Sunday, December 31, 2023

A New Year


Ringing out the old year and ringing in the new year with the Canadian vocal trio The Tenors singing their memorable rendition of Auld Lang Syne. Happy New Year to our blog "family" and those beyond, and may it be better for us than the last.

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Darrin Bell,

(Chris Britt,

(Benjamin Slyngstad, @SlyngCartoons)

(Ann Telnaes, Washington Post)

(Matt Davies, Newsday)

 (John Darkow, Columbia Missourian)

(Niels Bo Bojesen, @nielsbobojesen)

(Matt Wuerker, Politico)

(Asher Perlman, @asherperlman)

What Democratic Governance Gets You


Found @dcpetterson / #BidenEarnedMyVote, three years of accomplishments and positive starts so far (click to enlarge):


An impressive list, considering the razor thin margins in the Senate and House, and the active sabotage underway in those bodies and in Christofascist Republican state governments.

Voting matters.  Elections matter.

Sunday Reflection: The Zookeeper

"I always wanted to be a zookeeper when I was growing up, and I've wound up a zookeeper! I've been working with the Los Angeles Zoo for 45 years! I'm the luckiest old broad on two feet because my life is divided absolutely in half - half animals and half show business. You can't ask for better than two things you love the most."-- Beloved actress and animal lover Betty White (1/17/1922 - 12/31/2021). Starting with her "Life With Elizabeth" in the 1950s, and continuing with iconic roles in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Golden Girls," and "Hot in Cleveland," White managed to devote much of her private life and philanthropy to the care and health of animals with the Morris Animal Foundation and the Los Angeles Zoo. Her #BettyWhiteChallenge was established on the first anniversary of her death to encourage people to give to their local animal shelters in Betty's name. She once remarked that she was in show business in order to stay in the animal business.

(photo: Jim Spellman / Getty Images)


New Year's Celebrations Begin


New Zealand, the first major country across the International Date Line, welcomes 2024.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Dennis Goris, @DennisGoris)

(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

(Clay Jones,

(Mike Smith, Las Vegas Sun)

(Kevin Kallaugher, The Economist, London)

(Matt Davies, Newsday)

(Marian Kamensky,

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Drew Sheneman, Tribune Content Agency;  context here)

(Brian McFadden,

(John Deering, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

(Jason Adam Katzenstein, @j.a.k._)

Tweets / Xeets Of The Day


Molly's helpful coaching for Nicki "What Slavery?" Haley... --

...but the coaching won't help. -- 


The 14th Amendment applies to these MAGA insurrectionists, too. -- 

Smell ya later, insurrection instigator! --  

Russian fascists' obscene view of the Ukrainian people. --

Hitting the Russian fascists hard. -- 

From gas stoves to Hunter's dick pics, Fox "News'" continuing derangement. --


What's that Musk-y smell?  The lonely boy wants you to like him. -- 


It's all Joe Biden's fault. --  

Alicia Keys, your stairs await you in Sweden. --


Nikki Haley Answers More Challenging Questions


Courtesy of the Washington Post's great satirist Alexandra Petri:

... “What caused the Civil War?” is just one of a whole host of straightforward questions that no GOP presidential candidate can hope to answer. I have taken the liberty of predicting Haley’s responses to analogous questions. Try this at home and you, too, can enjoy a fun, alarming word salad where “capitalism” and “limited government” are thrown in at intervals, like pecans. Happy 2024!

Who is the current president of the United States?

Capitalism, of course, is so important.

Was it good or bad that a mob descended on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, yelling “Hang Mike Pence” and trying to prevent certification of the presidential election?

(laughs) Don’t go easy on me! I think the Capitol is certainly, in the hearts of Americans, a place, and capitalism itself is so important. What do you think?

Do the villains in “Star Wars” seem like they’re based on Nazis?

