Friday Ferretblogging: Tuckered Out Edition


Claire is exhausted. She was a show ferret this morning for a group of kids for my local humane society, who are doing this kickass summer camp thing where they learn about how to take care of animals and all about shelters and stuff. After a week of cats and dogs they get a primer on other animals from specific rescue groups, and I volunteered to be Ferret Rep, which I am now petitioning Obama to make an actual cabinet position.


Friday Catblogging: Trunk, Not Trump

Della Street is getting aggravated by all the attention being paid to a certain loudmouth rich guy. She thinks that *she* should be the center of attention. Her response was to stage a lie-in:


I’m Della Street, dammit.



Cracker Martyr Syndrome


Lucy has had a bellyful of Cracker Martyrs,

The internet is full of instant experts. When a subject goes viral, all the social media know-it-alls pounce on it like a cat on a wounded bird. Since only a few of them know a damn thing about the matter at hand, they tend to nibble on the bird and leave its headless corpse on the virtual welcome mat. Enough feline imagery, time to get to the point. One thing people *love* to do is to psychoanalyze and speculate about people’s motives and thoughts. I usually try NOT to do that myself, but there’s always a loophole, exception or whatever the hell you want to call it. In short, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

I’ve noticed a pattern in the news this summer of fake heroics, posturing, and general dick waving. It usually involves white males lamenting changes in the world they neither like nor understand. It’s been going on for years but it has accelerated during the Obama years, especially after the same-sex marriage decision last month. We’ve had court clerks refusing to marry gay couples, posturing from florists, bakers, and wedding venue folks about not wanting to make money because they’d get too near TEH GAY.  Horrors.

More recently, some Bama bubbas claim that they were fired because they were “displaying their heritage” on their pickup trucks. In English, that means they fly the rebel flag or have bumper stickers of the Confederate battle flag affixed to their vehicle. There it is again. I cannot seem to stay away from the subject. I have no idea if their claims are true or not but they’re displaying advanced symptoms of what I like to call CRACKER MARTYR syndrome. And, yes, I did just make that up but it’s a common malady among dudes wearing wife beaters, Red Man tobacco caps, and more tattoos than you can shake a stick at. Why you’d want to do such  thing beats the hell out of me…

One does not have to be an actual cracker to suffer from Cracker Martyr syndrome. It has afflicted some city folk who are obsessed with terrorist attacks and freak out at the prospect of mosques in their neighborhood. For example, Pamela Geller suffers from Cracker Martyr syndrome even though she’s not a cracker, just a crazy woman with a persecution complex. Now that I think of it, since she’s a New Yorker, she may well be a Ritz cracker…

That brings me to Andrew Hallinan who inspired me to make up diagnose this new syndrome:

Hallinan said it would be a hard policy to enforce.

“It’s a pretty unenforceable action right? I can’t, by law, ask each and every person who comes through my doors what they’re religious background is,” Hallinan told CNN. “But the ATF expressly gives me the right and the authority to deny service to anybody who I feel is a threat for any reason.”

As a Floridian, Hallinan qualifies as a bona fide cracker. He’s also an idiot for publicly bragging about this “policy,” which is why I originally intended to crown him malaka of the week. I put on my fake shrink hat instead and diagnosed him with Cracker Martyr syndrome. He’s also a piss poor businessman, all that should matter to any retailer is the color of the buyer’s money not their ethnicity or religion. He may be in trouble with the Feds for violating the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which doesn’t have an exemption for malakatude:

Critics have argued the ban will ultimately be deemed illegal, but Hallinan says he made the decision in an effort to fight back against political correctness.

“We are in battle, patriots, but not only with Islamic extremism,” he said. “We’re also in battle against extreme political correctness that threatens our lives, because if we can’t call evil, evil for fear of offending people, then we can’t really defeat our enemies.”

According to WFLA, the Department of Justice said they will be investigating the store for possible civil rights violations connected to its “Muslim-free” policy.

Hallinan’s case of Cracker Martyr syndrome is about to explode after he got up on his hind legs to brag about his policy. Exhibitionism is clearly a symptom of this malakatudinous malady as is speaking in cliches. The next time one of these bozos whines about “political correctness,” I’m going beat my head on the desk and scream like Della Street demanding to be fed. And that’s loud, Della does not fool around, y’all.

Cracker Martyr syndrome has been around forever but it has been a nameless malady until now.  So, the next time you hear some dumbass go on about “taking the country back” and how it’s “heritage, not hate,” you know what’s wrong with them.

