Only in America: tiger found in a Houston home

This morning I came across the following headline in my hometown newspaper: Pot smokers find caged tiger in abandoned Houston home.

In brief the story indicated:

  • Some local goombahs in Houston went into an abandoned house to smoke pot.
  • Inside they found a Tiger in a cage.
  • The Tiger was well fed (thank God) but the cage was secured only by “a nylon strap and screwdriver.” The tiger could easily have busted out.
  • Our smokers actually had the good sense to call the police.
  • The tiger was “taken to an animal shelter and will be transferred to an undisclosed animal sanctuary in Texas.”

The story also noted (1) it’s legal to own a tiger in Texas if the owner has a wild game permit, but (2) notwithstanding all of that, it is illegal to have a tiger in Houston.

Only in the effing United States would it be legal to have a tiger in your effing home.

When these idiots abandoned their house, didn’t they think to themselves, gee, maybe we should do something about the effing tiger.

This is why the United States will always be on the fringes of the Wild West. God help us if some crazy precious “freedom” might be compromised in some way. Like not owning 47 guns and a bunch of bumpstocks.

No wonder we voted for a malignant narcissist and deluded Überclown like Donald J. Drumpf.

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Not a fan of manufactured holidays, such as Valentine’s Day

Personally, I’m not a fan of manufactured holidays, such as Valentine’s Day. Originally, Saint Valentine was a Third Century Christian martyr who was killed for ministering to Christians in Rome before that great city state had adopted the Christian religion. The day first became associated with romantic love within the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

Now it is, of course, mostly a Hallmark holiday, like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Or much worse, Grandparents Day, Sweetest Day, Boss’s Day, and Secretary’s Day.

Good grief Charlie Brown!

Valentine’s Day is mostly a day to embarrass the single people in our lives. Those of you who are partnered up should already know how to express your love to one another. If you haven’t figured that out yet, your not destined to stay in relationship for much longer.

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The Republicans have permanently forfeited their right to complain about investigations

I hate to break the news to my Republican friends, but they have more or less permanently forfeited their right to complain about any Democratic investigations.

Why do I say that? Because between the House, Senate, and Executive Branch, Hillary was investigated at least a dozen times over Benghazi and her email server, which are nothing compared to what Trump’s administration is being investigated for.

The Benghazi Investigation

Let’s start with the Benghazi investigation. Nobody actually remembers what Hillary was being investigated for.

  • The US military response was slow and confused, including questions about whether the US should wait for the Libyan regular forces to head up the response action. The American Ambassador (John Stevens) and three other Americans died in the attacks.
  • The U.S. Senate Select Committee and five House Committees (Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, Judiciary, and Oversight and Government Reform) all investigated the attack, and in particular whether the Obama administration willfully perpetuated a deliberately misleading and incomplete narrative that the attacks evolved from a political demonstration caused by a YouTube video (the Innocence of Muslims).

While there were aspects of the U.S. response that were unsatisfactory, nothing was ever uncovered by any of these investigations (and those conducted by the State Department or FBI) that ever found any fault with Hillary Clinton.

The Email Server Investigation

As we know, Hillary Clinton’s use of her family’s private email server for official communications (rather than using official State Department email accounts) drew criticism and was found to have used “poor judgment” by James Comey and the FBI. The practice was also criticized by the Inspector General for the State Department and by Committee’s controlled by Republicans in the House and Senate. However, it should be noted that:

  • While Hillary’s private server was at risk, there is no evidence that the server was ever hacked.
  • The emails that WikiLeaks leaked during the 2016 Presidential campaign were not pilfered from Hillary’s email server, but from DNC campaign accounts.
  • Donald Trump uses an unsecured Blackberry on a regular basis, and Ivanka Trump has also used a private email account for official business.

This was clearly a mistake on Hillary’s part, but not a mistake that had any obvious consequences.

The Mueller Investigation

The Mueller investigation is about something much more serious: it is a United States law enforcement and counterintelligence investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

And in particular, it addresses the question of whether members of Trump’s campaign team and Presidential administration colluded with the Russian government — our #1 enemy, lest we forget — in trying to get Trump elected.

