Saturday, June 29, 2019

Broken glass

Barring a presidential pardon, James Fields will die in prison.  The white nationalist who drove his car into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville in 2017, killing Heather Heyer and injuring others, received a life sentence this week on various federal hate crimes.  Not before his attorneys, however, attempted to dissuade the judge with a story of family tragedy which clarified Fields's political views.  It seems that a female relative was murdered by an estranged lover  -- who was a Jew.

That sounded weirdly familiar.  I had to think about it for a while, but I think this was the justification for a historical event.  In 1938 a German diplomat in Paris was murdered by Herschel Grynszpan -- who was a Jew.  The Germans had no choice but to kill and arrest thousands of people and burn down synagogues and other buildings.  It is remembered as Kristallnacht.

The classics never go out of fashion.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Is it over?

Unless NBC picks it up as a five-times-a-week "reality" show, the Democratic Eighteen Months Out debates are over.  I meant to watch, I really did, but while dusting I came across Yellow Moon, my Neville Brothers album, and I decided to go with Aaron's version of "A Change Is Gonna Come" instead.  Change -- any change -- is good.  Besides, Cyberheim is just full of places to catch up, in case there was anything to catch up with.

"Debate" is a good place to start.  This was not a debate.  This was a quiz show.  "I'll have Medicare For All for four hundred, please, Alex."  If Douglas and Lincoln got cut off after ten seconds, nobody would remember what they were arguing about.  A true debate is a window into the debaters' grasp of issues, thought processes, and poise on their feet.  We should have some.

It's always the crackpot who gets the attention, because they are easy to characterize and fun to parody.  Five years ago it was Trump, wagging his dick and spewing absurdities, who stood out from a field of other morons.  Oprah says she doesn't want to be president, so she sent one of her army of "spiritual advisers," Marianne Williamson.  Or maybe she just showed up and got in line.  Marianne writes New Age "books" and is proud to have no plans but love.  She will conquer Trump's hate with her ocean of love, just as she once prayed away disease.  (Hey, it works.  Do you know anyone who has swine flu?)  Williamson will soon join Howard Schultz in the footnote section, but do the Democrats really need a reputation as the party of new-age flakes?

What else happened?  Mayor Pete impressed people who will never vote for him, some Spanish was spoken, Kamala Harris schooled Joe Biden on his lukewarm civil rights record (support for busing might have made it awkward to eat with his racist friends), Elizabeth Warren had to appear on the undercard for fear she'd destroy everyone who has an actual chance, and even Tulsi Gabbard was too radical for David Brooks, who would never vote for Trump but wishes the Democrats could nominate Nelson Rockefeller, I guess.  The sad fact is that Rocky's moldering corpse would make a better president than Trump, currently at the G-20 doing his wink-wink with Mr. Putin, who swears on a stack of blinis he would never interfere in American elections (again).

Let me save you even more time.  Tonight Bill Maher will take time out from providing a platform to Steve Bannon, Ann Coulter and Andrew Sullivan to whine that the Democrats don't take his advice, even though he gave them a million dollars.  There's an hour you can spend organizing your sock drawer.  

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Black fetal lives matter

In Pleasant Grove, Alabama, and not, as you might think, in the Twilight Zone, Marshae Jones has been indicted for manslaughter.  Jones, who is 27, was five months pregnant when she got into an argument with Ebony Jemison over the paternity of her impending baby.  At the climax of the debate, Jemison shot Jones five times in the abdomen.  Jones survived but the fetus did not.  Jemison was not charged with a crime because, according to police Lt. Danny Reid, "The investigation showed that the only true victim in this was the unborn baby."

You see, as soon as Marshae Jones became pregnant, she ceased to have any rights as a citizen or any reality as a human being.  She had no right to terminate the pregnancy, and she had no existence as a victim of aggravated assault or attempted murder.  For the next five months she was a walking fetus incubator and nothing else.  She was solely responsible for the entity in her uterus, with no help from Alabama in the form of free pre-natal care, much less care for herself.  So when she saw Ebony Jemison she should have hurried away, reasonably assuming that Jemison was armed.  (This was Alabama, U.S.A.  Assume everyone is armed.)  She should have anticipated the encounter and equipped herself with a Kevlar maternity dress.  She should have shouted, "Help!  Abortion!"  Wasn't Ebony Jemison threatening to abort the fetus?  I'm sure Lt. Reid would have responded quicker than boiled asparagus.  Had a doctor performed the abortion with sterile instruments instead of a handgun, would the doctor have been indicted for manslaughter, or worse?  What do you think?

