Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Budweiser Super Bowl Ad Kind Of A Slap Against Trump

An image from the Budweiser ad the company plans
to air during the Super Bowl 
The ad Budweiser plans to air during the Super Bowl was conceived, filmed and produced many months before President Trump did his stupid "Muslim ban" executive order over the weekend.

But the ad was produced as Trump the candidate was spouting anti-immigrant rhetoric.  

Which makes the Budweiser ad, which you can view at the bottom of this post, all the more interesting.

Budweiser is abandoning the Clydesdale horses and the cute puppies in favor of the story of Adolph  Busch, the co-founder of Budweiser, who made a tough journey as an immigrant from Germany to America in the 1800s.

The ad tells the story of how hard it can be for an immigrant making his or her way to America, and how ambition, and hooking up with other ambitious people, can build immigrant success stories.

Like Budweiser.

Seems to be a poke at Trump to accept well-vetted immigrants because many are ambitious enough to create those good paying American jobs Trump wants us all to have.

Budweiser says the ad is not political and just wants to tell the story of an immigrant's experience. True, but it's telling the rest of us some things, too.

"This commercial shows the start of Budweiser's journey, and while it is set in the 1800s, it's a story we believe will resonate with today's entrepreneurial generation - those who continue to strive for their dreams," said Ricardo Marques, Budweiser's vice president of marketing, according to the Today Show. 

See for yourself. Here's the video:

Monday, January 30, 2017

Now The Darker Theory Of What's Going On With Trump And His Minions

Is Donald Trump willing to go so far as to become a dictator
and throw out centuries of American Constitutional democracy.
Those fears could well be overblown but you never know with the Orange One
Yesterday, I cheered all those spontaneous protests against President Trump's executive order regarding Muslims entering the country and all that.

In addition to being immoral and possibly unconstitutional, I complained about how poorly thought out and stupid the implementation of it was.

That's still more than possible. Chances are, it's the simple reality. Trump and his minions are just stupid.

However I have a much darker and scarier theory.

Before I explain it to you, I get it the dark theory I'll describe could be quite farfetched. I'm also stringing together a bunch of facts to put the theory together. These facts could be unrelated or tenuously related, I'm not 100 percent sure.

Plus, it's possible I've been watching too many gloomy conspiratorial movies.

But, and this is a BIG but, everything I'm seeing is straight from the white supremecist and authoritarian handbook followed by megalomaniac wannabe dictators. Everything that's been going on in the past few days could be a grand plan. And a very dangerous one at that.

Given the white supremicists and wannabe dictators suddenly running the country, what I'm about to lay out feels frighteningly plausible. So here goes:

The sudden Trump executive order to block people coming from certain Muslim countries and to block Syrian refugees, among other things, caused chaos at the nation's airports as many people found themselves suddenly detained.

Even the State Department and Congressional leaders, including top Republicans, were blindsided.

The conventional wisdom, one that I adhere to, or at least wish for, was that everything was poorly thought out and executed, so it made a bigger logistical mess than you would have expected from a competent president.

But is Trump trying to create a white supremist dictatorship out of the United States? Or, slightly more likely, is Trump a dumb patsy being used by the likes of his Svengali, Steve Bannon and his crew of potential neo Nazis doing this?

The airport chaos with the Trump executive order naturally created a LOT of news media attention, and a lot of protest, which created even more media attention.

Was this situation intended?

Writing in Mother Jones, Kevin Jones wonders about this.

Like me, Jones admits the confusion and chaos could well have been just incompetence.  But he says there might be something else to it, and I find his argument intriguing.

He noted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security did not want to apply the ban to people with lawful permanent residence, Trump and his chief poobah, Steve Bannon, overruled them. To the unfamiliar, these are people who have green cards we're talking about

Jones writes:

"The decision to apply the executive order to green card holders, including THOSE IN TRANSIT, is almost insane. (Jones' emphasis.) Whatever else he is, Steve Bannon is a smart guy, and he had to know this would produce turmoil at airports around the country and widespread condemnation from the press. Why would he do this?"

Jones posits that Bannon really wanted turmoil and condemnation and bad press, and the airport chaos was intentional to create this flurry of media attention.  He totally wanted all this publicity. He wanted the ACLU and refugee advocates to freak out.

They did. The executive orders brought out thousands of protesters, and condemnation from the main stream media. The executive order pissed off a lot of people, including radical Islamists.

Maybe Bannon actually hoped for some terrorist attack so that he could point to the protesters and the media as un-American, and thus gain loyalty from Americans frightened by the terrorist attack.

It seems like the ground work is already being laid. There was a terrorist attack against a mosque in Quebec last night that killed at least six people.  Note that this happened in Canada, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has very publicly supported refugees as the United States "Muslim ban" went into effect.

Note also how Bannon vilified the media as the opposition and said the press should "keep its mouth shut" about Trump. The president's counselor, Kellyanne Conway, wondered on Sunday why pundits at major media companies hadn't been fired for crticizing Trump.

See, they're trying to cow the press into being their PR department, rather than report what happened.

Bannon could also use the Quebec terrorist attack to vilify sane national leaders like Trudeau.

Then there's Trump's decision to bring Bannon into the Joint Chiefs of Staff and demoting the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

This is a big departure from past presidential practices of both parties who tried to keep politics out of the critical military decisions by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Now, the decisions made will be more political, hewed toward Bannon's white supremecist views, and away from the traditional strategic military thinking the panel had always done in the past.

There's also signs a constitutional crisis might already be brewing. There are reports the Trump administration is ignoring this weekend's court orders that would allow some refugees and green card holders into the country, instead of detaining them.

The President is subject to the law just like everybody else, and if President Trump is ignoring court orders, is he trying to be our white supremacist dictator instead of the head of a Constitutional democracy?

That's the dark scenario.

The more this goes on, the more demonstrators hit the streets. Huge crowds of protesters showed up spontaneously in cities like New York, Washington DC, Boston and many others on Sunday decrying Trump's unconstitutional moves.

Democratic lawmakers have been howling, too. But with few exceptions, Republicans have remained silent. Are these Republicans complicit in Trump's possible moves to become Dictator for Life? Or maybe just OK with it, because what the hell, Trump fits their agenda and to hell with democracy.

I'm not the only one coming up with theories like this. When I was almost finished writing this, I found an analysis, much more detailed than mine, that covers exactly the same ground I did. 

The article, and my thoughts, could be paranoia, but maybe not. It's so hard to tell at this point.

Even if I'm wrong, Trump is terribly damaging the United States morally and economically, and destroying our standing in the world.

