Friday, January 31, 2020

Sic semper timidis

In a preview of what will happen in November, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and poolboy devotee Jerry Falwell, Jr., are calling on disgruntled Virginians to secede from the state, which fell into the hands of Democrats last year on account of more people voting for them.  Now the demon-crats are coming for their guns, their fetuses, their cows, and their god-given right to discriminate against LGBTQ people.  Already the new tyrants have implicated Virginians in destabilizing the nation by ratifying the long-dormant Equal Rights Amendment, and there's no telling what horrors await unless the Real Virginia-Americans courageously RUN AWAY!  They may want to raise the minimum wage, or tax the hyper-rich, or even copy Massachusetts under Romney and give everybody health insurance.   It's Book of Revelation time, people.

Critics griped that season three of The Crown was not up to the first two; now they're griping because it will end after season five.  I think that's merciful.  We don't need to see the queen in miserable old age, forced to spend an hour a week with Mr. Blobby condescending to her in Latin and facing the breakup of her very kingdom.  Tonight's the night, apparently, when Little England throws off the shackles of free travel and no-tariff trade with Europe, and all because of some lies about potato chips and curvy bananas.  To avoid making the border with the Republic look like Checkpoint Charlie of Berlin memory, Britain chose to erect a metaphoric trade barrier in the sea between Northern Ireland and what they humorously call The Mainland, which some expect to drive Ulster into an eventual reunion with Ireland.  Scotland is already organizing a "Leave" referendum of its own, and even the Channel Islands would probably like to remain in the EU.  Elizabeth may continue to be queen of Scotland -- she has a summer place there and her mum was Scottish -- but it won't be the same.

When Putin began grooming Trump and Boris -- Boris!  Not very subtle, is it? -- he may have dreamed of weakening the UN, undermining NATO, and continuing to sell oil and natural gas to an overheated planet just to keep Russia's zombie economy on its feet.  How could he have imagined a disunited Kingdom and secessionist sedition in his ancient enemy America?  It must feel good to out-Stalin Stalin.

Remember the name Huawei.  It's the Chinese company that's building Britain's 5G infrastructure.  Can you hear me now?  Count on it.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Silver lining playbook

It's an ill wind.  Wilbur Ross didn't want to take a "victory lap" about the coronavirus influenza, but did so anyway, assuring Fox Business aficionados that companies will be fleeing epidemic China and re-opening their factories here in the USA.  He stopped short of congratulating the Stable Jenius for causing the outbreak, but it was implied.  Obama would never have killed 170 Chinese for the good of American workers because he was always playing golf and ordering more tan suits.  That guy didn't have a clue about making America great again.

When he got back to the Commerce Department, where he is preserved in formaldehyde, Wilbur began calling around to make sure those previously outsourced jobs would pay a good Chinese wage to Americans, who are free to make up the difference through dog-walking and babysitting; and that the companies could get no-interest loans -- no, make it grants -- to cover their moving and relocation expenses.  After all, it's not the Labor Department.  A good day's work.

There is as yet no vaccine for this deadly strain of flu -- or is there?  Card-carrying QAnons are promoting the cure-all of the twenty-first century, Miracle Mineral Solution, also known as bleach.  It's already effective against HIV, diabetes, cancer, autism, and the rockin' pneumonia, so why not the boogie woogie flu?  Bleach does kill viruses.  During the AIDS epidemic, IV drug users were urged to clean their needles with it.  Taken internally, it's about as useful as the mercury ingested by nineteenth century syphilitics, and just as dangerous.  If the QAnon Continuum want to chug bleach, I'll kick in for a Clorox party.  The concern is that they'll feed it to children and other innocent bystanders.

"When I call, they kiss my ass," Trump told supporters back in 2016 and when he's right, he's right.   For the low price of a $25,000 "campaign contribution" from the Trump "Foundation" to stop investigating Trump "University," Florida attorney general Pam Bondi found herself obligated to pucker up.  "One day -- and that day may never come -- I may call upon you for a favor."  It came yesterday, when Bondi favored the Senate with some word-salad about Hunter Biden that invited (and got) plenty of ridicule.  Luckily for Florida, she is no longer charged with enforcing their laws.  She's on Qatar's payroll now, because they pay better than the DOJ.

The White House sent a threatening letter to John Bolton forbidding him to publish his book because it's full of classified information, while simultaneously denouncing him as a liar and a Deep State plant.  This concludes today's installment of "Kafka Saw It Coming."

Trump was obsessed with Princess Diana and frequently sent her flowers.  Diana's response can be gauged by the amount of time she reportedly spent crouched over the toilet.  Never one to forget a slight, the Orange One has authorized the end of a ban on land mines, one of her best-known causes.  It's a good thing Obama didn't have an anti-mustard gas policy.

It's not just the windmill cancer -- now Trump has another reason to hate the wind.  

Slumlord-in-law Jared Kushner has the Middle East figured out because he's read twenty-five books on the subject.  By coincidence, that's exactly how I became an expert on Kinsey Milhone.  (Sue Grafton died before she could write a twenty-sixth.)  My book-learning will never affect a living person, but Kushner has sorted out this whole Palestine business without having to consult a single Palestinian.  Soon the impeached president will meet the indicted prime minister to sign away the last of their rights.  By coincidence, third-party arrogance started the whole mess back in 1919, when three politicians met in Paris and drew a map of the post-Ottoman Middle East.  Rules for Assholes says, "First, never learn from history."

The people of Puerto Rico have had enough.  After the recent earthquake, someone stumbled across warehouses full of food and water that were supposed to be distributed after Hurricane Maria.  People constructed a wooden model guillotine and hauled it through the streets of San Juan to the governor's residence.  In modestly related news, the Museum of London will display the undergarment worn by Charles I at his execution next fall, just in time for the first Brexit repercussions.  Because you axed for it!

I'll show myself out.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Jersey Sore

The Stable Jenius took time out from threatening Adam Schiff, John Bolton and those in between -- politically, that's just about everyone -- to share some insights with his Bada-bing constituency last night.  Accompanied by soon-to-be-former Rep. Jeff Van Drew, he lied about the Ukraine shakedown, the "sham" impeachment, and all the good things coming soon, soon, to rundown places like Wildwood.  You can read it here.

