Throwing Shade


Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid may be bruised and battered but he knows how to throw shade while wearing shades. It’s what our current Congressional politics have boiled down to since the Republicans took control of both houses. Remember all the naifs who proclaimed that the GOPers would have to compromise and get shit done once they were in the majority? I guess none of them have been paying attention since 2009; either that or their crystal balls are cloudier than the sky in New Orleans today.

The latest wingnut shade is being thrown on two fronts; both of which illustrate the extent to which the Republican party has gone batshit crazy and both kinda sorta involve immigration and the administration’s “lawlessness.”

First, the GOPers are threatening to defund the Homeland Security Department if the President doesn’t make nice with them and cave on his executive orders on immigration. This is beyond bonkers: Dubya and chickenhawks in both parties pushed for this department after the event Rudy cannot stop talking about. It was a CYA move for the Bushies after they ignored warnings that a big attack was coming. For Congressional neo-cons such as Holy Joe Lieberman and Senator Walnuts, it was an exercise in dick waving and measuring. It’s a pity that Don Lemon wasn’t around to cover that, he knows from dickishness.

Where was I? Oh yeah, the war loving, border fence worshiping party wants to shut down Homeland Security when there are semi-plausible terrorist threats against shopping malls and other assorted targets that may or may not have Targets. Of course, if ISIL knew anything about Merica, they’d have made the threat during the holiday season and given Bill-O confirmation of the so-called war on Christmas. So much for protecting the “homeland.”  (A phrase that’s too Teutonic for my taste but that debate’s long over. ) Way to go, Congressional wingnuts, you’re contradicting yourselves again.

Speaking of nutty contradictions, Republicans are trying to shut down the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as the next Attorney General. This one is even funnier than the DHS shutdown threat because right wing bete noir, Eric Holder has averred that he’s staying in office until his replacement is confirmed. They cannot even put their hatred of President Obama’s “lawlessness” on Holder long enough to get rid of the *other* black man they love to hate. It’s an excellent example of ideological purity run amuck. It reminds me of the Daffy Duck toon Duck Amuck with Tailgunner Ted as Daffy.

Let’s move from Congressional shade throwing to some sensational shade thrown by former CBS newsman Eric Enberg at the gas-filled windbag who lies on a nightly basis on Fox News. You know who, the man we call Bill-O, the human hot air balloon:

Eric Engberg, a CBS correspondent who was also in Buenos Aires at the time, defended Corn in a Facebook post on Friday and said, “It was not a war zone or even close. It was an ‘expense account zone.'”

Ouch. It’s a pity that Bill-O’s blues won’t lead to his ouster or even suspension but it’s been great hearing some teevee news vets calling him out for what he is: a lying sack of shit. Make that chicken shit.  Of course, Fox News is the world’s largest sack of shit so that reporter threatening, loofa wielding malaka Bill-O will stay on the air. I guess one could say that he’s been David Cornholed…

Back to Harry Reid, I like the new look. It makes him the Jack Nicholson of the Senate. Jack, of course, wears shades indoors for different reasons than Leader Reid. But I’ve never compared Harry to Jack before so he’s almost as cool as the coolest septuagenarian in the country. Eat your heart out, Joe Biden.



Album Cover Art Wednesday: Out On A Limb

The swellegant Jazz trumpeter Clark Terry died the other day at the age of 94. I stumbled into this campy, oddball cover of one of his earlier solo efforts:


The Daddy-O in question was producer Holmes Daddy-O Daylie who was a pioneering African-American Jazz DJ. I’d never heard of him before and enjoyed learning about him in a 2003 obituary in the Chicago Tribune.

The album probably should be called Inside A Limb, but it’s actually quite good. Here it is on the YouTube:


Credible Threats to Wisconsin Republicans

Stupendous pussies run away from the possibility of dissent: 

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Republicans on the state Senate’s labor committee ended a public hearing on contentious right-to-work legislation early and sent it on to the full Senate Tuesday, enraging dozens of people who had been waiting all day to speak and sparking a demonstration in front of the Senate chamber.

The daylong hearing began at 10 a.m. Sen. Stephen Nass, a Whitewater Republican and the committee’s chairman, had planned for it to last until 7 p.m. But around 6:20 p.m. he announced he was ending the hearing due to what he called a “credible threat” that union members planned to disrupt the proceeding.

“We’re not going to take a chance,” Nass told the crowd.

