Either You’re Selling Baby Parts or You Aren’t

It’s a binary state.

Does Planned Parenthood sell body parts for profit?

You can’t tell, from reading AMERICA’S MOST TRUSTED NAME IN NEWS:

Planned Parenthood has come under intense scrutiny after an anti-abortion group released a series of videos it says shows that the nonprofit group is making money off of the sale of fetal tissue, a practice the group denies.

He said, she said, who can tell what the real truth is?

I mean, it’s not like there’s evidence, right?

It’s not like anyone has officially looked into it?

There are just two equal, opposing sides which must be presented in order to avoid pissing everyone off. Avoiding the pissing off of everyone is the highest obligation of a journalist. Stating facts is so rude. Calling someone incorrect is so rude. Saying “a practice which does not exist” or “a practice which does not take place” or “a practice about which these fetus-fetishists are completely deluded and by the way fuck the governors and senators who are taking their cues from these rabid ditch critters sideways with a rusty rake” is so very, very rude indeed.

Easier to say two sides disagree about whether money is changing hands for fetal organs, and ignore the total absence of either.

A.

Consider The Source: The Biden Rumor

I’m blogging hurt today. I picked up a bug this weekend whilst being a second rate social butterfly. Initially, I wasn’t certain if it the finger of blame should be pointed at the elderly folks I was around on Friday or the toddlers I found myself surrounded by on Saturday. When in doubt bet on the kids, and that’s what happened. My favorite two year old hellion sat on my lap, drooled on my arm, and that was all she wrote. I thought I should warn y’all that I may make even less sense than usual today and that’s saying a lot. (Instant Illness Update: The drooling kid’s mother informs me that he spread a cold, not a stomach bug but my money is still on him.)

The political media was abuzz this weekend with the story that Joe Biden *might* run for President next year. It was spread as the gospel truth despite the *original* source of the story, the Madame DeFarge of the Gray Lady’s op-ed page, Maureen Dowd. MoDow took a short break from comparing Hillary Clinton with Tom Brady to float a genuinely melodramatic story that Beau Biden urged dear old dad to run while on his death bed. It evoked images of Bette Davis dying in Blind Victory or Olivia DeHavilland’s death bed scene in Gone With The Wind. My finely honed bullshit detector went off, especially given the source.

Is the story true? It might be, but the way it was floated and the reaction convinced me that it’s a staff driven trial balloon. The Veep’s spokesperson replied with a non-committal denial, which left some wiggle room for a possible run. It’s a pity that they didn’t rag on Dowd and her employer, both of whom have long specialized in hit pieces on the Clintons and other Democrats.

It’s feeling like the 1990’s all over again. Ever since the Times help take out Tricky Dick, they’ve been much harder on Democratic Presidents than Republicans: from the hapless Jimmy Carter’s  “Lancegate scandal” to the NYT’s endless, and often inaccurate, Whitewater coverage. In contrast, Judith Miller helped the Bush-Cheney regime sell the WMD hoax. So much for the librul media being in the bag for the Democrats; not that any of you believed that.

I adore Joe Biden but the only way he can be nominated absent a real scandal (not the Benghazi or email nonsense) is to get in soon and run a scorched earth anti-Hillary campaign. Such a campaign would be contrary to his nature, and to his generally cordial relationship with the Clintons. It would also risk handing the White House over to the crazy party. Additionally, in the post-smoked filled room era, the nominee of the Democratic party is selected in primaries and caucuses, not in, uh, smoke filled rooms. If John Edwards had somehow managed to ooze his way to the 2008 nomination, however, a smoke filled room would have come in handy.

Every election cycle, I hope that the coverage will improve. It never does, as pointed out by the great Rick Perlstein at the National Spectator:

Never have so many done so much to reveal so little than in the collected journalism about presidential nomination contests. The personality-driven trivia. The hokey generalizations. The bogs of conventional wisdom. The day-by-day scorekeeping that ends up worse than uninformative; it is anti-informative. (Just ask Presidents George Romney, Edmund Muskie, Scoop Jackson, John Connally, Richard Gephardt, and Hillary Rodham Clinton.) The utter failure to inform the public of the actual, on-the-ground dynamics of the nuts-and-bolts process by which the parties chose their standard-bearers, and the larger dynamics that drive party trends from decade to decade.

The political press corps have come to resemble hyper-active hamsters on gigantic wheels. There’s a lot of peddling but no progress in their coverage. I think they even eat (believe) their own shit. Hence, the Trump phenomenon. I’m still waiting for the bubble to burst but they’re going to milk it for all its worth.