The money quote:  "No American should ever be hurt, harmed or killed because left-wing politicians, Democrats, decided shield and shelter crimincle --- look, look, wait."  Somebody at Fox News thought it was acceptable to laugh at a senile, drug-addled man having a stroke in front of a crowd of imbeciles.  Well, it's not.  And speaking of brain injuries, the number of Americans hurt and harmed in Iraq last week has risen to fifty.  I think someone mentioned it on the BBC news, which devotes less than half its airtime to Kobe tributes.

Still living the fantasy of victory, Mike Bloomberg continues to spend eye-watering quantities of money on television advertising -- more than a quarter of a billion dollars so far.  The perpetual Trump campaign is taking a more direct approach, handing out envelopes of cash to African American voters who attend events of the Urban Revitalization Coalition.  (I wonder what would happen if white people began showing up there -- those who are losing their food stamps or disability benefits, for example.)  Darrell Scott, who runs the URC, declined to name the "donors" who are making Trump's generosity possible.  "I can't spell those Russian names anyway," he did not add.

Breaking news:  Mitt Romney drinks chocolate milk.  In front of other adults.

The defense in the impeachment "trial" has rested, because how long can you cover your ears and yell "WITCH HUNT!   HOAX!  NO COLLUSION!  HE IS NOT A CROOK!"?

I ask myself:  Why would the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans, dealing with yet another sexual abuse scandal, turn for advice to the New Orleans Saints?  They're not actual saints, they're a professional football team, and one with a seedy history of putting bounties on opposing players, too.  Talk to a lawyer, for your god's sake, or even a PR firm.  In other sports-related news, the NBA is being urged to change its logo from an outline of Jerry West to one of Kobe Bryant.  I'm fine with this as long as, when the time comes (and may it not be for many years), they rename the league the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Basketball Association.  Rock the KAJBA!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Fun Tuesday

China must be the most anal society on earth, the first to invest billions in facial-recognition software intended to monitor every citizen (a billion-plus) to make sure their faces always wear an expression of quiet confidence in the wisdom of Chairman Xi and The Party.  But the spyware doesn't work on people who are wearing masks against contagious, potentially deadly, disease.  Which may have started because they can't stop people from eating diseased bats.  As Confucius observed, "The wise ruler ensures that his people don't have to eat treyf  they find in caves."

This morning the Friends of Vlad are dividing their time between dismissing John Bolton as a spy for the DNC and insisting he can't testify because of "executive privilege."  Would have been easier to not fire him in the first place, which just gave him more time to write.

Hey, I may be a religion!  I get government money (Social Security) and I don't pay income tax.  This is what all the religions might do if the Supreme Court rules that the Montana law against funding religious schools is unconstitutional.  Sweet!  All I need now is some dogma I can whine about when other people refuse to respect it enough.  In my opinion, amen.

Taking candy from a baby is supposed to be easy.  Have you tried taking their milk?

Monday, January 27, 2020

Happy talk

Pete Buttigieg was asked to comment on the death of Kobe Bryant.  He came up with, "They were inspired by what he did on the field, what he meant off the field."  Whereupon his campaign for president ended, and possibly his career.  Backpedal all you want -- "I thought he said Bear Bryant!" -- but make plans to leave Indiana, Pete.

Asked by The New York Times, for some bizarre reason, to name his "celebrity crushes," Mike Bloomberg blurted out Laura Dern and William H. Macy.  For some bizarre reason.  This is what the newspaper of record decided was the tie-breaker on the eve of the Iowa carcasses.  What on earth could be wrong with our political discourse here in the People's Undemocratic Republic?

I don't know if John Bolton ("slightly to the right of any South American junta you can name") is even capable of laughter, but he must have smirked under his shag-carpet mustache when Foxnik Dan Bongino implied that he was a Deep State liberal sleeper planted by the Obama Administration (boo! hiss!) to bring down the Greatest President Imaginable.  All he intended, I'm pretty sure, was to sell some books.

Stephanie Grisham punched in at Fox State News and offered this:  "Quite frankly it seems like [Adam Schiff]'s having a little bit of a mental issue when you sit on the floor for hours and hours and hours.  He's obsessed with this president and trying to take him down."  Grisham know what the world looks like when you sit on the floor for hours and hours and hours, hoping there's another bottle of scotch under the sink or maybe up in the ceiling light...

Now that the number of American troops who suffered traumatic brain injury in the Iranian missile attack has risen to 34, Tom Cotton reminds us that you can't make an omelet without breaking a few brains.  Cotton is still best known for getting other treason-minded Republicans to sign a letter to the Iranian government in 2015 undermining the administration's nuclear weapons deal.  Still putting America first.

After the death of Kobe Bryant, Felicia Sonmez tweeted a link to a story about sexual abuse allegations against him.  She also tweeted that women who report such abuse are often bullied and silenced.  First she was bullied (by heroic but mostly anonymous tweeters) and now she has been silenced -- by the Washington Post where, apparently, democracy dies in darkness and free speech isn't far behind.  I love it when my cynicism pays off so decisively.

Jerry Nadler will miss part of the impeachment trial to be with his wife Joyce Miller.  They will meet her doctors to determine a plan for treatment of her cancer.   This is seen as a plot to confuse Trump by implying that not all wives are silicone-enhanced humptoys to be discarded when they are no longer physically perfect.   

The coronavirus in Wuhan, China, has killed 41 people to date.  On the lighter side, Wuhan has a shot at the Guinness Book if they can complete a thousand-bed hospital in one week.  I'm betting they can.

I had a dream that John Roberts was hit by a car and replaced by the senior justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  On her first day, she confiscated Rand Paul's crossword puzzle and locked him up for contempt.  After that, the giggling and the napping and the hour-long bathroom breaks came to a sudden halt.   Then Moscow Mitch was hospitalized with chest pains.

As the lunar Year of the Rat begins, you probably thought I would say something about Lev Parnas and his remarkable collection of videos.  Not I.  


Friday, January 24, 2020

La Triviata

Guarantee:  Nothing here is even slightly consequential.  Enjoy!

James Corden's Carpool Karaoke is what sets him apart from every other late-night host and answers the question, "Who is this guy and why does he have a talk show?"  It turns out that he can't sing and drive at the same time.  Several continents are reeling.

