Pope Francis Visits DC, September 22 to 24, 2015

September 18, 2015

Pope Francis Visits DC, September 22 to 24, 2015

Everybody’s favorite pontiff, Pope Francis, will visit Washington DC for three days. Unofficial schedule:

Tuesday, September 22, 2015
4:00 PM: Pope Francis arrives via Alitalia at Joint Base Andrews from Havana, smokes big cigar on the drive from Maryland to the Apostolic Nunciature on Massachusetts Avenue NW.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015
9:15 AM: White House Welcoming Ceremony; Pontiff shoots hoops one-on-one with President Obama before posing for pics on the Truman Balcony

11:00 AM: Popemobile Parade along the Ellipse and National Mall; brief stop to buy Astronaut Ice Cream at Air & Space Museum gift shop (mirabile dictu!)

11:30 AM: Midday Prayer with U.S. bishops at historically ugly Saint Matthew’s Cathedral in DC; side trip to the Indiana Jones exhibit at nearby National Geographic Museum. His Holiness will address the bishops in Spanish, and many expect him to “no dejar titere con cabeza” (kick butt).

4:15 PM: Greets Native American demonstrators before celebrating Junipero Serra Canonization Mass — in Spanish — at the East Portico of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at Catholic University (leave your selfie stick at home).

Thursday, September 24, 2015
9:20 AM: Speech to Joint Session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol (in English); crowds gather to watch it on Jumbotron screens on the National Mall (and listen to Spotify’s Pope Playlist while they’re waiting)

11:00 AM:  Brief appearance on West Front of Capitol (possible photo op with former altar boys Biden and Boehner?)

11:15 AM: Visit to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in DC and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, site of the Homeless Jesus sculpture (artist: Timothy P. Schmalz). His Holiness will meet with — and feed — the charities’ clients.

4:00 PM: Departure from Joint Base Andrews for New York City and a decent slice of pizza.

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9th Grader Handcuffed and Arrested for Bringing a Clock to School

September 17, 2015

9th Grader Handcuffed and Arrested for Bringing a Clock to School
Last weekend a proud 9th Grader constructed an electronic clock at home, and he brought it to school on Monday. Naturally, he was handcuffed and arrested. That’s natural in Irving Texas, anyway — if the student’s name is something like Ahmed Mohamed.

14-year-old Ahmed showed his clock to a teacher who decided it was a bomb and called the principal, who called the police; they put Ahmed in handcuffs, took him in and fingerprinted him. Now they’re saying they arrested Ahmed for staging a bomb hoax; clearly they should have arrested his teacher and principal for that. All charges against Ahmed have been dropped; we can expect civil suits against Irving’s government and school district.

The city of Irving, part of the DFW Metroplex, brags about the large high-tech firms located within its limits. There may be more welcoming places for those multinational companies and their culturally- diverse workforces, towns where those employees and their families would not be regarded with hate and suspicion.

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‘You Don’t Know (Nothin’ About Love)’

September 14, 2015

“You Don’t Know Nothin’ About Love,” written by Jerry Ragovoy, performed here by Jill Scott, whose version compares favorably with the powerful 1967 original by Carl Hall.


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Another Temp Job for Sarah Palin?

September 13, 2015

Another Temp Jpb for Sarah Palin?

Sarah Palin, former Miss Wasilla, once part-time Temp-Governor of Alaska, losing GOP Vice Presidential candidate and failed Fox News commentator, told CNN’s Jake Tapper she’d like to be Secretary of Energy in President Trump’s cabinet so she could dismantle the agency. Mrs. Palin is pretty good at demolishing things — look at what she did to John McCain’s presidential campaign.

Despite lack of evidence, Senator McCain thought Mrs. Palin knew lots about energy. The “Energy Secretary Palin” idea was first mentioned by Newt Gingrich during his 2011 quest for the GOP presidential nomination, probably to quash talk of putting her in the VP slot. And while Mrs. Palin has occasionally opined about abolishing the agency, John McCain suggested it as far back as 1994.

Sarah Palin is, quite literally, in bed with Big Oil — her husband Todd worked for BP in the North Slope oil fields of Alaska for 18 years and only resigned after his wife left the governorship. And back in the days of high-priced oil, royalty payments from Alaska oil and gas producers kept her state’s government running despite Governor Palin’s budget disasters.

But perhaps Mrs. Palin wants to abolish an agency she heads simply due to her proclivity for short-term jobs. She was appointed to her first state job on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in 2003 and quit after 11 months; elected Governor of Alaska, she assumed office in December 2006 and resigned in July 2009 after serving 20 months, much of that time spent on her failed vice presidential campaign. Sarah Palin was hired as a Fox News Commentator in 2010, dropped in 2012re-hired, and dropped again in 2015, and had reality TV shows on TLC  and the Sportsman Channel, both cancelled after one season.

What Mrs. Palin really knows about energy policy would fit on a “Drill-Baby-Drill” bumper sticker. She has no idea what the job involves and confuses it with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). But Sarah Palin does have one prerequisite to be Secretary of Energy: Good Hair.

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Rick Perry Heads for the Bunkhouse

September 12, 2015

Rick Perry Heads to the Bunkhouse

Republican Rick Perry left the campaign trail and headed back to his Texas bunkhouse on Friday. There’ll be an empty place ’round the CNN warm-up debate campfire this Friday. Adiós, pard.


“Rick Perry’s Ride Into The Sunset Comes Before High Noon,” Ron Elving, NPR

“Rick Perry Meets His Alamo,” Gail Collins, New York Times

“Adios, Mofo: Perry Cashes Out,” Christopher Hooks, Texas Observer


“Rick Perry, George W. Bush, and the death of the cowboy conservative,” Matt K. Lewis, The Week


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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Yes, Please! Louie Gohmert Offers to Quit.

