Sunday, April 30, 2017

Morning will come

Image result for morning glory

Classic morning glory, open to the morning sun.  Long ago I grew these on my terrace, in containers of soil I lugged from the hardware store.  By now, the end of April, the seeds would be ready for planting.  Burpee (wonderful name), clipped and soaked overnight.  In a couple of weeks they would germinate, then the vines would grow, soon to bring forth heart-shaped leaves. By then you'd better have sticks for them to climb and climb, and by June in the concrete heart of Manhattan they would begin to bud.  Then one morning, as I opened the blinds on my south-facing window, the sparkling blue flowers would greet me like music from another world.  They live for a day -- by late afternoon a dull purple, curl up, die.  But tomorrow, other, different, more flowers. 

I grew other things out there -- marigolds, phlox, and one year moonflowers -- a sort of ghostly white variation on the morning glory which bloomed at dusk, with an insatiable vine that would grab a broom, a fence, anything within reach.  But always the blue wonders of the morning, perfectly named, perfectly glorious. 

In a time of unparalleled ugliness, I choose to spend a day thinking about something graceful and beautiful.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I don't care

I don't care that  Bill O'Reilly is gone from Fox News, just as I didn't care he was there in the first place.

I don't care where he goes.  History teaches us that viruses like O'Reilly never go away.  Like herpes, he will flare up again.  I won't be surprised to see him on MSNBC, which has a mania for Murdoch's sloppy seconds. 

I don't care if Bellow had the highest-rated cable "news" show for twenty years.  For a considerable part of that time Bill Cosby had the highest-rated network sitcom.  And now?

I don't care that the haters will have to recalibrate their daily rage to little Tucker Carlson.   The disorientation will do them good.

I don't care how much Fox paid him to go away.  Money well spent.  Of course, I'm not a News Corporation stockholder who's been paying for his swinishness all these years.

I care about the women at Fox who now work in a less toxic atmosphere, but realistically, what had they to fear from a broken-down drunk?  At least one said O'Reilly's harassment consisted of making dirty phone calls and trying to masturbate.  As his fellow pervert would tweet, "SAD!!"

I don't care if Bellow and his ghosts fill in the time with more book-like objects.  (Killing Garfield?  Killing Elvis?  Killing Mary Jo Kopechne?)  I don't have to read them.  Thanks to our Department of Educatuon (that's how they're spelling it), the next generation of Americans won't be able to read.




Friday, April 21, 2017

Lazy Friday guest post

Justice Samuel Alito revealed he used to have a rather unusual decision making process that involved his late springer spaniel, Zeus.
Speaking to D. Brooks Smith, chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in a conversation reported on by the Wall Street Journal, Alito revealed that he used to "test out" ideas on his dog, before he passed away. “Late at night when I was thinking about cases I would test out my ideas with Zeus. He generally agreed with me," he said.
Alito also revealed that if he was stuck on a particularly difficult case, he had a "special way" of making a decision. “I put the red [respondent’s] brief over here and the blue [petitioner’s] brief over there, equal distance from Zeus, and I’d put a few dog treats on both. Then I would let Zeus go,” he said. “If he went to blue brief, then we would reverse.”

(Time magazine)

"I gotta find out what Clarence likes to snack on," he didn't add.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Nobody expects the President of the United States to be able to rattle off the location of every warship at a moment's notice.  Probably the Secretary of the Navy (if we have one) would find it challenging.  But the quickest way to convince the world you're a useless moron is to announce you have sent "an armada" (what is this, 1588?) to the Sea of Japan, only to have it turn up hundreds of miles away off the coast of Indonesia.  I can't wait to see how he blames it on Obama.

And this was the same week we were told "the grownups"
(Mattis, McMaster, et al.) were in charge. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Daddy dearest

I can't help but think Jared will be sent on longer and more dangerous missions in future.

I assume he is familiar with the story of King David and Uriah.

Is that a Norwegian blue?  Beautiful plumage.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Special relationship

Under the headline PRESIDENT DEMANDS GOLD-PLATED WELCOME, The Times of London describes, with barely-concealed horror, the White House's demand that Trump gratify his love of shiny things by riding to Buckingham Palace next October in a coach.  Not any coach, of course -- he wants the gold coach used for weddings and coronations.  Hundreds of thousands of Britons don't want him there at all, and security is already a nightmare, but as long as someone else is paying for it, bring on the Windsor greys!

And then it gets better.

