The Land of Confusion

found online by Raymond

From Vixen Strangely at Strangely Blogged:

Things are different in Trump’s America, especially for travelers. It looks like ICE and CPB alike are feeling newly empowered, although what they are supposed to be doing differently under the Trump Administration is still a bit blurry–but here are some things that simply don’t seem alright at all that have happened lately:

Border Patrol Agents Stop Domestic Travelers at New York Airport  Now, CPB can explain that they were working with ICE to try to locate an individual asked to leave the country, but somehow, this sure looked to people caught up in it rather like they were being asked to sort out whether their “papers were in order”. The law cited referred to persons or items arriving from outside the US–but this was a domestic flight. This really feels twisted, to me.

Deported With A Valid U.S. Visa, Jordanian Says Message Is ‘You’re Not Welcome’  This is not a good message to give to the world.

British Muslim teacher denied entry to US on school trip  The last I checked, the UK is not part of the seven countries from which entry was supposed to be stopped, and this individual was not even a dual-citizenship holder. The only suspect thing was religion. This is bigotry.

– More –

A Public Service Announcement about the Oscars

found online by Raymond

We found this last night, but James is always worth reading: even a day late.
From Wisconsin conservative James Wigderson:

Tonight a bunch of overpaid actors and actresses are going to engage in an orgy of self-congratulations about how wonderful they are. Many of them will forget their actual place in the world to take the opportunity to make political statements, irritating half the country that voted for Donald Trump, and even many of us who didn’t.

I haven’t watched the Oscars since that awful movie Shakespeare in Love won best picture*. If the director had any integrity, he would’ve burned every print available and thrown himself on the pyre before allowing Miramax to distribute it. That it won the year after the even more awful American Beauty won best picture was the final straw.

If you truly love the movies, TCM has two great films back-to-back tonight:

– More –

Why President Al Franken Isn’t a Joke

found online by Raymond

From Michael Kinsley:

The character called Al Franken would occasionally say things that a Senate candidate named Al Franken would not. Nor would the Senate candidate Al Franken necessarily want every word he uttered when brainstorming with other writers on S.N.L. to become public. Franken’s opponent in his first Senate campaign, in 2008, tried to make an issue of all this—thinking, or at least hoping, that the clean-living people of Minnesota might find the whole business a bit postmodern.

It almost worked. Franken had to go through a recount and a state Supreme Court battle before taking his seat several months late. He was comfortably re-elected in 2014.

This is Al Franken’s moment. Four years from now, he’ll be 69, younger than Trump or Hillary during the 2016 campaign. Four years after that, and he’ll be too old. As recently as, say, six months ago, I would have said that, however much I might admire Al Franken, the idea of a comedian (a comedian on purpose) as president was beneath the dignity of the United States. But we have learned more recently that nothing is beneath the dignity of the United States.

– More –

Anti-Semitism, Fine Tuning, FBI, Trump Taxes, Wealthy Cuts

  • Our President finally, awkwardly, speaks out against anti-Semitism and the surge in anti-Jewish vandalism here in St. Louis and elsewhere. At The Swash Zone, (O)CT(O)PUS considers the grudging, belated acknowledgement and is unimpressed.
  • The case for a strong, everlasting Israel is compelling. We just need to look to a brutal history of ethnic and religious oppression. T. Paine, at Saving Common Sense, could easily make that case, but relies instead on rhetorical slight of hand and anti-Palestinian shortcuts.
    It seems that Palestinians in the area have no legitimate grievances. Those who were displaced by the establishment of modern-day Israel, and their descendants, are not really Palestinians because there exist so many Palestinians who live in other areas. Palestine is a region, not a country, therefore, Palestine should be a region, not a country.
    T. Paine is an important, very busy, individual. When he finds the time, we can look forward to a more coherent case.
  • Jack Jodell at The Saturday Afternoon Post finds President Trump’s boast of an administration running as a fine-tuned machine to be humorous in a macabre sort of way.
  • Jon Perr at PERRspectives explains the connection between the Trump tax return cover up and the strange math advanced by Republicans planning more tax cuts for the fabulously wealthy.
  • Max’s Dad is on another creative rant, this time about Trumpian RussiaGate.
  • Last Of The Millenniums is impressed by the White House attempts, and the FBI’s rejection of those attempts, to interfere with current investigations into Trump campaign collusion with Russia during the Presidential campaign. Covering up is not supposed to be so obvious.
  • Dave Dubya analyzes the escalating attacks against mainstream press by the prickly new national administration and finds a longer term pattern.
  • The Onion, offers a ticktock account of Donald Trump’s relationship with the Press from 47,891 BC to now.
  • We have made it through another Week in Alternative Facts. Jonathan Chait explains how administrative aides are using fake news as a sedative to pull our President back from the more dangerous of his maniacal moods. Visits to the parallel universe soothe his troubled soul.
  • Jonathan Bernstein explains how and why Donald Trump can become a greater danger to democracy as the administration weakens.
  • Vixen Strangely at Strangely Blogged, catalogs the mystery of creepy, shifting, conservative reaction to Milo Yiannopoulos.
  • In The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser, former pastor and current atheist Bruce asks his evangelical readers to count through all the evil sins they and those they know were led into by the newest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.
  • Oh my living God NO. PZ Myers, reports on a horrible sort of Super Glue substitute for tampons in a product semi-invented by a maniac.
  • For Vincent at A Wayfarer’s Notes and a correspondent, separate visits to Walmart become spiritually mystical experiences.

Dirty Books: Quantifying Patterns of Use in Medieval Manuscripts Using a Densitometer

found online by Raymond

From The Journal of Improbable Research:

“The dirt ground into the margins of medieval manuscripts is one of their interpretable features, which can help us to understand the desires, fears, and reading habits of the past.”

– explains researcher Dr Kathryn M. Rudy who is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Art History, of the University of St Andrews, Scotland.

– More –

The Bystander

found online by Raymond

From Stinque:

However you game it — impeachment, resignation, 25th Amendment, cholesterol poisoning, capture by flying monkeys — the one person who stands to immediately benefit from Donald Trump’s involuntary rapture is Mike Pence.

And honestly, that would be fine with us. Mike Pence may be evil, but he’s conventionally evil, predictably evil, the kind of evil that doesn’t make you seriously question whether humanity itself will survive him. We can work with that.

Pence is also smart as a weasel, ably distancing himself from the chaos surrounding his boss. He has no role, public or rumored, in the mess that’s unfolding, aside from being pissed that a notorious liar would, heaven forfend, lie to him. Mike Pence is stalwartly Above the Fray.

But when the moment comes for Mike Pence to step up and lead America out of its latest national nightmare, there’s just one problem:

– More –

Something Wicked This Way Comes

found online by Raymond

From The Big Empty:

via The Washington Examiner:

“They are party loyalists,” Schumer continued. “He’s given them a Supreme Court nominee that they want, but my prediction is that if he keeps up on this path, which is likely — I don’t think he’ll change, within three to four months, you’ll going to see a whole lot of Republicans breaking with him. And that’s the salvage of America. That’s the hope of America.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer made the prediction today that he believed Trump would be gone by this summer. Although I appreciate his optimism, I’m not sure that will happen as quickly as he hopes.

– More –