Aldous Pennyfarthing

Key member of bishops' group that wanted to deny Biden communion resigns after Grindr use exposed

Masturbation is still a big no-no, according to the Catholic Church. The catechism calls it "an intrinsically and gravely disordered action." But it's only a mortal sin if you're doing it right. For those of you who weren't raised Catholic, you should know you should know that dying in a state of mortal sin is a pretty big deal.

According to the great doctors of the Catholic Church, including St. Augustine of Hippo and St. Thomas Aquinas, if you happen to go udders up in such a state you're—and I believe this is a direct quote, translated from the original Latin—"fucked sideways."

Similarly, the Catholic Church deems homosexual acts as "intrinsically disordered." And while I haven't participated in homosexual acts, I can't imagine why they'd be any less tidy than heterosexual acts. It's not like I've ever arranged my Hummel figurines in neat, OCD-friendly rows while having sex. And, yes, I know that's oversharing. I mean, why should you care about my Hummels?

All of this is to say that if you're a prominent U.S. Catholic who's sitting in judgment over other U.S. Catholics, it might be a good idea to lock down your Grindr account.

The Washington Post:

The top administrator of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops resigned after a Catholic media site told the conference it had access to cellphone data that appeared to show he was a regular user of Grindr, the queer dating app, and frequented gay bars. [...]
Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill has since last fall been the general secretary of the USCCB, a position that coordinates all administrative work and planning for the conference, which is the country's network for Catholic bishops. As a priest, he takes a vow of celibacy. Catholic teaching opposes sexual activity outside heterosexual marriage.

If the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops rings a bell, that's probably because of this:

The Roman Catholic bishops of the United States, flouting a warning from the Vatican, have overwhelmingly voted to draft guidance on the sacrament of the Eucharist, advancing a push by conservative bishops to deny President Biden communion because of his support of abortion rights.
The decision, made public on Friday afternoon, is aimed at the nation's second Catholic president, perhaps the most religiously observant commander in chief since Jimmy Carter, and exposes bitter divisions in American Catholicism. It capped three days of contentious debate at a virtual June meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The measure was approved by a vote of 73 percent in favor and 24 percent opposed.

In fact, none other than Msgr. Burrill himself announced the vote tally calling for the pooh-poohing of our president.

Awkward.

More from The Post:

The resignation stemmed from reporting in the Pillar, an online newsletter that reports on the Catholic Church. Tuesday afternoon, after Burrill's resignation became public, the Pillar reported that it had obtained information based on the data Grindr collects from its users, and hired an independent firm to authenticate it.

According to The Pillar, "A mobile device correlated to Burrill emitted app data signals from the location-based hookup app Grindr on a near-daily basis during parts of 2018, 2019, and 2020—at both his USCCB office and his USCCB-owned residence, as well as during USCCB meetings and events in other cities. … The data obtained and analyzed by The Pillar conveys mobile app date signals during two 26-week periods, the first in 2018 and the second in 2019 and 2020. The data was obtained from a data vendor and authenticated by an independent data consulting firm contracted by The Pillar."

Okay, so I've had a bit of a bone to pick with the Roman Catholic Church ever since they assigned an abusive priest to our parish when I was in grade school. He'd offended before arriving at our parish, so I can only assume they did it on purpose. This all came out years after the fact, of course.

Also, if all masturbators are in a state of mortal sin, I imagine I should have several Costco-sized pallets full of Jergens Lotion FedEx'd to hell before I shuffle off this mortal coil. I assume there'll be lots of takers, and my forward-thinking will surely make me the Duke of Hades. And I bet I'll be able to gouge Burrill at the underworld bookstore after Satan disables all his apps, leaving him with naught but dog-eared copies of 1950s men's fitness magazines.

In the meantime, I'll be supping on sweet, sweet schadenfreude as this story unfolds. Stay tuned.

The Hill serves up what may just be the most absurd headline in media history

The "just wait, he's gonna turn presidential any moment now" crowd is still at it, months after Donald John Trump skulked away from the White House with his schwanz between his atrophied, KFC-bucket-balancin' gams.

