About Bill Cosby’s Feelings, And Yours, And Mine

It’s important we not worry our little heads about Bill Cosby because we might sprain something: 

The show Friday night in Melbourne, Florida, might have seemed destined for disaster for the comedian, enveloped in growing accusations of rape and sexual assault that have derailed his career comeback and crumbled his tour schedule. What he got, though, was an adoring audience that laughed so hard they slapped their knees, shouted love at the stage and rose to their feet as he came and went.

“I think people went in there with him as Bill Cosby from the TV show,” said Travis Weberling, 40, of Melbourne, “not the guy they heard about on the news.”

We’re human beings. We defend ourselves, first last and always. We defend ourselves, physically, and we defend the way we think now.

We defend the way we think about something, the way we’ve always thought about something. We defend the rails on which we run, and we throw everything that threatens the track right off the train.

It’s muscle memory almost: Get it out, get it away.

Here’s the thing, though. IT DOESN’T MATTER.

“Chances are Bill Cosby is a serial rapist. That’s a tragedy. Not for you. Not for Bill Cosby. Not for comedy. Not for America. But for the women he raped.”

The pushback always sounds the same, doesn’t it? What about the feelings of the accused? What about due process? What about the court of public opinion? What about the media? What about the young man’s future? What about the Internet lynch mob? What about the rush to judgment?

What about this?

Grace, the 16-year-old who was allegedly raped in September, returned to school after being absent for two weeks following the assault. Word had traveled fast, as had a short video of the assault, allegedly shot by Brian.

The day she returned, her mother told me, Grace was immediately approached in a school hallway by another student.

“I hear you love being raped in the ass,” he said to Grace, as she remembers it.

Grace was holding a heavy book bag. She swung it at the boy. Her boyfriend, standing nearby, punched him. All three were suspended.

When Grace’s mother contacted the school to complain about her daughter’s treatment and its alleged cause, she says a school administrator told her, “Maybe you should keep her out of school until this calms down.”

Until this calms down. Which it will do, once she’s out of school. Which it will do, once the accusers go away. Which it will do, once everybody forgets, because if we let everybody forget, then we don’t have to work. We don’t have to change. We don’t have to grow or get better or stronger or draw the circle any bigger or let anybody else in. We can stay the way we are, until this calms down.

It is the most pernicious force in the universe, the strongest, the most difficult to overcome: This need to maintain the status quo. To just hold still, to not cause trouble, to not make anybody take one more step than they’re already taking. As if thinking about something a little harder is some kind of trial.

As if becoming a better person, which is what you fucking do when you side with the powerless against the great, is something you should ever be afraid of.

As if your transformation weighs anything, against the life of someone else.


Weekend Question Thread

Worst childhood illness?

I had chicken pox, and that was about it, at least that I remember. I rarely got sick as a little kid, unless you count don’t-wanna-go-to-school-itis.


Pulling Up The Drawbridge

As a second generation American, family and immigration are inextricably linked in my mind. I’ve had family on my mind this week as my much loved Uncle Pete died at the age of 94. He was technically an in-law because he was married to my father’s sister Mary for some 69 years. 69 years, imagine that. The reason I’ve always gone by Peter was because of my Uncle: he was Pete, I was Peter. Case closed. Like my father, Uncle Pete was the son of immigrants and was very proud of his Hellenic heritage. The Greek side of my family instilled in me a love of my roots and a profound sense of empathy for immigrants from all walks of life.

A few notes about my Uncle before I move on to the latest immigration kerfuffle. He was a World War II vet who had a lot of stories to tell about his experiences. I think most of them were true but he was a car dealer so you never know. I remember him at large family parties, weddings and whatnot as the relative who loved Greek dancing. It’s the sort of dancing where everyone joins hands and follows a leader of sorts. Uncle Pete was usually the guy up front leaping about and stealing the show. I remember a time when my Aunt and Uncle were visiting my family in California. I was off to another Grateful Dead show and Uncle Pete pulled me aside and asked, “Do they dance at these things?’ I told him that they did, he smiled and said: “I hope you learned a few moves from me.” He then slipped me a twenty dollar bill and kissed me on the forehead.

Debates about immigration are as old as the republic. Things really got ugly when the Irish started arriving. Many Americans thought they were part of a papist plot to take over the country. That’s one reason the loathsome Know Nothing party was born, to keep the Pope out of the White House. They did a decent job: we have still only had one Catholic President.