(laughs) Wow, all right! Coming in with a real challenge! So, obviously, freedom is the most important thing. And we keep coming back to that question of, what can the government tell you to do or not do? I think it comes down to capitalism, of course, is good, and we need to do things to make sure that unaccountable bureaucrats aren’t wielding excess power. And stars are wonderful. But most important of all, what role does government play? Are we compensating the contractors who build our Death Stars?

Can you say something bad about the villains in “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” who were clearly Nazis?

Well, I think the villains were basically, you know, any time the free market doesn’t operate to produce maximum freedom.  [snip]

If elected, will you force more people to give birth?

Government overreach is so bad and individual liberty is of course, freedom.

Are you afraid to say that slavery was bad?

Wow, a real doozy! (chuckles) I would never be afraid of freedom. Some things go without saying.

And Donald Trump is not currently president?

Well, of course, capitalism is so important.

There's more from Petri at the link.

Lightweight windsock Haley has fooled many people (looking at you, corporate media types), but time and time again reveals herself as "an altogether uninteresting person" (Benjamin Wittes) who has managed to rise in Republican politics largely based on her novel biography (for Republicans) as a daughter of immigrants from India ("Look at Nikki Haley! See, we're not prejudiced!").  Her transparent strategy has been to temporize and obfuscate in order to win some "independent" voters while not driving away MAGAts.  Instead, her inane word salad answers to fundamental questions of freedom, democracy, and American history demonstrate a shallow cravenness that's in direct proportion to her ambition. Maybe this latest public example of her cowardice and unfitness will finally stick.

(Photo: Haley and her former mentor, "Be still, my tiny heart!" / Mark Wilson, Getty Images)

QOTD: Fanatics

Gene Lyons, writing in the Chicago Sun-Times, on "fundamentalist" supporters of the Malignant Loser:

"Donald Trump’s MAGA movement is fundamentalist at its core — with fundamentalism being understood as a psychological rather than a religious concept.

Pretty much every large-scale public movement, secular or sacred, has its share of extremists, and as the religious columnist Paul Prather has argued: 'Remove the labels, close your eyes and quickly the fundamentalists in one group start sounding uncannily like the fundamentalists in all other groups, as if they were reading from the same script.'

It’s another word for fanatic.

Most Trumpists call themselves 'conservative,' which used to signify a belief in limited government, low taxes, free trade and freedom of conscience but which under Trump signals tribal loyalty and revenge.

This explains what some see as the central paradox of the MAGA movement: that a congenital braggart who embodies what Christianity has traditionally called the seven deadly sins — greed, lust, envy, sloth, gluttony, pride and wrath — has come to seem the totem of faith for millions of Republican evangelicals."  (our emphasis)

That's the intro to an eye-opening column about the cult surrounding the Malignant Loser, and the Malignant Loser's own background leading to where he is now. Well worth a read. 

(photo: Mobile, AL "fundamentalists" for Trump. Mark Wallheiser / Getty Images)

Denham Place


Let's take a tour of newly- restored Denham Place, a beautiful 17th Century country estate outside of London, which can be yours for the low, low price of $93,675,750.  Beautiful frescoes and textiles. Over-the-top posh.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Jimmy Margulies,

(Tim Campbell, Counterpoint)

(John Buss, @repeat1968)

(Chris Britt,

(Gary Markstein,

(Christopher Weyant, Boston Globe)

(John Darkow, Columbia Missourian)

(Banx, Financial Times, London)

Republican Crime Blotter: Dillinger Schillinger


This nice Republican gangsta lady just wanted to defy COVID restrictions keep kids in schools, you know, for political reasons the kids' sake.  And nothing says caring about the kids more than supplying alcohol and duking it out with them:

A former Pennsylvania lieutenant governor candidate and outspoken voice in the conservative “parental rights” school movement has been charged with punching a teenager while hosting an underage drinking party at her Bucks County home in September. 

Clarice Schillinger, 36, is facing criminal charges of assault, harassment and furnishing minors with alcohol during her daughter’s birthday party, according to the case filed in late October. Her attorney has denied all charges and said she will fight them in court.

