Buyer’s Remorse

Some more of the same

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Did you ever buy something on-line, and when you received it you figured out it wasn’t what you wanted? There’s a lot of that going around:

Republicans take evasive maneuvers to avoid feisty town halls

With President Trump’s White House mired in controversy and his party’s legislative agenda initially stalled as a result, congressional Republicans are discovering a new outlet for their creative energies as they head home for next week’s recess: avoiding their constituents.

As many observers have noted, rank-and-file progressives have recently taken a page from the tea party’s playbook, and begun to disrupt in-person town-hall events with their representatives, booing Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and prompting police to escort Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., to his car.

But as the opposition has grown more organized, Republicans have responded in kind, developing an elaborate array of evasive maneuvers to help them dodge unsympathetic constituents altogether. The upshot has been a game of democratic cat-and-mouse that would seem cartoonish if less serious matters were at stake.

A major issue in last year’s election was the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. There was no doubt. The first order of business would be to repeal the ACA:

When we win on November 8th, and elect a Republican Congress, we will be able to immediately repeal and replace Obamacare. I will ask Congress to convene a special session.

That seemed unequivocal. Not so fast:

Republicans suddenly realize burning down the health-care system might not be a great idea

The Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act is not going well, in large part because it turns out that making sweeping changes to a system that encompasses one-sixth of the American economy turns out to be rather more complicated than they imagined. Their backtracking has an interesting character to it, in particular how they’ve been gobsmacked by the transition from shaking their fists at the system to being responsible for it.

I’m not too sure what “gobsmacked” means, but Republicans have been done it. Representatives and Senators showing up for town hall meetings back home have been catching some heat, and some have responded in innovative ways. Not always with success:

Crowd erupts in anger when GOP senator shows up late to town hall then tries to stall with group prayer

Republican Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy faced an angry crowd at a town hall meeting in Metairie on Wednesday when he showed up late and then tried to have the crowd participate in a group prayer.

“Pray on your own time!” shouted one angry constituent, according to NOLA.com. “This is our time.”

A group of women located near the back of the room reportedly chanted, “Separation of church and state.”

“Wow, they booed the name of Jesus,” said Cassidy after the prayer — led by Louisiana State Chaplain Michael Sprague — got drowned out by protests.

The town hall was scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, but protesters began to arrive at 11 a.m. and by early afternoon, the parking lot was full. Some attendees parked blocks away at other locations in the neighborhood.

Victor Frankenstein’s monster never got this hot a reception. Texas’ own Louis Gohmert (District 1) became concerned about the kind of reception he could expect in his far northeast corner of Texas, about as red as I can imagine. He went so far as to cancel his scheduled meeting. Bad move. He made the mistake of invoking a former representative from Arizona, one who seems to have more backbone:

Gabby Giffords Shuts Down Congressman Who Used Her 2011 Shooting as Excuse to Ditch Town Hall

Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona Democratic congresswoman who was shot during a “Congress on Your Corner” event in 2011, slammed Republicans on Thursday for failing to show up to town hall meetings with their constituents out of fear of facing protesters.

“I was shot on a Saturday morning,” Giffords wrote in a statement. “By Monday morning, my offices were open to the public. Ron Barber—at my side that Saturday, who was shot multiple times, then elected to Congress in my stead—held town halls. It’s what the people deserve in a representative.”

“To the politicians who have abandoned their civic obligations, I say this: Have some courage,” she continued. “Face your constituents. Hold town halls.”

The sharp words were a direct response to a controversial statement released earlier by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), in which he invoked Giffords’ shooting to defend his decision not to meet with his constituents.

“Threats are nothing new to me, and I have gotten my share as a felony judge,” Gohmert said. “However, the House Sergeant at Arms advised us after former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot at a public appearance, that civilian attendees at Congressional public events stand the most chance of being harmed or killed—just as happened there.”

Are voters angry at the direction their new government is taking? Are they disenchanted over the unending flow of misinformation emanating from the silver-tongued one and the daily administrative buggery? Certainly that, but is some of it appears to be buyers’ remorse. For sure the preponderance of protests at these meetings is from Democrats seeing a new government conniving to undo a lot of work accomplished in the previous eight years, but Republicans are crying foul, as well:

Trump voters covered by Obamacare don’t like the GOP’s health care ideas

Now, however, both Trump and GOP lawmakers have to live up to their promises and take their turn at designing an alternative health care law. And the details they have provided aren’t looking so great to their voters, according to a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

KFF’s issue brief relies on focus groups conducted in December in the swing states of Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Researchers interviewed 48 people, some of whom relied on the Obamacare insurance marketplace and some of whom had benefited from the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare — and found they’re not excited about a lot of the GOP’s health care ideas.

