Saturday, December 31, 2022

Winter in America


New year, old year.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Missing, inaction

 "A liar should have a good memory," said Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, and for those who don't, there's the internet.  It never forgets that, for example, on August 30, 2021, George Santos tweeted:  "BIDEN IS A PATHOLOGICAL LIAR!"  (Like his hero, he speaks all-caps.)  Praise from Caesar, as Quintilius might say.   

Has David Miscavige returned to the home planet?  Lawyers have tried 27 times to serve the Dear Leader of Scientology in a trafficking lawsuit but security guards at the Clearwater headquarters claim they don't know where he is.  

Financial adviser Thomas St. John is trying to sue a former client for back payment but it seems Ye (f/k/a Kanye West) is also missing, at least for service purposes.  Looks like his lawyers are missing, too.  Lots of people doing the process two-step.

Kickboxer/influencer/pile of waste Andrew Tate is not missing -- he's locked up in Romania on charges of rape and human trafficking.  He got into a Twitter fight with Greta Thunberg and she kicked his box.  Really.  Pizza boxes were the clue.

Junior Trump isn't missing but $240 million is -- the money raised for all those rapidly dismissed lawsuits challenging Daddy's 2020 loss and entrusted to him for some reason.  Asked by the House Select Committee if he knew where it went, he responded, "I do not."  They should have looked up his nose.

They say you can tell a lot about judges from their clerks.  Actually, nobody says this, I made it up, but it's probably true.  Polk County, Iowa, chose Kimberly Graham as its new County Attorney and Mike Davis, a former clerk of Neil Gorsuch, is far from happy.  He is advising Iowans to "arm up" because Graham is "woke" and plans to "coddle violent criminals."   And the Slow Coup picks up speed among the soybean fields.

Jair Bolsonaro is living up to his nickname "Trump of the tropics."  He still has not conceded the election.  He insists the voting was rigged.  He won't attend the inauguration of Luiz Lula da Silva on Sunday.  Shedding manly, heterosexual tears he bade Brazil adeus and flew to Florida today, probably for some ketchup-soaked commiseration at the Mar.  The only thing he hasn't done is urge his followers to violence, but there's still time.

Speaking of losers...if you were scrolling through Ministry of Truth Social you saw Trump re-tweeting an article by someone named Dan Gelernter called "The Coming Split," which seems to call for a third party.  He cites Theodore Roosevelt and his Bull Moose Party to propose a sort of Trump-Bullshit party.  Surely he knows this led to the election of the Democrat Woodrow Wilson in 1912.  (Not Trump, Gelernter.  Trump never heard of Wilson.)  TR's face scowls down from Mount Rushmore where Trump wants to be, so this is a good idea to him.  I like it, too.  

This man is saying, "As God is my witness I'll never ask for a white Christmas again."

Trump's tax returns are finally out there and he's blustering again:  "It's going to lead to horrible things for so many people."  He's sounds like an actor playing Lear who can't remember what he plans to do to Goneril and Regan.  "Line!"

It seldom gets cold in Baton Rouge so Kasey Weber probably thought the homeless woman in front of the store where she works might enjoy having water thrown over her.  It was 25 degrees and Weber was fired and arrested.  She appears to have posted the video on Facebook herself.  It's not Greg Abbott-level shittiness but it will do for someone who isn't a public official.


Thursday, December 29, 2022

Topic of cancer

 When this vile disease makes the news it's seldom for a good reason.  "Ground-breaking study proves chocolate can shrink tumors" would be a good reason.  That's not the news.

The news release said, "After several days of tests, I have been diagnosed with Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma, which is a serious but curable form of cancer. excellent after four months of treatment."  Jamie Raskin, of all people, who survived colon cancer twelve years ago and who, by any measure, has had enough grief in his life (his son committed suicide just before the January 6 coup in 2021).  "I am advised that [chemotherapy] also causes hair loss and weight gain (although I am still holding out hope for the kind that causes hair gain and weight loss)," he added because he is a very old and great spirit.  Be well, the House and the country need you more desperately than ever.

Greg Bretz of Kansas is not doing so well.  He has terminal inoperable cancer in Hays Medical Center, where he used THC paste and a vaping device to cope with the symptoms, with the approval of his doctor.  I say "used" because the police (three of them) came to his room and took the drug apparatus away, acting on a tip from a hospital snitch.  So Mr. Bretz, 69, is bedridden, dying, and had a court date for January 2 until publicity shamed them into voiding the arrest.  I hope they gave back his drugs.  The power of the press, in this case the Wichita Eagle.

From grim to goofy:  "George Santos" is making news again for foolery like this:

That's right, he lost his mother on 9/11 and again on 12/23.  Unless she's still alive but too embarrassed to show herself in public.  This guy never saw a tragedy he didn't want to own:  the Holocaust that somehow threatened his grandparents in Brazil; the financial crisis that made his parents withdraw him from Horace Mann Prep, where they never heard of him; the four alleged employees who allegedly died in the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.  I wouldn't be surprised if he had a great-aunt on the Titanic and also the Lusitania.  There's a tweet where he calls himself "biracial," so he may be one of Herschel Walker's stray sons.  And he may not even be an American citizen, which is the only thing that might keep him from joining the Republican caucus.  Tune in tomorrow for The Further Adventures of Congressman Munchausen.

Elsewhere in the party of Honest Abe, Kristi Noem just has to run for president.  The South Dakota governor's staff gave her a Pulsefire LRT flamethrower for Christmas and she was like a kid, proudly showing off by burning some rubbish.  Meanwhile on the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Sioux reservations people were burning other things to keep warm when a blizzard stopped propane deliveries and firewood ran out.  A twelve-year-old girl died because she did not receive medical treatment.  But is that a cool present or what?

Former fake Democrat Tulsi Gabbard now works for fake news outlet Fox News, where she interviewed George Santos and acted outraged by his outrageous lies.  "Do you have no shame?" she asked.  This displeased Margie Greene, who doesn't like it when people use words she has to look up, like "shame."  (Actually she makes her staff do it.)  She thinks Santos deserves "grace" for all the apologizing and clarifying he's doing night and day.  You two discuss it, I have to make more popcorn.


 Last month Officer Gregory Damon apparently found it necessary to drag this handcuffed woman across the floor of the Orient Road Jail in Tampa.  To be fair, she refused to get out of his car and said, "I want you to drag me," no doubt planning a future lawsuit.  Officer Damon was there to serve and protect, so he obliged.  And now he's been fired.  Are there no police unions?  Are there no lawyers?

Never mind.  I'm sure Governissimo DeSantis will find a place for Damon, just as he did for Jared Smith.  Smith was voted out as a Hillsborough County judge when he ruled a teenager could not get an abortion because her parents disapproved and her grades were too low.  Now he's on the brand-new Sixth District Court of Appeal, where he can continue to share his wisdom.  Maybe Damon would like to be the governissimo's head of security and leave the actual dragging to his staff.