We’re not going to take a chance that disruption may occur. Your right to comment on matters of concern to you can be erased by the words “credible threat” because union thugs, and protesters, and possibly hippies, are coming to say mean things to you, loudly.

This is the party that is going to put the state of Wisconsin back to work? Really? These fraidy cats?

Police escorted the three Republicans on the committee out of the room after the vote.

Because of a credible threat of being protested.


You Don’t Get To Tell Other People What Their Lives Are About

Amanda, on Patricia Arquette: 

Arquette tried to use her win for Best Supporting Actress as an opportunity to speak out for wage equality, and, to be fair, her actual speech on the podiumwasn’t the worst thing ever. “To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,” she said. “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.” A bit jumbled and shallow—ninth-grade debate club debut-ish—but her heart seemed to be in the right place. At least, Meryl Streep and J-Lo thought so.

But when Arquette was asked to elaborate backstage, she gave a lengthy answer that included this statement: “And it’s time for all the women in America and all the men that love women, and all the gay people, and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.”


I’m generally a big fan of celebrities using their platforms to get out the message about feminism, even though they often do so by offering a defanged version sculpted to minimize backlash. But Arquette’s political grandstanding played into every ugly stereotype about “feminism” being about little more than some privileged white women trying to become more privileged.

Yeah. I’m not wild about the dogpiling onto Arquette from the left, like let’s not expect perfection in every feminist sentiment or we’ll never hear anybody speaking up at all, but that was the point at which I said oh honey, no.

You don’t get to tell all the men that love women, and all the gay people, and all the people of color, what they owe you.

You don’t get to act like somebody else should just fall in line now, because it’s your turn.

You don’t decide when anybody else’s turn is.

I wish you did, sometimes. I would like to tell all of you what is important to you. I would like to make you all feel righteously guilty for not caring about the same things I do, in the same proportions, at the same times. I would like to MAKE you all get on board with my every motivation. I can’t do that. The only thing I can do, the only thing anybody has the right to do, is tell you what’s important to me. I can hope you come to care about it but I can’t knit it into your blood and bones. I can’t stand up for it for you.

Words are not imperatives, and we only all speak for ourselves.

I have zero problem with Arquette speaking for herself. It’s a valid statement and was one of a very few to address the world as it is even from inside her very wealthy, successful bubble. I appreciated it, as a fellow white chick who likes getting paid like a white dude would get paid.

I have a HUGE problem with her treating solidarity like it’s some kind of vending machine. “I put a dollar in for your cause, so I should get a candy bar for mine.” Like decency is a loan that needs paying back with interest. Like you do what you do in order to get something for it, and not for the sake of your immortal soul. It is not TIME for anyone to do anything for you that you’ve done for them. It’s just time for you to do what you need to do, which is all the time anyway.


Hot Type

Via my pal Brent, this very cool story: 

The Doves Type was commissioned by Thomas Cobden-Sanderson as a bespoke typeface for the Doves Press, the London printing company he co-founded with Emery Walker in 1900. A modern take on a Venetian serif, it took two years to create and was used in all of the Press’s publications, including books of verse by Shakespeare and Milton and the Doves Bible, which featured drop caps by Edward Johnston.

After falling out with Walker, however – their partnership was legally dissolved in 1909, after the business encountered financial troubles – Cobden-Sanderson spent nine months tipping 2,600lb of it into the Thames in secret, ensuring that if he couldn’t use it, nor could anyone else. Disguised by darkness, he made around 170 trips to the Hammersmith Bridge to tip small parcels into the water at night, the splashes concealed by passing traffic, before announcing that it had been “bequeathed’ to the Thames.

And you thought your office had drama.

I love lead type. I have a bunch of old letters and one half of an old lead plate for a newspaper; the thing could crush walnuts and it’s the coolest thing I own. We once loved words so much, and believed they had such power, that even though we had to cast them in hot metal to use them, we did it because the alternative — silence — was that unbearable.

The river is giving the letters back now:

Surprised as he was to find the type so easily, Green says he was probably the first person to really look for it. “I had always read that it had never been found, so assumed loads of people had gone to look for it but actually, I don’t think anyone had ever bothered,” he adds. Upon his discovery, he called the Port Authority again, which carried out a two-day dive and eventually recovered 150 pieces.


