Weekly News Roundup & Mulled Wine

 Join us this week as we discuss the return of Ben Carson (ugh), how there’s no such thing as facts (say it when clicking your red heels together and we may all wake up), Newt Gingrich’s apparent siding with Japan in WW2 on Pearl Harbor Day (I have no joke about this), and Joe Biden’s flirting with a 2020 presidential run (please don’t).

One Drink: Hey Look, Ben Carson is Back.

Dedicated readers will remember our silver lining two weeks back, where we celebrated Ben Carson’s exit from the national political sphere, as the former neurosurgeon removed his name from contention for Secretary of Health and Human Services. Despite his medical background, top Trump aids relayed that Carson “feels he has no government experience, he’s never run a federal agency. The last thing he would want to do was to take a  position that could cripple the presidency.”

Well guess what, folks?! This week, Carson formally accepted nomination to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, a position for which he is less qualified. One assumes his fabricated stories about trying to stab his friends, circulated during his presidential bid in an effort to seem more relatable, would serve as experience in managing inner cities.

This is an utter farce. The man ran to be president, then exited government saying he had no government experience (meaning he wasn’t committed to running for president, he was doing it for the publicity, sound familiar?), and now is entering government in a field he has less experience in than the job he turned down. And just as America’s inner cities were turning around.

Two Drink: There’s No Such Thing As Facts (Down the Rabbit Hole of Logical Fallacy)

The debates of post-factuality have reached a new high this week after Scottie Nell Hughes, noted CNN Trump surrogate, claimed on Wednesday of the previous week on The Diane Rehm Show that “There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore as facts.” Note here, I corrected her grammar, the English language being a noted weak point of both Trump and most of his spokespeople (an irony that has apparently gone unnoticed).

Despite the blatant absurdity of claiming that we no longer live in a world of facts, Ms. Hugues continues her appearance on the show by making several arguments, all premised on things she cites as facts. If you claim that there is “no such thing as facts,” you then have to find another way to support arguments you want to make that doesn’t rely on any of those non-existent facts (good luck).

If someone tells you that facts no longer exist, please explain to them how Advil is still blocking pain receptors, alcohol will still get you drunk, the Senate still has 100 members, and there are 50 states in the Union. All of these occurrences are not premised on magic, or acts of God, but on a series of defined certainties about the world around us. Facts aren’t going anywhere, however, apparently people’s understanding of both Logic and English, is.

Red Drink: Newt Gingrich, Imperial Japanese Sympathizer

On the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor, which killed two thousand American servicemen and launched the United States into the Second World War, in which nearly 300,000 American soldiers died, Newt Gingrich went on a tweeting spree praising the greatness of Imperial Japan.

Gingrich said “75 years ago the Japanese displayed professional brilliance and technological power launching surprises from Hawaii to the Philippines.” Coming from a prominent American politician on the anniversary of the attack, this is a tactless slap in the face to the survivors of a war that claimed so many lives, in addition to being a slap in the face to basic decency. If Trump is planning to revive the House Unamerican Activities Committee, this man would be a great starting point.

So let’s recap: close advisers of the president elect are neo-Nazis and Japanese sympathizers. I’m starting to think what’s really happening is that we’ve switched places with The Man in the High Castle, and as the characters in the show fight to rectify the timeline, we slip slowly into their timeline to replace them.

Quick reminder: Newt Gingrich served as the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999, and has been an advisor to the Trump campaign. He’s also a strong proponent of family values, and is on his third marriage, after cheating on his last two wives.

Blue Drink: Biden 2020?

Just… please don’t. After saying “never say never,” it sounds as though Biden realized the country took his joke too seriously, as he clarified he would not be running for president in 2020. Despite being the source of some truly wonderful memes, the last thing this country needs is a Democratic party that, over the course of four years of Trump presidency, failed to evolve to the point they tapped Joe Biden as their champion. To quote the VP, “What the hell, man.”

Pop Open the Bubbly: Big Bird Was Real

Scientists have finally secured proof that your imaginary childhood dinosaur friend is actually did look like Big Bird. A golfball-sized lump of amber mined for jewelry in Myanmar was found to contain a feathered dinosaur tail-section from what is believed to be a young celurosaur (think: pygmy T-rex).

The preserved sample contains not only feathers, but also soft tissue and vertebrae, the organization of which allowed scientists to identify the feathers as ‘dinosaur feathers’ rather than ‘bird feathers,’ which would enable flight. These are the first dinosaur feathers that have been obtained for study. As an added bonus, the amber had already been cut and shaped as jewelry when the fossil was discovered: perhaps the kind of jewelry that Rexy would wear, now that we know she has a flamboyant streak.

Let’s be clear: there are other things that happened this week that were awful. The Carrier deal was a bad deal (I thought Donald Trump didn’t make bad deals, but, hey), and a climate change denier currently suing the EPA is going to be the head of the EPA. You know what I want to be talking about? Policy to make our country better. You know what we’re talking about? Basic human decency.

I hate everything this week, except dinosaurs.

The Bartender

Drink of the Week: Mulled Wine

We’re getting close to the holidays, and the temperature is getting colder, so it’s the perfect season to mull over the world’s problems with a nice big mug of mulled wine.  You’ll need:

  • One bottle of a fruity red wine (you want a safe wine that’s flavorful but not going to overpower the spices, like a nice Merlot)
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves
  • One cinnamon stick
  • One large orange
  • Dash allspice
  • Dash grated nutmeg
  • One star anise pod
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brandy

Slice the orange into large wheels, and combine all ingredients into a large pot and heat on medium until sugar dissolves, without boiling. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until flavors have melded (about 10 min). Serve immediately, but you can keep warm on low heat for a few hours during a party.