From Louisville Kentucky: Republicans should shut up unless they first say they’re sorry for supporting Trump


By: Ricky L Jones/ Louisville Courier Journal

Republicans, you should not be allowed to speak about being shocked by President Donald Trump or the recent right-wing raid in Washington, D.C., for your words ring hollow.

You all should be forced to shut the hell up unless whatever you have to say begins with, “I’m sorry.” You should not be allowed to condemn Trump or attempt to distance yourselves from him unless you begin with, “I have helped him, and I’m sorry.” You should not be allowed to cast aspersions on the people who stormed the Capitol building unless you begin with, “I helped cause this, and I’m sorry.”

You’ve known what we’ve all known about your lord and savior Donald Trump from the beginning, and you didn’t care. You still loved him. You should admit it and apologize!

My Morehouse brother and University of Connecticut professor Jeffery O.G. Ogbar summed it up well in a recent dispatch, “Donald J. Trump showed the world that he was unfit for the job as president when he ran in 2016. A pathological liar, over the next four years he assembled a collection of unqualified, corrupt and odious characters who, in record form, were indicted, arrested, pleaded guilty, were convicted or resigned.”

Ogbar is also correct when he observes Trump “pandered to the worst qualities in people — their fears and ignorance.” Yes, Trump is a liar, racist, demagogue and madman. But you Republicans, you so-called conservatives, were just fine with it. You loved it all. Yes, you loved him deeply, supported him unfailingly, demonized anybody who opposed him and rode shotgun with that maniac for the last four years. Don’t stop now — KEEP RIDING! Your stories live here.Fuel your hometown passion and plug into the stories that define it.

Stop using Trump as your fall guy now that he’s done. You ALL should apologize, because you all are guilty. You have behaved like closed-minded, mean-spirited, nativistic, bigoted opportunists and sycophants without conscience or confession openly and notoriously. 

So-called conservative politicians (from the vice president to the Senate majority leader to state house representatives), businesspeople, public relations experts, television personalities, newspaper writers and everyday people — you are all guilty. You have either supported the insanity actively or stood by silently while it rose to a maddening crescendo. Trump isn’t the disease, he’s a symptom. You are the disease. You are the problem. He was just your hitman. He will leave office, but you and your nastiness will remain.

You now have the temerity to leave your political posts in Trump’s orbit at the end of his reign of terror? No, you should be forced to stay. You dare to open your mouth on the Senate or House floor to condemn lies challenging a democratic election? No, be still. You supported all the other lies. Support this one, for you caused it as well.

You feign outrage now and say you are appalled when you see the Capitol building attacked? Stop it! You have gaslighted those racist, neo-Confederate foot soldiers for years. You are their benefactors. You are their champions. You are their friends. Their acts are your responsibility and your shame.

No thinking person is surprised by this. We all see the contradictions. Police weren’t prepared for what they inevitably faced from the insurrectionists in Washington because they were white. They subsequently took it easy on them because they were white. White people are always given the benefit of the doubt in America. The next thing you know, a booted Bubba is sitting in Nancy Pelosi’s office with his feet on her desk, scrawling threats. DeQuan would have been dead before breaching the building. That’s on you, Republicans. Own it.

You cried bloody murder when Black people and their allies stood up or took knees for justice and decency after they saw their kin killed in the streets by agents of the state all over the country. You called for blood when a few buildings were damaged or looted. Know this: Taking a few things from a Target store is nowhere near the same as targeting the nation’s Capitol.

Your white supremacy and racism have prompted you to spend years glorifying the Confederacy, Confederate statues, memorials, villains and fabricated history. And now you have your brethren marching through the Capitol, largely unfettered, waving Confederate flags. This is what you, and you alone, have wrought.

You now want to blame Trump. You want to make it his fault, his responsibility, his legacy. No, it belongs to all of you! You have enabled him and the insurrectionists. You have made excuses and rationalizations every step along the way. You have condemned those who sought reason and humanity. You have painted those of us who fight against American racism as racists. You all are culpable. You all are guilty!

Now you say once again, “This is not who we are.” Yes, it is. This is exactly who you are. And it is who you’re going to be until you apologize and work on changing. Until you can sincerely do that — SHUT THE HELL UP! 

Ricky L. Jones is a professor and political philosopher with degrees from Morehouse College and the University of Kentucky. He is also the host of iHeart Media’s award-winning “Ricky Jones Show.” His column appears bi-weekly in The Courier Journal. Visit him at rickyljones.com.

WSJ Editorial Board: The best outcome would be for Donald Trump to resign to spare the U.S. another impeachment fight.


Donald Trump’s Final Days

An image of President Donald Trump appears on video screens before his speech to supporters from the Ellipse at the White House on Jan. 6.PHOTO: BILL CLARK/ZUMA PRESS

The lodestar of these columns is the U.S. Constitution. The document is the durable foundation protecting liberty, and this week it showed its virtue again. Despite being displaced for a time by a mob, Congress returned the same day to ratify the Electoral College vote and Joe Biden’s election. Congratulations to the President-elect, who will be inaugurated as the Constitution stipulates at noon on Jan. 20.

That still leaves Wednesday’s disgrace and what to do about the 13 days left in Donald Trump’s presidential term. Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are demanding that Mr. Trump be removed from office immediately—either by the Cabinet under the 25th Amendment or new articles of impeachment. There’s partisan animus at work here, but Mr. Trump’s actions on Wednesday do raise constitutional questions that aren’t casually dismissed.

concise summary, on Wednesday the leader of the executive branch incited a crowd to march on the legislative branch. The express goal was to demand that Congress and Vice President Mike Pence reject electors from enough states to deny Mr. Biden an Electoral College victory. When some in the crowd turned violent and occupied the Capitol, the President caviled and declined for far too long to call them off. When he did speak, he hedged his plea with election complaint.

