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    Our gal, The Idyllwild Weather Clam thinks that it will rain again today.

    Tuesday 22 August 2017
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    Entries in politics (91)

    Friday
    Aug182017

    Toddler Watch: Adult Supervision Without Adults Edition

    A lovely centered picture of a book
    Friends,

    The vice president of these here United States cut his overseas trip short to return to view the smoldering wreckage of the Executive branch of government. I'm sure he'll keep our democracy in his thoughts and prayers as he digs through the debris, past the confederate flags and Post-Its with Twitter passwords scrawled across them, as he looks for a way to salvage his career.

    After all, the albatross that is 45's presidency is going to be very heavy, covered in cheap bronzer and smothered in fried chicken grease.

    Your best pal,

    - bob

    Tuesday
    Aug152017

    Toddler Watch: Aw, Do I Have To? Edition

    A lovely centered picture of a book
    Friends,

    Yesterday, the president of these United States, days after the riot in Charlottesville, Virginia started by white nationalists, finally said that violence by white nationalists was bad.

    "Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans. We are a nation founded on the truth that all of us are created equal. We are equal in the eyes of our Creator. We are equal under the law. And we are equal under our Constitution. Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America."
    - The 45th President of the United States


    Would he have said this if his donors hadn't pressured him to revise his "all sides" statement? Probably not.

    Will he go to Charlottesville to meet with the victims and their families? Of course not.

    A normal American president would denounce Nazis (I can't believe I even have to say this) and meet with the victims right away. This, dear friends, is not normal.

    Your best pal,

    - bob

    UPDATE: Good gravy. He held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon and doubled down on the "both sides" argument. Then, as you do when you're the president, you equate George Washington with Robert E. Lee...

    "George Washington was a slave owner. Was George Washington a slave owner? So, will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down—excuse me—are we going to take down—are we going to take down statues to George Washington?"

    Stunning.
    Monday
    Aug142017

    Toddler Watch: But Nobody Else Likes Me Edition

    A lovely centered picture of a book
    Friends,

    The person who was selected by the Republican Party to be their nominee for president of these United States has a problem. He has no friends. He's surrounded by suck-ups and toadies, but nobody actually likes this man. When you have as fragile an ego as Ivanka's dad, you do things to make people like you. Like what, you may ask.

    Like taking great pains not to offend Nazis.

    Over the weekend, aggrieved white nationalists, fascists, neo-Nazis, and real Nazis descended on Charlottesville, Virginia for a rally to protest taking down a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and to cause some trouble. They surrounded a black church during services, terrifying parishioners. They attempted home invasions in a predominately black area of town, and set up battle lines in a park dedicated to peace. Later on Saturday, one of the Nazis got in his Dodge Challenger and plowed into a crowd of anti-protesters, killing one and injuring 19.

    What did Melania's husband have to say about it? He condemned the violence on all sides, that's what. Nothing about disavowing Nazis or white nationalists or skinheads, and they were thrilled that they weren't called out. They've got a pal in the White House, they crowed.

    Yes, it would seem that they do. A man who needs all the friends he can get at this point.

    We fought a world war to get rid of Nazis, and now the president of these entire United States (and Guam. -ed) is playing footsie with a home-grown terror gang.

    This is not normal.

    Your best pal,

    - bob
    Wednesday
    Aug092017

    Toddler Watch: Who's a Good Boy? Edition

    A lovely centered picture of a book
    Friends,

    The president of these United States receives a brief twice a day containing news stories covering all of the good things he's doing, how successful he is, and how his administration is doing great. Internally, staffers call it the "propaganda document." This is different from a clipping service, where you save media mentions for later use in your marketing. The brief, presented to the boss by toadies in the White House, is designed solely to stroke this nitwit's ego.

    This is also not normal.

    Your best pal,

    - bob
    Tuesday
    Aug082017

    Toddler Watch: Vacation Edition

    A lovely centered picture of a book
    Friends,

    I've read a lot of commentary on Twitter about the hypocrisy of the 45th president of these United States going on a two-week vacation while he lambasted President Obama for doing the same. I get that the act is hypocritical and who doesn't enjoy making fun of this buffoon, but the people who criticize him for spending so much time away from the White House miss an important point...

    The more time he spends on the road, the less time he's spending doing evil stuff.

    Like what you ask? Like taking away the Obama-era protection against nursing homes forcing residents into private arbitration to resolve disputes for things like abuse or poor care. Like immigration officers rounding up parents while their kids are in school.

    So, you know, maybe it's not such a bad thing that Ivanka's dad is on holiday.

