December 31, 2016

Privileged old white guy comes to the defense of white privilege

“Very few commentators will tell you that the heart of liberalism in America today is based on race,” O'Reilly said. “It permeates almost every issue. That white men have set up a system of oppression. ... So-called white privilege bad. Diversity good.”

The irony is that O'Reilly's entire argument is an explicit defense of white privilege.
Race and party are tightly intertwined. The priorities of the parties reflect their membership, and therefore talking about partisan opposition often overlaps with talking about racial tension. That also means that defenses of the power of Republican voters overlap with defenses of the power of white voters.

Another way to frame O'Reilly's central premise is this: In the face of a diversifying American population, should protections be maintained that continue to support the political dominance of white people? A lot of white people, including O'Reilly, would say yes. A lot of nonwhite people would presumably say no.

On Jan. 20, the power structure of the federal government will be dominated by the Republican Party. The new establishment will be more white, will be acting on behalf of a heavily white party and will be less inclined to answer the preceding question in the negative. Nonwhite voters preferred Clinton and white voters preferred Trump (generally, though not universally).

It's the preference of the latter group that carried the day — and O'Reilly's entire argument is that it deserved to.

Bill O’Reilly rose to the defense of white privilege in America’s presidential voting process

December 27, 2016

Yes, yes he could

Blair says the worry isn’t necessarily that a single Trump Tweet might alone unleash nuclear catastrophe, but rather that one could very well exacerbate an already-existing situation in far worse ways than otherwise might have happened. Which, when you think about it, isn’t a particularly reassuring distinction.

“Almost any threat could be perceived as warranting some sort of response that’s not only rhetorical, but operational,” Blair tells me. In a reference to Soviet leader Lenoid Brezhnev, Blair added: “Brezhnev in 1973 threatened to intervene in the Arab-Israeli conflict. That triggered the United States under Nixon to respond by going on nuclear alert. We went to Defcon 3. Words and threats have consequences in the nuclear operations world, and can instigate a cycle of escalation that spins out of control.”

All this could be made a lot worse if Trump goes through with conducting “nuclear diplomacy by Twitter,” Blair said.

And so, whatever Trump’s actual intentions for our nuclear arsenal and the future of international disarmament efforts, his willingness to use Twitter to posture and chest-thump around nuclear matters should itself stir urgent concern. This will be particularly true if it holds over into situations involving escalating tensions.

In fact, one thing that Trump and his advisers should be pressed to answer right now is whether Trump will put his Twitter feed on ice in such situations. Given what we’ve seen from Trump thus far, there’s simply no reason to assume that he will be so inclined.
 Could Trump help unleash nuclear catastrophe with a single tweet?

December 22, 2016

Is Donald Trump a Threat to Democracy?

American democracy is not in imminent danger of collapse. If ordinary circumstances prevail, our institutions will most likely muddle through a Trump presidency. It is less clear, however, how democracy would fare in a crisis. In the event of a war, a major terrorist attack or large-scale riots or protests — all of which are entirely possible — a president with authoritarian tendencies and institutions that have come unmoored could pose a serious threat to American democracy. We must be vigilant. The warning signs are real.
 Is Donald Trump a Threat to Democracy?

A Former Apprentice Producer Responds to Donald Trump Being Elected President

Did we think this clown, this buffoon with the funny hair, would ever become a world leader? Not once. Ever. Would he and his bombastic nature dominate in prime-time TV? We hoped so. Now that the lines of fiction and reality have blurred to the horrifying extent that they have, those involved in the media must have their day of reckoning. People are buying our crap.

There’s a larger issue at hand: non-fiction or “reality” television has obviously become a huge force in shaping the minds of the populace. The Apprentice contributed to that. People lapped up what the producers were putting out, and the danger became real as news directors, desperate to compete with ratings, started putting music under soft news stories. Facebook started pushing altogether fake news. Opinions on Twitter became truths over lies. People were prone to clickbait no matter how salacious or factually questionable it was, and the entire journalism world turned on its head.

At the very same time, some clever producers were putting forth a manufactured story about a billionaire whose empire was, in actuality, crumbling at the very same time he took the job, the salary, and ownership rights to do a reality show. The Apprentice was a scam put forth to the public in exchange for ratings. We were “entertaining,” and the story about Donald Trump and his stature fell into some bizarre public record as “truth.” This is nothing new, and the impact it’s having on the history of the world is best depicted in the Academy Award-winning film Network, a satire.

Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities tried to outwit the headlines, but things have gone completely off the rails now with regard to how storytellers have to work double time just to keep up with the awful and true antics of Kanye West, the separating HGTV home-makeover couple, and our president-elect. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Supermarket tabloids are being thrust from the podiums of congressmen and Supreme Court justices. Smart people are playing dumb. And now it’s pretty safe to say that the man behind the curtain, Vladimir Putin, and his merry band of hackers, has done a decent job of playing puppet master doing a Jedi mind trick on the world so that he and Exxon Mobil could strike deals that would make them and the other 1 percent more rich and powerful than they already are.

So it’s more than just about lewd, lascivious behavior, and narcissism on set. It’s about a complex global system that uses the media to construct its allies and to sway the populace to move like lemmings toward the ballot box. We are masterful storytellers and we did our job well. What’s shocking to me is how quickly and decisively the world bought it. Did we think this clown, this buffoon with the funny hair, would ever become a world leader? Not once. Ever. Would he and his bombastic nature dominate in prime-time TV? We hoped so. Now that the lines of fiction and reality have blurred to the horrifying extent that they have, those involved in the media must have their day of reckoning. People are buying our crap. Make it entertaining, yes. But make it real. Give them the truth or pay the consequences.

I hope you appreciate where I’m coming from. My “Tweet Throat” moment when I suggested to the news media that someone unlock the recorded behavior found on The Apprentice tapes helped summon a bevy of stories about “what really went on” behind the scenes of that series. That story’s been told. What hasn’t been told (as much) is how complicit the media and social-media outlets have been in getting us to where we are now.

December 17, 2016

Trump reality - Behind the Smoke Screen: What Reality-TV Veterans Think of Donald Trump’s Presidency

 “As a reality television producer, the situation is extra horrifying.”

He has created a character based on aspects of himself, but it’s a character. And citizens believe that character is capable, and it’s just frightening, because it’s a character.”

Though Jenkins had this behind-the-scenes intel, not even he could have predicted that the American people would vote a grandstanding reality-TV character into the presidency.

“I wish that I was that insightful and could have predicted that [voter] response,” Jenkins says. “I personally did have a pit in my stomach [during the election], because I think that we sometimes forget the enormous reach of celebrity and fame. And unfortunately, on his game show, he was presented or perceived as a competent, articulate business man.”



Such is democracy

The electoral college is also remarkably misleading. All the verbiage in each day’s newspapers—about the suddenly discovered white working man; the self-flagellation of Democrats; the confident assertion by Republicans that people want the past eight years sent down the memory hole, A.S.A.P.—is based on the erroneous premise that more people voted Republican than Democratic last month. By and large, Democrats have been good sports about how the electoral college turned their success into failure. But there is no rule or tradition or custom that requires anyone to pretend that Donald Trump “won” the election, or to forget who did.

 The electoral college is not democratic

The great divide

The New York Times doesn't get religion, and own it.

New York Times editor

The swamp is overflowing

Journalists should be rewarded for calling out bulls*** on Donald Trump's team, Trevor Noah declared last night.

The Daily Show host revealed that he is introducing 'Crapcatcher Awards'. 
These, he announced, will be awarded to journalists who push back against the outrageous statements made by Trump's supporters.

A drunk is a drunk, but the person who encourages him to drive? That's an a**hole.

'And Trump has a lot of a**holes around him.' 

December 10, 2016

Five minutes with Trump

At this point, we should know to expect that each day will bring some new fresh hell regarding how President Trump deems it acceptable to interact with his constituents. Still, it’s more than a little chilling to watch him prepare to run the government like he's the second coming of Tony Soprano and Trump Tower is the Bada Bing.
 Five minutes 

December 4, 2016

In the never ending series of - don't wish too hard, you might get what you want

Donald Trump won the Electoral College (though not the popular vote) on the strength of overwhelming support from working-class whites, who feel left behind by a changing economy and society. And they’re about to get their reward — the same reward that, throughout Mr. Trump’s career, has come to everyone who trusted his good intentions. Think Trump University.

Yes, the white working class is about to be betrayed.
 Seduced and betrayed by Donald Trump 

December 3, 2016

Finally, Trump Explained

Do you remember “50 First Dates”? It was a Drew Barrymore movie about a woman with short-term amnesia who wakes up every morning with no memory whatsoever of the day that went before.
I am thinking it’s the perfect Donald Trump analogy.

