First Draft Fundraiser: Kickstart Our Anthology!

So back when we turned 10 last year, we mentioned putting together a Best Of collection, a Greatest Hits album but with lots more political crack. It took me a year to get off my ass to get it done, but it’s almost here, and we’re taking pre-orders at Kickstarter for it!  Continue reading

You can’t have it both ways: Statehouse Edition

I have seen this interaction take place quite a bit over the years and it usually involves a child, a parent and a purchase.

Child: “I want this and that.”
Parent: “That’s $10. You only have five. You have to choose.”
Child: “But I want them both!”
Parent: “But you don’t have enough money.”
Child: “Can’t you just give me $5 more?”
Parent: “No, but if you promise to (insert semi-painful, menial home task, like cutting the lawn or resurfacing the driveway) when we get home, I’ll give you the $5 then and you can come back and buy it.”
Child: “I don’t want to do that! I just want these two things!”

And around and around it goes until either the parent caves, the kid loses his/her mind or both of them are mauled by nearby shoppers who can no longer stand hearing the conversation.

A dozen stories caught my eye this week. There were two more “I’m-sure-it-wasn’t-the-gun’s-fault” shootings on a couple college campuses. We also had Gov. Deadeyes’ decision to wait until Patrick Crooks was buried before appointing Rebecca Bradley to replace him, thus ensuring no one could hear him spinning like a damned top in his casket. However, the two that spoke the most clearly to how state politicians view reality are linked by the essence of the above conversation:

We want what we want because we want it!

The news that the University of Wisconsin (Madison chapter) sought the right to remove a “cap” that limited the number of out-of-state students it could accept became a point of contention at the statehouse this week. State Rep. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) complained that the university’s approach was not about bringing the best and brightest from all over the world to UW, but rather a cash grab.

The math is simple: Out-of-state students pay almost three times what in-state students pay for the same seat, he argued.

Nass isn’t wrong in this and Blank’s effort to paint this as anything more than a revenue wrangle is disingenuous at best. That said, what the hell did Nass expect would happen when he and his fellow Republicans kept cutting state funding to the UW System?

I can hear the “Trim the fat” line echoing in my head from my friends who think the U is full of gold-plated toilet seats and professors’ lounges that look like this but that’s a false echo these days.

There is no fat.

There is no meat.

There’s barely bone.

As far as higher education goes, this state isn’t the pretty girl at the dance. Professor salaries have stagnated over the past seven years at least, due in large part to diminished aid from the state. Top-notch scholars are leaving because states that aren’t run by idiots (an unfortunately diminishing minority) are giving their state U’s the funds necessary to poach them and their research grants. Even those states that aren’t flush with cash aren’t treating anyone who works on a campus like they’re VD-carrying child rapists.

The UW can’t raise tuition. It can’t raise fees. It can’t cut any more stuff and still call itself a University anything. The only option? The out-of-state cash.

In a similar vein, Scott Walker is feeling the pinch of his presidential campaign approach as he’s dealing with the state’s crumbling infrastructure. A series of road projects have been either slowed or shelved, in large part due to the cuts to the DOT’s coffers. The move looked great for Walker when he thought he would be heading out as a presidential candidate who refused to raise taxes. Now, as a guy who has to drive on these shitty swaths of road that make downtown Kabul look like the Autobahn, he’s looking for a way to not look like a pandering fool as he gets the roads back on track.

Walker asked for an additional $150 million in borrowing so that he could keep things going on various road projects, including those in Milwaukee and the Fox Valley. Democrats wouldn’t piss in his mouth to put out a fire and some Republicans are adamantly against more borrowing (he already got $500 million in borrowed revenue). Walker keeps pitching this as the only potential answer.

Actually, the answer to both of these situations is the same:

You did it to yourself and you can’t have it both ways.

You want to cut back on aid to the university to the point where calling it a “public institution” is laughable? Fine. (I doubt there is any other place out there where you can pay 17 percent into the kitty and essentially dictate all the major rules.) If we can’t get the money from you, we’ll get it where we can. So sorry if the legacy kid with a 2.5 GPA and a father who contributed heavily to your campaign can’t get in the door any more.

You want to cut back on money we need for road building? Fine. We’ll just slow the roads down and operate “within our means” until we can sneak past Oliver Twist for our next bowl of gruel. We also won’t be “fiscally irresponsible” and start projects for which we lack the funds. So sorry if we’ll be working on this for so long your kids will think a “DETOUR” sign is our state flag.

These kinds of approach infuriates Republicans because a) it limits their control in certain situations and b) it essentially undercuts their bullshit talking points about being “creative” when it comes to financial solutions and the need for “austerity” in government spending.