Nativist and anti-immigration sentiments may be as old as the republic but immigration laws are not:

Prior to 1875’s Page Act and 1882’s Chinese Exclusion Act, there were no national immigration laws. None. There were laws related to naturalization and citizenship, to how vessels reported their passengers, to banning the slave trade. Once New York’s Castle Garden Immigration Station opened in 1855, arrivals there reported names and origins before entering the U.S. But for all pre-1875 immigrants, no laws applied to their arrival. They weren’t legal or illegal; they were just immigrants.

Moreover, those two laws and their extensions affected only very specific immigrant communities: suspected prostitutes and criminals (the Page Act); Chinese arrivals (the Exclusion Act); immigrants from a few other Asian nations (the extensions). So if your ancestors came before the 1920s and weren’t prostitutes, criminals, or from one of those Asian nations, they remained unaffected by any laws, and so were still neither legal nor illegal. This might seem like a semantic distinction, but it’s much more; the phrase “My ancestors came here legally” implies that they “chose to follow the law,” yet none of these unaffected immigrants had to make any such choice, nor had any laws to follow.

The 1892 opening of Ellis Island didn’t change these fundamental realities. Ellis arrivals had to wait in line and answer a list of questions, and could be quarantined if they had a communicable disease or were visibly insane. But if they weren’t in those aforementioned few illegal categories, they still weren’t affected by any law, made no choice of how to immigrate. Moreover, many arrivals during this period came not through Ellis but across the borders, which were unpatrolled and open.

Only with the 1920s Quota Acts did Congress establish national immigration laws encompassing most arrivals. But those acts were overtly discriminatory, extending the Exclusion Act’s principles by categorizing arrivals by nationality and drastically limiting certain groups; South Carolina Senator Ellison Smith put it bluntly: “It seems to me the point as to this measure is that the time has arrived when we should shut the door.”

The 1920 law was aimed at all sorts of  “undesirables” from Jews to Italians to Asians to Greeks to name but a few. Isolationism and bigotry were big in the 1920′s. Congress was protecting the country from radicals, lazy Mediterranean sorts, non-Protestants of all faiths, and the yellow peril.

The laws were modified in 1965 make them less discriminatory and more family friendly. I recall hearing some tales of chicanery in my own family involving relatives who came to America right after World War II when Greece was engulfed in a lunatic Civil War between right wing royalists and Communists who were role models for the Pol Pots of the world. I am not making this up: both sides were horrendous and the lesser of two evils won.

It pains me when folks whose families emigrated to our country to escape poverty, war, and oppression forget where they came from. They’re fond of claiming that “my people came here legally,” but Ben Railton pointed out in the TPM piece I quote from earlier, it ain’t neccessarily so.

Here in Louisiana, we’re still being bombarded with political commercials. Many of the pro-Cassidybot ads focus on safeguarding our borders from lazy welfare bums. It’s another page from the 2010 Vitter re-election campaign and it seems to be working. It makes it easier for me to overlook my reservations about the incumbent when her opponent and his owners are running such a despicable campaign. It’s made worse by the fact that the Cassidybot is a lapsed liberal who converted to wingnuttism and xenophobia to win office.

The reaction to President Obama’s sensible executive order is predictable. The wingers are howling at the moon and demanding the “dictator’s” head on an impeachment platter. It doesn’t matter that Presidents Reagan and Bush the Elder issues similar common sense and compassionate executive orders when they were the Ovals Ones. The GOP’s base base never lets the facts get in the way of a good tantrum.

This issue is about justice, fair play and the American Way. It’s ironic that the so called family values party is once again so blinded by bigotry and hatred that they support tearing families apart because they’re the OTHERS. Many of our families were once the others; mine was. I wish more people would remember where they came from and stop pulling up the drawbridge.

A fearful end at Florida State

Fear is always real when you are afraid.

That was the first thing that struck me when I read about Myron May, the man authorities say shot three students at Florida State University’s campus library before being killed himself.

Before I heard the name and read this story in the Miami Herald, I was like most people, I would imagine, who read about the shooting on campus.

Another gun. Another mass shooting. Another chance to avoid discussing gun control.

This post isn’t about gun control. It isn’t about mental illness, either, although it serves as a root cause of the shooting. This isn’t about violent video games or the NRA or what happens to the idyllic life of the victims when their “normal” is taken abruptly and horrifically.

