Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Happy Birthday Bob!

Bob Dylan turns 76 today.

And you still don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Presidential Commencement Speech Worth Watching

As I type this, the 45th president of the United States is getting ready to give a commencement speech at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia (established 1971), though he would have preferred to have given this address at Trump University if fraud charges hadn't brought it down.

As an antidote, here is the 44th president of the United States giving the address to Rutgers University's (established 1766) graduating seniors almost exactly one year ago, on May 15, 2016.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

"What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Donald Trump?"

The headline about the new Quinnipiac Poll that was released yesterday was about the percentages of Americans who support (36%) or don't support (58%) Donald Trump. However, scrolling down below the demographic percentage breakdowns (which were all moving dramatically out of the president's favor even before his firing of James Comey), reveals this gem of a question that appeals more to those of us who love language more than numbers: "What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Donald Trump?"

The only thing that surprises me is that 'asshole' only came in at eleventh place, but otherwise this is a list that you could hand to any American and they would know exactly who were describing.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

This could be the most effective healthcare speech in the current Trumpcare 2.0 debate

Normally I'm not a fan of the American television and celebrity culture that has given us our current resident of the White House, but maybe that culture is also the best weapon to help bring him down too, or at least help neutralize his power to take away health insurance from those who finally gained it under President Obama.

Although if I ever watched late night television, it might be hard to decide between Kimmel and Colbert.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Some of my favorite signs from Saturday's Climate March in D.C.

Continuing a tradition that began here at after the January 21st Women's March, here are a few of my favorite signs from the April 29th People's Climate March in D.C., for those of you who were in a different place in the long line of march ... or who avoided the 92°F temperatures and stayed at home ... or were marching in another city.

Waiting for the March to Begin.

One of many "There is no Planet B" signs.

Parachutes waiting to be deployed.

"Make Siberia Hot Again" (his Russian-accented pro-Trump spiel was  even
better than his sign and his uniform).

"Resist Hell & High Water"

"It's The Planet, Stupid!" and "There Is No Climate Change On This Flat Earth"

"Justice is what love looks like in public. -- Cornell West"

"Homeless. Thanks Trump."

"can't wait under 3 years & 265 days"
"Don't Trump On Me"

"Won't Somebody Please Think Of The Children? Stop Global Warming!"

"91° April 'Sad'!"
"Greenhouse gasbag"

"Sick & tired of greedy assholes destroying my home"

"Who Knew? (Everyone but you, Idiot!)"

"Enough Hot Air From Washington. Climate Change Is Real!"

Globe hats.

"Paid Protesters" as far as the eye could see up and down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Lorax giving the finger and "I can't take this heat -- or another 100 days of this asshole!"

Trumpty Dumpty[?], a JFK quote, and "Ivanka Lives Here Too"

"Mother Earth Says: Keep Your Hands Off My Body!"
"I can't believe I'm protesting for reality!"

Puppets of Trump and a corporate lobbyist passing by the National Archives building.

"He Has A Small Mind Too!"
"Welcome to Mar-A-Lagone!" (with Trump's D.C. Hotel tower in the background)

Giant inflatable cow promoting veganism as it passes Trump's D.C. Hotel.

"Animal Agriculture Must End For Our Kids' Sake"
Birds taking flight at the corner of 14th and Pennsylvania.
"Lancaster Against Pipelines" and their quilt.
"Don't Worry
Jared Took
Earth Science
He's Got This"

Stilt walker turning from 15th St NW back onto Pennsylvania Avenue.
"The Only Toxic Waste We Should Be Dumping is Donald Trump"

Looking on the positive side of climate change, "At Least Mar-A-Lago Will Be Underwater!"
Red flags in front of the White House.
"Stop destroying our planet, it's where I keep all my stuff!"
"Keep the Earth Clean, it's not Uranus."
This guy.
Puppet and flags.
"people thinking the earth was flat never made it less round"
"3% of scientists say this march isn't happening"

Trees marching past the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

I was obviously only able to see a small percentage of the signs and marchers on Saturday; I hope some of the many other people with cameras are posting photos and videos too.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Dow Chemical or Exxon: Which is more evil & destructive?

