Sunday, December 31, 2017

Good Riddance, 2017

Today is the last day of 2017, a year I won't be sorry to see in the rear-view mirror.

I'm generally a pretty cheerful and upbeat fellow, but this was a year that challenged my ability to see the good in people and to make the best of tough times.

This was the year in which I mourned the precipitous decline of the country I proudly served in uniform for 23 years.

It was the year in which it became clear that mass murder - including the slaughter of children - had become an acceptable cost of the freedom to own as many weapons of as many types as one wishes.

It was the year in which my faith in the essential fairness of the justice system and those who administer it was severely shaken.

It was the year in which I watched my government relentlessly and recklessly dismantle consumer and environmental protections in the service of a governing philosophy that honors big business and the wealthy over the interest and welfare of average citizens and prudent preparation for the future.

It was the year in which my opinion of the fairness and goodwill for which Americans have always been known was diminished by the willingness of many of my fellow Americans to not only accept, but to praise and dignify the crude behavior of their elected officials.

I hate to end the year on a downer, but that's how it is ... if I didn't have the love of my family and a core of dedicated friends, I'd have just given up. I hope that the new year will be better than the old, and with the help of family and friends, I'm sure it will be. But a lot of the same political and social misery will still be here, and I fear I'll be writing a similar post a year from now.

If you are going out partying tonight, please be careful ... above all, don't drive if you've been drinking. I need you all to help get me through 2018.

Have a good day and a safe, happy new year celebration. Be sure to check in tomorrow, when we announce the Ass Clown of the Year for 2017 - don't forget to cast those last votes.


Saturday, December 30, 2017

Cartoon Saturday

Good morning, and welcome to the last Cartoon Saturday for 2017.

The Israeli minister of transportation announced that a planned transit stop at Jerusalem's Western ("Wailing") Wall will be named in honor of Donald Trump for his recognition of the city as the capitol of Israel; a bomb squad called to the Los Angeles home of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin discovered that a suspicious package was filled with horse manure; in Alabama, Roy Moore filed a suit to stop the swearing in of Doug Jones as a senator, claiming voter fraud*, but the Alabama Secretary of State said the election results will stand; at least 41 people were murdered and more than 80 wounded in a suicide bomb attack on a Shia cultural center in Kabul, Afghanistan - the so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility; and in South Carolina, a programming error in the device that prints tickets for a lottery game generated a very large number of winning tickets, prompting lottery officials to suspend the game and start an investigation.

For our last Cartoon Saturday collection of the year, I thought it might be appropriate to feature cartoons about trophy walls ... since Donald Trump seems to love collecting the heads of his foes ...

I've often thought about this when bowling ...

For crossword puzzle fans everywhere ...

What else would a dog put on his trophy wall? ...

Clever! ...

It's a good question ...

True ...

In memory of the first client ...

Mounting the Trophy PiƱata ...

It's probably cheaper than Rogaine, and it does save space ...

Oops ...

And that's it for our last Cartoon Saturday of 2017 ... I hope it helped you get over the end of the Christmas week.

Don't forget to cast those last-minute votes for Ass Clown of the Year ... time's a-wasting! The deadline for balloting is 11:59 PM on December 31st (tomorrow evening).

Have a good day. Come back tomorrow for my final ruminations on the past year. More thoughts then.


* Because, well, of course.

Friday, December 29, 2017

The On-Crack Ass Clown for December, 2017

Well, we're down to the wire ... there are just two days left in 2017, and it's time to name our last Ass Clown awardee for the year. The distribution of Fridays in December has resulted in our need to name not two, but three award recipients, and so it is with the usual flatulent blare of trumpets that I announce

The On-Crack Ass Clown
December, 2017

and the award goes to

Counselor to the President
Kellyanne Conway

It's difficult to believe, and yet it's a measure of the craziness of the past year, that Kellyanne Conway has not received recognition as an Ass Clown awardee in 2017. Her shameless defense of the indefensible has been amazingly effective, and she was responsible for the entry into the Linguistic Hall of Shame of the term "alternative facts." Rising from humble beginnings, Ms Conway worked on a blueberry farm as a teen, won the New Jersey Blueberry Princess pageant in 1982, graduated from St. Joseph's High School in 1985, and then attended Trinity College in Washington, D.C., where she earned a degree in political science. She earned her law degree with honors at George Washington University Law School in 1992. After endorsing Texas Senator Ted Cruz in the GOP presidential primaries in 2016, she switched her allegiance to Donald Trump, going on to become his campaign manager after the resignation of Paul Manafort.