This kind of shit happens every day, but it's rarely outrageous enough to get our attention away from the other outrages for a few hours.  Unhinged misogyny and superstition have made vast tracts of this country more bugfuck berserk than they used to be.  We no longer have the luxury of assuming that Margaret Atwood wrote science fiction because, like George Orwell, all she did was prophesy.

Does Marshae Jones grieve for the infant that was torn from her?  Don't be obtuse.  An incubator cannot feel sorrow.

At least she wasn't compelled to arrange a funeral for the mangled mass of tissues.  That's Indiana.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Only Tuesday, damn it

At least one Secret Service agent should be fired for failing to get between Eric Trump and a loogie directed at the junior princeling by a Chicago waitress last night.  We pay these people to take risks,  such as being seen in public with Eric Trump.  Eric must have inherited some Stable Genius, because he saw the problem at once:  "For a party that preaches tolerance, this once again demonstrates they have very little civility," he told Breitbart because nobody else cared.  You see, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez worked in a bar, this woman works in a bar, therefore this woman is a Democrat, QED.  So make the Aviary your destination for a Chartreuse-and-brandy whooperoo, then complain that the server spat on you and skip out on the check.  Winning!

In case you think Trump Senior has his little hands full with his concentration camps and his war/not war against Iran, he still manages to keep track of what really matters.  Like the flag etiquette of athletes.  Megan Rapinoe of the rampaging US Women's Soccer team has been known to take a knee at star-spangled time to protest police brutality, until forbidden to do so by US Soccer.  Now she says she won't go to the White House for the traditional lukewarm junk-food reception if they win.  This provoked a tweet with her name misspelled, pointing out that  "so much has been done for her and the team" (why isn't she more grateful for unequal pay?).  Two years ago Rapinoe said, "God forbid you're a gay woman or a person of color in this country, because you'd be really fucked," so a malcontent with a dirty mouth and probably a Democrat.  Like E. Jean Carroll, not pretty enough to rape, either.  Back to the kitchen.

Over on The View, which I would not watch if the only alternative was the cattle auction on The Cowboy Channel (it's real, and I get it!), Meghan-with-an-h McCain shared her expertise on the subject of torture.  Her daddy was tortured as an adult prisoner of war, so she knows the treatment of non-combatant toddlers at the Mexican border doesn't begin to qualify as torture.  Her daddy couldn't even lift her up high, but those children will grow up and have amusing stories to tell about how they got to go for weeks without their mamas telling them to brush their teeth, and how Senor Presidente Trump left the lights on all night so they wouldn't be afraid to sleep on cement floors without any blankets, haha, Que viva America!  Torture?  You are so loco.

Just going to put this up here:  "It's not like he's doing this to the people of Idaho or Texas.  These are people from another country."  And thus Brian Kilmeade locks down his Presidential Medal of Freedom with Bronze Oak-Leaf Palm.  It includes a trip on the SS St. Louis to any country that will take him.

Susan Collins pursed her lips and expressed concern that Trump's "she's not my type" defense against the most recent rape accusation (and, frankly, others) was "extremely bizarre."  Then she got ready to vote to confirm the next rapist judge appointed by McConnell Trump.  Susan is a good girl.  She is not, however, fit to clean the dottle from Margaret Chase Smith's pipe.

The Iranians have insulted Trump's intelligence just because he can't tell Ayatollah Khamenei from Ayatollah Khomeini, who died in 1989.  Like it matters.  Sanctions for them.  What else is there to sanction?  Like it matters.

