by John Walters


Let’s nutshell it here, eh? The “retail investors” (read: millennials and middle class) are in steerage and the hedge funds are smoking cigars with Billy Zane. The stock market hits the iceberg and our pals in steerage are the first ones to notice.

Robinhood is the officials at the White Star Line, and they decided to lock the gates to steerage (not allow retail investors to buy GameStop stock) while allowing Billy Zane to creep into a lifeboat while cradling someone else’s baby.

The nutshell inside the nutshell: by prohibiting BUYING of a particular stock (but not the SELLING of it), Robinhood, which is supposed to act like nothing more than a referee or facilitator, is taking a side. And—SURPRISE!—it’s taking the side of Billy Zane.

What’s heartening to see this morning is that Robinhood (and others) has somewhat relented and that GME is up 95% in pre-market trading. Does that mean GME is “worth” its stock price? No, of course not, not by the fundamentals. But this is guerrilla war, Wall Street-style. And the rebels have figured out how to topple the regime. Love to see it.

Knife Of Brian

As written here before, we absolutely love MSNBC’s Brian Williams. Last night he took it to another level in excoriating craven Republicans. Although he could just have easily, and aptly, played the “Help me help you!” clip from Jerry Maguire.

The New McCarthyism

God help the GOP Congressperson who actually stands up in support of the Constitution right now. There’s a now coterie of cult leaders led by House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, who personally flew down to Mar A Largo (a name that makes little sense, by the way, since it’s nowhere near Key Largo) this week to bend the knee (or both of them) to deposed leader Donald Trump.

But he’s just the oldest member of the cult. Distaff rookies Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert are practically begging a MAGA cult member to assassinate someone. Butthead wannabe Matt Gaetz flew all the way to Wyoming to pillory that state’s congresswoman, Liz Cheney, for having the temerity to call the insurrection what it was: treason. Cheney, a Republican, voted to impeach Donald Trump and now they’re staging “Off with her head!” rallies in Cheyenne.Yes, the Republican party has turned against Dick Cheney’s daughter. We actually have seen it all.

From Russia With Rebellion

One thing worth mentioning as tens of thousands of Russians across the nation’s ELEVEN time zones have taken to the streets to protest the arrest and imprisonment of Alexander Navalny, and that is this…

…It’s January. In Russia.

It’s below freezing temperatures in most of the country today (and the past fortnight) but still thousands upon thousands of Russians are risking arrest (in a country without due process or habeas corpus) to protest. I guess some of my high school friends would refer to this as “populist rage” (yes, that’s an inside shot). I think it’s beautiful. Keep going, Russians. The world is cheering you on. And they cannot imprison all of you… unless Florida governor Rick Scott takes his privatization of prisons policy abroad…which, let’s face it, he just might.

Farewell, Miss Tyson

Yesterday, Cloris Leachman and today, Cicely Tyson. Two careers, two lives that are remarkable parallels.

Both died within the past 72 hours in their mid-Nineties. Both started out as nobodies whose startling beauty was their initial in (Leachman, from Des Moines, competed in the Miss America pageant; Tyson, from Harlem by way of the Caribbean island of Nevis, was discovered on the street and became a fashion model). Both were huge presences on TV (both won Emmys) and in film in the early and mid-Seventies. Both were stunningly beautiful every day of their lives.

Three pieces of work that I remember from Tyson, all from when I was a boy. The first and most important was Sounder, a fantastic film about a poor sharecropping southern family and their titular dog. Tyson plays the mom. The next was The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, the story of a black woman who is 110 years old in 1970ish and all she has lived through. Tyson won an Emmy for that. The third is Roots which, if you were black in 1976 and didn’t get cast in that TV miniseries, you fired your agent immediately. Tyson played Kizzy, mother of Kunta Kinte, one of the central characters (along with Chicken George).

For some of us Roots was the miniseries that made us hate the dad from The Brady Bunch… but that’s a different story.


by John Walters

Cloris Leachman

I discovered Cloris Leachman, who died yesterday at the age of 94, the way most from my generation did: backwards. I first became aware of her as Phyllis, Mary Richards’ hot-to-trot neighbor with the forever unseen husband Lars on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Phyllis was almost entirely unlike the only other Phyllis I knew (my mom): vapid, self-absorbed, annoying, a little too progressive.

Gavin McLeod, Ed Asner, Mary Tyler Moore, Ted Knight, Betty White, Georgia Engel, Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman

I did not realize, at the time, that she was part of the greatest sitcom cast ever assembled. I also did not realize that this part hardly showed off the Iowa native’s and former Miss America contestant’s real gifts as an actress.

