Friday, August 30, 2019

Fractured Friday

This is a satellite image of our new nemesis, Hurricane Dorian.  I swear I thought it was a cartoon of our old nemesis Trump.  The shiny dentures, the orange skin...

Don't expect anything coherent.  It's been a tough week.

We got to see video of a woman named Diana Sanchez giving birth in her Denver jail cell on July 31, 2018.  Yes, there was a camera in the cell.  She screamed and begged for help and someone brought her a sanitary pad.  Everyone else was gathered around the monitor, cheering her on.  No, Joe Arpaio does not run this particular facility, but if the voters of Maricopa County decide to let bygones be bygones, he could be running theirs again by 2021.

See what I mean?

Kay "Poison" Ivey, governor of Alabama, is sorry she got caught wearing blackface for a skit at Auburn University in 1967.  This is apparently some rite of passage for Southerns which I was unaware of.  There's video, if you're interested.  She won't resign, because Northam didn't.  Also she is a horrible woman and this will enhance her redneck standing.

I have never understood the adage about rats leaving a sinking ship.  Unless they could get into a lifeboat, where would they go?  Rats are not stupid.  That being said, Madeleine Westerhout is leaving her job at the White House.  Who is she?  Apparently she was Trump's Rose Mary Woods, but with a better rack.  The announcement says she quit, and also that she was shown off the property by big men with shoulder holsters, which doesn't sound like farewell-party-and-cake.  We now wait for her book, or her new job at Fox, or her Sunday interview(s).  Meanwhile, James Mattis will Face the Press this weekend for the first time since his quit-firing, which should be fun.  Clear the Twitter servers!

Boris Johnson rode into the Palace of Westminster on a white horse and sent Parliament home.  This is true except for the horse part.  Determined to ram Brexit through by Halloween (who picked that date?), the prime minister elected by a few thousand Tories has suspended government by the people elected by millions of voters.  Back in the 1970s, when Spain's newborn democracy was threatened by a right-wing coup, King Juan Carlos was instrumental in thwarting it.  Just saying.  To put that another way, has Queen Elizabeth ever lied to the people?  Has BloJo ever done anything else?  The problem with monarchs is that they're unelected.  The good thing is, they don't have to be re-elected, so they don't give a shit about politics.  Maybe I'm not understanding your system, but if you Britons ever have to choose...

Trump has cancelled a trip to Poland he didn't want to make anyway, because of Hurricane Dorian.  (MESSAGE:  HE CARES.)  Pence will go instead.  This is a mistake; Pence is much better at faking empathy.  On the other hand, he's less likely to make with the Polish jokes.  Trump will weekend at Camp David, which he hates because FDR never installed a golf course, for some reason.  And maybe the hurricane will do enough damage to his Doral Resort and Golf Club ("convenient to the airport and highway") to solve its bedbug problem.  World leaders have fingers crossed.

Every week Joe Biden inserts his foot in his mouth.  Either he's calling segregationist senators very fine people or he's scrambling his war stories.  I believe a small patch of brown liquid (possibly creosote) would be better than Trump, but with so many fine Democrats to choose from, is this the best we can do?  Ideally Warren will hang him out to dry at their first "debate" encounter and Sanders will remember he isn't really a Democrat, but Biden's continuing lead in the polls is troubling.  We absolutely cannot fuck this up.

Jack Dorsey had his Twitter account hacked.  He is the CEO of Twitter.  #HowDoesItFeel

And now, because it's my blog, a couple of movie-related comments.

In The Blue Gardenia, Raymond Burr plays a character named Harry Prebble.  In The Bad and the Beautiful, Walter Pidgeon plays a character named Harry Pebbel.  Different writers, different studios.  Inside joke?

Why did the studios keep casting British actors as American southerners?  With the exception of Vivien Leigh, they were uniformly awful:  Leslie Howard, Claude Rains, Charles Laughton, Sydney Greenstreet, Wilfred Hyde-White.  Good actors, never got within a hundred miles of any kind of southern accent.  I would like an explanation.  Please.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Sick humor

As all the world knows, Trump can't read.  He can pronounce many of the words Stephen Miller puts on his Teleprompter, but it's clear there is no comprehension.  He has to rely on sycophantic underlings, propaganda television and the movies for his (let's say) understanding of the world.  The rest is silence, apart from the voices in his head.

As we count down the days of our sentence, it is grimly amusing to guess which cinematic works now control government policy.  The business of nuking hurricanes, for example, originated in one of the Sharknado movies, while the obsession with "duct taped" women being trafficked across the border was traced back to Sicario.   The newest outrage -- though there may be others by now, it's after noon -- is a form letter US Citizenship and Immigration Services has sent to thousands of people who are legally in this country for medical treatment they cannot obtain at home (many of them children), advising that they are well enough to go home, goodbye and enjoy the rest of your brief life, next time have insurance, OK?

