Sunday, December 31, 2017

Conspiracy Theories R Us

Let's end the year with wild flights of paranoia. I'm not says any of this will happen, only that I wouldn't be surprised if one or two did happen.

The FBI Purge
Republicans love for all things Russian Soviet has led to their openly using the word "purge" when talking about what they want to do to America's law enforcement. Between 1937 and 1939, Stalin purged the Russian army of three of their five highest ranking generals, eight of nine admirals, and almost all of the corps and divisional commanders. The result was gutting the Red Army just before Hitler's invasion of Russia. Stalin believed the army was insufficiently loyal to him personally and wanted an army that, while incompetent, was totally submissive to him.

Trump and his minions want to purge the FBI leadership. That will lead to easy pickings for Russian, Chinese, and North Korean spies. Organized crime will be able to run roughshod over the country. And terrorists will be able to plot their actions with impunity. But the FBI will be personally loyal to Trump.
There will be televised show trials of FBI leadership to display the extent of their disloyalty.

As Republicans face a crushing electoral defeat in 2018 they will need something to completely change the political climate. War with North Korea is that something. Armchair generals will predict a swift war with an easy victory, remember the 2003 Iraq War was only going to last five weeks. The reality will be a long, bloody slog against a huge seven million person Korean army in hardened defensive positions that has been preparing for this war for over half a century.

Sedition Laws
Lots of people will oppose the new Korean War. When the war is not swiftly won blame will be thrown at those opponents of the Great Cause. Trump will sign "laws" not passed by the Senate outlawing opposition to the war or the government.

Mass Arrest of Democrats
Democratic candidates, and even sitting Democratic legislators, will be arrested for violation of the sedition laws. There is historic precedence for this in America. In 1918, socialist Eugene V. Debs was arrested for violating the World War I sedition act. He ran for president in 1920 from prison. Congressman Matthew Lyon of Vermont was arrested for violating the 1798 sedition act. He ran for reelection in 1800 from his cell and won.

By arresting scores of Democratic candidates and outlawing criticism of the Trump government, Republicans insure their victory in the midterm elections even gaining a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate allowing for even more radical legislation including finally opening the long expected

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Holiday Cheer With Three UK Sketches

Tis the season to be jolly and Britons have a great sense of humor.

Trekking In Russia

This brilliant Monty Python sketch is still hilarious after forty years.

The Hedge Sketch

Before House MD, Hugh Laurie teamed with Stephen Fry to form one of the great comedy duos ever.

Are We the Baddies?

The modern team of David Mitchell and Robert Webb wonder if, maybe, the Nazi's were the bad guys.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Republican Tax Bill as Told In Movie Posters

The bill was written by lobbyists for a handful of the country's richest billionaires whose motto is
Paul Ryan's plan is to use the tax bill to balloon the deficit, requiring decimating programs designed to help the most helpless Americans. Ryan's philosophy is
The raw motive for this is pure
Sen. Bob Corker surrendered a supposedly principled stand against exploding the deficit in exchange for a provision added to the bill that will make Corker a shit ton of money. Principles be damned, Corker is nothing but a
As for Sen. Susan Collins, she agreed to vote for the tax bill only after receiving a solemn promise from Mitch McConnell that there would be a second bill fixing her problems with the one she was voting for. Minutes after her vote was locked in, that promise was thrown into the trash, proving Collins to be
As for us regular Americans just trying to get by, we are

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Bills of Mortality

As Republicans hack away at the American healthcare system, perhaps it is time to revive the old British system of tallying the weekly causes of deaths.

1665 London Bill of Morality
In that year, over two-thirds of deaths were caused by the raging bubonic plague. There were few plague deaths until May of that year, just three. By June hundreds were dying per week, by July it was thousands per week. The peak was hit in September when 7,000 people were dying of plague every week. In just 18 months, the plague wiped out a quarter of London's population.

