Bad Joke of the Week

One of a continuing series

A man and wife stand in front of a judge. They are getting a divorce, and they each want custody of the child.

The wife argues, “I am the mother. The child belongs to me.”

The judge looks at the man and raises his eyebrows.

The man thinks for a while and then says, “I put a buck fifty in the soda machine. Do you think the soda machine gets the can of soda?”

Advertisements

Buyer’s Remorse

Number 26 in a series

Full disclosure:

I do not post these to make fun of Donald Trump, current President of the United States. I post these to make fun of the people who voted for Donald Trump. Some people out there by now have got to be feeling the heat. My intent is to see they get no rest, and I will remind them as often as I am able, that this is what they wanted. So where to start?

Oh, Jesus! Let’s start with the revolving door that the Trump administration has become. So, Jack, who is the latest high-profile departure from this finely-tuned machine? Oh, no! Not HHS Secretary Tom Price! Say it isn’t so.

But of course it is. What else were you suspecting?

Tom Price resigns as Trump administration health chief after outrage over pricey private jet flights

I will bet all the Democrats who voted to confirm Mr. Price back in February are feeling awfully red-faced about now. Of course there aren’t any. All Democratic senators and two independents voted against confirmation (except McCaskill, who did not vote). All Republicans voted to confirm. You can be sure the Democrats excused their “no” votes by questioning Mr. Price’s ethics. I wonder how they’re feeling about right now:

By a vote of 52 to 47, the Senate confirmed Mr. Price, Republican of Georgia, after a debate that focused as much on his ethics and investments as on his views on health policy. Democrats denounced his desire to rein in the growth of Medicare and Medicaid by making fundamental changes to the programs, which insure more than 100 million Americans.

Actually they are probably feeling pretty good about now—also having a good laugh. As am I

Your Friend The Handgun

Nothing new here, folks.

Because of the National Rifle Association and its defense of the right of all Americans to carry firearms, this is the safest country in the world—with a few exceptions:

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Attorneys completed closing arguments in the murder trial of Shawn Smith, 26, on Tuesday.  Smith is one of three men accused in the shooting death of a 13-month-old Elijah Johnson back in January 2016.

Smith took the stand in his own defense Tuesday.  He testified that he was in fear for his life in what police describe as a drive-by style shooting.

According to police reports, the shooting was sparked after Isaiah Smith robbed the defendant and Dontay King earlier that day.  The prosecution argued that S. Smith and King were enraged over the robbery and went on a manhunt for Isaiah that night and opened fire while he [Isaiah] was holding the toddler.

I mean, man, the police aren’t going to  be there when somebody takes your stuff. It’s up to you and your trusty handgun to take matters in hand and defend your rights. Too bad about the baby. Maybe next time.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

Here’s an old one from 1983, and it’s not so bad. There are obvious flaws and considerable prescience evident. I will explain later. It’s The Dead Zone, based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name. It’s from Paramount Pictures, currently streaming on  Amazon Prime Video. Details are from Wikipedia.

This is about psychic powers, to be expected from Stephen King. We see high school English teacher Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken) giving his final lecture, only he doesn’t realize it yet. He finishes reading The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe, and promises to get into The Legend of Sleepy Hollow next time. Then he meets up with teacher and lover Sarah Bracknell (Brooke Adams), and they head off for an afternoon riding a roller coaster before heading back to Sarah’s house for some serious necking. But the ride has put Johnny off his stride, and he declines Sarah’s offer of sexual delights, vowing to save it for after their marriage. Quaint, to say the least, and nearly fatal.

On the drive home Johnny encounters a character that makers of Pet Sematary sought to use six years later. It’s the careless truck driver, shown in multiple flashes as catastrophe draws ever nearer. Sure enough, it’s a tanker truck, and the driver jackknives it in front of Johnny’s little car. Fortunately it’s only carrying milk. Unfortunately Johnny is unable to avoid clipping the end of the skidding trailer.

Five years later Johnny awakes from a coma in the Weizak Clinic, operated by Dr. Sam Weizak (Herbert Lom). Sarah has already married somebody else and has a child, a device later used in Cast Away, not by Stephen King.

But something has happened to Johnny during his coma. He has developed psychic powers. When he clasps the nurse’s hand he gets a vision of her young daughter home alone with the house on fire. The fire department is summoned in time to rescue the child. People start to wonder about Johnny.