Odds & Sods: Laughing Academy Edition

the-who odds--sods

All awards shows are terrible so I only watch one, the granny of them all, the Laughing Academy Awards aka Oscars. Twitter is pretty darn entertaining during awards shows as it gives you an excuse to ignore the *really* bad or annoying bits. And there are always oodles of those. Here in no particular order are some random and scattered observations about the Oscars:

Famous People Have Just As Much Difficulty Separating Public and Private Spheres As Us Mere Mortals: Jeez, that was a long ass title. The prime examples are John Travolta with his face squeezing and general creepiness, and Sean Penn busting the chops of his old friend Alejandro Innaritu with the unfunny green card joke. It wouldn’t be funny in a bar or at a party but it set the tweeter tube ablaze because you’re in public, Sean, and Twitter is an ignorant context free motherfucker. Btw, Travolta won the award for the worst wig I have ever seen. Yikes.

The Actor/Actress Who Plays A Character With A Disease Or Disability Always Wins: It happened again this year with, Eddie Redmayne,  the dude who played Stephen Hawking. I thought the popularity of Birdman meant that Michael Keaton would win since he was the best thing about that movie, but he was merely a depressed asshole as opposed to sick or disabled. Anyone remember either Cliff Robertson or the movie Charly? I thought not.

As to Julianne Moore, she had 2 rules of the Laughing Academy in her favor: disease and the “much nominated, we love her, so it’s her turn” rule.

I’ll continue doing the nattering nabob of negativism thing after the break.

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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – A Fool And His Money edition

Morning, everyone!

Let’s spin that airlock door and get started!

Looks like someone blew the whistle on the grift-o-rama that is the Tea Party! (there is no tea party)

Hey, Freepers! Remember your red-faced exhortations to give to tebagger PACs instead of the RNC?   I do.

50 Million Down The Tubes: How 17 Conservative PACs Are Spending Their Money (Stunning Disclosure)
Right Wing News ^ | 17 Feb 15 | John Hawkins


Posted on 2‎/‎17‎/‎2015‎ ‎9‎:‎51‎:‎04‎ ‎AM by xzins

What a shocker! Everybody on the Professional Left has been sniggering for years about the ignorant Republican poors scraping up what utility money they haven’t already given to Pat Robertson, and pissing it down a PAC sinkhole, but suddenly, the rubes have awakened!

To: All; Jim Robinson; onyx

This is a truly sad report. Rove wastes money and others manipulate us just to enrich themselves.

That’s right, constant readers – it’s not the rubes – it’s not the goniffs and bunco artists who are to blame here – it’s CARL FUCKING ROVE!!


What better reason that to give to FREE REPUBLIC!

2 posted on 2‎/‎17‎/‎2015‎ ‎9‎:‎54‎:‎53‎ ‎AM by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)

(by the way, Free Republic is having even more trouble than usual with their never-ending Freepathon, but we’ll get to that in the next thread)
So, Freepers – what’s your reaction to the fact that you’ve been played like a cheap guitar?
To: xzins

All I know is that the Liberals spent a LOT of money in 2014 and got their butts kicked on election day.

4 posted on 2‎/‎17‎/‎2015‎ ‎9‎:‎56‎:‎32‎ ‎AM by Cowboy Bob (Isn’t it funny that Socialists never want to share their own money?)

So your defense is that somebody else spent money?  Money that actually went to their candidates?  That’s it?
To: xzins

To my mind, most of these records if true are completely reprehensible, bordering on near fraud, actually. With the exception of CFG who I think is legitimately conservative and not GOPe related, they are pitiful records.

I had suspicions about Jenny Beth Martin and the TPP here in Georgia and was rightly so.

There was a thread yesterday from someone asking what to do about donations to ‘tea party whatevers’. My advice was to put the money into individual campaigns and bypass them altogether.

6 posted on 2‎/‎17‎/‎2015‎ ‎10‎:‎01‎:‎59‎ ‎AM by Gaffer

That’s the ticket!  Eliminate the middleman!
To: Nevadan

That’s the way I read it. If you further read the entire accompanying narrative with the article at the leak, you will see that a common trick by some of them is to expense-out money to vendors for all sorts of things. It also says there are MANY of these PACs whose ‘vendors’ are employees, workers, relatives or other persons not wholly identified. What’s worse FEC regs don’t require them to go beyond the first vendor expenditure. Thus, that expenditure gets credited as an expense. This study sought to find out the truth – and the truth is very ugly my FRiend.