Like I said, my fears might be overblown, but let's all remain vigilant and active anyway. The nation you save might be your own.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

At Least People Are Keeping Up The Pressure On Trump, So Far

Massive anti-Trump protest at JFK airport Saturday
President Trump said yesterday that his un-American, incredibly poorly thought out sudden ban on Muslims entering the United States is "working out very nicely."

Which is one way to look at it, I suppose.

Another way to look at it is through the lens of reality - what a concept!  There have been a few, um, complications, as I'm sure you've seen on the news.

To review:

--- A federal judge in Brooklyn blocked part of the executive order not much more than 24 hours after Trump issued it.  The judge helped prevent some of the people who had just arrived from being deported, and freed them from a weird airport limbo, because they arrived just as the executive order was implemented.  Federal judges in Virginia, Washington State and Boston have made similar rulings.

---- Speaking of that, the world noticed how incredibly poorly executed Trump's executive order was. Even if you agree with all of its goals. (I surely do not) can you believe you incompetently it was laid out?  My wonderful but dopey cocker spaniel Jackson could have done a better job with implementation.

I'm sure Trump's dopeyness increased his standing in the world, ha!

---- Thousands of Americans rushed out to airports Saturday to demonstrate against Trump's ban and to support refugees. This is a biggie. Mr. Rogers famously said that whenever bad things happen, look for the helpers. There's always helpers. Sure enough, the airports were packed with 'em. Take that, Trump!

It's especially telling that the demonstrations pretty much started spontaneously. No real advocacy group slowly organizing a movement. Just a bunch of Americans heading to the airports to protest. And a bunch of immigration lawyers heading out there with them for some patriotic pro bono work.

This isn't to say I've gone all Pollyanna on everybody. Trump will continue to make everything more dangerous, tilt us toward war and ever-increasing terrorist attacks, wreck the economy, hopelessly smear America's reputation and make us a world embarrassment.

Tough times are ahead because of this.

I just have a small sense of relief, anyway, that many Americans are not taking this sitting down. The Women's March last weekend was "Yuuuuge!!!" as Trump might say, had he supported the demonstration.

It's also good that some of the leaders, not enough of them, but some of them, are following the protesters. I noticed the mayors of New York and Boston, two cities that have suffered terrorist attacks, are all gung-ho about the anti-Trump protests.  
I swear my slightly dopey but loveable dog
Jackson could run the country more competently
than Donald Trump

Trump's backers often say that people who protest against the president are "snowflakes" who are overly sensitive, and get their feelings hurt over every so-called bold move the president makes.

One of my Vermont friends on Twitter, Caitlin Maroney said that when a whole bunch of snowflakes get together, you end up with a blizzard. You know how disruptive blizzards can be. Don't you, Mr. Trump?

I  hope all these protests remain peaceful. We're playing into Trump's hands, his lie that we've become a nation out of control, if things become violent. All those airport protests were peaceful. More are planned today.

These big demonstrations won't alone get rid of Trump. But each outbreak of peaceful outrage does tear down his authority a little bit. He's big on optics, and these demonstrations are terrible optics for Trump on the world stage.

He'll keep overreaching and being stupid and authoritarian, just like his henchman and shadow dictator Steve Bannon.

People power can win in the end.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Scammers Use The Word "Yes" Outrageously To Screw You

This is the most outrageous thing I've heard in ages and there's a lot of outrages out there.

We're all used to getting scam phone calls. We generally hang up, but sometimes we respond a bit before hanging up.  

Here's how the Worst Scam Ever works.

You get a call, and it's a recording and it sounds like a real person. Or it really is a real person. The voice asks "Can you hear me?"

Any normal person would say "Yes," if you can indeed hear them.

That is when you're totally screwed.

Consumerist reports that police departments all over the country are saying that the moment you say "Yes," the scammers have a recording of you doing so.

Here's what that means, says Consumerist:

"Even if you never agree to buy anything, you might later find out you've been signed up for a home alarm system, a cruise, some added service for your phone or any other thing you couldn't possibly want. 

If you dispute the charges, the company may take legal action, sticking that recording of you saying "yes" into a recording of a different conversation as evidence that you agreed to the transaction."

There's lots of variations to this scam, says Consumerist. The con artists will use the recording to "prove" that agreed to a number of charges on your credit card whose information they've already stolen.

The scammers in this case might have called you posing as pollsters, asking innocuous sounding questions like, "Do you have a dog?"

These horrible people will often use phone area codes from your area, making it look like the calling is coming from somebody local, somebody you know. That makes you more likely to fall for it.

This "Yes" scam has spread across the country, with police from California to Virginia reporting victims of these creepy con artists who frankly ought to be shot.

Of course, any time you get a phone call from an unfamiliar source or number, you should just hang up quickly without saying anything.

However, this is what pisses me off the most. You have to be so on guard, all the time, no matter what you do and where you are and no matter how distracted you are with what's' going on in your life.

Make the slightest mistake, have the slightest moment of inattention, and you're totally screwed.

Why should we have to go through life so totally on guard?

This is a whine, because nothing is going to be done about this.

Because it's so hard to catch the scammers. Plus regulators and lawmakers are not really into protecting people.

It's commerce after all.  While I'm certain few lawmakers approve of scams, they also don't want to do anything that would make it even a teeny, tiny bit harder for legitimate companies from making money by, say, obeying "Do Not Call" registries.

So, we're in a wonderful world where we always have to watch what we say, what we do, what we with our phones because an army of scammers is out there trying to get us.

Incredibly frustrating.

Friday, January 27, 2017

When Times Are Scary, Let's Retreat Into Old Songs That Make Us Happy

The great Ronettes in the big-haired 1960s
I went on a 1960s female singer binge listen yesterday.

The news is scary for everyone, and it's always comforting to go back to nostalgia land and dredge up the music you heard when you were a kid, before you were aware of how awful the world can be.

Anybody can do this, and it's therapeutic. Try it.   

It doesn't matter which era of music you had when you were five or 10 years old. Could be 1950s rock and roll, 1990s grunge, 1940s Big Band, 1970s disco or pop hits of the 2000s.

I retreated down memory lane with nice, strong female singers in the 1960s.

You really should check out the several videos below, because I think anybody of any age would like this music. And it's fun checking out the, uh, intersting big hair styles, and the kitschy productions and sketches in the videos.

First, let's go "Downtown" wth Petula Clark: 

Here's the VERY great Dusty Springfield. Hard to choose which song of hers is best, but this tie I went with "I Only Wanna Be With You"

Next, let's bring in the Ronettes in these conservative looking business dresses, but oh! that teased hair! It's just perfect. How'd you like to carry that weight on your shoulders.

