Emperor Augustus Trumpustule

The Republican senators’ speedy exoneration of Trump marks perhaps the most dramatic step in their capitulation to the president over the past three years.

That process…recalls the ancient Roman senate’s compliance with the autocratic rule of the emperors and its transformation into a body largely reliant on the emperors’ whims.

Along with the senatorial fealty that was again on display, there was another development that links the era of the Roman Republic’s transformation into an autocratic state with the ongoing political developments in the United States. It’s a development that may point to where the country is headed.

Trump’s lawyers argued that the president’s personal position is inseparable from that of the nation itself. This is similar to the notion that took hold during the ascendancy of the man known as Rome’s first emperor, Augustus, who was in power from 31 B.C. to A.D. 14…

This inability to separate the personal interests of a leader from the interests of the country he or she leads has powerful echoes in ancient Rome.

Yes, we can erect a roadblock on this path to destroying our constitutional democracy. Trouble is, the Dems have done a superlative job of convincing the average American the Two Old Party-system is the best way to choose who leads our nation. We’re not supposed to worry about Tweedledee and Tweedledumber leaving us with an updated mirror image of Benito Mussolini.

Whomever the Democrats’ political herd eventually decides upon will be the sole choice reasonable Americans can support this coming November. Painful though it may be for any independent progressive-minded voter – at a minimum, we’ll have to press for a platform that takes heed of the fight for an end to endemic bigotry, social and scientific cowardice…any number of economic reforms. And…if such a platform is to be something more than a pretty poster, folks must press all the candidates opposing this fascist-minded krew of korporate klowns to grow a backbone sufficient to win.

Today is 02/02/2020 — the first global palindrome day

It is February 2, 2020, or 02/02/2020, in both the MM/DD/YYYY format and the DD/MM/YYYY format. At just after 2 a.m., it was 02:02:20 on 02/02/2020.

This is the only time such a date will occur this century.

The previous palindrome date in all formats came 909 years ago on 11/11/1111. The next will come in 101 years on 12/12/2121 and after that there will not be another until 03/03/3030.

Solihull School Maths Department wrote on Twitter: “Today is a Palindrome Day in all date formats (UK, USA, ISO). It’s also a palindrome day of the year (33) and there are a palindrome number of days left in the year (333). Quite a unique day!

Lots more uninteresting things going on in our lives. Not only this date; but, the days behind and ahead. That’s politics. This is a chronological record untouched by social thuggery – either traditional or All-American.

Trump reads the Constitution…”It’s like a foreign language!”


Dunce Cap

On March 1, 2017, nearly six weeks after President Trump had raised his right hand and swore to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, he struggled to read aloud the words of the founding document. A film crew had come to the White House to record the new president reading a section of the Constitution. Trump chose to participate in the HBO production because he did not want to forgo the chance to be filmed for history, and he knew that as the sitting president he would be the documentary’s most important character…

With LED lights on stilts in front of him, Trump took his seat. “You’re lucky you got the easy part,” Alexandra Pelosi [the director] told him cheerfully. “It gets complicated after this.” But the president stumbled, trying to get out the words in the arcane, stilted form the founding fathers had written. Trump grew irritated. “It’s very hard to do because of the language here,” Trump told the crew. “It’s very hard to get through that whole thing without a stumble.” He added, “It’s like a different language, right?” The cameraman tried to calm Trump, telling him it was no big deal, to take a moment and start over. Trump tried again, but again remarked, “It’s like a foreign language.”

“Every time he stumbled, he manufactured something to blame people,” another person in the room recalled. “He never said, ‘Sorry, I’m messing this up.’ [Other] people would screw up and say, ‘Ohhhh, I’m sorry.’ They would be self-effacing. He was making up excuses and saying there were distracting sounds.… He was definitely blaming everyone for his inability to get through it. That was prickly, or childish.” Though stiff, he eventually made it through without any errors.

The Fake President has a perfectly aligned style. Dumb and dumber. Ignorant and unforgiving. Irresponsible and cowardly.

This is your kid’s brain on books

Taking away screens and reading to our children during the formative years of birth to age 5 boosts brain development. We all know that’s true, but now science can convince us with startling images.

This is the brain of a preschooler who is often read to by a caregiver.

The red areas in this scan show a growth in organized white matter in the language and literacy areas of the child’s brain, areas that will support learning in school.

This is the brain of a preschooler who likely spends an average of two hours a day playing on screens.

The blue in this image shows massive underdevelopment and disorganization of white matter in the same areas needed to support learning in school.

‘Nuff said?

Recently, I mentioned – not for the first time – my mother’s practice of walking my sister and me to the neighborhood public library for our week’s worth of books every Saturday morning. A 3-mile round trip. I should also mention she taught each of us to read before we entered public school. Age 4.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Receiving $1Million Award

❝ Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the winner of this year’s $1 million Berggruen Prize for philosophy and culture. The award announced Wednesday by the Los Angeles-based Berggruen Institute honors Ginsburg, who started the American Civil Liberties Union’s Women’s Rights Project in the 1970s, for her pioneering legal work for gender equality and her support for the rule of law. The institute says Ginsburg will direct the money to charity…

Of course, she will. Of course, she would.