Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston






Monday, May 29, 2017

Denis Hale Johnson: July 1, 1945 -- May 24, 2017

One of my favorite writers.

Denis Hale Johnson was an American writer best known for his short story collection Jesus' Son and his novel Tree of Smoke, which won the National Book Award for Fiction. He also wrote plays, poetry, journalism, and non-fiction.

“The White Fires of Venus” — Denis Johnson

“The White Fires of Venus” by Denis Johnson
We mourn this senseless planet of regret,
droughts, rust, rain, cadavers
that can’t tell us, but I promise
you one day the white fires
of Venus shall rage: the dead,
feeling that power, shall be lifted, and each
of us will have his resurrected one to tell him,
“Greetings. You will recover
or die. The simple cure
for everything is to destroy
all the stethoscopes that will transmit
silence occasionally. The remedy for loneliness
is in learning to admit
solitude as one admits
the bayonet: gracefully,
now that already
it pierces the heart.
Living one: you move among many
dancers and don’t know which
you are the shadow of;
you want to kiss your own face in the mirror
but do not approach,
knowing you must not touch one
like that. Living
one, while Venus flares
O set the cereal afire,
O the refrigerator harboring things
that live on into death unchanged.”
They know all about us on Andromeda,
they peek at us, they see us
in this world illumined and pasteled
phonily like a bus station,
they are with us when the streets fall down fraught
with laundromats and each of us
closes himself in his small
San Francisco without recourse.
They see you with your face of fingerprints
carrying your instructions in gloved hands
trying to touch things, and know you
for one despairing, trying to touch the curtains,
trying to get your reflection mired in alarm tape
past the window of this then that dark
closed business establishment.
The Andromedans hear your voice like distant amusement park music
converged on by ambulance sirens
and they understand everything.
They’re on your side. They forgive you.
I want to turn for a moment to those my heart loves,
who are as diamonds to the Andromedans,
who shimmer for them, lovely and useless, like diamonds:
namely, those who take their meals at soda fountains,
their expressions lodged among the drugs
and sunglasses, each gazing down too long
into the coffee as though from a ruined balcony.
O Andromedans they don’t know what to do
with themselves and so they sit there
until they go home where they lie down
until they get up, and you beyond the light years know
that if sleeping is dying, then waking
is birth, and a life
is many lives. I love them because they know how
to manipulate change
in the pockets musically, these whose faces the seasons
never give a kiss, these
who are always courteous to the faces
of presumptions, the presuming streets,
the hotels, the presumption of rain in the streets.
I’m telling you it’s cold inside the body that is not the body,
lonesome behind the face
that is certainly not the face
of the person one meant to become.

Memorial Day


Boston Common

Ivanka Trump tweets out suggestion for "celebrating" Memorial Day: 


 Read the answers to her stupid tweet suggestion here.

Friday, May 26, 2017

"A Danger to the World"

I've never seen anything like this in my lifetime.

Europe's largest economy and American ally, Germany:

Donald Trump has transformed the United States into a laughing stock and he is a danger to the world. He must be removed from the White House before things get even worse. © DER SPIEGEL

A DER SPIEGEL Editorial by Klaus Brinkbäumer

Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States.

He does not possess the requisite intellect and does not understand the significance of the office he holds nor the tasks associated with it. He doesn't read. He doesn't bother to peruse important files and intelligence reports and knows little about the issues that he has identified as his priorities. His decisions are capricious and they are delivered in the form of tyrannical decrees. He is a man free of morals. As has been demonstrated hundreds of times, he is a liar, a racist and a cheat. I feel ashamed to use these words, as sharp and loud as they are. But if they apply to anyone, they apply to Trump. And one of the media's tasks is to continue telling things as they are:

Trump has to be removed from the White House. Quickly. He is a danger to the world. 

Daily Kos:  They say Trump simply has to be removed and break down how the Americans can and should make it happen. Even they know Republicans are spineless and do not respect the rule of law:

Der Spiegel cont.:

The first is Trump's resignation, which won't happen.

The second is that Republicans in the House and Senate support impeachment, which would be justified by the president's proven obstruction of justice, but won't happen because of the Republicans' thirst for power, which they won't willingly give up.

The third possible solution is the invocation of the 25th Amendment, which would require the cabinet to declare Trump unfit to discharge the powers of the presidency. That isn't particularly likely either.