I have no solution for this depressingly common problem, but I’m considering hanging up a shingle as an amateur shrink. If so, I’d charge more than Lucy van Pelt but less than Dr. Melfi. And to the literal minded out there it’s time to quote David Letterman and say, “It’s just a joke.”  But Cracker Martyr syndrome is not.

But It’s Got To Be THEIR Jesus

From Album 5

That’s to say, not some librul squish, but…Christ the Redeemer Neo-Con Patriarch, emphasis on Patria…tough, manly, self-reliant, skilled with firearms and other weapons, and against affirmative action, quotas, and especially against “those people…”

In other words, Christianity as Tribal Totem.

This reminds me of when scientists offered a realistic concept of what Jesus might have looked like, based on forensic and other evidence from first century Palestine. Some threw a big old hissy fit, insisting THEIR Jesus was the very Europeanish image you get from portraits like this…oddly, a somewhat hippie-ish looking figure who, from the looks of it, is exactly the sort of librul squish they reject…

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Texas Fever

Another week, another Jade Helm reference, another book by Donald Hamilton:

Texas Fever

Time for an antidote to Texas Fever:

Campaign 2016 Notes: The Silly Season

The dog days of summer have degenerated into the silly season of politics. It’s July and all the talk of Trumpmentum and feeling the Bern is premature to say the least. Not a single vote has been cast, all we have are polls. Remember when Herman Cain was the GOP frontrunner in 2011? I’m not big on predictions but if I had a ranch or farm I’d wager that the general election will NOT pit Trump vs. Sanders and that neither of them will be on the ballot in November, 2016.

I will still be surprised if Trump stays in long enough to face the voters. What happens if he finished second or third in a primary? By his own lights, he’s a LOSER. He’ll come up with some sort of pretext to drop out. It will have nothing to do with his big fat mouth, but I think it will happen. Guess I just made another prediction,  if I’m wrong I’ll be a LOSER and Trump doesn’t like LOSERS. If you don’t buy that, there’s an amusing what-if Trump runs his mouth as an independent candidate piece by Peter Dreier at TPM Cafe. Never gonna happen: that would make him an even BIGGER LOSER even if he’s worth TEN BILLION DOLLARS.

I have finally come up with a way to characterize the Trump candidacy. In 2012, I characterized Willard Mittbot Romney as running to become our first robot President. I was quite proud of that. Here it goes: Donald Trump’s goal is to be our first insult comedian President. He reminds me a bit of Andrew Dice Clay who also had no filter, no class, and an ego as big as his mouth. Trump doesn’t have the class to be compared to the great Don Rickles and anyone who does will have to deal with me. Hell, he’s not even as classy as Jack E. Leonard whose nickname was Fat Jack. Trump does remind me of this guy:


Triumph has more class than Trump though: he’s housebroken and the Donald keeps shitting on the GOP’s rug. A few of them are starting to rub his nose in his shit but he’s going to keep pissing all over everyone as long as he gets attention. It’s all about Trump’s ego. Btw, now that I’ve seen his hair at a variety of different angles, I’m convinced that it’s the world’s most elaborate combover. Additionally, what reputable toupee company would make something that resembles a dead nutria only without the orange teeth?


Trump or nutria? You decide.

On to the Democrats. I’ve been a bit cranky the last few days because so many people *assume* I’m for Bernie Sanders and are shocked when I tell them I’m not. I hope I’m not pissing off the cool kids but I’m more interested in electing a President than in being pure, especially since the other party has gone bonkers. There’s a lot of wishful thinking on the part of many Sanders supporters. I don’t do wishful thinking when it comes to Presidential politics. The candidate seems to be more realistic than his supporters and seems to be enjoying the ride while it lasts. The chances that a 73 year old Independent Senator from Vermont will be the Democratic nominee are slim, and at some point, Slim is going to leave town. Hmm, sounds like a country song by, uh, Slim Whitman…

I almost apologized for not feeling the Bern but why should I? I’m more of a practical liberal than a starry eyed progressive. Fundamentally, I belong to the party of getting shit done.  People are excited about the big crowds Sanders is drawing but let’s see how he does when votes are actually cast.  Crowds ain’t votes. As the Senator from Vermont, he’s bound to get at least 25% of the vote in New Hampshire so I’ll believe he’s for real if and when he gets votes in more diverse states. I think his real goal is to influence Hillary on the narrow range of issues that are important to him. It’s one reason he’s refrained from personal attacks. I applaud him for that.