Another woman has written something Trump can spend the rest of the year screaming about.  Carol Leonnig's I Alone Can Fix It:  Donald J. Trump's Catastrophic Final Year (written with Philip Rucker) picks up where her history of the Secret Service ended.   Many people are saying that Joe Biden does not trust the agents detailed to protect him and is careful what he says within earshot of them.  How could this be?  Maybe the old man is a lot sharper than his foes, and even some of his friends, give him credit for.  Leonnig says too many of them are "very, very close" to the would-be usurper, especially their boss Anthony Ornato.  There are questions about the "accident" involving Vice-President Harris's motorcade in October and even about an agent's claim to have been bitten by Biden's dog Major.  On MSNBC Leonnig confirmed the story of Mike Pence's suspicions on January 6 and refusal to get into the car lest his "protectors" prevent him from completing the electoral count.  The necessary housecleaning would have to be done by the Department of Homeland Security, which explains why the Trumpers want to keep Alejandro Mayorkas busy with a bullshit impeachment.

Brazil and much of the earth is in mourning today.  Pele has died at age 82.  Cancer.



Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Tragic circumstances

 Someone should bring out a set of Russian oligarch trading cards listing the cause of death.  Today's entry is the Sausage King of Vladimir, Pavel Antov, who apparently fell was pushed exited the window of a hotel in Rayagada, India.  Three days earlier his traveling companion Vladimir Budanov had died ("of a stroke") and the official story is that Antov was so depressed he killed himself.  Last June Antov described a bombing in Kyiv as "terror," a statement he later retracted.  Too late.

George Santos continues to explain himself in an interview with the New York Post, covering early misadventures and "embellishments" like passing stolen checks in Brazil.  "I never claimed to be Jewish.  I am Catholic.  Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background I said I was 'Jew-ish.'"  I doubt Santos has heard of the 1961 revue Beyond the Fringe, where Jonathan Miller had a slightly different take:

Not the whole hog.

The one bright spot about covid is, you can see it coming.  It started in China and China is still a good place to watch if you want to know the future.  China, where lockdowns recently provoked widespread demonstrations -- something hardly thought possible -- has stopped publishing daily covid figures because everyone knows the numbers are much higher than they like to admit.  I don't know what wave this is or what Greek letter has been assigned to it, but you can bet your last yuan it's coming this way.  That means more madness about masks, vaccines and previously unheard-of quack cures, just in time for the more squirrely members of what promises to be the loopiest Congress in decades to cook up fresh complaints about Anthony Fauci, his successor, the NIH, the AMA and every pharmaceutical company that broke records developing a vaccine.  Will be wild.

 Back in Asia, countries as baffled as we are while away the time and distract their people with assorted hijinks.  South Korea fired "warning shots" at the North after its drones crossed into their territory.  China taunted Taiwan with a display of 71 warplanes and seven ships.  In polyglot India Prime Minister Modi's nationalist government is angering a lot of people as it moves closer to declaring Hindi the sole national language.  And in Japan they're dealing with unusually heavy snow.

It's the time for those year-end articles about who died, who ceased to be as rich/important as before, who did goofy or glorious or dishonorable things.  The Guardian started the week by revisiting 2022's notable cheating scandals.  I knew about chess, Irish dance, poker and the weighted walleyes.  I did not know about cornhole (beanbag to you).  That we know about these indecencies -- and there are others -- means they didn't succeed.  Calvin Ridley placed a $1,500 bet on his team, the Atlanta Falcons, to win, and drew a season-long suspension which cost him $11 million.  One day Georgia Republicans will run him for the Senate.

And then there's Trump.  Trump is unhappy.  He wittily calls the omnibus spending bill an "OMINOUS bill" and suggests the Democrats have "something really big" on Mitch McConnell because he refused to stop it, again referring to his wife as "Coco Chow."   (He hasn't posted about "Kung Flu" or "Jina" lately and the racism was building up in his colon.)  Trump was displeased with the article that resulted from the interview he gave Olivia Nuzzi for New York Magazine.  She called him sad and lonely and he called her "a shaky & unattractive wack job...dumb as a rock" -- higher praise no writer could imagine.  He insists Ivanka and What's His Name did not decline to join his "campaign"; it was he who "FIRED THEM BEFORE THEY COULD BEG TO HELP...FOR THEIR OWN GOOD."  Politics is too nasty for such innocents.  Now he can eat with Nazis and not worry about what that side of the family thinks.  Oh, and this is priceless:  The story of the isolated and unloved old man dying alone in his Florida retreat finally made Citizen Kane unbearable, despite its inspired response to electoral loss ("KANE ELECTED GOVERNOR" vs "FRAUD AT POLLS!").  Now his favorite movie is Sunset Boulevard.  He's still big, it's the country that got small.  

Olivia Nuzzi's article is here.  Read it before you pity him based on that photograph.

Monday, December 26, 2022

The days dwindle down

I think I understand Jack Smith's strategy.  He's going to hang fire while Trump grows progressively madder and more unhinged.  And based on this outburst, it's working.



Anyway, there are disturbances everywhere.  After President Zelensky's speech to Congress Lindsey Graham observed, "How does this war end?  When Russia breaks and they take Putin out."  He has called for Putin's assassination before but this time the fish stick prince would not have it:  "You don't want to play shrink and wonder about...what emptiness at the core of Lindsey Graham's personal life causes him to identify so strongly with a country he's not a citizen of," said Tucker Carlson.  That angered Newsmax's Eric Bolling:  "Putin's press secretary" owes Graham "an apology" for dropping hints about his personal life, which even South Carolina voters have decided they don't care about.  Besides, mocking Graham's presumed orientation is the job of "Radical Left Marxists" like Mock Paper Scissors, although lately they've stopped portraying the "Senatorette" as Scarlett O'Hara.  For the record, I don't approve.

Governor Paresis sent three busloads of asylum seekers from Texas to frigid Washington, some still dressed for Venezuela, with orders to drop them off at Kamala Harris's official residence.  Meanwhile ERCOT, Texas's third world power grid, is struggling to keep up with demand during the unusual cold snap.  No airport sightings of Ted Cruz as yet -- perhaps he invested in a generator this year.

Update your Santos file.  The US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York has been asked to investigate the latest and most serious allegations against the Congressman-elect, including voter fraud due to falsely listed residency, campaign money from Russian oligarchs, lies on his FEC disclosures and spending campaign funds on "lavish travel and personal use."  But there are no dick pics on his laptop so it's all good, right, Whoever the New Speaker Is?

Fourteen thousand customers in Pierce County, Washington, greeted Christmas morning without electricity after three substations were vandalized.  No one has been arrested yet.