The First Amendment is all very well, but free booze!  As befits someone who has survived for more than a year in the service of the Fourth Reich, Sarah Huckabee Sanders got two going-away parties this week.  One reporter told the Columbia Journalism Review on condition of anonymity, "Everybody has their issue with Sarah Sanders but if you can't have a drink with somebody, then all of civilization has broken down."  So April Ryan, who refused the invitation, is the enemy not just of the people but of civilization itself.  Back to the kitchen.  The rest of you can get used to being spat on by Stephanie Grisham.  Yes, the Stephanie Grisham, architect of First Escort Melania's BeBest campaign to be, well, best.  There are BeBest Ambassadors so I guess BeBesting is going on somewhere.  In  her spare time, Grisham will lie to reporters in the Brady Room as Sanders and Spicer once did.  And old man river, he just keeps rollin' along.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

So this is depravity!

Politics is a discouraging enterprise in the early decades of this new century.  Maybe it always was.  The ogres look uglier up close, the heroes harder to discern.  I hope that's all it is.

Two grim power struggles are playing out on either side of the Atlantic, and it's hard to imagine they will end well.  Believe it or not, we in the land of the perpetual campaign are still almost eighteen months from the election.  Most people are not paying attention yet, while many others are burned out with exhaustion.  Does anyone really think a Hickenlooper groundswell will propel him to the top?  Is Weld still there?  Is Schultz?  Will the latest graphic description of being raped by Trump make any difference to his army of mole people?

British politics have always been more nuanced and whimsical than ours, or maybe it just seems like it from three thousand miles away.  If we had a Monster Raving Loony Party it would be the natural home of the Gohmerts and the Trumps while the Serious People got on with business.  Up till now, this clown outpost has kept the other parties relatively sane.  Then the Tories began recruiting from reality television and the tabloids, and now Boris Johnson has a better than average chance of stepping into the shoes of Disraeli and Churchill.  For those who would rather read about Harry Potter, here's a brief rundown of BoJo:

1.  He's a toff who went to the best schools and used to write a column for the Daily Telegraph, so he can never use Trump's excuse of being a fucking moron.

2.  He's currently being sued for "misconduct in public office" because, as he cheerfully admitted, he lied about the EU costing Britain three hundred fifty million pounds a week while campaigning for Leave in the 2016 referendum.  No squawking about "fake news" from Boris.

3.  He won't say if he ever used cocaine.  This has emerged as an actual campaign issue at a time when the very future of the United Kingdom is in doubt.  Michael Gove, former education minister and one of his more unpleasant rivals, acknowledged doing coke "twenty years ago."  Rory Stewart, a more distant challenger, says he smoked opium at a wedding in Iran.  But Johnson has more immediate problems.

4.  Last week a neighbor called police after becoming alarmed by the noise from the flat next door, where Boris was rowing with his girlfriend Carrie Symonds, a former communications director for the Conservative Party.  They plan to marry as soon as he's divorced from the current Mrs. Johnson, mother of his four children.  Meanwhile, he apparently fathered another kiddie with another woman.  This is classic Boris, and his fans love him for being a swine.  No rape accusations, though.  Should Boris and Carrie move into Number Ten, there will always be a police officer on the doorstep, so the Chancellor won't have to phone them from next door when the shouting threatens to drown out Bake-Off.

5.  Johnson made himself scarce during the Most Beautiful State Visit of All Time a couple weeks ago, despite Donzo's expressed admiration.  So he does have some political instincts.  But he can't realistically claim he doesn't know he's Putin's puppet when it comes to wrecking the EU and maybe NATO.   He's even called Boris, for fuck's sake.  Subtle, no?  No.  Luckily, he doesn't have to convince the country to elect him, just the Tory MPs.  Who are shit-scared of the Brexit Party.  That's what UKIP is called now -- way to attach yourself to a single issue, Nigel.  Are you familiar with our Anti-Masonic Party?  It didn't have much in the way of staying power.

Wouldn't it be great if we could sue liars?  Trump would be so busy getting deposed, he wouldn't have time for more lying.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Oscar would love it

There's a famous passage in Invisible Man where the nameless narrator buys a roasted yam from a Harlem street vendor and eats it right there in public, the butter running down his chin.  It's so good that he buys another.  Suddenly he doesn't care if New York sophisticates think him a country oaf.  It doesn't matter.  It's all right to like what you like, without anybody else's permission.  And also, you don't have to like something because people tell you it's A Great Thing.  In his moment of epiphany he thinks, "I AM WHAT I YAM."

