Sunday Morning Video: Who Killed Jimmy Hoffa?

When PBS aired this installment of History Detectives I was dubious. But guess what? They’ve developed a plausible explanation of who was behind the hit and who pulled the trigger. They also spared us all the where’s Hoffa buried stuff, which became tiresome quite some time ago.

 

$72 million liars and Whacko Wayne

I was once an owner of two professional sports teams, I often tell my students.

It’s true, as I owned stock in the Cleveland Indians (when Dick Jacobs took the team public for a few years in the late 1990s and early 2000s) and the Green Bay Packers.

It’s one of those outlandish claims that I used to prove a point: Just because it sounds too good to be true, it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Conversely, something being accurate isn’t the same as something being truthful.

In either case, don’t take a source’s statements at face value. Look the shit up. Challenge the assumption. Make sure you are sure.

A lot has been written about Jessica Pressler and her story for New York magazine about Mohammed Islam. The 17-year-old claimed he made $72 million trading stocks on his lunch break and the reporter fell for it hook, line and sinker.

As quickly as the news broke, the story unraveled when other journalists started poking holes in the reporting and Islam and his friend, Damir Tulemaganbetov, admitted they made it all up.

Immediately, two factions emerged. First, the 83 percent of the Twitterverse went nuts basically equating Pressler with the reporters who looked the other way while Bush 43 fed them the “WMDs are sold at Iraq 7-11s and we’re just sitting here” lines. Second, reporters, former reporters, bloggers and other people along those lines who told their own “I’ve been there” stories about sources who fucked them over.

In the interest of full disclosure, I had my own house of cards moment as a reporter many years ago.

I was about 21 and working a night desk shift when I got a call from a guy named Wayne. He told me about an incident where he brought his girlfriend back to her place, only to be confronted by the woman’s ex-boyfriend. The ex had a gun and threatened them, at which point Wayne distracted the guy so the woman could run into the house and call 9-1-1.

When the cops arrived, the ex pointed the gun at them (or at himself, my memory being fuzzy with age) and the cops shot/arrested/did something to the guy and hauled his ass off to jail.

I did what anyone would do in that position as a reporter: I called the cops. They verified the ex angle, the arrest and named the guy. They wouldn’t give me the name of the girl or anyone else there, but the stuff I figured I could be sued for matched Wayne’s story. I attributed most of the stuff to the cops, added Wayne’s color stuff and ran the story.

The next day, the unnamed woman called. She read our story and figure out it was about her and she was irate. She said the stuff about the cops and the ex was true, but she didn’t have a boyfriend and wasn’t sure who the hell this Wayne guy was.

I was trying to figure out what happened by working through this with several editors when one of the copy desk vets came over and said, “Oh… that’s ‘Whacko Wayne!’”

Turns out, this guy had a police scanner and would listen to it all night. He would then find a story that was great on the scanner, insert himself into it as a hero and call local media outlets. He apparently got on TV a couple times, on the radio a few more and even made our paper before.

I had just gotten my “Whacko Wayne” cherry popped, apparently.

Was there anything else I could have done? Probably not.

Did that make me any less liable? Not entirely.

Did I feel OK? Shit no.

Other stories I have read fell into that same kind of pattern: Someone had a semi-plausible story, the reporter was pretty much a cub and people all got a good laugh out of the youn’un getting fucked over by a source.

Sure, we’ve “all been there” when it comes to having that moment of journalistically stepping on our dicks. But that’s not Pressler’s problem and it’s not why even with that sense of fuck-up camaraderie I just shared would I side with her in this debacle.

First, she’s not a rookie. According to her LinkedIn profile, she spent two years as a staff writer at Philadelphia magazine and the last seven at New York magazine, where she is now listed as a senior editor. She had a job lined up at Bloomberg News’s investigative unit, before the shit hit the fan with the Islam story and the news outlet rescinded the offer.