This was an assault on the constitutional process of transferring power after an election. It was also an assault on the legislature from an executive sworn to uphold the laws of the United States. This goes beyond merely refusing to concede defeat. In our view it crosses a constitutional line that Mr. Trump hasn’t previously crossed. It is impeachable.


Mr. Trump’s many opponents are crowing in satisfaction that their predictions have been proven right, that he was never fit to be President and should have been impeached long ago. But Mr. Trump’s character flaws were apparent for all to see when he ran for President.

Sixty-three million Americans voted to elect Mr. Trump in 2016, and that constitutional process shouldn’t be easily overruled as Democrats and the press have demanded from nearly his first day in office. You don’t impeach for anticipatory offenses or for those that don’t rise to the level of constitutional violations. This week’s actions are a far greater dereliction of duty than his ham-handed Ukrainian interventions in 2019.


***

The related but separate question is whether impeachment or forced removal under the 25th Amendment now is in the country’s best interests. The latter seems unwise unless Mr. Trump threatens some other reckless or unconstitutional act. After Wednesday he has promised to assist an “orderly transition” of power. A Cabinet cabal ousting him would smack of a Beltway coup and give Mr. Trump more cause to play the political victim.

Impeachment has the virtue of being transparent and politically accountable. If there were enough votes to convict in the Senate, it would also seem less partisan. The best case for impeachment is not to punish Mr. Trump. It is to send a message to future Presidents that Congress will protect itself from populists of all ideological stripes willing to stir up a mob and threaten the Capitol or its Members.

But impeachment so late in the term won’t be easy or without rancor. It would further enrage Mr. Trump’s supporters in a way that won’t help Mr. Biden govern, much less heal partisan divisions. It would pour political fuel on Wednesday’s dying embers.

All the more so because Democrats aren’t likely to behave responsibly or with restraint. They are already stumping for impeachment articles that include a litany of anti-Trump grievances over four years. Mrs. Pelosi’s ultimatum Thursday that Mr. Pence trigger the 25th Amendment or she’ll impeach also won’t attract GOP votes.

Democrats would have more impeachment credibility now if they hadn’t abused the process in 2019. A parade of impeachers that includes Russian-collusion promoters Reps. Adam Schiff and Jerrold Nadler would repel more Americans than it would persuade. The mission would look like political revenge, not constitutional enforcement—and Mr. Trump would play it as such until his last breath. Mr. Biden could gain much goodwill if he called off the impeachers in the name of stepping back from annihilationist politics.

***

If Mr. Trump wants to avoid a second impeachment, his best path would be to take personal responsibility and resign. This would be the cleanest solution since it would immediately turn presidential duties over to Mr. Pence. And it would give Mr. Trump agency, a la Richard Nixon, over his own fate.

This might also stem the flood of White House and Cabinet resignations that are understandable as acts of conscience but could leave the government dangerously unmanned. Robert O’Brien, the national security adviser, in particular should stay at his post.

We know an act of grace by Mr. Trump isn’t likely. In any case this week has probably finished him as a serious political figure. He has cost Republicans the House, the White House, and now the Senate. Worse, he has betrayed his loyal supporters by lying to them about the election and the ability of Congress and Mr. Pence to overturn it. He has refused to accept the basic bargain of democracy, which is to accept the result, win or lose.

It is best for everyone, himself included, if he goes away quietly.

Americans have been escaping to Mexico to avoid COVID-19 restrictions back home. Now, Mexico is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases


mexico tourists
A beach in Cancun, Mexico, on December 29, 2020. Alberto Valdez / Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images (edited)
  • Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans have been flocking to Mexico either on vacation or to settle, according to multiple reports.
  • In November, more than half a million Americans traveled to Mexico, The New York Times reported.
  • The influx of Americans has been partly due to the relaxed restrictions at the Mexican border: while many countries require proof of a negative coronavirus test or quarantine upon arrival, Mexico does not ask for either.
  • The influx of tourists has, in part, led to a surge of COVID-19 cases in the country. Mexico reported new highs in daily cases in November and December.

By: Joshua Zitser/Business Insider

In a bid to avoid COVID-19 restrictions back home, a considerable number of Americans have traveled to Mexico for a vacation or — in some instances — to settle down there.

“A lot of people are either coming down here and visiting to test it out or have just full-on relocated,” a former New Yorker who has lived in Mexico City for two years told The New York Times.

According to The Times, the number of US visitors entering Mexico doubled between June and August 2020, and in November, more than half a million American traveled to Mexico.

While the American arrivals have been a boon to the Mexican tourism industry, there have been consequences.

There is currently a surge in coronavirus across the country, with authorities recording new peaks in November and December.

mexico coronavirus daily cases
Daily new coronavirus cases in Mexico as of January 2, 2021. 

According to Worldometer, Mexico recorded more than 12,500 new coronavirus cases on December 23 — the highest since the beginning of the pandemic — and the figures have hovered around there since.

And on December 31, 1,052 people in Mexico died of COVID-19, Worldometer reported. The country’s worst death toll — 1,128 deaths — was recorded on June 4.

As of Sunday, Mexico has recorded more than 1.4 million COVID-19 cases and more than 126,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The country has the fourth-highest COVID-19 death toll in the world.

The surge in cases has been partly attributed to Americans entering the country, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times reported in December. The US has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the world.

In response to the rising number of cases in Mexico, the US State Department has urged Americans to “reconsider” travel to Mexico due to high COVID-19 infection rates.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also advised people to “avoid all travel to Mexico” because of a “very high level of COVID-19.”

Why Americans are flocking to Mexico

Beachside municipalities, such as Los Cabos, have seen a particularly large influx of Americans. The Riviera Maya — a region that hosts numerous all-inclusive resorts — has welcomed more American tourists than ever before, according to The Washington Post.

Quintana Roo — where Tulum and Cancun are situated — has seen a 23% increase in American visitors compared to 2019, The Post reported.

There are roughly 100 flights landing from the US landing in the region every day, the paper said.

