Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Rapture Shmapture! Humanity won’t be destroyed by sulfurous balls of flame belching from the roiling bowels of hell. It’s a damn sight worse than that.

A Gilbert chemistry set, circa 1950-something.You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. 
Before consumer product safety was a thing, there was another thing. It was called the Gilbert chemistry set.

It was packed with stuff that fascinated ten, or eleven, or twelve year old boys: chemicals that when mixed together would foam up suddenly and almost explosively. Things that would create real explosions if you mixed them together and put a match to them. Thin strips of metal — specifically magnesium, that would catch fire and burn brilliantly. 

I had two Gilbert chemistry sets in my childhood, a small one and then a bit later the monster deluxe size. It was packed with test tubes, a wire test tube holder, a metal test tube rack, an alcohol lamp (in lieu of a bunsen burner, which would have required a gas hookup) and vial after vial of chemicals. Potassium nitrate. Sodium salicylate. Sulphur powder. Powdered charcoal. Calcium carbonate. Acetic acid. And on and on.

The chemistry sets came with instructions for “experiments” that the users could try, with relatively — I say relatively — little danger, if the instructions were actually followed. I followed one or two of them. So did other friends of mine who also had Gilbert chemistry sets. The results were boring, but we weren’t discouraged. That was because we knew that doing what the book said wasn’t the real aim of owning a chemistry set. 

Boom! Kavoom! Varoom!

The aim was to blow things up. To make stuff go boom. To get huge flashes of light and loud noises. 

It wasn’t easy. The most I ever achieved was to set an inch long strip of magnesium on fire in the bathroom. Wow! Wowee! You’ve never, ever seen such a hot flame coming out of a sliver of metal no bigger than a paper clip. The problem was, I couldn’t put the fire out. 

I held it with a pair of pliers and blew on it. That just made the flame glow brighter and hotter. I held it under running tap water. Nope. Nada. Finally, I just tossed it into the adjacent empty bathtub, where it finally burned itself out, melting an indentation into the enamel bottom of the tub in the process. Fortunately, the magnesium got used up before it burned right through the bottom of the tub, or when my father came home I would have been in a whole lot of deep…well, anyway, that’s not my point.

The nearly universal urge of young males to mix two things together, or maybe three or four things, to see how much an explosion they’ll cause hasn’t gone away. Al Queda realized that a few years ago when it started making lethal international mischief by posting articles on the Internet with headlines like, “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom.” Whatever you may rightfully say about the evil intentions and clunky grammar of Al Queda recruiters, they sure as hell know what gives young guys a thrill. 

But now something a whole lot worse than mix-them-yourself explosives has come along.

Here comes the “gene bomb”
—and there’s no way to duck

The New York Times is reporting on the arrival of “D.I.Y. gene editing.” Evidently it’s more or less affordable. Moreover, it's relatively easy for a fairly bright idiot to splice two or three genes together the way my generation mixed chemicals, just to see what trouble he can create. 

In one case, a kid in Palo Alto California who “barely earned a high school diploma” has already been kicked out of the local science fair “for reckless genetic engineering.”

Reckless? How reckless can playing with genetic bits and pieces of DNA (the official name for this kind of screwing around is “biohacking”) really get?

Plenty. Again, from the terrifying article in the Times by Emily Baumgaertner:
Already a research team at the University of Alberta has recreated from scratch an extinct relative of smallpox, horsepox, by stitching together fragments of mail-order DNA in just six months for about $100,000 — without a glance from law enforcement officials.   The team purchased overlapping DNA fragments from a commercial company. Once the researchers glued the full genome together and introduced it into cells infected by another type of poxvirus, the cells began to produce infectious particles. To some experts, the experiment nullified a decades-long debate over whether to destroy the world’s two remaining smallpox remnants — at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and at a research center in Russia — since it proved that scientists who want to experiment with the virus can now create it themselves.

Scenes of agony and raw horror

Do I need to work out the details for you? Okay, but I will anyway.

A trust fund kid — or a kid with a Go Fund Me or Kickstarter page whose girlfriend rejected him — buys some mail order genetic material. Let’s say he buys some that can be combined with other genetic material to make a virus for Influenza, or Plague, or Ebola, or Measles. He mixes and centrifuges and otherwise combines the stuff with a bit of this and a smidgeon of that in his home laboratory. And Kaboom! 