Back to Maureen Dowd and the dying Beau Biden story. It’s a perfect story for the MSM because it involves personalities, speculation, and melodrama disguised as hard news. Even if it’s true, it’s only a significant story if Joe Biden actually enters the race. The last national poll I saw that included him was not encouraging for Uncle Joe. It showed him running a poor third with Hillary at 56%.

Since the Onion Joe Biden does not exist, I don’t expect Joey the Shark to run. He’s already failed to secure the nomination twice previously and this time would lose as the sitting Vice President. I doubt he’s willing to be humiliated just to vindicate Maureen Dowd, who would immediately turn on him if he entered the race. It’s what she does. Don’t go, Joe.

I’ve typed the name Joe so much that this Colin Moulding penned XTC tune is stuck in my feverish little brain:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – one hit wonder edition

Hi – folks – just couldn’t get in the groove this week.

Last week’s three-post bender may have given me a bit of a hangover, so just one thread today.

However, it’s a doozy:

When will Jim Robinson banish Trump supporters from FR, like he did in 2007 with Giuliani advocates?
one man’s opinion…

Posted on ‎7‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎15‎:‎15‎ ‎PM by ken5050

On 4/23/2007, Jim Robinson posted a manifesto, “Giuliani as the GOP presidential nominee would be a dagger in the heart of the conservative movement” (and a knife in the back) . The thread was subtitled, “The only difference in a Liberal Rudy Giuliani and Liberal Hillary Clinton is the fact of which bathrooms they select to use and there are some who are willing to even question that.

*************************************************

JimRob then proceeded to banish all the pro-Rudy posters from FR. It was a purge of fairly epic proportions.Prior to that, there had been considerable support for Rudy on FR. A few months earlier, Rudy had actually placed second in a straw poll on FR. The “Rudybots” as they were termed, were actively posting pro Giuliani threads pretty much 24/7.

What finally led Jim Robinson to take this step were Giuliani’s comments in support of the Roe v. Wade decision at the May 3rd GOP presidential debate.

Prior to that, Rudy had increasingly come under the microscope at FR. The “Giuliani Truth File” was a stand alone category on the FR home page. There was an ongoing “STOP RUDY NOW News & Information Thread” that was featured.

Now let me state a few things for the record.

1. Jim Robinson is absolutely correct that a pro-choice position is anathema to FReepers. We may disagree on other topics, but this is our hill, on which we will all stand and die together. Rudy could not be the GOP nominee for that reason alone.

2. Many questioned whether Jim Rob should take such a drastic course of action..banning hundreds of people. Some felt that it would be better to engage in ongoing debate and discussion among ourselves. That was never the question. Indeed, it was never up for debate. I lost several good friends, of many years standing, that day, but I never questioned his absolute right to take that course of action. It is his website; he is free to run it as he sees fit, and those who can’t abide with his decisions have the freedom to go elsewhere.

Now that we have that out of the way, let us turn our attention to “The Donald.”

Trump is NOT a conservative.

He is not even a Republican. He was a registered Democrat from 2001-2009.

He has given far more to Democrats than to Republicans.

For most of his life, he was strongly, and proudly pro-choice. IOW, he was OK with killing babies.

He will NOT pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee, and will not promise to NOT run a third-party race.

What Trump IS, is a narcissistic, megalomaniacal, bloviating asshole. It is beyond me how so many self-proclaimed conservatives here at FR could be supporting this clown. He is utterly unfit to serve as NYC Sanitation Commissioner, let alone as President.

That is of course their absolute right to do so.

But what I fail to understand is why Jim Robinson has not as yet banished all the “Trumpsters” from FR? What, pray tell, makes “the Donald” acceptable here, whereas Giuliani was not?

1 posted on 7‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎15‎:‎15‎ ‎PM by ken5050
popcorn
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To: ken5050

IBTZ

2 posted on‎7‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎16‎:‎50‎ ‎PM by Eddie01 (Liberal’s lie about everything all the time)

NoShitSherlock
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To: ken5050

Jim seems to be quite supportive of Trump, if you have been paying attention.

3 posted on 7‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎17‎:‎21‎ ‎PM by conservativejoy (We Can Elect Ted Cruz! Pray Hard, Work Hard, Trust God!)

To: ken5050

You’ve apparently missed JR’s recent “Go Trump, Go Cruz” posts.

5 posted on 7‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎18‎:‎02‎ ‎PM by EDINVA

To: ken5050

Because Trump is doing a wonderful service.

He’s an awful candidate and I oppose him becoming the R nominee.

However, his CANDIDACY is wonderful. He’s making the Republicans address real issues. He’s changing the dialogue. His refreshing honesty and directness has yielded ever-increasing poll numbers, and may give a lesson to people I do support (Ted Cruz).