Schillinger made an unsuccessful run for lieutenant governor as a Republican last year and has played an instrumental role in a political action committee that has poured more than $800,000 into Pennsylvania school district races since 2021. The PAC has focused on supporting school board candidates who opposed COVID-19 lockdowns and argue left-wing ideologies are invading the education system.

In the recent criminal case, Schillinger is accused of punching a partygoer several times in the face during a series of alleged outbursts by drunken adults at her home on Liz Circle in Doylestown, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

The documents state that during the event — which started Sept. 29 and went past midnight — Schillinger’s then-boyfriend allegedly grabbed a 16-year-old by the neck for intervening in a fight between the couple and hit a 15-year-old in the face during an argument over football. According to the allegations in court papers, her intoxicated mother also punched the older teen in the eye and chased him around the kitchen island. Police said they had cellphone recordings of some of these reported events.

To escape the unruly adults, several minors started making their way out of the home, even as Schillinger ordered them to stay, court documents allege.  [snip]

Schillinger had been throwing a 17th birthday party for her daughter that night, hosting about 20 teens in her basement, where there was a bar stocked with New Amsterdam vodka and Malibu Bay Breeze rum, police wrote in the affidavit. In addition to supplying the underage group with alcohol, she allegedly poured liquor for the teens, asked them to take a shot with her and played beer pong with them, witnesses later told authorities.

State law makes it illegal to serve or allow minors to drink alcohol.  [snip]

Dissatisfied with school closures that followed the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, Schillinger created a political committee to help fund school board candidates who made strict adherence to in-person education their top campaign promise.

That PAC, Keeping Kids In School, focused more closely to school districts near Schillinger’s former home in Ambler, Montgomery County, by giving out thousands of dollars to smaller PACs backing slates of candidates running on an “open schools” platform.

Bucks County venture capitalist and Central Bucks parent Paul Martino took notice of Schillinger’s PAC before the municipal primary in May 2021, and the two created Back To School PA later that summer... (our emphasis)

As we've always said, scratch a Republican, get a hypocrite. There's more from the police report at the link, if you need more proof.

(Image:  only the best people! / screenshot via Twitter)

Tweets / Xeets Of The Day


More on windsock Nikki Haley's Civil War re- write and attempted cleanup --






A Constitutional lesson for a Blue Dog Democrat --


Meanwhile, in the "is" versus "feels" world --


War criminal Putin's holiday gifts ... --


... And a reminder to stay away from Russian windows --



What's that Musk-y smell?  Lies about exploding cars --


Kid's got moves!  Happy Friday! --




Weekend New Year's Music Twofer


From British folk singer (and early Apple Records recording artist) Mary Hopkin, her cover of Pete Seeger's "Turn! Turn! Turn!" (which was the B- side to her 1968 debut single, "Those Were The Days"). The song had been an international hit for The Byrds in 1965.

From his 1974 "Dark Horse" album, George Harrison rings out the old, rings in the new with "Ding Dong, Ding Dong." Among those playing on the record with Harrison are Ringo Starr on drums, Klaus Voorman on bass, Jim Keltner also on drums, Ron Wood on guitar, and Alvin Lee on guitar.  The video was filmed at Harrison's Friar Park estate.

Details Emerge About Fake Trump Electors Plot

According to e-mails and recordings of Trumpist co-conspirator Kenneth Chesebro in interviews with Michigan investigators, Trump and his loyalists organized a scheme to get fake elector slates to the Capitol on January 6 to overturn the election results. From CNN:

"Two days before the January 6 insurrection, the Trump campaign’s plan to use fake electors to block President-elect Joe Biden from taking office faced a potentially crippling hiccup: The fake elector certificates from two critical battleground states were stuck in the mail.

So, Trump campaign operatives scrambled to fly copies of the phony certificates from Michigan and Wisconsin to the nation’s capital, relying on a haphazard chain of couriers, as well as help from two Republicans in Congress, to try to get the documents to then-Vice President Mike Pence while he presided over the Electoral College certification.