Where could this have come from?  I thought of Jimmy Carter admitting the Shah of Iran for cancer treatment in 1979 and the world of trouble that followed, but that's history, another subject of which Trump knows nothing.  The most likely cinematic candidate is The Godfather, Part Two.  Ten-year-old Vito Andolini arrives at Ellis Island, where he is diagnosed with smallpox and placed in quarantine.  Upon release he grows up to become Vito Corleone, a notorious gangster.  This is what happens when you let sick kids into the United States.  Next thing you know they're cutting off your prized racehorse's head and leaving it in your bed.  Very unfair!

"Just when you think the administration can't sink any lower, it finds a new way to torture our immigrant children and families," said Ronnie Millar, who directs the Irish International Immigrant Center in Boston.  Which is significant because if some of the victims of Trump's cruelty are little white Irish kids, the media and public outrage may turn these sadists around.  Problem is, every poll shows Trump losing to any one of five Democrats, so everything he does is calibrated to appeal to the MAGAt base:  Doubling down on xenophobic policies like this one, the frantic scramble to build WALL by means legal or illegal, defying public support for some kind of gun control, payoffs to some of the farmers whose livelihoods he has needlessly damaged, and the racist dog-whistles -- factory whistles? -- which periodically explode in violence.  And always, abuse the media.  NPR aside, the media have not exactly been all over this story, probably because they have another hurricane to froth about.  

Over at Mr. Buckley's National Review, a writer called Katherine Timpf wants the liberals to stop taking everything so seriously and learn to appreciate Trump's impish sense of humor.  He's a great kidder.  He was kidding when he called himself "the chosen one" and self-nominated for a Medal of Honor.  He was kidding when he said he and Kim Jong-un "fell in love."  He was kidding when he called Nazis "very fine people," when he questioned Obama's citizenship, when he promised to forsake all others for Ivana/Marla/Melania.   Kidding about windmills causing cancer and mass-produced burgers being safer than real food.  He loves Colin Kaepernick!  Pocahontas is a loving nickname, but that bitter old woman just doesn't get it.  She should smile more.  We all should.  He's the man the people choose, loves the Irish and the Jews!  Send sick kids home to die?  Are you insane?

Maybe we've all been living in a cosmic joke since he made that escalator trip into the biggest reality show of all time.  Maybe that's what he was signaling with "covfefe" and "wire tapps" and all the Q stuff.  What a long, strange trip it's been.  Are we there yet?

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Whispers of the Wolf

(Title refers to a Bergman spoof by SCTV.  I miss those guys.)

Anybody can stir up trouble between the United States and most Middle Eastern countries, or the old Soviet bloc, or China.  It takes a stable (or possibly inert) genius to start shit with Scandinavia, a remarkably pacific part of the world devoted to skiing, strong drink and sexxxy movies.  Remember I Am Curious (Yellow)?

It started during wildfire season in California, which was of course the fault of California, our most true-blue state.  Trump asserted that fires could be prevented if you "rake" the forest floor, citing the president of Finland as his source.  This being a Twitter-linked world, the president of Finland denied saying any such thing (as soon as the comment was pointed out to him, since he has better things to do than read asinine tweets all day).  Soon, random Finns were posting pictures of themselves pretending to rake forests, and America was again the jerk who stepped on the banana peel.

Then it was Sweden's turn, as an American rapper who goes by A$AP Rocky (gods

 forbid a hip-hop artiste should have a regular name) got arrested there for assaulting two men.  Sensing an opportunity to pander to African American voters without abandoning any racist positions or policies, Trump dispatched a State Department hostage negotiator to Stockholm (he's been too busy watching Fox & Friends and cheating at golf to appoint an ambassador).  No doubt courteously, the relevant official explained that Mr. Rocky was not in fact a hostage.  Within a few days his case worked its way through normal channels, a judge sentenced him to time served, and he returned to a delirious reception of marching bands and trees festooned with yellow ribbons.  Actually, he just flew home, his gangsta cred enhanced by a few days in the Swedish lockup.  Incredibly but all too typically, he has not thanked Trump for working tirelessly for his liberation.  Nor have any Swedes complained officially about the insult to their justice system, or posted side-by-side photos of immaculate Swedish jails and squalid child concentration camps in Texas.  We could learn a lot about forbearance from the Swedes.

The Greenland debacle with Denmark is well documented and requires no further comment.  That leaves Norway.  I can't decide whether Trump will demand that Anders Breivik get early release or "hereby order" a Vidkun Quisling commemorative stamp.  Very fine people.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Well, somebody had a pleasant weekend

View image on Twitter
"Next G7 at my place.  Bring rye bread."

Friday, August 23, 2019

This is the week that is

ThumbnailThe Twenty-fifth Amendment will not save us.  It was written wrong.  It presupposes a Cabinet of responsible, intelligent adults who care about this country, not the crew of grifters, toadies and morons we've had since James Mattis quit.  Did it not occur to the authors that a depraved, treasonous president would choose creatures in his own image?   And that a supine Senate would confirm them?

