Malaka Of The Week: Jason Chaffetz

It’s been a banner week for malakatude, which made planning this feature rather difficult. I have-literally not figuratively as Joey the Shark would say-changed my mind every day about what wingnut would be granted the malakatude crown of thorns. On Monday, it was Horrible Boss Carly Fiorina for her whoppers about Planned Parenthood. On Tuesday it wasn’t Belgium, it was Dr. Carson and his brain-dead mellow hate speech. On Wednesday, I had an epihany, which really epihanied me off. I was awakened in the middle of the night by a howling, body slamming cat and realized there’s only one person as annoying this week as Della Street in dalek mode, Congressman Jason Chafftez (R-LDS) and that is why he is malaka of the week.

Chaffetz is an ambitious halfwit who has found a platform in his Chairmalakaship of the House Oversight and Guvmint Reform Committee. I like the reform label: what GOPers like Chaffetz want to do is to *destroy* government, not reform or oversee it. The fact that a fourth term Congressmalaka can be a Chairperson makes me nostalgic for the days when Speakers were benevolent dictators doling out chairmanships based on seniority. Where have you gone, Mister Sam?

I think you all know why Chairmalaka Chaffetz is this week’s honoree: the horrendous hearing he conducted yesterday, ostensibly about Planned Parenthood’s business practices. It was an attack, not a hearing since PP honcho Cecile Richards initially had a hard time getting a word in edgewise and wound up having to talk over Chaffetz and his wingmalakas. The show trial nature of the hearing is best illustrated by this exchange between the Chairmalaka and Ms. Richards who, like her late mother, is one helluva tough broad:

Chaffetz, who chairs the committee, at one point showed a slide that had one straight line heading downward and another straight line heading upward.

“You created this slide. I have no idea what it is,” Richards said.

“Well, it is the reduction over the course of years — in pink, that’s the reduction in the breast exams — and the red is the increase in the abortions,” Chaffetz said. “That’s what’s going on in the organization.”

Richards said that she had not seen the slide before and that it “absolutely does not reflect what’s happening at Planned Parenthood.”

“You’re going to deny that —” Chaffetz said.

“I’m going to deny this slide that you just showed me that no one has ever provided us before,” she said. “We’ve provided you all the information about everything — all the services that Planned Parenthood provides. And it doesn’t feel like we’re trying to get to the truth here. You just showed me this.”

“I pulled those numbers directly out of your corporate reports,” Chaffetz said.

“Excuse me,” Richards said. “My lawyers have informed me that the source of this is Americans United for Life which is an anti-abortion group so I would check your source.”

Chaffetz, paused, stuttered a bit and said, “Then we will get to the bottom of the truth of that.”

The truth? The only truth that a bottom dweller like Chaffetz is interested in is his own truth. The entire anti-choice movement seems to have adopted the Mormon practice of “lying for the Lord,” which ratifies mendacity in a good cause. The most rabid right to lifers are convinced that they are the modern-day equivalent of the abolitionist movement. They’re convinced that their cause is so just that lying and fabricating evidence is hunky dory with the man (their God is always a white male) upstairs. That’s not righteousness, that’s delusional nonsense or, to be even blunter, unmitigated horse shit.

The ideal Congressional hearing is an investigation, not an inquisition. Notice that I used the word ideal because neither the Chaffetz committee nor the Gowdy committee is interested in investigating the facts. They’re misogynistic inquisitions looking for a witch to burn, the facts be damned. This is particularly egregious in the case of Chaffetz’s committee. It’s relying on fabricated videos and charts to “prove” its perverted point that Planned Parenthood is all about baby killing. It’s futile to tell them that 97% of PP’s work is dedicated to other OB/GYN services for women. They don’t want to hear about it, especially if it involves contraception. All they want to do is:

Burn Witch Burn

One thing that strikes me about the most extreme wingnuts is their aversion to common courtesy. They believe that their ideological purity gives them license to treat those who differ in insulting and demeaning ways. That’s one reason they’re dancing in the streets over the imminent departure of Speaker Boner. It’s nuts: Boner is a hardcore pro-life conservative BUT he’s known for being courteous and polite. That was one of his major sins to so-called Freedom Caucus, a misnomer if there ever was one. Another delicious irony is that they claim to revere Ronald Reagan who was a man known for his exquisite manners. They’re not only lying, they’re being assholes for the Lord. Miss Manners weeps.