Nevermind a mad gunman with an AR-15 blowing away 15 or twenty kids. The population of the entire high school, if not the entire town, will lie writhing on the ground, vomiting and soiling themselves, and coughing up splenetic blood until they die in screaming agony.

And remember, the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a thumb-sized vial of virus in his pocket is…Speak up, NRA! I can't hear you!

As for all you Evangelicals, hoping that fomenting a war between Israelis and Palestinians will lead to the Rapture, (after which the Israelis, and all other Jews for that matter, can and will go to hell, in your opinion) don’t waste your time. That end-times crap only worked when God was in control. It no longer works when a pissed off high school kid, or an Al Queda operative, or a Donald Trump minion, or a fat Korean dictator with a bad haircut, or a creep with a missing superego can easily tamper with God’s clocks.

But you’re a survivalist Evangelical? So what are you going to do? Move to New Zealand? Viruses travel in the wind, on the wings and in the air conditioning system of the airplane that’ll get you there —if you ever get that far. Death sticks to all the accoutrements of civilization. Death will attach itself to the bottoms of your shoes. So you'll wear hazmat booties? And how are you going to get them off, and where are you going to put them once they come off, and on and on.

O sin-free man,
where you gonna run to?

Will you hide in a virus shelter, assuming you can build one? And then you'll come out when? Once the food runs out? There’s nothing outside of the shelter for you, ever again. In fact, if you dare to take one step out, you’re doomed.

Face it, the evangelical hope for an afterlife is doomed. Nobody is going to ride a moonbeam to heaven. We’re all gonna die, left behind right where we’re gagging, and vomiting blood, and defecating in our pants. The knowledge of how to make that happen is out there. The equipment is small enough to hide in a teen-ager's bedroom closet or the trunk of a car. The price is within reach. 

A good guy with a gun — even a gun with thirty rounds in its magazine — is no help at all when the targets are each a couple of spliced bits of DNA, too small to see without an electron microscope, and there are billions and billions of targets all over the walls of your kitchen, and your bedroom, and your office, and your safe room, and your toilet seat. 

See you all in hell, suckers. And don’t worry about how you’ll get there. When the time comes, we’ll all find it right where we’re standing.

Friday, May 04, 2018

What’s that? There’s a glitzy building around the corner emblazoned with the Trump name? There goes the neighborhood!

Is this the future of every Trump building — and the neighborhood around
it — in the world?
Uh oh! Trouble in Glitzville!

Since Donald Trump became president, “…Trump-branded buildings in New York have lagged behind the luxury market, selling for about 6.6 percent less than the average Manhattan condominium in 2017,” reports the New York Times.

A rose by any other name 
might  actually stink —
and Trump ain’t no rose

What’s that? You mean those big, glitzy, golden, all-capital letters, spelling out the name “TRUMP” on buildings actually decrease property values? Evidently. You might as well put the name “CRAP” or “TURDS” or some such on a building and hope some suckers will want to live in it.

This piece of news, likely gloomy for Trumpistas everywhere, emerged in a story that ran in the New York Times on Friday about a 46-story condominium on the  Upper West Side of Manhattan, that seems about to vote to remove Trump’s name from their facade — perhaps to increase the value of their property.

In any case, the move is almost certain to decrease the level of embarrassment for occupants of the building that comes from having any connection at all with the Trump name. Little wonder, according to the Times, that fewer than a quarter of the building’s 377 condo owners want to retain the Trump name.

The folks who vote to get Trump off their property, or at least to get his name off their facade, will be willing to do so even though it’s going to cost them — and cost them plenty. The building’s board of directors has estimated that it will cost them $19,000 just to remove  the letters spelling out Trump’s name. But that’s only the beginning.

Evidently, letters hanging on a building for roughly 19 years have the same effect as a picture hanging on a wall in your living room for nineteen years. Take the picture down, and there’s a shadow of the picture where the picture used to be. So more expenses.

The Lady Macbeth Syndrome

The building will have to spend $23,000, says the Times, “to wash the facade of the building afterward.” Evidently, it takes a whole lot of scrubbing to erase the stain of the Trump name. Or as Lady Macbeth put it while compulsively washing her hands, "Out, damned spot! Out I say!"