For more than five years after his rambling, racist campaign launch speech, Trump has had every opportunity to prove there was more to him than meets the eye. There isn't. I've looked. They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. Trump's are more like splotchy peepholes into John Wayne Gacy's crawlspace. There's nothing there but rank evil, soul-crushing emptiness, and half-slurped McNugget sauces.

Sure, it's possible Trump could still see the light, renounce his numerous past outrages, and embrace Western liberal democracy. It's also possible I'll suddenly improve upon my 4-inch vertical and join the Milwaukee Bucks roster just in time to snag an NBA championship ring. (Go Bucks! As a native Wisconsinite, I need something to distract me from Ron Johnson's perpetual awfulness.)

That said, Trump's legion of apologists is keeping the faith. The guy was president for four years, after all. He must have learned something along the way about fair and effective governance. (Narrator: He didn't.)

Witness one Conrad Black, the author of A President Like No Other: Donald J. Trump and the Restoring of America. Black apparently thinks there's still something salvageable in this tire fire of a human being, and he's decided to die on this Hill.

Buckle up, folks. This will get weird, starting with the headline. Unless you want to spray your beverage halfway to Alpha Centauri, make sure you're not drinking anything when you read this. You've been warned.

"How Trump can win again: Become the calm, moderate candidate," Black posits. It just gets goofier from there.

First, the lede:

The political scene is evolving so quickly that I presume to offer some advice to President Trump: He can now win in 2024 by being the potential candidate of calm and moderation.

Sure, Trump can do that. Or he can suggest nuking hurricanes, try to overturn a free and fair election, incite a deadly riot, lobby for putting alligator-filled moats at the southern border, promote unapproved drugs, act like a freshly gelded howler monkey when asked anodyne questions by the media, and generally behave like a marginally less grounded Randy Quaid.

The uncharacteristically incautious comments of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that, in effect, the dreadful Trump specter had passed and they could all go back to being the good-natured losers of the Bush-McCain-Romney eras was effectively retracted within a few days. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) has disgraced herself by joining the Trump-hate operation of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and, in Republican terms, is sinking without a ripple as a consequence.

Hmm, the Bushes won three out of four of the elections they competed in after becoming their party's nominees. John McCain and Mitt Romney lost just as many elections as Trump. And George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush both won the popular vote at least once, whereas Trump never did. What on Gaia's green globule is this fucknut talking about?

Black rambles on for a half dozen anti-Democrat paragraphs before arriving at the pièce de résistance.

Now, as time passes, the public irritation with Trump's bombastic behavior, of his being in the nation's face day and night for four years, will recede and gradually be replaced by the spectacle of a comatose Biden administration, floundering and dissembling, fecklessly struggling with the various crises it has created. There will be, soon enough, nostalgia for Trump instead — and if he is wise, he can become a winning figure of comparative Olympian serenity.

Nostalgia for Trump? Uh, no. The guy is seared into our memories, I'll give you that. But "nostalgia" implies fond memories. I have nostalgia for eating Cracker Jack on a picnic bench during the summer of '76. I don't have nostalgia for the raucous pink belly I received from my reprobate siblings 10 minutes later.

But this. This! "… if he is wise, he can become a winning figure of comparative Olympian serenity."

Trump isn't wise, and never will be. (See also: nearly every news story from the past half-decade.)

Trump's a loser. Full stop.

A "figure of comparative Olympian serenity?" Next to Trump, Crispin Glover circa 1987 was a figure of comparative Olympian serenity. But Trump himself never, ever will be.

It's normal for historians and especially partisans to want to rehabilitate a former president's image and reputation, but Trump's rep is trashed. He might as well have smeared those feces on the inner walls of the U.S. Capitol himself. There's no forgetting Jan. 6—or any of the other 1,460 days he cosplayed as president.

And no amount of gaslighting after the fact can possibly make us forget, no matter how much devotees like Conrad Black try.

Disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker says America has 'slidden' backwards under Biden

Apocalypse-pancake purveyor and disgraced mammal Jim Bakker is not feeling the Biden era. Bakker, who was convicted on 24 counts of fraud in 1989 over his role in the wide-ranging PTL scandal, thinks we've "slidden" backwards since those halcyon days when Donald Trump's sudoriferous arse was regularly irrigating the linens in the presidential boudoir.