We all should enjoy such a moment.  So when Emily Temple compiled some negative reviews of The Picture of Dorian Gray from Amazon (where anyone can be a critic), I was amused -- which was clearly her intent ("Check out these unrefined losers, wouldja").  I was also just a little ashamed of the inherent snobbishness.  Who am I, or anyone, to tell people they have to like a classic (it says so on the cover)?  Some are clearly students, some bought it for that pestilential nuisance the book club -- what Wilde would say about those! -- but almost all considered it a waste of their time, even if they couldn't quite articulate their objections.  I have no idea what "shoeless doucheing" even means, though I liked "This story was interesting, but it drug out way too long."  The only comments that outright offended me were those on behalf of other people, such as "Immorality abounds and they are making kids read this crap in school."  I doubt it.  You can't even make kids read Little Women in school without some parent complaining that it's a feminist diatribe which will lead to witchcraft and Satanism.

I nearly cheered when one reader observed drily, "Think I will go back to zombie apocalypse fiction."  There's a man, or adolescent male, who knows what he likes.  He gave it a shot and it fizzled for him.  I bet he likes roasted yams, too.  Dripping with butter.

It's a long time since I read Dorian Gray.  I enjoyed it.  I probably shouldn't go back.  Some books cannot be re-read -- Catcher In the Rye comes to mind.  But I plan to revisit Invisible Man.  We don't hear much anymore about the project of writing the great American novel.  Maybe Philip Roth drove a stake through it when he published The Great American Novel.  But Ralph Ellison's book is certainly a finalist, along with Huckleberry Finn, The Sound and the Fury and that thing about the whale.  Although that last one definitely drug out way too long.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019


...and here's how it was celebrated.

Joe Biden, who presumably wants African Americans besides Diamond and Silk to vote for him, praised the "civility" of James Eastland and Herman Talmadge.  Did you know Eastland never called him "boy"?  Or lynched any member of his family?  What a guy.   By the way, he's not getting the Diamond and Silk vote anyway, even though he went on to stick up for beleaguered people who "make money," by which he meant a shit-ton of money.  Tomorrow, Joe will explain why we should bomb Iran.

Trump held a hatenanny in Orlando, attacking one of the seven Democrats who is definitely not running against him.  That's right, Hillary.  In other news --

Gloria Vanderbilt died so Hillary could eat her liver with fava beans and a nice chianti, or possibly because she was 95.  The sociopaths of the social media have many alternate theories.  Help yourself.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez drew the hamster-like wrath of Chuck Todd for referring to the concentration camps at the Mexican border as concentration camps.  That is, places to imprison people whose only crime is their ethnicity.  Britain is often credited with inventing the concept during the South African war, but the United States had already created the "Indian reservation" and would revive it for Japanese "internment" during World War II.  The Trump regime has added the refinement of family separation, copying Germany in the 1933-45 period.  Any questions, Chuck?

Dearest Leader was unpleased with polling that shows him less popular than a strangulating hernia, so he you're-fired the pollster.  If that doesn't help, he is ready to fire the people who responded to the poll.  Fake hoax!  At least Israel appreciates him:  an illegal settlement in the Golan Heights has been named for him.  Nothing named for Obama!  Ha!  Also the queen enjoyed his visit more than anything in twenty-five years, many people have said.  This is true.  After the Trumps left, HM was heard to say something about a "fool," presumably like the court entertainers employed by her predecessors.

Hey Donnie nonnie.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Lady be good and mad

Next year we will mark the centenary of the Nineteenth Amendment, if it hasn't been repealed by then.

Everybody who has read a non-Texas-approved history text knows America was founded on systemic racism, but we often overlook the systemic misogyny.  Maybe this is because patriarchy is thousands of years old and more or less universal.  Arriving late in the day, America has been mostly free of chastity belts, harems and genital mutilation, but in most other ways it has resembled the Old World and is increasingly shaded toward Saudi Arabia.

I was reminded of the creepy-crawly roots of Trump's loathing for women by Fintan O'Toole's article in the current New York Review of Books.  As with resurgent racism, it grants permission to the haters to unleash the present wave of state legislation designed to put abortion out of reach of all but the financially secure and well-educated.  Of course, it's phrased as tender regard for the "unborn" and the "innocent" (at the expense of the guilty, of course, women who "cain't say no" or walk around in skimpy clothes inviting assault).  There's even a dusty craphole in Texas that has proclaimed itself a "sanctuary city" for fetuses, which I can't even picture.  Of course the concern vanishes as soon as the "innocent" is born and requires food and shelter -- somebody else's problem.  We all know what's really going on -- say the secret word "hypocrisy" and win a hundred dollars.