Grasping Dr. Weizak’s hand, Johnny sees back to the time of the German invasion of Poland in 1939, when Sam’s mother gave him up to a wagon loaded with refugees, sacrificing herself. But Johnny tells Dr. Weizak that his mother is still alive. He tells him where she is now. Dr. Weizak phones and hears the voice of his mother.

Johnny’s mother dies, and Johnny goes home to live with his father. Sarah comes to visit while Johnny’s father is out. She brings along her child, and while the child is sleeping she unbuttons her blouse to give Johnny what she intended to give him five years before. It turns out to be the only pussy Johnny ever gets in his life.

But there is a series of crimes in Castle Rock, Maine (Stephen King is from Maine). Young women and girls are being raped and murdered. It’s a plague that’s been going on for over three years. Can Johnny help? Finally he agrees, and he goes to the scene where the body of a young waitress has been found on a snow-swept gazebo. Johnny removes her mitten and holds her bare hand. He sees the crime being committed. He sees the stalker lure a woman he knows up onto the gazebo. He sees the attack. He sees the killer’s face. It’s the sheriff’s deputy.

Johnny goes with the sheriff to the deputy’s house, where the deputy kills himself with the same scissors he used on his victims. But the deputy’s mother shoots Johnny, and the sheriff kills the mother.

Recovered again, Johnny has a talk with Dr. Weizak, who tells him about verified cases of psychic abilities and about a dead zone. Hence the title. Johnny must abstain from psychic activity, else it will consume his life, and he will die.

Johnny moves to another town and becomes a private tutor. One client is Roger Stuart (Anthony Zerbe) a man of great wealth who has a son who isolates himself from others. What the boy tells Johnny is revealing. It’s the father who lives in isolation. The day Johnny first comes to the Stuart home he is introduced to a campaigning politician named Greg Stillson (Martin Sheen). He also meets Stillson’s creepy henchman, Sonny Elliman (Géza Kovács). Stillson gives the appearance of evil personified. He is power mad and grasping, and nothing will stand in his way. Here is where Stephen King is remarkably prescient. We all know that Stephen King is no fan (understatement alert) of Donald Trump, and Stillson is a remarkable take on politician Trump. After the sinister duo leaves, Stuart tells Johnny he should register to vote, and he should vote against Stillson.

The son makes great progress under Johnny tutelage, but one day Johnny touches him and foresees a future tragedy, as the boy and another fall through the ice in a hockey game on a pond. He demands the hockey tournament Stuart has planned be canceled. Instead Stuart dismisses Johnny and tells his son the game must go on. The boy refuses to play, and the next day the newspaper announces the tragedy of two boys drowning after crashing through the ice at the hockey game.

Surprise. There is a Stillson rally scheduled across the street from where Johnny is living, and Sarah and her new husband show up to hand out Stillson campaign literature. Johnny decides to attend the rally and to meet Stillson again.

He does, and he shake hands with Stillson and sees the future. He see’s Stillson, now President of the United States, awake in the middle of the night with a sudden vision that he must launch nuclear missiles to settle an international dispute. He forces his military commander under threat of violence to submit his hand print to approve the launch.

Johnny talks to Dr. Weizak and confirms that had Weizak known of future events, he would have killed Adolf Hitler. Johnny determines he must kill Stillson. He sneaks into a campaign rally and secretes himself in an upper balcony.

When Stillson takes the stage, with Sarah, holding her child nearby, Johnny rises up to take the shot. But Sarah spots him in the balcony and calls out to him. Stillson turns aside, and Johnny’s shot misses. What comes next is the killer scene. Stillson reveals his true self. He grabs Sarah’s child and holds him up to protect himself from Johnny’s next shot. Sonny shoots Johnny, who lies dying as Stillson leans over him demanding to know who he is. Johnny has one last vision. It’s the future cover of Newsweek showing the image above and carrying the caption “No Future For Stillson.” He sees a pistol lying on the magazine cover, and he sees Stillson picking up the pistol and placing it under his chin. There is a shot, and Stillson’s blood spatters the cover. Johnny tells Stillson, “It’s over. You’re finished.”

Stillson and Sonny leave the auditorium on bad terms, and Johnny dies in Sarah’s arms.

And that is that. What to make of it?

Letting slide the matter of psychic abilities, Weizak’s claim that there are verified cases of psychic abilities is false. But then, this is fiction.

Then there is the opening scene. English scholar Johnny Smith tells his student The Raven is a great work of poetry. It is not. Poe was a great word smith but not a recognized poet. No critical review give The Raven marks as significant poetry.