In the past, I’ve always presumed that when Trump completely changed his position on health care or the Mexican wall or nuclear weapons in Japan, it was due to craven political opportunism. But it’s much more calming to work under the assumption that he doesn’t remember anything that happened before this morning.
Think about it next time you hear him bragging about his big margin of victory. “We won in a landslide. That was a landslide,” he told a crowd in Ohio on Thursday. It was perhaps the first time in history that a candidate used those terms after receiving 2.5 million votes fewer than his competitor.

It’s stupendously irritating, unless you work under the assumption that he no longer recalls the real story.
This week, Trump was on a victory lap in Indiana, where United Technologies just agreed to keep about 1,000 jobs at a Carrier gas-furnace factory that had been slated to be moved to Mexico. Trump had repeatedly vowed to save the Carrier jobs during the campaign, and even though there is no reason to believe this will have any effect whatsoever on other jobs in other factories, it seemed like a nice symbolic win.

But during his remarks to his ebullient fans, Trump cheerfully explained that he had no memory whatsoever of having promised to protect the Carrier workers. Until he heard it on TV.
Trump told the folks in Indiana that he had been watching the news one night last week and saw a feature in which a Carrier worker said he was not worried about the company’s plans to move his job to Mexico because Donald Trump had promised to save it.

“I said, ‘I wonder if he’s being sarcastic, because this ship has sailed.’”
But no, Trump said that he then watched a clip of Donald Trump the candidate, “and he made the statement that Carrier’s not going anywhere, they’re not leaving.”


He is just like Leonard, the hero of the movie “Memento,” who had to tattoo the clues to a murder on his arm because he couldn’t remember anything. Although Leonard made way more effort.

I am not the only person trying to come up with an overarching explanation for Trump’s failure to keep a constant position, but I think I’ve got the most flattering theory.

Former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told a postelection panel this week that the media’s negative response to his candidate’s constantly switching stories was due to an insistence on taking him “so literally.”

American voters, Lewandowski continued, understood “that sometimes, when you have a conversation with people, whether it’s around the dinner table or at a bar, you’re going to say things, and sometimes you don’t have all the facts to back it up.”

Some of you may find it disturbing that one of Trump’s chief apologists was basically saying that he talks policy like a drunk at happy hour. Some of you may hear Trump constantly contradicting today what he said yesterday and decide he’s an idiot.

From now on I’m going to try to think of him as a little bit like my dog, Frieda. Frieda is extremely intelligent, but her memory is only good for about 90 seconds.

Trump Explained

November 26, 2016

NYTs: Sticking to the moral high ground

While the NYTs met with Trump, not all editors chose to attend.

The very idea of sitting across the table from a demagogue who preyed on racial, ethnic and religious hostilities, and treating him with decorum and social grace fills me with disgust, to the point of overflowing. Let me tell you here where I stand on your "I hope we can all get along" plea: Never.
You are an aberration and abomination who is willing to do and say anything - no matter whom it aligns you with and whom it hurts - to satisfy your ambitions.

I don't believe you care much at all about this country nor your party nor the American people. I believe that the only thing you care about is self-aggrandisement and self-enrichment. Your strongest allegiance is to your own cupidity.

I also believe that much of your campaign was an act of psychological projection, as we are now learning that many of the things you slammed Clinton for are things of which you may actually be guilty.
 Donal Trump you're the reason we can't just get along

Best breakfast

Ice cream for breakfast is good for your brain and makes you happy. Chocolate cake for breakfast can help you lose weight.

So we conclude: to be thin, clever and chirpy, have chocolate cake and ice cream for breakfast. 

There is no Santa!

The only 'magic' of Christmas is family, holidays, presents, and too much food. 

Christmas is not ruined, ruined, ruined if parents fail to perpetuate the lie of Santa Claus.

Talking to kids about Santa Claus

November 24, 2016

Clinton more popular as the days drift by

Yet in the two weeks since the election, Clinton’s actual popular vote margin has continued to grow, complicating facile denunciations of the Democratic Party and its alleged failure. The former secretary of state now leads Trump by more than 2 million votes, according to the Cook Political Report, with 64,223,958 votes to Trump’s 62,206,395, as of Wednesday morning. Most of those votes are clustered in major urban areas in states that were a lock-in for Democrats—New York and California chief among them—and therefore did not affect the eventual electoral college outcome, which appeared as a minor landslide for the Republican.

As Clinton’s margin continues to grow, her ballooning lead will likely contribute to public angst over the electoral college, which gives more weight to smaller, more rural states at the expense of more populous, cosmopolitan ones. Several Democrats are openly questioning the worth of the current system and, in the case of retiring California Senator Barabara Boxer, are calling for a constitutional amendment to eliminate the 228-year-old institution. Even some of the electors themselves want fundamental change: Politico reports that a small group of “faithless” Democratic electors are trying to convince their Republican counterparts to vote against Trump when the college is convened in December—not to deny Trump the presidency, but to highlight the system’s obsolescence.