Think about this: A SENIOR EDITOR who was set to work the INVESTIGATIVE UNIT at BLOOMBERG got easily snowed by a 17-year-old who claimed he made $72 million trading stocks. Yes, anyone can fuck up but how did that not set off any alarm bells? Most of the war stories reporters traded after the Pressler disaster centered on much more plausible fuck-ups. They didn’t check to see if someone had the MBA he claimed to have earned or they didn’t verify the age of the woman who said she was the youngest member of some group. Even the Rolling Stone story, which fell apart pretty quickly, seemed much more plausible than this pile of crap. According to one person associated with the Pressler situation, the rigorous verification was done by a fact checker at the bottom of the Stuyvesant bridge “for maybe 10 seconds or so.”

Second, and perhaps more damning, was Pressler’s response:

Ms. Pressler, who is leaving New York magazine to join Bloomberg News’s investigative unit, defended her story on Twitter on Monday morning, before The Observer interview was published. “In any case,” she wrote, “it’s New York mag’s Reasons to Love issue, we’re not a financial publication.”

What she basically said was, “Look, I was working on a bullshit piece that didn’t need to be right because it was a bullshit assignment to begin with. Caveat Emptor, bitches.”

One of the best copy editors with whom I ever worked was fond of the line: “You can drown just as easily in two inches of water as you can in the Pacific Ocean.” His point was simple: It’s not just the giant stories you need to go through with a fine-tooth comb. EVERY piece of copy, especially the little bitty ones, need to be put through the wringer. It’s those tiny ones that come back to fuck you hard if you don’t take care.

Had Pressler done a mea culpa and really said, “Look, I was horribly preoccupied/having a bad day and I fucked up. I know it wasn’t good. I know it made us look horrible. I’m really sorry…” well, she might be at Bloomberg News right now. Instead, she came across with a very “fuck off, OK?” approach and that had more people coming after her. It also pretty much forced Bloomberg’s hand, as nobody on Earth was going to read her byline for at least the next six months without thinking, “I wonder if that story’s true…” It’s why Stephen Glass can’t get past the California bar and why Manti Te’o hasn’t talked about having a girlfriend lately.

I’m uncertain where Pressler will go in the future, but one thing is probably certain: If her mom says, “I love you,” Pressler’s going to check it out.

Redeeming Grace

It gets dark so early this time of year.

I took a second job, recently, that has me making a commute twice a week, and the end of the day finds me leaving in the dark and fighting traffic. It’s a hard way home, and I haven’t found the shortcuts yet, the best ways through the hairiest intersections. I sit at a lot of stoplights waiting for them to turn.  By the time I get home, it feels like the middle of the night.

Kick’s forgotten how to sleep. Or nap. She knew pretty early, at 3 months, how to sleep eight hours at a crack and take three hour naps, and we got spoiled. Now she’s a newborn again, up and down all night. She sings to her stuffed animals, lays in her crib and talks to herself, and sometimes falls back to sleep on her own. I don’t. I lie awake, waiting for her to wake again.

This time of year is all about waiting. Last year, waiting for her to be born, feeling her turn over and over inside me, seeking a quiet place to rest. Five years ago, waiting for my grandmother to die, knowing she was in terrible pain and longing for the end. When I was small, waiting for Santa Claus, for the magic of Christmas morning, which was supposed to bring peace on earth.

All the news at the end of this year was bad: Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice. The NSA report, almost going to war with North Korea over a fucking James Franco movie, the midterm implosion, and the cable-news sponsored political death spiral into the 2016 presidential election. We are arguing over which kind of torture is okay and how hard we should interrogate rape victims for holes in their stories and we are drug-testing welfare recipients just to be mean. We’re auditing t-shirts at protests. Modern feminism seems more eager to discuss rich women working than all women eating. And we’re getting pretty close to a court ruling that declares that once again you can refuse to let certain kinds of people sit at your lunch counter, because freedom and sincere beliefs.

This whole fall has felt like a giant step backwards, out of the light, and we’re just waiting now, for it to end. The traffic signal will change, and everything will begin anew. I was profoundly relieved on December 22: The days will get longer now, if only by seconds, and maybe the swing toward light will be more than just physics. Maybe there will be less stupidity, fewer excuses, if we can just flip the calendar like flicking a light off and then on again.

I doubt it, though. Not because I’m mired in some seasonal-affective-nihilistic despair. I doubt it because waiting for an opportunity to change is the opposite of making one, and there’s no such thing as a blank slate. The waiting’s never over. The world doesn’t get better because we close the books on one year and open them on another. There’s only one perfect time to begin again and be stronger and work harder, and that time is all the time.