In no particular order, some of this week's meshugas:

Proposed -- again -- that the Fourteenth Amendment, with its guarantee of birthright citizenship, be repealed with a simple order from him

Suggested he receive the Medal of Honor for some unspecified act of heroism, possibly the "millions of dollars" he claims to have foregone in order to serve us (not to be confused with the Purple Heart, which he deserves for dodging HIV while surveying New York pussy in the 1980s)

Slandered his own freshly-appointed Federal Reserve chair for saying that "monetary policy...cannot provide a settled rulebook for international trade," demanding, "Who is our bigger enemy, Jay [sic] Powel [sic] or Chairman Xi?"

Ordered all American companies to cease trading with China, which is not a power granted him by the Constitution but which frightened the stock market anyway  -- inspired by

Proclamation from some superstition-peddler named Wayne Allyn Root; retweeted entire Root statement declaring, "The Jewish people in Israel love he is the second coming of god!"  Modestly told reporters* at the daily lawn party, "I am the Chosen One...Somebody had to do it so I'm taking on China."

Questioned the "loyalty" and intelligence of Jews who vote for Democrats, then did it again

Decreed through an underling that inmates in border concentration camps be held indefinitely and denied flu vaccine

Decreed through an underling that Planned Parenthood not receive federal funds unless it stops providing abortion services

Urged on by Sen. Tom Cotton, who appointed himself Secret Secretary of State during the Obama administration, demanded that Denmark sell Greenland to the United States; had a hissy-fit when they declined, cancelled a state visit to one of America's most reliable allies

Insisted again that Russia be re-admitted to the G7, while Russian prisons overflow with dissidents

Took credit for Woodstock ("I told Hendrix he should play our beautiful National Anthem") -- I threw that in to see if you're paying attention

Ran away from background checks for gun purchases like it was a bowl of salad

Dispatched Rudolph Giuliani to Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden's son Hunter

(Wool and acrylic?  No wonder their brains are coddled.)

* In the days before air conditioning, British diplomats in Washington received hardship pay.  Reporters who have to listen to Trump's slurred nonsense should get the same.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Hard to deal with

The Washington Post maintains a database of Trump's lies, boasts and sheer nonsense, but I know of no separate listing for all the women he has called "nasty."  To be clear, this characterization is the unfortunate result of having a vocabulary smaller than that of Koko the gorilla (1971-2018).  Nor is the word applied only to women -- recently he declared the Fox broadcaster Juan Williams "nasty" for criticizing his bungled approach to trade with China.

In general, however, Trump reserves "nasty" for women who are smarter and better than he is, who refuse to be intimidated even when he creeps up and snuffles behind them, as in the debate with Hillary Clinton.  A quick survey reveals that other honorees include Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Elizabeth Warren, Sally Yates, Meryl Streep, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Frederica Wilson, Michelle Wolf,  Rosie O'Donnell, April Ryan, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Carmen Yulin Cruz, Megan Rapinoe, Christine Blasey Ford, Oprah Winfrey, Meghan McCain, Rashida Tlaib, Nan Whaley, Rachel Maddow, Ilhan Omar, and all the women who accused Roy Moore of molesting them as teenagers.

I don't know how he has so far resisted the temptation to slag off foreign leaders who displease him, since so many are women (Angela Merkel!  Jacinda Ardern!).  That precedent was broken today, when the Danish prime minister Mette Frederiksen went on the Nasty list for refusing to consider his very generous offer for Greenland.  The Danes were the clear winners, because they won't endure a state visit from His Orangeness, but they will entertain Barack Obama in late September.  And they get to keep Greenland.  All Trump gets is an enhanced reputation for childishness, louder speculation about his mental health, and a lot of talk about what the Great Greenland Folly is meant to distract from.  (Possibilities range from the stumbling economy to impeachment proceedings to the stuff in Jeffrey Epstein's vault.) defines "nasty" as "bad or hard to deal with, encounter, undergo; dangerous; serious."  Stay dangerous, ladies.  Stay serious.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Laughter in the dark

Sometimes I'll be here staring at the screen incredulously, and suddenly a laugh rings out.  Where is it coming from?  It's mine!  I recognize it.  And then, you know how it is, I can't stop.

Florida man Matt Gaetz won't get disbarred for being an asshole, because Florida.  It all started when he tweeted to Michael Cohen:  "I wonder if [your wife] will remain faithful while you're in prison."  Maybe I've seen too many movies, because I immediately thought of Tokyo Rose as she is always portrayed in said movies:  "Your wives and sweethearts are being unfaithful while you hopelessly struggle against the invincible Japanese Empire."  Then she plays a Tommy Dorsey record, which is the only reason Our Boys keep tuning in.  Giggling, I open up YouTube and click on "Hawaiian War Chant."  Rose would play "Getting Sentimental Over You," but I like the fast stuff, and this has an outrageous solo by Ziggy Elman backed up by Buddy Rich.  And pretty soon I've forgotten all about Gaetz and Cohen and the whole fucking twenty-first century.

