not concerned

I actually have appointments and things scheduled today, which is a rarity. But I wanted to say one thing about Comrade Trump’s indictment(s). No, that’s not true; there are a LOT of things I want to say about it, but I’m going to restrain myself because of all that appointment stuff. This is what I want to say:

I’m not concerned that the indictment(s) will spark violence.

I say that for a couple of reasons. First, this is happening in Manhattan. Trump is not generally popular in New York City. There will likely be angry people who show up in front of Trump Tower or at the DA’s office and raise a fuss, but it’s highly unlikely there’ll be any sort of serious violent confrontation. This isn’t like DC on January 6th. Even if MAGA fuckwits wanted to pull something on that order, the urban geography isn’t in their favor. It’s easier for police to kettle protesters in city streets. And the logistics of a large scale protest are a lot more daunting; MAGA fuckwits would have to arrange travel to NYC, and find a place to stay (hotels in NYC aren’t cheap), and figure out the subway system, and they’d have to do it quickly (unlike 1/6, in which Trump gave them plenty of notice). Large scale violence just isn’t as feasible in these circumstances.

Second, this is about money paid to a porn star to prevent her from exposing the fact that Trump cheated on his third wife who’d just delivered their baby. It’s a lot harder for MAGA fuckwits to justify violence and a possible jail sentence to support a president’s right to betray his marriage and pay hush money to porn stars. It’s a lot harder for conservative Christians to support violence to help a serial philanderer’s attempt to cover up yet another sexual affair. The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth and all that. (If I have to quote the Bible, I’ll always go with the King James version; it rumbles so well.)

The arrest we’ve all been waiting for.

Had any of the other crimes for which Trump is being investigated issued the first set of indictments, I’d be more concerned about violence. Those crimes are a lot more serious. Paying off porn stars is just tacky and sleazy.

And now I think of it, there’s a third reason large scale violence is unlikely. Trump has admitted he did it. He may deny (while not under oath) that he had sex with Stormy Daniels, but he’s admitted he paid her off. He has justified it as a business expense; cheaper to pay her off than to sue her for libel. It’s a variation of the What Happens in Vegas defense.

I could be wrong, of course. I mean, I was absolutely certain there was no way Trump would ever be elected president, so my track record is questionable. My assumption that there won’t be any large scale violence as a result of the indictment(s) may just be wishful thinking. Nonetheless, I find it hard to believe that there will be enough outrage even among hardcore MAGA fuckwits to get them to visit New York City and engage in street violence to defend Trump’s right to hand out cash to porn stars to keep them quiet about his sordid habit of cheating on his multiple wives.

the point

Okay, this happened. On social media, I posted a photograph of…well, wait. Let me just show you the photo, that’ll make this easier.

That’s it. It’s not anything remotely artsy; it’s just an interior shot made from a corner booth. The primary reason I shot the photo was because it amused me; it’s a classic private investigator perspective–back to the wall and a view covering all three entrances and exits. (Yes, I worked for about seven years as a PI specializing in criminal defense, and yes, I actually did pay attention to those things back then, but no, it’s not really a concern to me anymore, but yes, it’s still sort of a habit.)

A friend commented, casually referring to this as a ‘dive bar’ and adding “…or what we call here, ‘the pub’.” (‘Here’ in that context meant Ireland.) And for reasons that probably don’t bear examination, I felt compelled to point out that this place is NOT a dive bar. Or a pub. It’s a sort of combination roadhouse and bicycle bar.

Because this is how my mind works, I’ve spent a few idle moments (well, maybe half an hour) thinking about the taxonomy of drinking establishments. Obviously, there’s no universally agreed classification; there’s no International Organization for Standardization overseeing drinking establishments. BUT there IS a history.

On the outskirts of town, along a road and bike trail — bicycle roadhouse.

The Roman tradition of conquering places and fucking around with local cultures and norms relied heavily on their ability to build and maintain a network of roads. Along those roads, they created tabernae–rude sheds and shelters where travelers could refresh themselves with food and drink, and maybe a safe place to sleep. Eventually, taverns began more like houses open to the public, and local folks would gather there to get news from travelers over a friendly ale. Public houses–pubs–became central to neighborhoods. Public houses located outside of town (or on the outskirts of town) generally provided rowdier entertainment–roadhouses.

Now there’s an entire constellation of drinking establishments. We still have pubs, some towns still have taverns that also act as inns (though those are largely supplanted by hotels and the hotel bar), we still have roadhouses. But we’ve also got dive bars, which are sort of low-rent pubs devoted to serving local folks inexpensive drinks without a lot of fuss. We’ve got bicycle bars for thirsty cyclists, and brew pubs for beer connoisseurs (from the Latin cognoscere, meaning ‘to know, to understand, be familiar with’), and concept bars that are devoted to a specific theme (like zombies or hobbits or steampunk or bondage), and sports bars with eighteen large-screen televisions showing a disconcerting number of sports events, and cocktail bars where beer and ale is spurned in favor of spirits, and wine bars which you can figure out yourself, and pool bars (both swimming and billiards), and population bars directed at specific groups (like LGBTQ or veterans of foreign wars) and I’m probably forgetting several other types of drinking establishments.

