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Friday, July 27, 2018

A Gardener's Diary, 7/27/18:

I am playing Amateur Archaeologist outside my suite at the plantation. With a cool morning for a change, I made good headway clearing an old brick terrace.

To the left is a strip of ground I've cleared for a small afternoon sun/shade garden; to the right is about 50 square feet of three-hole brick with grass up out of every damned one. I feel my life force seeping away just looking at it.

But in Charlotte, I left much the same during three months of digging out 1800 square feet of grass but leaving behind several hundred square feet of moss to expand. Once I get over the OMG phase, the work turns into a sort of zen experience.


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Alive today, would Brillat-Savarin say, "Tell me where you vote, and I'll tell you who you are?"

Waldo's Journal starts its twelfth year today. I've been studying a New York Times map that drills down to the precinct level for the whole of the US for the 2016 presidential election. 

It's a neat way to find out if I've been in liberal or conservative silos over the years. Sampling the places I've lived the last half century, the answer is, "Yes." Some liberal, some conservative, some competitive, some enclaves of one party surrounded by great swathes of support for the other.


Raeford, NC, 1960-65


Shelby, NC, 1965-1974
In 1974-80 I was in college/graduate school but still voted absentee in Shelby.


Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA, 1980-1990


Kelso/Longview, WA, 1990-1993


Seattle, WA, where I was elected a Republican precinct officer in 1998.


Port Angeles, WA, 2006-2008


Greer/Greenville, SC 2008-13


Charlotte, NC, 2013-18

This district was declared illegally gerrymandered by Republicans who made it a minority-majority district to make the ones around it more white and Republican.


Chester, SC, 2018-

My area elects both Republicans and Democrats. I like having real choices!



Saturday, July 14, 2018

Bastille Day, 2018



Hilary Mantel, A Place of Greater Safety, 1992:

“At first they’d thought the guillotine would be a sweet, clean business, but when you have twenty, perhaps thirty heads to take off in a day, there are problems of scale.”

Friday, July 13, 2018

Texas pol: a second term for me means no more happy endings for you

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The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, a wheelchair-bound man who wants to repeal the Americans With Disabilities Act, is on a new moral crusade: he says there are more whorehouses in Houston than Starbucks.

This confuses me. It's not like he will lose. His opponent is a Hispanic lesbian ex-sheriff.

There are three reasons Abbott doesn't know his own party's catechism.

First, the governor ought to be promoting locally-owned businesses over a chain run from liberal Seattle. In the view of Texas Republicans, Seattle needs no brothels because all of its residents are sex fiends. Indeed, The Stranger, a local weekly, once described Seattle's bathhouses as "whorehouses staffed by volunteers."

Second, it seems like an apples and oranges comparison. Why pick Starbucks? Everyone knows you can't get laid at a Starbucks. Hell, if you're black, you can't even sit down.

Why not compare numbers with gas stations, or vape shops, or dry cleaners, or Baptist churches whose members are surely among the sex clubs' patrons?

Third, a brothel owner in Nevada is a GOP nominee for the Nevada legislature. Big whoop! as Suzanne Sugarbaker used to cry. US Senator from Iowa Roger Jepsen lost his seat for doing research in one in what he called a moment of weakness and voter intolerance. Since that 1984 race, Iowa was gotten way more tolerant of GOP sexual mores.

Louisiana Senator David Vitter got major mileage points for his visits to brothels in DC and N'awlins and his wife has been paid off with a federal judgeship.

Jack Ryan, the 2004 Republican Senate nominee in Illinois (opposing Barack Obama), had to bail out after his ex-wife claimed he dragged her along to his fave brothels (she didn't get a federal judgeship).

Republican national conventions are legendary for their demand for pop-up male escort services.

It's all about free men and free markets, Governor Abbott. Adam Smith would call it capitalism's invisible handjob.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Recycling History, or why Dennis Rodman may or may not be one of the President's chosen Negroes

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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Defying evangelical norms, a Trump cabinet member's anxious to put his wife to work in a fast food franchise.

Image result for chick fil a anti gay cartoon

40,000 people a year seek a Chik-fil-A franchise each year.

