This Week in Stupidity

cold pursuit
Liam Neeson seeks out a paper boy to kill after learning his neighbor didn’t receive the Sunday Times

It never ceases to amaze how stupid people can be – especially the elite people who have agents, publicists, lawyers and attendants at their side like guardian angels ready to protect them from ill-considered actions.

Still, stupidity abounds and it’s worth noting on occasion the most egregious examples of it.

Liam Neeson admits wanting to murder a black man – during an on-the-record interview

It’s difficult to pinpoint precisely when Liam Neeson transitioned from a serious screen actor into a cartoon action figure, but it was certainly after Shindler’s List(1993), and more likely between Kinsey(2004) and the awful Taken(2008). Now when casting agents think of Neeson, their image of him is that of a brain-pummeling vigilante instead of the tall, debonair intellectual characters he once played.

In fact, Neeson’s latest contribution to film is his portrayal of a simple snowplow driver named Nels Coxman whose son dies a mysterious death. Here’s the brief synopsis of the new movie Cold Pursuit: “His search for the truth soon becomes a quest for revenge against a psychotic drug lord named Viking and his sleazy henchmen. Transformed from upstanding citizen to coldblooded vigilante, Coxman unwittingly sets off a chain of events that includes a kidnapping, a series of deadly misunderstandings and a turf war between Viking and a rival boss.”

Sound familiar?

Nothing could have burnished 66-year old Neeson’s sorry image more than his recent ill-advised interview with the Independent. Pimping Cold Pursuit in an interview, Neeson recalled an incident years ago in which a close friend had been raped by a black man.

Distraught at learning about his friend’s horrifying experience, Neeson dialed into his own horrid persona and deliberated on what he must do to avenge the assault. Unable to identify the actual perpetrator, Liam decided it best to find a proxy for his evil intentions.

“I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody – I’m ashamed to say that – and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.”

Maybe Liam’s read too many bad scripts, but if he really trolled the streets intent on killing an innocent person, he should be consigned to an institution akin to a roach motel where checkout is not an option.

But in addition to being a morbidly bad person, Liam is stupid as well for revealing such mind-rot to a reporter on the record.

Damage done, Neeson went on Good Morning America to explain that his revenge fantasy happened decades ago and to aver, “I am not a racist” – while the red-carpet premiere for Cold Pursuit was being cancelled.

Liam tried to justify his past actions, but in the end, even he knows he’s stupid. Recalling his interview, Neeson noted, “and I’m saying it to a journalist. God forbid.”

Cindy McCain identifies non-existent child trafficking – then lies about it

Cindy McCain, American patriot and widow of John McCain made a tremendous contribution to the safety and security of the nation when she used her super powers to identify a woman trafficking a child in the Phoenix airport. With her uncanny ability to peer into the brain of passersby along with her ability to tell dark skin from light skin, Super Cindy can detect would-be traffickers whom she quickly turns over to the authorities.

In the most recent episode, Super Cindy recalled her exploits in an interview on KTAR radio: “I came in from a trip I’d been on and I spotted — it looked odd — it was a woman of a different ethnicity than the child, this little toddler she had, and something didn’t click with me. … I went over to the police and told them what I saw and they went over and questioned her and, by God, she was trafficking that kid.”

Yes, by God! Until, no. Cops concluded the alleged trafficker was at the airport to legitimately pick up a child (of a different ethnicity, of course, which set off alarm bells in Super Cindy’s empty head.)

The illustrious Ms. McCain took to Twitter as is often the case in these situations to issue the standard “If you were offended” apology.

mccain tweet

Note that the “by God, she was trafficking that kid” part of the sordid affair is left unaddressed – simply redoubling the stupidity with arrogance.

AMI extorts a celebrity – who happens to be the richest man in the world


Soon after gossip site Gawker outed billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel for being gay, the wrath of god befell the cheeky “news” outlet. Not appreciative of having his privacy invaded, Thiel became the money source behind a lawsuit filed against Gawker by wrestling clown Hulk Hogan. Hogan prevailed and Gawker folded up.

Now an even bigger whale has been poked. This time it’s Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos who is the aggrieved party in a increasingly nasty fight with American Media Inc., publisher of grocery store favorite The National Enquirer.

The Enquirer did a lengthy hit job on Bezos, using stolen text messages and photos to fill out the lurid piece. Bezos had left his wife and began canoodling with the host of a Fox TV series which is the kind of fodder the thigh-rubbers at AMI salivate over.

But the story didn’t end with the publication of the article. Apparently AMI went after Bezos with a threat to release even more dirt unless Bezos agreed to acknowledge the piece was not payback for how his Washington Post newspaper had been covering Trump and Saudi Arabia – two of AMI President David Pecker’s best buds.

Learning nothing from the Gawker affair, AMI suddenly – and unexpectedly – got a load of pushback from Bezos. Bezos cried extortion. Given that AMI is already under a court order not to break any laws for three years following their illegal campaign contributions to Trump, an investigation that ends with proof of extortion could be the end of the AMI empire.

Bezos seems to be on a mission to drive AMI into the ground, and he has ample resources to do it.

Which makes AMI even more stupid that its detractors had taken them for.

Gerald Cotten dies – and takes critical passwords with him to the grave

By now, even taxi drivers and grocery store clerks know about Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies. Billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies are held by individuals and organizations in digital accounts, all of which are protected from theft and corruption by passwords. Losing the password is equivalent to tossing rare diamond necklaces into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean – as demonstrated by the little, white-haired old lady in Titanic. The asset is gone forever. Everybody knows that.

Clients of cryptocurrency exchange Quadriga CX discovered to their horror last week that they could not access their accounts because the sole person with knowledge of the security keys and passwords died while on a trip to India. CEO Gerald Cotten apparently did not share the critical information with anyone else in the company, nor did he document them in a place where others could access them should something prevent him from executing his duties. Apparently, a mere $250 million is lost forever.

Fucking stupid!

Why a company would entrust anyone to be a single-point-of-failure in a system charged with holding such a fantastic sum has flummoxed experts. In fact, no sooner had Quadriga floated the “dog ate my homework” explanation for the monetary loss that aggrieved clients then began to suspect foul play.

Cotten supposedly died of Crohn’s Disease – a crappy affliction, but one not usually known to be fatal, especially for someone as young as Cotten who was only 30. He also died in a far off land; might he have absconded with the anonymous and fungible resources?

In fact, might Cotten be featured in a future blog here titled “This Week in Evil Genius”?

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The Ink is Black, the Page is White, Togther we Learn … Nothing

northamEnduring a completely unexpected blowback of opprobrium from his constituents, and, well, just about everybody else in America for his inclusion on his yearbook page of a photo of a white dude in blackface posing next to another (presumably) white dude wearing a KKK costume, Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia has defiantly resisted calls for his resignation. Sure, this offensive photo didn’t appear in his high-school yearbook when it could have been chalked up to youthful indiscretion, but rather a yearbook when he was in med school at the age of 25. But, so what – wasn’t it OK a million years ago (say, mid-1980s) to poke harmless fun at that other race without being a real racist? I mean, it’s not like Ralph went to a party dressed as Michael Jackson with black shoe polish smeared on his face.

Hey, Ralph agrees the photo is kinda offensive, y’know, in a harmless sense. But in any event, he says neither of the clowns captured in the picture is him. (Yes, it begs the question, “why put that picture – of all the possible pictures you could choose – on your yearbook page…. when you were 25 and not 8?”)

But, given the whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing, might we not at least try to help the Guv identify the real culprit in blackface. Might it well be one of these bigots?


Deceit at 30,000 Feet

Pfizer, the maker of an eczema drug called Eucrisa has been running TV ads for their “steroid free” ointment that supposedly reverses those painful, crusty patches on the skin.

Actors presumably in remission from eczema are shown consorting in near-contact with others, confident that no one will recoil in fear and disgust at unsightly blemishes. Eczema is not contagious, but I bet Pfizer has done loads of research that shows most people nevertheless consider it a skin disease akin to leprosy – hence the up-close-and-personal touch.

One vignette in the TV ad shows a flight attendant with a barely-noticeable blotch on her wrist hoisting a carry-on bag into an overhead bin. Later she hands a pair of clip-on wings to a carefree child – suggesting that her eczema plague has been reduced to a malady less threatening than cooties. Happiness, right?

That makes sense. To quote Don Draper, “Advertising is based on one thing – happiness.”

It follows then that one thing advertising is not based on is unhappiness. And what could engender more unhappiness than climbing aboard a plane today with its close-cropped seats overflowing with stinky humanity? How does Pfizer stage this tender on-board scene without upsetting viewers who hate flying more than discovering the toilet in the bus station lavatory has no seat?

They pretend airline travel has flipped back in time to pre-deregulation days when airplanes were commonly less than half-full, overhead binds offered copious space, and no one actually occupied a middle seat. Hell, in this Eucrisa ad, there are no more than 10 passengers on a plane that holds 50.

The only plane today that might have so many open seats is a one-way charter flight to Iraq (with a Star of David on the tail) that first does a fly-by past a Syrian anti-aircraft missile base.

Fuck you Spectrum


Like millions, I set my ass in front of the TV to watch at least a couple quarters of the Stupor Bowl. As my setup is in the basement (and I live in an area of the US that is fast rivaling Siberia for its exposure to boner-chilling “polar vortices”), I flipped on a little electric space heater which blew a circuit breaker just as the game was about to commence. Off went the TV.

I unplugged the heater, reset the breaker and turned on the TV – and was greeted with a MSDOS-like message from Spectrum on the otherwise blank screen about a download that had to complete before I could resume watching what I pay through the nose for every month.

  • Did I have an option to postpone the download? No.
  • Did Spectrum offer an estimate of how long it would take their critical update to complete? No.
  • Did the update have to run through 12 fucking stages? Oh yeah.

As the Spectrum ads featuring monsters says, “satellite bad.” What they forgot to mention: “Spectrum worse.”

Fuck you, Spectrum!

A Wonderful Word

Xoloitzcuintli – a hairless breed of dog.

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Aiding and Abetting

Long-legged, bottle-blonde flamethrower Ann Coulter appeared on Bill Maher’s show the other day (towering over him in flats). She came armed with her usual acidic tongue – this time aiming venom for a guy she once wrote about in a “book” titled “In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!” You see, Ann is thoroughly over the Orange Man for breaking his promise to build a wall for which Mexico would pay – an applause line Trump pulled out of his rectum whenever the pinheads at his rallies started to lose enthusiasm. Ann was so smitten over the wall that she overlooked the ridiculousness of the whole proposition.