I am against banning Trump supporters at this time. The man is doing a world of good.

7 posted on 7‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎18‎:‎47‎ ‎PM by Lazamataz (“In a very short period of time, these will be the good old days.” — unknown Freeper, 2015)

There’s about 50 more “Who do you think you are” and “I loves Trump cause he blurts out shit that my id whispers to me constantly” stuff. If you want more of it, just go back and read Laz’s post 50 more times…
To: ken5050

While I agree with you on Trump – who is not a conservative and has made other attempts at running for office where he washed out because it was clear that he was just a mouth with no mind, and not even a conservative mouth. – I don’t think JR eliminated Rudy supporters as such, but just because they were such pests.

Trump posters are falling into the pest category, btw.

82 posted on 7‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎5‎:‎02‎:‎18‎ ‎PM by livius

BanHimTrump
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More pest-ilence after the jump…

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NANA NANA NANA NANA NANA NANA NANA NANA CRACK VAN

Here are the details. Be here 8 p.m. CST Thursday (we aren’t showing up for that early shit): 

August 6, 2015
Fox News Republican Debate
9pm ET – Top 10 Candidates (2 hours)
5pm ET – Candidates outside top 10 (1 hour)
Aired On: Fox News Channel
Location: Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH
Sponsors: Fox News, facebook
Moderators: Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace
Rules: Top 10 candidates in an average of 5 national polls
Candidates: To be determined

A.

Millennials are ruining everything, unless they’re not

‘Dear Millennials: You’re Ruining the Economy. Move Out.’ That is the actual headline: 

During the dreary days of the recession, it made sense for young adults who needed a roof over their heads to stay home while job opportunities were slim. But they were expected to move out when they got jobs or better-paying jobs.

Of course, the job market still has a way to go to give young adults better financial footing. Yet unemployment is less of an issue now, with 7.7 percent of those 18 to 34 unemployed, compared to 12.4 percent five years ago. Pay has also improved, although it hasn’t popped back to pre-recession levels. Pew notes that the median weekly pay is $574 compared to $547 in 2012.

If the trend continues, there could be serious implications for the economy. Adult children curled up on their parents’ couches don’t need to buy their own furniture.

WELL, the median pay doesn’t mean shit when you have $60,000 in student loans and the rent in your ‘hood is $1,500 for a sixth-floor studio walkup with a hole in the floor and no air conditioning. Christ. Not to mention the cost of reasonable health care is still total bullshit, gas is $3 a gallon, and if you haven’t noticed food is fucking expensive because we have broken the environment.

But no, it’s just the selfish reluctance to buy their own dining room tables.

A study by the New York Federal Reserve in June found that areas of the country with high youth unemployment, expensive housing and high incomes tend to be where more young adults were living with parents.

Still, the majority of people 18 to 34 are living independently, although the tendency to be on their own has been shrinking.

So wait, everything is fine? Then WTF, with that headline?

Besides living with family members, millennials have also been doubling up with roommates who are not spouses or unmarried partners. Early this year, 47 percent were living with another person, most often a parent or adult relative. But 16 percent were living with a nonrelative, apparently sharing expenses rather than stoking the economy on their own.

Right, how dare they not lay back and think of Janet Yellen? I mean, they shouldn’t just live their lives the way they have to. They should get on the ball of working for the Reich!

Between the clickbait-y headline, the facts that either completely prove its hypothesis OR MAYBE NOT, and the conclusion that young people today are just too selfish to stoke the economy, I can’t believe people my age and younger aren’t flocking to traditional media.
A.

School funding in Illinois is fucked and we should fix it

Credit where it’s due, Tribune: 

While money isn’t the most important factor toward improving educational outcomes, it’s a big factor. You can be an engaged parent devoted to your kids’ schooling and still get undercut by the system. Why? Because basing education funding on property wealth means the wealthier districts get the best teachers, more teacher aides, more speech pathologists, more special education experts, more counselors, more social workers, wider curriculum choices, deeper athletic programs and on and on.

The schools with lower property wealth and more challenges get fewer resources. Less help. Less opportunity — even with involved, loving parents.

Well, and it’s a self-perpetuating cycle. Higher taxes drive businesses out, which drive taxes higher, which drive businesses out, which drive taxes higher, until finally there’s nobody left to tax but the homeowners, who pay more out of pocket and get less for it.

The ones that can afford to, move. The ones that can’t bear the burden and that’s been ridiculous forever.

