Opinion | Defiant, Now Infected: Trump Is a Morality Tale

From Frank Bruni, NYT It’s a measure of the cynicism that has infected American politics — and, yes, me — that among my initial reactions to the news that President Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus was: Are we sure? Can we trust that? A man who so frequently and flamboyantly plays the victim, and who has been prophylactically compiling ways to explain away or dispute a projected election…

The false link between Amy Coney Barrett and The Handmaid’s Tale, explained

One of the weirder ways this debate has played out since Barrett was first discussed as a potential Supreme Court nominee is the fight over whether or not People of Praise, the group of which she is a member, is also one of the inspirations for The Handmaid’s Tale. In Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel (and its recent TV adaptation), fertile women are forced to live as childbearing slaves called handmaids. The book isn’t an established inspiration — but the story has developed legs anyway.

Trump administration gave Courage Award to a woman who criticized Trump, then rescinded the honor, then lied about it, a watchdog agency finds

The State Department revoked a prestigious award from a Finnish journalist because of social media posts critical of President Donald Trump, according to a report from the State Department Office of Inspector General. Although the watchdog found that the State Department had acted within its “broad discretion” to rescind the award from Jessikka Aro, it also found that the department lied to Congress and the press to explain why it had…

CDC Website Publishes, Removes Updated Coronavirus Guidelines

Friday the CDC released updated guidelines that reflected recent scientific observations that the coronavirus is airborne and can transmit over a distance of more than six feet, as CNN reported. This morning the CDC reversed itself, removing the updated information.   From the Washington Post: The agency had posted new guidelines suggesting the virus can transmit over a distance larger than six feet and that indoor ventilation is key to…

Auschwitz color photo: ‘A 14-year-old girl, not just a statistic’

I don’t know what this prisoner did, but she sure looks like she existed as a human being, despite laws that defined her as less than human, an animal, and illegal. How dare she! It’s pretty simple when you think about it, isn’t it? If she didn’t want to be arrested, beaten, and executed by the authorities, then maybe she shouldn’t have committed the crime of having a bloodline that…

How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled

“I remember the first meeting where I actually told a city council that it was costing more to recycle than it was to dispose of the same material as garbage,” she says, “and it was like heresy had been spoken in the room: You’re lying. This is gold. We take the time to clean it, take the labels off, separate it and put it here. It’s gold. This is valuable.”…

The Pentagon has ordered Stars and Stripes to shut down for no good reason

Stunning. The Stars and Stripes is much more important than any local monument. Even for those of us who are all too wearily familiar with President Donald Trump’s disdain for journalists, his administration’s latest attack on the free press is a bit of a jaw-dropper. In a heretofore unpublicized recent memo, the Pentagon delivered an order to shutter Stars and Stripes, a newspaper that has been a lifeline and a…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In August, 2000 I was blogging about poetry, presidential wordplay, home-schooling, online learning, and a search engine you may have heard about.

In August 2000, I was blogging about Top 10 Tips for Writing Poetry (which I’ve updated over the years and is the most popular page on my site today) Richard Lederer’s presidential wordplay (“I predict that at the end of the campaign. Gore will be bushed and Bush will be gored. Then we’ll have either four Gore years or rule by a son of a Bush.”) A Wired article in…

‘This is no longer a debate’: Florida sheriff bans deputies, visitors from wearing masks

On Tuesday, as Florida set a daily record for covid-19 deaths, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods prohibited his deputies from wearing masks at work. His order, which also applies to visitors to the sheriff’s office, carves out an exception for officers in some locations, including hospitals, and when dealing with people who are high-risk or suspected of having the novel coronavirus. In an email to the sheriff’s department shared with…

A shooting, the president snatched away – this episode of ‘The Trump Show’ was surreal even for veteran White House reporters