The operatives even considered chartering a jet to ensure the files reached Washington, DC, in time for the January 6, 2021, proceeding, according to emails and recordings obtained by CNN.

The new details provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the chaotic last-minute effort to keep Donald Trump in office. The fake electors scheme features prominently in special counsel Jack Smith’s criminal indictment against the former president, and some of the officials who were involved have spoken to Smith’s investigators.

The emails and recordings also indicate that a top Trump campaign lawyer was part of 11th-hour discussions about delivering the fake elector certificates to Pence, potentially undercutting his testimony to the House select committee that investigated January 6 that he had passed off responsibility and didn’t want to put the former vice president in a difficult spot.

These details largely come from pro-Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro, who was an architect of the fake electors plot and is now a key cooperator in several state probes into the scheme. Chesebro pleaded guilty in October to a felony conspiracy charge in Georgia in connection with the electors’ plan, and has met with prosecutors in Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin, who are investigating the sham GOP electors in their own states."  (our emphasis)

The story goes on to say that none other than Wisconsin's disgraceful, Putin-loving Sen. Ron Johnson (Sedition - WI) and "a Pennsylvania congressman" << cough >> Scott Perry << cough >> helped facilitate the effort to get the fake electors documents into Pence's hands on January 6. 

Special Counsel Jack Smith is coordinating with state investigations of the plot to defraud the public, including in Georgia, Michigan and Nevada. Chesebro's cooperation with authorities will help Smith's January 6 case significantly.

(illustration: via


QOTD -- "Onward. Forward."


"... We need to accept the nature of the political contest that will continue to define our era for many years, maybe decades to come. It is a struggle of world-historic significance, part of a much broader conflict that is playing out in democracies across the 'West' and beyond. Is it possible to establish an egalitarian democracy under conditions of multiracial, multi-religious pluralism? Or will the reactionary mobilization against such a true democracy succeed in imposing its ethno-religious nationalism and entrench white Christian patriarchy as the 'real America'?

"An egalitarian multiracial, pluralistic democracy in which an individual’s status was not determined to a large degree by race, gender, religion, or wealth has never been achieved anywhere.Therein lies the challenge, the danger – but also the very real chance of making the leap to becoming the kind of country America has long promised to be, but never has been yet. In 2024 and beyond: Onward. Forward." -- Georgetown University historian Thomas Zimmer, concluding an essay on his Substack "Democracy Americana" on the victories and challenges of the year past and why we need to gird ourselves for the long haul in the fight for American democracy. It's an excellent, sobering read, and a good message for us all on the cusp of another critical new year.


Thursday, December 28, 2023

Trump Removed From Ballot In Maine

Maine's Secretary of State has removed the Malignant Loser from Maine's primary ballot citing the 14th Amendment's clause barring those Federal officials who sworn an oath to the Constitution and then engaged in insurrection from serving in Federal office. Maine becomes the second state after Colorado to take such action. From the Washington Post's coverage:

"The decision by Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows (D) is sure to be appealed. The Colorado Supreme Court last week found Trump could not appear on the ballot in that state, and the Colorado Republican Party has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case. The nation’s high court could resolve for all states whether Trump can run again. [snip]

'The events of January 6, 2021 were unprecedented and tragic,' Bellows wrote in Thursday’s decision. 'They were an attack not only upon the Capitol and government officials, but also an attack on the rule of law. The evidence here demonstrates that they occurred at the behest of, and with the knowledge and support of, the outgoing President. The U.S. Constitution does not tolerate an assault on the foundations of our government, and [Maine law] requires me to act in response.'

Colorado, Maine and more than a dozen other states hold their primaries on March 5, which is also known as Super Tuesday. Election officials need firm answers on who can appear on ballots weeks before then so they can print ballots and mail them to absentee voters, including ones who are overseas. [snip]

Trump has five days to appeal the determination to Maine’s Superior Court. From there, the appeal could go to the state’s Supreme Judicial Court and the U.S. Supreme Court."  (our emphasis)

Now that Maine has decided to drop the Malignant Loser from their ballot, other states considering the 14th Amendment issue will be following developments there and in Colorado closely.


Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Jimmy Margulies,

(Clay Jones,

(Kirk Anderson, Counterpoint)

(Dave Whamond,

(John Deering, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

(Rob Rogers, Counterpoint)

(Jack Ohman, Tribune Content Agency)

(Mike Smith, Las Vegas Sun)

(Nick Anderson, Reform Austin News, TX)

(David Sipress, The New Yorker)

Tweets / Xeets Of The Day


Short memories brought on by appealing to the MAGA cult. -- 



Giving the Malignant Loser / Cadet Bone Spurs advice on military matters? -- 

More handwriting on the wall from the Malignant Loser. -- 

 Bobo can't take the heat, goes to a new kitchen. -- 


The unfolding case of TrumpStinks. -- 

Useful guidance for Russian invaders. --  

And then he'll yeah some more! -- 



Gas Prices Projected To Fall In 2024


News item:

Gas prices will fall in 2024 for the second year in a row, according to GasBuddy projections shared exclusively with CNN.

GasBuddy, which had a forecast for 2023 that proved to be eerily accurate, expects US gas prices will average $3.38 a gallon in the key election year of 2024.

That would represent a significant improvement from 2023’s average of $3.51 a gallon and an even bigger drop from 2022’s average of $3.95. Gas prices skyrocketed to record highs that year as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine set off global shockwaves.

Even though the Russia-Ukraine war lingers and there is a risk the Israel-Hamas war spills into a regional conflict, GasBuddy is betting drivers will get more relief in 2024. GasBuddy expects Americans will spend about $32 billion less on fuel than in 2023 and $79 billion less than in 2022.

“Next year should represent a continued march towards what most Americans would consider normal prices at the pump,” Patrick De Haan, GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis, told CNN in a phone interview...

One big reason?  It's one that exposes one particular Republican lie about the Biden Administration:

The United States is on pace to pump more oil than any country on record, according to S&P Global Insights.

Blockbuster US oil production worries climate scientists and undermines the argument that President Joe Biden has waged a war on US energy. It also provides a cushion for consumers against a dangerous world that is seemingly just one headline away from spiking gas prices.

“The US producing record amounts of crude oil translates to lower risk,” De Haan said.

Yes, it worries us too that producing more oil is going to contribute to the global climate crisis. That's a huge downside, and we hate to add a "but," but when you're trying to get through an unstable political year where the health of the economy may play into whether or not American democracy is lost, it might be a case of a short- term loss for a longer- term gain.  Of course, there are other factors at play, and global instability might throw the projections out the window sooner rather than later.  And there's always the "feels" rather than "is" voters.  But we'll take this mixed bag for now.

(Image: credit WQCS/NPR, Florida)

QOTD: "Not A Close Call"

Loyola University law professor Jessica Levinson looks at a twist in the Supreme Court's recent decision not to take up Special Counsel Jack Smith's filing to decide the issue of the Malignant Loser's Presidential immunity claim:

"Recently, the Supreme Court declined Smith’s request to expedite resolving the question of whether Trump is immune from criminal prosecution in the federal election interference case. On the one hand, we can view the court’s decision as a win for Trump. The court’s unwillingness to jump into the fray and rule on this question before the D.C. Circuit hears and rules on the question could delay the case’s resolution. The longer this case drags on, the better it is for Trump

But on the other hand, the Supreme Court’s decision to wait for the D.C. Circuit to rule might actually be bad news for Trump. If, as many expect, the D.C. Circuit concludes that Trump is not immune from criminal prosecution, then Trump will appeal to the high court. But the court doesn’t have to take the case. By declining to hear the case, the D.C. Circuit court’s decision would stand. The Supreme Court also could simply affirm the D.C. Circuit’s ruling without a full briefing and oral arguments. The court’s decision not to intervene now could actually indicate there’s really no reason for their involvement because this is not a close call." (our emphasis)

With a right-wing Court that's made up of six Republicans, three of whom were appointed by the Malignant Loser, and the extreme right Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, the odds are that the Court may wish to hand the Malignant Loser a devastating win that would effectively kill the Federal case against him for trying to overturn the election and defraud the United States. Chief Justice John Roberts once said the business of the Court was to call "balls and strikes," but were they to grant the Malignant Loser immunity, they'd be giving him a home run without a ball being pitched.