Beyond abortion, it's a daily smorgasbord of misogyny, with attacks on female politicians that would never be unleashed on men.  (Just one example:  when an Irish-American is happy to be called by the Hispanic nickname "Beto" isn't that "cultural appropriation"?  Has anyone sneeringly called him "Pancho"?  And really, shouldn't he be less shrill and smile more?)  When the doctored video of "Crazy Nancy" was being played and re-played by the "news" just to show us how bad it was, am I the only one who remembered that John Boehner, an actual weeping drunk, was never the subject of such a smear?  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can't board a plane or buy a pair of shoes without being called a Green phony.  Elizabeth Warren was castigated for a week because her tax returns  (remember those?) reveal she did outside legal work -- for money -- while teaching at Harvard Law; who does she think she is, Alan Dershowitz?

The double standard is at work even in top-level athletics.  At the Women's World Cup, the U.S. team defeated Thailand by a stunning 13-0.  Were they honored like those Olympic hockey players who beat the Russians?  Absolutely not.  It wasn't...ladylike.  Going into the second half at 3-0, they should have sat their best players down and just played defense.  And under no circumstances should they have celebrated.  Never mind that in major league baseball, players who score on a sac fly are greeted in the dugout like liberators regardless of the score.  They're men.  First of all, thirteen goals is more than some English Premier League teams score all season.  Second, fuck you.

There's always time for one more symbolic assault.  The Treasury Department regrets to announce it will be at least 2030 or possibly never when the Harriet Tubman twenty begins to circulate.  This project was always meant to mark a hundred years of women's suffrage as well as a heroic woman's fight against slavery.  I can imagine that Cabinet meeting.  "I don't wanna see some colored woman on my money, all right?  People are telling me this Frederick Douglass is doing very well.  Is there a picture of him?"    

Wednesday, June 12, 2019


"I don't want to see Trump impeached.  I want to see him in prison," Nancy Pelosi said last week, touching off a volcanic eruption of Rightzi indignation.   Typical response:  '"Despicable!" from Sean "Hillary should be in jail" Hannity.  Only the heads of "banana republics" lock up their opponents! (RIP irony.)

With respect, Madam Speaker, I don't want to see Trump in prison.  I want to see him hanged for treason.

This week we found out that Kim Jong-un's half-brother, who was nerve-gassed to death in a Malaysian airport, may have been working for the CIA.  When asked about this, Trump actually assured the North Korean dictator that such a thing would never happen "under my auspices," whatever that means, because Kim is his very good friend who writes him beautiful letters, when he isn't claiming his nuclear missiles could reach California.  Trump hates California.  Also North Korea has "tremendous potential," because it can't quite feed everybody but its beaches are ideal for country club-type development.  Maybe a casino.

Today someone asked if he would accept "information" from another country (Russia) to "win" the election.  Of course he would.  Not that Russia would ever interfere HOAX in our elections WITCH HUNT or anything LYING MEDIA, but why shouldn't they?  Russia has a serious stake in Keeping America Great.

Apparently the Justice Department is convinced that a "sitting president" is above the law and cannot be indicted like any other criminal.  I am not convinced -- that passage is missing from my copy of the Constitution -- but if that's the way we have to play this, make sure he stops sitting.  That means impeachment, Madam Speaker, which is up to you.  Get the process started and we'll find a rope strong enough to hold up his bloated carcass.

Remember:  all the traitors got a pass in 1865, which is a big reason for the shit we're in now.


The fleet set sail for Rockall,
 Rockall, Rockall,
To free the isle of Rockall
From fear of foreign thrall.
We sailed across the planet
To find this lump of granite,
One rather startled gannet --
In fact we found Rockall.

So praise the bold bell-bottoms,
 bottoms, bottoms,
Who saw Britannia's peril
And answered to her call.
Though we're thrown out of Malta,
Though Spain may claim Gibraltar,
Why should we flinch or falter
When England's got Rockall?