The Trumpanzee who killed 22 people in El Paso is on suicide watch.  This news comes as the New York medical examiner rules Jeffrey Epstein a suicide and the conspiracy theories continue to drop like overripe fruit.  It seems Epstein signed his will two days before he resorted to the bedsheet farewell, which certainly sounds like the man had a plan.  Will they do a better job of this in Texas, or are the jails there understaffed and overstuffed?  It seems like the country with the world's biggest prison population could at least keep them alive.  Wait, Sandra Bland died in the Texas lockup, didn't she?  After a traffic stop?

Don't think about that.  Now it's "Boogie Woogie" with Dorsey and Glenn Miller.  There were a lot of trombone-wielding bandleaders, weren't there?  Jack Teagarden, Kid Ory, J.J. Johnson, Will Bradley -- that's what I need now, "Down the Road a Piece" in Bradley's unsurpassed version.  Certainly unsurpassed by the Rolling Stones, though full marks for effort.  I love Ray McKinley's vocal.

Like the great Durante, Trump is always surrounded by assassins, trying to steal the love of the people from him.  (I think that's all he took away from Citizen Kane -- that and "buy a gigantic house in Florida.")  Former confederates who turn on him like Joe Scarborough and Omarosa inspire particularly hilarious Outbursts of misspelled RAGE!!!  Today it's Anthony Scaramucci, who is everywhere promoting his book.*  The Mooch was in and out of Trump's employ in record time and is today's Worst Person In the World.  (I'm stealing that from Keith Olbermann because he stole it from Bob & Ray.)  He and Mark "Appalachian Trail" Sanford are leading what Republican opposition there is, and the hysteria is delightful.  Also, the Deep State has infiltrated Fox News, which keeps releasing "FAKE POLLS" showing diminished support for "your favorite president (me)!" and an interest, probably temporary, in gun control.  That, and the weather in New Jersey, and the news that most of his Twitter-followers don't really exist, combine to make this a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad vacation for Metamucilini.  He can't even enjoy keeping Rashida Tlaib from seeing her grandmother.  Haters!  (He became a grandfather again yesterday but expressed no interest, as a normal human would.)

Still chuckling at the picture of a Steve King town hall at which exactly two Iowans turned up.  Either it's harvest time, or even they have had enough of his racist rapist routine.  Sent ten dollars to the guy who almost beat him last time.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard continues to interfere with shipping, Russia is testing missiles, tensions mount between the nuclear powers that claim Kashmir, the republicans in Northern Ireland are building bombs again, the Italian government is finito, Brazil is accelerating the death of the planet by destroying the Amazon rain forest, and America's foreign initiative is purchasing Greenland from Denmark.  So now we're living in a South Park movie directed by Michael Moore.  If that doesn't make you laugh, do what I do every day.  Hold a mirror in front of your mouth and see if it fogs.

*Scaramucci says he didn't have "a Road to Damascus moment."  Trump wants to know what he is doing in Syria.

Friday, August 16, 2019

King save the god

Debaters will recognize the problem:  When you start with a shitty premise, you can only justify it by going deeper in the toilet.

Rep. Steve King has a lot of free time now that his own leadership has relieved him of all his House committees, and he has spent some of it reading.  (Probably not Nature, which is a respectable scientific publication, but some second-hand source.)  He discovered that millions of men in Asia share DNA with Genghis Khan and concluded that this was a consequence of the ferocious Mongol armies and their rapey progress in the 13th century.  The possibility that the great Khan practiced polygamy and fathered hundreds of children with his wives and concubines did not occur to the Sage of Iowa.  He's probably a descendant of Charlemagne (not a celebrated rapist) -- most Europeans are.  I digress.

King is a devout anti-choicer who believes that his god wants women to bear the children of their rapists, and should be forced to if necessary.  If it's good enough for all those Asian women, it's good enough for some 13-year-old in Pellagra, Tennessee, right?  Pull on your Haz-mat suit, I'm going to quote the Congressman:

"What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest?  Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?  Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages taken place and whatever happened to culture after society?  I know I can't certify that I'm not a part of a product of that."

What exactly did he say?

1. Rape is good because we are all products of it.  (Especially African Americans, he did not add.  Malcolm X hated his red hair as a reminder that one or more of his female ancestors was raped by a white man.)

2. Incest is good because -- well, have you seen the crowd at a Trump rally?  I think they're all cousins.

3. "Whatever happened to culture after society?"  I've been over that six times and it doesn't mean anything, except that Republicans believe English is an elitist conspiracy.