It’s fascinating to watch Ann label Trump a “douchebag” and “wimp” now. She was one of the most early and prescient predictors of Trump’s election victory – to great derision at the time. Just watch her on Maher in 2015.

In any event, Coulter said some things on her most recent appearance that made much sense. She noted that illegal immigration and the cheap labor that accompanies it is “good for employers.” She calls out the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch as crass establishment Republicans who line up behind the anti-immigration crusade but secretly enjoy the benefits of cheap labor – presumably in the form of higher corporate profits when companies can avoid paying working wages.

Which brings us to another recent “shocker”: the Trump Organization has for years (decades?) been one such employer that benefits from cheap labor performed on the fairways and in the bathrooms of Trump golf properties by illegals.

The Washington Post reported that Trump Organization flaks had to bring down the hammer on more than a dozen undocumented workers now because the unseemliness of Trump’s hypocrisy had finally boiled over. Of course the firings had nothing to do with incompetence or insubordination. The Trump family even trusted these workers to hold the keys to Eric Trump’s weekend home – meaning they had to suffer the assault of shit-stained underwear strewn about and porn magazines sitting by the toilet, their lurid pages stuck together.

Quoted in the Post article, Eric the Redhand said, “We are making a broad effort to identify any employee who has given false and fraudulent documents to unlawfully gain employment. Where identified, any individual will be terminated immediately.” He added that it is one of the reasons “my father is fighting so hard for immigration reform. The system is broken.”

No shit. You and your slimy family are the reason it’s broken.

Turtle on the Cover

Yes. Mitch “the Turtle” McConnell actually consented to pose this way for last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine cover. Sad little Turtle.

Can I have the soup with the letters in it today?

Yes. And No.

If these two recently published books touch each other do they annihilate the universe?


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RIP: Good Guy with a Gun

Wayne LaPierre, the cardboard executive VP of the NRA proclaimed after the heinous school shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” That clever phrase became the mantra for pro-gun people who had been thrown off-balance by the massacre of 20 little kids – and the many subsequent mass shootings. The counter-argument to enacting more gun control was to actually add more guns into the mix by arming “good guys” like teachers and hall monitors.

And so it came to pass during another in a 1,000 mass shootings since Sandy Hook (this time at a mall in Alabama) that a good guy with a gun entered the fray – and then was fatally shot three times in the back by another good guy with a gun. An unfortunate event but one that any reasonable person could see coming a mile away. Any time someone is holding a weapon during the pandemonium that ensues after gunfire erupts is going to be perceived warily. It doesn’t matter that you’re a “good guy” if nobody knows for sure that’s your status. It certainly doesn’t help to be “good guy” when you’re also a “black guy” – just ask the family of Emantic Bradford, Jr.

Bradford was present at the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, Alabama when shots rang out during a busy evening of holiday shopping. Licensed to carry, Bradford, an ex-Army soldier pulled out his pistol – presumably in preparation to confront the shooter, as any “good guy” is now expected to do when these kinds of situations arise.

Unfortunately for Bradford, by brandishing a weapon in the midst of the fracas he painted a target on his back. At no time as far as anyone knows did the police ask Bradford for his “good guy” ID card – they just shot him for appearing to be the shooter they came to subdue. Wholly predictable.

And had the cops not killed Bradford, might he have gone on to shoot and kill an innocent person by mistake – another “good guy” with a gun perhaps?

I presume LaPierre knows full well how bad things can get when armed civilians start pulling out the pistols when “bad guys” start shooting. I’m sure Wayne wouldn’t feel very comfortable standing next to his vision of a “good guy with a gun” during a mall shooting.

But, hell – he needed a mantra.

Ricky Jay Cuts Out

We at Major Terata admire the big magic of such luminaries as David Copperfield, Chris Angel and Penn & Teller, but deep down it’s the masters of sleight of hand that really impress. Performing astonishing magic tricks using coins, cards and other simple objects – without the benefit of smoke and mirrors – right in front of a rapt audience takes a special skill that must be honed over many years and practiced constantly.

Ricky Jay, who died this past November was one of the best. His mastery of manipulating playing cards was legendary, as was his devotion to the pioneers of magic who preceded him. Ricky wrote several books about little-known purveyors of magic as well as the odd people who tended to accompany them.

A smooth performer who coould engage an audience and command the stage, Ricky was cast later in life in several movies, most notably by director David Mamet. He made his debut in “House of Games,” a twisty, psychological con-game thriller with Joe Mantegna and Lindsay Crouse. Here is Ricky Jay playing a card sharp in cahoots with Mantegna to con a woman out of $6,000.

Ricky Jay also played colorful characters in Mamet’s “Spanish Prisoner” and “Heist” which had big stars in Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito and Delroy Lindo.

But he will always be remembered first for his sleight of hand mastery – as exhibited in this swell trick.

RIP Rick Jay.

Alley Opps

Forty-first president George H. W. Bush died the other day at 94. Much has been written about his accomplishments, and little about his shortcomings during his one term. There’s nothing we could add in this blog that hasn’t been covered.

Except maybe this boner that convinced me not to vote for him in 1988.

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False False Flag

Psycho Sayoc attends the largest inauguration since God was elected God.

Hard to believe, but the asshole sending flaccid explosive devices to enemies of the right (Obama, Clinton, Biden, Maxine Waters, the sucking CNN … What? No love/hate for the failing New York Times?) was none other than the type of miscreant everyone expected: a deluded right-wing Floridian and female impersonator known as Cesar Sayoc, aka. the MAGABomber. MAGABomber – kinda like that.

Sayoc is a law and order guy railing against immigrants who happens to have been arrested several times and has a Filipino father.

I have to admit though, given the blatant obviousness of the targets combined with the apparent inability of the pipe-bombs to actually cause damage, I was just a smidgen skeptical that the perpetrator might have instead been a deluded left-winger trying to frame Trump’s deplorables.

No less conservative icons than Ann Coulter and Lush Limbaugh raised the possibility of a “false flag” situation – the notion that a partisan will attack his own kind in an attempt to engender hatred for the other side while garnering sympathy for his cause. Watch Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest” for an illustration of the concept.

Everyone in the non-Foxy world of commentary held the “false flag” explanation in disdain. But until they nailed Sayoc, I wasn’t ruling it out.

One week after the surprise attacks on September 11, 2001, when Americans were still in shock that such a wide-spread assault was possible, more mayhem emerged in the form of anthrax-infused letters delivered to news offices and to two Democratic Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy. That despicable insult added another five people to the list of the dead and 17 others suffered the poisonous effects.

Naturally, everyone assumed the anthrax attacks were a part of the overall terrorist plot led primarily by Saudi Arabians to disrupt the U.S.

The Chicago Tribune among other reputable news outlets reported that at least one of the 9/11 hijackers had visited a doctor for what was later considered a case of cutaneous anthrax – that is, a skin lesion caused by contact with anthrax spores. Other papers cited people who had recalled seeing 9/11 mastermind Mohammad Atta prior to the attacks with reddened hands – additional speculation that the attackers had messed around with anthrax with the intention to inflict more chaos.

Appealing to Occam’s Razor, the consensus among most people was that the spate of anthrax attacks through the mail was the work of a cell of terrorists aligned with the 9/11 plotters.

It wasn’t until 2005 that the FBI trained their attention on a home-grown scientist named Bruce Ivins who as a researcher at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases had access to weaponized anthrax similar to that found in the letters of 2001. A complex distillation of anthrax that would have been nearly impossible for a bunch of Arab imbeciles to fabricate on their own.

First class false flagger Ivins dressed for some funerals

As the FBI closed in on Ivins, the good doctor took his life – a full seven years after he committed the heinous act. And why had Ivins done the deed? The theory is that he wanted to fabricate a biological attack to illustrate America’s vulnerability and the need for ongoing support of his research unit.

False flag? Hell yeah. Apparently, Ivins wanted to justify funding for bio-terror research by committing bio-terror. Didn’t work out quite as planned.

Eff the Saudi’s

Does this person deserve less attention than beaten and dismembered journalist and victim of the medieval Saudi regime, Jamal Khashoggi?


No fan of Iran, but what the fuck is America doing by pushing the Persians to the brink of madness while sucking the kneecaps of the Saudi royals? This cult of a few thousand insanely rich intermarried Arabs – with the armed support of the U.S. – are in the process of annihilating the Yemeni’s to their south.

If there were an anti-Nobel Peace Prize, Mohammad bin Sultan would be the top contender – and Jared Kushner would be there prostrate on all fours where his buddy MBS could stand and deliver his acceptance speech.

UBS needs to polish its crystal ball

On Sept 26, UBS’s John Roy upgraded IBM to Buy and raised his price target by $20 to $180. With the stock at $119 a month later, I wonder what other future prognosticated gems Carnak Roy will bestow upon us lesser mortals?


And a better question: what soporifics are the members of the IBM Board ingesting so as to sleepwalk through the decimation of a Dow Industrial stock that trades today the same as it did at the end of last century.

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The Ole Grip ‘n Grin

Trump exchanges palm sweat with Mohammad bin Shithead, chief Middle East assassin better known as MBS

Saudi Arabia – our bestest friend who sells us oil at inflated prices in return for letting us defend them and their retrograde society – just murdered an uppity journalist. Our amoral transactionalist Trump blew some smoke out his ass about the likelihood that some rogue element was to blame – perhaps that same 400 pound guy sitting on his bed who hacked into Democratic email servers.

Although Iran is a bad actor deserving of punishment, they are in no way alone in the Middle East as a top exporter of terrorism. That dubious crown really belongs to the Medieval Saudis who engineered 9/11, cane dissenters, ban movies and booze, and use US armaments to fuck up those they dislike in their region, including their Yemeni neighbors whom they seem bent on annihilating.

Still, Trump, following in the footsteps of his maligned Bush predecessors embraces the nepotists in the desert. Delicate boy Jared Kushner likes them. For all we know, Jared and MBS do the Arab sword dance with their cocks. And that’s good enough for the Orange Man.

The optics of the so-called leader of the free world apologizing on behalf of Saudi Arabia are dismal, especially when the evidence of the Saudi’s nefarious activity is overwhelming. But as is often the case with Teflon Trump, whataboutism will mostly insulate him from the world’s opprobrium.