After the election, Ms Conway moved to the West Wing as "Counselor to the President," serving as a fiery spokesperson and aggressive defender of the Trump administration and its policies, never giving an inch in debates even when confronted with clear evidence rebutting her positions and assertions.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Readers, Kellyanne Conway - Secret Service codename "Blueberry" - is named as our final awardee for 2017 - the On-Crack Ass Clown for December. All I can say is, "oy."

Have a good day, and be sure to come back tomorrow for Cartoon Saturday. More thoughts then.


UPDATE - Here are the current standings in the Ass Clown of the Year competition. Relative positions are unchanged from the last update, although the numbers of votes for each candidate have continued to climb:

1st Place: The GOP Congressional Majority
2nd Place: Hillary Clinton
3rd Place: Donald Trump
4th Place: The Democratic Party
5th Place: Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Season's Greetings, or Whatever

There are a lot of really stupid things going around nowadays, but one of the stupidest has to be the concept of the imaginary "War on Christmas." Along with all his other less-than-presidential acts, Donald Trump has claimed victory in this so-called war, shamelessly braying that under his magnificent and steadfast leadership we're allowed to say "Merry Christmas" again.

Now, I don't know about you, but I never stopped saying "Merry Christmas," never felt I wasn't able to say "Merry Christmas," and never knew anyone else who felt pressured not to say "Merry Christmas." The plain fact is that there never was a "War on Christmas." If you believe in that ludicrous fiction, I'm sorry, but you're just a few eggs short of an omelet.

But real or not, there has been one unfortunate effect of the so-called "War on Christmas" - it's turned simple expressions of seasonal goodwill into unwanted and unintended political statements. This year, for the first time in my life, every time I wished someone "Merry Christmas," in the back of my mind was the nagging question of whether that simple, heartfelt wish would be interpreted as an in-your-face political statement sneering that my holiday was better than someone else's.

That's the real tragedy of what the alleged "War on Christmas" has done to us. I'm adding it to the long list of things that Donald Trump and his followers and enablers will have to answer for.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


P.S. - for a more lighthearted look at this imaginary war, read Angel's clever blog post. I wish I'd had her idea first.


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Leadership by Adjective

The Oxford English Dictionary defines leadership as "The action of leading a group of people or an organization; the state or position of being a leader." There are many different types and theories of leadership, among them Laissez-Faire, Autocratic, Leadership by ExampleParticipative, Transactional, Situational, and Transformational ... you can look up the details of all of them (and many others) on the Internet*. Nowadays, there's a new style of leadership, one that I call Leadership by Adjective, and its primary practitioner is Donald Trump.

When you lead by adjective, as Mr Trump does, you don't set the example and provide guidelines for your people to follow, you simply tell them how wonderful things are going to be. A leader by adjective is a winner, and the results of his leadership will be magnificent, huge, amazing, big-league**, tremendous, and terrific. On the other hand, his political opponents are losers and morons - they're stupid, weak, lightweight, low-energy, and out of control. Evidence is immaterial - what's important is that the adjectives are repeated frequently, loudly, and with total conviction.

Leadership by Adjective is wildly successful because it does not require the followers to think - only to believe. The boss absolutely knows what he's doing, because he says so, and things are going to be great!.

Personally, I think Leadership by Adjective is a despicable con job on a credulous electorate. I believe in six essential rules of leadership I tried to follow over a 23-year career as an Air Force officer:

Treat people as you would want to be treated (it's hard to beat The Golden Rule);

Praise in public, criticize in private (and never criticize on social media);

Listen carefully, and make decisions based on the best advice and information available (facts matter);

Don't ask anything of your people that you wouldn't do yourself;

Be fair; and,

Be loyal to your people*** if you want them to be loyal to you (you need to give it to get it).

How well did I perform as a leader? I like to think I did pretty well but, of course, I'm biased. In any case, though, I think I did a lot better - albeit on a smaller stage - than the current occupant of the White House, whose practice of Leadership by Adjective is widely approved ... and that's pretty depressing.