In short, there is no comparison between the relatively inconsequential things that Hillary was charged with doing and the very serious allegations against the Trump administration.

Since January 2019, Mueller has publicly initiated criminal proceedings against 34 people—seven U.S. nationals, 26 Russian nationals, and one Dutch national. (And how many criminal proceedings were brought against Hillary and company? Zero!)

Of course, Mueller’s investigation is not finished yet and he is not done yet indicting those being investigated.

Trump’s Complaints

Donald Trump did, of course, poetically complain in his State of the Union address:

If there is going to be peace and legislation,  
there cannot be war and investigation.
It just doesn't work that way!

I got news for you Donald: fuck you. You and your cronies are being investigated for something real, something consequential, something which undermined our democratic system, not the two-bit shit that Hillary was investigated for over and over again.

And for my Republican friends who don’t like that the Donald and his administration is being investigated this much, suck it up, snowflakes. We’re just getting started. You ain’t seen nothing yet!

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The curious case of Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren is my Senator, the senior Senator from Massachusetts, sitting in the chair once occupied by Ted Kennedy. She is the Howard Metzenbaum of her generation, the most pro-consumer member of the Senate that we have. She is, in my view, an exceptionally good Senator.

So why am I not supporting her for President?

Because she can’t win.

Okay, this is a somewhat sordid tale, that involves both likability and also misogyny. Personally, I like Elizbeth Warren. She’s kind of goofy, and it definitely doesn’t work when she tries to be cool.

The Likability Factor

Hillary Clinton was not elected President of the United States for one reason: not enough people found her likable.

Okay for two reasons: not enough people found her likable and the electoral college.

Okay for three reasons: not enough people found her likable, the electoral college, and Russian interference.

Okay, for four reasons: not enough people found her likable, the electoral college, Russian interference, and the idiocy of James Comey.

Put the point is that one of the reasons is that not enough people found her likable. And I understood that, because while I liked her well enough, I didn’t love her the way I loved Obama.

She seemed like the smart girl at the front of the class, always raising her hand before anybody else. She was Tracy Flick in Election. She so evidently felt entitled to be President. In this respect she was very much like Mitt Romney, who also felt so entitled to be President that he was willing to flip and flop on any position (especially abortion). He ran away from his signature achievement – the Massachusetts universal health care law – during the 2012 election because Republicans had demonized the Affordable Care Act.

So there are both men and women who can be so nakedly ambitious, so obviously entitled, that it doesn’t wear well on them.

But let’s face it, especially in Hillary’s case, there was also a lot of misogyny going on.

Which brings us back to Elizabeth Warren. She’s like a schoolmarm, someone about whom one has the sense that she always knows a little better than you.

I know this is unfair, but this is what it is. There are a lot of people who are not going to like her because of this quality alone.

The Mysogyny Problem

I’m not in the camp that I think every woman politician is unlikeable. Far from it.

  • I think Kamala Harris is likeable. She seems tough as nails.
  • I think Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is likeable. She seems genuinely cool. (And the women can dance!)
  • I think Kirsten Gillibrand is likeable. She also seems very tough.

Now, I recognize that if these women (or any others) were to become a genuine threat to be President, the misogyny problem is likely to raise it’s ugly hand. It already has. But still, I think it’s different for Elizabeth Warren and some of these other women.

And let’s face it, we elected at least two Presidents — Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush — because people thought they would enjoy having a beer with them.

The Liberal from Massachusetts Problem

By now it should be a rule of politics that no liberal Democrat from Massachusetts should be allowed to run for President. The road is littered with those from my home state who attempted this feat, ever since Jack Kennedy ran (and let’s face it, Kennedy wasn’t really a “liberal” by contemporary standards). These include:

  • Ted Kennedy
  • Michael Dukakis
  • Paul Tsongas
  • John Kerry

It’s not just Democrats from Massachusetts who have failed in this respect. Mitt Romney (arguably mostly from Utah) and Bill Weld (who ran for Vice President on the Libertarian party ticket) have also tried and failed.