The Bills of Mortality recorded every death by ever cause.
  • bubonic plague - 68,596
  • malaria (ague) - 5,257
  • tuberculosis (consumption and tissick, King's evil) - 4,894
  • small pox - 655
  • women died in child birth (childbed) - 625
  • syphilis (French pox) - 86
  • murder - 9
  • execution - 21
 Child specific deaths included:
  • Teeth and Worms (a variety of infections in teething children) - 2,614 
  • Chrisomes and Infants (unspecific deaths within a month of baptism) - 1,256
  • Griping in the Guts (infantile diarrhea, dysentery) - 1,288
  • Rising of the Lights (croup, called that because it sounds like the child is coughing up a lung) - 397
  • Overlaid and Starved (killed by a nursing mother who falls asleep on top of a baby) - 45
  • Headmouldshot & Mouldfallen (malformed skull caused by a difficult birth) - 14
 Fewer than 10,000 children were born in that year.

By 1670, nobody died of plague and the leading cause of death was Griping in the Guts.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

On Sophistication

It's hard to believe in this time of Trump but there once was a thing known as sophistication.
Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn embodied sophistication.
The word came to English from Latin but its progress from antiquity is fascinating. It started as a Greek word, sophistes, meaning wise man or teacher. When the Romans got it their less cultured society dismissed the discussions of wise men as the quibbles of fraudsters. Their word, sophisticare, meant using wisdom to delude and confuse.

It was with that meaning that the word entered English in the 14th century. As the Renaissance blossomed in the 16th century, intelligence was no longer reviled. Being sophisticated was no longer an insult. Instead, to be educated and worldly was seen as virtues to be aspired to.

In America today, we are seeing a revision to the barbaric definition of sophisticated as a condition decent people avoid. Education and travel are the realm of the hated elites. A majority of Republicans now believe that colleges are bad for America. They argue that schools teach unimportant things like science, math, biology, and history and that children should be left on their own to somehow learn whatever they fancy. They insist that faith is more important than knowledge.
Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.
Sophistication inspired Duke Ellington in 1932, remembering his teachers who taught school and traveled in the summer. They were truly Sophisticated Ladies.

Lots of people have recorded"Sophisticated Lady" but the definitive interpretation belongs to Ella Fitzgerald. (Lyrics by Irving Mills)

Monday, December 11, 2017

A Roy Moore Bedtime Story

Little Stephanie, Judge Roy is going to tell you a story about when America was great.
It was a time before the Yankee invasion. Little Kimmie was a girl just like you, only she was a n****r. The Master's four sons took a fancy to little Kimmie so, being a good Christian, the Master approached Kimmie's mamma and asked permission to make Kimmie a house slave.

Kimmie's mamma knew this meant that Kimmie would be living in the big house and have proper clothes instead of rags to wear. Kimmie's mamma also knew Kimmie would become the sex toy for all the men in the Master's household. Kimmie's mamma also knew, because the overseer had told her before the Master came that, if she refused the Master's kind request both she and her daughter would be whipped within an inch of their lives and Kimmie would be taken away regardless.
On Kimmie's first day the Master's oldest boy took Kimmie into the kitchen, slammed her on the big oaken table, and raped her so hard she cried out for her mamma. Kimmie served her masters for years. The white master's children Kimmie helped to raise would grow up to rape her themselves.

In time, the good Lord blessed little Kimmie with her own children, twins, one boy and one girl. She didn't know which of the white masters was the father. As the children grew Kimmie continued her service to the men of the Master's house until the children reached the age of twelve.
By then, the boy was growing into a strong young buck while the girl was even prettier than Kimmie had been. Kimmie's son was sold on the auction block, catching a good price. Kimmie, who has aged badly through the years of rape, was sold to a Mississippi cotton farmer to finish her days working the fields. Kimmie's daughter took her place as the house fuck slave.