4. He has no idea what "pillage" means but it goes with "rape."  I think we're talking Vikings now.  Or pirates.

5. Rapists do god's work.  The opinions of the blessed mothers don't matter.  Abortion wicked, rape perfectly natural.  Because it happened in the past!

I wonder if the Congressman has read Soul On Ice, where Eldridge Cleaver brags about raping white women as payback for the centuries of rape endured by enslaved black women.   King also showed great restraint in not citing Genesis 19:36, said to be Trump's favorite:  "Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father."  Hubba hubba!

Yet people want to kick this defender of traditional values out of Congress.  Don't you do it, Madam Speaker.  Make the Republicans wear him like an ugly Christmas sweater until Iowa comes to its senses.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Profiles in cowardice

"He's a Hitler lover.  I guess he's an anti-Semite.  He doesn't like the blacks.  He doesn't like the gays.  It's just incredible that anybody could embrace this guy."

Identify the speaker and win a brass figlagee.  (Hint:  it's from nineteen years ago.)  It's a very accurate description of Patrick Buchanan, and he's back.  Yes, Maryland Public Television, for reasons probably having to do with a cash infusion from Sinclair Broadcasting, has hired the Nixon-era thug to be part of a newly launched McLaughlin Group.  (John McLaughlin died in 2016, but the re-animators are working to bring him back.)  It won't be long before MPT shares the bounty with your local site for cooking, gardening, Celtic Woman and endless reruns of Downton Abbey, unless you stop buying their totebags and Andrea Bocelli DVDs and tell them exactly why.  It's not a free-speech issue or a dearth-of-conservative-voices (hah!) issue, or even a nostalgia issue.  It's a very bad man who says vile things and always has, because he really believes the wrong side won the Second World War.  There may be a clown at your local tavern who says vile things, too, but we don't put him on public television.  Media Matters has a short guide to Buchanan's nasty-ass career.

I won't keep you in suspense:  our opening quotation comes from Donald J. Trump, who would soon adopt and enlarge on every one of Buchanan's positions, adding immigrants, Muslims, environmentalists and the media.  If you miss McLaughlin, count on him to re-tweet every bit of Buchanan's oral flatulence, assuming he can find WETA on his cable box.  Trump is more than usually impressed with himself today, having convinced Benjamin Netanyahu to bar Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from Israel because they support BDS but really because they are Muslim.  BDS -- boycott-divestment-sanctions -- is a loose coalition demanding better treatment for Israel's captive Palestinian population through the same peaceful methods that led to the end of apartheid in South Africa (which Trump probably considers another bad thing).  Israel has of course passed a law barring such "terrorists" from the country, but these are members of Congress.  Does Bibi imagine he'll look stronger by running away from two women?  Legislators from the country that pays his bills, part of the Democratic majority that controls the House?  All his action proves is that a coward is a bully turned inside out.

The coward/bullies in Beijing are ramping up to make Hong Kong a second Tiananmen Square.  The protesters haven't gone away and the police are not inflicting enough pain for the government's taste.  Moreover, Xi knows that the dolt in the White House will not do anything in the name of human rights, a concept that has never put a dollar in his sweaty hands.  With all their economic power and their stranglehold on the government, the rulers of China can't think of any way to solve a problem except violence and lots of it.  A coward/bully has to win every pissing contest.

And has to win big.  As the next "election" approaches, thousands of Russians have put their affairs in order, said goodbye to loved ones and joined pro-democracy demonstrations in Moscow and other cities.  The official reaction has ranged from Trump-like verbal abuse ("homosexuals, gypsies, hooligans") to brutal, masked police to Putin's favorite solution, poison.  (Alexei Navalny, described by The Wall Street Journal as "the man Vladimir Putin fears most," had an "allergic reaction" in police custody the other day.  Hey, I'm allergic to polonium, too.)  The lawyer Lyubov Sobol has been on a hunger strike for three weeks and nobody knows where she is, or if she is still alive.  Elections are coming, and if Trump's boss doesn't get 95% of the vote he's just a bear.  Maybe he can import some of those voting machines being built in China by one of Ivanka's companies.

No, I didn't make that last part up.  This is not The Onion.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Tuesday happy-time party

Turn off the news.  I have, and I feel younger and thinner already, with the colonic function of a puppy.  It works.  You can't do a thing about the human catastrophes on this planet as it hurtles toward fiery doom.  So get happy!  (Some bullshit may apply.)

All week you've been subjected to low-information conspiracy theories, so here are some nice ones:

Q exists and she's Oprah!  She's going to save the eagles and give everybody an electric car except Elon Musk, who is clearly insane.

Shakespeare mystery solved!  Bill Clinton wrote the plays and Hillary wrote the sonnets.  Prove I'm wrong, Oxfordian turkeys.

"Frank's Place" will return to network television this fall.