The comments, naturally, are reasonable and not at all terrified and racist and crazy HAHAHAHAHAHA:

To call the current school funding process “immoral” is to rage against capitalism generally, which I’m pretty confident this “journalist” would readily do. Yes, people with more money are willing to pay more to have their kids educated well (though more money itself seldom results directly in better education). Sorry, but that’s how capitalism works. By the author’s rationale, wealthy people shouldn’t be entitled to better health care, homes, cars, clothes, vacations, etc., than poor people….

Why doesn”t this clueless member of the Trib editorial board address the parenting gap instead of the spending gap? I am not, nor have I ever been a parent of any child in any Illinois school district, but I am so sick of the liberals complaining about this isn”t fair, that isn”t fair. If you don”t like your station in life, go out and educate yourself better and earn it for yourself. Enough already. Whatever happened to the idea of self reliance and self determination? Y

Oh this should be good. Take away funding from the wealthier districts and give it to poorer districts? That sounds great, except that it involves more of the same liberal crap. Wealthy people need to pay more money for the benefit of poorer people. Never mind that the reason many wealthy people are in those neighborhoods paying exorbitant real estate taxes is because of the better schools. I can’t wait to see this happen. Single handedly, this will do more for clearing the wealthy out of Illinois than any other single government “fix” could. Please Illinois. Go for it. For those of us looking from the outside in, it can only prove hilarious.

The money in Illinois is wasted on pensions, teacher/admin salaries, and junk like ipads.

I don’t know how you get people like this past the idea that poor people secretly have it awesome.

A.

Sunday Morning Video: Elvis Costello- 32 Years With Dave

YouTuber Larry Ruiz has compiled every appearance Elvis Costello made on Letterman in one video. I stumbled into it earlier in the week and knew I had to share it with y’all:

Saturday Odds & Sods: From Galway To Graceland

Sideshow banner by Fred G. Johnson.

Sideshow banner by Fred G. Johnson.

It’s been a long, hot week in New Orleans. We were under a boil water advisory for 38 hours last weekend. Most people get a bit hysterical when that happens but I’m married to a scientist. We don’t drink the water but bathe and brush our teeth per usual. It was over 90 degrees and there ain’t no way I’m not bathing, especially when the advisory is described as precautionary. Holy double negative, Batman. The heat makes me cranky, what can I tell ya? I am, however, clean…

We have a busy social calendar this weekend so I’m going to keep this short. Hey, you in the bleachers, stop laughing. I know I’ve said it before but I mean it this time.

I had another theme song planned for this week but it would have obliged me to discuss a story that brought out the worst in folks on social media, so I pulled the plug. I chose Richard Thompson’s From Galway To Graceland because of the first segment after the break. The connection is somewhat tenuous but life is like a tennis match: all serve and volley. And it’s given me tenuous elbow…

More uncharacteristic brevity after the break. I mean it, y’all.

Continue reading

In Domestic Violence, the Pictures Pack the Most Powerful Punch

Posting this for Doc, who’s having some kind of technological disagreement with the WordPress hamsters at the moment.

I can’t recall any other time in my life where I wanted to take a 24-year-old, heavily tattooed porn star into my arms and hug her tightly, telling her, “I’m so, so sorry for you. I wish there was something I could do to make it all go away.”

This month’s “Real Sports” on HBO features a segment on Christy Mack, an adult-film actress who dated Mixed Martial Arts fighter War Machine up until an assault almost killed her. (Side note: “Real Sports” needs to understand that no matter how good a piece is, it’s not an “exclusive” or a time where someone is “telling her story for the first time” if you got scooped on the topic by more than three months.)

Police reports indicate that Mack was asleep when War Machine (his legal name) used an old key he had to her home and found her in bed with a friend. After beating the man bloody, he turned on Mack, who suffered 18 broken bones, a lacerated liver and broken teeth. The only thing that made her face recognizable in the crime-scene photos was a small tattoo of a heart near her left eye.

War Machine’s trial begins next month and Mack is front and center, making sure that the victim has a face for the jury, even if it’s a face she doesn’t fully recognize as her own. The incredible piece by Jane McManus for ESPNw outlines how Mack’s facial muscles don’t work as well, her eyes are less expressive and her teeth are a work in progress. 

“Real Sports’” substantive addition to this discussion was a full examination of how Mack’s story, while horrific, is merely an exemplar of domestic violence in MMA. The reporting done for the story reveals that MMA fighters have nearly double the domestic violence incidents of the general population. (For a comparison, NFL players are lower than the gen pop.)

Truth be told, I’ve never understood the appeal of MMA. Sure, many other sports involve violence and the idea of imposing your will upon another individual. Football, though, includes safety gear and a set of plays that demonstrate value beyond the violence “in the trenches.” Boxing, which I also don’t fully embrace, has brutality, yet it also has some semblance of mercy. Once the fighter is down, the fighter is down. Wrestling, albeit violent and bordering on the insane, has its “scripted” elements to it as well.