100 people get one.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt didn't like those odds. So he told his aide to get Mr Cathy on the phone for him.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Conservatives cry, "Let us eat cake!" but they will find the portions are very small indeed.


Image result for trump inaugural cake


This morning the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited ruling on whether a Colorado Christianist baker can legally refuse to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple despite the state's anti-discrimination law's inclusion of sexual orientation as a protected class.

There are several things to know at the top. One is that the decision was 7-2, not an ideologically-driven 5-4.

Another is that Justice Kennedy- who has written all the major LGBT rights decisions of the Court- wrote this one. He did not give away the store.

The third thing is that the Court made a very narrow ruling. They found that the Colorado antidiscrimination commission didn't give the bakery owner's arguments a fair shake, so the Court overturned the commission's ruling that he violated the Colorado anti-discrimination law.

There is no big national rule in this case.

Justice Kennedy determined that religious freedom and its expression is important, but so is the right of LGBT Americans to walk into a store open to the public and not get dissed and denied service.

How to resolve that tension, the Court did not decide. The Court as an institution generally tries to limit its rulings to avoid unintended consequences, and it did so today.

By finding that the state of Colorado didn't give the baker's views a fair hearing, Justice Kennedy linked his decision to another care he decided in 1993, Romer vs. Colorado. In that case, voters passed a statewide referendum overturning all state and local LGBT anti-discrimination ordinances and laws and banned any new ones.

Kennedy's Romer decision held that a government entity cannot act against a defined group based purely on not liking who they are, or what they believe. Grounding the cake case in that reasoning, Kennedy preserved the body of law that has followed protecting and advancing LGBT equality.

I feared a more expansive ruling in which religious freedom claims could become a pretext for avoiding any law. Religious freedom advocates feared their First Amendment rights being subordinated by law to LGBT rights.

As neatly as a Gordian knot can be sliced, the case today did.

However- and there is always one of those- that will not end the debate. Since the baker won, evangelicals and gay-bashers will rejoice. They will also launch endless new cases trying to expand this toehold.

That is of a piece with their strategy against marriage equality, where they are adopting their anti-abortion playbook of reducing the Obergefell decision to a hollow shell by passing streams of laws chipping away at its substance.

In Republican-controlled states, look for a rush to amend state religious freedom laws with extreme extensions of the court's result, not its analysis. We see this, also, in the anti-abortion campaign: extreme laws are being passed precisely to create test cases to be rushed to the Supreme Court, because Gorsuch.

There are several concurrences to the Court's opinions today. Those get made when justices agree with the result but want to rearrange the furniture a bit. The conservative justices want to tilt the reasoning their way; the liberals, theirs.

The genius and the frustration of our legal system is that no question is settled forever. Everyone gets a chance to fight another day.

So Justice Gorsuch got a chance to publish another long, windy concurrence in which he manages to ape dear Justice Scalia's anger but not his intelligence or wit.

And Justice Thomas used his to work through some more of his unresolved racial issues ("Moreover, it is also hard to see how Phillips’ statement is worse than the racist, demeaning, and even threatening speech toward blacks that this Court has tolerated in previous decisions. Concerns about “dignity” and “stigma” did not carry the day when this Court affirmed the right of white supremacists to burn a 25-foot cross; conduct a rally on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday; or circulate a film featuring hooded Klan members who were brandishing weapons and threatening to “‘Bury the niggers." (citations omitted)).

The thing to remember is that this is a 7-2 decision written by Justice Kennedy, not Alito or Roberts. The two dissenters agreed with the outcome but not the finding that the Colorado commission acted unfairly. They thought the commission did its job. The case is not what conservatives will try to make it, but they will try; and LGBT rights have not been crushed, and we will work to expand them. The fight goes on.



Saturday, June 2, 2018

Tempus fugit, you cunt


Summer in the South

Image result for air conditioner installer angry

There is a direct-to-video movie in this headline from Law & Crime:
"Air Conditioner Installer Allegedly Poisoned Family Because They Kept Complaining"

Why is a pol who says she fears no one afraid to let a nobody comment on her Twitter feed?