(Michael Flanders)

That song from a 1956 revue may be heard again.  Rockall is back in the news.

Claimed by Britain in 1955, claimed for Ireland by a sailor named Willie Dick in 1975, uninhabited and uninhabitable, the lump of granite Flanders and Swann used to puncture their country's late-stage imperial pretensions is at the center of a fishing dispute.  Whoever "rules" Rockall can claim the waters around it for twelve miles and exclude the fishing fleet of the other country.  So a big deal for people who love their fish and chips, though maybe not worth going to war.  But in these Brexit-roiled days, anything is possible.  Let us never negotiate from fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.

How I save time

1.  I don't read The New York Times.  At least, not every day.  I don't pay for it any more (cancelling that subscription was only a little more complicated than resigning from the Mafia, I'm guessing), so I only get ten articles a month, which more than covers Charles Blow's column.  I don't read it because of headlines like this one:  "NYC Is Getting Safer, But Hate Crimes Are Up."  Reading it again to make sure I haven't had a minor stroke, I see that murders and rapes are down but hate crimes have increased by 64% in the past year, most of them against Jews.  The city is opening an office to discourage that kind of thing this summer -- it was supposed to open in November but everybody was busy with the Macys parade.  In other words, New York is much safer unless you're Jewish, black or gay.  Which is most of the population.  Which is why I don't read The New York Times.*

2.  I ignore Game of Thrones.  "Surely you mean 'ignored,'" I hear you exclaim, "for it has concluded."   Oh, you are adorable.  This thing will be around longer than Chernobyl, judging by the long, dense articles I keep finding everywhere from caffeine-fueled blogs to serious journals like the Times Literary Supplement.  A lot of people believe the genre I have named Tits & Torture is the most important cultural development of our monstrous new century.  I only wish Edmund Wilson ("Who Cares Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?") or Dwight Macdonald ("Masscult and Midcult") or Hunter S. Thompson ("Are You Fucking Kidding Me With These Lannisters and Frannisters?") was here to see it off.

3.  Same for all these comic book movies.  I am an adult.

*I didn't even bring up the anguished think-piece about glamorous Hope Hicks and whether she should respond to a Congressional subpoena like a common Fifth-Amendment-taking crime boss.  Which even Rose Mary Woods did, if I remember correctly.

Monday, June 10, 2019

True colors

The U.S. Mission in New Delhi.

Go fuck yourself, Pompeo.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Bitter, living through chemistry

Talk amongst yourselves while I clean the scribbled notes off my desk.  Watch the Tonys.  It will get better after the opening number.

Don't ask, don't tell, just do it:  Several US embassies have requested permission to fly the Pride Flag this month; naturally, Pompeus Afflatus and his evangelical masters said no.  But others didn't bother to ask, so our embassy in New Delhi is strung with rainbow-color lights (pictures, please!) and the flag flies in Seoul, Vienna, and Chennai, India.  Moscow and Entebbe, waiting to hear from you.

Blast from the past:  Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel is running for president, with no hope of winning but just to raise some issues.  Back in the day he was a serious badass who wanted to end the war in Vietnam and legalize pot, and who read the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record while the New York Times was still fighting in court for the right to publish them.  But he's 89, which even I believe might be a little too old.  I wonder if Wayne Morse is still around.

Well, this is a shocker:  Whitey Bulger, murderer, mobster and rat, was a yuge fan of Donald Trump, writing him many beautiful letters (but did they fall in love?) and expressing admiration for his devotion to Melania.  Not like that hound-dog Clinton.  It goes to show, you don't really appreciate people until they're gone.  I can see why the Presidential Medal of Freedom might be a reach, but it's never too late for a posthumous pardon.

Too old for politics?  You're never too old for the theater.  Congratulations to Elaine May and Andre DeShields on their Tony Awards.  

Holy journalism, Batman!

Tired of Fake News?  Fed up with the Lying Media?  Ready to fight back against Enemies of the People?  You can't go wrong with Catholic Herald, where I have spent a delightful half-hour.  Oddly enough, it's British.  This week:

The Vatican has formally recognized the International Association of Exorcists, which does just what it says on the tin.  Catholics will no longer have to seek out back-alley exorcisms when they find themselves occupied by an unplanned stranger.  Women in places like Alabama and Missouri must be envious.

