Friday, October 21, 2016

Donald Trump, Dada Comedian

I wonder what he meant by that? I mean, I realize it's a reference to the zombie wingnut lie that Hillary Clinton was fired from her job as a staff attorney with the House Judiciary Committee during its Watergate inquiries in 1973, which of course she wasn't, but how does it work as a punchline? The form suggests that the Watergate investigation was especially corrupt so that HRC had to be extremely corrupt to fall out of favor with it, which is an unconventional view of the Watergate investigation. As in "Donald Trump is such a welcher the Mafia sued him for breach of contract."

And strangely enough, half or more of his routine at the Al Smith Dinner last night had this strange quality of inappositeness to the punch line or, as laypeople might put it, they weren't jokes.

Or alternatively, it's an entirely new kind of joke, one that just joys in pointlessness. That's probably why the audience is booing, because it's just too avant-garde, like the premiere of the Rite of Spring in 1913.

If I'm getting this right, we could soon be seeing comedians trying out one-liners like these:
A Catholic, a Jew, and a Muslim walk into a bar. What a mistake! I mean it was a disaster! Never should have happened, and it won't happen when I'm president, believe me.
Your mama's so fat, she's disgusting. Seriously, it's horrible how she's let herself go, I'm sorry, I know I'm not supposed to say that kind of thing. But I always tell it like it is.
Take my wife--no, really, I was getting ready to trade her in anyway.
I was in this restaurant the other day, there was a fly in my soup, I called the waiter over. "What's this fly doing in my soup?" "It looks senselessly overactive and irritable," he says, "I'd guess it's doing some kind of meth." So I had him fired.
Q: Why did the chicken cross the road? A: To take your job and rape your daughters. And some of them, I assume, are good chickens.
Image via Geek Tyrant.
More from Steve.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Atheist liberal war on Halloween!

Update 10/21: Revised and expanded for clarity.
Lady Gaga getting into costume for a Halloween party in Paris, 2014, as a table. Photo by Splash News via Daily Mail.
A little "humor" or at least Reductio ad Turdum from Katherine Timpf at the National Review:
I am sick of articles telling people how to choose what to “be” for Halloween without being insensitive . . . because the truth is, dressing up as anyone or anything other than yourself is always offensive.
Let me say it again: It’s all appropriation, it’s never okay, and there are no exceptions. You may think that I’m being extreme, but if you follow the very same logic that people use to explain why costumes like “Pocahontas” or “geisha” are offensive, you will realize that my conclusion is the only one you can possibly draw.
Yes, because if you say wearing tan-in-a-can and a black wig with a turkey feather and a leather minidress with cleavage and calling yourself Pocahontas is hurtful to Native Americans, you might as well say that dressing up as Headmaster Dumbledore is hurtful to people who identify with elderly British wizards. That's just logic.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Tom, this is not really helping

By Directioner via WeHeartIt.
Thomas P. Friedman, better known as Thomas L. Friedman, Mystax Contrarianisticus, has a fun take:
Thank God for WikiLeaks.
After all these months of nailbiting over what kind of monstrous evil Hillary might be revealed by the transcripts of her secret meetings with the employees of the Goldman Sachs firms, now that WikiLeaks has published them it turns out she's nothing but a left-deviationist Friedmanite! Exactly what the mustache ordered!
I confess, I was starting to wonder about what the real Hillary Clinton — the one you never get to see behind closed doors — really stood for. 
Right, how come the Clinton we see behind closed doors is never the real one? Wait what?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

But let loveliness roll down like waters

Frederick Soulacroix, Tea on the Terrace. Via "A Return to Loveliness" at adelightsomelife.
Kathy Fletcher is national director of the Turnaround Arts Initiative, a public-private partnership within the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities dedicated to bringing arts education and materials—art supplies, musical instruments—to struggling elementary and middle schools around the country. Her husband David Simpson was at Issue One, a 501(C)(3) organization that "conceptualizes and funds the strategies necessary to reduce the undue influence of well-financed special interests over politics and policy-making.... to help create the political strength, critical mass, public presence and funding levels necessary to achieve substantive reforms at the state and national levels that put every day citizens back in the driver's seat of American politics" but left it last month to head up a new charity, AOK-DC, which aims, I think, to fund college for the 15 or so local DC kids from low-income and in some cases desperate situations who've been coming over to Kathy and David's house for dinner on Thursdays for the past couple of years.