Fourth: The Democrats get ready to fight and win back majorities in the House and Senate in midterm elections, which are 18 months away, before they then pursue option two, impeachment.

Fifth: the international community wakes up and finds a way to circumvent the White House and free itself of its dependence on the U.S. Unlike the preceding four options, the fifth doesn't directly solve the Trump problem, but it is nevertheless necessary - and possible.

"The Conservative Mind Has Become Diseased" - Michael Gerson

The Gooper candidate for US Representative for Montana, Gianforte, who physically assaulted a journalist, has won the election, and Goopers are celebrating the win.

Michael Gerson, former GWB conservative speechwriter, gives us a perfect explanation for why a political party would celebrate the election of a pusillanimous thug -- "the conservative mind has become diseased."

That's as good an observation as there is to explain the bizarre behavior that would turn normally mentally healthy people into cheering mobs when they hear news of a thug's election to the US House of Representatives. 

Conservatives' current enthusiasm for brutish behavior can be directly traced to the reality teevee host who now plays at being POTUS.  While campaigning for the presidency, Comrade Trump whipped his followers into frenzies by telling them that the media are "the enemy of the American people." Comrade Trump's simple-minded followers lapped up his demagoguery and reveled in being degraded by his swinish antics.

The election of Gianforte of Montana is merely the consequence of conservatives' inability to resist something "uniquely horrible" in American politics -- Donald Trump.

Here's Gerson to tell us the sad story of the diseased conservative mind:

“To many observers on the left, the initial embrace of Seth Rich conspiracy theories by conservative media figures was merely a confirmation of the right’s deformed soul. But for those of us who remember that Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity were once relatively mainstream Reaganites, their extended vacation in the fever swamps is even more disturbing. If once you knew better, the indictment is deeper. 

 The cruel exploitation of the memory of Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer who was shot dead last summer, was horrifying and clarifying. The Hannity right, without evidence, accused Rich rather than the Russians of leaking damaging DNC emails. In doing so, it has proved its willingness to credit anything — no matter how obviously deceptive or toxic — to defend President Trump and harm his opponents. Even if it means becoming a megaphone for Russian influence. 

 The basic, human questions are simple. How could conservative media figures not have felt — felt in their hearts and bones — the God-awful ickiness of it? How did the genes of generosity and simple humanity get turned off? Is this insensibility the risk of prolonged exposure to our radioactive political culture? If so, all of us should stand back a moment and tend to the health of our revulsion.”

Wilson asks a question. My answer is:  "Yes, today's conservatives are past the rule of law and are nothing more than conscienceless cheering mobs, sick to their core.

6/ Are you so past the rule of law, and lack so much confidence in your ideas that this is where you take political satisfaction?

Thursday, May 25, 2017


The GOP's president, Donald "Russia" Trump doing what he does best: Being a narcissistic jerk.

Watch him shove Montenegro Prime Minister Dusko Markovic aside and push his way into the front row so that the cameras can be on him.

Donnie Russia is an international embarrassment:

 Watch our allies laugh and whisper as Trump reveals he still has no idea how NATO works

Donald Trump's America

Remember this:

Accepting Trump's thuggery leads to this:


From Daily Kos:

The eyewitness accounts of Greg Gianforte’s violent assault of Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs continue to paint an increasingly unsettling picture.

From Alicia Acuna, who witnessed the event, along with Fox News field producer Faith Mangan and photographer Keith Railey: During that conversation, another man — who we now know is Ben Jacobs of The Guardian — walked into the room with a voice recorder, put it up to Gianforte's face and began asking if him if he had a response to the newly released Congressional Budget Office report on the American Health Care Act.

Gianforte told him he would get to him later. Jacobs persisted with his question. Gianforte told him to talk to his press guy, Shane Scanlon.

 At that point, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him.

Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the man, as he moved on top the reporter and began yelling something to the effect of "I'm sick and tired of this!" Jacobs scrambled to his knees and said something about his glasses being broken. He asked Faith, Keith and myself for our names. In shock, we did not answer. He then said he wanted the police called and went to leave. Gianforte looked at the three of us and repeatedly apologized. At that point, I told him and Scanlon, who was now present, that we needed a moment. The men then left.

NY Times: "If convicted, [the candidate] faces up to a $500 fine, or six months in jail, or both."