It’s about fear. And what fear causes us to do.

The story on May is that he began to spiral downward from an incredible scholar, a role model and a man on the path to greatness down to a fearful, unemployed shell of himself. The mental illness had robbed him of his livelihood and his confidence, making him fear unknown attackers who he believed had targeted him.

I believe May had a mental illness and I believe it to be something horrible. I know what it is like to feel that something in my head isn’t right, but I can’t figure out what it is. I know what it is like to live in a society that doesn’t offer help without judgment to people like May, but quickly rushes to patch up the bloody wounds that happen once that mental distress manifests itself physically. I know that not every mental illness starts the way his did or ends the way his did.

I also know that although true mental illness and gun violence don’t always intersect, when they do, we all feel the impact.

It would be easy to dismiss this as one of those cases. The NRA will blame the illness, the health-care practitioners will blame the lack of support for the mentally ill and we will all go back to life the way it was before we read about Myron May from our safe perches elsewhere in the country.

However, the underlying problem still seeps into the cracks and crevices of our society, imbuing us with the riskiest of all sensations.


When the gun lobby pitches “the right to bear arms” to the general population, it proselytizes under the guise of individual freedom and the inalienable need to protect one’s self. Belying that argument is a fear that is just as real in each and every convert as it was for Myron May: Someone, somewhere is out to get you.

It might be the evildoer, bent on havoc and destruction.

It might be the criminal, seeking to take what you have earned.

It might be a “crazy,” packing his own gun and unable to tell the “good guys” from the “bad guys.”

And it’s not just about the guns.

This morning, as I rode to work, I picked up the end of the news report on Obama’s amnesty program for undocumented citizens. (or illegal aliens if you prefer)

The president outlined his logical, rational argument that these people are here, working and living. They don’t pay taxes, but they use the tax-based services. Why not make them “legit” and have them participate in both ends of the system?

The “counterpoint” was offered by some cheap Republican hack and it was simple, unvarnished fear. Allowing the immigrants to be part of this system will cost “real Americans” jobs. It will “drive down wages.” It will cut back on the “quality of American life.”

Some people, who probably speak with an accent, are out to get you.

They want YOUR jobs.

They want YOUR money.

They want what YOU EARNED.

Even the most well-intentioned ideas are rooted in fear.

Go to college, because you can’t get a job without a degree.

You better save your pennies for a rainy day.

Make sure you lock your doors.

It’s 3,000 miles. Have you changed your oil lately?

In their magnum opus on the 1980 Olympic Hockey Team, John Powers and Arthur Kaminsky examined the team’s mercurial architect, Herb Brooks. They explained that he grew up on the East Side of St. Paul, Minnesota, the son of an insurance underwriter and the only thing that ever frightened him was failure.

And yet that was all he saw, everywhere he looked.

When he finally won his national championship, a prize to be treasured, his team partied while he sat in a hallway, drained and exhausted.

“They had succeeded,” the men wrote. “He had avoided failure.”
As a fellow sinner in the fear movement, I don’t know how to avoid fear. It’s like avoiding dust: It’s always around us no matter how hard we try to scrub it away. When fear becomes too much to handle, it bursts forth like a raging river past a faltering dam.

In his final minutes, Myron May’s fear led him to the campus everyone said he loved so much. As it exploded into a violent finale, police came for him and they killed him.

In the end, his fear had become real. Then again, it always was for him.

Shorter Obama: *inaugural addresses*

Somebody decided to start his presidency last night: 

We’ll prioritize, just like law enforcement does every day.

But even as we focus on deporting criminals, the fact is millions of immigrants in every state, of every race and nationality still live here illegally.

And let’s be honest, tracking down, rounding up and deporting millions of people isn’t realistic. Anyone who suggests otherwise isn’t being straight with you. It’s also not who we are as Americans.

After all, most of these immigrants have been here a long time. They work hard often in tough, low paying jobs. They support their families. They worship at our churches. Many of the kids are American born or spent spent most of their lives here. And their hopes, dreams, and patriotism are just like ours.

As my predecessor, President Bush, once put it, they are a part of American life.


And honestly, I don’t mean to seem ungrateful but this is where he should have started. Republicans were never going to work with him. It was never going to be 1982 again and the party was never going to give up being beholden to its rabid racist booty-call base, and that  base was never going to be okay with anything but guys with AKs rounding up Mexican schoolchildren because that’s how those people roll.

