Wednesday Night Music: One Time, One Night

I’m seeing Los Lobos this weekend, so I thought I’d share the official video for this great piece of musical Americana:

Today In Responsible Gun Ownership: Institutional Edition

Anyone surprised that open carry mania trumps a serious death threat? I actually was. I should have known better:

 A feminist speaker has canceled a speech at Utah State University after learning the school would allow concealed firearms despite an anonymous threat against her.

University staff members had received a threat earlier Tuesday from an unknown person who vowed to carry out a mass shooting if the event was held. University spokesman Tim Vitale says the FBI told school officials the threat is consistent with ones Sarkeesian receives when she gives speeches elsewhere.

According to the Standard Examiner, University staffers received an anonymous email, purportedly from student at the University, threatening a “Montreal Massacre style attack” and complaining that “feminists have ruined my life and I will have my revenge, for my sake and the sake of all the others they’ve wronged.”

The university consulted with federal and state law enforcement and had determined it was safe to go ahead with the presentation.

But Sarkeesian pulled out after learning from university officials that concealed weapons would be permitted, as long as attendees have a valid concealed firearm permit in accordance with Utah law.

Even if this was a specious death threat, the mere fact that Utah State would neither bar guns from the event nor search attendees for them is nuts. Why anyone should be allowed to pack a rod to a University event is beyond me. Dolts with carry permits shoot people all the time. I would hope that other universities in open carry states wouldn’t allow this, but it wouldn’t shock me if they do.

Because freedom, because second amendment.

Odd & Sods: Hump Day Roundup Edition

the-who odds--sods

This post is not about hunchbacks, weed killing, or humping. Sorry to disappoint you. I haven’t written one of these omnibus posts in ages and just felt like doing so. I am an arbitrary and capricious motherfucker sometimes. I may even make it a habit on Wednesdays, butdon’t want it to become a vice, which would make this whole exercise eerily like the title of a Doobie Brothers album, What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits. I obviously spend way too much time researching old album covers…

Now that I’ve thoroughly confused you, on with the show this is it:

Shorter Bill-O: CDC honcho should resign because he won’t come on my stupid awesome teevee show. Doesn’t Dr. Frieden know that we live in a Bill-O centric universe and that everything revolves around him? Bow down to Bill-O and kiss his mystic butthole.

Downstairs Willard: Anyone else remember the character of Upstairs John on NYPD Blue? He’s got bupkis to do with this segment. It’s called a teaser in the trade. Feel free to call me a prick. Now where was I? Oh, yeah, this:

In an evolution from his stiff, buttoned-up demeanor that was often lampooned during his previous White House runs, Romney dished in the interview on his favorite television show, his grandchildren and even a leg massage.

On “Downton Abbey”: “I think the show was most enjoyable in the first season. Then when Matthew (Crawley) went off to war, it was a bit of a departure for a few seasons,” Romney said, straight-faced. “I actually like the downstairs part more than the upstairs part, even though I think Mary (Crawley) is an absolutely delightful character and I love watching her.”

I think Willard Mittbot Romney likes the downstairs part better for voyeuristic reasons. He enjoys seeing how  his inferiors (aka the 47%) lived in Woody Old England. Now that I think of it, he probably identifies with the stiff and pompous Mr. Bates except for the whole accused murderer thing. Willard would have outsourced that to Bangladesh.

It’s reassuring that the Mittbot still feels the need to prove that he’s a human being, gosh darn it. I wonder if he likes Upstairs Mary because she’s an arrogant and haughty hottie, which is probably how he sees Ann. It’s probably a good thing that Willard is a generation removed from seeking out Mary as a sister wife like dear old grandad might have. This is what comes from my binge watching Big Love this summer…

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: Carney

I’ve had carneys on my mind since the season premiere of AHS: Freak Show. That’s why my thoughts turned to Leon Russell’s 1972 LP, Carney.

Russell’s time as a rock star was brief and this album was his biggest hit by far. Carney got all the way to #2 on the Billboard charts and the single Tightrope hit #11. Not bad for a studio musician turned cult artist. Russell’s rock stardom didn’t last long but his career has been a long and interesting one.