Have a good day. Forget the adjectives and adverbs ... stick to the verbs. More thoughts tomorrow.


* Here, for instance.

** Or "bigly," as it's usually pronounced.

*** And it helps when you're the president to remember that "your people" means all of the American people ... not just your screaming base.

UPDATE - Here are the latest standings in the Ass Clown of the Year balloting:

1st Place: The GOP Congressional Majority
2nd Place: Hillary Clinton
3rd Place: Donald Trump
4th Place: The Democratic Party
5th Place: Sarah Huckabee Sanders

You still have time to vote - balloting ends at 11:59 PM on December 31st. Let your voice be heard!


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Book Recommendation

I'm about 2/3 of the way through a fantastic book I think every American should read - Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire - A 500-Year History, by Kurt Anderson. If you've ever wondered (as I have) why so many Americans believe ludicrous things, support policies that are clearly not in their best interests, and throw their enthusiastic support behind proven liars and charlatans, this book offers a detailed, thoroughly-researched, and highly-entertaining look at how and why our history has brought us to this point.

Here's a good summary, from one of many reviews on

“Andersen's premise is that from colonial days on, America, unlike Europe, has been shaped by people who have been divorced from reality, whether through religious fanaticism (think the Puritans) or prospects of riches (think the Roanoke colony or Jamestown settlers). And that tenacious grip on fantasy over fact has largely guided our nation's history, with new examples emerging in every era. In the aggregate, this elevation of the impossible, the absurd and the unsubstantiated, has repeatedly destroyed lives and gotten us to the sorry place we are today, where the holder of the highest office in the land routinely lies and gets away with it.”

Anderson does a superb job of tracing the threads of our religious, political, and economic history and tying them together in an interesting - and disturbing - tale of why a nation as blessed as ours takes so many frequent and alarming turns into blatant fantasy and intolerance. This book will enrage the deeply religious and the politically ossified, but it's difficult to object to the historical analysis it provides.

I strongly recommend you read this book and consider what it suggests about our national situation and what we might be able to do to improve it*.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


* Sadly, probably not much.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas, 2017

Today is Christmas Day, the day on which Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, whose lessons and example many of them find great in theory but decline to follow in practice. Beyond the Christian world, it is a season for general good cheer, the exchange of gifts, and a month of uplifting and sentimental television shows which temporarily offset the sex, violence, and cynicism of the rest of the year.

We’ve long bemoaned the commercialization of Christmas, in which the purchase and exchange of gifts has replaced thoughtful contemplation and love of family. But now, Christmas has been politicized as well. Conservative shouting heads complain about a “war on Christmas,” and both Christians and non-Christians complain about discrimination because they don’t want to have to be exposed to religious ideas and traditions which are not their own. Angry idiots object to hearing a generic “Happy Holidays” or "Season's Greetings" instead of "Merry Christmas," "Happy Hanukkah," "Happy Solstice," "Happy Kwanzaa," "Happy Festivus," or other seasonal holiday of choice. Nuisance lawsuits force towns and cities to remove nativity displays from public places. Scrooge lives on.

The traditional Christmas story that most of us recognize is told in the Bible in the second chapter of the gospel of Matthew:

2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 
2:9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 
2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. 
2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; You shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 
2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 
2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Whatever happened to the part about “peace on earth and goodwill toward men*?” It seems to have been replaced by “peace on earth, goodwill only to those who agree with me, and the rest of you can go to Hell.” It’s been replaced by rigid intolerance and stiff-necked self-righteousness that belie both the spirit of the season and the values and teachings of the person whose birth is being celebrated.

Nevertheless, for those willing to put aside their cultural tunnel vision and their petty carping and hatreds, the Christmas season offers a time for joy and renewal, regardless of the religious tradition they profess to follow. It’s a season in which persons of goodwill can come together and treat each other like real human beings rather than like despised “others” … if, of course, they’re willing to bend enough to do so.

And it is, above all, a season for children, who have not yet been spoiled by the cynicism and hatred they’ll learn all too soon. The look on a child’s face on Christmas morning is a wonderful thing, and it reminds us that there is still joy to be found in life, if only we can get past the greed, selfishness, and political chicanery.

And so, Dear Readers, Agnes and I and our extended family wish all of you a very joyous Christmas and a safe, happy, and healthy new year. Blog on!

