Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

This is a Chuck Norris movie, so you know he’s going to kick a bunch of ass. Code of Silence came out in 1985, released by Orion pictures. Forget the plot. Here’s a summary. Details are from Wikipedia. I caught it on Amazon Prime Video.

Chuck Norris is Sergeant Eddie Cusack, apparently with the Chicago PD. Opening scenes show a variety of characters who seem to be just hanging around. Obviously, they are cops, waiting for something to go down. And it does.

A confidential  informant pretends to set up a massive drug by in an upstairs room. He’s wired for sound, so the undercover cops loitering around can hear what’s going on. Everybody gets together around a table, and piles of cash and powder change hands.

Bad news. Another gang wants to horn in, so they set up shop in a room directly across the alley and machine gun the contents of the drug room. Then they lay a ladder across the alley and tread over to pilfer the contents, but cash only.


This goes wrong on two levels. First, one of the shot-up druggies is not dead, and he drops an opposing ganger into the alley with a couple of well-situated shots. Then the cops rush in and make mash of what’s left.

One of the cops is street-weary Detective Cragie (Ralph Foody), who gets jumpy and pumps two slugs into a building tenant. Cusack’s partner, Detective Nick Kopalas (Joe Guzaldo), watches as Cragie covers up the crime by planting a gun on the dead teenager. This introduces the theme of the movie, the code of silence. Police officers don’t rat out fellow cops when they screw up this way. Anyhow, Cusack refuses to go along with any cover-up, with the code of silence, hence the title.

But back to the gangs involved. The people doing the drug deal are a Colombian gang, and the ones who ambushed them are a local Italian Mafia family. This ignites a gang war, which quickly gets serious. Posing as a produce home-delivery service, the Colombians draw family members out of their home. Then the back of the back of the truck opens, revealing men with automatic weapons. The Colombians gun down the family members in the street, then they go inside the house and kill everybody there.


Luring victims outside and machine gunning them on the street is a rehash from a device that opened Commando, featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Cusack gets on their trail. He follows the 18-year-old daughter of the Italian gang member, and observes she is also a target of the Colombians. He breaks up an attempt to take her hostage and chases one of the Colombians onto a moving elevated train. This is, of course, a recap of the same scene in Steve McQueen’s final movie, The Hunter.


Take a look at the poster for the 1980 movie. It’s possibly the same Chicago train.


There is another classic movie scene director Andrew Davis liked so much, that he used again. Here two armed robbers prepare to take down a local bar. They rehearse in the car before sauntering in, one at a time. It’s only when they pull their weapons they realize they are in a cop bar, and find themselves facing about a dozen drawn weapons. This scene has nothing to do with the plot, but director Davis apparently realized he didn’t have enough material for 101 minutes, so he stuck this in. Even so, it was fun to watch, again.


Davis enjoyed—I did, too—the chase scene from The French Connection so much, he made a go at a redo. Here Cusack chases the Italian godfather, his nephew, and their driver, until the Italians crash and burn. Great action.


The Colombians have snatched the girl, and Cusack arranges a meeting with them. He’s supposed to bring the Italian ring leader to exchange, but that wop is now dead, so he brings an arsenal instead. For snitching on Detective Cragie, Cusack has been blackballed by the his fellow cops, so, in true Chuck Norris style, he has to go in and take out the entire gang by his lonesome. This is a repeat from Invasion U.S.A and also Commando.


Cusack also brings along a gadget almost out of RoboCop, which actually came out two years later. It’s a robotic, autonomous, police assistant. And does it ever have some mean fire power.


Meanwhile, his cop buddies have fallen into line and are rushing to come to Cusack’s assistance. But too late. By the time reinforcements arrive, Cusack has killed all the Colombian gang and rescued the girl (Molly Hagan) wonderfully innocent and vulnerable, here with her hands tied together above her head and awaiting her fate, she observes Cusack’s heroics.


To be sure, this movie is designed  to create work for the Hollywood stunt industry, which does get a workout. Norris is at his best, taking on a barroom packed with Colombians and, as always, kicking a bunch of ass.

Lots of ammo burned off, piles of dead bodies, reused plot devices. Bring some popcorn.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same


As promised, it’s Tuesday again:

OREGON CITY – A Clackamas County jury spent one hour deliberating Tuesday before unanimously finding an Oregon City couple guilty of felony criminal mistreatment for treating their infant daughter with faith-healing rather than taking her to a doctor.

Timothy and Rebecca Wyland face up to five years in prison but are likely to receive probation and possibly some time in jail. They will be sentenced June 24.

As the verdict was read, Timothy Wyland slipped his arm around his wife’s waist, and the couple stoically faced the judge. The Wylands made no comment after the proceedings. They walked out of the courtroom surrounded by supporters from their church, some of them sobbing.

I am suspecting the supporters were sobbing over the horrible mistreatment Timothy and Rebecca Wyland had received in the American justice system, which had deprived them of their religious right to  mistreat their child.

The details of the case are heartbreaking. The couple’s daughter was born  in 2009 with a birthmark that eventually formed a hemangioma, a growth of blood vessels, above her eye. The growth resulted in loss of vision in the eye.

Unlike other stories featured in  this column, this one has a happy ending, if you can call it that. Young Alayna Wyland was removed from her parent’s custody and given medical treatment. She did not die. This is small  consolation,  considering previous cases involved two children who died.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on  your soul.

The Other Foot

Some more of the same


Silvio Berlusconi is a former Prime Minister of Italy. He has a controlling interest in Mediaset, the largest broadcasting company in Italy, and has a net worth estimated at $7.1 billion. He served in the position of prime minister for three terms, serving a total of nine years. He is the longest serving Italian leader since Benito  Mussolini. His life and political career have been marked by a litany of head-swimming escapades.

Apparently Berlusconi took up a political career to forestall personal bankruptcy and also as a path to inoculate himself from criminal convictions. His associates were informed of this intent, and that did not  detract from his rise. Supporters hailed Berlusconi as “an outsider who was going to bring a new efficiency to the public bureaucracy and reform the state from top to bottom.”

