• Feed your soul. Every day.

    Who likes Ken Burns?

    One candidate, not named by Burns, is a threat to democracy.
    A LINK TO THE COMPLETE TEXT if you need it

  • ban THIS

    Would a Muslim ban have stopped the Orlando killer?

    The orange dumpster lost no time in congratulating himself for his ban on Muslim immigration.  But he didn't bother to explain how a ban might have averted the tragedy.  Mateen was born in New York and moved to Florida.

    The hoped-for outcome of the current election is that the dumpster loses decisively, and this means the Democrats must all show up at the polls and vote.

    Talk to your friends.  Ask them if they need a ride to the polling place.  Talk to your parents, brothers, and sisters.  Tell them they do not have to like Hillary.  They do have to love America.  They do have to show up at the polls and vote.

    Now. Who is our favorite attack dog?



  • dangerous with a petulant streak


    said Hillary Clinton 6/2/2016:

    Donald Trump's ideas aren't just different -- they are dangerously incoherent.  They're not even really ideas, just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds and outright lies.

    He's not just unprepared -- he's temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability and immense responsibility.

    This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes, because it's not hard to imagine Donald Trump leading us into a war just because somebody got under his very thin skin.

    We cannot put the safety of our children and grandchildren in Donald Trump's hands.  We cannot let him roll the dice with America.

    He has no ideas on education.  No ideas on innovation.  He has lots of ideas about who to blame but no clue about what to do.

    Donald Trump is unfit to be president.  This is a man who said that more countries should have nuclear weapons, including Saudi Arabia.


    This is someone who has threatened to abandon our allies in NATO -- the countries that work with us to root out terrorists abroad before they strike us at home.

    He believes we can treat the U.S. economy like one of his casinos and default on our debts to the rest of the world, which would cause an economic catastrophe far worse than anything we experienced in 2008.

    He has said that he would order our military to carry out torture and the murder of civilians who are related to suspected terrorists -- even though those are war crimes.

    He says he doesn't have to listen to our generals or ambassadors because he has -- quote -- 'a very good brain.' He also said, 'I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me.'  You know what?  I don't believe him.

    He says climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese, and has the gall to say that prisoners of war like John McCain aren't heroes. (Pauses for boos) Exactly.

    He praises dictators like Vladimir Putin and picks fights with our friends -- including the British prime minister, the mayor of London, the German chancellor, the president of Mexico and the Pope.

    We are not a country that cowers behind walls.  We lead with purpose and we prevail.

    He says he has foreign policy experience because he ran the Miss Universe pageant in Russia.

    If Donald gets his way they'll be celebrating in the Kremlin.

    And to top it off, he believes America is weak.  An embarrassment.  He called our military a disaster.  He said we are -- quote -- a 'third-world country.' And he's been saying things like that for decades.  These are the words of someone who doesn't understand America or the world.

    If you really believe America is weak -- with our military, our values, our capabilities that no other country comes close to matching -- then you don't know America.  And you certainly don't deserve to lead it.

    What's Trump's ISIS plan?  Well, he won't say.  He is literally keeping it a secret.  The secret, of course, is he has no idea how to stop ISIS.

    Through all his loose talk there's one constant theme: demonizing Muslims and playing right into the hands of ISIS.

    Donald Trump doesn't know the first thing about Iran or its nuclear program.  Ask him -- it will become very clear very quickly.

    There's no risk of people losing their lives if you blow up a golf course deal.  But it doesn't work like that in world affairs.  Just like being interviewed on the same episode of '60 Minutes' as Putin was is not the same as actually dealing with Putin.

    We cannot put the lives of our young men and women in uniform in Donald Trump's hands.

    The stakes in global statecraft are infinitely higher and more complex than in the world of luxury hotels.

    We all know the tools Donald Trump brings to the table -- bragging, mocking, composing nasty tweets.  I am willing to bet he is writing a few right now.

    I don't understand Donald's bizarre fascination with dictators and strongmen who have no love for America.

    He praised China for the Tiananmen Square massacre -- he said it showed strength.  He said, 'You've got to give Kim Jong Un credit' for taking over North Korea -- something he did by murdering everyone he saw as a threat, including his own uncle, which Donald described gleefully, like he was recapping an action movie.

    I will leave it to the psychiatrists to explain his affection for tyrants.

    I just wonder how anyone could be so wrong about who America's real friends are.  Because it matters. Because if you don't know exactly who you're dealing with, men like Putin will eat your lunch.

    Every president faces hard choices every day, with imperfect information and conflicting imperatives. ... Making the right call takes a cool head and respect for the facts.  It takes a willingness to listen to other people's points of view with a truly open mind.  It also takes humility -- knowing you don't know everything -- because if you're convinced you're always right, you'll never ask yourself the hard questions.

    Now imagine Donald Trump sitting in the Situation Room, making life-or-death decisions on behalf of the United States.