And speaking of great names in compulsive-obsessive behavior, Trump, who sued in advance of the vote to stop the removal of his name, lost in court. But he plans to keep the suit going anyway, with an appeal. My guess is that his appeal will go, if not to the very gates of hell, at least to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Assuming there is any difference between the two.)

Sue? Sue why? Evidently, when Trump was selling condos in the building, he granted the building the right to put his name on it in perpetuity. There’s nothing in the contract that I've seen reported that says the building has to keep his name on it. Anyway, that’s what a judge in New York said, in giving the Trump organization the back of his hand.

A huffy hissy fit

You may not be surprised to learn that the Trump organization got mighty huffy about the judge’s decision, calling it “unprecedented” and “limited to a technical issue.” Some of us New Yorkers are waiting with bated breath to learn what that technical issue might be, or what’s “unprecedented” about the notion that if it isn’t in the contract, it isn’t in the contract.

Nevertheless, the Times reports that the Trump organization plans to appeal. If you ask me, this is part of a long established legal tradition, perhaps learned by Trump from the late Roy Cohn, that even if you can’t win you can win, just by making the quest for justice so expensive for the other side that they throw up their hands and surrender. My ex-wife’s matrimonial lawyer hewed to the same strategy. Trust me on this because I know from personal experience. It works.

Or, to quote from the Times again, “…some residents are concerned about being ensnared in costly and lengthy litigation. ‘I would rather the building spend money on a long gestating renovation project than this litigation,’ said the longtime resident, who asked for anonymity because feeling are running hot in the building."

For some, the Trump 
name is cringeworthy

Meanwhile, plenty of occupants of Trump-y buildings around the hemisphere would rather fight and switch the monicker of their buildings. Condo owners of the Trump Parc in Connecticut are also considering getting the damned name off their building. And two hotels that once bore the Trump name have decided they could be more prosperous without it — the former Trump hotel and condominium in Panama City and  the former Trump International Hotel and Tower in Toronto, 

Or as one occupant in the Upper West Side Trump condo building said, “There are lots of us who cringe when people associate the building with his name.”

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Suit up in your longest pair of waders, kiddies. We’re off for a slosh through Donald Trump’s swamp, in search of the fearsome Jelly-Spined Lawyer.

Image swiped from Sierra Trading Post. Order your pair from them 
before your next trip to Washington
Get yourself some chest-high waders, if you can. The Trumpian swamp is mighty deep and fearsomely thick with muck that’ll come gurgling and sucking and swishing in over your head in unpredictable waves if you’re not careful. 

Oh, you’ll need a flashlight, too. And a face net, to protect yourself against that terrifying in-your-face bird, the Midnight Tweeter.

You there, are you all set? Are you sure your flashlight works? Good. 

Now let me caution you that we’re not taking a comprehensive tour today. We’re just going to search of the Jelly-Spined Fix Lawyer, a curious critter that somehow survives by lining the nests of other swamp critters with money, while pretending it has no money because it can't get paid. It also pretends it doesn’t eat.

"Hey Crank, kill 
the metaphor!"

Okay, okay, before I drown myself in this Big Muddy of a swampy metaphor, let me get off it and say flat out that I’m talking about one of  Donald Trump’s many lawyers, Michael Cohen.

Oh, and before I continue, here’s a shoutout to all the other lawyers named Michael Cohen who now have to live with everything from suspicion to guffaws every time they show up in court. Sorry guys: I didn’t hand out the names. I simply comment on the news.

Anyway, the particular Michael Cohen in question is said to have paid a porn actress named Stormy Daniels (aka Stephanie Clifford) $130,000 to sign a contract (under a pseudonym that is neither Stormy, nor Stephanie, nor Daniels, nor Clifford ) not to blab about a sexual encounter with Trump, who was also mentioned in the contract under a pseudonym. I know, I know, you’ve heard this complicated yarn a million times before. The thing is, each time you hear it, it gets a new twist that makes it better.

The twists, they keep a-coming

Next thing I remember happening, Stormy Stephanie, or whatever her name is, hires a lawyer of her own, who claims the contract is invalid because Trump never signed it. Twist.

