Opinion | At the Debate, Joe Biden Must Deal With Trump’s Lies – By Richard A. Friedman – The New York Times

By 

Dr. Friedman, a contributing opinion writer, is a professor of clinical psychiatry and the director of the psychopharmacology clinic at the Weill Cornell Medical College.

Credit…Illustration by Alvaro Dominguez; photograph by Getty Images

“When Joe Biden debates President Trump on Tuesday, he will have to figure out how to parry with an opponent who habitually lies and doesn’t play by the rules.

As a psychiatrist, I’d like to offer Mr. Biden some advice: Don’t waste your time fact-checking the president. If you attempt to counter every falsehood or distortion that Mr. Trump serves up, you will cede control of the debate. And, by trying to correct him, you will paradoxically strengthen the misinformation rather than undermine it. (Research shows that trying to correct a falsehood with truth can backfire by reinforcing the original lie. )

Instead, Mr. Biden should use more powerful weapons that will put Mr. Trump on the defensive — and also tell the audience that the president is a dishonest narrator.

The first weapon maybe the most effective: humor and ridicule. A derisive joke can defuse tense and outrageous situations. In 2007, for example, protesters dressed as clowns confronted a “white power” march in Charlotte, N.C., holding signs that read “wife power” and throwing white flour in the air. It made the white nationalists look ridiculous and avoided a violent confrontation, which would have served the interests of the racists.”

 I am a simple potato guardian who needs my Second Amendment right – By Alexandsra Petri – The Washington Post

May 20, 2020 at 6:00 a.m. PDT

“We’re going after Virginia with your crazy governor. … They want to take your Second Amendment away. You know that right? You’ll have nobody guarding your potatoes.”

— President Trump, to farmers assembled at the White House

I am a potato guardian. This is the only life I have known. Here is my tale, one no doubt familiar to you, just as the concept of a person who guards potatoes in Virginia is familiar.

Day 1

It is a cold February day, and the new crop of potatoes is just in the ground, an average of six weeks before the last frost. I am in Virginia, the well-known home of potato farming. To guard the potato is a sacred duty, which I have studied since my days at Au Groton, a boarding school for people who aspire one day to protect potatoes. I have my weapon, and I have my training. I settle at the edge of the field with my carbine on my knees and prepare for a long spring.

Day 2

It rained today. I kept my eyes on the potatoes, just as I knew that they would be keeping their eyes on me.

I walked the perimeter of the field. This will be a good crop, if I can only keep it safe for the 75 to 135 days that potatoes require. I must keep it safe.

Day 3

As I walked today, I saw something move just at the corner of the field. But by the time I got there, it was too late. There was a footprint in the soft, slightly acidic soil. A boot, not mine. I think the potato raiders will be here soon. I think they are making their preparations. I must make mine.

Day 4

No sign of the raiders today. At midday, the farmer’s daughter brought me a glass of milk. “You looked thirsty out there,” she told me. I took it from her hands and thanked her. “And you have been sent to guard the potatoes?” she asked. I shrugged. I am a potato guardian of few words. I let my eyes speak for me. “What an interesting life,” she said. “Do you get lonely?” I told her I did not.

But the question has stayed with me. Lonely? Do I get lonely? No. I have the potatoes. And I have my Second Amendment rights. I do not need anything else.

Day 5

The farmer’s daughter brought me another glass of milk and watched me as I sipped it. I think it is too late to tell her that milk is not a good drink when you are hot in the middle of the day. I think we have gotten into a pattern now, which I regret. She is nice. She has kind eyes, like I imagine a potato would have, though she only has two, which is low for a potato.

After drinking the milk, I dozed a little, and when I awoke there were more footprints at the edge of the field. I must be more vigilant. If I do not protect the potatoes, who will?

Day 6

I planted a trap at the corner of the field where the footprints keep appearing. It was hot and tiring work, and the farmer’s daughter brought me another glass of milk. “I guess all you have is milk,” I said, in what I hoped was a pointed way, but she did not seem to understand what I was getting at. “Yes,” she said. “We have lots of milk, thank heaven.”

“Good,” I said, but I did not really think it was good.

Day 7

Last night there was a frost. I am glad the potatoes are sleeping sound and warm below a blanket of two inches of soil. I went to check the trap at the edge of the field. There was something in it, a boot. The boot was bigger than mine, but not by much. I followed the tracks as far as they went, to the edge of the woods. I should mention that there are woods here in Virginia, where I guard potatoes. That must be where the potato raiders come from.

