Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Future's So Not Breitbart

(Image courtesy of The Onion)
     Perhaps it's a bit premature to piss on's grave but we can certainly be forgiven for being tempted to make its funeral arrangements.
     Let's take stock: Last February, its star reporter Milo was forced out just after he diddled into oblivion a $250,000 publishing deal with Simon & Schuster's right wing imprint, Threshold. Before that, the "news" organization took a hit after it had failed to defend one of its female reporters after she was assaulted by top Trump aide Cory Lewandowski. Then Steven Bannon, to no one's surprise, got sucked into Trump's seductive orbit and rode his over-sized tie all the way to the White House.
     Since then, the plummet in Breitbart's fortunes seem to coincide with that of Trump (He of the 35% approval rating) and that's no coincidence. Along with son in law Jared Kushner's Observer, Breitbart's alt-right (read: White nationalist) outlook was always slanted in favor of Trump.The two are virtually inseparable and while Trump has done far more to damage the site's brand name than Breitbart has done to Trump's still-lucrative brand, their fates still seem to be inextricably entwined in a slow motion death spiral one can but helplessly watch.
     Since Bannon waddled to the White House, they'd lost 90%, or 2300 of their sponsors (Don't worry, they still have Jazzy Jeff). The only reason they haven't dried up and blown away is because they still have the deep pockets of right wing hedge fund manager Robert Mercer.
     And then, the day before he himself was axed in this super-sized edition of The Apprentice, Bannon took a page from the Mooch and called up The American Prospect, to bloviate on all matters sundry. In the "accidental" on-the-record interview, an upbeat Bannon bragged about who he was going to fire at Foggy Bottom and the Pentagon. He was essentially a coked-up version of Karl Rove, sans filter.
     He called for trade sanction against China, perhaps forgetting, or not caring, that the Trump administration Organization is doing brisk business with the world's last Communist superpower, especially in the area of Trump-branded massage parlors and prostitution services. Bannon also struck an ominous note when he said his "hands were back on (his) weapons" and more than hinted he was, as he always had been, gunning after the GOP establishment.
     This can't be bad news for progressives and Republicans are shitting their pants that Bannon's planning on dismantling the party from the swamp on up. How much credibility Bannon still has after his site's plummeting fortunes and his own fall from grace remains to be seen but for now, he's looked upon by the left as a useful idiot.
     But a lot of people still listen to him, primarily the white nationalists he's enabled and glorified in the racists pages of Breitbart. And establishment Republicans like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, men who don't scare easily, are soiling their pants over what Bannon can still do the Trump administration to which, as with Breitbart, they'd ill-advisedly had hitched their wagon.
     While it's too early to predict the demise of Breitbart, the now-defunct neo Nazi site Daily Stormer that had been hacked by Anonymous and killed off for good by its host GoDaddy after the disaster in Charlottesville can be seen as a bellwether. America has had it up to the stratosphere with the noxious racism and bigotry represented by Breitbart. Their best days are behind them. Now it only remains if Breitbart will hire Bannon back to dismantle the hideous machine they'd painstakingly built up, the smoking, clanging machine of the Trump administration.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Banned in Boston