Too bad, dudes. You bought it, and it’s too late to take it back to the store.

Four Weeks In

Number 10 of a series

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It’s amazing what a new President can accomplish during the first four weeks in office. So many lies, so little time. I’m posting one each day, and I’m not about to catch up. Daniel Dale with the Washington bureau of The Star compiled the list. I’m posting them in chronological order. Here’s number 10:

10. Jan. 25, 2017 — Interview with ABC’s David Muir

The claim: With regard to his speech to the Central Intelligence Agency earlier in the week: “They showed the people applauding and screaming and they were all CIA. There was — somebody was asking [press secretary] Sean [Spicer] – ‘Well, were they Trump people that were put’ — we don’t have Trump people. They were CIA people.”

In fact: Most of the audience was indeed made up of CIA personnel, but Trump is wrong that there were no “Trump people.” Spicer told the press that “maybe 10” people in attendance were part of Trump’s entourage; CBS News reported that an official familiar with the event said Spicer was inaccurate, as Trump and his allies brought about 40 people.

Despite existing evidence, President Trump feels free to make stuff up. Readers, this is a guy who invents alternative facts out of thin air.

This is ten so far and only 70 left to go. However, we are well past inaugural day and running. If you are one of those who feel comfortable with this, then you are feeling more lonely by the day.

Keep reading And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

Quiz Question

One of a continuing series

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Readers have been getting off easy recently. I’m going back to geometry questions, so give your brain a work out.

I found this on the Internet, but you shouldn’t go looking for the solution without first coming up with a solution. With a single line, does not need to be straight, divide the shape shown above into two identical parts. Post your answer as a comment below.

Actually, send me a copy of your solution by email, and I will post it.

The Golden Shower

Something interesting

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How come there’s never a Pee Pee Tape around when you need one?

An Actual False-Flag Operation at CPAC

Two men made trouble—and stirred up a social-media frenzy—on the third day of the Conservative Political Action Conference by conducting a literal false-flag operation.

Jason Charter, 22, and Ryan Clayton, 36, passed out roughly 1,000 red, white, and blue flags, each bearing a gold-emblazoned “TRUMP” in the center, to an auditorium full of attendees waiting for President Trump to address the conference. Audience members waved the pennants—and took pictures with them—until CPAC staffers realized the trick: They were Russian flags.

Most embarrassing. How embarrassing? Very embarrassing. Very embarrassing, especially when you consider our new president, the darling of this year’s CPAC convention, has long touted his admiration for Russia and its autocratic ruler, Vladimir Putin. A previous administration and the one before that held the Russian Federation under Putin’s leadership to  be America’s most fearsome adversary in the quest for democratic government in eastern Europe. President Trump’s financial ties to Russia and Putin are one thing. The possible existence of a Pee Pee Tape add flavor to the sauce. It’s a sauce Democrats are currently savoring.

Keep reading. The goose is not yet cooked.

Four Weeks In

Number 9 of a series

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It’s amazing what a new President can accomplish during the first four weeks in office. So many lies, so little time. I’m posting one each day, and I’m not about to catch up. Daniel Dale with the Washington bureau of The Star compiled the list. I’m posting them in chronological order. Here’s number 9:

9. Jan. 25, 2017 — Interview with ABC’s David Muir

The claim: “I think you’re demeaning by talking the way you’re talking. I think you’re demeaning. And that’s why I think a lot of people turned on you and turned on a lot of other people. And that’s why you have a 17 per cent approval rating, which is pretty bad.”

In fact: Saying “you” here, Trump wrongly conveys the impression that Muir himself has 17 per cent approval. In fact, there is no polling on Muir. Trump appears to have actually been referring to a 2016 poll about Americans’ views on the media. In that poll, the media’s approval rating was 19 per cent.

When he has no evidence, even despite existing evidence, President Trump feels free to make stuff up. Hopefully he’s not going to be doing this when it comes to assessing intelligence data. Only joking. Of course he will.

This is nine so far, but we are well past inaugural day and running. Do you feel comfortable yet?

Keep reading And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

Bad Movie of the Week

One of a series

Here’s one more of the Bulldog Drummond series. I don’t know when the supply is going to run out, but when it does I’m proposing a Bulldog Drummond binging party. Stay alert.

