Sunday, February 19, 2017

Amen, Brother Pitts — Tell It Like It IS (Now & Forever)

Ol' Pitts spoke truth to power in today's Op-Ed essay. The salutation is a traffic-stopper. "Dear Mr. So-Called President" is kinder than this blogger would be. Dear A$$hole-in-Chief would be a more likely salutation from this quarter. This idiot would be the APA's NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) Pin=up Boy for 2017. The A$$hole-in-chief flew to FL on Air Force One (on our dime) to be greeted by his adoring Stupids at a campaign rally that is so 2016. The A$$hole -in-Chief is a one-trick pony. He can run for office, but the office runs him. If this is a (fair & balanced) description of our national nightmare, so be it.

PS: This post marks the end of any dignified reference to POTUS 45, He will be referred to in the most appropriate language (for the likes of him).

[x Miami Fishwrap]
To Our So-Called President: I refuse To Shut Up And Obey
By Leonard Pitts Jr.

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Dear Mr. So-Called President:

So let me explain to you how this works.

You were elected as chief executive of the United States. I won’t belabor the fact that you won with a minority of the popular vote and a little help from your friends, FBI Director James Comey and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The bottom line is, you were elected.

And this does entitle you to certain things. You get your own airplane. You get free public housing. You get greeted with snappy salutes. And a band plays when you walk into the room.

But your election does not entitle you to do whatever pops into your furry orange head without being called on it or, should it run afoul of the Constitution, without it being blocked.

You and other members of the Fourth Reich seem to be having difficulty understanding this. Reports from Politico and elsewhere describe you as shocked that judges and lawmakers can delay or even stop you from doing things. Three weeks ago, your chief strategist, Steve Bannon, infamously declared that news media should “keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.”

Just last Sunday, senior policy adviser Stephen Miller declared on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that “our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”

What you do “will not be questioned?” Lord, have mercy. That’s the kind of statement that, in another time and place, would have been greeted with an out-thrust palm and a hearty “Sieg heil!” Here, however, it demands a different response:

Just who the hell do you think you are?

Meaning you and all the other trolls you have brought up from under their bridges. Maybe you didn’t notice, but this is the United States of America. You’ve heard of it? Nation of laws, not of individuals? First Amendment? Freedom of the press? Any of that ringing a bell?

Let’s be brutally clear here. If you were a smart guy with unimpeachable integrity and a good heart who was enacting wise policies for the betterment of all humankind, you’d still be subject to sharp scrutiny from news media, oversight from Congress, restraint by the judiciary — and public opinion.

And you, of course, are none of those things.

I know you fetishize strength. I know your pal Vladimir would never stand still for reporters and judges yapping at him like so many poodles.

I know, too, that you are accustomed to being emperor of your own fiefdom. You tell people to make something happen, and they do. You yell at a problem, and it goes away. Nobody talks back. I can see it would be hard to give that up.

But you did. You’re no longer an emperor, Mr. So-Called President. You are now a “public servant” — in effect, an employee with 324 million bosses.

And those bosses are unruly and loud, long accustomed to speaking their minds without fear or fetter. And they believe power must always answer to the people. That’s at the core of their identity.

Yet you and your coterie of cartoon autocrats think you’re going to cow them into silence and compliance by ordering them to shut up and obey? Well, as a freeborn American, I can answer that in two syllables flat.

Hell no. ###

[Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr. won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary in 2004. A former writer for Casey Kasem's radio program "American Top 40," Leonard Pitts Jr. was hired by the Herald as a pop music critic in 1991. By 1994 he was writing about race and current affairs in his own column. His column was syndicated nationally, and his latest book is Grant Park (2015). After the attacks on New York and Washington, DC on 11 September 2001, Pitts wrote an impassioned column headlined "We'll Go Forward From This Moment" that was widely circulated on the Internet and frequently quoted in the press. In the column, Pitt bluntly expressed his anger, defiance and resolve to an unnamed evil terrorist: "You monster. You beast. You unspeakable bastard." Pitts received a BA (English) from the University of Southern California.]