11 posted on 2‎/‎17‎/‎2015‎ ‎10‎:‎16‎:‎58‎ ‎AM by Gaffer

To: Nevadan

I’ve suspected this all along. When I saw Jenny Beth Martin of the Tea Party Patriots being interviewed on TV about what she and her group directly did to help that professor oust Eric Cantor in Virginia and exactly what her group was doing in the way of funding the Senatorial Primary in Louisiana, I got my answer – essentially not a damn thing.

16 posted on ‎2‎/‎17‎/‎2015‎ ‎10‎:‎52‎:‎27‎ ‎AM by Gaffer

To: Gaffer

Frumpy Jenny Beth (Tea Party Patriots) has made millions off the backs of sincere Patriots.

She went from bankruptcy to living in a lakefront mansion in a gated community.

17 posted on ‎2‎/‎17‎/‎2015‎ ‎11‎:‎19‎:‎33‎ ‎AM by bimboeruption (REMEMBER MISSISSIPPI!)

To: Gaffer

Right, and she likes to brag about all the Tea Party groups that are under the Tea Party Patriots umbrella in order to lure in more suckers.

The last time I went to her site I saw a lot of Tea Party groups listed, but a vast majority of them hadn’t met in 3 years…they no longer existed.

Mark Levin does ads for her. I wish he’d check them out.

19 posted on 2‎/‎17‎/‎2015‎ ‎11‎:‎31‎:‎04‎ ‎AM by bimboeruption (REMEMBER MISSISSIPPI!)

To: bimboeruption; Gaffer

I have given $ to Tea Party Patriots twice before.



They call me almost every day. I refuse their calls. Next time they call I will answer and let them know why they will never see another dime from me.

27 posted on ‎2‎/‎17‎/‎2015‎ ‎1‎:‎00‎:‎07‎ ‎PM by thefactor (yes, as a matter of fact, i DID only read the excerpt)



To: Gaffer

“To my mind, most of these records if true are completely reprehensible, bordering on near fraud, actually.”

I am forced to agree.

We’ve long known that we have more than our share of con artists on our side of the aisle, people like Karl Rove who’ll say anything at any given minute if they think it’ll bring in a couple more donations. But some of the names on this list are deeply troubling.

I used to think better of Sarah Palin, but this is indefensible. I can only hope that she’ll refute this report with hard facts if it’s false. Because if these numbers are true, she’s just another scam artist raising a fortune from conservatives who really thought their money could make a difference to more than a grifter’s bank account.

40 posted on ‎2‎/‎17‎/‎2015‎ ‎6‎:‎36‎:‎53‎ ‎PM by highball (“I never should have switched from scotch to martinis.” — the last words of Humphrey Bogart)

Oh dear.
One Freeper’s not convinced:
To: xzins
I wonder if money is being stockpiled for 2016?
Stockpiled, yes. For candidates? Not so much.
I’d need to have more info before I can determine if the Tea Party PAC’s are really a ripoff.
34 posted on 2‎/‎17‎/‎2015‎ ‎3‎:‎24‎:‎12‎ ‎PM by liberalh8ter (The only difference between flash mob ‘urban yutes’ and U.S. politicians is the hoodies.)
Almost the post of the thread:
To: Gaffer; All

It has always puzzled me how the super rich like the Koch Brothers have been able to persuade so many modest income people to vote against some of their own interests.

46 posted on 2‎/‎18‎/‎2015‎ ‎1‎:‎08‎:‎33‎ ‎AM by gleeaikin

And now – the actual post of the thread!
To: xzins

Imagine the shenanigans the Clintons and their fellow travelers commit with all their fundraising.

38 posted on 2‎/‎17‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎59‎:‎58‎ ‎PM by ViLaLuz (2 Chronicles 7:14)

That’s right – speaking fees paid directly to the Clintons = Teabagger PACs scamming you by promising that they’ll support your candidates.
Exact same thing.
More after the non-tax-deductable contribution.

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The Vietnam War Isn’t Over Either

Wright, Ayers, blah, blah, argle blargle, why is this a thing again? 

Does Barack Obama like America? The people around him certainly seem to have their reservations. Michelle Obama said — twice, at separate campaign events — that her husband’s ascending to the presidency meant that “for the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country.” She was in her mid 40s at the time, her “adult lifetime” having spanned decades during which she could not be “really proud” of her country. Barack Obama spent years in the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s church as the churchman fulminated: “God Damn America!” The Reverend Wright’s infamous “God Damn America!” sermon charges the country with a litany of abuses: slavery, mistreatment of the Indians, “treating citizens as less than human,” etc. A less raving version of the same indictment can be found in the president’s own speeches and books. His social circle includes such figures as Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, who expressed their love of country by participating in a murderous terrorist campaign against it.