Still, "Be My Baby" is a wonderful classic:

This next one might be my favorite of the bunch. This is early feminism, it's Lesley Gore asserting herself, being her own person. This song was a total breakthrough. They're still using the song
in car ads today, of all things. But I still adore the son.  Here is "You Don't Own Me."

We can't ignore country music, either, no siree! And there's a lot of great feminism here, too.

This next one is classic, and that intentional tackiness of the video, and the intentional tackiness of the small mindedness of some of small town America circa the late 60s is just perfect.

Here's Jeannie C. Riley with "Harper Valley PTA"

Then we have our cry in your beer country song from the great Tammy Wynette:

Finally, Lynn Anderson never promised us a rose garden, but she did give us some great songs like this one:

Thursday, January 26, 2017

What Were They Really Saying At The Inauguration

What were these people really saying at the inauguration?
There's a series of YouTube videos called "Bad Lip Reading," in which there's film of people at highly publicized public events.

The makers of these videos do absurb lip reading interpretations of what the people are saying, just for yucks and chuckles.

The "translations" are totally bonkers, but if you watch the people's mouths in the videos, it does kind of appear they are saying all these bizarre things.

One of the best ones yet is clips from last week's Trump inauguration. I'm sure the things said in this video weren't really said, but I kind of wish they were.



Wednesday, January 25, 2017

RIP Mary Tyler Moore. I'll Fling My Hat In The Air In Your Honor

Opening credit of the Mary Tyler Moore show where
she gleefully throws her hat into the Minneapolis air.
Word arrived today that Mary Tyler Moore has died at the age of 80.

The accomplished actor and comedian was known for many roles in her decades in the business, but everybody most relates to her lead role in that 1970s show "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."

I think Moore, and her role on that show, helped smooth the way for what could have been an even rougher ride for women in the 1970s than they otherwise could have had.

The 1970s was a time when women were asserting their demands for equal rights, equal pay, equal everything that they deserved.

Women are still (!!!)  fighting that battle (See: Womens March last weekend) but I think Moore and her show helped show that efforts toward equality weren't such a bad thing. She normalized the idea of a single, independent, intelligent woman who, as the show's song went, could make it on her own.

For an amazing number of people in the 1970s, that was too much of a concept to bear. Women were supposed to be the supportive little wifey, at least to some minds.  She was sort of a transitional figure: Still sometimes deferential to men, other times asserting herself.

In the Mary Tyler Moore show, her character, Mary Richards, was a television producer and journalist, good at her job if, like everybody else, imperfect.

The very first episode of the show set a very good tone. Mary Richards was applying for a position at the newsroom of fictional television station WJM. Her would-be boss, Lou Grant, asked her a lot of unwelcomed questions about her age and relationship status.

Mary responded: "You've been asking a lot of very personal questions that don't have a thing to do with my qualifications for this job."

Lots of people cheered at that moment.

In a very nice appreciation in today's Minneapolis Star-Tribune (the Mary Tyler Moore show was set in Minneapolis) the newpaper had this truism to say.

"Some early viewers balked at Richards' eagerness to please the men in her life and the fact that she almost always referred to her gruff boss as Mr. Grant. But even leading feminists recognized Richards as a breakthrough figure. 

'The was a happy human image of a woman as an independent person that several generations of young (and not so young so young) women alone stopped suffering if they didn't have a date on a Saturday night,' Betty Friedan wrote in a 1978 article in the Washington Post. 

Richards wasn't exactly a goody two shoes. As the series progressed, we watched her demand a raise, get suspended, go to jail to protect a source and come down with a case of the giggles at a funeral.

On occasion she stayed out all night. She was on the pill."

I also like to think Mary Tyler Moore, through her character Mary Richards, helped a lot of men warm to the idea of dating an interesting women who had her own thoughts and ambitions.

That seems quaint now, but it wasn't then.

Maybe we should all get online and binge watch all kinds of Mary Tyler Moore episodes tonight. Can't hurt. Can only help.

There's a statue of Mary Tyler Moore in Minneapolis. It depicts that famous moment in the opening credits of the show where she gleefully throws her hat up in the air on a busy Minneapolis street corner.

Moore once said:

"I hope when a little girl walks by the statue, she'll ask her mother who that was, and it'll be explained to her that she was a young women who had a dream and followed it through."

That's still a message most young women, and men for that matter, need to hear. Over and over.

Thanks, Mary. Because of your help, I think we'll make it after all.

Here's two clips in remembrance of the great MTM, first, the famous opening credits to the Mary Tyler Moore show, then the famous Chuckles the Clown funeral scene:

How Trump Will Try To Stay In Office Indefinitely

Among the very, VERY few instances of actual voter
fraud uncovered in last November's election was this woman
who voted for, yes, Donald Trump twice because she really,
really wanted him to win. 
I know, I know, it's like this blog is turning into all Trump, all the time, but you have to hand it to the guy, he sure knows how to dominate all aspects of one's life.

Kind of like a nasty flu bug.  

The latest, of course, is Trump's Big Plan to investigate his whackadoodle premise that he lost the popular vote through voter fraud.

His insane claim is that he lost the popular vote in the election by three million people because the election was marred by up to 5 million illegal voters.

Everybody knows that's hooey, of course, and the first impulse is to chalk it up to Child Trump's super fragile ego and the need for adoration.

It's that of course, but he knows what he's doing.

I know I sound conspiratorial, but this "investigation" is part of his big plan to make sure he stays in office for eight years (and either continues on beyond that or one of his evil minions does.)

Everthing Trump does is stagecraft and this is, too. The big investigation will "reveal" widespread voter fraud, but it will be, forgive me, trumped up, bogus allegations against lots and lots of people who have had the gall or will have the gall to vote while black. Or vote while Hispanic. Or vote while poor. Or Muslim.

You get the picture.

So, his compliant GOP Congress creatures will go along with this and come up with all kinds of new laws to ensure blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, gays, the poor who tend not to vote for the likes of Trump won't be able to vote at all. Meaning Trump will take millions of potential votes away from any would-be opponents of his.

This isn't just me coming up with this conspiracy theory. I'm seeing it from a lot of observers.

One example is the New Republic, which points out that Trump's "investigation" will "reveal" the reality (really! not alternative facts!) that there are indeed outdated voting rolls and people who are registered to vote in two states.

Voting districts have ways of making sure these outdated voting rolls don't result in fraudulent voters, or that somebody who is registered in one state doesn't go back to the other state and vote again.

I'm all for bipartisan efforts to make sure voter record keeping is correct and that things be kept up to date in voter precincts, but that's not what's happening here.

Republicans will use the outdated voter rolls, et al  to say that voting fraud could occur, so they'll pass laws to make sure people who usually cast ballots for Democrats,  like I said, racial minorities, etc.) can't vote and thus hand a re-election to Trump.

