Mark Shields: Virginia Unreal (Creators Syndicate)
a political party that is dedicated to hunting down and banishing from its ranks to the outer darkness any "heretics" who dare to deviate in the slightest from revealed dogma is guaranteeing for itself two results: ideological purity and electoral defeat. In February 2019, the Democratic Party, especially in the commonwealth of Virginia, has politically organized a firing squad by first forming a circle. Ralph Northam is a public servant and not, he would readily agree, a perfect servant. But Northam's denigrators sanctimoniously calling for his political execution are practicing the kind of vindictive, mean-spirited, unforgiving politics that will, by burning political "heretics" who once sinned, improve Donald Trump's prospects for re-election, if not ensure his victory.
Lenore Skenazy: The Irony of Overprotection (Creators Syndicate)
For children to contract leukemia, scientist Mel Greaves has determined, two things need to happen. First, they have to have the genetic mutation that would trigger the disease. About 1 in 20 kids have that. Second, they also need to have an improperly working immune system. This is something kids can develop if they are not exposed to enough germs in their first year of life. As Greaves explains in The Guardian, "without that confrontation with an infection, the system is left unprimed and will not work properly." That means that dousing our kids with antibacterial glop and slavishly swabbing every surface for bacteria is boomeranging on us. Our desire to keep kids safe is making them unsafe.
Marc Dion: "Seussical: The Presidency" (Creators Syndicate)
If you want to know why people in America shoot so much heroin, re-watch [or read] Pres. Donald J. Trump's State of the Union address. Oh, sure, we had a drug problem long before Trump became president, but Trump is the only president whose public mutterings make me think about catching a heroin habit just to turn down the sound a little. Bear in mind, I have no history of drug abuse, and I went to high school in the '70s. Only Trump could make my veins itch for the needle.
Ted Rall: The Disappearing of Generation X (Creators Syndicate)
Generation X - born between about 1961 and 1981 - have been "disappeared" from the media like a fallen-out-of-favor Soviet apparatchik airbrushed out of a picture from atop Lenin's tomb. Gen X was an important facet of the start of my career. I used to write and draw a lot about Gen X. In 1998, I authored a seminal Gen X manifesto, "Revenge of the Latchkey Kids." For a while there, it seemed like we were going to take our rightful place as the third-biggest generational cohort - not the biggest by any means, but at least extant.
Susan Estrich: Opioids and Me (Creators Syndicate)
I'm all for declaring a war, establishing a trust fund, insisting that those who profit from illegal drug use contribute those profits to prevention and treatment. But don't punish the doctors who truly care for those with chronic pain. Don't stigmatize us with pictures of addicts or terrify our children with tales of certain death. Don't take away the medicine that allows us to live a normal life.
Susan Estrich: Trump's Time's Up Moment (Creators Syndicate)
The man who claimed he could murder former FBI Director James Comey in midtown Manhattan and his base wouldn't care might still be right. If you're still with him right now, you'd probably be with him through anything.
Froma Harrop: With Foxconn, Americans Get Snookered Again (Creators Syndicate)
The one Foxconn project that remains on course is a $9 billion factory in Guangzhou, China, expected to create 10,000 jobs. It will be making flat-panel display screens similar to those allegedly planned for the factory outside Racine. Even with the taxpayer incentives, the economics of making flat panels in the U.S. have never added up. Foxconn workers in China make about $8,000 a year. Gou was promising Wisconsinites an average $53,875 a year.
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Michelle in AZ
I noticed that you have a broken link on your site to a website called MenuFoods.com. (You may remember that Menu Foods was the company behind a terrible pet food recall about 10 years ago that killed thousands of pets). Unfortunately, users that follow that link are getting a "Page Not Found" error.
We recently published an article that explains what happened with the Menu Foods recall. You might be shocked to find out how seriously China took this case! I think it's an interesting story, and your readers would find it fascinating. We also include resources for what to do (today) if you think the cat food you recently bought might be contaminated.