“Did you catch him?” the farmer’s daughter asked, at midday.

“No,” I said. “But be on the lookout for someone with a very muddy sock.” I took a sip of the milk she had brought.

I bet the raider comes back tonight. You can’t get far with one boot. Not here in the potato fields of Virginia. I reset the trap and put the boot next to it. As bait.

Day 8

No movement at the trap. But there are footprints at the edge of the field. New ones, with sneaker treads. This potato raider must own multiple sets of footwear, which complicates matters a little.

I got a call from an old friend from potato guardian training. He washed out; people were always taking potatoes from under his nose, and he was a laughingstock among us. Now he works in finance. He asked if I had heard the news about the governor and what he was planning to do. I said I hadn’t, so he told me. I can’t believe the governor would come for our Second Amendment rights. No potato will be safe then. It’s monstrous.

The farmer’s daughter brought me my milk right after this conversation, but I told her in a forbidding tone that I was not thirsty.

Day 9

A small success! I spent an uneasy night after the news about the governor, tossing and turning at the edge of the field of my precious charges. Toward dawn, I saw a shadowy figure prowling at the edge of the field. I got up, and he did not see me creep toward him. I leaped at him and caught him by the leg. As we tussled, several potatoes fell out of his jacket. Jacket potatoes. He wriggled his foot free of his boot and ran away. Now I have two boots. I do not know what his footwear situation is; it seems complicated.

I was very glad to have my Second Amendment rights, although, come to think of it, I did not use my carbine at all in this encounter.

Then I woke up. I am bewildered. Was it all a dream, or did I catch a potato raider, however briefly? I went to look for the boot, but there was nothing there.

Day 10

I am still unsure what is reality and what is dream. The potatoes will slumber another two months, but I cannot rest. The farmer’s daughter did not bring me any milk today. Instead her father came out to my corner of the field and said that I had to get off his property and that there was no such thing as a potato guardian.

“Don’t be like that, Cyrus!” I said. “The president knows about me. I am for sure a real thing that exists.”

He said his name wasn’t Cyrus and I had to get away from there. I packed up my things and slung my carbine over my shoulder. I said goodbye to the potatoes and set off.

Day 11

When I was almost to the Maryland border, I received a call from Cyrus. During the night, someone took all the potatoes. Cyrus was sobbing so hard I could scarcely make out his words.

“I should not have doubted you,” he said. “You are real, and the need for you is real, and the need for protecting your Second Amendment rights is the realest of all.” I could tell that all the starch had gone out of him. “I will be sure to write to my governor at once! Please, come back, and guard the new crop.”

“I would like that, Cyrus,” I said. “But I go where the potato calls.” And I continued over the border toward another state, with a new motto. Live Frite or Die. The spuds needed me, and I could not look back.

 

Source: I am a simple potato guardian who needs my Second Amendment rights – The Washington Post

Opinion | Joe Biden Is No Longer Toast – Collins and Stephens – The New York Times

Gail Collins: Hey Bret, how are you feeling? I’ve never had so many people politely inquire about my health, with a slight undertone of suspicion.

Seems like all anybody’s talking about is the coronavirus. What’s your take? Are we overreacting? Underreacting? Or doesn’t it matter since the end is imminent?

Bret Stephens: Fine so far, Gail, and thanks for asking, though I’m worried about my elderly relatives and friends. This is one of those topics where those of us in the punditocracy really need to listen closely to epidemiologists, virologists and other experts in the field, and pretty much adopt their views as our own. In other words, let’s not follow the Rush Limbaugh model and just mouth off on the hunch that it won’t amount to much and the prejudice that it’s a tool to bring down Donald Trump.

On a level of ordinary social observation, I have to say this is starting to have an end-times feeling to it. I walked into a Duane Reade pharmacy the other day and entire shelves had been emptied, as if I were in a Soviet grocery store. At another pharmacy, on Lexington Avenue, a midsize bottle of Purell was being sold behind the counter for $50, which almost turned me into a raging Sandersnista. I was supposed to have been traveling abroad last week, but that trip was canceled, as was a forthcoming conference in Georgia.”