It looks as if the Chaffetz committee’s work, if you want to call it that, isn’t going anywhere. The odds *against* a government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding grow every day. That was never the point: current House hearings are all about heat, not light. They’re exercises in ideological bluster and bullying, which doesn’t work that well when dealing with someone like Cecile Richards. She knows how to deal with right wing bullies: when they hit below the belt, kick them in the balls, preferably with a steel-toed stiletto. I think I saw Jason Chaffetz wince when she called him out on the bogus chart he introduced into evidence. The best way to combat a lie is with the truth, not that Chairmalaka Chaffetz would know the truth if it bit him in the ass. And that is why Jason Chaffetz is the malaka of the week.

There’s only one more thing to remember:

Chaffetz Inquistion

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Odessey and Oracle

The psychedelic era was chock-full-o-cool album covers. The Zombies’ Odessey and Oracle is one of those cult records that even cultists like me missed out on. Other than the hit single Time of the Season, the LP vanished without a trace at the time of its release. Columbia Records grudgingly released it and the band broke up not long after it hit record shops. Not exactly a recipe for success.

As is often the case, the story of the cover art is almost as interesting as the music itself:

Although not a success at the time, Odessey & Oracle is now considered one of the greatest rock albums of all time. Its delicate, immaculately-crafted pop proved hugely influential on the next five decades of music.

Part of its legend is the cover, a painting done by Terry Quirk, a friend of Zombies bassist Chris White. Although classic in its own right and inarguably gorgeous, the cover illustration features a noticeable gaffe: Odyssey is misspelled “Odessey.” At the time, several of the Zombies maintained the misspelling was intentional, but in recent years, the band admitted it was a mistake they caught by the time the record had gone to print.

Dang. I hoped it was a pun; now that I think of it, Homer’s Odyssey was an ode of sorts.


The music is lush and gorgeous with Beach Boys-style harmonies. That’s right, it’s another album influenced by Pet Sounds. Rod Argent’s keyboards place the music in the early prog tradition and it sounds quite a bit like early Genesis and 10cc at points. Good stuff. Here’s the LP via ye olde YouTube:

Everyone In Their Own Box: Pope Francis and U.S. Politics

We should listen to our spiritual leaders, always, unless they’re advocating something that would take us out of power, in which case they should just talk nonsense like angels and blessings and “prayers up” and shit:

Still, some of those who were listening took issue with his reference to issues Congress considers in its purview, such as climate change. Inhofe, a leading voice denying climate change exists, says that programs to control carbon emissions would hurt the poor with rising energy costs more than they would save the planet.

And Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., warns that the pope might have overstepped the rhetorical wall between church and state.

“The further religious leaders get into the details of public policy, the less authoritative they tend to be,” Sessions says. “I don’t think the pope went too far. But he was pushing the line. And if you get too close to the political flame, you get burned.”

One of the things that perpetually pisses me off about American Christianity is how easy it’s supposed to be.

I’m a practicing Catholic, in that I’m not very good at it, and the one thing that was drilled into me from day one was how hard life was, on the road to Calvary. The early church had it rough, right? Best bud crucified, hiding in the back room, getting fed to lions, and your only comfort your own vulnerability.

Love your neighbor as yourself? Easy for you to say, asshole. You’re not the one in the Coliseum with Fluffy.

So come to me now, with all I have to do is believe and mouth some words during press conferences, mostly in election years? Bugger off. I’m sorry your God makes you uncomfortable sometimes, but that’s sort of the point. If you were already good at this He wouldn’t bother sending messages across the firing line (or in this case, a pope to tell you all to wake the fuck up).

Our politicians and the pundits who get invited on TV tell us we’re supposed to feel our connection with our deities deeply, to adhere to the dictates of our religious leaders, to revere those who have dedicated their lives to worship regardless of what form that worship takes. They talk about faith and connection all the damn day long, and the minute it makes them itchy, it’s, “Well, that’s just something we do on Sundays, really, and true belief is for rubes. We live in the real world, which by the way is not any warmer, go home.”

You can’t do it like that. Your life is not a series of compartments. I know we like to think it is, because it helps us be mean without thinking we are bad people, and it helps us justify our entire existence, but it’s not a bunch of boxes. You don’t keep God in one box and politics in the other, and then speak of the transformative power of belief and salvation and eternal life. It’s all one thing. Your every action reflects what you believe, and you don’t get to deny and deny and deny. Peter notwithstanding. He wasn’t elected to anything at the time.