Image result for catherine templeton rattlesnake ad


Catherine Templeton for Governor shoots rattlesnakes on TV to show how she will end her party's corrupt uniparty rule in South Carolina.

She calls herself a Buzzsaw for being willing to take on anybody, anytime, who crosses her in her drive to be ruler.

But when I critiqued her recent Clemson U. debate performance- along with the other four GOP hopefuls- on Twitter, she blocked me. I just discovered that!

Me, a guy with 213 Twitter followers, just commenting as I watched her on public television! That should tell SC voters what sort of autocrat she will try to be.

"Never look at Governor Templeton except in the eye," we will be told. "Anywhere else, that thin skin will just bust open and it'll be hell to pay trying to stuff everything back in!"

[Update: My God in Heaven, as soon as I posted this I was awash in Catherine Templeton Facebook promos! 10 in a row! Stop it, Buzzcat! I can't vote in the primary!]

Cuntagion on the Right: Can it Be Cuntained?

Samantha Bee, a leftish TV comicommentator, called Ivanka Trump a "feckless cunt" the other day and the President- who called Ivanka Trump "a nice piece of ass" is upset.

This has led to whirlwind rounds of whataboutism. The President's social media fluffers are up on their hind legs complaining of the crudity of the political left. On Facebook and Twitter, South Carolina's Accidental Governor, Henruh McMastuh, mumbled,
I joined Sean Hannity last night to talk about the hypocrisy of the Left. Here in South Carolina, we don't stand for this disrespect of our president and his family.
Long forgotten is the now-vanished Mrs Trump's BeBest campaign, unveiled not quite a month ago to combat incivility and bullying. Her husband would be mute if he did not have Twitter through which to bully Americans every day, all day long.

Mr Trump's supporters follow his lead, and spew their own, homegrown venom. The day when Southerners of a certain disposition can freely use the n-word again is surely a'comin'. He does nothing to discourage them.

So while there are well-meaning people calling for greater civility, and trying to calibrate Bee's use of "cunt" on some scale of punishment next to, say Roseanne Barr's recent racist tweet (the President defends her), it's kind of like arms-control negotiations. Both sides have to give, and the #MAGAHatters prefer screaming "lock her up!" at rallies where the President tells them lies.

"Cunt" is a word cherished by the American Right. Indeed, the rock and roller Ted Nugent gave a 1994 interview to a Denver newspaper in which he declared, of Hillary Clinton,
"You probably can't use the term `toxic cunt' in your magazine, but that's what she is. Her very existence insults the spirit of individualism in this country. This bitch is nothing but a two-bit whore for Fidel Castro."
Trump campaign rallies in 2016 featured a wide array of cuntgear:

 Image result for hillary is a cunt t shirt



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Roseanne Barr, whose outburst the President has defended, is also on record:



This is where it gets confusing, as you may see. Samantha Bee called the President's daughter/advisor a cunt and the President said she could get fired. Roseanne Barr called Hillary Clinton one in 2016, but shouldn't be fired for being a racist (the President's views on the use of "pussy" are well known). And Ted Nugent got invited to dinner with the President and took a tour of the White House with the 2008 Republican nominee for vice president. And he called Hillary Clinton a cunt 24 years ago!

Image result for ted nugent white house tour

For his part, the President has called at least three women- including the former Acting Attorney General of the United States- a cunt himself.

Is the tie-breaker that it's OK if you call Mrs Clinton that? Explain.

Pride Month: a short guide for the perplexed




As the President likes to say, "Many people say, "Why is there a Gay Pride Month? Why do They need a whole month? Why isn't there a Straight Pride Month, too?"

These are all good questions, and on Day 2 of Gay Pride Month, I am happy to be of assistance!

-Why is there a Gay Pride Month? LGBT Americans like to get together for parades and music events and movies and drinking beer and having fun.

We tend to do it in groups because everybody loves a parade! Parades are hard to do without crowds of watchers!

It's fun, and it means we will outnumber the protesters who bring bullhorns and scream Bible verses. Crowds scare off the sort of thugs who like to assault us when they spot us solo, or in pairs.