To wit, CNN contributor Erick Erickson: 

There are two things really happening. First, many Republicans in Washington actually agree with the president. Most of the Republicans want amnesty. They may disagree with the means by which the president seeks amnesty, but they will not oppose him because they agree with the outcome.

Second, some Republicans are tired of the fight. They truly believe the public still hates them for shutting down the government in 2013. Consequently, they have no will to fight now. They are scared, feel unloved and have no energy for the fight. They cannot do what the public wants because they think the public will not love them for doing so.

Got that? Republicans should shut down the government again, to prevent Obama from doing what he has to do because the Republican response to anything else would be … to shut down the government. I would say these people have lost the plot but they never had it to lose.

All of which was obvious to anybody with two brain cells to rub together but hey, better late than never, Mr. President, and hit ‘em again. Harder, harder.


Friday Catblogging: Make Room For Della

One of the things I like about our recent spate of chilly weather is seeing Oscar and Della snuggle more. Here they are “sharing” a chair.

Make Room For Della

One more thing. I’m having DVR problems so my Freak Show post will be late for a very good reason. I haven’t seen the latest episode yet. Woe is me.

More Tales Of The Unreconstructed South

This post could also be called Borderline Behavior In A Border State:

A Kentucky law enforcement official is under fire this week after footage of his deeply racist comments was made public on Tuesday. In September, Southeast Bullitt Fire Chief Julius Hartfield was recorded on a Bullitt County Sheriff deputy’s body camera during a response to a traffic accident, when Hartfield allegedly refused to help a black family while referring to them in derogatory, racist terms.

 “Well, I’ve got a family of four from Cincinnati, I got to do something with,” the Bullitt County deputy says in the footage, which was obtained by WDRB.

“We ain’t taking no n–gers here,” Hartfield responded, laughing.

The footage also reveals the fire chief helping the other man involved in the traffic incident, Loren Dicken, who is white. According to WDRB, after Hartfield went out of his way to assist Dicken with a tire issue, the chief also had his firefighters pick the man up from the hospital when he was released.

But Hartfield was reportedly less than helpful for the other driver involved in the accident, Chege Mwangi, who is black. Mwangi told WDRB reporter Valerie Chinn that Hartfield suggested he, his wife and two children contact Triple A for assistance, before asking for registration and proof of insurance. When Chinn, who is Asian-American, contacted Hartfield to ask about the alleged disparities in his treatment of the two families as well as possible mismanagement of his department, the fire chief offered a startling (also racist) response.

“Do you understand English darling?” Hatfield said. “Do you understand English?”

Chinn reports that Hartfield later apologized for repeatedly asking her if she speaks English, and claimed that he did not remember using the N-word to describe the Mwangi family.

Chief Hartfield’s heartless act is a possible refutation of an adage propounded by a friend of mine who’s a retired police Captain: “If you want to be a hero, be a fire fighter.”

The one good thing about this appalling episode is that it illustrates once again the utility of the dashboard camera. Hartfield may claim he didn’t remember dropping the N-bomb but the proof is in the video pudding so to speak.

It is, of course, not a shocker that Hartfield is an equal opportunity bigot: he slurred the intrepid Asian-American reporter by implying she didn’t speak English. Temper, temper Chief Hartless.

The next time someone tells you that bigotry is in the rear view mirror, direct them to the curious case of the border state bigot. And that is why Chief  Orange Julius Hartfield *could* have been malaka of the week. There’s always a surfeit of “qualified” candidates.

Malaka Of The Week: Jay Nixon

Malakatude often involves making a bad situation worse by taking foolish decisions that will inflame an already tense situation. That is what Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has done by calling out the National Guard in Ferguson and that is why he is malaka of the week.

As of this writing, it is unclear how the grand jury will dispose of the case against Officer Darren Wilson. Many of us think there’s sufficient evidence for an indictment, but grand juries operate in secrecy so nobody knows for sure what will come down or when an announcement will be made. By publicly assuming the worst, Governor Nixon has given the impression that he knows what’s going to happen. Wrong. He’s making an “educated” guess, which has put people in Ferguson and elsewhere on edge and is encouraging right wing extremist groups to stir the pot:

Ku Klux Klan leaders have handed out fliers in Ferguson that threaten “lethal force” against protesters, businesses have boarded up their storefronts, and local gun retailers say sales have skyrocketed. Law enforcement officials have warned of groups of “outside agitators” who could descend on the city after the announcement and incite violence..”These people are afraid,” said Steve King, the owner of Metro Shooting Supplies in nearby Bridgeton. King says his store typically sells 30 to 40 firearms a week. This week, it has sold 250. “One hundred percent of them are buying because of Ferguson.”