     I'm not going to lie to you. Boston is one of the most racist cities in the northeast. African American ball players have it written into their contracts that they not be traded to the Red Sox (the last team to integrate, in 1959, one year after the Boston Bruins). Both the North Ends (Italian) and Southie (Irish) are infamously racist and I defy you to take a stroll through downtown Roslindale and report back to me if you find even one African American. If you don't believe me, check out the Rants and Raves section on Boston Craigslist.
     It was in the early 70's, well within my lifetime, when the Boston busing riots roiled our capital city. When my Dad was stationed in San Vito, Italy in 1970-2, Stars and Stripes ran stories about those riots that had been sparked by Judge Garrity's decision to integrate school busing. It wasn't exactly our finest hour. "Banned in Boston" became almost a punchline because the city's intolerance to so many things gave it a national reputation for being intolerant bigots.
     However, while doing research two years ago for my latest novel, Gods of Our Fathers, I saw a different side to Boston, the side that endures and outlives fashionable and stubborn biases and prejudices. It's the side that opposed the British during the Revolutionary War, the side that, in Boston, always seems to side with liberty.
     Because in the course of my research into the history of the Boston Police Department, I couldn't help but learn about Anthony Burns.
     And that's because Burns, a 19 year-old escaped slave from Virginia, was arrested on Court Street on May 24th, 1854. This was a day or two before the Boston City Council unified the day and night watches of the Boston constabulary, creating, for the first time, a unified, professional police force in the city's history. As these two events came within 24-48 hours of each other, one cannot learn of one without learning of the other.
     To the new Mayor, the new police and to President Franklin Pierce, the vitriolic reaction to Burns's incarceration and upcoming trial was shocking and surprising. Barnburner abolitionists (radicals such as John Brown) fought with the Nativist No Nothings and even the conciliatory "hunkers" (moderate abolitionists) openly warred with each other, resulting in acts of arson and other mayhem. 24 years before Posse Comitatus, Pierce sent 2000 federal troops into the streets of Boston to keep the peace. For the most part, it didn't work.
     Part of the reason was because the New England Transcendentalists got in on the act, publishing broadsides by Thoreau and others from the streets of Concord. Local religious leaders, such as Thomas Wentworth Higginson, reinforced the church's reputation of being a hotbed of abolitionist activity by delivering fiery antislavery sermons from his pulpit.
     The kangaroo court delivered its inevitable verdict: Anthony Burns was found guilty of violating the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and remanded back into the custody of his slave owner. The federal government, desperate to make an example of Burns, ordered all 2000 troops and even mercenaries known as "black legs" as well as all 253 members of Boston's police department to escort Burns to the ship that would ferry him to the other ship that would take him back to Virginia. (In today's dollars, this had cost the city, state and federal government the equivalent of just over one million dollars.)
     Forming a gauntlet down State Street, where the old Custom House still sits to this day, were thousands more Bostonians of every color, race and religion, condemning the violation of Boston's sovereignty and to Burns' freedom. We'll never know how many civilians were killed but we do know that one US Marshall was killed when a group of protesters used a wooden cross from the Tremont Street AME church and used it to batter the door of the judicial building on Court Sq (around the corner from where Burns was arrested), where Burns was incarceratedm after one of those fiery sermons by its African American pastor. The daughter of the recently resigned Mayor of Boston, Mary Elizabeth Seaver, wrote to her father on June 4, 1854, “In the center of a hollow square formed of volunteers… walked the slave, a good looking fellow. Each of these men had a drawn sword or knife. Several companies of soldiers marched before and behind, and the Artillery had a six pound cannon all loaded…”
     It was the Boston PD's baptism literally by fire. While it hasn't officially been christened as such, it could be said the capture and trial of Anthony Burns was one of the three seminal events that hastened the Civil War, the other two being the Dred Scott decision three years later and, two years after that, John Brown's failed but ultimately catalytic capture of Harper's Ferry.
     So, in our bifurcated city, we stand for universal freedom while standing against diversity. In 1854, we had found ourselves on the side of the angels, soiled as they may have been with blood, smoke and soot. And again, we found ourselves on the same side.
    Because, hoping for another "successful" march in our fair city, the KKK came to town and was essentially banned in Boston. As they were in 1854, the Boston Police found themselves pressed into service for the wrong side of history. But eyewitness accounts such as this one tell the tale:
Well that was a big bore, thank god. Got to the rally on the Common around noon. There was a 2-300 feet security perimeter around the Parkman bandstand, empty but for lawn and police. A few dozen Nazis were milling aimlessly around the bandstand. Couldn't hear a thing and there was no sign of a sound system or anyone making speeches. They were surrounded by maybe 100,000 protesters on all sides, a sea of people as far as I could see. The crowd was chanting "Can't hear you. Can't hear you." and "Black Lives Matter."
About 1:00, the Nazis were goose stepped by riot police to the park headquarters on Boylston Street, milled around some more and piled into four Black Marias. I was standing by the fence along the burying ground taking pictures, shooting through the headstones.
I went around to the driveway gate on Boylston Street and the paddy wagons were obviously pinned in by the crowds, chanting "Let them walk! Let them walk!" If they had they would have been torn apart. In the end, all they got thrown at them was flowers and "No Nazis!"
Good work Boston!
     Plainly lacking the numbers they'd enjoyed in Charlottesville a week ago, the KKK, neo Nazis and "alt-right" white nationalists suffered a crushing and humiliating defeat in the same city that nearly freed Anthony Burns and resisted the British after sparking the Revolutionary War. It was a disappointing reprise of the violent fascist rally that put nearly three dozen people in the hospital and one in her grave.
     And today, the angels showed up for work and made sure the good guys won. That would be the angels of inclusion, those immortal agents of grace that had stiffened the spine of every abolitionist in Boston 163 years ago this summer. The good guys won today and sent the assholes packing for the next city in their sad, psychological traveling side show. Those angels may have technically lost in 1854 but their voices and actions were heard today's resounding victory for love and all-inclusion.

Friday, August 18, 2017

From Der Fewer

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

No Wiggle Room

     The minute we begin to debate the legitimacy of Trump's bottomlessly despicable comments yesterday is the minute we've already lost the debate. Whatever your political stripe or ideology, one fact is abundantly, inescapably clear: Donald Trump is the first "president" ever to support Nazis and white supremacists and the very fact that opposition and criticism of that infuriates and baffles him just confirms what is already self-evident. That's all I have to say about that.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Shoeless Jim Crow

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides. It's been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time." -"President" Donald Trump, 8/12/17

In the age of terrorism, every US President must anticipate, and meet, practically as a rite of passage a crucible to test their leadership skills: An act of domestic terrorism. Bill Clinton had his very early in his presidency with the first World Trade Center bombing. George W. Bush had his on 9/11/01. Barack Obama was, strangely, almost immune to major domestic acts of terror except if you include the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three and the San Bernardino shooting that killed 14 (The consensus among the reality-based community is that the Pulse Nightclub shooting, while it may've been carried out by a Muslim male, was more about self-loathing homophobia than Islamic terrorism).
     Yesterday, Donald Trump had his own domestic terror test that left a lovely 32 year-old woman dead. The overall grade, even from his fellow Republicans? F-.
     From his own golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump eventually pulled off his golf duds, shrugged into his Rodney Dangerfield costume and awkwardly read from a prepared statement that initially appeared to condemn the acts of white nationalist terrorism. Then Trump, lacking the concentration of even a goldfish, looked up and obviously went off script as he's wont to do and said directly into the cameras, "...on many sides." Then he immediately doubled down by repeating, "On many sides."
     To anyone whose brain can generate enough electricity to move a single finger over a keyboard, Trump stopped being the President in the minds of even his own party. As Mike Lupica pointed out last April, Trump is quick to tweet about terrorism and its preemptive usual suspects (Read: Muslims) in the abstract but not in the particular when it actually happens. That especially applies to acts of domestic terror carried out by white Christian males, such as the second San Bernardino shooting.
     Trump's wide brush response was immediately regarded as unsatisfactory at best, craven at worst, drawing the ire from even Republican members of Congress. It was a reprise of that telling moment when Trump had his feet put to the fire on live national TV and asked if he would repudiate the endorsement of the KKK. He pretended as if he didn't know about them or had even heard of them.
     In fact, this is what the man who's infamously hypersensitive and hypervigilant about anyone who's ever mentioned his name had said that fateful night in late February last year: "I don't know anything about David Dukes. I don't know what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacist. I don't know. I don't know, did he endorse me, or what's going on?"
      Purely in the interests of jogging 45's memory, a bizarrely rubbery-faced David Dukes essentially had this to say to Trump on Twitter and NBC News: "Don't forget who put you in the White House, asshole. We did this for you because you wanted us to." That included one of his sympathizers, James Alex Fields Jr, who did his part by plowing his car at 40 mph into a group of peaceful counter protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.