It's also fun to gather in big numbers because the federal government is working hard to prove we don't exist. The Centers for Disease Control have stopped counting us in health surveys they do, and the Census Bureau is trying to stop counting us as people.

So pride events remind us we exist. To paraphrase Descartes, "Et ad festos dies, ergo sum (I party, therefore I is)."

See, lots of people are like that and they also like to commemorate things that are important to them. Like African-American Music Appreciation Month; National Home Ownership Month ("During National Homeownership Month, we affirm the joy and benefits of homeownership"); National Ocean Month ("We acknowledge that our Nation can more effectively and responsibly harness its waters to the great benefit of its citizens"); Caribbean-American Heritage Month; and Great Outdoors Month (" Every American should take the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of our natural wonders, which stretch from coast to coast and beyond").

Those are all months the President of the United States has given the month of June, via proclamations from The White House.

If you don't like Gay Pride Month, feel free to ignore it. Since it became A Thing, most US presidents have. There were only proclamations from the White House in 1999 and 2000, and from 2009 to 2016. You probably didn't even notice it, and most years- like this one, it isn't an Official Thing at all.

So you don't even have to opt out of it! It just happens in some places. Most of America is places where it doesn't happen, so the odds of stumbling into an event are very, very small.

[N.B: if you are a world traveler, be aware that foreign nations celebrate GayPride Month in different months. Check ahead. Over 75 nations make being LGBT illegal, so you'll have no worries there! Sadly, while there are three nations where there are officially no gay people- Iran, Chechnya, and North Korea- they are difficult-to-impossible for Americans to visit.]

-That out of the way, let's move on. "Why a whole month?"

Why not?

Lots of people are happy celebrating their causes as a Day (Mother's, Father's, Arbor, National Hugging Day, National Ice Cream For Breakfast Day, National Masturbation Day (May 7), and Ask A Stupid Question Day all come to mind).

It's a local option thing, and, as one can imagine, people are by no means limited to their day of commemoration to commemorate it!

I believe a whole month is appropriate for Gay Pride because gays are legendary for gentrifying and upgrading the decayed, frayed, abandoned and out-of-fashion.

Why *not* take a month and leave it a little better every year with entertainments and museum exhibits and plays and seminars and festivals? It's like groups who pick a mile of highway to clean: you can get the President to give you a month, too! We are happy to share June, and all the rest are up for grabs!

Besides all that, June is- well, like the song in the musical Carousel celebrates,

June is bustin' out all over
The feelin' is gettin' so intense
That the young Virginia creepers
Have been huggin' the bejeepers
Outta all the mornin' glories on the fence!
Because it's June!

June, June, June
Just because it's June, June, June!

Fresh and alive and gay and young
June is a love song, sweetly song

June is bustin' out all over!
The saplin's are bustin' out with sap!
Love has found my brother, Junior
And my sister's even loonier!
And my Ma is gettin' kittenish with Pap!
June is bustin' out all over

To ladies the men are payin' court
Lotsa ships are kept at anchor
Just because the captains hanker
For the comfort they can only get in port!

-Finally: do we need a Straight Pride Month? Me, I've got nothing against it. I dare say most of us don't.

The Declaration of Independence says Americans enjoy the pursuit of happiness, and if you want to have a Straight Pride Month, knock yourself out!

I'm frankly surprised it hasn't caught on already: there are so many of you, and your people write all the laws and suchlike.

Here's the key: you need to find reasons for a Straight Pride Month. This will not be as easy as you may think.

Here are some reasons you don't need it:

1. You can't get fired, or evicted, or denied a hotel room or a meal in a restaurant, or a wedding cake for it.

2. You get to marry anybody you like, and if you see spouses like many see cars, you can trade up as often as you like.

3. You can serve in the US Armed forces and no one will try to run you out with a dishonorable discharge.

4. You won't get bullied or beat up for it. Or murdered.

5. It's already accepted everywhere you go, like that credit card ad says.

6. You don't have to tell friends and family you are straight, and they won't scorn, evict, or disown you.

But put your shoulders to the wheel, and you are sure to come up with a winning formula for Straight Pride Month! I'll come to your parade to cheer!