Carney Front

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Chickenshit or Lazy or Evil, Take Your Pick

Maybe all of the above: 

One of the clearest demonstrations of the contradiction came during the Republican National Convention in 2012, when the party gave one night of speeches over to the theme, “We did build that,” a deliberate misinterpretation of something the president had said. Speaker after speaker spoke of how they pulled themselves up and built their success without interference from “government.” By the end of the night, the bootstraps has been pulled up so hard and so long that they must’ve extended from Tampa halfway through Alabama. But there was a curious thing about these speeches. A great many of them began with, “When my Dad got out of the Army…” There was the guy who built his business who never mentioned the small-business loans he’d obtained. There was Chris Christie, railing against the dead hand of big government while nearly sobbing over how important the GI Bill had been to his Dad. There was Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma who, against all history and logic, explained how her state had been built only through the sweat of Oklahomans. It was a night of organized bullshit so epic that it stands alone in my memory. It should have been all anybody talked about for a month. It should have defined the Republican party for a generation. Hell, if it weren’t for the New Deal, Ronald Reagan’s father would have been the town drunk. Government wasn’t The Problem then. Instead, it passed without conspicuous notice.

Howard Dean (remember him) in 200FUCKING3: 

What I want to know is why in the world the Democratic party leadership is supporting the president’s unilateral attack on Iraq.

What I want to know is why are Democratic party leaders supporting tax cuts.  The question is not how big the tax cut should be, the question should be can we afford a tax cut at all with the largest deficit in the history of this country.

What I want to know is why we’re fighting in Congress about the Patient’s Bill of Rights when the Democratic party ought to be standing up for health care for every single American man, woman, and child in this country.

What I want to know is why our folks are voting for the president’s No Child Left Behind bill that leaves every child behind, every teacher behind, every school board behind, and every property tax payer behind.

Christ, that speech. That was our chance, wasn’t it? Our chance to turn this fucking country around. He could give that speech tomorrow and but that there’s a Democrat in the White House, nothing’s goddamn changed.

Why? Take your goddamn pick, Howard. I think some of them are scared and some of them are greedy and some of them are listening to every professional fuckwit on the Sunday shows talk about how mean they all are these days, what with wanting to CURE DISEASES and TEACH PEOPLE TO READ, and some of them just can’t be arsed because it’s hard, Mom, and we just want to sleep in.

Some of them are up the ass of BP or the telecom industry, some of them are in hock to the Russian mob, some of them know there are photographs out there of that thing with the goat, some of them need to keep paying off that hooker, and some of them are that hooker.

Some of them are really stupid, too, and let’s not ever discount that.


State of the Media: Everything Has Never Been Okay, and Will Continue to Be Okay

First, Whet: 

1995 happened to be the first time I did a newspaper internship. One of the first things I learned was that the paper had a 20% profit margin, which was good but not even great for the industry. If that sounds insane, it sort of is; as Meyer pointed out, it’s a luxury-item profit margin. Or a monopoly-product margin, but that monopoly was already slipping away.

In turnover, newspapers are more like supermarkets than yacht dealers. Their product has a one-day shelf life. Consumers and advertisers alike have to pay for a new version every day if they want to stay current. Absent a monopoly, newspaper margins would be at the low end. But because they own the bottleneck, the opposite is true. Before technology began to create alternate toll routes, a monopoly newspaper in a medium-size market could command a margin of 20 to 40 percent.

High profit margins combined with increasing revenues in a bubble economy led tomassive debt acquisitions despite the ongoing decline of newspapers’ circulation:

Prior to the recession, credit availability was virtually unlimited. Lenders were aggressive in lending to consumers and businesses. Newspaper publishing, as well as other traditional media sectors, were widely sought after by lenders because of their ability to generate robust cash flow margins. It was not unusual for lenders on traditional senior loans to lend up to 5 times EBITDA (earnings before interest taxes depreciation and amortization), the primary standard of measuring cash flow. Many banks and finance companies had dedicated media practices that actively competed for newspaper industry business.

But even before that round of acquisitions, management boosted profit margins at the expense of the product. And some of those revenue gains were produced by raising rates even as circulation and the actual amount of advertising in newspapers declined.

In other words, you dipshits, you did it to yourselves, and now you want to blame bloggers and Jezebel and iPhones for it all.

Nice job. Really, well done.

Whet’s experience mirrored my own, in that I watched people who now want to claim helplessness in the face of advancing technology and “shifting digital paradigms” undermine their own bankrolls from the beginning.

Those who warned them they were spraying lighter fluid on the bonfire were either ignored or vilified, and those tasked with forming the future of media looked at the industry’s leadership and panicked right along with them.

