The Brightest Unlit Candles in the Room

Taxpayers and cheats

The more I think about it, the more I wish I’d pushed my book “Reality 101” a LOT harder. Because, fundamentally, it was a primer on political disinformation. C’est la vie.

Rachel Maddow Turned a Scoop on Donald Trump’s Taxes Into a Cynical, Self-Defeating Spectacle
Willa Paskin / Slate

— At 7:36 p.m. Tuesday, Rachel Maddow tweeted, “BREAKING: We’ve got Trump tax returns. Tonight, 9pm ET. MSNBC. (Seriously),” sending the internet into a frenzy of theorizing. Did Maddow have Donald Trump’s tax returns or just one of the Trumps’ tax returns?\

And thence the snark: Rachel was too wordy, there wasn’t enough tax return, etc. etc. Continue reading


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Which State(s) Ought to Die?

I have had a little meme for a while that is funny because it’s true:  Progressives protest war and torture; Conservatives protest health care and science.

Seldom has this been more true than today:

House GOP’s Obamacare Replacement Will Make Coverage Unaffordable For Millions — Otherwise, It’s Great
Avik Roy / Forbes

That’s not an ironic headline.  Leading House Republicans have included a number of transformative and consequential reforms in their American Health Care Act, the full text of which was published Monday evening. But those reforms are overshadowed by the bill’s stubborn desire to make health insurance unaffordable for millions of Americans, and trap millions more in poverty. Can such a bill garner the near-universal Republican support it will need to pass Congress?

As someone whose life was literally saved by Obamacare, I find the sheer callousness of the conservative response obscene. I am not going to go into the weeds here, but …

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Tripping Over the Limbo Bar

This was the most conventional speech Trump has ever delivered.” ~ NPR

Ex-Clinton volunteer slammed, loses job, after swipe at widow of fallen SEAL
Fox News

A former Hillary Clinton volunteer drew swift condemnation — and lost his job — after mocking the widow of a fallen Navy SEAL who was honored by the president during his congressional address Tuesday night.



The Limbo dance is sometimes known as the “under the stick dance” and comes to us from Trinidad in the mid-19th Century. The point is to dance under a horizontal stick which is progressively lowered until, ultimately, it is physically impossible to get under the stick. Last dancer “standing” wins. In the Donald Trump Limbo, the stick has been lowered to the ground, where the only remaining expectation is that no one trips over it and falls, injuring themselves or some innocent animal.

Last night, in one of the greatest Nothingburgers™ ever served up to a joint session of congress, in an ersatz “State of the Union” address, Donald Trump didn’t fall down. Continue reading


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Mitch Avoids The Heat

Today’s vlog …

It takes as much time to produce a minute and a half of video as it takes to produce 5,000 words.


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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.


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


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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