The Tez Cruz Discount Doubletake

From Album 5

Not a particularly good week for the wingers — Tailgunner Ted fumbled pretty badly in his SOTU response and otherwise came off as decidedly not ready for prime time…and not in a good way. Joni Ernst regaled us with tales of growing up in poverty during the reign of Ronaldus Magnus, he who walked — minus bread bags on his feet — without sin.

Meanwhile, across the pond good old PBJ played Minister of Silly Wonks, doubling down on something so ridiculous even Faux News had to admit they made it up (points for irony when you remember his call to not be “the stupid party” in 2013). I suppose, though, it’s keeping up a certain tradition —  this years model of Romneyshambles? (to give you an idea of just how bad — even the locals down here were mocking PBJ).

Now, to be sure, these limited impressions of the Hindenburg on final approach to Lakehurst won’t be career killers: wingnut heroes will always have Faux, Drudge, and those whose world they rule (i.e., yer “free press”), but all-in-all, this is a week I’ll take…

Be Just Like Everybody Else … Fail

Jay Rosen: 

ProPublica: what is the mission? Not to be “the number one provider and news and information” in blah, blah, blah region. Not: everything you need to know about… Or “all the news that’s…” No. It’s more tightly defined than that:

Our work focuses exclusively on truly important stories, stories with “moral force.” We do this by producing journalism that shines a light on exploitation of the weak by the strong and on the failures of those with power to vindicate the trust placed in them.

From whom is that statement of purpose rented? No one! They made it themselves. “Journalism that shines a light on exploitation of the weak by the strong” is a piece of pressthink original to the editors and reporters at ProPublica. People who work for the Associated Press or the Washington Post might like to think that they got into the business to “shine a light on exploitation of the weak by the strong,” but that is not how their responsibilities are defined.

So imagine if every (intellectual) layer in the newsroom “stack” were made that way: original to the editors and reporters involved. What would that even look like? Here it helps to imagine the extreme opposite, where every layer of coverage is derived from the industry standard, from current practice, from the way things have always been done, from what others are thinking or will soon think. Pack journalism, in other words.

A good example is Bloomberg’s new politics vertical. It’s almost impossible to find a more consensus mind than the mind of Mark Halperin, co-managing editor of Bloomberg Politics. (With an annual salary said to be north of $1 million.) His stock-in-trade is conventional wisdom, packaged for easy consumption. Halperin is like the first essential layer in a “collapsed stack” newsroom: the guy you would go out and get if you wanted to do exactly what everyone else would later think of doing.

Halperin is exactly what he’s supposed to be, and it’s hard to get mad at him for that, except that he keeps going to journalism schools and talking about journalism and giving people the impression that what he’s supposed to be is something to aspire to.

A.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: A Date With Elvis

January 8th would have been the King’s 80th birthday so I’ve had Elvis on my mind. A Date With Elvis was issued in 1959 whilst he was in the army.It was, of course, when he went from being a menace to society to an all-American boy:

elvis_presley_-_a_date_with_elvis

Here’s the opening track. Not sure if it makes one want to date Elvis:

SOTU Crack Van

First van in the new place, guys. Hold on tight.

Update: Van closed. Thanks to all for being here.

The minute the speech ended Wolf and Jake Tapper fell all over themselves to declare that it was just a bunch of words, and Republicans would be mean about it, and wasn’t this all just about 2016 anyway. Speeches are a bunch of words. It’s true.

But imagine for a moment President John McCain up there. Imagine President Mitt Romney. Hell, you don’t have to imagine George W. Bush’s state of the union speeches. We lived through them: 

We’ve got the terrorists on the run. We’re keeping them on the run. One by one the terrorists are learning the meaning of American justice.

As we fight this war, we will remember where it began: here, in our own country. This government is taking unprecedented measures to protect our people and defend our homeland.

We’ve intensified security at the borders and ports of entry, posted more than 50,000 newly trained federal screeners in airports, begun inoculating troops and first responders against smallpox, and are deploying the nation’s first early warning network of sensors to detect biological attack.

And this year, for the first time, we are beginning to field a defense to protect this nation against ballistic missiles.