Dr. Enrique Hernandez, a trauma specialist in Los Cabos, told NPR: “It’s frustrating seeing tourists and locals alike being irresponsible and not wearing masks now.”

Xavier Tello, a Mexican health-policy analyst, similarly told The New York Times: “What we’re creating is a vicious cycle, where we’re receiving more people, who are potentially infectious or infected from elsewhere, and they keep mixing with people that are potentially infectious or infected here in Mexico City.

The influx of Americans can be attributed, in part, to the relatively relaxed entry requirements for tourists.

While many countries require US citizens to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test or a period of quarantine upon arrival, Mexico does not ask for either.

Another American, Juan Castro from Carpinteria, California, told the Los Angeles Times that a stay in Mexico appealed to him because the country has stricter coronavirus protocols than the US.

Across much of Mexico, hotels, restaurants, and shops require temperature checks at the entrance, the tourism magazine TravelAge West reported. Many locations also place limits on their capacity, the magazine said.The coronavirus pandemic

Stop the Steal:Trump supporters to hold rally Jan 6, in DC to Protest Election


Facebook bans day-old 'Stop the Steal' group for sowing violence -  pennlive.com

As of December 2020, more than half of Republicans believe the president won the presidential election.

On Wednesday, a protest rally will take place at 11am in Washington DC. In a tweet, the President wrote “Massive amounts of evidence will be presented on the 6th. We won, BIG!”

The US Congress will meet in a joint session on January 6 to confirm the Electoral College votes, with Vice President Mike Pence presiding over the session to count the votes from each state.

According to Sputnik, Women for America First, the organization that had initiated the rally, called on Americans to join the rally to ensure the integrity of the 2020 election.

“Democrats are scheming to disenfranchise and nullify Republican votes. It’s up to the American people to stop it. Along with President Trump, we will do whatever it takes to ensure the integrity of this election for the good of the nation, the website wrote.

Despite his campaign losing nearly all of their legal challenges. Two people familiar with the matter say that in recent days, Trump has told advisers and close associates that he wants to keep fighting in court past Jan. 6 if members of Congress, as expected, end up certifying the electoral college results. “The way he sees it is: Why should I ever let this go?… How would that benefit me?” said one of the sources.

Protesters plan to meet in the northeast corner of the Capitol complex, where they’ll hear from a list of speakers that includes Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Trump adviser Roger Stone, and Rep-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who has supported the QAnon conspiracy theory. Trump has promoted the protest on Twitter, urging his supporters to attend.

CityFella

The COOL Arguement for Minivans


I have long been a fan of Minivans from the begininng. I think it has to do with the functionality of the vehicles. Back in the day, American Automakers were building huge luxury barges with long hoods and short rear ends. While they were very popular, I was offended by the wasted real estate, as there wasn’t much space inside. Cars like that Lincoln Mark III and the Cadillac Eldorado didn’t make sense.

1983 Lincoln Mark Series Mark VI
1983 CADILLAC ELDORADO - black on black/ gold package - collector condition

They were expensive, unexciting to drive, thirsty and cramped. The people movers of the day were the station wagons. The wagons were perfect for growing families, the big Fords could carry up to 10 people, however, like most SUV’s today, the rearmost seat is suited for children.

Cool Old Wagon: 1983 Mercury Colony Park

In 1984, Chrysler introduced the Mini Van to the world, it was a small square van, the size of a compact car and could comfortably seat 7 full sized people and could fit in any sized garage. The Mini Cans were based on Chryslers K car, with a terribly slow Mitsubiti engine and the milaage was about the same a full sized car. There was little storage room behind the rear seat.

Original T-115 Minivans: 1984-91 Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager, Chrysler  Town & Country | Allpar Forums

Chrysler’s Mini Van was an instant hit. Within four years nearly every mainstream automaker had a mini van.

I bought a new Plymouth Grand Voyager in 1992. This was the second generation, it was wider and had more room than, the first generation. I added a roof spoiler, fatter tires and dual exhaust. The roof spoiler made it easy to locate our Plymouth in shopping mall parking lots.. With the seats removed we could camp in it. It could easily accomdate 4×8 sheets of plywood. In fact we moved nearly everything we owned from San Francisco to Sacramento, including our full sized Refrigerator. Our’s had a smooth 3.3 liter V6. As our children grew, I hated the idea of driving a mini van. My son, happily took the Plymouth off my hands

A few years later Chrysler introuduced stow and go on its third generation. Allowing all the seats to fold flat into the floor. Removing the seats in our Plymouth wasn’t difficult, but they were heavy and then you have a place to store them. Stow and Go was a game changer, it would allow the the owner to be spontaneous. She could buy sheat rock or a chair or bicycle. After 15 years , Chrysler is the only Mini Van on the market that allows the second and third rows to fold completly flat into the floor*

Most mini-vans have more usable room than the largest SUV, they handle better and gets better mileage than SUV.

Luxury for 2021

Taking a page from SUV’s designers, Chrysler, Toyota and Kia’s upcoming Sedona minivan focusing on its interiors. Toyota has roomy reclining seats, Chrysler’s Pinnicle interior wouldn’t be out of place in Mercedes. And unlike any SUV, these vans have power sliding doors and more usuable space than most SUV.

For 2021, the Toyota Sienna is all new. Every Sienna is hybrid averaging 36mpg. The Sienna can carry up to 8 adults offers four wheel drive.

The 2021, Chysler Pacifica is a refresh, with a new front end and a wrap around rear light. This year, the Pacifica is available in four wheel drive. It still offers a plug in hybrid.

*Stow and Go is not avaiable with the hybrid.

In you want room,comfort and better handling and more conveniences, you owe yourself a test drive..

CityFella

Living in Spain: Why Valencia is officially the best city in the world for foreign residents


Valencia attractions: what to see and do in summer - Telegraph

Living in Spain: Why Valencia is officially the best city in the world for foreign residentsValencia tops a ranking of 66 cities in the world for expats. Photo by Giuseppe Buccola on Unsplash

Anyone who lives there probably already knows it to be true. But now the secret is out: Valencia has officially been declared the most desirable city to live abroad as a foreign citizen.