Then, the Yankees came to destroy our peculiar institution that had made America great. Kimmie and her children were freed but never found each other again. The Yankees forced upon us constitutional amendments that declared all people equal, an abomination to God.

In time, we sons of the South were able to restore some of what had been lost. If some n****r got uppity and thought they might be as good as white folk and even try to vote, well there was always a stout rope and a nearby poplar tree to teach their kind respect.

Those evil Yankees returned, this time with the twin plagues of civil rights and voting rights. But we will throw off the shackles of equality and restore America to the master/slave relationship that serves it best.
Now, Little Stephanie, Judge Roy wants to show you something. Don't say "no," Stephanie. You don't want your mother and father to go the prison, do you? Innocent, you say? It's so cute you think I'd care. Now, be a good little girl and do everything Judge Roy tells you. Ya' hear?

Some Roy Moore Shit

Not Predicting Prediction
I've been involved in enough political campaigns to know what it means when a candidate gives up campaigning the weekend before the election. It's when you know what the outcome will be and you get severely depressed and just don't have the energy to continue. This is, however, not a prediction. I quit the prediction game a year ago.

Although, "attending a football game in Philadelphia" ranks up there with hiking the Appalachian Trail for creative staff excuses.

Moore's a Russian Agent
I'm not saying speaking Russian automatically makes someone a spy, but Moore grew up during the 1950's Red Scare in a community that would rank speaking Russian with reading from the Satanic Bible in Latin. Doing either would be considered invoking evil. Yet, Moore speaks Russian well, praises Putin, and says that America should be more like Russia. When was he recruited?

Moore and Slavery
Moore loves the antebellum South. He has openly declared that the time when slavery was law was the last time America was great. It was a time when overseers would rip a child out of the arms of a nursing mother (above), masters would rape the young virgin daughters of slaves fathering children they would take as slaves, and families were torn apart on the auction block.

Moore also has attacked all the Constitutional amendments after the original ten. He specifically wants to repeal the 14th that requires equality before the law for all citizens regardless of race or creed.

"Little Girl"

This Hugh Laurie ditty could be Roy Moore's theme song.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Evangelicals Vision for Jerusalem

For evangelical Christians peace in the Middle East is abhorrent. They want war there and not a little war, they lust for a war of annihilation in Israel where the blood will flow a meter deep. They want the Muslim world so enraged at Israel that they will band together a massive invasion army. They want to bring about the Battle of Armageddon. They expect this war to kills two-thirds of the Jews in Israel with the survivors converted to Christianity. They foresee Jerusalem reduced to rubble to be rebuilt by a returning Jesus.

After the war they foresee the mass genocide of unbelievers so that only Christians will remain alive. Many believe that only the members of their particular Protestant sect will survive the culling.

This is the only thing evangelical Christians want for Christmas. I'm not saying Trump believes this shit, he believes nothing that doesn't have a dollar sign attached, but it is what Radical Republicans expect will be the result of Trump moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Trump's Lawyer and Occam's Razor

Occam's Razor is the theory in logic that you can never go wrong underestimating the intelligence of this President.

Trump appeared to tweet a confession to obstruction of justice when he claimed to have known that Michael Flynn had lied to the FBI when he told then FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation of Flynn. Conversely, Trump lawyer John Dowd claims he wrote the tweet and Trump was totally ignorant.

Which story is most likely true?

Dowd Wrote It
According to the White House, Trump's Twitter posts are "official presidential statements." A trained lawyer, deliberately pretending to be Trump, clumsily dictates a statement that makes it appear that Trump has committed a felony. Dowd did it such a way that there is no email trail tracing back to Dowd even though attorneys obsessively document their actions to protect both themselves and their clients.

Trump Wrote It
and Dowd is lying because Trump stupidly incriminated himself on Twitter. Covfefe.

Which is the simplest explanation?

Friday, December 01, 2017

Trickle Down Economics and Other Stuff

Trickle, Trickle
The Republican tax plan reminds me of a 1950's do-wop classic. Here's Manhattan Transfer.

