Celebocracy in America

Move over  Alexis de Tocqueville.  Democracy has been replaced by #celebocracy.   The first Celebrocrat to become President was Ronald Reagan.  Then we had a period of relative normalcy until Donald Trump.  Yesterday, Oprah Winfrey announced that she was considering running for President of the United States in 2020.    Here are our suggestion for her advisors.

  • Director of Communications — Humpty Dumpty.  When he used a word, it meant exactly what he chose it to mean 
  • Secretary of State — George Clooney.  Wasn’t he in the movie  Up In The Air in which he flew millions of miles?  Isn’t that an important asset for that role?
  • Secretary of HEW — Hugh Laurie played a doctor on House for almost a decade.
  • Secretary of HUD — Bob Vila, host of This Old House — not to be confused with House, the TV doc
  • Vice President — Julia Louis-Dreyfus, obviously
  • Secretary of Defense — Stirling Hayden who played Gen. Jack D. Ripper in Dr. Strangelove.  OK, he’s dead.  Still, it’s a great role for him to reprise.
  • Attorney General — Ally McBeal or Callista Flockhart who played her on TV
  • Secretary of the Interior — this is a bit of a stretch, but I’m going with Kelsey Grammer who played Dr. Frasier Crane on TV.  Doesn’t a shrink help us examine our interior thoughts?
  • Secretary of Entertainment and Gossip — In a celebocracy, this new cabinet position is mandatory.  We’ll need to noodle on this a bit to find just the right person
  • Secretary of Commerce — Who else but Jay-Z who said , “I am a business, man”.
  • We need to find a spot for Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep.  He played a Congressman in Charlie Wilson’s War, which certain gives him the cred for a cabinet role.  She played Margaret Thatcher in Iron Lady.
  • Ambassador to the UK — Gary Oldman did a great job as Churchill in Darkest Hour.
  • Hulk Hogan or Jesse Ventura.  What celebocracy would be complete without someone from the world of professional wrestling?
  • The Kardashians.  There must be a place for some of the ultimate celeb family.
  • Secretary of Trash Talk.  LaVar Ball.  ‘Nuff said.
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Mantras for the New Year

OK, it’s been a tough year for many of us and for widely different reasons.  And we’re gloomy and grumpy.  So let’s have a few mottos, mantras, tag lines, mission statements, ethical principles to help lift our spirits for the New Year.

In the spirit of stealing good ideas from others, not to be mistaken for plagiarism or cultural appropriation, let’s start with some oldies from George Orwell’s 1984.

  • War is peace. –  Didn’t our leader just same something vaguely similar.
  • Freedom is slavery.  – Didn’t a candidate for Senate say something vaguely similar.
  • Ignorance is strength. – Doesn’t Breitbart subscribe to this?

And working from this

  • Lies are truth. – A well-known technique, recently placed into use by the GOP
  • Truth is irrelevant. — Much like the above.

Inspired by some of our leaders

  • Party before county. — If I recall correctly, it used to be otherwise.
  • Self before country.  — That includes staying in my hotel if you want access
  • Hypocrisy before ethics. — If you have to ask, you should be following the news a bit more closely.
  • Blame it on the YLFEGs.  — YLFEG is an acronym for “your least favorite ethnic group”.  Good news.  You get to choose.
  • I want more.  Actually a line spoken by Edward G. Robinson in Key Largo.  Here’s the good news for our representatives about to vote on the Tax Reform.  Did you say “reform”?  You must be kidding.  But I digress.  The major contributors to the GOP will be getting lots more in the tax bill.  So will those at the bottom, but they’ll be getting less and of course, “Less is more”, especially if you already have less, more or less.

What He Learned in Kindergarten

Recently I came across  Robert FulghumAll I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten:

And I thought what our leader may have learned if anything.  What Fulghum and many of the rest of us learned follows with what our leader probably learned is interspersed in red. 