In short, they’re the kid in the store, getting red in the face because they aren’t getting their way. It’s essentially, “No, dammit, I didn’t mean for you to do what I told you to do in a way that is going to come back to haunt me!”

Although economics is a major that was way too difficult for me as a student, the concept behind financial viability isn’t really that hard to understand.

If you want something, you need to have the money.

If you can’t get the money from Place A, you should seek it elsewhere through an equally viable and legal option.

If you can’t get the money from any action you take, you should reconsider your spending habits.

This is the core of what these people shout at the poor when it comes to food stamps or welfare or minimum wage issues.

If you don’t have the money, you can’t eat!

If you don’t like working for minimum wage, go get a better job!

If you can’t make ends meet, you need to reconsider your lifestyle!

In this case, the University essentially got a higher-paying job and the DOT reconsidered its lifestyle. Why this is so vexing to Republicans is utterly understandable:

It’s easier to preach these things than to abide by them.

Friday Ferretblogging: Halfway There, So …

I feel the need to break out the big guns for our Kickstarter. BEHOLD BABY CLAIRE.

babbeh claire

She was SO FLUFFY.

In all seriousness, thank you to everyone who’s contributed so far. And if you haven’t, consider this:

I have more baby Claire photos. Also baby Kick photos, and some news I’ll be sharing on Sunday about the project and also A TRANSCRIPT OF THE CRACK VAN FROM ELECTION NIGHT 2008. Yes, it exists.

I could be persuaded to post excerpts. If we get close enough.


Friday Catblogging: Kickstarter Kitty

We here at First Draft try to avoid exploiting our pets but, as I often say, rules are meant to be broken. And Della Street doesn’t care about our human rules unless food is involved, that is.

If you like the Devil Eyed Della pictures, please consider kicking into our kickstarter kitty. For a mere 25 bucks you’ll get a copy of our anthology: Our Fate Is Your Fate. The humans, past and present, here at First Draft will be grateful. As for Della, she doesn’t give it shit about gratitude but she’ll accept your adoration:

Della Kickstarter

Yeah, I know it’s a little blurry but we were blinded by Della’s devilish glow.  Della doesn’t do retakes, y’all.

Brain Surgeon, Heal Thyself

We all know people who are brilliant in one aspect of life and absolute ninnies in others. They thrive if they stay in their lane, and crash when they don’t. I’ve met some surgeons who were brilliant with a scalpel and hopeless with people, the fictional Dr. House is just an extreme example. They should stick to the operating theatre as they say in Woody Olde England. It’s increasingly obvious that Dr. Ben Carson fits the bill and should stick to what he knows best: cutting people open and helping them instead of putting his foot in his mouth.  I think the Doc needs a footectomy or some such shit.

Even in a campaign silly season that includes the Insult Comedian and Gov. PBJ, Ben Carson says more stupid shit than the average Oval One wannabe. His latest assault on logic and common decency involves the subject of guns. Here are two examples courtesy of Charlie’s shabeen:

“I’m glad you asked that question. Because not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me,” Carson said. He speculated that he would have organized a response. “I would say, ‘Hey guys! Everybody attack him! He may shoot me but he can’t get us all!'” Carson exclaimed.


Ben Carson again weighed in on the Oregon shooting, writing that he had operated on victims of gun violence “but I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away.”

The first statement is nutty, but the second is utterly incoherent. What the fuck does it even mean? Has Doctor Carson performed the world’s only self-lobotomy? He certainly says a lot of amazingly stupid shit even for someone pandering to the knuckledraggers of the Right. The higher he rises in the polls the more he casts off empathy and human decency as if they were bloody gloves. This is a good Christian physician?

As much as I like my self-lobotomy theory, that’s not it.  Ben Carson is the epitome of someone with narrow brilliance who is a raging nincompoop in other aspects of life. His skill as a brain surgeon is as incontestable as his candidacy is lamentable. Dr. Carson should drop his Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson fantasies before someone takes him seriously and gets hurt.

Brain surgeon, heal thyself.

Nail Guns, Aisle 7, Hot Lead In The Parking Lot

From Album 5

It’s bad enough that at least around here, just driving to a hardware store is a potentially life-threatening exercise.

The only thing that stops a shoplifter is a vigilante bystander with a gun. Or, at least, that’s what an unidentified woman apparently decided shortly before she opened fire on an SUV carrying a man who was fleeing the nearby Home Depot.