White House of Wax 
Melania Trump's Christmas decorations look like a scene from a schlocky 50's horror movie.
Then there is her appearance watching ballerinas. She's standing, almost motionless, with a null expression on her face. Those slight movements are the only proof they didn't wheel out a wax statue to impersonate the First Lady. Although I wouldn't put it past the mad master of the White House to have a vat of boiling paraffin in the basement waiting for his wife.

Empty Chairs
The first lesson of politics I learned is to always have a venue slightly smaller than your expected attendance. You want to squeeze people in and have them standing in the aisles. If the fire marshal isn't pissed you've failed.
The White House hired thousands of folding chairs for the 2017 national Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Dozens showed up leading to this truly embarrassing photo.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

What Happens If There Is a Recession?

As I write this the stock market is up about one percent. That's all well and good and supposed to be caused by the prospects of a rich guy's tax cut. Except, the market is already at a pretty dizzy height and well above historic averages. Looking at the S&P 500,
  • P/E ratio 25.5 - the price of stocks divided by how much money they make. A healthy economy sees a ratio around 15. Stocks are significantly overpriced. The only times in the past 140 years it was this high was 2001 (the dotcom bubble) and 2008 (the subprime mortgage bubble). Both popped into deep recessions.
  • Earnings Yield 3.9% - This is pathetically low and only tolerated by investors because interest rates have been rock bottom. But rates are rising making business investments look increasingly risky.
  • Corporate Debt - Is massive, especially in the highly leveraged retail sector. Businesses don't have the earnings to pay off their debts so as interest rates rise some really big businesses are staring at bankruptcy (Sears, I'm looking at you).
We are near the top of the Obama economic boom. Looking ahead, Republicans will pass their tax cuts and a few months later the nation will stumble into a, perhaps deep, recession. A recession that, given the Kansas experiment, the Trump tax cuts will make worse.

People will lose their jobs. Republicans will react by cutting government spending, making the human suffering worse. Voters who have tolerated Trump's boorish behavior because at least he made the trains run on time will turn on Dear Leader. Trump and Steve Bannon will blame everything on immigrants, upping the hate rhetoric to try and hold their base. Facing a mid-term electoral debacle, Trump will play the only card left to him, starting a nuclear war with North Korea.
While the rich move their tax savings off shore.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Stupidity As a Political Statement

Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise. ~ Thomas Gray, English poet (1742)
Republicans are rapidly embracing stupidity as a life goal. In 2015, more than half of Republicans believed that colleges and universities have a positive effect on the country. Today, that number has plunged to just 36%. (source: Pew Research)
Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven. ~ William Shakespeare
For decades, evangelical Christians have described public education as a Satanic evil, a position that has been adopted by radical Republicans. They contend that teaching children science and biology corrupts their innocence with knowledge. Even mathematics has been attacked as ungodly. Trump's education secretary wants to starve public schools of funding.

It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have. ~ James Baldwin
Where faith defeats knowledge it is easier to believe that Sharia Law is taking over the country, ignore the facts proving that is nonsense, and then let hate of innocent Muslims consume them. Ignorance allows people to believe Mexicans are drug dealers and rapists because one dolt said so justifying injustices inflicted on them.

Two final quotes:
Ignorance might be bliss for the ignorant, but for the rest of us it's a right fucking pain in the arse. ~ Ricky Gervais

Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives. ~ James Madison

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Apeish Behavior

It's not about sex. Trump, Roy Moore, Bob Filner, Harvey Weinstein, Bill O'Reilly, Charlie Rose, none of their obscene behavior was about sex. If all they wanted was stranger sex there was an easier and cheaper alternative, pick up a hooker. It was all about dominance. Like unevolved apes, they were using sexual displays to exert power over others. Animalistic is the best description of their acts.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Heaven As Described By Evangelical Christians

Dying man couldn’t make up his mind which place to go to—both have their advantages, “heaven for climate, hell for company!” ~ Mark Twain
According to evangelicals Heaven is reserved only for those who accept Jesus Christ as their Lord. They are cleansed of their sins and welcome beyond the pearly gates.

