Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Morning Of The Day Before

January 29, 1933

Statue Advertising Restaurant, Northern China
(John Woo, Reuters / 2016)

Sunday (Sh'vat, 5693, for those who do)
(Note:  The 1933 calendar is the same as that for 2017.)

Poet Sarah Teasdale dies in New York City after an overdose of sleeping pills. She is most commonly remembered for "There Will Come Soft Rains" (aka War-Time), published in 1920.

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound...

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

On January 29, Edouard Daladier, French centrist politician, was asked to assume position of Prime Minister and form a new coalition government, which would last from January to October, 1933.

In 1938, Daladier was again a minister in (yet) another coalition government in France, and with extreme reluctance supported the 1938 Munich agreement to cede the Sudeten portions of Czechoslovakia to Germany, and (presumably) avoid a general European war.

Returning to Paris after the agreement was signed, Daladier expected hostile crowds, but was instead warmly cheered. A combat veteran of the Western Front in WW1, Daladier understood: The Great War had been such a monumental bloodletting for the world, a fall of European empires and whole ways of life, that few people wanted to see new monsters on the horizon.

However, Daladier understood that Munich was nothing but appeasement. He had no illusions about the ultimate intentions of Hitler and the nazis -- to him, Munich only delayed what he saw as an inevitable war. 

Seeing the crowds cheering his arrival -- to the man on the street, war over Czechoslovakia had been averted! Yay! -- Daladier turned to an aide and said sadly, "Ah, these morons".

German Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher had resigned on January 28th. The recently re-elected German President, Paul von Hindenburg, had to appoint a replacement who could form a new government. On January 29th he offered the position to Franz von Papen, who refused.

von Papen had already been Chancellor from June through November, 1932. The possibility of another civil war in Germany between the extreme right (Adolf Hitler's NSDAP) and extreme left (the Red Front and the German Communist Party) was growing, and von Papen had tried and failed to organize a government that might reduce tensions. On January 29th he suggested to Hindenburg that Hitler be named Chancellor -- because, he explained to the old Field Marshall, Hitler could be controlled.

On the 29th, the New York Times ran three separate articles about events in Germany.  The first looked at European stock markets, saying “apprehensions [are] generally felt over the fresh evidence of Hitler’s influence in the German situation.” The second summarized events in Germany, stating that Hindenburg was seeking a coalition government -- and that Hitler could only win over centrists with a guarantee that his power would be limited. Many leading intellectuals in Germany had serious misgivings -- “a straight Parliamentary government headed by Herr Hitler... is not envisaged in sober-minded political quarters.”

The third article was a long piece on Mussolini, Stalin, and Hindenburg. Hitler was only briefly mentioned, in comparison with Hindenburg; the article spoke of Hitler's "extreme policies", and inferred that he and the nazis were not the future of Germany in the same way that Mussolini and his fascists, and the Soviets under Stalin, appeared to be.

Monday, January 30, 1933

Adolf Hitler appointed Chancellor of the Weimar Republic.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Do All The Rubes Have Tickets?

Ein Mensch Ist Kein Tier

Denn wie man sich bettet, so liegt man
Es deckt einen da keiner zu
Und wenn einer tritt, dann bin ich es
Und wird einer getreten, dann bist’s du.

As you make your bed, you must lie in it
No one else makes it so, only you
And when someone kicks, it will be me
And when someone gets kicked, it will be you

--  Kurt Weill / Bertold Brecht; "Meine Herren, Meine Mutter Prägte",
(aka, 'Denn Wie Man Sich Bettet') from Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahoganny (1931)

This week, a person with no mainstream political experience will be elevated to Chief Executive of the Federal government -- a businessperson who easily displays his prejudices through a spiteful, narcissistic, adolescent public character which no American now living has ever seen in an elected official at that level.  No one knows what to expect, but the level of apprehension is palpable.

That display continues, and the apotheosis of such a person to that powerful a position leaves many people around the world profoundly uneasy. His inauguration  this coming Friday is expected to be a gaudy show, a celebration of triumph for, as someone once said, "decayed roués with dubious means of subsistence and of dubious origin ... vagabonds, discharged soldiers, discharged jailbirds, escaped galley slaves, swindlers, mountebanks, lazzaroni, pickpockets, tricksters, gamblers, [and] pimps...".