This next year will bring efforts to correct all the problems we’ve had and those efforts will need support in all kinds of ways. The news won’t get smarter or better without a lot of people pushing back, the candidates who need to be heard often can’t amplify their own voices enough, and we can’t afford to wait for the light. The people depending on the decisions we make can’t afford to wait for the right time, the right place, the new year, a new day.

Daylight is scarce in December. It gets dark so early this time of year.

A.

 

Friday Ferretblogging: Post-Christmas Treat Coma Edition

This Christmas we managed to snag the dingos some fancy new cage bedding by finding towels in very subtle colors on sale at Target. These are the kinds of presents they love best:

20141226_102450

A.

Here’s My Theory…

From Album 5

…as to the whole “his cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry” thing.

Anyway, thanks as always to Athenae and Adrastos for letting me play in the sandbox, thanks to y’all for stopping by to read and/or comment, and whether it’s Christmas, the Holiday Season, Winter Solstice, or anything else, hope the season is a good one for you and yours.

Cheers!

Early Guest Catblogging: Christmas Tree Edition

I know a lot of people named Mary. I guess it’s the whole living in a Catholic city thing. One of my favorite Marys is Chef Mary Sonnier, culinary rock star and Twitter legend. She’s also a gifted  amateur photographer as you can see from this picture of her cat Sprout underneath ye olde Christmas tree.

1469821_10155003619470094_5551626038144327908_n

We haven’t had a real indoor tree for years. Our cats either eat or attack a tree, which is why Dr. A places our big fake tree on the front porch. It’s okay since we usually go to our Gret Stet family to do the whole Christmas day thing, which usually involves a lot of eating and drinking. Imagine that.

Pulp Fiction Thursday will return next week. Merry Christmas and all that jazz or is that rock-n-roll?

The Fog Of History: The Case Of The Foggy Historian

I’m used to people misusing history to make a point but it’s usually politicians or pundits who do so. This time it was a BC professor with an uber WASPY name, Heather Cox Richardson, in an interview with Elias Isquith of Salon:

Well, yes, the South and West were moving toward the Republicans in the ’40s, but it was not clear which direction the Republican Party was going to [on race issues]. It’s really worth remembering that Brown v. Board of education is [decided] by Earl Warren, who is a Republican politician; it’s a Republican [Supreme] Court; and Warren is appointed by Eisenhower, a Republican president …

She blows a perfectly valid point by getting her facts wrong. Earl Warren was the only Republican appointee on that court. They others were all Roosevelt or Truman picks. It was not a Republican court that decided Brown.

Professor Richardson is right in thinking that the GOP was on the civil rights cusp at that point. Tom Dewey ran to Truman’s left on civil rights and passed some landmark civil rights legislation in New York. Ike’s AG, Herbert Brownell, was Dewey’s former right hand man and a committed progressive when it came to racial justice. Brownell’s liberal views collided with those of his President and the GOP began a slow, torturous move to the right on civil rights. It was still a mixed bag until Tricky Dick sold what was left of his soul to Strom Thurmond in 1968.

Dewey is an underrated figure in our political history largely because he was a stiff. I have long thought that it *might* have been better for the country if he’d defeated Truman in 1948. The second Red Scare wouldn’t have spiraled out of control if there had been a GOPer in the White House. But that’s neither here nor there, the more colorful Truman won that year.

I’m still interested in reading Professor Richardson’s history of the Republican party, but she should stick to the agreed upon facts of history. They’re contentious and foggy enough.

Odds & Sods: All About Christmas Eve Edition

the-who odds--sods

I was originally going to try and solve the world’s problems in this post but decided I don’t feel like it. That’s selfish of me, but what can I say? I’m more of a Scrooge Potter Grinch type than some sort of freaking elf. I’m not big on elves, they can be Hobbit forming…

That leaves me with a helluva post title and a few longer articles that I’d like to steer you toward. We’ll start with the serious one first:

Jeb Bush and the Terry Schiavo Case: Charlie Pierce thought it was an excellent time to post an excerpt from his book Idiot America. Why? Jeb Bush may be running for President and he played a crucial and horrendous role in making a bad situation worse. So much for being a moderate.

