Free taunts!

I spent some time yesterday playing Mario Kart online with my niece(s), and sadly their WiiU seems to have died mid-session. That means I wasn’t able to use the taunt images I was planning to send when I CRUSHED THEIR HOPES AND DREAMS. So here, Internet. Have some free taunts, suitable for Mario Kart or perhaps other games.

Sometimes being a weasel is okay

Came across a weird article from The Intercept, titled “Intelligence Chief Suffers Intelligence Failure Over His Own Team’s Willingness to Brief Donald Trump.” The basic gist is that James Clapper says he has no problem sharing intelligence with Donald Trump, even though many others in the intelligence community are reportedly leery of doing so. The idea is that Clapper is exhibiting poor judgement in this case. I’m not sure what they expected him to say, though. Frankly, if I was in his position I would say the same thing. Anything else would look like favoritism or possibly meddling in the election. Then I would turn around and tell my staffers to give Trump as little as possible to keep him happy. It’s not like he and Hillary will get their briefings in the same room. 

Collecting thoughts on the inevitable question

I’ll be visiting family in a few days, and would be surprised if the presidential election didn’t come up. I wanted to try and collect some thoughts here in anticipation of that. 

The most likely question is probably “What do you think about Trump?” I would like to simply say, “He’s a jackass, a bigot and a fraud, and anyone who votes for him is either a jackass or bigot himself, or a dupe. The only good news is that he’s exposed the Republican party for what it is, a bastion of the same.” Hey, I did that without dropping an F-bomb!

Let me try a more gentle approach. In the United States, the President serves two main roles— head of state and head of government. The way I originally learned the distinction is to think of the United Kingdom, where the Queen or King serves as head of state, and the Prime Minister is the head of government. Trump would be a disaster as head of state, and god only knows what he would say or do on foreign trips. Remember how embarrassing Bush II was every time he went abroad? Trump would be that times a thousand. As head of state I’m sure he would be just as bad, but in a different way. Putting his idiot ideas about walls and banning a quarter of the world’s population from entering the US, he has zero experience (and likely temperament) for what it takes to manage the executive branch, let alone work with Congress. In fact, this part frankly baffles me. Putting Trump in the White House is the equivalent of hiring Kanye West to run Apple. What do you suppose would happen to Apple’s stock price if that were to happen? 

Or, I suppose I could just point to what Elizabeth Warren has said about him. Do you know what it’s like having her as your senator? It’s pretty awesome.

Now, a word on Hillary Clinton. There’s no question that I’ll be voting for her in the fall, although I did vote for Bernie Sanders in the primary. Unfortunately, I can’t say that I’ll be doing so with any great enthusiasm. She’s certainly got the experience for the job, and I have no doubt she’ll do fine. My problem is two-fold. First, I don’t find her terribly inspiring, certainly not in the same way that Obama was (although that may not be a fair comparison). She’s campaigning on maintaining the gains we’ve gotten over the last several years and incrementally adding to them, which is hardly a recipe for inspiration. More importantly, she still shows a tendency to want to triangulate, such as when she recently  reached out to Republicans. This is the kind of behavior that leads people to think there’s no difference between the parties, and predicts the kind of anxiousness to compromise that was so maddening about Obama at times. I find this particularly galling given what Republicans did during Bill Clinton’s administration, and how they have done nothing but try and block Obama at every turn in his. I had hoped that she would show more inclination to let them stew in their own failure.

Which brings me to my last thought, which is that as much of a shitshow as Donald Trump is, he is only emblematic of the Republican party as a whole. Let me just quote John Scalzi here:

There’s a reason why the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s executive director wants GOP candidates to “be like Trump” even as Graham bleats that Trump doesn’t represent the party. Lindsey Graham, are you shitting me? Trump doesn’t just represent your party. He’s the goddamn Platonic ideal of it. You can’t spend decades preparing the way for someone like Donald Trump and then pretend to be shocked, shocked when he roars down the field, flawlessly executing your playbook.

