Bathroom Bill Rises Again

You dare to suggest that a special session of the Texas Legislature to address the “bathroom bill” is unnecessary, wasteful, perhaps even reflective of a deviant obsession? Fear not: a list of other topics for the session has now been released and they are likewise indispensable to the daily survival of all Texas constituents:

“The Confederate Bill” — to ensure that removed Civil War statues are properly housed in the storage unit for “Losing Side of Bravery” and not accidentally “Losing Side of Slavery.”

“The Leviticus Bill” — to prevent importation of consumer products combining a shampoo, conditioner and dandruff treatment in one bottle in violation of Bible verses about scabs on the head.

“The HDMI Bill” — to eliminate the dangers posed by a spouse unnecessarily pressing the “source” button on the remote and leaving you unable to binge-watch “House of Cards.”

“The ADHD Protection Law” — to protect someone from triggering your attention deficit disorder by sitting nearby and using one of those spinner things to treat theirs.

“The Infidelity Bill” — to prohibit people from literally applying the infidelity test in the biblical book Numbers (see Chapter 5, Verses 11-31). Caution: It is promised to result in an abortion in cases of unfaithfulness.

“The YOLO/ROFLMFAO Law” — to ban teens from using social media acronyms that you do not understand, that you then attempt to use yourself and which later subject you to extreme shame by said teens.

“The Seed-Not-Weed Bill” — imposing a state jail felony on anyone who might happen to get the dumb idea to try smoking, snorting or injecting Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa). Disclaimer: Don’t even speculate about it.

“The Adumbra Solis Bill” — to prevent burns to your thighs caused by your significant other borrowing your car windshield sunshade without your pre-approval.

“The Star-Spangled Freedom Bill” — to prohibit ridiculing those who have lived in the United States for over four decades yet still do not know the words to the national anthem.

“The Remains of the Day Bill” — to ban your housemates from the practice of leaving a tablespoon or less of ice cream in an otherwise empty container in the freezer.

“Bricked Phone Prevention Act” — to bar parents from attempting to snoop on a teen’s phone in the middle of an operating system update, thereby causing the phone to have to be reset to factory condition.

“10-2-4 Law”—proscribing the serving by public establishments of any beverage containing prunes other than Dr Pepper.

“The Local Control Bill” — directing city councils and county commissioners to adopt only measures that state legislators find innocuous and ineffectual.

“Polar Bear Protection Act” — prohibiting the melting of glaciers and any warming of the planet that would be inconsistent with the first chapter of the book of Genesis.

“Healthcare for All Texans Bill” — replacing state participation in Medicaid and Medicare with lowering statewide blood-pressure levels by banning the watching of Fox News and MSNBC between the hours of 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.

“The Magnolia Market Law” — requiring Chip and Joanna Gaines to continue appearing on “Fixer Upper” till tax revenue from visitors to Waco has reached $1 million.

“The Freedom for Firearms Act” — prohibiting Texas citizens and visitors from disparaging guns and those who use, own or contemplate them.

“The Anti-Umbrage Enhancement Bill”—banning the practice under which the portion of vegetables exceeds the serving size of steak on the same plate.

“The Journalist Protection Act” — making it a hate crime to fail to elect candidates who assault journalists for asking difficult questions like “What do you think of the Congressional Budget Office numbers regarding the latest health care bill?”

I trust this resolves any question about whether your Legislature is full of perverts who care more about political grandstanding than they do issues like the economy, educating our children and the struggles of hardworking Texans.

David Schleicher is an attorney who blogs at TheContranym.com. This piece originally appeared in the June 11, 2017 Waco Tribune-Herald, where David is on the Board of Contributors.

“Your Hair is Like a Flock of Goats” and Other Unpresidented Bible Verses

As I was putting together my next column, a Facebook friend urged me to get off my six-month rant against You-Know-Who. But what else—who else—to write about?

Though assumed by some of my readers to be a godless crank who never cracked open a religious text in my life, I actually grew up an evangelical Southern Baptist who spent hours a day in prayer and Bible study. Facing the difficult choice of my next topic, let’s reach back to a practice from my teen years: flip open a Bible to a random verse for direction. You may consider that silly, sacrilegious, or both, but I relied on it multiple times back in the day.

As someone who believed every word in the Bible was literally true, I accepted the admonition from the Old Testament book of Proverbs that “the lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” In other words, even the roll of the dice is in God’s hands. To me, flipping open the Bible and reading a random verse thus was not so crazy after all. Today I’ll give it up to 15 separate verses to give me an idea for a topic. (I’ll leave out citations to books/chapters/verses to improve flow, but doubting Thomases can check my work at biblegateway.com, using the New International Version setting.)