A friend who saw Trump's echo-cardiogram results says to get ready for a happy Halloween.

Big storm in Atlanta area.  Lightning struck Stone Mountain Confederate monument, blasted that sucker into gravel.  Weird, right?  Governor promises investigation, but I don't know.  The guy who deciphered the Gilgamesh tablets couldn't assemble this jigsaw puzzle.  They say.

Comcast is getting right out of the ISP business.  To be replaced by a company that can keep you connected to the damn Internet for more than half an hour.

Still unhappy?  Go here.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Starry messenger

Neil deGrasse Tyson is my favorite astrophysicist, and one of my favorite people.  I like him because he's condescending on Twitter.  He knows more than most of us, unlike other Twitter users, so he's allowed.   The problem with Twitter, it's a radio station/printing press in your pocket.  The temptation must be great to shout the first thing that occurs to you and have it reach thousands, millions, in seconds.  It invites abuse but needs to be used with restraint.

Tyson pissed off a lot of people with his statistical analysis of sudden death in America hours after 34 people were killed with military weapons in El Paso and Dayton.  He pointed out that in the same 48-hour period there were 250 suicides and 200 car accident fatalities, and 40 people were killed with "ordinary" handguns.  "Often our emotions respond more to spectacle than to data," he chided, because he's a scientist.  Sometimes it's more important to be a mensch.  People were in pain.

Nevertheless, at least thirteen countries have now advised their citizens not to come here -- possibly based on "spectacle," possibly on the fact that eight Mexican nationals and a German died in El Paso.  This provoked the expected squeal from Trump about retaliation and other countries "taking advantage" of us -- the usual empty threats.  What's he going to do, order sanctions on Japan?  Trump once lamented that Norwegians don't immigrate to the United States anymore.  Soon they won't even come here to see Disneyland before rushing back to their socialist hellhole.

Dr. Tyson, they mass-murder because it gets attention.  The daily murders don't make the news unless a celebrity is involved, just like the daily suicides.  Kill five anonymous people and the world will read your manifesto, and the beat goes on.  Some asshole "inspired" by El Paso and Christchurch attacked a mosque in Baerum, Norway, but he only succeeded in wounding one person, so don't expect to see it on the "news."  Unless it bleeds a lot, it no longer leads.  You have to believe in reason, you're a scientist.  This is not an age of reason.    

Sunday, August 11, 2019

One thing we can agree on

One thing is certain: Jeffrey Epstein is dead.

He committed suicide in his cell at the Manhattan Correctional Center.

He was on suicide watch because he tried to kill himself before.

He wasn't on suicide watch.

He committed suicide because one of his accusers said he trafficked her to a surprising assortment of well-known men, including George Mitchell, Bill Richardson, Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew.  She claims he recruited her at some place in Florida called Mar-a-Lago.

He was killed because she said he recruited her at some place in Florida called Mar-a-Lago.

He was killed on orders from Letitia James, the New York Attorney General.

He was killed by the vast and sinister Clinton Black Hand, just like Vincent Foster and Seth Rich and John McCain and Antonin Scalia and Tupac Shakur.  Possibly Dale Earnhardt.

He was killed by MI5, like Princess Diana.

He was killed by the real killers of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman.  O.J. is on their trail.

He definitely did not hang himself using the simple means of a towel and a door, like Anthony Bourdain and Robin Williams.


He's not dead.  He was sneaked out of jail in a body bag and is now in the Seychelles/Marianas/Bronx.

He never existed.

Prince Andrew?

Friday, August 09, 2019

The empath

"Coward. He gave up, just gave up."  That was Trump comforting El Paso with his assessment of the mass murderer who tore the city's heart out.  He likes white nationalists who don't get captured, OK?

Then he lined up exclusively white nurses* in one of the world's most racially diverse cities and posed with a grin that gives "shit-eating" a bad name.  I don't want to reproduce it.

Then, when none of the eight wounded victims would allow him within ten feet of their beds, he had an orphaned infant brought back to the hospital and held out to Melania so she could do her "deeply moved" look.  Princess Diana she's not, or maybe it's all the Botox.  The baby was slightly injured but survived because his parents sheltered him with their bodies.  One day he will be told that story, not the one about the scary people using him as a prop.

Then he told the doctors that he drew a much bigger crowd in February than "crazy" Beto O'Rourke, whereas the thousands of protesters yesterday amounted to no more than four hundred.  (If only an inability to estimate crowd size was the worst of his mental deficits.)

Then he bragged about how the mourners at a Dayton victim's funeral cheered up as soon as he arrived, flashing his thumbs-up sign.  Whereas a visit from "Sleepy Joe" Biden would have made them "even more miserable."  Biden just doesn't know how to put the fun in funeral.

Then he derided Sen. Sherrod Brown for polling at "0 %".  Brown is not in fact running for president at all.