Copyright © 2017 The Miami Herald

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Roll Over, James Coburn — Make Way For A Real President's Analyst

After a month of exposure to Il Douche's mania, it is time to call a nut a nut. Today's essay mentions Narcissistic Personality Disorder as a possible source for the bizarre behavior in the Oval Office. More recently, this blogger read a speculation that Il Douche's behavior was the result of advanced syphilis — paresis (a syphilitic infection that causes gradual loss of cortical function, resulting in progressive dementia and generalized paralysis; this may occur 10 to 20 years after an initial infection of syphilis in untreated individuals). Take your pick: NPD or Paresis. Either makes Il Douche unfit for office. If this is another (fair & balanced) call for the enforcement of Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, so be it.

[x NY Fishwrap]
Is It Time To Call Trump Mentally Ill?
By Richard A. Friedman

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A lot of people seem to be questioning President Trump’s mental health. This month, Representative Ted Lieu, a California Democrat, went so far as to say he was considering proposing legislation that would require a White House psychiatrist.

More controversial is the number of mental health experts who are joining the chorus. In December, a Huffington Post article featured a letter written by three prominent psychiatry professors that cited President Trump’s “grandiosity, impulsivity, hypersensitivity to slights or criticism, and an apparent inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality” as evidence of his mental instability. While stopping short of giving the president a formal psychiatric diagnosis, the experts called for him to submit to a full medical and neuropsychiatric evaluation by impartial investigators.

A practicing psychologist went further in late January. He was quoted in a U.S. News and World Report article titled “Temperament Tantrum,” saying that President Trump has malignant narcissism, which is characterized by grandiosity, sadism and antisocial behavior.

I don’t doubt that these experts believe they are protecting the country from a president whose behavior they — like many of us — see as dangerous. A recent letter to the editor in this newspaper, signed by 35 psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers, put it this way: “We fear that too much is at stake to be silent.” It continued, “We believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.”

But the attempt to diagnose a condition in President Trump and declare him mentally unfit to serve is misguided for several reasons.

First, all experts have political beliefs that probably distort their psychiatric judgment. Consider what my mostly liberal profession said of Senator Barry Goldwater, the Republican nominee for president in 1964, right before the election. Members of the American Psychiatric Association were surveyed about their assessment of Goldwater by the now-defunct Fact magazine. Many savaged him, calling him “paranoid,” “grossly psychotic” and a “megalomaniac.” Some provided diagnoses, like schizophrenia and narcissistic personality disorder.

They used their professional knowledge as a political weapon against a man they had never examined and who certainly would never have consented to their discussing his mental health in public.

Goldwater sued (successfully) and, as a result, in 1973 the APA developed the Goldwater Rule. It says that psychiatrists can discuss mental health issues with the news media, but that it is unethical for them to diagnose mental illnesses in people they have not examined and whose consent they have not received.

Contrary to what many believe, this rule does not mean that professionals must remain silent about public figures. In fact, the guidelines specifically state that mental health experts should share their knowledge to educate the public.

So while it would be unethical for a psychiatrist to say that President Trump has narcissistic personality disorder, he or she could discuss common narcissistic character traits, like grandiosity and intolerance of criticism, and how they might explain Mr. Trump’s behavior. In other words, psychiatrists can talk about the psychology and symptoms of narcissism in general, and the public is free to decide whether the information could apply to the individual.

This may seem like splitting hairs, but it isn’t. Diagnosis requires a thorough examination of a patient, a detailed history and all relevant clinical data — none of which can be gathered from afar. Narcissism, for instance, isn’t the only explanation for impulsive, inattentive and grandiose behavior. Someone could be suffering instead from another clinical problem like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; the abuse of drugs, alcohol or stimulants; or a variant of bipolar disorder, to name just a few.

This is all to say that when mental health professionals label public figures with mental illnesses, it is not just unethical — it’s intellectually suspect. We don’t have the requisite clinical data to know what we are talking about.