His continuing display of ignorant bile has caused a number of leading Democrats to state publicly they will refuse to attend some or all inaugural events -- in particular, the swearing-in ceremony. There is certainly going to be some level of public protest. If things get ugly, it will be very public.

A friend noted over the weekend that an earlier post appeared to suggest turning inward as a response to recent political events -- that we might ignore raised voices or emotions and instead focus on a balance with a wider universe. That we keep family and friends close, and reduce our connections to only those things which nurture us and are necessary.

We live with one foot in the Cosmos and one foot on our dirty linoleum floor. Any insight I possess about what to do while we're there is subjective. I may have my own answer to a basic question -- What Do We Do Now? -- but it only applies to me. It's ignorant and rude to assume a personal understanding is a universal constant. If there's consensus in a larger group that everyone believes essentially the same thing, that's a different matter.

Some time ago a friend mentioned that the Dalai Lama was allegedly asked by a person who just bumped into him (at a hotel, or some public venue) what he felt the central tenet of Tibetan Buddhism to be. The Lama is supposed to have replied, " ' Just do your best.' "  I'm not a Buddhist, but I take the Lama's observation to suggest that Existence is too complicated for any person to say why they Are, and what the end results of their thoughts and actions will be. Be kind; act with compassion. Do the best you can. I'd like to aspire towards that, so; works for me.

As a comparative comment on purpose and values (and in his case, resistance), Albert Camus believed the fact of humankind was the only justification for right action, of a demand for a better world. 
I continue to believe that this world has no ultimate meaning. But ... it has no justification but man; hence he must be saved if we want to save the idea we have of life. With your scornful smile you will ask me: what do you mean by saving man? And with all my being I shout to you that I mean not mutilating him and yet giving a chance to the justice that man alone can conceive. (Resistance, Rebellion and Death)
That works for me, too.

America is about to collectively leap off a cliff into unknown political, and social, territory.  I don't believe it's a time to turn inward; we need to listen to the voice in the pit of our stomachs which is saying Fuck this; I vote No; you don't do this crap in my name, and we need to act. Collective is good -- in fact, it's essential -- and while I don't believe in passive resistance, I don't favor violence because I know where that goes.

It's a real conundrum, deciding how you live your values. Everything I read on the Intertubes seems to be some variation on "This analysis will explain why we lost" -- more circular argument between Hillaryites and Bernieites and Masters of the DNC over who was right and controls that party, or academic analysis about what the election means in a Marxist or Other context. I'm sure that will make a number of people feel better, or at least useful.

The sense I get is of a vast, collective indrawing and holding of breath, as we wait for something to happen. The problem is, that Thing already has happened.  Now, we have to do. The discussion needs to be around what.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday We Went Into The Night And The Gnashing Of Mandibles

Hope You're Not Expecting Profundity, Or Good Government.

At the end of another week I remind myself:  We don't have it that bad, relative to... a whole lot.

Huh? You want the list, Yo? Well, to start with --- we didn't have to endure physical torture (though watching Il Duce's minions in confirmation hearings on CSPAN2 is pretty close); we didn't have to survive a Russian airstrike; we didn't have to wander in -20 F temperatures outside Belgrade; we aren't dropping to the living room floor whenever we hear popping we know is gunfire. We have enough money to buy things we do not need (as we are compelled to do by training which begins in infancy), and enough food to be overweight (Mildly. Let's not get carried away here).

We're fairly safe; live in neighborhoods where there are over ten different varieties of honey for sale, for fuck's sake; and we don't have to pay the police to leave us alone.  It's a good bet our children, if they commute home from school, will actually get there alive and unmolested. And when The Dear Leader To Come appears on teevee -- tubby, bloated, "Huge" -- we can shut the fucking thing off and not be compelled to perform some act of obeisance.

