Thank Goodness Trump Hasn’t Packed All The Courts… Yet. Fed. Court Rules Citizenship Census Question Illegal

A Federal court blocked adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census.  Adding a question to the census about citizenship is a terrible idea, if you want an accurate census, which is actually a constitutional mandate. Anything that would make the census less accurate is literally unconstitutional.

Wilbur Ross is a maroon who apparently is on board with the Bannon/Miller vision of immigration and racial purity.  The Mr. Magoo look alike, who sleeps through cabinet meetings, seems benign but he was on board with the white nationalist notional idea of  locating all of the “illegals” by asking about citizenship on the census, which would most likely in effect cause immigrants to not respond to the census out of fear.  The repercussions of that would be that immigrants, citizens or not, would be underrepresented in the census for all sorts of funding and planning purposes, and effectively under count brown people in the reapportionment of congressional districts to the benefit of Republicans.

Total population figures will be used to reapportion seats in the House of Representatives in 2021, so the contours of Congress, the Electoral College and thousands of state and local political districts could be affected. Because noncitizens tend to live in places that disproportionately vote Democratic, undercounting them in the census would be likely to shift federal spending and political power to Republican areas.


That Time of Year I See Movies

I used to see everything.  EVERYTHING.  When movies were worth seeing.  Now they should get off my lawn!  So I go to a movie a year, maybe and wait till SAG and the WGA  send me disks and/or let me in on the secret handshake to download films.

Seen some good things, but the best thing was already on Netflix so there’s your film democracy!  Definitely watch Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma.  I don’t know why it’s called Roma, but it’s a masterpiece of scenes that look like cinema verite life. Half way through the film I realized that almost every scene is one long take with a camera that flows and rolls swoops through and around the characters as they live their lives.

Also good:

“Vice” is a really creative telling of the Dick Cheney story with some great fanciful storytelling flourishes by Adam McKay (“The Big Short”).  How did this mush despised politico ever get so much power over so many lives? Christian Bale (inspired by Satan) is amazing in his physicalization of Cheney, as usual. And no I don’t think the film humanizes Cheney or his family. It tells the publicly known facts of their lives, which is hardly humanizing. There’s good reason these people, even the daughters, are seen as loathsome power mongers.

“BlacKKKlansman” is a great story, well told.  Spike Lee makes a good movie every now and then.

Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant in “Can You Ever Forgive Me.” Good little film about an unsentimental middle aged woman, who isn’t a monarch, forced by circumstances to make difficult and ill advised choices to get by.  That’s pretty damn rare for movies.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” was surprisingly enjoyable because of Rami Malek and the music.  Boilerplate musician biopic where the characters just start noodling a tune that we recognize as one of the biggest hits in rock history as they throw it of as “just something I’m working on.”  I’m a Queen fan but did not know all that much about Freddie Mercury’s personal life other than the obvious story of his death due to AIDS (did not know he was Pakistani).

As for monarch movies there are two:

Another retelling of “Mary Queen of Scots” with two last year’s best female performers Saoirse Ronan (great in “Ladybird”) and Margot Robbie (the truly underrated “I, Tonya”).  If you’re into it I’d revisit the Glenda Jackson, Vanessa Redgrave 1971 version instead. This version practices a 16th century intersectionality in which actors of color appear on screen when you know that character was anglo (really anglo!).  It’s as distracting as if Mary had been played by a dude.

And “The Favourite” a bitchy film with one great performance by Olivia Colman as a vacuous Queen Anne who is manipulated for her favors by two awful, awful people played by Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz.  This is an example of movie fantasy feminism where all the men in the film are complete afterthoughts and these three women exert control over their lives that just wasn’t possible in the age being portrayed. The fact that all three are icky is fine.  Women have as much right to be unlikable as any man so fine tell that story, although the casual sexuality fluidity feels like exploitative titilation.  But BIGGER, the sound design of the film takes an ANNOYING turn into underscoring scenes with monotonous percussive sound that makes scenes sound like they’re taking place in a factory instead of a palace.  That irksomeness is only topped at the end with end credits that are ridiculously spaced (with full justification) as to be unreadable.  The cast and crew should be up in arms because you won’t find out who they are from the most annoyingly illegible credits I’ve ever seen.