Those Empty Shoes
     When one looks at the photograph above, one of several taken by eyewitnesses to Fields' act of terror, one is struck by the empty shoes that had until a moment before been occupied by human feet. It's also symbolic of the empty shoes vacated by President Barack Obama on January 20th that Trump hasn't even begun to fill.
     When Benghazi occurred on September 11, 2012, Republicans, starting with Mitt Romney, were quick to take to podiums and blast the President for the language he used in condemning the terror attack at our embassy in Libya. Of course, the President's response was swift, heartfelt and well-articulated but the obstructionists on the other side of the aisle heard one thing while mainstream America heard what was actually said.
     While Republicans may be raising whispers and tweets criticizing Trump, the backlash isn't nearly as fierce as endured (with grace) by President Obama after Benghazi. In fact, Republicans, starting with Romney in his little moment in the sun next to a strip mall pet store named "Blazin' Reptiles", essentially accused Obama of siding with the Muslim terrorists who killed four of our people in Benghazi. Romney was immediately shot down not only by liberals and progressives but by his own party. But the mainstream GOP response persisted at 300 decibels: President Obama was siding with the terrorists by not calling them out. Which was false, of course.
     But this is essentially what Trump actually is guilty of- Trump blamed "many sides" for the violence (while not once mentioning the fatality that already happened) in an amazingly brazen, boneheaded and dangerous manner on everyone who was at Charlottesville this weekend. Trump might as well have said, "You all have Heather Heyer's blood on your hands."
     That's dangerous: Right wingers automatically looking for phantom progressive suspects with the industry of Chris Kobach will take Trump's words at face value and seek out revenge among those they think are the most guilty- The counter protesters, the antifa crowd. Their most vocal critics.
     And considering David Dukes's risible condemnation of Trump when he didn't even single out the white nationalists, the KKK and the neoNazis in attendance, Trump might as well have done the right thing whether or not his heart was in it, to at least give the momentary appearance of leadership in condemning the right wingers in Charlottesville. But he didn't because he couldn't being himself to condemn his own base any more than he can condemn the guy who really put him in the White House: Vladimir Putin.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

"Many sides."

     By now, you must know that starting last night, neo Nazi white nationalist Richard Spenser led a protest in Charlottesville, Virginia that was hilariously dubbed "Unite the Right." That is, it was hilarious until some asshole plowed his car into a crowd of counter protesters, killing one and injuring at least 19.
     This resulted in the usual failure of leadership. Gov. Terry McAuliffe told them, "Shame on you, Go home." (Maybe he'll ground the white nationalists for the rest of the weekend.) "President" Donald Trump blamed "many sides" for the violence, trying as always not to alienate his white supremacist, neo Nazi base.
     And, proving they're just as completely worthless as our elected officials, the MSM still refuse to call this an act of terrorism. You see, when an ISIS terrorist plows a vehicle into a crowd of innocent bystanders, it's an act of terror. When a white American plows a vehicle into a crowd of innocent bystanders, it's "hit and run." Because, as we all know, the nation that invaded and occupied places like Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan isn't capable of acts of terror. That would be beneath us.
     But Trump's despicable comments, made after that crowd was plowed into, after that person died, after such time when Trump must've known about the murder, was just that- A despicable act of cowardice, a refusal to rile the base of support that helped get him into the White House, a disgusting attempt to play Other Siderism.
     And the Germanic strongman running the world's newest emerging fascist state is playing the same game he was playing on the campaign trail almost exactly two years ago. Remember when two bone headed brothers in Boston beat up and urinated on a Hispanic homeless man? Remember Trump's despicable response?
     "It would be a shame.,, I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate."
     It was that same "passion" that today put 19 people in the hospital and one in their grave. Donald Trump, as with so many right wingers before him, is playing the tried-and-true "other siderism" game. Diffuse the guilt by claiming, falsely, that all sides are to blame for the right wing violence we've seen in Charlottesville since last night.
     No, you umber douchebag: It was not all sides that resulted in 20 casualties in that ISIS-style terrorist attack. That dead person's blood is on your hands as surely as it's on the hands of Richard Spenser and every other neo Nazi, white nationalist empowered by you and your fake presidency.
     I'm 58, going on 59. I'm old enough to remember the riots in Selma when white cops attacked peaceful black protesters with fire hoses and attack dogs. Then over a half century later, we've seen this nation come full circle, when KKK members, neo Nazis and white nationalists now openly flaunt their hatred in the streets and with police protection, at that. Ferguson and Baltimore showed us black people cannot peacefully assemble as per their First Amendment rights.
     Charlottesville taught this weekend white nationalists can and with the blessings of law enforcement and that their president will not condemn their actions even when human lives are taken. The collective guilt Trump tried to spread out among every faction of society is false. The collective guilt we should feel is in letting this racist freak pretend he's the president and costing us all our allies and perhaps even plunging us into a nuclear war.
     Sure, many sides are to blame: The white nationalists, the white supremacists, the KKK, the neo Nazis... Those of us who don't pattern our lives on racist hatred? We're not the ones who put that poor innocent victim in their grave.

Thursday, August 10, 2017


     Who knew that would some day stand for "Make America Glow Again"?

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Good Times in Gotham City, 8/3/17

Monday, July 31, 2017

No WH Chaos!