The Grammy Awards nominating process may be rigged.  I thought it was fishy when Sir Georg Solti kept winning, year after year.

Jordan Belfort, felon and securities fraudster, is suing the producers of The Wolf of Wall Street over an allegation that some of the film's financing resulting from ripping off the Malaysian government.  There could be a sequel in it.

Cricketers will now think twice before calling an abusive spectator a "fucking four-eyed cunt."  Have these people ever been to a Red Sox-Yankees game?

You can eat authentic Vietnamese pho in Anchorage.  And now I'm hungry.

Nancy Drew,  RIP.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Occupation: Trump

George Carlin used to describe the medieval origins of stand-up comedy.  One night the dancers were late and the king was getting impatient, so they brought out a man who was, as we now say, developmentally disabled.  And the king loved it.  "Say, he's good!"

I think of this every time Trump shows up at a convocation of dignitaries.  It's less obvious when he's entertaining the dentally disabled in some provincial city, no script, no questions, just free-associative grievance and bluster.  But get him at the UN, the G7, a gathering of NATO leaders, and it's like he senses their contempt and hostility but doesn't know how to be anything but Trump.  Anything goes, and you almost feel guilty for watching, like laughing at that long-ago First Foole.

Right now it's the grandly styled World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the big machers of industry and finance celebrating the swell job they've done all year to advance the cause of capitalism.  Unlike the others, attendance is hardly compulsory.  He could have sent Pence and spared him the humiliation of being snubbed by Prince Charles in Jerusalem.  He could have stayed in bed, rage-tweeting about his impeachment trial and abusing Moscow Mitch for letting it go on so long.  Maybe he thought rubbing against real billionaires would transfer the magic money dust and he would no longer need the Russians and the Sauds to keep his Tinker-toy empire afloat.  It can't be the food -- he eats the same burger-joint crap everywhere and whines when it's not available.  Stephen Miller or Sean Hannity probably said, "You should go.  It'll look like you're too important to notice that stuff in the Senate, like you don't have a care."  Or Putin just said, "Go."

Whoever is behind this, it's been a laugh riot.  All the salient details are here, though I would question "embarrasses himself," which suggests a non-Trumpian level of self-awareness.  It was America that was embarrassed, and we'll be years recovering.  Some sly puss scheduled the speakers so that Trump had to follow Greta Thunberg, who will never be forgiven for acing him out as Time's Person of the Year (surely this can no longer matter to any serious person).  Warming to the injustice of it all, he demanded Pulitzer Prizes for Hannity and "Rushbo" Limbaugh to complement his own Nobel.  Why not just drape Medals of Freedom around their swollen necks and call it a day?  He still wants to "straighten out the press," a now tiresome complaint.  He wants to "protect" Elon Musk, but not to the extent of enlarging the electric vehicle tax credit because he doesn't know Tesla makes electric cars as well as rockets, or doesn't care.  He also wants to protect Thomas Edison, who he believes invented the wheel.  Remember Kennedy's speech to a group of real Nobelists, when he said it was the greatest gathering of intellects in the White House "since Jefferson dined alone"?  Trump can't wait for the night he gets to dine with Edison and Frederick Douglass and maybe Thomas Crapper, credited with inventing the flush toilet.   He's hearing wonderful things about them. 

Laugh.  It's funny.  Then remember that when the trial is over he'll still be there, applauding himself for awesomely beating the rap.  Not so funny now, is it?

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Cheap laughs

One day -- and it can't be soon enough -- comedy writers will have to write original material.  Until then, they can just scan the news for gems like:

"He's also doing the rockets.  He likes rockets, and he does good at rockets, by the way."  (On Elon Musk)

"Who the hell cares about the budget?  We're going to have a country."  (On fiscal responsibility)

"Fear and doubt is not a good thought process."  (On Greta Thunberg)

"But honestly, we have all the material.  They don't have the material."  (On withholding evidence in the impeachment trial)

"I heard that they had headaches and a couple of other things. But I can say, and I would report, it is not very serious."  (On eleven U.S. soldiers with traumatic brain injury from the Iranian missile attack)

"Our numbers are very good, our environmental numbers.   Our water numbers, our numbers on the air are tremendous.  We have to do something about other continents and other countries.  We have a beautiful ocean called the Pacific Ocean where thousands of tons of garbage flows toward us, put there by other countries, so Greta needs to work on them."  (On Thunberg again, with some lies about U.S, carbon emissions)

(For a different perspective on our "tremendous numbers," here's an article about some of the chemicals millions of Americans drink every day.)

And these are just from today.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

To the barricades again

In my opinion there is no more ironically named country than United States.  People who anguish over Have we ever been more divided? and Is there a Democrat who can bring us together? ignore the extent to which we have always been staring across an abyss, held together with baling wire and duct tape and a series of grim compromises.  Our very Constitution, with its fatuous talk of "a more perfect union," incorporated such ugly injustice that it's a miracle civil war took eighty years to break out.  Its conclusion terminated chattel slavery but maintained a system of white against non-white, male against female, immigrant against native-born, rich against poor that we are still struggling to resolve.  Only war -- us against the world -- has temporarily papered over the resentments and divisions, and then mostly by demonizing non-white enemies.  In many instances, the demonization  has been the principal reason for the war.

We even fight over holidays.  As the wounded straggle home from the War on Christmas, which started in the squalid brain of someone annoyed by a cashier who failed to mention Baby Jesus Meek and Mild, they have to cross the newest front in the Forever Culture Wars.  I refer to the War on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day.  It was dragged into existence with more opposition than any declaration of war (back when they were declared), first observed in 1986 and only recognized in all the states fourteen years later.   And that was just the beginning.

Over the past twenty years it has become customary for racists and conservatives (but I repeat myself) to hijack this day and use it to display their contempt for everything King stood for.  They usually start by lying about King himself.  In his lifetime, it was common for everyone from George Wallace to J. Edgar Hoover to brand him a communist, the usual term of abuse for anyone who opposed the status quo.   Now their ideological spawn claim him as a fellow traveler, a secret Republican and even a libertarian if not exactly a segregationist.  J.D. Rucker at The Federalist wants us to believe King "worked with his closest political allies, Republicans, who overwhelmingly pushed for civil rights with him" though he doesn't mention any names or quote King's characterization of Barry Goldwater as a racist.  The highest praise he can come up with is "He was also a Christian and fervent supporter of Israel."  