Modestly introducing itself as "America's longest-standing civil rights organization" the NRA hoped "Santa brought you all the guns and ammo."  They are incapable of shame, even after Uvalde.

Enjoy Dave Barry's year in review without getting paywalled by the Miami Herald.  His description of the "improvements" to Major League Baseball is only a little exaggerated.

It's never too late for a Red Peters Christmas:


Saturday, December 24, 2022

Are you merry and bright?

 The House passed the Veteran Service Recognition Act, making it easier for non-citizens who volunteer to fight our wars (among other dirty jobs) to avoid deportation when the military is done with them.  Chuck Schumer had better get it through the Senate next week, or we're going to have words.

Yay!  The World Cup is over.

Clay Higgins (R-LA) was one of a line of dim bulbs denouncing the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill which passed the House.  He had to be told that it includes his own veterans bill.  Clay don't read good.  The bill also reforms the 1887 Electoral Count Act, so Kamala Harris can't throw out the real electors and accept others in January 2025.  And you just know she would.

This is the hundredth anniversary of The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.  Along with Ulysses and The Waste Land it makes 1922 a signal year in world literature.

I understand Junior Trump regaled his fellow snow divers with a semi-pornographic Photoshop of Volodymyr Zelensky and Nancy Pelosi.  Sorry, I don't have a link.  Try Breitbart.

Instead of paying up, Alex Jones chose to stash his assets and file bankruptcy.  He's spending the holidays in court having delightful exchanges like this:  "Q.  Could you spell your middle name?  A.  You guys know what my name is.  It's on the record.  Q.  I'm just asking for the court reporter.  A. E-M...I just so stressed out I can't even spell it for you."  The Glen Beck/Bret Kavanaugh waterworks can't be far behind.

"I know he will continue to be a leader in our party for years to come," declared Rick Scott.  He was describing Herschel Walker and he's probably right.  I suddenly find myself thinking of Toro Moreno in The Harder They Fall.  

I always open my presents on Christmas morning and there had better be a copy of The January 6 Report this year.  Meanwhile I'm making do with the excerpts that show up online, like this:  Trump considered calling up 10,000 (or maybe 20,000) National Guard troops on Putsch day -- to protect him from left-wing terrorists as he marched to the Capitol with his followers.  Christopher Miller, acting secretary of defense, discouraged this for some reason.  

It's not regifting when it was stolen in the first place:  Germany has begun returning its Benin bronzes to Nigeria more than a century after they were looted by Brits and sold on.  Many more are held by the British Museum, which is more reluctant to return its pelf.  Pope Francis is returning three sections of the Parthenon, long held in the Vatican Museums, to Greece.  No word on the so-called Elgin Marbles.

Enjoy this drawing by Hablot Knight Brown ("Phiz") for Dickens ("Boz").  It's astonishing how much Marley resembles Leo G. Carroll from the 1938 film.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

This is my shocked face

 Yesterday we were scratching our heads as we tried to figure out why the Trump Treasury Department somehow failed to audit the Trump tax returns as required by law.  This might be a clue:  Two years ago CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) discovered that IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, another Trump hire, makes between $100,000 and $200,000 a year from his rental properties at Trump Waikiki Resort in Hawaii.  He not only forgot to audit the boss, he forgot to disclose this information when appointed.  The River Lethe comes right up to the back door of the Treasury Department.

Just as Georgians say, "Oh lordy, not another runoff," Arizonans have begun to mutter, "How much more of this election fuckery do we have to pay for?"  The indefatigable Kari Lake is suing on ten points of "Unfair!" of which the judge has already dismissed eight.  Today she called Clay Parikh, one of Pillow Mike's crew of election deniers, as an "expert witness" on the voting machines in Maricopa County, and he eventually admitted that the ballots were counted despite being printed the wrong size.  Once the county's attorney got him to say Lindell had paid him to speak at another event, it was over.

Coincidentally a case of actual election fraud has come to light in Georgia.  Rep. Drew Ferguson (R) appears to have voted illegally three times this year (primary, general and Senate runoff) using his previous address.  Ferguson didn't sign the letter objecting to the certification of Biden's election, but he did join the lawsuit from Texas officials which even this Supreme Court wouldn't consider.

Could Congressman-elect George Santos (R-NY) really be Keyser Soze?  Or George Kaplan, the man everybody thinks is Cary Grant in North By Northwest?  Everything about his life appears to be fiction, and today a new low was reached.  Santos's biography claims his grandparents "fled Jewish persecution in Ukraine...during World War II."  According to the Forward, records show that they were born in Brazil before the war.  Now why would a man running for office on Long Island invent a phony Holocaust heritage?  It's a conundrum.

What kind of world leader insults America by showing up at the White House without a suit and a tie?

An "ungrateful international welfare queen" (Junior Trump).  An "uppity foreigner...wearing the Fetterman look" (Charlie  Kirk).  A "grifting leech" (Matt Walsh).  A "Ukrainian strip club manager" who's "waging a war against Christianity" (Tucker Carlson).  By now you've guessed they weren't talking about Churchill in 1941.  Josh Hammer, whatever else he is, is "personally DONE with the Ukraine gravy train."  All those people in Bucha burying one another in mass graves -- crisis actors living large on the hard-earned money of the American taxpayer.  Benny Johnson (ditto) let loose with "track suit wearing eastern european con-man mafia," which doesn't even make sense.

Maybe it's a shrewd bit of costuming, but it's not a track suit.  It's what soldiers wear.  I'm not surprised these boys can't recognize it.  They think soldiers dress like this:

Sorry about that.  I also have to post this, just for the expression on Zelensky's face:

We couldn't believe it either, sir.  Slava Ukrayini!

Remember all the fashion criticism every time Gym Jordan walks in with his jacket over his shoulder.  ("Can somebody tell me how to put this on?")

Postscript:  Joe Biden made a Christmas-themed speech on joy, hope, love, peace, kindness, you know, the usual.  It was about as political as the speech King Charles will make on Sunday.  Except at the end, HM won't have reporters yelling questions.  

Go ahead.  Ask Andrew Bates why the President didn't take questions.  I already know his answer.



Wednesday, December 21, 2022

It's beginning to look a lot like 1984

 Kelly Conlon, her daughter and some other Girl Scouts came into Manhattan to see the Radio City Christmas show.  It did not go well.

"Woman with long dark hair and a gray scarf," an unseen voice intoned, and Conlon was pulled out of line.  She had triggered the facial recognition system.  A functionary demanded ID but already seemed to know who she was.  Conlon works for a law firm which is pursuing a personal injury case against MSG Entertainment, operator of the Music Hall.  As such, she is forbidden to enter the theater.  At least her daughter was admitted.

These are the Rockettes.  They are not actual members of the military.  For now.