Besides, even if you posit that a president has a mental disorder, that in itself may say little about his fitness to serve. After all, Lincoln had severe depression. Theodore Roosevelt was probably bipolar. Ulysses S. Grant was an alcoholic. According to a study based on biographical data, 18 of America’s first 37 presidents met criteria suggesting they suffered from a psychiatric disorder during their lifetime: 24 percent from depression, 8 percent from anxiety, 8 percent from bipolar disorder and 8 percent from alcohol abuse or dependence. And 10 of those presidents showed signs of mental illness while they were in office.

You can be psychiatrically ill and be perfectly competent, just as you can be mentally healthy but totally unfit. (Of course, certain mental states, like florid psychosis or dementia, would render a president unfit to serve.)

There is one last reason we should avoid psychiatrically labeling our leaders: It lets them off the moral hook. Not all misbehavior reflects psychopathology; the fact is that ordinary human meanness and incompetence are far more common than mental illness. We should not be in the business of medicalizing bad actors.

So the nation doesn’t need a shrink to help it to decide whether President Trump is fit to serve, mentally or otherwise. Presidents should be judged on the merits of their actions, statements and, I suppose, their tweets. No experts are needed for that — just common sense. ###

[Richard A. Friedman is a professor of clinical psychiatry and the director of the psychopharmacology clinic at the Weill Cornell Medical College, and a contributing opinion writer for this paper. He is expert in the pharmacologic treatment of personality, mood and anxiety disorders, obsessive–compulsive disorder, PTSD and refractory depression. Friedman received a BA (psychology) from Duke University and an MD from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.]

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Professor Eags (Timothy Egan) Couldn't Wait Until Mid-Term To Give Il Douche His In-Progress Grade — A Big Fat F

To paraphrase Howard Beale, the unhinged news anchor portrayed by Peter Finch in the film — "Network" (1976): “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” And there you have it. This blogger is angrier at Il Douche and the Stupids who elected him than at any other time in his life. If this is (fair & balanced) sorrow for the United States of America, so be it.

[x NY Fishwrap]
One-Month Report Card
By Eags (Timothy Egan)

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You just came out of a yearlong coma, and you’re trying to catch up. The unimaginable is real. The Cubs won the World Series. California has been drenched with so much rain that its biggest dam may fail. And in the first month of a new presidency, the leader of the free world has:

Told a stunning and easily disproved lie on his first full day in power. He then sent his spokesman out to repeat that lie, and said the press would “pay a big price” for refusing to do the same. The pattern of taxpayer-financed mendacity continued nearly every day under the new regime, with lies about everything from the murder rate to the weather.

Threatened to “defund” the most populous state in the nation he governs, California, the world’s sixth- largest economy, which contributes more than $350 billion in annual tax money to the federal government. “California is, in many ways, out of control,” he said.

Insisted, with no evidence, that three to five million people had voted illegally — which, if true, would constitute a huge crime, and one of the biggest election scandals ever. When pressed, a top counselor coined a term that came to define the new administration: “alternative facts.”

Told the Mexican president that he might send the world’s most powerful military across the border to take care of some “bad hombres,” prompting the cancellation of a planned meeting. Hung up on the leader of a nation, Australia, that has long been one of the United States’ most reliable allies.

Created chaos at airports around the world and leading universities and companies at home with the stroke of a pen. His ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries broke apart families, stranded doctors and scholars, and prompted an early constitutional crisis. When his executive order was halted by a court, he attacked the independent judiciary, calling the Republican-appointed judge who challenged him “a so-called judge.” He said blood would be on the hands of courts that had defied him.

Sent his 31-year-old senior adviser, Stephen Miller, out on the Sunday talk shows to further threaten judicial authority. “The powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned,” Miller said.

Insulted one of the nation’s most revered civil rights heroes on the eve of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, calling Representative John Lewis “all talk, talk, talk — no action or results,” and defaming the congressman’s city of Atlanta as a crime-ridden hellhole. He used the holiday itself to brag about his Electoral College victory and bash the press.