Contrast that with words about courage and hope and community, about the things we need to do for each other in order to be a country, in order to work and live. Words aren’t nothing, and tonight everybody heard that we need to be bigger, not smaller. We used to want to hear that a hell of a lot more than we do now, and that’s not nothing.

A.

What Do YOU Want?

So tonight these are your choices:

None Of It Matters: SOTU Edition

For fuck’s sake, NPR, this is NOT HELPFUL: 

But on Tuesday Obama will try to use his speech to frame the debates for the next two years and set the table for the 2016 election.

Here are five things to watch:

1. How does the president talk about the economy?

[snip because HOW DOES HE TALK ABOUT IT, not WHAT DOES HE SAY]

2. What tone will he take toward Congress?

[snip because THE TONE, which is critical as U.S. Goddamn Congress has delicate feelings which are easily hurt]

3. Will Obama challenge his own party?

[snip because IT ONLY COUNTS IF YOU PISS OFF YOUR FRIENDS]

4. How does the president avoid looking like the “small ball” president?

[snip because I dunno, buy a smarter press corps that isn’t obsessed with cute little nicknames?]

5. How does he talk about Iran, ISIS and the new terrorist threats?

[snip because again with the HOW, like does he inflect the words right, is that what we’re measuring?]

I honestly don’t know why people make it their job to cover this stuff when all they do is tell us that this stuff doesn’t matter and it’s not really important and “it’s all politics.” Like is the money that good? Or do you just drink away the urge to look at yourself in the mirror?

This was going to be the year that Obama ended two wars and made a legacy-cementing deal with Iran on nuclear weapons. But the world isn’t cooperating.

I cannot imagine why that is. And this news organization isn’t going to tell me. Let’s talk more about the tone!

A.

Tagged , ,

Satire is FUNNY

Okay, Joe Walsh: 

Walsh was upset that numerous news outlets had refused to show cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad that were originally published by the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which was the target of a deadly terrorist attack last week.

Two things:

1. I see the GOP’s strenuous defense of journalism continues.

2. Fuck this guy and fuck my state for ever putting him in Congress because now we have this idea where we have to listen to things he says because he used to be in Congress, like that’s a distinction these days.

The word “satire” gets thrown around a lot whenever somebody says something racist and gets called on it. “Oh, it was satire!” Which ignores the fact that you’re not satirizing anything, except racist fuckwads like yourself, and also IT WASN’T FUNNY. What are you making fun of, Joe Walsh? People who don’t think journalists should be beheaded? Which is pretty much everybody, except your goddamn party?

A.

 

In The Bubble

I haven’t been writing as much of late because I have been immersed in preparing for the upcoming Krewe du Vieux parade, which occurs in a mere 12 days. I’ve been more involved in Spank business this year; doing what I do best: pulling strings, trading favors, and generally operating behind the scenes. I am glad, however, that the smoke filled room is a thing of the past. I don’t know about you but smoke gets in my eyes.

Dr. A and I escaped the bubble to suburbia to have lunch, do some big box shopping and to finally see Unbroken. We liked it a lot even after realizing that Dandy from Freak Show, Finn Witrock, played one of Louis Zamperini’s castaway flyboy pals. My last recap slipped through the cracks so I’m planning to do a gynormous combination post after the finale.

I will try to write an Odd & Sods post for Wednesday since my idiot Governor is saying stupid shit in Britain this week. I’m past being embarrassed by that malaka, I simply wish that he’d go away and stop pestering me. He could at least have the decency to put a bag over that ugly mug of his.

Finally, RUN WILLARD RUN. I hope that God’s gift to satire will do me a personal favor by running and losing for a third time.

My old pal Liprap just posted some Clash elsewhere on the interweb so I’ll give them the last word and dedicate this song to Bobby Fucking Jindal:

 

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – gruesome grab-bag edition

Morning, everyone! Time to spin that airlock door wheel and do a quick roundup of threads that need to be addressed, but haven’t yet.

Starting with the most recent - Holder on – I’m coming!

Holder limits seized-asset sharing process that split billions with local, state police
Washington Post ^ | 16 Jan 2015 | Robert O’Harrow Jr., Sari Horwitz and Steven Rich

Posted on 1‎/‎16‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎07‎:‎39‎ ‎PM by oblomov

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Friday barred local and state police from using federal law to seize cash, cars and other property without proving that a crime occurred.