I am, however, glad that Sanders is running. Frontrunners who are unchallenged get complacent and rusty, especially when it comes to debating their general election opponent. It even happens to incumbent Presidents on their way to re-election as in the first debates in the 1984 and 2012 campaigns. I’m not as thrilled as the MSM is about a Hillary-Bernie tussle but that wouldn’t be possible. I *almost* feel sorry for O’Malley and former GOPers Chafee, and Webb. The key word is ALMOST but I won’t go all Trumpian on their asses and call them LOSERS, they’re ALSO-RANS. I have a sore throat from all the shouting, damn you, Donald Trump.

I may not be supporting Bernie Sanders but he’s a serious man who should be treated with respect. But the Donald is {name your deity and add a possessive S in this spot} gift to satirists everywhere. He will never become our first insult comedian President.

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: Lester Young Trio

I’m following up last week’s post with another early Jazz LP cover inspired by that swell  article in the Telegraph about Verve Records artwork. This week’s cover is an odd one. I have no idea what the Leaning Tower of Pisa is doing on a Lester Young album. They’re both classics but otherwise it beats the hell out of me. Here’s the Telegraph’s brief description of the album:

Lester Young Trio was a 1951 album (originally recorded and produced by Norman Ganz in 1946) which featured the brilliant tenor saxophonist Lester Young along with Buddy Rich on drums and Nat King Cole (credited as ‘Aye Guy’ on the original releases) on piano.

That’s a helluva combo. Here’s the cover:


Finally, a swinging tune from the leaning tower album.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – special Trump boats are-a-comin’ edition

Jesus fuck.

If the crazy keeps escalating, I’m gonna have to hire some staff.

By poop-u-lar demand of the commenters on yesterday’s post – an Obsession special edition:  Three No-Trump!

Let’s get to it:

Donald Trump Says McCain No War Hero: ‘I Like People Who Weren’t Captured’
The Daily Caller ^ | 7-18-2015 | Jamie Weinstein

Posted on ‎7‎/‎18‎/‎2015‎ ‎12‎:‎16‎:‎30‎ ‎PM by servo1969

Donald Trump escalated his feud with Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain Saturday in a way that probably wasn’t the most politically astute.

Appearing at the 2015 Family Leadership Summit in Iowa, Trump decided to make the case that McCain is not a war hero. Asked by moderator Frank Luntz why he would call a war hero like McCain a “loser,” Trump replied, “He’s not a war hero.”

“He’s a war hero because he was captured,” Trump said sarcastically. “I like people who weren’t captured, I hate to tell you.”

McCain spent five and a half years in a North Vietnamese prison where he was routinely tortured after his plane was shot down during the Vietnam War.

After hearing boos from the crowd, Trump backed off a bit: “Perhaps he’s a war hero but right now he said some very bad things about a lot of people.”

Trump was referring to McCain calling the people who attended Trump’s recent immigration rally in Arizona “crazies.”

“This performance with our friend out in Phoenix is very hurtful to me,” McCain recently told the New Yorker magazine, speaking of Trump’s July 11 rally. “Because what he did was he fired up the crazies.”

The Washington Post reported Friday that Trump is trying to recruit a primary challenger in Arizona to try to defeat McCain in his 2016 re-election bid.


On the one hand, never disparage a POW for being a POW. Bad move, Trump.On the other hand, F John McCain! Just because he was a POW doesn’t mean he has any business being a Senator. He’s been riding that horse for decades.

1 posted on ‎7‎/‎18‎/‎2015‎ ‎12‎:‎16‎:‎30‎ ‎PM by servo1969
Ah – the dichotomy in a nutshell.
Say you respect veterans (especially ones shot down in combat and tortured by the enemy), but on the other hand, McLame RINO traitorAARGHAARGHKILLHIMMAKEHIMGOAWAYRINOOOOOOOOO!!
To: servo1969


The word of the day.

2 posted on 7‎/‎18‎/‎2015‎ ‎12‎:‎18‎:‎51‎ ‎PM by NormsRevenge (SEMPER FI!! – Monthly Donors Rock!!)

I was kind of leaning toward “dumbass”, myself.
To: servo1969

There are so many better ways he could have slammed McLame.

3 posted on 7‎/‎18‎/‎2015‎ ‎12‎:‎18‎:‎58‎ ‎PM by King Moonracer (Bad lighting and cheap fabric, that’s how you sell clothing…..)