Jeannie the Teed-Off Temp
Anecdotes - Fights
While Abraham Lincoln was President, Ward Lamon was Marshall of the District of Columbia. A powerful man, Mr. Lamon's fists were weapons. Once, he arrested a man, but the man resisted arrest and attempted to hit him. Mr. Lamon hit him with his fist, and then carried him to a physician, who said the man would die soon. Worried, Mr. Lamon talked over the matter with President Lincoln, who counseled, "I am sorry you had to kill the man, but these are times of war, and a great many men deserve killing. This one, according to your story, is one of them; so give yourself no uneasiness about the matter. I will stand by you." Mr. Lamon said that he had no doubt but that he had done his duty, but he felt grief over taking the man's life. President Lincoln smiled, then said, "You go home now and get some sleep; but let me give you this piece of advice - hereafter, when you have occasion to strike a man, don't hit him with your fist. Strike him with a club, a crowbar, or with something that won't kill him."
In the 1960s British tongue-in-cheek TV series The Avengers, Mrs. Cathy Gale, played by Honor Blackman, used judo to subdue her attackers. The use of judo came about through a process of elimination. The producers had already rejected the idea of Mrs. Gale screaming for help. At first, they had her reach into a handbag for a gun, but that grew tiresome. Then they tried having Mrs. Gale wear a gun in a garter holster, but it made her walk bowlegged. Next they tried concealing the gun in an under-arm holster, but tight sweaters are incompatible with concealed guns. Then came concealed daggers and short swords, but they kept cutting her bra straps. Finally, Renι Burdet, who had been the head of the Resistance in Marseilles during World War II, taught Ms. Blackman how to throw people. Later, both Ms. Blackman and Patrick Macnee, who played John Steed, learned judo from Douglas Robinson, a 9th Dan black belt.
George Frideric Handel and Johann Mattheson were both composers and friends, although occasionally they had fights. Mattheson wrote the opera Cleopatra, in which he played Mark Antony. When he wasn't on stage, he played harpsichord in the orchestra pit, with Handel filling in while Mattheson was on stage. At a December, 1704 performance, Handel was having so much fun playing the harpsichord that he refused to let Mattheson play it even after Antony had been killed on stage. Mattheson promptly challenged Handel to a duel; in the duel, Mattheson's sword broke on one of Handel's brass coat buttons, and Handel lived to compose his Messiah.
Tsukahara Bokuden founded a school of martial arts known as the Way of Winning Without Trying. In the practice of this martial art, the adept wins by figuring out how not to lose. One day Bokuden was traveling in a small boat with a few other people when a warrior on the boat challenged him to a duel. Bokuden suggested that they duel on a near-by small island. When they reached the island, the warrior stepped off the boat, walked onto the island, and unsheathed his sword. However, Bokuden, still standing in the boat, used a pole to shove the boat off the island and into the water, leaving the warrior stranded on the island.
Bruce Lee was a master of the martial arts, but he became a master in spite of his physical limitations. One of his legs was almost one inch shorter than the other, so he developed a stance with the left foot leading. He discovered that his physical limitation gave him an advantage in certain kinds of kicks because a greater impetus came from his uneven stance. In addition, he wore contact lens because he was nearsighted and unable to see an opponent until the opponent was close. In fact, Mr. Lee began to study the martial art of wing-chun because it was ideal for up-close fighting.
Heywood Broun was on a voyage once when he was asked - for the sake of entertaining his fellow passengers - to fight another man of approximately his own weight and stature. He agreed, but when he met the man he was supposed to fight, the man said to Mr. Broun, "I'm going to ask you a question which I have wanted to ask someone ever since I got on this ship. What is this 'demitasse' they have on the bill of fare?" Mr. Broun immediately canceled the fight, saying, "Any chap who doesn't know what a 'demitasse' is must be a tough guy."
Groucho and Harpo Marx once managed a fighter who lost many more fights than he won. The Marxes promptly nicknamed him "Canvasback," but continued to manage his career. In one fight, Canvasback was knocked down five times in the first round. When the round was over, he tried to sit in the fighter's stool in his corner, but Harpo shoved him aside and sat down in his place, and then Groucho fanned Harpo.
Wilson Mizner and Sammy Finn left the Brown Derby restaurant one foggy night, when they noticed that they were being followed by two men who apparently intended to rob them. Mr. Wilson said to Mr. Finn, "You take the big guy, and I'll take the little guy with the knife." Fortunately, they got away from the two men in the foggy night, and it wasn't until later that Mr. Finn realized that the fog had been so thick that it was impossible for Mr. Mizner to see whether the little guy had had a knife.