Holder’s action represents the most sweeping check on police power to confiscate personal property since the seizures began three decades ago as part of the war on drugs.

Since 2008, thousands of local and state police agencies have made more than 55,000 seizures of cash and property worth $3 billion under a civil asset forfeiture program at the Justice Department called Equitable Sharing.

The program has enabled local and state police to make seizures and then have them “adopted” by federal agencies, which share in the proceeds. The program allowed police departments and drug task forces to keep up to 80 percent of the proceeds of the adopted seizures, with the rest going to federal agencies.

“With this new policy, effective immediately, the Justice Department is taking an important step to prohibit federal agency adoptions of state and local seizures, except for public safety reasons,” Holder said in a statement.

Holder’s decision allows some limited exceptions, including illegal firearms, ammunition, explosives and property associated with child pornography, a small fraction of the total. This would eliminate virtually all cash and vehicle seizures made by local and state police from the program.

While police can continue to make seizures under their own state laws, the federal program was easy to use and required most of the proceeds from the seizures to go to local and state police departments. Many states require seized proceeds to go into the general fund.

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

Did pigs sprout wings while I was at work today? I agree with this wholeheartedly!
1 posted on 1‎/‎16‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎07‎:‎39‎ ‎PM by oblomov
Did Freepers start favouring facts over preconceptions while I was taking a nap yesterday?
To: oblomov
He doesn’t want the competition stealing.

3 posted on 1‎/‎16‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎11‎:‎13‎ ‎PM by TheThirdRuffian (RINOS like Romney, McCain, Christie are sure losers. No more!)

Forget I asked.
To: oblomov

Why is the whole administration ruling by fiat?

Because ruling by Volvo is so 80s?

Why isn’t the republican oligarchy doing anything??5 posted on 1‎/‎16‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎12‎:‎09‎ ‎PM by aMorePerfectUnion ( “I didn’t leave the Central Oligarchy Party. It left me.” – Ronaldus Maximus)
One Freeper attempts to inject some sanity:
To: aMorePerfectUnion
Why isn’t the republican oligarchy doing anything??
You want republicans to defend asset seizure???
7 posted on ‎1‎/‎16‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎15‎:‎22‎ ‎PM by Ken H (What happens on the internet, stays on the internet.)
And is quickly shouted down:

To: Star Traveler

Well, well … one thing I back him on! I would have never thought this would happen.
Very little has happened. The Feds can still seize cash (without any evidence of a crime) and the local LEOs can too.It’s just a matter of Holder wanting to dry up some of the seized money going to local LE.Holder and Obama don’t like local LE.
24 posted on ‎1‎/‎16‎/‎2015‎ ‎5‎:‎09‎:‎16‎ ‎PM by FreeReign
One Freeper stumbles over the obvious:
To: El Cid

“Eric Holder bans local police from seizing assets so the Federal Gestapo can get first dibs.”

Won’t work… Take away the goodies from the locals and it will stop.

31 posted on ‎1‎/‎16‎/‎2015‎ ‎6‎:‎53‎:‎10‎ ‎PM by babygene

Duh.
To: babygene
Won’t work… Take away the goodies from the locals and it will stop.
OK, what is the racist, America-hating, commie agitator up to then?
Maybe the other posters were correct in that he is doing this as a feint, to diffuse the objections to his replacement that has a gross history of indulging in asset confiscation.
34 posted on ‎1‎/‎16‎/‎2015‎ ‎7‎:‎18‎:‎12‎ ‎PM by El Cid (Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house…)
Double dumbass on you.
One more Freeper attempts to unjerk the collective knee:

To: El Cid

This a good thing. In Wisconsin there is a formula on how seized property is distributed among various units of government. If a drug arrest is made under Federal Law the Arresting Department gets to keep the assets. We find many Police Departments are using the Federal law so they can keep the spoils.

40 posted on ‎1‎/‎17‎/‎2015‎ ‎6‎:‎02‎:‎45‎ ‎AM by Pardeeville Liberator

Rebuttal?
To: oblomov

First you give them the heroin, let them get addicted, then you take it away.