My point is…well, I’ve forgotten what my point was. I definitely had a point when I started writing this. I wonder what happened to it. Somehow I seem to have gone from looking at things from a PI perspective to tavern taxonomy to the fucking Romans to a semi-random rambling list of bar types. A point could get lost anywhere in there.

Turns out, that photo at the beginning did NOT make this easier.

Uh…how ’bout those Red Sox, huh?

a sweet savour unto the lord

Billy B. Yeats wrote the poem in 1919, just months after the end of World War One, the bloodiest and most technologically advanced war ever fought. His young wife, Georgie Hyde-Lees, pregnant with their first child, had almost died from the global flu pandemic of 1918-1919 and was still recovering. Twenty million people died in that war, twenty-one million during the pandemic. And the Irish War of Independence was just beginning.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer

Falcons hunt at the command of the falconer. It’s not just that the falcon has slipped free of that control, it’s not just that the falcon isn’t listening to the falconer; he can’t even hear the voice of control anymore. Control no longer exists.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned

To Yeats, the entire world must have seemed on the verge of combustion. Everything was blowing up around him. Nobody was in charge; there was no constraint on the horror in the world, there was no legitimate authority to curb humanity’s worst impulses. One era was coming to a bloody end; a new one was being born and nobody knew whether or not it would be monstrously worse.

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

And here we are, a century and a wink later, after another pandemic, living in a nation we hardly recognize during an era of increasing hate and horror. It feels like our world is at a horrific tipping point. Firearms have become the leading cause of death for children under 18 years of age. Not disease, not accidents, not any natural or organic issue, but a device. A tool, an implement, a thing we deliberately manufacture and freely sell almost without control. The leading cause of death among children is a mechanical apparatus, and one political party celebrates it.

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

The members of the Republican Party almost universally identify themselves as Christian, and they publicly bemoan the deaths of all those thousands of children. They offer their thoughts and prayers because that’s what you do when you make a burnt sacrifice–you pray when you create a holocaust. Holocaust, from the Greek holokauston, meaning “a thing wholly burnt.” A burnt offering is the oldest form of Biblical sacrifice; a “burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord,” as the King James Version has it. The sacrificed offering should be “without blemish.” Untainted, unspoiled, pure. Like children.

Republican Andrew Clyde, a gaze blank and pitiless as the sun.

Guns are the rough beast. Republicans, with a “gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,” are willingly sacrificing children to it. We have the power to stop that. We have the power to, at a bare minimum, reduce the magnitude of the holocaust of children. We have the ability to minimize the butcher’s bill.

But we won’t.

The blood-dimmed tide has corrupted the water of our political and social culture. The falcon cannot hear the falconer. It will feed where it wants.

in a new york minute

Look, even the question is stupid. But I keep hearing it. “Could being indicted and arrested actually HELP Trump?”


It’s really that simple. Sure, assuming it happens (and yes, I am assuming it will–and it’s to be hoped it’ll be today because I’ve got my money on today, 22 March, as Indictment Day), it’ll piss off people who already support Trump. Will it suddenly make other voters slap their foreheads and exclaim, “I can NOT believe the government indicted a former president for paying hush money to a moderately successful porn actress to prevent her from talking about their sexual liaison, so now I will absolutely vote for Trump!”

No, it won’t.

Comrade Former-President Donald J. Trump behaving as expected.

There will undoubtedly be some protests by MAGA-hat wearing dolts. There will be an absurd number of news media filming these protests as if the protests are the important story, and they’ll interview the same dozen or so TrumpFlag-wrapped tuna-heads, who’ll repeat the same rancid bullshit. They may even find some guy so desperate for attention that he’ll proclaim he’d give his life for a man who cheated on his third wife shortly after she’d given birth to his fifth child by three different women. But will that translate into more votes in the 2024 election?


Trump, of course, has encouraged his followers to protest his arrest (when it happens). He wants his people out on the streets being loud and aggressive. Not necessarily loud and aggressive toward anybody or anything in particular–just loud and aggressive in a generally intimidating way. My guess is he’s hoping there will be some sort of assault on some US institution, just as there was against the US Capitol on January 6th. Because that was an indication of his power. Trump is probably feeling weak right now, and I suspect he’d happily have his people set fire to a courthouse just for that boost in his own self-importance. But his people have seen what happened to the 1/6 insurrectionists. Are there many people willing to act out and risk going to prison just to protest Trump’s right to privacy about an extramarital relationship with porn star?