This came out in 1939, so I missed it by a year. Even a couple of years later it would have been wasted on my, the plot being too convoluted. Then, maybe not. It’s Bulldog Drummond’s Bride, featuring John Howard as Captain Hugh Chesterton ‘Bulldog’ Drummond and that good looking Heather Angel as Phyllis Clavering, Bulldog Drummond’s bride.

Wikipedia, from which I am drawing technical details, lists Paramount Pictures as the production company, but opening credits show, first, The Criterion Collection, followed by a splash screen proclaiming “A Janus Films Presentation,” then (from the film itself) “Congress Films, Inc. Presents,” and finally the title credits and the movie. I watched this on Amazon Prime Video, but you can also catch it on YouTube:

It’s a crashing opening. A London postman is collecting from a box in front of a bank when he is suddenly bowled over by a massive explosion from inside. Out runs a bank robber, loot in hand, and off down the street. A painter named Garvey (Gerald Hamer), working in an apartment nearby, is alerted by the explosion, and presently the robber, Henri Armides (Eduardo Ciannelli), climbs in through the window. The two are in cahoots.

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Enter Drummond and bride-to-be Phyllis. They are making their way to their new apartment, which takes them right past the bank while police are throwing up a cordon around the neighborhood. The two cannot proceed further, and embrace amidst the hubbub.

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It will turn out eventually, that the new Drummonds’ future apartment is exactly the one where Armides has taken refuge. He changes painter’s rags with his partner in crime and casts about for a place to stash the swag. He finds a place in what will later turn out to be Phyllis’ portable radio.

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Then, when Drummond’s friend and cohort, Algy Longworth (Reginald Denny), drops by, Armides pretends to have gone bonkers from lead poisoning (paint), and smears himself, and also Algy. It’s his plan to escape the police cordon in disguise. The swag remains in the radio.

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But the radio winds up in France. A telegram from Phyllis instructs Drummond to ship the radio forthwith by air.

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Armides escapes from the mental hospital where he has been taken and reunites with Garvey. They search Drummond’s digs for the radio, seeing instead a telegram from Phyllis being slipped under the door. It advises Drummond that the radio has arrived safely in France. The crooks decide to waylay Drummond with that old fishing line-pistol trap, set to spring when Drummond opens the door.

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Of course that doesn’t work. It never does. But Drummond gets wise. The crooks have taken the telegram, but they leave the envelope behind. Drummond contacts the telegraph office and gets a repeat of the message, concluding the crooks are on their way to France and sweet Phyllis. Drummond and Algy speed away by air to France to save Phyllis.

But Drummond’s affectionate prior supervisor, Col. J.A. Nielson (H.B. Warner), takes it upon himself to waylay Drummond and dissuade him from interfering with police matters. He fakes a message to French police, and Drummond is thrown into a French jail when he arrives. As luck would have it, Garvey is in the same cell, having been nabbed by the police in his attempt to hoax Phyllis out of the radio.

Dinner for Garvey arrives. It has been sent by persons unknown, but we soon figure out who sent the snack. The dinner includes a note instructing Garvey to break the wine bottle, which he does, after sharing the wine with Drummond. Garvey does not know Drummond and supposes him to be a master criminal, which he admires.

Inside the bottle is an explosive device that Garvey uses to blow a hole in the wall, enabling the pair to escape.

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But Drummond’s friends have caught up with the situation, and Mayor Jean Philippe Napoleon Dupres (Louis Mercier) insists on performing the marriage ceremony right on the spot.

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That doesn’t happen, because Drummond is hot on Armides’ trail, and there is a protracted fight on the rooftops. Drummond retrieves the radio and the money, but Armides escapes.

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The wedding is concluded, and a bottle of wine is sent in. Drummond recognizes Armides’ work and tosses the bottle with the explosive into a well, where Armides has taken refuge. Poetic justice.

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It’s a farce of crime and romance, where the audience laughs while multiple people die. Without the screen presence of Ms. Angel this might not be worth seeing. Too bad there are no nude scenes.

The description I have just laid on should explain why this comes in as the week’s bad movie. Contact me if you need more.

Snowflake-in-Chief

New game in town

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Something is getting under the skin of the new snowflake president. Yesterday, speaking at CPAC, he denounced fake news:

President Trump Continues His Attack on ‘Fake News’ During CPAC Speech

President Donald Trump heaped criticism on what he called purveyors of “fake news” on Friday at a gathering of conservative activists that took him back to his roots as an anti-establishment candidate.