Of course, the nice thing about using a Christian template for your con is that one of the religion's core tenets is forgiveness. Don't get me wrong, that's a noble feature. The problem is, it's really fucking easy to turn repentance into a vaudeville act without ever actually, you know, repenting.

That's how conmen like Bakker—and now, Donald Trump—keep their grift going ad nauseam.

Bakker is always chock full o' nuts, of course, but sometimes he's a humble Almond Joy and sometimes he's an incandescent Hindenburg crammed with forests full of squirrel shit. Today was such a day.


BAKKER: "You realize this is coming, right? You realize where we are. You realize what America has done. Does it scare you that America would be so strong in turning their backs on God? It just drives me crazy to see this happen in our country. I felt like the last year we were doing pretty good in America. Of course, COVID hit and all that kind of stuff. … Do you think we have, in the last few months, since the election, America has, if we were in a religious forum, we would say backslid. America has slidden [sic] backwards more than in my entire lifetime, and I'm 81 years old."

Eighty-one years old, huh? So that means he was born in 1940. I don't know, I can think of at least one setback that happened in December of the very next year. And then there was that whole Vietnam kerfuffle. And Watergate. And the Great Recession. And, you know, that shit from last year. CO-something. That was a wee bit of a backslide, don't you think?

Or is Bakker talking about the recovering economy ... or the receding COVID-19 pandemic ... or the fact that we no longer have a literal insurrectionist in the White House? Yeah, I can see why he'd be so upset.

Or maybe he's down about 2021 because of this …

ABC News:

Jim Bakker and his southwestern Missouri church will pay restitution of $156,000 to settle a lawsuit that accuses the TV pastor of falsely claiming a health supplement could cure COVID-19.
Missouri court records show that a settlement agreement was filed Tuesday. It calls for refunds to people who paid money or gave contributions to obtain a product known as Silver Solution in the early days of the pandemic.
The settlement also prohibits Bakker and Morningside Church Productions Inc. from advertising or selling Silver Solution "to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat or cure any disease or illness." Bakker, in the agreement, does not admit wrongdoing.

Ah, yes, Jim Bakker's magic silver solution. Sure, you can be 100% healed through the power of prayer, but why not hedge your bets by coating your arteries with a heavy metal that only occasionally turns people into bulgy Smurfs? What would Jesus do? Oh, he'd almost certainly seize control of the FDA and immediately approve all of Jim Bakker's quack cures.

I'm not quite sure what Joe Biden has done to earn the wrath of the official pancake vendor of the omniscient, immanent, ineffable godhead, but I doubt Bakker has many specifics. Not any that hold up under scrutiny, anyway.

But then Bakker will keep grifting until the day he dies—or turns into Violet Beauregarde. Whichever comes first.

'Unforgivable and un-American': US Capitol Officer Brian Sicknick's longtime partner calls out GOP

I envision a day—perhaps not that far in the future—when Donald Trump and his doofus-y name are radioactive, not just to the decent people of the world but to a wide swath of Republicans, too. Will that happen? I'm trying to be an optimist, so I say yes. Trump himself is doing his best to make that reality come to pass.

Of course, in the wake of Jan. 6, far more hardbitten cynics than I (I know it sounds impossible, but they're out there) no doubt thought Trump was—at long last—shit on toast. He couldn't recover from this, could he? Ah, but these gimlet-eyed observers vastly underestimated the GOP's pusillanimity. After House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy flew down to Mar-a-Lago to do 108 full prostrations before his slovenly Buddha, the floodgates opened and Trump was on his way to being fully embraced, once again, by the Republican rank-and-file.

That capitulation to indecency came to a head late last month when Senate Republicans decided to filibuster the bill that would have created a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission. Republicans "won" the vote 35-54—meaning 19 more senators wanted to advance the bill than wanted to scuttle it. (Yay, filibuster!)

Perhaps no one was more horrified by that outcome than Sandra Garza, the longtime partner of Brian Sicknick, a Capitol police officer who died in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. And now she's speaking up.