Then he attacked the mayors of both cities for being insufficiently grateful and enthusiastic about the great job he was doing.

*A rumor is circulating that some or all of these smiling nurses were really local Trumpettes in nurse uniforms.  It would be irresponsible to report this as fact.  The last time I was hospitalized, all the nurses wore scrubs rather than whites and were too busy to pose for pictures, but maybe things are different in a major trauma center like University Medical.  Again, irresponsible.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Shooting blanks

How did the "president" bring comfort to Dayton and El Paso today?

1. Prevented First Escort from wearing her "I REALLY DON'T CARE DO U?" jacket.

2. Did not toss paper towels to hospitalized survivors.

3. Delayed adding Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-El Paso) to "send her back" list.

4. No Ivanka.

5. Did not mention amazing, unprecedented Electoral College landslide.

6. Anticipating Texas sun, applied extra-thick clown makeup.

7. Before leaving Washington, assured reporters of his opposition to "any group of hate."  (Also Antifa, the only group he named.)

8. Reassured people of Dayton that the killer was "nothing to do with Trump."  "He was a fan of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders," so that's all right.  To demonstrate opposition to racism, did not call Warren "Pocahontas."

9. Attacked Sherrod Brown, Beto O'Rourke, Joe Biden and the media.  It's a long flight.

10. Ordered flags to half-staff.  They will be raised again tomorrow.  Apparently 8/8 is a significant date for some "very fine people."

11. Ignored demonstrators and Baby Trump balloon, had a flunky tell the press he was "greeted like a rock star" at the hospital in Dayton.  Another triumph!  So much healing!  (fist pump)

12. Did not read this editorial in the El Paso Times.

And so home to Hannity.  Another day of accomplishments.

Best practice

View image on Twitter

By now, the whole world has seen this.  A Google search brought up the South China Morning Post.  
A man described by his family as mentally ill and arrested for "trespassing" is led on a leash through the streets of Galveston by police on horseback.  Bland as grits, Police Chief Vernon Hale observes, "Although this is a trained technique and best practice in some scenarios, I believe our officers showed poor judgment in this instance and could have waited for a transport unit..."  Or nightfall.

I have no words.  

Monday, August 05, 2019


My neck hurts.  I think it's the way the news keeps snapping my head back and to the left.

The House has passed two bills this year to make it a little harder for patriotic Americans to buy military-type weapons, but of course they died in the Senate.  And now the Senate would just love to take them up and filibuster debate them for a while, but you know what?  Moscow Mitch tripped over an empty Jim Beam bottle and busted up his shoulder, and nobody else knows where he keeps the stuff the Speaker sends over.  See, he's got this big old roll-top desk and his own system, which nobody else can figure out.  It's a quandary, all right.  So, no gun legislation this year!

Besides, it's too soon to politicize all the murders of the last week.  No, wait a it's too late.  But plenty of people have already offered their expertise, along with thoughts and prayers for the people of El Paso and Toledo.  (Trump thinks Dayton is Toledo.  Just nod and smile.)  The consensus is that it's mental illness and video games, phenomena which don't exist in any other country except all of Europe and Asia.  And lots of Africa, and probably Australia and New Zealand.  I think maybe Canada.  Definitely Central America, which is why they're rapists and murderers, especially the Mexicans.

The "Toledo" shooting remains mysterious because police killed the shooter less than a minute after he opened fire (but not before he had murdered his sister and eight other people and wounded 27 non-family members.  Reports are coming in about authorities visiting his high school to investigate his lists of boys he wanted to kill and girls he wanted to rape, so probably just another male who couldn't get a date.  The El Paso killer, on the other hand, was very clear about his intention of stemming the "invasion" Trump has been ranting about for over a year.  And really, it's not about the gun or the pockets bulging with ammunition, it's about the media and the lack of school prayer and the gay marriage and the [your excuse here and don't say "chemtrails," all right?].  Above all, it's not about the xenophobic racism.

The FBI has apparently decided to ignore their Justice Department overlords and call the El Paso murders an act of domestic terrorism, but we all know without having to watch Sean Hannity that they're part of the Deep State plotting to overthrow the government and make Obama (or Hillary, or Buttigieg) dictator for life.  And the guys with the press-passes in the bands of their fedoras are thrusting microphones at every politician who hasn't gone to ground  and asking, "Is Trump a racist?" as if the idea just popped into their heads.  To which Beto O'Rourke had the only possible response.

After Trump stumbled through some Teleprompted platitudes from Stephen "Thesaurus" Miller, Barack Obama showed how to do it right.

And the fat fuck is still screaming for WALL.  I'm through.  I have to go now.

In other news...

Let's not forget Cesar Sayoc, who mailed pipe bombs to a long list of people
identified as Enemies of Trump.  Today is sentencing day, and his lawyers 
are submitting a menu of mitigating circumstances for the court to peruse,
including steroid abuse, an unfortunate childhood, and moderate to severe
Trumpism.  We don't put the mentally ill in prison, do we?