President Zelensky is meeting President Biden in the White House at this hour.  Among other things, they are discussing the $44 billion and the Patriot Missiles the US is sending Ukraine.  Afterwards, they may share a grim laugh over this story in Business Insider about a Russian tank commander in Zaporizhzhia who deliberately fired on a Russian national guard checkpoint (according to a Russian drone operator who says he witnessed it).  Apparently the regular army despises the Rosgvardia, which reports directly to Putin.  I understand there was similar tension between the Red Army and the NKVD political units, not to mention the Wehrmacht and the SS.

This evening Zelensky will address a joint session of Congress.  Trumpanzees who plan to heckle are advised that he was a successful comedian before entering politics.

Speaking of comedy, the Trump White House had an ethics lawyer named Stefan Passantino who seems to have suborned perjury.  Thank you, I'm here all week!  Oh, you need more?  Passantino was assigned to represent Cassidy Hutchinson as she gave evidence to the House Select Committee and told her, "They don't know what you know.  They don't know that you can recall some of these things.  So you saying 'I don't recall' is an entirely acceptable response to this."  Even at twenty-six Hutchinson knew that omerta is not the correct response when under oath, so she found her own lawyer.  Her testimony made for gripping television and infuriated Trump, which is a good day's work.  

All right, strap in:  Mike Lindell is going to bat for Charlie Crist.  According to Pillow Man's algorithms, Ron DeSantis won too big in Miami-Dade County.  Must be fraud!  "I don't believe it.  So it's just going to show everybody -- just like we always tell you about Democrats where they stole their elections -- I'm going to find out if Dade County [sic] -- what happened there."  He wonders "if there was problems with the election, things with the machine or whatever."  Mike really hates machines.  Dominion machines are suing him for $1.5 billion and he wants to melt down all the machines into prison bars, presumably silicon ones. good!  DeSantis bad for Trump!  This time there's method to his madness, but not much.

Noted manhood experts Josh "Running Man" Hawley and Tucker "Testicle Tanner" Carlson met in Tucker's man-cave to share advice on how to "rebel against liberal culture."  All you have to do is swear off porn and start a family.  Breed, white men, breed!  She can't have an abortion and soon she won't be allowed contraception either.  There's never been a better time to drug her and take her to your cabin.

Here they come!  After being "under audit" since roughly the invasion of Grenada, Trump's tax returns have been released by the House Ways and Means Committee.  Oh, look!  Trump's Treasury Department forgot to perform mandatory audits of Trump in 2017 and 2018 because they were busy auditing James Comey and Andrew McCabe.  The real outrage of 2020 was the joint-filing Trumps paying no federal income tax and claiming a refund of $5.47 million.  But that just proves how smart he is, right?

How's this for pornography?


Trump supporters (most recently Hugh Hewitt) have been pushing what they call the Agnew Option as a way to avoid "political and civil chaos" by having Trump agree to quit politics and the Justice Department to stop "persecuting" him.  Even Hewitt has to admit that the worst criminal in American history would never admit to any wrongdoing, even a sort of nolo contendere.  Besides, Agnew resigned the vice-presidency, clearing the way for Nixon's removal.  No matter what his flunkeys tell him, Trump has no office to resign.  Agnew wrote a six-figure check to the state of Maryland and paid a fine for cheating on his taxes.  Trump stole tens of millions and endangered everyone in this country.  And if he promised never to run for office again, who could hold him to it?  Above all, he's a liar.  Also, there's the little matter of insurrection, which Hewitt doesn't believe.  A failed coup is a rehearsal.

What do you say, Mr. Smith?  Probation and a fine?

Mr. Smith says naaaah.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

On a personal note

 It is still four days until Festivus, but I don't think anyone appreciates how hard I have to work to find important, relevant things to write about.  I look through the official press and this is what I'm given:

Xavier M. Babudar was arrested in Bixby, Oklahoma, for allegedly robbing the Tulsa Teachers Credit Union while dressed as a wolf.  Babudar, better known as ChiefsAholic for his devotion to the Kansas City Chiefs, usually attends games in costume, so he was surprisingly easy to recognize.  There is no picture of this mastermind dressed as a wolf.  

Kate Winslet says she was "fat-shamed" over her role in Titanic twenty-five years ago.  Unquestionably the pinnacle of white-people problems?

No, this is:  Boris Becker complains that he was "just a number" in the UK prison where he served eight months for bankruptcy-related crimes.  "They don't give a shit who you are."  Imagine.

Sarah Lloyd-Jones of Wales has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of her daughter Kaylea Titford, by allowing her to become obese.  Kaylea was immobile due to spina bifida.  Her father goes on trial next year.  Evidently no physician was involved with this family.

Bluebell, a five-year-old Labrador mix, was supposed to travel with her people from London to Nashville, but British Airways flew her to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, instead.  After sixty-three hours she finally arrived in Tennessee completely traumatized.  

Rep.-elect George Santos (R-NY) is already whining that he was "smeared" by the New York Times when they reported some of his more egregious lies.  He should fit right in, as he is already an election denier about his 2020 defeat.  

"At this time of year we're all thinking about the most important things in our lives:  our faith, our family," says Mike Pence.  He hopes the Justice Department won't indict Trump because -- it's Christmas!  Peace on earth, good will to seditious racist traitors.

What does Bob Dylan like to watch on television?  "I never watch anything foul-smelling or evil.  Nothing disgusting, nothing dog-ass."  He recently binged Coronation Street, Father Brown and early Twilight Zone.  So now we know that.

This is Mat Ishbia, who apparently is about to purchase the Phoenix Mercury and Phoenix Suns.  From J.P. Morgan to Aristotle Onassis to Elon Musk, why do rich men have such unfortunate faces?

"bomb cyclone" is headed this way with life-threatening cold, bitter wind chills, power outages and major travel disruptions.  But at least we won't have to listen to local news idiots ask, "Will we have a white Christmas?"  The NWS office in Buffalo calls it "a once-in-a-generation storm system," which is good considering they just had one.  The Bills had to play a November 20 home game in Detroit.

Two steps forward, half a million steps back:  the Taliban released two "detained" Americans and kicked all women and girls out of universities in Afghanistan.

Beverly Roberts, 85, and Mary Alston, 61, were convicted of criminal trespass and disorderly conduct in Wetumpka, Alabama.  These two monsters trap stray and feral cats on public land, then feed them and have them neutered or spayed.  Their arrest required three police cars and handcuffs.  Alabama's long nightmare of crime is over.

But in Escambia, Florida, the struggle goes on.  A high school English teacher named Vicki Baggett wants 150 books removed from school libraries because they are pornographic (Slaughterhouse Five) or encourage "race-baiting."  In the second category she places When Wilma Rudolph Played Basketball, a life of the Olympic gold medalist for young children which traces her recovery from polio to become a track and field star.  Think how relevant it will be when Florida makes polio vaccine optional!  Any day now.


