Take Five (mad, bad and dangerous to know edition)

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ONE: I don’t like Mondays.

Not satisfied with simply destroying American broadcast journalism and inflicting possibly irreparable harm on the nation’s body politic, Fox News has unveiled its new Monday morning bloviator.

The very same week the network announced Glenn Beck’s program is officially circling the drain, a move which could almost make me believe someone rational has been added to what passes for their brain trust, Fox achieved a new low by adding Donald Trump to their stable of braying asses:

“Mondays with Trump,” a brand new segment where “The Donald now makes his voice loud and clear on Fox” on the news of the day.

Because, you know, who on earth can make sense of the news without hearing what Donald Trump has to say about it? But wait, you say. Trump’s already indicated that he’s running for President. Doesn’t that mean he shouldn’t be appearing on Fox News?

Rest easy, grasshopper. They’ve found a loophole for him:

[Dana] Klinghoffer, the Fox News spokesperson, said that Trump will be permitted to continue making the regular Monday appearance even if he declares a presidential campaign, since he is not a paid contributor. It would be highly unusual for a network to give a regular weekly forum to a declared presidential candidate.

Fox News suspended Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich as contributors in March ahead of their likely presidential campaigns. The network also employs Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin, both of whom say they are considering presidential runs.

Trump’s recent appearance on the O’Reilly Factor gives us an idea of what to expect, not only about his worth as a commentator on current events, but as aspiring Leader of the Free World. He summarized his Iraq “policy” in 11 faintly Palinesque sentences:

You stay and protect the oil and you take the oil and you take whatever is necessary for them and you take what’s necessary for us and we pay our self back $1.5 trillion or more. We take care of Britain, we take care of other countries that helped us and we don’t be so stupid.

You know, we’re the only country and if you look at wars over the years and I study wars, OK? My whole life is a war. You look at wars over the years. A country goes in, they conquer and they stay. We go in, we conquer and then we leave. And we hand it to people that we don’t even know. Now, who are the people that are going to be running Iraq? The person that hates the United States the most will be running Iraq. So, in a nutshell, we go in, we take over the second largest oil fields and we stay.

Somewhere on a quiet street in Houston’s posh Tanglewood neighborhood, George Walker Bush turns off the television, pours himself a pint of Jim Beam, looks down at Barney and says, “Why does a half-wit like this think he could be President?”

TWO: All the news that’s shit to print.

Speaking of George Walker Bush, I remember a lot of speculation that he would deep-six the prop ranch in Crawford once his appointment to the White House expired. Well, it hasn’t happened yet.

The New York Times recently caught up with Laura Bush at the ranch, and the former First Lady provided way more information than anyone really needed about life after Washington:

COUPLES RETREAT: George and I do everything together, really. We read at the same time. We go to bed early and read every single night. We have all of our breakfasts and dinners together.


ON THE PRESIDENT’S MIND: He’s always worried about our small lake that is stocked with bass, because he loves to fish. There’s always some concern: It’s too hot. It’s too cold. Are the fish not getting enough feed? That’s what he worries about.

Somewhere in a garish Manhattan penthouse, Donald Trump tosses the Times to the gleaming marble floor, does that weird constipated-looking thing with his mouth, and says to the skyline of New York, “How did a half-wit like that think he could be President?”

THREE: Grudging credit where grudging credit is due.

In an op-ed for the Portland Press Herald, Roger Katz and Brian Langley, two Maine Republican state senators (with the endorsement of six others) made some rather extraordinary statements about Governor Paul LePage:

As Republican senators, we all want Gov. LePage and his administration to succeed.

Yet, we feel compelled to express our discomfort and dismay with the tone and spirit of some of the remarks he has made.

Yes, you read that right.  Savor it, since examples of Republicans violating Reagan’s 11th Commandment are as rare as hen’s teeth.

What seems to have prompted the piece, or at least its timing, was LePage’s recent comment about protesters angered by his removal of a mural from the Department of Labor:

[An] artist at the rally suggested that people form a human chain to block the mural’s removal. When asked what he would do if that happened, Governor LePage said, “I’d laugh at them, the idiots. That’s what I would do. Come on! Get over yourselves!”

So I salute Katz and Langley, as mild as their criticisms were:

Belittling comments, whether they come from the governor or his opponents, have no place in Maine public life. By demeaning others, the governor also discourages people from taking part in debating the issues of the day – worrying if not only their ideas, but they themselves as people, will be the subject of scorn.

But they are Republicans, after all, hence they end their screed with a tidbit either delusional or disingenuous:

As Republican senators, we refuse to question the motivation, intelligence or humanity of those with whom we disagree. We pledge to treat our fellow legislators with dignity and respect, even as we engage in vigorous and passionate debate. We extend this pledge to all our fellow Maine citizens…

Based upon our recent positive conversations with the governor, we have every reason to believe that he will join us in that spirit.

Hmm. Katz and Langley don’t mention whether they have every reason to believe that pigs will fly, but readers in the Pine Tree State won’t need to keep an eye on the sky. Some things are just never going to happen.

FOUR: Bring ’em on.

Spring is here, more or less. Baseball is back. Paul LePage just got his ass bitten. Life is good.

In a telling example of the sort of thing members of his own party find distasteful about him, Governor Gormless recently invited lawsuits over his removal of the mural:

Governor LePage said if anyone feels he doesn’t have the authority to move the mural, “Tell them to sue me.”

He hasn’t been sued, yet, but he does have Washington breathing down his neck:

If Maine Gov. Paul LePage doesn’t wish to display a mural depicting the state’s labor history, then the U.S. Department of Labor says federal money used to create it should be returned.

The department said Monday that LePage violated the terms of federal laws governing money used to pay for most of the mural’s $60,000 cost when he removed the art work from state offices last month.

So put that in your fiscally responsible pipe and smoke it, Governor. Smoke it hard.

FIVE: Erections have consequences.

Governor Scott Walker’s penis-wagging bluster as he seeks to destroy organized labor in Wisconsin seems to be achieving the exact opposite of his intentions:

Lisa Theo cast her vote yesterday to join a union that may not be able to negotiate a contract for her and said, “That felt good.”

Theo, 51, a geography instructor, and her University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point colleagues voted in a two-day election to be represented by AFT-Wisconsin after the passage of a law championed by Republican Governor Scott Walker that would eliminate collective bargaining for faculty members.

It was the fourth state campus to vote in favor of representation since Walker introduced the bill Feb. 11, saying it is necessary to mend the recession-battered budget.

Hey, maybe some day Wisconsin’s Department of Labor will feature “Scott Walker, savior of the labor movement” in a mural. I expect the Obama Administration would be delighted to take that forthcoming refund check from Maine and contribute to its cost.