Here’s the first one: “Your rulers are rebels, partners with thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts.” Hmmm…let’s try the next: “People who have wealth but lack understanding are like the beasts that perish.” A third: “If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked.” A fourth: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” On to the fifth: “A tyrannical ruler practices extortion, but one who hates ill-gotten gain will enjoy a long reign.” No discernable pattern so far.

Let’s try some more: “The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.” Seventh: “the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.” Still at a loss; here’s the eighth: “A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will perish.” The ninth? This interesting one: “Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies.” The tenth—“See, I will make you small among the nations; you will be utterly despised.”

Curses—foiled again. We’ll give it one more round. Eleventh: “Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes.” Twelfth: “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own children or from others?” Thirteenth: “His mouth is full of lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue.” Ay mi dios! Running out of chances here…

Fourteenth: “When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, ‘Where is the whitewash you covered it with?’” One final chance…fifteenth…“Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from the hills of Gilead.” That’s a peculiar one. And very disappointing.

Fifteen random Bible verses and not a single one that has anything to do with the problems of the modern world. I suppose I’ll turn on cable news and look for a muse there instead. The columns won’t write themselves.

David Schleicher is an attorney who blogs at http://www.TheContranym.com

 

 

Because my previous columns were “trash”…

Letters to the editor correctly label my columns “boorishly inartful,” full of “vapid generalities,” “esteemed ramblings,” and “abhorrent.” Direct messages to me declare them “trash.” Readers rightfully urge me to be kinder and gentler to our president, whom we all agree (apart from his pride, greed and lust) is a good Christian man. The most recent such letter went so far as to unfavorably compare my writing to deceased American satirist H.L. Mencken’s.

Well, today all cries of “I’m melting! I’m melting!” shall grow quiet even from the most delicate of snowflakes these prior columns have offended. Today we return to the genteel days of yore, when satirists were less satirical and partisans less political. Today we search earnestly for a role model for my future columns from among our erudite ancestors. A no-obloquy zone.

First, let us consider the restraint I could learn from the aforementioned Mr. Mencken. In a 1920 piece for the Baltimore Evening Sun, he warned that on “some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” What a relief this will never happen.

Or I could further study William Cowper Brann, whose Waco-based paper in the 1800s had a worldwide readership of nearly 100,000. He was fond of writing things like, “I have nothing against the Baptists. I just believe they were not held under long enough.” He explained he could not be gentler because you don’t “choke a bad dog to death with good butter.” On the other hand, people love their dogs, so this may be one offense too far. (Brann would no doubt be pleased to learn that three blocks from where he fell to a bullet in the back has arisen in downtown Waco Chip and Joanna Gaines’ glorious Magnolia Market.)

Then there is our most famous historical humorist, Mark Twain, who once wrote that he would be deeply grieved to learn that “any large number of sane and thinking and intelligent Republicans” did not despise Theodore Roosevelt. It was Roosevelt who regarded it as “morally treasonable to the American public” to announce there must be no criticism of the president, so I trust he enjoyed Twain’s remarks as much as some understandably loathe my columns.

Or perhaps I can follow the lead of our Founding Fathers, whose political discourse had not been poisoned by the evils of social media. Take John Adams who — like all his peers — was full of nothing but piety and propriety. He described Hamilton as suffering from a “superabundance of secretions, which he couldn’t find enough whores to absorb.” Of our beloved first president George Washington, Adams declared it “beyond dispute” that he was “illiterate, unlearned, unread…” Jefferson shared the love, labeling Adams “a hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.”

I pledge a return to the big league, classy writing of days gone by. Ponder the description of Harper’s Weekly magazine of President Lincoln as a “Filthy story-teller, Despot, Liar, Thief, Braggart, Buffoon, Usurper, Monster, Ignoramus Abe, Old Scoundrel, Perjurer, Robber, Swindler, Tyrant.” Before the Deep State, government officials deferred to presidential power, like General George McClellan calling Lincoln “a well-meaning baboon.”

The ill will in past columns I pledge today to replace with the sort of compassionate conservatism Ann Coulter displayed for our prior president (and those with intellectual disabilities), referring to Obama as “retarded” and “The Retard.” I take a lesson from her big-hearted insights, like tweeting after the election that “Without fat girls, there would be no protests.”