At state banquet, the Queen makes traditional champagne toast.  Trump responds with Coca-Cola, then talks for twenty minutes, bragging about how many electoral votes he got and complaining about corgis all over the palace peeing on the carpet.  In subsequent tweets he rates women in the room from one to nine ("Not a single 10!  SAD!!!") and praises Boris Johnson for liking him ("Very very smart.  We had good chemistry.  He talked to Melania in Yugoslavian!"). 

Next day, luncheon at the Guildhall.  Trump sends back steak because it's too rare, requests ketchup.  In remarks, makes joke about "bombing the shit" out of  Scotland if they vote to leave UK.  Deeply awkward photo-op, as he refuses to shake hands with Mayor Khan.  ("Are you related to Khizr Khan?") 

Guest of Prince Charles at match between Arsenal and Queen's Park Rangers.  Pronounces soccer "boring" because "hardly any goals!", attributes non-stop jeering to prince's unpopularity.  Insists on talking about how much he admired Princess Diana, and promises to send "my people" to Paris to "get to the bottom of what happened."  With Prince of Wales in tow, holds press conference at future site of Trump Trafalgar Hotel and Spa ("Absolutely the most beautiful steam room in Europe, believe me!").  Complains that statue of Nelson will ruin the view.

At the Barbican, attends performance of King Lear.  Leaves at interval, disturbed to find that Lear is being played by Glenda Jackson.  Possibly thinking of SNL, unleashes bizarre Twitter barrage on Melissa McCarthy.  Boasts of repairing relationship strained by Obama and "Crooked Hillary."

Happy chocolate egg day, and be sure to kiss Mike Easter.

Friday, April 14, 2017

A long Good Friday

A cursory reading of history suggests that most American presidents have been idiots, punctuated by intervals of Jefferson, Lincoln, etc.  Even so, we will have to re-calibrate idiocy.

"I really liked him.  We had a great chemistry I think.  I mean at least I had a great chemistry.  Maybe he didn't like me, but I think he liked me."

That may sound like a twelve-year-old girl who just met the captain of the high school football team at her cousin's wedding.  Actually, it's the president of the United States describing his encounter with the president of China over chocolate cake.  Mao help us all.

Trump did try to warn us:  The chocolate cake is the only safe thing to order at Mar-a-Gag-o, at least according to the Palm Beach County Health Department.  They found raw fish and meat being stored in coolers that were not cool enough, which means the Japanese prime minister (and his hot interpreter) could have been felled by sushi last month.  So what do people want for $200,000 a year, to live forever?  Regulations -- they're crippling this country, although maybe not as much as e-coli.

The bigliest event of the week in every way was, of course, the destruction of some tunnels in Afghanistan by the 21,000 pound Massive Ordnance Air Blast or Mother Of All Bombs, which is very definitely the yugest bomb ever dropped since maybe Nagasaki.  Apparently it killed 36 "bad hombres," which is not quite as impressive as Fat Man, but these were super-evil ISIS fighters and not Japanese housewives.  Probably ISIS fighters.  Possibly Afghani shepherds getting out of the rain.  We'll see.  Americans love bombing, as Robert Bateman wrote over at Esquire, because no one has ever bombed The Homeland.  When a ground-level bomb destroys a building, as in Oklahoma City, we lose our fucking minds, so it's just as well the air-raid drills have only ever been drills.  It's not clear how this will deter the "radicalized" from continuing to kill people in Europe with ordinary trucks (London and Stockholm in the last three weeks), but an Ohio sheriff and Trump Elector is so thrilled, he wants to MOAB the Mexican drug cartels.  And maybe Janesville, Wisconsin, where a crazy guy with a bunch of stolen guns and a fondness for manifesto writing continues to elude police.  MOAB is my washpot, motherfuckers!*

Judge Andy Napolitano is back on Fox, where he told the other numbnuts that he "doesn't believe" the FBI had a FISA warrant to monitor Carter Page, yet another Trump-Putin go-between.  I am so glad I was never in this clown's courtroom.  He couldn't adjudicate a dispute over broken hair clippers on daytime TV.  (Maybe "judge" is a courtesy title in New Jersey, like "colonel" in Kentucky.)

Mike "Benghazi" Pompeo, the former Oklahoma congressman, sure has changed his tune since becoming director of the CIA.  Now he calls WikiLeaks "a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia."  Amazing the way access to actual evidence can turn a perfectly ordinary right-wing politician into a tool of the "deep state."  When it was dispersing material harmful to the Clinton campaign, WikiLeaks was next to godliness. 