Well, that didn’t take long.
To: servo1969

It’s fine line to walk

You can’t criticize them unless you were there beside them

Yet some sure pimp their wartime experiences like McCain and Kerry

What Trump said is like something Patton would have said

5 posted on ‎7‎/‎18‎/‎2015‎ ‎12‎:‎19‎:‎14‎ ‎PM by wardaddy (Mark Levin…..I love him…but he is ignorant of Dixie)

…if Patton had inherited billions, never served in the military and worn a hair helmet instead of a real one.
Otherwise, identical!
To: servo1969

I don’t like McCain’s politics but this is over the top. Trump is too much into personal shots. I don’t mind the political shots, but we don’t need elementary school taunts in a presidential candidate.

28 posted on 7‎/‎18‎/‎2015‎ ‎12‎:‎28‎:‎12‎ ‎PM by Starstruck (I’m usually sarcastic. Deal with it.)

Do SO!
Of course, The Donald’s minions swarm to his defense:
To: servo1969

He’s a war hero all right—for the North Vietnamese. He crashed several planes and severely damaged an aircraft carrier, almost sinking it.

60 posted on 7‎/‎18‎/‎2015‎ ‎12‎:‎44‎:‎46‎ ‎PM by Fiji Hill

To: servo1969
Trump went too far on that one.But, name some of the great POW war heroes from WWII, or Korea, or WWI.

Oh, I dunno.

Daniel Streckler, James Stockdale, Clifford Acree, Louis Zemperini (you may have heard of him) John Malcom “mad Jack” Thorpe, Gurbaksh Singh, Everett Alvarez, Jr., Douglas Bader, James Hargest, Erich Hartmann, James Robinson “Robbie” Risner, Charles Upham (my personal fave) – shall I go on?

You can’t, because hero status from most all wars was achieved in battle, not in a POW camp.

67 posted on 7‎/‎18‎/‎2015‎ ‎12‎:‎46‎:‎24‎ ‎PM by Will88

Much more after the Stammlager

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It’s Hard To Love Someone When You Know Everything They Are

Heather Havrilesky, who I hadn’t realized I missed this much until I started reading her again: 

Before you dredge up the image of every no-good cheater you’ve ever known, consider the many fallible individuals in the world who fall in love, get married, have children, and then find themselves questioning their sexuality, questioning their gender identity, or (less provocatively) simply questioning their lifelong choice of sexual partner. Maybe a spouse simply has a weak moment and makes a mistake. Sometimes people marry the wrong person. Sometimes people cheat and regret it immediately. Do we really want to indiscriminately drag every last one of these people into the middle of town and set their lives on fire for them?


The problem for me isn’t so much that we’re all vulnerable to hacking, as Heather goes on to say:

As easy as it is to chuckle at a bunch of douchebag dudes getting outed for cheating, consider for a minute the full scope of ramifications endemic to our new, easily hacked lives. Every last one of us is hopelessly vulnerable to hacking today, thanks to insecure smartphones; insecure databases; absurd, ever-changing, and increasingly invasive Terms of Service; and supposedly benevolent megacorporations that illegally suck private dataoff unsecured Wi-Fi systems and legally compile private information gleaned from multiple apps to sell it to data brokers like Experian who might, in turn, haplessly sell it to Vietnamese identity-theft crime rings. If that sounds like some kind of Orwellian paranoid fantasy, it may be time to wake up and smell your credit-card numbers hitting the Dark Web.

Problem for me is, you expose the cheater, you expose the person he cheated on. Who maybe was okay with it, and maybe wasn’t, and there’s no way to know. You expose the kids, the friends, the colleagues, the hapless assistant or intern who thought it was hot her boss was into her, etc. There’s a lot of collateral damage to this, which is why you don’t pull this gun out at a tennis match.

There are degrees to this that are easy, and most of them have to do with the definition of “private mistake” as distinct from “public hypocrisy.”

Politicians fucking around on their wives while they try to police the family lives of others? Fair game.

Some dude wanting a little strange on the side while he’s out of town for a conference? I dunno, what’s the conference about? Is it about how women are whores? Fuck that guy.

Is it about cleaning products marketed primarily to the prison and health care sectors? Or about the best way to frost cakes? The fuck do I care? (Though I do bristle at the idea that you slip, trip and stick your dick in someone. Do yourself and your two or three or twelve sex partners the credit of acknowledging that your actions are controllable.)

I don’t care about random dudes screwing people not their spouses. And it IS awfully scary to think that you could someday be subject to someone else’s moral judgments. If you knew everything I ingested and everything I thought about everyone, I’m pretty sure you’d burn this whole place down.