Being prepared for the worst is a good idea but whipping up hysteria is not. We’re all bracing for a bad outcome, but ramping up the process so visibly is the political equivalent of pouring fire on gasoline.

I assume Governor Nixon thought that he’d deter violent protests with an overwhelming show of force. Wrong again. All this has done is rub salt in the wounds of an incredibly raw situation. I hope things don’t go South, but if there’s no indictment all of this build-up and hype is likely to result in violence.

I hope I’m wrong about this but this has the potential of making the earlier unrest in Ferguson look like a weenie roast. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this won’t turn into the son of the 1992 riots in South Central L.A. Governor Nixon’s job is not only to preserve order, it is to keep his cool and urge his citizenry to do likewise. Instead, Nixon has made things even more tense than they already were and that is why Jay Nixon is malaka of the week.

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Welcome To The New Rat Race…Where You’ll Never Win

From Album 5

That’s right, no matter how fast or far you run, the reward is always out of reach…well, for you. But keep moving, because the productivity gains and added shareholder value sure do make money…for the shareholders.

Maybe that’s what they really meant back when it was all about “the ownership society.” If you’re an owner, it’ll be ok. If not…then tough love and tough luck, slacker.

Now back to work…if you’re lucky enough to actually have a job.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Bad For Business

Speaking of things that are bad for business, a body on the floor surely tops a weak pun. Here are two, count ‘em two, different covers for the same Rex Stout book:


Stupid Even For Twitter

I mentioned earlier this morning how frustrated and annoyed I’ve become with the Tweeter Tube’s culture of instant outrage.  This flap takes the biscuit as the silliest one I’ve ever seen:

That’s right, ladies and germs, it’s racist to make a pun on the name Juan. Members of the pun community are running for cover. I myself am feeling pale and wan in the wake of this revelation. I may even have to swear off won-ton soup jokes, which makes me feel all hot and sour…

The company in question decided it was easier to delete the tweet and apologize, which was the wise thing for a business to do. I would hope, however, they’d ignore the loonier suggestions of firing people and banning puns. While I prefer smoke free joints, I draw the line at pub pun bans.

There are so many valid claims of bigotry and racism in the world that specious ones such as this drive me up the fucking wall. It turns out that there’s a “racist” Mexican restaurant in Austin whose name is Juan In A Million. It’s owned by a man named Juan Meza. Guess that makes him a self-loathing Chicano. The slacktivists are planning to do absolutely nada about this. At least I hope not, the mere thought makes me nada off.

It turns out that we own a “racist” coffee mug designed by world class punster Sandra Boynton:


It’s time for the American pun community to circle the wagons and fight against this tiresome Twitter tyranny. We should not take this pun persecution lying down; it’s not punny any more. Actually, I just put the lie in lying down. The pun community is resilient, so we’ll just get over it and move on:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Kid Ory and his Creole Jazz Band

I stumbled into this Jim Flora designed LP cover at a web site dedicated to early album cover art. I have the feeling I’ll be a frequent visitor in the future. Thanks to the Birka Jazz Archive for turning me on to to this great 1953 cover:


Odds & Sods: Shirtstorm Edition

the-who odds--sods

I’ve been dialing back my Twitter use of late. I go through stages of frenetic activity and times of relative quiet on the Tweeter Tube. The instant outrage machine gets to me at times:  two of the items in this week’s omnibus post address viral malakatude as well as malaktude that went viral.

Shirtstorm or Shitstorm? One thing I missed this week was the ludicrous outrage over this shirt worn on teevee by Rosetta project scientist Dr. Matt Taylor:


Here’s the deal. I’m a loud shirt guy. I even have a few Hawaiian shirts with hula girls on them, one of which was bought for me by Dr. A. I don’t like Taylor’s shirt, it’s a bit too headbangy for my taste. In short, it’s an ugly loud shirt but what it’s not is a political statement. The Guardian’s Hadley Freeman saw through the outrage machine:

What should a scientist wear during a comet landing?