     Sure. No chaos, Donnie Dumbo. Except for this little news item about Anthony Scaramucci getting voted off the island.
     So, to recap:
     The world's most hilarious soap opera/reality TV show picked up where last week's hilarious news cycle ended on Friday night with the termination of Anthony Scaramucci by new Chief of Staff John Kelly. This means...
     The billionaire mobster that made Sean Spicer quit his post on the 21st also got Trump to fire Reince Priebus, his last remaining hope of making kissy face with the DC political establishment, whose replacement then fired the guy who got Trump to fire his predecessor. Sure, no chaos at all.
     So Mooch lost his job 10 days after getting it then his wife filed for divorce days later before giving birth to their child while her soon to be ex-husband was watching Trump make an ass of himself (again) at the Boy Scout Jamboree. Sounds like the makings of a Wall Street version of a country and western song, "I'm A'crying In My Dom Pérignon."
     So now we have no:
     Secretary of the Army
     Secretary of the Navy
     Surgeon General
     Deputy Secretary of State
     FBI Director but we do have
     A legally crippled Attorney General
     135 spots in the federal judiciary with only two dozen pending
     Health care bill
     Spending bill except a draft with a two trillion dollar error
     Infrastructure bill
     No strategy for defeating ISIS but a great one for combating a street gang and now no
     Communications Director or
     Director of Homeland Security.
     You know, Donnie Dumbo, I'm not as experienced as you in this presidenting business, but I do know one thing: When you're playing Musical Chairs, the idea is to have more people than open seats, not the other way around.
     Ivanka, surprisingly, seems to be the only person in the White House who's sane enough to realize her limitations.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Assclowns of the Week #106: But Think of the Billionaires! edition

(With a huge tip o' the tinfoil hat to Mrs. JP and her news wrangling)
      Well, it has been an eventful week, hasn't it, Gothamites? This administration and Congress is looking more and more like the result of a James Bond novel where 007 actually failed. Trump (1, 5, 7, 8 & 9) is reshuffling the sinking ship's deck chairs and creating vacancies at the same time he's filling them. Then there's the Senate GOP (2) getting a case of the sads because they couldn't deny millions of Americans the health care that they enjoy on our dime; New Comm Director Anthony Scaramucci (6) for inspiring millions of movie and music lovers to buy and download copies of Goodfellas and "Bohemian Rhapsody" and human furball Blake Farenthold (10) for channeling Andrew Jackson and threatening some rebel female Senators.
     So hop aboard the HMS Titanic before it sinks for good as we sail past this week's assclowns and much, much more!

10) Rep. Blake Farenthold
      When psychopaths such as Blake Farenthold of the 27th district of Texas sleaze into Congress, it ought to be an object lesson as well as a clarion call for Democrats to start fielding more appealing and credible candidates. When they don't, we get gap-toothed, pajama-clad homunculi like Blow-me Boy. Well, on the 21st, Farenthold took to Corpus Christi radio and essentially challenged female Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, two notable holdouts regarding the health care procedural vote (and, later, the "skinny repeal" bill), to a duel. In fact, this is exactly what pajama boy said:
     "Some of the people that are opposed to this, there are female senators from the Northeast ... If it was a guy from South Texas, I might ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr-style."
     It ought to be noted that two and a half years ago, Farenthold's former aide had sued him for sexual harassment and providing an uncomfortable workplace (his congressional office). The married father of two settled out of court without, like a typical Republican, admitting guilt. Since then, Farenthold had been re-elected not once but twice, meaning South Texas not only lowered the bar, they done buried it six feet under.

9) Donald Trump
     I hope the Capitol Police remember these words when they come for him and his family.
     In between firing Rinsed Penis and screaming about Republican health care renegades, Trump kicked his weekend off by talking to law enforcement in Brentwood, NY and telling therm basically, Fuck civil liberties (as if they need more encouragement to ignore them). Because he said,
     "When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, I said, 'please don't be too nice.' Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you're protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over. Like, 'don't hit their head' and they've just killed somebody, 'Don't hit their head.' I said, 'you can take the hand away.' OK?"
     And the fascists behind him rejoiced.
     "Thugs"? "Paddy wagon"? Is this assclown the President or a character out of a Mickey fucking Spillane potboiler?

8) Donald Trump
     When I heard that Donald Trump was sending his "beleaguered" Attorney General Jeff Sessions to El Salvador to combat MS-13, Leo Ryan and Jonestown was the first thing I thought of. Seriously, the evil and menace radiated by Trump, Scaramucci and Steve Bannon is such that assholes like Sean Spicer and Jeff "Hey, Boy, Get Me a Mint Julep!" Sessions are almost worthy of sympathy. Seriously, why is he sending our Attorney General down to South America to fight a street gang created by the Reagan administration when the immediate threat (so he told us on the campaign trail) is ISIS?
     Maybe they were the ones who pulled off the infamous Bowling Green and Swedish massacres.

7)  Donald Trump
     Poor Rinsed Penis. Poor John Kelly.
     Donald Trump apparently believed Don Tony "the Mooch" Scaramucci's conspiracy theories about Reince Priebus leaking his perfectly open and accessible financial disclosure form. Because at the same exact moment news of Scaramucci's impending divorce broke, news also broke of Donald Trump shitcanning (on Twitter, no less) his Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and switching him out for Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly in an effort to reshuffle the Titanic's deck chairs (a few hours before this, it broke that McMaster had fired Michael Flynn pick and Bannon ally Derek Harvey from the National Security Council.).
     It ought to be pointed out that while I've taken some famous jabs at Rinsed Penis over the years since he was RNC Chairman, it takes a James Bond-class of villain like Trump or Scaramucci to engender any pity for the former Chief of Staff. While he was a national joke because of it, it must be said his support for Trump hardly ever wavered. Yet Trump, in his infamous one-way loyalty, fired him on the recommendations of a fellow billionaire scumbag who was one of his most vocal critics just two years ago. All I can say is, if Reince and Spicey go halvsies on a tell-all memoir, I'll shell out $100 for it.

6) Anthony Scaramucci
      After all the shit that poor Sean Spicer went through in his six months as Press Secretary, something truly wicked that way must've come to make him leave so abruptly on July 21st. In no time flat, we learned it was Trump making Goldman Sachs alum and the Beltway's newest eligible bachelor Anthony Scaramucci as Communications Director. Mooch, who's a coke-addicted 80's-era TV executive's idea of what a mob lawyer should look like, immediately made his presence felt in his first presser by blowing a kiss to the press pool (like a Mafia don just sprung on a technicality from multiple murder charges).