In a CNN op-ed, Garza, a clinical social worker who was with Sicknick for 11 years, wrote that she couldn't watch the Jan. 6 footage for a month after the attack, but eventually gutted it out and took a look.

But before his memorial a month later, something came over me: I wanted to see everything I could and understand what happened that day. As I watched the videos, I couldn't believe my eyes. I saw officers being brutalized and beaten, and protesters defying orders to stay back from entering the Capitol. All the while, I kept thinking, "Where is the President? Why is it taking so long for the National Guard to arrive? Where is the cavalry!?"
As the months passed, my deep sadness turned to outright rage as I watched Republican members of Congress lie on TV and in remarks to reporters and constituents about what happened that day. Over and over they denied the monstrous acts committed by violent protesters.

Garza didn't name those members of Congress, but they're not hard to identify. There was Sen. Ron Johnson, who said he was never concerned about the insurrection because the rioters were "people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement"—and not scary antifa or Black Lives Matter protesters. There was Rep. Andrew Clyde, who compared the insurrectionists to tourists, even though footage from that day showed him fixin' to drop a chimichanga or two into his Simon Bar Sinister Underoos. And there was Trump himself, who infamously said that the insurrection posed "zero threat" and that his supporters were "hugging and kissing" the Capitol police.

Eventually, Garza joined Sicknick's mother, Gladys, in her campaign to convince GOP senators to vote in favor of the commission. But as we all know, their heartfelt pleas were ignored. Garza writes that during her and Gladys' outreach campaign, "some Republican senators were very pleasant and polite. Others were dismissive, and others could barely hide their disdain."

Sounds about right. Of course, in the wake of Republicans' nearly unanimous betrayal of democracy, Garza feels she's being retraumatized.

By denying or downplaying the viciousness and trauma that occurred on January 6, members of Congress and the people who continue echoing their false narrative are engaging in a specific kind of psychological harm that is familiar to people who work in mental health. It's known as "secondary wounding." Secondary wounding, described by psychologist Aphrodite Matsakis, occurs when people "minimize or discount the magnitude of the event, its meaning to the victim, [or] its impact on the victim's life."

The kicker? Before the Capitol insurrection, both Garza and Sicknick—who adored blueberry pancakes and wiener dogs alike—were Trump supporters. Not anymore: "To know that some members of Congress—along with the former President, Donald Trump, who Brian and I once supported but who can only now be viewed as the mastermind of that horrible attack—are not acknowledging Brian's heroism that day is unforgivable and un-American."

Eventually, anyone who puts their faith in Donald Trump gets burned. Ask … well, pretty much anyone. Most people don't suffer this much for their obtuseness, but just about everyone who hitches their wagon to his collapsing star gets a rude awakening.

It's sad that it took the loss of a loved one for Garza to finally wake up, but if she can keep warning others, maybe the day when Trump is truly—and forever—radioactive will come sooner rather than later.

DeSantis beats Trump in presidential straw poll

Want to nip Ron DeSantis' likely 2024 presidential bid in the bud? Tell the kaiser of GQP-land there's another rooster in the henhouse. If there's one thing a cult leader won't abide it's a threat to his authority.

It's way too early to determine which malodorous heap of seething white grievance and unworkable ideas will rocket to the head of the Republican pack in 2024, but at least one straw poll indicates Donald Trump's vise-like grip on the party's pendulous, purpling nads could be loosening in favor of one of the big man's most loyal surrender-generals in his non-fight against COVID.

Ron DeSantis, who did more than any other governor to spread freedom phlegm throughout the lower 48, was the winner of a recent straw poll asking conservatives about their 2024 presidential preferences.

The Week:

On Saturday ... Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) edged Trump in a straw poll taken at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver. In-person and online attendees were asked to vote for all the potential candidates they approve of out of a 31-person field. Trump and DeSantis were neck-and-neck at the top, but there was some hefty distance between them and the third-place finisher, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.). Former Vice President Mike Pence finished 10th.
Obviously, at this stage, a straw poll could simply be a mirage, but DeSantis has looked like a contender elsewhere, finishing second to Trump in the 2024 straw poll conducted at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February. Trump has also said, if he does make another bid for the White House, he'd consider the controversial, but popular governor as a potential running mate.