(47) Song for McConnell – YouTube

Last Thursday, I drove up to Greenfield MA to the house of Rachel Wyatt Lindsay, for dinner and a house concert by Brian Lindsay and Arthur Davis.
They were surprisingly good, phenomenal, and they sang the song recorded below, though in this rendition here, Brian is with his Seattle partner, Alex Sturbaum.

Opinion | ’Twas the Eve of Impeachment – By Frank Bruni – The New York Times

’Twas the Eve of Impeachment

Finding verse in this curse.

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Illustration by The New York Times; photo by Al Drago for The New York Times

’Twas the eve of impeachment, when all through the House
No Republicans wavered, each last one a louse.

The articles were drafted by Democrats with care
In hopes that a conscience would soon bloom there.

We pundits were tossing all steamed in our beds,
While Trump’s certain acquittal danced in our heads.

And I in frustration, feeling all solemn,
Wished I could capture my woe in a column,

When out on the web there arose such a clatter,
I signed in to Twitter to see what was the matter.

And there I beheld him, the master of lies,
Weaving fresh falsehoods, to no one’s surprise.

He savaged the Bidens, he smeared Adam Schiff,
And cycled through villains in a furious jiff,

Could a “leader” be cruder, could his morals be weaker?

So now he’s a dentist, in his all-knowing ways?
I prayed for deliverance one of these days.

When what to my cynical eyes did appear
But a raft of excuses pulled by mangy reindeer,

With a weasel-eyed driver, so meek and so zany,
I knew in a moment he must be Mulvaney.

More shameless than con men, the sycophants came,
And Trump gloated, so bloated, and called them by name:

“Now, Rudy! Now, JaredNow, Lindsey and Mitch!
Please fly this democracy into a ditch!

It is how you will save me. It is how I prevail.
Or else I will join poor Paul in the jail.

That’s the toll of a presidency ended too soon,
So you must sing along to my favorite tune:

‘It’s a witch hunt! A hoax!’ Those are lyrics for me.
That’s the verse, that’s the chorus, for eternity.”

He was dressed in a necktie, from his jowls to his soles.
He had tanned beyond tanning. Imagine the moles.

On such fishy foundations was his confidence laid.

And we couldn’t stop looking — not his fans, not his foes.
That was what he was after: the show of all shows.

Its plot strained belief. Its appeal tested reason.
Still it was soaring toward a second season.

The economy roared. The Democrats whimpered.
Vladimir chortled. Emmanuel simpered.

In the bag that Trump carried, he had goodies galore:
Lower taxes, the Dow, right-wing judges and more.

They weren’t for the many, they favored the few,
But that was obscured by the smoke that he blew.

All was fog, all was mist, all was boast, all was fiction,
As he hid his true airs with bad diet and diction.

He could do as he wanted and never know fear,
For an elf — and a savior! — named Barr hovered near.

And then there was Tucker and of course Hannity
To put an extra-fine gloss on insanity.

What great luck to discover a country so riven
You could smash it and rule it if suitably driven.

You could summon the Russians, you could bully Ukraine,
Just as long as you made “It’s fake news!” your refrain.

I cringed as I watched him and cried for us all,

Our values, our futures hijacked by his gall.

A last bid to preserve them was cause to impeach
But his party’s corruption put him beyond reach.

So then why all his thrashing? His howls of dejection?
It was just a performance for the next election.

It brought more donations. It rallied the base.
You could see, if you looked, a clear smirk on his face.

If you listened, you heard it: a lilt in his voice.
In drama like this, he would always rejoice.

So as history scarred him, he could nonetheless yell,
“Merry TrumpMas to all! I’m the king of this hell.” “

Tapeworm | Al Duvall

Copyright 2013 Al Duvall BMI

lyrics

The system is just a dirty trick
You work and you work until you’re sick
To hand over all you earn for room and board
You barely survive and what’s it for
To keep you alive to work some more
And struggle and strive for things you can’t afford
I find myself wishing in despair
To live in the kind of system where
The powers above are tending those beneath
No more starving or complaining
Manna from heaven ever raining
Down on my picnic while I pick my teeth
Oh, wouldn’t it take the cake to be a tapeworm
I never would let another meal escape
Taking a share of what comes through
Just like Internal Revenue
Just like the brokers with their ticker tape
And if I had a position on the inside
At the end of the tunnel I would see some light
Taking my cut from soup to nuts
You better believe it takes some guts
Being a tapeworm sure would be alrightOh, wouldn’t it take the cake to be a tapeworm
Having somebody else prepare your food
Go to the market, pay the bill
Cook up the steak and clean the grill
They’ll even send it down already chewed
Taken out to the finest French restaurants
Dining like a Parisian parasite
I’d pick up my glass and raise a toast
Here’s to your health my gracious host
Being a tapeworm sure would be alright