Yes; there's much I personally do not have.  But because of all the above, I am grateful. Really.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Dow Surges As Kremlin Says Has No Dossier Dropped From Chinese Bomber Over The Spratlys

While Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Scrambles Taiwanese Jets
To Investigate Mariah Carey's VW Executive Oil Pricing 
In Wake Of Sessions Confirmation Hearings

Mongo Is On The Ball.
"Hey; is that food? Give me some -- I've been picking up this thing you keep throwing."

 Just thought we'd cover everything. It's raining out here on the Left Coast.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Photo Of Stunning Flight Attendant

For Absolutely No Goddamn Reason

No idea what airline this person is connected with. Doesn't matter. (Associated Press)
[ The Googlegerät advises it's UAE's Eithad Airways.] 

Back at the Place O' Witless Labor. Thinking about the transience of all things; listening to Avro Pärt's Spiegel Im Spiegel. Pausing to note that Mariah Carey is very close to being officially fat, and that Il Duce ! is not just tubby but putrescently podgy and blubbery in a way only Oligarchs can be.

And with this post, we here at BeforeNine inaugurate yet another unnecessary Blog category: For Absolutely No Goddamn Reason, as indicated above.  

This relates to an image which appeared in the very top strip of the banner on a print version of The Onion, distributed circa 2010 in Kiddietown before it became Kiddietown, which showed a small photo of a Lemur with the caption, "Picture of Lemur shown for absolutely no goddamned reason". 

Just to be clear, the image above is not a photo of a Lemur. Thank you.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Outlasting The Emperor Day By Day

The New Year

A club in The City displayed a window poster for its annual holiday party which depicted a cowboy boot, kicking the numerals 2016, above the legend Give The Year The Boot.  Wherever I've been so far in this holiday season, everyone agrees that the year about to close sucks, even more so than any other year they can remember.  I asked why, and the answers were more or less in this priority:
  • Trump's election as President; his Twit behavior since the election, and the persons he's chosen as cabinet appointees;
  • The ForeverWar in Syria and Iraq; brutality of IS terrorism; migrant crisis in the Mediterranean and Europe;
  • The rise of nationalist, rightist politics in France, Greece, Germany, Austria, Turkey, Romania, Hungary, and the former Yugoslavia;
  • The death of so many culturally seminal figures -- such as Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen; Muhammad Ali, Harper Lee, Edward Albee, Gene Wilder; Elie Wiesel; and so many others. (Man; I  almost forgot Mose Allison.)
  • It wasn't mentioned often, but some feel the bill for having sold our collective souls  to the ideas embodied in financial, corporate and political structures which run the world has begun to come due.
2016 isn't necessarily worse than any other year -- and for comparison, I pulled 1968 right out of the air: There was a Youth Revolution at home. Yuri Gagarin died in a plane crash.  Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated. The police rioted in Mayor Daley's Czechago; the NVA and Viet Cong's Tet Offensive caught the U.S. by surprise, and combat deaths in Southeast Asia were approaching 50,000 in the decade since we had intervened there.

Richard Nixon said he spoke for the "great, silent majority of Americans," and was elected. John Steinbeck died.  And, in the background of every year since 1950 was always the possibility of a thermonuclear war between the U.S. and our NATO allies, and the Soviet Union. The Cuban Missile Crisis had happened only six years before.

2106 feels worse than other years because the future seems to carry so much potential for negative disruption, and that's beyond question -- but how it will all actually go, what the larger situation, which does affect our individual lives, will turn out to be no one knows.

How we deal with whatever comes will be the sum of who we are -- our values, experiences; our realizations and prejudices -- and how we deal with things will be supported by others; family and friends, allies. At every hairpin turn in the road, we're called to be who we are -- not to temporize, or bullshit, but to stand. In that sense, 2017 will not differ, except in the details, from any other.

But, consider - how we approach things is a matter of perspective. A good friend, one of my best, once told a story about a Buddhist monk imprisoned in China, placed in solitary confinement for ten years. He was allowed no visitors, and only a few hours of exercise outside alone each week. When released, the monk thanked each of his jailers. Jesus, I said to my friend; that's a remarkable act of compassion. And, ten years -- I don't know if I could maintain my sanity locked in a small cell.

"Well," my friend said, "it's a matter of perspective. You see a hell of imprisonment. The monk might have seen that he was safe from most harm; he was fed twice a day, given a quiet space, free of most distractions, to practice meditation techniques central to his system of belief about reality -- for him, a heaven," he said.