Tribune CEO: You Kids Will Love Newspapers When You’re Older

It is the year of our Lord Baby Jesus the First Keyboarder and we are hearing shit I heard 10 and 20 years ago. The passage of time has not made it less condescending: 

Still, he insists that mobile devices are used more as search tools than anything else and ultimately won’t be a sufficient replacement for newspapers. “I use these all the time,” Griffin says, laying his hands on a smartphone and iPad. “But I use them to find stuff that I’m looking for, and I read the paper to find out things I don’t know.”

He said he expects young people, like his 20-something sons, will continue to gravitate to newspapers, even print editions. As they move into adulthood and begin to care more about settling into a community, they’ll turn to a newspaper, as generations of Americans before them have, he predicts.

“I don’t think they’re going to completely unplug and just go to Google News when they want to find out the answer to a question, and then know nothing else other than what they see on Facebook,” Griffin said.

HAHAHAHA you kids with the Facespace! You don’t know anything. When you grow up, you will settle down to an existence not unlike that of Betty Draper at the START of Mad Men, at which point you will want a newspaper to rub ink all over your fingers! Until then, enjoy your trivialities and nonsense, because that’s all the Internets are!


Did I mention this is an entire article about how the Tribune Company has to “play catch-up” on “digital?”


“The old revenue models that supported reporting and journalism, they’re either gone or severely compromised, and that’s not news to anybody,” Griffin says.

When company execs can lay off hundreds, preside over staggering losses, and walk away with millions of dollars as if he’d done a good job, then something’s severely compromised. I’m not sure it’s the “revenue models,” though.

Print makes money. Buckets of money. Plenty of money to support reporting and journalism. Just not enough to provide a profit margin that gives Wall Street a woody.

I’m sure that’ll all change just as soon as we wake up and realize how much we need this product they’re cutting to ribbons, though.


Louisiana Politics: Gret Stet Goober Race Tightens

I usually disdain pollcentric stories but this one involves an election that’s less than a month away:

Once the presumptive frontrunner in the race to become Louisiana’s next governor, Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter would face a bitter uphill runoff battle against any of his three main foes, according to the latest independent polling.

 Democrat John Bel Edwards and Republicans Jay Dardenne and Scott Angelle each bested Vitter in head-to-head match-ups in the new Advocate/WWL-TV poll. Edwards is a state representative from Amite, Dardenne is the lieutenant governor, and Angelle serves on the Louisiana Public Service Commission.

The poll was conducted by Ron Faucheux, of the Washington-based Clarus Research Group. A nationally recognized polling firm, Clarus is not affiliated with any of the campaigns for governor here.

The poll found that, among those surveyed, Vitter and Edwards are tied at 24 percent in the Oct. 24 primary. Angelle trails at 15 percent, followed by Dardenne at 14 percent.

About 18 percent of likely voters said they are still undecided with a month left until Election Day. A runoff will take place Nov. 21 if, as expected, no candidate takes more than 50 percent of the vote.


In the head-to-head match-ups, Dardenne had a 7-point lead over Vitter, with the poll showing 42 percent for Dardenne to 34 percent for Vitter. Angelle polled 40 percent to Vitter’s 35 percent, and Edwards took 45 percent to Vitter’s 41 percent.

I remain skeptical that Gomer Bel Edwards the nominal Democrat in the race could win a run-off against Vitter but it now looks possible. I’ve long thought that it was going to be tighter than a tick because of Bitter Vitter’s low positive ratings. He needs to expand his base from assholes and jerks to attract some ordinary folks. There’s still time for him to lose the primary to another Republican.

I think that Vitter is more dangerous after the release of this poll: A cornered Vitter is a dangerous Vitter. The fucker has sharp teeth and loves to bite. Chomp.

As I said last week, I believe that PSC Commissioner Scott Angelle is the GOPer to watch. I think Vitter is about to sic more rabid flying monkeys in the form of attack ads on his Republican foes. I hope it doesn’t work because the only satisfaction a liberal could get out of this election is Vitter’s defeat. Let’s hope he suffers a grievous injury even if it’s not at the hands of the Grievous Angelle:

Note: I’m not rooting for Angelle. But he’s the most punworthy candidate, which is why I keep going back to the well. Up against the well, motherfucker…

Stupid Shit Donald (The Insult Comedian) Trump Says

You may have noticed that I’m trying out a new byline here at First Draft. In a sense, I’m emulating what Digby is doing at Buzzfeed Salon and using my given name with my nomme de blog smack dab in the middle. I do wonder, however, if I should use the parenthetical form deployed in the post title for a certain obnoxious, mouthy candidate with cotton candy piss hair.