Obvious conflicts of interest roiled his tenure, as he used his business clout to buck up his political position. Additionally, the government under Berlusconi enacted laws to shorten penalties for tax fraud, solving some of his personal issues.

Fisticuffs  with Italian media have been notorious. Berlusconi accused Enzo Biagi and Michele Santoro (journalists) and Daniele Luttazzi (a comedian) of using television “as a criminal means of communication.” This resulted in these personalities losing their jobs.

In another instance the government censored a satirical program. Comedian Sabina Guzzanti had criticized the Berlusconi media conglomerate. Mediaset sued RAI, the offending company, and Guzzanti’s program was canceled.

Berlusconi’s administration passed laws having the intent and the effect of delaying court trials against him.

Berlusconi’s close ties to Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin raised some eyebrows. Berlusconi’s friend, Bruno Mentasti-Granelli, held a 33% share in the South Stream pipeline, and the Italian government-owned company Eni engaged Gazprom, owned by the Russian government, to build it. A communication revealed by Wikileaks showed Putin promised to cut Berlusconi in on the profits from pipelines developed by Gazprom.

Berlusconi acquired a reputation for childish social  blunders. He suggested that German  politician Martin Schulz should portray a Nazi guard on film. This after Schulz criticized Berlusconi’s domestic policies.

Berlusconi’s social gaffes have not been confined to foreign politicians. He pointed out that “female politicians from the right were ‘more beautiful’ and that ‘the left has no taste, even when it comes to women'”

Berlusconi’s wife Veronica Lario went public over his choice of hot babes to represent his political party. The spat devolved into a public dissolution of his marriage, pointedly in relation to the attention he was pouring onto an 18-year-old bimbo.


And there is so much more. Berlusconi exited Italian politics a few years back, but I, and others, continued for a while to enjoy the comedy of Italian politics.

More recently I have stopped laughing.

Mr. Secretary

I need to be careful to not make this a rehash of The Carson Hour:

Up front: I’ve never been a fan of creationist Ben Carson. My mind can’t get past someone who puts aside known facts in favor of popular myth.

What’s prompting this foray into last year’s brain scrub is the following meme, which scrolled by on my Facebook feed this morning:


My immediate reaction was, “Say it isn’t so!” Some Skeptical Analysis was in order. Immediate relief. No, Retired medical doctor Ben Carson has not been tapped to become Secretary of Education. What a relief! Take consolation where you can get it. He’s only being considered for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. I guess that means our faith in President-to-be Donald Trump is fully restored. Think that if you want.

But wait! I’m not finished with the Skeptical Analysis. Did (possibly future) Secretary Ben Carson actually say those stupid things credited to him? Some investigation was in order, and said investigation was promptly rewarded in the negative. I was unable, through the use of the modern miracle of the Internet search, to find any direct quote attaching this foolishness to Dr. Ben Carson. There was only this foolishness:

With the wide release of video from a speech that Carson made to his fellow Seventh-Day Adventists in 2012, however, it’s becoming clear that there are significant gaps. In the speech, he made statements on subjects ranging from evolution to the Big Bang that suggest he never learned or chooses to ignore basic, well-tested scientific concepts. In attempting to refute the Big Bang, for example—which he characterized as a “ridiculous” idea—Carson said:

You have all these highfalutin scientists, and they’re saying that there was this gigantic explosion and everything came into perfect order. Now, these are the same scientists who go around touting the second law of thermodynamics, which is entropy, which says that things move toward a state of disorganization. So, now you’re going to have this big explosion, and everything becomes perfectly organized. When you ask them about it, they say, “Well we can explain this based on probability theory, because if there’s enough big explosions, over a long enough period of time, billions and billions of years, one of them will be the perfect explosion”…. What you’re telling me is, if I blow a hurricane through a junkyard enough times, over billions and billions of years, eventually, after one of those hurricanes, there will be a 747 fully loaded and ready to fly.

He continued, “It’s even more ridiculous than that, because our solar system, not to mention the universe outside of that, is extraordinarily well organized, to the point where we can predict seventy years away when a comet is coming. Now, [for] that type of organization to just come out of an explosion? I mean, you want to talk about fairy tales, that is amazing.” Finally, he argued that the observed motion of the planets in our solar system would be impossible if there had been a Big Bang.

That was Lawrence Krauss writing for The New Yorker last year. Lest you wonder whether Dr. Krauss is qualified to speak on modern cosmology, you need to ask those who employ him in his position as “Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University, and director of its Origins Project.” Full disclosure: I previously reviewed his book A Universe from Nothing.

Dr. Krauss goes on to quote from the Carson  interview: “It’s even more ridiculous than that, because our solar system, not to mention the universe outside of that, is extraordinarily well organized, to the point where we can predict seventy years away when a comet is coming. Now, [for] that type of organization to just come out of an explosion? I mean, you want to talk about fairy tales, that is amazing.” I don’t have a degree in cosmology, but my college degree plans have included courses in Celestial Mechanics and Interplanetary Navigation. My final term  project for my physics degree was a computer simulation of a multi-body planetary system. None of that is required to refute Dr. Carson’s silly ideas about comets and planetary motion.

What is really remarkable about Carson’s remarkable utterances is that he is pronouncing (pontificating?) on something of which he knows nothing. The last time I checked, courses in Relativity, Celestial Mechanics, and Interplanetary Navigation were not required for the prestigious medical degree Dr. Carson obtained. One would have hoped, however, along the way he would have picked up enough in the way of situational awareness to know when he is making a fool of himself in public.

