Question of the Day: WSJ, A4, Saturday/Sunday, Feb. 3 – 4, 2018

WHAT IS THIS MEMO?

It was compiled by the Republican staff of the House Intelligence Committee and based on highly classified law-enforcement documents.

— article reported by Byron Tau and Rebecca Ballhaus

This is the memo commonly referred to on Twitter as ‘Yo Memo.’

Go straight to #YoMemoJokes.

Do not pass Go.

Stay tuned.

The A.V. Club Explains Why Americans Might Experience SOTU Feelings of Dread

SOTU Tonight, 9 p.m., ABC

You could just do like self and not watch it. Self plans to wend her way north, to Fort Bragg, to watch Maze Runner: Death Cure. Which she’s 100% sure will prove more beneficial to her mental health. Or, you could just read The AV Club article, which begins thus:

  • At this point, we expect to see an official declaration of war on this or that country by the flaxen-haired pox on humanity who’s currently in the White House, so what’s Trump saving for his first State of the Union Address — or, as he’s already referred to it, “The State of MY Union Show”?

To 45’s credit, he has set the bar very low. So low that if he ends up NOT actually making an official declaration of war, Americans will fall all over themselves to praise his decorum and tact.

(Insert laughing-so-hard-I’m-crying emoji here)

Stay tuned.

More 2017 Favorites: Big Year

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Evening, Trafalgar Square, First Sunday of March 2017

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Steep Hillside, One Cow: Albion, California, New Year’s 2017

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Kepler’s Books, Menlo Park, CA: January 2017

 

Recommended Reading: Women Writing (Comics, Nonfiction, Novellas)

Essay:

Skinning the Rabbit, by Jane Eaton Hamilton (The Sun, July 2017)

The Cone of Uncertainty: Parenting on the Edge of Climate Change, by Sarah Grey (Salvage Quarterly, 28 November 2017)

On Yoga, Diversity Lite, and the Empire of American Wellness, by Namrata Poddar (CounterPunch, 3 November 2017)

The New Bad Girls of Contemporary Literature, by Myriam Gurba (Literary Hub, 1 December 2017)

Why are America’s farmers killing themselves in record numbers? by Debbie Weingarten (The Guardian, 6 December 2017)

Comics:

DC New Talent Showcase 2017

Food-Related:

In Search of Lost Butter Chicken, by Sukhada Tatke (National Geographic Traveler: India, June 2017)

Novella:

Day of All Saints, by Patricia Grace King (Miami University Press, November 2017)

I Don’t Think of You (Until I Do), by Tatiana Ryckman (Future Tense Books, September 2017)

 

 

Heartfelt Thanks to These Intrepid Tweeters For a Year’s Worth of Sanity

@ProPublica

@mcspocky

@RealRBHJr

@marion_mcgarry

@TriskelCork

@LillianHowan

@NSIDC

@dailywalks

@TheMarySue

@RWAKissofDeath

@JanetFitch323

@_kingslayer2017

@WatchersOTWall

@kate_mccrea

@GraceLP

@Pigsyinspace

@jeanleesworld

@ErinLMcCoy

@FreeFolkMemes

@ASOIAFQuotesGOT

@thedailybeast

@karltaro

 

#amwritinghistoricalfiction: The English Arrive on Isla del Fuego

p. 243 of self’s novel-in-progress:

An English officer stands on the beach, waiting at attention. Matias gapes.

“England has attacked Spain, sir,” the man announces. “We have 5,000 soldiers in Manila. Colonel Chisholm.”

Plan B for the Nuclear Apocalypse

Thank you, Chris Breault of The A.V. Club for a very informative article (dropped 21 April 2017). Since Kim “Little Rocket Man” Jong-Un and DT seem to be engaged in the most gigantic game of “chicken” ever, Breault asked:

What’s your plan for the day nuclear war breaks out?

Do you sprint to a fall-out shelter . . .

Do you walk out on the fire escape naked . . .

Do you escape the city on a motorcycle . . .

Many of us have no such plan, because we’ve already heard Sun Ra explain that if the button is pushed, our asses will simply be gone.

There is, wouldn’t you know, a U.S. Agency calling itself the Federal Preparedness Agency which would chopper “presidential successors” to “an installation on Mount Weather, Virginia.”

Here’s the link.