At about the same time I was being weaned on the likes of MTM, M*A*S*H and All In The Family, Leachman was appearing in two Mel Brooks comedies: first, the classic Young Frankenstein as Frau Blucher (insert whinny) and later in High Anxiety as Nurse Diesel. For such a beautiful actress to portray twisted, sado-masochist characters and to be made up as nearly hideous in doing so, well, that defies type-casting.

Leachman, a Northwestern grad, excelled in these comic roles. Look at how her body swings as if on hinges here. And how she shuts her eyes as soon as Gene Wilder snaps, “Nothing!”

But it wasn’t until two or three years ago that I finally came to appreciate just how special Leachman was. It was then that I at last watched The Last Picture Show, courtesy of TCM. In a later viewing, hosted by Ben Mankiewicz with guest Peter Bogdanovich, who directed the 1971 film, Bogdanovich allows that after filming the above scene, the movie’s final scene, he as much informed Leachman that she’d probably win a Best Supporting Actress Oscar on the strength of her performance in this scene (with Timothy Bottoms). And Leachman, who was already 44 when she filmed this scene, did. It’s impossible to argue against.

Not bad for a former beauty queen out of Des Moines.

Trading Places

There’s a moment in the 1983 comedy Trading Places when the two younger fellows, played by Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy, decide to stop fighting one another. To pool their talents, and energy, and take it to the old suits at Duke & Duke.

How? By beating them at their own game.

Which brings us to GameStop and the events in the stock market of the past three days. I could type more but I think Will Brinson lays it out pretty simply below:

It was funny yesterday, watching CNBC and texting with rich friends, to see how patronizing and condescending the establishment behaved. Some trading firms even ceased allowing its clients to trade GME or AMC at points.

Why? Is it that they were really “worried” about investors or market manipulation or is it simply that the house was being beaten at its own game?

Me, I love ALL of this (and I’ve made no money off it). I love it because young people harnessed one of the weapons they know best (social media) and used it to come together for dual purposes: 1) to make money and 2) to save companies that have been afflicted particularly hard by the pandemic. In the process they found an unsympathetic victim, billionaire hedge funds, which actively have shorted these companies, exploiting their demise.

What’s not to love?

I don’t know where the stock prices of GME, AMC or BBBY will be in two weeks or two months. Nor do I care. What I do know is that the Robinhooders who came together to make this happen, most of them have far more capital at their disposal than they did one week ago. That means the next time they strike they’ll wield an even heftier hammer. It’ll be interesting to see how the lobbyists in Washington try to re-rig the game in their favor.

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

Where do they find talent like this? I don’t know.

Klan-destine Behavior

Three weeks ago an armed mob tried to wrest control of the U.S. government from Congress. They failed, but ever since most Republicans have not condemned them. Given the opportunity to impeach Donald Trump, the man who incited the riot, most Republicans are taking a hard pass. As AOC astutely states, “their silence is acceptance.”

Let’s not be fooled here: it’s not only about Trump. It’s hardly about Trump. He was just the cartoonish instigator. What it’s about is a portion of this country waking up (thanks, Obama) and recognizing that the future of this country, should it remain a democratic nation, may not be the exclusive property of white people. Here comes diversity ready to knock white power on its ass.

And just like those hedge funders above, now that white people realize that they don’t always get to win, they want to change the rules of the game (many of these people are the same as the hedgefunders, as you know). The only way to win the game now, they see, is through violence, intimidation and voter suppression.

Joe Biden seems to me like nobody’s fool. And a decent man. Who brought his German shepherds to the White House. I hope he’s ready for this fight. Because America is on the brink of a civil war, with the confederate capitol a dilapidated resort in a coastal Florida town

Philly, Special

May I have this as a poster, please?

In what might be a preview of the 2021 NBA Finals (or a look back at the 1983 NBA Finals), the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Los Angeles Lakers, 107-106. Each team entered last night’ game with the best record in its respective conference.

The Sixers were lifted by Ben Simmons’ triple-double (17-11-10…so he’s not an outside shooter, he’s still a contributor) and Joel Embiid’s team-high 28. The Lakers were buoyed by LeBron’s 34, which are easier to come by when the refs never whistle you for palming or traveling (watch the highlights, Susie B.).

Curious note: The Lakers are 8-2 in their last 10 games, with each defeat coming to a team with a Curry brother.


by John Walters

Can’tStop! Won’tStop! GameStop!

Move over, Tesla. There’s a new girl in town.

It’s simply crazy-going-nuts time on Wall Street—or should I say on Reddit?

We mention shares of GameStop (GME), Bed, Bath & Beyond (BBBY) and AMC theatres (AMC) on Monday. Here’s where they were at the end of last week and here’s where they are this morning:

1/22 1/27

GME $44 $283

BBBY $26 $43

AMC $2.90 $17.25

What’s happening, in a nutshell: Billionaire hedge fund firms announced short positions (betting on these retailers to fail) on these companies. And then Robinhood investors (mostly younger, certainly poorer) got on Reddit and announced that they were investing in these companies. That drives the price up.

