January 27, 2021

Saturday Brunch, February 18, 2017, Stolen Humor Edition

Hello, friends, and welcome to the weekend. Ready for some brunch?

In eight hours this will all be poop

This week I am going to unabashedly steal some jokes. Interspersed throughout our brunch, like sips of mimosa, will be some of the best late night humor. Let’s start here.

Famed Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein told CNN yesterday that the Trump administration is trying to cover up its ties to Russia. Bernstein wouldn’t identify his source, but did say [shows photo of Mitch McConnell] he goes by the name Loose Throat.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson today said that Russia must respect its international commitments toward Ukraine — and then he winked so hard he accidentally swallowed his eyebrow.

The makers of the board game Monopoly have announced that they are dropping the thimble token in favor of new pieces in the shape of emojis and hashtags. Although, if you’re trying to modernize Monopoly, maybe start with Oriental Avenue. We call it Asian-American Avenue now.

Seth Meyers

The Academy Awards are almost here. One category I love is special effects.  Technically, the Oscar for Best Visual Effects has only been around since 1963. Before that, there was a category for Best Special Effects, an award that was shared by the visual and sound effects teams. But going back to the beginning of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, effects were recognized as a crucial part of filmmaking and in 1927, Wings received a special honor for “Engineering Effects.”This supercut pulls together all the past winners into a nice little reminder of how much has changed in the field, and how much visual effects changed the way movies are made.

Which is your favorite?

There is so much going on in the world right now. Not just in the world, there’s a lot going on in the universe. For those of you who are looking to get off the planet, astronomers at the Carnegie Institution discovered more than 100 potential planets that may be habitable, which means we’re one step closer to finding a planet with intelligent life.

It’s exciting, especially for members of the scientific community — this is on the level of, like, a-woman-brushing-up-against-them-on-the-subway exciting.

This might not be the best time to make contact with aliens. They say, “Take us to your leader.” What do we do at that time? “Our leader’s a little busy on Twitter right now. How about we take you to Oprah? She’s nice, you’ll like her.”

Jimmy Kimmel

Cspan polled a large group of historians to rank all the U. S. presidents. They have done this before, but this was the first time, of course, Barak Obama was included. Obviously, historians usually like to wait a while before making judgments like this, but for the moment they put Obama in as number 12. Surprised? Here is the top twenty. Any you strongly agree or disagree with?

1. Abraham Lincoln
2. George Washington
3. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
4. Teddy Roosevelt
5. Dwight Eisenhower
6. Harry Truman
7. Thomas Jefferson
8. John F. Kennedy
9. Ronald Reagan
10. Lyndon Johnson
11. Woodrow Wilson
12. Barack Obama
13. James Monroe
14. James Polk
15. Bill Clinton
16. William McKinley
17. James Madison
18. Andrew Jackson
19. John Adams
20. George H.W. Bush

At the box office this past weekend, “Lego Batman” beat out the sequel to “Fifty Shades of Grey.” When asked for comment, the movie “Fifty Shades” said, “That’s OK, I like being dominated.”

Astronomers say they now know the approximate weight of the Milky Way. They found this out by adding 10 pounds to the Milky Way’s weight on its Tinder profile.

Conan O’Brian

Yale University announced Saturday it will change the name of one of its twelve residential colleges, after years of controversy. Calhoun College will be now be named after  computer scientist Grace Murray Hopper, a mathematician who earned Yale degrees in the 1930s, invented a pioneering computer programming language and became a Navy rear admiral.

Of course the controversy isn’t over Hopper, but erasing the name of Calhoun, who was a Senator, Vice-President, and ardent advocate of slavery (he called it not a necessary evil but a “positive good”. Critics wonder if the university will re-name itself, since Elihu Yale was, in fact, a slave-trader.

What do you think, friends? Good move on Yale’s part, or erasing history?

In his press conference, Trump claimed to have had the biggest electoral win since Reagan, and when a reporter pointed out that was false, Trump responded with — and I quote — “I’ve seen that information around.” Around? He saw this information “around?” What, like it was tacked to a bulletin board next to guitar lessons and a picture of a lost cat?

He said Hillary Clinton’s name 11 times during this press conference. Why is he still talking about Hillary Clinton? The election is over! Even lovesick teenage boys are like, “Move on, man. Let her go.”

Conan O’ Brien

For years now a powerful gene-editing tool called Crispr-Cas9 has allowed researchers to snip, insert and delete genetic material. It has led to plans for experimental treatments of adult patients with cancer, blindness and other conditions as early as this year. These types of genetic alterations are not inherited, of course.

This week, however, an influential science advisory group formed by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine on Tuesday lent its support to a once-unthinkable proposition: the modification of human embryos to create genetic traits that can be passed down to future generations.

This type of human gene editing has long been seen as an ethical minefield. For one thing, we probably don’t know enough about the humane genome to predict the future impact of present manipulations. Researchers also fear that the techniques used to prevent genetic diseases might also be used to enhance intelligence, for example, or to create people physically suited to particular tasks, like serving as soldiers. Further, they fear will be an inevitable push to engineer traits like strength, beauty and intelligence, perhaps eventually creating a dystopian social divide between those who can afford enhancements and those who cannot.

One concern driving the decision was the likelihood that the new technology would be adopted in countries like China, where some pioneering research on editing human embryos — without the intent to gestate them — has already occurred.

Your thoughts?

Those of you who have kids, or if you’re a weirdo adult with a dollhouse, probably know there’s a new American Girl Doll on the way. For the first time ever, this American Girl is a boy. His name is Logan Everett [shows doll photo]. I already don’t like him. He looks like the football player who joins the drama club just to pick up chicks.