Which is how we got to where we’re at.

Now, Dan: 

A little intuition can go a long way, too. When my oldest went crazy for Skyrim I figured he might enjoy Dungeons and Dragons. Since the only way to really learn D&D is to have someone who knows it show you the ropes, I had him invite some friends over, pulled out the old books and had them roll up some characters. Once they got the hang of it, they loved it – and began bringing friends along. (Full disclosure: I did all of this primarily because I am an arrested adolescent and still geek out over D&D as much now as I did when I was fourteen.) We have sessions every week that last several hours. Sure they check their phones, but for the most part they are interacting with each other and having a good time engaging in some improvisational storytelling.

We act like these things are inevitabilities, like we have no control over what happens to us anymore. Like we just have to surrender to the lowest common denominator and not live our lives the way we intend to live them. LIke it all just happens to us, and somebody else is to blame.


Malaka Of The Week: Andrew Stiles

I’d never heard of Andrew Stiles or the internet rag (is that a thing?) that he writes for, something called the Washington Free Beacon, until today. Sounds impressively patriotic and shit doesn’t it?The only reason I paid this creep any mind is that he mocked a friend of mine, Lamar White. Lamar happens to have cerebral palsy. Stiles mocked his disability and that is why he’s malaka of the week.

The offending, and offensive post, was occasioned by Lamar’s appearance with Wendy Davis in the wake of attacks on an ad she ran about her opponent, Greg Abbot. Abbot is in a wheelchair himself but is utterly indifferent to fate of others similarity situated. In short, he’s another hypocritical wingnut. You cannot shake a tree without dozens of them falling out. That’s right, folks, we’re in another IOKIFYAR situation. They can play hardball without reproach and Democrats cannot. Bullies can never take a punch without squealing like  a stuck pig. We all know that.

In any event, here’s Malaka Stiles’ shtick:

On Monday, Davis’s campaign organized a press conference in an effort to prove that some of her best friends are confined to wheelchairs. “Greg Abbott got his justice. Why doesn’t he believe that a rape survivor or a person with a disability or a victim paralyzed forever…should get justice too?” Davis said. “What makes Greg Abbott think it’s okay to deny them, his fellow Texans, the justice that he rightly went to court to receive?”

But things got a little awkward at one point when one of the disabled speakers was dragged across the stage in a chair by (presumably) a member of the Davis campaign.

Here’s the story, morning glory. Lamar *asked* the Davis people to move the chair because it was easier for him than standing up and risk falling down. They weren’t pushing him around or demeaning him, they were helping. I guess that’s an alien concept to Stiles and his icky ilk. Here’s how Lamar explained it to the Houston Chronicle’s Lauren McGaughy:

The Wendy Davis supporter whom campaign staffers moved while he remained seated in his chair at a Monday press conference said he asked them to do so to avoid falling down. He criticized staffers and supporters of Davis’ Republican opponent Greg Abbott for calling him and the other disabled supporters gathered there “props.”

“I’m clumsy, and I fall sometimes. I didn’t want to fall on camera, so I personally asked them to slide me over in the chair,” said Lamar White, Jr., who has cerebral palsy. “I asked them to move me. Because I was worried that if I stood up, I’d fall down on camera.”

White, a law student in his final year at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School, had just finished detailing why he supports Democratic nominee for governor Sen. Wendy Davis when a campaign staffer slid the chair out of the way of the microphone so they next attendee could speak.

Davis set up the press conference, which featured more than a dozen disabled supporters, after her latest campaign ad that centered on Abbott’s own disability proved to be incredibly divisive, netting mostly negative reviews even among liberal media outlets.

The ad discusses Abbott and his support for tort reform, which came years after he received what’s believed to be at least a $10 million settlement when a downed tree branch partially paralyzed him. The ads starts, “A tree fell on Greg Abbott…”

Abbott supporters and conservative news organizations jumped on the incident, saying the staffer “dragged” White across the stage. The Washington Free Beacon, a right-leaning news outlet, called the move ”awkward,” linking to a video entitled, “Poor advance work at Wendy Davis presser.” called the move “absolutely shameless.”

The only thing that was shameless about this episode is the way the right wing spin machine jumped on it and distorted everything. Totally shameless and utterly shameful.