The result is that the billionaire hedge funders are losing lots and lots of money, since they need the stock price to go down. In order to offset those losses, they themselves need to invest in the stock (covering their shorts). The Robinhood gang, meanwhile, like William Wallace’s men in that first great battle scene in Braveheart, are encouraging one another to “Hold! Hold!” The longer they go without selling, the greater the chance the stock prices continue to rise, the more the billionaire hedge funders feel the pain.

Hedge funds have already lost a reported $5.2 billion, which is more than the actual market cap of GameStop. Think about that.

What’s funny is now the SEC is investigating. What, exactly? Crowdsourcing? All these younger, not wealthy people used social media to work together as one (to make a profit, sure, but also to stick up a giant middle finger at hedge funds looking to profit off the demise of COVID-vulnerable retailers). This morning trading on some of these names has been halted or, like at my brokerage account, trading has been halted without any specific reason.

I smell a rat.

Earlier this morning a former SEC investigator, a lawyer, excused the SEC’s interference by saying that they just want to make sure that people aren’t going on Reddit giving bad information simply to hype a stock. He then said, with a straight face, “It would be the same if some hedge fund manager came on your show and promoted a company or two and then the stock price jumped after his appearance. If he were to do that specifically to move the stock price, the SEC would be issuing him a subpoena.”


For those in the back: HA!

This is a Revenge Of The Nerds moment in investing, and I’m finding it a little difficult to believe that some of those hedge fund managers (almost all of whom used to work on trading floors of big banks) haven’t been frantically phoning their influential friends on Wall Street or in the SEC and begging them to get involved.

This is really the greatest episode of Billions ever.


Remember when then-Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, just days after the attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol, said that he would not reconvene the Senate until after the inauguration? And remember when we said that was his ploy to avoid having to deal with the open-and-shut case of Donald Trump’s impeachment?

Well, here we are. Now he and other Republicans are saying that it’s futile to impeach a president after he has left office (it’s not, of course, for two reasons: 1) A conviction would prevent Donald Trump from ever holding office again and 2) it would also send the sorely needed message that, hey, you can’t incite a coup d’etat as a lame-duck president). Yesterday Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky) called for a floor vote on whether this impeachment trial is even necessary. He, his fellow Kentucky senator (Mitch) and 43 other GOP senators said No.

So, needing 67 votes to impeach, we’ve already got 45 out of 100 senators who want to dismiss the case before it begins.

And this is where we find our Catch-45. Seems that their reasoning is that, Hey, nothing actually of lasting consequence transpired (outside of the six deaths and dozens of broken windows, etc.) so why punish the guy? And so you have to ask, What would it have taken for you guys to agree that this was a punishable offense? And their answer might be, Well, if he had succeeded. But of course, had Trump succeeded, there’d be no chance for an impeachment trial, now would there be?


Now comes news, from @sethabramsson, that there was an actual “war council” at Trump International Hotel on Jan. 5. That a few senators, Rudy, Mike Lindell and others huddled to discuss the following day’s events. This is potential conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. government. Will even that sway 45 of our elected U.S. senators? Probably not.

Why not? Because they’re no longer working in service to democracy. They’re working in service to white supremacy. And they long ago realized that majority rule will no longer serve their interests. That the only way to maintain white supremacy in this land is through a subtle (for now) dictatorship. They hoped to suppress enough votes or to create enough misinformation with The Big Lie the past few months to keep Donald Trump in power.

They failed. Next move? The insurrection.

That also failed.

Next move? Do not punish any of the conspirators. Live to fight another day. They’re all traitors to this country. Make no mistake about that.


by John Walters

Tom Brady, Donald Trump, Racism and the NFL

Super Bowl LV (55), which is sadly not taking place in Las Vegas (seemed a no-brainer) will take place on February 7, from Tampa, between the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. CBS will air seven—count ’em, 7!—hours of pregame programming, four and a half specifically of live TV of The NFL Today, beginning at 2 p.m.

So we wonder, with all that time to fill, will CBS discuss: Tom Brady’s Teflon approach to media scrutiny, which includes talking little and talking even less if the subject is not football; his support of Donald Trump; the fact that NFL owners staunchly refuse to hire a black head coach even though Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh had demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that men of color are more than up to the job; the fact that both of Kansas City’s coordinators are black but can’t seem to get an HC job? The fact that the last time Tom Brady met K.C. in the postseason, his team’s owner began the day with a rub-and-tug from a massage parlor located in a strip mall located not far from where the 45th president of the U.S. now resides? Or even the continued blackballing of Colin Kaepernick, who is still 10 years younger than Brady?