Monday, December 19, 2022

Never mind

 Kyrsten Sinema is simplifying her life.  First she shucked off the Democratic Party and now she is selling her clothes and shoes on Facebook.  Sinema would be the tacky story of the week if Trump weren't peddling cards that no eight-year-old would buy if they came with bubble gum.  I guess $174,000 plus gratuities from lobbyists doesn't go as far as it used to.

As his splendid little war closes in on its 300th day, Putin is in Belarus to drop off some Christmas presents and chat up his fellow dictator Lukashenko.  Usually aggressors line up allies before the war starts.  It's not like he's new at this.

The quest to invent catchy acronyms for legislation has jumped the shark with Mike Lee's SCREEN Act (Shielding Children's Retinas from Egregious Exposure on the Net).  The Utah Republican and Mormon (URM) is troubled by all the porn and wants sites to demand the user's age, and what fourteen-year-old would lie about their age just to see some boobs?  But there's more:  Lee has another bill for the grown-ups which would ban any content which "taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest in nudity, sex or excretion" and "depicts, describes or represents actual or simulated sexual acts with the objective intent to arouse, titillate or gratify the sexual desires of a person."  At least Lee hasn't blamed mass shootings on porn.  He believes those are caused by "fatherlessness."

Trump spent the weekend trying to rouse his flying monkeys:  "Our Country is SICK inside, very much like a person dying of Cancer.  The Crooked FBI, the so-called Department of 'Justice' and 'Intelligence,' all parts of the Democrat Party and System, is the Cancer.  These Weaponized Thugs and Tyrants must be dealt with, or our once great and beautiful Country will die!!!"  Not only has the House Select Committee not been "dealt with," they're about to hold a televised hearing to announce their criminal recommendations.   The "orange-covered mud devil" (Tony Kushner) will not be pleased.

Insurrectionist Edward Kelley didn't wait to be asked.  He and his buddy Austin Carter had plans to attack the FBI office in Knoxville and kill the agents who investigated Kelley.  The patriots now face a variety of federal charges.

An article in today's Washington Post begs to be a novel co-written by Hunter S. Thompson and Joseph Heller.  Since that isn't going to happen, here's a particularly sad quote:  "Natalie Harp...often accompanies Trump on his daily golf outings, riding the course in a golf cart equipped with a laptop and sometimes a printer to show him uplifting news articles, online posts or other materials."  They've built him a replica Oval Office described as "like a Barbie Dream House miniature."  There is so much White House loot scattered over storage lockers and offices from Crystal City, Virginia, to West Palm Beach that any spy who didn't come home with an armful of classified documents should have been shot by his or her government.

Benjamin Netanyahu was mildly critical of Trump for dining with someone who had promised to "go death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE" but enraged by a New York Times editorial critical of his probable incoming government.  He accused the paper of "burying the Holocaust for years on its back pages and demonizing Israel for decades on its front pages," continuing the practice of conflating Israel with all Jews everywhere.  (It didn't help that a lot of people thought the layout of the crossword resembled a swastika -- "a hidden Happy Chanukah message?" asked city councilman Kalman Yeger.)  Those who say Trump has done no "campaign events" since his dispiriting ballroom announcement have not noticed the ovation he got Friday from some Orthodox Jews who apparently agree that he's " the best ally you've ever had."  It didn't hurt that the President's Conference of Torah Umesorah was held at his Doral resort, and that he forgot to mention Kanye and...Nick?  Nick who?

Fox News Digital (aren't most of their fans too old for computers?) questioned the White House about a rumor that queer activists had been appointed to an HIV advisory council, which sounds eminently sensible.  Deputy press secretary Bates responded thus, and I finally know what I want for Festivus.

The incoming Republican Congressman from New York, George Santos, appears to have lied about everything but his shoe size.  Didn't the Democrats do any research on this Trump-in-the-making?

"To watch these evil bastards...steal this in broad daylight, and if they think they are going to get away with it, they messed with the wrong bitch."  That was "Governor" Kari Lake addressing the Log Cabin Republican holiday gathering at "President" Trump's place.  "I know you can identify as anything you want," she went on.  "I identify as a proud election-denying deplorable...and my pronouns are, 'I won.'"  Really, grammar school teachers, do a better job.  Then she led a chorus of "Over the Rainbow" to thank Joe Biden for signing the Respect for Marriage Act -- I'm joking, of course, wrong room.

If I can't have a Thompson-Heller novel I want a dramatization of The Mark Meadows Texts, with Angela Lansbury as Ginni Thomas...what?  Damn!



Saturday, December 17, 2022

Another crisis


Where to begin?  I'm pretty sure children don't shop for toothbrushes.  It's hard enough getting them to use toothbrushes.  In Walmart they head straight for the toys, followed by candy and then goldfish.  I don't know why.  If an adult drags them to the dentifrice aisle they're too busy whining to notice the "sex toys being sold openly" unless the adult lingers too long over them.  Then the small ones may grab a butt plug and put it in the cart, especially if there is glitter on the package.  This can be rectified -- make that "sorted out" -- at the register.

Many dildo-shaped items -- travel toothbrushes, lipstick, deodorant, beef jerky, marking pens, candy tubes, slide whistles, small flashlights, vape pens, cigarette lighters -- are also sold openly.  If the people of Dalton, Georgia, are having trouble identifying them, it may not be Walmart's fault.

"Grooming" is shampoo, razor blades, cold cream, mouthwash, etc.  They may call it "Health and Beauty Aids."  Ask one of the "customer hosts," readily identifiable by their humiliating uniforms and the fact that they are still working in their seventies.  

I hope this helps, Congresswoman.  You may also want to consider cutting back on the HRT.  Hot flashes are part of life and synthetic estrogen is not something to fool around with.  One day everything looks like a dildo, the next day you're shouting through mail slots and kicking people on the Capitol steps.  

You have a blessed Christmas now.

B. Sky

Friday, December 16, 2022

A long, strange week

There's a joke about a boy whose grandmother takes him to the beach.  He swims out too far and gets caught in a riptide.  A lifeguard dashes into the sea, swims to the boy just as he's going down and pulls him to safety, depositing him at his nana's feet before collapsing on the sand.  The woman looks down and says, "He had a hat."

Poor Joe Biden.  He gets an American released from Russian abductors and it's the wrong American.  His DHS stops 14,000 pounds of fentanyl at the border and half-wits want to impeach Secretary Mayorkas because more of it must have gotten through, probably, it's just science.  He gets Sam Bankman-Fried (the Bernie Madoff of imaginary money) extradited from the Bahamas and all anyone wants to talk about is how much money he gave the Democrats.  He throws a swell party to sign the Respect for Marriage Act and disabled people complain that they were left out.  You can't please everyone.

