“Instead, the president’s worst impulses were neutralized by three pillars of the unwritten constitution. The first is the customary separation between the president and federal criminal prosecution (even though the Department of Justice is part of the executive branch). The second is the traditional political neutrality of the military (even though the president is the commander in chief of the armed forces). The third is the personal integrity of state elections officials. If any of these informal ‘firewalls’ had failed, President Trump might be on his way to a second and more autocratic term. But they held firm, for which the Republic should be grateful.”
What Really Saved the Republic From Trump?, by Tim Wu, NYT, 10 December 2020
“RECOMMENDATION 1.1 Substantially enlarge the House of Representatives through federal legislation to make it and the Electoral College more representative of the nation’s population.”
Overview of Strategies and Recommendations, Our Common Purpose, by American Academy, 2020
“Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah had just turned 26 when he got the call in 2017 that Mariner Books wanted to publish his short-story collection, ‘Friday Black.’ Mr. Adjei-Brenyah suspected that the contract he signed — a $10,000 advance for ‘Friday Black’ and $40,000 for an unfinished second book — wasn’t ideal. But his father had cancer and the money provided a modicum of security. Mr. Adjei-Brenyah’s uneasiness over his book deal became more acute last summer. Using the hashtag #PublishingPaidMe, writers had begun to share their advances on Twitter with the goal of exposing racial pay disparities in publishing. Some white authors disclosed that they had been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for their debut books.”
Just How White Is the Book Industry?, by Richard Jean So and Gus Wezerek, NYT, 11 December 2020
“A court in Japan has sentenced to death a man dubbed the ‘Twitter killer’ for the murders in 2017 of nine people whom he befriended online after they had expressed suicidal thoughts. Takahiro Shiraishi, 30, admitted strangling and dismembering his victims, eight of whom were women, over the course of three months. The youngest was 15 and the oldest 26.”
Japan’s ‘Twitter killer’ sentenced to death, by Justin McCurry, Guardian, 15 December 2020
“Yet Barr also won’t be there if and when the president delivers his final round of pardons, a likely relief to the president’s legal spear carrier but also a reason for Trump to fret: Barr knows a thing or two about 11th-hour pardons. Mike Flynn is only the latest. As attorney general to George HW Bush, Barr successfully urged the late president to grant a passel of pardons in the aftermath of the Iran-Contra scandal and Bush’s 1992 loss to Bill Clinton. Indeed, in Barr’s telling he was a driving force nearly three decades ago, running roughshod over justice department ‘naysayers’. Specifically, Barr fought for the pardon of Caspar Weinberger, Ronald Reagan’s defense secretary who was under indictment, and five others, including Elliot Abrams. In time, Abrams would join the administration of George W Bush and eventually serve as Trump’s special representative for Iran and then Venezuela.”
William Barr’s exit is bad news for Trump’s hopes of an 11th-hour pardoning spree, by Lloyd Green, Guardian, 15 December 2020
You son of a bitch…
“Japanese prosecutors have charged a man with murder over the 2019 arson attack on Kyoto Animation in which 36 people died, the country’s national public broadcaster has reported, the country’s deadliest violent crime in decades. Shinji Aoba, 42, was detained in the aftermath of the July attack, but has been hospitalised since then with severe burns sustained in the incident, and reportedly only regained consciousness in August.”
Kyoto Animation arson suspect charged with murder in Japan, by Agence Presse-France, Guardian, 16 December 2020
“Poets House keeps a poetry library of 70,000 books, which is free and open to the public, in its space at 10 River Terrace in Manhattan’s Battery Park, where it will remain; a representative told PW that the organization’s uniquely inexpensive lease expires in 2069. While it has long presented live programs, workshops, and exhibits, the organization said in its statement that, upon reopening, it expects to refocus its mission on core library services. In the meantime, Poets House had begun to digitize its collection of chapbooks, many of which are ‘small, handmade, and limited run.'”