I rarely take wingnut shenanigans personally, but  Lamar is a friend who I respect and admire for his fortitude and class in dealing with his disability. It’s easy to *forget* that he’s disabled because he copes with it so well. Lamar is considerably younger than I am but he’s one of my heroes. Here’s what I said on Facebook when I shared the Stiles piece:

There’s nothing worse than when inaccurate, malicious internet snark is aimed at your friends. Don’t mess with my pal Lamar, dickhead.

Wendy Davis called Lamar a badass tonight and she is absolutely right.He’s a total badass and Stiles is a shithead, asswipe, and insensitive lout. And that is why Andrew Stiles is malaka of the week.

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Boardwalk Empire Thread: Van Weirdo, R.I.P.

BE Devil You Know

I didn’t get the memo about the final season of Boardwalk Empire being only 8 episodes. I learned it *after* the dramatic events of last night and now I understand why they put the pedal to the medal.

I tried to resist using this post title but I could not. Van Weirdo has been living on doomed turncoat copper/gangster borrowed time since season-2 but I won’t go into the *other* big event of Devil You Know until after the break.

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Ebola Hysteria Is More Contagious Than Ebola

The latest outbreak of Ebola hysteria is in Baton Rouge:

State Attorney General Buddy Caldwell is seeking a temporary restraining order to block the disposal of incinerated waste from the Dallas Ebola victim’s personal items and belongings at a Louisiana landfill.

It has been reported that six truckloads of potential Ebola contaminated material collected from the apartment where the Dallas Ebola victim became ill were brought to Port Arthur, Texas on Friday to be processed at the Veolia Environmental Services incinerator. From there the incinerated material is slated to be transported to a hazardous waste landfill in Louisiana for final disposal.

Caldwell said the unknowns involved surrounding the Ebola virus have the state wanting to proceed with caution.

“We certainly share sadness and compassion for those who have lost their lives and loved ones to this terrible virus, but the health and safety of our Louisiana citizens is our top priority,” he said. “There are too many unknowns at this point, and it is absurd to transport potentially hazardous Ebola waste across state lines.This situation is certainly unprecedented and we want to approach it with the utmost caution. We just can’t afford to take any risks when it comes to this deadly virus.”

The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office said it is in the process of finalizing the application for temporary restraining order and expects it to be filed as early as Monday morning. Additionally, the office is sending a demand letter to Texas state and federal officials, along with private contractors involved seeking additional information into the handling of this waste. Caldwell’s office is in contact with Louisiana health and environmental agencies involved in the matter.

This is rich considering that these incinerated items are headed to a HAZARDOUS LANDFILL in a state loaded with petro-chemical plants. Not only that, but we import medical waste to our HAZARDOUS LANDFILLS. There’s no indication that this shit is more dangerous than the shit that’s already been dumped in our HAZARDOUS LANDFILLS.

Like everything else involving politicians this is about politics as opposed to a sudden fastidiousness about toxic waste or a concern about public health. Caldwell is a party switcher who blew with the wind into the Republican party *after* the election of a black President. Strictly coincidental, right? He’s from what I call the real south region of Louisiana, pandering to the GOP base is always more important than being a responsible public servant.

It’s depressing how much of the Ebola hysteria is recycled from the AIDS hysteria of the 1980’s. Just change “gay disease” to “African disease” and the reaction on the right and, more shamefully, in the MSM is identical. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

A friend of mine provided her snarky take on this malakatude on Twitter this morning, so I’ll give her the last word:

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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Supremely Disappointed edition

Well, folks – you knew it was coming…

the sweet taste of the tears of unfathomable sadness


Wait for it…..

High court denies gay marriage appeals [legal immediately in IN, OK, UT, VA and WI]
AP ^ | 10/06/2014 | Mark Sherman

Posted on 10‎/‎6‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎07‎:‎01‎ ‎AM by GIdget2004

he Supreme Court has turned away appeals from five states seeking to prohibit same-sex marriages, paving the way for an immediate expansion of gay and lesbian unions.

The justices on Monday did not comment in rejecting appeals from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The court’s order immediately ends delays on marriage in those states. Couples in six other states should be able to get married in short order.

That would make same-sex marriage legal in 30 states and the District of Columbia.

But the justices have left unresolved for now the question of same-sex marriage nationwide.

1 posted on 10‎/‎6‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎07‎:‎01‎ ‎AM by GIdget2004




To: GIdget2004
Its up to God to restore the natural order of things.And restore it he will.
3 posted on 10‎/‎6‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎09‎:‎49‎ ‎AM by skeeter


To: GIdget2004

Sodom revisited.