I don't care.  It's Beethoven's 252nd birthday and I want to think about good stuff.

At the Capitol they unveiled the 2014 portrait of Nancy Pelosi by Ronald Sherr.  At the same time, the House approved legislation to remove the bust of Roger Taney from the Old Supreme Court Chamber and replace it with one of Thurgood Marshall.  Now, where exactly is the dustbin of history?

Without a shred of irony, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) tried to block a bill that would allow Puerto Rico a binding referendum on statehood:  "How does it benefit America to admit a state that would be the most indebted, uneducated, poorest and least employed state in the nation?"  Easy.  We'll jettison Mississippi.  This is the party of Trump ("I love the poorly educated!"), Walker ("I don't know what a pronoun is"), Greene ("grown in peachtree dishes"), Bush ("Is your children learning?"), Quayle ("What a waste it is to lose one's mind.  Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful.  How true that is"), etc., etc.  

What kind of law firm sues a client for $193,296.85?  One that represented Madison Cawthorn in the many fine messes he managed to get into during his single term in Congress.  Let's see, how many CPAC gigs, Bannon guest shots and Masked Singer appearances does that come to?  Or he could just hit the GoFundMe trail.  I think I have eighty-five cents somewhere...

Despite derision and condemnation from such wokesters as Michael Flynn, Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, the Trump make-pretend cards "sold out" yesterday, netting him a cool million.  (Peter Thiel?  Probably.)  Over at Lawyers Guns & Money they're calling it Barnum-Mencken Syndrome though even they would be stunned.  I also like Stephen Colbert's "Gropemon."  Anyone who came up with the $99 is automatically entered in some sort of lottery for valuable prizes like lunch at the Mar, dinner at the Mar, a round of golf at the Mar and a lifetime of fundraising emails from MAGA headquarters.  (Transportation and lodging not included.)

Limited time offer.


Thursday, December 15, 2022

How the grift stole Christmas

 That's it?

That's the big unveiling?  Trading cards?  Poorly made ones?

For $99 you get a digital trading card you can stare at.  You don't even get to be in his next cabinet.  Or a Special Senior Adviser to replace the faithless Ivanka.  Or a plus-one-nazi dinner at the Mar.

When Trump teased this Yuge Announcement I was really hoping it would include the words "pancreatic cancer."  It's rarely diagnosed in early stages.  I assume Trump's doctors are no more impressive than his lawyers.  Of course, given his diet, colon cancer is more likely, but I'm always chasing rainbows.  Pancreatic cancer took Alan Rickman, John Lewis and Alex Trebek.  Pancreatic cancer owes us one.

As a member of Spinal Tap astutely observed, "There's a fine line between clever and stupid."  The consensus is that this is Stupid.  Some of the faithful can't believe it's not a Liberal Plot to make Trump look like an idiot.  Over on CNN Trump-whisperer Maggie Haberman couldn't understand why he's "done no events" since the locked-doors announcement.  Kaitlan Collins reported hearing "screams from Mar a Lago" over DeSantis's poll numbers and Don Lemon crowed, "I feel like kind of who cares?  Out of sight, out of mind."  Rallies are expensive when you don't have the government providing transportation and security, especially when cities you ripped off in the past are demanding payment up front.  

And there's the little matter of impending indictments.  Was that "low-energy" announcement event just a ploy to evade the law a little longer?  Is it working?  Mr. Smith?


  In normal times I wouldn't wish cancer on anyone.  The times have changed me, not for the better.  

Here they are.  You have been warned.


Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Wilkommen, bienvenu, welcome


This is Edward Hyde, third Earl of Clarendon, colonial governor of New York and New Jersey from 1701 to 1708.  He was a cousin of Queen Anne and liked to dress to emphasize their resemblance.  And possibly for other reasons, who knows?  I just want all the loons and fools at Fox News and environs to know that drag has a long history which predates the guys in powdered wigs and tight, shiny pants declaring independence.  

Way before this guy, too.  (I like this picture because it shows Rudy's escort's damaged scalp.)  The dress is tacky and the wig is terrible, but you can tell he really worked on the makeup.

Joe Biden, who is president because he got millions more votes than the hair weave victim, had a ceremony at the White House to sign the Respect for Marriage Act.  Since that might not trigger the haters sufficiently, he also ordered that the White House display the rainbow colors and invited actual DRAG QUEENS to witness the signing.  The fabulous ones have found themselves in the front lines in the battle for a sane and inclusive nation and Joe felt they deserved some recognition at the highest level.  And it worked!  The haters lost their minds.  Well done, Mr. President.

I love it when they show off their knowledge of history.  "This is an effort to degrade the country and make it into a joke.  These are people striding through hallways that once were the work area of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and FDR."  Not to mention Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Donald Trump.  Have you ever asked yourself why James Buchanan never married?  Many people have speculated.  But good for you, Tuckoo, you can name three presidents, two of them carved into a mountain in South Dakota.  Carlson talks about drag queens the way people like him used to talk about Black Americans, as if they were not fully human.  He can't quite get away with that anymore but he still needs someone to be the Other. 

"Here's a drag show!  Welcome to Weimar!"  Also Baby Tuckoo, who studied German history mostly by watching Cabaret and Hogan's Heroes.  I don't mind living in a Weimar republic, I only worry about what might come next.  Tucker of the tan testicles had a guest who posited that we're in "the late stages of pagan Rome" with nothing to look forward to but the persecution of Christians.  First Starbucks refuses to put Baby Jesus on its holiday cups and pretty soon evangelicals are fighting RuPaul in the Coliseum.  And then:  "SEXUAL MUTILATION OF CHILDREN!"  Don't you wish your mind worked like that, i.e., not at all?  First Biden dances to "Born This Way" and pretty soon he's limiting the right of "any serious person of faith" (Laura Ingraham) to be a bigoted jerk.  Why didn't Mark Meadows listen when those Republicans implored him to have Trump declare "marshall law"?  We're finished as a country.


Cyndi Lauper.  In the place where Pablo Casals played Bach.  I just can't.  

Monday, December 12, 2022

Need more information

 It's Monday and I'm having more trouble than usual making sense of the world as filtered through the internets.  

In a setback for fans of media fluffing, Vladimir Putin has cancelled his annual press conference.  That means we won't see Russian "reporters" firing nerf ball questions about his favorite breakfast menu or his vacation plans or why Mother Russia is the happiest place on earth.  I get it.  Towards the end Lyndon Johnson didn't want to hear the word "Vietnam" either.