(Let's clear the air on Republicans.  For fifteen years they were gangbusters, electing the genius Lincoln, winning the civil war, passing the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments.  In 1875 they abandoned Reconstruction and began their long, slow slide into the shit.  By the turn of the century they championed imperial wars against Mexico, Spain, and anyone who opposed American capital -- read Smedley Butler.  In the 1920s they embraced the exclusion of immigrants and cheered the heedlessly overheated economy.  In the 1930s they opposed every attempt by the Democrats to clean up their mess.  By the 1940s they were the party of isolationism, if not cheerleaders for European fascism.  In the 1950s they gave us McCarthyism.  In the 1960s, scenting a new constituency among the rabid racists, they promoted Goldwater and courted Thurmond and other Dixiecrats.  Then came Nixon (and Kissinger), the "secret plan" to end the war, Watergate, Reagan and another secret plan to free the hostages, Iran-contra -- can anyone here spell t-r-e-a-s-o-n? -- Poppy Doc and Willie Horton, Baby Doc and the "war on terror," a party hollowed out of all decency and morality before the loathsome Trump came along.  So fuck the Republicans with a rusty chainsaw.)

In this stage of the war, the enemy doesn't always talk about King; they just use his holiday to foul everything he stood for and the truth in general.  Thus Geraldo Rivera ("I'm not a journalist but I get paid to play one on TV") chose yesterday to inform the Three Murdoch Stooges that Trump is "a civil rights leader" because why not?  He's the Chosen One, too, and possibly the Lindbergh baby.  Thus Kellyanne Conway consulted her Ouija board and rushed out to inform us that King would never have wanted Trump impeached.  Thus a mob of self-styled militiamen suited up in pretend-uniforms and took their guns out for an airing at the Virginia capitol, where old-timers still consider this a day to celebrate the sedition of Stonewall and Bobby Lee.  And in the days preceding the holiday the Supreme Court of Florida ruled that the state can bring back the poll tax no matter what the 24th Amendment says.

On the last night of his life (and please don't tell me James Earl Ray was a Democrat), King said he didn't expect to get to the Promised Land.  At this rate, none of us will.  I don't think it exists.  

Monday, January 20, 2020

Lock us up! Lock us up!

Are there no prisons?  Plenty of prisons, they're just not crowded enough.

As previously noted, Ohio wants to imprison women who survive ectopic pregnancies and the doctors who save their lives.  Now Missouri proposes jailing librarians who defy "Parental Advisory Boards," and you can imagine the kinds of "Million Moms on the March" who will populate those.

This is a good day to read "Letter From a Birmingham Jail," while you still can.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Fried day

Alan Dershowitz has joined Dream Team Trump.  (But what if O.J. gets arrested again?)  He joins rape-enabler Ken Starr and drunken doofus Rudolph Giuliani.  I hear there's a Jon McNaughton painting of Jeffrey Epstein earmarked for their command center.  Ken's been unemployed since that little dust-up at Baylor, so he doesn't even remember that Trump called him "a lunatic" and "a disaster" way back in 1999.

This century's Joe Valachi is a nondescript Ukrainian with a Zero Mostel combover.  Lev Parnas is a small-time crook whose testimony against a big-time crook has already proved indispensable.  I love that he's got selfies with all sorts of slimebags who now claim never to have met him, and transcripts of their crazily incriminating emails.  Even if he only amassed this collection to avoid death by Putin, I'm already dreaming of the Scorsese movie.  Paul Giamatti maybe?

Bernie Sanders says a woman can't be elected president but he can.  Two things, Bern:  Last time a woman won by almost three million votes but was robbed by an eighteenth century anachronism.  Also, what makes you think a Jew can be elected?

I think Ayanna Pressley is more beautiful with no hair than all those surgically enhanced Trumpettes combined.  Expect her to be the subject of much hilarity at the next Hatesapalooza.

This is why athletes are avoiding the White House.  If it's not impeachment, he rants about Crooked Hillary, or dishwashers, or windmill cancer.  In front of a Chinese trade delegation he decided to go off on James Comey some more.  Embarrassing.  And some day, there will be a doctoral dissertation on Trump's strange use of dog similes.

Richmond is bracing for Charottesville Redux as thousands of gun-humpers arrive for a King Day rally, accompanied by their beloved weapons and who knows how much live ammo.  Because there's no point walking into a peaceful, lawful rally unarmed.  By Monday night, Hannity will be assuring us that Antifa is the problem.  I wonder if Donzo Jr. will address the multitude while lofting his newest toy, Crusader Cross Hillary.  It's not clear if this is the weapon he used to bring down that ferocious Mongolian sheep.

I never cared much for Time, but putting Trump's worthless slumlord son-in-law on the cover ahead of him was a masterpiece of trolling.  Other cover folks they might want to consider:  Rosie O'Donnell, Kurt "short-fingered vulgarian" Andersen, Alec Baldwin (in full clownface), Maxine Waters, Adam Schiff, Marla Maples, Ivana Trump, the Central Park Five, the Whistleblower, Stormy Daniels, John McCain, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Angela Merkel, Ayatollah Khamenei, Robert DeNiro, Carmen Yulin Cruz, Kathy Griffin...

The General Accounting Office says Trump violated federal law by withholding funds Congress had voted for Ukraine.  And now he's doing the same thing with most of the money Congress voted for Puerto Rico (after the hurricane -- the earthquakes are still going on).  The excuse is the same:  must prevent corruption!  I'll pause here for manic laughter.

When Trump said no Americans were injured in that little shootout with Iran, he meant these eleven.

Michael Flynn has changed his mind again about pleading guilty.  Exactly how did this guy get to be a general?

Obese, gasping, sniffing "president" knows what's the perfect nutrition for kids, and it's pizza, fries and burgers!  Orders health-nut Ag Secretary Sonny "Sonny" Perdue to rescind dietary guidelines for school lunches promoted by Michelle Obama.   Happy birthday, Last First Lady!  #BeFat!