I shan’t here mention the name of our current president, but I also might follow his lead. He reverently referred to his predecessor as “the most ignorant president in our history,” “a disaster” and “one of the worst presidents in the history of our country.” (I refrain from mentioning the Muslim, Kenyan, founder of ISIS stuff.) Future columns also shall heed high-brow commentary of other elder statesmen such as Lyndon Johnson. He said Gerald Ford was so “dumb he can’t fart and chew gum at the same time.”

I shall foreswear future ridicule of presidential hair, such insults being a tacky modern invention dating back solely to the 8th century B.C. That was when the prophet Elisha (per the Old Testament) directed bears to maul the young hooligans who taunted him with cries of “Get out of here, baldy.”

If you can’t join me in being at least that kind to modern leaders, I lovingly question whether you are among the “haters and losers” the world’s most famous tweeter so often constructively criticizes. Let us join hands and in unison affirm these wise words of support from a former leader of Haiti: “The president is here, strong and firm as a monkey’s tail.”

David Schleicher is a member of the Board of Contributors at the Waco Tribune-Herald, where this column originally appeared on May 2, 2017.

Leaked Trump Resignation Speech

Using little but an ordinary time machine, I obtained this transcript of Donald Trump’s Aug. 8 resignation speech. Disclaimer: he (or Melania?) might have cribbed some of it from President Nixon.

“Good evening. I’m speaking to you from the Oval Office. It’s amazing. Not as nice as Trump Tower, but classy. Really classy. Every decision I’ve made here is the most important decision made in American history.

“All the decisions I’ve made have been made to help the economy, whether properties I own, or ones owned by ordinary Americans like Ivanka and Jared. To protect those interests, I wanted to stay your president for as long as possible, until one of my kids could take over when I retire.

“In the past few days, it has become evident the haters and losers in Congress are tired of winning. When I had support there, I was willing to see the impeachment process to the end, to prove they’re all morons. But keeping me from getting embarrassed is more important than anything the voters or the USA need. A lot of experts agree with me on that. From talking with members of Congress, I conclude I won’t have the votes to get anything passed. Not even sneaky, middle-of-the-night kind of stuff.

“If that wasn’t bad enough, I heard that Putin has sold a video to Netflix. Or maybe Amazon. Taken in a Moscow hotel room. Sad! Before any of you see that, let me remind you that Putin is a Muslim who was born in Kenya. Total loser. The video is fake news. Never happened. And my hands are a lot bigger than the camera shows. And that’s vodka they’re pouring on me. I mean not pouring on me. Pouring on someone else.

“I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. My tremendous, very, very strong body. But I have to put my interests first. If I lose money, the economy goes down. And I pay fewer in taxes. Fewer than zero even.

“I can do better than be president. Bigger league things. So I get rid of the presidency at noon tomorrow. Mike Pardon will become president. I mean Pence. Mike Pence. I know I — I mean you — will be in his good hands. Not huge hands like mine, but somewhat big ones.

“He’s a good Christian man. The kind who will forgive and forget. Forgive even people who commit treason. A random example . . . say, having an enemy interfere in a presidential election in exchange for easing up a bit on sanctions. Mike’s a forgiving church person. He understands that’s not so much treason. It’s just alternate loyalties.

“If you have been offended by anything I have said or done, like having the hugest inauguration crowd in history, or keeping people who pray or look different from me getting in or staying in the USA, I deeply regret you are so easy to offend. If some of my judgments were wrong, well . . . they weren’t. I thank my family, friends in the FSB and Alex Jones for standing with me. Until yesterday.

“And to the haters and losers, I leave with no bitterness. I know you are just being selfish and calling it patriotism. I mean watch your back and stuff, but no big deal. Really. Try a good night of sleep.

“A lot of people are calling for some sort of monument to me to be built. It doesn’t matter to me. Whether the White House lawn. Or on top of the Capitol, or blocking the view of the Washington Monument. Any of those is good. Or all of them. I got no ego on this. Or Mount Rushmore too.

“I’ve never failed at anything and this is one of them. Like President Truman said, ‘The buck stops in my pocket.’ I pledge to keep doing what I have always done. Lining those pockets. Grabbing women by the poodle. The difference is you won’t get a news alert on your phone every time I do it. May God be good to you like he does for me every day.

“USA! USA!”

This column originally appeared in the April 21, 2017 Waco Tribune-Herald, where David Schleicher is on the Board of Contributors.