Logan sells for $115. I’m not paying $115 to buy my daughter a creepy little boyfriend for her crib.

There are about 40 different American Girl Dolls but only one boy. He’s basically the Bachelor of the American Girl universe – they should have named him Nick.

Jimmy Kimmel

Lent, which begins next Wednesday, helps prepare us for Easter. Part of that preparation often includes fasting as a form of spiritual discipline—a practice that dates back to the early church. Lent traditionally lasts for 40 days (excluding Sundays), a time frame established after the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D.

Catholics (61%) remain most likely to observe Lent, according to a LifeWay survey. Protestants (20%) and those with evangelical beliefs (28%) are less likely.

How about you? Are you practicing Lent, and, if so, how?

I came across this interesting graphic and explanation about the different kinds of shame cultures around the world. How does this resonate with what you have observed?
Global Types of Honor:Shame

Explanation of the 5 Regions of Honor-Shame

  1. Western shame tends to be more private and personal. It is an internal, psychological emotion often rooted in the fragmentation and alienation of modern life. Shame is not so much community scorn (though social media is bringing this aspect out more and more), but low self-esteem. Read more.
  2. Latin notions of honor, at least for men, often depend upon being macho. Honor-shame are uniquely linked to race and economic class in South American. Read more. Recall also that the countries of southern Europe are Latin-based, so share some similarities.
  3. Islamic culture highly esteems the Koran, Mohammed, the ummah, and even the Arabic language, as symbolic representations of honor. Muslims feel personally disrespected if any of these are disgraced. Middle Eastern cultures tend to compete aggressively for honor, so can feel justified using violence to defend their honor (i.e., honor killings, terrorism).
  4. African cultures give a high value to ancestry and have a strong community orientation. Properly honoring the living dead is a crucial part of African religion/culture.
  5. In Asian cultures, the notion of “face” is paramount. One can lose, keep, save, and gain “face.” People’s response to shameful situations tends to be more passive, because shaming someone else brings shame upon oneself, hence the extreme politeness.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today that there is no greater supporter of the Jewish state than President Trump. Said Trump, “Absolutely, I love Florida. Fantastic Jewish state.”

Defense officials are reporting that a Russian spy ship has been spotted patrolling 30 miles off the coast of the United States. Said one U.S. official [shows photo of Trump], “Oh, that’s my Uber.”

Taco Bell has announced plans to offer a $600 wedding service at its flagship restaurant in Las Vegas. And this is cool — the burritos are conveniently wrapped in divorce papers.

Seth Meyer

Online-dating site OkCupid is adding a feature for polyamorous people. The new setting allows users who are listed as “seeing someone,” “married,” or “in an open relationship” on the platform to link their profiles and search for other people to join their relationship.

According to the company’s data, 24 percent of its users are “seriously interested” in group sex. Forty-two percent would consider dating someone already involved in an open or polyamorous relationship. Both numbers represent increases of 8 percentage points from five years ago. The number of people who say they are solely committed to monogamy, meanwhile, has fallen to a minority of all users, 44 percent, down from 56 percent in 2010.

The Church of England’s crucial vote on gay marriage has been thrown into doubt after the Bishop of Coventry admitted he accidentally voted against the report and several others may have made the same mistake.The Right Reverend Dr Christopher Cocksworth apologised for the mistake last night, which he said was because of “a moment of distraction and some confusion over the voting process”.

It has since emerged that some members have suggested that other clergy had made the same mistake.

The Grammys were incredible — you want to talk about bold performances, CeeLo Green came to the Grammys dressed head-to-toe in gold. He looks like he escaped from a secret room in Trump Tower.

Yesterday an official government tweet was posted for Black History Month, celebrating civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois. There were two problems with the tweet. One was Du Bois’ name was spelled wrong — and the other problem was the tweet was posted by the Department of Education. Now, I know Republicans don’t believe there should be a Department of Education but this seems like the wrong way to prove it.

But it gets worse: They tweeted an apology for their mistake. It says, “Our deepest apologizes.” Well, apologizes accepted.

I don’t know who at the Department of Education wrote this tweet, but whoever it is should have been held back a year. Or at least make them go back and repeat Black History Month.

James Corden

Liberty University is in the news again. And, again, it has nothing to do with Jesus. They are taking flak for speaker line-up for their men’s conference in March.

So the speakers include a man famous for acting as a clueless redneck, a race-car driver, an accused rapist (Roethlisberger) and the leader of a ministry being sued for covering up sexual abuse of boys (White). Okay, then.

There were demonstrations across the country today to protest the president’s immigration policy. Immigrants were encouraged to skip work today for what they called “a day without immigrants,” or as Steve Bannon calls it, “a good start.”

There were marches in Philadelphia and Austin, Washington. Here in L.A., with no immigrants — we have a lot of immigrants here in L.A. — people were forced to babysit their own children. Arnold Schwarzenegger had to impregnate a meter maid today. It was awful.

Jimmy Kimmel

Below are pictures of what is called the Aurland Lookout, in Norway. More pictures are here.

Wanna see a map of the hometown of every character in Homer’s Iliad? Of course you do. Click on the map for a larger view, or go here for an expandable version.

We just learned from multiple intelligence sources that Trump aides were, quote, “in constant touch with senior Russian officials during the campaign.” Constant Touch, by the way, is also Trump’s Secret Service code name.