Among other fascinations, there is discussion of presidential code words, which be like — FOUR FINGER?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

2017 Highlights #1: To the Graduates of Bethune-Cookman

In a year of lowlights (“Rocket Man” and Fake News, the US pull-out from the Paris Climate Agreement, THAT DARN WALL, Charlottesville and “many sides,” the Las Vegas shooting, the Texas shooting, the dissembling of Sarah Huckabee Sanders), self would like to thank the graduates of Bethune-Cookman, for giving her one of the most stirring memories of 2017.

Betsy DeVos, the “woefully under-qualified Secretary of Education,” was invited to speak at the Bethune-Cookman commencement. This is the Secretary of Education who had not (yet) at that point announced that she would put an end to the loan assistance provided to those college students who intended to become teachers. But she had already said her piece about guns in schools: It would be appropriate #because grizzlies. Worst of all (This quote is taken from the open letter to the graduates of Bethune-Cookman, published in Cassius) was “her egregious framing of historically Black colleges and universities as pioneers in school choice.”

!!##@@ Put laughing-so-hard-its-painful emoji here.

The students stood and turned their backs. Literally.

The students defied the presence and rhetoric of DeVos.

Thank you.

The Observer, Sunday, 29 October 2017

3-Page Special on US Politics in Today’s London Observer :

  • We must stop pretending the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal . . .  Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as ‘telling it like it is’ when it is actually just reckless, outrageous and undignified.

— Jeff Flake, Republican Senator from Arizona, who is not seeking re-election

  • (Flake) is one of my most detested politicians . . .  Of the 14 Republicans who voted for (an amnesty on illegal immigration), five are gone.

— Ann Coulter, rightwing political commentator

Self was surprised that The Observer gave such prominent place to US politics. Because isn’t England going through some pretty weighty upheavals of its own? She’s grateful, though, for this chance to see America through a different lens. She thought about this article all through dinner.

Coulter exults that five of the Republicans who voted against amnesty on illegal immigration “are gone.” Subtext is that she’d be very glad to see the remaining nine “gone” too, payback for speaking out against the President. Like, being “gone” is proof that they are, to borrow a lame term from 45, losers.

Wait, why is The Observer quoting Coulters? Self never heard the name Ann Coulters on TV or in the newspapers, for almost a year. She isn’t that famous.

You know who’s famous? Ivanka Trump. Because Colbert makes fun of her.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

#amreading: HIS FINAL BATTLE, THE LAST MONTHS OF FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, by Joseph Lelyveld

Skimmed the last 50 or so pages of Submission. Fascinating, densely written. After the President of France is elected, there’s endless amounts of conjecture about Sharia Law. The last paragraph of the novel was brilliant.

And then she began the next book on her reading list, His Final Battle: The Last Months of Franklin Roosevelt. Self loves World War II history books.  A really good World War II history book can light up her life in a myriad ways. This one had her completely hooked, from page 1.

Self doesn’t know why, but she was completely ready for this book. Against the panoply of war is a sick man who just happens to be the President of the United States. The curtain came “down abruptly” on Franklin Roosevelt in the twelfth week of his fourth term, “on a balmy April afternoon in Warm Springs, Georgia.”

Roosevelt’s fourth term was “the third shortest presidential term” in U.S. history. Shortest was William Henry Harrison’s 32 days, and then the six weeks of Abraham Lincoln’s second term. Roosevelt was, to borrow a term from author Joseph Lelyveld, “plaintive” in his last months.

p. 12:

Mortality is the ultimate reason for feeling plaintive. In our waning hours, we get on with our tasks. Roosevelt was racing, as we all are, against time. If we want to take him in his full measure, we need to see him in his full context, in the round, not just as a dying man in what we may glibly call “denial,” but as an actor playing out his role, simply because he found no alternative; in that sense, a man touched by the heroic. Of all his responsibilities as the war headed into its climactic last year, calculating the date of his own terminus was not necessarily, in that clamorous time, the most pressing.

In other words, people, it’s not always about you. What a contrast to 45, who manages to make even hurricanes seem like personal affronts. 45 addressing the people of Puerto Rico: “Personally, I’m having a horrible day.” Not sure if he said this before or after he threw Brawny paper towels at a roomful of people. Self still doesn’t understand the significance of throwing paper towels to people who are recovering from what @RealRBHJr calls “Big Water”. (A joke, maybe?)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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