After Impeachment

Let’s face it; it’s going to take more than a basic impeachment hearing to properly clean up after the insurrection attempt earlier this month. Punishing El Presidente by permanently barring him from holding federal office ever again won’t be enough. We’re going to need hearings on a scale we’ve never seen before.

We need something like the 9/11 Commission to identify the security failures that let the mob get as far into the Capitol as they did – and propose valid fixes to those failures.

We’ll need something on the order of the Kefauver Crime Committee that will treat the Q-Anon people, “Proud Boys”, and other such groups as organized crime so we can find them and root them out. Political disagreements are fine – but not turning to violence to get your way.

And, given that there are still people in Congress who still refuse to acknowledge reality, and that there are reports that the mob had help on the inside, we need a version of the Watergate hearings to clear the rot out of the federal government. If members of Congress need to be censured or even expelled for their role in the insurrection, so be it. They broke their oath of office; they should suffer the consequences.

Censure and the Insurrection

I just sent this off to my senators (both Democrats, naturally). While I cannot expect them to personally read it, someone in their offices might….

Dear Senator:

Like you and all decent people, I was appalled at what happened yesterday (January 6). I am relieved to know that neither you nor any of your colleagues or staff were harmed in the insurrection.

However, I have a feeling of dismay that the entire disgraceful and shameful day may be passed over without any action being taken to punish those who, if they did not incite the events, at least aided and abetted them.

By supporting and even promoting the baseless claims of a fraudulent election, these Senators can be legitimately accused of seditious conspiracy (18 U.S. Code § 2384):

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO)
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Sen. James Lankford (R-OK)
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT)
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA)
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN)
Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)
Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS)
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS)
Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN)
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL)

I understand that it requires a 2/3 vote of the Senate to expel a member. I am too pragmatic to expect that to happen.

A Resolution of Censure, however, only requires a simple majority. I STRONGLY encourage you to pursue that option.

At the very least, the senators listed above should be stripped of all their committee assignments. I don’t think you need a vote to do that.

2020 in Review

Well….

That was….a year…..

And as usual, it’s time to review the past year at Pure Blather.

I managed 55 posts. Fewer than previous years, but not as few as I thought. The Olympics were postponed; the baseball season was cut short; I didn’t find as much inspiration to talk politics as I thought I would (I had very little to add to what the mainstream sources were saying); I didn’t have the handful of posts about vacations and travel…. I probably just wrote about some of the “filler” topics I keep in reserve. I do need to refill that reserve – it’s pretty empty right now….

Even though I had my fewest posts, I still had the largest number of visitors (3,339) and page views (4,464) ever. A big surge since last year, too. Maybe I’m just promoting this place a bit more – at places where people are going to read my comments and stop by here for a visit.

That self-promotion must have affected the Top Five Post for 2020:

5. Baseball is Killing Itself (June 5) – 23 views
4. Those Election Maps (November 6) – 27 views
3. Movie Review: The Gamera Trilogy (May 8) – 50 views
2. Scrooge & Marley (December 8) – 68 views
1. The Gallifrey Conundrum (January 29) – 109 views

How else can one explain one of my last posts of the year getting so many views? I did brag about “Scrooge & Marley” quite a bit – I’d say it’s my favorite post of the year.

“Indiana Jones and the Top Men” is still my most viewed post all time. No other one is even close.

I’ve had visitors from all over the world. I’d like to have a “per capita” number, but that’s a bit much to ask from WordPress when you’re too lazy to figure it out yourself. But it is kind of odd to find that you’ve had 31 visitors from tiny Singapore, and only 3 from all of Russia…. Eh, I shouldn’t spend too much time on that. Who knows how many of those are actual humans and not bots….

As far as 2021, we’ll see. I’m hoping the libraries will open up so I can have access to real books and not just e-book versions of things in the public domain. It would be nice to talk more about baseball – and the Olympics. I’m hoping I’ll be able to keep up the one post per week rate, but if not….blame it on my trying to learn this new and annoying “Block Editor” here at WordPress.

It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over

There’s a lot to like about this time of year. But one thing that always annoys me is that people start publishing their “Best of the Year” lists well before the year is over. I understand that they need to get their articles out there, and that when we put up our new calendars, everyone is looking forward rather than backward. But with two or even three weeks left in the year? That’s plenty of time for things to happen. I get that you may want to give your writers the holidays off. But that’s no reason you can’t write up the articles and then publish them in the week between Christmas and New Year’s.