November 23, 2016

All growed up

Now that he is POTUS elect, Donald Trump is suddenly acting like a grown up.

Since the president-elect is known for being a rational, mild-mannered man not at all prone to lashing out over perceived slights in a manner more befitting a three year-old than the soon-to-be Commander in Chief, it seems crazy that he would react like a sixth-grader spreading rumors about a girl who turned him down for the holiday dance. (Or, perhaps more accurately, like a real estate tycoon spurned by a well-known Italian model.) But if this is how it's gonna be, Mitt Romney had better accept that Secretary of State job unless he wants to walk into the boy’s bathroom and see “For a good time call Mitt” and his home phone number scrawled across one of the stalls. 
 Trump trash talks Jamie Dimon

November 22, 2016


So pretty.

The roundest object in the universe.

Wall Street’s Vampire Squids Pucker Up for Trump

Wall Street is not without reservations about the president elect. The Street long ago washed its hands of Trump after he singed banks repeatedly by building, dismantling, and then rebuilding his private empire. The only major financial firm still doing corporate business with Trump is Deutsche Bank, and that is despite the fact that Trump sued the bank, in 2008, after he refused to repay the money that he borrowed to build the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago. (Trump claimed a force majeure as a result of what he argued was Deutsche Bank’s role in causing the financial crisis. The parties have since settled their legal dispute.)

Steve Bannon, Trump’s newly appointed White House senior advisor, used to work at Goldman, too, as did hedge-fund manager Anthony Scaramucci, who is also a member of Trump’s transition team. That’s an awful lot of Goldman people on the small Trump team, especially considering Goldman has made a particular point of not doing any business with the guy.

Wall Street’s Vampire Squids Pucker Up for Trump

Insult to justice

Donald Trump ran a presidential campaign that stoked white racial resentment. His choice for attorney general — which, like his other early choices, has been praised by white supremacists — embodies that worldview. We expect today’s senators, like their predecessors in 1986, to examine Mr. Sessions’s views and record with bipartisan rigor. If they do, it is hard to imagine that they will endorse a man once rejected for a low-level judgeship to safeguard justice for all Americans as attorney general.

And that's why the share price for private prisons increased following Trump's win.

Attorney General an insult to Justice 

The show rolls on

For Trump, it's all a game show.

A Trump Tower view 

November 21, 2016

All over, but the counting continues

The Associated Press count as of Saturday was Clinton with 63,390,669 and Trump standing at 61,820,845 – a difference of 1,569,824. 

Hillary more popular as count goes on

November 20, 2016

Doomsday 11/9

“When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience, and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.” - Neil Postman

November 19, 2016

The loss of fact

“If we are not serious about facts and what’s true and what’s not, and particularly in an age of social media, where so many people are getting their information in sound bites and snippets off their phones, if we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems,” he said. “People, if they just repeat attacks enough, and outright lies over and over again, as long as it's on Facebook and people can see it, as long as it's on social media, people start believing it. And it creates this dust cloud of nonsense.”
 Powerpoint made us dumb, now social media is making us stupid.

Obama slams Facebook for outright lies 

November 18, 2016

Trump’s America, as Seen From Brexitland

 Dear Americans: You have my deepest sympathy. We Remainers are familiar with your plight—the shock, the bewilderment, the vague feeling of dread when you wake each morning. What America is enduring—the triumph of lies and xenophobia over enlightened value—is perhaps even harder to bear than it was in England during Brexit since there is nothing quite as monstrous or false as Donald Trump over here, or anywhere else in Europe. But the Trump victory and Brexit are the result of the same populist insurgency, as many Trump supporters have gleefully pointed out. The Far Right is also on the march in France, Germany, Holland, Austria, and across Eastern Europe, and it has drawn strength from Trump’s victory.

The similarities in the condition of the U.K. and the U.S. are remarkable, particularly the resentment for the political and metropolitan elites felt by insurgents. We have heard much about the inequalities that pushed people to vote against their own economic interests in Britain and some of those arguments have been used to explain the Trump phenomenon. I don’t buy them all, by the way, but it’s clear that neither Trump’s economic plan nor the floundering British government will do anything to alleviate the lot of the people who have voted for the upset. Britain’s withdrawal from its nearest market and America’s proposed isolationism will do more to destroy jobs and prosperity than any policy either country has pursued since the war.