It's also the birthday of Betty White.  Hey, Tubby McBonespurs, think you'll see 98?

Thursday, January 16, 2020

No harm

Unless you follow Michigan politics, you have probably never heard of Peter Lucido, Republican whip of the state senate.  This is your lucky day.

Allison Donahue was trying to interview Lucido for the Michigan Advance and I guess he didn't appreciate the young lady's tone.  So he more or less suggested that a nearby group of leering schoolboys could "have some fun" with her, you know, adjust her thinking.  Of course he meant no harm.  When will these career gals stop taking everything so seriously?  It was a compliment.  That's how Republicans compliment their women.  It was "nothing disingenuous," whatever that means, because he talks to groups of girls the same way.  Allison is 22, and if she did something with her hair and makeup and smiled more, she'd be much better at getting the guys to open up, especially alpha males like Lucido who are being investigated for sexual harassment by the Senate Business Office.

Donahue wanted to talk to Lucido about the now-deleted Facebook page "People vs. Governor Gretchen Whitmer," which sounds like a legal action or site for policy criticism.  Actually, it was a spot where various Trumpanzees could share thoughts about the governor, Rep. Rashida Tlaib and others, mostly involving rape, murder and dark alleys.  (In one of the more poetic images, a certain Michael Buschert fantasized about making "that pink mist spray from [Tlaib's] skull."  Buschert probably should have used a screen name like "Trump4Ever" because this exercise in free speech cost him his job at the Pleasant Moose Lodge in Newberry.  Liberal fascists.)  Anyway, they never got that far.  Donahue wrote this story instead.  Rashida Tlaib should be glad so many men think she's pretty enough to rape.  Not like E. Jean Carroll, who Trump described as "not my type." I'm still waiting for a reporter as brave as Allison Donahue to ask him what type woman he prefers to rape.

Women in politics, and in public life generally, even (or especially) online gaming and sports, are used to this kind of crap.  Every time they express an opinion or celebrate an achievement, they are Jackie Robinson, showered with abuse and forbidden to respond in kind, or at all.  They can turn it aside with a joke, like Greta Thunberg or Elizabeth "Go Cougars" Warren, but they can never offer to use Peter Lucido's asshole as a storage facility for nuclear waste.  To do so would be "emotional," or "weak," or "immature."  The prohibition follows party lines:  Sarah Palin could threaten Bernie Sanders with an assault rifle as Ted Nugent has threatened Hillary Clinton, because right-wing women are honorary men.  That's their choice, and good luck to them.  In Virginia, the female-led (Democratic majority) legislature has finally ratified the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, and I'm glad I don't have to answer the phone or deal with the emails in Speaker Filler-Corn's office.  As the Thug-in-Chief would say, she's going to go through some things.

In spite of the #MeToo backlash presently under way, all women go through some things every day, whether they work in the million-dollar media or a burger restaurant.  A lot of women who don't work at all (for wages) go through them at home or on the street.  This has characterized "civilization" for thousands of years before Margaret Atwood's trenchant observation, "Men are afraid women are laughing at them.  Women are afraid men will kill them."  And fear is bullying's dirty little secret.  It would be nice if we could all stop living in fear.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

This just in

"When news breaks, we fix it" was the slogan of The Daily Show in the Jon Stewart era.  Good luck today.  News breaks so fast you barely have time to sweep up the shards.  For instance:

Damascus:  Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin visited an Orthodox church and were caught on video joking about Trump.  Somewhere at the intersection of Arabic, Russian and English the point got a little obscure, but it's fun that these two seem to know the Bible better than he does.

Moscow:  The entire Russian government up and quit.  Nobody knows why, but constitutional "reforms" are promised.  

Washington:  The impeachment "trial" will be conducted without C-SPAN, press or public access, because there's nothing to see here, return to your homes, totally innocent, witch hunt, LOOK, A TERRORIST!

Dublin:  Ireland's next general election will take place on a Saturday for the first time since 1918.  It's almost as if they want people to vote.

Quinnipiac University:  A poll says that two-thirds of Americans want John Bolton to testify at the impeachment "trial."  The question they probably should have asked:  Who is John Bolton?

Brooklyn:  A Secret Service agent was startled by a dog on a leash, so he drew his gun and killed it.  Maybe these people are a little more tense than usual.  Maybe it's all the hate rallies.

Des Moines:  Nina Turner, co-chair of the Bernie Sanders campaign, decided this was the right time to point out that Elizabeth Warren was a Republican thirty years ago.  Warren politely did not retort  that Sanders joined the Democratic Party in 2016.  The politpress are playing up their "feud" as if they were Fred Allen and Jack Benny c. 1940.

Washington:  "Bombshell" is an overused word.  It should be saved for the release of tweets between Lev Parnas and the even less savory Robert Hyde discussing a gangland-style contract on former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch in Kyiv.  "She's going to go through some things," remarked Don Donald, after the ambassador declined to facilitate the Biden smear campaign.  So she did, fleeing Ukraine in fear for her safety.

Texas:  All of the state's Catholic bishops issued a statement condemning Gov. Greg Abbott's ban on refugees.  Of course, they stopped short of denying him communion, because he's still anti-choice.

Milwaukee:  This asshole again.  Trump played his greatest hits for the paste-eaters:  Appliances don't waste enough water, am I right?  A dead Democrat is "looking up" from hell (LBJ this time).  Black people adore him and are abandoning the "Democrat party" as if it was a plantation.  He "kept the oil" from Syria, spoils of war, didn't say where it's being kept.  Soleimani's body count is up to "hundreds of thousands" (next time, millions).  And for the encore, everyone joined in the beloved "Lock her up!" without wondering why neither Sessions nor Barr has managed to do this yet.  Trump's only experience with dishwashers is  the undocumented ones he hires for his trash resorts, but he still delivered a tight ten minutes of blithering expertise.  This is by no stretch politics -- it's burlesque.  The only thing missing is Melania dancing to "Night Train."

Why I read

My subscription to The New Yorker runs out in April and I don't expect to renew.  The fifty percent price increase has something to do with it.  I also have limited interest in restaurant reviews of that Cambodian-Peruvian fusion place under the Brooklyn Bridge that's accessible only at low tide, but don't bother calling because you can't get a table until September anyway.  (The jasmine rice with queso fresco is amazing, I understand.)  Mostly, it's time.  I have no time to read.