And don't think that ol' devil Hillary doesn't continue to haunt the regime.  Asked why he continues to employ the dastardly (and Obama-appointed) James Comey as FBI director, Trump sputtered, "Don't forget when Jim Comey came out, he saved Hillary Clinton.  People don't realize that.  He saved her life."  First, this hardly answers the question, but Trump's responses seldom do.  Second, how did Comey "come out"?  With his email October surprise, which clearly cost her the election as much as anything?  And how did he "save her life"?  Had she won, would it have been necessary to kill her?  If she is as guilty of stuff as Trump still insists, why has she not been indicted by his gruesomely politicized Justice Department?  She doesn't look worried.

Follow in your books as we learn our next word of Newspeak:  "re-accommodate" (v.)  To eject people from an airplane to make room for the airline's employees.  And if you ever find yourself on United and they want your seat, give them your seat.  You may be late getting home but you won't need surgery.  I mean it.  Give. Up. The. Seat.  They have scorpions.

*Moab Is My Washpot is a perfectly delightful memoir by the legendary Stephen Fry.  You should read it. 



Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Merrily they roll along

Why is this week different from all other weeks?

It really  isn't.  It's just more of the same stupefying, tone-deaf incompetence we've seen every day since January 20. 

The White House Passover seder, a tradition which began in 2009, was catered by a kosher company but the host did not attend.  Either he doesn't care for bitter herbs or he was unable to balance a yarmulke atop the creature that lives on his head. 

The hapless Sean Spicer chose Tuesday's media circus to pull out the Hitler yardstick, employed to inflate the awfulness of tin-pot dictators.  (Students of history will recall that Poppy Doc Bush declared Saddam Hussein "worse than Hitler" for his invasion of Kuwait.)  This time it was Assad's turn:  "You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn't even sink to using chemical weapons," he stated, explaining why his boss presidentially blew up a few buildings at a Syrian air force base.  As jaws dropped around the briefing room, he continued that Hitler was "not using the gas on his own people in the same way that Assad is doing," adding mysteriously that "he brought them into the Holocaust centers."  So German Jews were not really "his own people," i.e., Germans?  That's pretty much Nazism 101.  Every time Stupid Spice opened his mouth he dug the hole a little deeper.  When even Alex Jones says "What the hell was that?" it's probably time to send out your resume.  I hear Blightbart is hiring.

What was that song about "a spoonful of sugar" making the medicine go down?  Trump apparently told Agence France-Presse that he ordered the missiles fired while he and President Xi were enjoying "the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake you ever saw," and that the Chinese leader totally praised his manly commandering.  In January it was the botched raid in Yemen he approved over dinner.  What's the deal with food and attacks on other countries?  I keep thinking of George Costanza's effort to eat, watch baseball and have sex all at the same time, and Jerry protesting, "We're trying to have a civilization here!"

In three days the White House Easter egg roll may or may not take place.  Well, Easter sneaks up on you, doesn't it?  It's a different time every year.  And with so many vacant jobs in the West Wing there was nobody to send out the invitations, most of which go to the children of members of the military, or even to hide the eggs.  If this had happened under Obama, Sean Hannity would be foaming at the mouth about a "war on Easter."  Maybe Spicer will have to climb back into the bunny costume.  At least he won't be allowed to talk.  

Monday, April 10, 2017

Mark Sanford 2.0

You know what I hate?  There's a perfectly dandy sex scandal roiling Alabama and with all the wicked crazy going on in Washington, nobody cares. 

Family-values Republican and grandfather Robert Bentley, governor of the sovereign state of Alabama, has been impeached for doin' the nasty with a much younger aide named Rebekah Mason, and using state funds to pay for same.  His children say he's suffering from dementia.  His party wants him to resign.  Apparently there's tape.  The trial starts tomorrow.  But just try to get these 24-hour newsertainment entities to find a few minutes for juicy details.  Gotta be more diverting than Story Time With Sean Spicer, but nope.  Too bad the whoopee appears to have been consensual, or they could fit it into Bill O'Reilly Avoidance Month. 

I hate how the Trump shitstorm drowns out all the other bowel sounds in the body politic.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Cuck and cover!

It was a wooly week even by the standards of a regime that Rufus T. Firefly would disown. 