There are so many polls on Twitter and elsewhere on the internet where the questions are skewed or the results are otherwise known before the first respondent drags a cursor to a radio button. However, in the battle to decide which of two companies in the news this week, Dow Chemical or Exxon, is more odious, my gut tells me that this should end up in a 50%/50% tie.

Vote and spread the word so we can harness the wisdom of crowds.

Tomorrow's Earth Day! Don't forget the March for Science tomorrow, and the People's Climate March next Saturday!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Today's Fine White Whine comes from Bill O'Reilly's lawyer.

It's amazing how the people who would have been supporters rather than targets of Tailgunner Joe in the 1950s are becoming fond of throwing around charges of McCARTHYISM! now whenever they find themselves under attack. The current right-wing occupant of the White House famously misused that label against the former occupant of the White House last month over fake wiretapping charges, and now the lawyer for another infamous right-wing sexual harasser, Bill O'Reilly, is pulling out the charge again in this legal whine:
"Bill O'Reilly has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America. This law firm has uncovered evidence that the smear campaign is being orchestrated by far-left organizations bent on destroying O’Reilly for political and financial reasons.
“That evidence will be put forth shortly and it is irrefutable."
Wah. Wah. Wah.

In addition to playing the victim, it's also amazing how people on the right are always looking for financial motivations among those on the left. The current White House occupant is always asking about who is paying the millions who are demonstrating against him; I think it's actually hard for him to believe that so many people would act without monetary compensation, just as it might be hard for Bill O'Reilly to believe that many feel it's simply a public service to speak out against primetime television hosts who bully guests, sexually harass and demean women, and spread untruths that have played a role in lifting an unqualified kleptocrat into the White House.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Harnessing the judicial wisdom of crowds on the Trump-Russia scandal

Twitter should really provide more than four spaces in their polls, because the following list should have about ten names on it, but I'm starting with Paul Manafort, Mike Flynn, and Rudy Giuliani as my likeliest suspects for the earliest #TrumpRussia indictment. If your choice is Carter Page or Roger Stone or Jared Kushner or Ivanka Trump or Jeff Sessions or... , then please reply to the tweet with your favorite Trumpster.
I'm leaving this up for seven days, so please spread the word to increase the size and wisdom of our crowd.

Monday, April 17, 2017

"It was the old old story of the sacrificial lamb."

Channel 13 in New York broadcast Judgment at Nuremberg on Saturday night. The following scene with Burt Lancaster as German judge Ernst Janning stuck out to me as having some contemporary significance, so I'll simply share it without further commentary.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his most important speech exactly fifty years ago.

In my last post I pointed toward the dramatic end of Dr. King's life, which took place 49 years ago today. Exactly one year earlier, on April 4, 1967 at Riverside Church in Manhattan, he gave what very well may be the best and most important speech in his brilliant career.

The speech is commonly referred to as "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence." In 1967 it was a brave move to come out so strongly against the war, advocating (among other things) conscientious objection among draft-age men, an end to U.S. bombing and a unilateral cease-fire, but the speech was so much more. It would be just as radical, and just as timely, if delivered today, 50 years later, when we have a billionaire president looking to increase a bloated military by another 54 billion dollars while cutting programs for the poor and middle class to exacerbate atrocious economic inequality.

Please read Martin Luther King's whole text, but here's a taste from that historic speech...
... When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. 
   A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see than an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.
    A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. 
   A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. 
   America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. ...

Please read the whole thing here at Stanford's King Encyclopedia website.
Here's a story about the speech that was on NPR's All Things Considered tonight.
Here's The New York Times' "When Martin Luther King Came Out Against Vietnam."

"...Early morning, April four / Shot rings out in the Memphis sky..."

So which decade is Melania Trump living in?

 According to an article in the French edition of Le Huffington Post, many are reminded of 1980s soap operas when they see the First Lady's new official portrait, but according to Germany's Der Spiegel, it's the 1990s (and PhotoShop) that are evoked by this bland glamour shot.

So, which is it?

Click Here for the Der Spiegel article.
Click here for the Le Huffington Post article.

I thought it was the 1970s.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

The Final Match of The Untruthful Trump Tournament Has Been Set.