Five years in a coma, and we are told Johnny has suffered some physical debilitation. The movie shows a man in remarkable condition for having just come out of a five-year coma.

Sarah comes by to visit Johnny and to swap some DNA. It’s an interesting interlude, but it is not relevant to the plot.

Yeah, no real military commander is going to  allow a lunatic President coerce him into participating in a mass murder. Think what you will of our guys, but they are really made of sterner stuff.

The final scene is  totally contrived. A man with a rifle tries to shoot a political candidate in an auditorium full of people and is, in turn, shot to death. And everybody leaves the room so Sarah can have last, tender moments with Johnny. Really? In real life there would be law enforcement all over in 15 seconds. This was directed by David Cronenberg, who takes full responsibility for the absurdity. Producer Dino De Laurentiis is on the hook for lack of management oversight.

We see Stillson as an egomaniac of the lowest character, threatening and bullying in his climb to power. It’s as though 38 years ago (the book came out in 1979) Stephen King envisioned the rise of Donald Trump. Only, in the case of Trump, holding up a baby as a shield would not have dissuaded his loyal base. Nice try, Stephen.

Buyer’s Remorse

Number 25 in a series

Full disclosure:

I do not post these to make fun of Donald Trump, current President of the United States. I post these to make fun of the people who voted for Donald Trump. Some people out there by now have got to be feeling the heat. My intent is to see they get no rest, and I will remind them as often as I am able, that this is what they wanted. So where to start?

Let’s start with a recent CNN focus group of Trump voters. The images are from a YouTube video. Here is a clip from the video: http://edition.cnn.com/videos/politics/2017/09/26/trump-nfl-attacks-voter-panel-camerota-newday.cnn

Images are screen shots from the video:

Host Alisyn Camerota quizzes five who voted for Trump on their current level of support.

There are three men and two women. She asks who still supports the President. The two women raise their hands. The three men indicate they no longer support Trump.

 

Then she asks the men what turned them off. What caused them to lose confidence in Trump after voting for him in November? One man cites Trump’s choice of cabinet members. He’s a high school teacher, and especially he objects to the choice of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary. His colleagues have agreed with him. She is completely unacceptable. She lacks experience for the job and is a person in charge of public education who is against public education.

Another man thought that as a business man Trump would be somebody who could get the deals done. Then when it became apparent that Trump’s idea of running his office (my words) is to tweet about innocuous matters, he figured Trump really was not the right person for the job.

The third man lost faith the day after inauguration day. Trump’s fascination with crowds and other things large (as opposed to his hands) indicated (again my words) Trump does not have his focus on the job.

A woman who expressed her continued support is asked about Trump’s tweet war with professional athletics. Camerota asks her why Trump is weighing in on the issue. Her response is, “I think it is because he loves America.” Nevertheless, she supports the players’ right to protest in such a manner. Her husband fought in combat, and her brother-in-law was killed. She agrees they did this in order to protect the players’ rights.

One of the men has a telling comment. Why is Trump calling the players sons of bitches and not dishing the same on the Nazis at the Charlottesville rally?

And my question is, “Where were you people in the months leading up to the November election? Where were you when Donald Trump called a woman reporter a cunt? Where were you when he questioned the citizenship of a sitting President? Where were you when he bragged about grabbing women by the pussy? Where were you when he defrauded thousands of customers with a phony university? Where you when he mocked a reporter with a crippled arm and questioned the integrity of a federal judge and further encouraged his audience at rallies to shout ‘Lock her up’ regarding his political opponent and encouraged people in audience to ‘beat him up’ regarding a protester?” You have no excuse for your bad decision of last year. The onus is on you. You ditched your brain in the sewer and sold your intellect to the lowest bidder.

May Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

Continuing from last week, I’m posting more on death by alternative medicine. Some time ago I chose Tuesdays to carry the sad news about people dying from false belief. Alternative medicine (AltMed) is one of today’s significant mass murderers. Take the case of Warren G. Harding, the 29th President of the United States:

Beginning on June 20, 1923, the Hardings sought to escape the heat and scandal of Washington on a 15,000-mile transcontinental train trip and voyage to Alaska. The president was 57 at the time. The recently unsealed diary and notes of naval physician Joel Boone reveal Boone’s grave concerns about the president’s heart condition. The warnings were ignored by longtime Harding homeopath “Doc” Sawyer, who made no effort to stop Harding from speaking in the blistering heat, driving the golden spike to complete the Alaska Railroad, or doing other arduous tasks. In this Sawyer had the absolute approval of the first lady, who was now enjoying the height of her national popularity and didn’t want the trip canceled. She viewed the incompetent Sawyer as her own Rasputin, who’d miraculously kept a chronic kidney ailment from killing her.