Given how many Republicans voted for Trump, it would be fair to say that whether party leaders like it or not, it is now filled with jackasses, bigots and dupes. Think back to all the crap about Obama’s birth certificate, “death panels” or the Vince Foster garbage that’s getting recycled again, or the multitude of votes to repeal health care reform that went nowhere. My only hope is that Trump makes the bullshit so inescapably clear that people finally wake up to it and not only does Trump lose, but so do large numbers of others in the party. Maybe then Hillary will be able to push forward more than what she seems willing to do now.

A quickie

From a recent article on Talking Points Memo:

Throughout the press conference, Trump railed against the press for looking into the details of his fundraiser.

“The press should be ashamed of themselves,” he said, telling reporters, “You make me look very bad.”

I’m sure Bill Maher would call him a “p(r)issy little bitch” for this, but the response that comes to my mind is:

SCOTUS vacancies in election years

So…Republicans are saying they’ll block any nominee Obama puts forth to replace Scalia, and are using the line that it’s “standard practice” not to nominate Supreme Court Justices during an election year. I’m sure this won’t surprise anyone, but that’s horseshit. As Amy Howe writes for SCOTUSblog:

The historical record does not reveal any instances since at least 1900 of the president failing to nominate and/or the Senate failing to confirm a nominee in a presidential election year because of the impending election.  In that period, there were several nominations and confirmations of Justices during presidential election years. 

She even provides a list of such instances starting in 1912 and going all the way through 1988. I have no doubt people spouting the “common practice for the last 80 years” are using some weaselly definition of what’s an “election year.” However, at this point is there anyone who doesn’t see this for what it is, just one more episode of obstructionism on the part of Senate Republicans? I’m sure Vonnegut fans will understand what I’m talking about when I suggest that maybe this is the appropriate symbol for the modern Republican:

Gop asshole

Two exchanges I’d like to see in episode VIII

This is super spoilery, but it’s a snow day and I’m pretty sure no one’s reading this stuff anyway. So, here are two small scenes I’d like to see in Start Wars Episode VIII

INT. resistance hangar

The MILLENIUM FALCON lands, and after a brief moment LUKE, REY, R2-D2 and CHEWBACCA exit. GENERAL LEIA approaches LUKE and gives him a hug.


It’s good to see you again. It’s been too long.


I know. Listen…I’m sorry about Han.

LEIA steps back and looks at LUKE for a moment. He looks older than his years, and clearly feels guilt about his friend’s death. She gives him a wistful smile.


It’s alright. It’s a wonder he lived as long as he did.

CHEWBACCA grunts his agreement.


…and scene number two…


INT. Corridor

KYLO REN is pursuing REY, who is injured and desperately trying to break away. She pauses at an intersection, glances left in surprise and then takes off to the right. As KYLO REN gets to the same intersection, GENERAL LEIA steps in front of him. She is pissed.


Benjamin Anakin Solo, put that light saber down! Now!

KYLO REN drops his saber and stumbles back a step.




And take off that ridiculous mask.

He rips the mask off his head like it’s on fire and stares past his mother, unable to make eye contact. LEIA picks up the light saber and starts pulling at the exposed wires.


Mother, no‑‑ that’s mine!

KYLO REN reaches for the light saber, but LEIA refuses to let him have it. She continues yanking pieces from the weapon.


Not anymore, it’s not. Do you have any idea how disappointed I am with you? If your father were here…


But he’s not, is he?

She slaps him across the face, hard enough to leave a growing red mark.


Your father loved you, and did everything he could to keep you safe. And how do you repay him?

She begins jabbing him with the light saber pommel, wires and bits now dangling from it. KYLO REN’s eyes begin to tear up.




Answer me!



Suddenly, FINN bursts into the corridor, a small group of Resistance fighters in tow.


General? Rey said‑‑ oh, crap!

FINN and the other fighters point their blasters at the now weeping KYLO REN.




Take him into custody.


This conversation isn’t over.

I have no idea what Kylo Ren’s middle name really is, but “Anakin” seems as likely as anything, and it has a nicer ring to it than the only other options I could think of. Bail? Luke? Lumpy? In any case, I’m amused at the thought that even though as far as we know Leia’s had no training or interest in the Jedi arts that her sheer force of will would be enough to stop Kylo in his tracks and reduce him to a little child again.