“And break out the plaster for the traction cast….”

January 4, 2023

(The poet Tim Reynolds “superimposed” himself on a photograph of a certain Wall Street character. This item was generated by Tim Reynolds and shared with me by him many years ago. It’s well nigh time it surfaced.)

Decades ago, the L.A. Times had a very savvy group of writers at work: Robert Kirsch reviewed the books; Jim Murray wisecracked about sports events with metaphorical ingenuity; and Joseph Conrad was a master of political cartoons. These three made it worthwhile to subscribe to the paper.

If I knew someone who could draw like Conrad, I would hire them on the spot for a cartoon in which an elephant is in double-wide bed in a hospital emergency room. The elephant has a hind leg up in a halter which is hanging from a wench chain attached to the inner edge of a Capitol-like dome. The leg is obviously wrenched and splayed. A nurse to the side with a Donkey emblem on her uniform says, “Break out the plaster for the traction cast.”

Just in case you’re wondering what the obstructionists in the GOP want, here are some of the highlights: dismantling the IRS and jettisoning the income tex in favor of a consumer tax (gee, guess who that would benefit the most?) and a federal balanced budget (guess how much the Pentagon’s budget would be reduced under that scheme?).

Jokes aside, it is staggering to see a political party that supported an insurrection against America’s democracy now find itself incapable of agreeing on who should be speaker of the house.

In point of fact, the Constitution of the United States does not say that the Speaker of the House has to be a member of the House of Representatives or ever have served in any political office whatsoever. Furthermore, it doesn’t say anything about where the Speaker of the House must have been born in order to serve, although the line of succession to the Presidency would be affected by the Speaker’s place of birth.

It’s possible, therefore, that John Boehner or Paul Ryan could serve as Speaker of the House as a compromise candidate. The former is 73 years old, while the latter is in his early 50s. Now there’s an outcome that has almost no chance of happening, and yet one is hard pressed to figure out what other options are available.

In the meantime, McCarthy’s home state is facing a storm that promises to disrupt air traffic. The atmospheric river that is the source of the storm has yet to be according a proper noun. The seriousness of the storm can be gauged by the email I received from United Airlines yesterday evening around 6 p.m.

“Important information about your trip
Severe storms across the San Francisco Bay Area have the potential to cause disruptions to our operation, including flight delays or cancellations. As of now, there are no changes to your itinerary. We will notify you if this occurs.”

And, pray tell, exactly WHEN will that notification arrive? If one needs to be at the airport two hours before boarding time in order to get through security, how soon will passengers know about their flight status, given that they will need to allot at least an hour, if not two, to drive to the airport through traffic in rain?

Governor Newsom has declared a state of emergency, but LAX is undaunted by the unfriendly skies. Full speed ahead.

Weather forecasters are producing that this winter must end up resembling the one in 1997-1998, “a season that ended with 17 deaths and more than half a billion dollars in damage in California.”


The problem with this comparison is that the southern most portion of Southern California got hardly any rain at all in the winter of 97-98. In fact, the autumn of 1997 was brutally warm throughout Southern California. I was in San Diego at that time, and I remember wondering if the sun had actually gotten hotter. It was very warm straight through the end of November, with Thanksgiving day being no exception. Yes, L.A. had a exceptionally wet February, but I don’t remember the majority of those storms making their way down to Imperial Beach with any significant amount of precipitation.

This winter has been unusual so far in having the entire coast of California getting well doused. Let’s hope ti continues at a steady pace.

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