The Fog Of History: The Jacksonian Straw Man

Dr. A and I had dinner last Friday night at the house of some old friends. Actually, our hosts were the parents of some friends who have become our friends over the years as well. These are white folks in their 80’s and I *never* talk politics with them. The good news is that they’re not the sort of people who sit around and watch Fox News all-day everyday. I know a few people like that and try to avoid them.

Our hostess asked me what I thought about the whole Confederate monuments controversy. I follow my usual policy with people I’d rather not go there with: I briefly express my real opinion and immediately try to change the subject. I prefer not to bite the hand that’s feeding me, especially when there’s brisket involved. Unfortunately, she asked a follow-up question prefaced with her opinion: “I hear Mitch wants to tear down the Jackson statute and change the name of the Square. What do you think of that?”

The Mitch in question is, of course, Mayor Landrieu and he’s never addressed Jackson Square nor is he likely to. He’s only discussed Confederate monuments erected in support of white supremacy and the so-called lost cause., which are one and the same. The Jackson Square meme is being put out there as a straw man by the “don’t erase our history and heitage” crowd. What does one do with a straw man? You knock it over or set it ablaze. I don’t believe in playing with matches so I’ll try to defog history without burning down the house. In any event, it’s too hot for striking matches. To my friends’ mom I offered a terse comment about Lee having nothing to do with New Orleans and Jackson being the hero of the Battle of New Orleans. I politely changed the subject. This time it worked.

More details after the break and this video:

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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – post-racial society edition

Morning, everyone – let’s spin that airlock door and bust some drums of Freeper stupid open, shall we?

There have been a lot of shots across the bow of the S. S. Racist Fucktard lately, so let’s see how the Freeperati are weathering the stormfront.

‘Dating a black man is a sin': Stalker terrorizing multi-racial couples across Nebraska
The Daily Mail ^ | 14 July 2015

Posted on ‎7‎/‎15‎/‎2015‎ ‎12‎:‎02‎:‎46‎ ‎AM by MinorityRepublican

A Nebraska couple say they were forced to leave their home after being bombarded with racist and terrorizing anonymous letters – and they are not the only ones.

Police in Omaha say they have had at least 10 interracial couples report receiving shocking letters ‘explaining’ why they should not be together because they are not the same race.

Investigators have now released footage of a man they believe to be the serial letter in the hope someone will come forward identifying him.

1 posted on 7‎/‎15‎/‎2015‎ ‎12‎:‎02‎:‎46‎ ‎AM by MinorityRepublican

Freepers – analysis?

To: MinorityRepublican

Negoros acting out, coming home to roost?Unintended consequences to the recent behavior? Too bad the well socialized do not do any more than the “moderate” muzzies do, so it devolves to this sort of crap.

I doubt any of them will get the message in time.

5 posted on 7‎/‎15‎/‎2015‎ ‎12‎:‎10‎:‎08‎ ‎AM by doorgunner69

Forget I asked.


Can’t we get a slightly more nuanced take on this racist (by definition) person who obviously has deep-seated socio-sexual issues concerning interracial dating?

To: MinorityRepublican

I still don’t understand why white chicks hook up with black dudes and very rarely is it the other way (and I don’t mean light mixed such as Halle Barre).

There is yellow fever with guys but rarely chocolate fever.

Most peculiar.

3 posted on ‎7‎/‎15‎/‎2015‎ ‎12‎:‎06‎:‎56‎ ‎AM by freedumb2003 (When things are rightly ordered, man is steward of God’s gifts and civIns law enables him to do so.)

You guys are just making this too easy.
One Freeper shoots for the moon and misses completely:
To: MinorityRepublican

White racism, black racism same thing..

except black racism, is NOT frowned upon…

amazing bizarro world… the US has become..

2 posted on 7‎/‎15‎/‎2015‎ ‎12‎:‎05‎:‎19‎ ‎AM by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited (specifically) to include some fully orbed hyperbole..)

(picture of the black racist that was threatening interracial couples here) :
One Freeper remembers that people can see into their bubble:
To: MinorityRepublican

The responses on this thread bring a new low to FR. Better hope no Liberals are trolling because publication of these responses would be used to have FR banned as a racist site.62 posted on ‎7‎/‎15‎/‎2015‎ ‎9‎:‎00‎:‎30‎ ‎AM by heylady


More negoros after the break…

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On Disqualification

Everybody is just so shocked and horrified that someone would say something mean about a veteran who served bravely and was hurt in the war: 

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says Donald Trump’s comment that Sen. John McCain is not a war hero should disqualify him from the 2016 presidential race.