Have Yourself a Colonel Sanders Christmas: TPM is branching out into longer feature articles and Molly Osberg’s piece about Christmas in Japan is a doozy. Hint: they think the late chicken mogul Harland Sanders is Father Christmas and that we all eat fried chicken tomorrow.

IMG_6492

I must admit to some familiarity with the concept of a Kentucky Christmas but it usually involves Bourbon, not a bucket from the Colonel. I’m strictly a Popeye’s kinda guy.

Young Waif With A Horn: My friend and fellow horrid punster James Karst did some sleuthing recently and learned a secret from Louis Armstrong’s past. I won’t spoil the surprise for you.

Since I’m stupidly proud of this post title, I’ll give Bette Davis as Margot Channing the last word:

tumblr_mk67pliMIY1ritscno1_500

Album Art Cover Wednesday: Bad Christmas Covers

There are a lot of very bad Christmas album covers out there. This is my scattershot look at them. I’m not going to rate them and I’m too lazy and insufficiently masochistic to do any research. Here they are without further adieu:

tijuana_christmas

That horn has got a lot of Ed Balls. I wonder if they William Hung any of them on the tree? I’ll let you know after the break.

Continue reading

Christmas Snow Could Kill Us All, Or Not: True Journalism Chronicles

Shouty weather stories are among the reasons I don’t watch the local news at home anymore. Kick makes enough noise for the neighbors as it is, no need for me to yell SHUT UP YOU DICKSMACKS through the walls as well.

But still, shut up, you dicksmacks: 

The National Weather Service issued a special weather statement Tuesday that periods of heavy, wet snow are possible on Christmas Eve, which could have a big impact on holiday travel.

At O’Hare Airport Tuesday, lines are long, but moving quickly. Arrival and departure boards show few delays or cancellations.

A snowstorm could have a drastic effect on flights and put holiday cheer to the test.

So there is no snow yet, but snow COULD be drastic. Where is this snow, exactly?

The National Weather Service says the expected localized nature of the forecast snow makes it difficult to pinpoint where exactly it will occur. It could be as far east as northwest Indiana or possibly as far west as Rockford and Dixon.

It appears likely that some portions of the region will likely be impacted by a winter storm that could make travel difficult at best and nearly impossible for a time at worse.

EVERYBODY PANIC. We could get snow. It could be a lot. It could make travel terrible! It could be here, there, everywhere, nowhere! We don’t know!

Or not: 

Computer models put the snowfall totals between 2 and 5 inches throughout the area. Specifically, the models showed about 1.8 inches in Waukegan and about 5.8 inches in Kankakee. O’Hare International Airport may record about 2.8 inches while Midway International Airport could get about 4.0 inches.

The system will be a fast-moving one, however, and should be completely out of the NBC Chicago viewing area by the nighttime hours.

Buffalo, NY called and said Chicago should go fuck itself.

The actual facts, of course, are not getting in the way of nonstop WEATHER TERROR DOPPLER BE VERY AFRAID DON’T GO OUTSIDE EAT YOUR HOUSEHOLD PARAKEET IF YOU HAVE TO promos, all of which are causing various people to freak the hell out and wonder if we should cancel plans, stay off the roads, save ourselves, etc.

I am braising a pork belly in cider and beer. Mr. A went to the liquor store yesterday and bought half. Of the store. Just … half. I ain’t canceling SHIT for two lousy inches. Somebody has to drink all this. So merry merry, everybody. Be well and warm, and know that one of the universe’s constants is that local news is crap.

A.

