Serial Killer Calendar Website Review

Serial Killer CalendarAs regular readers know, I have a greater than average interest in serial killers. It isn’t so much the killing. I just find psychopaths really fascinating. And recently, I wrote an anniversary post about Dennis Rader. He’s a classic psychopath. In a sense, I feel sorry for the guy. As a psychopath, he’s certainly missed out on what I consider are the greatest joys of being a human. I compared him to a grizzly bear, but that’s unfair. I don’t think grizzly bears kill just for the thrill of it. But who knows? Maybe I’m the one who’s missing out with all my meekness (others would call it cowardice).

Anyway, I got a comment on that post from a guy named James Gilks who, among other things, runs a website called Serial Killer Calendar. It’s kind of your one stop site for all things serial killer. The primary purpose of the website is to sell Serial Killer Magazine and other assorted books and DVDs. But the website is also filled with tons of information. Of course, that doesn’t make it unique. There are a lot of websites that specialize in serial killers. But none of them do it with the great style that Serial Killer Calendar does.

The site has the requisite serial killer biographies. But the serial killers are subdivided into categories. For example, if you want to spend all weekend reading about female serial killers from all over the world, Serial Killer Calendar makes it very easy for you. Or if you were wondering just what serial killers Belarus has to offer, look no further! (Actually, Belarus has only one serial killer listed, but he’s an impressive one.) There are also movie reviews and articles on various related topics like, Serial Killer Good Deeds and How to Survive a Serial Killer. The latter article includes a list of things that might indicate if someone is a serial killer. It might be good information to know, but it might also cause you to suspect some of your friends.

Serial Killer Trading CardsYou might remember the scene in the film Addams Family Values, Wednesday, Pugsley, and Joel are sitting behind the bleachers going over Joel’s serial killer trading cards. I have no idea if these things have always been available, but Serial Killer Calendar offers three different sets. The focus is on the illustrations, which are done in a variety of styles by a large number of artists. Each set contains duplicate serial killers. But really: how could you limit John Wayne Gacy to a single card? Each one of the cards shows him in a different light: all the way from from pure menacing clown to dumpy middle-aged man. I’ve posted the best from the first set on the right.

There are things to be aware of regarding the site. It’s header changes images very rapidly. I’d prefer they change slower, but I suspect a lot of people will like it. It’s like being in Serial Killer Las Vegas. And obviously, if you find the concept of serial killers disturbing, you should stay away from Serial Killer Calendar. The site is also a bit difficult to navigate. But this is a sign of what is absolutely the best thing about the site: it’s activity.

The worst thing on any site is digital death. Serial Killer Calendar is a vibrant site. It’s interesting to check it out on to see just how much it has changed over the years and even over the last month. So you know there will always be new, probably creepy, content for your reading and viewing pleasure. In my day job, I spend a lot of time looking at different websites, but Serial Killer Calendar is one of the most interesting that I’ve seen in the last year. And I’ll bet you know someone who would enjoy a pack of serial killer trading cards!

Minnesota Advice for Those Suffering the Cold Weather in the East

Cold Weather in St PaulWhen I moved to Minnesota, it got below 30°F or so. I called my mom in Oregon, to complain about the cold weather. But she was a Wisconsin native and did not take my discomfort all that seriously. “The day will come,” she told me, “when you think of zero as warm.” I did not believe her. But she was absolutely right.

As it gets below zero, and lingers there like God has a grudge against you, your best friends are layers. Lots of layers. Put on warm clothes. Then put warm clothes on over your warm clothes. Then put on a coat.

Real Cold Weather

My first winter in Minnesota, I was standing at the bus stop. A group of attractive women were across the street lined up to get into a happening bar. Most wore pantyhose. It was perhaps 5°F outside. I commented to the other person waiting at the stop, “I don’t care how great my legs look, I would not wear pantyhose in this cold weather.”

The other person responded, “Seriously? You’re not from here, are you? They’ll wear that when it’s 30 below!”

And, indeed, this is so.

The worst thing about cold weather is living in a ratty, broken down apartment building. My building dates back to 1908. It’s charmingly archaic — the first hotel in Saint Paul to feature electricity. Alas, this doesn’t mean quite as much as it did a century ago. And that means the storm windows also exhibit the high tech efficiency of the Edwardian period.