4 posted on 10‎/‎6‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎09‎:‎55‎ ‎AM by txrefugee


Please leave your sex life out of this.


To: GIdget2004

No Surprise Roberts himself is a FAGGOT Lover. I DESPISE THESE 9 BASTARDS!

6 posted on 10‎/‎6‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎12‎:‎35‎ ‎AM by US Navy Vet (Go Packers! Go Rockies! Go Boston Bruins! See, I’m “Diverse”!)

To: GIdget2004

I just can’t wait for the flood of homos at the local courthouse.

9 posted on 10‎/‎6‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎15‎:‎43‎ ‎AM by tgusa (gun control: deep breath, sight alignment, squeeze the trigger …….)

Again – please leave your sex life out of this.
To: GIdget2004

The Founders never intended for the courts to wield this kind of backdoor legislative power.

10 posted on ‎10‎/‎6‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎17‎:‎24‎ ‎AM by Iron Munro (We can make it work with only one square per restroom visit — Sheryl Crow)

To: GIdget2004

The sane response is to begin secession immediately.



We cannot be a part of a profligate, fascist government any longer.

27 posted on 10‎/‎6‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎29‎:‎54‎ ‎AM by fwdude (The last time the GOP ran an “extremist,” Reagan won 44 states.)

This is the same fucknut who is whining about his Socal Security in the next thread….
To: GIdget2004

It is time for Christians of America to think spiritually. This is a flawed world and America has chosen to reject God. It is the normal scheme of things in the history of the human world. I love this nation’s founding, but it is no more. Time to cling to the Lord and pray for the souls of those in the middle and our children. America is dying.

65 posted on ‎10‎/‎6‎/‎2014‎ ‎10‎:‎14‎:‎37‎ ‎AM by Phillyred

OK – NOW you can get on with it.
the sweet taste of the tears of unfathomable sadness
Scott Walker will be along to save them all (or not) after the jump..

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The Victim-Blaming Culture

A lethal mix of laziness, stupidity, wingnut reactionism and just plain cruelty: 

The process sounds simple: Go to a courthouse, file a form, and get a private hearing within a day or so. If the judge—who usually holds the hearing in his or her chambers—denies the petition, a minor has a right to a speedy appeal. A pregnant teen, according to standards defined by the Supreme Court, must show either that she is mature enough to have an abortion without her parents’ involvement or that an abortion is in her best interest. “The way most laws are written, if you follow the statute, Jane Doe wins almost every time,” Hays says. But in practice, girls are at the mercy of whichever judge they happen to draw, says Anne Dellinger, a retired University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill professor who has studied the bypass system. “If a girl wanders into the wrong [court], she doesn’t have a chance,” Dellinger says. With few checks on the system, Hays adds, judges are free to impose their beliefs on the girls who appear before them: “It’s the law of bullies.”


IN SOME WAYS, these girls were lucky to have made it to court at all. They had to get out of school, and in some cases to another town, for the hearing (and the procedure itself). They had to keep the whole process a secret—some attorneys with Hays’ Texas group use Snapchat, a smartphone app that deletes messages after they’ve been viewed. But for many girls, the biggest obstacles are the court employees who act as the gatekeepers of the bypass system. For her 2007 bookGirls on the Stand: How Courts Fail Pregnant Minors, Lafayette College law professor Helena Silverstein and a research team called court employees across three states. They found more than half of the courts “proved absolutely or materially ignorant of their responsibilities” under bypass laws. Many court employees, and one judge, told the researchers judicial bypass didn’t exist. Some court staff lectured callers about abortion or referred them to anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers. Others warned that their judge had a blanket policy of denying petitions.

True story time: I did not have sex in high school because I was so terrified of getting pregnant. (Hilarious, now, because I could have been the school doorknob and apparently it wouldn’t have mattered.) Getting pregnant was the worst thing we could think of, even in the early days of the AIDS epidemic.

And this was in the days of abortion clinics being able to call themselves that. This was before personhood, and 20-week bans, and transvaginal ultrasound rape. This was when things were easier and safer, and getting pregnant was still the absolute worst thing I could think of happening. We all said it to each other, girls, even the ones who were having sex: If I get knocked up my parents will kill me.