Yes.  Yes, we do. 

Sunday, August 04, 2019

The postman always rings twice

I awoke this morning thinking of Tsutomu Yamaguchi.

Mass murder is as American as pumpkin pie.  You can dodge a bullet quite literally and think, I'll be safe for the rest of my life.  But we know that people who survived the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas (October 1, 2017) subsequently had to survive the Borderline Bar and Grill shooting in Thousand Oaks, California (November 7, 2018) or the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting last week.  I don't know if Gilroy featured country music, but it's pointless to try to identify common threads -- you can be shot for being present in a yoga studio, an elementary school, a church or a restaurant.  You can be shot for being Jewish, black, female, gay, or alive in the wrong place at the wrong time.  The common thread is the gun.

Tsutomu Yamaguchi lived a long life and died in 2010, age 93.  But when he was a young man he survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.  Injured, he went home to Nagasaki in time to experience the atomic bombing of that city three days later.  The Japanese government recognized him as the sole survivor of both attacks, though there may have been others.  He was either the unluckiest person who ever lived, or the toughest.

We Americans might as well embrace our heritage of mindless gun violence.  I propose the Yamaguchi Medal for survivors of two or more massacres.  Because this will happen again.  It happened last night in Dayton, Ohio.  It's coming to your town, park, mosque, campus, medical office, airport, birthday party, army base, television studio, hair salon, diner, track meet, wedding, jazz festival, parade, funeral.

Saturday, August 03, 2019

Day 926 -- America held hostage

Perhaps a Congressional committee could investigate the link between the gun lobby and the funeral industry.

Which member of what Molly Ivins called "the lege" will be the first to introduce a bill requiring that all Texas shoppers be armed?

This Trumpanzee who will not be named here apparently drove from Dallas to El Paso to stem the "Hispanic invasion."  The name "El Paso" might be a clue that in fact gringos invaded Mexico in 1846 and brought the blessings of slavery and Protestantism to half its territory.

The name of the shopping mall -- Cielo Vista -- means that Tree of Life is no longer the most ironically-named scene of an American bloodbath.

How many people has Antifa killed this year?  And last year?

Thursday, August 01, 2019


At a White House conference of mayors, Ronald Reagan greeted one man affably (he was always affable in public): "How are things in your city, Mr. Mayor?"  "Mr. President," Samuel Pierce replied, "I'm your Secretary of Housing."  Well-disposed witnesses chalked it up to Alzheimer's.  Actually, Reagan just thought all black people look alike.  When as governor of California he "jokingly" proposed poisoning food before distributing it to the poor -- a demand of Patty Hearst's kidnappers, if I recollect rightly -- it wasn't poor whites he had in mind.  So nobody was really shocked, shocked, when recorded evidence of his racism surfaced this week, the old raconteur entertaining Richard Nixon by comparing African diplomats to monkeys.  (In one way, it was a reminder of how far we've traveled -- pre-Twitter, Nixon had to share this witty insight by telephoning his fellow white supremacists.)  After all, the Republican Party received its first endorsement from the Ku Klux Klan  in 1980 and became the modern Republiklan, the triumph of Lee Atwater's Southern Strategy.  Ultimately Reagan was talked into repudiating Klan support -- three decades later these hypocrites still like to style themselves the Party of Lincoln -- but they do noticeably better with candidates who don't even try to disguise their racism as Romney and McCain did.

Which leads to Trump, as our national Trail of Fears invariably does now.  Unable to refute the grounds for Congressional investigations into his crime spree, he always reverts to personal attack, declaring the most prominent opponent dishonest, unintelligent or ugly (the technical term is projection).  When the opponent is African American it's literally a no-brainer -- Baltimore is the worst place on earth for which its representative is solely and personally responsible, etc., etc.  People in Elijah Cummings's district often have to live in sub-standard conditions, therefore NO COLLUSION WITCH HOAX INVESTIGATE OBAMA.  It's like Dada poetry -- it isn't supposed to make sense as English prose.  It's a scream of rage that stops just this side of the N word.  For how long?

That Reagan/Nixon tape was made in 1971.  Some archivist has known about it for years.  Why was it suddenly made public?  To prepare the Ever Trumpers for the orgiastic moment when, down in the polls and cornered by the forces of decency, Trump discards the last atoms of self-control and calls on them to "Kill 'em all!" unleashing the kind of violence not seen since Tulsa 1921.  Racism is as American as Pilgrims and Founding Fathers, and here are two elder statesmen to remind us of that fact.  The moment that "Lock her up!" and "Send them back!" prepared us for.  The Tiki torches are already lit.    

Lebensborn, New Mexico

Did Jeffrey Epstein read The Boys From Brazil?

Why didn't Trump think of it first?  Sounds like a perfect fit.