Why do I buy so many books?  I'm surrounded by piles of them, lists of them.  I subscribe to two book reviews which advise me about more, and friends threaten to send me theirs.  Realistically, I won't get through these, much less the ones I borrow from the library.  It's a life-long problem,  from when we could buy paperbacks from Scholastic Book Club and get them delivered right to the classroom -- this must have started in junior high.  They hook you early.  I can still remember my first:  Fun With Chemistry.  It wasn't, but it belonged to me, unlike the complete Dickens my mother must have bought when she was a kid.  (I started on A Christmas Carol because it promised ghosts.)

Now, of course, it's far too easy.  Three clicks, literally, and that wicked corporation delivers it in two damn days.  Oh, they know me.  I do my best to screw with their algorithm by mixing up my purchases so that one day it will say "People who bought The  Souls of Black Folk also bought A Fistful of Fig Newtons."  Well, one of us did.  And now they're both on the pile with The Real Life of Sebastian Knight and The Rest Is Noise.  I can't help it if I'm eclectic.

I got some insight into this condition from, you will have guessed, The New Yorker.  In the January 13 issue, John McPhee recounts a meeting with Thornton Wilder when he was thirty and Wilder was sixty-six.  Wilder told the young writer that he was engaged in cataloguing the 431 surviving plays of the Spanish writer Lope de Vega (1562-1635).  McPhee asked, "Why would anyone want to do that?" and got the scorching reply, "Young man, do not ever question the purpose of scholarship."  Almost six decades later, McPhee explained:

"I am eighty-eight years old at this writing, and I know that those four hundred and thirty-one plays were serving to extend Thornton Wilder's life.  Reading them and cataloguing them was something to do, and do, and do.  It beat dying.  It was a project meant not to end.  I could use one of my own."

Thornton Wilder lived to be 78.  I don't know if he finished that catalogue, but he woke up every day with a sense of purpose.  Perhaps he suspected he no longer had an Our Town or Bridge of San Luis Rey to write, but he got out of bed and went to his desk (I'm assuming) for twelve more years.  We could all use a project meant not to end, and I guess mine is reading all these books.  Who knows?  I may get all the way through the Commedia next time.  If people would just stop writing for a while...

I will miss The New Yorker.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Other people's business

"You buy a bag of peanuts in this town, you get a song written about you!" said Charles Foster Kane, just before joining in the song he clearly wrote about himself.  In these days of media Kane could hardly have dreamed of -- imagine him on Twitter! -- it takes a lot less.  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez decided to get a  dog, and everybody has an opinion.  She got a puppy instead of acquiring a "rescue animal" from a shelter, probably because she has no time to be vetted like an adoptive parent of a human child.  She chose the wrong breed.  She won't say how she got the animal -- could it be a bribe from a foreign leader impressed by her power as a freshman member of Congress?  She failed to consult PETA, whose relentlessness makes Inspector Javert look like Monsieur Hulot on holiday.  She may well influence others to commit the same offense.  All this fallout because a single woman with a demanding job wanted something in her life which would be glad to see her at the end of the day and would never accuse her of treason.  If she asks a staff member on the government payroll to take little Deco for an occasional walk, she's finished.  No dog has caused so much trouble since FDR sent the Seventh Fleet to rescue Fala.  (He didn't.)

People with not much in their own lives can always find time to tell other people what they're doing wrong.  Journalists and others who were born too late for the Abdication Crisis of 1936 have been all over the Harry and Meghan Bugout of 2020.  A normal family would be thrilled if a thirty-five-year-old man with a wife and a baby decided to move out of the house, but the Windsors are about as normal as the Manson Family.  It appears that Grandmama has given her grudging consent to their decision to live part of the year in Canada and even perhaps to --- work --- instead of depending on the hard-pressed British taxpayers.  By my estimate, this leaves about a hundred of their kinfolk to give out flower-show prizes and open new hospitals, assuming the Johnson Government manages to build any.  So that's that, right?  And we can get back to the rising sea levels and the part of the Commonwealth which is currently on fire?

No, because the Usual Suspects have something to add, and you'll be surprised to learn that it's as racist and misogynist as the tabloids the Sussexes (that just looks wrong) are trying to leave behind.  For instance, a bunch of charmers who call themselves Men Going Their Own Way (like Incels but with masturbation) know it's all a plot by a "soulless" gold-digger to lure poor Harry away from his home and his remote chance at kingship in order to pick him clean in the chick-favoring Canadian divorce courts.  "You can just see the evil in her eyes!" writes one awe-struck MGTOW, who has often dreamed of getting a woman like Meghan Markle to acknowledge his existence.  Michelle Malkin, who still exists but not on Fox, did her research and tweeted pictures showing how much happier Harry looked in desert camouflage twelve years ago, and how depressed he looks now, wearing a suit and making chit-chat with bores -- the sort of life he wants to leave behind, unless I'm missing the point here.  With a little more work Malkin could have included this photo of Harry at a fancy-dress party (2005) in the uniform of the Afrika Korps, swastika and all.  Maybe she doesn't see anything wrong with that.

Look, I get it.  Whether you're the President or a one-shot contestant on Wheel of Fortune, you don't get to have privacy anymore.  The paleomedia, the social media and the various search engines have ended that.  A prospective employer or vengeful ex-partner can access your criminal history, your tweets, your medical records and that surpassingly stupid thing you did in high school, and so can everyone else with a computer.  When the cacophony reaches a deafening level, maybe we will all agree to leave one another alone and try to get through "whatever this is," as Kurt Vonnegut put it.  Now would be a good time.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Multiple choice foreign policy

Qasem Soleimani had to die because he was about to attack all the embassies.  And because he had already killed thousands of Americans.  And because Saudi Arabia paid "us" a billion dollars.  Pick one, they're probably all bullshit.

Hopes for a Second (Third?) Great Awakening were dashed when Marianne Williamson ended her presidential campaign.  Contemptuous of plans and facts, she ran to bring us moral awakening and an Era of Weirdly Good Feeling because only bliss can save the world.  She will be missed by the yoga and scented candles community.