No, this isn’t an endorsement of shop lifting (duh), but in the greater scheme of things, the very real potential for some sort of tragedy from discharging a firearm more than outweighs the loss of “power tools and welding equipment.” What on earth was this person thinking? It’d be one thing if it was a case of assisting an individual who’d been robbed or mugged…but a Home Depot? They’ll lose more inventory by random breakage…Christ.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Women’s Doctor

I’m open to requests and suggestions for this feature. This one came in last week from my friend Kevin who dropped some glorious puns in his email:

Given the kerfuffle over Planned Parenthood, I thought you might like this… I hate to speculum-ate, but it seems our nation’s valiant OB-GYNs are stirruping some trouble…

I considered stealing those puns but thought better of it. Kevin is a devoted Pulp Fiction Thursday fan, after all. Time to page the Doctor:

Women's Doctor

Rick Perlstein On Donald (The Insult Comedian) Trump

Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland and The Invisible Bridge, applies his deep dish historical approach to the shallow topic of the Insult Comedian at the Washington Spectator. The piece is called Donald Trump and the F-Word. I’d use an H word instead: Hustler or Huckster.

There’s something about Trump that inspires people to write about the movies and, like Frank Rich a few weeks back, Perlstein mentions some good ones, Elia Kazan and Budd Schulberg’s A Face In The Crowd and Billy Wilder’s Ace In The Hole:

Ordinary people can become monsters. Everyone who experienced World War II knew that. How does it happen? Any attentive cinema-goer or TV-watcher of the 1950s would have a decent grasp of an answer. In Ace in the Hole, from 1951, a little-remembered Billy Wilder masterpiece, the effort to rescue a man trapped in a cave collapse in New Mexico turns into a lurid carnival as folks flock from miles around, with rides, concerts, and gambling. The party ends when the rescue fails, the man dies, and the revelers slink away in shame at how thin the veneer of civilization truly was.

I wish the Insult Comedian was actually as interesting as the better articles written about him. He’s fundamentally a con artist selling dreams, nightmares, and bullshit much like Burt Lancaster in Elmer Gantry. There’s my movie analogy.

One of the most interesting parts of Perlstein’s opus is the bit about a documentary Trump managed to suppress:

If you doubt that Donald Trump notches perfectly with this tradition, I recommend the documentary Trump, What’s the Deal? It was completed in 1990 but never released because of threats from its litigious subject­ but now, it’s available online. It’s the source of the quote, regarding Trump and the truth: “divide by two, then divide by four, and you’re closer to the answer.” In the film, you see Donald promising the most luxurious appointments available in his Trump Tower.

“We decided to go absolutely first class all the way,” Trump said, which was why Sofia Loren and the Prince of Wales were buying in (both lies). An interior decorator explains that the apartments, unlike the pink marble lobby, are anything but first class: “I’ve never seen more sloppily installed and more cheaply built kitchen cabinets.” (The installers were illegal Polish immigrants, whom Donald Trump did not pay.)

That’s the reason Trump is such a skilled liar on the campaign trail: he’s had decades of practice. Here’s the aforementioned documentary:

I’ve only watched the first 20 minutes of the film but it’s well-worth checking out. There’s a silent patch at around the 3 minute mark but the sound returns by the 4 minute mark. I used the word mark on purpose: the electorate are Trump’s latest marks.

A personal note. I’m battling the flu, so blogging from me will be on the light side this week. Hey, stop celebrating.

I’ll give the last word to the good old Grateful Dead with two Garcia-Hunter songs that feature the Donald’s favorite words, Deal and Loser:

I changed my mind and decided to post Dave Alvin’s cover of Loser:


Album Cover Art Wednesday: Robin and the 7 Hoods

I haven’t done a movie soundtrack in this segment before and Robin and the 7 Hoods struck me as a good place to start for two reasons. First, I’ve had it on my mind since posting a clip last Saturday. Second, my favorite cousin introduced me to the movie and its wonderful Van Heusen-Cahn songs when I was a kid. You’ve either got or you haven’t got style and she’s got it. Thanks, T. Clip time:

Robin and the 7 Hoods is, of course, a Rat Packy take on the Robin Hood myth transported to prohibition era Chicago. I like it more than the more famous Ocean’s 11 but it was a troubled production as far as producer-star Frank Sinatra was concerned; both the Kennedy assassination and the kidnapping of his son Frank Jr. took place during and right after the film shoot. But that didn’t stop the Chairman of the Board from making My Kind of Town a staple of his live sets.

It’s time for me to stop nattering and get visual. Here’s the LP cover:


More robbin’ and hoodin’ after the break

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In Which I Keep Being Grossed Out by Agreeing with Donald Trump

This is stupid: 

Look, it’s a phony deal that was perpetrated on the public. I was asked a simple question by Chuck Todd at “Meet The Press”. And people, I gave a very honorable and honest answer. I said, sure, if I was doing terribly like some of these people, I wouldn’t stay in. I mean, who would stay in?