Yeah, I don’t think we’ll hear about any of that. The Super Bowl is the most-watched television program in the world each year. They’re not going there, at least not more than in passing.

With Utter Conviction

Now that Donald Trump has left the White House (words we were not sure we’d be able to type in 2021) and the Democrats control both the House and the Senate, the Republicans have shifted from “Law and Order” to “Unity” and “Let’s Move On.”

Yesterday, SCOTUS ruled that Trump’s violation of the emoluments clause, which is, like most Trump crimes, clear and apparent to all, was MOOT. They dismissed the case on the grounds that… well, having read two stories about it, I’m still not sure. The plaintiffs seem to feel vindicated that their cases were heard (there were two cases filed against Trump) and that they proved beyond any doubt that Trump profited as president by doing business with foreign governments, wielding his office as a tool of influence, and SCOTUS seems to be saying, Yeah, but, now what?

And no one involved seems to be bothered by it? We’ll never understand why people keep issuing Donald Trump a free pass. The next episode on this neverending exoneration tour appears to be the Senate impeachment trial, where once again Republicans will play the “What good will punishing him do?” card while carefully omitting the fact that Donald Trump’s White House executed more federal criminals than the past 60 years of White House administrations combined.


Senate Democrats must pursue Trump’s impeachment with utter conviction. They must make clear, to use a metaphor, the following:

  1. There was, in fact, a shooting on 5th Avenue.
  2. We have footage of said shooting.
  3. We know the name of the shooter: Donal Trump.
  4. None of the first three items are debatable.
  5. Those who vote against impeachment are voting in favor of more shootings.

Two more items worth noting: 1) When you don’t need to call any witnesses because every Senator involved is a witness, that’s telling, and 2) When you’re a president whose sequel is not a second term but rather a second impeachment, that’s also telling.


If you’ve seen Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, then you’ve already met Missouri senator Josh Hawley. Young, smart, well-educated, handsome, well-dressed and, oh yeah, amoral. Hawley, to borrow a line from Bill Maher, is the son of a banker with degrees from Stanford and Yale who wins votes by professing his loathing of elites.

Find any Senate vote that is opposed to impeachment or the condemnation of Timothy Mcveigh or even the ratification of Janet Yellen as the first female head of the Dept. of Treasury, and you’ll see Hawley has signed on. He fashions himself as a younger, more cunning version of Donald Trump just hoping to inherit his base.

Here’s the problem, Senator Hawley: for better (but so much more for worse), there’s really only one Donald Trump.

Matt Gaetz and Madison Cawthorn are also auditioning for this role. They, too, fall short. Trump is sui generis. You cannot replicate it. You can harness the racism, sure, but you’ll never whip up THE BASE the way Trump has.

But Can She Do ‘The Jackal?’

We’re already smitten with the new White House press secretary, Jen Psaki. It’s as if someone created a real-life C.J. Cregg. You wonder how many times she watched C.J.’s greatest hits.

In case you’re blanking on The Jackal reference, and even if you’re not but would like to see it again, here it is. A classic TV moment that evolved from a bit Alison Janney would do in her trailer to kill time between scenes on The West Wing.

SI Institutes Paywall

Last year my former employer, Sports Illustrated, made news when one of its most handsomely paid ($350K…are you freaking kidding me?!?) writers, Grant Wahl, got upset. Seems Wahl suggested that his bosses were using the pandemic as an excuse to cut salaries (maybe he was right, I dunno) and he went public and was soon out of a job.

Today, Axios is writing that SI will, beginning next month, put its premium content behind a paywall. Which, to those of us who grew up subscribing to SI, makes sense. You should have to pay to read fantastic journalism. The question is, Besides Steve Rushin, whose byline regularly appears in SI these days that is so much more insightful and entertaining that you’d be willing to pay for it? SI and the rest of us are about to discover if this maneuver will work.

SI 2020: Pay Wahl.

SI 2021: Paywall.


Tweet-Life People (Whoa-Oh-Ohhhhh!)

by John Walters

Tom After Tom*

*The judges will also accept “The Bucs Don’t Stop Here” or “Back To The Pewter”

In the first NFC Championship Game between two Bay teams (with “Bay” in the names, as opposed to San Francisco Bay), Tampa prevails over Green, 31-26.

Yes, 43 year-old Tom Brady threw three interceptions, but the Bucs won. He’s headed to his 10th Super Bowl to be played in his team’s home stadium (for the first time in Super Bowl history).