September 11, 2015

Yes, Please! Louie Gohmert Offers to Quit.

Earlier this week, right-wing radio ranter Glenn Beck got an email from Tea Party loon and Congress Creature Louie Gohmert (R, TX-1):

‘Last week, I announced to the world if the House and Senate will treat Iran — the Iran treaty as a treaty, I will not run for my congressional seat again.”

Media outlets took this to mean that Mr. Gohmert would skedaddle back to the Piney Woods of East Texas and not run for a 6th term if the Senate didn’t rustle up enough votes to overturn a veto of the Iran nuclear agreement. And when Senate Democrats kept this from transpiring, sane people everywhere started rejoicing.

But hold the weddin,’ Bubba. Rep. Gohmert walked the whole thing back on Wednesday, saying his deal was that if Congress adopted his proposal to treat the multinational agreement as a treatythat’s when he’d resign.

So don’t worry, DC will have no shortage of lunatic conspiracy theories anytime soon. You can bet that the savvy folks of East Texas are gonna reelect ol’ Louie. They figure to keep Texas safe by making sure Louie Gohmert stays in far away Washington.


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Bagel Day

September 11, 2015

Bagel Day

Tuesday was Bagel Day at the software development center, and I favored Bagels & Baguettes near Stanton Park. There was a line when I got there, around 8:30 AM. The shop is near the Senate office buildings and the Heritage Foundation, so there is a TV tuned to CNN to keep news-obsessed customers occupied.

By the time I got my two dozen hot bagels, the damnedest thing was on that television. An airplane had crashed into a World Trade Center tower in New York, and the building was on fire. It was September 11, 2001.

I went to the office break room and put out the bagels, cream cheese, and smoked salmon. I guess I was making coffee when the second plane hit the other tower. I figured people still had to eat.

The developers were plugged into the Web, and learned as much – or as little — as anyone that morning. We knew a third plane hit the Pentagon and heard the false report that a fourth had hit the White House. There was a rumor that a plane had hit the Capitol, but we were two blocks away and would have heard that.

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Saint Kim of Kentucky Rescued From the Dungeon!

September 10, 2015

Saint Kim of Kentucky Rescued From the Dungeon!

Free at last! Intolerant Rowan County Clerk Kimberly Jean Bailey Davis was sprung from Kentucky’s Carter County Detention Center on Tuesday. U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning determined that her deputy clerks were doing the work she shirked, providing equal justice under the law by issuing civil marriage licenses to all couples. The judge enjoined Mrs. Davis from preventing her deputies from performing her office’s official duties in issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples.

Mrs. Davis and her delusional lawyer claim that marriage licenses not issued by her are invalid. As Zack Ford points out, Kentucky statute 61.035 indicates otherwise: “Any duty enjoined by law or by the Rules of Civil Procedure upon a ministerial officer, and any act permitted to be done by him, may be performed by his lawful deputy.”

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Cheney: Okay, Iran Nukes ARE My Fault

September 9, 2015

Cheney: Okay, Iran Nukes ARE My Fault

Chris Wallace interviewed former Vice President and unindicted war criminal Dick Cheney on “Fox News Sunday.”

Chris Wallace: “You and President Bush, the Bush-Cheney administration, dealt with Iran for eight years. Iran went from zero known [nuclear] centrifuges in operation to more than 5,000. So in fairness, didn’t you leave — the Bush-Cheney administration — leave President Obama with a mess?”

Dick Cheney: “Well, I don’t think of it that way ….

Chris Wallace: “But the centrifuges went from zero to 5,000.”

Dick Cheney: “Well, they may well have gone but that happened on Obama’s watch, not on our watch.”

Chris Wallace: “No, no, no. By 2009, they were at 5,000.”

Dick Cheney: “Right, But I think we did a lot to deal with the arms control problem in the Middle East.”


“Dick Cheney faces surprise accusation on his own foreign policy,” Tony Dokoupil, MSNBC

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September 8, 2015


Thousands of desperate Syrians are fleeing their war-torn homeland for Europe, and Europeans react with grief or fear or shame or sympathy. But while their governments may be slow to help the new arrivals, families and churches are not:

“Germans Open Their Homes To Refugee Roommates,” Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, NPR News

“Why Austrians are opening their homes to refugees,” Maddy French, Aljazeera

“Activist convoy picks up migrants,” BBC News

“Amid unabated refugees crisis, pope calls on parishes to take in families,” Anthony Faiola and Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post

“Migrant crisis: the volunteers stepping in to help,” Joel Gunter, BBC News

“Finnish PM offers his home to asylum seekers,” Umut Uras, Aljazeera

“Bayern Munich donate $1.1 million to help refugees,” Tom McGowan, CNN

“Pope: Vatican will shelter 2 families fleeing war, hunger,” Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press

“Chile mulls plan to take in Syrian refugees,” Reuters via Jerusalem Post

“IOC sets up $2m fund for refugee crisis,” Aljazeera

“City of Sanctuary: Bristol rallies to help refugees as aid network swells,” Alexandra Topping, The Guardian

“Icelandic generosity could potentially help thousands of Syrian refugees,” Justin Wm. Moyer, Washington Post

“Munich mayor: I don’t think about numbers, only refugees’ safety,” Emma Graham-Harrison, The Guardian

“Google donates €1 million to help refugees in need,” Mark Wilson, BetaNews

“No ‘upper limit’ on number of refugees Ireland will take,” Sarah Bardon, Irish Times

“Australia ready to take more refugees from Syria, Tony Abbott says,” Sydney Morning Herald

“Some Israelis want to take in Syrian refugees. Netanyahu says no.” Ruth Eglash, Washingtton Post

“Syrian refugees challenge us to be better,” Tim Rogers, Fusion

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