Headed for Heaven
Jeffery Dahmer was raised in a strict creationist household. He started by murdering the young men he had sex with then dismembering and eating them. He later progressed to kidnapping young boys, raping them before cutting them up and consuming them. He is held up by evangelicals as an example of God's saving grace. Dahmer is in Heaven.

Other serial killers with ticket to God include the Son of Sam (David Berkowitz), and Gary Ridgway the Green River Killer.

Roy Moore has preached hate his entire life and has been a sexual predator of teen girls. He is so Heaven bound that when he autographs a Bible it's the same as if Jesus signed it. Swindler harridans like Pat Robertson and Oral Roberts have frightened millions with threats of damnation into giving away their money.

Heaven might be pretty to look at but the neighbors are shit.

Better Class of People in Hell
Christians are insistent that there's is an exclusive club. While many liberal Christians say that Mohandas Gandhi has earned Heaven, evangelicals are emphatic that not only is the great Hindu saint of nonviolence in Hell, any Christians that disagree with that are going to Hell too.

All the good, decent non-Christians are headed for Hell which means most of the people worth hanging out with will be there while Heaven will be housing killers, thieves, and hateful holier than thou jerks.

I know where I'd rather be.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Proof Americans Are Getting Dumber

If you want proof of the dumbing down of America look no further than the Model T Ford.
The Model T was the common man's automobile from 1908 to 1927. Priced at just $300, inflation adjusted that would be $4200 today, you would be hard pressed to find a used 12 year-old Ford Taurus for a similar value. It was the car for every regular Joe. The thing is, it was harder to drive a Model T than flying a Boeing 747.

Starting the Car
1) Under the front fender set the chock, then turn the crank a quarter turn to prime the carburetor.
2) Get in the car and set the coil box switch to magneto, retard the timing, move the throttle stalk downwards just a bit to idle. Don't forget to put the car in the neutral that sets the rear brakes.
3) Get back out of the car and turn the crank WITH YOUR LEFT HAND. If you use your right hand, when the car starts and the crank kicks back it will break your arm.

Driving the Car
Now you are ready to drive.
There is no accelerator pedal. To make the car go forward you use the emergency brake that doubles as a clutch while setting the gas flow with the lever on the right side of the steering column and adjusting spark with the lever on the left side of the steering column while setting the speed clutch which is the leftward floor pedal.

To slow the car for a corner adjust the speed clutch (left) pedal to neutral, it's somewhere between high speed and low speed, while using the brake (right) pedal. It's probably a good idea to reduce the gas flow and retard the spark so you don't stall out. Don't forget to steer!

Damn, you're in a ditch.

Your grandparents drove these Tin Lizzies with as much skill as you drive your air conditioned SUV with cruise control, power steering, and a cup holder for your half soy latte.

Face it, your grandparents were a lot smarter than you. They had to be to drive that thing. If you tried to drive a Model T you'd piss yourself just pulling out of the driveway.

The Model T is absolute proof that Americans are getting dumber. Oh, and Henry Ford was an anti-Semitic racist.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Evangelicals and Child Brides

The dirty little secret of Christian evangelicals is the acceptance of older men creeping on young girls.
The biblical justification for this is Deuteronomy 22:28-29.
If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her.

There it is for horny fundamentalist men. God approves of rape as long as she is a virgin and you pay the father.

Among Old Testament evangelical Alabamans nothing Roy Moore has done is wrong. Child molestation is God approved. Hell, even the payment to the father and marriage parts would only apply if he had been discovered at the time. Or, as Moore's semi-literate lawyer put it, "Culturally speaking, obviously there's differences."