The problem is Dr. Carson failed to stop with modern cosmology. He has, apparently with some effort, extended his embarrassment (and ours) beyond all reasonable expectations. Dr. Krauss continues:

Carson’s wild delusions aren’t confined to physics, either. In the same event, in a more surprising and perhaps more worrisome statement, Carson claimed that evolution, as explained by Darwin, was actually the work of the devil. (“I personally believe that this theory that Darwin came up with was something that was encouraged by the adversary, and it has become what is scientifically, politically correct.”) As if invoking Satan weren’t bad enough, Carson resorted to bad puns to sidestep his scientific ignorance: he went on to say that he was planning a book called “The Organ of Species,” which he said would “talk about the organs of the body and how they completely refute evolution”—an amazing claim that would require a rewriting of most biology texts. At another point in the speech, he uses a long stream of medical terminology to argue against the biochemical origins of life—something he doesn’t seem to realize has nothing to do with Darwinian evolution itself. Elsewhere, he claims that plants couldn’t have evolved before bees and that sexual reproduction shouldn’t have evolved at all, and suggests that geological formations provide evidence of a great flood, not an old Earth.

Krauss links to an MSNBC story that illuminates further:

Addressing his bizarre views yesterday, the GOP presidential hopeful said, “I’m not gonna denigrate you because of your faith and you shouldn’t denigrate me for mine. And that’s the kind of attitude, you know – that’s the kind of attitude that I think is very important in the society in which we live today.”
It’s an unsatisfying response because it misses the point of what makes revelations like these significant. A leading national candidate, who’s asking Americans to trust his judgment, has ridiculous ideas about a demon shaping our understanding of modern biology. It’s the sort of the thing that, for some in the reality-based community, is a disqualifying characteristic for someone seeking the world’s most important job.
Carson seemed to suggest yesterday that his bizarre beliefs are somehow off-limits. To notice a presidential candidate’s weird ideas, he says, is to “denigrate” the man who talked about those ideas publicly.
It’s treating faith as some kind of trump card – as if prominent public figures who denigrate science (and scientists) should be left alone because of their religious motivations, regardless of the disservice they’re doing to the discourse.

This was before Dr. Carson announced his candidacy, and it’s critical to observe that following the time these views became public he was momentarily the front runner for a major political party. It speaks to an American public, at least to a large block of an American public, totally opaque to some basic facts of the world we live in.

Did I mention that Dr. Carson is not presently in line for Secretary of Education? Did I mention he is only being considered for Secretary of HUD? Do you feel safer now? Me neither.

Bad Movie of the Week

One of a series

Need another flick for the Bad Movie of the Week column. Where to turn? Oh, yes! How about the Classic Movie file on Hulu? How about an old John Wayne movie? How about any John Wayne movie? There is a God in Heaven. Here, mined from Hulu’s sacred vault, is The Lucky Texan, from 1934 by Monogram Pictures. What a beaut!

This came during John Wayne’s season of low-budget westerns. He considered he must have played in about 80 of  these until his break-out role with Stagecoach in 1939. During this time he honed his talents and paid his dues. The result is a mother-lode of candidates for BMotW.

There is a colorized version, but these screen shots are from the original monochrome. For some reason Hulu does not have the title sequence. The movie opens abruptly with a large cowboy riding up on an equally big white horse. He greets an old-timer, Jake Benson (“Gabby” Hayes). He is Jerry Mason (Wayne), returned from college and ready to become partners, as previously arranged.


This is an OK story, with enough skew in the plot to give it some interest. It bags a welcome amount of comedy, some of it unintentional. But here is the story.

Jerry and Jake go into  business together. They have the ranch and additionally a blacksmith shop in the town. Jake removes a stone from a prospector’s horse, and a stray dog, wondering into the shop, picks up the stone with his mouth. It turns out to be gold-bearing quartz, and the dog becomes a permanent adoptee. Jerry and Jake retrace the prospector’s route and discover a creek laden with gold nuggets. They keep the find secret and begin to harvest the gold.


Bad news. They take the gold to an assayer’s office to redeem it, but the two operators, Harris and Cole (Lloyd Whitlock and Yakima Canutt), are crooks, having already conceived a plan to swindle Jake out of his ranch. They take an inordinate interest in the source of the gold. Viewers will be interested to  know that Canutt was a professional movie stunt man, and he mentored John Wayne’s early career, teaching him riding and other cowboy western skills.


But first, there is a break in the action. Jake’s granddaughter Betty (Barbara Sheldon) is returning from college and will join them to run the ranch household. Things are looking up for Jerry. But here’s what’s crucial. Jerry and Jake have been paid off in bills for their gold, and one of the greenbacks is torn. Jerry patches the bill with the gummed flap from Betty’s letter.


Later, the sheriff’s son, Al Miller (Eddie Parker) conks the banker in his office and steals the cash Jake just paid to settle the ranch mortgage. The crime is pinned on Jake. But the bill with the envelope flap stuck on is a dead giveaway when Miller starts spending some of his hard stolen cash.

A street fight ensues, so obviously faked. Even in those days you could not pay an actor enough money to allow John Wayne’s fist to make real contact.


Miller recovers from the beating and steals a horse, riding out of town. Jerry steals another horse and gives pursuit. It’s one of those senseless chases that adds nothing to the plot, but does burn enough celluloid to help stretch this to over 53 minutes.

Jerry attempts the old “pull up alongside and drag him off his horse” trick. That fails miserably, and Jerry goes tumbling down a steep incline. He recovers, and gives chase in the oddest way. He encounters a water sluice of some sort and from all appearances skates downstream for a considerable distance before exiting and waylaying Miller further along  the trail. Unbelievable!


Harris and Cole follow through with their scheme to sucker punch Jake. They bushwhack him out on the trail, leaving him for dead. But the two bumblers are unable to steal Jake’s mule, which animal returns to town, alerting people that something has happened to Jake. Also, wonder dog Friday is instructed by Jake to go get help. Friday fetches Jerry, who recovers Jake and the gold he was carrying.


Now comes the critical plot device. Jerry, Jake, and Betty make a pact to not reveal that Jake is alive. They are going to spring a  trap on Harris and Cole. When Jerry brings the gold into town to redeem it at the bank, the crooks accuse him of the crime.