     Mooch, you may remember, was a vocal critic of Donald Trump on Twitter and elsewhere just two years ago. When he was appointed to the post, he immediately scrubbed his Twitter account, calling it an act of "transparency." But fear not because the Man With the Patent Leather Pompadour has plenty of fresh assclownery on tap as just recently he blamed recently-fired Chief of Staff Reince Priebus for leaking his financial disclosure form (which is perfectly permissible. You'd think a Harvard-educated lawyer would know that) before sorta walking back the accusation in an epically bizarre interview with Chris Lizza. Which is nothing compared to an earlier phone call Lizza got from Scaramucci that reads like an X-rated version of The Onion. Or a rampaging mob boss who just found out omerta had been broken. Gee, I can't imagine why his wife Deidre would file for divorce the same day Rinsed Penis was fired. Who wouldn't want to be married to a guy who would look perfectly natural digging a shallow grave in the Jersey pine barrens?
     If this ultimate lickspittle has a moral compass, it's pointing straight down to Hell and up Satan's asshole.

 5) Donald Trump

     One fine morning, Donald Trump arose from his bed (or maybe didn't, considering his work habits), logged onto Twitter and decided to ban transgender people from serving in the military. As if his Twitter feed carries as much legal weight as an executive order, Act of Congress or new set of guidelines formally submitted to the Pentagon. Naturally, this strange faux ban on transgendered service members confused LGBT Trumpers who thought, "But, but... he once held our flag upside down with the tips of his fingers!"
     It also took the Joint Chiefs (whom Trump said he'd consulted) by surprise. Once they got wind of this, they had to send out a communique that read:

     Looks like Caitlyn Jenner doesn't have as much pull in the Trump White House as she thought she did. Although why she was so surprised by Trumps's unofficial transgender policy this past week is a mystery.

4) Jared Kushner
      I've been saying this for years now and it's even more true now than when I began saying it- The key to plausible deniability is that it has to be plausible. And it doesn't help in the interests of plausibility if one camp says something and another says the exact opposite, especially during a very serious federal investigation regarding the matter. Jared Kushner came wading into the swamp we're still waiting for Daddy Warbucks to drain to say that he had meetings with the Russians but that no collusion took place. What else could he say? His brother in law Fredo essentially ratted him out by releasing his own emails just before the New York Times was going to.
     This would be one of the several meetings that just slipped Jared's mind while filling out his SF86 form. Instead of being thrown in prison for omitting important meetings with the Russians well within the last seven years, he was allowed to resubmit the form not once not twice but three times. If the federal government ever recaptures its interest in doing its job, the slender young man with the handsome baby face and high feminine voice will be quite a hit in the prison showers.

 3) House Republican Leadership
     "What would you say, Mr. Speaker, if I told you we know the Ukrainian Prime Minister warned you June 15th last year about the Russians hacking the DNC and stealing their opposition research on Donald Trump and then House Republican Leadership laughed about it before pledging to keep in the family?"
     "It's pure fiction."
     "We have the transcripts."
     "They're fake."
     "We have the audio recordings."
     "Uh, let me 'adjust' my statement... it wasn't me talking."
     That's essentially the conversation between the WaPo and Paul Ryan recently.
     Well, that's not exactly true. They didn't deny the meeting took place. But on his own website, this is all Paul Ryan had to say about this bombshell of a meeting. Paul just left out the part about the Russian hacking and laughing about Rohrabacher and Trump being on "Putin's payroll."
     Oh, and his request for a cover-up. There's that, too.
     Like Jared Kushner and his own dealings with the Russians on his SF86 form, must've just slipped his mind. Who can keep track of all those meetings detailing the subversion of our very democratic electoral process?


2) John McCain and the Senate GOP
     For decades, John McCain has been less of a maverick and more of a Jekyll and Hyde type of legislator. He showed it this past week by dragging himself off a sick bed just days after being diagnosed with brain cancer and voted for the ACA Repeal in a procedural vote. Then two days later on Thursday night, McCain surprised everyone by withholding his vote until the last minute and, like a Roman emperor, lowered his thumb and voted against the "skinny repeal" bill that would've kicked at least 15,000,000 people off their health care plans. He did it in Mitch McConnell's face. He might as well have used his middle finger.

     Later, McConnell was blubbering on national TV and other GOP senators who were too disconsolate to talk over their failure in taking health care away from enough people to fill New York City twice over. Yes, the Republican Party hates the idea of quality, affordable health care that saves lives so much they're emotionally invested in your death. I really hope Indie and right wing voters remember this level of sadism in next year's mid terms and that they vote these genocidal cunts out of office once and for all.

1) "President" Donald Trump

     Trump's speech to the Boy Scouts of America in WV was eerily reminiscent of Hitler in April 1945 pressing into service the Nazi Youth League who would be the last line of defense from the encroaching Russians. The metaphor is especially tempting as Trump himself is psychologically bunkered because of the investigation into,,, the Russians. And, like the guy who also made a secret deal with the Russians regarding the Balkans, with the kind of vigor one only sees in the extremely paranoid, Trump used the Jamboree as a way of beating up the media, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Senator Capito, HHS Secretary Tom Price (whose job he threatened) and a secret jab at Jeff Sessions ("(W)e could use some more loyalty, I will tell you that..").
     In fact, Trump's speech was so horrible and provoked such a backlash that the head of the Boy Scouts of America publicly apologized in a letter.
     So if the walking brain dead who voted for Trump don't want him compared to Hitler, then maybe they can slip him a message to stop acting like him.  Because, the guy who sleeps with Hitler's speeches beside his bed already shares enough similarities with Der Fuhrer from his stance on alcohol, tobacco and even chocolate cake, to say nothing of his ultra right wing policies.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Get 'Em While They're Young