This will be the moment when supporters of a rational and enlightened society will strike to make their most devastating critique of Trump and Brexit. In the meantime, however, the majority of Americans who are suffering the painful sense of loss and confusion have to know that there are millions on the other side of the Atlantic who appreciate what you are going through. We have your back. Good luck.

Bullying in the age of Trump

Now the country has elected a man who threaded racist, xenophobic and misogynistic messages and mockery of disabled people through his campaign. Donald J. Trump’s victory gives others license to do the same. There are already signs that during his presidency, the moral values that schools and parents have been helping to instill in young people — empathy and “upstanding,” a term schools use that means looking out for fellow students who are being mistreated — will be in danger of eroding.
 Following by example. 

Bullying in the age of Trump 

November 14, 2016

Hell froze over

Trump’s rhetoric – including his controversial stances on immigration, the military, and more – is well documented, and Oliver joked that it sounded like “reading the to-do list on Satan’s refrigerator. Which of course Satan no longer needs now that hell has frozen over.”

“Either we just elected a president who didn’t mean a single thing he said, or we elected one who did. And it’s impossible to know which one,” 

Oliver explained how despite some strong work from the New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN in covering Trump’s campaign, most Americans consume their news inside an echo chamber – one that isn’t afraid to promote false stories. Oliver cited a recent BuzzFeed News story which found 38 percent of posts on three major right-wing Facebook pages included some form of fiction or misinterpretation, while 19 percent on liberal pages were also guilty of trafficking in fabrication.

“Weird conspiracy bullsh– has always been bubbling under the surface,” Oliver said. “But Trump was the first major candidate to harness and fully legitimize it. And It’s obvious in hindsight: He came along and told millions of people every crazy email you’ve ever forwarded was true. And that, at least in part, is why he will be our next president.”

As for Oliver’s other query: “What the f— do we do now?” The host had some suggestions. “We need to stay here and fight,” he said. “For the last eight years, we’ve had a president we could assume would generally stand up for the rights of all Americans. But that is going to change now. So we’re going to have to actively stand up for one another. And it can’t just be sounding off on the internet or sharing think pieces or videos like this one that echo around your bubble. I’m talking about actual sacrifice to support people who are now under threat.”
 What the fuck do we do now 

Not a racist bone in his body

Trump's first two appointments.

On the up side, no one from the Ku Klux Klan has been appointed ... yet.

Steve Bannon senior advisor

Reince Priebus chief of staff

Being right sucks

Regrets, The Simpsons have had one or two:

Being right sucks  

(From whence it came, for those who didn't keep up over the most recent decade of Simpsons episodes:

Predicting Trump - episode)

November 12, 2016

Blame Game

Let's get this exactly straight, to save an awful lot of drivel (and there is so much drivel from the stalls, isn't there, now that the deed has been done).

The Republican Party should have put the kybosh on the Trump candidacy a year ago.  They didn't. 

Too gutless, too stupid, didn't believe it could possibly happen.

The blame is wholly and solely with the party leaders, who fluffed about, did a bit of hand-wringing, but somehow thought it would all work out of its own accord.  One by one their other candidates fell, their alarm grew loud and louder, but they still did nothing.

The media treated the Trump candidacy like a money making circus sideshow, because that's exactly what it was, a campaign so base it was one more unbelievable freak act after the other.

In the end, even sitting and past Republicans did not vote for Trump, they urged others not to vote for him.  Even the Republicans could not morally stomach winning if it meant Trump would be the President, they preferred to lose, and clean up their own house for next time around, with a qualified candidate who reflected the dignity of the office.

Not voting for your own candidate is a nice gesture, displaying courage when all those around are acting like barbarians takes backbone.  But it was already one minute to midnight, and far too late for gestures or moral courage to prevail.

So there is the blame. 

Can everyone stop hysterically blaming the left or the media or the Democrats or Clinton, or whatever.  It's not that no one saw it coming.  We all fucking saw it coming.  There were only two candidates for goodness sake, the odds were pretty high that one of them would win, and 'one' of them was Donald Trump, so do the maths, go back and look at all the headlines over and over telling us how close it was, the headlines that kept telling us that Trump was a very strong chance to win, based on all polling, the headlines that - no matter the new and stomach churning revelations about Trump's amoral business and personal inner workings - didn't see a single blip in his popularity with voters.