And then attorney Michael Cohen claimed that he himself paid Stormy the money by borrowing from his own home equity line of credit. In other words, he went into debt to pay his client’s bills, which is the exact opposite of what can happen when you or I get involved with a lawyer. Twist.

Oh, and then Trump denies he paid any money at all to Stormy at all and has no idea where the $130,000 came from. 


Also, recently, attorney Michael Cohen claimed that his practice only has three law clients: the Donald; a Republican fundraiser named Elliot Broidy, who allegedly paid $1.6 million so that a former Playboy model would shut up about Broidy getting her knocked up; and a third “mystery client.” 


But then the mystery client turns out to be Sean Hannity, the Fox, umm, shall we charitably call him a personality? Except that Hannity vehemently denies he is a client, and equally vehemently denies that he ever retained Cohen, ever received an invoice from Cohen, or ever paid any legal fees to Cohen. 


And then the FBI raids Cohen’s home, office, and temporary digs at a nice hotel at Park Avenue and East 62nd Street in Manhattan — very expensive digs if your law practice isn’t making any money and is, in fact, shelling out $130,000 in unreimbursed funds to keep a client out of trouble. The FBI evidently took a lot of evidence of something-or-other. Cohen wants it back. And furthermore, Cohen is refusing to testify, invoking his Fifth Amendment rights. Twistidy, twistidy, twist.

So now, all these twists raise a question. If poor lawyer Cohen practices law for only three clients, two of whom pay him nothing, and one of whom has put the lawyer in debt via the lawyer’s home equity line, how does the lawyer make a living? Or keep a roof over his head?

A remarkable one-man 
McKinsey & Company

Well, along comes Attorney Cohen again, saying he has seven other clients. I gather they're not really law clients. They get serviced with “strategic advice and business consulting.” 

Listen,  I don’t know about you, but if I were after strategic advice for my business, I’d hire a business consultant like Accenture, or Arthur D. Little, or even (remember these guys?) Bain & Company. Or BDO. Or McKinsey & Company.

But buying business and strategic advice from some schnook of a lawyer best known for saving rich guys who get their dicks caught in the wrong ringer and then don’t even get legal bills from Cohen? I don’t think so.

So here’s what I wonder. Mind you, it’s not an accusation. I’m not even alleging anything. I’m simply wondering.

I wonder— only wonder, mind you — if maybe some of Michael Cohen’s seven mysterious advice-and-consulting clients are actually giving money to Cohen to pay the fees and hush money for one or more of Cohen’s real legal clients like Donald Trump. 

I also wonder if these could be Republican donors who support Trump? Or if not that, could they be shadow corporations set up as fronts by some Trump affiliate? 

In addition I  wonder if a “consulting” session goes something like this:

“Hey Michael, it’s raining outside. D’ya think I can sell any umbrellas in this weather?”

“I can never guarantee it, but in my opinion as an expert business consultant, selling umbrellas in the rain is probably a good strategic bet.”

“Thanks, Michael, you’re a prince. What do I owe you?”

“That will be $130,000. Oh, plus certain other fees and expenses.”

“Great. I’ll have  a check flown right up to you from the Bahamas in the morning. Oh, and give Donald my kindest regards.”

Again, I’m not saying any of this happened. I’m merely imagining that it might have happened. But such a setup, if it ever happened, might be a possible explanation of why the FBI raided Attorney Cohen’s office. And why Attorney Cohen has taken the Fifth to maintain his own silence.

Power up the washing
machine, boys!

Do I smell soap? You know, money laundry soap? 


Speaking of taking the Fifth, I’ll leave the last word to Donald Trump. Verbatim:

“The mob takes the Fifth Amendment. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?

Thursday, April 19, 2018

If robots assembled Ikea furniture like people do

The melting temperature of steel is about 2500 degrees
Fahrenheit — but that doesn't mean a robot can't melt down.