The Quiet Superstar

We fans always overlooked Henry Aaron, who died over the weekend at age 86, somewhat. Willie Mays was the “Say Hey” Kid. Mickey Mantle was baseball. Sandy Koufax was the brilliant comet, the brightest star in the game who did not stay too long. Bob Gibson? The ultimate intimidator.

When I was growing up and becoming obsessed with baseball, I did notice that while Henry Aaron never seemed to be painted with those same brushstrokes of legend, it was he who was the game’s all-time leader in both home runs and RBI. And those were, and remain, pretty significant baseball metrics.

He remains the game’s all-time leader in RBI (2,297….Albert Pujols is 197 away) and as far as we’re concerned, in HR, too (715). I met him when I was eight or nine at the Monmouth Mall in Eatontown, N.J., when my parents took me for an autograph signing. If there’s a photo (or autograph) anywhere, I have no idea where it is. Stupid me.

Look Who’s Talking Now

In the past four days White House coronavirus experts Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx (the latter of whom is retiring) have vented about how deceitful the former administration was. This is news to no one whose TV does not have Fox News or OAN or NewsMax on its Last Channel button.

I’m not sure why anyone would be hailing either of them for these sudden fits of candor. Why didn’t either of them have the temerity to speak up when 45 was in charge? And what would have happened had he won the election?

Let’s remember something: either of them could have resigned and come clean with the American public. Neither of them did. They were accomplices, even if they like to think of themselves as conscientious objectors.

Dublin Down

In Abu Dhabi, capitol of the United Arab Emirates, American Dustin Poirier gives a lesson in drilling to Irishman Conor McGregor in UFC 257. McGregor, probably the most renowned—and infamous—MMA fighter of the past decade, was dropped late in the 2nd round.

Poirier, a bayou native, weakened the swift Dublin native with leg kicks to the calf, then dropped him with a flurry of punches. McGregor, 32, may be eyeing retirement soon. He has now lost three of his last six bouts after having won 15 in a row between 2011-2015.

GameStop The Insanity

When the history of the crazy, insane year in the stock market is written (commencing around March 12, 2020, the morning after Rudy Gobert was diagnosed with COVID-19, and America began to take the coronavirus seriously), a special chapter will need to be written about the latest phenomenon, the SHORT SQUEEZE.

Look at what has happened to these three stocks in just the past two days:

GME (GameStop): From $45 to $102

BBBY (Bed, Bath & Beyond): From $26 to $42

AMC (theatres): From $2.80 to $4.60

We don’t understand all of it, but apparently a few analysts downgraded these stocks and then the finance equivalent of the capitol-storming horde together and decided to pour gobs of cash into these equities. So that the hedge funds that (foolishly) chose to short these stocks are now being pulled by the short hairs. And so they’re buying in to save themselves from utter calamity (covering your shorts by purchasing shares to offset the losses).

This is why we never short. And perhaps we’ve explained this poorly. But when you have companies that are already way overvalued as stock shooting up 50% to 100% in one day, well, stay away. Blood in the water.


by John Walters

There IS A Doctor In The House

Tell us how you really feel, Dr. Fauci.

A Lion In Winter

At least Dan Campbell, new Detroit Lion head coach, stopped short of saying something like, “We’re going to poison the other team’s Gatorade coolers with tap water from Flint.” At least he stopped short of saying that.

Shaw Goes Full Mitchum Huntzberger

Did Shaq go too far (like, way too far?) in criticizing Donovan Mitchell on national television for being good but not great? Interesting side note: Shaq was a behemoth who could barely dribble or shoot a free throw (“Hack-a-Shaq”) and if it weren’t for his sheer massive size and the fact that officials feared whistling him for charges and offensive fouls would not have played in the NBA.

Anyway, this moment reminded us of one of our favorite scenes from Gilmore Girls. You almost never see this in a non-streaming, non-HBO TV series: the protagonist, someone who has never committed a sinister action, is told straight up by another, lesser character that she’s not all that. There’s no malevolence behind Huntzberger’s actions; he’s just being straight up with her. Disagree with him if you like (he’s right, actually), but this MH just drove a bulldozer through one of the show’s main conceits: that Rory Gilmore is the golden child.

Bern Notice

Wolverine Goddesses

A good week for female athletes at the University of Michigan. Last night Wolverine forward Naz Hillmon scored a school-record 50 points (and had 16 rebounds) in a loss against Ohio State.

And over the weekend anchor leg Ziyah Holman demonstrated the benefits of never, ever giving up.


by John Walters

From MAGA To Gaga

Yes, another old white guy is the new president. And yet yesterday was wholly remarkable and entirely refreshing. A palate cleanser (as well as a palace cleanser). It’s almost incredible to believe that the inauguration of the 46th president, Joseph Biden, took place on the same site where only two weeks earlier thousands of insurrectionists attempted to overthrow the presidential election.