Some of us meant it, in ways others of us didn’t. Some of us found out which way we meant it, and some of us never knew. Never had to know.

What do they get out of it, the people who either never faced down a situation like this or never thought about it? What do they get out of telling terrified teenagers that they need to talk things over with a priest, or interview more doctors, or just go away because we can’t help you here?

What is the point of this essential meanness, this dismissal of someone else’s tragedy as the cost of doing business? As the actual consequence of maintaining someone’s figurative superiority? What do we as a society get out of punishing people in desperate straits, besides some momentary high of denial?

Spin it outward: This is about teenage sluts having unauthorized sex. Next door to this lives the wrong brand of cereal bought by people on welfare, which is down the block from students should have saved up for college and not taken out loans, and around the cul-de-sac from shouldn’t have been out at that hour, wearing a hoodie, carrying candy, reaching for a cell phone or a wallet or a license or nothing at all.

Our entire culture right now hinges on being able to push everything away. On being able to maintain a clear enough head to make everything somebody else’s fault. On being able to shrug it all off, because we just can’t right now, okay?

We can’t afford to save everybody. We can’t make everybody safe. We can’t pay everybody what they’re worth. We can’t take care of teenagers and babies and old people and young people and workers and people with disabilities and every other goddamn thing, because compassion is a bowl of sugar and there’s only so much available. Our money isn’t a bottomless pit, don’t you know.

(Unless we’re at war with you. Then it’s unpatriotic to question and nothing is too much.)

So too bad, so sad, we can’t care about you. We can’t treat you with decency and we can’t make sure you’re okay when you’re not okay. We can’t tell you what your options are:

In March 2012, students at the University of Michigan replicated Silverstein’s study, calling each of Florida’s 67 county courthouses. “Our results…were even worse than we had suspected,” they wrote. “Over two thirds of courts were unable or unwilling to provide callers with the correct or complete information.”


Sunday Morning Video: Los Lobos Live At Woodstock 99

Los Lobos are playing a free gig here at the Crescent City Blues and BBQ Fest next Saturday. I’m pretty jazzed about it so I thought I’d post this July 24, 1999 set:

If you’re there, I’ll be the chap in the Grateful Dead/San Francisco Giants shirt hollering for Bertha:

The State Of The Gret Stet Senate Race

You’ve probably already seen the video of Allison Lundegran Grimes squirming like a cochon du lait before being skewered and roasted. She was asked by the editorial board of the Louisville Courier-Journal if she’d voted for Barack Obama. It was amateur hour as she squirmed, hemmed and hawed and ducked the question. This headless chicken reply was the worst of both possible worlds: she looked weaselly, and nobody believes that she didn’t vote for the President. Twice. It reminded me of when loudmouth bus driver Ralpha Kramden got tongue tied on the venerable Honeymooners teevee show:

I nearly called this post Homina, Homina, but decided to write about a Blue Dog who knows how to answer a question like that, Senator Mary Landrieu. The only way to reply in a place where the President is unpopular is something like this, “Yes but I put my state above my political party and will fight for you.” Now I realize that Obama is even more unpopular in Kentucky than in Louisiana (we have a very large African-American population, and they have lots of Boyd Crowders and Dewey Crowes) but Ms. Lundegran Grimes’ non-answer ain’t foolin’ anyone, especially when she called herself a “Clinton Democrat.” It reminded me when Bill attempted to parse the meaning of is…

The MSM is obsessed with certain Senate races this year: Kentucky, North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa and, more recently, Kansas, and haven’t written and/or broadcast as much about my home state campaign. I’ll try to fill in a few blanks without asking y’all to sharpen a number-2 pencil…

More about the state of the Gret Stet Senate race after the break.

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Right-Wing Media Translations: Nebraska School Gender Edition

Teachers to school in Nebraska: We get questions occasionally about gender issues. Please help us answer them without sounding like complete morons.

School to teachers: Here is a handout from an organization that specializes in these issues. The handout talks about gender-inclusive language, and suggests some things you might maybe someday kind of do if you want.


School, patiently: No. None of this is true. None of this is happening at all.

Wingnut media:


Traditional media: Do these wingnuts have a point? It would be irresponsible not to ask just because the whole thing is so stupid and patently false and dumb and UGH. Let’s ask!

The district came under fire from conservatives after teacher-training materials prepared by an advocacy group and distributed at one school discouraged using terms like “boys & girls,” “you guys” and “ladies and gentlemen.”