Betty alerts Jake, and the two plan a surprise. Jake was an actor in a previous life, and he shows up at Jerry’s court hearing  in drag disguise. He claims to be Veronica Benson, Jake’s closest (very close) relative. With attendant comedy, Jake reveals himself in court and points the finger at the two crooks.


The cooks make their getaway out the courtroom window, and a Keystone Cops chase ensues. Here is Jake crossing the tracks in a 1915 vintage automobile, nearly cutting off the crooks on their stolen railway maintenance car.


Of course, Jerry and Jake bring the crooks in to justice, and of course there is matrimony in the future for Jerry and Betty. Not to be indelicate, but when the two stand together, Betty’s pretty head does not even reach up to Jerry’s shoulders. She is going to be in for a big surprise on her wedding  night.


There is an additional jolt in this plot I did not mention. Jake is arrested for conking and robbing the banker. He is confined to the slammer. Jerry needs to take action. He rides immediately to the ranch. Betty has just arrived, and they meet for the first time. Jerry rides back to town. What was Jerry’s purpose in riding out to the ranch? I’m guessing the plot required for Jerry to meet Betty about this time, so Jerry needed to ride out to the ranch to make this happen. Possibly there was more to the plot in an early version, but that part got clipped. We may never  know.

Uncle No No

Some more of the same


That title is inspired by an earlier post. Pardon me for a moment, but there seems to  be an echo:

Donald Trump won the hearts and minds of a segment of American society, a segment that flinched at shadows and saw what wasn’t there to be seen. It is a segment for which the truth is a sometime thing, and what is believed is driven by inner voices overriding crisp reality.

  • The religious right saw a savior who would return piety to government institutions.
  • The self-serving saw a politician who would rein in government meddling.
  • Isolationists saw someone to protect them from a fearsome world just an ocean or a wall away.
  • The paranoid saw a politician who respected their romance with deadly force.
  • And some saw a white man who would restore privilege where it was rightly due.

Some or all of these are going to be disappointed.

Yeah, people. I hope you didn’t milk all those expectations dry, because there’s not much left. The list is short now but likely to grow. Where to start?

Start with “Lock her up! Lock her up!”

During Donald Trump’s successful White House campaign, his massive crowds thundered: “Lock her up. Lock her up.”

What he didn’t say was that, as president, he would not have the authority to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton, much less jail her, as Trump threatened during a debate. That’s the jurisdiction of the U.S. Justice Department, which is supposed to work outside the influence of politics.

Now that he’s won the election, the president-elect is sending a signal both to Congress and, perhaps even his incoming attorney general, that it’s no longer politically beneficial to try to prosecute the former Democratic presidential nominee. In a Tuesday meeting with editors and reporters at the New York Times, Trump said he doesn’t “want to hurt the Clintons, I really don’t. She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways.”

All that aside, the fact remains that Hillary Clinton has never committed an indictable offense. For all the shouting, for all the rhetoric, for all the accusations, the former Secretary of State is one clean politician. A comparison with the president elect, from all accounts institutional grade indictable, is ludicrous,

But according to Trump University employees, Mr. Trump’s investing techniques were never part of the program. Instead, salespeople were trained to exploit vulnerable “students” by pressuring them to pay thousands of dollars to attend seminars and “personal mentorship programs,” many run by people with little or no experience in real estate. One sales manager called the entire business model a “fraudulent scheme.”

Mr. Trump initially said he would never settle the suits, a claim he has often made in other cases. But in fact, Mr. Trump settles lawsuits quite often — in more than one-third of the cases whose outcome is on the public record, according to an analysis by Bloomberg Politics. As soon as he was elected, he changed his tune on the Trump University suits, surely realizing that it would not look good for a sitting president to take the stand in his own defense against charges of fraud and racketeering.

Trump supporters who were promised the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) would forthwith evaporate upon The Donald’s taking office are in for some disappointment, some of it already setting in:

After reiterating his promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, President-elect Donald Trump has indicated that he may keep two of the law’s most popular provisions. One is straightforward enough — children up to age 26 being allowed to stay on their parents’ plan. The other — preventing insurance companies from denying coverage because of preexisting conditions — offers a perfect illustration of why Trump and most of the other Republicans critics of Obamacare don’t understand the health insurance market.

There is a lot more to the foregoing from The Washington Post, and it explains some of the harsh truth that the ACA was designed to handle.

Any serious consideration  by President Trump to pull the United States out of NATO is going to be met with firm opposition from the people in charge of our national defense:

Nato’s secretary-general has issued a dramatic warning to the US president-elect Donald Trump: “Going it alone is not an option, either for Europe or for the United States.”

Writing exclusively in the Observer, the leader of the western military alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, claims the west faces its greatest security challenge in a generation.

NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, was envisioned by General Dwight Eisenhower following the conclusion of World War Two in Europe. It has had strong support from American administrations ever since, including the current one:

Donald Trump will retain America’s commitment to the Nato alliance, Barack Obama has said, seeking to reassure a jittery world of continued American leadership.

The Republican was often critical of Nato during the presidential election campaign, branding it “obsolete” while praising the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, a source of alarm in foreign capitals.

But speaking in the White House before heading to Europe on his final foreign trip as president on Tuesday, Obama said Trump indicated when they met last week that he would not pull out of the decades-old alliance.

My prediction of earlier this month is likely to continue bearing fruit, and also considerable disappointment to a large block of the electorate, so easily taken in when they were told what they wanted to hear. The coming years are going to see a large dose of buyers’ remorse.

Bad Joke of the Week

One of a continuing series

Not yet

Not yet

A young executive was leaving the office late one evening when he found the CEO standing in front of a shredder with a piece of paper in his hand.

“Listen,” said the CEO, “this is a very sensitive and important document here, and my secretary has gone for the night. Can you make this thing work?”

“Certainly.” said the young executive. He turned the machine on, inserted the paper, and pressed the start button.