Trump held a press conference today because in the middle of all this insanity, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the White House. As a courtesy, Trump asked his staff to put a 24-hour hold on retweeting neo-Nazis. That’s just good manners.

Stephen Colbert

Jazz pianist and vocalist Barbara Carroll died Sunday at age 92 after a career that spanned seven decades. She began recording in the late 1940s, when a female jazz musician was still considered quite a novelty, and continued to record until her latest CD, “Barbara Carroll Plays Birdland,” was released last December. We conclude our brunch with this video of Carrol at the Algonquin Hotel, May 25, 2008. With bassist Jay Leonhart, she performs her signature closing song, “Old Friends” by Stephen Sondheim.


  1. Daniel Jepsen says


  2. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Here is the top twenty. Any you strongly agree or disagree with?

    I think JFK and Woodrow Wilson are a bit over-rated, and ranking Obama so soon was kinda hasty (like the “Screw You Dubya Bush” Nobel Peace Prize). Obama struck me as pretty much an average president, not one of the greats but not one of the bad ones; just kinda over-hyped.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      It is much easier to make a Worst List than a Best List. In both cases it is easy to list the extremes, then there is a broad ambiguous middle.

      • Buchanon. “What, you say the country’s headed full tilt towards civil war? I’d better hide behind the Oval Office desk for the duration of my term of office…”

    • seneca griggs says

      The Nobel committee closed the voting 14 days after Mr. Obama became president. As H.U.G. suggested, “kinda hasty” would be appropriate for them to have awarded Obama the Peace Prize at that point. Even the committee itself seems to have distanced itself from it’s decision.

      Under the Obama administration, 26,000 bombs have been dropped.

      I think H.U.G., has it right; “kinda hasty” to annoint Mr. Obama as the 12th best president.

    • I am reading Chernow’s biography of Hamilton and it does not paint a good picture of John Adams; petulant, angry, and when it all got too much for him, he’d go back to Mass. for a breather…sometimes for months at a time. He didn’t work well with others.

      • I’d read David McCullough’s bio of Adam’s for a bit of balance. Granted the man was no saint, but neither was the rest of the gang of politicos he was dealing with at the time.

        • I do cringe when people say, “Well, the Founding Fathers wanted or said…” No, there was no groupthink. The founders made deals, undercut each other, changed alliances, and many of them just plain didn’t like each other very much. They had a vision of starting a new country, but the details were prickly and they were certainly not all in agreement with how the new country should be set up. Not by a long shot!

    • >> ranking Obama so soon was kinda hasty

      Perhaps the ranking says more about historians than it does Mr. Obama.

    • I’d move Ronald Reagan into the top 5, and I’d move Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy down a bit. And I’d take Bill Clinton and Barack Obama out of the top 20 list altogether. Mr. Clinton belongs somewhere in the bottom portion of the middle of the pack. Mr. Obama, on the other hand, belongs somewhere down around Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce and Jimmy Carter. I realize some folks around here may disagree with me, but I don’t think Donald Trump would have had a snowball’s chance in you-know-where of being elected president if Mr. Obama had focused far more on growing the economy and far less on growing the federal government and the regulatory state.

  3. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Lent, which begins next Wednesday, helps prepare us for Easter.

    Sure you’ve got your calendar right?
    The one where I work gives Ash Wednesday as March 1, i.e. a week from this coming Wednesday.
    (Or is that fake news?)

    • I’m not sure of Daniel’s intended usage, but it could be a terminology misunderstanding. Where I’m from most people (my generation) refer to the coming Wednesday as ‘this’ Wednesday, and the one the week after as ‘next’ Wednesday, so in my terms his usage is correct. However I’ve definitely come across others who read that type of wording differently, creating no end of confusion.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        Yep. Ask someone involved in Transportation or Logistics – “next” may be the deadliest word in the English language. As in, it has killed tens of thousands of people, at least. It has sent airplanes, buses, and automobiles careening into each other.

        Nobody has any idea what it means.

      • Thank you for pointing that out. I have been confused by the issue my whole life and frequently have to clarify what day the person is talking about.

      • Daniel Jepsen says

        Actually, the calendar in my head was quite wrong. I was thinking we were already in the last week of February. Getting old.

      • Brianthegrandad says

        Yes. It shut down a construction project I was associated with. The engineer responsible for scheduling stated that certain equipment was arriving ‘next’ Wednesday in a planning meeting. The contractor scheduled installers, cranes, etc to put it in, and… nothing shows up Wednesday. Big dispute in the next project meeting over ‘next’. Arguments over southern English vs. northeastern contractors English. If it hadn’t been so costly, it would have been funny. Well, it is funny, but now we insist on dates.

  4. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Liberty University is in the news again. And, again, it has nothing to do with Jesus. They are taking flak for speaker line-up for their men’s conference in March.

    So the speakers include a man famous for acting as a clueless redneck, a race-car driver, an accused rapist (Roethlisberger) and the leader of a ministry being sued for covering up sexual abuse of boys (White). Okay, then.

    Wartburg Watch is covering it:

    • Dan from Georgia says

      As per our discussions over there at WartburgWatch…

      Re the Ignite conference lineup…not sure whether to laugh of cry….

      …or puke

      • Roll eyes, then puke. Seriously, WHAT is there that you could learn by listening to those men for a weekend? I’d rather listen to my old gang of forthrightly pagan cigar buddies – at least they were guaranteed to have interesting conversations.

      • Then there’s a hot-headed redneck who rose through the ranks of political and spiritual leadership, wrote a bunch of songs, but got caught having an affair with his aide’s wife and got the aide killed, and even at the end of his ministry it is widely known he was sleeping with an underage girl.