But I’m not. I’m leading every single poll. One poll came out yesterday, 30, or the other day, I’m at 35 percent nationally. 35 percent. I was — I’m 20 points ahead of everybody else. Why would I get out? So they asked me a question, and instead of saying like these politicians, I watch these guys down at 0 percent and 1 percent and they ask the same question, would you think about getting out? ‘Oh, I’ll never get out. I’ll never get out.’ And you know they’re going to be out in the next two weeks, OK? But they say that because that’s a politician.

Boyfriend is batshit crazy and so is most of his support base, but the ongoing freakout by the Washington press corps continues to be my favorite thing ever. They’re all running around screaming UNCLEAN UNCLEAN at Donald Trump, because he is loud and sweaty and spray-tanned and rude, and pretending that Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina are somehow more legitimate candidates when they do not substantively differ from Trump at all. Because it just CAN’T be Trump.

Why the fuck not? I mean it, why not? If the majority of the Republican party’s racist, xenophobic, roided-up base wants Donald Trump, why can’t it be Donald Trump? I don’t find elitism any more attractive just because I find the prospect of President Trump so terrifying I’m thinking about packing a bugout bag and a ticket to Peru.

Elitism is what this is. He doesn’t belong at their parties. This was bullshit when it was directed at Clinton and Obama and it’s bullshit now because it’s about the speaker presuming that they, and not voters, get to decide. Forget what’s on Trump’s hat or even in his head. That’s undemocratic. It’s un-American.


Aren’t You Afraid Being a Target if You’re a Target?

Listened to this, this morning, as I was driving to work.

The law forces employers who pay more to a man working the same job as a woman to prove that the pay is based on elements other than gender. It also changes the rules on whether and when employees can sue employers regarding pay issues, and allows employees to discuss pay without fear of retribution.

Aileen Rizo is one of the women who helped make it happen. A math consultant at the Fresno County Office of Education,  three years ago Rizo discovered that one of her recently-hired male colleagues earned $12,000 more per year than her, even though he had far fewer years of experience and education.

I really should be careful about having the news on in the car. I nearly drove off the road when host John Hockenberry said, and I am not paraphrasing:

“If the only solution in a company were to be to reduce the salary of all men to equalize it with women, how uncomfortable would that make it for you in your office if that was the solution scenario?”

Aileen Rizo is a better woman than I am because she did not immediately scream IN WHAT DICKBRAINED SCENARIO IS THAT A POTENTIAL SOLUTION TO ANYONE’S PROBLEMS. She very soberly answered this victim-blaming nonsense hypothetical with a reasonable question as to how much companies spend on lawsuits, rather than paying workers fairly.

So let me ask, here. IN WHAT DICKBRAINED SCENARIO IS THAT A POTENTIAL SOLUTION TO ANYONE’S PROBLEMS? How is it her responsibility to assuage the insecurities of the dudebros she works with when her company screws over everybody instead of treating women fairly? How is it her job to pet these whiny ass titty babies and make them okay with her  unconscionable demand for equality under the law?

And how would it be okay, fellas, for a company you work for to count on you being so completely idiotic that you’d jump at a chance to fight some girls instead of noticing that the company you work is punishing you so it won’t have to be decent? How is that assessment of you not an insult to you as well as the lady one desk over?

But the victim-blaming wasn’t done. Rizo was then asked if she shouldn’t shut up for the sake of her daughters, and again, direct fecking quote:

“Aren’t you worried that your daughters may go into the workforce and they’ll look at your name and go, ‘Oh, here’s the daughter of that rabble-rouser?’ What do you tell them about sticking up for the principle here?”

Yes, by all means, let’s teach our daughters (and by the way, our sons) that their best asset in the workplace is compliance with whatever the company wants, lest they make their bosses and/or men uncomfortable.

Girls, it is never too early to learn that speaking up is a rotten thing to do, not only for yourself but for other women. Quit being so selfish. Don’t you know that when you defend yourself, you force men to attack you and make everyone angry and mean? There is no greater sin, after all, than people in power being upset.

Make $12,000 less than some dude who barely passed high school algebra? That’s a small price to pay for keeping everyone calm. How greedy can you be?


Kids Today Don’t Pay for Their News!

Except they do, lots of them: 

In a world flush with free information, some young people are still willing to shell out for news they read.

A recent poll shows that 40 percent of U.S. adults ages 18-34 pay for at least some of the news they read, whether it’s a print newspaper, a digital news app or an email newsletter.


A quarter of those polled paid for some type of digital news, while 29 percent paid for a print paper or magazine. Older millennials are more likely than younger millennials to pay for print news products. That effect doesn’t show up with digital news—millennials in their 30s are as likely as those in their late teens and early 20s to pay for online news.

