White House joins the truth squad
In an era when no one can truly trust the words that emanate from the president’s mouth, even the White House has to be part of the whopper patrol. During the G-7 summit, President Donald Trump tried to justify his ongoing dialogue with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un by invoking the positive impressions first lady Melania Trump has had from her own direct dealings with the nuclear-armed dictator.
“The first lady has gotten to know Kim Jong Un, and I think she would agree with me, he is a man with a country that has tremendous potential,” Trump told reporters Monday.
Rarely seen and never heard White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham sprung into action with a statement clarifying that, in fact, the first lady has never met Kim. Grisham did her best to put a positive spin on the fact that the president, once again, had lied.
“President Trump confides in his wife on many issues including the detailed elements of his strong relationship with Chairman Kim,” Grisham said. “And while the First Lady hasn’t met him, the President feels like she’s gotten to know him too.” Right.
This is country music, and fans love it
Finally, Lil Nas X and his hit single, “Old Town Road,” will get the respect it they deserve. After a little help from Billy Ray Cyrus, all of a sudden the Country Music Awards are taking notice.
Last spring, “Old Town Road,” which combined both rap and acoustic melodies, shot up Billboard magazine’s Hot Country Songs chart. The song rose to 19 on the charts before the magazine removed it, stating that it “does not embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version.”
Lil Nas X went back to the booth with remix guidance from Cyrus. The song set the Billboard record for 19 weeks as the top song on the magazine’s Hot 100 chart. Sadly, it never returned to Billboard’s country listings. On Wednesday, however, the song earned a well-deserved Country Music Awards nomination for the “Musical Event of the Year.” Billboard is flat-out wrong. “Old Town Road” embraces all the country elements — and then some.
Dancing with the dolts
Could “Dancing With the Stars” possibly get any weirder? The apparent thinking of some folks on the hard right side of the Republican Party is that, if they appear on ABC’s weekly dance reality contest, it’ll somehow soften those hard edges and make them seem more likable. Maybe even more human.
Recall the brief appearance by arch-conservative Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson in Season 3, which ended with a quick elimination. Carlson went on to erase any confusion about his humanity by stating earlier this month that white supremacy was “actually not a real problem in America” and that Democrats were exploiting mass-shooting tragedies to advance their political prospects. (Advertisers are withdrawing in droves from his show.)
Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas also tried but failed, flubbing fantastically at dancing, as in politics. Then there was former Texas governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry. Elimination came quickly and mercifully. As a consolation prize, President Donald Trump named him secretary of energy.
Now comes former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, infamous for lying pretty much from his first day in the White House. The big question on everyone’s mind is whether he’ll be able to perform the tango without stepping on his own tongue.
Two men convicted of lying about being combat veterans in order to illegally obtain benefits can get parole under an unusual deal offered by a judge: They have to write obituaries of scores of soldiers killed in action, then stand outside a veterans memorial on Veterans Day wearing placards with messages: “I am a liar. I am not a veteran. I stole valor. I have dishonored all veterans.”
The two Montana men were convicted in separate cases of falsely claiming combat duty and, in one case, a non-existent war wound. In both cases, the ruses were meant to get them enrolled in a veterans’ program that allows for lighter sentences for crimes that might stem from combat post-traumatic stress disorder.
Cascade County District Judge Greg Pinski issued prison sentences to both men, then offered the possibility of parole with the unusual caveats. To be eligible, in addition to wearing the placards, they will have to send handwritten letters of apology to several veterans groups.
Explained the judge: “I want to make sure that my message is received loud and clear by these two defendants.”
Former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the sadistic anti-Hispanic bigot and recipient of an undeserved pardon from President Donald Trump, has announced he’s running to get his old job back.
For years, the former Maricopa County sheriff built a national reputation for harassment, persecution and abuse of not just undocumented immigrants but Hispanic Americans as well. He housed detainees in sweltering tent jails that he proudly called “concentration camps.” His obsession with immigration enforcement let serious crimes throughout his jurisdiction go unsolved.
Those who challenged his methods were themselves harassed, which is how he ended up convicted of contempt of court. Trump’s pardon to Arpaio for that crime was clearly meant as a dog whistle to those in his base who admire Arpaio’s bigotry.
Arpaio announced he will again seek election as sheriff. “Watch out world! We are back!” he announced.
For anyone in Arpaio’s reach who isn’t white, the better advice might be, watch your back. (He will definitely not be appearing on “Dancing With the Stars.”)