America’s Social Disease

Friday afternoon, in Portland, Oregon, two women riding the city’s light-rail service were accosted by a fellow passenger.

“Get off the bus, and get out of the country because you don’t pay taxes here,” he said by one witness account. The man also said he “doesn’t like Muslims, they’re criminals,” according to the witness.

One of the women was wearing a hijab. Both were young.

Three other passengers came to the women’s defense. The man pulled out a knife and slit the throats of two of them.

Both are dead.

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James Bond Will Return in “Glowfinger”

Plausible Idiocy

One of our favorite SNL sketches is thirty years old. In it, Phil Hartman plays Ronald Reagan in the Oval Office, doing his Charming Old Codger bit for visitors. But as soon as they leave, he takes charge, commanding his hapless minions with supreme intelligence and authority.

It was hilarious — then and now — because it was so obviously not the case, despite efforts to portray Reagan as fully engaged in his own administration. And when it aired in December 1986, the Iran-Contra scandal had been revealed only weeks earlier.

Similar sketches were written for George W. Bush, who might have been slightly more engaged than Reagan, but not nearly as engaged as Dick Cheney. Just imagine Will Ferrell saying “I’m the Decider”, and a whole era springs to mind.

And then there’s Donald Trump, who couldn’t be less engaged.

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The Mind of the Collaborator

Back when Russian monkeywrenching of the American election first became a serious issue, it was clear what needed to be done — and that the Republicans who controlled the House and Senate wouldn’t do it. Our nation’s sovereignty would take a back seat to the power they enjoyed, and that Trump’s victory made seemingly invincible.

Abandoning the strict decorum for which we’re justly famous, we called them traitors and cocksuckers.

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State of Play

Far be it from us to stand in the way of the vitriol being heaped on Trumpcare. The vote was finally held, the measure passed, and now everyone who was in a rush to have beers with the President will have to live with the consequences of their action.

You might call that a pre-existing condition for the 2018 election.

But quickly after the vote, both the Washington Examiner and the Times came out with stories about the next steps for the bill: Across the Capitol, and into the trash.

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The Republic May Yet Survive

Election night, we were less than, shall we say, hopeful.

“This is really bad,” we explained to a younger friend. “This is really, really bad.” When asked why, we explained that with Republicans controlling everything, there was no brake, no bottom. The trouble they could cause with unrestrained power was endless.

We imagine Republicans thought the same thing. But without the dread.

And make no mistake: There’s some heinous shit going down, particularly with deportations. We have yet to stumble into an active war — nuclear or otherwise — but that’s not without trying. And we hope someone is keeping a list of all the regulations being changed, because they’ll need to be changed back, as soon as the opportunity arises.

But our worst-case fears in the seventy-five days leading up to the Inauguration have not been borne out in the hundred days following. And the reason is the same one that was evident in the week following the Republican convention, the reason we thought we would never reach this moment to begin with:

Donald Trump is a terrible manager.

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The Varieties of Self-Delusion

There’s an interview out this week with Rachel Dolezal, which you don’t need to read, at least the Rachel Dolezal part. The interviewer herself, however, has some very acute observations and insights about her subject and broader context, which are definitely worth your time, if you’re so inclined.

Dolezal herself isn’t quite letting go of her past as an ersatz Black woman, but she’s recasting herself as transracial — emphasis on “trans”, because Caitlyn Jenner. Not biracial, not someone who grew up immersed in two cultures, but transracial — a White person who identifies as Black.

Blame National Geographic. No, really. Dolezal does.

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