    Imagine him deciding whether to send your spouses or children into battle.

    Imagine if he had not just his Twitter account at his disposal when he's angry, but America's entire arsenal.

    Do we want him making those calls -- someone thin-skinned and quick to anger, who lashes out at the smallest criticism? Do we want his finger anywhere near the button?

    Making Donald Trump our commander-in-chief would be a historic mistake.




  • Your Weekly Quiz

    What do the following people have in common?

    1. Read 200 books this year
    2. Mensa member
    3. Top decile SAT score
    4. Won Pulitzer Prize
    5. High school valedictorian
    6. Solves Times Crosswords with a pen
    7. graduated Summa cum Laude
    8. Earned two PhDs

    Kirstie Alley, actress
    Scott Baio, actor
    Stephen Baldwin, actor
    Gary Busey, actor
    Lou Ferrigno, bodybuilder
    Jerry Lewis, comedian, actor, producer
    Sylvester Stallone, actor
    Jean-Claude Van Damme, Belgian actor
    Fred "The Hammer" Williamson, actor and former football player
    Mike Ditka, retired NFL player, coach and television commentator
    Hulk Hogan, former professional wrestler
    Dennis Rodman, retired basketball player and television personality
    Mike Tyson, former boxer
    Ann Coulter, political commentator
    Charlie Daniels, singer, songwriter
    Loretta Lynn, singer-songwriter
    Wayne Newton, entertainer and singer
    Ted Nugent, musician
    Kid Rock, musician
    Kenny Rogers, singer-songwriter
    David Duke, former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard
    Paula Jones, former Arkansas state employee
    Rick Perry, former Texas governor
    Dick Cheney, 46th Vice President
    Trent Lott of Mississippi
    Chris Christie, New Jersey
    Paul LePage, Maine
    Rick Scott, Florida
    Jan Brewer, Arizona
    Sarah Palin, Alaska

    None of the above.  It was a trick question.
    They have in common that they endorsed Donald Trump for President.

    (See the complete list in Wikipedia.)

    It seems they are not the sharpest tools in the shed.  Should we worry about this list?  Normally morons do not turn out to vote in substantial numbers.  But this year The Orange Dumpster is aiming his appeal specifically at under-educated and dim witted people.

    And how many below-average voters are there?  Statistically they amount to fifty per cent of the electorate.
    Minus one.



  • Does Trump encourage violence?

    Trump is bafflingly uninformed about Ferguson.  He was strangely puzzled about the campaign protests in East St. Louis.  Others have known about the problem since -- well, for twenty-five years.

    Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools is a book written by Jonathan Kozol in 1991 that documents the reversal in America of the case Brown v. Board of Education.  Segregation has been steadily on the increase. [ Link ]

    Twenty-five years ago, in Jonathan Kozol's visits to East St. Louis as well as Camden, Cincinnati, and D.C., he discovered overcrowded, unsanitary and often understaffed environments, lacking basic tools and textbooks.  He cited the large proportions of minorities in areas with the lowest annual budgets, despite higher taxation rates.

    And recently we watched the protests of the killing of the unarmed black man Michael Brown.  But as we know, the outrage had been building for decades.  Where you have strict segregation in schools, you necessarily have economic repression as well.

    Trump was deeply puzzled.  "There is a lot of anger in America," he said, but it was an anger he didn't understand.  Trump is bafflingly uninformed.

    End of sermon. So let's look at the excellent artwork of The Daily News.







    (edit:) last time I said,

      We can only take comfort in the polls that predict Hillary's victory in a general election.

    Here is the problem.  Democrats cannot win unless they turn out to vote, and they usually don't.  That was the case in the midterm elections of 2014 where Democrats, although a majority, stayed home and allowed the fired-up Republicans to outvote them and win.  In 2012, by contrast, the Democrats were more enthusiastic, and they turned out and won.

    If we look at the tallies in recent primary elections, we see that Republicans are turning out in record numbers, especially the Trump voters.  If the trend continues, Trump is going to win.

    The lesson is that Democrats must, must vote in November.  Talk to your friends, volunteer in your local precinct.  Then you can sit back and have a beer until November.  Relax.  Surf the Trump satire sites.  Look at pictures of Trump in drag!

    TrumpDrag3 TrumpDrag4
    trumpdrag2 TrumpDrag7
    trumpdraga TrumpDrag9
    TrumpDrag8 TrumpDrag0

    (edit:) one more thing: the repugs are still going to be very active in gerrymandering and voter suppression. So we need to launch plenty of lawsuits as soon as possible.


  • The Return of Buzz Windrip

    Today is Leap Year Day, and tomorrow is Super Tuesday when the big clot of Presidential primaries will arrive and presage the coming election.