Eve Rybody, Everywhere, World

Well, Ms Rybody, it’s funny that you should ask this for, truly, this has become the biggest fashion question – possibly even the only fashion question – in not just the world, but the entire cosmos. For anyone who might have missed it, last week there was some dinky story about a probe landing on a comet for the first time ever. I know what you’re thinking: “Probe, schmobe, get to the real issue here – what was one of the scientists wearing?!?!?!?” Glad to be of service! The project scientist, Dr Matt Taylor, appeared on TV wearing a shirt patterned with images of semi-clothed women that I assume (not being an expert in either of these fields) reference video games and heavy metal albums. Cue internet rage! Everything that followed was utterly predictable, but not especially edifying. The story went through the five cycles of internet rage: initial amusement; astonishment; outrage; backlash to the outrage; humiliated apology. First, our attention was drawn to the shirt via some sniggering tweets; this was swiftly followed by shock and its usual accompaniment, outrage, with some women suggesting the shirt reflected a sexism at the heart of the science community. As generally happens when a subject takes a feminist turn on the internet, the idiots then turned up, with various lowlifes telling the women who expressed displeasure at the shirt to go kill themselves. (This is not an exaggeration, and there is no need to give these toerags further attention in today’s discussion.)

And you thought I wrote longass paragraphs. The whole process described by Hadley is increasingly tiresome. It’s a shirt, not a statement, people. I know all about science being an old boys club but sometimes a shirt is just a shirt just as a sigh is just a sigh, the fundamental things apply:

One last thing about the shirtstorm: when did we start expecting scientists to dress stylishly? This ugly bowling shirt is the 21st Century equivalent of the short sleeve white shirt, clip-on bow tie, and pocket  protector look worn by nerdy science types since time immemorial.

I’m no rocket scientist but one thing I know for sure is that geeks gotta geek.

The NOLA Football Thief: Another example of a tempest in a Tweeter Tube is the story of Tony Williams, Saints fan, former Zulu King, and football thief. You’ve probably heard about it and even watched the video but what a bit of overkill among friends?

Speaking of overkill, the reaction on Twitter was OTT. I *never* approve of trolls issuing death threats and the like but I also strongly disapprove of the sort of selfishness and rudeness displayed by Williams. Instead of admitting that he threw an elbow, he justified the scrum by telling the Vestigial-Picayune that “his Mardi Gras instincts kicked in.”

Shoving people out the way for a throw on the parade route is just as rude as what Williams did at the Dome. It’s piss poor Carnival etiquette. It would be better if he could just admit a mistake and move on instead of babbling about how he wanted the ball for his grandson. Nice lesson you taught the kid there, dude.

More life lessons after the break.

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we need 10 people to give $15


To finish off this school’s reading project.

Here are some of the NICER things said on the school district’s Facebook page during last week’s NRA-sponsored clusterfuck disaster: 

Refusing to allow the Veterans perform a 21 gun salute on school grounds because you’re a bunch of left leaning idiots? Shame, Shame, Shame!

Everyone part of this district should be fired

Evidently YOUR Mr. Tim Libham is a “STRICT LIBERAL and ADHERES GREATLY TO HIS “GOD” OBAMAS wishes of trying to WIPE OUT RESPECT to our veterans.. I thank God that the state of Virginia has not taken that path yet to kiss the hand of OBAMA like your Executive director has done!!~ SHAME ON YOU FOR NOT DOING YOUR 21 GUN SALUTE!!!!

Be glad I don’t live in your school district. I would have already started a recall petition to get you idiots out of office. The 21 gun salute is for all the veterans who have died defending this great country. Unfortunately in a free society mistakes are made when we elect people like you. Fortunately we have legal remedies to remove people like you from office.

You people are the reason I will NEVER vote for any bill to increase education spending….

Those are the ones the district didn’t have to delete because they were full of threats. And that last one? Yeah, that’s the majority of the reason why our schools are starved for money: Petulant idiots like that.

Give. Make the school’s day. 


Rules of Cribbage: The Newsroom Thread

Apologies for not getting this up last night, but Mr. A and I are both bi for everybody on The Good Wife and so that came first and then I fell asleep on the couch. It’s just a 24-7 rave around here on the weekends.