        I still learn a lot from his psalms.

        • All of which would send a man to hell, but not a king.

          Was thinking about the whole Bathsheba incident recently. We’ve made it into this big thing that he committed adultery with another man’s wife. That wasn’t his crime; it was killing the husband and believing he was untouchable for being the king.

          But that doesn’t preach. Let’s create a lesson the man in the pew can learn from instead.

          David was a monster. Maybe he’s included as more of a warning than anything else.

    • None of this matters, don’t you know? This is American Evangelical Christianity! The point is that these men are successful which proves that God is shining down on them and that they have gotten it right. Their actual lifestyles and moral failings are irrelevant because they are successful, are influencers, and, I am sure, voted for the right political party.

      • Dan from Georgia says

        Don’t you mean the RIGHT political party?…

        In all seriousness though, it really REALLY irks me that these conferences seem to think that people can’t learn spiritual lessons from ordinary, obscure, and FAITHFUL servants of the Lord. Instead we have so-called church professionals that think they have to hire professionals with questionable testimonies only to, as Tony Shiavone from WCW days, once said, “put a**es in the seats!

        • “Parishioners on pews”, good sir. We must be genteel. Evangelicals don’t cuss. 😉

        • senecagriggs says

          “In all seriousness though, it really REALLY irks me that these conferences seem to think that people can’t learn spiritual lessons from ordinary, obscure, and FAITHFUL servants of the Lord.”

          The problem is not them, it’s us.
          Seriously; who’s gonna show up to listen to unknown Joe Blow from Rapid City S. Dakota? NOBODY?

          If you’re going to have a conference and want people to show up, you will have to offer name recognition. There’s absolutely nothing new about this.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Don’t you mean the RIGHT political party?…

          G.O.P. = “God’s OWN Party” or “God’s ONLY Party”
          — now-defunct blog (Onward, Forward, Toward)

          (And that was before “Who Is Like Unto The Trump?”…)

  5. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Immigrants were encouraged to skip work today for what they called “a day without immigrants,” or as Steve Bannon calls it, “a good start.”

    We had something similar go down here in SoCal some 10+ years ago, except that one was called “A Day Without Mexicans”. And it backfired. BAD.

    First of all, I was able to get to work (20 miles/30km on I-5) in 20-25 minutes instead of the usual over an hour. Both ways. As I was going home just as fast, I was listening to KFI’s afternoon drive-time show. They had opened up the phone lines for reports from the front lines; For the entier 25 minutes I was tuned in, Anglo after Anglo was calling in marveling at the empty freeways, lack of lines at WalMart and gas stations, and actually hearing announcements in English! Almost every one ended with the line “I wish every day was a day without Mexicans!”

    I’d hoped whoever was behind it would try it again (for the usual Anglo reasons), but they’d learned their lesson and didn’t. Which was why I was surprised to hear about this “day without immigrants”. Maybe the memory of the previous “day without Mexicans” had passed out of memory or something.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      I fully support A Day Without Scandinavians!

      But I would prefer this be a day during the summer.

      Our day without immigrants came and went – but we have nothing resembling traffic here – no rush “hour” – kind of more a rush-seven-minutes [not that this stops people from freaking out about traffic; no power in the ‘verse can stop that].

    • Richard Hershberger says

      And yet the Democratic Party has total control of California politics. Perhaps there is some deeper message here than that if a bunch of people stay home, traffic is lighter.

    • I wonder how happy all those Anglos would be if, after a year or two of no undocumented immigrant farm workers, produce prices at their favorite supermarket increased three or fourfold. But of course, for that one day, white commuters from the suburbs could afford to only be concerned about the convenience of white commuters from the suburbs. After all, they’re the center of the universe, aren’t they?

      • Robert,
        Speaking as a non-Anglo Irishman (and for all the Normans, Slavs, and Scandinavians who feel slighted), I am surprised with your heightened progressive sensitivities that you are using such a derogatory term as Anglo.

        • You haven’t heard “Anglo Saxon” used in a derogatory fashion until you’ve heard a Welsh use it about the English. 😉

        • I visited my Irish relatives in Dingle, County Kerry. When Philomena let us in the door her husband Thomas, my cousin, said, “Ahh dee invasion a da fookin yanks!”. I found “Yanks” quite acceptable a knew I’d be right at home.

        • You’re right, flatrocker. I echoed HUG’s usage in my reply, meaning to refer to all whites, but as an American of Italian descent the only thing “Anglo” about me is my primary language. Mea culpa.

      • Patrick Kyle says

        Robert F. Maybe it will be offset by the $90 billion in savings every year from illegals not clogging our roads, schools and healthcare systems. And all the mess caused by illegal aliens using stolen Social Security numbers and identity theft might clear up too. Talk to anyone who has had their SS# used by multiple illegal immigrants about how their visit with the IRS went.. Very educational.

        • Try as you might, you’ll not get me to hate undocumented immigrants, or to consider them my enemies or the enemies of this country. Though the POTUS has declared that the mainstream media are the enemies of this country, I consider him to be its enemy. That matters little, since I’m a person of little consequence, and the POTUS has consequential enemies with which to deal. For instance, the American intelligence agencies have apparently taken seriously his declaration of war on them, and many seem to have anonymously gone rogue. I suspect that the leaks of the past week are just a foretaste of things to come, and neither the POTUS or his people will have any idea about who is responsible, or how to stop them. He made his own bed, let him lie (and lie) in it.

