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Showing posts from June, 2018

Thanks for all the hits!

It's a very pleasant surprise waking up to see I had 1539 hits yesterday.  I'm lucky if I get that many hits in one month.  Not only that but there have been an additional 457 hits so far today.  Not sure what I owe the pleasure of all this visitation to, but it appears to come largely from the United States, and to a small degree Vietnam.  I'd like to think a few persons have taken interest in the blog, but the hits were mostly to the main page, with no significant increase in individual posts.  Alas, that means no comments.   So, I have no idea why you took a look, except maybe by accident.

If so, I hope you at least scanned or maybe even read one of the posts.  I've been keeping this blog going for the better part of nine years with the hope I might rekindle some fire after most of the old NYTimes followers left.  The blog was a safety net for those who had kept the American History forum alive in the old NYTimes reading forums.  The individual sites can no longer …

Wow, indeed!

Remember all this talk about how Obama would appoint "activist judges?"  Well, it seems the Republicans have an extra ace in the hole in Neil Gorsuch.  For some strange reason, unbeknownst to any Constitutional law, five Supreme Court justices have decided to uphold Trump's self-professed Muslim Ban.  Granted, the executive order had gone through three writings in an attempt to remove the most contentious aspects of it, but nevertheless this is a ban that should have never been allowed to happen because the motives were clear.  As a result of this 5-4 vote, Trump is now fully emboldened to carry out an immigration policy that will be the most punitive we have  seen since WWII.

This past week, the Supreme Court also empowered Texas to gerrymander voting districts so that Republicans could maintain their hold on the state's politics.  We can expect more such cases from other states, as gerrymandering has become de rigueur in the Republican effort to maintain a chokeho…

The Overcoat

Anyone remember anything about the North Korea summit?  It seems like Trump's great foreign policy coup is completely forgotten in the wake of the border crisis unfolding before our eyes.  The protest to the separation policy grew so loud that His Trumpness was forced to retract his edict, and send Melania down to Texas to show that he cared.  Only problem is that her jacket said just the opposite, so now the media is trying to figure out what the hell is going on, as kids get tossed back and forth between detention facilities, with only a relative handful being reunited with their parents.

The jacket has gotten the most attention, given the wacky theories that have emerged, such as Zara reawakening the 1930s in the messaging on their clothes, and that Melania is a willing accomplice.  Of course, His Trumpness dismisses such conspiracy theories, saying it was just a dig at the media.  Whatever the case, the media is not letting go, and neither are celebrities who have donned thei…

Spoken into the Void

Except for the occasional spikes in viewing, I feel like I'm speaking into the void.  This was the lead story in a collection of essays by Adolf Loos at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries in describing the state of European architecture at the time, resulting in his most famous essay, "Ornament and Crime," but figured his essays were falling on mostly deaf ears if any ears at all.

He likened ornament in architecture to tattoos on convicts.  He felt that we as Europeans were above all that but today the proliferation of tattoo parlors across Europe and America says otherwise.  The tattoo has long been an emblem of identity, but was largely viewed as one among marginalized persons, gangs and miscreants.  When sailors, merchant marines and other sea men came back from the Pacific with tattoos emblazoned on them, tattoos began to reach a broader segment of the population and have proliferated over the decades.

Some prefer modest tattoos in immodest places to be seen on…

We're America, Bitch!

The shit just keeps getting deeper.  Not only does the White House refuse to take any action on the growing crisis along the border, but has now officially removed itself from the UN Human Rights Council.  Nikki Haley issued a truly ugly speech that rings hollow in the wake of all the atrocities the US is committing at the moment as it separates migrant families at the border.

You just have to wonder if there is anyone even considering "damage control" at this point?  Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin is resigning, and it appears John Kelly will soon follow suit, now that John Bolton is clearly exercising his influence on the White House.  There is no longer any room for more temperate minds like Kelly in the Oval Office.  All though, it must be said he has done a horrible job of managing Trump.

It is really hard to fathom what Trump has to gain from all this.  If he is using the kids to push Congress to come up with an immigration bill, it certainly won't be one that fav…
The border crisis is really heating up and is quickly turning into the signature issue of this election year.  For its part, the Trump administration is doubling down on its heinous policy, although you get a broad interpretation of events from its various faces.  The most blunt was Hitler Youth poster boy Stephen Miller's statement, "it was a simple decision."  Others either deny there is anything inhumane about the separations taking place, or try to pin the blame on the Democrats, as Trump is doing himself.

In the "alt news media world," pundits dismiss the cages as walls out of chain link fences, Democrats are using child actors, and that the whole thing is a "manufactured crisis," while they defend Trump's
horrible immigration policy.