On March 16th we began with 16 Trump lies.  That was narrowed down by Twitter voters to 8 lies on March 20th, 4 on March 26th, and a few minutes ago Twitter funneled the Trump lies down to the final two.
The recent lie that President Obama had wiretapped Candidate Trump at his golden lair at the top of Trump Tower was beaten 57% to 43% by the original lie that brought Trump ridicule on the left and among people who respected facts, but political prominence among racists, nativists, and the illiterate, that President Obama wasn't born in the United States.
In the second semifinal match, his post-election lie that Hillary Clinton only beat him in the popular vote (65,844,610 to 62,979,636) because 3 to 5 million illegal aliens voted for her narrowly defeated (52% to 48%) his repeated denials of sexual assault and harassment from over a dozen women.

So here's your final match in The Untruthful Trump Tournament.

You have a week to vote and share this question with your Twitter friends.

James Rosenquist 11/29/1933--3/31/2017

I just got an update from the New York Times website that James Rosenquist has died at 83.

Here he is on a MoMA video speaking about 'F-111.'

Happy Whan That Aprille Day 2017

WHAN that Aprille with his shoures soote 1
The droghte 2 of Marche hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich 3 licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth        5
Inspired hath in every holt 4 and heeth
The tendre croppes, 5 and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne, 6
And smale fowles maken melodye,
That slepen al the night with open ye,        10
(So priketh hem nature in hir corages: 7
Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,

Read the rest of the prologue to Geoffrey Chaucer's masterpiece here on or in a million other places, but these first 12 lines of The Canterbury Tales need to be known by every English speaker as well as any other dozen lines of poetry ever written in our language.

Learn more about the annual celebration of dead languages known as  #WhanThatAprilleDay17 by checking in with @LeVostreGC on Twitter or reading this interview with Geoffrey that appeared on Pacific Standard yesterday.

And how can you fully appreciate the opening lines of the great long English poem of the early 20th century without familiarity with the great long poem written at the tail end of the 14th century?

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers. 

Happy April.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Happy 164th to Vincent van Gogh

On its website, the Van Gogh Museum describes Vincent's 'Head of a Skeleton with a Burning Cigarette' from 1886 as 'a juvenile joke.' Maybe it's because I was a juvenile 19-year-old visiting Amsterdam when I was first exposed to (and surprised by) the original painting by an artist I knew for sunflowers, starry nights, and self portraits, but it's always been one of my favorites ever since. Revisiting it today on the virtual walls of the internet after many years, it struck me that it could be yet another in Van Gogh's long series of self portraits.

Happy Birthday. Smoke 'em if you've got 'em.
Head of a Skeleton with a Burning Cigarette (1886)
in the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Semifinals of The Untruthful Trump Tournament Have Been Set!

I could probably use the term F*nal F*ur if I wouldn't be in danger of being sued by the large corporation that makes billions off the actions of unpaid college athletes at this time of the year, so I'll just call this the semifinals of the tournament to identify Donald Trump's worst lie.

The quarterfinals saw four very lopsided wins.

In match one, his lie that Presient Obama wasn't born in the US got 81% while his lie that citizens of Jersey City danced on rooftops as the Twin Towers fell got 19%.
In quarterfinal match two, his recent lie that Obama personally wiretapped him in Trump Tower beat his claim that unemployment was as high as 42% under Obama by a margin of 79% to 21%.
Therefore, the first of two semifinal matches is:

In quarterfinal match three, his lie about getting the most electoral votes since Saint Ronald Of Tampico was easily beaten by his lie that Hillary got votes from millions of illegal aliens by 68% to 32%.
Finally, in match four, his lie about thousands of Massachusetts Democrats being bussed across the border to New Hampshire to vote for Hillary was also eliminated by 68% to 32% by his repeated denials of sexual assault and harassment claims from dozens of women.
The second of two semifinal matches is:

Please vote in both contests to pick the finalists by next Saturday, April 1 (it's purely coincidental that these semifinals will be determined on the same day as the NCAA's F*nal F*ur).

Thursday, March 23, 2017

If this tweet were a chess move, Kasparov's opponent would resign.