“Excellent, excellent!” said the CEO as his paper disappeared inside the machine. “I just need one copy.”

Cry Baby

Some more of the same


This just in: President elect Donald Trump is beginning to  take his prospective term of office seriously.

Not so fast:

Donald Trump scolded media big shots during an off-the-record Trump Tower sitdown on Monday, sources told The Post.

“It was like a f−−−ing firing squad,” one source said of the encounter.

“Trump started with [CNN chief] Jeff Zucker and said, ‘I hate your network, everyone at CNN is a liar and you should be ashamed,’ ” the source said.

“The meeting was a total disaster. The TV execs and anchors went in there thinking they would be discussing the access they would get to the Trump administration, but instead they got a Trump-style dressing-down,” the source added.

A second source confirmed the fireworks.

Whoa! “I hate your network, everyone at CNN is a liar and you should be ashamed.” It would appear some people have no sense of irony:

This, from an  opinion piece that ran in The New York Times, goes on to list 19 additional  prevarications, and from all appearances these were within the confines of a single presidential debate.d

The Washington Post has been additionally diligent. Here is their list:

  • Comments connecting Mexican immigrants and crime
  • He never said ‘some of the things’ claimed by Megyn Kelly
  • President Obama spent $4 million to conceal school and passport records
  • The ‘real’ unemployment rate is 42 percent
  • His claim that his tax plan is going to cost him a fortune
  • President Obama is accepting 200,000 Syrian refugees
  • The Bush White House tried to ‘silence’ his Iraq War opposition in 2003
  • ‘Thousands’ of New Jersey Muslims celebrated the 9/11 attacks
  • He ‘predicted Osama bin Laden’
  • The unemployment rate is 23 percent
  • His border wall would cost $8 billion
  • He would save $300 billion a year on prescription drugs
  • He built his empire with a ‘small loan’ from his father
  • John Kasich ‘helped’ Lehman Brothers ‘destroy the world economy’
  • Time magazine as the source for his ‘facts’
  • He can eliminate $19 trillion in debt in eight years
  • There have been no negative ads against Kasich
  • The Islamic State is ‘making a fortune’ on Libyan oil
  • No foreign leader greeting Obama was ‘without precedent’
  • ‘Scores of recent migrants’ in the U.S. are charged with terrorism
  • Putin called Donald Trump ‘a genius’
  • The National Enquirer story on Ted Cruz’s father was not denied
  • Hillary Clinton started the birther movement
  • ‘There’s nothing to learn’ from his tax returns
  • Crime is ‘through the roof’ because of illegal immigration
  • There’s something ‘fishy’ about Vince Foster’s suicide
  • Trump University judge was out of line
  • The Obama administration actively ‘supported’ terror groups
  • Saddam Hussein was ‘so good’ at ‘killing terrorists’
  • Trump had nothing to do with Russia’
  • His revisionist history of mocking a disabled reporter
  • Clinton ‘started the talks’ to give $400 million to Iran
  • Clinton raised $60 million in July from just 20 people
  • Clinton only recently pledged to renegotiate NAFTA
  • Clinton’s emails led to an Iranian defector’s death
  • Clinton lacks the ‘physical stamina’ to be president
  • Undocumented immigrants collect Social Security benefits
  • 58 percent of black youths are unemployed
  • ‘Pay-for-play’ regarding Clinton and Ericsson
  • Trump’s ridiculous claim that veterans are ‘treated worse’ than undocumented immigrants
  • 92 million Americans represent a ‘nation of jobless Americans’
  • ‘We’re not allowed to profile’ potential terrorists
  • President Obama is trying to ‘delay’ Obamacare enrollment until after the election
  • Stop and frisk in NYC wasn’t ruled unconstitutional
  • A racial discrimination suit was ‘brought against many real estate firms’
  • He won ‘every poll’ on the second presidential debate
  • Clinton ‘lost’ $6 billion at the State Department
  • Clinton-backed Haiti factory ‘amounted to a massive sweatshop’
  • His version of the latest Hillary Clinton email controversy
  • Clinton “gave” or “handed over” 20 percent of U.S. uranium to the Russians.
  • Clinton email controversy is ‘bigger than Watergate’
  • The murder rate is the ‘highest it’s been in 45 years

And there is my favorite, which neither of the foregoing saw fit to mention:


Donald Trump’s tirade against CNN and Jeff Zucker conjures up irony on an industrial scale.

The Trump administration is still forming and will not  become real until January. I will continue to have a few laughs in the meantime, but come inauguration day the fun will really get started. Keep reading.

Friday Funny

One of a series


This is Friday, and something is always funny on  Friday. What is it this time? There’s a story. Vice President-elect Mike Pence attended a performance of Hamilton in New York. It’s about the revolutionaries of Colonial America, featuring Alexander Hamilton. Governor Pence attended and did not receive an overly warm reception:

Mr. Pence had been seated in the center orchestra section, prominently visible to audience members. He appeared engaged throughout the show and applauded after most of its numbers, audience members near him said.

When Mr. Pence entered the Richard Rodgers Theater in Manhattan, he was greeted with a mix of clapping and booing, according to theatergoers who posted on Twitter.

The response was predictable:


So, what’s it to be, Mr. Snowflake President? My memory may be foggy on this, but I recall just a few days ago a presidential candidate calling out “Lying Hillary” and leading chants of “Lock her up.” And now somebody’s feelings are  hurt.

Readers, this is funny.

Your Friend The Handgun

Nothing new here, folks.


The Second Amendment guarantees citizens the right to keep handguns in their homes for self protection. How is that working out?

YPSILANTI, Mich. – A 3-year-old boy died after he was shot by another child in what police are calling an accidental shooting in Ypsilanti.

The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office said the shooting happened at approximately 1:30 p.m. Sunday, at the Country Meadows Apartments in Ypsilanti.

The 3-year-old was killed by another child playing with a gun.

The boy was fatally shot in the neck. Washtenaw County detectives say the victim’s mother was home at the time of the shooting.