MMA is as close to gladiatorial Rome as we have. Two people in a cage, attempting to destroy one another. Bones are broken, joints are torn and blood is flowing freely. When a fighter hits the canvas, the other jumps on top of the wounded opponent and flurries away until no resistance remains.

All while people cheer.

The kind of will, anger and physical training associated with this sport tends to draw people for whom rage is a resting pulse. Sure, the Ronda Rouseys of the world bring class, technique and a certain elegance to the sport, but there are a lot more War Machines out there than Rouseys.

Watching the “Real Sports” interview with “Mayhem” Miller had me worrying for the safety of the reporter and recalling a few encounters with angry drunks at local watering holes.


Some of these guys are like brain-damaged, steroid-riddled, violently trained Joe Pesci characters: Ready to explode at any minute.

The fact that many of these men turn violent in their personal relationships should not come as a surprise. That tornado of rage can’t flip on and off like a light switch.

This is not a call to ban MMA. It’s not even a condemnation of the sport. Guys who beat on women wouldn’t be less likely to beat on women if they were bus boys or gardeners. The same is true for people who watch the sport, although research has indicated that observation can lead to replication. Watching this kind of thing as people root for more blood and more crippling injuries can’t be a good thing.

Still, if what we watched on TV were a complete and direct predictor of what we would become later in life, I would be either dropping 500-pound anvils on a roadrunner or transforming from a professor into a dune-buggy and fighting the Decepticons.

Instead, this is call to find more ways to put the power of visuals to work in telling these stories. Words like “domestic violence” and “sexual assault” are bad, but they are soft compared to what these people actually experience. Watch this clip in which Mack explains how War Machine planned to “take back” what he saw as his.

Also, this is a call for less episodic coverage of these events and for more “long form” coverage. In most cases, people get the basics: Man assaults woman (I’m generalizing to a gender here, but I acknowledge other gender pairings do exist in this realm), Woman files charges (or doesn’t), Man goes to trial (or doesn’t), Man gets convicted (or doesn’t) and the incident is over.

Now who wants to see a story about a bear in a swimming pool?

Instead, Mack shows photo after photo of how she had to heal. It wasn’t a “beat to a pulp on Friday, doing a photo spread for “Hustler” on Monday” transformation. Watch this clip of a dental expert explaining how he had to rebuild her mouth over nearly half of a year.

Take away the visuals, take away the time elapse and take away the painstaking description and you have basically the impact of a before and after weight-loss ad. Sure, it’s something, but it doesn’t capture nearly enough to make this as real as it should be.

This is too real, especially for people like Mack who have lived the horror and will likely never recover.

Friday Catblogging: Rugcats

We recently bought a small rug and placed it by the front door. It is now the property of Oscar and Della Street:

Rugcats-1

Rugcats-2

Aqua Buddha’s Faltering Campaign Needs More Aqua Buddies

Aqua Buddha by Bluewater Productions

Aqua Buddha by Bluewater Productions.

Remember when the MSM was madly in love with Senator Aqua Buddha? He was the great white brogressive hope who would woo crossover voters and have a chance to be the first weirdly licensed physician to be President. Things haven’t worked out very well for Crazy Uncle Liberty’s baby boy.

Like every other GOP Oval One wannabe, Aqua Buddha has been overshadowed by the tycoon typhoon that is Donald Trump. How can one possibly compete with a man out to be the first Insult Comedian President? Trump talks loudly and carries a big shtick.  Perhaps that’s why Rand has countered with some physical comedy involving the tax code:

He claims to have “new ideas” for the tax code but he’s merely recycled the old Laffer/Kemp/Forbes notion of a flat tax. It is as exciting as it is original. Yawn.

Politico *used* to be in love with Aqua Buddha. Those days are long gone:

Easily the biggest problem confronting Paul is his fundraising — or lack thereof. Paul has taken in just $13 million, a fraction of what all of his major rivals for the Republican nomination have raised and far less than Paul hoped.

Those close to Paul say there’s a simple reason for his lack of success: He’s simply not willing to do the stroking and courting that powerful donors expect. He’s downright allergic, they say, to the idea of forging relationships with the goal of pumping people for dough. And while he’s had no shortage of opportunities to mix and mingle with some of the Republican Party’s wealthiest figures, Paul has expressed frustration that donors want so much face time.

Poor baby, he doesn’t want to mingle with the mean old plutocrats who would most benefit from his regurgitated flat tax proposal. One would think that he’d focus on wooing one fat cat to finance his campaign, even Ted Cruz has his own personal billionaire. I hate it but it’s the way it works in the post-Citizens United world. Rand seems to lack the proverbial fire in the belly or desire to do what it takes to win an election. Holy campaign cliches, Batman.