It’s Not About the Patient

Judge declares North Carolina ultrasound law unconstitutional: 

Informed consent frequently consists of a fully-clothed conversation between the patient and physician, often in the physician’s office. It is driven by the “patient’s particular needs and circumstances” …  so that the patient receives the information he or she wants in a setting that promotes an informed and thoughtful choice. This provision, however, finds the patient half-naked or disrobed on her back on an examination table, with an ultrasound probe either on her belly or inserted into her vagina. … Informed consent has not generally been thought to require a patient to view images from his or her own body much less in a setting in which personal judgment may be altered or impaired. Yet this provision requires that she do so or “avert her eyes.” Rather than engaging in a conversation calculated to inform, the physician must continue talking regardless of whether the patient is listening. … The information is provided irrespective of the needs or wants of the patient, in direct contravention of medical ethics and the principle of patient autonomy. Forcing this experience on a patient over her objections in this manner interferes with the decision of a patient not to receive information that could make an indescribably difficult decision even more traumatic and could “actually cause harm to the patient.” … And it is intended to convey not the risks and benefits of the medical procedure to the patient’s own health, but rather the full weight of the state’s moral condemnation.

I had approximately three dozen transvaginal ultrasounds when trying to have Kick. Thirty-five of them were submitted to willingly, and they were often unsettling or uncomfortable.

One was done at the behest of a doctor I never should have listened to, who demanded I do it before he would consult on my case despite my insistence that he talk to me first. That one was horrifying, and I still shudder when I drive past the guy’s office.

All of those ultrasounds, however, made me feel profoundly vulnerable, and laws like this are designed to do exactly what the judge describes in this opinion: Make a woman who is already there because she has a problem feel like absolute shit for no reason at all. Republican legislatures do this in order to punish women. It’s the only possible reason for laws like this to exist.

And they will not save “unborn children,” either.

A.

AHS Freak Show Thread: Orphans

american-horror-story2

It’s time for the much hyped and ballyhooed (not Bali H’aied) Freak Show post. Yeah, I know, I’m the only one who hyped it but narcissism is a vital component of blogging. I never thought I’d describe an episode of American Horror Story as poignant but Orphans was very poignant and touching and other emotions I pretend not to have. It’s bad for the curmudgeon business, y’all. I may even use the P word again after the break so beware, take care.

Continue reading

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Cuban Peat edition

Good morning, gentle people! Well, hardly had the dust died down from the frantic self-back-patting the Freeperati had been doing since the midterms when something very interesting happened.

US TO START TALKS WITH CUBA TO NORMALIZE FULL DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS
Fox News ^ | 2014-12-17 | Associated Press (AP)

Posted on ‎12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎00‎:‎18‎ ‎AM by WhiskeyX

[Headline only]

1 posted on 12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎00‎:‎18‎ ‎AM by WhiskeyX

Now I read John Cole most days, and I have to disagree with him 0n his analysis:

In the defense of Republicans, there used to be a train of thought that the way to liberate the world was through trade and travel, but that notion on the right is as dead as Dick Cheney’s dark heart after 70 years of eating cheesy Freedom Fries

Actually, that’s as wrong as it can be.

Don’t believe me? Check out the replies on this thread. There’s currently a uncivil war going on at Free Republic, with the “trade and travel” contingent (in alliance with the glibertarian contingent) fighting the Cold Warriors in a no-holds-barred death cage match.

First – the old guard:

To: WhiskeyX

Another example of him cozying with his commie pals.

GOP equals AWOL again.

2 posted on 12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎02‎:‎05‎ ‎AM by manc (Marriage =1 man + 1 woman,when they say marriage equality then they should support polygamy)

To: WhiskeyX

Well, ever since the Election, OTrauma has gone full-on Communist.

6 posted on  12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎0 6‎:‎47‎ ‎AM by Lazamataz (“Two parties, governing AGAINST the will of the people, not with the consent of the governed.” –MrB)

To: jalisco555
At this point, if Obama is for it, I am against it.

duh

 

He’s been consistently anti-American.

9 posted on 12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎07‎:‎44‎ ‎AM by Lazamataz (“Two parties, governing AGAINST the will of the people, not with the consent of the governed.” –MrB)

But then….

To: WhiskeyX

It’s about time. I am certainly no fan of Obama but there are two things I expected him to do and am amazed he hasn’t done. The first was to end the pointless and self-destructive War on Drugs. The second was to end the cruel and pointless embargo on Cuba. This isn’t the 1960’s anymore and the Castros are dying. If we can have normal relations with China, Burma and Vietnam we can certainly have them with Cuba.