Wel, if you let me.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

He was hoping for something like the Oracle at Deplhi told Cicero: "Make your own nature, not the advice of others, your guide in life."



Kim Kardashian climbed down from her gig as the Gaffneyean Sibyl to put the ass in asinine presidential stunts today:


Monday, May 28, 2018

Six Presidents on Memorial Day

President Jimmy Carter, US Naval Academy graduate and Navy officer:



President George H.W. Bush, World War II Navy pilot:



President Bill Clinton:




President George W. Bush, Navy Reserve pilot:


President Barack Obama:




President Donald Trump:

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Why does Donald Trump rub Mike Pence's nose in gayness all the time? Because it's fun! But is #2 getting his own back?

Last October, The New Yorker reported on how the President mocks Vice President ( and arch-gay-baiter) Mike Pence on his outre' views, claiming that in a meeting with a legal scholar in which the subjects of abortion and gay rights came up, Pres. Trump pointed to V.P. Mike Pence and said, "Don't ask that guy - he wants to hang them all!"

Since then the Sun King seems to delight in assigning Pence especially heinous gayish duties. He sent The Vice Grimace to Korea to get flummoxed by being in a booth in public with Kim Jong-un's sister ("Mother Pence! Where are you?") and a two-pronged gay assault by the hyper-masculine gay snowboarder Gus Kenworthy and the hyper-gay figure skater Adam Rippon.

THEN, the Veep had to invite the very gay Irish Prime Minister to a traditional St Patrick's Day brekkers bromance at the #2 mansion with the soon-to-be-outed Bunny, Marlon (The Pences kicked out the press, a change from last year's camerafest with the then-very straight Taoiseach.

Then came the Dueling Bunny Books, and the gay one sold way more copies than the kiss-up memoir Mother Pence drew pictures of following the Veep all over the place the way the Veep does the President.

Now this , God help us:

Trump nominated- and all the antigay Republican senators confirmed, a queer to be US ambassador to Germany, of all places. Richard Grenell is a bitchy GOP press flack with a misogynistic- and loudly trumpeted- streak who was Mitt Romney's foreign policy advisor for three to four minutes in 2012 (the evangelicals squoze hard).

And Trump sent Vice President Mike Pence to swear in the nation's highest-ranking sodomite- with his partner in sex crimes right there. And with a Bible in the room!


But wait! Apparently, Pence's MD ratted out Ronny Jackson!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

As Adlai Stevenson said, "In America, anyone can grow up to be President. It's the chance we take."



I don't see what all the fuss is over people plumping President Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize.

He deserves as much consideration as Tsar Nicholas II and eugenicist Herbert Spencer (1901); Austrian Emperor Franz Josef (1914); Kaiser Wilhelm (1917); US Presidents Warren Harding (1923), Herbert Hoover (1918/32/41), Franklin Roosevelt (1934/38/45), Harry Truman (1948/50/53); Dwight Eisenhower (1955/57/60/63), and John F. Kennedy (1962); Socialists Eugene V. Debs (1924) and Norman Thomas (1964); Boy Scouts founder Robert Baden-Powell (1928/32/38/39/46) and his wife (1959); Benito Mussolini (1935); Princesse Henriette (1938); Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler (1939); South African apartheid architect Jan Smuts (1945); educator Maria Montessori and glamour facists Juan and Eva Peron (1949); right-wing evangelist Frank Buchman (1951-56; 1958-59, 1961); birth control advocate Margaret Sanger (1953-56, 1960); Helen Keller (1954/58); cellist Pablo Casals (1956/58); magazine editor Norman Cousins (1958-59, 1964, 1967); American industrialist Cyrus Eaton (1960-64); Yugoslavian dictator Tito (1963); Ethiopian despot Emperor Haile Selassie (1964); Algerian despot Habib Bourgiba (1966); comic actor Danny Kaye (1967); The International Chamber of Commerce (1958); The World Esperanto Association (1961-62; 1964-67); The Norwegian Missionary Society (1964); The International Lions Clubs (1967); The World Poet Laureates' Association (1967) and hundreds of others since from 1901 to 1967 and those still under the 50-year secrecy rule since 1967.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The man, the moment: three- wait! make that four! thoughts from Yeezy

Image result for kanye west cartoons

The Hollywood Reporter, April 13, 2018:

VERVOORDT I don't know, I never even thought about it because I live now, as in now, the past, the future is present. Why should I want to live in another time period?