They're obviously truly nice and sincere people, so kind that they even let David Brooks ("The Power of a Dinner Table") come over for the Thursday dinners and hugs all around:

Monday, October 17, 2016

Beleaguered, Battered, and Bewildered

Update: Welcome back MBRU readers, thanks as always Batocchio!

Eggs Benedict, via Wikipedia.
Monsignor Ross Douthat, apostolic nuncio to 42nd Street, rises "In Defense of the Religious Right"—that's the "beleaguered, battered, all-but-broken religious right" to you, but he's not defending them against the forces that broke them, the indifference to theological niceties of their own voters, who turn out to be more invested in xenophobia than in the man who hung out comfortably with the Samaritan woman at the well in spite of her foreign culture and her colorful sexual history (John 4:4-26); what he's defending them against is words, from those mean old liberals mocking the theocrats in their moment of grief and weakness:

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Speaking of Amy Chozick

If by "virtually silent" you mean putting it at the center of your agenda for the past two years.

And using it for your climax move in your first debate
CLINTON: You know, he tried to switch from looks to stamina. But this is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs, and someone who has said pregnancy is an inconvenience to employers, who has said...
TRUMP: I never said that.
CLINTON: .... women don't deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men.
TRUMP: I didn't say that.
CLINTON: And one of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest. He loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them. And he called this woman "Miss Piggy." Then he called her "Miss Housekeeping," because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name.
TRUMP: Where did you find this? Where did you find this?
CLINTON: Her name is Alicia Machado.
TRUMP: Where did you find this?
CLINTON: And she has become a U.S. citizen, and you can bet...
TRUMP: Oh, really?
CLINTON: ... she's going to vote this November.
 And basically making it the rope on which her opponent has been hanging himself ever since?

 That kind of virtual silence?

Saw that tweet via Eric Boehlert:

Encounter with a vampire squid

I had no idea, but there actually is such a thing as a vampire squid, Vampiroteuthis infernalis. Not because it sucks blood, it doesn't, but because of its red eyes and the webbing on its tentacles, making it look as if it were wearing an opera cape. Threatened by predators, it "inverts its caped arms back over the body, presenting an ostensibly larger form covered in fearsome-looking though harmless spines" in what is known as a "pineapple" or "pumpkin" posture. So it's actually kind of cute! Image via Wikipedia.
Everybody knows Hillary Clinton refused to release the speech transcripts because she didn't want us to see her cozying up to those bankers (and cardiovascular researchers, Canadians, Jewish organizations, Silicon Valley women, and pro-camping lobbyists, among many others, who also paid her upwards of $200,000 a pop to address them in 2013-15, as we know thanks to the fact that she released complete tax returns in July 2015). But it's possible that she was really much more worried about somebody entirely different seeing the transcripts, like Xi Jinping, you know, or King Salman.

Or Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Donald Trump, who still wields real power in Italy as a news magnate and opposition politician. Speaking of that third Chelsea Manning dump of 250,000 diplomatic cables in late 2010, she told an audience of Goldman Sachs "builders and innovators" three years later,

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Annals of Derp: "Anchor Babies"

Wong Kim Ark, via New York Daily News. Great article, too.

Comment thread, from Mother Jones:

That "anchor baby loophole", aka the 14th Amendment.

Probably never intended to confer birthright citizenship upon the offspring of illegally present foreign nationals.

There was no such thing as illegally present foreign nationals at the time. There was literally no immigration law in the US, until the racist Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Nevertheless it was in exactly a case about a child of Chinese noncitizens that birthright citizenship was established as settled law, in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898).