That brings me to the latest stupid thing the Donald (The Insult Comedian) Trump said  on teevee:

“You can say there are no problems with the Muslims,” he continued, “there’s no problems, no terrorism, no crime, they didn’t knock down the World Trade Center. You know, the people who knocked down the World Trade Center, they didn’t fly back to Sweden.”

That’s true. They didn’t fly back to Damascus, Cairo, Tehran, Baghdad, or Riyadh either. It was a suicide bombing, asswipe.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – derpity-doo edition

Morning, everyone!

The derp continues to pile up in the home of the herp and the land of the Freep. I tried shoveling it into one big pile, but the bucket on the front-end loader sizzled, then fell off.


National poll: Trump at 32%
Twitter ^ | 09/22/2015 | Morning Joe

Posted on ‎9‎/‎22‎/‎2015‎ ‎10‎:‎07‎:‎02‎ ‎PM by ScottWalkerForPresident2016

Graham: 0%
Jindal: 0%
Pataki: 0%
Santorum: 0%Somebody get the cane and pull these losers off the stage.

1 posted on 9‎/‎22‎/‎2015‎ ‎10‎:‎07‎:‎02‎ ‎PM by ScottWalkerForPresident2016
To: ScottWalkerForPresident2016

I can’t believed(sic) plastic Carly is ahead of Cruz and Rubio. I’m not a huge fan of Marcos, but he did have a good debate and is very knowledgeable on foreign affairs. Cruz is the master on the Constitution. I hope people wake up soon enough to the fakery that is Carly Fiorina.

4 posted on 9‎/‎22‎/‎2015‎ ‎10‎:‎10‎:‎24‎ ‎PM by Catsrus (Trump/Cruz – the only 2 worth voting for. I callz ’em as I seez ’em.)

To: ScottWalkerForPresident2016
Reported by MSLSD. I’ll wait ‘till I believe the source.
5 posted on ‎9‎/‎22‎/‎2015‎ ‎10‎:‎12‎:‎29‎ ‎PM by Fungi
Needs moar acronyms.
To: Forward the Light BrigadeDT and BC are not PC. That’s what it’s about.

They have backbone and they don’t bend over and apologize.

And Freud is STILL on vacation.

So refreshing to see.

15 posted on ‎9‎/‎22‎/‎2015‎ ‎10‎:‎28‎:‎27‎ ‎PM by JudyinCanada

A blind squirrel stumbles across an acorn :
To: ScottWalkerForPresident2016

I think Cruz has a personality problem, I can’t figure it. The man is smart as all heck, he should at least be ahead and away from Fiorina

20 posted on 9‎/‎22‎/‎2015‎ ‎10‎:‎49‎:‎08‎ ‎PM by SteveinSATX

To: SteveinSATX

My conservative buddy said he thinks Cruz looks like a rat, with the pointy nose & ears
Maybe that’s his problem. :P

23 posted on 9‎/‎22‎/‎2015‎ ‎10‎:‎55‎:‎18‎ ‎PM by ResisTyr (“Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God ” ~Thomas Jefferson)

To: SteveinSATXOne guy I work with says Cruz has “stupid face”.

That’s to co-ordinate his facial ensemble with his policies

His voice sounds like Wally Cox.

SLANDER! He actually sounds more like The Beaver

OTOH Trump ain’t no raving beauty his self! ; )

38 posted on 9‎/‎22‎/‎2015‎ ‎11‎:‎42‎:‎00‎ ‎PM by Gasshog (DemoKKKrats: Leaders of the Free Stuff World)

And now – the post of the thread!
To: ScottWalkerForPresident2016

You need to change your name.

17 posted on ‎9‎/‎22‎/‎2015‎ ‎10‎:‎33‎:‎07‎ ‎PM by Gator113 (~~Cruz, OR LOSE~~ Ted Cruz REMAINS the only true Conservative in this race. ~~ just livin’ life~~)

More herp and durp after the unskewed poll…

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First Draft Fundraiser: Kickstart Our Anthology!