As the New Republic notes: "That's ultimately what Trump's investigation will be about: surfacing just enough information to destabilize the truth, which is that practically nobody voted for Clinton illegally. At the same time, it will give Republicans at the state level and in Congress the ammunition to try to make sure Trump doesn't lose the popular vote again in 2020."

I can see the GOP heading that way already, with their voter suppression moves in places like North Carolina and Texas.

And it's really telling that Republican congress creatures, when asked about claims by Trump there were three to five million illegal votes in November, would not agree the idea is absurd, and just mumbled a bunch of well, maybes.

Of course, if we really wanted to make everything as small-d democratic as possible, we'd make voting easier for everybody, not harder.

That won't be the case because a bunch of cruel, delusional, throw back old white men want to cling to power.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Republicans Seem To Hate Wishes Of Voters

Another case of GOP anti-democratic instincts: South Dakota
Gov.Dennis Daugaard and his fellow state Republicans
are mad at his state's voters for approving an ethics las
for state lawmakers. 
In yet another example of how many Republicans seem to have abandoned the idea of doing the bidding of voters, South Dakota lawmakers are going to cancel a voter initiative that insisted on government ethics.

Republicans there just declared a "legislative emergency" since voters there had the gall to want ethics in their government.  Because it's definitely an emergency when voters want their lawmakers to be ethical.

According to Huffington Post, the goal of the "legislative emergency" is to wipe out the new ethics and campaign finance law South Dakota voters approved in November.

The regulations would create an independent commission to oversee proves into ethical misconduct by elected officials, impose tougher limits on campaign contributions and lobbyists' gifts to lawmakers, place restrictions on lawmakers who become lobbyists, increase disclosure requirements from independent political groups and set up a system to publicly finance elections, says the Huffington Post. 

Sounds pretty comprehensive, right?

Much too comprehensive for the Republicans running South Dakota. The state's governor, Dennis Daugaard said South Dakota voters were "hoodwinked" into voting for the law.

I don't think the voters of South Dakota are that dumb. They knew what they were doing, since there was a lot of back and forth about the merits of the proposed law before South Dakotans approved it in November.

But, the voters had the gall to want to hinder political hijinks. A big no-no, especially among Republicans, it seems.

The people have no right, apparently to influence the decisions of their so-called leaders.

Exhibit Number 1 is Donald Trump, of course, who obvious thinks what he wants in his Big Ego alternative universe, where he has a "mandate" despite losing the popular vote by around 3 million people.

Trump's life is life guided by "alternative facts" such as the YUUGE crowds that supposedly turned out for his inauguration, and the billions of lies he's told. (I don't have the space to list them, obviously.)

State Republican-led legislatures are big into this game, too, and it's not just South Dakota.

We saw the spectacle a month or two back, after North Carolina voters narrowly got a Democratic governor into the State House.

The Republicans there pounced, calling an out-of-the-blue special session in December stripping the new Democratic Governor Roy Cooper of many of his powers before he took office on the first of January. (Cooper is of course suing these Republicans.)

Republicans have been deft at gerrymandering Congressional districts, .adopting voter suppression laws, and pleasing their dwindling ultra-conservative base.

CNN noted the Republican M.O. in relation to the atrocity in North Carolina, but they could have been talking about Trump and many other Republicans across the nation.

"Extremist Republicans wo cut taxes for the wealthy, denied health care to poor people, attacked public education, suppressed votes and targeted immigrants and minorities with mean-spirited legislation are making their last stand against the ballot box and the courts."

Despite the huge damage that Trump, Congressional Republicans and many rank-and-file Republicans in red states are doing and will do, I'm still optimistic that demographics and decency will win out.

We're just going to have to spend a few painful years first. I can see already that Trump is proving every bit as terrible a president as his many critics predicted.

The arch-conservatives are overstepping, and people are going to rebel. The first real sign of that was the Womens Marches last weekend. Almost all of them drew far more participants than even some of the most optimist organizers predicted.

It was basically old white people that got Trump into power, and have enabled Republican state legislators to do their damage to everyone else.

I still think these mostly old white people will realize they've been conned. Also, as crass as this sounds, a lot of them are dying off, leaving us with a far more diverse, tolerant, moderate populace.

Moderate does not mean "not pissed off." People are pissed off, and the pendulum will swing. We'll have to be patient.

Push Americans far enough, though, and they tend to get revolutionary. Yep, we are living in interesting times. Let's hope the short term pain of the next few years leads us to long term gain.

That prospect is what keeps us going.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Skittles And Marbles Mystify Road Warriors

Some of the tens of thousands of Skittles spilled along
a rural Wisconsin road recently.
The road hazards people are encountering on the highway now seem to include Skittles and marbles

According to CNN affiliate WISN, a whole bunch of red Skittles were found along a Wisconsin .

Nobody is 100 percent sure who dumped them, or how it happened, but thousands of red Skittles. (missing the little "S" on each candy) appeared on a rural road in Dodge County, Wisconsin. 

The local sheriff said the Skittle spill was actually a bit helpful, because roads were icy and the Skittles afforded motorists with a bit of traction.

It turns out rejected candy, like the Skittles lacking the trademark "S" are often fed to cattle

This has been going on for decades, as candy makers and bakeries often sell rejects for cattle feed because it's a source of inexpensive carbs for the animals.

Animals like cows can digest Skittles and other candies easily, and can absorb what little nutrients the offer.

The local sheriff in Wisconsin later figured out that the Skittles fell off a flatbed pickup truck. It was raining as the pickup truck driver made his way down the road. The water disintegrated the cardboard box the Skittles were in, and so they fell off onto the road.

The mystery is that Mars, the maker of Skittles, says they don't sell rejected products directly to farmers, so they don't know how this ended up in Wisconsin.

Ah, the mysteries of life. 

Meanwhile, near Indianapolis, a truck carrying marbles overturned, spreading 38,000 pounds of the marbles on the road and roadside.

Yeah, insert slapstick comedy of cops, etc. trying to walk on marbles and failing miserably here.

As it was, one lane of an Interstate highway had to be shut down while people cleaned up the mess, undoubtedly while walking carefully. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Trump: "Mine Is Bigger Than Yours"

The Women's March in Washington DC and many other cities
Saturday was even bigger than Donald Trump's ego
and he is STILL fuming about it instead of being President
Well, the first full day of the Donald Trump administration Saturday was a total waste, wasn't it?

At least for him it was.

Trump could have gotten down to work dismantling Obamacare, throwing people off insurance plans, restricting rights for women and gays, changing regulations to give money to his rich cronies and starting a war with Iraq or something,.