          • Patrick Kyle says

            Who said anything about ‘hate’ or about The God emperor Trump? The subject of my comment was the cost and strain of illegal immigration here in California. I know you are consumed with hatred for the man, but at least give it a rest long enough to track the argument.

            • In the absence of any personal power to work towards stopping him from implementing his evil plans for this country, I have developed a hatred of the man, it’s true. It’s not good for me, and I will acknowledge that it’s a sin, but there it is. I repent of the sin, but I intend to continue to oppose the man, even if only with my unread and ignored words.

              Re: the argument: Nothing you say will make me view undocumented immigrants as my enemies, or the enemies of this country, or an existential threat to it.

              • Patrick Kyle says

                Not saying they are enemies, but refusal to believe that illegals negatively impact the country in huge numbers does not change the fact that they do.

              • Patrick Kyle says

                PS- What are his ‘Evil Plans’?

                • Delegitimize the main stream media, and claim that they are the enemy of the American people.
                  Delegitimize the judiciary, and claim that they will be responsible for any terrorist act on American soil.
                  Ignore police brutality in minority communities.
                  Make himself and his fat cat Goldman Sachs friends rich at the expense of the American people.
                  Deregulate the workplace, making it less safe and more oppressive for American workers.
                  Deregulate the marketplace, making it less safe for American consumers.
                  Do away with environmental protection regulations, making America less safe for everybody.

                  Lie continuously to the American people in order to manipulate them and turn them against each other, to his own benefit.
                  Undermine American democracy.

                  He’s nothing but a confidence man, a snake oil salesman, a shark and a cheat and the biggest, most shameless liar I’ve ever been exposed to.

                  I won’t even go into foreign affairs.

    • I didn’t even know that it had occurred till the next day! SOME impact it had, eh?

      And on KFI? Had to be the John and Ken show…

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Who else?

        Hour of the Bullhorn!
        (Though if you’re a drive-time talk-show host, being Mouthy is part of the job description. KFI’s morning drive-time guy — Bill Handel, mouthy Brazilian Jew — brags about how much hate mail he and his producer get.)

  6. Bill frickin Clinton over Madison and Adams??? Are they out of their minds??? W;o ARE these people anyway?

    • Richard Hershberger says

      Eight years of peace and prosperity. Thank goodness the next guy saved us from that hell!

      But seriously: Adams? What did he do that was so impressive, other than being in there early? As for Madison, the handling of the War of 1812 was a travesty: incompetence and self-interest verging on treasonous. Don’t let the handful of flashy successes that make it into the history books fool you about this. This wasn’t all Madison’s fault personally, but he was the guy in charge, failing to provide the strong leadership.

      • The problem is that people (and their supporters) then to then being very good at one thing means they will be very good at everything.

      • He got an HBO miniseries with Paul Giamatti to play him, that’s what. 😉 Oh, and having Laura Linney play Abigail certainly helped.

      • Easy to judge the past by present realities and sensibilities, which is why Clinton and Obama rate so highly.

        • Richard Hershberger says

          I’m not sure what you are claiming I am judging by present sensibilities. You haven’t actually said what it is that Adams did that is so memorable. And as for Madison’s weak leadership, military incompetence is timeless.

    • Daniel Jepsen says

      I’m with you, Oscar, on Clinton being over-rated. The economic boom seemed more caused by technological developments and the world-wide market than any particular policies he put forward.

      • Klasie Kraalogies says

        Actually, I wonder how many leaders are highly rated for things which are not really their doing anyway? And the opposite….

        • Daniel Jepsen says

          Yes, I wonder that too. As a pastor in one town for a long time, I see that many of the best pastors I know are in struggling churches, while other guys I don’t think of highly of are doing great.

        • Economics is one area that presidents actually have little power to change. They can hinder or help with their policies, but the economic engine, like water, always seeks its own level.

          • senecagriggs says

            Oscar, on the one hand I absolutely agree – technically speaking Presidents have little power over the economy. But Mr Trump, a business man/CEO for the last 40 plus years gets elected, starts making phone calls to business leaders, talks about lowering the corporate tax rate and the market simply takes off. People BELIEVE his policies will improve the economy.

            Mr. Obama had no background in business – spent his adult years being paid and educated by the government, had no idea how to build the economy – and it showed.

            [ Since Mr. Obama’s background was that of a Chicago politician who had never built a business, I didn’t expect he would help the economy – he had no idea how – and things were in bad shape when he became President.
            I DID HOPE he would improve racial relations – but it appears he simply made them worse. For that I remain disappointed in Mr. Obama.]

            • The Stock Market =/= the rest of the economy. The past eight years should have made that distinction clear…

            • Richard Hershberger says

              “spent his adult years being paid and educated by the government”

              Obama’s work history includes, inter alia, working for a church-based community organization, teaching at a private university, and working for a private law firm.

              This raises an interesting philosophical question. Is the claim that he spent his adult years being paid by the government an example of false witness? It is clearly factually false, but false witness implies ill intent, not mere sloppiness. Working for the government is not, by any sane standard, shameful, so long as the work is performed in good faith to the best of the worker’s ability. But the claim here appears to mean it to be shameful. Is a false statement made with ill intent false witness, even if the content of the claim is benign?

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                Obama’s political career was fast-track all the way. From elective office to elective office, using one win to campaign for the next higher. Problem was, when he got to the White House there was no higher office to immediately run for, so he had to stop climbing the ladder and start making the jelly. I understand it took him a couple years to actually make the transition.