Yes, we were in denial that this could possibly be true, because anything foretold on The Simpsons 10 years ago was just too stupid to come true.  Just as the Republican Party was in denial a year ago, and remained in denial until the very end, when they cast their own votes for anyone other than Trump.

The past and current republican leaders felt so badly about Trump that they wanted to lose the Presidency.

Now they have him, and so do we.  They did this.

The irresistable call to be one of the crowd, to conform, began within hours of Trump's win

In a letter to their subscribers, even The New York Times has already reduced the staggeringly vile and unethical Trump campaign to nothing more concerning than 'unconventional' (and thus why many thought he couldn't possibly win).

But it's not only the media, normal everyday people have already adopted totalitarian tones in siding with the winner, as if this will make them immune from the fallout of a Trump presidency. 

Now let us turn to Ionesco, who was not so immune to people's startling willingness to instantly adapt to the 'new normal' (which long ago became entrenched in relation to terrorism), and so will acquiesce and advocate for evil, rather than risk being seen as judgemental or falling off side from the new elites. 
In the early hours of Nov. 9, 2016, the winner of the presidential election was declared. As the day unfolded, the extent to which a moral rhinoceritis had taken hold was apparent. People magazine had a giddy piece about the president-elect’s daughter and her family, a sequence of photos that they headlined “way too cute.” In The New York Times, one opinion piece suggested that the belligerent bigot’s supporters ought not be shamed. Another asked whether this president-elect could be a good president and found cause for optimism. Cable news anchors were able to express their surprise at the outcome of the election, but not in any way vocalize their fury. All around were the unmistakable signs of normalization in progress. So many were falling into line without being pushed. It was happening at tremendous speed, like a contagion. And it was catching even those whose plan was, like Dudard’s in “Rhinoceros,” to criticize “from the inside.”

Evil settles into everyday life when people are unable or unwilling to recognize it. It makes its home among us when we are keen to minimize it or describe it as something else. This is not a process that began a week or month or year ago. It did not begin with drone assassinations, or with the war on Iraq. Evil has always been here. But now it has taken on a totalitarian tone.
A time for refusal 

Can we all just agree that shock and sadness are legitimate responses to a world changing event

Yes - this is what I thought about Trump's speech, people praised him no end, but he was clearly as stunned & shocked as anyone else.
(Now American's are being told they should not be stunned or shocked or upset, as if his winning in a first world democracy should be accepted with sanguine silence, or that totalitarian Trump rule means never having a feeling or opinion not sanctioned by the ruling elite.)
He even had something of that “What do we do now?” gaze that Robert Redford wore after his startling election-night win in “The Candidate.” It felt deeper than that too. Trump was entering a wholly new and terrifying space. He had never commanded a more triumphant stage, yet he suddenly resembled a shrinking fish tossed into scary waters.
I watched Trump again Thursday, as President Obama hosted him at the White House. The president-elect was deferential and gracious as the media entered the Oval Office. He also conveyed the same hesitant vibe as he did on election night, which was oddly reassuring. “The fact that the president-elect looks a bit shocked and more somber today is the most heartening thing I’ve seen in days,” tweeted Tom Nichols, a professor at the United States Naval War College and a vocal Trump critic during the campaign.
At least Trump was human enough to be nervous, or humble enough to let it show all over his face. Yes, this was really happening, and the realization was sinking into Donald J. Trump like the initial drips of anesthesia: His life had changed utterly, and so had the world.
The Presidential Look

POTUS & FLOTUS start packing

Obama already stealing White House soaps

November 11, 2016

Something real to get upset about

Disposable coffee cups not nasty or Chrismasy enough for Americans.

(The plain red disposable cups also could outrage in 2015.)

Starbucks green cups spark anger 

The white folk will be ok

 Poor white men and lots of white women vote for a rich ignorant white guy.

The revolution looks suspiciously like harking back to a rigid and traditional dark age, to me. The most deeply conservative 'protest' vote in history?

Someone wake me up when the real revolution starts.

Dear White People: Stop Saying Everything will be ok

The Jerry Springer show moves into the White House

Sadly, there will be no off switch for the reality show beaming to us all from the White House, come January 2017.


Trump, the pout-mouthed, big-haired, self-congratulatory flim-flam man more comfortable with a lie than the truth, so coarse he gives the concept a bad name, is President, and the whole world will have to live with it.

And just like a lot of those who voted for Brexit, great masses of those dimwits who chose Trump will turn around in a few months and complain that "we didn't know it would be like this". But it is already too late to undo what has been done.