Speaking to a large group of conservatives who packed into a hotel ballroom outside Washington, Trump sought to clarify a recent tweet in which he said some in the U.S. news media should be considered an “enemy of the people.”

“I’m against the people that make up stories and make up sources. They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name. Let their name be out there,” Trump said. “Let there be no more sources.”

Readers, this is hot stuff. Major news outlets, having nothing for the morning’s headlines, are inventing news. Not only are they inventing news, they are inventing sources for their invented news. Invented news, indeed! And who can doubt President Donald Trump. He is, after all, the master of invented news:

Feb 18
Don’t believe the main stream (fake news) media.The White House is running VERY WELL. I inherited a MESS and am in the process of fixing it.

Obviously an expert.

The purveyors of this fake news are certainly not going to take this from a snowflake president without pushing back. When the White House excluded some of them, including Politico, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and even CNN, CNN‘s  chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper took to the waves to complain:

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What spin meister Tapper wants us to think is that facts the snowflake president finds offensive get dismissed out of hand with the label “fake news.” Which apparently is what is happening, but that’s beside the point.

Other news outlets are piling on, denouncing the snowflake president for calling fake news fake news. Who else is complaining? (You may ask). Fox News, perhaps:

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith defended CNN on Friday after the news organization was barred from spokesman Sean Spicer’s question-and-answer session at the White House.

“For the record, ‘fake news’ refers to stories that are created, often by entities pretending to be news organizations, solely to draw clicks and views and are based on nothing of substance,” Smith said during his program.

“In short, fake news is made up nonsense delivered for financial gain. CNN’s reporting was not fake news. Its journalists followed the same standards to which other news organizations, including Fox News, adhere,” he added.

Denouncing the news and trumping up charges? No way! Remember, this is something White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said would never happen.

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Hey! Who’s the Master of Deception now? Eat your heart out, Little Joseph.

Readers, it’s just getting started. Keep reading.

And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

Four Weeks In

Number 8 of a series

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It’s amazing what a new President can accomplish during the first four weeks in office. So many lies, so little time. I’m posting one each day, and I’m not about to catch up. Daniel Dale with the Washington bureau of The Star compiled the list. I’m posting them in chronological order. Here’s number 8:

8. Jan. 25, 2017 — Interview with ABC’s David Muir

The claim: “No, no, you have to understand, I had a tremendous victory, one of the great victories ever. In terms of counties I think the most ever, or just about the most ever.”

In fact: Trump’s victory was not close to one of the biggest of all time. He lost the popular vote, and his Electoral College margin ranks 46th out of 58 elections. Trump did far better in terms of counties, winning more than any candidate since Ronald Reagan, but he was well short of setting the record or even “just about” tying it: Richard Nixon won more than 2,950 counties in 1972, far exceeding Trump’s 2,623.

[Emphasis added]

When he has no evidence, even despite existing evidence, President Trump feels free to make stuff up. Hopefully he’s not going to be doing this when it comes to assessing intelligence data. Only joking. Of course he will.

This is eight so far, but we are well past inaugural day and running. Do you feel comfortable yet?

Keep reading And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

Bad Joke of the Week

One of a continuing series

Mother of Jesus, please come back.

Mother of Jesus, please come back.

A very sad day today.

After seven years of medical training and hard work, a very good friend of mine has been struck off after one minor indiscretion. He slept with one of his patients and can now no longer work in the profession.

What a waste of time, effort, training, and money. A genuinely nice guy and a brilliant mortician.

 

Four Weeks In

Number 7 of a series

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It’s amazing what a new President can accomplish during the first four weeks in office. So many lies, so little time. I’m posting one each day, and I’m not about to catch up. Daniel Dale with the Washington bureau of The Star compiled the list. I’m posting them in chronological order. Here’s number 7:

7. Jan. 25, 2017 — Interview with ABC’s David Muir

The claim: “In terms of a total audience including television and everything else that you have we had supposedly the biggest crowd in history. The audience watching the show. And I think you would even agree to that. They say I had the biggest crowd in the history of inaugural speeches.”

In fact: “They” can mean anyone, but no expert is declaring that Trump had the biggest inauguration crowd in history. Obama’s 2009 inauguration drew far more people in person and far more television viewers. Trump’s claim relies on the people who watched the inauguration on online streams. It is possible that these people gave him a record, but it is impossible to know for sure.

When he has no evidence, President Trump feels free to make stuff up. Hopefully he’s not going to be doing this about the intentions of a foreign enemy.

This is seven so far, but we are well past inaugural day and running. Do you feel comfortable yet?

Keep reading And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.