To me, this seems pretty obvious. And yet the New York Times is still reporting idiotic shit like this: “[H]ow he responds to this moment could determine whether he continues to stabilize his standing as the Republican presidential front-runner.” We KNOW how he’ll respond to this. Everybody knows how he’ll respond. He’ll respond to this the same way he responds to everything. He’ll lie. He’ll throw a tantrum. He’ll blame everybody but himself. He’ll threaten. He’ll try to get his supporters to terrorize his detractors. He’ll insult everybody who doesn’t support him. He’ll be the same Comrade Donald Fucking Trump he’s always been. Will it make a difference in his standing in the GOP?

No. No, it won’t.

The Republican Party has fucked itself. They’ve demonstrated they no longer stand for anything, they no longer believe in anything, they no longer respect anything but power. They’ve doused themselves in gasoline and given Trump a cheap-ass BIC lighter. Now they can only hope he won’t burn them all down. Will he?

Yes. Yes, he will. In a fucking New York minute.

reasoned debate

MAGA Fuckwit: If you indict and arrest Trump, we will burn this motherfucker down!
America: Well, we’re still going to indict and arrest him.
MAGA Fuckwit: He did nothing wrong!
America: Sorry, disagree.
MAGA Fuckwit: The call to Georgia was perfect!
America: No, but that’s not what we’re arresting him for.
MAGA Fuckwit: The election was stolen!
America: No, but that’s not what we’re arresting him for.
MAGA Fuckwit: January 6th was a peaceful protest!
America: No, but that’s not what we’re arresting him for.
MAGA Fuckwit: As president he had the power to declassify top secret documents just by thinking about it!
America: No, but that’s not what we’re arresting him for.

Defending the Constitutional Right to Pay Hush Money to Porn Stars!

MAGA Fuckwit: He…he…whatever you say he did, he didn’t do it! Or he was right to do it!
America: We’re arresting him for illegally paying hush money to a porn star.
MAGA Fuckwit: We…that’s…you can’t…we will burn this…c’mon!
America: Yeah, that’s it. Hush money, porn star.
MAGA Fuckwit: That’s not illegal!
America: Yeah, it is if you try to pass it off as a campaign contribution.
MAGA Fuckwit: He did it to protect his wife and kids!
America: Yeah, no.
MAGA Fuckwit: Real men cheat on their wives!
America: Seriously? That’s your argument?
MAGA Fuckwit: Goddamnit!
America: [shrugs]
MAGA Fuckwit: Can’t you indict and arrest him for the other crimes?!
America: Sure. Just wait.
MAGA Fuckwit: Okay, good, then we will burn this motherfucker down!
America: We’ll let you know when we’re ready.

when gas stoves are outlawed…

I have a lot of stuff I ought to be doing, and you may think I’m trying to avoid it all by loitering about in the feverish miasma of FreeRepublic — but I’m not. No sir, no ma’am, what I’m doing is a public service, putting the needs and wants of others before my own. And I know y’all have probably maybe been wondering just what are the patriots of FreeRepublic fretting about now.

People, they’re still babbling about gas stoves being banned.

You may remember back in January, Richard Trumka, a commissioner in the Consumer Product Safety Commission, noted that studies revealed a lot of gas stoves leak benzene (which can cause cancer) and certain levels of oxides of nitrogen (which cause asthma). Many gas stoves also leak methane even when turned off, which contributes to global warming. Some legislators, learning all this, have considered regulations to reduce the harmful effects, including 1) requiring gas stoves be sold with range hoods to improve ventilation, 2) issuing mandatory performance standards for gas stoves.

In response to a question, Trumka also said this:

“Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”

MAGA conspiracy cranks and other delusional right-wing nutjobs immediately began to claim the federal government was planning to SEIZE OUR GAS STOVES! The federal government responded, saying, “What? We’re what? No, no, are you nuts? Jesus suffering fuck, I declare, you people.” Or words to that effect.

That denial, of course, confirmed the fears of Freepers, as you can see:

It wasn’t until America’s crooked fact-checkers said Joe Biden had no intention of banning gas stoves that I was certain Joe Biden would ban gas stoves. And now we know he is — 96 percent of them. — Red Badger

How did this jamoke come up with that number? Because only 4% of existing gas stoves would meet the most stringent potential regulations short of banning that CPSC has said it may possibly consider for gas stoves made at some point in the future. Got that? There are NO new regulations at the moment, though there MAY be some in the future. Any future regulation would only apply to gas stoves built AFTER that date. But Freepers interpret this as a ban on existing gas stoves, all of which will be seized by jackbooted government agents breaking into the homes of patriotic gas-stove-cooking Americans.