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

Sunday Morning Video: Yes- The Lost BBC Broadcasts

I’m not sure how lost these really were but they’re a lot of fun The first four numbers feature the original lineup of Anderson, Squire, Bruford, Kaye and Banks. The final four tunes substitute Steve Howe for Peter Banks on lead guitar:

Saturday Odds & Sods: The Obvious Child

The Grande Jatte Hibernators by Max Ernst. png

The Grande Jatte Hibernators by Max Ernst.

Despite the whole Equinox thing, it’s still summer in New Orleans. I’ve been sweating like Orson Welles in The Long Hot Summer, my Paul Newman days are long gone. In other news, we had our umpteenth boil water order of the year, which means a lot of literal-minded folks didn’t bathe. I’m married to a microbiologist and we, well I, spit on that portion of the order. Even worse than stinky people, the boil orders bring out the same, inane jokes on social media. I wish I could bribe them to make it stop but I can’t. This one, by a crony of mine, is actually not bad:

Dr. A loves the Autumnal Equinox because one can stand an egg upright on the counter. Here’s an old picture of our late, great Torti Window and an egg:

Autumnal Window

As you can see above, some things never change: our messy housekeeping and the red plastic Proteus cup. Let’s move on to weightier topics.

Pope Frank is visiting America for the first time this week. He may be one of the few people to NOT get booed in Philadelphia unless, that is. some Republican politicians show up there. I’m not a Catholic but Dr. A was raised in the church. Like most sentient American Catholics, she has reservations about the church’s stance on many social issues. The genius of Pope Frank is that he has done what polite people do when there’s an ongoing, onerous discussion: he’s changed the subject. In this case to subjects more congenial to American liberals: poverty and the environment. He hasn’t changed the church’s stands on social issues but he’s signaled that he’s more tolerant and flexible. It’s worked thus far but the most important thing is his warm and pastoral nature. He’s managed to charm this atheist into thinking there’s some hope for the Vatican, after all.

Pope Frank is nothing like Jeremy Irons as Pope Alexander VI aka Rodrigo Borgia who posed the eternal question, “Turds? You brought me turds?”

They were cigars from the New World, not turds. But “Turds? You brought me turds?” became a catch phrase in our house after we binge watched The Borgias on Netflix. In the end, Pope Alexander became a turd/cigar addict. I guess it beats the hell out of being a Cameroonian pigfucker…

This week’s theme song is inspired by both Pope Frank’s visit and the first item after the break. The connection is Paul Simon who wrote The Obvious Child after Pope John Paul conducted mass at the songwriter’s personal shrine: Yankee Stadium,

Crosses in the ballpark, crosses in the ballpark. Why deny the obvious child?

We’ll start with the official video:

Dr. A and I saw the Rhythm of the Saints tour when it came to New Orleans. It was a spectacular show. Here’s Simon and his crack band playing The Obvious Child in Central Park:

I made my peace many years ago with the fact that, as much as I admire him as an artist, Paul Simon is not a very nice man. He’s also a very short, vain man. In the live clip, he’s wearing boots with high heels and a toupee. He stopped wearing the rug about 10 or 15 years ago. I’m not sure if it had anything to do with this:

We go from toupees on the table to crosses in the ballpark. Why deny the obvious child? Something else is obvious at this point, it’s time for the break. See you on the other side of this life.

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Please Welcome Back to the Stage… SCOTT WALKER!

Everyone from Steven Colbert to the local radio DJs has been enjoying the recent withdraw of Scott Walker from the presidential race. Perhaps the best one was Seth Meyers’ recent poke in which he noted that Walker’s next job would be as the photo in the dictionary next to the word “duuuuuhhhhh.”

Walker, however, had a different job in mind: Coming back to Wisconsin to continue fucking up this great state. However, to try to garner more support and to convince people he wasn’t just a shitty bobble head programmed to say only three phrases, he’s working on his new comedy act, “Down the Shitter in 70 Days.” Here’s a brief look:

“Hey everyone! It’s great to be back here in Wisconsin… (Waits for applause… Waits for Trump to interrupt him… Remembers he’s not a presidential candidate anymore.) Yeah! Wisconsin!

Sorry I haven’t been around as much. I was trying to figure out how to build a wall across our Canadian border. I mean, we can’t be too careful, right? We don’t want all our kids growing up saying “aboot” all the time. Like Sarah Palin says, we need people who come to America to talk American!