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


* Okay, “persons.” Don’t get your holiday knickers in a twist.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve, 2017

Today is the day of Christmas Eve, when millions of people across the nation and the world make their annual pilgrimage to the mall in search of the gifts they haven't yet purchased. Tonight, children will set out milk and cookies for Santa and desperately try to stay up late in hopes of seeing him, parents will use salty language as they try to deal with the toy for which "some assembly (is) required*," and stores will sell out of the batteries you didn't realize you needed for that toy for which "some assembly (is) required."

Here's an appropriate quote from comic author Dave Barry:

"Once again we find ourselves enmeshed in the Holiday Season, that very special time of year when we join with our loved ones in sharing centuries-old traditions such as trying to find a parking space at the mall. We traditionally do this in my family by driving around the parking lot until we see a shopper emerge from the mall, then we follow her, in very much the same spirit as the Three Wise Men, who 2,000 years ago followed a star, week after week, until it led them to a parking space**."

Ah, the holidays!

In our home, we celebrate Christmas in the German tradition, opening gifts and having our big dinner on Christmas Eve, which means that I've got to get moving to get the house cleaned and help Agnes get dinner preparations underway before the local grandchildren descend on us.

So this is going to be a short post today ... I'll have more to say tomorrow in my traditional Christmas Day post. I'll just warn you to be careful if you're going to be out today, because the stores will all be madhouses.

And I'll see you tomorrow.

Have a good day. More thoughts coming.


* "Some assembly required" is the shortened version of the statement, "Some assembly by credentialed mechanical or electrical engineers is required."

** One of my mother's favorite cartoons from many years ago showed two robed men on camels riding across the desert, with a third far behind them in the distance. One of the ones in front was turning and shouting, "Hurry up, Balthasar! It's a quarter to AD!"

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Cartoon Saturday

We're down to the Christmas wire, and the gifts have already been distributed to corporations and the wealthy.

The Trump administration struck a mighty blow for America this week, angering almost the entire world by threatening any country in the UN who voted in favor of a resolution condemning Mr Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel - the threat was ignored by a vote of 128 to 9*, with 35 abstentions; three people were killed and at least 24 injured when an Amtrak train derailed in Washington state; Congress passed a huge overhaul of the nation's tax system on a party-line vote; the UN Security Council voted unanimously to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea in response to its recent ballistic missile tests; and in Mexico, the bodies of six men were found hanging from bridges near the popular resort of Cabo San Lucas - the state's attorney general's office said the cases were being investigated as homicides**.

With only two more days until Christmas, what could be more festive than a collection of Christmas season-oriented cartoons? ...

Well, it had to come out eventually ...

Good advice for reindeer, too ...

And step on it! ...

Santa's new approach ...

I feel a lawsuit coming on ...

Gives new meaning to the expression, Rocky Mountain High, doesn't it? ...

Sadly, it's even needed at the North Pole ...

Well, Santa ... interested? ...

They later ran for Congress ...

It's coming ...

There's just one more Cartoon Saturday to go in this year - don't miss it one week from today.

Have a good day and a peaceful, joyous holiday weekend, no matter which holiday you choose to observe. And get those votes in for the Ass Clown of the Year! Come back tomorrow for our updated annual Christmas Eve post.


* Those who voted in favor of Mr Trump's recognition were the powerhouse nations of Guatemala, Honduras, Togo and the Pacific island states of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Nauru and Palau. Every traditional American ally voted against the US except for Australia and Canada, which abstained.

** Ya think?


Friday, December 22, 2017

Great Moments in Editing and Signage

It's the last set of Great Moments in Editing and Signage for 2017 ... but it's not like we'll run out in 2018 ...

Professor Moriarty he's not ...

Um ... I think I'll stick with the chicken, thanks ...

Why am I not surprised? ...

So, the butler was innocent after all ...

I'm glad I don't go to this particular church ...

Wait'll they get a load of the accordion ...

Well, that's getting down to basics ...

I hope you enjoy my Poetry Sunday offerings while wearing pants ...

This one caught my eye ...

The GOP has similar advice for your tax planning ...

