Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Straws in the wind

 (all props to Jean Shepherd, may his memory be a blessing)

I always wanted a look at this.  It's an email sent in 2014 from Tucker Carlson to "Hunter!"  That would be the infamous Hunter Biden, about to be "investigated" by Gym Jordan like no private citizen since ever.  "I can't thank you enough for writing that letter to Georgetown on Buckley's behalf.  So nice of you.  I know it'll help.  Hope you're great and we can all get dinner soon.  Tucker."  It was indeed "nice" considering what Carlson was saying every night about the Obama administration, of which Hunter's father was an integral part, but I guess he carries no grudges.  Of course, in view of recent revelations, Carlson could have voted for Obama and still trashed him every weeknight.  He's slippery that way.

"Woke" is the new "red" but you can't just admit it's meaningless.  So when rightwing intellectual Bethany Mandel was interviewed by Briahna Joy Gray about her book Stolen Youth she struggled to articulate a term she claimed to have devoted an entire chapter to.  It's pretty funny.  Before hitting the talk shows Mandel should get someone to write a soundbite on a 3x5 card.  We're all eager for the official definition, since "woke" is being blamed for the failure of Silicon Valley Bank, the collapse of the Pajaro River levee and problems with the Mets' bullpen.

Since I don't go to the movies, the In Memoriam segment is my favorite part of any award show.  There was quite a stir after the BAFTAs when Phil Davis quit, enraged at the omission of Bernard Cribbens.  Well, the Oscars was even more slipshod.  Mira Sorvino pronounced herself "hurt and shocked" when her father Paul Sorvino was overlooked.  The Academy gets a pass on people who died in the past week (Chaim Topol and Robert Blake) but not on Sorvino, Anne Heche, William Hurt and David Warner.  (And of course Bernard Cribbens.)  There were a lot of production designers, makeup artists and executives, though.  Very inside baseball.

"Every one of them kissed my ass," said the ever-classy Trump, promoting his anthology of letters from better people, some of whom are dead and can't deny it.  When he met the late Queen Elizabeth II she gave him tea and a dinner and was gracious and polite, and ever since he has boasted of how "she never had a better time" and "secretly knighted" him.  It was her job to be nice to the loathsome (Putin, Ceausescu, Saudi royalty, Idi Amin) when the policy of "her" government required it.  Nobody did it better.  Perhaps her diaries will be published one day and then we'll know.  Only Trump was too stupid (or vain) to understand how the world works.  So he's charging the rubes $99 to read pro forma letters written by (or for) Oprah, Princess Diana, Richard Nixon, John Kennedy, Jr., and others who were doubtless laughing at the idiot who pretended to be "John Barron" and bragged about himself to the Daily Murdoch.  I lived in New York then and we were all laughing.  And on a vaguely related note, I saw Marla Maples in a commercial for some kind of atomizer and she looks fantastic.  No new "kidneys" for her.

Federal prosecutors are curious about $8 million wired via the Caribbean to Trump Media from some Friends of Vladimir last year, at around the time Truth Social was being created as a rival to Twitter.  The term "money laundering" is being whispered.  So that's why he hired obvious mob lawyer Joe Tacopina.  If Jack Smith doesn't get moving, he'll have to wait in line.

Guo Wengui, a/k/a Miles Guo a/k/a Ho Wan Kwok, was arrested in New York on charges of $1 billion in fraud.  The feds say he spent $37 million in stolen money on the yacht he shared with Steve Bannon, who I guess is now what he always looked like:  homeless.  "Miles is honest, forthright, and has impeccable taste," wrote Tony Blair, when the lamster wanted to buy a penthouse in Manhattan.  I guess he was generous with the Labour Party, too.


Manchester United, the UK's most celebrated football club, may soon be owned by this guy, Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani of Qatar.  

The Audubon Society has announced that it will spend $25 million on "equity and diversity" including chapters at historically Black colleges and universities.  But it will not change its name even though John James Audubon was both a pioneering naturalist and an enthusiastic owner of enslaved people.  This decision will please nobody, but the money is always welcome.  John Muir -- look, you don't want to know but read the article.

Oklahoma is the personal property of Jesus -- the governor said so -- and it was a matter of time before Bronze Age rule asserted itself.  When state representative John Talley introduced a bill banning the corporal punishment by schools of children with disabilities it ran into a wall of Old Testament obstruction.  To repeat:  children with disabilities.  When the Book of Proverbs was being compiled, children with disabilities didn't live long enough to be paddled.  In some societies they were deliberately killed.  Nevertheless in the birthplace of Woody Guthrie, "God's word is higher than all the so-called experts," according to Republican Jim Olsen.  I wonder what God said about abortion.  So does everyone else.  The Olsens just change the subject.

Do you suppose all the intelligent people went west with the Joads?

"The past is never dead.  It's not even past," said William Faulkner of Oxford, Mississippi, so he would have understood the death of Rasheem Carter.  Last October in Laurel, Mississippi, Carter called his mother to say that three truckloads of white men were chasing him and shouting racist epithets.  A month later his dismembered body was found in some woods twenty miles away.  According to the authorities there is no evidence of foul play -- animals did it.  I'm inclined to agree with that last part.

Nebraska is advancing a bill to outlaw gender-affirming therapies for those under 18, so state Senator Machaela Cavanaugh decided it was time to shove a cork in all legislative proceedings.  For three weeks she has filibustered and introduced amendments to every bill for eight hours a day, even when ill.  Nothing is getting passed, including what she calls "legislating hate against children."  I think I know what her favorite movie is.

Nebraska famously has the only unicameral legislature, so it might not work everywhere.  But we should bloody well try.


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