They got all the lower levels of LE to out grow their local funding, now every state and local law enforcement organization will be supporting the bigger federal government candidates, so they can get federal grants from higher federal taxes.

We lose again.

33 posted on ‎1‎/‎16‎/‎2015‎ ‎7‎:‎00‎:‎53‎ ‎PM by Born to Conserve

And now - the post of the thread!
To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; cardinal4; ColdOne; …

What’s Holder’s FR nick?

13 posted on ‎1‎/‎16‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎30‎:‎54‎ ‎PM by SunkenCiv (Imagine an imaginary menagerie manager imagining managing an imaginary menagerie.)

More after the asset seizure.

Continue reading

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Government Is Only for Fucking Things Up

God Almighty, these arguments: 

COVINGTON, Ga.—There are hundreds of stories of failed subdivisions left empty by the housing bust, where homeowners are stuck staring into vacant lots of PVC pipes and weeds.

There are very few stories where a half-finished development has been saved from ruin.

The rescue of one such development, by the city in which it is located, is being heralded as a potential solution to some of the worst mistakes of the housing crisis. The local newspaper, the Covington Newspraised the project, writing that “a community has been brought back from the dead.”

That Covington, a city 35 miles east of Atlanta, did anything at all is unusual, said Ellen Dunham-Jones, an architect and urban-design professor at Georgia Tech who has a chapter on the subdivision, Walker’s Bend, in a forthcoming book, Retrofitting Sprawl.

“I really applaud them tremendously, since its pretty unusual: Cities just aren’t in the business of being developers,” she said. “In conservative districts, there’s a philosophical sense that the city as master developer smacks of socialism.”

Government intervenes in the magical free fucking market all the time. Government created the rules that planned these developments in the first place, as developers looked at the rules and what they could do to make the most money within those rules. That’s not me complaining, however much I might hate this kind of design. Government by its decisions creates the spaces the market steps into. To say government should only intervene to make things suck doesn’t make any sense.

A.

What We Are Afraid Of

Hearing another’s voice will hurt you: 

“While it might seem an odd juxtaposition to have the adhan chanted in the same tower from which bells toll daily (and twice on Sundays!), it is actually in keeping with the university’s commitment to fostering the spiritual development of all students,” Sapp wrote. “The chanting of the adhan communicates to the Muslim community that it is welcome here, that its worship matters, that these prayers enhance the community and that all are invited to stop on a Friday afternoon and pray.”

By Thursday afternoon, the university had reversed itself. “Duke remains committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant and welcoming campus for all of its students,” spokesman Michael Schoenfeld said in a statement. “However, it was clear that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect.” There will still be a call to prayer, but it will be delivered from the quad in front of the chapel.

Once, I heard the call to prayer from mosques in Amman, Jordan. I was jet-lagged, and as the light crept over the horizon and I smoked on my hotel balcony, the sound echoed from hillside to hillside. Figures emerged from buildings and  houses, and walked in the same direction. It was a profoundly beautiful sound and response, ancient as the mountains and new as the dawn.

I grew up a Roman Catholic, in Catholic schools from kindergarten on, living four blocks from our church in a neighborhood that was bookended by Christian churches on all sides. If our town had a synagogue, I don’t know where it was, and all I knew about other religions as a child was that when the Jehovah’s Witnesses came around the neighbors would call and we should stay in the kitchen and not answer the door, because the Jehovah’s Witnesses were annoying. They would take up a whole afternoon that could be spent doing laundry, watching soaps and drinking coffee.

On Sunday the church bells rang, and we got up and went to Mass. The church bells rang for weddings and  funerals and at Christmas and Easter, and we responded to that call. Where one or more of you are gathered in His name, and the world is large. Sometimes you need a reminder of where to go, and a voice to call you home.

I spent a good number of my formative working years as a religion reporter, learning about Judaism and Islam and even the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I call myself a practicing Catholic because I’m not very good at it but I am still practicing. Finding the beauty and absurdity in the human urge to understand the divine, in all its iterations, did nothing to convince me either way of anything I wasn’t already sure about, and it created no doubts except where those doubts already were.