After all, haven’t we seen enough feckless behavior exhibited when advocates of democracy meet autocrats?

The assassination of Julius Caesar
Et Tu, Brutus?

Never say nyet to a man who has pictures.

Biggest candy store giveaway ever.

Thirty pieces of silver – and the rest is history

The patron saint of appeasers.

One day he’s Little Rocket Man, the next he’s a great leader

Rumsfeld & Saddam: Two charter members of the Society of War Criminals meet & greet

Pelosi introduces herself to Bashar al Assad, a simple country eye doctor

Wearing their insane asylum togs, Trump and the murderous Duterte shake the shivs out of each other’s sleeves

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Kill People, Not Jobs

World’s Longest Hearse

Now that Brew Kavanaugh sits on the highest court in the land, Americans can expect to see their rights crimped and their styles cramped – unless their surnames are Inc. or LLC.

One area that will surely find favor with the newly right-bent Supreme Court is the decimation of rules and regulations – twin evils that are blamed for economic stagnation and jobicide. No doubt the titans of industry in such segments as manufacturing, mining, construction, pharmaceuticals and the like will savor the new found freedom to skirt regulations designed to ensure worker safety and protect end users. After all, imagine how much a place like Chiptole Grill could save if workers no longer had to waste time washing their hands after taking a dump? Oh wait – they’re already saving on that.

People seem to agree: reduce regulations and watch the economy soar.

And yet the recent devastating crash of a stretch limousine that killed 20 people in Schoharie, NY couldn’t have been a better illustration of what happens when an industry is subject to lax regulations, and even those that do exist are lightly enforced, if at all.

Seventeen people and a driver piled into a limo that was created a couple decades ago by chopping an SUV in half and extending its length by welding in some rails. The limo had no side airbags, no structural cage and no roll bars – all features of real limos built in factories. But as no regulations exist with respect to such Frankenstein vehicles, the passengers were sitting ducks when the limo careened down a country highway, ran through an intersection, plowed into a second vehicle killing two pedestrians and wound up crumpled in a wooded area.

Following the accident it became known that the ill-fated limo had not passed inspection and the driver didn’t hold the proper license for driving it. None of that stopped the limo company from conducting business. But you know about rules: too annoying to deal with. Besides, why kill the driver’s job when you can just kill the driver?

The history of business in the United States is replete with tragic bellwether events that drove the government to act to ensure such events would never happen again – or at least only rarely. The 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire which killed 146 workers when they couldn’t escape out of locked doors resulted in the development of significant safety regulations guiding construction, including mandatory fire escapes in tall buildings.

Upton Sinclair’s seminal book The Jungle about the appalling conditions he observed in the meat packing business in the early 1900s Chicago led to the creation of the Food and Drug Administration. I suspect even the staunchest anti-regulation wag would balk at consuming food and taking medicines that have been allowed to avoid inspection.

And the auto industry – despite constant pushback – has developed innumerable safety features that have led to significant drops in highway fatalities despite an explosion of miles driven over time. Imagine riding in a car without shatter-proof glass, airbags, anti-lock brakes and the like. Think about driving a car that never had to pass an inspection. I recall driving around Cleveland in the 70s at a time when cars in Ohio only had to pass inspection upon transfer of ownership. I saw people driving ancient cars with broken windshields, bald tires, missing headlights, and missing hoods. That madness is no longer the status quo.

Hell, even Kavanaugh’s favorite food – “I like beer!” – has been subject to purity laws put in effect 500 years ago in Bavaria.

Of course, anti-regulation people will point out the occasional wacky rule to make a blanket case for elimination across the board. Or the mountains of paperwork that accompany compliance with some regulations. These are valid complaints, but today we’re witnessing the tearing down of important strictures that have been in place for decades and for which the evidence of their value is solid. Most regulations in place today were not manufactured out of thin air – they were a response to a bona fide problem afflicting most Americans.

Allowing more mercury and arsenic in drinking water? What the fuck for? So a few coal miners can keep a shitty job? Reducing oversight of big pharma? So we can relive the horrors of thalidomide?

Let’s hope Kavanaugh is too busy boofing when anti-regulation cases come before the court.

Someone Give Trump a Mirror


Trump slimed into my old home town of Erie, PA this week to rally the red-hatted MAGA crowd ahead of some elections coming up soon. Luckily there are no urgent issues taking place around the world, affording Mr. Orange maximum time to travel the country to shill for the Cro-Magnon contingent of the Republican party.

Of course, Trump had to brag about winning Pennsylvania in 2016 and bask in the passe calls of “Lock Her Up!”

But the most risible remark from Trump had to be his take-down of Pennsylvania’s Democratic senator Bob Casey. Casey is the son of Bob Casey, Sr. who was governor of the Keystone State from 1987 to 1995.

This rank nepotism ran a frisson of disgust up Trump’s spine. “He’s banking on the name of his father,” exclaimed Trump.

Yeah – really. The guy who should have now been a retired shoe salesman is president because he banked on the name of his father. Jeez, is he that dense?

And then there’s this. In his bid to stop Democrats from taking the House, Santa Trump promised to send tons of sand to the eroded beaches of Erie’s Presque Isle park.

“We’re going to get him the sand, okay?” referring to a request by Erie’s flak in Congress.

The source of the sand gift? That which has accumulated in Trump’s golf shoes from the thousands of times Mr. Never-Will-Golf-As-President has stepped into a sand-trap since his inauguration.

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Full Court Depress

kavLong gone are the days when presidents nominated people worthy of sitting on the Supreme Court for decades. There was a time when nominees could garner overwhelming support in the Senate because partisanship was not the name of the game in DC. Ruth Ginsburg was approved 96-3, Anthony Kennedy 97-0, Sandra Day O’Connor 99-0, John Paul Stevens 98-0. Even right-wing troglodyte Antonin Scalia whizzed in with a 98-0 slate. That kind of bipartisanship has left the station, maybe never to return.

The core reason nominations to the Supreme Court have become so volatile is that Congress no longer wants to legislate, with the exception of passing falling-off-a-log easy bills like massive tax cuts and dedicating post offices. None of these invertebrates wants to work hard nor become attached to tough, controversial legislation that might upset their plans for life-long occupancy of a job on the government tit. Better to leave it to nine gnomes in black robes to tell the country what it can and can’t do.

Tackle campaign finance reform? Nah – kick it to the Supreme Court in the form of Citizens United. You don’t like Obamacare but can’t get the votes to repeal it (and don’t have a clue what to replace it with)? Find some aggrieved party to take a case to the Supremes. Feckless Evangelicals busting your balls about outlawing abortion but you don’t have the guts to actually pass such a law let alone float a bill? Go see the judges (as long as you’ve packed in at least five like-minded, mostly white male zealots.) Affirmative action got you down? Bring it to Clarence Thomas, the whitest black dude sitting on any court today. He hates affirmative action programs. And he should know – he benefited from them his whole adult life.

Clarence Thomas practicing his Cosby imitation in case he gets bored being a justice

Things got really ugly in early 2016 after Scalia croaked, opening a slot for Obama to fill. Violating every norm, and – horrors! – the original intent of the founders, Mitch the Bitch McConnell refused to hold a hearing on Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland – the kind of accomplished, squeaky-clean, middle-of-the-road judge who would have been confirmed 95-5 a generation ago. Sadly, the Bitch got away with it and was able to hold the slot open until Trump showed up and nominated Neil Gorsuch. And although conservatives hail Gorsuch’s elevation as one of Trump’s signature accomplishments, it wouldn’t have happened had McConnell not ditched the filibuster of Supreme Court proceedings.

Now we’re witnesses to another fugly confirmation – this time of frat-boy Brett Kavanaugh. A confirmation that of late has been focused not on jurisprudence but penises, gang-rapes, drunken black-outs and lots of beer drinking. Can the fall of America be far behind?

Major Terata will not dive in to rehash the details that are plentiful and easily accessed elsewhere. Instead we lay out our unvarnished analysis of what really is going on behind the bluster, hand-wringing, and crocodile tears.

Topic 1: The delay in revealing Christine Blasey Ford’s shocking allegations of sexual assault.

Diane Feinstein has explained that she sat on the allegations for weeks because the accuser wanted to remain anonymous. The letter Blasey Ford wrote to Feinstein alleging an assault by Kavanaugh was leaked forcing the Senate Judicial committee to address the situation – much to the Republican’s chagrin, as they were gliding smoothly to confirming Trump’s second nominee. The Reps called foul – why did the Dems sit on these allegation so long and only reveal the slime right before the slam-dunk vote?

Simple: payback for Merrick Garland. The Reps threw all rules out the window and are now dealing with opponents who are following their playbook. Let the tantrums begin.

Topic 2: He said, she said. Then what?

Blasey Ford, when asked how certain she was that Kavanaugh assaulted her, she replied immediately “one hundred percent.” When it was his turn in the hot seat, Kavanaugh angrily declared that he was 100 percent innocent. Clearly no room for compromise on this basis.

Absent a King Solomon to cut Kavanaugh in half, how to resolve this conundrum?

Simple: Studly beer-drinking sot Kavanaugh blacked out – i.e. he was physically functional (albeit sloppy) but his ability to remember anything of the situation was completely incapacitated. Both Ford and Kavanaugh believe they are telling the truth, and would pass polygraphs. But the best explanation for the Grand Canyon gap in their recollections can best be resolved by relying on Kavanaugh’s now-well-known propensity to get hammered beyond recognition. I grew up around the same time as Kavanaugh when alcohol and dope were easily acquired, avidly consumed and present at all sorts of functions. Even some that took place in the middle of the week – not just on weekends like Kavanaugh suggested. I’ve witnessed unusual and outright bizarre behavior of friends who swore on a stack of bibles that they did not do the things everyone saw them do the night before. Alas, to Kavanaugh’s benefit, no cell phones then to video the action and post to Instagram.

Topic 3: Lindsey Graham’s Oscar-worthy outburst

Lindsey Graham – a guy who used to follow John McCain like a pet poodle and who would fit right in at Tara wearing a big hoop skirt – morphed into the Wicked Witch of the West the other day. Nearly suffering a case of the vapors, Lindsey bloviated about how the proceedings had devolved into a mean miasma of unfairness. So uncharacteristic of the gentleman from South Carolina. Why?