Unbelievable days in which we live.

Two weeks ago, MAGA was breaking glass and beating cops. Yesterday, Lady Gaga was singing the national anthem on that same ground.

The previous president promised to “Make America Great Again.” All most of us hope that his predecessor does is Make America Good Again. Good, as in decent, kind, trustworthy, neighborly. We’ll all settle for that, no?

American Beauty

I didn’t know who Amanda Gorman was when yesterday dawned. I sure do now. If you have not already, give yourself to these 5 1/2 minutes. Again, looking back just two short weeks, a young woman from Colorado inside the U.S. Capitol, in the House chamber, was giving an oration in which she declared, “I call bullcrap!” And then yesterday this young woman from California delivered this creation of her own words.

Here’s her interview with Anderson Cooper from last night…

Feel The Bern

Nothing said “Watching my granddaughter’s soccer game in mid-November” quite like this photo snapped of Senator Bernie Sanders yesterday. It’s the picture that launched a thousand memes…


…and this…

…and of course, this…


I’ve been thinking about something for awhile now, but I haven’t made the time to type it up. So I’ll attempt to do so now. The timing of this is ideal as today marks the first anniversary of the first reported coronavirus case in the United States, in Washington.

I’ll attempt to make my argument in the form of a geometry proof. Please bear with me, as it’s been about 39 years since the last time I wrote out a geometry proof.

THEORY: The coronavirus was heaven-sent.

STATEMENT: An overwhelming number of Christians and evangelicals voted for Donald Trump.

STATEMENT: Christians and evangelicals believe in the power of God to directly influence events.

STATEMENT: An overwhelming number of Christians and evangelicals have seen Donald Trump as a savior of sorts, an instrument of the Lord to save the USA.

STATEMENT: Donald Trump wins the presidency if not for the coronavirus (I cannot prove this but I feel very confident in saying it).

STATEMENT: Donald Trump did not need to lose the presidency because of the coronavirus.

STATEMENT: The coronavirus was and remains a crisis (an immensely deadly one), but it also offered President Trump a unique opportunity.

STATEMENT: President Trump failed to seize that opportunity.

STATEMENT: It is not, nor has it ever been in Donald Trump’s nature, to roll up his sleeves and do the work. It is in his nature to make himself a priority, and in the case of the coronavirus a year ago, his priority was that he not be blamed for it.

STATEMENT: The coronavirus, contrary to what Trish Reagan believes, is non-partisan.

STATEMENT: If Donald Trump had only been willing to behave as a true leader should, to be honest with us and ask us to sacrifice (wear masks) for the good of all, he would’ve not only retained his base but even won over those who did not vote for him in 2016.

STATEMENT: Alas, it was never in Donald Trump’s nature to lead. It is only in his nature to analyze something as to how it affects him. In the moment, he ascertained that the coronavirus would derail his campaign.

STATEMENT: It is not in Donald Trump’s nature to be honest. Hence, confronted with the prospect of the pandemic in the election year, he simply lied about its gravity, or refused to listen to the experts, simply hoping that if he told enough lies or ignored it enough, it would vanish like E. Jean Carroll without a friendly New York City-based editor.

STATEMENT: If you believe in God and His ability to directly influence events, then He threw down the coronavirus not as a means to derail Trump, but as a means to test him. WHO ARE YOU? WHAT ARE YOU ABOUT? Politically, the coronavirus could have been an incredible triumph for Donald Trump if only, out of character, he had been able to think and behave like a true leader.

STATEMENT: The coronavirus did not derail Donald Trump. It merely exposed him for who he is. And since it is not something borne of man or a Democratic strategist, he had no one to blame but himself.

STATEMENT: The Lord works in mysterious ways.


by John Walters

Don, Con, Gone*

*The judges will also accept “Crime’s Up”

Let’s begin with Van Morrison…

On inauguration day, 2016, I suggested to my Newsweek editor that he let me watch the ceremony from the bar inside Trump Tower. The day was gray and I remember exiting the place wondering, with anxiety, just where we were headed. Trump’s speech was dark (“carnage” and “law and order”) and everyone inside the bar acted as if they were either judge Smails or related to him.

Turns out that all of our fears were well-founded. No, Mr. Pence, Trump did not get us into a foreign war, but he certainly launched one here at home.

But, we all made it. What’s your overwhelming emotion today? Mine is not euphoria or ecstasy or anything like it. Mine is simply… RELIEF.

President Trump boarding the marine helicopter on the South Lawn for the final, and we mean FINAL, time. Yes, that is a white power symbol he’s flashing.

All A Twitter

In this morning’s New York Times, all of Donald Trump’s Twitter insults in one confined space, from 2015 until he was permanently banned on January 8th. You have to wonder how much better shape this country would be in if @Jack had banned him at least two years ago. But what corporate titan has steel balls like that?