— It is clear to anyone paying attention that just about every government agency can be weaponized against the people. The mere existence of government agencies is an invitation for tyranny for when Democrats are in office. by ConservativeInPA.
— This is outrageous! Those liberal celebrity chefs better wake-up! by Chgogal.
— Department of Energy didn’t even exist until 1977. How did we ever survive without it? by shooter223.
— Not happening in my household. FJB. by Carriage Hill

And there’s always at least one MAGA-hatted Freeper who knows that EVERY problem is the fault of pedophiles and the ONLY solution to those problems is a real man forcing lesser beings to bend to his will:

— This is when McCarthy, if he was a real man, would spearhead legislation making it a FELONY for ANY Federal Employee, to use, own or possess ANY Product or item that uses Natural Gas or Propane. and SHUT DOWN THE HOUSE until the Senate passes it and the Pedophile signs it. by eyeamok.

So this is my public service announcement: If you have a gas stove in your home, you can thank real men for making it possible for you to continue to breathe benzene and methane in freedom, just like Jesus would want Americans to do.

You don’t have to thank me for doing this research for you. I’m always willing to sacrifice my time to…to do whatever the hell this is. I mean, it’s this or get a read job, right?

that’s not bias, that’s behavior

This ‘anti-Christian bias’ bullshit again.

It’s important to remind everyfuckingbody that in all of Western culture, Christianity is the default. Unless it’s specifically mentioned, every television and movie character is assumed to be Christian. There is a definite, consistent pro-Christian bias in Hollywood. When Christian characters act in non-Christian ways–by lying, by cheating, by conniving, by being greedy, by sexually molesting people, by being hypocrites, and yes, by being fucking cannibals–that’s NOT anti-Christian bias. It’s anti-Christian behavior. And hey, that shit happens ALL THE TIME.

The fact is, there are–and always have been–lots of television shows and movies devoted to favorable portrayals of Christian priests and ministers and nuns. There was even a show called God Friended Me about an atheist ‘friended’ by God on social media, who then became an active agent for good things. How many crime-solving Christian clergy shows are there? Dozens. How many movies and shows about ex-priests still doing the Christian God’s work by fighting supernatural evil–vampires and demons and all that?

There are far more overtly positive representations of Christians on television and in the movies than disparaging ones. And, again, the unfavorable representations are generally about characters who are defined by their close association with Christianity. That’s how character-driven narratives work: you play them against a higher standard. The more trust placed in a person, the greater the betrayal when that trust is broken. A judge or a police officer who steals is seen as worse than an ordinary person who steals, because their job is to uphold the law. A professed Christian who violates the tenets of Christianity is more shocking than a non-Christian who does.

So yeah, if you want to create a villain, first you put that character in a position of trust and respect. Because Christianity is the default, and because society is expected to honor and trust the clergy, they make great villains. Presenting a post-apocalyptic Bible-reciting preacher as a cannibalistic predator is NOT anti-Christian bias; it’s a depiction of the betrayal of Christian beliefs.

Mark Wahlberg (who, by the way, is an absolutely dreadful actor–which has nothing at all to do with his faith) has also complained about an anti-Christian bias in Hollywood. He’s said he intends to dedicate the rest of his career to ‘faith-based storytelling.’

“I don’t want to jam it down anybody’s throat, but I do not deny my faith. That’s an even bigger sin. You know, it’s not popular in my industry, but, you know, I cannot deny my faith. It’s important for me to share that with people. I have friends from all walks of life and all different types of faiths and religions, so you know, it’s important to respect and honor them as well.”

This is a huge part of the problem. Christians DO jam it down our throats. Spreading the Gospel–the Good News–is inherent in Christianity. It’s hard-wired into the belief system.

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

‘Preaching the Gospel’ sounds a lot better than ‘Jamming it Down Throats’ but the commandment to ‘share’ exists independently of the desire of others to listen. It may be important for Wahlberg “to share that with people” but it’s not important to those of us who aren’t Christians. Go be a Christian, but we’d very much appreciate it if you’d leave us out of it. Wahlberg says it’s important to “respect and honor” folks of other faiths and religions, but one way to do that would be to NOT to ‘share’ your religion with others unless invited. Refraining from ‘sharing’ your faith is not the same as denying it.

Anti-Christian bias absolutely exists. But it’s generally a result of two things: 1) that unrequested sharing business, and 2) the constant barrage of professed Christians caught doing stuff they preach against. Wait…make that three things. Let’s include 3) Christians who’ve been caught doing stuff they preach against and who, after a period of ‘reflection’, announce they’ve been forgiven and go right back to preaching. And making money.

Anti-Christian bias exists primarily because of anti-Christian behavior on the part of Christians.