The Pocahontas Problem

And then there’s the Native American “Pocahontas” thing. Warren mishandled this issue from day #1. Of course she used the “Native American” designation to buy herself an advantage as a potential minority, so that she would have a better chance at landing a job at places like Harvard. And when she was applying for the bar in Texas back in 1986.

That’s taking nothing away from her ability. By all accounts, she was a phenomenal professor at Harvard Law, and the other schools where she has taught (the University of Houston, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Pennsylvania). The point is that she didn’t need the Native American designation. She could have (and would have and maybe did) get there on ability alone.

What I don’t want her to do is capture the nomination and lose to Donald Fucking Trump, to be the second overqualified woman to lose to this effing quackjob. But a quackjob who still has a remarkable and disheartening amount of support in middle America.

Other Democrats Who Shouldn’t Run for President

It’s not like Warren is the only candidate that’s running that I think shouldn’t run. Others that I don’t think should run include:

  • Joe Biden: too old (76) and his moment has passed (let’s not forget that Biden ran in 1988 and again in 2008, and that his 1988 campaign died on the plagiarism issue).
  • Bernie Sanders: too old (77) and his moment has passed (lightning struck in 2016, but it’s not going to strike again).
  • Tulsi Gabbard: too young (37) and inexperienced.
  • Marianne Williamson: too new agey and without any political experience.
  • Pete Buttigieg: too young (37) and inexperienced (Mayor of South Bend, Ind?)
  • Howard Schultz: too much a billionaire businessman without any political experience, and potentially running as a spoiler.

If 2016 taught us anything it should be while it’s possible that anyone can grow up to be President, it’s not necessarily a good idea that anybody (especially those with no political experience) actually be President.

It’s a serious job and should only be for serious candidates.

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Picking a fight with the world’s richest man

If there’s one guy I wouldn’t pick a fight with, it would be the world’s richest man. Literally. Currently, that man is Jeff Bezos, the founder of

The man picking a fight with him is the aptly named David Pecker — or as he will be known in the rest of this post, David Peckerhead — who has already been embroiled in previous scandals. [1]

Peckerhead is the publisher of the National Enquirer, among other magazines, and he has long been in a pissing contest with Bezos, who also happens to publish the Washington Post. Peckerhead objects to the way that Post has gone after his friend, President Donald J. Chickenshit, among other things.

For his part, Bezos has had some personal issues surrounding his marriage. In short order:

  • Bezos recently separated from his wife MacKenzie after many years of marriage.
  • During the separation, Bezos apparently had an affair with Lauren Sanchez, a media personality and news anchor.
  • The National Enquirer apparently went after Bezos, and published news articles about his affair with Sanchez.
  • Unhappy about these publications, Bezos asked his own investigators to find out how the Enquirer had gotten the information about Bezos’ affair with Sanchez.
  • In return, the Enquirer threatened to publish several embarassing and sexually suggestive photos of Bezos and Sanchez unless Bezos specifically disavowed the notion that the Enquirer had come after him for a politically motivated smear campaign.

Oh boy!

I wouldn’t threaten the World’s richest man with that kind of stuff unless I had a fool-proof plan for how to get away with it. David Peckerhead does not.

Bezos — who decided that Peckerhead had not made him an offer that he couldn’t refuse — decided to go public with the story on his own blog. Bezos has now formally accused Peckerhead of attempted extortion.

Good luck with this one, Mr. Peckerhead. Unlike your pal, President Donald J. Chickenshit, Jeff Bezos really is the richest man in the world. He can come after you with unlimited resources. He’s going to be able to lawyer you to death.

And, as the richest man in the world, he can continue to bolster the Washington Post while it goes after your pal, President Donald J. Chickenshit.

I wouldn’t want to be you this morning, David Peckerhead!

[1] Pecker was the guy who engaged in “catch and kill” operations on behalf of his friend, one President Donald J. Chickenshit, to bury the stories of his affairs with Stormy Daniels and Karen MacDougall.