Let’s not forget how this all began: Trump promotes the birther lie for four or so years, and it gains followers among the disaffected white wing. And finally Obama produces his birth certificate and shuts him down. And then, in 2011 I believe, Trump attends the White House Correspondents’ Dinner where both Obama and Seth Meyers roast him. I mean, Jeffrey Ross probably even guffawed at the lines. And Trump had to sit there and take it.

And most people, myself included, thought, Well, we put that one to bed. But no: Give Trump credit; he got the last laugh here. And it almost cost us democracy.

I like what Te-Nihisi Coates wrote here (and I’m sure that makes him feel good, knowing I approve) in The Atlantic:

To Trump, whiteness is neither notional nor symbolic but is the very core of his power. In this, Trump is not singular. But whereas his forebears carried whiteness like an ancestral talisman, Trump cracked the glowing amulet open, releasing its eldritch energies. The repercussions are striking: Trump is the first president to have served in no public capacity before ascending to his perch. But more telling, Trump is also the first president to have publicly affirmed that his daughter is a “piece of ass.” The mind seizes trying to imagine a black man extolling the virtues of sexual assault on tape (“When you’re a star, they let you do it”), fending off multiple accusations of such assaults, immersed in multiple lawsuits for allegedly fraudulent business dealings, exhorting his followers to violence, and then strolling into the White House. But that is the point of white supremacy—to ensure that that which all others achieve with maximal effort, white people (particularly white men) achieve with minimal qualification. Barack Obama delivered to black people the hoary message that if they work twice as hard as white people, anything is possible. But Trump’s counter is persuasive: Work half as hard as black people, and even more is possible.

It’s Over: The Rainbow

Who better to put all of this into its proper perspective than Donald Trump’s new Florida neighbor, Randy Rainbow?


Here’s how much things can change in just two weeks:

January 6, 2021

January 20, 2021

“You BLEW It!”

Someone sent me Mitch McConnell’s about-face in the U.S. Senate yesterday in which he says, and I quote, “The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people.”

And someone actually thinks Mitch deserves a golf clap for this? After five people were dead and he knew the truth months ago? When I saw this my mind raced to a favorite scene, from Copland, in which Sly Stallone is Mitch and you and I are Bobby De Niro.


by John Walters

Tonight, His Count Ends

His commitment to the conceit has been impressive. Every night that Brian Williams has been on air the past four years, he has opened his program, The 11th Hour, by saying, for example, “Good evening, it is Monday, January 18th, Day 1,460 of the Trump presidency.”

Every night he has noted the day of the Trump presidency, i.e., the Klandemic.

Tonight his count ends.

Now, never mind that Williams’ show actually airs in the day’s 24th hour, he’s been our favorite cable news anchor during the Trump presidency. Understated, wry, extremely gracious with all of his guests without being obsequious, and occasionally, when needed, he provides the stinger. Simply the best.

Pillow Balk*

*The judges will also accept “Not Sleeping With The Enemy”

A number of big-box stores, among them Bed, Bath & Beyond and Kohl’s, have terminated their business relationships with My Pillow. Seems they find that having the founder and CEO, Mike Lindell, being photographed carrying an insurrection playbook into the White House three days after the attempted insurrection is not a good look.

Worth noting that Lindell’s previous wife, Dallas Yocum, divorced him after just a few weeks of betrothal. Maybe there’s a pattern.

Perhaps the stores should donate all of their inventory to the National Guardsmen sleeping in the Capitol?

Mall Of America

Two weeks after the MAGA ghouls and goblins marched the mile from the Washington Monument to the U.S. Capitol, that same space is awash in American flags ahead of tomorrow’s inauguration. Approximately 200,000 flags are festooning the mall to replace spectators who cannot be there due to the pandemic and, of course, safety concerns of Insurrection 2: Boogaloo Boogaloo.

By the way, let’s not forget this photo of Donald Trump rushing into the White House and forgetting all about his wife, while the Obamas see to being kind hosts (notice: His back is already turned to the trio). This after her husband spent four-plus years ladling out the filthy birther lie.

Neither Trump will be on hand at the White House to welcome the new first family. Probably for the best.

A Dagger From Steph

It’s a few years removed from the Warriors-Cavs battles, but we never get tired of seeing Steph Curry put a frown on the face of LeBron James. Last night the Warriors visited Los Angeles and trailed by 11 entering the 4th quarter.

They stormed back, though, taking down the defending champions with a 34-21 blitz in the final quarter. The exclamation point was the above three by Curry with 1:07 left. Kids, if you’re watching at home, this is what a legal step-back three looks like.