     So there the fat fascist stood yesterday, twisting and gyrating as if with a full bladder behind a podium outrageously emblazoned with the Seal of the Presidency of the United States, and attacking his predecessor for not being at the last Boy Scout Jamboree. He began by using profanity, asking the 12 to 18 year-olds in attendance, "Who the hell wants to speak about politics?"
     Then he launched into an intermittent political tirade about "fake news", Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, the health care bill up for a procedural vote in the Senate today and everything else that popped into his addled mind. One is amazed he didn't mention his comrades in the Kremlin.
     The man who was never a Boy Scout and once claimed as a deduction on his 1989 tax form a $7 charitable donation to the BSA, the man who less than a week ago ducked an invitation to attend the NAACP's annual convention, actually had the nerve to lambaste Obama for not being present at the last Jamboree in 2013. Let's just forget the fact America's last real President declined the invitation in protest of the Boy Scouts ongoing anti LGBT policies that root out and expel gay scouts and scout masters. Let's forget about the fact that the President was a Boy Scout at the same time Trump was dodging the draft for a phantom ailment and that Mr. Obama, unlike Trump, had actually had some Boy Scouts visit him in the Oval Office.
     It was just another example of a growing skein of amazingly inappropriate speeches delivered by Trump in contravention to the event at hand such as his recent commencement address at the US Coast Guard Academy, his speech before paid shills at CIA HQ and all too many others. Yet, despite this and much more, calling out West Virginia's Senator Shelley Moore Capito and actually threatening HHS Secretary Tom Price's job in front of 35,000 if he didn't get enough votes for the Wealth Care Bill, Trump received all the adulation he craves yet never seems to get enough of. One Scout (or maybe a paid shill, who knows with Trump?) said, "I love you!" and the impressionable boys in attendance cheered, booed and hissed at the preordained times, despite the Jamboree's blog forbidding them from making it a political rally as Trump had planned to all along
     It made me wonder when we will finally reach the tipping point when we finally realize the man playing the President is irredeemably, irrevocably, completely insane. Walking off Air Force One and walking past his gigantic limo nicknamed the Beast? Walking away in a daze from Israel's Prime Minister before shaking his hand? Walking out of the Oval Office without signing an Executive Order the press waited for him to sign and making Vice President Pence run after him with it?
     Been there, done that. So what'll it take? It seems the longer his still-nascent administration drags on, the more pronounced is Trump's wanderlust. It seems the only things he can stay focused on, aside from how much America unanimously loves him, is Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, the Russia investigation and "fake news."
     As someone who's worked in two nursing homes before, I can tell you we had protocols in place to keep our demented residents from wandering off as Trump constantly does. The doors and even the elevator was key coded and given only to the staff so they wouldn't wander off the grounds. And the dazed look in Trump's eyes as he wanders off to parts unknown is pretty telling of a degenerative mental state from which we'd try to protect our residents, some of whom being younger than the 71 year-old Trump.
     But not everything can be blamed on Alzheimer's or dementia or whatever is constantly ailing Trump. It's not as if Trump had come out of nowhere as a dark horse or that he hadn't had a well-publicized history of committing adultery, beating his wives, sexually assaulting females as young as 13, stiffing contractors and putting them out of business, not to mention decades-long collusion with Russia. It's not as if we weren't armed with this information on Election Day last year.
     When John McCain was running for the Presidency nine years ago, I said then that McCain could walk out of the White House without his pants and everyone in his administration would find endless ways to cover for him. They'd already done it before during Reagan's second term (he plainly wasn't all there). Because on Capitol Hill, it's all about party primacy, incumbency and holding onto one's job for as long as humanly possible.
     Screw the country and what's best for it. And screw the Boy Scouts. Trump will never get so demented that isn't all about him, Him, HIM.

Friday, July 21, 2017

So Much Winning!

     So, to recount:
     After the first six months, we have no Press Secretary,
     No FBI Director,
     No Secretary of the Army,
     No Secretary of the Navy,
     No Surgeon General,
     No Secretary of the Air Force until May 8th,
     135 judicial vacancies, with only 24 pending,
     Virtually no one in senior positions under Rex Tillerson at Foggy Bottom including his top deputy,
     A legally crippled Attorney General Trump's ready to fire,
     No health care bill,
     No infrastructure bill,
     No national budget save for a draft with a two trillion dollar error that the Trump administration still stands by,
     39 vacancies at the DOJ ranging from trial attorneys to US attorneys,
     and hundreds of other important federal posts still vacant after half a year.
     But, hey, Donald Trump is bound and determined to become the most well-rested "President" in memory (40 days at his properties alone, which doesn't include Camp David or any other place where he's sat on his fat, pasty ass), going for broke during a planned 18 day vacation next month while cracking the whip on Congress while racing toward his 1000th presidential tweet.
     Maybe if they had as many meetings with each other as they do with the Russians, maybe shit would get done.
     Then again, maybe we're better off.

Good Times at Gotham City, 7/21/17

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Good Times at Gotham City, 7/18/17