Simple: Dear Lindsey is up for re-election in 2020 and needs Trump on his side to fend off the many primary usurpers who want to take down what they see as an unsuitably conservative toad. He has to act like an out-of-control lunatic to impress Trump and earn his primary-killer endorsement next year. (Sidebar: In many ways, the motivation behind Lindsey’s outburst also explains why Kavanaugh angrily spit out his opening remarks in sharp contrast with those of his polite and demure accuser – to impress Trump. Undoubtedly, it was made known to Kavanaugh that if he somehow failed to get confirmed, Trump would lambaste him (and the Dems and fake news, of course), essentially consigning him to the garbage heap for the rest of his life.)

Although craven Lindsey talked shit about Trump during the 2016 campaign, he is now burrowing like a hamster deep into the Orange Poop Chute for air cover in 2020. It is almost surreal that a Trump sycophant like Lindsey once said this: “I think he’s crazy. I think he’s unfit for office.” And this: “You know how you make America great again? Tell Donald Trump to go to hell.” And this: “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed…….and we will deserve it.”

Topic 4: Susan Collins in the wringer

Women aligned to the #MeToo movement were hoping for Maine Senator Susan Collins to vote against Kavanaugh because of the judge’s obvious animus toward Roe v Wade – a case that Collins considers the law of the land. She has portrayed herself as a champion of choice and a defendant of Roe. When Trump picked Kavanaugh from a list given to him by the Federalist Society, everyone knew the reasons were the judge’s anti-abortion positions and his views on presidential insulation from prosecution – something far more important to Trump than women’s rights. Collins must know Kavanuagh would strike down Roe if given the opportunity yet she seemed to accept his lame argument that Roe is settled law. News flash: every Supreme Court decision is settled law – until they overturn it. What’s going on?


Simple: Collins was counting on some other Republican senator to put the kibosh to Kavanaugh’s nomination: perhaps Lisa Murkowski of Alaska or the exiting Jeff Flake of Arizona. Collins assumed at least one other rep would flee and then she could follow with less fear of retribution. But now it looks like Flake’s gone squishy and Murkowski is silent.
In fact, Flake will toe the line even though he has nothing to lose, and the two females will cave as well.

And then we’ll have a Justice Kavanaugh rounding out a far-right ticket on the Supreme Court – and all the 18th Century thinking that that entails.

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The Desperate, Craven Andrew Coomo

CoomoAndrew Cuomo (pronounced derisively as “Coo-Mo” by such divergent wags as Jesse Jackson and Rush Limbaugh) will continue after November to be the governor of New York – and everyone in the Empire State will be worse for it. Cynthia Nixon of “Sex and the City” fame never had a chance, although she did her best to expose Andrew as the pompous, craven, inarticulate tool he clearly is.

Of course, Democrat Cuomo will steamroll over Republican opponent and spaghetti sauce flavor Marcus Molinaro, giving son-of-Mario the statewide mantle for a third full consecutive term (unless he bolts around 2020 to take on Trump, or whomever replaces Mr. Orange mid-stream.)

No one on earth can match Trump for sheer narcissism, prevarication, incompetence, brazenness and stupidity, but Andrew could make a decent horse-race out of it.

Trump’s speeches consist of repetitious random words spewed forth like a James Joyce novel translated from English to Mongolian to Urdu back to English, whereas Andrew speaks like the love child of Lurch and HAL from 2001 a Space Odyssey. Here’s Coomo trying to channel Martin Luther King but sounding more like an Atari version of Mr. Rogers trying to teach children how to pronounce “greatness.” (Luv the boos and groans.)

Fodder for the first Trump ad in 2019 should Cuomo run against him

Coomo lovers extol the man’s accomplishments on gun control and minimum wage, but everyone else sees him as an ambitious yet rudderless politician willing to tack in whatever direction the winds take him.

We at Major Terata were not avid fans of Mario, and the animus continues double for the son. Here are some recent Coomo charades that have left us disenchanted.

Tappan Zee Bridge

Andrew drove a proposal to rename the rebuilt multi-billion dollar Tappan Zee Bridge connecting Rockland and Westchester Counties as the Mario Cuomo Bridge. Pure upside-down nepotism – and fruitless, as everyone will still call it the Tappan Zee, just like the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Mid-Hudson Bridge is still called the Mid-Hudson, and the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge is still called the Tri-Borough. But forget the name. Andrew, in a ploy to generate enthusiasm for his tepid gubernatorial campaign, planned a grand opening of the bridge before it was ready. Sure enough, the day after Coomo and a bunch of “dignitaries” assembled on the deck of the south span to dedicate the new bridge a major part of the old bridge seemed ready to give way and possibly crash into the new bridge. Prudence would have guided a better man to delay the circus until all was safe – but not photo-op Coomo. Imagine the tweets from Trump had the old Tappan Zee had given way and taken out Andrew and Hillary and the rest of the gang.

Aide goes to prison

Andrew considered his close aide, Joseph Percoco, as like a brother to him. That is until Percoco was found guilty of fraud and accepting bribes. Right under Coomo’s proboscis. Percoco was convicted in March of accepting more than $300,000 from companies that wanted to influence decisions by the Cuomo administration – and as skeptics, we must assume he succeeded to some degree. Coomo called the whole sordid affair a “human tragedy” but in the midst of an election, it was essentially, “Joe who?”

Cynthia Nixon tried hard to make this shitball stick to Andrew but voters never considered her a viable opponent. Still, it’s hard to believe anyone would believe Coomo and Percoco weren’t giving each other tantric massages.

Abnormal Mailer

For some fucked up reason late in the campaign, Coomo aides believed it would be wise to try to turn voters against Cynthia Nixon by virtue of her not being sufficiently anti-anti-Semitism – the kind of accusation that plays well in NYC. And it might have worked had Nixon not been raising two Jewish children. Oops.

The state Democratic Party, controlled by Coomo, mailed a flier to about 7,000 Jewish households right before Rosh Hashana and the primary which claimed, among other BS, that Cynthia Nixon had been “silent on the rise of anti-Semitism.”

Although Coomo tried to ooze away from the debacle by claiming the flyer was the idea of some unknown derelict with no connection to his campaign, it was revealed shortly afterwards that one of Coomo’s former top aides approved it. Given that Coomo was a good 40 points ahead of Nixon at the time, it seems the play was borderline retarded. He was going to win, so why hand his Republican opponent a stick with which to hit him over the head.

That’s just the Coomo goombah style. It works in (enough of) New York, but in the rest of the country – not likely so much.

Clearly, Andrew Coomo intends to take on Orange Man in 2019 – but expect a deluge of counter-slime from Trump at his upstart opponent, starting with a dopey nickname like Andy of Gayberry, Little Orphan Andy, Low-Hygiene Andy, or Coo-Magnon Man.

Clean Coal

When in the Pilot House Restaurant in North Carolina – order something from a can

To no one’s surprise, following the deluge that was known as Hurricane Florence, man-made lagoons holding millions of gallons of coal ash broke down and spilled their vile goo into streams and rivers, including the famed Cape Fear River. What is coal ash? It’s the detritus that’s left behind when power plants burn coal to generate power – the stuff that cancers are made of.

Coal ash contains mercury, arsenic, lead and a host of other three-syllable elements that have been known to kill people as far back as Julius Caesar and Sun Tzu. So when such a slurry of toxins spills out of its confines into rivers from which humans draw once-potable water, bad things happen.

Suddenly, all those MAGA-hatted, pro-coal patriots come running to the government (run by a socialist deep state) for compensation – also known as handouts.
Coal was a wonder in the time of William of Wallace, but in the 21st century – a point when knowledge of scientific phenomenon exceeds that all of humanity for the previous 10,000 years – you’d think we’d be past burning coal for any reason. Any reason except for votes in West Virginia.

People in the Carolinas who are now drinking and bathing in power-plant waste: take a shallow breath and consider your next vote.

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Fahrenheit 12-D

kaepernickRight-wingers are apoplectic over Nike’s new ad campaign featuring ex-49ers quarterback and NFL persona-non-gratis Colin Kaepernick. So incensed are they over the appearance of the traitorous Kaepernick in the new “Just Do it” campaign that they are actually burning their sneakers and other Nike gear.

Presumably these patriots are burning their shoes because they don’t own any books.

Of course, “Bone-Spurs” Trump – always looking for a distraction from his horrorshow presidency – jumped on what he claimed to be damage to Nike from boycotts. That sounds more like hope than fact, given that the campaign was only announced a few days ago and will not officially commence for a couple weeks. And Nike has the contract to supply uniforms to the NFL for the next eight years, so the bonds are strong in football-land.

In any event, it’s always rich to watch Trump thump his medal-less chest in support of a military he worked so hard to stay out of.

More bizarre is how Kaepernick’s silent protests against police brutality got re-imagined as disrespect for the military. His beef isn’t with the military. Even if it was, how come Kaepernick is seen as treasonous when Muhammad Ali who refused duty is venerated for his convictions? Maybe it’s the ‘fro?

To the feckless NFL owners who panicked at the prospect of lowered viewership and revenue contraction the spectacle of Kaepernick and many other players kneeling during the playing of the national anthem was too much to bear. Having no balls to either suck up the status quo or stop playing the anthem while the players are on the field, the owners have patched together a listless array of rules and penalties that will surely exacerbate the situation.

And somehow this is Kaepernick’s fault.

RIP Burt Reynolds


We at Major Terata are unsure whether in 2018 women find men with wall-to-wall carpeting on their bodies to be sexy or kinda gross. But when Burt Reynolds peeled it off for Cosmopolitan it attracted nationwide attention – finally, liberated women could drool over a centerfold just like men had been doing since the 1950s.

Burt started in TV all the way back in 1958 and played roles in such fine art as Branded, Flipper, Perry Mason, Route 66 and, of course, Love American Style.

He graduated into a role of a lifetime playing the rough-hewn canoeist-cum-archer in Deliverance, but soon became typecast as the womanizing wild man once he took on the starring role in 1977’s chase-a-thon Smokey and the Bandit. From there Burt essentially played the same guy in Semi-Tough, Cannonball Run I & II, Stroker Ace, and Gator. Looking back at the idiocy of the Cannonball Run oeuvre, it’s hard not to think Burt was fucking Dom DeLuise in the trailer between takes.

Eventually Burt went back to doing television and appearing as other characters in remakes of his old shit, including The Longest Yard where he played a coach and The Dukes of Hazzard (essentially Smokey and the Bandit) where he donned a white suit to play Boss Hogg.