The Mediterranean city in the east of Spain ranks top in the annual Expat Insider Survey published by InterNations.

More than 15,000 expats participated in the survey which analysed 66 cities around the globe during March 2020 in pre-Covid times and before the global pandemic sparked lockdowns.

The survey placed four Spanish cities in the top ten worldwide; Valencia in first place, followed by Alicante (2nd), Málaga (6th), Madrid (9th). 

Spanish cities overwhelmingly score high for the ease of settling in and quality of life indices but score less well when it comes to urban work life, because Spain can’t compete on the work opportunities front.

The city of Barcelona lags far behind in 25 place since expat life seems to be most expensive there: it ranks far behind the other Spanish cities in both the Finance & Housing and the Local Cost of Living Indices.   

So what’s so great about Valencia?


Photo by travelnow.or.crylater on Unsplash

Well, according to the survey which asked more than 15,000 expatriates representing 173 nationalities and living in 181 countries, the Spanish city scored the best in all five indices but one.

It ranked first worldwide in both the Quality of Urban Living and the Local Cost of Living Indices.

In fact, 94 percent of expats rate the local cost of living positively (compared to 46 percent globally), and 91 percent consider healthcare easily available (vs. 74 percent globally) which places the city first in the Health & Environment subcategory.

The climate is also a big draw with Valencia ranking second in that category thanks to conditions that are not too hot or too dry but with plenty of sunshine and a sea breeze that means summer temperatures usually max out at between 32-35C, far more hospitable than the over 40C found in parts of Andalucia and inland Spain.

Valencia also ranked well for its leisure options (4 in the survey) with vast stretches of beach within the city, the warm Mediterranean to enjoy swimming, watersports and sailing as well lots of parks and bikes routes and hills to explore inland.


Photo by Paul Povoroznuk on Unsplash

It’s also easy to get settled in Valencia. More than four in five expats (84 percent) find it easy to get used to the local culture (vs. 61 percent globally), and 91 percent say that the local residents are generally friendly (vs. 68 percent globally).

And more than four out of five expats in Valencia (82 percent) find that housing is affordable in the city, compared to 41 percent globally.

“The quality of life and the cost of living” are what makes Valencia great, according to one American expat who responded to the survey.

City Guide: Valencia, Spain - Jetting Around

Where Valencia, and indeed all Spanish destinations, score badly is in the Job and Career categories.

Valencia ranks 62 out of 66 in this section with 46 percent of expats living in Valencia admitting that they are unhappy with their local career opportunities.

“Finding employment has always been difficult,” responded a French expat living in Valencia.

But all the reasons that make Valencia a favourite among expats are also found just down the coast in the region’s second city Alicante, which ranks a close number 2 on the list beating Lisbon, Panama City and Singapore.

Living in Valencia | InterNations GO!

Malaga appears at number 6 on the global list and Madrid at number 9, although Spain’s capital scores the most points globally for “leisure options”.

Barcelona however doesn’t make it into the top ten or even top 20. In fact it ranks 25th out of 66 cities in the world. Only 53 percent of expats are satisfied with the state of the local economy (vs. 63 percent globally). According to the survey 28 percent of expats in the city are dissatisfied with their financial situation (vs. 21 percent globally), and 67 percent find local housing unaffordable (vs. 41 percent globally).

“I do not like the working conditions, the pay is too low, and the rents are high,” remarked one German expat.

The Local

“Low class” Donald Trump and the Wasps


main article image

By: Nell Beram/Salon.com

Try, just try to find a parody of a pair of Wasps more entertaining than Thurston and Lovey Howell of “Gilligan’s Island.” Played by Jim Backus, who was of Lebanese descent, and Natalie Schafer, who was Jewish, Thurston and Lovey behave the way people like to believe — and sometimes they’re right — that real Wasps do: the Howells, possessors of fathomless inherited wealth, are duplicitous snobs who don’t do any work. Some of the show’s best lines nod to Thurston’s blue-blooded Republicanism. When Lovey compliments him for being “democratic,” he hears an uppercase D and snips at her, “Watch your language.”

Thurston and Lovey are meant to be, like my ancestors of my mother’s side, New England Wasps — in one episode, we’re told that they’re from Boston; another episode mentions a home in Newport, Rhode Island — but I don’t recognize my family in the buffoonish Howells. True, my grandmother, whom I just about worshipped — she was quick-witted and cosmopolitan and tall, like Myrna Loy’s Nora Charles in the “Thin Man” movies — was a Republican, and I did once witness her committing a Howell-ish act of snobbery. During a nostalgia road trip that brought us to her old neighborhood in Montclair, New Jersey, she described one style of residential architecture as “Wop,” a derogatory term for Italian. She meant that the style looked modern, or like something that would never provide shelter for any self-respecting person whose ancestors came over on a boat in the queue behind the Mayflower.Advertisement:

If you had asked me about my background before Trump moved into the White House, I would have led with my father’s Syrian side. (My long-legged, button-nosed maternal grandmother must have puzzled at the looks of me, short and with eyes and nostrils for days.) I saw my Wasp side as ethnically neutral — white bread that couldn’t hold its own against all the more interesting loaves out there. But since Trump’s presidency, I frequently find myself reaching for my grandmother’s word, “vulgar,” to describe him. You’re using the word too, you say? Yes, but hopefully you’re not using it with — what’s this? — an involuntary air of condescension that I’m worried I may be mistaking for some sort of birthright.