Time for another visit from the Old's snowing in Washington, the Constitution doesn't say what it says, Cory Booker dropped out of the presidential contest because he's lazy, and this:

The thrashings of a desperate old man.  Impeached yesterday, impeached today, impeached forever.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Nine inches

In case you couldn't push your way into the jammed arena for the Toledo Twitler Rally, that's Trump's new nickname for Adam Schiff.  At first I thought, well, maybe not Warren Beatty's neighborhood (allegedly) but close enough.  Combined with the famous assessment by certified expert Stormy Daniels, a remarkable admission.  Schiff should run for president.

Alas, no, it seems Trump has decided that's Schiff's collar size, which means he isn't fit to sit in judgment on real men with rump-roast-size necks.  Or something.  At this point it's anybody's guess what comes out when the Stable Jenius (Spellcheck just lit up but according to Frank Luntz, Republican poll guy, that's how he spells it) downs enough pills and potions to get through another Hatesapalooza.  Not only do the words make no sense, the slurring makes half of them unintelligible.
A very brave man named Evan Hurst watched the whole thing and was still sober enough to write about it so I don't have to.  (You're supposed to drink every time you hear a lie.  Evan is well known in the liver-transplant community.)

The mark of a real statesman is willingness to admit error.  President Rouhani went on Twitter to write, "The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake [the destruction of the Ukrainian airliner]."  He promises to prosecute the responsible parties.  Shortly earlier, another Twitter account holder crowed:  "STOCK MARKET AT ALL-TIME HIGH!  HOW ARE YOUR 409K'S DOING?"  When someone explained that there is no such thing, he deleted it without so much as an "OOPS!"  One mistake killed 176 people; the other was arguably a typo.  Who's the nine-inch man now?

Friday, January 10, 2020

Laughter, the best medicine

"I give up my salary. It's $450,000 approximately $450,000 presidential salary.  I give it up.  Usually it goes to -- I give it to drugs."

I don't know how much turbo-charged European Sudafed costs, but that buys a lot of Adderall.  Sniff!

I really can't blame Stephanie Grisham for being AWOL.  How would you like to explain that, after the dilated-pupils-slurred-speech statement he barely got through?

Breaking news (I hate that):  " most sectors, these U.S. tariffs have been completely passed on to U.S. firms and consumers."  You can purchase the whole paper here (another pass-along).

We killed Soleimani hours before he was going to bomb the US embassy, kidnap Tom Brady and burn down the Grand Ole Opry.  We can't show you the evidence but it's awesome.  All the fault of Crazy Nancy and her witch hunt impeachment.

The 82nd Airborne Division has deployed to the Middle East.  This sounds serious -- paratroopers are seldom used in defense.  They were told to leave their phones behind, so at least they won't have to see any demented tweets from their commander-in-chief.  Bad for morale.

Trump isn't the only one strung out on drugs.  Matt Gaetz was so fucked up yesterday that he accidentally voted with the Democrats on the War Powers Resolution.  He is being shunned by the other Trumpanzees, who will not share food or engage in social grooming.

Why did UIA Flight 752 crash and burn in Iran?  "Rough neighborhood," says Donald  "Rodney Dangerfield" Trump.  Thank you!  Tip your waitress!

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Nothing to see here

I spend a lot of the day traipsing around the 'net making discoveries both great and appalling, but I never would have found Locust Watch on my own.  Thanks, Charlie.  I think.

Madame Tussaud's has removed Meghan & Harry from its Royal exhibition.  This is hilarious, because they are the least waxworks-like of the bunch.  The couple's decision to "step back," as it's always phrased, has been attributed to right-wing tabloid columnists and their scarcely-veiled racism, but I watch a lot of British panel shows.  For a few years, no half-hour was complete without at least one joke about who Harry's "real'' father was.  Because he's red-haired, or "ginger" as they say.  That  takes two recessive genes, and there hasn't been any ginger royalty since the Tudors.  (Of course, the Spencers are related to the red-haired Churchills.)  I think Harry just got tired of hearing his mother called a tramp long before he got tired of hearing racist crap about his wife.  I hope they like Canada better.

A North American politician with actual credibility, Justin Trudeau, says the Ukrainian airliner was shot down, perhaps inadvertently, by an Iranian missile.  Sixty-three of the passengers were Canadian; none was American.  It explains the Iranians' refusal to turn the flight recorders over to Boeing so far.  That picture sure looks like the nose of a missile.

Git along, little dogie!  Sen. Mike Lee of Utah complained about his war briefing:  "They had to leave after 75 minutes, while they were in the process of telling us to be good little boys and girls and not debate this in public.  I find that absolutely insane."  This caused the re-animated corpse of Lou Dobbs to accuse him of doing a "Benedict Arnold impression," so Lee had to crawl to Fox, tail between his legs, and whimper that he is a loyal Trumpanzee.  Another one herded back in.  Dissent will not be permitted.  Many states have decided not to even hold Republican primaries because you don't primary God's Chosen One.  Remember what happened to Eric Cantor.

It was left to John Kerry (remember him?) to cut through the noise and summarize the last week:  "Within 24 hours, a new general is appointed.  And I assure you that new general is as committed to the track General Soleimani was on as he was."  But Obama took out Osama bin Laden, and Trump needed his own.  Mission accomplished.

Oh no.  Oh no.  Elizabeth Warren danced at a rally in Philadelphia, and she's not a good dancer.  It's over.  Same thing happened to Theresa May.   Whatever a woman politician does she had better do perfectly, backwards in high heels.  


Wednesday, January 08, 2020

War! What is it good for?

In case any self-aware life-form wondered why Iran suddenly became a threat to The American Way of Life last week, "Mitch McConnell...informed Republicans on Tuesday that he planned to move forward with President Trump's impeachment trial without committing to additional witnesses or admitting new evidence, over the objections of Democrats who are insisting on both."  (The New York Times)

That's why a man most Americans had never heard of suddenly became "worse than Hitler," as Poppy Bush once said of Saddam Hussein.  (If Hitler had never lived, who would liars invoke?  Genghis Khan?  Jack the Ripper?)  War covers all crimes in a warm blanket of patriotism.  War turns the page and causes political amnesia.  Remember how Chicolini's trial is abruptly abandoned because "Freedonia's gone to war!"?  Like that.