From the New York Times:
"...researchers in Singapore say they have trained one to perform another task known to confound humans: figuring out how to assemble furniture from Ikea.  
"A team from Nanyang Technological University programmed a robot to create and execute a plan to piece together most of Ikea’s $25 solid-pine Stefan chair on its own, calling on a medley of human skills to do so. The researchers explained their work in a study published on Wednesday in the journal Science Robotics."
Well, it's not as good as it sounds. Mr. Robot had trouble getting the screws in. A tube of glue didn't hold several pieces together as well as it should, but dripped glue on the new Ikea carpet causing a permanent and three-dimensional stain.
Mrs. Robot at one point suggested that Mr. Robot work on one the chair's arms instead of doing the next leg first. Mr. Robot said, "Goddamn it, Gloria, I know what the hell I'm doing. Stop trying to micro-manage me. I'm not one of the  jerks you supervise at your office."
Mrs. Robot furiously replied, "You always were jealous of my career, Stanley. Stop taking it out on me — and on the chair. You're wrecking that poor thing!"
"Oh shut up!" Mr. Robot countered. 
"Don't you tell me to shut up," Mrs. Robot growled. "We ought to be able to assemble a chair without my taking all this abuse."
"It's always all about you, isn't it!" Mr. Robot hissed.
"No, it's about having you put a simple chair together without having a meltdown, Stanley. Sometimes I wonder why I put up with all this..."
"Now look what you made me do," Mr. Robot interrupted. "You made me lose my damn wrench. Where's my damn wrench?"
"It's part of your hand," Mrs. Robot replied, icily.

Monday, April 16, 2018

The curious case of the lawyer who had no clients

Free legal representation for the rich — what a concept!
What are we to think of Michael Cohen? 

First he tells us, he paid $130,000 out of his own pocket for the silence of porn star Stormy Daniels regarding a certain bedroom tryst with Donald Trump.

Next Donald Trump tells us he has no knowledge of any such payment for omertà that Cohen may have arranged with Stormy.

Then along comes a raid on Cohen’s office, home, and temporary hotel residence — and whaddaya know? It turns out that another of Cohen’s clients is the Fox News commentator Sean Hannity. 

Then, according to the New York Times, Hannity declares, “Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees. I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective.”

The Times burbles on, “In a follow-up tweet, Mr. Hannity added, ‘I assumed those conversations were confidential, but to be absolutely clear they never involved any matter between me and a third-party.’”

Third party? He couldn't mean a female third party, could he? Nah!

Then the name of yet another client emerges: Elliott Broidy, a former Republican fund raiser. The Times reports, “Last week, it came to light that Mr. Cohen had arranged for Mr. Broidy to pay $1.6 million to a former Playboy model, Shera Bechard, who became pregnant during an affair with Mr. Broidy. After the confidential deal became public, Mr. Broidy resigned from his post as a deputy finance chairman of the Republican Party.”

The same remarkable article tells us that Cohen insists he has only worked for ten clients since 2017, and for seven of those what he was providing was “strategic advice and business consulting.” Whatever that is.

Which left Cohen only three clients to represent on legal matters. Moreover, it would seem — although I'm the first to admit there's no proof I'm aware of — that those matters relate primarily to his clients’ inability to keep their pants zipped, and to the expensive consequences of said inability.

Except, as I’ve already mentioned, there are denials from clients Trump and Hannity that they ever paid Cohen for any such representation — even though there are also attempts to enforce confidentiality agreements for which, if I’m counting on my fingers correctly, Cohen paid out a combined total of $1,730,000 for which he was never reimbursed. Or at least $1,730,000 that we've heard about.

What a fabulous attorney! He takes no payment from his clients. They won't even acknowledge he represents them. But he generously pays out million of dollars in hush money from his own pocket on their behalf, fully expecting, I imagine, that his reward will be in heaven. 

No income, no clients, oodles of outgo. It’s a business model that I’ll bet millions of lawyers have never even guessed could be profitable.

I suspect that attorney Cohen has given the term “pro bono” a whole new meaning.

Monday, April 09, 2018

When America was "great" the first time around, we didn't like it so much

Below, some recent headlines resulting from actions by the Trump administration.

Below that, a song of satire (circa 1965) showing how much American citizens didn't enjoy being great when it came to things that the Trumpsters and TLO's (Trump-like objects) are bringing back today.

Read the headlines. Then enjoy the song by satirist Tom Lehrer.

A mining firm executive griped to Zinke about federal pollution rules. The secretary apologized.

Michigan will end Flint's free bottled water program

Trump caps off a long day by letting coal companies dump waste into streams

Calling Car Pollution Standards ‘Too High,’ E.P.A. Sets Up Fight With California

Oil Was Central in Decision to Shrink Bears Ears Monument, Emails Show

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Is Donald Trump a "dry alcoholic?"