Up until now, DeSantis has been a loyal Trump acolyte, but knowing Trump, this has already gotten underneath his skin. DeSantis can expect a severed manatee head on his pillow any day now.

Interestingly, Mike Pence, the man who perfected the art of assembling IKEA furniture inside Donald Trump's sigmoid colon, was way down the list in 10th place—probably for the same reason he got heckled at an ultra-conservative Faith & Freedom convention last week. His political career turned a whiter shade of pale as soon as he refused to overturn the 2020 election in his own favor—a show of insolence that enraged his master. And now he's milquetoast. (Or more so, anyway.)

Even Donald Trump Jr., who's more amphetamine than man at this point (maybe; people are saying; many, many people), edged out Pence.

But Donald Trump can only screw over one potential rival at a time, and for the moment, that appears to be DeSantis.

Do your thing, baby-man. Cut DeSantis off at the knees. You know you want to.

Trump's tour with Bill O'Reilly conflicts with August reinstatement theory — driving QAnons bonkers

Seeing QAnon adherents puzzle their way through reality is a bit like watching Donald Trump try to sound out a raw vegan menu. Eventually he orders the portobello mushroom steak—and then we sit back and wait to see his face contort into ever-lower depths of bafflement as he deluges his entree with enough ketchup to drown a baby rhino. And that's before the German carob cake shows up.

At some point, the Q folks all changed their internal default font to Zapf Dingbats, and now literally nothing they say makes any sense to anyone—except their fellow travelers.

The latest? They can't imagine why Donald Trump is promoting a December tour with Bill O'Reilly when he's supposed to be back in the White House in August and O'Reilly is presumably scheduled for a series of painful face-splotchectomies.

Newsweek:

QAnon supporters have acted with dismay and confusion after Donald Trump announced the December dates of his upcoming speaking tour with Bill O'Reilly, which coincides with when he is meant to have already been reinstated as president.

The announcement was shared by a number of popular QAnon telegram accounts, one of which has nearly 75,000 subscribers on the encrypted messaging service app.
Supporters of the radical movement expressed concerns that Trump going on a speaking tour later this year surely means that he will not be returning as president—a false claim they have continued to believe since he lost the 2020 election more than seven months ago.

I really wonder what these people will do when Sept. 1 comes around and Trump is still ensconced, Taft-like, in his toilet. How many times can they move the goalposts before they—like the QAnon people themselves—are on another planet?

According to the announcement, Trump and O'Reilly have several December dates scheduled in Florida and Texas. But if Trump really thinks he'll be back by then—which has been widely reported to be the case—then why is he fixin' to go on tour with Pile O'Bile-y?

Newsweek collected several alarmed responses from QAnon cultists posting on Telegram about this vexing bait-and-switch.

A sampling:

  • "OK I GUESS MY QUESTION IS TRUMP COMING BACK? WHY WOULD HE BE DOING A TOUR THRU THE END OF THE YEAR WITH O'REILLY. HMMMMMMMMM SOMETHING DOESN'T FEEL RIGHT?" — Telegram user Peace Lilly
  • "So nothing will happen until December?" — Tina N.
  • "Man I sure hope we don't have to wait that long before you're back in office." — Jack Miller
  • "So basically the August thing is a bunch of bull because a reinstated President doesn't go on tour." — Angela Baldwin

Oh, Angela Baldwin, you are sharp. I imagine that's exactly how Archimedes felt just before shouting "Eureka!"

Of course, many QAnoners and other Trumpy dead-enders are hanging their hopes on either Pillow Man Mike Lindell's barmy assurances or the Arizona fraudit, which they believe will touch off a domino effect wherein one blue state after another falls back into Donald Trump's column. Because there's zero chance that the most vulgar, deceitful man on the planet—a man who never polled over 50% percent approval at any time during his presidency—could have possibly lost a national election.