This tweet from former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov is the undisputed tweet of the week during a week when the White House and their Republican allies in Congress and the media have tried everything to subvert the Trump/Russia investigations with a much smaller, and completely diversionary, investigation of leaks.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Quotation of the Day comes from our previous president.

It's so easy to get tied up in knots by the daily flow of crimes and misdemeanors coming from the inarticulate TV-watcher-in-chief currently occupying the White House; I needed to cleanse my mind this afternoon by reading this full interview of novelist Marilynne Robinson by President Barack Obama that appeared in two issues of The New York Review of Books in November 2015.
"...When I think about how I understand my role as citizen, setting aside being president, and the most important set of understandings that I bring to that position of citizen, the most important stuff I’ve learned I think I’ve learned from novels. It has to do with empathy. It has to do with being comfortable with the notion that the world is complicated and full of grays, but there’s still truth there to be found, and that you have to strive for that and work for that. And the notion that it’s possible to connect with some[one] else even though they’re very different from you..." -Barack Obama, 2015
Even though it hurts to know that he's not the president now, it helps to know that Barack Obama is a fellow citizen. I'll say it again (and again and again): The 2016 election was a contest of readers versus brain-dead boob-tube addicts (not to be too judgmental about it), and the TV watchers are currently (but, I hope, temporarily) in control.

You can read the full text of Part One of this conversation in the November 5, 2015 issue of  NYRB and Part Two in the November 19th issue (the quote is pulled from the beginning of the second part).
The full audio version of conversation is available for free from iTunes:

I was steered toward today's quotation, and inspired to find the full conversation, by the January 12, 2017 episode of Kurt Andersen's Studio 360, "POTUS as Tastemaker." Thanks Kurt.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Video Evidence Behind the Reasons for Donald Trump's Proposed Defunding of PBS

Here's real-estate developer Ronald Grump building Grump Tower on Sesame Street episode 2399:

Here's Donald Grump of The Apprentice, whose "name is on every piece of trash in town" and his song from episode 4104:

Backup for @realDonaldTrump's wiretapping tweets

The FBI, Justice Department, and British intelligence may have all publicly denounced Donald Trump's early morning tweets about President Barack Obama personally wiretapping Candidate Trump at Trump Tower, but I discovered during a trip to the supermarket this afternoon that a major defiler of newsprint has joined Trump's friends at Fox & Friends in backing him up.
If it's in the National Enquirer -- the only publication the current resident of the White House allows next to his toilet -- it must be true.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Quarterfinals of The Untruthful Trump Tournament

In match one of the round of 16 that finished tonight, Donald Trump's lie about making Mexico pay for his idiotic border wall was beaten 52% to 48% by his lie that Barack Obama wasn't born in the USA.
In match two, his lie about New Jersey citizens celebrating the attacks on the Twin Towers on 9/11 beat his lie that Ted Cruz's father conspired in JFK's assassination by 66% to 34%.
So the first of four quarterfinal matches is this:

In match three, his lie about crime rising under Obama was beaten 79% to 21% by his lie that true unemployment under Obama was actually as high as "42%" rather than under 5%.
In match four, his lie about Obama personally wiretapping Trump Tower beat his lie about having the largest inauguration ever by 72% to 28%.
The second of four quarterfinal matches is therefore:

Match five of the previous round saw his lie that he received the most electoral votes of any Republican since Ronald Reagan easily beating his lie about the media ignoring European terrorism by 75% to 25%.
In match six, Trump's untruth about millions of illegal votes for Hillary Clinton beat his whopper about America's low murder rate being the highest in 45 years 83% to 17%.
The third of four quarterfinal contests is:

In match seven of the round of 16, Trump's repeated denials of multiple credible sexual assault and harassment claims garnered 55% of the votes while his recurring tweet about the "failing NY Times" losing subscribers got 45%.
Finally, match eight saw his lie about busloads of Massachusetts voters flocking to New Hampshire to vote against him beat his untrue assertion that US taxpayers face the highest tax rates in the world by 60% to 40%.
So the final quarterfinal matchup is:

Please vote in all four contests before Saturday the 25th, when the two semifinal matches will be set.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Untruthful Trump Tournament: A bracket without basketball

If the Rutgers Scarlet Knights don't make it to the NCAA tournament (which they generally don't), I don't pay any attention to March basketball. That's no reason to miss all the fun with brackets that much of America is engaging with today.