I get why no one is standing on a chair and claiming Wasp as a cultural identity. Wasps went out in the mid-1900s, their markers — repressed colors, repressed emotions — swept aside in a cyclone of unkempt hair and pot smoke (some of it my mother’s). Make no mistake: I’m as glad as anyone that Wasps got the cultural heave-ho — they’d been on top for far too long and have the whole snob thing to answer for. But last year I had some strangely gratifying eureka moments as I read Tad Friend’s “Cheerful Money: Me, My Family, and the Last Days of Wasp Splendor.” I recognized in it the window dressing of my childhood: Welsh rarebit. Beatrix Potter. “Grandfather clocks and cocktail shakers brimming with gin.” Yes indeed, these were my people — much more so than my Syrian side. After my mother and father divorced when I was two I lived primary with her, our small house accommodating a condensed version of Wasp splendor. It was only after my mother died, in 2010, and I, her only child, inherited a squadron of antique end tables, which she told me on her deathbed I wasn’t allowed to sell, that I realized I knew of no other person my age who had grown up in a home that resembled the set of “Leave It to Beaver.”

Donald Trump doesn’t live in a home that resembles the set of “Leave It to Beaver.” Like the Howells, Trump is a Republican who inherited wealth and enjoys shiny things — his wives, his Fifth Avenue pile — and he delights in showing them off. This is how the Howells would fail a true-life Wasp sniff test: people with old money think that it’s poor form to flaunt it. When I was a kid and behaved badly, my mother would accuse me of acting “spoiled,” which only now do I appreciate meant like someone with a shamefully conspicuous amount of loot.Advertisement:

The Trumps and the Howells have something else in common besides their obvious pleasure in displaying their money: they love to talk about it. This trait makes me squirm even more than Trump’s shticky name-calling, cotton candy hair, and allegiance to the trinity of lowbrow entertainment forms professional wrestling, reality television and the beauty pageant. No one ever explicitly told me why it’s bad manners to talk about money, but I think the idea is that money is a personal matter, like hygiene, and that talk of it reflects a materialism upon which God (in whom my mother and grandmother unstintingly believed) would frown, which I hope it goes without saying is not remotely the same thing as implying that Wasps are above materialism. Of course, Wasps can get away with insisting that talking about money is vulgar because they generally have enough of it — bloody right my grandmother would have talked about the $54.17 she didn’t have if she was in danger of losing her electricity because she couldn’t pay her bill.

Where Wasps go wrong, I think, is mistaking bad manners for moral breaches. I have rampaged about Trump being “low-class” but then felt guilty because I know that someone’s lack of decorum isn’t a good reason to declare him unfit for elected office — I mean, a person should be perfectly free to talk about, say, what Hillary Clinton was doing in the bathroom during a debate break, as Trump did from the stage in 2015, and still earn my vote if he’s solid on the issues, right? But as it happens, there are countless cocktail shakers brimming with sound moral reasons not to support Trump. For my grandmother, his greatest offense would have been his underhandedness: she was about nothing if not being aboveboard. (Again, I suppose she could afford to be, but let’s give her this one.)

The best-known anecdote about my grandmother — it was trundled out at her funeral, in 1994 — is that well into her dotage she drove back to a store because upon arriving home she realized that the cashier had given her a few dollars too much in change. But I know a better, less funeral-friendly story about her. She had probably never voted for a Democrat in her life, but in 1972, her two hippie children convinced her that Richard Nixon was a crook, so she held her nose, clutched her pearls, and threw the lever for the uppercase D Democrat, George McGovern.

Just as I was idly and, it must be said, rather smugly assembling a mental list of Wasp virtues — we don’t brag (Tad Friend writes of our “trademark self-deprecation”), we don’t complain (although maybe we don’t have much to complain about?), we invented noblesse oblige (because we could afford to, but still!) — it came to me that Trump, whose mother was Scottish and whose father was of German ancestry, is technically at least part Wasp. That took the glory out of my list making, as well it should have: I do know that Wasps haven’t cornered the market on virtue. But may I claim for the Wasps just one trait that no one else would want, and with which, were it in my power, I would frost Trump’s next beautiful piece of chocolate cake?

The whole point of being a Wasp, as best as I can conjure, is to get through life without embarrassing oneself in public. Trump’s ancestors plainly failed to pass on this characteristic; otherwise, he would have known that — to use but one example of dozens — when someone flails his limbs in imitation of a disabled person, as Trump did at one of his rallies, it’s not the disabled person who should be mortified.

NELL BERAM

Nell Beram is a former Atlantic Monthly staff editor, a former columnist for The Awl, and coauthor of “Yoko Ono: Collector of Skies.”

The Very Worst Movies of 2020: From Netflix’s ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ to Robert Downey Jr.’s ‘Dolittle


It’s been a good year in film overall—but there have still been plenty of stinkers.

Our Marlow Stern and Kevin Fallon break down the worst of the worst.Marlow SternSenior Entertainment EditorKevin FallonSenior Entertainment Reporter

Marlow: Well, we’ve discussed our holiday movie and TV recommendations, you’ve gifted us a comprehensive rundown of the best TV shows of the year, and I’ve curated a list of the most overlooked movies of the year, so now we’ve arrived at the grimmer stuff: the worst movies of the year. And lordy, there have been a lot of contenders, from Tyler Perry’s latest carnival of misogyny to Shia LaBeouf playing what appears to be a Mexican assassin.

Kevin: “Shia LaBeouf playing what appears to be a Mexican assassin” is one of the most truly cursed phrases you’ve written.

Marlow: And this was before we learned he’s an off-screen monster. I’m going to kick things off with the Shia vehicle, The Tax Collector. Filmmaker David Ayer has long harbored a rather questionable obsession with documenting Latinx gangs in L.A., from Training Day to Harsh Times to Street Kings and beyond. But his trading-in-the-worst-stereotypes shtick was turned up to 11 in The Tax Collector, a world where Latinx gang members engage in blood sacrifices and are seemingly all cold-blooded killers. Then there’s LaBeouf’s appropriately-named character Creeper, who Ayer has claimed is “a whiteboy who grew up in the hood,” but you wouldn’t know that from the film, as LaBeouf—who again, is white—has been given dark-trimmed hair, a considerable tan, is covered in gang tattoos, and is affecting a barrio accent. It’s a pretty clear-cut example of brownface to me, and Ayer’s explanation feels like backtracking. It frankly makes the Hilaria Baldwin controversy seem tame by comparison.