Sunday, July 16, 2017

RIP George Romero

     Rest in Peace, George Romero (1940-2017-2018)
     Don't worry, George is only dead for now.
     Heaven just gained a gifted filmmaker but only on loan.
     Go on, dust off all those George Romero zombie jokes you've been collecting over the years and spew them on social media.
     But to get serious, Romero's legacy in independent cinema is virtually etched in stone. Because a young 28 year-old film director with an idea, and not even an original one at that, revolutionized it with a little art house flick filmed just outside Pittsburgh called Night of the Living Dead. As a testament to its contemporary appeal, this modest little $114,000 project turned into a cult classic that would go on to gross $30,000,000, not a bad investment return for the 60's.
     And everyone since 1968 who makes a zombie film or a series about one (including AMC's The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead), owes at least a silent token of gratitude for the American-Canadian filmmaker who died today at 77 after a brief battle with lung cancer.
     Again, it ought to be stated that Universal Studios and others had been making zombie flicks since at least the 40's. They were somewhat popular in horror cinema at the time- Zombies were cheap and easy to make and, in the case of the late Darby Jones, special contact lenses weren't even needed.
     What made Romero's treatment of the zombie sub-genre of horror different was his emphasis not on the dead but the living. The zombies, while ostensibly being the subject of the Living Dead movies, were actually supposed to be just a plot device, a shuffling, ambulatory background to the human drama that continues to play out.
     Because the original Night of the Living Dead pioneered an important point that's become a staple of the social commentary of post-apocalyptic cinema: It's not the dead you have to worry about but the living.
     Not to take anything away from the living dead because the cornerstone of all zombie fiction and movies is the natural human dread of the deceased, especially that which reanimates and comes after your flesh and brains. But Romero's crude but effective effort in NOTLD drove home the point that humanity is at its worst, as well as its best, during a crisis.
     Essentially, the entirety of the movie takes place in an abandoned house. It's what FBI crisis negotiators call a "spontaneous barricade situation." Except in this one, everyone within is a hostage while the zombies, sensing fresh food, close in.
     The characters range from the heroic (Duane) to the useless (Barbara) to the outright vicious (Harry). Harry will do anything to survive, even if it means throwing some of the living outside to keep the undead busy. Duane is doing his damnedest to barricade and fortify the house and gets little help from anyone. It wasn't just a pessimistic, dim view of humanity in a crunch. Natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina showed us both villains and heroes such as the kid who hijacked a bus and drove it and dozens of survivors to Houston. But it was the villains who stole almost all the press.
     By now, nearly 50 years after its release, I think we've all seen it and know what happens in the end. No one survives, and you have the living and a self-styled vigilante sheriff to thank for that. Just four years ago, YouGov Omnibus did a survey and asked people whether or not they believed in the zombie apocalypse. A stunning 14% said yes. Lending credence to these ridiculous fears, it had come out a year later that the Pentagon actually has war game scenarios for the zombie uprising. This wasn't even unprecedented. The CDC also has protocols in place should the dead decide to rise from their resting places and get a little restless.
     Surviving the zombie apocalypse has become fodder for zombie fans on social media in comments and memes ranging from the lighthearted to the (pun unintended) dead serious. One can safely assume those who fear being attacked by North Korea and horny homosexual liberals are also the same exact ones who stockpile Waco-class amounts of guns 'n' ammo to battle the upcoming zombie infestation.
     But among those wouldbe Rick Grimes are people like Harry, a guy would throw his own wife and kid outside to the undead horde if it bought him an extra minute of life.
     In later installments of the series, Romero included deadpan satire, placing Dawn of the Dead a decade later at a shopping mall. It was another withering commentary on the human condition both dead and undead- Namely that even after death our postmortem instincts will continue with our consumerist behaviors and go to the mall just as we had in life. Again, there are heroes and villains and this is a trope that has been done with varying success in the nearly half century since NOTLD premiered on October 1, 1968.
     The Walking Dead and its spinoff Fear the Walking Dead, have proved very adept in not only exploiting this theme but in expanding upon and refining it. Because the one overarching point driven home in both shows is that the living will exploit a post-apocalyptic situation for their own ends and will kill any number of the living in order to keep a power and relevance that likely had eluded them when the world was still the world.
     And Romero can be credited with pioneering the idea that, as well as Duane and Rick and Travis, there will also be Harrys and Governors and Negans in the mix to keep the well-meaning on their toes.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Good Cop, Bad Cops, Pt II

(By American Zen’s Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)  
(Disclaimer: The proprietor of this blog and Mr. Wilson have an ongoing years-long friendship, in which the former has benefited on several occasions by the generosity of the latter. However, that in no way, shape or form has influenced the blog owner’s decision to post an article about his case nor the content of what is written below.)
Another sign that the fix was in was when Tpr. Wilson's legal representation was arbitrarily handed off to another lawyer. When he'd voiced his suspicions, he was essentially told to take it or pay his own legal fees. During the farce of a hearing, it had become obvious to Wilson that the witnesses were protected from giving the contradictory statements they were already on record as having made. Part of the interference was carried out by his own attorney.
     Yet, despite the protection racket buzzing between both counsel's tables, the Franklin cops were stupid enough to let their contradictions get into the transcript. At one point, the officer alleging assault was so incompetent during his testimony he was actually allowed to read from his own inaccurate report!
      As all this was taking place, Tpr. Wilson was on a bubble- It was at this time that Beacon Hill was ratifying a bill that would give troopers facing disciplinary hearings enhanced protections such as greater appeal rights in the event of a negative finding. Only then would a trooper get a "point-of-fact" appeal.
     The court neatly sidestepped what would've, could've and should've been an enhanced appellate process for Tpr. Wilson by simply hiding the judgment and not forwarding it . Instead, he was given an administrative general order informing of a guilty finding and a four month suspension. He was not given paperwork to sign nor was he offered any and his legal counsel offered him no advice re a court appeal.
     He applied for unemployment benefits simply to test whether the board's judgment was correct (in MA, a state employee actually accused of wrongdoing is denied unemployment benefits.), relying on the reports and hearing transcripts. When the State Police attorney tried to suppress the transcript from the record he was, in Tpr. Wilson's own words, "laughingly over-ruled." During the hearing the state police attorney produced the suppressed "finding and recommendation" document that should've been released immediately after the disciplinary hearing's finding, a case summation justifying a guilty finding,  that mandated suspension and anger management counseling. That was the first time Wilson realized this critical document existed.

The Other Franklin Coverup
Trooper Wilson returned to work in September 2002, four months later and, despite the $9000 in DET benefits, $25,000 poorer. To use his own phrase, the reception from his colleagues was "obsequious" and was told he was fully expected to just "put it all behind (him)." Instead, he filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers, the Commonwealth's legal watchdog agency. He did so to force his first attorney to admit, under penalty of perjury, that he was also simultaneously representing the accusing agency (the Franklin Police Union), which, of course, he eventually did. That, however, didn't stop him from lying to the Board that he'd informed Tpr. Wilson of this pesky conflict of interest (Remember, he was cagey and vague about that when directly asked).
     Furthermore, this shyster lied again by saying that he suspected Wilson was going to allege racial bias, which he never planned to do because it was not a racial-based incident (ironically, this is perhaps the very reason for the Franklin Police filing the charges against Wilson). Not only is he strident on this point, his allegations against the Franklin PD were always for defamation, assault and battery and false imprisonment.
     Even without my help via innuendoes, you,  Constant Reader, would at least deeply suspect that a conspiracy had long since been implemented. In case there had been any doubts in Trooper Wilson's mind, they essentially vanished when he got the official response from his first attorney (the one with conflict of interest problems) in January 2003, 25 months after the original incident. Seeking a professional, impartial opinion, he went to a lawyer friend for his input.
     This friend's opinion was that any subsequent legal complaint would originate from Wilson's agency's failure to provide the finding and ruling document as mandated by law. In fact, he'd called this a civil rights violation. The facts of the incident of assault and false imprisonment would become fair game and legally germane. Shame this lawyer couldn't represent Wilson because his expertise was in real estate.
     He would be virtually the only honest lawyer Wilson would ever consult on this matter, as future installments of this series will show.