Every winter, I have to caulk up the windows and apply a layer of plastic film over them. It’s quite the process. For some reason, you need to run a hair dryer over the plastic film until it shrinks so every last plastic wrinkle is gone. This makes it warmer, I am told.

It’d be better if I lived in a newer building, of course. But apartments in the Twin Cities are crazy expensive. So, if you get an affordable one, you hang onto it for dear life — from 1908 onward, if necessary.

Cold Sweat

You can compensate for this with very thick blankets. That’s how the pioneers did it. Unfortunately, you start to sweat underneath those warm blankets, so now you’re wet. If there’s one state of being that you don’t want to inhabit when getting up and getting ready for work, it’s wet and cold.

Maybe that’s why pioneers all died from dysentery.

Oh, well — could be worse. I could own a car. Warming up a car in awful cold weather takes forever, it never gets comfortable. Compare this to the bus, which is perfectly nice the moment you step on board. I tell car owners how sad my life is, walking in lots of layers to a bus stop. And I am completely lying. I’m fine walking.

But my apartment is still cold! And don’t I deserve a little sympathy for that?! All you on the east coast will be warm soon enough.

Morning Music: European Son

The Velvet Underground & NicoProbably my favorite song on Velvet Underground & Nico is “European Son.” I like its relentless energy. It is the very definition of punk rock. I had forgotten that the song was dedicated to Delmore Schwartz. The song is clearly angry and it seems to be saying, “Screw off!” Schwartz was at that very time dying close by at the age of 52.

Schwartz had been a teacher of Reed’s at Syracuse University. And in interviews, Reed always made a big deal of this because Reed wanted the world to see him as a real poet. Reed probably would have been a much better human being if he had just accepted that he was a real poet. I’ve always thought the center section of “Street Hassle” to be amazing, especially this:

Some people have not choice
And they can never find a voice
To talk with
Or even call their own.
So the first thing that they see
That allows them the right to be
They follow it.
It’s called “bad luck.”

But it now makes me wonder if Reed didn’t spend all those years talking so fondly of the man to make up for “European Son.” Apparently, during the end of his life, Schwartz would not see Reed. But the song is everything that Schwartz was not. I never cared for his poetry, but I’m thinking I would be more open to it now. When I was younger, I liked surreal poetry, which Schwartz definitely wasn’t. He wrote about more mystical subjects — the kind of stuff that I find more interesting now.

Anniversary Post: Human Shield Action to Iraq

Ken O'KeefeOn this day in 2003, as part of Human Shield Action to Iraq, 50 volunteers left London for Baghdad to act as human shields in order to stop the impending invasion of Iraq. The group was led by Kenneth O’Keefe — an ex-marine who has since been involved in many similar political actions. By the time of the invasion, the group is thought to have been several hundred strong. Because of their small numbers, they decided to spread themselves out at strategic locations around the country. The whole thing got very complicated, in part because the volunteers wanted to stop the war but were in no way supportive of the Hussein government.

I have two thoughts about this. The first is that those involved in Human Shield Action to Iraq are the most heroic people in the world. I’m constantly amazed that people think serving in the US military is a sign of bravery. Why don’t these people serve in tiny militaries that have little hope of winning? The US military is roughly the size of every other military on earth combined. Signing up to be on the most powerful team isn’t an act of bravery, although I don’t put down people who join the military. There are reasons to do so. But we shouldn’t talk of heroics.

My second thought on this matter is just how naive Human Shield Action to Iraq seems. I don’t know what the people involved in the effort actually thought. But they did get attention. I do remember hearing about the group at the time. But did they really think that the likes of Bush and Cheney cared in the least about killing these people? This was a war of their choice to make them feel brave after being so clearly cowardly during the Vietnam War. None of the men who have sat in the White House cared about all the people they killed. They justify it as being part of the greater good. But for those two, it’s a whole other level.

Regardless, they were brave people. And of the 80 who spent the entire war there, none were killed. The same, of course, can’t be said of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians who were killed in that cowardly war.