In the South, a statue goes up! And it’s another sign of progress. The University of South Carolina erected a statue to former women’s hoops star A’ja Wilson, who led the Gamecocks to their first national championship in 2017.

The following season Wilson swept all the national player of the year awards, was named SEC player of the year for the third consecutive season (a first), and was selected No. 1 overall in the WNBA draft by the Las Vegas Aces. Her speech above is worth your time.


by John Walters

I posted some thoughts yesterday if you’re interested

A “My Pillow” joke here just seems inappropriate

January Jitters

Have you ever been on a flight where the pilot came on the intercom to announce, “We are heading into some severe turbulence for the next 45 minutes. There’s no way to avoid it?”

I have. Buckle up, America.

It’s about to be, potentially, a perilous week. Two movie scenes came to mind as I thought about the week ahead. The first comes from The Godfather II.

You can go right to 2:35 here, through 3:05.

I do wonder, if it comes to it in the coming days or weeks, if National Guardsmen and cops will put their lives on the line in defense of our country… against men who look like them, who also come from this country, and with whom they might even share political views.

You may have heard VP Mike Pence brag that during the Trump administration America did not get involved in any new wars. What a dope. Right now if you are a National Guardsman or cop the greatest threat you face to your life is from an armed American, most probably a white male. Who started that war, Mike?

The second scene comes from Bridge On The River Kwai, and I thought of it as I read that the FBI is investigating whether has charged a woman for stealing Nancy Pelosi’s lap top during the storming with intent to sell it to Russia. I mean, how deranged have these Trumpers become that they believe it’s in America’s best interests to sell our national security to Russia? And so I thought of the moment of epiphany Sir Alec Guinness experiences moments before he dies. “What have I done?”

If you remember the film, the final scene has the POW doc looking down at the scene below him and simply muttering one word: “Madness.”

That’s where we’re at.

Brady To Brees

The most memorable moment of the NFL divisional playoffs occurred after the fourth and final game of the weekend. A pair of fortysomethings, two of the most prolific to ever play, meet on the field. One, who is retiring, is with his family. The other, who is not and has a game in Green Bay next weekend, tosses a TD pass to the other’s son.

The NFL could not frame a better ad if it spent a year trying.

Look Out, You Rock ‘n Rollers

Came across this old video of David Bowie discussing Lou Reed last night. You don’t like to go to this well too often, but he was assuredly a prince among men. Good-natured, thoughtful, charming, witty, hyper-intelligent. And that accent is so rich. Love it all (except the smoking). Stick around until the very end—or fast forward to it—as Bowie gets off a very funny line.

And here’s Bowie and Reed performing “Dirty Boulevard” together on the occasion of Bowie’s 50th birthday. Enjoy.

Give me your hungry, your tired your poor I’ll piss on ’em
that’s what the Statue of Bigotry says
Your poor huddled masses, let’s club ’em to death
and get it over with and just dump ’em on the boulevard

Pardon The Insurrection

The most pitiful man in America

The president is reportedly selling pardons and will issue as many as 100 of them tomorrow (my thought: small price to pay for the eviction). I do wonder if he’ll pardon anyone involved in the insurrection and whether that wold later serve as incriminating evidence against him when the event is fully investigated.

MLK: “I have a dream…

DJT: “I have a scheme…

Look, we all know Mr. Biden and Mrs. Harris have been preaching unity and healing and getting the vaccine out, and that’s all well and good. But what is also imperative is that every single person involved in the insurrection, from Donald Trump to Ted Cruz to Josh Hawley to Lauren Boebert and others, all must be held accountable. All must stand trial. You don’t just get to get away with this simply because no major figures were killed. Am I nuts here or do you agree?

From Michelle Goldberg in the NYT:

Making Trump face consequences for trying to overturn the election will not, by itself, stop the disorder he’s instigated. But it may be a precondition for making the country governable. “The time to stop tyrants and despots is when you first see them breaking from the demands of law,” said Raskin. Trump, he said, “has been indulged and protected for so long by some of his colleagues that he brought us to the brink of hell in the Capitol of the United States.”

By the way, in the past six months the Trump administration has executed 13 death row inmates. By that we mean federal executions. That’s more than took place in the previous six decades. That seems frightful until you look at the hundreds of thousands of Americans who’ve somewhat needlessly died of COVID-19 in the same time period. Yes, Americans were going to die of COVID-19. But probably 1/10th the number should have.

It got us to thinking about how Alex Azar resigned over the weekend as Secretary of Health and Human Services and pointed to the insurrection as having “tarnished the president’s legacy.” Oh, yes. That. Because the pandemic and the putting kids in cages and the 20,000 or so lies had not tarnished his legacy. His entire legacy is giant smudge.