                • Richard Hershberger says

                  Or, in the real world, he spent eight years in the state legislature before running for the US Senate: a fairly typical career path. The only fast-tracking is his election as President after only a partial term in the Senate. Actually, to say that his career was fast-tracked suggests that this was done by someone on his behalf. You might recall that the Democratic establishment backed Clinton in the 2008 primaries. If anyone fast-tracked him, it was the voters.

                  • It’s one of the peculiarities of American presidential politics-having a lengthy career in Washington in the Senate or the House of Representatives is detrimental to a candidate’s electoral prospects. American voters generally prefer not to elevate someone with a voting record that can be examined. We seem to prefer the untested.

              • Who cares. It was a statement about Obama. Fair game.


          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            And don’t forget the Dumb Luck Factor.
            Just being in the right place at the right time (or wrong place at the wrong time) counts for a lot more than you realize.

      • Richard Hershberger says

        The economics I’ll give you. The (mostly) absence of stupid wars is very much to his credit, and the prominent presence of stupid wars very much to the debit of his successor

  7. A day without undocumented immigrants may seem like a joke to many well-off Westerners, but the historically unprecedented affluent lifestyle of large numbers of Americans and Europeans would simply not be possible if it wasn’t built on the backs of large populations of poorly paid, poorly treated workers at home and abroad. Chattel slavery may have gone away, but it’s been replaced by global wage slavery. Real anti-globalism (instead of the faux kind being pushed by our POTUS) could in no way support the style of life to which many of us in the West have become accustomed.

    • I keep telling people. You can have either A) high paying domestic manufacturing jobs, or B) cheap stuff. It’s a binary set, choose ONE.

      • Actually you can have both – it’s called innovation with just a wee-bit of sprinkled invention. It’s not as binary as you think.

        It’s when we stop innovating and convince ourselves there isn’t a dream worth pursuing that we become binary. This may be the malady of our age.

        • Do you have any examples of this innovation that refute Eeyore’s statement?

          • Burro [Mule] says

            Uh, progressive assembly lines?
            the microprocessor
            anything that increases productivity will lower costs.

            Information reverses entropy on a macroeconomic scale. I think this is what flatrocker is talking about, and I agree with him. However, innovation cannot be planned for. It comes by Grace from the Muses, for want of a better phrase. You can encourage innovation by creating an environment where the fruits thereof are enjoyed by the innovators and their accomplices, but its far more certain to control costs by RIFs and relocations than it is to wait on someone getting a bright idea.

            • Lowering costs through increased productivity involves using less labor. As a society we’re increasingly strained to use that freed up labor. We’re also hard pressed to come up with a source of income other than labor.

              • So the alternative would be higher costs, inefficiencies and waste? Doesn’t the government already have that part of the economy covered? 🙂

          • Let’s look at the lowly (and taken for granted) light bulb…

            The Cost of Light

        • “Innovation” is a shibboleth. Do you know the next big “innovation” headed our way? Second-generation automation. If you thought that the last round of de-industrialization was bad for jobs, hang on to your spot in the breadline…

          • Yes, the robots will do all the dirty work for the overlords, and the hoi polloi will have outlived its usefulness, and become completely antiquated and redundant. Hang onto your spot in the soylent green line.

            • Burro [Mule] says

              Robots have to be programmed and repaired. I don’t see the Eloi doing that.

              There is a Robotic Language track at my wife’s technical college that is screaming for students. It’s reportedly a hard grind, worse than Java or C++, which are bad enough.

              • Why couldn’t computer directed robots program and repair other robots, with just a few highly trained technician overseeing it all? Ever hear of self-driving cars?

                • And is there really a great distance between driverless cars, and driverless and passengerless cars?

                • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                  I keep wondering if the push for driverless cars is to eliminate distractions (like driving) which take time away from 24/7 Social Media.

                  • Driverless vehicle technology is being developed for commercial applications: eliminating as many commercial drivers as possible. Taxis, delivery vehicles, OTR trucking. Consider that truck driving is where a lot of displaced industrial workers ended up. Where will all these people go?

                    • That Other Jean says

                      This is one of the reasons why we need to start talking about an income floor, rather than welfare. Giving everybody an adequate income for necessities and a little left over, whether or not they held a job, would free up a lot of jobs for people who actually wanted to work to have more than the minimum. But it would require higher taxes, so it’s a non-starter in this country.

                    • Right now truck driving is one of the few well-paying blue collar jobs that can be trained for in a short time period; and truck drivers are much needed and in short supply, so there are plenty of job opportunities there. Successful driverless vehicles will make all those jobs, and all that need, go away. As well as all the other commercial driver jobs you mention.

                    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                      The less there on the bottom to get paid, the more you have for fat management bonuses. Zero Sum Game.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              Hang onto your spot in the soylent green line.

              “Soylent green line” as in to receive your ration of Soylent Green or to BECOME Soylent Green?

          • Eeyore, so if “innovation” is a shibboleth, what would you prefer – Improvement? Productivity? Modernization? Progress? Net gain?

            I intentionally chose to use the word innovation because it is our very nature as human beings to see something and improve upon it. Rarely is there a genuine new idea or pure invention. Generally it is our ability to take something and change it that impacts our lives and world we occupy. If the change is deemed worthwhile, we can make a living at it. If it is not, we try something else.

            But innovation also involves something more profound than simply our ability to be smarter or faster or have a big house with a good paying job. Innovation also involves our ability to dream and create something new and different. Innovation also is about matters of the soul and spirit.