The young boy died before the ambulance arrived.

Americans supporting their right to keep and bear arms will strongly resist any government infringement on the Second Amendment. Even three-year-old children are on the front lines.

Snowflake Elect

Some more of the same


Campaigning for President, Donald Trump needed your vote. He knew he couldn’t get my vote. He knew (or should have known) I was planning to vote for Clinton. He needed the vote of some others. Some others not so bright. So he said things. Things like, “I have a secret plan to defeat ISIS,” or words to  that effect:

Donald Trump brushed off his lack of a specific policy to defeat the Islamic State terror group on Wednesday night, claiming he had a plan but did not want to broadcast it to the United States’ enemies.

“I have a substantial chance of winning. If I win, I don’t want to broadcast to the enemy exactly what my plan is,” the Republican nominee said at an NBC-hosted commander-in-chief forum in New York. The gathering was the first time both Trump and his rival Hillary Clinton have shared the same stage in this election, albeit at separate times.

Now that The Donald has been elected The President, some wiseacres are poking fun at his secret plan:

Enter Major General Charles Dunlap, who wanted to know about Trump’s super secret plan to defeat ISIS.

“Siri, how do I kill ISIS?” Trump asked his Blackberry after googling “what is ISIS.”

That was funny. But this is what is really funny. Donald Trump—recently elected President of the United States—poked back:

On Sunday morning, Trump let his 15 million followers know he disapproved of Saturday Night Live’s latest episode, calling it “biased” and not funny.

His Twitter posting is a monument to snowflakiness:


Whoa! Donald, America is saddened that your feelings have been hurt. Maybe a $400,000 a year salary and free rent for four years starting in January will make everything all right. In the meantime, fasten your seat belt.


Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

Here’s another from Amazon Prime Video. I likely would not have seen it otherwise. It’s The Mechanic, starring Charles Bronson  in the title role. It came out in 1972, distributed by United Artists. Details are from Wikipedia.

Bronson is Arthur Bishop, a highly-paid assassin, a mechanic. The opening scenes show Bishop preparing an elaborate murder. He breaks into  a man’s apartment and rigs it. The man comes home, drinks the drugged tea, falls asleep, the pilot flame in the gas stove goes out, the apartment fills with gas, Bishop fires a single bullet from across the street into a book he has previously rigged and replaced on the bookshelf. The bullet strikes the hidden igniter, and the apartment explodes in flames.


His next assignment is Big Harry McKenna (Keenan Wynn), the wealthy crook who hired him for the previous job. He kills McKenna by staging a fake murder attempt, forcing him to  run up a steep hill and to die of a heart attack.


Outside of his work, Bishop’s life is devoid of all meaning. He hires a prostitute (Jill Ireland) to  pretend to love him.


The plot twists as Bishop takes on Steve McKenna (Jan-Michael Vincent), the playboy son of the late  Big Harry, as a protégé and partner.


Their climactic job together is a straight-forward killing of a gang boss on his boat off the coast of Italy. There ensues lots of action, including destruction of most of the surviving gang members.


But now it’s time for the double-cross. Steve has taken on the assignment of killing Bishop, which he does before they depart Italy. He pours two glasses of wine, but Bishop’s glass was previously laced with poison. His death will  appear to  be from a heart attack.


On his own and back at the Bishop estate, Steve settles in and hops into his red car. Then he notices the message Bishop has previously taped to the windshield. It reads:

Steve, If you read this it means I didn’t make it back. It also means you’ve broken a filament controlling  a thirteen second delay trigger. End of game!

Bang, you’re dead


The bomb in the car explodes, and that’s the end of the movie.

Bronson had a lengthy career prior to  this, going back to 1951. On the surface, this seems to have been his first big-time lead role, and he followed it  with a series of Death Wish films. He was living proof a man can make as a movie star absent a handsome face.

Despite the twists (unique ways to pull off a killing), this plot plods along. None of Bronson’s famous roles involved a character that set the screen on fire. This one is so methodical and slow it would be possible to fall asleep watching it, which I did.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same


It’s a deadly game. Which is going to come first? Am I going to run out of Tuesdays? This Tuesday we honor young Josef Smith of Mableton, Tennessee.

The father of Josef Smith said his family was “really scared” of the 8-year-old son he and his wife Sonya Smith are accused of murdering, according to testimony from a Cobb County police officer Wednesday.

Sgt. Steven Gaynor said Smith told him a day after the boy’s death in October 2003 his son acted as if he were possessed by the devil.

“I pictured it like ‘The Exorcist,’ ” said Gaynor, who testified that Joseph Smith told him the boy was capable of acts and deeds not consistent with an 8-year-old. The father said his son would often speak in a frightening tone, telling his parents, “I am Legion, soldier of the devil.”

Joseph and Sonya Smith, of Mableton, each face one count of murder, three counts of felony murder, five counts of first-degree child cruelty, three counts of aggravated assault and two counts of false imprisonment.

Jurors were shown autopsy photos of Josef that displayed numerous bruises and abrasions all over his body.

Jesus is not finished with you. Tuesday will roll around again in seven days. Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Quiz Question

One of a continuing series


Searching for a new Quiz Question this week. History to the rescue.

I was looking over some photos I have, and I got to thinking. What was the greatest land battle ever fought in the Western Hemisphere? By greatest, I’m thinking  most troops involved, most firepower, most casualties.

Search your history books if you want, and post your answer, not on Facebook, but as a comment below.


This posting has received a number of comments and attempts to answer the question. I am going to drop the final hint. I pulled up a map from Google. See below:


I added a line running north and south through London. Everything to the left of that line (in the picture) is in the Western Hemisphere. Please note that almost all of Spain is west of the line, and particularly the invasion of Normandy took place to the west of the line. The eastern most landings of Operation  Overlord were directed at Caen in France, and that city is in the Western Hemisphere.