That brings me to the post title. My friend Robert wondered the other day why the Paulites had not created a category for top-tier donors. The Bushies had their pioneers, after all. His suggestion: Aqua Buddies. I like it. Small contributors could be called Aqua Babies. I think we’re on to something big, y’all.

In the end, it looks as if what Sen. Aqua Buddha really needs is a Sugaree daddy:

H/T:  Monkeyfister for turning me on to that killer version of Sugaree from the Dead’s glorious year of 1977.

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Oh Please Oh Please Oh Please

From Album 5

Sure, be careful what you wish for, but, wow, a Trump/Palin, um, alliance, merger, commingling (ugh), whatever you want to call it (The Art of the Going Rogue Deal…Also, too…?), like two neutron stars spiraling in on each other, creating, to steal/paraphrase a line from Malcolm Tucker, something so dense light would bend around it.

They deserve each other, and the GOP deserves the both of them. You’d never see a … classier … yeah, classier … train wreck.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Pulp Librarian Files

I’ve been following @PulpLibrarian on Twitter for quite some time. His tweets are always illuminating and informative. So, I’d like to try something completely different and post 3 of his pulpilicious tweets. This batch features Fantastic Adventures magazine covers from the early 1950’s. Here we go:

Speaking of fantastic:

Tweet Of The Day: Governor Deadeyes Does Philly Edition

TPM has a hilarious piece about Scott Walker’s recent campaign stop in Philadelphia.

In Philadelphia, you don’t mess with people’s cheesesteaks.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) learned that the hard way on Tuesday while visiting two of the city’s popular cheesesteak spots, where he cut in line, left behind his trash, and ordered the famous Philly sandwich — with American cheese and without onions, according to philly.com.

Apparently, Governor Deadeyes thinks he has the right to cut in line because wrecking Wisconsin makes him an important man.  I’m only sorry that Charlie Pierce is on vacay this week so he can’t write another Watching Scotty Blow piece about this schmuck.

The much ballyhooed tweet of the day comes from WaPo reporter Jenna Johnson who was watching Scotty blow:

I hope they booed him too. It’s a safe assumption, it being Philly. Anyone remember this?

Don’t Gopers know that Philadelphia is a Democratic town? The could look it up: President Obama got  85% of the vote there in 2012. Oy, such malakatude.

Malaka Of The Week: Michael Cohen

I know you’ve all heard the story about Donald Trump, one of his ex-wives and the rape allegations made in a 1993 book. His ex has denied it, and I’ll let others deal with that aspect of the story. What I am interested in is the thuggish response of Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen. Strike the word lawyer, he comes off as more of a gangster’s mouthpiece than an attorney. (Cohen reminds me of Gotti’s lawyer Bruce Cutler, only with better hair.) And that is why Michael Cohen is malaka of the week.

Cohen is not only as arrogant and obnoxious as his client, he’s as ignorant. He claimed that marital rape is NOT illegal. He’s wrong about that. It has been against the law in New York state since 1984. Before I get to Cohen’s thuggish and boorish threats against two reporters, he issued a non-apology apology Tuesday but I think he’s only sorry for getting caught:

““As an attorney, husband and father there are many injustices that offend me but nothing more than charges of rape or racism. They hit me at my core. Rarely am I surprised by the press, but the gall of this particular reporter to make such a reprehensible and false allegation against Mr. Trump truly stunned me. In my moment of shock and anger, I made an inarticulate comment – which I do not believe — and which I apologize for entirely.”

Inarticulate is a good word to describe this tirade in apology drag. I’m uncertain as to what exactly Counselor Malaka is apologizing for. The rape mistake? Or is it over the mob lawyer style threats made against the reporters? Beats the hell outta me. He should apologize for both. Here are the malakatudinous threats in question:

“I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we’re in the courthouse,” Cohen threatened writers Tim Mak and Brandy Zadrozny, if they reported on the 1993 book “Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump,” by Harry Hurt III. “And I will take you for every penny you still don’t have. And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know. So I’m warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me?”

“You write a story that has Mr. Trump’s name in it, with the word ‘rape,’ and I’m going to mess your life up…for as long as you’re on this frickin’ planet…you’re going to have judgments against you, so much money, you’ll never know how to get out from underneath it.”

It’s a pity that Mr. Cohen wasn’t old enough to have worked for CREEP in 1972. He sounds like John Mitchell’s kind of guy. These threats reek of malakatude and everything about the legal profession that I despise. Cohen also lost his cool: competent counsel does not yell and scream threats, they get all icy and shit. The best way to stick a shystery shiv in is with a smile on your face.