“It’s not just absurd, it’s offensive. It’s ridiculous. And I do think it’s a disqualifier as commander-in-chief,” Rubio said in an interview Sunday with CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”

The Florida senator was the latest Republican White House contender to hit Trump after the real estate mogul said Saturday that McCain “is not a war hero” because he was captured and held prisoner in Vietnam.

“He is a war hero because he was captured,” Trump said. “I like people that weren’t captured, OK?”

Since we seem to have an epidemic of historical illiteracy going around these days, here are things that outraged no Republicans whatsoever in 2004 (except, after too much time had passed for it to do any good, John McCain):





None of these things bothered the leading lights of the Republican party. None of these seemed to them to be beyond the pale. None of these were worthy of a blistering response, probably because they were useful to the man Kerry was trying to un-seat. This is how that man treated war heroes:

iraq war cemetary

None of his handiwork with regard to veterans bothered Republicans either.


ps. I seem to be turning this into the Defend Donald Trump blog of late, and it’s not intentional, except that watching people act like he’s not saying what they’re thinking is gross and unfair. I do not like the dude, but I like even less the shit people are trying to get away with around him.


In Which I Argue with Idiots about Their Own Damn Jobs

This week, the Huffington Post decided Donald Trump wasn’t a real thing anymore:

After watching and listening to Donald Trump since he announced his candidacy for president, we have decided we won’t report on Trump’s campaign as part of The Huffington Post’s political coverage. Instead, we will cover his campaign as part of our Entertainment section. Our reason is simple: Trump’s campaign is a sideshow. We won’t take the bait. If you are interested in what The Donald has to say, you’ll find it next to our stories on the Kardashians and The Bachelorette.

And immediately the brightest lights in the political press pack howled that YOU CAN’T DO THAT:


What if everyone made editorial decisions? What if everyone covered things the way they wanted to cover them, instead of the way they convince each other and themselves that things “have to” be covered? What if people just … decided what to write about and how? IT WOULD BE ANARCHY. This was my favorite response, not so much for her glib obnoxiousness but for the way she lets herself off the hook when challenged:

You might not remember Olivia Nuzzi. She interned for Anthony Wiener and then, after the dick-pic incident and subsequent implosion, she wrote a tell-all about her campaign experiences. She now covers politics for the Daily Beast.

Plenty of her fellow celeb-press folks chimed in to say that historical illiteracy on one’s chosen beat was hilarious, including some I expected better of:

Because funny! It’s so funny to not know how something works, and then sanctimoniously lecture everyone else about “how this works!” If you cover politics, you should probably have a passing familiarity with recent political and media spectacles. It’s not like you even have to open a book for this stuff; the Dean campaign story was one of the first to play out entirely online.

Even an 11-year-old should know better. Maybe my expectations of fourth graders are just too damn high.

Twitter carping aside, what the whole incident illustrated is just how much people absolutely loathe having their responsibilities pointed out to them. You have to make decisions about coverage and defend those decisions, and boy, does it get sticky when someone else (even if that someone is the Huffington Post’s car-theft chop shop of an editorial team) makes you look bad by doing so.

Instead of responding with terrified defensiveness or glib condescension, the campaign-bus ride-alongs could have come up with defenses of their coverage.

For example: I actually think Trump’s place in the polls demands coverage as a legitimate candidate. Whether my thoughts should dictate the workings of any newsroom other than the one in my spare bedroom is the question, though, and the answer to that is emphatically no. HuffPo gets to do what HuffPo wants.

THAT is how this works, and if everybody carping about HuffPo making a call was confident in their own, we’d see a lot less whining and a lot more reporting.

Then again, the last 11 years have proved nothing so definitively as the political pack’s hatred for hard work.


Sunday Morning Video: The Lost World Of Communism

I watched part of a really bad documentary about the late Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausecu on Netflix the other day. It was all raw video with no point of view whatsoever. It led me, however, to discover this three part BBC Two series. The only cavil I have with it is that there aren’t episodes dealing with Poland and Hungary. Otherwise it’s superb. I’ve put the episode title above the video, which only lists the country name.

A Socialist Paradise

The Kingdom Of Forgetting

Socialism In One Family

Saturday Odds & Sods: Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)

Sideshow banner by Fred G. Johnson.

Sideshow banner by Fred G. Johnson.

Summertime, when the living is sweaty. The NOLA heatwave continues and I’m not hearing much from those folks who claim they can live here without air-conditioning like in the good old days. The local good old days contingent is busy freaking out about the debate over Confederate monuments. They’re acting as if the plan is to replace Lee with Spoons Butler. I’m inclined to think that their brains are baked from overexposure to the blazing sun. In any event, the Lee statue’s life expectancy is even shorter than that of a pre-AC New Orleanian, which was 10 years below the national average. The heat goes on and so do I.

