26 May 2017

Surely those who have taken the calf (as a god) 
will suffer the anger of their Lord,
and disgrace in the world.
That is how We requite those who fabricate lies.
Yet those who do wrong, then repent and believe,
are forgiven, for your Lord is forgiving and kind.
When his anger subsided Moses picked up the tablets.
Inscribed on them was guidance and grace
for those who fear their Lord.

Qur'an, sura "Wall Between Heaven and Hell," v. 152-154, Al-Qur'an:  a Contemporary Translation by Ahmed Ali.

23 May 2017

I tried to find other people who believe what Rachel Maddow believes, but came up empty. 

18 May 2017

Jesus H. Christmas, the New Yorker and New York Times really should just get on with it and rebrand themselves Old White Guys Dreaming about Watergate* (with Good Cartoons) and Senior Center Discussion Groups Unlimited (with Florida Real Estate Porn), respectively.

*Reveries about J.F. Kennedy are, properly understood, prequels to the epic drama that culminated in Nixon's fall from heaven (hell, Mallon begins the article with Richard Nixon.)  So perhaps another possible name for the magazine is Neo-Miltonic Narratives with some animadversions to What the Kids are Listening to These Days.

15 May 2017

The 2000 Census told us that 12.4% of Americans self-identified as being of German descent.

Taking half of this number to represent the males in this group, and then multiplying by 0.95 (a high estimate of the heterosexuals in that all-male group), you get 5.89% of Americans.

So my Very Serious Question today is:  why does it seem like straight German guys are the only journalists good enough for Time magazine?

(The May 22 issue's four features are as follows:  "The Firing Line," by David Von Drehle, "Trump at Night," by Michael Scherer and Zeke J. Miller, "Populism Goes Global," by Ian Bremmer, and "How Dogs Think,"* by Jeffrey Kluger.)

I suspect Erzherzog von Washington David Broder has something to do with this.  He has been dead for six years, though, and "diversity" is supposed to be all the rage in journalism today.  Well.

*Key passage:  "A sense of time as a linear thing -- that the current state is not the only state -- is an abstraction that human babies take a long time to learn, which partly explains tantrums.  A present moment without a cookie means an eternity without cookies."

13 May 2017

It is gratifying to see Michelle Obama allowing herself to be human again.

As Julie told Sabine in Act 1, Scene 1 of Corneille's Horace:

Les deux camps sont rangés au pied de nos murailles ;
Mais Rome ignore encor comme on perd des batailles.
Loin de trembler pour elle, il lui faut applaudir :
Puisqu’elle va combattre, elle va s’agrandir.
Bannissez, bannissez une frayeur si vaine,
Et concevez des vœux dignes d’une Romaine.

08 May 2017

A few students and a few adults have come to me and said, ‘What you’re doing is wrong,’” Hernandez said. “Some questioned whether we shouldn’t be more about teaching how to use the Internet responsibly."

Well, our outgoing President - a very gifted educator, to be sure - politely pointed out how to make responsible personnel decisions to the incoming President, and what did that accomplish?  I'm firmly with Principal Hernandez on this.

07 May 2017

HST:  Yes ... He named his campaign plane the Dakota Queen II, and at first that was enough -- just one 727 which he chartered from United Airlines at outrageously inflated rates.  They burned him as much as they could.  He was doing things like flying back and forth from Washington to New York when he could have stayed in one place and they were running up ...
Ed: Speak up, please.
HST:  They were running up massive bills which were not necessary.  I learned this from the United Airlines representative on the plane.  But nevertheless, when the campaign began mushrooming around Labor Day, more and more press people came aboard the Dakota Queen, and it was necessary to have two McGovern campaign planes.  One of which was divided into three compartments:  where McGovern's family, himself and his sort of ... personal staff sat in front.  Like a first-class compartment.
In the rear was a bar and a sort of mini press room where there were about five typewriters, a few phones -- you could call from the plane to headquarters in Washington -- you could call anywhere from the plane.
[much later]
... but Colorado was the only bright spot in the country that night ...
Ed:  Why was that?
HST:  Gordon Allot got beaten ... A Republican senator ... an arch Nixon supporter ... He was defeated by Floyd Haskell, a sort of unknown Democrat, by a very small margin ... and also the Olympics were defeated which was a definite victory ...
Ed:  There had been a referendum?
HST:  Oh yeah ... They actually threw the Winter Olympics out of Colorado ... Which was a great shock to the Chamber of Commerce people, the greedheads ... And then I called Aspen and ... we carried ... you know Aspen was the only county in Colorado that went for McGovern ... And there was one other thing ... I forget what ... oh, Pat Schroeder ... a sort of a liberal woman lawyer who beat the former DA who was the incumbent congressman.
Ed:  Where was that?
HST:   In Denver.
Ed:  Also in Colorado.
HST:  Yeah, but the rest of the country -- except for Massachusetts -- was a sort of never-ending nightmare.  For a while, in the press room, there were people trying to write or ... half-heartedly poking on typewriters around the edge of the room ... But nobody was writing by five, we were just sort of watching television and drinking ...

Hunter S. Thompson talking to his editor about election night in November 1972, from Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72.

05 May 2017

Just so we're clear:  I'm really grokking John Kasich's environmentalist theology but I'm not going to buy his book and I'm not going to become a Republican because Trump said weird shit at the inaugural address and God needs every last white male American to speak out about what's really wrong with this country but God also needs the two-party system.

01 May 2017

Rewriting NPR Headlines, episode 2

A Singing Cowboy, A [Young-Earth Creationist] Millionaire [from San Diego] And Rifles Dominate Montana Special Election

Gunman Kills 1, Wounds 6 In Shooting At A Pool Party In San Diego

Environmentalists, Coal Companies Rally Around Technology To Clean Up Coal [Coal is a Dirty, Dirty Fuel and Coal Companies are in Trouble] 

Trump Invites Controversial [his Filipino Dictator Bro and] Philippines Leader To White House