    This is not normal.

    Your best pal,

    - bob
    Wednesday
    Jul262017

    Toddler Watch: Leggo My Ego Edition

    A lovely centered picture of a book
    Friends,

    A day ago, the 45th president of these United States has held a political rally at the Boy Scout Jamboree where he thanked the 12-year olds in the crowd for voting for him and goaded them into booing the 44th president. This is a startling breach of protocol not only for a sitting president, but also for a normal human being with a sense of ethics.

    Two days ago, the 45th president dedicated a new aircraft carrier—one named after the guy who pardoned 45's prototypical president, Richard Nixon—and as commander-in-chief, ordered the service men and women in attendance to support his political agenda. This stuff used to happen in tin pot, third world dictatorships. Until now.

    This is not normal.

    Your best pal,

    - bob
    Wednesday
    Jun282017

    Toddler Watch: I’m Smart, I Know Things! Edition

    A lovely centered picture of a poster
    Friends,

    The 45th president of these United States, better known as Marla Maples’ ex-husband, is a mentally unstable sociopath with narcissistic tendencies. On that we can certainly agree. What we might disagree on is his healthcare policy expertise. Sometimes it’s pretty difficult for him to grasp. Sometimes it’s easy…

    A lovely centered picture of a tweet from a robot

    Again, this sort of thing doesn't happen in a functioning democracy, but it happened yesterday in the United States of America.

    Your best pal,

    - bob
    Tuesday
    Jun132017

    Toddler Watch: Dear Leader Edition

    A lovely centered picture of a poster
    Friends,

    The 45th president of these United States, better known as Jared Kushner's father in-law, held the first meeting of his entire cabinet yesterday. This is a motley crew of GOP lifers, hangers-on, dopes, fire starters, and Mitch McConnell's wife (who is several of those things. -ed). While mostly a photo opportunity, a startling and brazenly un-American thing happened—one by one, they went around the room pledging their loyalty to the president.

    This doesn't happen in a functioning democracy, but it happened yesterday.

    Your best pal,

    - bob
    Friday
    May262017

    Toddler Watch: Poor Impulse Control Edition

    Friends,

    The United States of America, a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, last year elected an orange buffoon as its leader. One of the reasons that old white people in this country voted for him, we're told, is that because they're anxious about their economic fortunes, they thought a successful businessman would be the best choice. This man would negotiate trade deals with other nations that tilt in favor of the United States. A master negotiator would also be able to bend foreign ministers to his will, the thinking goes, to ensure that America isn't stuck holding the nightstick as the "world's policeman."

    Here's the master negotiator in action at his first NATO summit in Brussels...


    Economically anxious white people in Montana also voted in a special election yesterday to elect a man who beat up a reporter the day before as their sole congressional representative. This is more dangerous.

    I strongly believe that NATO is a self-healing institution and can route around problems, like the grandstanding grifter who lists "45th President" when he takes out new loans with the Russians. However, he and the new GOP representative from Montana, and the people who support them, are showing that it's okay to rough people up to get what you want. That it's perfectly fine to beat on a member of the media who's pressing to get a question answered on the eve of an important election.

    Pay attention to these things, dear reader. This is how we lose a democracy.

    Your pal,

    - bob
    Wednesday
    May242017

    All Hail The Orb!

    Friends,

    Our president, a 70-year old orange toddler, has stayed up way past his bedtime during his first foreign trip as the leader of the free world. (since you put it that way, it's time to jump off a bridge. - ed At least wait for the midterms.) During this trip, he has said dumb things, coddled dictators, and has reshaped America's foreign policy to comport with the thing the last person he spoke to told him. In other words, the trip was going as expected, until he encountered The Orb.

    Was The Orb part of some elaborate stagecraft by the Saudi king to open the new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology in Riyadh, or something more nefarious, as portrayed on Twitter? Maybe it was something else entirely...


    Your pal,

    - bob
    Tuesday
    May162017

    Toddler President Watch: Leaking State Secrets Edition

    A lovely centered picture of a poster
    Friends,

    A heavily-sourced story by the fine folks at The Washington Post (Cripes, are they going to save this nation's bacon again? every 45 years, like clockwork. -ed) reported that some septuagenarian toddler we call the 45th president shared highly classified information with the Russian ambassador. You remember the Russians, don't you? They're the ones who threw the last election toward said toddler through a disinformation campaign fueled by hackers, social media dupes, and willing stooges.