Consider, too, a fable attributed to a number of cultures:  Once upon a time, an Emperor owned the finest white stallion in his kingdom. And one night, a thief tried to steal the horse, but was captured by palace guards. The next morning, he was dragged before the Emperor, who ordered the thief to be put to death.

The thief accepted the emperor's sentence calmly, but humbly made one request -- not that he be spared; but that if the Emperor would only postpone the execution for a year and a day, the thief would teach the horse to sing hymns. The court burst into laughter, but the Emperor held up his hand and, to everyone's surprise, accepted the offer.

As he was being taken away, the Emperor's Jailer whispered to the thief, "You are a fool!"

"Am I a fool?" replied the thief. "Much can happen in a year and a day. The King may die. The horse may die. I may die. And, perhaps, the horse will learn how to sing."

And, my favorite:  If you sit beside the river long enough, the body of your enemy will float by.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Always Free Cheddar In The Mousetrap, Baby

Digging Up The Dead With A Pick And A Shovel

Tom Waits: "God's Away On Business" (Album, 'Blood Money'; 2002)
(Used in the 2005 film, Smartest Guys In The Room)
... Political conditions were becoming even more confused. One crisis followed on the heels of another, and we paid no attention... On January 30, 1933, I read of Hitler's appointment as Chancellor, but for the time being that did not affect me. Shortly afterward I attended a membership meeting of the Mannheim local party group... "A country cannot be governed by such people," I briefly thought. My concern was needless. The old bureaucratic apparatus continued to run the affairs of state smoothly under Hitler, too.
--  Albert Speer, Inside The Third Reich; The MacMillian Co. (1970), p.25.

Police reported that eleven people were shot and killed in Chicago, primarily in South Side neighborhoods, during the Christmas holiday. The city may pass 700 homicides, and over 4,000 gun-related injuries, before 2016 ends.
--  Information In PBS 'Nightly News Hour' Segment, December 26th

BOB:  ... And a heartwarming moment this weekend when Fred Arnold of Pinole lost his partial upper dental plate while riding the Richmond BART line on Christmas Eve. The dentifrice was found by a five-year-old boy, whose parents wish him to remain anonymous; and on Christmas Day Mr. Arnold was reunited with his dental plate, telling KTUV news, "I can eat now."
KATHY:  That's so kind of that boy. You know, when I hear items like this, it balances out so much of the other news we report, you know?
BOB:  Sure does.
--  Close Of 6:00PM Newscast, KTUV-Oakland, California, December 26 (OK; maybe not).

Tom Waits: "Hell Broke Luce" (Album, 'Bad As Me'; 2011)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Berlin Bleibt Berlin

Berlin is a good town; in the arts, there's a great deal happening that's amazing -- and now yet another terrorist attack in Europe appears to have been carried out there, in the Charlottenburg district, near the Kaiser Wilhelm Church. At least twelve are dead and over fifty injured; the brainless coward perpetrator ran off is still at large.

Germans I've spoken to in the past few years have been very matter-of-fact in saying that they expected terrorist events to occur in their own country; and they have. This one happened against a backdrop of a million migrants seeking asylum in Germany, and a resurgence of rightist, nationalist politics which smacks of the nazis organizing before 1933 -- and no one thinks this attack will be the last.

Still, Berlin is a good town. Let's keep the people there in our thoughts.

Obligatory Cute Street Art Pooch: Jeder Deutscher Ein Tierfreund.
Berlin has more street art than any other capital city in Europe.
(Clicky = Bigger)

Friederichstrasse; The Checkpoint Charlie Museum
(Click -- Nett u. Spass !)