Anyway, for me this will be my last post of 2020. I haven’t posted as frequently as I have in previous years; I can only note that I almost always get five or six posts out of reporting on my vacation – and this year, well, travel was out of the question. The baseball season was drastically shortened, so that took care of one source of inspiration. Libraries have been closed for most of the year, so my reading has dropped off (you’ll note that most of the books I reviewed were public domain works that are available for free online).

I also found I didn’t really have much to say about the presidential campaign and election that wasn’t already said in the real media – and better than I could have done, anyway.

So I’m going to take it easy for the next two weeks. Watch some movies online, read some more free e-books, and figure out how to use this new editor at WordPress. Typing text is easy; it’s going to be formatting and adding media that’ll be the hard part.

Enjoy whatever holiday you’re celebrating, and I’ll see you on the other side!

Movie Review: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (UK, 1965)

Spy flicks (i.e. international intrigue movies) generally fall into one of two major categories. There’s the big budget action adventure type, with gadgets galore, eye-popping stunts, and exotic locations. Then you’ve got the low-key types that rely more on mood and the personal challenges and drama of the characters. The former are the James Bond and Mission: Impossible movies; the latter are the lesser known relics of the Cold War era that are generally treated as more like mysteries than tales of international espionage.

John le Carré is a master of the second type. Like Ian Fleming, he worked for British Intelligence, but rather than write what are little more than glorified “Mary Sue” stories, he got down and dirty in all the more boring and unpleasant aspects of the game.

Spy” is one of his best works, and was turned into one of the best movies of the genre.

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Scrooge and Marley

“A Christmas Carol in Prose” by Charles Dickens has got to be one of the most popular short novels of all time. It’s been adapted hundreds of times; the story is a simple one of personal growth and redemption – and there’s extremely little religion in it.

It also helps that it’s old enough to be in the public domain, so anyone can do whatever they want with it.

Most adaptations neglect to expand on one part of the story. True, it’s not really that important, but let’s take a look at it anyway.

What sort of business is Ebenezer Scrooge in, and can we discover anything new about the character by examining that aspect?
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A Krampus Mix For You

It’s that time of year again.

This year, I thought I’d do something different – and make a playlist of songs about people who aren’t that keen on the holiday, for whatever reason. Or songs to that effect.

There’s nothing gross. Aside from being overplayed, “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” is pretty sick, when you get right down to it. Nothing depressing here, either. They may be great songs, but Stan Rogers’ “First Christmas” and Tom Waits’ “Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis” are rather bleak….

I also note that animated TV shows have been doing some fun things in this vein; I’ve included three songs from that medium.

Oh, and to heck with Festivus, and Krampus is already tired. If you want to do something different for the holiday season, there are plenty of other non-standard Christmas traditions out there – like Wassail – that are available for you to try.

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Cheating

The new Hall of Fame ballot is out, and it’s not very impressive. There are no new superstars on it; the best candidates are holdovers in their next to last year: Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens.

While all their numbers warrant inclusion, they all have problems.

Schilling is an unmitigated jerk, and hasn’t shown any signs of moderating his comments. Bonds and Clemens have been accused of using performance enhancing drugs, and have yet to come clean about it.

Whenever their cases come up, Bonds and Clemens are always accused of being “cheaters”; and, according to their detractors, that should automatically disqualify them from Hall of Fame consideration.

But what is “cheating”, and should it be an automatic disqualifier?

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The 2021 Hall of Fame Ballot

It’s that time of year again. The 2021 Hall of Fame ballot has been announced.

With no obvious inductees this year, pretty much all of the discussion will be about Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens – for reasons that I don’t intend to go into here.

As seems to be a typical thing for me, I’d like to have a round of applause for the “new guys” on the ballot. You need to have been in the “bigs” for at least ten years; to last that long is a significant accomplishment. And even if they don’t make it to a second year on the ballot, they’ve all got something in their careers to be proud of.

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Movie Review: Zulu (1964, UK)

War movies are an interesting genre for the film buff. Not for the action and adventure, or the visual recounting of history, but that the movie reflects the attitudes towards war in the time and place it was made. Movies made during a war tend to be all patriotic and supportive of the troops; movies made near the end of a long and “questionable” (to put it one way) war tend to be dark comedies or biting satires of the military. Movies made in peacetime can be either, but they also tend to reflect the attitudes of the time the movie was made towards the history of the war – historical accuracy be damned.

Zulu is one of the latter. It shows the Battle of Rorke’s Drift in January, 1879, during the Anglo-Zulu War. A contingent of some 150 British troops at what was basically an outpost consisting of little more than a supply depot, a church, and what could be called a hospital with only the greatest amount of charity held off an assault by around four thousand Zulu warriors. That’s going to be great drama and action, as long as you show it with even modest accuracy and competence.

But what of the politics?

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