Of course, some QAnoners appeared to be hedging their bets: "It's only a few dates close together...it could be done if it works out like it should...could cancel....but yup..kinda a gut punch statement," one wrote. "But we are in an information war, so who the hell knows."

Who the hell knows? Not you, that's for sure. But most of us do, oddly enough—because we're not getting our information from rando kookaburras on Telegram.

And, yes, it's possible that Trump will cancel his serial sexual harasser tour with O'Reilly, but not because he'll be president. It'll be because his muscles have taken on the texture of Gerber's mashed pears and he can't get through the auditorium doors without a crowbar and a can of Crisco.

Or maybe—just maybe—he'll be defending himself in court. A man can dream, right?

Trump admin lawyers having trouble finding jobs post-Jan. 6 insurrection

BREAKING NEWS: Saruman's orcs are having a hard time finding jobs in the new post-Mordor economy. Several Uruk-hai have applied for au pair positions in the Shire and been flatly refused. Who knows why? Might have something to do with their brazen attempt to sack Gondor, but it could be anything, really.

Won't someone think of the orcs? They need to eat, too!

By all rights, having worked for the Trump administration should essentially bar you from any kind of work—with the possible exception of squeegeeing the ex-pr*sident's kingly moobs once a fortnight ... or whenever he orders a 12-piece Chicken McNugget with extra sauces. And while that's certainly more than a one-person job, unfortunately it's not going to help the dozens of traitors who stuck with this doofus through thousands of lies, two impeachments, dozens of outrages, and one full-blown insurrection against the legitimate government of the United States.

According to a recent Bloomberg story, lawyers who served in the Trump administration are facing higher hurdles than members of past administrations when it comes to securing employment.

Bloomberg:

Trump lawyers have been more difficult to place than those who served in previous administrations, particularly if they were closely connected to his most controversial policies or if they lacked the experience past alumni had, said Lauren Drake, a partner at search firm Macrae.

Several companies and law firms distanced themselves from Trump after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Corporate law firm Crowell & Moring called for Trump's removal from office and urged others to make the same demand. Law firms Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and Seyfarth Shaw dropped Trump and his businesses as clients.
"I don't think anyone coming out of the George W. Bush administration was told, 'We can't hire this person,'" [former Trump administration Homeland Security attorney Ken] Cuccinelli said. "I'm sure Jan. 6 made it that much worse than it ever would have been."

Gee, ya think? Jan. 6 made it much worse? You'd think lawyers for the Trump administration would have about as much chance of being hired elsewhere as Capt. Hazelwood did of getting another oil tanker gig, but that's an unfair comparison ... because the Exxon Valdez spill was a fucking accident.

Cuccinelli, the deputy secretary of Homeland Security from late 2019 to early 2021, has personally discovered just how radioactive Trump was and is. After being considered for one particular corporate job, and being turned down, Cuccinelli told Bloomberg, "They just decided they didn't want Trump people. It was just flat out—you can call it Trump discrimination."

Sure, you can call it Trump discrimination. You could also call it common decency. The latter rings more true to me.

Of course, there are competing theories as to why major law firms are showing such a reluctance to soil their pantaloons in public.

Reed D. Rubinstein, who worked for the Trump Education Department, said the lack of interest in Trump's henchmen has to do with "the extent to which Big Law has been captured by the political left."

"To protect the middle and working class, we directly challenged the control, legitimacy, and power of the credentialed managerial class and their corporate institutions," Rubinstein told Bloomberg. "So it's not a surprise to me that they are hostile to Trump administration alumni."

Sure, Reed. Whatever helps you sleep, my man.

Of course, this dynamic could change as Republicans proceed in their campaign to flush Jan. 6 down the memory hole. But for now, I'll relish this limited—and perhaps temporary—comeuppance.

As far as I'm concerned, most Trump lackeys should be shunned from polite society altogether. Or impolite society, for that matter. Send them to Snake Island. They'd fit in better there anyway.

Susan Collins is very concerned that people who drive electric cars don't pay gas tax

New idea for a drinking game: Every time Susan Collins says she's concerned about something, drink an 18-gallon Rubbermaid tub full of yak phlegm and battery acid.