If  Cohen’s non-apology apology is supposed to apply to his blustery threat against the reporters, I don’t buy it. He meant what he said when he said it. It’s the Trumpian style: talk big, yell, scream, bully, and call people LOSERS. The accumulation of malakatude will eventually catch up with Trump. I realize that’s an unfashionable view right now but the MSM depends on hive-mind thinking and I’m a lone wolf even if I rarely howl at the full moon:

Back to the Nixonian analogy. It’s an apt one since  Nixon tattoo wearing veteran GOP ratfucker and conspiracy theorist Roger Stone is in the Trump camp as a “strategist.”Stone is more of a saboteur than anything else. His presence as a Trump adviser is indicative of the kind of asshole that Trump is. Right now, he’s a popular asshole but a few more outbursts from malakas such as Michael Cohen and the Trump campaign will be sleeping with the fishes.

This seems like as good a place as any to tell a story about a lawyer I worked for as a young legal assistant. Let’s call him Phil. He was very intelligent and very angry. His face was always red and his eyes full of scorn for his inferiors, which seemed to be everyone who wasn’t a partner or well-heeled client. He was a very impatient man with an annoying habit of asking “Are we speaking the same language?” when hearing something that displeased him. One day I’d had enough. He said “Are we speaking the same language?” one time too often so I replied, “I’m speaking English. I don’t know what language you’re speaking.”

Phil threw me out of his office but didn’t fire me. The ways of the malaka can be mysterious and most high-powered lawyers are malakas, especially those with malakas as clients. And that is why Michael Cohen is malaka of the week.

Apology, my ass. I wonder what language he’s speaking…

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: Rags To Rufus

The reason I selected this album cover is a peculiar one even for me. It came to me in a dream. Right before waking up yesterday morning, the image of the Rags To Rufus cover slid into my mind to the tune of the album’s big hit, Tell Me Something Good. I’m uncertain if it was fated but I don’t believe in interrogating my subconscious. I leave that sucker alone.

The fact that my subconscious chose this cover is an indication that it’s as fond of puns as I am. As was Rufus, their next album was entitled Rufusized. A great title but a pedestrian cover, alas.

In the end, what’s not to love about a band that featured the sublime Chaka Khan? She has one of the best names in musical history, y’all. And what’s not to love about a cover that places the band in a pocket?

Rags To Rufus

Here they are Rufusizing Stevie Wonder’s Tell Me Something Good on Soul Train:

How Are They Any Different Than Donald Trump?

If there is one question I’d like asked of any other Republican candidate besides Donald Trump, on any debate stage that may or may not come to exist during this neverending circus, it is this:

How are you different?

I don’t mean in demeanor. Lots of you are nicer than Donald Trump. Lots of you use fewer ALL CAPS or exclamation points in your Tweets. Lots of you say things about accepting those that are different from you, loving the sinner, replacing Obamacare, having compassion. Lots of you speak with a softer voice.

I mean in position.

Do you believe America should build a wall around itself, and blame recent immigrants for its crime and drug problems?

Do you believe the only solution with regard to other countries — Japan and China in particular — is to “beat them?”

Do you believe Obamacare is “amazingly destructive” and will result in “disaster” for the country?

Do you believe waste and fraud in government programs comes primarily from poor people who benefit from those programs?

Do you believe the greatest problem in American education is the demon known as Common Core?

Do you believe there are “degrees” of rape, and that marital rape is basically a fiction?

Do you believe all of those things?

Because when I hear Republicans bemoaning Trump’s candidacy, when I hear all this disingenuous longing for the good old days of The Real Serious GOP, what I really hear is this:

I long for the good old days when we could be bigots, without being so LOUD about it.

I long for the good old days — when we could claim Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond as our own, run the war on drugs, and ignore the AIDS crisis — because back then Republicans were intelligent, thoughtful people.

I long for the good old days, when stupidity at least could be cloaked by a degree from an elite university instead of stuffed under a bad hairpiece.

When I hear Republicans talking about how Donald Trump is making them look bad, all I can think is that that happens, often, when you forget to keep using your Company Voice and start slamming back tequila shots.

I would love for someone to ask one of the so-called serious candidates, one of the real candidates, one of those who merely believes teachers’ unions are the root of all evil and black people don’t really have rights in the face of police authority, exactly how Donald Trump is any different from them.

Aside from the toupee, anyway.

A.