    Anyway, the toddler's nannies and enablers in the White House denied the story yesterday. This seems pretty normal. Why would you admit that you shared secrets that inherently compromise our sources with the enemies of our democracy?

    I don't know. Why don't you ask that toddler yourself, since he admitted sharing that information today.

    It's not a crime, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't be removed from office for doing it. In fact, it helps reinforce the existing case for impeachment. Now all we need is a Congress that worries more about the country than their party.

    Your best pal,

    - bob
    Thursday
    May042017

    You Know, General Welfare

    A lovely centered picture of a poster
    Friends,

    The coalition of GOP sharps, weasels and dandies along with the dullards, chicken frighteners and snake charmers in the U.S. House of Representatives are poised to pass a replacement for the Affordable Care Act this morning. Well, not so much a replacement as a tax cut for the wealthy that's paid for by pricing 20 million Americans out of their health insurance. Why?

    Campaign donations and fear of facing a primary challenger who lacks more spine and heart than the incumbent. By the way, lacking a spine and a heart would qualify as pre-existing conditions for these goons, punting them into expensive high-risk insurance pools...

    Or it would if Congress hadn't exempted members from their new scheme that's just fine for you. Good luck!

    Your best pal,

    - bob
    Sunday
    Mar052017

    A (very) Short Respite

    A lovely centered picture of a mountain, a building, and some cars
    Friends,

    I seem to be suffering lately from a fatigue brought on by an elderly orange man from Florida who has managed to destabilize this great country using little more than a Twitter account. He has surrounded himself by right-wing ideologues, dullards, kleptocrats, toadies and various hangers-on who are working with this elderly orange man to frighten old ladies and Australians while annoying Sweden and other people whose worldview hews towards facts and logic.

    Because I count myself among both the frightened and annoyed camps, I'm grateful to take a little break. This piney paradise, while not cut off from media, insists that inhabitants go outside and enjoy this gift.

    Until the new Secretary of the Interior sells off the forest to the highest bidder.

    Dammit. So much for my break.

    Your best pal,

    - bob
    Friday
    Feb032017

    On The 25th Amendment

    A lovely centered picture of a nice lady doing nice things
    Friends,

    Sometimes you've just got to get rid of the president. Maybe you start hearings and he resigns and you get the mess pictured above, and sometimes you invoke the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because the president is unfit to serve. Either way, now would be a good time to do either of those things.

    And please remember to punch a Nazi. Thank you.

    Your very best pal in the whole wide world,

    - bob
    Thursday
    Feb022017

    This Day In History (without rodents)

    A lovely centered picture of a nice lady doing nice things
    Friends,

    Every February 2nd, I like to share with you some events from history to illustrate that today isn't just about rodents and my Birthday Holiday Season.

    This year, the subject of defeating fascism is at the top of my mind for some reason, so here are some instances where the bad guys have been punched in the face (and worse!) from history:
    • In 1942, auto factories in the United States switched to war production.
    • The first active resistance to Nazis in Norway was undertaken in 1942 to protest the installation of a puppet government.
    • In 1943, the German 6th Army surrendered to Russian forces at Stalingrad, which was sort of a big deal.
    So if you were thinking of getting me something, take a picture of someone you love punching a Nazi. I'll post them here!

    Your best pal in the whole wide world,

    - bob
    Wednesday
    Dec142016

    Transition Team

    A lovely centered picture of the transition team selecting cabinet secretaries.

    Friends,

    It seems that the transition from the administration of the 44th President of The United States to the 45th is going great as illustrated in this photo taken during a meeting in Trump Tower. The selection of people who know nothing to run government agencies they hate and have longed to dismantle is an enormous middle finger to the less than one quarter of the registered voters who selected this carnival barker.

    You know, they guy who's too smart to listen to intelligence briefings? Yeah, that guy.

    We're doomed.

    Your pal,

    - bob

    IMPORTANT GOVERNANCE UPDATE: Oh yeah, he also picks people based on their looks. What a buffoon.
    Thursday
    Nov102016

    The 2016 Jaunty Election Guide: 50% Turnout Edition

    Friends,

    The election results are in and with only 50% turnout in one of the most acrimonious, contemptible races in the modern era, this country has elected a fascist as the next Commander-In-Chief. Congratulations!

    To everyone who voted for Tangerine Mussolini, please take a moment to explain to all of the black, hispanic, Jewish, Muslim, and female people in your life why you don't care about them. While you're at it, I'm interested to hear why you apparently value party over country, bonkers ideology over security, and choosing a carnival barker to represent the United States to the world. Also, considering that the dead-eyed granny-starving Speaker of the House is champing at the bit to dismantle Social Security, please explain to the elderly people why you don't care about them either.