I just came up with sixteen of Trump's most famous and brazen lies and posted the following eight matches on Twitter. There are four days to vote in Round One. On Monday night I'll post Round Two (winner of Match One facing Match Two, Three facing Four, Five facing Six, and Seven facing Eight).

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Today's True Blue Liberal Poll on Trumpcare

The House Republicans have finally announced their specifics for replacing The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) with The American Health Care Act (Trumpcare). Supporters of Obamacare are appalled at the number of people who will lose coverage and at the way it targets women and older Americans for special mistreatment. The Tea Party wing of the GOP is appalled that Trumpcare is leaving even a few tattered remnants of Obamacare's patient protections; they are calling for a straight repeal of the ACA and a return to the status quo ante a black man in the White House.

Which leads to today's Twitter poll:

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Poll: How will Trump's first speech to Congress go off the rails?

We all know that Donald Trump's first appearance before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday will be a train wreck, and that it will go off the rails early, but we don't yet know exactly how it will leave the tracks.

These seem to be two of the most obvious possibilities:

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Today's Twitter Poll about Steve Bannon

A quick one-day Twitter poll to go along with yesterday's video insight into Trump's Rasputin via The Big Lebowski:

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Sorry Chuck, but your'e [sic] wrong.

There are certain grammatical tics by which our right-wing brethren reveal themselves on social media, but you have to give @realDonaldTrump's fellow game show host turned conservative twitterer @ChuckWoolery some credit for making an effort to understand the difference between the contraction for "you are" and the second-person possessive adjective. In the slightly incoherent pinned tweet on his Twitter page, which he wrote almost a year ago, he did get all the correct letters of the contraction in the correct order, but he had a little bit of trouble with the placement of the apostrophe.
Screen grabbed on February 15, 2017 at 10:30am EST.
Good try Chuck. It's almost English!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

New TrueBlueLiberal Twitter Poll About the Two Steves that Deserves to End in a Tie

I honestly don't know how I'd answer this:

The USA is exceptional (and almost 69 years behind the UK) in at least one area.

The National Health Service began on July 5, 1948.
I'm simply retyping the historic text of the page above in order to make it searchable and readable on all devices:

Your new National Health Service begins on 5th July. What is it? How do you get it?
    It will provide you with all medical, dental, and nursing care. Everyone--rich or poor, man, woman or child--can use it or any part of it. There are no charges, except for a few special items. There are no insurance qualifications. But it is not a " charity ". You are all paying for it, mainly as taxpayers, and it will relieve your money worries in time of illness.

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Quotation of the Day -- and Slang Vocabulary Enrichment -- comes from John Waters

Maybe you knew before today, but until I read this in The Guardian, I had no idea what a 'Hair-Hopper' was.

When John Waters says that he has never watched a reality television show, Rebecca Nicholson asks him if he has really never seen The Apprentice, the show that brought Donald Trump to national prominence among America's couch-potato demographic.

 He answers:
“Never. No! I hated him before. I hate a hopper. A hair-hopper is someone who pretends they’re rich, who really wasn’t brought up very wealthy but now tries to brag that they’re rich, and they spend too much time on their hair.”

One more April Saturday in Washington, D.C.

Here's one update to the American Spring calendar I posted last week.

I saw a tweet from George Takei with a link to the Twitter page of @FIRE_THE_FOOL promoting their gathering on the National Mall on April Fools' Day (which falls conveniently on a Saturday this year, just like all these other anti-Trump actions).

Click to sign up for at least one or two, either in D.C. or at a local satellite location!

Friday, February 10, 2017

The True Blue Liberal Twitter Poll of the Week

Why is the current resident of the White House ignoring the most obvious and deadly group of terrorists in America?