Letter to Waco Police Chief re: protesters

     Update: This morning (2/15/2017) at 7:50 a.m., I received a call from Waco Police Chief Ryan Holt, who relayed that he had read the letter, they were working on related matters internally, and that he fully expected what happened to have been a one-time occurrence. He identified Assistant Chief Mark Norcross as someone those planning protests might choose to contact in advance to address logistics and avoid the potential for misunderstandings going forward. –David

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Facebook Remix: Puppies v. President

My longtime Facebook friends can be divided into two groups, neither of which appreciate my recent online negativity about your president. The “give-him-a-chance” crowd loves the man and is irritated that I keep complaining. The remainder — the “you’re-depressing-me-dude” crowd — sees my posts as a steady reminder that Uncle Sam appears to have terminal cancer.

I likewise am torn between two fears. One, of becoming like the loons who for eight years repeatedly yelled about Obama being a Muslim Kenyan plotting to steal our guns and internets. Second, of being the equivalent of a German citizen from 1932 who, for many seemingly good reasons, quit speaking out and, with his entire nation, later came to deeply regret his silence.

The five of you who regularly read my columns surely feel likewise. Particularly in a week like this one, when an import tax might well deplete my supply of satire/tequila. With acknowledgement to the creative contributions of those who post things to me like, “Dammit, David, post more pet pictures” and “Catch yourself before you wreck yourself,” how’s this for a remix?:

• Yes, I’m vacuuming my cat in this video. She enjoys it. 900 hits and counting. Meows on command at the end. Small vacs and patient cats only. No dogs.

• Trump strategist Stephen Bannon attacks the media as the “opposition” and warns that it should “keep its mouth shut.”

• Check out how my cat and dog sleep curled up in a ball. They only do this in the winter!

• The very first presidential press conference is consumed by a Trump-ordered angry rant about the lie that he had larger attendance than did Obama’s 2008 inauguration. Size matters?

• Check out this beautiful sunrise view from my office window. Note the pinks on the edges.

• A Trump executive order excludes from entry (as if they were coming illegally) those already screened from the approval process of getting green cards or visas. Even caught up with someone who risked his life to translate for our soldiers in Iraq. The promised Muslim ban? ISIS is celebrating increased level of religious hatred. Nice!

• Watch this baby laughing video. So great. I’ve watched it 10 times. Isn’t that the best sound in the world? Right up there with a baby breathing while sleeping.

• More of the same ol’ BS about some great plan to be revealed for replacing Obamacare. In the meantime, goodbye to pre-existing-condition coverage, no catastrophic limits and staying on parents’ insurance till you’re 26.

• See how this kitten jumps off the ground when something startles it? Is it true dogs go to heaven but cats, at best, go to purgatory? Have you ever seen a cat feel guilty? Dogs do it all the time, so they must have a conscience. Not cats!

• A leaked draft White House order calls for studying the return of torture (AKA “enhanced interrogation”) of our enemies. Our “Christian nation” turning the other cheek? As the bumper sticker asks: “Who Would Jesus Torture?”

• Is your house shaking too? One heck of a rocket SpaceX is testing tonight! The sweet rumble of high-tech, good-paying jobs! But glad we don’t live any closer.

• Funding cuts coming for Violence Against Women prevention programs, NEA, PBS, birth control, EPA toxic waste cleanup and climate-change research.

• So gravity waves are apparently what are lighting up Venus’ atmosphere. Not those gravitational waves that were discovered. This is something else, but both are cool!

• Speaking in front of the CIA memorial wall to fallen staff, President Trump brings along a team with him to give the false impression CIA staff are wildly cheering his comments. He then falsely blames the media for his spats with the agency and brags on himself extensively. Narcissist-in-chief?

• Apparently iPhone 8 is not going to be able to charge from across the room after all. But might have a screen that entirely covers the front.

• There are no facts to back the claim, yet Trump says 3 million to 5 million people illegally voted against him . . . an expected excuse to make it harder to vote.

• Did you drive by that house that Chip and Joanna just renovated? So glad the gap in the foundation did not turn out to be from a sinkhole after all. When are they re-opening the Elite?

• Trump replaces a general and the director of National Intelligence on the National Security Council with his son-in-law and with a white supremacist. We’re doomed.

• Got to love those Lady Bears! #2 in NCAA women’s basketball! Aren’t the Men Bears #2 also? That new football coach is really recruiting well.

• A foreign enemy hijacks our presidential election for its BFF. From Russia with love. Hope NATO doesn’t intercept the naughty text messages.

OK, feel 50 percent better? Oh. No more than 25 percent worse? Oops. Well, then, in closing I’ll say #notnormal. Sad!

This originally appeared in the Waco-Tribune Herald on February 5, 2016, where David is a member of the Board of Contributors