Basket Case

Some more of the same

Ever since Donald Trump was elected President of the United States I have been looking forward to having a bit of fun. I mean, Donald Trump as President is bound to be a bottomless well of merriment.

It turns out it won’t be necessary to wait until January. The fun has already started:

Washington (CNN) — Donald Trump isn’t letting slights go — even after the ego-boosting accomplishment of winning the presidency.

As the Republican President-elect greeted candidates for Cabinet position at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf course Sunday, he couldn’t resist another shot at the cast of the musical “Hamilton” — which had read a message directly to Vice President-elect Mike Pence after he attended the Broadway production Friday night.

With Pence looking on silently, Trump told reporters the remarks were “very inappropriate.”

It marked the second straight day of Trump, now back in control of a Twitter account aides had wrested away in the closing stages of the campaign, raging against “Hamilton.”

Joy to the world, the old Trump is here to stay. The person  who plans to become President of the United States is giving us a preview of attractions to come. Liberals and conservatives alike will pull up the news with their coffee each morning, eager to learn what astonishing affront to  mature behavior will be the talk of the next 24 hours. And I will be one of those people.

The same Donald Trump who for years fostered the notion that President Obama is not an American citizen, the same Trump who called a news reporter a cunt, the same Trump who took time during a campaign talk to mock a reporter with a disability, yes that Trump, now takes offense when a well-heeled New York audience is discourteous to his pick as Vice President. That Trump.


Readers, it’s going to be a fun  four years.

Fasten your seat belts. It’s going  to be a bumpy night.

Bad Movie of the Week

One of a series

Hulu has a bunch of classic Boris Karloff films, and I’m going through them because I need fodder for my Bad Movie of the Week series. In the case of this movie, it’s not just that the print available to Hulu was bad—apparently it was. Between when this came out in 1940 and the advent of digital conversion technology, it is possible that any good print would have lost quality due to lackadaisical storage. This is The Fatal Hour, which tells you it’s an hour long, and just about everybody dies.

If you find it strange seeing an English actor (William Henry Pratt) sporting a Russian stage name and playing a Chinese police detective in California, then you are going to find this plot even more intriguing. This film is a product of Monogram Pictures, notorious for it’s catalog of low-budget films and a traditional venue for Boris Karloff. Details are from  Wikipedia.


Comedy-tragedy opens the drama. Police detective Captain Bill Street (Grant Withers) is visited in his office by the attractive Roberta Logan (Marjorie Reynolds), a newspaper reporter, and obviously a very close friend. She desperately needs a new crime story for the paper’s next edition. Bill tells her that all is quiet on the crime front. Just then they receive word that Bill’s friend, undercover detective Dan Grady, has been murdered. That sets things moving.


Into the case comes Detective James Lee Wong (Karloff). He was a friend of Grady’s, as well, and will be working the case. What I found remarkable in this scene is that Withers stands taller than the man who played Victor Frankenstein’s monster.


A priceless piece of jade jewelry on Grady’s body leads Wong to a down-market jewelry store, where the proprietor, Frank Belden (Hooper Atchley), examines it but can provide no useful information.


We also get to meet Frank Belden, Jr. (Craig Reynolds), an improvident playboy, here pushing marriage plans on the shady Miss Tanya Serova (Lita Chevret) at the Neptune Club, where the late Detective Grady was last seen alive.


In the back room Miss Serova confronts proprietor Harry Lockett (Frank Puglia). She is in cahoots with Lockett on the smuggling operation that involved the mysterious jade. Things are getting tense.


It turns out this is about the last many of these characters are seen alive. First the elder Belden is murdered in his shop. Then Miss Serova is strangled in her apartment. Then the odd character who produced a radio play for the Belden commercial enterprise turns up dead. That leaves John T. Forbes (Charles Trowbridge), the underwriter of the Belden jewelry business and the kingpin behind the smuggling operation. Here Wong demonstrates how a piece of string pulled from another window in the building took the telephone receiver off hook, just in time for the telephone operator to hear a radio program that was playing.


Obviously Mr. Wong knows too much and must also be eliminated. Of course it’s Wong who gets the upper hand and nabs the nefarious Forbes.

It’s an interesting  plot, maybe one of the better stories. But the dialog is flat and unmoving, and the acting matches.

Young Belden: Listen Tanya. I’ve been lying awake nights, planning our future together. I realize I haven’t much to offer you, but I’ll try awfully hard to make you happy.

Tanya: Well, excuse me Frank. I think I better go fix my makeup.

And I think I better go line up another Monogram Pictures production for Bad Movie of the Week.

Deconstructing Trump

First of a Series

Readers of this page will recall that starting back in August I ran a daily item dishing dirt on presidential candidate Donald Trump. Of course it was enormously successful.

No, it  wasn’t. Absolutely nothing I  wrote changed the course of the election.

I am now resigned to accept the fact that my fellow Americans picked candidate Trump as the next President of the United States, despite all my sound advice. That said, I will now join, lock-step with all loyal Americans in supporting our new president.

Just kidding.

Boys and girls, it’s going to  be a fun four years, and the party is just getting started.


This came over my Internet TV connection by way of ABC World News Tonight on Friday, and it was fun  to watch. What you would have seen, had you watched this, was Daniel Petrocelli, lawyer for Donald Trump, explaining  what must be hard to explain. Let me quote from the captions supplied by ABC News:

He had very strong feelings about this case, but he was willing to put his personal interests and his personal beliefs aside and focus on the issues that are facing the country.

All right. That requires some translation, since Mr. Petrocelli’s words may have gotten garbled in transmission. What Mr. Petrocelli is saying is “My client, Donald Trump, screwed a bunch of people, and he regrets having been caught at it. Now that these chickens have come home to roost, there is no way he is going to win. Rather than fight an embarrassing scandal like this while in the process of taking over the most powerful government on this planet, he’s willing to shell out $25 million from his pocket change to make the whole thing blow over.” I like it when lawyers come right out and say it like it is, as I am sure you do.