Seriously, though, I’m back for good this time! Like I said when I ran for governor the second time, there’s nothing more important to me than being governor of this state. I didn’t plan to run for president… It just sort of happened… Right? Like an unplanned pregnancy! I tried to hold an aspirin between my knees to avoid running for president, but darned if it didn’t work.

But don’t you worry! My campaign will be the last thing aborted in this state thanks to our efforts to shut down Planned Parenthood…

(A heckler shouts out: “You’re just jealous!”)

“Of what, sir?”

(“That abortions make up 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services. Abortions are polling higher than you!”)

“Donald Trump, everyone! Thanks for taking the time, Don, to visit this loozah… (Performs the awkward Trump/Ben Carson high five for the camera. People applaud when he misses…)

“Anyway, while we’re trying to secure more protections for the unborn, we’re trying to take away protections from everyone else. My fellow Republicans at the State House are working on eliminating the civil service protections that keep cronies out of plum jobs around the state. Now, people are saying I’m doing this so I can give out free jobs to people that I owe big money to, but that’s not the case. It’s because the civil service exam involves two things I can’t stand: Passing exams and answering questions.

Besides, this whole thing is rife with corruption…

(Someone in the back yells out “YEAH!”)

“No, no, no, sir. Not the good kind… It’s the kind that leads to people who are incompetent being put into jobs they don’t know how to do, thus creating disaster and chaos. There’s only one way that should happen and it’s called the electoral process…

“And speaking of not knowing what was going on, I’d like to offer a serious note here to all the people who dissed me on the campaign trail for not understanding world politics. It’s not easy to get all involved in that stuff when you can’t see another country from your porch like Sarah Palin could. I did my best to reach out to others… like, any Muslims in the house tonight?”

(One guy claps, everyone else disengages the safeties from their concealed weapons…)

“Hey, guys, c’mon, relax! It’s cool and they’re all on holiday this week, so let me just say I’m sure Jesus loves them and he’ll be cool with them when they start acting right. Until then, let me offer you the blessing of your people by saying “Edie Brickell” to you and yours…

Speaking of Jesus, man, did he pull a flip-flop on me. First it was like, “Scott… Run for president… I’m calling you to do this…” Then he was all like, “Scott… drop out of the race… I’m calling you to do this…” Then he was like, “Scott… I need someone to pick up my dry cleaning… I’m calling you to do this…” Turns out, it wasn’t Jesus. It was just Charles Koch yelling at my through the heating vents in my house…

“Well, looks like it’s just about the end of my time, so I’m going to lead by clearing the stage for another funny guy who leads by failing… Please give it up for John Boehner!”

Speaker Boner’s Withdrawal Method

I must admit that I didn’t see this coming, but who can blame him?

Speaker John Boehner plans to resign from Congress in late October, he told member of his conference Friday morning in a closed door meeting, according to multiple reports emerging from the meeting room.

Boehner is second in line to the presidency, after Vice President Joe Biden. He was first elected to Congress in 1990. He has served as speaker since Republicans took control of the House in 2011.

Boehner was meeting with his conference to discuss plans to avert a government shutdown, looming next week. The speaker was under enormous pressure to keep the government open and satisfy conservative members of the conference who were refusing to vote for any bill that would provide funds for Planned Parenthood.

The odds have just increased that there will be another government shutdown. Ted Cruz will insist.

It may be time to revive my America Held Hostage series and its image:

Japser Johns flag

American Flag by Jasper Johns.

Boner’s pulling out of Congress has given me an earworm. This one’s for the Cryin’ Speaker:

Friday Ferretblogging


Claire continues to improve on her meds, and is starting to knock things over and make trouble again. This morning she tipped over a box and I looked at Kick, who was sitting nicely at her breakfast, because I’m used to having only one wild animal in the house and now I’m back to two.


Friday Catblogging: When It’s Sleepy Time Down South

It’s hard being Oscar and Della Street, especially when the tuxedo clad devil spends the night body slamming the bedroom door. Here they are catching 40 winks:

Sleepy Time Down South

When It’s Sleepy Time Down South was one of Louis Armstrong’s signature tunes. It was a frequent set opener as he toured hither and yon. Here’s a 1970 performance from the Newport Jazz Festival:

Louisiana Politics: Angelle Of The Morning Or Fallen Angelle?

