From the Notebook

May 18, 2021

By Karen

I’ve shifted to a Tuesday-Friday posting schedule due to my day job. Here are the bits I’ve been making note of…

Mask Update from Virginia: Today I went to the Post Office, Target, and Food Lion. The PO still had a door sign requiring masks, and everyone inside wore one. Target had removed its mask sign, but kept the social distancing sign. However, I didn’t see anyone maskless. At Food Lion, I forgot to look for the signs, but everyone was masked. I’m thrilled.

Medina Spirit Triple Screwed: The New York Racing Association suspended trainer Bob Baffert from its tracks, including Belmont, home of the third Triple Crown race June 5. So, Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit can’t compete, even if he wanted to win two out of three.

In any case, Medina will probably forfeit the Derby because Baffert let Medina receive a rash ointment containing the banned substance betamethasone. We await a second drug test to confirm the first failed test, but it’s using more of the same blood sample, so another positive seems certain.

Medina may have shot Baffert a “middle hoof up” in the Preakness. Medina led balls to the wall the whole race, only to fall a distant third to Rombauer and Midnight Bourbon in the final stretch.

So, a promising Triple Crown season will probably fizzle, with Medina Spirit a drug-convicted also-ran. Leave it to humans, right?

What’s No. 3 Worth Outside Horse Racing?: Demonic Dick Cheney’s daughter, Congresswoman Liz Cheney, a wisp of conscience that infuriates Republicans. First, she voted to impeach Trump (on 2nd try). Then she admitted he’s lying about the election being stolen, painting also as liars every Republican scumbag still spouting that bullshit. It was the first and only time I’ll probably ever agree with a Cheney.

So, Liz had to be punished. Through a weaselly, passive-aggressive secret vote, they stripped Liz of her No. 3 position in the House.

Did it ever matter? Did she get wear a special ring or something? I have no idea who No. 2 is. That position may not even need to exist because Kevin McCarthy reeks of No. 2 from constantly rolling in Trump’s crap.

Republicans Remember Insurrectionists as “Normal Tourists”: In real time, the world watched our Capitol swarmed by human Plague rats egged on by Trump to overthrow the presidential election. They smashed windows and doors, beat police, brandished weapons, smeared feces, ransacked offices and stole, and erected a gallows out front for the vice president.

We’ve been seeing video and hearing eyewitness accounts ever since about this nightmare that killed five people.

I’m waiting for Democrats to slam the lid on this garbage that it was a “normal tourist visit” NOW. Arrest the instigators who still sit fat and happy in Congress. Josh Hawley, Marjorie Taylor-Greene et al. need a little “me time” in jail to face the fact that that Trump’s out and so is gaslighting.

Israel – Hamas War: In its latest burst of impotent rage, Hamas started shooting rockets at Israel again, with predictable results: Israel’s Iron Dome is swatting the rockets away like flies, but in retaliation flattening huge swaths of what little they’ve allowed to remain of Palestinian territory.

In the U.S., it seems anything less than 100% unconditional support for everything Israel does is labeled anti-Semitism. But this has nothing to do with race or religion. It’s about oppression and human rights abuse.

Let me put it this way. Say your neighbor has a dog he encourages to poop all over your yard. This makes you angry and you feel he’s violating your land, so you start flinging the feces back over the fence into the dog-owner’s yard. One night, he responds by fire-bombing your house, destroying it and killing your whole family.

You can usually tell who’s “winning” a conflict by counting the casualties (as of this minute):

Palestinians: 212 dead (including 61 children, 35 women), 1,400+ wounded, 2,500 homeless.

Israelis: 12 dead (including 1 child).

Israel absolutely has the right defend itself from attack, but the disproportionate brutality is where I draw the line.

In a perfect world, Netanyahu and Trump would be sharing a prison cell for their lives of financial corruption and depraved indifference to human life, and we’d all be better off.

Foreign Travel Fails to Enlighten Trump

May 31, 2017

By Karen

We paid for the man-baby to have nine days of nonstop play dates in the Middle East and Europe. He showed his gratitude by behaving like the quintessential Ugly American, going out of his way to belittle and demean his hosts in Europe.

Surprisingly, Melania allowed herself to be dragged along, even though Ivanka would have been thrilled to handle all first lady duties. But Melania made it clear she wasn’t happy. She avoided Trump’s touch in public as long as she could, usually with a scowl. Finally, she relented at their last stop, Sicily, by helping the Geezer-in-Chief leave Air Force One.