And that closes out our final collection for the year ... I hope you enjoyed it.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for our Cartoon Saturday Christmas collection, and don't forget to cast your votes for the Ass Clown of the year - there's just a week to go. Here are the standings as of today:

1st Place: Donald Trump.
2nd Place: Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
3rd Place: Roy Moore.
4th Place: James O'Keefe.
5th Place: Ted Cruz.

Let your voice be heard - vote now!

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Null Hypothesis and the Nut Hypothesis

Given the Trump Administration's disdain for science*, I was interested to find a link to this YouTube video on one of my favorite websites.

The subject of the video (which is less than four minutes long and quite interesting) is the Null Hypothesis, the idea that a scientist should begin an experiment with the idea that nothing will happen. Narrator Tom Scott explains how it all works while he follows an experiment dealing with reading brain waves in zero gravity. The bottom line is that, when an experiment is finished and nothing has happened, it's not a "failure" ... rather, you've learned that a particular variable didn't make a difference. Unfortunately, that result isn't sexy enough to get media attention or encourage further funding** ... which in itself is a variable that can negatively affect scientific research.

Now, the Null Hypothesis - which argues for expecting that nothing will happen when an experiment is conducted - is the opposite of what we might call the Nut Hypothesis, which presupposes that enormous and uniformly positive results will result when a politically-motivated economic experiment is conducted***. We shall see how their latest experiment works out.

I'm reminded of the old saying that he who expected nothin' ain't gonna be deceived ... particularly as it applies nowadays.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


* As well as truth, honesty, fairness, and a responsible and rational foreign policy.

** Particularly from an administration that places more value on business than on knowledge.

*** It didn't quite work out that way when the GOP tried it in Kansas, but her e-mails.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


Back when I was in the dating pool, shortly after the earth's crust cooled, getting a date wasn't easy. Rather than the ruggedly handsome, manly stud you've come to know, I was skinny, awkward, and something of a nerd, which was an impediment to attracting the attention of the girls in whom I was most interested. But at least there were odd, 21st century dating practices I managed to avoid back then ... like kittenfishing.

I'd never heard of kittenfishing until this morning, when I stumbled on an article titled The New Dating Hazards You Need to Know About. I hadn't heard about catfishing, either, which is supposedly the dating hazard from which kittenfishing has mutated. I must lead a sheltered life.

Anyhow, kittenfishing is defined in the article as "the act of unrealistic self-presentation," for instance, using old and exceptionally flattering photos on social media and dating websites, or claiming interests one doesn't really have and experiences one has never actually experienced. Catfishing, on the other hand, is the creation of an entirely fake individual - supposedly, more attractive and engaging than oneself - for use in Internet dating.

I'm glad I'm out of the dating market. Things were hard enough back in the Paleozoic.

Have a good day, and watch out for catfishers, kittenfishers, and other such hazards of dating in the digital age. More thoughts tomorrow.


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Poetry ... uh ... Tuesday

Today's poem was supposed to run last Sunday, but I bumped it to today to take advantage of the timely topic of Trump Administration NewSpeak. But it's finally time to get warm with a poem for a cold winter's day ... even though today here in NoVa, the temperature will be near 60 degrees.

Winter: Tonight: Sunset 
by David Budbill 

Tonight at sunset walking on the snowy road,
my shoes crunching on the frozen gravel, first
through the woods, then out into the open fields
past a couple of trailers and some pickup trucks, I stop
and look at the sky. Suddenly: orange, red, pink, blue,
green, purple, yellow, gray, all at once and everywhere.
I pause in this moment at the beginning of my old age
and I say a prayer of gratitude for getting to this evening
a prayer for being here, today, now, alive
in this life, in this evening, under this sky.

Have a good day. Be grateful to be alive, even in the age of Trump.

More thoughts tomorrow.


Monday, December 18, 2017

The Next Sound You Hear ...

One of the things I've noticed as I've grown older is the ever-growing number of odd noises my body makes, usually at inopportune times. These are not necessarily dangerous, but can range from the inconvenient to the downright embarrassing. They can also be interesting from a linguistic standpoint.

I recently ran across this article by Akira Okrent: 21 Fancy Medical Terms for Mundane Problems, and found it fascinating. I'll not bore you with all 21 of the fancy terms your doctor uses to make you feel like you're getting your money's worth out of your health insurance (if you're lucky enough to have it), but I really related to this one: crepitus.

