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A News Cycle Nightmare

The latest chapter in the sordid saga of the churlish boor has generated a broadside that merits the obscurity this publication alone can confer. In order to bury it, we therefore proffer it to the world's scorn.

In deepest Alabama, where a literary Goth might encounter a collector of the fritillary moth, Flannery met Vladimir, and on that fateful day (this is just a rumor, but one I won’t gainsay) their notes compared, their souls embraced!  Right there in Anniston, where Bessemer held sway, their libidos went astray.  Their issue wasn’t chaste,  sad to say! 
Imaginations rampant, and specimens galore furnished them with characters never seen before: Humbert and Lolita– and a budding jurisprude whose militant devotion to apparent rectitude–  his well-thumped Bible, the Stetson that he wore, the pistol that he brandished from a ten-cent store– Proclaimed the Holy Advent of a truly flashy dude!
According to his humor, sometimes he would cruise shopping malls for majorettes; otherwise he’d choose to …
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A Halloween Villanelle

In Year One of the Churlish Boor (Parthian calendar), we received these lines from an old folks home. For the Day of the Dead, we thought they carry a weight of nostalgia for our moribund Constitution.



As settling ash congests a ruffled feather, Or weeping amber clogs the pages of a book– Our minds were sealed. They did not fit together.
Debating points perturbed our mental weather, We thundered and trolled; fingers waved and shook– As mental ash infests our self-awarded feather
We strain to break our adolescent tether, Romantic lust to keep a habit, a certain look.  Our minds were sealed. They did not fit together.
Our battle was a free-for-all, hell for leather, We fought to keep an innocence maturity forsook, As settling ash congests a ruffled feather.
Our contention turned on when and whether; We fled the haunting of a long-forgotten spook.  Our minds were sealed. They did not fit together.
At last serene, our elbows patched in shiny leather, We reconcile and marvel at the decades that it took– As …

A Lame Limerick

A reader from the wild west wrote to complain about all the Clerihews.  He said that ratio of Limericks to Clerihews should never fall below 3:1, L:C. And keep all of them them clean enough for our grandchildren to read. 






A dissolute lass in Dun Laoghaire Dwelt in a structure of Gehre. From her bedroom and den She had views of the fen, But her privy fronted a quarry?
                                         – Query!

Critical Clerihew collection

The following scraps turned up on a neighbor's curb, shortly after the trash trucks rushed down the street. Not worth the paper, perhaps, but preservable as digits perturbing cyberspace. Literary MemorialsDaphne du Maurier:
Her horrors forever grew hoarier. Of villains you’ll find few flawier: Whose tales could truly be sorrier?
W. Somerset Maugham: That Paragon of prim aplomb– See his outgabe ‘grafs get mome: His memory deserves a psalm!

Hijacked Heuristics: Trumpism and Social Media

A robust gag reflex has kept the Arrow away from his keyboard until recently. He had become weary of the sparse facts and copious coverage of Russian interference with the tragic election of 2016. At the same time, he realized how much the so-called social media were interfering with his social and intellectual life. For example, where he once kept a set of bookmarks that he used to log in to subscriptions or other sites, he suddenly encountered screens inviting him to log in using Facebook, or Google, with no other click available. Where once he relied upon a dutiful spouse or his  own fallible memory to remind him of birthdays or other anniversrkes, he now finds a reliable but officious algorithm of Zuckerberg offering a gentle nag about sending a pro forma happy thought or congratulation (since he was using Facebook to keep watch over family and friends anyhow). Insidiously, a commercial robot was providing him with useful nags, innocuous gossip– and a sense of trustful intimacy wi…

The ad hoc Regency

A very cogent and astute podcast:
https://www.lawfareblog.com/lawfare-podcast-benjamin-wittes-investigating-president
In this audio program Benjamin Wittes lucidly discusses  the mechanics of impeachment and 25th Amendment incapacity, as well as criminality and other grounds for impeachment in relation to the politics of our predicament. The give-and-take with the audience is especially stimulating. 

My takeaway is that neither constitutional text nor precedent nor existing practice adequately addresses the Trump problem. 
We need a mechanism such as a vote of No Confidence, to deal with discharging an incompetent, mad, and incorrigible chief executive (as Graber and Levinson have suggested), or emergency legislation pending adoption of another Amendment, to mend the gap so precariously filled by the current fragile and volatile “Regency” that governs us. We cannot assume that rule by our Regents can persist when their authority, much less their public recognition, rests upon nothing mor…

Madness, rapport, support and Success

A reader of the previous Muscovy Duck post questioned whether Trump should be called a closer, when he is so much more obviously a loser. Perhaps a nodding editor had distorted the text when he failed to flag an errant (c)loser, he suggested.
Prompted by that close reading, we will try to explain important distinctions that are too often left in the background in discussions of the Trump Regency, Trumpism, and nativist demagogues more generally.  First, we admit that we have chosen the somewhat antique usage mad to characterize Trump, the mentally afflicted 45th incumbent. In the political context, this is both a kinder and a more accurate term than crazy
Madness is manifested in persistent and obsessive anger, as when a chastised child asks “Mommy, why are you mad at me?” Anger is also associated with feelings of resentment, scapegoating, injustice, and victimization. Political theorists since Nietzsche bundle all of this negative energy into a source of political mobilization they c…