Russell Brand and Richard Dawkins Being Sensible

Russell BrandI came upon this video today, Russell Brand interviews Richard Dawkins. It doesn’t have a date, but Dawkins mentions that it is one year after the release of The God Delusion, so that would put it at late 2007 or early 2008. And what’s remarkable about it is just how reasonable it all it. I think that both men left that discussion thinking that they actually had a lot of shared ground. Obviously, Brand is being silly — especially about ancient aliens.

The truth is that I know a lot of people like Russell Brand. They are some of my favorite people. So when Russell Brand talks about ancient aliens, he is being serious in the sense of this: it is a wonderfully fun and interesting concept. People like Brand are the living embodiment of my philosophy that the greatest sin in the normal world (apart from real crime and political power) is to be boring. Brand is interesting when he’s being serious and when he’s being silly.

But the discussion is not about ancient aliens. Brand brings that up just to get a reaction out of Dawkins. And Dawkins is well aware of this. Richard Dawkins is also an interesting guy who at least understands silly, even if he isn’t a practitioner of it. They really do get into some interesting issues. Brand says that he thinks that “salvation through love” has replaced “salvation through God.” Dawkins says that he finds that an attractive idea. And they go back and forth about that.

And then Brand says, “But do you not think that then that God is just a signifier really for oneness and truth and eternity — that exist beyond our plane of understanding.” And then they are off to the races in a theological discussion. Dawkins points out (quite rightly) that if that’s the case, there is no point of praying to it. So Brand notes that Richard Dawkins’ real problem is the personification of God and Dawkins agrees with that.

Then they get into talking about eastern religions and that’s where Brand and Dawkins seem to have a disagreement. Russell Brand thinks there is something that we might be able to tunnel into and Richard Dawkins thinks that it is just a reflection of our extremely complex brains. What I love about this is that this is a sensible debate to be having. This isn’t some kind of straw man argument where the silliness of a Bible passage proves that there is no God.

Now on this issue, I’m with Richard Dawkins. It seems pretty simple. If you look at the universe the way I do, our universe is a subset of the signifier God. All our axioms are based on this universe. There is no trick to getting outside that system to the larger system. In fact, Brand is making the same mistake that a lot of atheists make when they claim that using some (presently unknown) trick we will be able to learn all the secrets of existence. This isn’t going to happen. There is no one weird trick to unlocking the mystery of existence — through mysticism or science.

Richard DawkinsBut these are the kind of conversations that atheists should be having — not just with theists (and I don’t really think that Brand is a theist) but with themselves. Because what comes out of way too much New Atheist talk is just how hollow it is as a belief system. It does atheism no good at all to arguing with Pat Robertson. Clearly, we as a people need to argue with Pat Robertson. But that isn’t the business of atheists, because most religious people should (And do!) find him repulsive. He isn’t awful because he’s religious. If he had been alive in the Soviet Union under Stalin, he would have been a high party official — a true believer in the party and a denier of God.

I don’t know if Brand and Dawkins could have the same conversation today. I tend to think they could, because when he’s outside the insular world of the New Atheists, he often says sensible things. But as with most issues, the problem isn’t so much that you can be sensible on occasion. Sam Harris tends to be reason when talking about some forms of Buddhism. But both Dawkins and Harris spend most of their time talking about ridiculous things like Islam causing people to be violent.

We could use more conversations between atheists and non-theistic religious people. Then we might gain some understanding of what religion actually is to people. We might all end up more enlightened.

Now Is the Part Where Paul Krugman Whines

Paul KrugmanKrugman, Krugman, Krugman. Saturday morning, Paul Krugman wrote, Wonks and Minions. We liberal true believers are being mean to him and other people for all their ridiculous anti-Sanders articles. I have little doubt that many Sanders supporters are just as silly as supporters of every other candidate and go on tilt when they read negative things about their candidates. But this is a straw man. Who cares that Sanders’ supporters are angry? Maybe it is time for Krugman and company to look at why they are angry.

Yesterday, I wrote The Complete ‘Bernie Sanders Can’t Win’ Liberal Pundit Article Kit. And my point was not that it is wrong to complain about Sanders. Have at it! Attack Sanders all you want. Just don’t sit around and write more of these articles about how you love his policies but that it would be a big mistake to vote for him. I have policy differences with Sanders myself. I simply have bigger policy differences with Clinton. None of them are that big a deal.