Trump, the isolationist without a clue, will teach his adherents soon enough that a nation that will not approve trade deals will find itself starved of access to foreign markets. The rust belts that put their faith in him stand condemned to become even rustier and poorer.

A leader without an idea about foreign relations beyond the squalid vision of building a great big wall will soon enough be exposed as leading his country up a dry gully.

And a man so thick he believes he can play global politics with the likes of Vladimir Putin and skip free is plain dangerous.

There are not so many moments that can be identified instantly as turning points for world history. The declaration of world wars, the dismantling of a wall between east and west hemispheres, the failure of world markets...these are easily distinguished.

But the day the most powerful nation in the world put its faith in a calculated fool, as easily, apparently, as settling into a TV show that celebrates the basest instincts of both participants and audience?

That is a sad and pathetic day, which is not a promising start for what is, undoubtedly, one of those rare moments in history that can be identified instantly as a turning point.

So close, so close

It was closer than you think.

Clinton: 47.7 per cent of the vote

Trump: 47.5 per cent of the vote.

The great white divide

And what happened is that black women and white women voted like they lived on different planets.

Edison Research reports that 52 per cent of white women voted for Trump. But a full 93 per cent of black women voted for Clinton.

August 6, 2016

March 24, 2016

Turnbull runs with funny script

Turnbull adopts most meaningless slogan from US political comedy series, Veep. Can't he afford his how script writers?
It's been a turbulent week for Mr Turnbull: his popularity again plunged and on social media he has been lambasted for using a "hollow and oxymoronic" slogan made up for satirical political US TV show Veep.

The show's lead actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus said she was "dumbstruck" by Mr Turnbull's use of the phrase "continuity and change" during an interview on ABC's 7.30 this week — the slogan a carbon copy of one used on Louis-Dreyfus' spoof HBO series.

Mr Turnbull used it in an attempt to distance his government from that of former prime minister Tony Abbott.

Writer of the US TV series Simon Blackwell accused the prime minister of copying the slogan used in season four of the show.

"In S4 of Veep we came up with the most meaningless election slogan we could think of. Now adopted by Australian PM," Blackwell tweeted.

February 6, 2016

In 2016 it's easy being a smug Democrat candidate

they agreed at least on one thing: “On our worst days I think we can say we are 100 times better than any Republican candidate.”
 Clinton Goes on Offense as Democratic Debate Turns Ugly

January 31, 2016

The model, the media moguls and Mariah: a match made in media heaven

Annabel Crabb captures the community spirit of the Packer/Carey and Murdock/Hall engagements.

Moguls who have made their dough in tabloid media are rarely uncontroversial. But you really have to rise and salute when they decide to put a little back into the entertainment ecosystem.

Which is why I dedicate this column in grateful thanks to Mr Rupert Murdoch and Mr James Packer who – selflessly and without a thought for themselves – deliver so much pleasure to so many simply by choosing to marry amusing people.

Take Mr Murdoch, first. It takes a certain kind of mogul to preside over an empire in which the phone-stalking of Peter Andre is in any way central to the business model.
Turning to James Packer for a moment, one is of course forced to acknowledge that he is no longer a media mogul in the technical sense. But his deep commitment to popular content generation is beyond compare. I don't know if I can think of any series of paparazzi biffo snaps that has provided more shouts of joy than the action shots of Mr Packer, in 2014, deep in a Dad-scrabble with his mate David Gyngell while clad in an expensive but tragically gravity-susceptible pair of silk and cashmere trackie dacks.

But those trifling capers were as nothing compared to the hillbilly-heroin rush of pleasure to be derived from any Google image search incorporating the terms "James Packer" and "Mariah Carey". Now add the term "Halloween", and tell me I'm wrong.

The model, the media moguls and Mariah: a match made in media heaven

January 30, 2016

The rise of stupidity

"What scares me the most? Stupidity," he said, adding that a simple overview of comments on the Internet will uncover "this massive, naked onslaught of stupidity."
Sure, but do we really need a film director to point this out?  Twitter launched the daily death of trillions of brain cells, even for those who don't use it, yet have to endure news that's based on nothing more than what one prat tweeted to another prat.  
Maybe this is what the end of civilisation looks like. 
He's wrong about science fiction writers not predicting the internet, plenty did, and most particularly  William Gibson, Neuromancer. 

Read more at:

Over-thinking Twitter

A new column dissects Cher's tweets.

January 24, 2016

Too dumb to fail

All things US Republicans, two new books reviewed - “Why the Right Went Wrong” and “Too Dumb to Fail”.

