stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
In the justly beloved movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, there is a scene in which the naive new senator is entrapped by a group of cynical reporters, who dupe him into being photographed in easily-misinterpreted poses. When he learns of the deception, he races through the streets of Washington, tracking down and assaulting each of the reporters. The audience is clearly intended to understand, or even approve of, his actions - though, to be fair, he does wind up learning that he fell into a rookie's trap, and resolves to become a better senator.

Last night, Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte, on being asked a question he did not want to answer, apparently assaulted a reporter, body-slamming him to the ground and then ordering him out of the room. (Gianforte has been charged with misdemeanor assault.) Response from the left blogosphere has been furious; from the right has come tepid condemnation, or in some cases approval. Anecdotes are coming in that at least some Republican voters, entering the polling places for today's special election, still intend to vote for Gianforte despite last night's incident.

I find the attitude of these voters repellent, but, with Mr. Smith in mind, I guess I can understand it.
stoutfellow: Joker (Default)
Apparently Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was very pleased by the fact that there were no protesters - "not one bad placard" - during their visit to Saudi Arabia. The fact that this might be because Saudi Arabia does not allow protests does not seem to concern him.

Well, at least he's not the Secretary of State.

33 to 45

May. 18th, 2017 09:45 am
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
My father hated Harry Truman - absolutely despised him for his handling of the MacArthur affair during the Korean War. (I once heard him refer to HST as "Hairy Ass Truman".) He and I had more than one loud argument over the matter, but no minds were ever changed.

I've been thinking about Truman a fair bit lately, and especially about two of his most famous aphorisms (the first of which my father occasionally used, despite his opinion of the man):

"If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

"The buck stops here."

Can't imagine why those keep coming to mind.
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
Robert Mueller, eh? Most of my sources seem to think he's a good choice - and he was involved, along with Comey, in the resistance to warrantless wiretapping during Bush the Younger's presidency. He seems to have been given a pretty broad remit, too.

Let's see what happens.
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
So, the Orange One has fired FBI director Comey. On the one hand, I shed no tears; Comey's actions just before the election were an egregious breach of protocol, and probably were a contributing factor to the debacle of Election Day. On the other hand, I cannot help but be reminded of the events of October 1973. The sole difference I can see is that Jeff Sessions isn't fit to shine Elliot Richardson's shoes, or William Ruckelshaus's either. (Robert Bork's, ehh, maybe.)

I was raised a Republican. The Saturday Night Massacre was the event that began my journey away from that party.

It's time for an independent prosecutor.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Vive la France!
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
There have been massive protests in Russia, in opposition to the Putin regime. Hundreds of people have been arrested for participating in illegal assemblies.

There appears to have been no comment from the White House on these developments. Gee, I wonder why?

Voices

Mar. 7th, 2017 07:27 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Browsing through YouTube, I decided to give ear to some more recent singers. (I've been listening to a lot of 50s & 60s lately.) I started off with Katy Perry's "Roar", which I still like but which brings back memories of the campaign video she cut for Hillary last year. That sore's still a little raw....

I then tried Adele's "Hello". I haven't, to my knowledge, heard her before, but oh, my, she has a powerful voice, in more than one sense. I may have to look further.

Meanwhile, my list of groups/singers to go after next shopping trip currently includes Katy Perry, Sweet, Lou Rawls, Joan Jett, Chad & Jeremy, and the Kinks; I also want to get the 2007 reissue of Al Stewart's Last Days of the Century album, for "Helen and Cassandra".
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Donald Trump, Feb. 27, 2017: "Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated."

Barack Obama, Feb. 25, 2010: "You know, the truth of the matter is, is that—health care is very complicated."

Janus

Feb. 1st, 2017 08:35 am
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Mitch McConnell, 2016: "One of my proudest moments was when I told Obama, 'You will not fill this Supreme Court vacancy.'"

Mitch McConnell, 2017: "Apparently there's yet a new standard now, which is not to confirm a Supreme Court nominee at all. I think that's something the American people simply will not tolerate."
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Even in the midst of crisis, life goes on. This semester, I'm teaching History of Math (of course) and Linear Algebra I, which I haven't taught in a while. I was scheduled to teach A Geometric Introduction to Topology, but not enough students signed up, so it was cancelled. Instead, I'm teaching a section of GenEd Statistics. So far, the classes seem to be going well, but serious grading hasn't yet begun.

I'm back in the groove on cooking, too; I made a batch of chicken cacciatore last week, and minestrone casserole is cooking away in the kitchen for this week's dinners. I want to get back to some non-slow-cooker dishes sometime this year - maybe in summer; I've got some new Indian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cookbooks I'm anxious to try.

On the reading front, my Kindle's Current collection holds Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, E. E. Smith's Skylark 3, Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill, and a translation of the Laxdaela Saga. I'm enjoying the Kipling, in particular; the saga is starting to get interesting; secrets are beginning to be revealed in the Bronte, and the Smith is, well, Smithian.

Life goes on, even in the midst of crisis. Last I heard, customs officials at Dulles are refusing to comply with the court order. This could get even uglier than it already is....
stoutfellow: (Winter)
While much of the nation's attention is focused on Trump's despicable, illegal, and unconstitutional order concerning refugees, a more subtle drama is being neglected. Another of Trump's orders restructures the National Security Council. The Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have been removed from the list of Regular Members; they will be invited when "issues to be discussed pertain to their responsibilities or expertise".

You know who's been added to the list of Regular Members? Reince Priebus, whose sole experience has to do with political campaigning, and Steve Bannon, a self-proclaimed Leninist - not in the ideological sense, but in the sense of someone who wants to tear down the government and both major political parties. Neither is remotely qualified, by experience or by temperament, to be involved in top-level discussions of national security.

But then, neither is the current President.

PSA

Jan. 26th, 2017 08:59 am
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
In the light of the Trump administration's recent shameful executive order regarding refugees, I have today made a donation to USA for UNHCR. (UNHCR is the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, also known as the United Nations Refugee Agency.) I urge those of you who are in a position to help to do likewise.
stoutfellow: (Winter)
For those who are tempted to despair by the events of the last month - and the prospect of worse to come in the next couple of years - here is A Brief for the Defense.

Hat-tip to Abi Sutherland at Making Light.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
For your consideration, a compilation of the Orange One's twitter feed from election night 2012.
stoutfellow: (Winter)
Superman, 1949.

That I have to put a "politics" tag on this is very sad.

Now We Wait

Nov. 8th, 2016 06:39 am
stoutfellow: (Winter)
Well, I've done my biennial duty. I left the house about 5:45, and reached the polling place a couple of minutes before it opened. I was twelfth in line; the process went smoothly, except for one elderly lady in front of me, who apparently hadn't voted in some years.

There are years when I have to think hard how to vote for some offices. Not this year.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
This shows a pretty funny campaign ad that's been put out by a man who's running for re-election as a county commissioner in Travis County, Texas. It's not nasty, mean, or anything - it's just a neat bit of self-deprecation, and it works wonderfully.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Donald Trump claims that there is a vast conspiracy (perhaps even a Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy?) determined to keep him from the Presidency.

He's right. Just how vast - just how many people are involved - we will find out on November 8. I'm betting there are at least 70,000,000 of us.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
I just received a flyer from the (Republican) state assemblyman for my district. In it, among other things, he describes a certain prominent Illinois politician as "combining the worst features of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton". There is a photoshopped picture blending their faces, and yeah, it's pretty grotesque.

I'm voting for his opponent. (I know her, as it happens....)

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