Let’s be blunt, regarding the Weather Underground: They killed exactly 58,203 fewer people than did the Vietnam War, but we keep having Henry Kissinger on TV talking about shit, so until that miserable decrepit meatsock is frogmarched into the Hague you will pardon me if I yawn whenever anybody brings up Bill Fucking Ayers again.

Also hey, hey, LBJ.

If we must re-fight the Vietnam War every goddamn election, let’s at least have the fight over Richard Nixon and whether we should dig up his moldering corpse just to set it on fire.

For the record I am in favor of doing it twice.


Right to Work in the Passive Voice

So Scotty’s doing what everybody knew he’d do:

This week, the right-to-work debate moves front and center in Wisconsin.

With Republicans in the Legislature aiming to fast-track a bill to Gov. Scott Walker’s desk, they’re following a playbook that has been executed in other GOP-led states in the upper Midwest.

In early 2012, just before the Super Bowl came to Indianapolis, then-Gov. Mitch Daniels signed a right-to-work law in Indiana.

Later that year, it was Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s turn to hand a stinging defeat to organized labor.

And now, it’s on to Wisconsin, where the labor battle has come full circle.

Walker, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, has said he’ll sign a right-to-work bill once it is pushed through Legislature. Compared with the struggle over Act 10, when Walker was front-and-center in taking on public-sector unions, the governor is now in the background responding to lawmakers.

But Walker’s peekaboo style on right-to-work would have the same effect: unleashing a big blow to big labor.

Because it’s not enough to gut the University of Wisconsin system or screw over teachers or set state workers who pay taxes against other taxpayers or sell off the DNR. It’s not enough to slowly grind down everything that makes the place worth living in.

He’s got to dig deep and show the people who pay his presidential campaign’s bills that he can be just as big an asshole as everybody thinks he is.

What struck me in the story linked above, however, was that as usual things are just happening.

Unions are losing power.

Labor is declining.

All by itself:

“In some ways it’s the end of a very long decline of the strength of unions and a weakening of protections both at the federal and state level for unions,” said William P. Jones, a University of Wisconsin-Madison history professor.


Jones said unions have been losing power since the late 1970s, with a renewed push against organized labor in the wake of the 2007-’09 Great Recession.

It’s just, like, the times, man. Or something. Things happen. Unions just … lose.

Who wins?

A renewed push against organized labor. From whom?

Even with right-to-work laws implemented in Michigan and Indiana, and also surviving court challenges, unions haven’t gone away. But they have been hard pressed.

Who has pressed them?

Do you see what I’m getting at here? We talk about outsourcing and the decline of the middle class and the decimation of American manufacturing and the push against unions without ever using a subject in our sentences.

That way we can make it seem like nobody’s to blame. That way we can avoid “controversial” and/or opinionated or non-objective views of reality like:

Republicans, backed by wealthy business owners, attacked unions because those unions threatened their interests which are, in order: Making enough money to roll around in like Scrooge McDuck, making enough money to afford to buy Barbados, and making enough money to stack up all that money higher than Everest.

Those unions served as vehicles for political opposition to those interests, and so those unions had to go.

Why can’t we just say that? Because it makes Republicans like Scott Walker look like mean bullies who want to step on the American worker?

Better to just act like this all appeared out of thin air, conjured by the passage of time.


Sunday Morning Video: Chris Isaak Live In 2005

Here’s Chris Isaak and his crack band on PBS’ Soundstage:

Friday Ferretblogging: ‘The ferrets wouldn’t judge me’

UK model and her four pet ferrets: 

Explaining how she became so close to her furry pets, Sophie said: ‘The ferrets were my excuse to leave the house and not seem as alone as I was. I took them for quite long walks in the hills near my home.

‘It might sound sad but they were my friends. For a long time, along with my sister, they were the only friends that I had.

‘The ferrets wouldn’t judge me and were always there for me when I had a bad day. They were a big responsibility.



Odds & Sods: Reading List Edition

the-who odds--sods

I’m still slowly emerging from the Carnival bubble. I started catching up with my reading today and two articles leapt out and smacked me in the face. Kapow.

All You Need Is Rudy: Mayor 9/11’s abominable comments about President Obama have gotten a lot of attention this week. GOPers have been going there for years, but rarely one who is allegedly a “moderate.” Cough, snort, cough.