Derived from the Latin word for "rattle" or "crack," crepitus is the popping, creaking, or crackling sounds your joints make when you get out of bed in the morning, usually caused by cartilage wear in the joint space or, in soft tissues, by the release of trapped gas*.

I was interested to note that one of my favorite words - decrepit - comes from the same Latin root. And a little more reading led me to a Wikipedia article about Crepitus, supposedly the Roman god of flatulence. Unfortunately, Crepitus may not have been an actual god, but a satirical figure invented over time, although he may have given his name to the act of crepitation and thus to the amazing, one-of-a-kind Crepitation Contest ...

Feeling decrepit? Join the club.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


* This is what happens when you crack your knuckles.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Things You Can't Say

If you came here expecting to see the usual Poetry Sunday offering, I'm afraid you'll have to wait a few days for your poetry fix. I decided to go with another topic today while it's hot in the news, and Monday's post is already written ... so Poetry Sunday will appear on Tuesday this week. Sorry for the confusion.

This is the time of year when we suffer through the nonsense of the so-called "War on Christmas," in which hypersensitive zealots think their rights are being infringed when you say "Happy Holidays," "Season's Greetings," "Happy Hanukkah," "Happy Kwanzaa," or anything other than "Merry Christmas." I've always been fond of this approach to the issue:

Unfortunately, there are people who believe in using language as a cudgel to impose their political agendas on the rest of us. For today's example, I call your attention to this news article that appeared yesterday: CDC Gets List of Forbidden Words: Fetus, Transgender, Diversity.

Yes, Dear Readers, the Trump Administration has directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make sure that politically-unapproved scientific concepts, words, and ideas do not find their way into government announcements. The officially-banned words are:









According to an analyst who participated in the briefing at which the new rules were introduced, the phrase “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes” should be used instead of “science-based” or “evidence-based.”* A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services** issued a statement claiming that the report was "a complete mischaracterization of discussions regarding the budget formulation process."***

A complete list of the GOP-approved terms to replace the seven blacklisted ones has not yet been released, but I expect it will look like this when it does:

Instead of Vulnerable, use Whiny and Complaining.

Instead of Entitlement, use Unearned and Undeserved Government Handout.

Instead of Diversity, use Unwarranted Government Interference in Population Distribution.

Instead of Transgender, use Unnatural.

Instead of Fetus, use Baby or Child.

Instead of Evidence-Based, use Supported by Fake News.

Instead of Science-Based, note that Scientists Disagree, regardless of how many scientists disagree, whether the scientists who disagree are in relevant fields, or the nature of their disagreements.

Consider that the CDC - the federal agency that's supposed to protect us from global/nationwide epidemics - is not allowed to say evidence-based or science-based. What could possibly go wrong?

I hope you're taking notes for the 2018 and 2020 elections.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


* Because, of course, community standards and wishes - particularly conservative ones - are more important than medical science in protecting you from disease.

** Not one of the GOP's favorite cabinet agencies, to be sure.

*** Tomato, tomahto.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Cartoon Saturday

It's been quite a week, even by current standards ...

Saudi Arabia stuck a tentative toe into the water of the 21st century when it announced it will lift a 35-year-old ban on movie theaters in the kingdom - "a watershed moment in the development of the cultural economy in the Kingdom," according to Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Alawwad; House and Senate Republicans have agreed on on the framework of their fast-track, closed-door tax reform package, hoping to ram it through Congress in time for Donald Trump to sign it as a Christmas gift for big business and the wealthy; Democratic candidate Doug Jones scored a stunning victory over Republican Roy Moore to become the first Democratic Senator elected in Alabama in a quarter of a century; a pair of lovers in India have been accused of killing the woman's husband and then having cosmetic surgery performed on the male lover so he could take the husband's place; and near Dulles Airport in Washington, DC, a man was arrested after getting into a car crash, taking off his clothes and jumping on a vehicle, causing major delays during the Tuesday afternoon rush hour.

This week, in honor of a Congress that continues to show us just how much it believes in serving the average citizen, our cartoons deal with politics and politicians ...

I'd wondered how early a career in politics began ...

Rural America ... you know, the place that used to be the stronghold of American values rather than the seat of its worst fears and hatreds ...

True enough ...

Yes, that's about how it works ...