Attacked a major American retailer, Nordstrom, for dropping a failing clothing line of his daughter’s. His top counselor, Kellyanne Conway, used her White House position to urge people to buy these same products from her boss’s daughter.

Installed as national security adviser Michael Flynn, a man who had taken Russian propaganda money and spoke, back-channel, to the ambassador of a nation that tried to disrupt the American election. The vice president lied to the public about this because he was not informed of it.

Suggested there was moral equivalence between state-sanctioned killings by Russia and actions of the United States. Not long afterward, Russia deployed a new cruise missile in violation of a treaty with the United States and moved a spy ship just off the coast of this country.

Prompted a top-ranked American general to wonder whether his own government was “stable,” a leading Republican senator to say the administration was “dysfunctional” and a respected psychiatrist to express concern about the president’s “grave emotional instability.”

Turned his resort in Florida into an open-air situation room, potentially exposing national security secrets to enemies and social media chuckleheads. “Holy moly!” posted a witness who watched it unfold.

Responded to general criticism, as well as questions about the rise of anti-Semitic acts, with a boast about his Electoral College win. “I comprehend very well, O.K.? Better than, I think, almost anybody.”

Tried to install as labor secretary someone who violated labor laws, wants to replace workers with robots and doesn’t believe burger-flippers have the right to a living wage. In announcing a new pick, after the first nominee withdrew, the president bragged about his Electoral College win.

You slap yourself. You douse your head with water. The incompetence, the leaking, the daily indignities. What country is this? Is this behavior normalized? There’s more.

As the first month was coming to a close, he held a news conference and bragged about his Electoral College win while lying about the margin’s place in history. His administration, he said, is a smooth-running machine. “There’s zero chaos.” He spent the majority of his time ranting about the press, then predicted the response: “Tomorrow, they’ll be saying, ‘Donald Trump rants and raves at the press.’ I’m not ranting and raving.”

Through it all, he did manage one truth:

“I don’t think there’s ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we’ve done.” ###

[Timothy Egan writes "Outposts," a column at the NY Fishwrap online. Egan — winner of both a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 as a member of a team of reporters who wrote the series "How Race Is Lived in America" and a National Book Award (The Worst Hard Time in 2006) — graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in journalism, and was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters by Whitman College in 2000 for his environmental writings. Egan's most recent book is The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America (2009).]

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Are Tiny Hands An Indicator Of Brain-Size??

Today, The Noo Yawker gave this blogger a pair of LOL-moments: the tiny hands shtick in Tom Toro's 'toon and Andy Borowitz's alt-news item about the Feds special ordering tiny handcuffs for a person of interest. Tiny hands require tiny handcuffs and it follows that the perp wears XS (extra-small) undergarment to hold the teeniest body part in check. It would be impossible to make up the February Follies. Just this AM, this blogger found his favorite breakfast place closed with a sign on the door that merely said "Closed on February 16, 2017." The blogger left, thinking that there was a funeral involving one or more of the place's employees. Upon returning home, the blogger opened his browser to receive a news alert from the local fishwrap. A significant number of Austin eating establishments were closing on February 16th in solidarity with a nationwide strike by Latino/Latina food workers in protest about the surge by ICE agents across the nation. Let the Stupids go hungry. In fact, starvation is too good for them. If this (fair & balanced) resistance — ¡ VIVA LA HUELGA ! (Long live the Strike!)

[x New Yorker]
FBI To Special Order A Pair Of Tiny Handcuffs
By Andy Borowitz

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation is special-ordering a pair of “tiny handcuffs,” an FBI spokesman confirmed on Wednesday.

The spokesman, Harland Dorrinson, downplayed the significance of the handcuff purchase, calling it “strictly routine.”

“In reviewing our inventory of handcuffs, we found that we only had models that fit normal-sized hands,” Dorrinson said. “This order is intended to remedy that.”

The FBI spokesperson said that, if regulation-sized handcuffs were used on a suspect with “extremely small or tiny hands,” the suspect could slip out of them and elude capture.

“That’s the scenario we’re trying to avoid with these minuscule handcuffs,” he said.