Rudy’s comments have even become an issue in the emerging 2016 Republican Campaign. Thus far, they’re all afraid to disagree with him because they’re scared shitless of their base. No shocker.

Anyway, the article is by long time New York reporter, Wayne Bartlett, who enumerates the ways in which Mayor 9/11 “loves” his country and the people in his life. Hint: he’s a terrible husband and a chickenhawk.  The article is entitled What Rudy Giuliani Knows About Love. Pity it’s too late for Valentine’s Day. It makes me wonder if Rudy has even read about love:

Bill-O’s Brian Williams Problem: It looks as if Fox’s big macher has been making shit up about his years as a “war correspondent.” At first blush, it looks worse than Williams’ embellishment: Bill-O flat out made shit up. Of course, Fox News is based on making shit up so Bill-O isn’t likely to get his worthless ass suspended but I can dream. Sorry if I overused the phrase making shit up but nothing else seemed fitting. Bill-O is so full of shit that flies follow him around…

The article is by the estimable David Corn and his colleague Daniel Schulman. The title mentions a certain suspended NBC anchorman. I’m sure Bill-O will be calling them pinheaded pinkos for the foreseeable future. David Corn has already posted a follow-up article with the thrilling title, These Are Questions Bill O’Reilly Won’t Answer. Longtime Bill-O nemesis, Keith Olbermann, had a bit of fun with this on the tweeter tube:

I haven’t posted a tune from Odds & Sods at the end of this feature for quite some time. This Holland-Dozier-Holland classic seemed appropriate:




“You Dare to Hope…”

I spent the last several weeks writing about almost nothing good. Even though I’m tenured and I have time in rank, I still fear being fired, laid off or “RIF-ed” as they say. I don’t know why. It’s just the horrible nature of living in a state where people seem to hate you for being part of a university system that the governor has blamed for all the bad things that have befallen “regular people” or “taxpayers.”

I’m not alone. The cuts in Louisiana have me grateful that I didn’t take a job there when I had the chance. Governor PBJ is trying to salvage a presidential campaign by filling holes with cuts. In Kansas, Sam Brownback is trying to do the same basic thing, only in his case, it’s to salvage his stupid theory on economics. Even Illinois is starting to tremble at the university level, as one of my former professors just got a “Hi, the legislature is having state budget troubles and thus they are cutting the shit out of education” emails from her administrators.

Ever since I was a kid, I took refuge from these kinds of brutal beatings in the Miracle on Ice. Call it sappy, jingoist or whatever, but for some reason this moment in time always helped me. It resonated with me. It gave me a spark of life when all around me was dark. It is why I ate Ramen for about three weeks so I could afford to buy their autographed trading cards. It was why A and I climbed on a train that dumped us off in Depew, New York, giving us the opportunity to see the Boys of Winter skate one more time. I was why when things were horrible, I found myself girding up and getting up for just one more round.

Of all the organizations that have tried to capture it perfectly, ESPN has done an incredibly admirable job. The most recent 30-for-30 helped humanize the faceless Soviet Machine that served as the Goliath for our David. However, the piece above was one of my favorite for a simple reason: Ken Dryden’s quote about the Soviets and hope.

“You dared to hope and then you hoped so hard and are just so afraid that the Soviets are going to do what they’ve done countless times before and just crush your hope.”

In reading through the seminal volume on the event, “One Goal,” Powers and Kaminsky made a similar argument: The Soviets might let you believe for just a fleeting second that you could do something that no one had the right to expect you to do. Then, when they were sure you started to believe in yourself, they would just kill you, without even really having to try that hard.

This is life at the whims of a power that is all-encompassing and that simply can’t be overcome.

The book then noted Herb Brooks’ underlying message: What if you didn’t buy into the script? What if you took a “Twilight Zone” approach and figured, “Wait a minute, who says this story has to end the way it has ended every other time you’ve read it?”

I know that a grown man should be better than this and find something better to do with his time. I’m over 40 and most of the guys on the team are approaching 60. Bobby Suter became the first casualty to the players’ line up a few months back. I remember being at one event where Suter was clearly a bit disgruntled at the fawning masses and he muttered something to the effect of, “Why can’t people just let it go?”

I don’t know if he ever figured it out, but I know what it is for me.


To let go of these kids is to let go of hope. To put them on a dusty shelf in a dark closet is to say that things will always continue as they are and that the bad guys will win because they have the money and the power to do so. To put them away and let go is to say, “We’re stuck in neutral and we should be grateful we aren’t going backward.”