Fans of Fulton J. Sheen (even on black and white television his blue eyes rivaled Paul Newman's) will be pleased to know that his canonization efforts took a step forward.  The archbishop's ashes will be disinterred from St. Patrick's Cathedral and returned to his birthplace of Peoria, Illinois, where supporters are hoping to line up the number of miracles needed to put him over the top.  If you were thinking of having your bone spurs cured, or something similar, head for Peoria, the Lourdes of the Midwest (as nobody calls it).

Father Herman Geissler, whoever he is, has been cleared of the charge of "solicitation in the confessional," whatever that is.  I suppose it's easy to jump to the wrong conclusion when the guy on the other side of the screen says, "You can say a thousand Hail Marys or we can go back to my place and talk about this."  I'm guessing here, the article is short on details.  If there's a canon law about this, it must have happened before, yes?

My favorite:  Vatican Radio's Italian service has begun a weekly podcast called "Hebdomade Papae," which of course means "the pope's week."  I love that it's in Latin, at a time when fewer people understand Latin than at any point in the past two thousand years.  A lot of their terminology is necessarily of recent invention.  For instance, "UFO investigator" is "rerum inexplicatorum volantium studiosus."  So somebody who spent years beavering away at the old hic-haec-hoc has a job in radio, which is also dying but that's a story for another day.  Exultate jubilate, friend, you earned it.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Abomination of desolation

If there is a place in Washington that qualifies as sacred ground, it's the Lincoln Memorial.  The structure itself (designed by Henry Bacon) and the statue of Lincoln (by Daniel Chester French) were modeled after the Temple of Zeus.  In 1939, Marian Anderson sang on the steps after the Daughters of the American Revolution refused her the use of Constitution Hall.  Eleanor Roosevelt, may her name be blessed forever, resigned from the DAR in protest.  In 1963 it was the natural terminus for the Poor People's March and the site of a thrilling speech by Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the few addresses which could properly be inscribed on the Memorial alongside Lincoln's Second Inaugural and the Gettysburg dedication speech.  Maybe the weirdest thing the place has seen was a late-night visit by Richard Nixon in 1974, when he could no longer stand to wander the White House in bourbon-fueled despair.  Weird, but oddly touching.  What comfort did he derive from looking up at the sad marble face?

It was probably a matter of time before Donald Trump zeroed in on Lincoln's temple.  Slobbering on flags and abasing himself before dictators wasn't enough.  Misreading every solemn holiday ("Happy Memorial Day!") and trashing war heroes beyond the grave didn't suffice.  Deploying troops as fence painters and concentration camp guards is standard procedure.  Wiping his ass with the Constitution is so far only a metaphor, but a wholly apt one.  Today he marked the seventy-fifth anniversary of D-Day by reading a wooden speech concocted by others, then stood before the graves of thousands of Americans and spewed abuse at political opponents, egged on by the appalling Laura Ingraham.  No one who applauded the Charlottesville Nazis should be allowed to set foot on Omaha Beach.  He won't go near the Statue of Liberty, which he considers a personal affront on every level (French origin, female, welcomer of immigrants), so Lincoln it is.  On the Fourth of July, naturally.

On the Fourth of July, families who gather at the Memorial for the traditional orchestra concert and fireworks will get an extra treat:  a campaign rant by history's cruelest mistake, the usual ragout of boasting, self-pity and audible ass-gravy, peppered with lies, imbecilities and -- for the occasion -- references to "the great Abe Lincoln."  (Trump can't help sounding like the MC of a failing Catskills hotel on Hadassah Night.)  Expect a sea of red caps, for the crowd will be vetted more carefully than any White House employee.  Never must be heard a discouraging word, much less a boo.  The fireworks will be moved several miles away.  Trump is frightened by loud noises.  

Maybe we don't deserve to have nice things.  We haven't fought hard enough for them.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Morgan: a suitable case for impeachment

Piers Morgan interviewed Donald Trump, and it was lies, lies all the way down.  And a hat.

To be fair, Morgan brought up subjects no American is allowed to touch, like the continuing Trump-McCain feud and the time-specific bone spurs that kept him from charging right into Hanoi like it was a school under siege and winning the war.  Then again, he wasn't forced to scream over the noise of Marine One.  It was more like a Fox & Friends morning tongue-bath with complimentary reach-around.  But the worst British journalist is still better than Steve Doucy.