Notice, his hand is on top of hers so he can push down. When any real gentleman approaches a lady, he does so with palm up so she can rest her hand in his.

But backing up to their first stop in Saudi Arabia… we saw Trump dance around with a sword, curtsy upon receiving an obscene gold necklace, and hand the Saudis a “great” $100 billion arms deal. Yeah, Saudis deserve YUGE discounts from American manufacturers on weapons they’ll buy to kill us with.

Next stop was Israel, where Trump received warm hospitality after betraying their confidence by bragging coded intelligence from them to his Russian BFFs in the Oval Office.

The Israelis did make Trump stand with his face to the Western Wall. Trump didn’t seem to register his resemblance to a little kid being punished.

Then it was off to Europe to meet a gaggle of leaders, including the Pope. The Pope managed to come through unscathed. But the remainder of the trip was a disaster. The other European dignitaries made the fatal mistake of not immediately falling into line to kiss Trump’s ring and tell him how wonderful he is.

France’s new president, Emmanuel Macron, did give Trump a few “hand jobs,” but they left Trump ungratified. Macron’s more steely grip rendered Trump’s famous dick move for asserting his own dominance a failure.

But lest anyone forget who the biggest bully was, Trump shoved the prime minister of Montenegro…

The prime minister graciously said he didn’t really notice, but Trump still looked like a jerk.

As always, lacking the cojones to face the confrontations he instigates, Trump refused to tell the group whether the U.S. will continue to honor the Paris Climate Agreement.

Now that he’s back in the White House, with his Twitter, his blankie, and his thumb in his mouth, all signs point to Trump backing out any minute — because he doesn’t understand what it means.

Trump thinks he’s “Making America Great Again” by chucking all this country’s influence and leadership. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is evidently done trying to make nice with Trump and the insipid Ivanka, is telling her fellow leaders not to rely on the U.S. for anything for the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile, on the home front, investigators are closing in on that baby-faced weasel, Jared Kushner, for trying to establish a clandestine communication channel directly with the Kremlin. I can think of only two reasons Kushner and Trump would want that:

  1. The Trump administration intends to negotiate peace in our time without our government finding out about it, or
  2. The Trump and Kushner organizations have many shady, but lucrative, business deals they intend to continue with Russian oligarchs, and they need to keep Putin in the loop because he has the final word.

BONUS: Garrison Keillor captured this country’s mood while Trump was gone. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Bourdain Chooses the Right Side of History

July 24, 2014

By Karen

Here I go again with a Bourdain post, but he just gave a great interview to Blogs of War and I have to say it: If there’s one thing about Anthony Bourdain I admire, it’s his willingness to stick his neck out for the underdog.

It’s never PC to even hint that anything Israel says or does is ever wrong, but Bourdain continues to make a strong case for changing the tragic reality of everyday Palestinians trapped in Gaza and the West Bank.

As I write this, Israel continues its bombing of Palestinian civilians in their homes, with virtually no hope of escape. Israel’s rationale is that every Palestinian boy playing on the beach, every patient lying helpless on a hospital operating table or in the ICU, could be a Hamas enabler and is, therefore, fair game.

Meanwhile, the world stands by, impotent in the face of such crazed blood-thirst.

By yesterday’s numbers, 695 Palestianians are dead (166 of them children, and probably more than 70% of them civilians, according to the UN).

Israel has 32 casualties. Of those, 3 were civilians, and 3 of the 29 soldiers killed were by friendly fire.

Sorry, Israel, but by NO definition on earth does such wholesale, one-sided slaughter qualify as self-defense.

We get it. Both sides’ leaders would love to wipe out each other’s people. Hamas can clearly never achieve it. But, Israel is proving that it can — and it will if someone doesn’t make it stop.

More of us need to follow Bourdain’s lead and speak up for the Palestinians who are allowed no voice. They’re dying for no good reason.

Israel, enough is enough.

Would Obama Suck Up to Hitler?

May 19, 2008

By Fred

Speaking before Israel’s Knesset last week, George Bush alluded that Barack Obama’s such a wimp, he would have tried to make nice with Adolf Hitler. Back home, Bush’s Mini-Me, John McCain, quickly seconded the notion.

They both know all it takes is a hint at Hitler to upset people.

