Washington’s Birthday 2017

George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799) was known in his lifetime as “the father of his country.”  The title was not undeserved. As I wrote a few days ago, his birthday used to be a profound CIVIC holiday, a day to reflect on Washington’s virtues in furtherance of our civil society.

washington-reads-the-post

Statue of Washington reading the newspaper (Yorktown)

That sounds hoary and clichéd, and my geezer credentials are not diminished by it, but I always “got” that, even back in grade school where I quickly realized that the Washington Myths were just so much BS thrown at the gullible. No, he didn’t chop down a frigging cherry tree and he didn’t throw a silver dollar across the Potomac. But they ARE legitimate distillations into myth of actual characteristics, and we could desperately use those virtues today. Continue reading

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Happy Residents Day, or, I’ll Take Lincoln

lincoln

Welcome to another three-day weekend Abomination. Today is a federal holiday, squishing Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays into one portmanteau “holiday” celebrating … what? Warren G. Harding? James Knox Polk? Buchanan, Johnson the First? Johnson the Second?

(The point was to have only two federal holidays in February — the month no one can pronounce.  With Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a THIRD federal holiday, congress took the smart route and combined Washington and Lincoln and, hey! let’s just make it an olla podrida. Continue reading

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The Obligatory Weekend ‘Think’ Piece

Devil with piggybank

The credulous suddenly become skeptics in the same manner that those who have an “invisible friend” and believe in a talking snake have become such hypercritical skeptics of evolution and global warming:

US investigators corroborate some aspects of the Russia dossier

Washington (CNN)  For the first time, US investigators say they have corroborated some of the communications detailed in a 35-page dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent, multiple current and former US law enforcement and intelligence officials tell CNN.

If you go to Memeorandum, you will see that there is the Usual Rightie blogswarm  claiming that CNN is “fake news.” Led by Alex Jones’ “Infowars,” the conspiracy site that believes in space reptiles…

There I started a week ago, and there is where it stopped. Because it’s moving too fast to process. This game of Twitzkreig has had its desired effect: “look! a shiny object!” as the faint sound of jackboots begins to be clearly heard.

We are in the midst of an epistemological crisis. (Don’t be afeard. “Epistemology” means, bottom line, “how do I know what I know?”) Continue reading

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Demeritocracy™

UPDATED BELOW

This construction worker is looking very confused.

Let’s be clear, former national security adviser Michael Flynn was not fired for lying. And he didn’t resign, he was fired. Oh, and the Trump Administration, to absolutely no one’s surprise, lies like a rug.

The Political Assassination of Michael Flynn
 Eli Lake / Bloomberg

If we are to believe the Trump White House, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn just resigned because he lied about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the vice president. As White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway told NBC’s “Today Show” on Tuesday: “Misleading the vice president really was the key here.”

Thence, an apologia for and a spirited defense of Flynn as “a fat target for the national security state.” We depart from our text and the subject of Russia. Because that is not the story. The story is about leaks, and the inevitable arc that the leaky ship of state is now about to embark on. Continue reading

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To Fester, not Uncle Fester

jeff-sessions NASA photo

The Senate voted Wednesday night to confirm Sen. Jeff Sessions  —  (R-Ala.) as attorney general, capping a vicious debate that left Democrats and Republicans alike seething at times.  —  No Republicans went against Sessions in the 52-47 vote…

The late Charles Addams created a cartoon series given his name that became a television series and a series of movies. And, of course, weird, creepy old Uncle Fester was integral to The Addams Family. But his name has an older meaning:

fes·ter

v. fes·tered, fes·ter·ing, fes·ters
v.intr.

1. To generate pus; suppurate.
2. To form an ulcer.
3. To undergo decay; rot.
4.

a. To be or become an increasing source of irritation or poisoning; rankle: bitterness that festered and grew.
b. To be subject to or exist in a condition of decline: allowed the once beautiful park to fester.

v.tr.

To infect, inflame, or corrupt.

n.

A small festering sore or ulcer; a pustule.
[Middle English festren, from festre, fistula, from Old French, from Latin fistula.]

~ American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition.

Continue reading

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Spatters from the rotating blades

Week One: Pillaging is hard these days.

Behind closed doors, Republican lawmakers fret about how to repeal Obamacare
Mike Debonis / Washington Post

  —  PHILADELPHIA — Republican lawmakers aired sharp concerns about their party’s quick push to repeal the Affordable Care Act inside a closed-door meeting Thursday, according to a recording of the session obtained by The Washington Post.

tantrum-trump

It has taken precisely one week for the dominoes to have fallen in the manner that we all knew they would fall.  Trumplethinskin is about to launch an investigation into the voter fraud in the election that “legitimately” elected him, of which nothing has yet been heard from The Man Who Filibustered Himself™ although Paul Ryan, “Ayn You Glad I’m In Charge®” of the lower house has undoubtedly said something brave, common-sense and tersely meaningless.  Continue reading

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Has he nominated his horse to the Senate yet?

reporter

Trump believes millions voted illegally, WH says — but provides no proof

Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump believes millions of votes were cast illegally in last year’s election, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said on Tuesday, but he wouldn’t provide any concrete evidence for the claim, which has long been debunked.

Character is Destiny, said the Greeks. (And WHAT a character this Trump fellow is! [RIM SHOT] )

Everything you and I have learned about existing in this “real” world devolves down to one basic fact: experience and expertise matter. A LOT. We don’t pick an EMT to do brain surgery, nor do we put a fast-food worker in charge of a rocket launch.  But we have, for reasons best left unspoken, handed a mental toddler the most lethal hand-gun of all time … loaded. Go figure. Continue reading

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