The Gret Stet Goober race continues to heat up. Make that reheat and rehash because that’s what two of the Republican candidates are doing. That’s right, David Vitter is playing to his strengths as an asshole and reviving one of his greatest hits: BLAME OBAMA FOR EVERYTHING. His latest ad rather feebly attempts to tie one of his GOP opponents to the President:

OMG, Scott Angelle was a Democrat for 31 years. We’re all going to Obama Hell, but at least we’ll have Obamaphones. Of course, the Gret Stet is full of party switchers and those who haven’t bothered. The father of a friend of mine is one of the most conservative people I know.  Even though he hasn’t voted for a Democrat in a Gret Stetwide race in 25 years, he’s still a registered Democrat. I somehow doubt that Right-Wing Dad will be horrified by this factoid. Btw, he’s a very nice man who once told me that he thought Bitter Vitter was a jerk. So it goes.

The Angelle camp fired back and, of course, doubled down on the Obama bashing:

What will the denizens of wingnuttia do after January, 20, 2016? They’ll have to find a new goat to scape or a new guy to fall. If Hillary is the next Oval One, expect a lot of menstrual flow jokes…

The reason Vitter targeted Angelle is that he seems to have what Poppy Bush once called “the big mo.” He’s a good campaigner with the Cajuniest Cajun accent I’ve heard in quite some time, which gives him a base in Acadiana. He is, however, the candidate with the closest ties to Gov PBJ. If the Vitter people had *any* imagination, they’d tie Jindal around his neck and make him a Fallen Angelle:

I don’t have high hopes that the Gret Stet Goober race will elevate to higher ground. Diaper Dave doesn’t do higher ground. The campaign is replete with silly allegations, including calling Lt. Gov Jay Dardenne a liberal because he’s not an asshole. Vitter knowns from assholery and malakatude. y’all. He’s unlikely to go after Gomer Bel Edwards because he wants someone with a D after their name in the run-off.

I wish I could say that we were facing a contest between the diapered Devil and the Angelle of the morning. Other than his swell Cajun accent, there’s nothing much to like about Scott Angelle. I just have a congenital inability to resist a pun but you already knew that. I’m storing up the Angelle puns like a squirrel hoarding acorns.

I still think it’s going to be a Vitter-Edwards run-off with Vitter emerging as the winner. It’s time to stock up on Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. We’re going to need it.


Religious About…Golf

From Album 5

The Donald shared his passion for the game — or at least for the yooge [sic] deal that made him the certified owner (“no more mortgage”) of Trump National in Southern California:

“God is the ultimate.” Which, I guess, is technically correct.

So, maybe Trump is finally starting to fade…maybe. Well…makes me wonder about his real purpose. After all, he managed to keep fairly large numbers of eyeballs glued to the idiot box during the usual August political doldrums…

And it sure would be interesting, after he cedes the floor, to follow up with his core supporters, many of whom identify as Christian. My guess is that they’ll deny ever supporting the guy, and get angry if/when reminded…even though their own belief system and structure are probably closer to his (“God is the ultimate”) than anything.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Margaret Millar

There’s s a terrific piece at Salon by Scott Timberg about women crime fiction writers, which inspired me to post some Margaret Millar covers. The story is in the form of an interview with Sarah Weinman, the editor of a new collection of 8 classic postwar noir novels written by women. Here’s their exchange about Margaret Millar:

The other names that will jump out to noir fans is Margaret Millar. To what extent was her work shaped by her husband, Ross Macdonald [whose real name was Kenneth Millar]? To what extent did she shape his work? Besides being married, was there a strong literary connection between them?

I find their work to be quite different. It bears pointing out that Margaret was published first and she was successful almost from the get-go. She was the one supporting Ken when he jettisoned the John Ross McDonald [pseudonym] and inhabited Ross Macdonald. It really wasn’t until he kind of threw off the yoke of the Raymond Chandler influence and found his footing.

They were intertwined largely because they were married and had a daughter. Once Linda had the accident and killed this boy, their lives were forever changed. He found psychoanalysis, her work got a lot sharper. You start to see it, not just in “Beast in View” but also later in the ‘50s in “The Listening Walls” and particularly in the ‘60s with books like “Stranger in My Grave,” “How Like an Angel” and “The Fiend,” which is the only book that I can think of a sympathetic fortune of a pedophile, so much so that he is the most pathetic character in the book. Only someone like Margaret Millar could pull that off.