This week’s theme song comes from the fertile (febrile?) minds of David Byrne and Talking Heads at their peak. The refrain “take a look at these hands” embedded itself in my consciousness from the instant I first heard Remain In Light. The heat goes on and so do I is the refrain for this week’s post. I’m feeling a bit surrealistic so I should just say hello Dali and get on with the theme song already:

Guess I was born under punches myself or am I just punchy? We’ll try and figure that out after the break. Now where did I put my Surrealistic Pillow?

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Friday Guest-Animal Blogging

I’m doing some work for my local humane society, and one of the perks is sharing my office with this little fella:


His name is Rocky, and that is Bullwinkle, the stuffed moose not much larger than him that he cuddles when not beating its ass.


ps. Sorry I’ve been even more absent than usual of late. This is the busiest month of the year for me at work and I fall into bed at night so tired I don’t even remember to crawl under the sheets. I’ll be back in full force soon, promise. (None of you even noticed I wasn’t around much, did you?)

An open letter to Scott Walker

Dear Governor Walker,

Congratulations on finally declaring your candidacy for president, which was perhaps the world’s worst kept secret. It’s been pretty clear that, unless you had plans to complete a hostile takeover of Des Moines, you were spending a lot of time in Iowa to start the process of becoming “The Most Powerful Man In The World.” It’s also pretty clear that this is the start of your breakup with the state of Wisconsin. As Dan Bice’s recent story noted, you’re probably on your path to Palin-dom as a political outsider/defender of the faith for Fox News or the chicken-dinner circuit, if this whole presidential thing doesn’t pan out. It’s not us, you’ll tell the good people of Wisconsin, it’s you. It’s a chance to showcase what you have built here for the state, even as you discard it as a “been-there, done-that” event of your life.

Since you’re probably done with Wisconsin, I’d like to ask a question:

Can I have my state back now? I mean, the one I used to have?

Wisconsin was one of the few purple states out there, one in which you had dissent among parties and arguments among family members, but there was always a sense of basic human decency. When Gov. Tommy Thompson tried to take money from the teachers’ pension fund, the courts made him put it back. In doing so, the admonition was enough to let people know that some things were not to be done. When he pushed Welfare-to-Work, some people cheered on the idea of keeping those lazy Welfare Queens hustling for their cash, but others looked into how realistic it was to raise a family with the jobs available to people. Even when Jim Doyle tried to putz around with the tobacco settlement or force furloughs down the throats of state workers, no one really saw this as a great thing. It was just what we had to deal with and the pride of Wisconsin allowed us to grit our teeth and say, “We’re all in this together.”

You changed all of that. You took the purple and separated the red and blue into separate bottles. You created an “us vs. them” scenario on multiple fronts, as you “divided and conquered” those who would oppose you. You led the party that gerrymandered the voting districts so badly that the state is now being sued over this. You made people who once got along, even grudgingly, and made them see the other as an “other.”

Nothing better typified this than your most popular bumper stickers and signs: “I stand with Scott Walker.” For people who embraced this, it was less about slapping a sticker on a truck and more about placing a chip on a shoulder. It drew on the worst of our war-like rhetoric: Are you with us or are you with “them?” This gave people an identity and a feeling of power, even though you’d probably back them over with your campaign bus if it meant another step up the political ladder. Trying to get these people to see this is like trying to get “gun guys” to see that more restrictive laws were better for them if they were, as they always claimed to be, “responsible gun owners.”

Understand, Mr. Walker, this isn’t a Democrat/Republican thing. This isn’t a public-worker/hard-working-taxpayer thing. This isn’t a “I have a Ph.D./you have a walnut for a brain” thing. This is about my state, the one I thought I came home to nearly a decade ago.

In the two other states in which I lived and worked, Democrats and Republicans were constantly at each other. I was in Missouri when people so hated John Ashcroft that they elected a dead guy to the U.S. Senate. I lived in Indiana, a state so conservative that I rarely saw a political ad for the presidential elections. The Democrats were basically going to cede the state to Republicans before a single ballot was cast.

The divides there were more on a local level: The “townies” weren’t thrilled about the “college kids” taking over their local bars or having nicer things than they did. The “college kids” figured they could go out on a date and collectively have more teeth and IQ points than the rest of the diner combined. Still, the kids knew that if it weren’t for the people who lived there, they’d not have a university and the town people knew the university was a major economic driver for the area.