Charlie’s right on this: 

Here, I am told, the latter persona comes into full plumage at a staff meeting in which the NewsNight crew bathes in its own warm moral light at having not jumped on the unfortunate social-media frenzy concerning a Saudi national who was dubiously identified as a suspect in the bombing early on. (The real damage there, of course, also was done by the old dead-tree media, specifically The New York Post, but Sorkin hates tabloids as much as he hates those scrimey bloggers on the Intertoobz, and apparently anyone else who remembers how to spell “psilocybin.”) Evidently, the message is to leave the news gathering to the professionals, kidz, or you will do real damage to real people.

I think the reason I can get past it with Sorkin is because of LEONA GODDAMN LANSING.

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The Mook Mafia?

Mooks of Bloomsbury

The word mook always makes me think of my late friend Ashley Morris. It was one of his favorite perjorative terms. Dr. A even took the picture above in London in 2007 as an hommage to Perfesser Morris who was still very much alive and hollering.

The Mook in question is Democratic operative Robby Mook who is apparently angling to run Hillary’s 2016 campaign. The Mafia in question is a group of people centering around Mook. The Mook Mafia in question is an email listserv he runs to keep in touch with colleagues. You’re probably wondering where this questionable post is going: a Mook rival leaked information to ABC News about the listserv in the hopes of knifing him.

ABC political director Rick Klein wrote a breathless story about the leaked gossip, which is much ado about nothing. That has long been the style at his news organization: one of his best-known predecessors was the dread Mark Halperin, now peddling process stories and gossip at Bloomberg Politics.

The contents of the leaked emails are nothing extraordinary but Klein breathlessly reported that they drop F-bombs as if that should shock anyone. There’s also a very mild joke at Bill Clinton’s expense in an email by Mook’s sidekick Nolan Marshall who’s currently on the White House staff:

“The Mafia has finally built a bridge to the 21st century,” Bill Clinton is jokingly quoted as having said in an email that appears to have been written by Marshall. “This is even more exciting than walking through the back of the Bellagio.”

I realize that the Big Dog is famously thin-skinned but this ain’t shit compared to the stuff that’s been thrown at him over the years. When I heard there was a Bill joke, I expected it to be about blow jobs or cigars used as dildos, not this snoozer.

I posted about this boring leak because it’s indicative of how the inside the beltway folks think. If this is their idea of gripping gossip, I’ve got a bridge to sell them and it’s not to the 21st Century. I would think that the fact that Mook is prone to saying things like FUCK REPUBLICANS should help him get the job. Backstage intrigue ain’t what it used to be, obviously.

I fibbed in the paragraph above. I only posted about this because I like the sound of Mook Mafia and the story conjured up fond memories of Herr Professor Morris. I rarely use the word mook because it makes me think of one of my favorite cult baseball players, Mookie Wilson:


Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Clarence sale edition

All righty, folks – this is going to be a Clarence clearance sale edition of Obsession, so we’ll start with a new one and go back for some old threads.

Let’s start with – Ted Cruz typos!

McCain Assures Incoming GOP Senators Won’t Be More Ted Cruz Types
Mediaite ^ | Nov. 11, 2014 | Josh Feldman

Posted on 11‎/‎11‎/‎2014‎ ‎3‎:‎25‎:‎12‎ ‎PM by PROCON

Senators John McCain and Ted Cruz don’t exactly have the best relationship. Cruz has said Republicans like McCain are why their party doesn’t do better, and McCain has not been shy about publicly dumping on Cruz, especially during last year’s government shutdown.

And in a new interview with Salon today, McCain wanted to make it clear that the incoming crop of Republicans that will give their party control of the Senate will not be Cruzes. McCain even claimed that a lot of the GOP Senate candidates who won are in the same mold as himself and Lindsey Graham.


Senator McCain, thank you for your Service, now RETIRE!
1 posted on 11‎/‎11‎/‎2014‎ ‎3‎:‎25‎:‎12‎ ‎PM by PROCON
First of all, I’d like to note the increasing number of FR posts quoting sources like Mediaite, TPM, Salon (heh), etc.
If they keep exploring outside the wingnut media bubble, some of them might just develop some reasoning skills.

Amen, and take your brain dead daughter with you.

5 posted on 11‎/‎11‎/‎2014‎ ‎3‎:‎27‎:‎47‎ ‎PM by Fungi

Or not…

I still wish there was an alternative conservative party we could go to.