Poets House Suspends Operations Amid Pandemic; Employees Cry Foul, by John Maher, PW, 19 November 2020
“For the past four years, the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has fought a war in Syria, supported Iraqi forces and stage-managed the politics of its homeland, all the while trying to avoid facing off with Israel. Yet its exhausted leaders fear the last gasps of Donald Trump’s presidency could deliver threats that eclipse everything else. In the organisation’s heartland, Hezbollah members are watching the clock – and the skies. Israeli jets have been streaking overhead for more than a month, and over the past few weeks the frequency of flights has sharply increased, as has security in Beirut’s southern suburbs, the nerve centre of the region’s most powerful militant group.”
‘Trump is crazy’: Hezbollah sees threat in US president’s final days, by Martin Chulov, Guardian, 20 December 2020
“The latest report from Inspector General Max Huntsman accuses the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department of unlawful conduct, including getting in the way of investigations, suppressing the First Amendment and threatening county officials. Huntsman and Sheriff Alex Villanueva have been trading verbal spars for a while now, but this report is basically a list of everything he thinks the LASD has done wrong since Villanueva took over in 2018. It’s worth noting that the L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted last month to see how they might replace Villanueva — an elected official — before the end of his term.”
New Report Documents ‘Unlawful Conduct’ by L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, by Juliet Rylah, Los Angeleno, 15 December 2020
“Stephen Colbert” (04:27): Why is your Bible bigger than mine? Do you have more Jesus than I do?”
Dr. Jill Biden Responds to WSJ Essay Stephen Colbert Interview Transcript, by REV.com, 18 December 2020
2020 at the Wapshott Press
Past, present, and future on view in a wondrous machine. Everything everywhere in every universe. Better than YouTube, but can this device bring happiness to a young slacker looking for love and life’s meaning?”
Storylandia, Issue 32, Drunk on Time, by J. H. Malone
Haunting and harrowing in its portrayal of supernatural creatures, “A Route Obscure and Lonely” explores the road less traveled by restless ghosts, sexually curious aliens, cunning vampires, transgressive angels, regretful mermaids, defiant witches, surly goddesses, mysterious phantoms, fearless fortune tellers, and “goth’s Mr. Goodbar” himself — — Edgar Allan Poe. The boroughs of the dead invite you to approach the gate guarding their abyss.”
Poetrylandia, Issue 2, A Route Obscure and Lonely, by LindaAnn LoSchiavo
Storylandia, Issue 33, short stories, by Jim McCullen, Jason Feingold, Alice Wickham, Chip Jett, and Arthur Davis
Poetrylandia, Issue 3, Fortune Written on Wet Grass, by Eileen “Mish” Murphy
“Nopalito, Texas—1965, 1985, 2005. An aging liquor store proprietor faces the confines of small-town life 5,000 miles from the one place that offered happiness. A young man evades attraction to his charismatic but erratic cousin. An elderly widower is beset by visits from the dead in the aftermath of a near-fatal heart attack. Albert, Dusty, Berndt—each one faces a wordless question: how to live with an impossibility that cannot be changed.”
Storylandia, Issue 34, The Distance Between Here
and Elsewhere: Three Stories , by David Meischen
Poetrylandia, Issue 4, Trio, by Karla Huston, Ellaraine Lockie, and Connie Posgt
Finding the late Mrs. Taggart’s missing jewels had made Freddie Babington famous. People with problems began to come to him, hoping to engage his services as a private detective. Freddie expected his new career to involve thrilling cases such as restoring diamond necklaces to Duchesses and secret plans to government ministers, perhaps rescuing a kidnapped heiress or two. Most of his cases were more mundane–but every once in a while, a client with a truly strange and interesting problem came to his door.
Publishes in November 2020
Storylandia, Issue 35, Odd Goings-on at Ferndell Farm and other Stories, by Kathryn L. Ramage
“Art on my Mind” by bell hooks
Marvel movies (I’m between streaming services)
Poetry should help, not only to refine the language of the time, but to prevent it from changing too rapidly.
Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.
Power and speed be hands and feet.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Preaching is the expression of the moral sentiment in application to the duties of life.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.
Real nobility is based on scorn, courage, and profound indifference.
Reality is a sliding door.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Reality is nothing but a collective hunch.
Reality is the leading cause of stress among those in touch with it.
Rebellion cannot exist without the feeling that somewhere, in some way, you are justified.