ThumbnailSince nobody believes Trump anyway, those who endured his irrational rationale this morning mostly concentrated on further evidence of physical and mental deterioration.   What exactly does Adderall do to a 73-year-old brain when inhaled, frequently?  How did they get him out of bed and into his Homer Simpson pants before noon?  Is 58 sniffs a record for a half-hour, robotic Teleprompter reading?  How did Lincoln get through the Gettysburg Address without blaming the Civil War on James Buchanan?  Should we even bother to fact-check this drivel?  Did an auto paint shop apply that makeup?  What's up with the tongue?

Again, Ukraine.  Pompeo was on his way there to...well, use your imagination.  He decided to visit Kazakhstan instead.   It's lovely in January and closer to Iran.  A 737 operated by Ukraine International Airlines crashed a mile from the runway in Tehran; let the conspiracy theories begin.

I have an awful feeling Iran is not going to be satisfied with a (deliberately?) harmless missile strike which produced no American casualties.  A nation that old knows how to wait, to pick its moment.  And we don't seem to have any policy or strategy beyond crazy impulse.  What a year.  

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Caution: No brakes

Buttermilk may have had a wee stroke.  That's often the case when the part of your brain that should moderate and censor the worst of the madness has packed one bag and grabbed the next train out of the station.

"The only ones mourning the loss of Soleimani are our Democrat leadership and Democrat Presidential candidates," tweets Nikki Haley.  Listen, Honorary White Woman, the adjectival form is "Democratic."  I'll overlook it this time because you may not have grown up speaking English.  The lie is standard Republiklan bullshit, unless (let's say) fifty million Iranians have now been downgraded to less-than-human.  But excellent work positioning yourself to become Lindsey Graham with a vagina.  If your ghostwritten bullshit sells a few copies, that's good too, innit?

What is up, color-wise, with Trump's face?  Did Ivanka gag on semen and then puke Toblerone all over him, and he wuvs her too much to wipe it off?  One shade darker and he'll need white gloves and the lyrics to "Swanee."

Ricky Gervais has been embraced by the Rightzis for the courageous way he went after Greta Thunberg, Felicity Huffman and all those Hollywood Libs who didn't have anything heavy and wet they could throw at him.  I'm sure he never heard of Molly Ivins, but she would have reminded him that punching down is cheap.  Still, if Boris Johnson gets tired of being his own court jester, Ricky is ready to lick any low-hanging part of him.

Speaking of whom, all must read Nick Laird's "Blood and Brexit" in the New York Review of Books.  Don't be deterred by his grim account of growing up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.  Push on to his breakdown of the Leave/Cambridge Analytica/Dominic Cummings/Robert Mercer/Nigel Farage tangle that brought the UK to its current mess.  All roads lead to Russia.

Would it be asking too much of the Weather Channel that they give the fucking weather once in a while?  You can sit there for an hour and get the shocking news of snow in North Dakota (in January), bad driving in Pennsylvania and of course Australia burning, but local temp and rain?  Can't be bothered.  Some American firefighters arrived in Oz yesterday to help, and Trump has thankfully been too distracted to offer advice about raking the Outback.  I wonder how the 6.4 earthquake in Puerto Rico will get blamed on the mayor of San Juan, in the top ten of his Nasty Women registry.  Where was I?  Weather Channel!  Every ten minutes, guys, and spare me the Polar Vortex talk.

The Guardian had an article about the astonishing cultural treasures of Iran threatened by the vulgar slob.  Not one features a golf course.  I think it's the usual oral flatulence, like all those threats against North Korea before he met Kim and the Tchaikovsky swelled on the soundtrack.  But were I in Istanbul I wouldn't even stop to buy a paper within a hundred meters of the Trump Splendorific Hotel and Bowl-o-Rama.

God damn it, Elizabeth Wurtzel is dead from cancer.  She rejected pity and wrote like mad on any number of subjects from Ritalin to Dylan, but I like to remember her for this essay on American stupidity.  She was 52, and what are you doing with your life?

Sunday, January 05, 2020

On the beach

Last week hundreds of people gathered on Australia's beaches, waiting to be evacuated from a continent in flames.  It was like a terrible conflation of Dunkirk and Nevil Shute's 1957 novel of post-nuclear catastrophe.  This week, it feels like we are all on the beach, and the little boats aren't coming.

We should have seen expected this back in 2012, when Trump noticed how much Barack Obama was doing stuff wrong and gave this Abbott and Costello interview to Hugh Hewitt.  He alone could fix it, of course, and because this is not a democracy, he got his chance.  New Year revelers crawled out of bed to learn that General Qasem Soleimani of the Iran Revolutionary Guard had been assassinated by the United States because he was about to do bad stuff, and absolutely not because of any terrible fake impeachment.  They also soon learned that Soleimani occupied a place in Iranian hearts comparable to Douglas MacArthur for many Americans, and that the streets of Tehran were echoing with their rage.  The fact that we may be stumbling blindly into a war was no reason to call off the Pimps and Traffickers Ball at Mar-a-Lago, of course.  Excited as he always is by distant violence, Trump spent the day tweeting threats to destroy 52 Iranian religious and cultural sites (one for each of the 1979 hostages, in case you forgot) and barely civil "notifications" to Congressional leadership as required by law.  Message received:  today al-Shabab killed three Americans at a base in Kenya.  It begins.

Mike Pompeo hit the Sunday morning stroke-fests to assure everyone that we're all much safer now in spite of the heightened security in every city and airport, the Iranian-Americans who got ICEstapo'd at the Canadian border, the thousands of deployed troops, the panicky Iraqi parliament ordering their "allies" out of the country, nothing to see here.  Ignore those who actually know things, like Susan Rice.  Don't worry, be happy.  Killing the odd bin Laden or al-Baghdadi completely shuts down the organizations they headed, just as shooting down Admiral Yamamoto crippled the Imperial Japanese Navy.  It's so much easier to be an idiot if you don't know history.  And Number One Idiot was so energized, he hit the golf course this morning.

Twice before, to the world's astonishment, the United States held national elections during wartime, and twice the incumbents were re-elected.  Does anyone else see where this is going?