1. Share everything.  – Keep everything for me. 
2. Play fair.  — Play to win.  Fair is for losers.
3. Don’t hit people.  – Yeah, there are better ways to get even with them.
4. Put things back where you found them.  – The help can pick them up.
5. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS. –  See above. 
6. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.  –  It should be mine, so I’m keeping it.
7. Say you’re SORRY when you HURT somebody. – That’s for losers.
8. Wash your hands before you eat. – Yeah, why not.
9. Flush. – Flush your opponents and those not loyal to you down the drain.
10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.  Yeah, why not.
11. Live a balanced life – learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work everyday some. — Make more money each day.  
12. Take a nap every afternoon.  And miss something on Fox News?
13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. No way, I’m going out there for me.
14. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Stryrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.  Who cares about this.  How will it help me get more?
15. Goldfish and hamster and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we. — But I’ll die a lot richer and more loved than you jerks. 
16. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.”  — First, I don’t read books.  If it ain’t on Fox, it ain’t real.  Look.  Why would you waste your time doing that? 

Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Donald, the Wall

Hurricane Harvey is a tragedy for those in its path.  I am not making light of it.  However, there may be some small amount of good that can come from it.  Our president, Hurricane Donald has said he will veto and new budget initiatives that don’t include the Wall.  Here’s an idea.  Let’s spend the money for the Donald’s version of the wall on a set of walls and other such structures to protect low areas of the Gulf Coast from future weather disasters like this.   Not that climate change has anything to do with this.    That way,   Hurricane Donald gets his wall, we don’t have to shutdown the Federal government, and we get some measure of relief from future storms.   We can leave for later a plan to have Mexico to pay for it.

OK, this is not realistic.  Here are some other plans for getting  other to provide the cash to pay for Donald’s wall.

  • Grenada.  Invade like we did in 1983.  Conquer them and make them pay tribute and reparations.   That ought to get some portion of the wall built.
  • China.  Didn’t they build a wall a while ago which is still standing?  Since they steal all our intellectual property and engage in currency manipulation and steal American jobs, they should pay for the wall.
  • The Dominican Republic.  They’ve been stealing baseball jobs from Americans for at least 4 decades now.
  • Haiti.  It’s by far the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.  We know the Donald likes to steal from the poor to help  rich people afford the yearly fees at his exclusive golf clubs.
  • North Korea.   Do I really have to tell you why?
  • Satoshi Nakmoto.  He invented bitcoin, owns a lot of them, and can create some more to help pay for the wall.
  • Keyser Soze.  The baddest mofo that ever lived.  He’s reported to have lots of cash and is likely to be a Trump kind of guy

 

  • Satoshi Nakamoto

 

John McCain, I said that you got a lot of damned gall. I take that back.

No decent person, and I include myself as one, wishes brain cancer on anyone, least of all someone who spent time in a brutal POW camp while serving his/her country.   John McCain’s  procedure on his eye that uncovered a malignant tumor brings no joy to his political opponents.

However, there’s a bitter irony that McCain, a generally honorable guy, would rush from his procedure to get back to DC to vote to initiate discussion to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  This was is a man of some means.  In 2008 when running for President of the United States, he didn’t know how many homes his family owned.  It was 8.  He’s a man who could afford the best medical care that money can buy and got it at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix AZ, yet he voted to initiate action that would make it difficult for many Americans to get a small fraction of the healthcare that he can afford on his own and is entitled to as a member of the US Senate.

Estimate from the Congressional Budget Office, while not perfectly accurate, suggest that between 20-30 million American would lose healthcare benefits under the proposed replacements to Obamacare.  None of the members of Congress are amongst these millions of people.

John, you got a lot of damn gall.

OK, I take that back and I apologize.  

It appears that Sen, McCain actually voted against the latest attempt by the GOP to repeal the ACA.  Below you’ll see  what he said  on his website about why he did it.  One reason is purely procedural.  Process is important, but actually providing healthcare is more important.  Sen. McCain comments on how the Democrats “rammed” the bill through Congress, but fails to mention what his Republican colleagues did.  They didn’t hold hearings.  They discussed their bill in secret.  John, why didn’t you say something about that?  But, all things considered, we appreciate your support and your vote.  Thanks.

Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) released the following statement today on voting “no” on the so-called “skinny repeal” of Obamacare:

“From the beginning, I have believed that Obamacare should be repealed and replaced with a solution that increases competition, lowers costs, and improves care for the American people. The so-called ‘skinny repeal’ amendment the Senate voted on today would not accomplish those goals. While the amendment would have repealed some of Obamacare’s most burdensome regulations, it offered no replacement to actually reform our health care system and deliver affordable, quality health care to our citizens. The Speaker’s statement that the House would be ‘willing’ to go to conference does not ease my concern that this shell of a bill could be taken up and passed at any time.