But as sometimes happens in this business, an aging Burt was cast into some choice parts and handled them with the kind of aplomb that comes from being in front of a camera for a half century. His performances in Striptease and especially Boogie Nights proved the man had the right stuff.

Toward the end it was kinda sad to watch Burt crumple. I saw him on an episode of some collectible car auction show on a three-digit cable channel where one of the Trans-Ams that appeared in the Smokey series was on the block.

Damn, I couldn’t believe what happened to that muscular guy who put an arrow through a hillbilly’s chest from 50 paces.

Forget warning messages on cigarette packages – they should just post this picture.


A Wonderful Word

Prosopagnosia – an inability to recognize the faces of familiar people.

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Trump’s War on Coal

He rubs it on his penis, too

Continuing on his “god”-given mission to undo whatever Obama had done before him, Trump the other day put a stake in the moribund Clean Power Plan which called for reductions in power-plant’s usage of coal as a fuel. If the Clean Power Plan had taken effect, coal generation would have dropped 29 percent below today’s levels. Trump can’t allow such an atrocity to occur so he’s directed the implementation of the “Affordable Clean Energy” rule which gives states lots of leeway to decide to what extent they want to pollute their neighbors.

It’s all about halting the “War on Coal” – say “amen.”

But looking at the details, we find the EPA estimates that under Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy plan coal-fired electricity will still decline by roughly 20 percent by 2030. Not that different from the results of an Obama-led war. The total amount of coal mined for electricity would drop by one-third, compared with levels that are already the lowest in decades.

In summary, despite the bloviation, Trump is actually continuing Obama’s War on Coal. Not only are Trumpists in Kentucky getting short shrift on promises to boost coal, they’re getting boned on lost bourbon sales thanks to Orange Man’s asinine tariffs.

Assuming Trump is serious about reviving the fuel of the Middle Ages, when will he force Detroit automakers to produce coal-fired cars? When will he direct the FDA to declare coal as a food group?

Why won’t he promote the use of coal for blackface in the theater so more whites can get jobs playing roles that would otherwise go unfairly to Denzel Washington?

The powerful “black lung” voting bloc demands action!

Oblivious to the Digital Age


NY Representative Chris Collins got a text about the imminent demise of a company in which he was heavily invested – and he went on to commit securities fraud in apparent ignorance of how cell phones work. He blabbed about the coming crash of the company’s stock – unknown to the public – to relatives and friends, and was quickly scooped up by the SEC for insider trading.

Another hot-shot Republican Congressman, Duncan Hunter of California and his wife just pleaded not guilty to misusing campaign funds. Again, the couple seemed to be ignorant of the tools of the digital age because they spent $250K of campaign funds on international travel, groceries, clothing and even an airline ticket for their fucking pet rabbit – the kinds of transactions that are stored forever in the catacombs of American Express and MasterCard. (And now, manly Duncan is tossing the blame on his wife who supposedly handled all the finances.)

But the best of the worst has to be Melissa Howard, conservative Republican candidate for the Florida House, who concocted the most-easily debunked claim of all: that she’d earned a college degree that she actually hadn’t. Howard touted her degree from Miami University in Ohio (yeah – there’s a university called “Miami” in Ohio, just like there’s a place called “Jersey Shore” in the middle of Pennsylvania.)

Perhaps Melissa thought no one would ever take the time to click twice to discover the real story: that her 1996 graduation was a fake. When first faced with the allegation, Melissa – like the good little Trumper she is – called it all “fake news.” Her campaign even went so far as to shit on her opponent Tommy Gregory, saying, “There’s nothing he won’t do or say to hurt Melissa or her reputation within the community. It’s shameful.”

Like shoveling against the tide, Melissa pressed on by posting as “proof” a proud photo of herself sitting next to the framed diploma. Why she didn’t also post the photo of her accepting the Nobel Prize is beyond me.


Fed up with the shenanigans, the authorities at Miami University went into their digital archives and rendered the verdict: they never conferred a degree upon Melissa Howard.

You might say it’s shameful.

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Time to Go Back to CEO School

The new C-Suite

After Martha Stewart of all people was convicted of securities fraud for insider trading, you’d think highly-paid CEOs and Board of Directors members today would tread lightly around any activity that might attract unwanted attention from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Martha was worth about a quarter of a billion dollars at the time she acted on inside information about drug-maker Imclone so as to avoid a few thousands in losses – a figure that probably equates to less than a week’s worth of feed for the heirloom chickens cavorting on her tony Connecticut compound. So stupid.

Yet in the past couple of days we’ve seen similarly blatant idiocy coming from titans of industry and government. Will they never learn?

Billionaire entrepreneur and futurist Elon Musk kinda stepped on his own dick the other day by using Twitter to communicate significant financial information that would normally be contained in a formal SEC-approved document and vetted by the board of directors prior to publication. Musk, who is the head of SpaceX, the Boring Company and most famously, Tesla, the darling manufacturer of electric cars, solar panels and clean energy storage, is tired of having to deal with pesky investors and government oversight of their operations. He wants to take Tesla private by acquiring all the outstanding shares of the company. With Tesla no longer a publicly traded company, Musk figures he’ll be able to operate the company with fewer morons looking over his shoulder.
In a tweet last week, Musk said this:

musk tweet

Now, making a statement that he’s thinking about taking Tesla private is one thing. Claiming the price he’s willing to offer ($420) is solid because “funding secured” is quite another. Naturally, Tesla stock spiked up immediately before trading was halted due to the furious nature of the activity spurred by the ill-conceived tweet.

Was funding really secured? If so, who is the source? Was $420 a bona-fide offer or just a number Musk pulled out of his ass with help from equipment provided by his Boring Company? The SEC wants to know.

Meanwhile, a slew of investors with short positions shit their pants while watching Tesla stock fly to the moon on Musk’s cryptic tweet. Some suspect that Musk put out the tweet precisely to fuck with the shorts – something every CEO would like to do in his or her dreams but knows better not to.

Last Friday, a trader named Kalman Isaacs filed a class-action lawsuit on the basis that Musk’s tweet amounted to securities fraud. Now the fun can begin. If Musk can’t validate what he pooped out on Twitter, you can expect more lawsuits and deeper SEC intrusion – not the kind of self-inflicted wound the struggling company needs at the moment. The stock price is back to where it was pre-tweet suggesting investors think Elon was just goofing. I wonder what the investigators will think?


Representative Chris Collins of New York’s 27th district really screwed the pooch when he pulled a Martha and spread insider information to his son and others after finding out the bad news that a phama company he had invested heavily in would soon be worthless. The company, Innate Immunotherapeutics had been working on a drug for multiple sclerosis, but after final trials, it was proven to be ineffective. As the MS drug was the only asset Innate had, its failure meant the company would go casters up once the news was released.

Business genius Collins who had convinced his entire extended family and at least five congressional colleagues to invest suddenly faced a situation eerily similar to that of Martha Stewart and Imclone. And like Martha, Collins – who should have known better – passed on the insider poop. Of course, treated to the info, the investors dumped the rancid stock on unsuspecting buyers who took a bath when the stock lost 90 percent of its value after the news went public. Funny how that works.

Collins and his son were arrested for insider trading and posted bail. Collins Sr., who did not actually sell his shares on the bad news, initially stood fast on his plans to run for re-election in November, but in the face of a virulent shitstorm from partisans – and no love from his fellow Republicans – he announced he’s dropping out. But not before taking a page from the standard play-book and denouncing the charges as “meritless.” Dude – the SEC has your phone records from the moment the Innate CEO texted you the rude news. If by “meritless” you mean “ironclad guilty.” then I’ll forgive you.

Collins held a position of four million shares in Innate making him the largest shareholder. He was also a member of the board. In addition to being heavily invested in Innate, Collins also holds large positions in Mead Supply, Oxygen Generating Systems Intl., Audubon Machinery Corp, Schlyer Machine, Volland Electric and ZeptoMetrix Corporation.

You would think that such experience would cultivate a sense of business acumen. Getting away with insider trading as blatantly obvious as that committed by Collins is about as likely as hiding a Ponzi scheme for 100 years. Collins had to know that – yet he fucked himself up anyway.

Time to go back to CEO school for a refresher – after spending a little time at the grey-bar hotel.


Satan’s Angel

Intrigued by a head-shaking article about a cabal of three Mar-a-Lago members and Trump buds who actually run the Veteran’s Administration, I couldn’t help but be drawn to an accompanying photo of the swearing-in ceremony of latest VA head Robert Wilkie. In the photo applauding the festivities stands VP Mike Pence with his benign doll’s eyes stare, watching over Trump like some creepy guardian angel.


And now that I’ve thought about it, I’ve concluded that white-haired Pence really is an apparition sent by Satan to protect Orange Man from applying too much hairspray or signing executive orders with his toothbrush or devouring a scrap of paper or appointing Pat Sajak ambassador to a country with no vowels in its name.

It’s there plain as the collusion on Don, Jr’s greasy mop: Just over Trump’s shoulder the angelic Pence watches, his face never betraying fear or astonishment, his vacant eyes affixed to Trump’s cantilevered hairdo, wondering what foibles he’ll have to manage next.


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U Bum

ubumAccording to one survey, Americans spend an average of about 24.4 hours per week watching live television. That number would be significantly reduced if Trump was left out of the survey group. As the so-called leader of the free world and the most powerful man on earth, Trump would rather fritter away eight hours a day in front of the boob-tube than tackle the most basic of the nation’s problems.

Everyone knows Mr. Orange is a yuge fan of Fox & Friends where the hosts speak in tongues to the president and feed him his talking points for the day. We also are led to believe he despises CNN – and yet he apparently rations some of his copious view time to that “failing” cable channel. Yesterday, after watching CNN’s Tonight with Don Lemon where the lemony host interviewed NBA rock star LeBron James, Trump melted down and posted this snarky and ill-advised tweet.


Once a Twitter fan of LeBron when “King James” trod the floorboards for the Cleveland Cavaliers in politically important Ohio, Trump now feels he has permission to shit on the newest member of the LA Lakers. After all, the Lakers are a team situated in a town in a state that would sooner vote for Karl Marx than Trump (aka. Blimpo Marx).