If you don’t know the value in your own practice or lack thereof, if you can’t justify for yourself why you believe what you believe, if you have to cover your ears and close your eyes whenever another’s God is mentioned so that yours isn’t somehow diminished, you’re so lost that no call to prayer can find you. Cutting the ropes on the bells and silencing the muezzin won’t do anything but make sure you stay that way.

A.

Sunday Morning Video: Devil Doll- MST3K

Here’s the promised riff fest for your Sunday enjoyment:

Weekend Question Thread

Because I’m already half-sliding into winter misery, and football season in Packer country is still going on:

What are you most looking forward to about spring this year?

A.

Friday Night Music: It Was A Very Good Year

Songwriter Ervin Drake died yesterday at the age of 95. He was best known for the often recorded classic tune, It Was A Very Good Year. The best known version is, of course, by Frank Sinatra. which won several Grammy Awards:

 

Thank GOD for this… Paterno can now rest easy…

I know we were all really worried about poor Joe Paterno and how his legacy would be tarnished by not being the “winningest” coach in NCAA D-I history.

I realize that this was the big issue: What happens to those 100+ wins he picked up while letting Jerry Sandusky fondle young boys in the locker room showers.

I understand how big of a deal it is to hold onto that record, especially one so important that when Bobby Bowden picked it up by default, he proclaimed immediately, “There’s no way we can rejoice in that…”

I mean, we can’t exactly “unmolest” people, so what’s done is done and… geez… Haven’t Penn State fans suffered enough?

Hell, the statute of Joe Paterno has been missing on campus for ALMOST THREE YEARS! There are FRESHMEN who might graduate only having seen it once or twice!

(Don’t worry. Concerned alumni are planning to put a giant bronze statue downtown of Paterno reading “Aeneid” while sitting on a bench. The cost is estimated to be $300,000.)

And it’s not like these proud Nittany Lions don’t understand the problems associated with letting an assistant coach fuck at least 45 boys who were participating in his at-risk-youth charity.

Or that they don’t acknowledge how important it is to make things right for people like Matt Sandusky, Jerry’s adopted son, who stated he had been molested repeatedly.

It’s just, as one said, “about time” to move on with things. After all, how can the healing between the university and the greater area really get moving until we get a giant-ass statue stationed SOMEWHERE around here and get a dead guy his wins back?

Had Paterno been blind to the situation as his trademark Coke-bottle glasses would suggest, that might be one thing, but it was clear he had more than an inkling that something was rotten in Happy Valley.

Paterno not only knew about what Sandusky was doing, but concealed it from administrators and officials.

Not only that, but he went to BAT FOR SANDUSKY WITH THE UNIVERSITY.

This situation has always been “contentious” to quote those hoping to make it sound like a “he said/she said… let’s just call it even” argument.

It’s not. It’s a complete horror story.

And one that can’t be fixed with a “let bygones be bygones” approach.

Friday Ferretblogging: Hiding from the Day Edition

Claire says do I have to get up?

20150116_074207

A.

Friday Catblogging: Worshipping The Flame

We have a very large front room, which makes our house great for parties. It’s also, however, hard to heat when it gets below 45 degrees, so our central heater needs to be supplemented. Our old space heater died this week and we replaced it with one that glows. Oscar and Della’s new motto is: the space heater is dead, long live the new space heater.

IMG_3330photo (5)

Talk about Cat television. Once again I have an earworm and it’s a good one:

A Tale Of Two Romneys

From Album 5

On the one hand, tongue baths don’t get much wetter than the one given by “an anonymous advisor” to the Boston Globe. Hell, your standard boilerplate tributes to Ronaldus Magnus have nothing on claims that a Willard administration would magically mean no ISIS, no Ebola scare, a docile Vlad Putin…and what the hell, no herpes or heartbreak of psoriasis to boot. In other words, if not Camelot, then surely days of miracle and wonder (minus the bomb in the baby carriage, of course…I’d been thinking Donald Fagan’s train of graphite and glitter, but we know how wingnuts feel about transit and marriage equality)…

But…taking the opposite point of view, former Romney tout Jennifer Rubin now insists a third bite of the stormin’ Mormon apple would be like bringing this guy home to meet the parents…

From Album 5

OK, maybe not Dueling Mitts…but certainly sad trombone.

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