This Sunday is the 35th anniversary of that game. The team is gathering as we speak to commemorate the event in Lake Placid and honor their fallen teammate by retiring his number 20. It’s as good of a time as any to remind us that hope is a good thing.

Thanks, boys.

Friday Catblogging: Off The Wall Devil Cat

Della loves to show off her belly when she’s up against the wall, motherfugu:


Speak of the devil, Della’s glowing eyes have given me an earworm:

Bibi’s Boner

I’ve been following the mishigas involving Speaker Boner’s, uh, boner in inviting Netanyahu to speak to Congress throughout my time in the Carnival bubble. I guess it’s payback for Bibi’s essentially endorsing Willard Mittbot Romney in 2012. The whole mishigas is objectionable in so many ways: it enables Bibi to lobby Congress to sabotage sensitive negotiations with Iran, plus there’s an Israeli general election is coming up soon and an unpopular Netanyahu is clinging to office. Unfortunately, Israel’s multi-party system, the collapse of the Israeli left, and an inept Labor party campaign is more likely than not going  to let him ooze back into power with another unstable and obnoxious right wing coalition.

Josh Marshall has done a great job covering the story at TPM but the MSM’s take on it has been ludicrous, as pointed out by my man Jim Newell at Salon:

 This is a tiddlywinks way of approaching the real problem with the invitation, focusing on bad dinner-table manners without delving into the more serious subtext. It’s Wolf Blitzer-esque in its superficiality. Fittingly, the CNN article is accompanied by a brief clip of Wolf Blitzer talking about it, in the same tenor that he might talk about Kanye West’s treatment of Beck at the Grammys — that this begins and ends as a story about a social faux-pas.

Who cares whether Boehner gave the White House a “heads up” or not? There’s a big difference between a “heads up” or “notification,” on the one hand, and a “consultation” on the other. A “heads up” or “notification” implies that Boehner had already made up his mind to extend the invitation. If he had already decided to send the invitation, it’s not important whether he called president with deets or sent a telegram or carrier pigeon down Pennsylvania Avenue. He certainly should have “consulted” with the White House before extending the invitation. The White House would have told him not to do it, though, which is why he didn’t consult with them.

The invitation was a big deal not because of the lack of the “heads up,” but because it was an explicit effort to sabotage the Obama administration’s foreign policy. Benjamin Netanyahu and a whole hell of a lot of influential Republican foreign policy people do not want any nuclear deal with Iran. They do not trust Iran to adhere to any agreement that restricts them from obtaining nuclear weapons. Thus they consider diplomatic talks with Iran contrary to Western interests. They want to blow up the talks, and then they want to blow up Iran.

We’re back in familiar territory: IOKIYAR. Imagine if Speaker Pelosi had interfered with Bush administration negotiations aimed at resolving a major foreign policy issue. Boner, Chinless Mitch, and the whole gang would be calling her a traitor and demanding her ouster but IOKIYAR because they’re the daddy party or some such shit. Oy, such malakatude.

As for Bibi, this mishigas is an example of his colossal arrogance and blatant chutzpah. Israel is a client state of the United States and biting the hand that feeds you may be popular in some quarters but it’s downright stupid. He’s lucky that President Obama and Secretary Kerry are grownups as well as experienced politicians who recognize posturing when they see it.

Hopefully, this gambit will backfire but all Netanyahu needs to form the next Israeli government is to win the most seats in the upcoming election. He doesn’t need a majority to do so, which should give pause to those Americans who dream of a multi-party system.

As for Speaker Boner, he ought to be ashamed of himself for openly taking sides in another country’s election and for pandering once again to the chickenhawks and rapturists in his party. Remember Jeb Bush, moderate Republican? He just weighed in to support Bibi’s speech. His father, of course, had similar issues with an arrogant right wing Israeli PM, Yitzhak Shamir. So much for the Jebster’s foreign policy being more like the old man’s than his nitwit brother’s.

While I was looking at my pulp fiction file for this morning’s post, I stumbled upon the book cover below. If they were still doing this book, Bibi’s boner would surely be, uh, inserted:


Just What We Need…Another Banana Republican

From Album 5

So, Jeb’s insisting he’s “his own man” (while looking — a bit spookily — like chinless Mitch McConnell, IMHO); anyway, for obvious reasons he wants to establish a bit of distance between especially Junior, who pretty much shat on the family/brand name…but…if you look at the details and the lineup, it’s the same gang of crooks and charlatans who crashed and burned the first time — a stale rehash. One last chance to get the band together, the Let’s-See-If-We-Can-Perpetually-Clusterfuck-It-While-Profiteering-On-Death-And-Misery Tour (featuring Paul Wolfowitz on comb…that link isn’t NSFW, but it IS gross).