4 posted on 12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎06‎:‎11‎ ‎AM by jalisco555 (“My 80% friend is not my 20% enemy” – Ronald Reagan)

To: dfwgator
Castro needs the embargo, and he will make the conditions so unreasonable that the US will never agree to them.
We may see another outrage like happened the past few times this idea was floated. But I suspect not this time. And I have always wanted to visit Cuba. Why should the US government make me jump through absurd hoops to do it? Who are they to tell me where I can and cannot go?
12 posted on 12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎09‎:‎56‎ ‎AM by jalisco555 (“My 80% friend is not my 20% enemy” – Ronald Reagan)
To: jalisco555

I totally agree. Once people in communist countries are exposed to the “rest of the world” it doesn’t take long for the regime to fail or at the very least make major reforms.

20 posted on ‎12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎17‎:‎53‎ ‎AM by Minsc

To: WhiskeyX

It’s mostly a cuban-American issue and while I can understand their hatred of Castro it’s way, way past time that the embargo was ended.

24 posted on 12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎19‎:‎41‎ ‎AM by bkepley

To: dfwgator
There’s a little matter of all of that US-owned property Castro stole.
Not to mention the property stolen from Cuban exiles. So this will be messy, no doubt. But it’s time to end the isolation.
26 posted on ‎12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎21‎:‎43‎ ‎AM by jalisco555 (“My 80% friend is not my 20% enemy” – Ronald Reagan)

One of them even gets all snarky with it:

To: WhiskeyX

The Embargo against Cuba has worked for more than 50 years and with a little more effort and a little more time, the Embargo will certainly inspire the Cuban people to depose Castro.

29 posted on 12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎24‎:‎35‎ ‎AM by Oliviaforever

Heh.
To: jalisco555

The embargo against Cuba hasn’t done anything but depress the Cuban economy and make Cuban cigars unobtainable. It hasn’t worked for fifty years, and it is time to try something new. Obama finally got one right.

Cynically, despite my agreement with Obama on this matter, I suspect that it takes Florida out-of-play for the Demoncrats in 2016.

33 posted on 12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎30‎:‎39‎ ‎AM by bagman

The Old Guard isn’t going to take this commie-coddling lying down, of course:
To: Batman11

Ted Cruz’s father, Rafeal(sic), should immediately take the opportunity to educate POTUS publicly on Fox or elsewhere.

38 posted on 12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎38‎:‎10‎ ‎AM by gwgn02

God doesn’t love me that much.
At this point, Cruz is probably spiking the old fart’s Metamucil with roofies, and/or having his goons make sure Dad doesn’t get within 50 miles of a reporter. After the public shutdown/nomination-enabling and consequent slut-shaming by his peers, Old Ted’s probably going to want to run this one through a couple of focus groups before he opens his yap again.
To: WhiskeyX

What? Obama foreign policies make no sense.

47 posted on 12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎59‎:‎17‎ ‎AM by The Ghost of FReepers Past (Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light….. Isaiah 5:20)

To: manc

Obama has another DISTRACTION ,BLAH BLAH BLAH

57 posted on 12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎10‎:‎05‎:‎40‎ ‎AM by molson209 (Blank)

Well, it seems to have driven Freeperville to distraction.  400 comments as of Saturday morning and still climbing.
Before the jump, the comment of the thread!
To: jalisco555

My wife is from there, you’re not missing much.

13 posted on 12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎10‎:‎53‎ ‎AM by dfwgator

Oh no you didnt
“dfwgator” sleeps on the couch tonight, and much more after the jump.
Tagged , , , , , , ,

When Killings Happen

So it’s time for politics now. 

It’s time for finger-pointing, now.

It’s time to talk about violent rhetoric and the impact of words and it’s time to talk about how we talk about what we talk about.

Now.

Not when Gabrielle Giffords was shot, or the children in Newtown died.

Not when Timothy McVeigh blew up a building. Not when George Tiller was gunned down.

Those times, those were not the times for politics. For finger-pointing. For reflection or re-examination or change or care.

Now. Now it’s the time.

Now it’s the time for disclaimers: Of COURSE nobody should shoot police officers (my grandfather was a cop, killed in the line of duty, by a criminal with a gun). Of COURSE this was unjustified, and horrifying, and wrong. And of COURSE the incitement provided by the murders of black people simply because white people saw them as a threat contributed to this, and of COURSE what politicians say matters.