Jigoro Kano adapted the martial art of jujitsu into the sport of judo. In Russia, he demonstrated judo by facing a much bigger Russian fighter. He quickly threw the man, but he put his hand under the man's head to cushion his fall and make sure the man was not hurt. For good reason, the 5-foot-4-inch-tall Mr. Kano was known as the Gentle Giant.
Medieval astronomer Tycho Brahe once got in a fight in which most of his nose was cut off. For the rest of his life he wore a fake nose made of an alloy of gold, silver, and copper.
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We are all only temporarily able bodied.
from that Mad Cat, JD
JD is on vacation.
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Some rain, some sun, still cold (for these parts).
Rare Public Appearance
Dolly Parton's "Trio" bandmates, surprise guests Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt (the latter making a rare public appearance since her 2012 Parkinson's diagnosis), were among the many celebrities honoring Parton at the Grammys' MusiCares Person of the Year event, held Friday at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
"It's such a sweet thing for me and Linda to be here tonight celebrating our very dear and great friend," said Harris. "Such an extraordinary woman who has touched so many lives with her remarkable talent, but not just with her talent - her grace, her humor. She's one of the funniest people I know; she cracks me up."
Harris, Ronstadt, and Parton shared good chuckle among friends when Ronstadt accidentally knocked the MusiCares trophy to the floor shortly after Parton joined them at the podium - but the unfazed Parton simply picked the award up as both the women onstage and the audience burst into laughter.
Parton soon had the entire audience, which included everyone from Sammy Hagar to Nancy Pelosi, cracking up with her irreverent acceptance speech. "Everyone always expects me to do a boob joke, and I like to do that right up front," she began, alluding to being known for "two things singing and songwriting." She also said, "I truly can feel the love in the house tonight. Either that or my phone's on vibrate!" When noting that she is the first country artist to be feted at the annual Grammy gala for MusiCares - the charity arm of the Recording Academy that helps musicians with, among other issues, addiction recovery and rehabilitation - Parton quipped, "We hillbillies need MusiCares too! We may not have sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll, but two out of three ain't bad!"
Parton had the audience whooping and hollering when she reflected on her career by saying, "People say to me, 'Wasn't it a man's world back when you got in the business?' I said, 'It sure was! And buddy, I had a ball!' I have actually worked with so many wonderful men, and I've never met a man that I didn't like. And I've never met a man whose ass I couldn't kick if he didn't treat me with the right respect." And she had the audience gasping when she described watching the evening's all-stars cover her classic songs as "sort of like watching porn - you're not personally involved, but you still get off on it!"
'For Goddamn Sure'
"Veep" star Julia Louis-Dreyfus may not yet know who she is voting for in the 2020 presidential election, but it will definitely be a Democrat.
"I have no idea who I'm going to support in 2020. Except to say that it will be a Democrat. That's for goddamn sure," the actress said via satellite Friday during the Television Critics Association press tour. "I am a patriot and I'm very unhappy with our current political situation. This has, by the way, nothing to do with 'Veep' - this is me talking now."
Current Democratic candidates include California Senator Kamala Harris, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Louis-Dreyfus was not physically in attendance during the show's TCA panel because she was on location in Austria, and she said the locals constantly ask her about Donald Trump. "They ask me what do I think of Trump. That's the question I get," she said. "As soon as they hear my accent, they know that I'm an American citizen, that's by far the first question."
HBO dropped a whole mess of premiere date news Friday, announcing "Big Little Lies" will return for Season 2 this June, and the final season of "Veep" will debut this March. While the cable network didn't give an official date for the launch of "BLL's" next batch of episodes, it did set the Louis-Dreyfus comedy's final run start for March 31.
Ancient Military Advice
Horror novelist Stephen King is not averse to dinging President-for-now Donald Trump (R-OfVlad) with an old literary quote.
And on Friday night, The Shining author did it again - with this line from Chinese general and philosopher Sun Tzu's ancient military guide, The Art of War.
"Unlike Donald Trump, who doesn't read, Kim Jong-un knows The Art of War, by Sun Tzu: "Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance."
King's tweet was an apparent response to Trump's tweeted claim that North Korea would become "a great Economic Powerhouse" under its dictator Kim Jong Un. Trump also announced an upcoming summit with the North Korean leadership in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Feb. 27 and Feb. 28 with his posts.
Tribute To Late Painter
There were lots of happy little trees at one Texas middle school this week.