 

David Lindsay: from the fb post of David Coller

Oscars host Kevin Hart’s homophobia is no laughing matter | Benjamin Lee | Film | The Guardian

Oscars host Kevin Hart’s homophobia is no laughing matter
Benjamin Lee
Benjamin Lee
The comedian-actor has been chosen to take charge of next year’s awards ceremony but a history of hateful remarks suggest he’s not the man for the job

@benfraserlee
Wed 5 Dec 2018 16.52 EST Last modified on Thu 27 Dec 2018 09.26 EST
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Kevin Hart in 2015. Why, when the Academy is desperate to show a more inclusive side would Hart seem an appropriate host?
Kevin Hart in 2015. Why, when the Academy is desperate to show a more inclusive side would Hart seem an appropriate host? Photograph: Jason Merritt/Getty Images
At first glance, the Academy picking the ebullient and experienced comedian-actor Kevin Hart to host the 2019 Oscars seems like a smart pick.

The 39-year-old star of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Ride Along has quipped his way to becoming one of the most dependable box office stars working today with his films totalling over $3.5bn worldwide. His social media presence has also been a major key to his success with 34 million followers on Twitter and over 65 million on Instagram and with ratings for the ceremony continuing to spiral down, the Academy clearly hopes he’ll help draw viewers back in.

After two years of straight white host Jimmy Kimmel’s rather dull shtick and after an increased push to improve the diversity of voters, choosing an African American host is also a much-needed leap forward on stage.

But there’s one small catch.

Hart has a rather vile history of documented homophobia, ranging from offensive standup clangers to dumb interview statements to puerile tweets to a whole embarrassing film filled with it. In 2010 during his Seriously Funny standup special, Hart delivered an extended joke based on a fear of his three-year-old son Hendrix turning out gay.

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/dec/05/oscars-host-kevin-hart-homophobia-is-no-laughing-matter

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One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay. That’s a fear. Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic, I have nothing against gay people, be happy. Do what you want to do. But me, being a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will. Now with that being said, I don’t know if I handled my son’s first gay moment correctly. Every kid has a gay moment but when it happens, you’ve got to nip it in the bud!

Source: Oscars host Kevin Hart’s homophobia is no laughing matter | Benjamin Lee | Film | The Guardian

Jimmy Fallon Roasts Trump for Bragging That He Fired Tillerson ‘by Myself’ – The New York Times

“‘By Myself’President Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday, a move that had long been rumored to be imminent. Tillerson held the position for just over 14 months, a relatively short term for a secretary of state.Trump boasted to reporters that he had made the call to oust Tillerson “by myself.” Jimmy Fallon found that amusing.“I heard Trump has been telling people that he fired Rex Tillerson all by himself. Trump brags about firing people the same way a toddler brags about using the bathroom alone for the first time.”

“Of course you did it by yourself, there’s no one left at the White House anymore. It’s just you and your Slovenian captive!” — JIMMY KIMMEL

“In the past few weeks, Gary Cohn, Hope Hicks and now Rex Tillerson have all left the White House. Most people have said they’re shocked, while Betsy DeVos was like, ‘Wait, how the hell am I still here?’” — JIMMY FALLON”

How Stephen Colbert Finally Found His Elusive Groove – NYT

Mr. Colbert has done what was unthinkable a year ago: turned “The Late Show” into the most viewed show in late night. And President Trump is not the only reason.
NYTIMES.COM
David Lindsay Mr. Colbert’s election night special on Showtime attracted only 238,000 viewers, fewer than a tenth of his usual viewership.

But in the final minutes of the show, Mr. Colbert scrapped a prepared closing monologue about the importance of coming together after a polarizing election, and went off script. He was personal, and he discussed, bluntly, the searing divides in the country.

In the article, “off script” is a link to the yourtube video of the end of the turn around show, on election night. also at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wT4MZLl0v_c

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