            If we lose this, then your dire prediction where we “hang on to your spot in the breadline” is spot on. So I stand by the word choice of innovation. It is no shibboleth, it is our way out.

            But first we’re probably going to try closed borders and trade sanctions. Sounds exciting doesn’t it?

    • Robert F, thanks for your persistent passion on this issue:

      Yesterday at work I began to assist a project I never hoped would come to pass: developing materials to give to undocumented parents facing possible deportation that provide guidelines to assist them with making long-term custodial arrangements to place their citizen children with US resident families.

      I am shamed by the accumulating disgraces of the anti- immigrant sickness in our land. So much for Family Values.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Family Values(TM) only applies to Abortion and Sexual Purity.
        (And maybe Outbreed those Heathen.)
        Nothing more.

      • Patrick Kyle says

        These people have no right to be here. They made the choice to come here illegally and knew the risk. Many gambled and lost. Now all you bleeding hearts trot out the sob stories of these unfortunate people. I have friends in the legal system that see parents hauled off to jail every day, convicted of crimes, leaving the family in disarray and without a breadwinner. Where are you bleeding hearts and your sob stories about that? It’s not a universal ‘right’ to come here, and if they come illegally, and get caught and deported why is that so much worse than what happens to felons and their families every day? I just don’t get it. You guys act like having stringent immigration laws is a sin or moral scandal. Unchecked immigration, legal or illegal is national and cultural suicide. The only difference between mass immigration and invasion is the speed and (initial) violence.

        • Since when is advocating for national/cultural survival a Christian virtue?

          • Since Christianity was taken over by “Amerika First!”

          • Patrick Kyle says

            ? Do you advocate for National dissolution?. Do you wish to replace your culture with another? or several? As Christians we live in 2 worlds (see Lutheran Doctrine of Two Kingdoms) therefore exercising our vocation as citizen of a Nation is our God given calling. So yes, advocating for peace and prosperity of my Nation, and dutifully passing on the culture handed to me (free speech, freedom of religion, peaceful coexistence etc.) are Christian virtues.

            • I have no need to advocate for something that is already going to happen – history is not something any nation, ours included, is immune to. I just point out that given Jesus’ teaching and examples, hospitality and mercy seem to rank far higher in His estimation than fighting for cultural integrity.

              • Patrick Kyle says

                How come you guys are champions of the ‘America is not/never was a Christian Nation, but demand that the secular State, whose main responsibility is protecting and working for the prosperity of it’s citizens, conforms to NT commandments concerning hospitality to aliens and strangers?

        • “There are laws that all hnau know, of pity and straight dealing and shame and the like, and one of these is the love of kindred. He has taught you to break all of them except this one, which is not one of the greatest laws; this one he has bent till it becomes folly and has set it up, thus bent, to be a little, blind Oyarsa in your brain.”

        • Burro [Mule] says

          Kyle brings up a valid point.

          Do we just let anybody in who shows up at the border with a sad story? Are you all really for open borders?

          America is not the Church. It is not the Universal Kingdom. We can handle a lot, but immigrants need to assimilate. There needs to be a dominant culture that, yes, is privileged.

          From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.

          • America is not the Church, yes, but there is a Church in America (such as we are) and this situation is before us. What’s more important, dealing with the suffering of people before our eyes, or preserving cultural integrity?

    • Burro [Mule] says

      I’ll take faux anti-globalism over Empire, thank you, if those are the only choices on the menu.

      Real anti-globalism became politically untenable after Reagan. Hell, Empire was probably inevitable after the Civil War, when the sustainable South was crushed by the industrial North, and resources and markets had to be acquired at any cost. But yeah, I think we made some hesitant steps towards dissolving the Empire after Vietnam and Watergate. Trouble is, we are now 40 years farther down the road towards climate change and resource depletion, and none of our alternatives are particularly palatable at this time. It’s Morning After in America.

      Also, maybe 40 years ago we could have crafted a rational immigration policy. Forty years of basically open borders have institutionalized certain patterns of behavior and now we have reached the point where real human pain is going to be involved in rectifying the situation. My family will feel this pain long before most of you will ever experience it away from your TVs, but we aren’t going back to the status quo ante on immigration, OK?

      • I’ve heard many adjectives applied to the antebellum system of slave-driven agriculture system in the South… “sustainable” is a new one. :-/

        • Burro [Mule] says

          Relax. Nobody’s arguing for the abolition of the XIIth amendment.

          It’s not my concept. The most cogent apology for the South I have ever read, and one that does not in any way reduce the stain of slavery, is from Morris Berman.

          Abolition didn’t get any traction until the North was so furious at the South for the rebellion that they would have used nukes if they had them. I want to barf when every good guy I see on TV from before 1865 [See Sleepy Hollow or Turn] is automatically portrayed as an abolitionist. They lynched abolitionists. In the North. It was like being an abortion clinic bomber.

          • Burro [Mule] says

            The Excluded Middle reigns on Internet Monk.

            • If you want to discuss the too-oft excluded middle, it’s best to go straight for that middle rather than waiving tangential outrage bait. Just sayin’ 😛

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Abolition didn’t get any traction until the North was so furious at the South for the rebellion that they would have used nukes if they had them.

            In All RIGHTEOUSNESS.
            Typical when you get an Idealist generation with a Cause holding the reins of power.

      • @ Mule,
        Our POTUS’s faux anti-globalism does not involve ameliorating human-caused climate change, or slowing resource depletion. In fact, he wants to deregulate businesses to allow them to more easily pollute and exploit American natural resources. His Administration, with the help of Republicans on the Hill, has already started down that road. His is a nationalistic as opposed to internationalist globalism.