And, she was an excellent plotter. Her stories had great flair, and had great twists but were also interesting from a psychological standpoint. In “Beast in View,” you have this woman who is clearly tortured out of her mind. You have these phone calls, and you also see some of the other things that are going on with her in her life and her family and how this informs the choices that she makes. While the twist may seem unsurprising to savvy readers now, in 1956 it was still pretty fresh.

Okay, y’all it’s Millar time. I bet you saw that joke coming a mile away.

beast-in-viewMargaret Millar Dell 1948 cover

Millar Fire Will FreezeMillar Wall of Eyes

Richard Thompson made a Margaret Millar reference in a creepy 1996 song, Cold Kisses:

And I can hear you turn the key
And my head’s buried when you see me
In a Margaret Millar mystery

I’ll give RT the last word:

Quote Of The Day: Fog Of Trumpy History Edition

No, I’m not talking about former NFL tight end and longtime broadcaster Bob Trumpy. I’m talking about a certain mouthy Presidential candidate who seems to have finally peaked. That’s right, the guy known around here as the Insult Comedian with cotton candy piss hair whose main connection to football was smothering the USFL baby in its infancy,

Politico Magazine continues to be a better publication than its parent. They recently published Trump Is…13 Historians Scour the past for Trumpian precedents. It’s a distinguished group including Garry Wills and Sean Willentz, which largely eschews the Perot comparison that drives me bat shit. My second favorite Trump Is segment came from Jeremy Mayer who called the Insult Comedian, “sui generis with a touch of Silvio Berlusconi.” I would have said a sliver of Silvio but it’s still an apt comparison. Hmm, I wonder if the Donald ever has bunga, bunga parties?

Been patiently waiting for the QOTD? It comes from historian and son of David, Alan Brinkley:

Donald Trump seems to think that he can become president, although few serious people believe him. Is he a populist who is tapping into a covered well of real feeling? Is he an outlier who is unafraid to speak the unsaid truths of politics? Does he speak for the sliver factions of party? No. Trump is not in the tradition of great—and sometimes dangerous—populists like Huey Long or Father Coughlin in the 1930s. Nor is he a passionate outlier forcing his party to move beyond a centrist position like Edmund Muskie did in 1968. He isn’t even a lightning rod for a single, and unattractive, ideological issue the way George Wallace was in the ’60s and ’70s. Donald Trump just wants to be heard.

It is amazing that a candidate for president has no discernable policy nor any belief system other than the certainty that anything he says is right. Trump is not seeking votes, he is simply demanding attention.

He nailed it. The Insult Comedian is fundamentally a spoiled 5-year-old who wants to be loved, and pitches a fit when he’s not the center of attention. That explains the threat of a lawsuit over a negative ad by the Club for Growth. It may, finally, be the moment when the Trump candidacy jumps the shark. It doesn’t fit his public image as a 1% tough guy but it *does* fit his reality as a spoiled brat who cannot take criticism.

The Insult Comedian is a classic bully. He can dish it out but he can’t take it. He’s just another rich asshole with a glass jaw:

Watching Scotty Blow It

Other that to say I told you so about the political silly season, I can’t really top what Athenae, Ed Kilgore, and Charlie Pierce have said about Scott Walker’s exit. I am, however, disappointed that Charlie didn’t use Watching Scotty Blow It as the title for his post, so I stole it. It’s Tom Petty larceny at worst:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Call Of The Wildest

This week on cheesy album covers by good artists theatre, New Orleans’ very own, Louis Prima:


I love everything about this deeply silly 1957 album cover from the punny title to the stuffed critters to Prima’s sweater to the price tag on this scan. $3.98, eh, good deal.

The album itself, however, is pretty darn good according to

Louis Prima’s second Capitol LP with Keely Smith, Sam Butera and the Witnesses is just as exciting as his first. The trumpeter-vocalist was a natural entertainer and comedian, and all of his skills are on evidence during this spirited program. The honking tenor of Sam Butera, Keely Smith’s appealing voice and the mixture of dixieland and R&B results in some remarkable and very accessible music. Highlights include the medley of “When You’re Smiling” and “The Sheik of Araby,” trombonist Red Blount’s feature on “Blow, Red, Blow,” “Pennies from Heaven,” “The Birth of the Blues” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.” What a band.

Indeed, sir. Here’s the LP in the YouTube playlist format:


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