But Krugman mentioned that Mike Konczal (who I really like) is getting some grief about saying that Sanders’ focus on Glass-Steagall and too-big-to-fail banks is all wrong. I agree! As everyone should know, the repeal of Glass-Steagall did not cause the 2008 financial crisis. Then again, Sanders has not been talking about just reinstating Glass-Steagall; he’s been talking about a Glass-Steagall for the 21st century. Truthfully, I don’t much care. But there are some thing that I care about very much.

I doubt I would make a big deal of all this liberal Bernie Sanders sniping. But it all came together. As long as Sanders was getting 30% or less nationally, everyone was fine. But now that he’s sitting at 40%, there is a sudden freak out.

Let’s just look at two things very quickly. First, there is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). I hate it. I think it is a very bad thing. There is no doubt that it would die under a Sanders administration and almost no doubt that Clinton would sign it. Then there is the financial transaction tax that Sanders is a big supporter of. Clinton was forced to propose something similar, a high frequency trading tax, which Dean Baker says is unworkable and is regardless, not the same thing. That’s Clinton all over: protecting Wall Street.

But somehow, we hear liberals complaining about Glass-Steagall. Well, this is a tactic I’ve seen elsewhere — you know, on places like Fox News. For example, have you been hearing all the big news about Hillary Clinton’s email scandal? Most people probably think that’s a thing of the past. But if you’ve been watching Fox News for the last week, you’ve seen little else.

Well, that’s what we are seeing in these recent attacks on Sanders. Are we just going to avoid Clinton’s negatives now? I think it really comes down to the electability issue. And I’m fine with that. I have my own concerns. But let’s make that argument. Let’s not make the argument that Sanders’ policies are bad. This article is sort of the other side of yesterday’s article. There you have people saying, “I love Sanders, but he can’t win.” The problem there is that there is no argument that he can’t win — just the proclamation. And here we have cherry picking of issues.

There is another issue there I tend to side with Hillary Clinton’s rhetoric. I think we need to gradually expand Obamacare to the point where we have universal single-payer health insurance. But are we going to get there via Hillary Clinton? Her pragmatic approach might do it, but it is more likely that it will end in things like getting rid of the taxes on premium private plans and medical devices — things that are part of a pragmatic approach that has already resulted in Obamacare being less secure.

I doubt I would make a big deal of all this liberal Bernie Sanders sniping. But it all came together. As long as Sanders was getting 30% or less nationally, everyone was fine. But now that he’s sitting at 40%, there is a sudden freak out. And it is a freak out from people who have generally been very favorably inclined toward Sanders. Krugman’s sudden attacks on Sanders don’t surprise me. I’ve long said that he was quite a lot more conservative than I am. But it bugs me that he isn’t being honest about what he really thinks.

And now, he’s whining about being attacked from the left. Oh, I know: it isn’t him. He’s just defending the feelings of Mike Konczal. But as far as I remember: Konczal is for a financial transaction tax. Krugman is for one. But it is only Dean Baker who has attacked Clinton on the matter. I don’t expect Sanders to win the nomination. I’m not certain that he should win the nomination. Maybe Clinton really is the better choice. But that is the case that has to be made. And Krugman can whine all he wants. But there are real reasons to complain about his recent anti-Sanders writing.

Morning Music: I’m Waiting for My Man

The Velvet Underground & NicoIt’s been a long time since I’ve thought about The Velvet Underground. Too often, the band is thought of as the Lou Reed band. But that ain’t true. Like David Byrne after him, Reed got far more credit than he deserved. For example, take today’s song, “I’m Waiting for My Man.” It says on the album that it was written by Reed, but that’s not true. It was written by Reed along with Sterling Morrison and John Cale. In any discussion of anything that Lou Reed did, it is important to remember that Lou Reed was a total jerk. He never gave proper credit and insisted on keeping Doug Yule out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Although I’m a fan of much of his work, I don’t think much of Lou Reed as a human being.

The remarkable thing about The Velvet Underground & Nico is that it was meant to be your typical Andy Warhol commercial joke. Yet it is a great album. Much of the songwriting on the album is great. But what sells it is the band, which is powerfully direct. Listen to “I’m Waiting for My Man.” It is stripped down to the barest that it can be without being boring. It doesn’t hurt that it is also one of the greatest rock songs ever written.