The latest thing she's concerned about? Paying for Joe Biden's ambitious infrastructure plans. And, no, she's not thinking about a moderate rollback of Donald Trump's plutocrat-friendly tax scam, which led corporations across the country to engage in stock buybacks and other economic wheel-spinning ventures. Oh, no. She wants to … erm … tax people who are going out of their way to help save the planet.

On the June 13 installment of Face the Nation, hosted by John Dickerson, Collins regaled us all with her hoary reasonable-Republican shtick—and yet there was scant reason to be found anywhere in her comments. Discussing various ways to pay for crucial investments in a 21st century clean-energy economy, Collins waved away the obvious solution—making corporations and the already wealthy pay a little more for the infrastructure they rely on to build their silly dragon hoards—in favor of a remarkably stupid alternative. (She explains her "pay-for" scheme at 1:25.)



DICKERSON: "And what about the sticky question about how to pay for all of this? I've heard there's reports that it might include a gas tax increase?"

COLLINS: "There won't be a gas tax increase, and we won't be undoing the 2017 tax reform bill. Let me talk about three of the pay-fors. One is the implementation of an infrastructure financing authority. That's very similar to the state revolving funds that we used for sewer and water projects, and it's a bipartisan proposal that was first put forth by Sens. Mark Warner and Roy Blunt. A second would be to repurpose some of the COVID funding that has not been spent in the $1.9 trillion package that was enacted in March. There were restrictions on what the funding could be used for. It could be used for water, sewer, and broadband. We would make it more flexible so it could be used for infrastructure projects. And third, there would be a provision for electric vehicles to pay their fair share of using our roads and bridges. Right now they are literally free riders because they're not paying any gas tax."

Okay, this is a gobsmackingly stupid idea. Yes, people who drive EVs obviously don't pay gas taxes, which help pay for a lot of roads and bridges. But most people agree that electric cars are the wave of the future, and if we're going to successfully transition to a clean-energy economy, we need to encourage as many people as possible to use them. That means making electric vehicles more appealing, not less. We're in a climate emergency, and what Collins is proposing would be a little like taxing people's COVID shots and face masks while charging them a nominal fee to wash their hands.

But, hey, we need a "reasonable" way out of this impasse—which naturally can't include slightly increasing the tax rates of the ultra-wealthy, even though that's exactly what most Americans want.

Mainers, what on Gaia's verdurous spinning space globule were you thinking when you returned this glitching, bromide-besotted Furby to the Senate? One more Democratic senator sure would have been nice, huh? In fact, it would have gone a long way toward saving this planet.

But hey, you can rest assured that when Kennebunkport is under water, Collins' "concern" will be off the charts—as will a not-insignificant number of Maine's coastal communities.

A staggering number of GOP cultists think Trump will be reinstated as president this year: poll

I'll never understand why anyone listens to Donald Trump on any subject. He wanted to nuke hurricanes. He wanted to put alligator-filled moats along the southern border. He thinks windmills cause cancer, asbestos is swell, and exercise is bad for you. He seriously suggested pumping our bodies full of UV light and disinfectant. He thinks we have planes that are literally invisible, for God's sake!

Nevertheless, millions of Trump fans have bent their brains into pretzels trying to make his doofus proclamations sound presidential—or even marginally nonsimian (see also: hydroxychloroquine).

We've pretty well established that Trump's brain is, at best, masticated circus peanut and, at worst, Lucifer's molten boom-booms, and yet when he dry-heaves utter batshit nonsense, plenty of his fans seem all too ready to lick it up like feral purse poodles.

Case in point: Fully 29% of Republicans think Donald Trump is returning before the year is out—possibly riding in on a cloud or a flaming chariot or (more likely) a golf cart with a cupholder and custom-installed deep fryer.

A new Politico/Morning Consult poll asked survey respondents this straightforward question: "How likely do you think it is that former President Donald Trump will be reinstated as U.S. President this year, if at all?" The question was no doubt included in the poll because Trump himself has been telling insiders that he thinks he'll be back in office by August. (Narrator: He won't.)

The results? (You still have time to bail if you've had your yearly quota of frothing insanity. You're still here? Okay, gird your loins.)