Departing Arizona governor Doug Ducey doesn't appear on lists of the most rabid Rightzis, but that may change after his final stunt:  Erecting a "wall" of derelict shipping containers at the Mexican border in violation of all sorts of federal and tribal laws.  He's blowing at least $95 million on this project, uglifying the national forest known as the Roosevelt Reservation and endangering migratory species, not to mention a firefighting agreement with Mexico.  That's a lot of spite for something that will have to be demolished in a few weeks.  But it makes a better symbol for his party than that tired old elephant.

Speaking of beasts, Empty Greene ventured into enemy territory (Manhattan) to tell some fascist gathering that if she and Steve Bannon had organized the January 6 coup it would have succeeded 'cause they "would've been armed."  To her this is proof that the whole thing was FALSE FLAG.  "A bunch of conservatives, Second Amendment supporters, went in the Capitol without guns and they think we organized that?  I don't think so!"  Silly libs, and just wait till she and her Subcommittee on How the Election Was Rigged start investigating how it was all Nancy Pelosi's fault.  Because the Democrats wanted to prevent the certification -- no, wait, that doesn't quite -- hey, look, a Black lesbian got ransomed instead of a MARINE!  Anyway, Margie found time for a little Christmas shopping in the big city.  We know because she reported to the crowd, "You can pick up a butt plug or a dildo at Target and CVS nowadays."  In Georgia you have to go to Home Depot.

Speaking of Paul Whelan, Trump spent the weekend ranting about "a stupid and unpatriotic embarrassment for the USA!" and how he could easily have effected his release, probably without even exchanging anyone, just on the basis of his negotiating skills.  Yeah, not so much, says former White House national security official Fiona Hill.  In her recollection Trump was "not particularly interested" in the Whelan case.  It was probably one of the days he spent obsessively tweeting about Rosie O'Donnell or how many times he had to flush to get official documents down.

Karen Bass was sworn in as the first female mayor of Los Angeles this morning, facing a daunting list of problems starting with homelessness.  Not everyone has trouble paying the rent, however -- some Angelenos shell out $18 for a loaf of Japanese white bread called shokupan when they can find it; the stuff sells out in minutes.  (Scalpers sell it for up to $33.)  "Orgasmic" it may be, but bread is bread.  White bread doubly so.

Ever since the ride-sharing services began there have been hair-raising stories of people being raped, assaulted and even murdered by Lyft and Uber drivers.  But did you know that some drivers use the time to proselytize to their captive audiences?  Driver/pastor Kenneth Drayton brags that his priority is to "introduce passengers to Christ."  How about introducing me to the airport on time?  You should be able to specify a driver who is a Jain -- they don't even accept converts much less seek them out.

The Keystone XL Pipeline didn't get built but the existing Keystone Pipeline is bad enough.  Last week it leaked 14,000 barrels of sludgy oil onto Kansas and Nebraska in time for cold weather to make cleanup even harder.  TC Energy assured people there was no threat to drinking water -- as long as it comes out of the faucet you can drink it.  

This just in:  Killer Kyle Rittenhouse says people need to start being held accountable.  See?

That's on Twitter, so you know it's true.  Accountable for what?  For getting your mom to drive you to another state so you can practice killing people?  Of course not.  He wants money from his fans so he can sue people who insist on calling him a murderer when everyone knows he was ACQUITTED!  Poor Kyle.  It reminds me of D.W. Griffith following up The Birth of a Nation with a movie about intolerance called Intolerance.  Not racial intolerance, silly, but the kind of intolerance suffered through the ages by people like Jesus Christ and D.W. Griffith.   (Some people thought his 1915 masterpiece was kinda racist.  In some cities it was actually censored.)  When you have that kind of moral blind spot you probably shouldn't own a gun or a movie camera.  

Just when I think I'm out they pull me back in!  Like the rest of my generation I went through a period of obsessing about the assassination of John F. Kennedy and all the inconsistencies of the Authorized Version before one day saying, "You know what?  I don't care why a man in Texas would send off to Chicago for a crummy bolt-action Italian war surplus rifle.  We'll never get to the bottom of this.  I need to buy some clothes and look for work."  Next week is the deadline set by President Biden for the release of all remaining records held by government agencies, and a researcher named Jefferson Morley says there is evidence in there of a CIA-Oswald connection.  Is it possible we'll finally know what happened six decades ago?  Or will it only lead to more conspiracy theories?  

...When you believe you will believe it heart and soul, that you were born and you grow old and never know...    

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Nothing to see here


We could have seen it coming -- Arizona losers Kari Lake (governor), Mark Finchem (secretary of state) and Abe Hamadeh (attorney general) are contesting the results of the election.   First to elude his keepers and hit the Twitter "Fund me!" trail is Finchem, who's sure George Soros stole all the votes.  "Soros controls the press.  Soros controls Hobbs.  Soros controls the affiliates.  Soros controls the recorder.  Soros controls the County supervisors.  Soros controls the sheriff.  It is time we stand up to Soros and take back Arizona."  Soros must have been distracted by something when Republican Kimberly Yee won state treasurer.  It's a lot of skullduggery for a man of 92.

In Pennsylvania, loser Doug Mastriano is yelling at clouds, or rather chemtrails which suspiciously appear every day over his house, part of a plot (probably Soros again) to spray mind-controlling drugs from planes.  They won't get him, though.  He wears his lead-lined MAGA hat even in the shower.

If you go down in the woods of the Minnesota Fifth, you'd better go in disguise.  That's where Shukri Abdirahman lost to Ilhan Omar and she's had it with democracy.  "We can no longer get rid of tyranny with ballots," she tweeted.  "It's only by bullets now."  She was evidently set off by the scandal of the "Twitter files," internal memos from the pre-Musk era which led to the deletion of pictures of Hunter Biden's penis, in accordance with a policy forbidding revenge-porn.  This somehow caused Trump to lose the 2020 election and caused this Cormac McCarthy dystopia in which Democrats control the Senate.  

Some believe Abdirahman should be kicked off Twitter for advocating violence.  Poor fools.  That was the old Twitter.  Head Twit Elon Musk has no time for trivia just because Omar's life has been threatened over and over.  He's busy trying to coax Elton John back.  Close the door and leave him alone.  

Trump's call to tear up the Constitution was too much for one ex-courtier.  Former national security adviser John Bolton has purchased a white horse to go with his mustache and proposes riding to the rescue of the Republican Party unless he sees "Shermanesque statements from all the potential candidates."  Presumably he means "If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve."  Or maybe "If I had my choice I would kill every reporter in the world, but I am sure we would be getting reports from Hell before breakfast."  Another possibility:  "I intend to make Georgia howl."  Could he mean some other Sherman?  Mr. Peabody's boy?  The prospect of President Bolton has quite unsettled me.  He apparently picked up the Trumpian habit of assertion without facts -- he says "ninety-five percent of Republicans agree" that the Constitution is more important than Trump.  He doesn't say where they're hiding.  He also says they had a chance to swap Viktor Bouts for Paul Whelan in 2018 but didn't, "for very good reasons."