9 posted on ‎11‎/‎11‎/‎2014‎ ‎3‎:‎29‎:‎43‎ ‎PM by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)

Or better yet – an alliterative alternative putative demonstrative lucrative pejorative operative interrogative conservative party.
With an open bar.

McCain’s really going to be a problem going into ‘16. He’s that annoying douchebag that the media points to when they want to validate Democrat stances, and he gives them no shortage of ammunition to use against principled conservatives slavering nutjobs.

24 posted on ‎11‎/‎11‎/‎2014‎ ‎3‎:‎35‎:‎48‎ ‎PM by MarkRegal05


“McCain even claimed that a lot of the GOP Senate candidates who won are in the same mold as himself and Lindsey Graham.”

Now that’s a scary thought!

If true, the Demwits will be back in charge in 2016.

42 posted on 11‎/‎11‎/‎2014‎ ‎3‎:‎54‎:‎18‎ ‎PM by oldbill

From your lips….

>> “ last year’s government shutdown?” <<

I must have slept through it.

87 posted on 11‎/‎11‎/‎2014‎ ‎5‎:‎14‎:‎22‎ ‎PM by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I’d hoped they’d be)


I’ve read about his service and how he killed a few of his own men and sang like a bird in his cell.

Screw him we need a thousand Ted Cruz.

88 posted on 11‎/‎11‎/‎2014‎ ‎5‎:‎17‎:‎56‎ ‎PM by longfellow (Bill Maher, the 21st hijacker.)

And finally:
Senator McCain, thank you for your Service, now RETIRE!No.Senator McCain, SCREW YOU for being an incompetent pilot and betraying your fellow POWs, now DIE!
111 posted on 11‎/‎12‎/‎2014‎ ‎11‎:‎55‎:‎49‎ ‎AM by Lazamataz (Proudly Deciding Female Criminal Guilt By How Hot They Are Since 1999 !)
C’mon, Laz – tell us how you REALLY feel!
More insanity after the fold…

Continue reading

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For Fuck’s Sake, Learn to Internet

This was predictable: 

The New England Patriots became the first NFL team to hit one million followers on Twitter, and it celebrated the milestone Thursday by blasting out images of a Patriots jersey with users’ Twitter handles on the back to those who retweeted the account.

The promo ran smoothly until a user with the handle @IHATENIGGERSS got his “custom digital jersey.”

This too: 

Companies and celebrities who try to get a Twitter hashtag trending often find that it backfires spectacularly. So it was when America’s quackDr. Mehmet Oz, tried something yesterday afternoon:

Build Your Own Bush Poster was maybe my favorite iteration of this idiot idea:


Just stop it. Just stop. If you give the Internet the opportunity to prank you, it will do so with great force and enthusiasm. Learn from the past 10 GODDAMN YEARS, crabs Internet Grandma over here, and don’t poke the porcupine.


The Right to Bully

These open carry people: 

Some 20 vocal advocates of open carry, many members of Michigan Open Carry, Inc., spoke during Monday’s meeting, quoting laws and pointing out that concealed pistol license (CPL) holders are “normal, law-abiding citizens.” Others cited statistics asserting that, often, horrific crimes happen in places typically designated as pistol-free zones, such as schools and theaters, while others declared the right for CPL holders to open carry in a school building.

A number of attendees also said the issue isn’t about “rights” so much as it is about shielding their children from harm.

“We live in a country where we protect everything from our banks, our presidents, cities, states and the whole country… with men and women who carry guns, but we don’t protect our children that way,” said William Nesler of Romulus, who came to the meeting along with others from Shelby Township, Wyandotte, Ann Arbor, Gross Pointe, Hartland and elsewhere.

“Some people still believe guns don’t make you safe,” said Nesler, who wore a gun on his hip, “but I can guarantee, my son is safer standing behind me than he is standing behind a piece of paper that says ‘gun free zone.’”

This, the “why can’t I say the N-word,” the “why can’t I post the Ten Commandments on public property,” the entirety of the conversations we have about abortion and health care, they’re just about the right to bully people.

And that’s not a right.


Sunday Morning Video: The Neville Brothers Live in 1991

This video of a 1991 Halloween show at the Municipal Auditorium in New Orleans just popped up on the YouTube a few days ago. Dr. A and I were at the concert. I don’t recall if we wore costumes but I do it remember it being a memorable evening:


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