        Many so-called conservatives and traditionalists like to valorize and/or idealize some image of the past, but it always involves ignoring the pain of one segment or another of the human race.

        • Left to our POTUS’s devices, our country would look like the grey environmental dystopia of the film Blade Runner in a few years. After all, human-caused climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese and scientists (those filthy globalists!), and the mainstream media that presents it as a serious crisis are the enemies of the American people, right?

          • Burro [Mule] says

            Well, I dunno. I’m kinda Mulish enough to prefer a world where it is Blade Runner for everybody rather than Blade Runner for me and Elysium for the guys who made the right noises in the right meeting. That’s envy speaking, though, and envy is a sin.

            I’m all for the pain being distributed equally, and I don’t think there’s enough caritas remaining in the Body Politic to do that consensually. Maybe Finn can drop by and cheer me up.

            Climate change is the new boogie-man, but in as far as I can understand the science, most of the damage has already been done. Using less energy means less things will be done, and I’m certain that in Clintonopia, there would have been plenty of high-valence hydrocarbon atoms to be spared moving important people around from one place to another to discuss the effects of a quarter-percent hike in interest rates, while shuttling all the pain off on Bert, Jim, Pedro, and Tyrone, who would be told that the other guys on the crowded bus are the cause of his discomfort.

        • Burro [Mule] says


          You are right. He will foul our own nest, and that right soundly, but remember what I said about none of our alternatives being particularly palatable.

          Even if we had decided to revoke the XXIInd Amendment and kept jolly ol’ Barry on board for four more years (which I would have preferred to either of the alternatives offered to me in November), that would have just kicked the can down the road and maintained Pretend World for four more years.

          I think both Archdruid Greer and Arch-Curmudgeon Kunstler are right. The grenade was due to go off this term, and if HRC had been in the Oval Office, maybe the right crowd would have been blamed. With Trump all bets are off, but at least the globalists will have a fall guy to pin it on.

          • So let’s just badmouth the facts and fact-tellers, ignore the problem and pretend it doesn’t exist? Perhaps you’re an ostrich, not a mule.

    • I actually visited my favorite local taco place run by immigrants twice this week. I knew they’d be closed one day.

  8. /snark on/

    Suspicions confirmed: Australia has no shame.

    /snark off/

  9. After having hung out with more than a few Aussies in my life, I was always suspicious they had no shame.
    The shame map seems to substantiate that 🙂

  10. I would include Andrew Jackson on my short list of worst presidents ever. There were political cartoons at the time depicting him sitting on a throne with his foot on a shattered U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court ruled against the State of Georgia essentially recognizing the Cherokee nation as a sovereign state. Jackson responded by saying “(Chief Justice) Marshall made this ruling, now let’s see him enforce it” before removing the Cherokee in a historic event now know as the Trail of Tears. Once the judiciary interprets the law it is the job of the executive branch, i.e. the President, to enforce it. He could have run for a third term but was smart enough not to, and many of his failures get assigned to his VP turned successor. He saw the writing on the proverbial wall.

  11. Isn’t it interesting that the quality of its special effects has no relationship as to whether the movie was actually any good or not? I’ve always considered the best special effects award as the equivalent of the best costume at a Halloween Party.

    Only in the good old USA would “enhanced intelligence” be considered a bad thing.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Especially when a lot of big-budget movies are no more than two/three-our special effects demo reels.

      LotR had a LOT of heavy-duty CGI FX — lots more than those three-hour demo reels — but you don’t notice them. They’re subordinate to the storytelling. And Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (Thirties Pulp Adventure) was frankly an experiment to see if you could shoot an entire feature using only CGI virtual sets.

  12. I don’t watch movies any more but I’m glad to be brought up to speed in eleven minutes. However I fail to understand how this list of the best could pass by Mars Attacks!, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, and Attack of the Fifty Ft. Woman (Not to be confused with Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman, which I somehow missed seeing at the drive-in in my youth, but I just now watched the trailer and like Darryl Hannah better, or did, having somewhat gotten over my infatuation.)

  13. Just discovered that today is National Drink Wine Day. According to the official website, “The purpose of National Drink Wine Day is to spread the love and health benefits of wine. Wine has played an important role in history, religion and relationships. We embrace the positive benefits of wine such as new friends, reduced risk of heart disease and the enhancement of food and life.” I hope everyone here responds responsibly.

  14. Aurland should have used Starfire glass for their lookout. Normally I would also make a joke here about world’s largest Ikea furniture, but I will abstain.

    Men’s conference? Then shouldn’t you have some men speakers? Having a p*nis doesn’t make one a man.

    For Lent I’m giving up weightlifting. Just kidding! I will never do that.

  15. Sigh… Again a survey of Christians that leaves out Orthodox. But what else should I expect? Oh well.

    As for genetic “enhancement” experiments on embryos: NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO.

    Thanks, Daniel – a good round-up as always.


    • Burro [Mule] says

      Well, demographically, we’re vanishingly unimportant, but we always know exactly what we are going to do for Lent.

  16. Does anyone know what Jesus did to observe Lent?

    • Seeing how the word “Lent” is derived from an ancient term for “Springtime,” it could be said that His whole life was a Lenten observance. May we all follow His example – 40 days for some, a lifetime for others.

      Or it could have just been chocolate…if that fits your stereotype.

  17. Just noticed the date on the top of each page is Feb 20. This is at 8:15PM CST on Feb 19. Maybe the blog has moved to London?

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