Please note: I don’t care what it says on the album cover. I don’t care what Reed might have sung in earlier versions. He is not waiting for “the man.” In the parlance of that time and even now, “the man” is the police. This is a friendly encounter. He’s waiting for his dealer who simply doesn’t have the reputation to be considered “the” man regardless. The most compelling part of the song occurs before the dealer shows up. The narrator is clearly in a place where he doesn’t belong and he has to explain himself to the locals, “I’m just waiting for a dear, dear friend of mine.” Very dear indeed.

There has never been a song written about drugs that is as authentic as, “I’m Waiting for My Man.”

Anniversary Post: Boy Scouts Begin

Boy Scouts of AmericaOn this day in 1908, the first troop of Boy Scouts was formed by fascist Robert Baden-Powell.[1] It seems kind of weird to me still that the Boy Scouts started in England. It seems so very American. But make no mistake. It came from Baden-Powell’s experiences fighting wars in Africa. So say what you will about the Boy Scouts and helping little old ladies across the street, the Boy Scouts is a group designed to get boys ready to fight wars. It is not surprising that the two eldest boys in the very big Boy Scout family that lives across the street from me have both gone into the military.

My opinion about the Boy Scouts has not changed over the years. Here’s what I had to say two years ago, Why Boy Scouts Have Always Bothered Me:

Although it might not be clear to look at me now, when I was a child, I was a very typical boy. I loved my army men and when I got older, I ran around with the other boys playing war with sticks fashioned into guns. So when my friends started becoming cub scouts, you would have thought I would have followed along. But I didn’t. Then, as now, I thought it was all very creepy.

It probably comes from the core of my being—my fascination with the Romantic hero archetype. But the idea of everyone dressing up the same way just wasn’t my idea of what it is to be a man. And more to the point, it wasn’t what my idea of what it is to be an American…

Now let me be clear: I don’t think that the Boy Scouts of America are a fascist group. I don’t think that at all. But it wasn’t hard for Mussolini and Hitler to change the Boy Scout programs in their countries to fascist youth groups. And I think that is what is creepy about the group. But that is completely expected. I am the kind of person who rebels against authority. I am an equally bad leader and follower. A society made up of people like me would be no kind of society at all. So we need a lot of people who are willing to conform to create social cohesion.

Just the same, I think it is a major mistake to turn conformity into a fetish. The military does this because it is an unfortunate necessity, just as the very existence of the military is an unfortunate necessity. But to push boys into blind and ostentatious conformity before they are able to make the choice seems wrong to me. It’s too much like indoctrination. What’s more, it is a particular kind of paramilitary indoctrination. And for me, that’s what tips it from concerning to creepy.

There’s something else: males should not be left alone. Men are at their best when they have women around to remind them that they live in a civilization. This may be why the Girl Scouts have not become a creepy group. Women don’t need us men, but we men really do need women. I like the idea of people forming groups. But it should be about something more than preparing men for the Third Boer War.

[1] This is from Robert Baden-Powell’s diary entry from 6 October 1939, “Lay up all day. Read Mein Kampf. A wonderful book, with good ideas on education, health, propaganda, organisation etc — and ideals which Hitler does not practise himself.” In addition to his clear fascistic sympathies, this was written over a month after his own country had declared war on Nazi Germany. I wonder if there is a merit badge for treason.

The Complete ‘Bernie Sanders Can’t Win’ Liberal Pundit Article Kit

Bernie SandersWe writers are very busy. I know, right now, I have an article on SSH that I really need to finish. I wanted to finish it last night, but I was so tired. Really: I spend about 10 hours per day writing and doing reading in support of it. And admittedly, that is my life. I don’t have much else that I even want to do. But I feel totally rushed all the time. It’s after 3:00 pm today, and I have next to nothing done. I haven’t gotten to the SSH article. I’ve written one Frankly Curious article. My anxiety level is so high, I’d take a Valium, but that would make me fall asleep, get further behind, and make me even more anxious. And I’m sure I’m not alone.

Look at Paul Krugman. He writes a lot. And in addition to that, he has to go out to cool concerts where he hangs out backstage and he has to eat expensive dinners with important people. And he has to go to conferences all over the world. He’s a busy guy. And it must be crushing to use all the time that could be spent talking to John Paul White to write yet another article about how it would be wrong to vote for Bernie Sander like the one he wrote yesterday, How Change Happens.