Night In a Restored Section Of Neukölln
(You Know The Drill)

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Days

Random Barking: Fate Of Our Fodders 
Electoral College members voted today, with minor defections, to affirm that Donald Trump is the next President Of The United States (News Item).
Eschewing politics, partisanship, and party building, Obama seemed to believe that restoration of transparent, efficient, competent, and responsive government within strict neoliberal policy parameters was commensurate with the epochal demands of social renovation that his own unlikely emergence was supposed to signify. In retrospect, it should not be surprising that this brand of repressive tolerance and progressive tinkering would not hold back the forces of repressive desublimation and social decay that Trump represents. Risk and volatility are on again... the wrecking crew is back in the saddle.
 -- "Trump and the Present Crisis," Nikhil Pal Singh; December 6, 2016

The point is that the relative freedom which we enjoy depends of public opinion.  The law is no protection. Governments make laws, but whether they are carried out, and how the police behave, depends on the general temper in the country. If large numbers of people are interested in freedom of speech, there will be freedom of speech, even if the law forbids it; if public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them.
-- George Orwell, Freedom of the Park (1945), quoted by David Remnick in "American Tragedy"; The New Yorker Online, November 9, 2016   

May They Burn In The Forever Fire
"Today there were terror attacks in Turkey, Switzerland and Germany and it is only getting worse. The civilized world needs to wake up."  -- Duce!
I'd like to thank the Project For A New American Century, William Kristol, David "Bucky The Beaver" Brooks; 'Dick' Cheney'; Paul Wolfowitz; Donald Rumsfeld; the Special Condi Rice (Shot From Guns!); Colin Powell; munitions manufacturers, military contractors; many other scuttling roaches, and (last but not least among Bottom-feeders) George W. "Lil' Boots" Bush -- for an unnecessary, criminal invasion of Iraq, without which hundreds of thousands of human beings would be alive today, and multiple tragedies in Baghdad, Aleppo, Islamabad, Mumbai, Tripoli and Benghazi, Paris, Berlin, and a thousand other  cities and towns would not have taken place.

But, don't worry. As children are barrel-bombed in Syria; drown trying to escape across the Mediterranean; as suicide bombers kill and maim hundreds; as women and girls pass into sexual slavery for IS -- for all the above-mentioned persons, it's the most wonderful time of the year. Their holiday is easy and soft. They are warm , and safe, with many treats; and people to tell them they are kind and loved and right and sane and good.

We Mean It, Too.
Die Sprache

Going to work at 5:20AM and a stop at a coffee chain near the entrance to BART on a cold (48 Degrees F.) day. Considering how amazing it all is: Coffee grown thousands of miles away, roasted in machines, brewed in other machines behind the counter -- all the manufacturing processes to fabricate them, and the ships and the trains and the trucks that brought it all together. Served hot in paper cups with plastic tops (trees, oil; more machines making them) in a city with moderate political corruption and a good public transport system.

Inside, a carousel of baked goods, topped by a plate of Bear Claws piled ten inches high -- flour, butter; sugar grown and made in Hawaii (with all the machinery of harvesting, refining); almonds grown in the Central Valley; industrial mixers; baking ovens.  I'm moving towards work, considering the shifting likes and dislikes of my Dog's life and aware of the irony that I have these troubles in the midst of skyscrapers and laptops and cellphones and women so beautiful your heart (among other things) aches with memory and imagination.

At a table in the cafe: an Indian couple in their late twenties or early thirties, having an earnest conversation. "No you do not understand how I feel," says the woman ("Yes; I understand," the man says over her, in a flat voice without much conviction), "There are things I want to do, now."  "Yes and what things," says the man, waiting for the moment to pass, looking off into some middle distance.

"I want my career," the woman replied; the man made a sour face, and the woman said, "You are not taking me seriously. You have to listen to me!" As I was walking past them on my way out of the cafe, the man swung his face back to quickly look at her, eyebrows raised as if to say Oh, do I?

What The Election Means: Easy To Read Nutshell Version
(Click To Enlarge !  It's Easy And Fun !)

I walk down into BART, thinking: the intellectual concrete of language makes possible the construction of ideas, emotions, into the real. If people don't have (or aren't allowed) language that defines concepts like equality in opportunity, employment, pay; or reproductive rights; or when No means No... then after a while, not only will they no longer exist as rights in a society -- the very ideas will cease to exist for the larger mass of the population. It truly is that simple.