Instead, he had a day-long hissy fit over the size of the crowds at his inauguration. And the much bigger crowds at the Womens' Marches in cities across the nation, including the nation's capital.

We ended the day with the embarrassing spectacle of Trump's press secretary, Sean Spicer, reading from a prepared statement no doubt ordered by his boss. Spicer  yelled at the media for supposedly about the lackluster crowd sizes at Trump's inauguration Friday.

"This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the world," Spicer thundered.

Well, no, it wasn't, and the raging Spicer statement was full of lies. But that's besides the point for Trump, who, rather than feeling a sense of accomplishment for getting something done, only feels good if the ratings are yuuge, as he would say, be it crowd size, television ratings, or fan letters or something stupid like that.

I've always noticed it's particularly galling for Trump to be outdone by women. I'm sure Saturday's Womens' Marches really set him off.  He was outdone by women!  The horrors!

In every city where they were held, attendance was much higher than anyone expected.  Half a million in Washington DC. Even where I live in Vermont, a Women's March was held in tiny capital city of Montpelier, population 8,000.

Close to 20,000 people showed up for the rally in Montpelier, such a huge crowd that Vermont State Police had to close off Interstate 89 exits into the city because the area was so overrun with cars and people attending the rally.

Facts don't matter to Trump and his minions, though. Because his mantra is always: "Mine is bigger than yours."

I don't know if his denying of facts is very scary or hilarious. Probably both.

Berating the press for reporting accurately, creating alternative "realities" and demanding the press do their bidding or else is the terrifying stuff of North Korea and the Soviet Union.

On the other hand, this kind of bullcrap is hilarious. Spicer today is being compared to Baghdad Bob, the Iraqi information minister who bombastically declared the during the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 that, among other things, no American troops had successfully invaded while U.S. tanks rolled by in the background.

All this makes Trump looks small and silly, and a passing fad. Too bad he's already President.

Now we know how to shut down anything the Trump administration wants to do. Hit him in the that monstrous ego of his, and he won't get anything done.

But then we get the depressing back and forth that will go on forever. Today's news headlines surely pissed Trump off even more.  A couple examples:

The New York Times:

"With False Claims, Trump Attacks Meia on Turnout And Intelligence Rift. "

CNN Money: 

"White House Press Secretary Attacks Media For Accurately Reporting Inaugural Crowds."

Trump's minions predictably fired back Sunday. The odious Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, had a big fight with Meet The Press host Chuck Todd Sunday morning, in which she said that Spicer didn't lie, but gave "alternative facts."

Todd pointed out that "alternative facts" are falsehoods, and it all went downhill from there. Conway finally sniffed, "If we're going to keep referring to the press secretaty in those types of terms I think we're going to have to rethink our relationship here."


Trump is never as successful as he claims he is, and he's clearly in over his head here. He's too busy massaging his ego to actually do any work, so the future of his presidency is already pretty uncertain.

Unfortunately, so is the rest of the country's future for the next several years.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Donald Trump Isn't Creating All Those New Jobs, At Least Not Yet

Is President Trump unfarily taking credit for job
creation that would have happened with or without him?
Anybody would be cheered by the flurry of news that companies are hiring, or moving jobs back to the United States from overseas.  

Donald Trump takes a lot of credit for this, and as much as I dislike him, if he's responsible for actually bringing new, well paying jobs to the United States, who am I to complain?

Job growth is job growth, so it's something to be celebrated.

However, like so many things involving our new president Donald Trump, things aren't as they seem, at least if a really interesting NBC news report is correct

As always, the problem involved Donald Trump's tweets.

He has the ability to send a corporation's stock plummeting if he is displeased with the company and tweets about it.

No CEO or PR department wants that, so some corporations are issuing jobs annoucements to stave off the dreaded Donald Trump negative tweet.

So the companies are making annoucements that they're creating new jobs. The trouble is, says NBC, that these annoucements are recycled. Usually, the added jobs were already planned before Trump came along.

Trump is conning again. He's taking credit for jobs that would have been created whether he was around or not.

That's what I mean when things aren't as they seem. Companies look great if they announce now they are creating jobs, even though this has nothing to do with Trump. It just gets Trump off their back.

Trump knows this. That's why he tweets those negative things. So he can look good and claim he is already creating jobs.

Maybe he's hastening things a little. General Motors said it has long planed to increase capital expenditures, including hiring more workers, but Trump accelerated the plans a little.

Planned job increases at Wal-Mart are planned to be at roughl the same pace as recent years, so there's nothing too special there.

Of course, Trump has responded to the NBC News story as fake and wrong in, you guessed it, a series of tweets in the days before he wass inaugurated on Friday.

Trump's bluster and threats might also be keeping jobs in the U.S., at least temporarily, as company's don't want to face the bad PR Trump can create.

However, I wonder if that's a sustainable job creation ploy. A really sound economic foundation helps create jobs, and that takes work and skill.

I wonder if Trump can go beyond threats and tweets and actually help build the nation's economy.

I'm dubious.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Running Down Protestors: Bills Sprouting To Stop Civil Disobedience

Will legislation in North Dakota allow motorists to run down
people like this, at the Standing Rock reservation protest site?
Opponents wonder. 
For months, there have been constant demonstrations and protests in North Dakota over the Standing Rock Indian Reservation as people object to oil pipeline construction there.

Other anti-fossil fuel protests have cropped up elsewhere in the nation.

The response from some oil industry-friendly lawmakers is to try and stop the protests, even if doing so is probably unconstitutional.

In North Dakota, a number of people do not agree with the protesters who are fighting the oil pipeline around Standing Rock.   Some lawmakers in the state are fed up with the demonstrations.

Which is their right. Unless they take it to far,

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune and many other media outlets, a bill sponsored by North Dakota State Rep. Keith Kempernich, a Republican frrom Bowman, would protect drivers from legal trouble if they accidentally hit, injure or kill pedestriaions who are obstruction traffic.

You can see how this can be abused.  Somebody's pissed off that demonstrators are blocking the road. This somebody is a hothead and decides to ram his car into the people on the road.

And there are some hot heads out there, as a video of masked men threatening protesters at a North Dakota hotel demonstrates. 

Kempernich's proposed law would give this hot head cover. "But officer, I panicked. I thought they were out of the way. I didn't mean to run them over!

Case dismissed.

Kempernich comes down solidly on the side of the not-demonstrating motorists. "If you stay off the roadway, this would never be an issue.....Those motorists are going about the lawful, legal exercise of their right to drive down the road....Those people didn't ask to be in this."

The language of the bill does seem to give a lot of cover to people who run down demonstrators on a road, even if Kempenich says the bill is not intended to let people who intentionally run down protesters off the hook.