It’s About the Stories

Ezra, being very smart in noticing something: 

But my guess is that within three years, it will be normal for news organizations of even modest scale to be publishing to some combination of their own websites, a separate mobile app, Facebook Instant Articles, Apple News, Snapchat, RSS, Facebook Video, Twitter Video, YouTube, Flipboard, and at least one or two major players yet to be named. The biggest publishers will be publishing to all of these simultaneously.

Which, if it’s about the kinds of stories you tell, is going to be good for those newsrooms that know what they’re about. If you speak with a distinct voice that voice will find an audience. If you’re one of a thousand voices droning the conventional wisdom over the same speakers that announce the weather and the lottery numbers, nobody will hear you. If you’re part of the press pack all covering the same speech, well, certainly it would be fair of the reading public to wonder why they need 500 of you at Donald Trump’s campaign events, instead of one of you with 499 e-mail addresses.

Whenever I hear newsies whining that nobody wants to pay them to be mediocre anymore, all I can think is that they need to find ways to be better, to say something nobody else is saying, to cover something nobody else is covering. That’s harder than doing what you’ve always done and it sucks that you can’t keep doing things the way you’ve always done them, but that’s not the concern of your readers.

I hear far too much chatter these days about what is good for journalists and journalism, and not enough about what is good for the audience. Who’s thinking about them?

Where I diverge from Ezra’s analysis is here:

My biggest frustration with the new media — including, on some days, Vox — is how much we’re like the old media. Most outlets — even the digitally native ones — still publish pieces that could, with few exceptions, be printed out, stapled together, and dropped on someone’s doorstep. So long as that’s happening, it’s a pretty safe bet we’re not fully realizing the potential of this new technology.

Print is still vital where print is still vital. Giving up on it in knee-jerk fashion is just as short-sighted as being hostile to the Internet in knee-jerk fashion. If this is about getting the stories to the people who need them most, then the form that reaches the people who need the stories is the form that will work. In some places, in some cases, that’s still print and that’s okay.

What we have to STOP doing is elevating one thing over another, and start doing all of it. That’s hard and it’s more work and bosses are insisting it be done with less money and fewer people, and that’s not sustainable. You can’t just bet on one thing. You have to bet on your stories, and get them out in as many ways as possible.

A.

Odds & Sods: I Don’t Like Mondays

Pedro and Marichal_MSJ

Pedro Martinez & Juan Marichal. Photo by Milo Stewart, Jr/National Baseball Hall Of Fame

You’re probably wondering why I posted the Pedro-Juan picture from yesterday’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony. I decided to throw y’all a curveball and take this feature back to its roots and post one on a non-Saturday. In short, I’m messing with my readers. That’s why I thought I’d post a picture of the best pitcher in San Francisco Giants history with his fellow Dominican Hall of Famer. Of course, both Pedro and Juan had eleventy million pitches that they threw from a variety of angles. The first time I saw Pedro pitch for the dread Dodgers, I called him Juanito. Enough besibol nostagia…

The *other* reason I’m writing an omnibus post of a Monday is that I have a couple of subjects I want to write about in one fell swoop. I really ought to get on with it.

I chose I Don’t Like Mondays as the post title/theme song because Bob Geldof wrote it about a 1979 shooting spree that killed 2 and wounded 9:

Fear and Loathing in Lafayette: Governor PBJ has called this a senseless shooting and urged us all to pray. As you saw earlier, some of the Freepers consider this leadership. It is, of course, the abdication of leadership. It makes me wanna strip PBJ of his bigass belt buckle and cowboy boots:

jindalprayer_150124_0014_RMay.23305

The Lafayette Police persist in calling this a senseless crime when, as my friend Dakinikat pointed out at Sky Dancing, it is a particularly brutal outbreak of misogyny:

So, I’m not letting this mass shooting in Lafayette go for awhile.  Several things stand out to me.  First, the killer was a rabid misogynist who went on Talk Radio shows screaming about the Biblical roles of women. It shouldn’t be lost on any one that he chose an Amy Schumer movie which was going to have a larger than normal number of women in attendance and that a solid majority of his victims–including the dead ones—were women.

Since Houser had an anti-semitic streak as wide as David Duke, plus the fact that Ms. Schumer is half-Jewish and related to Senate Democratic Whip Chuck Schumer, that’s apt to be another part of this toxic brew of madness and hatred. Hence the Hunter Thompson inspired sub-header.

It’s easier for a small city police force to slot Houser into the deranged loner category and move on. I hope they don’t and do their best to get to the bottom of this appalling crime. Another reason I’m hoping for some answers  is that I have several mutual friends with Jillian Johnson who was one of the two women murdered by Houser. Here’s a clip of her band the Figs performing a spirited version of Psycho Killer:

Ironic doesn’t even begin to cover it. R.I.P.

More Monday musings after the break.

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