(photo: You've got to fight like hell if you're going to install me as dictator!)


Don't Know Much About History? Nikki Haley And Slavery



Lightweight- who- will- never- be- President Nikki Haley is used to talking in front of white nationalist Republican crowds who don't like to hear "woke"/ Critical Race Theory discussions about things like, um, American history -- specifically things like the Civil War.  It might make them feel (there's that word again) uncomfortable about the institution of slavery, the North's hostility toward which was the first reason Haley's home state of South Carolina cited when it seceded from the Union in 1860.  It's not the first time she's been asked, and we're certain Haley knows all about this history but was too chickenshit to mention it when she was confronted at a New Hampshire town hall yesterday

Nikki Haley had talked about a litany of issues America is confronting today — including fentanyl, inflation and wars abroad — before an audience member at a town hall here Wednesday raised his hand to question the Republican presidential candidate about a 162-year-old event.

“What was the cause of the United States Civil War?” the man asked Haley, a former U.N. ambassador and South Carolina governor who is campaigning this week in this key early primary state.

Haley’s answer did not include any mention of slavery, which scholars agree was the main driver of the conflict. It prompted surprise from her questioner and swift criticism and rebuttals from Democrats and Republicans beyond New Hampshire, including President Biden. It also resurfaced Haley’s previous comments that the war was the result of disagreements over “tradition versus change.”

At first, when she heard the question, Haley appeared caught off guard. The recreation room in this northernmost city in New Hampshire, a place that has leaned red in recent elections, grew quiet, and Haley looked at the man dressed in a plaid shirt who stood behind his sons seated in the back row.

She paused and responded, “Well, don’t come with an easy question.” Then she proceeded to answer.

“I think the cause of the Civil War was basically how government was going to run, the freedoms and what people could and couldn’t do,” Haley said.

She then turned the question to the man who asked it: “What do you think the cause of the Civil War was?”

The man responded that he is not running for president and wanted to hear her thoughts.

“I think it always comes down to the role of government and what the rights of the people are,” Haley continued. “And I will always stand by the fact that I think government was intended to secure the rights and freedoms of the people. It was never meant to be all things to all people. Government doesn’t need to tell you how to live your life. They don’t need to tell you what you can and can’t do. They don’t need to be a part of your life.”

The man then responded, “In the year 2023, it’s astonishing to me that you answer that question without mentioning the word slavery.”

Haley quickly replied with a question: “What do you want me to say about slavery?”

The man said, “You’ve answered my question, thank you.” Haley replied, “Next question.”... (our emphasis)

Our next question would be, "Where and at what point did you lose your soul?"

One of our lasting political myths is that "character counts" when selecting a presidential nominee. Any number of candidates for president (including a few Democrats along the way) have failed to meet that standard, and the most recent Republican cult leader has completely obliterated it from that party's list of criteria for eternity.  Haley, being the ambitious lightweight that she is, will happily say whatever she thinks will help her in the moment.  Of course, she's a hypocrite like all of her Republican cult mates.  A daughter of immigrants, she's all over the place on immigration policy.  She's the current darling of the Republican- wired  horse race media, which has been desperately trying to brand her as a "different kind of Republican" for years nowShe ain't no "moderate."  She was reportedly vying to be the Malignant Loser's running mate in 2020.  Don't be surprised if she doesn't try the same move in 2024.  We could go on, but when it comes to Haley, there's no there there.  Suffice it to say, this should be disqualifying for anyone running for the Office of President of the United States, and with any luck, this unprincipled windsock is not likely to get within sniffing distance of the Oval Office again.

(Imagevia Wonkette)