Dorrinson would not speculate when the special-ordered pair of microscopic handcuffs might be used, but he added that the F.B.I. expects to receive them “by the end of the day at the very latest.”

“If by chance we need to apprehend someone with abnormally small, mouse-sized hands, we will be ready,” he said. ###

[Andy Borowitz is the creator the "Borowitz Report," a Web site that is a lot funnier than the stuff posted by Matt Drudge and his ilk. Borowitz is a comedian and writer whose work appears regularly in The New Yorker. He is the first winner of the National Press Club's humor award and has won seven Dot-Comedy Awards for his web site. His most recent book (and Amazon's Best Kindle Single of the Year) is An Unexpected Twist (2012). Borowitz received a BA (English magna cum laude)from Harvard University.]

Copyright © 2017 The New Yorker/Condé Nast Digital

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Gonzo Matt (Taibbi) Predicted The Stupid Madness Playing Out Here At Xenophobic Ground Zero

Gonzo Matt (Taibbi) speaks to anissue that is close to home for this blogger. The clown immigration police hit Austin this past week. ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents swept into Austin because the Scarlet Letters SC (Sanctuary City have been stamped onto ICE agent's brains. There have been numerous wrongful detentions during this surge. Legal residents mistaken for an undocumented relative. The only thing missing in this not-comic opera were ICE agendts wearing brown shirts and jack-boots. The newly-elected sheriff of Travis County, Sally Hernandez (D-Austin) snet the Stupids into a frenzy by her announcement, after being sworn into office, that Travis County Sheriff's Department personnel would NOT act as surrogate ICE agents unless presented with a court-issued arrest-warrant. If this is a (fair & balanced) preview of nightmares to come, so be it.

[x RS]
The Anti-Refugee Movement Is America At Its Most Ignorant
By Gonzo Matt (Taibbi)

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Trump supporters are organizing a boycott of Starbucks — again. This time, the crime isn't an insufficiently Christmas-y cup, but the company's pledge to hire 10,000 refugees.

Columnist Michelle Malkin ripped the decision as evidence of "radical progressive" tendencies. Her piece in the National Review, entitled "Not All Refugees Are Welcome," expressed everything that is wrong and ignorant about the Trump movement.

Forget about the obvious deficits of humanity, empathy and generosity, always a given with Trumpian politics. The president and mouthpieces like Malkin are also deficient when it comes to values they profess to care a lot about, specifically patriotism and self-interest.

Malkin made a list of refugees who are not welcome:

"Muslim extremist refugees seeking to wage jihad on our soil and kill all infidels are not welcome here.

"Anti-American refugees seeking to transform our society and culture into a Balkanized hell are not welcome here…

"Jobless refugees seeking to soak up our tax dollars while griping about our lack of generosity are not welcome here."

One of the constant refrains on the Trump campaign trail was some version of the construction, "I don't care how they come in, if they come in legally."

The American refugee program is the ultimate test case of that statement. Refugees only get here after a lengthy screening process. Each candidate is individually screened by multiple security agencies. They're fingerprinted and checked for criminal ties and terrorist associations.

So regarding Malkin's first point, this would be the last route any terrorist organization would choose to infiltrate the United States. It would be like trying to be a stowaway on a battleship. The concern that you're going to get a jihadist coming in this way is irrational at best.

As for the rest: many years ago, I worked in Massachusetts as a counselor and translator for refugees from ex-Soviet countries. Our major task was helping them find jobs upon arrival. We would have considered it manna from heaven to be able to call up a company like Starbucks and place the people we had coming through in jobs serving coffee or washing floors.

We had PhDs, mathematicians, surgeons, architects and scientists who would gladly have done those jobs. I even had a lead soprano from an opera house as a client.

Everyone who does this kind of work will tell you that in every group of refugees, as in every group of people, you'll find all types. Yes, there are people who come here looking for a handout. There are people who complain. There are people who just want to drive a cab and buy a TV.