School superintendent Steve Joel: I hate everybody in this room right now and wish you were all dead.

Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Steve Joel said Thursday there’s “absolutely no truth” to news and blogger accounts that his district is mandating that teachers replace the terms boys and girls with gender-neutral terms.

Wingnut media: That clears things right up OH WAIT NO IT DOESN’T YOU LIE LIIIIAAARR.


Weekend Question Thread

What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you while traveling?

Last fall, Mr. A and I were in Paris walking through the Christmas-themed market on the Champs-Elysees, and came upon a stall selling all kinds of sheepskins and sheepskin-themed things. Because I was the size of a house with Kick, I zeroed in on the baby booties and Mr. A went looking for a skin to cover the floor of her room.

(On the grounds that the rug we’d bought was not going to be soft enough to cushion her once she started crawling around. Because of course it wouldn’t.)

He called me over to see some giant, mangy, greasy thing that the young man who ran the place was sure would work perfectly. It smelled like a whole flock of sheep had been licking it, and it felt stiff and unpleasant. I smiled at the proprietor and after the usual inept attempts at French explained in English I would rather have  something more fuzzy.

The owner wrinkled his nose. “What is … fuzzy?”

The words don’t convey the epic disdain in his tone, as if “fuzzy” was a particularly disgusting sex fetish I’d just asked him to satisfy. And his expression grew no less contemptuous when I tried to define fuzzy by petting another animal skin, washed and bleached and probably fake. Tourists, ugh.

In the end I convinced Mr. A that hauling a smelly dead critter on a plane was one of those things that got you put on the no-fly list, and we took home a pair of booties instead. Just yesterday it was finally cold enough for her to put them on.

And the whole hourlong walk we went on, I kept asking her, “What is fuzzy?” Her answering expression mirrored the man who’d sold us the boots precisely.


“A good dress rehearsal”

He was shorter than his partner, although they both looked nice in their “of the era” tuxedos, and his name was Scott. He was about 25 or so, short and yet stylish brown hair combed back and perfectly moussed.

In 1996, I went to the State Capitol building to see a handful of gay and lesbian couples take part in a “gay wedding.” A member of the group “The Lesbian Avengers” officiated the event and friends gathered to support these 15 couples who were tying the knot.

The State Journal sent me out there on a Friday, which meant I had absolutely no time to prepare. I was also working under an editor who remains the litmus test for everything I do in journalism: If she would do X, I clearly shouldn’t. I ran out there to interview people, hoping to find out more about what was happening and why when I got back.

After the guests showered the couples with rice and released the balloons, I started nosing around to get interviews. Some declined because it was supposed to be their day and they didn’t want to waste a moment of it talking to a twerp like me. Others declined because although they wanted to do this, they weren’t doing it to make a statement.

My favorite answer came from two of the most pleasant women I ever interviewed, one of whom said, “Don’t bother talking to us. We’re just a couple old dykes. Go talk to the kids. They’re the future of this thing.”

That’s what led me to Scott and Eldert.

They didn’t want to talk, but they did. They feared repercussions for taking part in something so “out” as this ceremony, and yet they both sported simple gold wedding bands. Eldert didn’t say anything after that. Scott, however, explained he worked at a law firm (or a conservative business, I forget) and he worried about losing his job.

They wouldn’t give me their last names, something my editor berated me for when I got back to the office.

“You can’t use them without last names,” she said with an exasperated tone.

“But they had good stuff to say and they have real-life concerns about what might happen,” I pushed back, using that journalism law/ethics education I got at the U.

“If we DON’T use their names, it looks like they’re ashamed or hiding,” she said.

I had no ground to stand on, as she was the editor and I was a part timer with about six months under my belt. Still, I got to keep them and one quote:

“That was a good dress rehearsal,” Scott said. “I hope to have the opportunity to do it for real some day.”

I could never remember Scott’s partner’s name. I had to look it up among the yellowing newspaper clips I saved from my working journalist years. I never forgot Scott’s name, possibly because I knew five gay guys in college really well and they were all named Scott or were dating someone named Scott. Still, I can see him all these years later.