Stepping on Jackbooted Toes
Now, this is where it really begins to get interesting, Faithful Reader. Because by now it had become obvious to Wilson, as it should have to you, that his case was beginning to get enough attention so that he was stepping on the toes of some powerful shoes, namely the Colonel Superintendent of the MA State Police (more on him later, as well), his assistant (the axe-wielder in these cases), the embattled Chief of the Franklin PD, two law firms and the MA State Trooper's Union, ironically enough, State Police Association of Massachusetts (SPAM).
     To summarize, all these individuals and entities would be complicit in covering up the abuse of an African American State Trooper by three white Franklin cops (even though, again, Tpr. Wilson never intended on pulling the race card. But one has to admit, from a purely political correctness standpoint the optics were horrible). His second attorney, personally hand-picked by his first sans his client's permission, was a partner in Finneran Byrne and Dreschler (Yes, that Finneran, the fabulously corrupt Speaker of the Massachusetts State House of Representatives who was also the lead partner in the firm).
     Finneran has long since been disbarred for multiple acts of corruption and legal misconduct (incredibly, none of it pertaining to Tpr Wilson).
     Without trying to scale Trooper Wilson to Dickensian dimensions, by this time it had become obvious that not only was he not guilty and not given his day in court, he had by this time already suffered $25,000 in financial losses and had been suspended for four months when, in reality, he was the only victim in this case.
     Mr. Wilson's victimization would only continue and escalate, as you will read about in the next installment.
(Back to Part One)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

So We Outsourced an Election. Boo Hoo!

(By Cyril Blubberpuss)

     "You know things are going to Hell in a hand basket without the lotion," I said to one of my associates while making a five year-old Wall Street bootblack shine my wingtips with his tongue, "when liberal snowflakes are bawling about the last election."
     And it's a fair enough point to make. I mean, we've been outsourcing elections since both parties began letting foreign corporate cash tunnel their way into the electoral process through "ghost corporations" and "straw donors", American branches of foreign companies, 527's and money laundering schemes. Hell, some of the biggest money launderers are my pals at JP Morgan Chase and other white shoe banks. But I'm not here to dwell on that.
     What the Trump administration did was a stroke of genius: They outsourced the hacking of the election to the Russians... while making them pay for it! OK, it can't be said Trump isn't making any pelf from the Russians through Bayrock with this sweet President gig. But I'm not going to dwell on that, either.
     All I'm saying is Trump got the Russkies to do on their dime what the Democrat National Committee would've been stupid enough to pay beaucoup bucks for (and did) to skew the election. You read that right- While Camp Clintonista was paying a million bucks for professional basement dwellers to become relevant for the only time in their Cheetos-smeared lives, Trump got Putin to hack our election and pay for every penny of it!
     Now, folks, if that isn't fiscal responsibility, I dunno what is!
     And where would we be without this wonderful partnership with the Russians? We'd be saddled with vagina voters and crypto feminists overlooking anything and everything done by Queen Hillary just because she would've been the first female President. Think of the nightmare of the job glut and $230 billion surplus left behind by her husband and you'll see what I mean.
     Nyet, you won't hear me saying anything negative about our Russian brothers and sisters, comrades, because they've always been good to our family. You may recall an anecdote I'd told some time early this year about my kid brother Cecil and his business partners in Eastern Europe. Well, to illustrate my broader point, I have another:

     Partly out of, uh, humility, I guess you'd call it, I never related this tale about Cecil's startup enterprise which was the first video sex chat room ( on the internet. Much of the talent he'd obtained was from Eastern European hostels. They were college-aged boys who thought they were just going on a boring trip through Eastern Europe and the newly-liberated Russia until Cecil's, uh, recruiters, I guess you'd call them, gave them the opportunity of a lifetime.
     I'll gloss over the details because you don't need to hear of the recruitment methods by his Russian friends and the abandoned sex doll factory in what used to be Yugoslavia from which these sex performers would work their erotic magic.
     What I will say is that, largely through the efforts of his Russian business partners (who would later go to work for rich powerful Russians uncharitably named "oligarchs"), Cecil for a short time was rolling in the dough. Back then, $50 would get you a 20 minute private session with some Eastern European Adonis, 80% of which would wind up in CeeCee's bank account.
     It all came crashing down when a Croatian college sophomore had the effrontery and ingratitude to escape from his employer when he got sick and tired of being fed only the best roadkill from Yugoslavia's highways and paid fifty cents for every dollar he generated for the company. He fled, buck naked, during a private session and alerted the law enforcement authorities, who then contacted the FBI.
     Poor Cecil was in mid-ejaculation when the Bureau and ICE came barreling through his SoHo apartment door (You try stopping during that blessed moment) to serve my baby brother with a search warrant. I had mentioned my team of attorneys valiantly tried to keep Cecil from getting sent to Riker's Island (He was strangely enthusiastic about going there once other prisoners told him about the nightly prison shower rapes).
     Well, many of those attorneys came from the former USSR and were allowed to practice law here in the US after taking some brush-up courses at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University and passing the Puerto Rican bar exam. These highly skilled attorneys were extremely adept at getting their clients off by persuading witnesses not to testify in some trivial capital crimes cases. (Some of them even took a permanent vacation.)
     The point I'm making is that the Russians are hard-working, selfless individuals who will do anything to accomplish living the American Dream (albeit on their terms). And what Donald Trump did for the Russians was nothing short of Messianic: He allowed them to live the American Dream by taking part in an honest-to-God American presidential election, without any fanfare and even getting them to subsidize the entire operation.
     And if that isn't a testament to a master deal maker, I don't know what is, folks.

KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

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