Some highlights:

He didn't serve in Vietnam because he didn't approve of the war, although not enough to say so at the time.  Doc Bornstein and the "bone spurs" was so much more patriotic than showing up at a demo and maybe getting butt-kicked by a construction worker his father had ripped off.  But --- "I think I make up for that right now.  Look, $700 billion I gave last year and this year $716 billion."  You gave? Morgan didn't ask, although even he must know the defense budget comes from Congress.  And then some crap about "rebuilding" the military, which under Obama was down to its last couple of invisible fighter jets.

Why must transgender people be thrown out of the military?  "Too many drugs," says President Adderall-Propecia-Crestor-Ambien-some antibiotic for his rosacea.  Besides, they only enlist for "the operation."  This is all steaming fertilizer, of course.  Morgan didn't ask why Melania had to have her most recent "kidney procedure" in a Navy hospital.  It's sad when a woman pushing fifty has to compete in the silicone department with her step-daughter.  He was being polite.

The subject of gun violence somehow came up, maybe because a man killed twelve of his former co-workers in Virginia Beach last week.  He actually said you can't take semi-automatic weapons away  because Americans use them for "entertainment."  And of course, "In London you have stabbing all over, I read an article where everyone's being stabbed.  They say your hospital is a sea of blood all over the floors!"  In the midst of this Hammer Films fantasy, the obvious lie "I read an article" went unnoticed.  That's how it works, Piers, they come so fast the Lie Depository at the Washington Post can't even keep up.

This went on for an excruciating half-hour.  Then Morgan gave him a Churchill-style hat which he can wear while reading the Churchill book the queen gave him.  I'm joking, of course, look for them both on eBay.

Another diplomatic triumph.  Then it was off to Ireland to solve their oldest problem.  Are you ready?  They should build a wall between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Mexico will pay for it.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Worst prom ever

This year's theme:  "Daddy's Dying, Who's Got the Will?"

Lisa at AllHatNoCattle points out that the sign behind Tiffany's head says "No photographs in this place."  The Trumps have never found a rule they couldn't flout.

Monday, June 03, 2019

It could have been worse

He could have called the Archbishop of Canterbury "a loser."  Franklin Graham wanted him to.

He could have worn golf shoes to Westminster Abbey.  He wore them in a Virginia church yesterday.

He could have told the Prince of Wales his sex fantasy about Diana.  Wait, he did?

He could have brought Sean Hannity to make up for not being able to watch Fox News.

He didn't say, "I like countries that don't lose their empires, all right?"

He could still proclaim there were "very fine people on both sides" in Normandy.

Ireland -- we're just sorry.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Continuing education

You've got your degree from the Ozarks University of Scripture and Juke Box Repair, you've enjoyed the commencement speech by alumna Sarah Huckabee Sanders, you've put away your MAGA mortarboard and your "Deplorable!" robe.  What about some graduate study?

If you have already enrolled in the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, you may have trouble getting reimbursement of your fees and tuition.  Steve Bannon's "gladiator school for culture warriors" will not be opening on schedule owing to some trumpish practices blocked by the Italian government.  It seems their lease on an 800-year-old monastery near Rome was guaranteed by an official of a Danish bank who turns out not to be employed by that bank.  Also certain fees were never paid, and the "institute" has not hired the expert in Italian heritage buildings required by law.  Of course, Dean Bannon knows who is really to blame:  "the left," cleverly disguised by Italy's right-wing government but unquestionably under the thumb of Globalist Financiers and Rootless Cosmopolitan Moneylenders LLP, a division of George Soros.  The usual suspects.

Why Rome? you ask.  Having made America great again, Bannon turned his eyes to that bastion of Marxism/Leninism the Catholic Church.  His culture warriors would drive out the deep state (the Jesuits) and their anti-Christ Francis, restoring Benedict to his throne in the same way the Nazis planned to replace George VI with Edward VIII after occupying Britain.  Oggi il Vaticano, domani...

A Trump University for Catholics who miss the Latin mass, nuns in burkas and Good Friday pogroms.  It should have worked.  As Mets fans used to say (and possibly still do):  Wait till next year!