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Longest Movies Ever Made

Movie goers tend to dislike movies that run much over two hours, which is about as long as they can hold in the pee after drinking one of those huge concession stand drinks. That hasn't stopped some directors from making real bladder busters.

Logistics - Longest Movie Ever (5 weeks)
At 51,420 minutes, Logistics by Erika Magnusson and Daniel Andersson follows, in real time, in reverse order, the complete process of a pedometer from end sale, through shipping, back to its manufacturing in China. Much of the film is of a container ship sailing backwards across the oceans. Boredom Index 10 out of 10.

Empire - Longest Famous Movie (8 hours)
In 1964, Andy Worhol followed up his five hour snoozefest Sleep, showing a guy sleeping, with this film of the Empire State Building. That's it. A six and a half hour static shot of the top of the building shown in slow motion for a third of a day. Called an "influential cinematic work" by the Museum of Modern Art, it is listed as culturally significant by the Library of Congress. Boredom Index 10 out of 10.

Greed - Longest Famous Director Movie (8 hours)
Erich Von Stromheim's 1924 silent masterpiece. It tells the story of a woman who wins the lottery and becomes obsessed with money. She refuses to spend a penny forcing her and her husband to live in grinding poverty while she protects her horde. Her husband kills her for the money, flees to the desert where he ends up handcuffed to a corpse unable to reach either the money or water.

MGM executives were aghast at the length.  They cut the movie down to a still long for the time two hours and twenty minutes, butchering the story. The film flopped. Only eight people are known to have seen the now lost original film.

Silent film cameraman Karl Brown said in the 1980 TV documentary Hollywood that Stromheim developed an "insane desire to use his genius as a weapon." He would force studios to spend "millions and more millions until he had a beautiful monstrosity that is worthless except as a curiosity piece." He would prove his genius and have his vengeance against the world.

Lord of the Rings - Longest Great Movie (11 hours, 21 minutes)
Peter Jackson's magnus opus made almost $3 billion worldwide, garnered 17 Academy Awards and spawned another magnus, The Hobbit, that earned an additional $3 billion. There is nothing I can add except that Jackson outdid Stromheim by three hours and pulled it off to boot.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Republicans Define Christianity: Roy Moore Edition

Suffer little children and forbid them not, to come unto me ~ Matthew 19:14
Bible Belt Republicans are the dictionary definition of holier than thou. They claim to speak for God Himself on all things political. The revelation that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore used his power and reputation as an assistant DA in 1979 to abused a 14 year-old child, and other girls as well, has led his supporters to a rousing defense of the godliness of child molestation.

State Auditor Jim Ziegler famously said the assault was neither immoral nor illegal (by Alabama law it was a felony) because the Virgin Mary was the same age when she became pregnant with Jesus.
Or, to put it most irreverently, because God knocked up a fourteen year-old, it is an act of faith for Moore to fondle a girl the same age. *Footnote here, the Bible never states Mary's age, only that she was a virgin living at home at the time of impregnation. Fourteen is a common guess but some pedophilic Christians claim Mary was a prepubescent twelve year-old.
I have no doubt that the "good Christians" of Alabama will, in their faith, joyfully vote a pedo into the US Senate because he is a God fearing bigot.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Rats In the News

If you expand your vision there are many species of rats.

Mob Rat (Rattus Offeret)
Known by their habit of squealing when cornered. Robert Mueller is trying to live capture these animals. George Papadopoulos is one famous mob rat, Carter Page will probably be another.

Sewer Rat (Rattus Bannonus)
Found frequently and most comfortably wallowing in shit. Sewer rats hate anything good, decent, and kind. It is said that even Satan vomits at the sight of Steve Bannon. Most commonly found in rural, poor, uneducated white communities where they are attracted by the sight of Confederate flags, the smell of gun oil, and the blood of innocents. Sewer rats consider treason a noble profession.