Good news writing, and praise for Trump’s cool demeanor during a crisis, from : The Independent The large man in the grey suit interrupted Donald Trump. No one interrupts Donald Trump – especially at the White House. At his White House. Then the man turned his back to the television cameras showing the utterly surreal scene live around the world. Two things told the tale: His oversized suit jacket – large enough to drape…

DHS official whose office compiled ‘intelligence reports’ on journalists and protesters has been removed from his job

Was it a lizard person who was collecting a government dossier on the lying, America-hating fake news “journalists” at the BLM “protests,” or was it a lizard person who STOPPED the guy who was collecting the dossier? Real “patriots” who like to deploy “ironic” quotation marks demand “answers”! A senior Department of Homeland Security official whose office compiled “intelligence reports” about journalists and protesters in Portland, Ore., has been removed…

I’m amused by the quirky way the “Thin Bread Crust” meme remixes the remix.

I’m interested in the way the “Thin Blue Line” design remixes the American Flag.   I’m amused by the quirky way the “Thin Bread Crust” meme remixes the remix. As I was fact-checking (as I habitually do before sharing) I found a 2018 USA Today article reporting that “drivers/sales workers and truck drivers” suffered 135.9 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers as opposed to 14.6 per 100,000 fatal injuries for “police…

Given a chance to explain his support for a YouTuber who warns about alien DNA, Trump abruptly ends press conference

After mounting a half-hearted defense of a woman who says masks don’t work, that there’s a cure for COVID-19, and that doctors make medicine from DNA from aliens and that experts are working on a vaccine that makes you immune from becoming religious, Trump ends a press conference by walking out of the room. Background on Stella Immanuel, a pediatrician and minister who has voiced professional opinions about medical maladies…

The worst-case scenario Converging in a tense section of Huntsville: A white police officer fresh from de-escalation training, a troubled black woman with a gun, and a crowd with cellphones ready to record

This article focuses on a police officer who had just completed training in how to de-escalate an encounter with a mentally ill citizen, and just three days later found himself face-to-face with a mentally ill woman with a gun (and her toddler with a sippy cup). De-escalation training gives cops better tools than AR-15s, and more options. But that’s only a start. A different cop (reflecting on the events described…

Donald Trump Is a Broken Man (Assessment by Speechwriter for Reagan and both Bushes)

Powerful assessment of Donald Trump, written by Peter Wehner, a speechwriter who served Reagan and both Bushes. For context, here’s what Wehner writes about the conservative movement during the Reagan years: The conservative movement in the 1980s, although hardly flawless, was intellectually serious and politically optimistic. And Reagan himself was a man of personal decency, grace, and class. While often the target of nasty attacks, he maintained a remarkably charitable…

Background for Trump’s remarkable pivot to a pro-mask stance; via right-leaning Forbes and The National Review

Background for Trump’s remarkable pivot to a pro-mask stance. First, here’s a report from the right-leaning Forbes, last week. One possible reason for Trump’s continued public embrace of Fauci–even as he shirks his advice behind the scenes–is Fauci’s popularity: an Economist/YouGov poll released Wednesday showed 55% of voters surveyed have a favorable view of Fauci compared to 25% who have an unfavorable view. Those sky-high numbers are reflected in other…

‘Wear a mask.’ Trump predicts coronavirus will ‘get worse’ as he returns to briefings

In a shift in tone, and after weeks of focusing public events on other issues, Trump urged Americans to wear a mask. […] “We’re asking everybody that when you are not able to socially distance, wear a mask, get a mask,” Trump said in perhaps his strongest urging to date on that issue. “Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact, they have an effect. We need…

Masks serve many purposes. How sad that they’ve become politicized.

I’ve seen the original meme on my social media feed. I’ve fixed it. The purpose of the first three masks differs from the purpose of the fourth mask. The first three masks are designed to protect the wearer from breathing in harmful things in the environment. The mask Dr. Fauci wears is designed not to protect Dr. Fauci from the virus, but to protect people around Dr. Fauci from droplets…