Among Republicans surveyed, 17% think it's "very likely" that Trump will return to the White House this year, 12% think it's "somewhat likely," and 10% don't know or have no opinion. Taken together, this shows that two-fifths of Republicans have not yet accepted that Joe Biden won the presidency.

Of course, that wasn't the only eye-opening result. Asked whether things are going in the right direction in the U.S. or on the wrong track, only 15% of Republicans thought things were going in a positive direction, while 85% said we're veering off course. Guess 85% of Republicans prefer raging pandemics and collapsing economies to Democratic presidents.

Is this what it's like to lick hallucinogenic toads for breakfast in lieu of frosted Pop-Tarts? At some point, do you just surrender to the unreality of your environment?

Over at Civiqs, even more Republicans report they're worried; a stunning 93% of card-carrying GOPers think we're all gonna die.

If you enjoy watching Donald Trump eat the Republican Party from within, like a genetically modified tropical eyeball worm, you'll be happy to know that the Politico/Morning Consult poll found that 80% of Republicans want to stick around so they can see him play either a major (59%) or a minor role (21%) in the party going forward. If you'd prefer he stay in Florida chucking oyster shells at flamingos from his balcony, you'll likely be disappointed by the 13% of Republicans who want him to slink away.

There's also some good news, of course. President Biden's approval rating is at 53% among all registered voters, with 28% of respondents "strongly" approving of the job he's doing, 25% "somewhat" approving, 43% disapproving, and the rest offering no opinion.

Meanwhile, 66% of registered voters want Congress to pass an infrastructure bill—so maybe we should get that done, huh?

There's still some sanity left in the world, so long as you look in the right place. And that right place is clearly nowhere in the vicinity of the right wing. I invite Republicans to hurry on back to planet Earth. The water's fine. At least it is for now—unfortunately, only 12% of Republicans consider passing a bill to address climate change a "top priority."

Go figure.

Fox host: 'This is what happens when you choose your vice president based on gender and skin color'

First of all, I don't get how a "surge" of migrants at the border is a "crisis." People are coming across our southern border to escape hardship, violence, and poverty, not to murder old ladies in Wisconsin—no matter what my mother might say. They're filling jobs that would otherwise go unfilled. And we need to add more people to our long-term labor pool or our economy will start to collapse.

For some reason, if people were pouring over the Canadian border, I doubt Fox would even mention it.

Of course, scaring white people with pictures of brown people is Fox News' raison d'être, and we should be used to that by now. But sometimes they put away the dog whistles and elect to wear their racism on their Obergruppenführer uniform sleeves.

Enter Fox News The Five co-host Katie Pavlich:


KATIE PAVLICH: "This is what happens when you choose your vice president based on gender and skin color rather than actual talent and expertise. We're seeing that disaster unfold right now."

GERALDO RIVERA: "That's so mean."

PAVLICH: "Oh, it's mean? It's actually true."

RIVERA: "She was the attorney general for the state of California. She was a United States senator. You can't demean her."

PAVLICH: "Well, there's a reason why she got zero votes and had to drop out of the race before they even started taking votes."

What have I missed? Did Harris' work in addressing the border "crisis" cause a horde of troglodytes to ransack the U.S. Capitol or something? The last I heard she's discussing the root causes of immigration with Guatemala's president, not daydreaming about lining the border with alligator-filled moats or shooting immigrants in the legs. I've no doubt Katie would view these as effective strategies, because her goober god has decreed it.

Also, wasn't "choosing our vice president based on gender and skin color" what we did the last 48 times? Seriously, fuck you, Katie. Fuck you for implying Kamala Harris didn't earn her position. She was a fucking U.S. senator, you twit. Donald Trump's political experience before he became pr*sident was limited to shitposting for hours about things he didn't understand. You, on the other hand, filled a spot that could have been given to an average-looking person with a brain.

Maybe think about throwing stones when you live in a peanut-brittle pagoda. And check your overt racism. Didn't you get the memo? You're supposed to pretend you're not a total racist shitheel. I'm quite certain you'll find that somewhere in the Fox employee manual.

BRAND NEW STORIES

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.