In The Nation Today – FDR’s Second Bill of Rights and Sherrod Brown, Real Thing

I could do separate posts but I’m lazy and its Saturday and I want a grilled cheese sandwich.

Everyone should know FDR’s Second Bill of Rights. Should know it as a reality!! 75 years later economic freedom is still aspirational if not a fucking pipe dream.  The rhetoric coming from the newly elected Dems like AOC is not new, it’s at least 75 years old, but its time has come back around.

Seventy-five years ago today (Jan. 11th), President Franklin Delano Roosevelt used his State of the Union address to declare that the government should guarantee a basic floor of well-being. Political rights alone, he argued, could not assure “equality in the pursuit of happiness,” he argued. “True individual freedom cannot exist without security and independence. Necessitous men are not free men.”

A modern pol who would agree is Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.  Sherrod Brown is the real thing, a Democrat with integrity regarding the working class and the theft of their legacy by Wall Street.  Not that there aren’t others, Warren certainly is too. Brown/Warren or Warren/Brown would be outstanding, but likely too white for 2020.  He should get in the race.

Politicians like Sherrod Brown lose lots of times, maybe most of the time. But their virtue shines through muck and disappointment. The ambitious ones can pull the party along with them and persuade others to take larger risks.

I still think that there will not ultimately be as many Dems running as the media laughingly anticipates. Brown should be there. Julian Castro could easily be a VP nominee for a white person at the top of the ticket.

I Know Where I Was 50 Years Ago Today (How Often Does That Happen?)

January 12, 1969.  Super Bowl III.  The New York Jets defeat the Baltimore Colts 16-7.  50 years ago today.  My life peaked that year and has followed a gentle grade downhill since. But gentle, with some upturns here and there.

We watched the game on a 19″ color TV!!! at my Aunt Ida’s apartment on 5th Avenue. That was plenty fancy in 1969.

That year my football team won a championship, my Mets won too and then in 1970 the Knicks were champs.

I was one arrogant, entitled asshole of a 9 year old.

Smithsonian: 7 Future is Now Inventions Unveiled at CES 2019 (The Flying Cars are Almost Here) and Impossible Burgers 2.0

2019. The year the original “Blade Runner” was set in (with flying cars, thank you!). The annual Consumer Electronics Show 2019 unveiled gadgets that even Replicants would have been forced to say “really? we need that?”  Yes, android Rutger Hower, we need a suitcase that will follow you around without you holding it.

Okay, no.  But flying cars are almost here, and who will help us go to there?  Uber, of course.  And their partner… Bell Helicopter?  What?  That’s so 21st century, a time when a taxi company (disrupter!!) becomes a billion dollar empire.  It’s like finding out that McDonalds partnered with Raytheon in 1970 to create Happy Meals to send to Vietnam. In retrospect that would not be shocking at all.


See the amazing AI suitcase!

Experience the diabetes Breathalyzer!!

Wonder to the actual flying car! Finally!

Gasp at the commercial baking machine that can bake 10 loaves in an hour at your mall, maybe.  Or at the Costco?

Enjoy the future of mirrors where you can pluck nose hair, solve future crime and get  traffic and weather visually (not aurally from a stupid radio you 20th century idiot).

Look fabulous with the AI Skincare Assistant from South Korea. The people that brought you your refrigerator, probably.

And, okay, seriously get the Impossible Burger 2.0, which really is a great meat substitute, at your supermarket come next summer.  No snark on this one, I’ve had a few of these and if you want a healthier meat substitute this makes a pretty good burger.  Really, for me, if I didn’t know they weren’t beef, I wouldn’t know. Taste, texture, everything. Really cool.