Art students at Madison Middle School in Abilene donned their curliest wigs and painted little trees onto canvases to pay homage to the late painter Bob Ross. Teacher Brady Sloane tells the Abilene Reporter News that the idea came about because she wanted to reward Advanced Placement students who had been stressed out over recent projects and grades.
The result was a flash mob Thursday of about four dozen students who wore wigs, blue button-down shirts and held palettes of paint. An episode of Ross' television show, "The Joy of Painting," was projected onto a large screen.
Ross gained a following for his soothing tone and soft-spoken voice. He died in 1995.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is going viral again after she recreated the viral applause she gave to President Trump during his State of the Union address while alongside Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom at an event on Friday.
The three were seen together at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Friday night, where music legend Dolly Parton was being honored by MusiCares with its person of the year award.
The three were then pictured several times appearing to mimic the instantly-viral applause Pelosi gave to Trump during his presidential address on Tuesday night.
Pelosi's husband also could be seen laughing as he stood alongside the trio during their photo-op.
Harvard Man of the Year
"This Is Us" actor Milo Ventimiglia was honored Friday as Man of the Year by Harvard University's Hasty Pudding Theatricals at Farkas Hall in Cambridge.
The Emmy-nominated actor received the award after a roast from Elizabeth Mann and Mariana Sanchez Medina of the Hasty Pudding Theatrics, who poked fun at some of his B-list acting roles and his status as a sex symbol.
"Milo was named the world's sexiest vegetarian alive by PETA, even though everyone sees you as a piece of meat," the two Harvard undergrads quipped.
Before being able to hold the pudding pot, Ventimiglia had to endure a little extra embarrassment: the Pudding had Ventimiglia sing Fergie smash "Big Girls Don't Cry," (Ventimiglia starred in the music video) and gave a lap dance to one of its members.
After the roast, the Hasty Pudding had the opening night for "France France Revolution," the troupe's first production to feature women in the cast. Medina and Mann produced the play.
Art Collection Up For Auction
A colour and mood-changing portrait of George Michael by Michael Craig-Martin and a dove preserved in formaldehyde by Damien Hirst are among 200 artworks owned by the singer to be auctioned in London.
Christie's announced on Friday that it was selling Michael's collection of art, including pieces by many members of the Young British Artists generation such as Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas, Marc Quinn and Hirst.
Estimates of the works in the sale range from as little as £400 to £1.5m for the Hirst piece, a 2.2-metre vitrine featuring a floating dove called The Incomplete Truth. An edition of the work featured in Tate Modern's Hirst retrospective in 2012.
Trustees of Michael's estate said all the money raised would go to good causes. "Philanthropic work was hugely important for George during his lifetime and it was his wish that this work would continue after his passing," they said in a statement.
Christie's said key works in the collection would go on tour to New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Shanghai before the main sale on 14 March. There will be an online sale of the lower-value works from 8-15 March.
Coldest Years On Record
Here's a statistic: On Earth, 18 of the last 19 years have been the warmest in recorded history.
And as both NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced on Wednesday, the last five years have been the five hottest in history - since quality record-keeping began in the 1880s. It's an unmistakable, accelerating warming trend.
The globe's 21st-century heating, however, becomes all the more stark when compared to the coldest years on record. As climate scientist Simon Donner, who researches human-induced climate change at The University of British Columbia, underscored via a list posted on Twitter, the planet's 20 coldest years all occurred nearly a century ago, between 1884 and 1929.
The coldest year on record occurred in 1904.
Earth's average temperature has risen by over 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) since the onset of the industrial revolution, making yearly cold records increasingly rare.
Official Website Is Basically a Geocities Fansite
Carol Danvers has a Geocities webpage and it's exactly as loud and wonderfully tacky as you think it is.
While Carol Danvers might be the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain Marvel takes place in the 1990s, which is quickly becoming a period of time we can refer to as the distant past. If you were into geeky things in the '90s, you spent more than your fair share of time reading and making horrendously-designed fansites featuring all manner of low-resolution gifs and jarring background music. Rather than going for a modern-looking web presence for Captain Marvel, the studio's gone straight retro with a site that looks like it was designed around the same time as the infamous Space Jam page.
"Higher, further, faster" would make for a damned good modem advertisement.
Captain Marvel hits theaters March 8.