Scaredy Rat (Rattus Naufragio)
Naufragio is Latin for shipwreck. The number of Republicans in Congress abandoning ship and skedaddling home is growing by the week. These rats know when a ship is sinking and get while the getting is good.

Trump Rat (Rattus Pirata)
A subspecies of the Sewer Rat, these rats love to clamor aboard sinking ships and take them over. They don't actually do anything when they are in charge, they just run around and shit on everything. The appearance of a horde of Trump rats is always a harbinger of disaster. Considered the dumbest rat species, although Trump rats will tell you they have the bigliest brains ever.

Roof Rat (Rattus Rattus)
I had these little bastards first raiding my bird feeders and then invade my attic. You don't know creepy until you've had to listen to those furry fuckers scurry around overhead every night. I've started mixing my seed with a habanero chili solution that does not bother birds but chases away mammals. As for my attic, I hired a company, Attic Construction, great guys, to rat proof my attic. The first night I heard the rats gnawing at the new steel screens over my attic vents, it sounded like someone filing jail cell bars. After that, blessed silence.

Getting rid of rats is a glorious feeling we should all try.

Personal Note: Yes, I took a month off. I had run out of things to write about. While Trump is enraging, he is such a simpleton it takes no effort to figure out what he's up to. He's incredibly boring. I needed time to regenerate my creative juices.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Sports Curmudgeon's Complaints

One of the wonderful things about getting older is becoming a curmudgeon. A young curmudgeon is dismissed as a brat or a bitch but when you get old being a curmudgeon is expected and even considered kind of cute.

Official Replays
No touchdown, no home run, no goal, no great catch or impossible shot is legitimate until it has been subjected to official review. I understand the intention is to "get every call right" but the result is to drain the electricity from an athletic event. All the excitement grinds to a stop as the referees stop everything so they can watch a little television.

Football, of course, is the worst offender but baseball and ice hockey are catching up. Basketball and soccer are still mostly immune from this contamination.

Absurd Celebrations

Every sport suffers from this epidemic, although pro football is the worst. At best the players just look like a fool like when Odell Beckham acted like a dog peeing on the field after a touchdown reception. Then there are the athletes who injure themselves celebrating. In addition to the ones in the clips above there was golfer Thomas Levet who broke his leg celebrating winning the French Open and Indian soccer player Peter Biaksangzuala who died after breaking his neck doing a backflip after a scoring goal.

There is a classic quote in football attributed to several players and coaches, "When you go into the end zone, act like you've been there before."

The Student-Athlete Lie
This one dates back to well before I was born. Colleges started paying people to play sports for them back in the 1870's and even then they found ways to disguise the payments as charity and entered them into non-degree programs so studying wouldn't interfere with their athletic duties. Basically, these dodges are still used today.

Besides the phony "paper classes" described in the links, the scholarship system is constructed to treat the athletes as indentured servants. High schoolers are required to sign "letters of intent" binding them to a university while the university can cancel their scholarship offer at any time up to the first day of class. Even four year scholarships can be withdrawn for any reason such as a career ending injury or the coach recruiting a better running back. The promise of a college education is hollow.

Publicly Funded Arenas
No politician knows how to steal from taxpayers like billionaire sports team owners. Thanks to a corrupt deal made by then Mayor Rudy Guiliani, the city and state of New York was stuck with a $1.2 billion bill for constructing a new stadium for the Yankees and an additional $600 million for the Mets new digs. The Yankees are the second richest franchise in sports and could easily have afforded to built the stadium without ripping off the public.

Across the country, sports teams are blackmailing cities with threats to move elsewhere if they don't get gold-plated pleasure domes. While the extortion is almost always rejected by the public if they get to vote on the matter, like in San Diego last year, local politicians are easy marks willing to open the municipal coffers so they can continue getting autographed photos of star athletes.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Trump's Wildfire Dilemma

If Trump thinks about it (okay, tall order) he will have a quandary over how to feel about the deadly California wildfires.