Kevin: The Hilaria Baldwin fake-accent clips could themselves be their own anthology of worst films of the year. The Small Axe of opportunistic appropriation. The clip of her “not knowing” the English word for cucumber may be the piece of filmed content I watched this year that I’ll end up thinking about the most. But I digress from the task at hand, which is to talk about how unbelievably awful Robert Downey Jr.’s Dolittle was. A bacchanal of CGI ugliness, inscrutable tone, and convoluted mythology, it features the Avengers star looking more miserable than I remember seeing any actor look on screen and culminates with an enormous fart. A literal, deafening fart. Given how unwatchable everything was up to that point, it’s the first thing in the film that actually seemed appropriate. I can’t believe how much money was wasted on something so indefensibly and irredeemably bad.

Marlow: That movie cost $175 million before it underwent 21 days of reshoots, and still turned out terrible. Imagine assembling a cast that includes Downey Jr., Antonio Banderas, Emma Thompson, Ralph Fiennes, Marion Cotillard, Jim Broadbent, Michael Sheen, Rami Malek, and Tom Holland in service of something so godawful! It’s here I’ll remind everyone that this film was directed by Stephen Gaghan, who was once one of the hottest screenwriters in Hollywood after winning an Oscar for penning Traffic.

Kevin: I’d like to go back 20 years and tell Y2K Kevin that the guy who wrote Traffic would one day pen a kids’ movie script in which a CGI gorilla kicks a tiger voiced by Ralph Fiennes in the balls while a packed theater takes in the entire “bit” in total and complete, unamused silence

Marlow: I mean, he was so famous that he somehow cameoed as himself on Entourage, as a screenwriter. Quite a dramatic fall from grace. Speaking of, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Tyler Perry’s A Fall from Grace, which is predictably packed with the filmmaker’s trademark “fallen woman” misogyny and infidelity-shaming—although nobody is punished with AIDS this time—as well as an overall sense of sloppiness, littered with boom mics, awkward cuts, and the unforgettably discordant, memeable line, “Ashtray bitch!”

Kevin: If we’re going to talk about outrageous lines of dialogue that became memes, shall I bring up the instant-classic of nonsense lunacy from Hillbilly Elegy: “Everyone in this world is one of three kinds: Good Terminator, a Bad Terminator, and Neutral.” It’s a reference to The Terminator, a movie beloved by Glenn Close’s Mamaw character, and the fact that it is a line of dialogue that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever either in relation to the Schwarzenegger movie or in the context of which Mamaw is using it doesn’t seem to faze anyone involved with the film. It is the backbone of the inspirational speech that gets J.D. Vance, whose memoir the film is based on, to change his life. The thing about Hillbilly Elegyis that there is nothing redeemable about it, not even the performances by Close and Amy Adams, which are so desperate and hammy it’s a shock to see them come from those two talented actors.

Marlow: I blame the Academy for putting these two talents in this desperate, Oscar-starved position!I blame the Academy for putting these two talents in this desperate, Oscar-starved position!

Kevin: By chronicling J.D.’s straddling of his Appalachia upbringing and his yuppie future as a Yale Law grad, ostensibly the movie was meant to say something about the class divide, the two Americas, and the part of the country the media so often ignores. But Ron Howard’s take was so bogged down by Oscar-bait histrionics and festishized hillbilly tropes that nothing nuanced or remarkable was said at all about self-defeating generational cycles, let alone building any bridge to understanding between red and blue America.

Marlow: And then Ron Howard started retweeting notorious bigot Ben Shapiro’s defense of the film. I can’t with this. The only film that I couldn’t even finish this year was Netflix’s remake of Rebecca, featuring a wooden Armie Hammer and miscast Lily James, who has never really left much of an impression in any of her films.

Kevin: This EGREGIOUS Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again erasure

Marlow: “Deluuusions!” Filmmaker Ben Wheatley is undeniably talented, but here has stripped the story of all the gothic horror and romance that made it so intriguing in the first place. What’s left is a hollow, mildly unnerving travelogue. Oh, and how dare you waste Queen Kristin Scott Thomas like this, who deserves so much better. Alfred Hitchcock and Daphne du Maurier are probably spinning in their graves. Another film I could barely sit through was Irresistible, otherwise known as the movie Jon Stewart sat out the Trump era to make. I hate to harp too much on titles, but why does it sound like an early-aughts rom-com?

Kevin: Or, like, an ABC drama about CIA agents having an affair that lasted for one season.

Marlow: “Irresistible: Thursday nights on ABC.” And why, in addition to their unsettling age gap, do 58-year-old Steve Carell and 33-year-old Mackenzie Davis have zero chemistry? Perhaps it’s because of the unsettling age gap? Either way, a disaster.

Kevin: Gross. I have to admit that I forgot that Jon Stewart movie existed. Sorry to this man. But if I was going to bring home a conversation about the worst films in this, the worst of years, I would say it is most appropriate to end on Artemis Fowl. Yet another abomination of a family film, this one climaxes with a scene in which Josh Gad, playing a dwarf burglar named Mulch Diggums, unhinges his jaw, nosedives into the dirt, and plows through Ireland’s precious earth with his mouth, projectile defecating it out the other end. Josh Gad geyser-shitting for the kids? That’s 2020, folks.

Daily Beast

Will McConnell’s $2000 Stimulus Block help Georgia Democrats?


Democrats shatter fundraising records ahead of Georgia Senate runoffs -  POLITICO
Georgia Democratic Senatorial Candidates Raphael Warnock, Jon Ossoff

Many Americans will wake up this morning and find $600 in their checking account. Most, based on the last stimulus check will use the $600 to pay rent, bills and buy necessaries.