    Also, this year is the 80th anniversary of It Can't Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis's dystopian novel.  Lewis was actually an important author for me, partly because his Arrowsmith inspired my father to choose a career in medicine; and partly because Kingsblood Royal, his exploration of racial prejudice, was a rite of passage among my teen friends.

    It Can't Happen Here is a semi-satirical 1935 political novel by American author Sinclair Lewis.  Published during the rise of fascism in Europe, the novel describes the rise of Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip, a populist United States Senator who is elected to the presidency after promising drastic economic and social reforms while promoting a return to patriotism and traditional values.

    I am outraged about Trump.  I am outraged that this callow playground bully might try to trash the careful system of checks and balances given to us by James Madison and the Fathers.  Trump's campaign makes Sinclair Lewis look prophetic.


    Essay in salon.com by Malcolm Harris
    In a fictional campaign promotional book “Zero Hour,” the fictional Windrip laid out the classic nativist call to action that Trump would pick up nearly word-for-word:

      My one ambition is to get all Americans to realize that they are, and must continue to be, the greatest Race on the face of this old Earth, and second, to realize that whatever apparent differences there may be among us, in wealth, knowledge, skill, ancestry or strength –– though, of course, all this does not apply to people who are racially different from us –– we are all brothers, bound together in the great and wonderful bond of National Unity, for which we should all be very glad.

    By now, in late February, Trump has managed to alienate all the level-headed voices among the press, commentators, Democrats, and Republicans alike.  And somehow, none of these objections will make a difference.

    We can only take comfort in polls that predict Hillary's victory in a general election.



  • Outbreaks

    We are all fascinated and horrified by the Zika virus.



    Likewise, we are fascinated and horrified by the Donald.




  • A Banquet of All-you-can-eat Crazy

    The conservatives want to punish the President for his pigmentation.  Yeah, pigmentation.  Now if the election is closely contended, the Supreme Court may be tasked to decide the winner, as it did in 2000.  But there will not be a functioning Supreme Court until after the election, say the conservatives.  Quite the conundrum, hah?  Democracy grinds to a stop.

    How will we survive without Jon Stewart?

    All of this would be perfect fuel for a Jon Stewart satire -- but he's retired.  I have the best wishes for Trevor Noah, but he is nowhere near as funny as Jon.  John Oliver is funny enough, but he lacks a blood lust for American politicians.  And what about Samantha Bee?

    She is bloody enough.  And she is funny enough.  Samantha is the new Jon Stewart.  She has a killer instinct for American politics -- and she's not even American.

    She makes Bernie look like a doddering geezer.  And she makes Hillary sound like the lizard goddess in Ghostbusters!


  • When Ted Cruz lies


    "For months I sensed vaguely that Ted Cruz reminded me of someone, but I couldn’t place who it was."


    "Revelation has arrived: Ted Cruz resembles the Bill Murray of a quarter-century ago, when he played fishy, mock-sincere fakers.  No one looked more untrustworthy than Bill Murray.  The difference between the two men is that the actor was a satirist."

    by David Denby in The New Yorker, Ted Cruz: The Mask of Sincerity

    "When Ted Cruz lies, he appears to be praying. His lips narrow, almost disappearing into his face, and his eyebrows shift abruptly, rising like a drawbridge on his forehead into matching acute angles.  He attains an appearance of supplication, an earnest desire that men and women need to listen, as God surely listens."


    Now that Ted has been caught red-handed stealing a victory in Iowa, he is no longer a serious force in presidential politics.  An ex-college roommate in Princeton says,

      "And you know, I want to be clear, because Ted Cruz is a nightmare of a human being.  I have plenty of problems with his politics, but truthfully his personality is so awful that 99 percent of why I hate him is just his personality.  If he agreed with me on every issue, I would hate him only one percent less."   - Craig Mazin


    “What if I got my puppy from a breeder in Canada?” A small child asked in the crowd.

    “Great question!” Cruz said with a knowing smile.  He tried to tossle the boy’s hair but the child recoiled in horror from his touch.  “I’d kill him!”

    “What??” The boy said his eyes watering up.  “You’d euthanize my puppy?”

    “Oh no!” Cruz said with a laugh.  “I wouldn’t euthanize him because we need to save those drugs for the human criminals.  What I’d do is I’d take his tiny little adorable puppy neck in my fist like this...” Cruz then pulled out a golden retriever puppy that he inexplicably had in a Knapsack at his feet.

    “And then I’d look into his loving eyes.” The puppy licked Cruz’s hand.

    “And I’d squeeze squeeze squeeze REALLY tightly until all the life drained out of him.” He demonstrated this as the crowd sobbed silently knowing if they spoke out, they’d be next.

    “That help?” Cruz then tossed the lifeless puppy at the traumatized boy and giggled. 

    “Now that’s what I’d do to the dog -- something real gentle because it didn’t have any choice in coming.  But a person...that’s another story.  You do NOT want to look in my basement is what I’m saying.”