More young people spend on entertainment. Nearly 8 in 10 pay for at least one service. When you break it down, 55 percent pay for downloading or streaming movies or TV—services like Netflix and Apple’s iTunes. Four in 10 pay for cable, which contains channels that show news.

Nearly half pay for music and 46 percent pay for video games or gaming apps.

“Millennials have shown they are willing to engage in content that interests them,” Herndon said, pointing to the popularity of podcasts.

I suppose this somewhat fucks up the ongoing narrative that these Kids are too dumb to want to do anything but line up for iPhones. Don’t worry, though, I’m sure nobody will notice it and will go right back to complaining about the good old days and the feeling of turning pages.




Leonard Fournette strikes the Heisman pose after his first TD for the LSU Tigers in 2014.

There’s a new mythic character in the world of college sports, LSU running back Leonard Fournette. He was very good as a freshman and, as you can see above, got in some trouble with the modesty police for striking the Heisman pose after his first TD as a Tiger. He knew what he was doing: he’s exploded as a sophomore and is one of the favorites for the Heisman. He’s a big, strong, fast back who’s being compared to Herschel Walker, Bo Jackson, Earl Campbell and, by me, to Jim Brown before he started doing blaxploitation films:


I know what you’re thinking: Jim Brown was before even my time but I’ve seen the film clips and that’s who Leonard reminds me of. That’s right, one of the greatest to have ever played.

Back to Leonard. He was a legend even before attending LSU and St. Augustine High School in New Orleans:

In New Orleans, the legends of Leonard Fournette are as abundant as the city’s majestic oaks, brown swamps and fine eats.

The tales seem tall, the stories unthinkable.

Have you heard the one about Fournette breaking the leg of a fellow high school player during a collision on a toss sweep?

How about the one in which a 13-year-old Fournette nearly out-ran a college athlete?

Can you believe that Fournette scored eight touchdowns in one little league game? And that parents of other children eventually signed a petition to have him banned.

Believe what you want.

Maybe these are exaggerations. Maybe they are embellishments. Maybe they didn’t happen at all.

One thing is certain: The legend of Leonard Fournette began right here — on a dusty park in New Orleans East, surrounded by low-income housing, cracking streets and a rusty chain-link fence.

Locals call it Goretti Playground. It’s the birthplace of the current frontrunner for, arguably, the biggest individual prize in sports: the Heisman Trophy.

Some of the stories may be apocryphal or embellished but they sound like the tales spun by kids in Harlem about Earl The Pearl Monroe and that’s not a bad thing. I’m inclined to believe them because Leonard looks like he’s playing against 10 year olds right now. He does ridiculous things like saving his QB from a big loss by hollering for a lateral, something that almost never works:

Because of Leonard’s prowess there was a deeply stupid debate about his future last week. Some sportswriters and internet know-it-alls opined that he should sit out the 2016 season to avoid injury before turning pro after his junior year. I hate this on two levels. First, I despise unsolicited advice in any form. It’s none of y’all’s business, it’s up to him. But it would make Leonard look like a selfish schmuck who only cares about himself. Way to ruin the legend. Second, as a LSU Tiger fan I want the pleasure of watching him rip up college football and, maybe even lead the Tigers to another National Championship.

It’s up to Leonard but here’s something a lot of out-of-state experts don’t understand about him. Leonard is a proud graduate of St. Augustine High School, which is effectively a leadership academy for young African-American men. I somehow doubt that Leonard wants to disappoint the priests and alumni by letting down his teammates to save his body for the professional ranks.

LSU’s schedule is about to get tougher so Leonard’s season may get a bit bumpier but I’ve rarely seen an athlete on such a roll. He’s fun to watch and, more importantly, having a great time running over, through, and past defenders.

Here are some highlights of his astonishing performance against Syracuse on the road:

Geaux Tigers. Geaux Leonard.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Pope-a-dope edition

Oh dear.

First they were like:

The Marxist Pope Comes To America
New Zeal ^ | 9-28-2015 | Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Posted on 9/28/2015, 8:52:04 PM by sheikdetailfeather

Pope Francis came to America this past week with great fanfare. Thousands lined up for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see and get near him. I have written on this Pope previously and my firm belief is that he is a Marxist. With all that I have seen and documented, there is no doubt in my mind that this is the case. The Pope embodies all the sought for goals of the Left and he delivers them wrapped in religion and piety.

The Pope has blamed the evils of this world on capitalism and greed. He has used that as a political spring board to preach wealth redistribution and Liberation Theology. His doctrine is communist in many, many respects. Pope Francis is called The Great Reformer and the reason for that is his colossal move to reform the Catholic Church… to modernize it by welcoming in such platforms as homosexuality, abortion, transgenderism, climate change and the embrace of Islam.



