Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The United States of America is so screwed!

This just in at The Washington Post:

"Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced Wednesday that he is retiring from the Supreme Court, a move that gives President Trump the chance to replace the court’s pivotal justice and dramatically shift the institution to the right, setting up a bitter partisan showdown on Kennedy’s successor."

Welcome back to the 12th Century.

Monday, June 25, 2018

When you refuse to serve me, it’s your brave act of “religious liberty.” When I refuse to serve you, it’s my shameful act of disrespect — and the same goes for anybody whose name resembles mine. Do you see just a wee tad of hypocrisy here?


Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so

Moral: Red Hen? Actually, as used by the Trump Crowd, liberty of conscience is more like a red herring.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Hier woonde The United States of America

Will there one day be plaques in the sidewalk for America's immigrant children?
I came across them a few weeks ago in Amsterdam. Three of them — little brass plaques, each roughly the size of a bar coaster, imbedded in the sidewalk in a pleasant residential neighborhood, south of the center of town.

Each plaque  began with the words “Hier Woonde” — Here Lived.

Here lived Selina Hammelburg Presser, born in 1897. Died the 15th of November, 1943. And then the dreaded name. Auschwitz.

Here also lived Levie Hamelburg, born 1889. Died the 15th of November 1943. Auschwitz again.

And then one more, probably the daughter. Here lived Anna Marianne Hammelburg. Born 1924. Died the 31st of January, 1944. And yes, Auschwitz.

How eloquently they speak — these few terse words on some tiny brass plaques in a concrete sidewalk. They don’t get any of the attention and tourist traffic of the Anne Frank House downtown. There is no diary to tell us more about who the people were, and what they went through. We can only imagine the terror, the pangs of separation, the constant hunger, the eventual emotional numbness, their miserable deaths.

And yet we know.

And then I came back home to the United States of America, a nation with a huge statue standing in the harbor of its largest city to welcome immigrants, specifically according to the inscription in its base, “….your tired, your poor/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free/The wretched refuse of your teaming shore…."

It was the very promise of a new beginning in a new place for the forgotten, the downtrodden, the souls with a yearning for something better that gave America its own soul and truly made America great. In trying to wall immigrants out, Donald Trump is unraveling our greatness, turning us into a nation of small, selfish, inward-looking people. A nation ruled by third-raters and the cruelty and corruption they bring with them.

And now the President — who is said to have slept with a copy of Hitler’s speeches by his bedside — aided by his little Dr. Goebbels and his Eichmanns, Jeff Sessions, Steve Miller, and Kirstjen Nielsen, is separating the children from their parents, just as Hitler’s SS did at Auschwitz. The children are being housed, some reports say, in cages in a space that was formerly a Walmart. Nice place for a kid to grow up while their parents are punished for the crime of yearning to breathe free. 

The man in the White House has done something to us with his crimes against humanity from which we may never recover. 

Hier woonde The United States of America.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

I'm on vacation until later this month. Make sure Trump doesn't do anything crazy while I'm gone.

What, you thought I was going to blog on my vacation? You gotta be nuts! Nuts!

I'll be in Europe, checking out some stuff. Maybe I'll blog about it when I get back, later this month. Maybe Trump will inflate the trade war he has already launched against our allies into a shooting war, and I won't be able to get back. These days, nothing would surprise me. In fact, I'd welcome two days in a row without any surprises.

Anyway, don't expect me to post. And don't expect me to moderate any of your bright — or not so bright — comments.

I'll deal with that when I get back. Got that?

Yours very crankily,
The New York Crank

Friday, June 01, 2018

OR Slugfest! French Docs Duke It Out While Anesthetized Patient Lies On Table — A Perfect Metaphor For U.S. Government and Politics.

"You apologize!" "No you apologize!" "No you apologize!" "No you apologize!"

Lisieux, France: A urological surgeon and an anesthesiologist exchanged insults, blows, and worse while their unconscious patient lay on the operating table in mid-surgery.

The violent confrontation  appears to have been a pitch-perfect metaphor for the disfunction of the United States Congress, the Trump administration, the bureaucratic outrageousness of ICE in separating young children from their parents, and numerous intra-party rivalries among both Republicans and Democrats.

According to the online journal FranceTVinfo and others, the violence began when the anesthesiologist arrived in the operating room at 4 PM to help wake up a patient who had been under anesthesia during urological surgery.

Informed by the surgeon that he hadn’t finished yet, and that there was yet another procedure to be performed, the anesthesiologist evidently became irate. One report had him calling the urologist 
"an incompetent shithead" ("connard incomp├ętent," for those of you who'd like to learn to cuss in French.)

“We don’t treat emergencies in this clinic,” the anesthesiologist reportedly said. Furthermore, his lawyer declared, “In this clinic you’re not allowed to program surgery after 4 PM.” 

The news report did not explain the reason for the rule. Presumably, it’s because that’s quitting time, and like Donald Trump, golf and personal welfare are more important than life-and-death matters like an unconscious patient on the operating table in mid-surgery. Or like avoiding World War III.

Nor did the news report explain what a doctor is supposed to do with a patient if it's quitting time and the surgery isn't yet complete. But never mind.

In the operating room, the dispute between the two docs grew angrier and angrier. The surgeon became so enraged that he threw a bottle of antiseptic in the anesthesiologist’s face. In response, the anesthesiologist grabbed a pair of scissors and went after the surgeon until a nurse blocked him.

All this took place at the edge of the table where the patient lay unconscious. But it didn’t stop there. The confrontation continued in a changing room outside of the operating room, where the surgeon whacked the anesthesiologist in the eye with his computer case — so hard that the anesthesiologist suffered a blowout fracture.

“My client could have lost an eye,” huffed the anesthesiologist’s lawyer. 

Moralizing a bit about the insouciance of the other side, the anesthesiologist’s lawyer added, “This story would never have reached the disciplinary chamber if the surgeon had apologized before leaving.”

This last statement resonated here in the United States, where any time anybody says anything in public, the opposition demands an apology, most especially the people around a snowflake named Donald Trump, who is supposed to hurl the insults, and not get hit with any himself.

The French journal did not report what became of the patient. Or as an English-speaking French acquaintance of The New York Crank said, “Patient? What patient?”

The fight between the doctors occurred in 2017. It only came to public attention when a hearing was held about it recently. For all anybody knows, the patient may still be lying there, surgical instruments protruding from his body, by now conscious, in pain,  and screaming his head off.

Donald Trump, in a metaphorically-similar matter, answered the question of what happened to the patient by saying, “We shall see.”