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Professor Irwin Corey (7/29/1914--2/6/2017) and Thomas Pynchon's National Book Award

I was surprised to hear today that Professor Irwin Corey, "The World's Foremost Authority" and an absolutely unique comedian, has just passed away. Most of my surprise springs from the fact that I thought Professor Corey was 80 years old when I first saw him on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1966, more than fifty years ago. So, needless to say, I was more amazed that he had still been alive earlier this week, and only 102 years old, than long gone and 130 years old.

I immediately thought about the Professor's greatest moment (at least for someone whose favorite book is Gravity's Rainbow). The following video (with oddly appropriate German subtitles) even includes the audio of Irwin Corey impersonating Thomas Pynchon, or "Richard Python," at the 1973 National Book Awards ceremony and video of him reading the novel's opening lines.

Rest in Peace Professor.

How did I not know that February 7 is "International Clash Day"?

Rolling Stone let me know about the International Clash Day holiday today. It was new to me, but I'll be sure to mark my calendar so that I remember to take off from work to celebrate next year.

What are we gonna do now?
Taking off his turban, they said, is this man a Jew?
'Cause they're working for the clampdown
They put up a poster saying we earn more than you!
When we're working for the clampdown
We will teach our twisted speech
To the young believers
We will train our blue-eyed men
To be young believers
The judge said five to ten-but I say double that again
I'm not working for the clampdown
No man born with a living soul
Can be working for the clampdown
Kick over the wall 'cause government's to fall
How can you refuse it?
Let fury have the hour, anger can be power
D'you know that you can use it?
The voices in your head are calling
Stop wasting your time, there's nothing coming
Only a fool would think someone could save you
The men at the factory are old and cunning
You don't owe nothing, so boy get runnin'
It's the best years of your life they want to steal
You grow up and you calm down
You're working for the clampdown
You start wearing the blue and brown
You're working for the clampdown
So you got someone to boss around
It makes you feel big now
You drift until you brutalize
Make your first kill now
In these days of evil Presidentes
Working for the clampdown
But lately one or two has fully paid their due
For working for the clampdown
Ha! Gitalong! Gitalong! (working for the clampdown)
Ha! Gitalong! Gitalong! (working for the clampdown)
Yeah I'm working in Harrisburg
Working hard in Petersburg (working for the clampdown, working for the clampdown)
Ha! Gitalong! Gitalong!
Beggin' to be melted down
And I'll give away no secrets

And a bonus version of  'Clampdown' from Bruce Springsteen and Tom Morello in 2014:

Monday, February 06, 2017

"109 Inconvenienced Passengers" is the Big Muslim-Ban Lie

As I type this there's another Republican spokesperson (Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida) on the PBS Newshour defending Donald Trump's Muslim Ban in the same terms used by all the Administration voices repeating the same strange justifications of a ill-conceived policy that many of them describe as "working out very nicely" despite obvious evidence to the contrary. The most annoying statement to me has been Sean Spicer repeating the strangely specific number of only 109 people inconvenienced at U.S. airports because they were in the air when the policy changed.

There are obviously tens of thousands of others stuck in foreign airports, refugee camps, intermediate waystations, or various stages of the multi-year vetting process who are now in limbo. Those are the people I heard described in the episode of This American Life I listened to in the car on the way home tonight. This hour of audio is so much more informative than any of the quick "insights" and factoids you'll hear in any of the televised back and forth from the usual suspects we're used to seeing on TV.

 (If the embedded This American Life player isn't showing up or working on your browser below, Click Here to go directly to Episode 609: "It's Working Out Very Nicely")

American Spring, or, We Can Do This Every Weekend!

Is your calendar also filling up with plans for the American Spring demonstrations and marchs in Washington, D.C. and around the nation in April? If not, here are links to some of the major events happening every Saturday starting on April 15th.

When I was in high school, I put up posters and handed out flyers for the upcoming Student Mobilization Committee/National Peace Action Coalition protests against the Vietnam War. I no longer have permission from any administrators to use Scotch tape on the walls of their school hallways, but I do have this blog and a Twitter account to keep spreading the word of new protests in the Age of Trump.  I hope to see many of you doing the same. And I hope to see many of you out in the streets.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Making Saturday Night Live Great Again!