They Have Milestones

John Glenn died, age 95. I met Glenn in 1963 for less than five minutes. He had been doing something at the Air Force base near my small home town, and had gone into a local shop to have new rubber heels put on a pair of shoes (his old heels were 'Virginia Oak' brand). He would be back in a week 'during the lunch hour' to pick up the shoes, he'd said.

In the early 1960's everything about the manned space program fascinated me. I had scrapbooks of every space-related article printed in LIFE magazine since before Sputnik -- and seven days later, I was in the shoe shop when Glenn drove up shortly after noon, alone, in a dove-grey military sedan and parked in front.

He looked exactly like his pictures, dressed in a black suit with the thin line of a white handkerchief showing above the coat's front pocket; a white shirt, and a blue-grey bow tie. He was polite, but contained, aloof -- discouraging any attention as embarrassing or unseemly.  We shook hands, and he autographed the LIFE magazine cover of the issue about his multiple-orbit Mercury mission, with the photo of him wearing his astronaut's silver flight suit and white helmet ("Best Wishes, John H. Glenn, Jr.").

What was it like? I asked. "Well, you can read about that in there," Glenn said, nodding toward the magazine -- and after paying for the shoe repairs, politely said goodbye and left quickly.

In the late Eighties, when Glenn put himself forward as a potential Democratic presidential candidate, I read an article about his campaign in Rolling Stone -- in one passage, without being seen, the author had observed Glenn while the ex-astronaut, Senator from Ohio, waited alone in a side room for an introduction to speak at a meeting of some civic organization; its members were in a larger room directly next door.

The group opened their meeting by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance -- and as they did so, the author watched Glenn stand, put his right hand over his heart, and recite the Pledge himself. There was no reason for him to do that; so far as he knew, no one was looking.

Kirk Douglas celebrated his 100th birthday.  ZaZa Gabor died at (maybe) 99, and her passing even eclipsed information about Aleppo and submersible drones seized by the Chinese and Duce! in the nightly news -- ironic, as ZaZa was almost wholly without talent, one of the first to be famous ... just for being famous. She made Paris Hilton possible (more irony, as ZaZa had married, and divorced, Paris' grandfather Conrad). Even in death, our 'news' organizations treated her as if she were a person who had achieved something worthwhile and notable in human affairs. 

I Remember It Was Better In The Olden Days

One Wants To Believe What Will Keep One Safe
... this is something different. This is not Mitt Romney winning in 2012 or John McCain in 2008. It's part of a larger current in the world that I find equally troubling, which is an illiberal current. It has justifiable beefs with the results of globalization, de-industrialization.
There are all kinds of people in the north of England, in the south, in the Rust Belt of the United States and throughout Europe who are made uneasy by, and have suffered by, all these currents... I just don't think that the political results that we're seeing in many of these countries are the healthiest thing in the world. I think just the opposite...
A friend of mine here at the office said it's like you've been tossed out of an aeroplane and you feel the sense of alarm, fear... no parachute is opened. No sense of "ah this is a normal event"… But there is that impulse to make it such, and I see it all around me. I see it on television. I see it in the paper. What I would call normalization.

You see it all over. I understand the impulse. It's a very human impulse always to normalize the situation, so that you're not in a state of constant alarm or fear or sadness or agitation.
-- David Remnick, Editor of The New Yorker, Interviewed By The BBC, 12/17/16
Rot Front; Rot Front!

You want the 1930's (hopefully minus the Depression)? Okay; we'll give you the Thirties.

Antifa! Poster Announcing
"Prevent Nazi Parade In Berlin !", May Day 2004
Announcing Trump’s victory, his clever consigliere [Steve} Bannon offers a different story from the one we have typically been told about American global power, foretelling of a future restoration of what Bannon calls native, “American capitalism” and its place in the sun. For Bannon and Trump, the bill has come due for the global protection racket that the US has run lo these seventy years. “The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia,” Bannon has declared. “Like Andrew Jackson’s populism, we are going to build an entirely new political movement… it’s going to be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution — conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement.”
 -- "Trump and the Present Crisis," Nikhil Pal Singh; December 6, 2016

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

I Really Got Nothin'

Barrel-Bottom Time At The End Of All Things

 Obligatory Demonstration Of Mongo Baking System

It's cold, in a relative way for America's Left Coast, and we tend to stay indoors. While shuffling through stuff with my nose, looking for something that will light up the Speak, Memory module in One Dog's Brain, I happened across the liveblogged Republican Response to Pestident Obama's January 2015 STFU speech.

