18 February 2019 is the Third Monday in February and so in the U.S. is the Holiday that Shall Not Be Named. It is referred to euphemistically as Presidents Day, or Washington Day, or Washington-Lincoln Day, and maybe celebrates America’s first president, or its first and twelfth presidents, or all its presidents, or something else altogether. Perhaps it’s appropriate that the sun moves into the wishy-washy sign of Pisces today, when indecision and uncertainty rule.
In the (fake) news it turns out that a Van Gogh fake, “Still Life With Fruit and Chestnuts,” is in fact genuine, being like other still lifes belonging to late 1886 and actually listed in an 1890 inventory. And it is being reported that the Dopey Don requested that Shinzo Abe, prime minister of Japan, nominate him for a Nobel peace prize, and the prime minister obliged. And in Florida a sixth-grader was arrested after exercising his first-amendment right by not standing for the pledge of allegiance to the flag. The school authorities insist he was not arrested for refusing to stand; rather he was arrested for “disrupting a school function”—a distinction without a difference as far as I can tell, since the “school function” in question was standing for the pledge of allegiance. The substitute teacher who created all the uproar turns out to be woefully uninformed; she was not aware that the U. S. constitution’s protection of free speech includes the right of children not to participate in forced speech that violates their beliefs. Where do these people come from, and how do they get into our schools?