This Pope is an a-hole, pure and simple.

8 posted on 9/28/2015, 9:16:24 PM by jmacusa

Then they were like:

Pope Francis meets with Kim Davis. The Left melts down. WDTPRS ^ | 9/30/15 | Fr John Zuhlsdorf Posted on 9/30/2015, 6:42:24 PM by markomalley

The catholic Left are desperate to silence the so-called “culture warriors”, especially to squelch Catholics who uphold clear Catholic teaching in the public square.

You may have heard that during his visit to these USA Pope Francis is reported to have met privately with the “culture warrior” Kim Davis, the Christian, non-Catholic, county clerk in Kentucky who refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  She went to jail for a time rather than knuckle under.

We don’t know for sure what Pope Francis said in this private meeting, but Davis didn’t say that the Pope told her to stop fighting.  She wasn’t disappointed afterward.  Quite the opposite, it seems.

We also shouldn’t read too much into the meeting.  After all, Popes meet with people like Idi Amin Dada and Fidel Castro.  Those meetings don’t signal approval.  Popes meet with world leaders as well as long lines of unknown and then nearly instantly forgotten people all the time.

That said, someone inside the papal circle set up and approved the meeting with the non-Catholic Kim Davis. She wasn’t plucked at random out of the crowd.  Perhaps we can conclude that Pope Francis thinks we can’t cooperate or accept same-sex marriage and we must actively resist it.  That clearly is what some people are taking away from it.  Come to think of it, it is reasonable to believe that the Pope of Rome doesn’t not think that men should marry men and have sex with other.  Yes, that seems pretty reasonable.

Liberals are turning on Francis for this.

1 posted on 9/30/2015, 6:42:24 PM by markomalley
To: hinckley buzzard

The young lady showed authentic Christian witness. The pope took the time to recognize that and encourage her. Good enough for me.

5 posted on 9/30/2015, 6:49:41 PM by big’ol_freeper (Ná tabhair shilíní le muca nó comhairle do amadáin)

But THEN they were like:

Vatican says private ‘audience’ in D.C. was with gay ex-student, not Kim Davis

Los Angeles Times ^ | 10/02/2015 | Tom Kington Posted on ‎10‎/‎2‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎04‎:‎57‎ ‎PM by SeekAndFind

A week after Pope Francis met Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk jailed for her refusal to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples, the Vatican on Friday suggested that she exploited the meeting to promote her views, denied that the pope fully supports her and cast doubt on her account of the encounter.

The Vatican later noted that the only “audience” Francis had at the gathering in Washington was with a former student of the pope, Yayo Grassi, an openly gay Argentine who along with his longtime partner and some friends met with Francis.

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a statement that Grassi, “who had already met other times in the past with the pope, asked to present several friends to the pope during the pope’s stay in Washington, D.C.”

A video posted online shows Grassi embracing the pope and introducing him to his partner, as well as an Argentine woman and some Asian friends.

The statements together seemed intended to distance the pope from Davis.

Davis spent nearly a week in jail after she defied a Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage in the United States. Last week, she said she had met Francis at the Nunciature, the Vatican’s U.S. office, in Washington on Sept 24 during his U.S. visit, where she said he told her during a 15-minute meeting to “stay strong.”

“Just knowing that the pope is on track with what we’re doing and agreeing, you know, it kind of validates everything,” she told ABC News.

Reports of the meeting between Davis and the pope were taken by conservative groups as evidence that Francis fully supported her refusal to authorize same-sex marriages. Backers of such unions charged that the pope had been used by Davis.


Now we are told this:Vatican assistant spokesman Rev. Thomas Rosica said Friday that Francis had not invited Davis to a gathering that included dozens of people and suggested that the meeting may have been manipulated by her and her lawyer.

1 posted on ‎10‎/‎2‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎04‎:‎57‎ ‎PM by SeekAndFind
To: SeekAndFind

So sayeth the pedophile papist.

2 posted on 10‎/‎2‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎06‎:‎42‎ ‎PM by Godebert

There you have it, folks – three days, three vastly different Freeperati groupthink views of the Pope.
If he had been trolling them on purpose, it couldn’t have worked out any better.
More after the Papal Indulgence…

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First Draft Fundraiser: 1/3 of the Way There

I’ve been blogging for 11 years now, and I’ve seen just about every way a site can handle growing and sustaining itself. Some have ad upon ad upon ad. Some ask you to answer survey questions to keep reading something you can find NOT behind a paywall on seven other sites. Some do a fundraiser every month pleading poverty/victimization by opposing forces.