Says the Star Tribune:

"Under Kempenich's proposed legislation, drivers who negligently injure or klll pedestrians who are 'obstructing vehicular traffic on a public road, street or highway' would not be liable for damages, and  anyone who 'unintentionally kills' or injures a pedestrian who was blocking traffic 'is not guilty of an offense.'"

Yeah, a lot of people might be irritated when demonstrators block off roadways.  Often, though, it's a form of civil disobedience to call attention to a particular cause. (Black Lives Matter protestors last year sometimes blocked highways)

You can argue whether this form of civil disobedience is a good idea or not, but gosh, does Kempernich's bill open up a potential can of worms.! And possibly some injuries and deaths.

It's not just North Dakota.

In Washington State, a state senator named Doug Ericksen, R- Ferndale wants to label a lot of demonstrations "economic terrorism"  and make it illegal,  notes the Seattle Times.  

His proposal would allow felony prosecutions of protesters who purposely break the law through economic disruptions such as blocking traffic or sitting on railroad tracks.

Demonstrators who oppose rail cars with lots of oil tankers have often blocked trains in Washington and elsewhere, so that's part of where this idea came from.

It looks like what Erickson is doing is going after the money that funds demonstrations, thereby cutting off any publicity or changes in public opinion brought on by protests.

Erickson told the Seattle Times his legislation would go after wealthy, liberal donors, like billionaires George Soros and Tom Steyer, or organizations with deep pockets, like the Sierra Club.

Erickson's proposal has little chance of passing, but he ought to be careful what he wishes for. He's a big Trump supporter. What if a pro-Trump crowd blocked traffic? Would they get in trouble under his idea? So far, he hasn't said.

Other states getting in on this are Indiana, where there's a bill that would authorize police to clear demonstrators from roads "by any means necessary."

Now there's a slippery slope. Does that include just opening fire on them and killing all the protesters?

Yes, civil disobedience can be irritating or disruptive. That's the point. However, the United States has a long history of this kind of thing, and despite the short term pain, civil disobedience has almost always created long term gain.

Think the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Womens' liberation in the 1970s. Gay and transgender rights in recent years.

This old cliche is still totally true: The best response to excesses in free speech is more free speech.

Instead of trying to squelch demonstrations, people opposed to all these demonstrations ought to come up with their own arguments as to why their way of thinking is better.

If they do, they might even change minds. What a concept!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Very Scary High Rise Fire, Collapse In Iran

The Tehran high rise building on fire before it collapsed
In case you missed it on the news, there was a very scary fire in a high rise building in Tehran, Iran yesterday in which at least 30 people, mostly firefighters, lost their lives.

The fire was in what is described as Tehran's iconic Plasco building, which was the first high rise built in Tehran, back in the early 1960s. The structure was 17 stories tall.

It's unclear at this point what started the fire, but it appears it began on the ninth floor and spread quickly.

The building's collapse came as scores of firefighters sprayed water on the structure, trying to put out the flames.

In the awful video clip you'll see below, there's a firefighter on a tall aerial ladder spraying water into flaming windows when the building came down. That firefighter survived, but many of his colleagues died.



Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Very Young "Veterinarian" Helps Beagle With Injured Foot

Little Laura, in her white veterinarian's coat, treats
a cut on her companion Charlie the Beagle's paw.
Charlie has since made a full recovery. 
I often resist cloyingly cute videos involving kids and animals, but I somehow couldn't pass this one up.  

It's just too adorable, and I keep wanting to see nice things in a world that sometimes feels so evil.

The backstory is that a little girl named Laura and her companion, a beagle named Charlie, have had some viral video fame as we've seen what besties they are ever since Laura was born.

Previous videos show Laura as a baby, but now she's a grown up toddler.

Recently, Charlie cut his paw on a thick blade of frozen grass. So, Laura did what she had to do. She put on her white veterinarian coat and went to work.

As you'll see in the video below, I have to give Charlie huge credit for what a patient "patient" he is as Laura treats the injured paw.

I have to give a lot of credit to Laura, too. She may be too young to know how best to treat a minor dog injury, but who cares? The love she has for Charlie is crystal clear in the video, as is the fact that Charlie knows this.

Side note in the video you'll watch below. The people involved are talking in Polish, which makes my heart melt more because I'm of Polish descent.

Every little moment in the video is incredibly sweet, including the hugs, and the blanket Laura puts over Charlie.  By the way, spoiler alert: Laura's treatment worked. Charlie is all better now.

At the end of the video, Laura is done, and Charlie settles comfortably down for a nap, knowing he is well cared for and in good hands.

We should all be so lucky.

Here's the video to make you go "awwwwwwww"

Another Overreaction: Woman Drives Through T-Mobile Store Because iPhone Cracked

Screen shot of a woman driving into and through at
T-Mobile store in Florida because they wouldn't give
her a replacement phone. 
It seems like every time I turn around, somebody is upset with a retailer or other service provider and just totally overreacts.

I mean, big time.

The latest, as you'll see in the video at the bottom of this post, involves a woman in Florida (it's always Florida, isn't it?) who got a new iPhone but its display was cracked.

She went to a T-Mobile store in Palm Springs, Florida seeking to get it replaced, but she said the store wouldn't do it, even though she had insurance.

Now, most people who are dissatisfied with a retailer do things like never shop there again, tell their friends about the lousy experience, or maybe write a nasty Yelp review.

But this woman, Shinobia Montoria Wright, 26,  took it a BIG step forward. She returned to the store, drove her SUV through the front window and into the showroom and started smashing glass display cases with a squeegee, said police, according to the Palm Beach Post. 

She still doesn't have a new phone at last report, but she now DOES has a variety of criminal  charges, including aggravated battery, battery, burglary, criminal mischief, and of course, reckless driving.

Wright hasn't been arraigned yet because she's still hospitalized for arm injuries from the incident. Plus - Surprise! - she is undergoing a mental health evaluation.

Two employees at the store had minor injuries. The store suffered $30,000 in damage and was declared temporarily unsafe by Palm Beach County officials.

The Palm Beach Post said Wright told police that she did all this because of the phone and because she was having a "bad day."

Next time she has a bad day, she ought to just climb back into bed. It's safer that way.

Here's the video:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

This Guy Kills Wasps Dead With HIs Bare Hands

This guy's hands are messy but otherwise unscathed
even though he's just crushed a wasp nest with his bare hands.
In the summer, when I find a wasp nest that endangers me, my husband or dogs with stings, I do something very environmentally incorrect.

I buy a can of Raid and blast the little bastards.

A guy in Florida has a less, um chemically induced way of getting rid of wasp nests. He just smushes them with his bare hands.

Yeah, sounds dangerous.