This, of course, presupposes that the wearer has any interest at all in keeping stories straight ...

You say "campaign ad," I say "fraud" ... let's call the whole thing off ...

How Faux News finds its on-air talent ...

Does not apply to the Trump administration, which does not believe in corrections, and the clarifications don't make sense ...

How the pyramid scheme of politics works ...

Oh, well ... CNN and Fox are choices, after all ...

And that's your Cartoon Saturday for this week - helping you laugh as well as cry over politics. It's going to be a cold and blustery weekend here in NoVa, although it's looking like we won't have a white Christmas, except in the White House. Sigh.

Don't forget to keep casting those votes for Ass Clown of the Year - there are just two weeks remaining for you to do your part to dishonor those who have earned this august* title.

Have a good day and a great weekend. More thoughts tomorrow, when Poetry Sunday returns.


* Yes, I know it's actually December. Just work with me on this, okay?

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Left-Cheek Ass Clown for December, 2017

Have you cast your votes for the Ass Clown of the Year yet? If not, get moving, because the deadline for voting is fast approaching ... your votes must be cast by 11:59 PM on December 31st. You can review the ground rules for voting and read the summary of voting to date after today's post ...

But before we name the Ass Clown of the Year for 2017, we still have to announce two more biweekly winners, and with that in mind, I have decided to designate as

The Left-Cheek Ass Clown for December, 2017

Presidential Press Secretary
Sarah Huckabee Sanders

This is the second award for Ms Sanders, who was our Right-Cheek Ass Clown in November of this year. In the last week, she has claimed - without evidence - that the news media deliberately falsifies stories to mislead the American people. Her basis for this accusation was the case of a story by an ABC news reporter who published a single-source story that was soon proven to be inaccurate, and who has been suspended without pay by ABC. It's worth reiterating that (1) the error was noted and corrected by ABC and the reporter was suspended; and (2) no one in the administration - including Donald Trump - has ever apologized or been disciplined for deliberately misleading the American people. News reporters who make errors publish retractions or corrections ... members of the Trump administration not only do not apologize or make corrections, they double down and accuse others of malfeasance for reporting the truth.

It is difficult to be the spokesperson for a man as divorced from truth, dignity, and courtesy as Donald Trump, but Ms Sanders has thrown away her own dignity and credibility by doubling down on the miserable record of the administration she serves. One has to wonder if she believes in her heart the ridiculous, easily-disprovable rot she presents on behalf of an administration that can no longer be taken seriously.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders is named as the Left-Cheek Ass Clown for December, 2017.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow, when Cartoon Saturday returns to brighten spirits that could use some brightening.


Here's a recap of the rules for Ass Clown of the Year Voting:

1. Chicago Rules apply: you may vote as many times as you want, for as many candidates as you want. You may cast votes on behalf of yourself, your family members, your friends, your pets, your friends' pets, or anyone else, living or dead. In the interest of fairness, please don't cast more than ten votes at any one time for any one candidate ... just vote more often. You can vote for multiple candidates in the same submission.

2. You may vote for any of the biweekly award winners, or for anyone else you wish (see a full list of the winners prior to this week here). SPECIAL NOTE: Donald Trump, having been presented a lifetime achievement award in October after receiving the award nine previous times, is no longer eligible for selection as a Right- or Left-Cheek Ass Clown; however, he may receive Ass Clown of the Year votes in this, his final year of eligibility.

3. You need not be legally authorized to vote in an official American election.

4. Photo ID is not required. If you are concerned that the Russians will manipulate the results to undermine the integrity of the award without such identification, consider that conspiracy theorists already convinced that elections are rigged will assume that any IDs presented will be falsified, anyhow. And in any case, integrity is a quaintly outdated concept in today's political world in which "facts" require no proof other than conformity to one's preconceived notions. I worry more about my fellow citizens than I do about the Russians.

5. Votes will be accepted from now until 11:59 PM on December 31st. You may vote by leaving a comment on any blog post between now and then; by sending me an e-mail; by sending me a PM on Facebook if we are connected there; or in person if we should happen to meet.

The voting results so far are:

1st Place: Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
2nd Place: Donald Trump.
3rd Place: Roy Moore.
4th Place: Ted Cruz.
5th Place: James O'Keefe.

Let your voice be heard - vote early and vote often!