Put simply, a "dry alcoholic" is someone who doesn't drink, but who still acts like a drunk. Remember, Trump had a brother who died of alcoholism. And Trump steadfastly abstains from booze, we're told. 

The symptoms of a dry alcoholic? Well, consider this from the website of a rehab clinic called Northpoint Recovery.

Without these changes, a “white-knuckling” person who is still behaving in dysfunctional ways is jeopardizing their sobriety, and they are little more than a “ticking time bomb.”
  • Grandiosity/Superiority – A dry drunk is self-centered, in much the same way that they were self-centered when they were actively drinking and drug-seeking.
    • A constant need to be the center of attention
    • Acting better or smarter than everyone else around them
    • Playing the “victim”
    • Believing that they are so unique that no one could possibly ever relate to them
  • Impulsivity– Again, in much the same way as during active addiction, the dry drunk is unable to delay gratification. They want what they want when they want it, regardless of the consequences.
  • Judgmental –Believing that they are superior, dry drunks will see everything and everyone around them as polar opposites – “Black or White” or “good or bad”, with emphasis on negativity.
  • Intolerance –Related to superiority, dry drunks refuse to hear opinions or suggestions from anyone else. In their minds, they ALWAYS know best.
  • Isolation –Dry drunks look for and magnify differences between themselves and those around them. This “separation mentality” can leave the individual without a strong support system.
  • Boredom/Dissatisfaction – After the initial “rush” of newly-rediscovered sobriety, a person can get bored when they settle into a routine. When their sober life isn’t instantly perfect, they may even start to wonder why they got sober in the first place.
  • Nostalgia –A dry drunk starts reminiscing – inaccurately – about the “fun” that they used to have – freedom, drinking/drug buddies, lack of responsibilities, etc. 
Mood Swings– As all of these symptoms start to come together, the dry drunk can start to become emotionally listless and aloof – as if nothing matters to them or makes a difference. Alternately, they can overreact and blow up with very little provocation
  • Does that sound like, umm, anybody we know?

Monday, March 26, 2018

Revealed! Donald Trump’s (TOP SECRET!!!) next round of cabinet picks!

Let’s face it. The Trumpster’s cabinet picks don’t last for long. In favor one day, out on the street the next.

Perhaps that’s because that’s because Trump tends to pick people not only for how nutty they seem on Fox News, but also on how much like the Trumpster’s concept of the job they look and sound.

Rex Tillerson, for example, was silver haired, slightly portly, and dignified — but with a face full of sculpted character lines. If Trump had gone to Central Casting, he couldn’t have found a likelier candidate for the wise-but-tough Secretary of State. Whoops! Sorry about that — former secretary of state.

Former Marine General Jim Mattis not only looks the part of Secretary of  Defense, but also, as Trump pointed out when nominating Mattis, he was sometimes called “Mad Dog Mattis.” Hey, isn’t a mad dog exactly what you want to have in your Cabinet Room when you’re trying to scare the your adversaries into submission?

So okay, you get the idea. Crazy is good. Looking the part is even better. Experience and judgement? What the hell are they?

Now for the nominations. And please, no arguments that some of the nominees might be Democrats or Liberals, or even (gasp!) Progressives. Nobody in the cabinet lasts long enough to achieve anything significant anyway. So these folks, like the current and former cabinet officers in the Trump Administration, are just for show. Just like all the others who went before them.

For Secretary of Defense: Sylvester Stallone. Ultimately, current Secretary Mattis’s problem is not that he has a restraining influence on The Trumpster. It’s clear that our enfant terrible of a President cannot be restrained, despite Mattis’s “Mad Dog” monicker. We need a defense secretary who can also look scary. Somebody who looks like he'll put up with no crap. Not to mention, somebody who looks better than Putin with his shirt off. And who better than Sylvester ("Sly") Stallone, or Rambo to you, sucker, with his bandana wrapped around his head, tripod-less machine gun tucked under his pecs, blasting the living, streaming bibimbap out of any fat-bellied dictator who has the temerity to get in Sly's path?