If the right people had tried talking to Hitler during his early, crazy-speech days, who knows? Maybe he could have been stopped before he wasted millions of innocent lives.

It’s called “knowing your enemy,” and I’d like to think Obama would have tried it before Hitler started conquering Europe and made military retaliation the only option.

Today, Iran’s President Ahmadinejad also makes crazy speeches, but so far he’s given no sign that he won’t listen to reason and bombs are the only answer. In fact, he tried to communicate directly with Bush by letter, only to be ignored.

I don’t get why Republicans prefer battlefields to conference rooms. It’s like they hate to complicate things by learning the other side’s true intentions and capabilities. They’d rather just start killing.

Come to think of it, that was Hitler’s approach. Kill now, ask questions…never.

And they make talking sound really perverse and nasty by calling it appeasement, bargaining, concession-making, conciliation, capitulation, weakness.

When one government dictates how the world should run, like ours is doing right now, negotiation and compromise become 4-letter words. Freedom and democracy become oxymoronic.

God forbid our leaders should look potential foes in the eye, gauge their honesty, and try to correct misunderstandings or reach agreements. Let’s just start a war over imagined wrongs or the mere possibility that verbal threats will be carried out. After all, that’s worked so well in Iraq.

I hope the next president lacks Bush and McCain’s empty, arrogant sense of superiority and isn’t above talking to anybody before the shooting starts. We’ll never win friends and influence people by killing them.

George Bush’s Middle East Comedy Tour

January 11, 2008

By Yul

Who needs the USO when you’ve got George “War Solves Everything” Bush spreading laughter on a peace tour in the Middle East?

In his wackiest routine yet, Bush is trying to get the Israelis and Palestinians to kiss and make up by the end of the year.

I don’t know how Israel’s Olmert and Palestine’s Abbas keep a straight face. But if they ever bond over anything, it’s got to be their common contempt for Bush. You can just imagine what they say behind his back:


“We’ve been fighting like cats and dogs for decades. It’s our lifestyle. What makes this American clown think we want to stop before he’s out of office, when he’ll be leaving his own two wars going strong? Why must we be the ones who polish this idiot’s legacy? Can’t he get anyone in his own country to do it?”

Bush, undeterred by his utter inexperience in making peace, says he’s willing “to be a pain if I have to be a pain” to make it happen in this case. Obviously, he forgets he’s already the biggest pain in that region.

They have to dismiss everything he says as a joke because while he’s delivering his one-liners, he’s got U.S. Navy warships in the area playing Chicken with Iranian speedboats, looking for any flimsy little reason to start a third war.

Better U.S. presidents than Bush (which is to say all of them) have been trying for years to get the Palestinians and the Israelis to share that great sandy litterbox they both call home. Every attempt has met with nothing but empty promises to be good, then more underhanded catfighting. Only a dumb dog would think he can change the outcome.

Bush Wants Everyone Else to Give Peace a Chance

November 27, 2007

By Yul

This week, President Bush is hosting a conference in Annapolis for reps from more than 40 countries. He suddenly wants to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

It seems ludicrous for the man who’s done more single-handedly to destroy peace in the Middle East lately to be the referee in this. Especially since he’s already made it clear whose side he’s on by never showing much regard for the Palestinians.

I can sum up the whole Middle East problem in one word: Cats. They’re all acting like cats. Scrappy alley cats.

We’re known for being loners, but there’s nothing wrong with that because we don’t go around starting wars.

We don’t because we’re not religious. You’ll never hear a cat say, “My Maker is better than your Maker, so you die.”

Eons ago, we learned to co-exist with our nemeses – dogs – even though there’s almost nothing we like about them.

What surprises me is that Ehud Olmert, Mahmoud Abbas, and the rest are humoring Bush by even showing up, instead of telling him to go clean up his own messes in Iraq and Afghanistan. And New Orleans, while he’s at it.

It seems unlikely that the Palestinians will ever accept Israel as long as it acts like an unruly kitten. No firmly established cat likes to have some interloper come into his home, kick him out of his favorite bed, eat from his bowl, use his litterbox, steal his best catnip, destroy his toys, and generally show no respect for his existence.

Fred and I have managed to live in relative peace for my 11 years, but it takes maturity. Cats can get along if they quit all the, “You give in first,” “No, you give in first,” “No, you give in first,” posturing and simply STOP fighting.

If cats can do it, why not people?

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