No doubt Trump was angered when James called him out as “U bum” for disinviting Steph Curry and by extension his championship Golden State Warriors from visiting the White House for a traditional photo-op almost as consequential as when a turkey receives a presidential pardon before Thanksgiving. I’m sure James hit a nerve because he had the temerity to expose a cheap common Trump ploy: when faced with certain rejection, take an action beforehand that makes it appear you were first to reject.


Trump’s tweet about Lemon and James comports with his oft-deployed theme of attacking people based on their poor intelligence – something Trump could have no realistic insight into. It’s just a cheap shot that can’t be proven or disproven – and as such should never leave the confines of the grade school play yard. To him, all his enemies are “low IQ.” And until he releases his own IQ test results he should stop smearing others.

But since he brought it up, Don Lemon – admittedly not the sharpest tool in the box- is not the “dumbest man on television.” That honor goes to a either Brian Kilmeade or Steve Douchy – both of Fox & Friends.

Listen to Kilmeade’s conclusion that America has a problem because white people keep having sex with other “species” – by which he means non-white humans. He was forced to retract later.

Nevertheless, it seems incontrovertible that Douchy is stupider that Kilmeade – you can tell just by looking at his vacant face. Here’s a nice Douchy slam down from John McCain.

Oops. That wasn’t Steve Douchy, it was his equally moronic son Peter who no doubt got his Fox News gig strictly on merit. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Let’s try again. Here’s a clip of Steve making such a moronic claim about climate change that even Fox toad Geraldo Rivera (another candidate for dumbest man on television) was forced to disagree, calling out his colleague in retardation.

When you think about it, if you combined the IQs of both Kilmeade and Douchy, together these nitwits would be the dumbest man on television.

The Love of Look

This song has nothing to do with this article

It’s human nature to pollute conversation with annoying verbal tics. The introduction of “ums” and “y’knows” belies the speaker’s synaptic delays as he or she formulates the connection from one idea to the next. Other verbal tics serve to soften the introduction of a response to a question (consider how many times Ronald Reagan began an answer with a head shake and a “Well…”) while some are used by people to progress the conversation – the most annoying being “So…”

We at Major Terata are sick of people sticking the word “so” into sentences that don’t require or deserve it.

“So, I was thinking we should see that new Abba movie.” “Sounds good. So, should we try for this Friday?” “Sure. So, do you think your sister would like to come along?” “Not likely. She has a wicked case of crabs.” “So, I can recommend a good doctor.” “She’d appreciate that. So, you’ll text me his name?”

A particularly annoying verbal tic has sprung up among TV pundits who appear with regularity on such hit shows as “The Rachel Maddow Show,” “Morning Joe,” “All in with Chris Hayes,” “AC:360,” “The Sean Hannity Show,” and virtually every other venue that features a half-dozen talking heads sucking the oxygen away from one another. And that tic is “Look.”

The purpose of “Look” is to serve as a rest stop between a pundit’s feeble response to a direct question and his or her attempt to regain footing by barreling headlong into a tangential and incoherent diatribe until either the host or another guest mercifully interrupts. For example:

HOST: What do you think about China’s manipulation of the renminbi?

PUNDIT: The renminbi must not be manipulated. Look. My reporting on China has led me to conclude that the armature sprocket is causing interference which in turn is causing the combustion line to interfere with the flow and the dynaflow—

HOST: –We’re gonna cut to some Breaking News now…

Yes, the interjection of “Look” has become pervasive on the pundit TV circuit – and it really should stop. Those who use it come off like know-nothings caught with their pants around their ankles, or arrogant know-everythings who feel they have to one-up the host with a pithy riposte before moving to the meat of the subject.

Here’s a transcript of a recent airing of “Hard Ball with Chris Matthews.” Matthews splooges out some incoherent word salad that has something to do with Russia. A former Republican congressman must respond.

MATTHEWS: David Jolly, I want to talk to you about your Republican Party. Is it still there? Is the big bad bear now the man you are afraid to poke? It used to be the Russians, it used to be our enemies, now it`s the leader of the Party who is so fearful or fear so much and say that that`s the number one goal of any elected official, do not mess or do not, as Bob Corker said, dare poke the bear.

JOLLY: That`s right, Chris. Look. The GOP that we knew is dead. It`s over. This is the Party of Donald Trump.

You’ll note that the interjection of “Look” is meant to separate Jolly-the-Paid-Guest’s required deference to the host (“That’s right, Chris.”) to his more thoughtful insights on whatever Matthews was trying to convey.

Here’s an example of how a guest uses “Look” to try to recover from sounding like a nitwit. Brian Williams of “The 11th Hour” speaks with former Senator Bob Kerrey about Trump’s meeting with Putin in Helsinki.

WILLIAMS: So what do you think it is, a friend of mine watched the press conference in over in Helsinki kind of a mild Trump supporter, comes away from it and says, he kind of, you could believe they`ve got something on him. What do you think its?

KERREY: Well, you certainly don`t want to believe Vladimir Putin, he says, oh, no we got millions of people. Look, Donald Trump has been talking about running for president since `87 or `88.

Yes, none of this makes any sense. Williams throws Kerrey some brain rot, and Kerrey, instead of demanding, “What the fuck?” goes into an equally incoherent response before trying to recover with the verbal tic “Look.” Clearly in this case it didn’t work.

If you waste enough time listening to programs featuring Stormy Daniels’s attorney Michael Avenatti, you’ll be treated to a lot of “Looks.” Which makes sense after all when you think about it, as foisting a “Look” onto someone comports with the Mafiosi code of communications.

Here is Lawrence O’Donnell chatting up Avenatti about nemesis Michael Cohen in which we get the double-Look.

O`DONNELL: And, Michael, there`s another side of this legal coin. One side of it is you need to hire me in order to get benefits. The other side of it is, which is kind of the old mafia version of it, you need to hire me to prevent this president from doing serious damage to you. I will get this president not to do damage to you.

AVENATTI: Well, there`s little doubt, Lawrence, I don`t know this for a fact, but, look, based on the way I know Michael Cohen and the way he`s conducted himself, there`s little doubt in my mind that probably both messages were delivered. And, look, let me also say this, I seriously doubt that at the end of this, there`s going to be any doubt as to whether Mr. Trump knew what was going on here.

Note that the first “Look” seems to be a dodge away from weakness (“I don’t know this for a fact”) which is followed by a stronger “Look” prefacing a bold statement about Trump’s ultimate culpability.

Why not play a parlor game while sitting in your La-Z-Boy or sprawled out atop your lumpy bed under your stinky sheets: Count the number of times a pundit utters “Look” and you might qualify to squeeze Don’s lemons.

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Papa Boner


I wonder how many people hear the name John Schnatter and think “now that’s Italian!” Nevertheless, the owner of that name who goes by the more familiar “Papa John” is the proprietor of the fourth largest pizza restaurant chain in America, and as a 30 percent shareholder in the company is worth at least $600 million.

Some years ago, presuming that those who like to watch football might also be inclined to consume pizza (regardless of its resemblance to cardboard), Papa John embarked on a close sponsorship relationship with the NFL, and recruited former star quarterback Peyton Manning to appear in TV commercials as himself. Papa was there too in all his oily splendor pitching his pies.

After one-time San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick popularized the silent “take a knee” protest during the playing of the national anthem – and Draft Dodger-in-Chief Trump maligned the spectacle to divert attention from whatever asshole shit he was doing at the time – fan interest in watching NFL games began to tail off. By putting all his pepperoni chips on the NFL, Papa suddenly felt vulnerable. Furthermore, he was placed in the unfortunate position of having to take sides between the players’ right to protest and the “patriots” who make up a big portion of the pizza-eating, football-loving fan base.

America’s Pastime no more?

As Schnatter was already on record trashing Obamacare for adding 14 cents to the price of a pizza – something he would rather fight than accommodate for the betterment of his employees’ health – it’s probably not hard to figure out where he stands on certain types of people kneeling during the anthem.

(Sidebar: While the NFL continues to fumble their accommodations of the national anthem conundrum, why not just stop playing it altogether? Or would that just spark yet another controversy to be co-opted by Trump to further distract the pliant masses?)

Knowing that the company would inevitably be confronted by media on its position, Papa John’s hired a marketing firm called Laundry Service to help craft messaging. And when you’re so clueless that you have to hire a firm to tell you what to say – especially one called Laundry Service – you should expect rocky seas.

In a conference call with Schnatter and his team, the marketing firm did a bit of role playing with Papa to prepare him for possible hostile questions from the media about the company’s coziness with the NFL. Maybe the Laundry Service flak doing the role playing got under Schnatter’s pigskin, because Papa John was heard defending himself by noting, “Colonel Sanders called blacks niggers,” going on to complain that the Colonel never got called out for his racism. That should have been the end of it, but some person on the call leaked the slur – and then all hell broke loose.

(When will white public figures learn? Just like they’ll never successfully explain away a comment about how their personal travails are equivalent to the Holocaust, they can never, ever utter the N-word under any circumstances without it blowing back on them.)

Now Schnatter is trying to get back on the board of directors of the company he founded in his father’s bar after being forced to resign as Chairman. Meanwhile the stock has tanked and is now down about a third since the beginning of the year.

(In related humorous turn, during an interview with Forbes in January when Papa John’s stock (PZZA) was trading around $68, Pree Yerramilli, a Senior Analyst at Eagle Chase Capital explained why he believed the stock was primed to go much higher. Seven months later it’s selling for about $45. That’s why dudes like Pree are paid the big bucks.)

As with Subway’s Jared and Sambo’s Tiger, John Schnatter is systematically being erased from Papa John’s iconography. Could the company pull an IHOP and change its name? Papa Boner, perhaps?

Papa John joins other defunct restaurant mascots

Pop Quiz

I’m guessing most people who didn’t know his full name assumed John Schnatter, founder of Papa John’s pizza was of Italian descent, given the nature of his cuisine and his Mediterranean-like features.

Question: What is the origin of the name of the “Mexican” restaurant chain Taco Bell?

Answer below.


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Trump’s Pecker

A Pecker and a Prick walk into a bar…

One way to distinguish real journalism from the phony version is whether the publisher will pay people for their stories. Real journalists don’t do that. Grocery store toilet paper like the National Enquirer on the other hand does so regularly. The Enquirer has purchased many bombshell stories from insiders who may or may not have witnessed bad behavior of celebrities and other famous souls, and then published their stories whenever the editors believed the sordid tales might drive circulation.