President Trump, believed, $600 was too low and supported a $2000 stimulus payment. His support of the $2000, undermined McConnell, who has been long against another stimulus payment.

Earlier this week, the House passed the Caring for Americans with Supplement Help Act was passed by Democrats and Republicans in the House. Which would increase the amount from $600 to $2000 for eligible taxpayers.

On Tuesday, The Senate Majority Leader, attached two provisions to the $2000 (Help Act) that the President supported and that he knew the Democrats and some Republicans would reject.

The Repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

 Section 230 provides immunity from civil liabilities for information service providers that remove or restrict content from their services they deem “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected”, as long as they act “in good faith” in this action.

 Create a commission on voter fraud.

The president has pushed for the latter provision as he alleges without evidence that widespread fraud cost him the 2020 presidential race against President-elect Joe Biden.

Georgia

AboutFace

Kelly Loeffler, David Perdue stock trades under fire | 11alive.com
Georgia Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue

When asked about stimulus payments, Senator Kelly Loeffier has gone from we’ll see to overwhelmingly supporting the President $2000 position.

On three different occassions, Georgia Senator David Perdue, opposed stimulus checks.  He objected to the direct payments in April ,despite voting in favor of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

In May, Perdue said he personally opposed, individuals receiving a stimulus check despite not losing wages.

Last July, on PBS, Perdue said he supported a more “targeted” and “short-term” approach proposed previously by Trump to cut payroll taxes over the stimulus checks.

The Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board believes the $2000 stimulus helps the Democrates.

The Georgia runoff, has many twists and turns. Currently both Democratic candidates have a slight lead. Typically early voting is positive for Democratic candidates however, Georgia Republicans typically win in the runoff. But 2020 was a different year, the first time in more than two decades a Democrat won in the General Presidential election.

Meanwhile, you have Republicans suggesting that they sit this one out, because our voting system is corrupt. Then on Monday, you know who could turn off the spickett depending on his mood.

The two candidates are in a poor postion, do they throw their support behind McConnell or do they wait for a tweet from you know who? and will that tweet be favorable?

McConnell and You know who?

Mitch McConnell is walking a thin line. He has 20 immediate days with you know who?

Did he play his hand? or will his hand get slapped? Adding the two attatchments to the $2000 stimulus check may work? The problem is,Mitch McConnell is on you knows who’s enemies list. He was one of the first Republican Senators to acknowledge Joe Biden.

The President has a long list of loyalist he wants to punish. Governors, members of the house and of course the Senate. 21 of them will be up in 2022.

Five days is an eternity, when an angry erratic President, has access to Twitter. What will he say, in Northern Georgia on Monday? Will he single handley punish Mitch McConnell the second most powerful Republican in the country?

Or?

CityFella

Georgia

21 Expert-Approved Ways to Prevent a Hangover


Why regret more than last night’s dance moves, amirite?

Tips on How to Pace Your Drinking at New Year's Eve Party – CBS DC

BY: Kara Cuzzone and Elizabeth Narins/Cosmopolitan.mag

If you’re looking to prevent a hangover, the easiest way to do that is to drink in moderation or not at all…duh. You’ve probably heard that a million times. But what does moderation *actually* mean in this case?

For most women, experts recommend having no more than three standard drinks in one sitting. (Yup, even when there are bottomless mimosas involved.) Another easy guideline to keep in mind? Stick to one standard drink per hour, says Laura Veach, PhD, director of the master’s program in addiction research and clinical health at Wake Forest School of Medicine. That’s because your liver typically takes about an hour to process one drink, she explains.

Drink any more than that, and you’re more likely experience a hangover because you’re consuming more alcohol than your body can handle. But good news: According to the pros (you know, actual MDs, RDs and PhDs), there are ways to lower your chances of feeling like a human trash can after a night out.

Oh, and if you’re already feeling hungover and you’re reading this for future reference, there are a few things you can do to feel better ASAP too.

Here, 21 expert-approved tricks to prevent a hangover at every stage of your bender journey. Just promise not to leave your phone in the Uber again, please.

Before You Drink

Give yourself a food baby. Ok, so nobody wants to feel bloated before a night out, but make sure you’re full. Like, really full. “When you drink alcohol on an empty stomach, it just passes the alcohol right to your intestines and then it’s absorbed into the bloodstream very quickly,” explains Robert Swift, MD, associate director of the Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies. That means you’ll get drunk faster and feel way worse the next day. Drinking on a full stomach ensures your blood alcohol stays lower, he says.

Dr. Veach recommends chowing down on foods like red meat, chicken, shellfish, avocados, mushrooms, and whole grains, which are rich in zinc and nicotinic acid, two nutrients that were shown to reduce the severity of hangover symptoms in a 2019 study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine.

Hit the gym. One of the main reasons hangovers happen is because we’re trying to blow off steam and we go too far, explains Leon Coleman, MD, research assistant and professor at the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies at UNC Chapel Hill. That’s why he recommends working out or finding another healthy way to relieve stress before you go out. Then, when it’s time to rage, that work hard/play mentality is gone, says Dr. Coleman. “You can enjoy yourself without going too far.”

Choose your squad wisely. Another reason we drink too much and then feel like death the next day is because we’re with the wrong people. “Who you’re with is one of the main determinants of your behaviors, it’s been well studied,” he adds. Pro tip? Take note of your friends who bail on plans to nurse a hangover every Sunday and steer clear the next time they invite you out.

Avoid sugar. Dipping into your candy stash and then going out for a night of drinking can set you up for a bad hangover. Since alcohol causes inflammation, which is thought to be one of the factors that goes into creating a hangover, you want to avoid adding any additional inflammation to your body—which is exactly what sugar does, explains Dr. Veach.

While You Drink

Mix in a water or a mocktail. Remember how Dr. Veach recommended sticking to one drink per hour? Yeah, easier said than done. So if you find that you tend to down your vodka crans too quickly, try to alternate every boozy drink with a non-alcoholic one. By spacing out your alcoholic drinks, you’ll be giving your body more time to process them, says Dr. Veach. And giving the body more time to process alcohol = less sh*tty symptoms tomorrow. Yay!