    Shameless.

    Tuesday
    Nov082016

    The 2016 Jaunty Election Guide: Something Easy

    A lovely centered picture encouraging you to vote

     

    Friends,

    I have to admit that this election has left me cold and exhausted. I certainly haven't been as interested in discussing the merits of banning plastic bags, which I support, against grabbing bag fees and reallocating them towards something else, which is a trick by the plastics industry. We get the chance to end the death penalty in the state during this election and that should have been a big topic for debate, but it wasn't.

    What we got instead was so many candidates for President of the United States that the selection process resembled little more than news anchors swatting at a hornets' next with a stick that was far too short. Thanks to the insatiable teevee ratings machine, a bloviating yam was given too much free airtime to make outrageous, and to my sensitive ears unamerican, statements about minorities and majorities. Once they had the statements recorded, they could play them over and over, asking pundits what they thought about them. "Outragous or TOO outrageous? We'll ask our panel after this commercial break..."

    While this was happening, people who would normally be considered apologists for any other candidiate in any other election cycle instead went on camera and denied that their favorite tangerine-tinted bota bag ever said anything offensive. Or even said that thing that was on full display on the video running beside them. I believe that this distaste for the facts is unprecedented in Republican politics, and that's really saying something considering their recent history in the Congress.

    What alarms me about this election is that there are so many disqualifying aspects to the GOP's Orange Julius Caesar that it's hard to know where to start: Financial ties to Russia? He hasn't released his taxes? In hock up to his eyeballs? Bragging about sexual assault? Misuse of a personal charity? Calling for the trial, jailing or assasination of his political opponent?

    That's not the alarming part. We know he's a terrible human being. What's alarming is that there are too many people in this country who think all of that is okay. Okay in their president.

    It's not okay. It never was. You can help save the United States and the rest of the free world by voting for a competent candidate who won't throw a temper tantrum and blow us all up. You can vote for a woman who has the skills to apply reason to a problem, not just a tweet storm. You can vote for someone with a lifetime of public service who has faced scrutiny and survived instead of a man who lashes out when people make fun of his tiny hands.

    You have one job America.

    Wednesday
    Jul272011

    Blink.

    I can't bear to look.
    Friends,

    Congress has decided to play a game of chicken with the finances of the United States. A game of high-speed mumbley peg with the nation's digits under their rusty jack knife. What's worse, (a worse thing, or are you extending the metaphor? -ed) is that the country's economy hasn't recovered enough to afford even a tetanus shot against the missteps of these ham-fisted apes. Before you get all fiscal on me, I'm not cutting the prevaricator in chief any slack on this either. He had the opportunity at the beginning of the year to ask for a clean debt increase bill and missed his chance. Now it's the '72 Munich Olympics in the capitol with our finances held at gunpoint, all due to some red meat types latching on to the idea that a debt limit increase is for future spending and not to pay for stuff we already bought.

    The Treasury Department has set a deadline for next Monday when we'll run out of money to write checks for government things, like checks for pensioners and tranquilizers to keep the space monsters we've locked up from eating us. We're in a pickle, folks.

    What will happen? Will the legislative and executive branches cut a last-minute deal? Will the president, in lieu of a deal, exert his executive privilege to extend the debt ceiling on his own? Will the "full faith and credit of the United States" be as suspect as a clean lab result from a professional bicycle racer? The answer to these questions, and whether we're all doomed, will be answered next Monday.

    In the meanwhile, fill up your gas tanks. Just saying.

    - bob
    Friday
    Jan282011

    Happy Friday of Anger!

    So sad. Maybe your millions of plundered dinars will make you feel better. Friends,

    As you may have heard, the people of Egypt have taken to the streets today after Friday prayers to pressure octogenarian despot Hosni Mubarak to finally step down. Will the military and police prevail and snuff out this uprising? Should Mubarak, the man who took over after the assassination of Anwar Sadat and soon after declared emergency rule be allowed to remain? What does the Egyptian government's ability to shut down almost 90% of internet access in that country say about our own government's hope to be able to do the same? Why is the Obama administration so worried about suggesting that police brutality aficionado Mubarak take a hike?

    Hosni Mubarak. Christ, what an asshole.

    Good job, Egyptian protesters! Don't let the Muslim Brotherhood co-opt your movement!

    - bob

    NOTE: Please listen to today's episode of The Bugle [MP3 link]. Andy and John take an Egyptian government overthrow victory lap that mustn't be missed.