I really thought about him when the Supreme Court essentially slapped people over the debate on “same-sex marriage” this week. The court basically said, “Quit acting like assholes” and refused to deal with states hoping to keep “teh gayz” from going all “Adam and Steve.” At the time I wrote about the ceremony at the capitol, not a single state in the union recognized marriages that were not between a man and a woman. The closest thing to it was the 1993 ruling in Hawaii that said the denial of licenses to gay couples was unconstitutional. The case went back to the lower court and had yet to be fully settled at that point.

Even then, the Hawaii thing seemed to be a freak-show/tourism ploy. A number of friends who had been in long-standing relationships realized that even if they did this, in spite of the “full faith and credit” clause, were going to be outlying anomalies.

The 15 couples who gathered were hopeful, but realistic. They held out hope that if more people could see gay couples committing to each other and understand that a life-long partnership was a life-long partnership, regardless of gender, the tide would turn.

Eventually it did. It went from one or two states to five or 10 states and then suddenly the majority of the states figured this out. More and more people heard the term “gay marriage” and saw neighbors and friends, who were normal, loving couples. They stopped thinking every person who was gay was spreading disease, engaging in bestiality and trying to fuck their kids behind the 7-11. News stories stopped running the 1970s footage of leather boys partying on Fire Island with every story on gay rights issues.

Anyone who understands politics, or who watched the original Star Wars trilogy, knows the empire will strike back at some point. However, the courts, the legislatures and the sheer numbers finally seem to back the idea that this issue might finally become something we eventually see as antiquated. After all, people in this country (mostly) stopped saying “inter-racially married couples” so maybe we’ll get there on gay marriage some day as well.

I spent the last couple days scanning the marriage licenses in Dane County, looking for Scott and Eldert. Without a last name it was hard, but I figured there couldn’t be too many Eldert’s out there. No dice.

Maybe I was even being too optimistic. They could have moved away. Hell, they might have gone their separate ways. Statistics indicate about 40 to 50 percent of marriages end up in divorce and those usually last a median length of eight years.

Still, I have to hope that Scott and Eldert are still together and that they are planning to get that piece of paper they fought so hard for.

Every victory starts with one or two minor steps toward a goal. Saying “I do” when it didn’t count for anything to anyone but each other fits that bill.

Because of that, I’m going to raise a glass to them tonight.

Friday Ferretblogging: Gift Edition

Bucky loves getting presents, and by presents I mean bags that he can play in after the presents have been removed:



Friday Catblogging: Wrap It Up

Like most cats, Oscar and Della Street are big on investigating stuff that’s on the floor. Here’s an old picture of them doing just that. Btw, Oscar’s sidewalls are *much* better now:


The post title is a pretext to post this tune. Cheesy video,  fine song:

AHS Freak Show Thread: It’s Lucky Strike, It’s Good For You

ahs sign

I’m a fan of excess in pop culture. American Horror Story honchos Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk are the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker of 21st Century teevee drama. ZAZ were the zanies behind Airplane, Ruthless People, and the Naked Gun movies to name but a few. The ZAZ approach to comedy is to throw a lot of shit at the wall and see how much of it sticks. Murphy and Falchuk have used the same technique with the AHS anthology series. Sometimes it works, Asylum, and sometimes it doesn’t, last season’s Coven. BUT it’s always interesting like walking the tightrope or being the man on the flying trapeze. It’s glorious when it works and a fucking mess when it doesn’t. In short, nothing exceeds like excess…

I’m hoping that AHS: Freak Show is shit that sticks but that remains to be seen.  The first episode is quite promising as it shows signs of being surreal and totally unhinged from reality as opposed to bringing in historical characters such as Marie Laveau and Madame LaLaurie and not getting them right. I was relieved to learn that while the lobster boy is *based* on the real one, Grady Stiles, he’s called Jimmy Darling. (Hmm, I wonder if he’s related to the former Mets and A’s pitcher, Ron.) AHS works better when it channels history through its tabloid grinder instead of pretending to be the real deal. That’s one reason Asylum worked and Coven did not. The best thing about Coven was the totally wacked Lilly Rabe-Stevie Nicks sub-plot. It was almost as funny as something out of the Naked Gun series.

The post title is based on line spoken by Jessica Lange as Fraulein Elsa, the freak show’s proprietrix and talent scout. It was the CW back then as you can see from this print ad:

It's toasted

“It’s toasted” sounds like the effects of weed, legal or otherwise. Wow, man. Enough with the parenthetical asides, I’ll continue after the break to avoid spoilers, especially since Dr. A hasn’t seen Monsters Among Us yet.

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