Sometimes the Enquirer has chosen not to publish material they paid for – not because the story was found to be false – but because the publisher wants to protect the subject of the story. Ever since Trump-bud David Pecker took over the Enquirer in 1999, the magazine has bent over backward to protect the Orange Man from greasy revelations about his abject libido. Most recently, Pecker paid $150,000 to former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal for the rights to her first-hand account of her year-long affair with class-act Trump that started shortly after his wife gave birth. Now that would make some great copy and would probably move a lot of papers off the rack above the conveyor belt, but Pecker decided not to publish – a move called “catch & kill.” Hoping to help Trump avoid even more embarrassment right before the 2016 election, Pecker locked up McDougal’s story. As expected, when inklings of the deal leaked in 2016, Trumpists like his communications gal Hope Hicks spouted indignation at the absurdity of it all saying, “We have no knowledge of any of this” and labeling the affair “totally untrue.”

And by “totally untrue” she meant “absolutely true – this is randy Donnie we’re talking about.”

Everyone now knows it’s true because audio tape of Trump discussing the Pecker payment with his shifty lawyer Michael Cohen has just surfaced. Of course, none of Trump’s cult – including the Jesus-loving evangelicals – gives a shit.

Before this whole Pecker-Trump cabal came to light, I had remembered the Enquirer (and others of its ilk like the Weekly World News and the Globe) for producing mindrot about aliens consorting with the Clintons.


Little did I realize that Pecker’s obsession with Hillary Clinton had become a full-on neurosis. For awhile, the Enquirer portrayed Hillary as a feeble old biddy on her last legs who would be dead before anyone could ever vote for her. Then miraculously, the woman who was supposed to be dead by now gained an astonishing 103 pounds. What a turnaround!


And I’m sure the Enquirer never doctored the fat photo, just like they kept their hands off this cover photo of Jennifer Anniston.


As Trump made headway in the 2016 campaign, Pecker’s team ditched the terminal health condition angle and hit Hillary on corruption – no doubt the more effective tactic with the haters who pick up the Enquirer while checking out their bacon-wrapped corndogs and 64-oz bottles of sodey pop.


I used to work at a grocery store in the 1970s where the Enquirer and other moronic tabloids perched by the checkout counter – and I wondered what kind of asshole would buy into the sensational stories blazed across the cover. Now I know.

By the way, have you heard the latest????


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The Brain Attached to the Mouth


In grade school, if you mentioned that you play the organ, you could expect to be queried on whether you also toot the skin flute. It’s just that way in grade school.

I hearkened back to those dismal days and laughed heartily when I heard Trump claim at a rally in Montana: “I don’t have a guitar or an organ. No organ.” Really – no organ? Just a prosthesis, perhaps?

As everyone knows, Trump gives bad speech. His rallies, where he sounds more like Jimmy Joe Jeeter than the president of the United States, feature the faithful hordes in MAGA gear who hang on his every word salad.

This block of words uttered from the puckered mouth of Trump in Montana had almost certainly been translated from Mongolian to Danish to Esperanto back to Mongolian then to English. Either that, or it’s the output of a seriously mis-wired brain. See if you can follow the path from Elton John to important brains while going through hockey and basketball.

“I have broken more Elton John records, he seems to have a lot of records. And I, by the way, I don’t have a musical instrument. I don’t have a guitar or an organ. No organ. Elton has an organ. And lots of other people helping. No we’ve broken a lot of records. We’ve broken virtually every record. Because you know, look I only need this space. They need much more room. For basketball, for hockey and all of the sports, they need a lot of room. We don’t need it. We have people in that space. So we break all of these records. Really we do it without like, the musical instruments. This is the only musical: the mouth. And hopefully the brain attached to the mouth. Right? The brain, more important than the mouth, is the brain. The brain is much more important.”

Get all of that?

I pity the translators who had to turn Trump hash into Korean during the Kim Jong-Un love-fest in Singapore.

TRUMP: I have broken more Elton John records, he seems to have a lot of records. And I, by the way, I don’t have a musical instrument. I don’t have a guitar or an organ. No organ.

TRANSLATOR (In Korean): Dotard says he stomped on the homosexual who wrote “Rocket Man.” He also admits – as our DPRK intelligence concluded – that he has no penis.

KIM: What an asshole.

TRANSLATOR (In English): Supreme Leader Kim wants you to stop playing war games with the South.

TRUMP: Sure thing. (Points to his head) The brain, more important than the mouth, is the brain.

TRANSLATOR (In Korean): Dotard seems to be quoting the Scarecrow from the “Wizard of Oz.”

KIM: Shit, I would have expected him to quote Toto.

TRANSLATOR (In English): Supreme Leader Kim wants you to lift sanctions.

TRUMP: We’ll see what happens. (Points to his mouth) This is the only musical: the mouth.

TRANSLATOR (In Korean): Dotard asked if you will insert organ into his mouth.

KIM: Time to go.

TripAdvisor circa 1941


Gudrun Burwitz, the daughter of Heinrich Himmler, died the other day at age 88. As the chief Nazi architect of the “Final Solution” to the Jewish problem, Himmler treated his young daughter at the time to visits to concentration camps. One such visit in 1941 included Dachau where 30,000 prisoners were put to death.

Little Gudrun who was about 11 years old wrote in her diary: “We saw everything we could. We saw the gardening work. We saw the pear trees. We saw all the pictures painted by the prisoners. Marvelous. And afterward we had a lot to eat. It was very nice.”

No doubt the guests at Dachau agreed wholeheartedly.

One can only wonder, however, what she might have written had TripAdvisor existed at the time.

“The rooms are tiny – not going to lie – but all have a window that opens with dark shutters to block out the sun. We saw a room with a bunk bed – each room has a very spacious latrine that is cleaned out at least once a year. The heating unit is strong and works great, as you can tell from the never-ending plumes of smoke from the stack. The best part is the overhead shower. WOW – a deluge! I give it five bent crosses!”

Bunkbeds at the W Hotel in Dachau

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Musings on July 4


Confident that a Trump cock is bigger than a Hancock, the Orange Man chose July 4th to take his rightful place on the Declaration of Independence, ensuring that his Rorschach Test of a signature goes down as the hugest scribble in Colonial history.

And while he was at it, Trump underlined a few passages he pledged to investigate further, including “absolute Despotism,” “Cruelty & perfidy,” and “obstructed the Administration of Justice.”

3-2-1 Boom!

What would Independence Day be without the fireworks, which thanks to relaxation of laws and rules regulating their possession have sold at record numbers. According to the American Pyrotechnics Association , sales of fireworks to consumers in 2017 reached $885 million – an increase of 7 percent over 2016, and up over 100 percent since states began to expand legality of explosive devices.

When I was a young boy – the kind of person who wants fireworks more than any other demographic – all fireworks designed to blow up were verboten in Pennsylvania. We could light sparklers and black snakes, but not a silver-tube or an M-80, as those products actually exploded.

This was the extent of our fireworks enjoyment in Puritan Pennsylvania.

If someone wanted that kind of contraband they had to drive 30 minutes to Ohio where the rednecks there sold practically every type of fireworks. My friend’s father was one such mule, transporting hundreds of dollars worth of Chinese-made, often low-quality fireworks – many of which failed to explode at the last second, tempting kids into relighting a two millimeter long fuse. And what could go wrong with that?

Eventually, as with lottery tickets and casino gambling, states that restricted sales of fireworks realized they were playing the patsies to bordering states with more liberal laws. Now the map of the country as it applies to fireworks looks like this (curiously, Ohio is now among the most restrictive purveyors):


With that much “blue” across the country, the fireworks business (sorry, pyrotechnics industry) should enjoy revenue growth for years to come.

Let’s give them a hand.


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Wharton Wants its Diploma Back

Trump in his riding garb, ready to mount his Harley – and then fuck the company that made it.

Harley-Davidson, once upon a time a darling in Trump’s orbit for making iconic motorcycles in America, has now incurred the wrath of the vindictive Orange man. And how did that happen? Harley exhibited the temerity to behave like a for-profit company whose leaders are charged with fiduciary responsibility to shareholders. It’s a concept a Very Stable Genius businessman should understand and embrace, not vilify.

When the European Union retaliated against Harley and other U.S.-based companies for Trump’s tariffs on their metals and other goods (and who could ever have seen that coming?), Harley indicated that they might have to move production of some motorcycles destined for the EU – to the EU. About one-sixth of Harley-Davidson’s revenue comes from sales of bikes to Europeans – a significant slice that Trump put into serious jeopardy with his “national security” tariffs.

To have a chance at saving that portion of their revenue stream, Harley might have to move the production to avoid the EU tariff that would slap thousands to the cost of American-made bike. That’s not un-American – that’s as American as the Wharton School of Business (as anyone who supposedly attended should know.)

But while Trump was throwing around veiled threats in response to Harley’s supposed disloyalty (“Harley Davidson, please build those beautiful motorcycles in the USA, please, OK? Don’t get cute with us. Don’t get cute.”), his illustrious Treasury Secretary, Steve “the Munchkin” Mnuchin opined as follows: “I can’t possibly understand why Harley would be moving production outside of the United States at this point.”

Really, Steve-o? You can’t possibly understand why a company would make business decisions based on market forces? I guess that’s what makes you one of Trump’s “best people” along with protector of the environment Scott Pruitt and Ejucayshun Secretary Betsy DeVos.

By the way, Trump has to be the first person ever to accuse Harley-Davidson – the preferred supplier to the Hell’s Angels – of being “cute.”

Roe v Trump

Sadly, Trump has another opportunity to put a Neanderthal on the Supreme Court now that Anthony Kennedy has submitted his resignation with the understanding Trump would respect the Justice’s legacy (Kennedy also purchased a stake in the Trump Brooklyn Bridge.)

Of course the Jesus-lovers squirted in their pants (or in some cases, on an altar boy’s face) at the notion that someone who will overturn Roe v. Wade is only moments away from joining the court. Early rumors had it that Trump was planning to nominate Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade until someone told him he was dead (and on second thought, Trump decided that as Wade was the “loser” in Roe v. Wade, he’d pass.)

One such squirter is Iowa’s Greg Heartsill, a conservative State Representative who has been pushing for a new law in his state that would prohibit abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected – usually around six weeks into a pregnancy. He hopes the legislation, which was recently signed into law could eventually overturn Roe v. Wade.


Heartsill said, “What we are asserting in Iowa with this legislation is that if you have a heart beat you have a life, and if you have a life the government is bound by the constitution to protect that life and ensure equal protection under the law.”