When Harding suffered a bout of food poisoning from tainted crab meat at Cordova, Alaska, Doc Sawyer ultimately weakened the president’s sick heart by treating him with heavy doses of purgatives to flush out the toxins. On Aug. 2, 1923, when Boone was out of the sickroom in San Francisco’s Palace Hotel, Sawyer plied one too many purgatives – in Florence’s presence – and Harding died. There was a quick coverup regarding who was in the room and at precisely what time the president died. Mrs. Harding refused to permit an autopsy or a death mask, protecting her beloved Sawyer. “Now that is all over,” she told Evalyn McLean after Harding’s death, “I think it was all for the best.”

You don’t have to be poor and stupid to fall to quack medicine. Often the victim is rich and stupid.

Buyer’s Remorse

Number 24 in a series

Full disclosure:

I do not post these to make fun of Donald Trump, current President of the United States. I post these to make fun of the people who voted for Donald Trump. Some people out there by now have got to be feeling the heat. My intent is to see they get no rest, and I will remind them as often as I am able, that this is what they wanted. So where to start?

How about our petulant President’s life-long divorce from reality? The above meme is a screen shot from Donald Trump’s Twitter feed, and it is most interesting. To make it visible to search engines I am posting the text:

Iran just test-fired a Ballistic Missile capable of reaching Israel.They are also working with North Korea.Not much of an agreement we have!

Yes. Yes! Iran just test-fired a Ballistic Missile capable of reaching Israel. I reprinted that, capitalizing “Ballistic” and “Missile” for no apparent reason, just as it was in the original tweet, for no apparent reason. Anyhow, this is dreadful news, and it has been brought to our attention by the President of the United States in an official United States Government communication.

If only the least part of it were true:

Iran’s supposed missile launch was fake, US officials say

By Lucas Tomlinson, Fox News

EXCLUSIVE: Iranian state television released video footage Friday claiming to show the launch of a new type of medium-range ballistic missile, a few hours after it was displayed during a military parade in Tehran.

But it turns out Iran never fired a ballistic missile, sources say.

The video released by the Iranians was more than seven months old – dating back to a failed launch in late January, which resulted in the missile exploding shortly after liftoff, according to two U.S. officials.

By now I am beginning to think Donald Trump gets his news off the back of a box of breakfast cereal. Should I also hope that Trump supporters are starting to show some buyer’s remorse? Should I further hope that Sarah Palin wins the Nobel Prize in physics?

People Unclear

An ongoing scandal – number 17

I’m wondering whether I should quit putting out these memos. Apparently nobody reads them. Included in “nobody” would be former judge Roy Moore of Alabama. That he has not read the memo has been long apparent. From the Huffington Post:

Alabama Senate Front-Runner: Evolution Is Fake And Homosexuality Should Be Illegal

By Antonia Blumberg

U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore has approached his work over the decades as he once approached mastering kickboxing and building a house with [his] own hands: with laser focus and a fervent belief that he has God on his side.

Moore, 70, is vying to become the next U.S. senator for Alabama, and his chances are looking good. A poll released Monday by Louisiana-based JMC Analytics and Polling found that the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court holds an 8-point lead in the Republican primary run-off over his opponent, U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, who was appointed by Alabama’s governor in February to temporarily fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Whoever wins will face Democrat Doug Jones, whose odds are low in the overwhelmingly red state.

Right out of the gate this says something. Especially it says something about the great state of Alabama, previously discussed. The matter of Roy Moore has been covered previously here:

There is one thing his critics (that would include me) can appreciate about Judge Moore, and that is he does not hide his intent behind noble claims of advancing morality in the name of all faiths. It actually is refreshing to see a public official, such as Moore, come out and state that this country is for Christians (Jews if they behave themselves), and the rest of you idolaters can just go screw off. I’m sorry. Did I say Christians? I meant some Christians. Joel N. Shurkin has researched and posted a better hash of this issue than I could ever have done:

Including a fairly lengthy discussion of Moore’s doings and past history. In brief, from Wikipedia, Roy Moore was elected Chief Justice of Alabama in 2001, and apparently without much hesitation, he commenced to trample on constitutional law by commissioning a monument enshrining the biblical Ten Commandments and having the sculpture installed in the Alabama Judicial Building. Consequences ensued.