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you any of those things are at play. We’re in no danger of being shuttered because I can’t cover the hosting costs and I have zero interest in earning $30 a year annoying the shit out of everybody with autoplay THIS MOM DISCOVERED ANTI-AGING SARAN WRAP DOCTORS HATE IT GAY CELEBRITIES vids.

What we do, is an annual fundraiser, in which we ask you to support what you want to read here. To tell us if what we’re doing here matters to you.

And this year we’re giving you something back for it! But if our Kickstarter can’t make it to our goal, we get nothing, so we need to make that total. We’re 1/3 of the way there. Can you help put us over the top, and make this book a reality? 





Technology is Ruining Kids Today, Says Author Who Hates Technology, Kids, also Today

Jonathan Franzen reviewing a book about how technology has ruined us all for real connection? How have I so displeased you, Ceiling Cat? 

Conversation is Turkle’s organizing principle because so much of what constitutes humanity is threatened when we replace it with electronic communication. Conversation presupposes solitude, for example, because it’s in solitude that we learn to think for ourselves and develop a stable sense of self, which is essential for taking other people as they are. (If we’re unable to be separated from our smartphones, Turkle says, we consume other people “in bits and pieces; it is as though we use them as spare parts to support our fragile selves.”) Through the conversational attention of parents, children acquire a sense of enduring connectedness and a habit of talking about their feelings, rather than simply acting on them. (Turkle believes that regular family conversations help “inoculate” children against bullying.) When you speak to people in person, you’re forced to recognize their full human reality, which is where empathy begins. (A recent study shows a steep decline in empathy, as measured by standard psychological tests, among college students of the smartphone generation.) And conversation carries the risk of boredom, the condition that smartphones have taught us most to fear, which is also the condition in which patience and imagination are developed.

Lest we all forget, Jonathan Franzen is the most special snowflake of all time, the Last Real Male Writer of Serious Things. He doesn’t need social media to connect with potential readers, or with anyone really (because no one can measure up to his greatness), therefore NOBODY really needs social media.

Or “technology.”

“Twitter stands for everything I oppose,” he continued. “It’s hard to cite facts or create an argument in 140 characters … It’s like if Kafka had decided to make a video semaphoring The Metamorphosis. Or it’s like writing a novel without the letter ‘P’… It’s the ultimate irresponsible medium. People I care about are readers … particularly serious readers and writers, these are my people.

“And we do not like to yak about ourselves,” Franzen added (yakking about himself).

Giving THAT GUY the talking stick when it comes to digital connectedness is like letting the CEO of Lee Enterprises give a speech on the future of journalism. You can do it, sure. You can also shave your balls with a butcher knife. I’m not judging but I am so totally judging.

From Franzen’s incredibly long-winded review, which basically boils down to OH THANK GOD SOMEONE AGREES WITH ME THAT PEOPLE WHO ARE ME ARE AWESOME:

The young person who cannot or will not be alone, converse with family, go out with friends, attend a lecture or perform a job without monitoring her smartphone is an emblem of our economy’s leechlike attachment to our very bodies. Digital technology is capitalism in hyperdrive, injecting its logic of consumption and promotion, of monetization and efficiency, into every waking minute. … It’s tempting to correlate the rise of “digital democracy” with steeply rising levels of income inequality; to see more than just an irony. But maybe the erosion of humane values is a price that most people are willing to pay for the “costless” convenience of Google, the comforts of Facebook and the reliable company of iPhones.

It’s a good thing we have deep thinkers like Jonathan Franzen to deplore capitalism and the powerful need we have to feed our goddamn kids, and blame us for wanting the “comfort” and “convenience” of a boss who expects e-mail to be read at 9 p.m. and memos answered promptly from the other side of the globe.

I swear, I’m so done listening to rich people tell me how it’s bad to be a mindless drone sheep consumer, and we’re just on the cusp of “how dare you want a cheap waffle iron” season, too.


Free Stuff

Is it me or has so much stupid shit been happening recently that it’s difficult to do anything anymore than shake your head? Because I don’t know about you but by the time I formulate a response that’s not, “I need to drink some wine and cuddle Claire” something even dumber than the last dumb thing has happened and at that point I just go hide under the bed.

To wit, Jeb Bush: 

“Our message is one of hope and aspiration,” Mr. Bush said. “It isn’t one of division and get in line and we’ll take care of you with free stuff. Our message is one that is uplifting — that says you can achieve earned success.”

While Mr. Bush has spoken often of broadening the party’s appeal, he has stumbled at times while attempting to deliver the message.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Bush, Kristy Campbell, noted that the candidate “talks constantly about the need for Republicans to reach out to all voters,” though she did not directly address the reference to “free stuff.”

“We will never be successful in elections without communicating that conservative principles and conservative policies are the only path to restoring the right to rise for every single American,” Ms. Campbell said.