On the campaign trail, Trump's surrogates double down on this "zero-tolerance" approach, like Rep. Lou Barletta, who is now running for the US Senate.  He seems to forget that Senate elections ar…

Anthony bids adieu

When you die, you are immediately relegated to history, but it seems the good folks at CNN struggled mightily to keep Anthony Bourdain alive.  The teary tributes poured out on the screen.  I imagine if Anthony could have seen it, he would have gagged, as he didn't strike me as much of a sentimentalist.

His death is a bit of a jolt, but was he really that important a figure?  So many persons talked about how he opened up new territory on his travel shows:  sitting down with Bobby Seale at Miss Ollie's in Oakland and reminiscing on the Black Panthers, or taking us on a culinary tour of Gaza.  Food and politics get intermixed as in the makloubeh he illustrated in his Gaza segment.   

Most of us have had to battle with our own families over the dinner table and know full well what it means to inject politics into a holiday meal, but here was Anthony making it seem so easy.  He brought contentious issues literally to the dinner table, casually talking about them as though we shoul…

My kingdom for a pair of stacks

You really have to wonder about the scheduling at the White House to plan a summit with North Korea so closely on the heels of the G-7 summit that Trump had to leave Quebec early to make it to Singapore on time.  But, one appears to have served the other.  Trump used the G-7 to display his "toughness" as a prelude to what was billed as his hardball summit with Kim Jong-un.

The interesting part is that "toughness" didn't appear until he was back on Air Force One, tweeting his ornery texts that he would not sign the G-7 joint statement because he didn't get the concessions he wanted from the other members.  He took most of his venom out on Canadian Pres. Trudeau, who days before had vowed retaliatory tariffs on the US.  His Trumpness made it sound like he was responding to Trudeau, an odd habit that has emerged in which Trump tries to turn the tables hoping that no one sees him do it.

It seems to work among his faithful, who have now unleashed their vile ang…

Pardon me, Mr. President

As Trump fishes for more pardons to give, you wonder if he will soon be issuing his own Emancipation Proclamation to rebrand history.  In an absurdly ignorant move, Trump offered to pardon Muhammad Ali,  blithely unaware that his conviction had been overturned long ago.  But, His Trumpness was looking for another high profile pardon in the wake of Jack Johnson and Alice Marie Johnson, which came after WH visits by Sly Stallone and Kim Kardishian.  It seems to pay to have friends in Hollywood.

This all part of Trump's new gambit of turning black voters out for him in 2020.  It arose after Kanye West's surprising endorsement, or rather re-endorsement, as the rap mogul had first supported Trump back in 2016.  At the time, Kanye's buddies chalked it up to fatigue, but he has reappeared fresh and as energetic as ever, ready to stretch his label beyond music and fashion and into architecture.  Get ready for Yeezy Home.

While Kanye's heart may seem to be in the right place w…

Border Wars

I was listening to some BBC pundits try to make sense of Trump's tariffs announced on Friday, and they had a pretty hard time of it.  One woman more or less nailed it when she said that these tariffs are aimed purely at his base, fulfilling his promise of a tough trade policy on the campaign trail.  I was waiting for one of them to point out that these tariffs may hit his base the hardest, as auto companies rely heavily on cheap imported steel to keep their prices down, and much of this steel and aluminum comes from Canada, but the British pundits were focusing mostly on the impact on Europe, which appears to be negligible at first sight.  I guess this is why Jean-Claude Juncker sees this more as an annoyance than anything else.

Not so for Canada, which was notably pissed and promised retaliatory tariffs within a month, assuming Trump actually goes through with these proposed tariffs.  What makes this even odder is that the US actually enjoys a trade surplus with Canada despite i…

The Feckless C*nt

It sounds like a title from a dimestore crime noir novel, but Samantha Bee finds herself under fire for impugning the motherhood of Ivanka Trump.  It came at the end of her segment on the plight of illegal immigrant children being stripped from their parents and being placed in detention centers, whereabouts unknown.  However, it quickly became the sole takeaway from her Wednesday episode.  Samantha has since apologized, but no matter, the Roseanne fans want her head to make up for the loss of their favorite show.

Funny that the same people who are so quick to maliciously impugn others, get so bent out of joint when someone goes after their icons.  Not sure why Trumpkins should revere Ivanka, as she is the liberal one in the family.  She has even gone so far as to claim she is the voice of moderation in the White House, which is why Samantha so brusquely singled her out to get her to do something about this heinous immigration policy.

In this incidence, Trump claims he is just follow…