California voted overwhelmingly for Hillery Clinton, but
The parts on fire voted for Trump.

Breitbartians and their ilk like to call the state the People's Republic of California, but
Many of the fires are in the portion of California that wants to break away and form the Free State of Jefferson.

California is proudly multicultural, but unlike Houston, south Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands
The fires victims are mostly white, Trump's people.

Trump hate the Hollywood elites, but
Hollywood isn't burning.

Caring about the fire victims requires empathy, a trait Trump long ago purged from his withered soul as part of his contract with Satan. I expect Trump will resolve the dilemma the way he does with all human suffering, figuring out how he and his buddies can profit financially from their pain.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Long National Nightmares Are Exhausting

US Virgin Island
The Daily Beast has precisely described how I've been feeling the last couple of weeks. The neverending displays of presidential juvenility, the wanton neglect of Americans living in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (the forgotten disaster), the mainstreaming of open racism, and the reckless warmongering are so fucking tiresome.

I'm not depressed so much as fed-up. I'm fed-up with a president that daily displays a sociopath's capacity for compassion. A Veep who will waste a quarter of a million dollars on a cheap stunt. A cabinet loaded with grifters where the only sin is apologizing for stealing public money.

There is the Republican Congress possessed by a paralyzing fear of being caught doing or saying something intelligent or, God forbid, honest lest they be targeted by the fascist wing of their party.

Then there is the growth of American fascism itself. Race hatred is more open now than any time in the past half century. There is a longing for wars, not of conquest but wars of annihilation. Breitbart fascism is far from a majority in the United States but it is never the goal of fascists to be a majority. Their goal is to have a nation where everyone else is afraid to state a contrary opinion. Fear is the goal. Fear will keep everyone is line.

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Puerto Rico Genocide

People, American citizens, are dying in Puerto Rico. Some are dying of dysentery from drinking contaminated water. Others are dying slowly of starvation. Some are dying of untreated wounds while others died trapped for days under the rubble of their homes.

Town mayors are required to travel to FEMA's San Juan headquarters to beg for assistance which they may or may not get depending of the whim of bureaucrats who would rather be in Florida. Outreach is virtually non-existent as FEMA does not want to know the extent of the suffering they are neither able nor willing to address.  

The Trump Administration is engaging in self-congratulatory lethargy. Homeland Security head Elaine Duke has called the feeble hurricane assistance "a good news story." At the same time Trump is banning congressmen from visiting the island to see what FEMA is doing, or not doing, for themselves.

Trump has suggested that Puerto Ricans are to blame for their own suffering because of the commonwealth's debt and that is a charge being trumpeted by Trump's white supremacist base. Wade into the Brietbart swamp and you will find people openly celebrating the torment of Spanish speaking brown skinned people as something they deserve.

This week, FEMA is sending $3 million to Cheyenne, Wyo. to convert a parking lot into a public park because white people have their own, unique emergencies.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

DHS's Big Brother Rule

Let us say that in some point in the future the government wants to round up American citizens of foreign ancestry, how would the begin?  Obviously, the first step is to deport aliens legally in this country. The more difficult problem is the collection of  "aliens" who are also American citizens.
The Department of Homeland Security has developed a plan. They have written a rule, no need for Congress to waste its time legislating, requiring foreign visitors, permanent residents and even naturalized citizens to disclose all of their social media information. Also to be collected are any movies they've watched, music listened to, Google searches, and family history.
The Ahnenpass (ancestor passport) was required for citizenship and employment in Nazi Germany. It required proof of Aryan blood through three generations. To become a member of the ruling political party proof of Aryan blood dating back 150 years was required.

This rule will allow the government to build dossiers on the entire population of targeted races and creeds, what they say to each other, and identify those natural born American citizens who commit race treason by befriending the targeted populations.  The perverse irony is that they are using the "Privacy Act" for this invasion of privacy.

It's an ominous step in turning the DHS into the KGB.