For CIA Director, Glenn Close.  I know, I know, the betting would be on Gina Haspel, already in the CIA, who oversaw illegal black sites and evidently supervised waterboarding and then trashed the horrifying evidence. The problem is, Haspel, law-breaking sadist though she is, sort of looks like your favorite pre-school teacher, Miss Jennifer Bellebloomer, from the Wee Learners Day School. 

If you want someone who, as the Trumpster puts it, would engage in “waterboarding and a helluva lot worse,” you need somebody who looks mean enough to do it, and then to improvise some other tortures — say with burning matches under the fingernails, or electroshocks to the genitals. And who looked meaner than Glenn Close when she played Cruella DeVille in 1001 Dalmatians? I know, I know, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s wife also looks the part. But she’s only a former bit part actress with not nearly the kinds of reviews that Close earns. And that’s putting it mildly. By the way, speaking of Mnuchin, who’s been around too long for comfort…

For Treasury Secretary, Jim Cramer.  First of all, let’s face it, the man rolls up his sleeves. I mean, it's as if he only buys shirts that have the sleeves pre-rolled for him. With those sleeves, he looks like he means business. As if rolled-up sleeves weren’t qualification enough, he also yells, hollers, screams, sometimes even throws things. Better still, his bad investment calls and formidable lack of foresight match or exceed the Trumpster’s. Witness the especially atrocious advice below concerning a now-defunct financial institution. Cramer would definitely contribute to TCC (Trump Cabinet Chaos.)

For Secretary of Education, Carmen Diaz: Betsy DeVos is a nice looking woman…for her age. But that’s just it. Her age. When the Trumpster looks at women, twenty or so years his junior is better. Twenty-five or so years, better yet. And so on and so on, down to his daughters. 

That’s why I nominate Carmen Diaz, who isn’t a teacher but played one in in the movies. This makes her not only just as familiar with how to save our failing schools as Betsy DeVos but also — need I say it? — hot. (Diaz will of course need to sign a confidentiality agreement in advance of her appointment, just in case the Trumpster also has some other ideas.)

For Secretary of State, Jack Nicholson. Nuts to all that “diplomatic restraint” stuff. We need a State Department that can stop thinking in diplomatic cables and start thinking in dirty tricks and bombs. 

Jack Nicholson fits the bill on both counts whether he’s poking his head through the door he’s just smashed with an axe and announcing, “Heeeere’s Johnny!” or playing some diabolically evil trick as The Joker in a Batman movie. Nicholson has proven, time and again, that he can act as crazy as our president already is. So what are you waiting for, Mr. President? Sign him up.

For United States Attorney General, “Judge” Jeanine Pirro.  Ms. Pirro was a county court judge, in a suburban county, for two whole years. Prior to that, she made her anti-crime bones as an assistant DA, by (you can’t make this stuff up) arraigning a deranged woman in a hospital’s intensive care unit. It is not entirely clear to me whether the alleged perp, hooked to pipes, oxygen, and intravenous bottles, was even conscious at the time. 

All of this, and a late husband who was convicted on 34 counts of tax evasion and conspiracy, led to “Judge” Pirro’s true calling as a raving Fox News commentator. With Jefferson Beauregard Whatsisname heading for the wood shed for failing at what our President sees as the AG’s primary duty — to protect the president from getting arrested — Judge Jeanine ought to be a shoo-in, once she signs a confidentiality agreement. 

Bonus point: Sometimes “judge” Pirro looks more orange than His Orangeness. Oh, and look how neatly she tucks just under his chin. They fit together like a pair of orange Legos. What more could you want?

For our next National Security Advisor, John Malkovich. I know, I know, the National Security Advisor advisor is not a
cabinet post. But all you have to do is take one look at that rabbit picture — okay, stuffed toy rabbit picture — and you know Malkovich is Trumps’s kind of guy. I mean, if Malkovich could be that mean to a stuffed rabbit, just imagine what he could to do to the Ayaollah Khamenei. Especially in that sheriff's uniform.

   One day, possibly before he even knows where the nearest men’s room to his White House office is, John Bolton will stroll into a post-lunch Oval Office meeting with either chocolate crumbs stuck in his snowy white mustache or a few yucky drops of spaghetti sauce dripping from it. Trump will take one look, and that’ll be it for Bolton's White House career. Malkovich should start getting his security clearance papers ready now. I rest my case.