Keep track of how many drinks you’ve had. It’s really easy to get carried away with your friends or a few heavy pours and think you’ve had three drinks when you’ve actually had more like five or six. That’s why Dr. Veach suggests keeping track. It can be as simple as popping a little 🍸 emoji into the notes app on your phone every time you start a new drink. Just do something to make sure you have an accurate idea of how much alc you’ve had over the course of the night.

Order beer, wine, or mixed drinks—not shots. If you’re trying to stave off a hangover, it’s best to choose a drink with a low ABV (alcohol by volume) percentage. “Higher volumes of alcohol seem to cause worse [hangover] symptoms in a lot of people,” says Dr. Veach. Sipping on beer, wine, or a mixed drink is typically better than downing a shot too, since you’re consuming the alcohol more slowly. Just be sure not to chug, because that defeats the whole purpose.

Opt for organic wine. Preservatives and pesticides may be why people feel more hungover drinking wine in the U.S. than they do in Europe, says Wendy Leonard, RDN, founder of Rhode Island Nutrition Therapy. (Well, that and the fact that many European wines have less alcohol content than those in the U.S.) So if you can get an organic, preservative-free, or lower alc wine (think 12.5 percent or less) that might help prevent hangover symptoms tomorrow, she explains.

Make your roadie a Gatorade. Chasing your alcohol with coconut water or a sports drink like Gatorade helps replace the fluids and electrolytes, the nutrients you lose when you drink, says Elizabeth Kovacs, PhD, director of the alcohol research program at Loyola University. She recommends sipping either a coconut water or a Gatorade throughout the night to prevent a pounding headache when you wake up.

Skip the smokes. When 113 college students documented their alcohol intake, smoking habits, and hangover symptoms every day for eight weeks, researchers found that when students drank heavily, smoking significantly increased the risk and severity of a hangover, according to a study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Stick with clear liquor. Clear liquors like vodka and gin have less congeners, which are compounds that have been linked to hangovers, than dark liquors like whiskey and rum, explains Jennifer Maeng, RD, founder of Chelsea Nutrition. This doesn’t mean you can drink all the vodka and gin you want, though—it’s still possible to get a hangover from drinking too much of either.

Wash your hands super well. Drinking alcohol changes the way your immune system works, so if you’re exposed to something like the flu, you’re more likely to become infected, have a more severe reaction, and take longer to recover, Dr. Kovacs says. The same is true for COVID-19, adds Dr. Veach, so make sure to follow social distancing guidelines so you don’t put yourself at risk.

Dance your ass off. It’s hard to hold a drink while you’re breaking it down, so dancing, playing a game like pool, or ping-pong (assuming it involves paddles as opposed to cups of beer) can slow the destructive cycle of emptying your glass and immediately refilling it. Just be sure to stash a cup of water on the edge of the dance floor to rehydrate, particularly if you start to break a sweat.

Before You Go to Sleep

Don’t overdo it on the water. It’s true that hangovers can happen when your body gets too much bad liquid (alcohol) and not enough of the good kind (water).

However, Dr. Kovacs says chugging water can put undue stress on your body. And frequent bathroom runs can mess with your sleep. So after a night of heavy drinking, down a glass of water (and a second one, if you’re particularly thirsty), and leave a full glass on your nightstand to treat dry mouth at 5 a.m.

Slap on a sleeping mask. While sleep deprivation won’t cause a hangover, it can make your hangover worse, per a study published in Current Drug Abuse Reviews. Incidentally, alcohol disrupts the second part of your sleep, according to a study in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, which occurs after the sun rises if you go to sleep particularly late. While you can’t control the quality of your sleep after a litty night, you can minimize environmental disruptions with a sleep mask that keeps light out of your eyes.

The Morning After

Chug some Pedialyte. When you’re hungover, you’re generally super dehydrated because alcohol inhibits your antidiuretic hormone (the one that prevents you from peeing), so you hit the bathroom a lot more often, Dr. Swift explains. “Sports drinks and Pedialyte are scientifically formulated to maximize the rate at which the fluid is absorbed,” he says. In other words, you’ll feel better ASAP.

Hit up your fave breakfast place. Here’s exactly what you should order: an omelette with spinach and cheese, home fries, and a glass of OJ, says Leonard. Eggs are high in N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC), which helps your body metabolize alcohol. Similarly, spinach is a good source of Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA), which also helps move alcohol through the body. So are home fries, BTW. And OJ has vitamin B1, to promote some of that mental clarity you’re probably lacking rn.

Forget the whole “hair of the dog that bit you” thing. Experts agree that it’s straight-up stupid to booze it up the morning after heavy drinking. It only delays the inevitable: a hangover that’s even worse than the one you’ve got.

Practice some mindfulness. If you wake up with major hangxiety (you know, that super jittery, nervous feeling you get after drinking sometimes), try taking some deep breaths, listening to a guided meditation or journaling, whatever makes you feel more relaxed. We sometimes feel anxious after drinking because our body is trying to counteract the depressive effects of the alcohol, Dr. Veach explains. The only thing that truly cures it is time, but practicing some mindfulness can help you more at ease in the meantime.

Drink Sprite or seltzer. When researchers at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, China, analyzed the effects of 57 different drinks on alcohol metabolism, they found that the Chinese version of Sprite and regular soda water help speed up the body’s alcohol metabolism, which decreases the amount of time your body is exposed to the harmful chemicals produced when your body digests alcohol.

Avoid herbal teas. In the same Sun Yat-Sen University experiment, researchers found that herbal teas make your body process alcohol more slowly, so your hangover lasts extra long. No thank you!ELIZABETH NARINS senior fitness and health editorElizabeth Narins is a Brooklyn, NY-based writer and a former senior editor at Cosmopolitan.com, where she wrote about fitness, health, and more.

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