It has a particular odor -- aged now, like a nice Vache (a raw-milk cheese wheel which, if improperly ripened, will fucking kill you), and seemed very apropos of Things, here at the Dawn of Trumplandia, the End of the Beginning, and the Beginning of The End.

One of the things I enjoy about liveblogging the STFU speech (boy; can't wait for the one we're gonna hear in January of 2018; can you?) is the opportunity to do some stream-of-consciousness that contains Teh Funny. Always the Funny, because otherwise we'd never stop screaming.

So Gobblez you, and Gobbelz 'th United States of 'Murrika; we're here for the rest of the year. Be like the Monkey Man and grope your waitress, or at least Tweet everyone about how it's your right to do so, and that everyone should prepare for a go-back to 1950 and just, you know, lighten up. Fascism's not so bad; there's just a lot of repetition.

The Liveblogged Rethug Response

Joanie Ernst (R - Tea Parteish): On The Importance Of Being Ernst

Rather than respond to the President, I'm going to say in a Chamber Of Commerce way how great the Republican Congress is and the Republican Congress feels your pain in that little way it does, and let me tell you about that small town in Iowa, where I worked construction and was raised to be in the Republican Congress.

You see, when growing up, I wore bags on my shoes along with young Iowans who worked hard, and many families today feel they're working harder and getting less of those bags. We see the hurt, in the Republican Congress -- in cancelled health care plans and everyone more fearful. And less bags. America is hurting -- but when the Republican Congress demanded, there were failed plans like Obamacare.

The Republican Congress will make Congress function again. We want the Keystone "Jobs" bill -- the President, despite being wrong, hasn't done it. It will have minimal environmental damage. Will he sign a bill, or block good American jobs? Let's go over there to Eurp so the Republican Congress can boost simplified tax codes for the well-connected -- flat tax!  Flat tax! Tax the rich even less and all boats will rise, all bags will float!

Obligatory Cute Small Animal Photo In Middle Of Blog Whatever

We're calling on the President now in the Republican Congress. Some of it will occur where I stand tonight, in my Republican cloth coat, mispronouncing 'Al Qaeda', and our hearts can only imagine the two decades I spent in the Iowa National Garde. The innocent are not comprehensive in the Republican Congress.

Bonus Marchers must be prevented by the Republican Congress. The Republican Congress will address things and mail them to unknown places so no one will ever see them again. We will replace a healthcare law that has hurt so many HMOs. We'll do everything! We'll defend and protect because we in the Republican Congress measure our society with coffee-spoons.

America faces big challenges, but look at my parents, who had dirt to call their own. They sacrificed -- and now I am here, truly extraordinary. You just need the freedom to dream big and hard work -- the Republican Congress will do that dirt, with little help from the President. And I can't shut up, I must go on about this great nation and it's veterans and women and the Republican Congress. Thank you thank you thank you.

Republican Congress. You elected us (Smiles).

(Reuters; December 9, 2016, via TomClarkBlog) President-elect Donald Trump's Energy Department transition team sent the agency a memo this week asking for the names of people who have worked on climate change and the professional society memberships of lab workers, alarming employees and advisors.The memo sent to the Energy Department on Tuesday and seen by Reuters on Friday, contains 74 questions including a request for a list of all department employees and contractors who attended the annual global climate talks hosted by the United Nations within the last five years.

It asked for a list of all department employees or contractors who have attended any meetings on the social cost of carbon, a measurement that federal agencies use to weigh the costs and benefits of new energy and environment regulations. It also asked for all publications written by employees at the department's 17 national laboratories for the past three years.

"This feels like the first draft of an eventual political enemies list," said a Department of Energy employee, who asked not to be identified because he feared a reprisal by the Trump transition team.

"When Donald Trump said he wanted to drain the swamp it apparently was just to make room for witch hunts and it's starting here at the DOE and our 17 national labs," the employee said.

Trump transition team officials declined to comment on the memo...