    Semantics: Update

    Damage done to the HSV Swift, leased by United Arab Emirates, in a missile attack that the Houthi rebels admitted to the week before. Via USNI News.
    There was another much more important Yemen event last week that the Times hardly seems to have covered, let alone NPR, that should have figured into the way I wrote the previous post: after the horrifying attack of October 8 when the Saudis bombed a Yemeni funeral party, killing 140 people and wounding several hundreds more, the US announced that it was going to do a big review of the policy of giving assistance to KSA.

    I was aware of this for about five minutes—
    —but forgot it as the Trump continues to occupy larger and larger swaths of our overtaxed brains.

    Juan Cole seems to have bypassed it too, but it turns out that the review is ongoing, and serious, at least according to anonymous officials quoted in Missy Ryan's story in the Washington Post:

    Cheap Shots: Locker Room Talk

    Trump National Golf Course, Westchester: "Superbly appointed locker rooms are a welcome respite from spirited competition. Changing facilities and lounges join an array of spa services including steam and massage, all in an atmosphere that revives the spirit." How butch is that?
    Recently unearthed remarks of 2013 by Donald Trump, Jr. (Jezebel, via LGM), resolve a deeply confusing mystery:
    Donald Trump Jr., the embodiment of every stereotype about people named “Jr.”, said in 2013 that women who can’t handle harassment at work “should go maybe teach kindergarten.” He also opined that all-male golf courses are “cool” and that everybody is so uber-sensitive these days. How original!
    The comments were uncovered by Buzzfeed News: Trump Jr. made them during a March 2013 episode of The Opie and Anthony Show, a year before one of the hosts was fired for going on an extended racist rant about black people. Trump Jr. said first that he had a hard time letting go of all-male golf courses: “If you have a guys’ place you have a guys’ place.”
    That's where those locker rooms are!

    Everybody insisting that Trump is all wrong about locker room talk is thinking of the kind of locker rooms where athletes congregate to change their clothes and shower and perform needful activities of that sort, where the talk is of secondary importance and nobody stays a lot longer than he has to. Trump was thinking about locker rooms on golf courses, where the rich and obese hang out to pretend they've just worked up a sweat.

    And to pretend, further, that they had an erection sometime in the previous month, to make the other guys jealous, so that the talk naturally gravitates to snatching at lady parts and "when you're a star they let you do it, you can do anything". The Trumpian locker room.

    Which is not to suggest Trump could be innocent of the charges, because only somebody who actually does such things could think it's something to boast about. But #NotAllBillionaires. Some, I assume, are good people.

    Semantics, how does it work?

    Update: I'm as annoyed with NPR as ever on this, but the US position looks a lot better to me in the light of some neglected Yemen news.

    The port of Aden, 1876, via Qatar National Library.
    Bizarre exchange on NPR Thursday morning in reference to the Navy attack on missile installations held by "rebels" in Yemen that (very ineptly) attacked a US ship:
    TOM BOWMAN: Well, there's a civil war going on in Yemen right now. The Houthi rebels are aligned with the former president of the country, fighting the current president. And the U.S. is providing support to Saudi Arabia, who's fighting to keep the current president in power. The U.S. is providing air refueling capability, intelligence capability as well. And they've refueled as many as 5,000 bombing flights over Yemen.
    And a concern here, Renee, is that there have been a lot of civilians killed here in this effort to support the Saudis, as many as 4,000 civilians killed. And there was one incident last week where 140 civilians were killed at a funeral. So this is the first time the U.S. has actually been involved militarily here.
    RENEE MONTAGNE: Right. I mean, that's a key here, that the U.S. is actively supporting these Saudi airstrikes. It's not a passive sort of support. And this funeral has really kicked up a big controversy there, a lot of resistance. What is that doing to - what kind of problem is that for the U.S.?
    Where Bowman says the US has never previously been militarily involved, and Montagne agrees that, yes, we have been very seriously involved. And then Bowman comes back to say that in fact with this strike we are also not involved, disagreeing not so much with Montagne as, weirdly, with himself: