Carnivàle 9 (Justin)

6 January 2021

I have no words for what happened yesterday.

I'm thinking of a Financial Times cartoon that showed the Oval Office as a padded cell. Would that it were, with bars on the windows and no way to open the door from the inside.

Barring some miraculous intervention, the next 13 days are going to seem like the longest we've ever experienced. Thirteen days of holding our collective breath and praying to get through the day without some proactive or reactive act of madness unloosed on this nation and the world. Or perhaps just on his own true believers. Jim Jones. Jonestown.
Discworld - Death tapdanced

Donald and Twitter

So, I woke up this morning to the news that DJT plans some sort of executive action against social media companies because Twitter had the gall to fact check two of his tweets. This, of course, had him stamping his feet like a two-year-old having a tantrum.

If you didn't already think we're living in a "Twilight Zone" episode, this should put any doubts to rest. See: "It's a Good Life" (air date 1961) with Billy Mumy as the little boy who thinks anyone who displeases him into the cornfield.... Trump, I'm sure, must wish he could do the same thing.

The episode was based on a short story of the same name by Jerome Bixby. Worth reading or watching.
HP "Fiasco" quote

Modern-day Nero

So what do you remember from the Ancient Rome part of your world history class all those years ago? Antony and Cleopatra? Julius Caesar and Brutus? Nero fiddling away while Rome burned?

Emperor Trump has traded the fiddle for a set of golf clubs, but it's the same thing. We've got a Category 4 (Cat 5 until this morning) hurricane bearing down on the southeastern seaboard from Florida to the Carolinas, and he thinks the way to spend the Labor Day holiday is by playing a round of golf. It's telling, though, that he's not at one of his Florida courses, but safely out of range in Virginia. But wouldn't you think that he'd want to see what a formerly Cat 5 hurricane is like, since he said he didn't think he'd ever heard of such a thing.... Newsflash -- there have been four since he took office. And a few years ago there was that little thing called Katrina....
New Year - generic

Another year


One way or another, change is in the air. There will be a couple of first babies arriving (one possibly already here). The Brexit countdown clock is ticking very loudly in the UK (and if you have the slightest interest in this and haven't already seen it, Google "Gollum Brexit" and enjoy the brilliance of Andy Serkis). Here at home, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (aka the Trump presidency) will hopefully see one or two car tires punctured as the Democrats take control of Congress in two days' time and start laying spike strips in the road. And it's going to be worth the price of admission to watch Nancy Pelosi take on Trump (his big, beautiful Wall, which he sometimes calls a fence, or maybe Artistic Steel Slats, is "maybe a beaded curtain" in her telling). Ouch!

Here's wishing everyone who reads this a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2019!
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Eeyore pathetic

Stupid Steve

It's no secret that I'm not a fan of Donald Trump or his administration, although until now I've mostly kept my thoughts about the Cabinet appointees to myself. But when idiocy reaches a certain level, it's necessary to say something.

Not to be confused with Sloppy Steve, aka Stephen Bannon, Stupid Steve is how I'll be thinking of our Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (hmmm, add a letter and switch things around a bit and you have "munchkin"...), which may or may not be my mind going off on a tangent. Anyway, you remember Mnuchin. He's the one who decided he had to take his actress wife Louise to inspect the gold in Fort Knox, and remarkable coincidence, they made that trip at taxpayer expense on Total Eclipse of the Sun Day, with Fort Knox conveniently in the path of totality. And then there was that photo of Steven and Louise with a sheet of freshly minted currency, all the bills bearing his signature. Nothing especially noteworthy about that, apart from the fact that Louise was apparently wearing opera-length gloves as she delicately held a corner of the sheet of bills. So yes, that Steve.

Now we learn that Steve M. seems to think you'd be looking for the global elite in the wrong place if you think they'll be at the World Economic Forum in Davos later this month. Not at all! Davos will be filled with average Joes (you know -- the everyday people who spend $70,000 for a conference ticket and then helicopter in to hang out with A-list celebrities and the odd world leader).

Yeah, right. Stupid, Steve.
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Shakespearean insult 1 (Mouldy rogue)

Trump and the London embassy

So Trump has cancelled his trip to London to open the new U.S. Embassy. Here's the reason he gave (via tweet, naturally): "Reason I canceled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for 'peanuts,' only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars. Bad deal."

(As usual, he got his facts wrong, but what else is new?)

In tweets of their own, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and former opposition leader Ed Miliband offered a different interpretation: "Many Londoners have made it clear that Donald Trump is not welcome here while he is pursuing such a divisive agenda. It seems he’s finally got that message." (Khan) and "Nope it’s because nobody wanted you to come. And you got the message." (Miliband).

Boris Johnson (Foreign Secretary, sometimes known as "BoJo") couldn't resist sticking up for Trump (maybe they've bonded over their hairstyles?), tweeting: "The US is the biggest single investor in the UK - yet Khan & Corbyn seem determined to put this crucial relationship at risk. We will not allow US-UK relations to be endangered by some puffed up pompous popinjay in City Hall."

News flash, Boris -- the "puffed up pompous popinjay" currently resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC.

Theresa May, who still has that very ill-advised early invitation to Trump to make a state visit to Britain hanging around her neck like an albatross, appears to be studiously silent.

I'm guessing that the embassy staff is heaving a collective sigh of relief, and I don't blame them.
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HP "Fiasco" quote

Trump in Switzerland

So our VSG (Very Stable Genius) president has decided to grace Davos with his presence this year. He'll be attending the World Economic Forum, where he apparently wants to talk about his "America First" agenda. I'm already anticipating the self-congratulatory tweets. :-(
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California politics quote

About that book

Wolff's book sold out everywhere immediately. Apparently people were lining up at midnight waiting for bookstores to open so they could get a copy. Shades of Harry Potter release parties!

The bookstores are not only sold out, but the warehouses are empty as well. The publisher is already doing a second printing, which will probably also go quickly if my local bookstore, with its waiting list of 300 people is anything to go by. I was advised to wait a couple of weeks if I want to get my hands on a physical book, or to go ahead and just buy it as an ebook.

I could add a tagline to my icon and say "and they're all reading Fire and Fury".

Great interview/duel over the weekend between CNN's Jake Tapper and the White House's Stephen Miller. Voices were raised and blood was drawn. The interview is out there on YouTube if you want to see it.
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