A good summary of the state of the Republican Party:
He argues that the conservative movement has been captured by “empty-headed talking point reciters, rookie politicians who’ve never managed anything in their lives, media clowns such as Donald Trump, dim bulbs in tight pants or short skirts, professionally outraged shout-fest talking heads and total political neophytes.” He notes that the movement is full of overdogs pretending to be underdogs. Ted Cruz, the Tea Party’s leading champion, was educated at Princeton and Harvard Law School and is married to a Goldman Sachs executive. He accuses these assorted freaks of caring more about stoking outrage than in governing the Republic. The more outrage they provoke the more money they can raise — and the more money they can raise the more outrage they can stoke.

‘Why the Right Went Wrong’ and ‘Too Dumb to Fail’

January 21, 2016

Spark Joy - the Japanese art of tidying


When storing komono – my term for miscellaneous items – the only way to know the best place for any item is to think yourself into the character of that item. Before I put a komono item away, I joyously climb into the storage space and imagine what it would be like to be stored there. Only then can you know if the Toilet Duck cleaner would be really at home under the bathroom sink.

Once you’re living joyously with all your possessions joyously stored away joyously, you are free to move on to the most advanced joyous level of joyous tidying. See that lump sitting in the armchair watching the football when you want to watch Making a Murderer? Ask yourself this: which gives me more joy? The lump or the empty chair? So ditch him.

Word of the Year 2015 announced!

The Committee's Choice for Word of the Year 2015 goes to... captain's call.

Now I have a bone to pick with the word of the year committee: isn't it captain's pick, not captain's call?

Oh, and the word of the year is TWO words! This is not the first time that word of the year has not been a word, singular.
captain's call

noun a decision made by a political or business leader without consultation with colleagues.

Captain’s call perfectly encapsulates what happened in Australia over the past year. There has been an interesting change in usage; an infrequent item of the jargon of cricket makes the leap into politics and is now being used generally with an ironic tinge to it that is very Australian.

Honourable Mentions
The Committee would like to give honourable mention to...


noun an urban male who wishes to associate himself by his appearance with a rugged outdoors way of life,
as by wearing outdoor clothes such as check shirts, jeans and large boots combined with a beard as typical of a lumberjack.

It used to be all about women’s fashions, but the words are now being dominated more and more by those related to men’s fashion. Lumbersexual is an organic phenomenon that someone has identified and named. It is a neat coinage and perfectly describes this style that peaked in Australia over the past year.


noun Colloquial a designated driver. Also, deso driver.

The idea of deso is very topical. It combines a drinking culture with that of a law-abiding society. The word structure itself is typically Australian – a shortened form with an -o ending. It is astonishing how quickly and smoothly the deso became part of our lives.

January 14, 2016

Shoe-shaped church with 'female-orientated' features hopes to attract worshippers in Taiwan

100 "female-oriented" features - so there will naturally be extra large rear-view mirrors for applying makeup, and special handbag nooks with every chair, a hot pink racing stripe, and a team of full time manicurists?

Most commonly searched words in 2015

According to the Macquarie Dictionary, the following were the most commonly searched words in 2015, which merely begs an awful lot of questions about the populace at large.


January 12, 2016

January 4, 2016

Sailing Stones

Death Valley, California, in the United States is known as one of the hottest, driest places on Earth. In this desolation without much life, the problem of the “sailing stones of Death Valley” has stumped scientists for over half a century. At a dry lake bed known as Racetrack Playa, stones that weigh up to 700 pounds have been moving, seemingly without human or animal assistance, leaving tracks across the desert sands. Since their discovery in the 1940s, several theorists have attempted to solve the mystery of the rocks’ movement, but it may have only been in the last year that science has provided an answer.

The sailing rocks can be seen spread around the desert floor and make intricate and interesting patterns with their tracks. While the tracks may be parallel, they also are not uniform, and the rocks can move in any direction, including backwards over their own tracks. Until 2014, researchers weren’t sure if the movements were caused by dervishes, hurricane force winds, or some other natural phenomena, but the cause of the movement was determined to likely be from thin layers of ice that form when the conditions are just right. The thin ice across the top of the sand pushes the rocks, which then slide based on the direction of moderate winds of about 5-10 miles per hour.

Researchers observed rocks moving as far as 180 feet over the course of 2 years while running their experiments. While some rocks moved much less than that, the stones moved an average of a few inches per second, or slower than your average turtle. The discovery lends another meaning to the whimsical name behind Racetrack Playa.

January 2, 2016

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
 Mary Oliver