And the flying cars, well, that would be cool, if people could drive terrestrially, but they can’t, they suck.  Oh never mind, by the time we get flying cars they’ll be robot driven and bake 10 loaves of bread in an hour too. And a facial.

Verrrry Scarrrry: 1958 TV Show Has Character Named Trump That Sells a Town on a “Wall”

This is pretty funny.  I mean funny odd, not funny “ha, ha”.   Somebody found an episode of an obscure late 50s western series in which a conman character named “Dr. Walter Trump, DU MC SSR” — or “Doctor of the Universe, Master of Cometry, Student of Stellar Reactions” talked up an apocalypse for this town that could only be prevented by his “wall.”  It’s “The Twilight Zone” meets “The Music Man.”  How nuts is this?

What do we do?” a someone asks. “How do we save ourselves?”

“You ask: How do you build that wall?” Trump responds. “You ask, and I’m here to tell you.”

Can Anybody Really Fear Trump Anymore? And Other Questions

Wow was that a bad speech last night with no news content whatsoever. More than a bad, wooden recapitulation of the same concocted talking points, just this time by teleprompter, it was a nadir.  Maybe even that elusive turning point on Republican support, if not media groveling.  Trump cried wolf and wasted his first Oval Office speech giving a wan replica of the same speech he gives everywhere so:

1. The networks that felt they had to give him the benefit of the doubt and grant him prime time will surely reject his next request won’t they?  The evolution of the press into more skeptical and appropriate coverage of the lying conman continues (too damn slowly).  Like a bad date you know you shouldn’t have even gone on, ABC, NBC and CBS woke up this morning feeling dirty.  Well, dirtier than usual.  Well, uncomfortable in an unfamiliar way, maybe.

2.  If you heard the speech it’s hard to imagine that it was a last ditch attempt to move public opinion towards the wall because it was so lame, but that’s what it was.  If 65% of the country had any question about whether this dope considered himself president of anybody other than his base, last night answered that, no?  The government is shut down over a farcical wall intended to fix a mythical crisis.  Nobody wants this thing except the marks that have bought into the entire Fox News con on immigration stranger danger, and hundreds of thousands of people are out of work because of it with millions more unable to access needed government services.  Furloughed federal workers are applying for SNAP, which will not be there for them.  No safety net and no savings – a uniquely American SNAFU.

It’s notable but too rarely communicated that A. there is no concrete (no pun intended) proposal for how to spend the $5.6 billion that is in contention which is ridiculous, but par for a Trump course, and B. even if the money were approved for any sort of wall, the land needed to build it on would be seized by eminent domain and those cases would be tied up in the courts for years!  There are dozens of cases still in the courts from GWB’s Secure Fence Act of 2006!  The wall wouldn’t get built until after Trump’s death (from my fingers to God’s ears), if ever.

3.  Sen. Republicans know now that Trump has led them into a box canyon with no back up and will back away from him to reopen the government, right?  They may be afraid of his base, but even in the reddest states pressure is building every day to end this bullshit and reopen the government.  The Senators in purplish states up for re-election in 2020 are going to fall like dominoes.  The ones in blue states (Gardner and Collins) have already said they’d vote to reopen without the funds.  They have to get to 60.

Would Trump dare to veto a bill reopening the government as the stories of put upon federal workers in Trump-imposed hardship proliferate and public opinion becomes overwhelming?

4. Is there anybody who can really assert that this motherfucker has a chance in hell of being re-elected?  Please.  He’s not added one vote to the 62,979,636 he got in 2016, which will naturally decline by 1-2% due to death.  One of the downsides of having an older cohort as your core.  Yes, they vote, but not when they die.  Every year more 18 year-olds register to vote as Democrats or Independents and more Republicans die.

Note to self:  invent a new phrase that is stronger than clusterfuck because Trump has worn that out.