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What is in the water down there in Virginia?

Man, what is in the water down there in Virginia? In the last few weeks we’ve had the following stories involving Virginia’s Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General:

  1. Virginia’s newly-elected Governor, Ralph Northam, physician, officer in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, and Democrat, turns out to have appeared in a photo from his medical yearbook published in 1984 (Eastern Virginia Medical School) that shows him in blackface.[1]
  2. Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor, the charismatic 39 year old African-American Justin Fairfax, who would become Governor if Northam resigned, was then accused of sexually assaulting a woman at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Fairfax maintained that the encounter with Vanessa Tyson, an associate professor at Scripps College and fellow at Stanford University, was consensual; she claimed it started consensual but proceeded into decidedly non-consensual territory.
  3. Virginia’s Attorney General Mark Herring, who had chastised Governor Northam after the revelation of his blackface photo (and had called on him to resign) then admitted that as a 19-year-old undergraduate he and some friends attend a party dressed like rappers, also in blackface, and performed a song.

And these are the Democrats. You can imagine what the Republicans are like in Virginia.

As irony would have it, if all three of these guys (Northam, Fairfax and Herring) were to resign, the new Governor of Virginia would be the Speaker of the Virginia House, who is a Republican.

Of course, only the Democrats could cannibalize themselves like this. The Republicans would be like Cindy Hyde-Smith, the Senator from Mississippi, who was elected despite joking publicly about her willingness to appear at a lynching “in the front row,” and was all like “go fuck yourselves” when she was implored to resign.

So what is the attraction to blackface in Virginia? Is this like a thing down there? I mean, I realize that racial politics are complicated in Virginia — maybe even more so than the rest of the United States — but still.

Stay tuned to find out if this ends up with the Republicans in control of the Governor’s mansion.

[1] Northam first admitted that it was him in the photo but then claimed that it was somebody else in the picture, while still admitting that there had been another time where he had put on blackface as part of appearing in costume as Michael Jackson.

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Donald Drumpf’s plodding State of the Union

On Tuesday night, after a week’s delay, Donald Trump delivered his 2nd State of the Union Address to the nation. He started right out with a rhetorical lie: that the state of our union is strong. I think what he meant to say, what he should have said is that the state of our disunity is strong. All the more so because he’s our moron President.

Truthfully, I couldn’t listen to his plodding voice drone on for an hour and twenty minutes. Never worse than when he reads from a teleprompter, Trump initially made the required rhetorical appeal to bipartisanship that every President is required to make.

Yeah, sure, blah, blah, blah.

Donald Trump will never be bipartisan, he will always be and remain a partisan asshole, his defining characteristic.

As reported by NPR — and different news outlets had slightly different takes on it — the most significant takeaways from the speech were:

  • Trump didn’t acknowledge the new political reality in Washington;
  • Trump was as schizophrenic as he always is;
  • Trump once again lied about things like the “migrant caravan”;
  • Trump claimed (in his usual modest way) that if he weren’t President we’d be at war with North Korea right now;
  • Trump is still obsessed about getting his (mostly symbolic) wall;
  • Trump went back to the Cold War bogeyman and tried to claim that the Democrats are looking to install “socialism” in the United States (back then it was “communism”);
  • and Trump crowed about how well women have done under “his” economy, prompting a lot of the new female Democratic lawmakers to let out a “Bronx cheer”.

Stacey Abrams, the almost was and certainly should have been Gubernatorial candidate in Georgia, did pretty well with a message focused on voting rights. No major snafus on her part.

So, we have another week for the two sides to negotiate about Trump’s border wall before we face another potential governmental shutdown. Oh what fun!

Nancy Pelosi got to smirk at Trump, and Trump (because he doesn’t know better) forget to give her the chance to introduce him.

I spent the time Trump was speaking watching the Celtics beat Cleveland and nursing my two kittens, both of whom became eunuchs yesterday. A much better use of my time than watching the orange moron speak.

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