As you see in the video, below, he doesn't get stung He says he's done this dozens of times without getting stung

I'm still not going to try this at home, though. The makers of Raid can count on my continued business.

For what it's worth, though, here's the video:

Monday, January 16, 2017

Would Be Conservative Stinger O'Keefe Gets Stung

Conservative "sting" provacateur James O'Keefe is
definitely not very good at what he does.  
There's a lot of sideshows in the news lately about fake news and scandals and such.

This one is an interesting one for me, because it looks like a purveror of fake news just got faked out and stung.

This one involves the Trump inauguration. We'll get it soon, but first some background.

James O'Keefe is this young provocateur who does these sting videos that appear to show left wing or at least left-ish group doing bad things. He's famous for ending the political action group Acorn, and causing a lot of grief for Planned Parenthood.

Undercover stings by media organizations have their place, but unfortunatlely, O'Keefe always edited his sting videos to be completely misleading and factually wrong to make his conservative points.

Also, it seems O'Keefe isn't very good at it, either. Back in March, he apparently telephoned the Open Society Foundations, a philanthropic organization brought to us by George Soros, a hedge fund billionaire who contributes to liberal causes.

According to the New Yorker, a person believed to be O'Keefe left a message, but forgot to hang up after leaving the message.

The person "seemed to be conducting a meeting about how to perpetrate an elaborate sting on Soros," wrote New Yorker writer Jane Mayer.

Yep, O'Keefe just stung himself there in an attempted sting.

Also, back in 2010, O'Keefe suffered some fallout from his ACORN weirdness

He ended up being sentenced to three years probation, 100 hours of community service and a $1,500 fine for his role in a break-in and phone tampering in the offices of Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana.

 Now, according to Huffington Post, O'Keefe recently got stung again.

If this story verifies, I suspect O'Keefe could get in trouble, too, we'll see.

Liberal groups The Undercurrent and Americans Take Action released videos they secretly took of what they say are O'Keefe operatives offering large sums of money to the liberal groups it they disrupt the inauguration and "put a stop to the inauguration."

The O'Keefe operatives appear to offer unlimited resources, including shutting down the bridges into Washington DC.

Although I don't know for sure if The Undercurrent videos are edited to make O'Keefe look particularly bad.

Still the idea of O'Keefe trying to falsely portray liberal groups as wanting to cause riots to disrupt the Trump administration is both galling and silly.

I do know that O'Keefe will probably continue to make his "Project Veritas" videos, as he calls them. If you really want fake news, enjoy the O'Keefe videos.

Otherwise the guy is irrelevant. Too bad he's one of the few people to not believe that. And too bad he's not very good at what he proclaims to be good at.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Announcing The Worst Maid Of Honor At Wedding World Champion!

Amanda Willis is likely the world
record holder as worst wedding
maid of honor ever. 
Everybody wants their wedding to be memorable.

Mine was!        
Fortunately, my wedding four years ago was memorable in a great way, thanks to the wonderful people who helped us celebrate.

Sometimes, though, the people who are supposed to help most at a wedding fail at the job.

We now have the world record holder for the person who does the worst job at this.

The good news is the actual wedding ceremony for David and Jennifer Butler in Florida went off beautifully.

The bad news is maid of honor Amanda Willis turned things into a nightmare as soon as the reception started.

However, as NBC News 2 in Fort Myers, Florida explains it, bride Jennifer Butler said Willis hit the bottle hard as soon as the reception kicked off.

"She was drun within 20 minutes to a haf hour," Butler said.

"She was a mess. She drank almost a whole entire bottle of Fireball," said wedding guest Robert Templeton.

From there, Willis went up to the Best Man, Brian Butler (David's brother) and grabbed his car keys and jumped in his car.

Brian Butler chased after her, and Willis almost backed over him. He then grabbed onto the car and hung on. He was dragged a bit, but somehow reached into the car and cranked the emergency brake.


But it wasn't over yet! Oh no. Bridesmaidzilla had MUCH more work to do.

Guests wrestled Willis out of the car, and she went back into the reception, grabbed a big bottle of Captain Morgan and started guzzling.

She then threw a punch at Templeton, the wedding guest.

That's when someone called the police.

On the way to jail, Willis pretended to have asthma and a seizure, she exposed herself to deputies, assauted two medics and kicked over her bed pan..


NBC News 2 said Butler and Willis had been best friends before this incident, but Butler no longer considers Willis a friend.

Ya think?

Although it might not have hurt if Butler had done a background check on Willis. This was Willis' ninth arrest in Charlotte County, Florida.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Goat Farmer Gives Us Needed Distraction

Jay Lavery enjoys a little dance, and so do we, as
he works in the goat barn on his farm. 
In these times, we all need a silly distraction, and I'm happy to oblige occasionally.

So here you go.

At the bottom of this post we have a video that features Jay Lavery, a New York farmer that starts with him rather morosely tending to the barn with his goats.

But soon things change dramatically. Sia's song "Cheap Thrills" comes on and the mood lightens dramatically.

The goats look a little nonplussed at the whole thing, but Lavery sure is having a good time. By extension, so are we.

Lavery told the Huffington Post that he often does goofy things like this and shares them on his Facebook page.

But for whatever reason, this particular one went viral, and it's the perfect distraction when you're getting down.

Lavery did this little dance his Permaculture Inn in Sharon Springs, New York, aboug 180 miles north of Manhattan.

Watch and enjoy, this video from Lavery's Facebook. page

Friday, January 13, 2017

Obama Awards Medal Of Freedom To Biden; Love The News Clip

Barack Obama bestowing the Medal of Freedom on
Joe Biden Thursday in Washington DC.
I've always admired the bromance between Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Biden, of course, has served as Obama's faithful Vice President, taking on his role with gusto, candor and hard work, and I obviously admire him for that.

Which made me so happy that Obama bestowed the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, to Biden.  Obama added the second layer,  "with distinction," to give the medal an even higher level of honor.

I also liked that Obama surprised Biden with the award.  You can tell he didn't see it coming.

If you haven't seen the clip, watch it below. It's very touching. I'm definitely going to miss Obama and Biden in the White House, but I'm sure we haven't heard the last from both men.

Here it is:

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Video Proves Dogs Rescued 2016 And Will Rescue 2017.

A dog happily blows bubbles in its water dish
as part of a compilation video showing some of
the best dog moments of 2016
I love the compilation video of the Dogs of 2016 at the bottom of this post, and you will, too.

I'm biased because I love dogs, but even people who are not particularly into dogs will get some smiles and maybe even be a touch moved by the video.

The clips prove that dogs can be a great stress reliever, even in difficult years like 2016.

The video ends with a message that we should all take to heart: "No matter how challenging 2017 gets, remember the dogs will always be good."