I see. He was using language designed to reach out to black people. Because black people can’t hear what he’s saying. Black people are somehow just UNCLEAR on the Republican message. Since the savages know not of our Civilized White Ways, let us speak to them in a special voice, like maybe a couple of decibels louder than normal and really, really slow, so that they’ll smell what Jeb is cooking!

To me, “free stuff” wasn’t the offensive part of this comment. It was “earned success.”

Because: You have not earned any success you may already have. You have not built that. You have not won it on your own merits.

You’ve gotten it because of affirmative action, obvs. Or welfare. Probably Uncle Sam took care of you when your baby mama I can’t even do this anymore. Earned success. Motherfucking Jeb Bush, son of a president, brother of a president, is talking about earned success in running for president. You know, the next time he throws a fundraiser, somebody should just give him a condescending bullshit speech about selling some bling and pulling himself up by his bootstraps instead of relying on hardworking taxpayers.


Sunday Morning Video: The Buddy Guy Big Band Live In 1997

Buddy Guy is one of the dynamic live performers I’ve ever seen. Here’s a scorching set from the Montreal Jazz Festival. Be prepared to be blown away:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Summer’s Gone


The Trapeze Artist from the Jazz Portfolio by Henri Matisse.

A cool front hit New Orleans on October 1st leading me to hope, wish, and, I daresay, pray that Summer is finally gone. It’s been a long, hot one too with record temps in July. It’s the downside of an El Nino year. The upside, of course, is that a certain storm wasn’t Joaquin to New Orleans. I should apologize for that pun but I stole it from my friend James Karst. I seem to have become the Milton Berle of the blogosphere…

There have been some high-profile armed robberies in Uptown New Orleans that have people on edge. The good news is that no shots have been fired thus far. You know how it goes, if there’s crime in an upscale zip code, people freak out. I try to remain as even-keeled as possible but it’s hard for some people. I don’t judge but I do remind them that sensational stick-ups do not a crime wave make. At the risk of being repetitive: New Orleans is now, and has always been, a tough town. It’s why one needs to keep one’s wits about one. That was one one-heavy sentence, y’all.

Shorter Adrastos: Stay alert and don’t walk around glued to your smart phone like a dumbass. Uh oh, I sound like I’m in touch with my inner Red Foreman:

That felt good. Let’s get on with it.

I’ve been asked by several people why I haven’t used a Kinks tune as a Saturday post theme song yet. Beats the hell outta me. Summer’s Gone is the right song at the right time. I learned that via Word Of Mouth:

While running a search on YouTube I discovered a co-theme song from a 2012 Beach Boys album. It was written by Brian Wilson and Jon Bon Jovi. I hope the cool kids won’t hate me for typing that name:

A friend of mine created and curated a tongue-in-cheek Bon Jovi shrine the year those Jersey boys made an unlikely appearance at Jazz Fest:

Sacred Bon Jovi Shrine

Photograph by WWOZ.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, it’s time for the break. Meet you on the other side. One door opens, another shuts behind and all that rot.

Continue reading

Under the Knife

Filing an early missive because I’m being forced to undergo the first of two carpal tunnel surgeries. Wrote this on Wednesday night, so by the time you’re reading it, I’ll be stoned out of my mind on whatever he gives me for pain, watching whatever Law and Order rerun is on basic cable…

The surgery is freaking me out a bit. Sure, it’ll be nice to feel my thumbs and forefingers again and maybe sleep without the “dog paw” braces my doctor had me in, but I’m not a big fan of having doctors poke at me. I think it goes back to my experience with an oral surgeon who misread an X-ray and tried to extract a wisdom tooth without putting me under. When he broke the tool off in my head and said, “Oh shit! Get the drill…” I have to admit, I kind of lost faith…

That said, it’s a pretty “minor surgery” and they tell me I’ll be typing up a storm again soon. The fear is pretty much that if this guy screws up, I lose the the ability to do my job (type) and my hobby (furniture restoration). I have told people time and time again that my biggest fears are things that will damage my mind and my hands. Hell, lop off my legs at the hips and I’ll tell people the joke that I’m so well endowed that my dick hits the floor. I only run when chased and I’ll work on getting a rappelling rope for the man-cave steps at that point. My hands, though, that’s serious.

As I deal with everything, I’m trying to use humor for this. To wit, I’ll leave you with this:


Be back next week, hopefully typing with both hands.


Friday Catblogging: Bed Hog

Oscar: I’ve got my space, you’re on your own, dude.

Bed Hog

If you enjoy seeing Oscar, Della Street, and the occasional guest feline, please consider donating to our anthology kickstarter Otherwise Della might go all Dalek on your asses:

The Devil and Miss Della



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