But I do have more free time because John Paul White never returns my calls. So I thought I would use the one advantage I have over him to help Krugman out. And not just Krugman. What I’m proposing here will help out lots of other people. For example, it will save Jonathan Chait a lot of time. And Martin Longman. And Erik Loomis. And plenty of other liberal commentators who I very much like. That is why I’m doing this. It is a gift. It is a free tool to make their lives better.

So here it goes. It’s really simple, but I can’t pretend that it’s my own idea. I’ve just systematized the process. In general, none of these people are thinking very deeply about any of this, so I’ve just created a system where they don’t have to think at all. Here it goes:

  1. Start with some recent good news for the Bernie Sanders campaign: polls or a famous person saying something or money raised. Or nothing at all. Here’s a generic opening that I release to the public domain. I hope that everyone finds many uses for it, “Despite what everyone expected, Bernie Sanders has really caught fire. He’s packing people in at his rallies. And he looks certain to win New Hampshire, and has a good shot at Iowa.”
  2. Next, use several paragraphs to talk about how much you like Bernie Sanders. Now if I were writing this for new writers, I’d have to provide a lot of details. But for the top tier writers I’m talking about, it’s easy. All they have to do is go back and look at pretty much every article they wrote about Bernie Sanders as long as he was polling at less than 25%. Don’t plagiarizer! But professional writers know how to rip themselves off without technically plagiarizing. It’s quick and easy. Exactly how many paragraphs you want to spend on this will depend upon your editorial needs. But don’t go overboard, or you’ll make the rest of this harder. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you actually have to argue against yourself!
  3. Now turn everything you’ve just said (and written for months) on its head. Point out that this is pie in the sky. Note that no one will elected a socialist. Write whatever you want. Just make the point that despite everything, it would be wrong to vote for Bernie Sanders. It doesn’t even have to make sense. For example, Krugman wrote, “Mr Sanders is the heir to candidate Obama, but Mrs Clinton is the heir to President Obama.” See that?! Candidate and president Obama are the same guy, so that statement actually means the opposite of what Krugman means, given both Sanders and Clinton are in candidate mode. But it doesn’t matter. Clinton is good because whatever and Sanders is bad because whatever, but make sure everyone knows that you actually agree with Sanders more.

Done! File that and go spend some more time with John Paul White. You’ve done enough thinking for a career. As for me, I just made a contribution to the Bernie Sanders campaign and bought a very cool shirt. So I feel I’ve done a good turn for both camps. I’ve given money to Bernie, and I’ve allowed otherwise decent liberals to write their hack Hillary articles more easily.

I’m like a saint or something!

Update (23 January 2016 5:45)

Robert Reich takes on Krugman directly and persuasively, Bernie’s Movement. It’s really short. Give it a read.

As Usual the Republican Base Is Being Scammed

Donald TrumpI feel like a guy walking around town wearing a sandwich board that read, “The End Is Nigh!” How long can we continue to pretend that the Republican Party is rational? It really is very simple. You have the Republican elites. They are more or less what used to be called the Country Club Republicans: rich people who want the party to give them more money through less taxation, less regulation, and more direct giveaways like bank bailouts. If the Republican Party as an institution stands for anything, this is what it is. They don’t care about balanced budgets; they don’t care about abortion; and they sure as hell don’t care about same sex marriage. In other words, they don’t care about what the Republican base cares about.

The problem, of course, is that a party that is really only interested in catering to the wishes of the 1% (more like 0.01% — but the 1% does very well too) is only really popular with the one percent. And that’s about how much of the vote the party would get if it were honest about what it is all about. Now the knock on the Democratic Party is that it is all about identity politics. This is nonsense. It is the Republican Party that is all about identity. It was Barack Obama who said, “There are no red states or blue states, just the United States.” It’s the Republican Party that talks incessantly about the “real” America, as though anyone not voting Republican isn’t an American. According to them, the Republican base is the only “real America.”

As with everything Trump on the right, the real issue is that they think he cannot win. Because Trump will provide them with tax cuts. He will cut regulations. He will protect the interests of the power elite. They don’t care about anything else.