Anyway…oh, and you’ve gotta love the “mistakes were made” passive voice crap. Reminds me of something a friend from Central America told me about the pipsqueak pashas running the juntas and deathsquads. They’d show up on television in full regalia, and explain that, sure, “mistakes were made, but…in a war, people die…”

No shit. Just not the people insisting we go to war…

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Tall Dark and Deadly

Sometimes I pick a cover just because I like the title. This is one of those times:


Album Cover Art Wednesday: Valence Street

Valence Street is not only the title of a 1999 Neville Brothers album, it’s the main drag of my Uptown New Orleans neighborhood. I occasionally call my 13th Ward hood Neville-land because so many members of their extended family live, or used to live, nearby. Valence Street is also my corner for Magazine Street parades during Carnival, which is the primary reason I haven’t been writing here as much for the last few weeks. I’m also slowly recovering from a Krewe du Vieux related leg injury that makes it hard to sit at the computer for long spells. All the walking and standing I do during Mardi Gras doesn’t help either, but that’s neither here nor there.

Art Neville still lives on Valence Street and he’s hanging in there at the age of 77. I was talking to one of his nephews on the parade route last week and he could tell I was about to inquire about Art so he told me, “He’s feeling better all the time and ready to play some shows.” Here’s a link to a fine Keith Spera profile of Art on the occasion of his 75th birthday.

The other reason I’m posting the cover of Valence Street is the fine black and white photography by Michael Wilson:


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For More on the ‘Draft Jeff Sessions’ Movement, We Turn to Jeff Sessions

After the last Daily Caller comment section “joke” about Sessions, I decided to see if there actually was a Draft Jeff Sessions movement afoot. And “movement” is one way to put it, as evidenced by this Breitbart fanfic: 

So the Draft Sessions movement gained steam: Not since Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 had such a “draft” movement been so successful. The Republican Establishment was still suspicious of Sessions, but they were so hungry for victory that they were willing to overlook their differences. And the rank and file, of course, were quite happy with Sessions. It was a new kind of “fusionism”—a fusionism for the 21st century.

But what was most remarkable was Sessions’ ability to reach out both to USIP and to Democrats. His “One America” message resonated across the country. In the words of the famous poem:

When Sessions speaks, we rejoice
His is the wonderful voice
Of millions of grateful Americans
Who’ve made unity their choice.

Sweet disco Jesus. I’m sexually aroused. I’m ready to vote for this big, strong, killative MAYUNN. What could possibly derail this dream?

Oh yeah, Jeff Sessions:

Through the massive get-out-the-vote efforts of three leaders – including a former aid to Martin Luther King – black voter turnout began to creep toward 80%, and a handful of black legislators were elected. That’s where Sessions stepped in, charging three voting rights organisers with voter fraud. All three were quickly acquitted. Sessions’s choice to focus on their efforts looked a lot less like good governance and a lot more like voter intimidation.

As the Senate judiciary committee mulled this over, several other worrisome notes about the nominee came to light. As I wrote in 2002:

Senate Democrats tracked down a career justice department employee named J Gerald Hebert, who testified, albeit reluctantly, that in a conversation between the two men Sessions had labelled the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) “un-American” and “communist-inspired”. Hebert said Sessions had claimed these groups “forced civil rights down the throats of people.”

In his confirmation hearings, Sessions sealed his own fate by saying such groupscould be construed as “un-American” when “they involve themselves in promoting un-American positions” in foreign policy. Hebert testified that the young lawyer tended to “pop off” on such topics regularly, noting that Sessions had called a white civil rights lawyer a “disgrace to his race” for litigating voting rights cases.

If that weren’t enough, a black former assistant US attorney, Thomas Figures, testified that Sessions had called him “boy”, and that he had joked about the Ku Klux Klan in ways that implied he wasn’t particularly appalled by their appalling tactics.

Nothing says “unity” like this guy. This will do wonders for GOP outreach in minority communities, for the image of the Republican Party as the party of pissed off old white dudes. I can see this being a truly effective counterpoint to a party that last time around nominated a black man and probably is about to nominate a woman for president. I can’t think of anything that will make the contrast so clear.

Run, Jeff. Run.



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