But on the whole, the refugee program is a huge net plus, for everyone. The overwhelming majority of refugees have been through significant hardship. They're grateful, civic-minded and anxious to contribute. Doctors, dentists, linguists and engineers come in willing to scrub pots and clean motel rooms.

It's a win-win. Employers, specifically small-business owners, tend to get personally invested in the project of helping a family in need. And they usually get a skilled and diligent worker who is urgently motivated to succeed and give back. The program is, exactly and down to the very last detail, the ideal of what our country is supposed to stand for. It's tragic that we're raising a generation of people who don't understand that. ###

[As Rolling Stone’s chief political reporter, Matt Taibbi's predecessors include the likes of Hunter S. Thompson and P.J. O'Rourke. He has written The Divide (2014) and most recently. he is the author of Insane Clown President: Dispatches from the 2016 Circus (2017). Taibbi received a BA (journalism) from Bard College.]

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Hey Kids, Have You Heard? There's A New Show for POTUS 45 — "Dumbass Rock"

Here's another joke Valentine to lighten your dreary day. (It just gets worse and worse.) John Oliver came back from hiatus with the comedy-news show on HBO: "Last Week Tonight." Oliver unveiled ads that will run on Faux News, CNN, and MSNBC in the Washington, DC market between 8:30 and 9:00 AM ET. It is the latter-day equivalent of "Schoolhouse Rock" for Il Douche. In 2017, it is called "Dumbass Rock." If this is (fair & balanced) tit-for-tat, so be it.

[x The Atlantic]
John Oliver Is Buying Ads On Cable News To Talk To President Trump
By Megan Garber

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[x YouTube/LastWeekTonightChannel
Trump vs. Truth: "Last Week Tonight" with John Oliver (HBO)

It’s become a truism of the weeks-old presidency of Donald Trump: If you want to reach the chief executive, and if you don’t happen to have the kind of sway that might get you a White House meeting or a golf game at Mar-a-Lago... no worries: Simply advertise to him. Buy some ad time during the shows the president is known to watch—cable-news morning shows, "Saturday Night Live"—and influence away. Trump is a creature of television, his fame a product of its charms and his daily habits attuned to its rhythms. If you happen to be in a position to buy yourself some time on TV, it’s possible to talk to him—directly to him—via that defining medium.

The latest political actor to realize (and, then, promptly make fun of) this particular state of affairs? John Oliver. On Sunday, the comedian made his return to HBO after a long(ish) hiatus; he dedicated his first "Last Week Tonight" episode since Trump’s inauguration to, first of all, offering a detailed examination of the administration’s attempts to destabilize the notion of shared reality. It was an episode that, with characteristic Oliverian nuance, explored the idea that Americans “all need to commit,” as the comedian-activist told his audience, “to defending the reality of facts.”

Oliver concluded that analysis with the suggestion that President Trump—who came to the presidency though a nontraditional path that might have left gaps in his knowledge when it comes to the particularities of country-running—might benefit from some learning sessions. The comedian pointed to that infamous moment when then-candidate Trump was unable to answer a question, during an early-in-the-primaries debate, about the nuclear triad.

And here’s where things got meta.

Trump, Oliver assumes, does not watch "Last Week Tonight;" he doesn’t have the "SNL" lobby-by-way-of-sketch-comedy path available to him. So Oliver announced that he and his staff had come up with a way to circumvent that unfortunate situation: ads. Cold, hard, capitalistic ads. Bought for the time during the morning hours of cable news—set to air, specifically, in Washington, DC, between the Trump-friendly times of 8:30 and 9:00 AM.

Oliver and his team based their ads on one spot that commonly airs during "Fox & Friends" and the like—an ad starring a cowboy, talking about his catheter.

"Last Week Tonight’s" spin on that ad went like this: “I’m a professional cowboy, and I use catheters,” the Oliverian cowboy tells his viewers. “Been cowboyin’ for 25 years, and there’s two things I know: I don’t like pain when I cath. And the nuclear triad consists of land-based missiles, submarine-launched missiles, and aerial bombers. This increases our ability to strike back in the event one of those is destroyed, and deters an attack on us or our allies.”