Suit was filed against this legal breach, and a federal court ordered the monument be removed. Judge Moore was the person in charge of the facility, and he refused to comply with the court order. For this official impropriety he was removed from his position of Chief Justice. Additional political involvement ensued, following which Roy Moore again ran for Chief Justice and was again elected by the people of Alabama—may Jesus have mercy on their souls.

Once again Judge Moore misapplied his position by defying a higher court that ruled against Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage. He resigned his position and is now running for the United States Senate, a position he is likely to obtain.

What makes Roy Moore’s ascent to such an elevated position is his lack of understanding of some basic truths. We can start with his defiance of modern science. From The Washington Post:

The last 50 years, Moore argued, have witnessed the tragic removal of God from public life, from schools, from government, something that was never intended under the Constitution’s establishment clause. “There is no such thing as evolution,” he said at one point as he waited for his lunch. Species might adapt to their environment, he continued, but that has nothing to do with the origins of life described in the Bible. “That we came from a snake?” he asked rhetorically. “No, I don’t believe that.”

Of course, Roy Moore is correct in believing snakes are not ancestral to people. Studies of biological evolution indicate snakes and people share a common ancestor with no direct line of descent from one to the other. What is obvious from his statement, however, is complete ignorance of some high school science. What is appalling is his flaunting of his ignorance followed by Alabama voters’ acceptance. Would always your worst enemies be ever so benighted.

But here is what’s adding drama to this mess. Current President Donald Trump, no stranger to benightedness, is supporting Moore’s opponent Luther Strange in the Republican primary race. I am keenly aware how much Donald Trump dislikes losing, but this race has all the look of a big smashup for Trump. It’s going to fun to watch.

Of secondary interest is who is supporting Moore. Prime would be former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and former Trump advisor Steve Bannon, neither of whom seem to have their heads on straight. Palin is no stranger to these pages, for a time getting her own series. Few deserve the honor more. Palin’s association with the factual world is tenuous at best. From an old news story:

Soon after Sarah Palin was elected mayor of the foothill town of Wasilla, Alaska, she startled a local music teacher by insisting in casual conversation that men and dinosaurs coexisted on an Earth created 6,000 years ago — about 65 million years after scientists say most dinosaurs became extinct — the teacher said.

After conducting a college band and watching Palin deliver a commencement address to a small group of home-schooled students in June 1997, Wasilla resident Philip Munger said, he asked the young mayor about her religious beliefs.

Palin told him that “dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time,” Munger said. When he asked her about prehistoric fossils and tracks dating back millions of years, Palin said “she had seen pictures of human footprints inside the tracks,” recalled Munger, who teaches music at the University of Alaska in Anchorage and has regularly criticized Palin in recent years on his liberal political blog, called Progressive Alaska.

It is small comfort to know that Steve Bannon is the more rational of the two.

Call me an alarmist if you wish, but the United States is about to be saddled with yet another nut case senator. Could things get much worse?

Wait! Donald Trump is President of the United States. Never mind.

People Unclear

An ongoing scandal – number 16

Apparently some people working for United States government did not get the message:

Rep. Randy Weber Tearfully Begs God To Forgive America For The Sins Of Legal Abortion And Marriage Equality

By Kyle Mantyla | April 27, 2017 10:33 am

Last night, nearly two dozen members of Congress joined Religious Right activists in Washington, D.C., for the annual “Washington – A Man of Prayer” event, held in Statuary Hall inside the U.S. Capitol.

Organized by The Jefferson Gathering, which is a project of right-wing pastor Jim Garlow’s Skyline Church in California, the prayer event was kicked off by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan while Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., and Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., served as honorary hosts.

All right. This is so not news. There has got to be more. Fortunately there is more:

Over the course of an hour and a half, 20 different members of Congress took to the podium to lead the gathering in prayer, including Rep. Randy Weber of Texas, who repeatedly choked up while begging God to forgive this nation for the “sins” of legal abortion and marriage equality.

Never once mentioning the election of Donald Trump as President. Yes, the United States has committed numerous sins, and Congressman Weber knows just which ones need to be forgiven. But who, pray tell, is it who is supposed to forgive us of these sins? Only Weber knows. He invokes a non-existent entity rather than some authority empowered to forgive all sins. All he needs to do is to ask me. I will offer forgiveness. And you can take Sunday morning off.