The the Republican elites — starting most profoundly with Ronald Reagan — came up with this idea that they could pander to the Christian social conservatives. They could, as Thomas Frank put it, get them riled up and angry at rich rock stars so that the Republican base would march down to the polls and lower those rock stars’ taxes. These are people who are not interested in more tax cuts for the rich. They don’t think that it is okay to poison a generation of people in Flint, Michigan. They don’t think that trillions of dollars should have been spent bailing out the banks.

So now The National Review is out with a whole issue dedicated to trashing Donald Trump. And I suppose that Jonathan Chait is more or less correct in his assessment, “Conservatives fear him not because he is an ignorant demagogue, but because he’s not their ignorant demagogue.” But the issue is that Republican politics is a con. It is a way of getting a bunch of people to vote about issues that the Republicans won’t do much about, even while the party does do things that the Republican base isn’t that keen on.

Obviously, the Republican Party is reaping what it has sown. But this is always the case. And it is especially true of The National Review. This is the magazine that was originally started to pretend that the conservative movement wasn’t really about hatred but about high minded ideals. The fact that it immediately picked a fight with the Civil Rights movement and showed itself to be a bigoted publication just makes for great irony. But now it is against Donald Trump because he’s a bigot and not a real conservative and ignorant and whatever else the 19 writers I will not be reading have to say.

As with everything Trump on the right, the real issue is that they think he cannot win. Because Trump will provide them with tax cuts. He will cut regulations. He will protect the interests of the power elite. They don’t care about anything else. And Trump is using the same tactic that Republicans have been using to win elections ever since Eisenhower. Whoever the Republicans nominate will not be nominated because he is a big believer in supply side economics; he will be nominated because the rage filled base hears in his rhetoric what they believe: that they are being unfairly attacked by “those people” — where “those people” are anyone you want to name, except for the people who are really responsible: the Republican establishment itself. And if the Republican base thinks that Trump is not part of that establishment, it is just another sign that you Lincoln’s “some of the people all of the time” is the Republican base.

Morning Music: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Nick CaveDoes it seems like I’ve been skating through this week of Nick Cave? Does it seems like I’ve been skating through the whole week regarding everything? It seems like that to me. I must admit, I’m tired. Really. It takes so much more effort to write for Frankly Curious than it does for my day job. It’s weird, I think. I mean, I can write whatever I want here in any way that I want to. Maybe it is just a matter that I know what is expected of me there. It isn’t crap. But it is soulless. You all deserve something better.

I’m thinking of doing something for the Morning Music posts next week that I know a whole lot about. That always makes things easier. Nick Cave has always been this guy who I admire but I didn’t follow. I didn’t rush out and buy his newest albums the way I did with a number of other artists. So in a sense, I needed to spend as much time on Nick Cave as I did on the music of Mali. But like I said, I’ve been really tired. I’m looking forward to finishing this post just so I can take a nap.

We are going to end the week with a live concert of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds from 2001. I do tend to like his later work more. And this concert has the distinct advantage of no mustache. I don’t know what he was thinking. This concert has a couple of unfortunate interview sections, but otherwise it is really great. And I admire what he says about his religious beliefs being fluid. It seems to me that if you take religion seriously, then your thinking has to be fluid. Anyway, this is a fine way to spend three-quarters of an hour:

Annivesary Post: Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth BlackwellOn this day in 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first female doctor in American history. Of course, that was at the time when being a doctor was mostly about being strong enough to saw people’s limbs off. Still, that really wasn’t that long ago, and it is hard not to say, “You’ve come a long way, baby!” Yes, I understand that the diminutive is sexist in this context. I bring it up only because it was the slogan for Virginia Slims cigarettes. Elizabeth Blackwell was born in 1821. Had she been born in 1921, she almost certainly would have been a smoker, and thus not have lived to be 89 years old.

Of course, Elizabeth Blackwell’s efforts at being a doctor were not terribly successful for exactly the reasons you would expect. And she is probably more important today as a civil rights pioneer than as a doctor. She was very big in pushing for the education of women. And not surprisingly, she was a major abolitionist. She and her sisters (her sister Emily was the third woman to get a medical degree in the US) helped to start a nursing program during the Civil War — something that the male doctors were none too happy about. But that’s only because they were men and men are, in general, awful.