The cath-cowboy concluded: “So that’s the nuclear triad, in case you’re the kind of person who might really need to know that.”

Oliver’s crowd went wild. And there will be other ads, as well, he told them. Here’s more from the cath-cowboy:

- “Not all black people live in the inner cities. And not all people in the inner cities are black.”

- “Now, I know it can seem like you’re the only person in the world. But if you look here, you’ll see that, actually, there are many non-you people. We call those ‘other people.’”

- “Just because it’s sometimes cold, that don’t mean there’s no global warming. You’re confusing climate with weather, partner.”

- “Gabon is a country on the west coast of Africa."

- “Tiffany. Tiff-uh-ny. Tiffany!”

- “The unemployment rate is a carefully calculated measure derived from a monthly survey conducted by two federal agencies, and has been the agreed-upon standard since 1948.”

The whole thing was dripping with hot, sticky condescension. That was the joke of it. Oliver was embracing the notion of the “smug, liberal elite” rather than attempting to fight it; he was arguing that knowing stuff, far from being a political posture, is simply a good thing for a president to do. He was suggesting that, in that particular way—that vested interest Americans have in making sure the president knows how to govern—we are, all of us, on common ground. There is such thing as shared reality. “We are prepared to educate Donald Trump, one by one, on topics we’re pretty sure he doesn’t know about,” the comedian said, as his audience cheered. He preceded his claim with a caveat: at least, Oliver said, “until we are shut down.” # # #

[Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic, covering culture. She was formerly an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab, where she wrote about innovations in the media. Garber also was a staff writer for the Columbia Journalism Review. She received a BA (English langauge and literature) from Princeton University and an MS (journalism) from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.]

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Today, An Early -Valentine- RESISTANCE Message For Il Douche

In his message to the subscribers to Sparky's-List, Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins) wrote about today's 'toon:

I assume this goes without saying, but all quotes are genuine (though I did paraphrase the third panel slightly, just so it would fit the format of the cartoon better). I started out thinking about doing a more straightforward Valentine's Day riff, but then I started thinking about what Trump Valentines would look like, and had the idea of using actual Trump quotes bragging about his election numbers and so on. It's somehow simultaneously completely straightforward and high concept. It made me laugh, anyway, even though it did necessitate spending most of a day reading through his Twitter feed and recent interviews for quotes that worked in this context. (There was also some culling out — the "grab them by the pussy" quote would have been an obvious one, except that it's so overplayed at this point).

Until next week!

Tom (aka Dan)

In the midst of the day's nonsense to come, here's a suggestion: take today's 'toon to your nearest mental health practioner and ask what it illustrates. This blogger wagers that any practioner worth his/her salt will respond: "Classic NPD!" The link will take the reader to the Mayo Clinic page about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Read it and weep for this poor nation. A lunatic occupies the Oval Office and anywhere else he may wander The mostly absent First Lady uses the cover story that her son must remain in New York for school. Actually, the Slovenian-born First Lady was overheard, muttering, "Ne morem živeti s tem norim človekom"! Translation: "I can't live with that crazy man!" A dozen years of living with an NPD-husband has taken its toll. If this is (fair & balanced) horseback mental and marital analysis, so be it.

[x TMW]
Trump Valentines
By Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins)

Tom Tomorrow/Dan Perkins

[Dan Perkins is an editorial cartoonist better known by the pen name "Tom Tomorrow." His weekly comic strip, "This Modern World," which comments on current events from a strong liberal perspective, appears regularly in approximately 150 papers across the U.S., as well as on Daily Kos. The strip debuted in 1990 in SF Weekly. Perkins, a long time resident of Brooklyn, New York, currently lives in Connecticut. He received the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Journalism in both 1998 and 2002. When he is not working on projects related to his comic strip, Perkins writes a daily political blog, also entitled "This Modern World," which he began in December 2001. More recently, Dan Perkins, pen name Tom Tomorrow, was named the winner of the 2013 Herblock Prize for editorial cartooning. Even more recently, Dan Perkins was a runner-up for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning.]

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