows.  A lot of people thought Epicenter would win the Derby, too.