But it mattered before.

It mattered what we said to each other, how we treated each other, what we heard from the pulpit, what we whispered in the pews. It mattered that we fought each other and feared each other. It mattered that a person who didn’t agree was an enemy traitor, that a person who didn’t look like us was a subhuman. It mattered that anyone who didn’t love what we loved and hate what we hated was worthy of nothing less than our scorching of everything they were.

It’s always mattered.

It’s just that now is the time. Apparently.

Now.

A.

 

Sunday Morning Video: Santa Claus

Another Sunday, another MST3K holiday episode:

Weekend Question Thread

What’s the most complicated thing you’ve ever cooked?

This Christmas Eve, Mr. A’s parents are coming down and I’m making a braised pork belly for the first time. Have never braised anything ever. It’s going to be an experiment. Every year at Christmas the Bon Appetit holiday issue comes and I cook my way through it as a challenge. One year I made a nine-layer peppermint-meringue-chocolate-buttercream cake that took six hours and looked like ass, but it tasted excellent. This year it’s all about the meat.

A.

Friday Ferretblogging: Merry Mardi Gras Edition

Adrastos and the lovely Dr. A sent Kick and the ferrets a giant box of Mardi Gras swag for Christmas.

The furbies enjoyed it immensely:

A.

Odd & Sods: Joe Friday Edition

the-who odds--sods

Twas the Friday before Christmas and there was a wee brawl between Oscar and Della Street that woke me up way too early. I think he dissed Perry Mason or something. No spiked eggnog for them. I may make them eat fruitcake. That was an idle threat because we don’t have one, and I would never purchase one except to use as a doorstop or paper weight. Okay, on with the post where, unlike Joe Friday, I offer opinions, m’am, just opinions. If there *are* any facts, they can be found after the break.

Continue reading

Friday Catblogging: Devil Cat

As if we didn’t already know, here’s proof positive that Della Street is the devil. Oscar, however, doesn’t care, he loves her anyway. There’s no accounting for taste:

y:photo

 

Malaka Of The Week: Blake Farenthold

The voters have elected bros to Congress before and they will do so again in the future. We’ve even had a bro for President. I think you know who I’m talking about. The voters of the 27th district of Texas have topped everyone by electing the bro-est bro to ever walk the halls of Congress: Blake Farenthold. One might even call him a dudebro, and that is why he is malaka of the week.

It’s been a tough week for Malaka Dudebro. We learned that in his days as a tech bro, he owned a rather colorful domain name: Blow-Me.org. Did I say during his time as a tech bro? He’s owned it continuously since 1996 according to a piece by Andrew Kaczynski of Buzzfeed. A spokesbro for Malaka Dudebro had this to say about that:

“Prior to serving in Congress, Mr. Farenthold operated a computer consulting company that routinely bought domain names including the one in question. The domain name has never been used and Mr. Farenthold has no intention to renew it.”

That’s very responsible. Of course, Congressman Dudebro was first elected in 2010. He’s obviously  too busy to deal with ephemera such as Blow-Me.Org as you can see from the picture below:

blake

Farenthold is the bro on the right in the duck jammies. The mere sight of him makes me want to duck and cover. The pajama party pictures were published in October, 2010, which means that he was elected in a broslide. Actually, it was very close but I suspect that the bros of his district saw that picture and decided to elect one of their own even if he has an eerie resemblance to dorky cherub Thurman Merman of Bad Santa fame:

bad-santa-directors-cut-brett-kelly

Congressman Dudebro may *look* like the advent calendar loving, sandwich obsessed Thurman Merman, but he’s pure Willie T. Stokes underneath that bro-fro:

Bad Santa Lick

Now that I’ve riffed on duck pajamas, Blow-Me.org, and Bad Santa, it’s time to discuss Malaka Dudebro’s *real* problem. He’s being sued by a former staffer for sexual harrassment and general swinish and sexist conduct. Since this is a family blog (cue spit take) I’ll post an epic quote from a story by TPM’s Daniel Strauss after the break.

Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,911 other followers