Maybe we should all learn from the dogs.


Guy Reads Fake Trump Books For Our Amusement

One of the fake books in a viral video of a guy
reading inappropriate material on a subway. 
I know, I know, I've been harping on Donald  Trump much too much, and some of what I've been doing is NSFW, but I can't resist this one.  

Which, unfortunately for Trump fans, is a slam against him. Plus this post is also NSFW.

A guy named Scott Rogowsky has been taking books with fake titles on New York City subways and pretends to read them while documenting the amused reactions from those around him.

He's got a series of these videos, but the ones in this post are related to Donald Trump. Ad proceeds from this video are to be donated to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, Rogowsky said.

Some of the book titles can't be repeated here, but here are some examples, all of them pretty inappropriate, which is the point of the jokes:

"How To Succeed in Business Without Paying Your Contractors" (With a new introduction by Chris Christie!)

"Prejudice And Prejudice," by Mike Pence.

"Fantastic Nukes And Where To Drop Them" by Newt Gingrich.

"Michele Obama In Her Own Words" By Melanie Trump.

And a Dr. Suess style illustrated book called "Horton Smears A Jew"  By Steve Bannon.

OK, all this isn't necessarily fair to the people involved, but it's still good for a laugh. Here's Rogowsky's video, but remember it is NSFW:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Focusing On Celebrity Might Help Stop Donald Trump

Meryl Streep's Golden Globe criticism of Donald Trump
wasn't the most important thing that happened this week,
but mocking Trump IS an effective tool against him. 
More than a few pundits in the Twittersphere raised a good point yesterday: They questioned why we were all so focused on Donald Trump's feud with Meryl Streep when there's so many more important questions about the Donald.

You know: Russian hacking, his love affair with Vladimir Putin, the shadowy, corrupt business dealings, the lack of a good temperament, his tacit acceptance of bigotry, violence and the like.

I could go on and on.

On one hand, the Twittersphere is right, Meryl Streep vs. Donald Trump seems pretty low down the list of things to worry about.

However, I still think the Trumpster's Twitter feuds are the best ways to keep him off balance. True, his ultra-thin skin doesn't give anyone a lot of confidence he can competently captain the Ship of State.

But we all know Donald is going down anyway. Maybe keeping him off balance is the best way to get him off the world stage once and for all. The sooner the better.

These celebrity feuds make it all the more easy to mock him. To Trump, the worst thing that can happen to him is getting mocked.

It happens a lot to him. Why not keep making it worse?

Especially when the cause of the mocking is something like Trump's inevitable Twitter reaction of Streep's speech at the Golden Globes on Sunday.

As if this Streep was the most important thing facing him Trump, Tweeted:

So we get funny headlines like this from satirist Andy Borowitz in the New Yorker who had an article with this headline: "Trump Urges Spy Agencies To Lay Off Russia and Focus On Threat Posed By Actresses."

Plus, incidents like the Great Streep/Trump crisis of 2017 give us reminders of more the more important issues I referenced above, like this tweet from ABC political analyist Matthew Dowd:

"Let me make it more clear: Trump fans oppose actress exercising free speech while supporting Russian despot who prevents free speech. Hmmm."

And this from Brian Klaas: "Every day around 6:30 a.m. in New York, an angry billionaire awakens in a gilded penthouse to tweet furiously about how he is a victim."

One more, from David Sirata   "It's odd to hear criticism of a Hollywood star for making comments...in a nation that elected a reality TV star to the White House." 

Naturally,  like it or not, people would rather watch or read about celebrity news than the intricacies of military intelligence regarding Russia. I'm just as guilty as the next person in this regard.

Celebrity news can have real beneficial effects, if played right. Streep was Exhibit A Sunday night in this regard at the Golden Globes, which is run by the Hollywood Foreign Press.

Streep noted the dangers to press freedom under Trump as she accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement, she said in part:

"That's why our founders enshrined the press and its freedom in the Constitution. So i only ask teh famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, because we're going to need them going forward, and they'll need us to safeguard the truth."

I bet few television viewers had even heard  of the Committee to Protect Journalists before Streep mentioned them at the Golden Globes.

But her words had an immediate effect.   According to Money Magazine, the Committee to Protect Journalists typically gets a sleepy five online donations on a Sunday evening. Because of Streep, the number of people contributing Sunday night was more than 700.

They're still counting that nice influx of money they got. (The non-profit CPJ raised about $1 milllion in 2016.)

The Guardian had a good point regarding Streep's remarks at the Golden Globes. The Guardian quoted Streep and had this analysis:

"'There was one performance this year that stunned me,' (Streep) said. 'It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good; there was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job.'

She souned like the most withering theatre critic ever. If that was a review and you had to work a quote out of it for a poster, the best you could do would be 'Effective - Meryl Streep."

The Guardian went on with its own wonderful review of Streep's performance:

"Streep, thougn, had identified one of Trump's key weaknesses. You can critisize him all you like for being a racist, a sexist, a sexual predator, a homophobe, a xenophobe, a conspiracy theorist, a bully or a bad advert for male grooming, but it's all water off a duck's back - you could even say that duck is sitting on Trump's head pretending to be a toupee.  - it doesn't matter. But to disrespect Trump's performance - that's gotta hurt."

Which is the point of this post. Life is performance art for Trump. Give bad reviews to the performance, and he goes off the deep end.

Especially if you highlight how lame his performances are, and how reluctant other performers are to participate with him. Or come up with ways to make him "pay" for those performances.

I've already written about performances and singers refusing to participate in the inauguration. That trend continued this week.

It seems the Trump team is still desperately trying to book acts for the inauguration, even though easy Google searches of the people their seeking would show they're no fans of Trump.

Take Moby, the noted DJ and musician, who has called Trump an "actual psychopath."

Still, unlike many performers, Moby said he would agree to perform at Trump's inauguration, but I bet his price is too steep for even the (alleged) billionaire Trump.

Moby said he wouldn't need money as compensation from the Trump team. I'll let Moby explain it in his own words, as quoted in the Independent:

"Hahahahaha, wait, Hahahaha, really? I guess I'd DJ at an inaugural ball if as payment Trump released his tax returns....So Trump what do you think? I DJ for you and you release your tax returns?"

Again, Perfect. Moby slams Trump where it hurts - his fascination with celebrity - and at the same time calls attention - with humor - to more important issues: Trump's um, complicated finances.

Moby went so far as to come up with a proposed playlist for Trump's inauguration, which includes Rage Against The Machine's "Killing In The Name,' Radiohead's "Idioteque" and Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit."


So let's all keep, um, showering Trump with mockery. It will do a body - and a nation - good.