Curiously, Greg carves out an exception for certain people with a heartbeat – criminals deserving of the death penalty for crimes that Greg deems sufficiently evil. Iowa hasn’t had the death penalty for 50 years, but Heartsill thinks it’s time to bring ‘er on back. “This is not just a matter of justice for the victims’ families, it’s about putting another tool in the toolbox of law enforcement, because the death penalty has been used as a huge bargaining chip,” sayeth Heartsill.

And as Heartsill – the protector of beating hearts in the heartland – is the consummate public servant, it’s not a surprise that he also is introducing legislation mandating lethal injection by ethanol. If it that fails to snuff the perp, Heartsill calls for death by corndog.

Kudlow the anti-Nostradamus


Larry Kudlow, Trump’s economic adviser, former TV personality and the man who has been wrong about everything, made this bogus claim the other day: “The deficit, which was one of the other criticism, is coming down, and it’s coming down rapidly.”

Sorry, Larry – wrong again. And this time you’re so wrong that it took the average mental midget 4 seconds to prove it. The Congressional Budget Office just published a report on the subject and it more or less (OK, more) refutes Carnak Larry.

Perhaps Larry had a flashback to 1945 after he and Trump won WWII together

At this point, traders listen to Larry and invest against him with 100% confidence, knowing that he can’t even predict yesterday’s weather.

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Problems Solved with a Stroke of the Crayon


Let’s face it: Trump, led by the nose by his xenophobic advisers Steven Miller and Jefferson Bagins Sessions, blew it with his executive order separating children from immigrant parents seeking asylum. Yes, this kind of shit plays well with the 30% base, but it also has the potential to rile up the usually-moribund fence-sitters to flip against him – just in time for the 2018 midterms.

The optics of tiny little crying children held in cages disgusted viewers across a spectrum that excludes slavish Fox fans. Regardless of your political persuasion it’s gotta be hard to come to Trump’s defense after he repeatedly lied about a non-existent Democrat law for tying his hands and forcing him to incarcerate children away from their parents – thus inviting comparisons to fellow travelers who once ran Nazi death camps and Japanese internment camps (or if you’re Laura Ingraham, “summer camps”.)

For a week or so Trump shirked the problem he created, blaming Congress for inaction – only to cave in and sign in crayon another stupid “executive order” (aka. memo to staff – do something) stopping the separations. While the immediate turbulence on the southern border subsides somewhat, Trump stews.

Reporting on Trump’s turbid mindset following his humbling retreat on a signature issue, the New York Times wrote “He has instead gone on the offensive, complaining to aides about why he could not just create an overarching executive order to solve the problem, according to two people familiar with the deliberations. Aides have had to explain to the president why a comprehensive immigration overhaul is beyond the reach of his executive powers.”

Imagine that. Trump grumbling for instant gratification. If someone would just give him a piece of paper to sign he could solve the immigration problem once and for all. In fact, why not solve every problem with a stroke of the crayon?

Which brings me to the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture – a complex mathematical problem for which the Clay Mathematics Institute has pledged $1 million to anyone who solves it.

Although Matiyasevich showed in 1970 that Hilbert’s tenth problem is unsolvable – i.e., there is no general method for determining when equations of the form Xn + Yn = Zn have a solution in whole numbers – the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture asserts that the size of the group of rational points is related to the behavior of an associated zeta function ζ(s) near the point s=1. In particular the conjecture asserts that if ζ(1) is equal to 0, then there are an infinite number of rational points (solutions), and conversely, if ζ(1) is not equal to 0, then there is only a finite number of such points.

The Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture has remained unsolved – until today when the Very Stable Genius Donald J. Trump issued an executive order declaring the conjecture solved. After all, while waiting on the fourth tee Trump, doodling on a scorecard, discovered that 26824404 + 153656394 + 187967604 = 206156734.

Red Hen Lays an Egg

This cartoon should not have been necessary

Read an old blog to see that I was never in favor of people taking legal action against homophobic proprietors who refuse to serve gay people. My view was that it’s better to tell the recalcitrant vendor to fuck off than to force him to perform a service that he might be persuaded to botch up on purpose. You want to force a baker to make you a cake against his will? Expect to cut into a three-layer chocolate, dandruff, booger and toejam masterpiece.

The baker from Colorado who refused to make a wedding cake for a couple of gay dudes prevailed in a case decided by the Supreme Court – an outcome that unfortunately may have fostered a new fugly phenomenon: hyper-public refusal to perform a service to those with whom you disagree.

I’m talking about the bum rush given to Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her friends by the management of a Lexington, VA restaurant called the Red Hen.

Yes, Sanders is a stooge and a pathological liar. But when she strolls in for a bite to eat, it would seem she’s off the clock and should be treated as a civilian. You don’t like her politics? Put a photo of her face on the urinal pucks in your men’s rooms.

The Red Hen people should have asked her politely off-stage to not come back in the future – and for good measure, comp her meal. What better way to demonstrate “when they go low, you go high.” But to throw the party out after being seated – very bad form, and deserving of any half-star Yelps they garnered as a result.

You’re a fucking restaurant, Red Hen. How did you lose perspective? You’re obviously anti-Trump, so why make a Trumpian move that always backfires on people not named Donald Trump?

Hell, you even brought down the wrath of hell on poor old innocent bystander Red Hen in Connecticut.

I hope those gay dudes in Colorado are happy for unleashing the latest cultural war. You just couldn’t elope, could you?

RIP Charles Krauthammer


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A High-Tech Game of Leapfrog

NEC's Earth Simulator Supercomputer Still The Fastest
The world’s fastest computer in 2002; it now fits in your hand where it can crush candy.

In a high-tech game of leapfrog, makers of the world’s fastest supercomputers (and their countries of origin) compete to assemble the machine that will sit at the pinnacle – a determination that happens every six months and is published on the website Taking the number one spot is seen as a validation of a supercomputer company’s technical prowess, and has become a proxy for the innovativeness of countries at large. This clash of the countries started in 2002 when Japanese company NEC reversed years of American leadership by developing a machine that debuted at 5 times faster than the previous number one machine, an IBM system. Although the NEC machine, dubbed Earth Simulator, stayed at number one for two and a half years (a record for longevity at the time), its fundamentally limited architecture prevented it from growing in a financially viable way. In late 2004 IBM took back the mantle with a system twice as fast as Earth Simulator yet one that consumed a fraction of electricity and floor space.

At the end of the month in Frankfurt, Germany, the Top500 group will formally announce that another IBM system nicknamed Summit will grab the top spot – the first time an American company has taken the crown since China achieved number 1 five years ago – and has continually maintained the position since then. (Sidebar: Summit is about 3 million times faster than the IBM system that retook number one less than 15 years ago.)

This is your brain on metal-oxide.

This remarkable improvement in performance is partially attributable to the ongoing increase in the speed and improvement in the design of microprocessors – just as it is with laptops and smart phones. But today, thanks much to software innovations supercomputers are able to grow in scale by “simply” lashing together more and more computers that work interdependently, breaking up problems into smaller pieces that are solved in parallel.

In reality, the only practical limit to making the world’s fastest supercomputer is money. That’s why the cache of holding down the top spot on the Top500 list is as much about a country’s economics as it is about the computer maker’s technical chops.

Researchers in universities and national labs and less-smart members of Congress all soiled themselves when Japan swooped by native IBM and every other U.S. based vendor. (Some dubbed the arrival of Earth Simulator “Compute-nik” in a nod to American apprehension that accompanied the Soviet launch of Sputnik.) And that’s why the half-decade Top500 leadership by Chinese manufacturers seemed to herald a depressing future where China would come to dominate the making of things more strategic than tee shirts, plastic toys and bootleg DVDs.

If China can fund what it takes to make the world’s fastest supercomputers over a long run, what will stop them from dominating any strategically important sector? No doubt they are conjuring up the resources right now to make Summit a one-termer.

The funny thing about the Top500 list is that the rankings are determined by running a computer workload that is not very representative of the kinds of problems actual companies encounter. It may have been OK 20 years ago, but today there is a deep disconnect between the problem that supercomputers run to get on the list, and what modern industry needs to conduct artificial intelligence – yet the old workload persists so that equivalent comparisons can be made year after year.

As an illustration of how the Top500 has become more of a marketing tool than an honest assessment of the state of computer power, consider how companies respond to the publication of the list every June and November. A search of past company press releases will show that when manufacturers like IBM or Cray achieve the number one spot (or some other milestone like the most entries on the list of 500), they pour out gallons of ink touting their innovativeness and commitment to the scientific community. When those same companies underperform, they make pronouncements that the Top500 is not representative of reality and being on the list is actually meaningless – until they capture the top spot again when magically the list becomes relevant once again.

In a telling article in Market Watch a few years back it was reported that the Chinese were primarily using supercomputers as a PR statement more so than to conduct research. According to the author, “it seems a lot of these massive machines, usually made with large government investment, lie idle after they are made, or are even abandoned midway, due to fundamental defects in China’s traditional bureaucratic management system.”

Perhaps one day the Top500 fever will break and companies and governments will focus their attention on investing in technologies that benefit a broad swath of humanity, and not just on the guys who are trying to perfect a nuclear weapon that can fit in your hat.

IHOP Flip Flops

Presumably sensing greater opportunity in the business of lunch over that of breakfast, the International House of Pancakes – better known as IHOP – is revamping its menu to major on burgers over sugar-soaked stacks of carbs. So dramatic is the move that IHOP is actually changing their name (and all their branding which could costs millions) to IHOB.

Kicking it off is this moronic TV ad campaign featuring Manager I-Blob atop the famous blue tiled roof of his restaurant flipping the switch on the new sign – and then, of course, goofing it up and falling off the roof like every half-wit white guy must do in a TV commercial today.

Who knows if IHOP can make such a radical change in focus and go into the very crowded segment against McDonalds, Burger King, Wendys and the many upstarts like Five Guys. In fact, can we be certain that IHOP won’t go in another direction in the months or years to come?

Rumors abound that in the era of Trump nativism the company wants to concentrate solely on the American market. Also, CEO Julia Stewart is known to favor Mexican food.

Might we then expect IHOB to change again, this time to American House of Lamb Enchiladas?

Will that doughy white guy in the TV commercial get back on the roof to flip the sign to … drumroll, please … A-HOLE?

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