At Mar a Lago it was business as usual, with Trump continuing to conflate Israel with all Jews.  "How quickly Jewish Leaders forgot that I was the best, by far, President for Israel.  They should be ashamed of themselves.  This lack of loyalty to their greatest friends and allies is why large numbers in Congress...have stopped giving support to Israel."  And all the Republican Jewish Coalition, the Anti-Defamation League and Benjamin Netanyahu asked is that he condemn antisemitism even at the risk of losing Kanye's love.

After complaining of a bad cough and being harassed by the police for wearing a rainbow shirt, the American sportswriter Grant Wahl collapsed and died last night while covering a World Cup match.  Thousands of migrant workers have died since Qatar was awarded the tournament, one as recently as last week (brushed off by an official as "Death is a natural part of life").  This death at least will not be forgotten.


Friday, December 09, 2022

Emergency notice

 The national average gas price this morning was $3.33 a gallon, a penny less than this time last year, but the experts seem to think it could drop below three dollars.  So Sen. Tim Scott chose a poor time for this fund-raising scam: 

"Peter" and others who discover this in their mailboxes and click through eventually reach a letter  which reads:  "President Biden Claims Gas Prices Now Are Better Than When He Took Office.  FACT CHECK:  False.  The truth:  Since taking office gas prices have SOARED.  [And grammar has quietly died.]...Many have been FORCED to turn off the heat in their homes..."  And so on.  Then there's one of those "surveys" about whether we should drill, baby, drill or not.  Whatever your response, you wind up on the Give Moneys To Tim Scott page.  I take it back, Senator, you're not a deluded self-hater, you're a  foil-wrapped Republican filled with grifty goodness.

I predicted -- and really, you don't have to be Nostradamus -- that Baby Tuckoo would lose his solid waste over the Bouts-Griner swap and he didn't disappoint.  "Whelan is a Trump voter and he made the mistake of saying so on social media...Brittney Griner despises the United States, she's been very vocal about that."  Translation:  She supports "taking a knee" and has even said she doesn't see why the national anthem has to be played before every damn sports contest.  Either you support Trump or you hate America, right, Tucky?  But it was left to Peter Doocy to demand why Russia got "such a better deal" at today's White House press conference.  "They gave up a professional athlete.  We gave up a prolific arms dealer..."  "The professional athlete is also an American citizen," responded Karine Jean-Pierre.  Doocy didn't quote Carlson but he was probably thinking it:  "Brittney Griner is not white and she's a lesbian.  Now those facts might seem irrelevant to you...but they're not irrelevant to the White House press secretary."  Yes, Jean-Pierre is also a Black lesbian, and she signs off on all prisoner deals as point person for the Black Lesbian Deep State which controls poor, demented Joe Biden.  Can you hear the dog whistle, Carlson audience?  Well, turn up the hearing aids.

As everyone from Biden to his driver has patiently explained, Paul Whelan, the "Marine they left behind," was never on the table.  It was Bouts for Griner or nothing.  The people closest to this episode understand that.  David Whelan:  "It is clear that we do not begrudge Ms. Griner her freedom...Brittney's and Paul's cases were never really intertwined."  Cherelle Griner:  "BG and I will remain committed to the work of getting every American home including Paul, whose family is in our hearts today..."  Literally every Republican:  "How can I gin up hatred/make money from this?"  Vladimir Putin:  "Can I help?"

And one final note:  When some clown starts tearing up and humming "The Halls of Montezuma," feel free to mention that Paul Whelan was given a court martial and a bad conduct discharge from the Marines for grand larceny in Iraq.  And that he seems to have fibbed about being a college graduate and falsified his record in law enforcement like a common Herschel Walker.  And he also has Canadian, Irish and UK passports, not in itself a crime.  And that the Russians arrested him with a thumb drive which allegedly contained the names of border guards.  In short, he's no Smedley Butler.

Strikes, strikes everywhere, eh, Fawlty?  Yes, there are, and not one involves the kind of industrial dispute that once characterized the labor movement.  The Newspaper Guild staged a one-day strike against the New York Times that included highly paid columnists and badly paid temps and security guards.  Editors are still putting out a paper but the union has urged supporters not to buy it -- "and don't do the Wordle."  Well, that's asking a lot, Joe Hill, but if you think it will help...

More than 48,000 graduate students and teaching assistants walked off the job at the ten campuses of the University of California, disrupting classes near the end of the semester.  Since they do most of the actual teaching they want a living wage, which seems fair.  Tuition for out-of-state students runs about $44,000 a year. 

Airport services workers (cabin cleaners, baggage handlers, etc.) are demanding that Congress pass the Good Jobs For Good Airports Act and assure them higher wages, affordable health care, sick days and other luxuries.  They are on strike today in Chicago, Boston and Newark.  

Amazon workers all over the world struck on the day after Thanksgiving for higher pay and less medieval working conditions, but mostly for the right to organize.  I thought that had been established in the 1930s.

Yesterday Kevin Brady (R-TX), soon to be chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, shared some wisdom with CNBC:  "Both the White House and the Fed don't understand the worker crisis we're in and how that's driving higher prices persistently for a long time, as well."  Yes, prices are higher even for people in service jobs who don't share in corporate profits and they would like enough money to live on, he somehow failed to add.  Strike now, delivery people and custodians, because January will be too late.  I predict a two-year Dark Age for labor.

Corporate America, the Republicans will always have your back.  The Senate is trying to pass by unanimous consent the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, whose provisions include water bottles, stools and bathroom breaks for pregnant workers.  Who could possibly object to that and demand a roll call vote?  Why, Thom Tillis, who's afraid it will give the fed'l gubmint too much power!  Yes, the party that wants as many women to get pregnant as possible and carry the pregnancy to term isn't quite sure they really need to pee so often.  Trust me.  They do.

It wouldn't be a day ending in "Y" without a Trump derangement story.  Under pressure of an exceptionally bad week, he's been TSing about the "stolen" election again "BUT IN A DARKER WAY THAN EVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE."  Even supporters were confused when he cited "the very well established Clinton Socks Case."  This turned out to refer not to the Clintons' cat but to Bill Clinton collaborating with Taylor Branch on an oral memoir and storing the tapes in his sock drawer.   Some right-wing outfit sued and the judge ruled that they were personal records, not official materials like the papers Trump stole.  The book, called The Clinton Tapes, is available from a variety of sellers.  

Yup.  And another Trump enterprise went bust, his golf course in Bali.  Couldn't get any Saudi financing for that one.  A lot of laid-off Indonesians.  They knew what they were getting into. 

 Luckily, gas is coming down.  Were I conspiracy minded I'd thank whoever decided Prince Bone Saw should slide on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.  The higher good, right?

Are the lambs screaming, Donald?