December 2017, Part 4

Jim Miller on Politics

Pseudo-Random Thoughts

This Year's Collection Of Political Cartoons from Politico.

Although the Politico staff was choosing from a whole year's worth of cartoons, I didn't find more than the usual number of favorites:  Ben Garrison's Trump, Michael Ramirez's Bill Clinton, and Steve Sack's "Gross Busters".

Before any of you decide I am going soft, I should add that I liked the Garrison cartoon because it is so delusional, it is funny.  Sadly, some no doubt took it seriously.

(After glancing at his site, I am pretty sure the Garrison cartoon is not intended as a joke.)
- 3:16 PM, 30 December 2017   [link]

"Dave Barry’s 2017 Year In Review"  Dave Barry's beginning is bitter enough so that I began to worry that he would not be up to his usual standards.  Happily, I was wrong.

He does begin bitterly:
Looking back on 2017 is like waking up after a party where you made some poor decisions, such as drinking tequila squeezed from the underpants of a person you do not really know.  (At least you hope it was tequila.)

The next day finds you lying naked in a Dumpster in a different state, smeared from head to toe with a mixture of Sriracha sauce and glitter.  At first you remember nothing.   But then, as your throbbing brain slowly reboots, memories of the night before, disturbing memories, begin creeping into your consciousness.  As the full, hideous picture comes into focus, you curl into a ball, whimpering, asking yourself over and over: Did that really happen?

That’s how we feel about 2017.  It was a year so surreal, so densely populated with strange and alarming events, that you have to seriously consider the possibility that somebody — and when we say “somebody,” we mean “Russia” — was putting LSD in our water supply.
But soon is back to what he does better than anyone else: recognizing the absurd in the past year's news.

(It is good to see Barry recognizing that Trump, and his opponents, are often extremely funny — almost always unintentionally.  Many, even many who make their living from humor, keep missing that.)
- 12:37 PM, 29 December 2017   [link]

The Current "Pepper . . . And Salt" explains most of the new buildings I see in this area.

(I think the cartoon I am referring to will be up until at least noon tomorrow.)

There are, broadly speaking, two types of new buildings in this area, imitations of older styles copied from Europe, and newer modernistic buildings that look as if they were intended as illustrations for a new edition of Tom Wolfe's From Bauhaus to Our House.

The first look silly and out of place; the second usually consist of sets of identical and boring buildings that have no connections to their neighborhoods.

Neither set looks especially practical.  Or neighborly.
- 7:26 PM, 28 December 2017   [link]

No, Fraudulent Votes Did Not Defeat Roy Moore In Alabama:  Who says so?

Among others, the Republican Secretary of State, John Merrill, who, not so incidentally, voted for Roy Moore.

And has investigated the wild claims that came into his office.  For example:
As for reports of voter fraud like those alleged by Moore, Merrill said that while around 40 cases remain active, "the four most serious charges that we've received have all been vetted and all been cleared" by his office.

Citing a case that he said was "very concerning to a lot of people," Merrill described reports of a town with 2,200 residents — and where more than 5,000 votes were recorded.  That supposedly happened south of Birmingham in a town called Bordalama.

"That is very, very frightening to think that that occurred," Merrill said, "except when you realize that there is no town or community in the state of Alabama called Bordalama.  So, that was all fictitious.  It was made up; it was just a lie that started on the Internet."
(He doesn't say, and probably doesn't know, who made up that lie.  I wouldn't be totally surprised to learn that the person who made it up works out of Moscow.)

I am not saying — and I don't think Merrill would, either — that there were zero fraudulent votes in the Alabama election.  I just don't think there were enough, net, to make a difference, given the margin of 21,924 votes.

(You can find a systematic discussion of the fraud claims here.   I have not verified the conclusions independently, but they look reasonable to me.)
- 4:08 PM, 28 December 2017   [link]

Queen Sheila:  The gentlelady representing the 18th House district in Texas is not always as considerate of her lackeys and the peasants, as she might be.
Sheila Jackson Lee has been a congresswoman for over 20 years.  However, she acts far more like an arrogant monarch than a humble servant of the people.

The Texas Democrat has regularly abused her power and position to demand and receive special treatment from private companies, demean and harass subordinates, and reap untold benefits of being “The Queen.”

When her abusive behavior comes to light, Jackson Lee often claims her opponents are racist.

Jackson Lee’s most recent abuse of power comes at the expense of teacher Jean-Marie Simon who was allegedly bumped from her first class seat when Jackson-Lee demanded it.  Simon was given a voucher for her flight by United and moved to the economy section.  On her way to the back of the plane, Simon saw Jackson Lee occupying her seat.
What makes this pattern of behavior especially interesting — to me, anyway — is that a practical politician will usually try to behave well in public, regardless of how entitled they may feel.  But she hasn't had any close elections since she first won the district in a 1994 Democratic primary, so the voters in her district are at least tolerating her behavior.

(Somewhat to my surprise, Lee is a grandmother.

Sheila Jackson Lee)
- 10:38 AM, 28 December 2017   [link]

There Are Worse sources for news.
- 8:50 AM, 28 December 2017   [link]

Here's A Cartoon for Harvey Weinstein.
- 9:54 AM, 27 December 2017   [link]

The NRA — And Most Feminists — Will Like this story.

I'm not in either group, and I like it.
- 3:43 PM, 26 December 2017   [link]

Russian Political Jokes, New And Old:  The funniest present I received this Christmas is Russian Political Jokes by Tobi Okk.   About half of the jokes are new to me.

Two samples, one new (to me, anyway) and one old:
New:  As a former KGB agent, Putin can make a happy meal cry.
. . .
Old:  Two political prisoners are talking.  The first asks the second what he was sent to jail for.

The second says he drew a cartoon of Putin as a madman.

Then, under what provision of the law did they sentence you, hooliganism or extremism?

No, the second replies, for revealing a state secret.
The second is a variant of a joke I first heard told about Nikita Khrushchev.   (In that variant, the Soviet leader was called a fool, not a madman, and there were two sentences of five and ten years — but the punch line is the same.)

(If you decide to tell the first joke to an American audience, you may want to give more background.  Here's a possible version:
When Russian President Putin was in the KGB, he received training in many practical skills.  For example, Putin can make even a Happy Meal cry.
I made a brief field test of that joke, and got good results, in both shorter and longer versions.
- 1:57 PM, 26 December 2017   [link]

Merry Christmas!

To all those who are celebrating it today.
- 1:37 PM, 25 December 2017   [link]