Others had more to say:

Donald Trump Agrees to Pay $25 Million in Trump University Settlement

The president-elect has always had nothing but good to say about what amounts to a criminal enterprise:


Amazing! 98% approval rating. I am impressed by how that stacks up. I have degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas at Dallas, and I am dead sure none of those have 98% approval from  their students. So, where does President-elect Trump get the 98% number? He gets it where he gets a lot of his information. He makes it up:


President-elect Trump later walked back that silly statement, saying he was only kidding:

During the debate, Sanders said he couldn’t imagine electing a president who believed that climate change is “a hoax invented by the Chinese.” Sanders specifically cited Trump to make his point.

That was an apparent reference to a 2012 tweet by Trump, in which the real-estate mogul wrote, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.”

Trump was asked about Sanders’ attack the next day during a “Fox & Friends” interview. He said his accusation against the Chinese was an obvious joke.

Yes, an obvious joke. Sort of like “98%.” Not 98% approval? Say it ain’t so:

Businessman Donald Trump has made false and misleading claims in response to attacks on “Trump University,” a now defunct program that offered tips on real estate to paying customers.

  • Trump said that the so-called university “had an A rating from the Better Business Bureau.” Actually, it once had an “A+” rating, according to a Better Business Bureau spokeswoman. But its most recent rating was a “D-.”
  • Trump claimed that “many of” the university’s instructors were “handpicked” by him. That’s not true. In a 2012 deposition, a top executive for Trump University said that “none of our instructors” was picked by Trump himself.
  • Trump said that “98 percent of the people that took the courses … thought they were terrific.” That’s misleading. A class-action lawsuit against Trump alleges that the surveys were not anonymous and were filled out during or immediately after sessions when participants were still expecting to receive future benefits from the program.

This is not the first FUBAR to come out of the Trump administration (to be), and it will not be the last. I will have fun in the months to come, and hopefully readers will, as well. It’s not going to be day-by-day, but there is going to  be enough material to keep us all entertained.

Keep reading. And  may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Bad Joke of the Week

One of a continuing series

Not yet

Not yet

A husband is at home watching a football game when his wife interrupts, “Honey, could you fix the light in the hallway? It’s been flickering for weeks now.”

He looks at her and says angrily, “Fix the light? Now? Does it look like I have a G.E. logo printed on my forehead? I don’t think so.”

“Well, then could you fix the fridge door? It won’t close right.”

To which he replied, “Fix the fridge door? Does it look like I have Westinghouse written on my forehead? I don’t think so.”

“Fine,” she says, “Then could you at least fix the steps to the front door” They’re about to break.”

“I’m not a damn carpenter, and I don’t want to fix the steps,” he says. “Does it look like I have Ace Hardware written on my forehead? I don’t think so. I’ve had enough of you. I’m going to the bar!”

So he goes to the bar and drinks for a couple of hours. He starts to feel guilty about how he treated his wife and decides to go home and help out. As he walks into the house, he notices the steps are already fixed. As he enters the house, he sees the hall light is working. When he goes to get a beer, he notices the fridge door is fixed. He asks, “Honey, how’d this all get fixed?”

She said, “Well, when you left, I sat outside and cried. Just then a nice young man asked me what was wrong, and I told him. He offered to do all the repairs, and all I had to do was either sleep with him or bake him a cake.”

The husband asked, “That is funny. So what kind of cake did you bake him?”

She replied, “Helloooo… Do you see Betty Crocker written on my forehead?”

Quick History Lesson

Three years ago I posted an item about the following meme, which showed up on my Facebook feed, courtesy of a conservative friend.


I said this:

There’s something else said here that was supposed to remain hidden. A bit of analysis reveals the trick is in the language. In the instance of the three constitutional amendments, the language uses party names, but does not identify the people involved. I will make a slight change in language without changing any of the facts:

  1. Liberals supported abolition of slavery. Conservatives opposed abolition of slavery.
  2. Liberals supported giving citizenship to freed slaves. Conservatives opposed giving citizenship to freed slaves.
  3. Liberals supported the right to vote for all. Conservatives opposed the right to vote for all.
  4. Liberals supported making affordable health insurance available to all. Conservatives opposed making affordable health insurance available to all.

This item is currently receiving over 200 reads a day, down from 1300 shortly after last week’s election. It tends to draw more comment than any other post on this blog, a lot of it negative. Some people don’t like being told that racists are politically conservative. Here is the most recent:

It appears to me that the only thing that Changed is the definition of Liberal and Conservative. This does not negate the fact that the Party platforms hasn’t changed.

This came yesterday, and I did what I usually do. I hit the approve button in the admin window to make ND’s comment visible to all readers. Then I did something I always do. I attempted to verify that ND was an actual person. There is a way. Posting a comment requires supplying an email address:


Below the email  address is the IP address of the sender. You have an IP address when you are connected to the Internet. I sent ND a note by way of his email address, advising him that I had approved his comment, and also noting that “ND” was likely not his real name, and could he provide me with a real name.

Guess what happened. You already knew, of course. Gmail returned my note as undeliverable. There was no such account. This is what is called “ring and run:”

It’s an old game, but I got the title from a not quite as old TV show. It’s called “ring and run,” and what you do, if you’re a kid, is to ring somebody’s doorbell and skedaddle before they can get to the door. See what fun it is? You make somebody go to all the trouble for nothing, but the best part is, you don’t get caught. You get to leave your message and not have to answer for the consequences.

Yes, “ND” wanted to get his message out at my expense, but he had no desire to know what others thought about his comment. And he had no desire for anybody to know his real identity. He wanted to make his opinion known, but he didn’t want that opinion  to be associated with his name. In the email (returned as undeliverable) I sent to  “ND” I noted that when I write something I always put my name to it.

Net result: I removed the approval from ND’s comment, and it no longer appears beneath the original “Quick History Lesson” posting. It appears here on this page for those interested in knowing more about the character of people who want to make believe that racists are  not conservatives.

John Blanton