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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