WEST Yeah. … Really big, be here now, now be here. I go to an extreme. I've got this new concept that I've been diggin' into. I'm writing a philosophy book right now called Break the Simulation. And I've got this philosophy — or let's say it's just a concept because sometimes philosophy sounds too heavy-handed. I've got a concept about photographs, and I'm on the fence about photographs — about human beings being obsessed with photographs — because it takes you out of the now and transports you into the past or transports you into the future. It can be used to document, but a lot of times it overtakes [people]. People dwell too much in the memories. People always wanna hear the history of something, which is important, but I think it there's too much of an importance put on history. One of the things that I thought was interesting was how far people go in the past when you're working on clothing. There's people who will go and reference something from the 1920s or reference something from the '40s, especially dealing with sportswear. My sports wear is athletic wear. I was working with a guy named David Casavant and we were looking at a jogging pant from the 1940s and we were looking at a jogging pant from the 1980s, and I thought it was interesting that he refused to go all the way back to the '40s as a reference, that he wanted to keep the references close to now, to be here now. So I'm not saying that, you know, it's bad to go all the way back. (Laughs.)

Reuters, May 26, 2009:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rapper Kanye West does not read books or respect them but nevertheless, he has written one that he would like you to buy and read.

Entertainer Kanye West (L) and co-author of the book "Thank You and You're Welcome," Sakiya Sandifer, pose for a portrait while promoting the book in New York May 22, 2009. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The Grammy Award winner, known for his No. 1 albums and outspoken statements on everything from racism in America to the banality of Twitter, is the co-author of “Thank You And You’re Welcome.”

His book is 52 pages — some blank, others with just a few words — and offers his optimistic philosophy on life. One two-page section reads, “Life is 5% what happens and 95% how you react!” Another page reads “I hate the word hate!”

“This is a collection of thoughts and theories,” West, 31, said in an interview about his spiral-bound volume, which was written with J. Sakiya Sandifer.

West said he put his thoughts in a book because “I get paraphrased and misquoted all the time.” He calls his wisdom “Kanye-isms.”

“My favorite one is ‘Get used to being used,’” he said.

“I feel like to misuse, overuse or abuse someone is negative. To use is necessary and if you can’t be used, then you are useless.”

So does he fancy himself a modern-day Confucius?

“I’m trying to end the confusion,” he said, laughing and adding, “I’m gonna put that on the next album.”

West’s derision of books comes despite the fact that his late mother, Donda West, was a university English professor before she retired to manage his music career. She died in 2007 of complications following cosmetic surgery.

“Sometimes people write novels and they just be so wordy and so self-absorbed,” West said. “I am not a fan of books. I would never want a book’s autograph.

“I am a proud non-reader of books. I like to get information from doing stuff like actually talking to people and living real life,” he said.

West, a college dropout, said being a non-reader was helpful when he wrote his book because it gave him “a childlike purity.”

Twitter, April 27, 2018:




Vox, May 2, 2018:

 During a Tuesday appearance on TMZ Live, the rapper talked about his relationship with President Donald Trump and mused on a number of different subjects. Then he made a claim that was shocking even for him.

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years — for 400 years? That sounds like a choice,” West told the TMZ newsroom. “Like, you were there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all?”

“It’s like we’re mentally imprisoned,” he added.

Monday, April 16, 2018

It's Book Fair Week at last!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Don't miss this week's BookWeek!

An American original

Here's this week's LGBookT program!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

This week in literary trivia-

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Selections from the Sun King's 144 tweets on Syria, or, how to be a dumbass.






















Saturday: the book laird of Kentucky