Those of us who don't study the antics of the nut-right learned a new word:  "cuckservative," a quasi-Jacobean union of "cuckold" and "conservative" which means...well, I'm not sure but it isn't good.  Ousted from the National Security Council to which he had named himself in the heady, carefree first days of Trumpism, Steve Bannon hurled it at Jared Kushner with the promise of more to come.  He also called him a "globalist," which is a fairly transparent update of "cosmopolitan," a twentieth-century term of abuse for Jews.  The night of the medium-size knives is rumored to signal the end of the Bannon/Priebus domination and the rise of Kushner, Lord High Everything Else with responsibility for everything but the White House silver. 

Tuesday Bashir al-Assad or somebody -- false-flag theories vary -- launched a gas attack that killed some civilians in a rebel-held town.  Some of them were children, and there is ghastly video.  About a half-million Syrians have died in this war, many of them children, but there's a new sheriff in town.  "Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered at [sic] this very barbaric attack," Uncle Don tweeted, before ordering 60 missiles fired at a government airfield, giving the Syrian military (and possibly their Russian allies) ample time to remove all personnel and putting the base out of operation for almost 24 hours.  The media boys were orgasmic at this display of presidentialism, the Chinese president pretended to be impressed, and Raytheon (manufacturer of the missiles) saw a 2.21 gain in its stock price.  It would be unpatriotic to point out that one of their stockholders is a certain Donald J. Trump, so I will.

Against all rules of decency and the Senate, Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to Merrick Garland's seat on the Supreme Court.  Putin must have serious reasons to want him there.

Devin Nunes is no longer leading the House Intelligence Committee's investigation of Russiagate, if he ever was.  We are waiting to find out who will investigate him.  Yes, it's turning into a Python sketch.

Susan Rice was designated Nasty Woman of the Week because she requested the names of the Americans who were recorded talking to sketchy foreigners (in her capacity as national security adviser to Barack Obama).  She has been roped into the baseless story Trump continues to repeat about the "wire tapps" at his golden tower.  Obama, of course, is the evil genius whose "Deep State" is thwarting all the fine stuff this new order tries to do (XL pipeline, coal mining at 1943 levels, ACA repeal, executive orders keeping those "beautiful babies" from swarming in from Syria, etc.).

North Korea. 

And just for giggles, the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum in deep-red Harlan County has announced that it is switching to solar power beginning next week.  Apparently it's cleaner and cheaper. 

I have not made any of this up. 


Sunday, April 02, 2017

Bone spurs?


Why the Opening Day crowds in Washington and Baltimore will be spared this sight ---

Because there would almost certainly be booing, followed by an avalanche of tweets:

Catcher was paid to let a great pitch go by and maim little boy in the stands. #HillaryIsTheDevil

Baseball very very badly made in Haiti.  I will put a tariff on Haitian balls and bring great ball making jobs back!  #MBGA

Camden Yards highly over rated.  Hot dogs not hot, no Diet Coke.  Sad!  #RealAmericansLoveFootball

Too many Hispanic players taking jobs from Americans!!! #BuildtheWall

When people pay to see POTUS throw first pitch he should get immunity from booing.  #Stopbeingmean

Curt Schilling will be a great senator!!!! #Pocahontas

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Out of the woods

Two million eight hundred sixty-five thousand seventy-five.

Bill Maher is unhappy because Hillary Clinton is speaking in public again.  The Clintons make everything about themselves, and that's why Democrats lose.  They should just go sit on the porch and let, oh, Chuck Schumer or Cory Booker or Joe Biden lead the party.  She's a bad candidate.  She couldn't beat the Republicans, the FBI, the Russian hackers, the media and five thousand years of organized misogyny.  Except that she did.  By 2,865,075 popular votes, none of them cast illegally by ISIS ninjas from Mexico.  So, hey, Bill, why don't you shut the fuck up and make your dopey dope jokes and provide a badly-needed platform for serious thinkers like Rick Santorum?  And when your friend Ann Coulter gets dissed in Berkeley you can invite her back to rail against fascist liberals or whatever she calls people who get angry about hate speech.  Then we can all agree that Maxine Waters's hair makes it impossible to take her seriously.


the bitch is back.

Oh no he didn't

Donald J. Trump has once again signed his name bigly, proclaiming April "National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month."  The word "apology" does not appear in this document, nor can anyone be certain what effect it will have on the cases of the women currently suing him for sexual assault.  The proclamation instructs Imperial Wizard Attorney General Sessions to "develop strategies to reduce crime and propose new legislation to fill gaps in existing laws," i.e., find some way to blame it all on undocumented immigrants.  At this point it is customary to yell "APRIL FOOL!" but I'm all yelled out after almost three months of this brain-melting insanity and inanity.  And the foolishness won't wash out.