“I’ve stated time and time again that one of the major failures of Obamacare was that it was rammed through Congress by Democrats on a strict-party line basis without a single Republican vote. We should not make the mistakes of the past that has led to Obamacare’s collapse, including in my home state of Arizona where premiums are skyrocketing and health care providers are fleeing the marketplace. We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of aisle, heed the recommendations of nation’s governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people. We must do the hard work our citizens expect of us and deserve.”

Cultural Appropriation Implications

There’s been a bit in the blogosphere about Cultural Appropriation recently.  First, a definition for those of you who are not sure what it is.   Basically, it’s the use of one culture’s artifacts by members of another culture.  Yes, this has been going on since time immemorial.   Nobody seemed to care about this much until recently and most of us thought it a good thing.   But, times change so we’re going to give some guidance on the issue.

  • No white people playing jazz, blues, R&B, rap, ska, reggae, etc.
  • No African-Americans playing basketball.  It was invented at all white Springfield College .  Dr. James Naismith was Canadian, so it’s unclear whether it should be played in the United States without the approval of some august body of Canadians. Perhaps written approval by anyone on this list will suffice.
  • But here’s the kicker.  No one of European, African, South East Asian, or East Asian descent  may use Arabic numerals.   You know them.  0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9.  For those of European descent, you can use Roman numerals if your place of origin was conquered by the Romans.  Those of you of other ethnic origins can consult this list to determine what to use.

Just for giggles, let’s do some arithmetic in Roman numerals.  No fair cheating by converting the operands to Arabic, doing the computation in the usual fashion and then converting back to Roman numerals.

Let’s start with an easy one.  Let’s add forty-four to sixty-seven.   Forty-four is XLIV.  Sixty-seven is LXVII.  You know the answer is one hundred eleven because you cheated by converting to Arabic, didn’t you?

Let’s do the smaller digits first.  Take the IV from forty-four and the VII from sixty-seven.  IV + VII = (IV +VI) +I because addition is commutative and associative no matter the number system.  You remember that, don’t you?  IV+VI = X, so (IV+VI)+I = XI.  Now take the X from XI and add it to the larger digits left over.  That’s X+XL+LX, the last two terms from the forty-four and sixty-seven respectively.  X+XL+LX = (X+XL)+LX = L+LX = CX.  Of course you remember that L+L=C.  So what do we have now.  CX+I from the digits phase or CLI, which is one hundred eleven.  You’ll notice that I did not use any Arabic numerals in this description.

Easy, right?  Now please divide seven hundred three by nineteen.  The answer is XXXVII, but you can work that out easily.    Please provide your work on a clean sheet of paper with your name.

Then develop the method for doing long division when the operands are not integers, whole numbers.  Ain’t easy, is it?

By the way, I do hope you’re of Anglo Saxon stock if you’re reading this.  We’ve had so many case of cultures adopting English without our permission.  Oh, those colonies of ours.  Hmm, need to think about that.

BTW, here’s a more serious comment on the subject:

 

 

Giving Confederates the Respect They Deserve

Recently there has been some heated discussion about Confederate monuments.  Some wish to have them removed as they glorify slaveholders and their defenders.   Others cherish them as monuments to their ancestors and their bravery in battle.  And the costs are higher than you would think.

Here’s an alternative.  Let’s keep the statues and replace the wording.

Here are suggestions for  Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee

Jefferson Davis 1808-1889

President of the Confederate States of America 1861-1865, a man devoted who his life to racism and slavery, cleverly disguising it as State’s Rights.   He promoted a war in which at least 650,000 of his countrymen needlessly died.  He was an inept leader during the Civil War and spent the rest of his life defending his actions, never accepting criticism or rejecting racism.

Robert Edward Lee 1807-1870

Commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia 1862-1865, a top graduate of the United States Military Academy and considered the best military mind of his generation.  He chose to betray his country, committing treason by giving aid and comfort to its enemies.  In any other place, he would have been executed, but the United States granted him amnesty.  So much for “Northern Aggression.”

We welcome suggestions for inscriptions on  monuments honoring  other champions of liberty from the CSA.