I never believed in the summer of 2015 that Donald Trump was actually serious about running for president, and the fact that his kids couldn't figure out how to register as Republicans in the New York primary will always stand in my mind as proof of that. Some say it was just another attempt to increase the TRUMP brand's visibility, some say it was just an ego trip, some say it was part of a negotiating strategy with NBC over his Celebrity Apprentice contract, but I'm going to suggest another possibility: Maybe Trump was working with his employers at NBC to increase the appeal of a floundering Saturday Night Live franchise by giving it a joke presidential candidate to spice up an election year that was threatening to be a Bush vs. Clinton snoozefest.

The Alec Baldwin performances as Donald Trump gave SNL new life and high ratings as NBC employee Trump pretended to be offended, but the show reached a new height last night when the accidental president's press secretary Sean Spicer was portrayed by Melissa McCarthy. I've been watching SNL on and off since it began in 1975 and at the moment I can't think of anything funnier than this. I can't stop watching it.

Sorry Sean Spicer, but this is one of those defining performances. Just as no one can see Sarah Palin speak without thinking of Tina Fey's "I can see Russia from my house" imitation, no future press conference of yours will ever be seen without Melissa McCarthy's impression in the back of every viewer's mind.

Thanks SNL.

Update 2/5/2017 at 8pm:
The Trump/NBC conspiracy to Make SNL Great Again has officially succeeded.  According to Variety today, the show has its best ratings in 22 years thanks to Donald Trump's antics and attacks.

Friday, February 03, 2017

It's not too early to start the #NoIranWar movement. (Poll)

As long as unhinged hothead General Michael Flynn and alt-right Crusader Steve Bannon have the attention of the ear leading to the Propecia-addled brain of Donald Trump, the chances of an unprovoked military attack on Iran continue to grow.

I know where I stand on this, and for the next seven days you can vote in this poll.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

March For Science date has been set for April 22

So now we have a dilemma, or at least some of us do. I have already RSVP'd to travel 325 miles to the People's Climate March in D.C. on April 29; yesterday the organizers of the March for Science finally announced that their march date would be one Saturday earlier on April 22, which is a date with a ton of symbolic importance and historic significance, being Earth Day.

I'm not going to be the only one trying to choose between the two (I might be tempted to do the drive on both weekends if I weren't already committed to being in D.C. on May 6th as well). I just put up this quick 24-hour poll on Twitter to get some sense of where other people were leaning:

Of course, if you live in or near Washington, D.C., you have no excuse not to be at both marches.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

WARNING: Never Play This Song For Donald Trump!

There's a real danger that when someone has demonstrated no understanding of any of the basic concepts of humor (including, but not limited to, irony, satire, sarcasm, deadpan, self-deprecating, and knock-knock jokes), that person is in danger of taking everything literally.

So please, we can't emphasize enough that no one should ever ever (or at least until he's out of office and far from the nuclear button) let President Trump hear 'Political Science' by Randy Newman.

Randy Newman perfectly understood the world view of Donald and His Deplorables in 1972.

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Tweet of the Day for January 30, 2017

The True Blue Liberal Tweet of the Day came from @TeaPainUSA who distilled two important events into a truth bomb of less than 140 characters: 1) Donald Trump's illegal and chaotic ban on refugees and people from seven countries, and 2) The terrorist attack on the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Center yesterday, where six were killed and 17 were injured, by Alexandre Bissonnette, who seems from early information to be an anti-immigrant activist who was inspired by Marine Le Pen speeches and the timing of Donald Trump's Muslim ban.

As a bonus, I also have a True Blue Liberal word of the day that came from Twitter. Tonight there were massive anti-Trump demonstrations all across the U.K. inspired by Trump's draconian immigration policy alterations. I saw photos online of massive crowds in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Brighton, and elsewhere, but this photo from Scotland in a tweet from @TotallyCarolyn stood out for the poster it featured. It had nothing to do with the artistry of the hurried black scrawl on cardboard, but the words are priceless, especially the last one, which was new to me: "Yer Maw Was An Immigrant Ya Fucken Bawbag."
Bawbag, n. Scots. Literally a scrotum (i.e., a "ball bag") and figuratively used for any annoying, useless, or stupid person. It should be used regularly in sentences about the half-Scots Donald Trump.