Only now in Wisconsin have I seen this kind of vitriol on a statewide level. It is the reason why, although I spent nine years in college and another 15 in academia, that when people ask me what I do, I tell them, “Oh. I work at the U.” I hope they assume I’m a janitor or something. In other cases, I just tell them that I enjoy refinishing furniture or try to get on to a more comfortable topic. When my dad is bragging to people at a baseball card show or something that “My son is a professor at the U,” I do my best to redirect or deflect the conversation to something safer.

I fear the rage, the disgust or the “hmmph” I’ll get for being “a college professor.”

You have helped galvanize that and direct that rage and you haven’t done so for the benefit of a better state, but rather for your own personal gains. You spoke to the echo chamber until it echoed back what you needed to move on with your life.

Please understand, governor, I’m not threatening to leave this state. I’m trying even harder to get kids to come to my little state-run school. I’m calling former colleagues and trying to get them to apply for jobs here, which is a lot like trying to convince someone to submit to a blowjob from a piranha.

I don’t condone or agree with Sara Goldrick-Rab’s recent Twitter fiasco, because it obscures the real issues. No one is like Hitler, probably not even Hitler himself at this point, given how we tend to attribute anything we don’t like from politicians to umpires as being Hitler-like. I also hate the idea of people saying, “I’m taking my ball and going home.” She’s a brilliant scholar, but she’s coming through to the outside world as a cross between a huffy academic and a screaming cat lady. I feel her anger and I feel her pain, but a 140-character battle of wits with the Internet isn’t the answer.

Understand instead that unlike you, I’ve lived elsewhere. I’ve gone other places and done other things for reasons beyond getting a passport stamp or a false-front understanding of the complexities of international negotiations. I also know that while you apparently want out, I want to stay here.

A few times during your tenure, I’ve been offered jobs in places that were run better, that had more money, that gave me more freedom and that didn’t have a governor who saw me as the enemy. (That last one isn’t entirely true, as I did get an offer from LSU as well…) I’ve thought long and hard about grabbing that lifeboat, setting sail and never looking back. It seems like it would be so easy, but I turned down each one.

The reason is simple. This is my home. It’s where my parents live. It’s where my grandparents are buried. It’s where I learned the value of getting along with people who aren’t like you and where I teach some of the best kids in the world. It’s where so many of my values (shut up and do the work; don’t whine about shitty outcomes; improvise, adapt, overcome; work harder and you can overcome any problem) are exemplified in almost every kid who sits in my class. They come from the families of people you have convinced that I am a lazy Satanist who masturbates to Karl Marx and works 21.8 minutes out of every week. They see me work hard and watch as I force them work hard. They become better. They become inspired. They become grateful. It is in that generation I see hope.

I finally found a home with a workshop and a car for the summer. I finally have a friend who stops by to check in on my wood projects and with whom I drink beer in his garage. I have kids who take classes because I teach them, not because they have to.

I have a life and for the first time in a long time, I don’t have wanderlust.

You don’t get to take that away from me. I won’t let you.

So please, sir, enjoy your run through the primary. Battle it out with the intellectual giants in your party like Donald Trump for the right to face Hillary or Bernie in the second round. Continue to burnish your reputation by telling the story of how you brandished a musket and fended off 1.4 million protestors who were attempting to gut your wife like a deer. I wish you well.

Just give me back what I once had on your way out the door. Sure, it’s a lot worse for wear, but now that you’re essentially gone, maybe we can start fixing it.

Best of luck,


Friday Guest Catblogging: The Lost Dennie Pictures

Dennie is, of course, the Krewe du Vieux den cat. These pictures weren’t exactly lost but they were in google glasshole limbo for a few months. Here she is in all her torti glory:



Maybe Sandra Bland Should Have Worn a Baseball Jersey

She supposedly assaulted an officer, and got slammed to the ground and died in police custody:

These people lit their city on fire, and nobody touched them:


Knee Jerk Nuke Jerks


Ernest Moniz and John Kerry have negotiated a deal that’s as good as their hair.

The Republican freak out over the Obama-Kerry-Moniz nuclear agreement with Iran is in full fury. They don’t know what they’re for but they’re against anything proposed by this administration.  It’s called a knee jerk reaction hence the post title. The knee jerk nuke jerks have a beef with the proposal. They are convinced that doing what we’ve been doing for years will suddenly work as if by magic. It’s very much like their reaction to recent changes in Cuba policy. Give the sanctions a chance to work say Marco Rubio, man of the future, and his ilk. And they call President Obama naive…

The alternative to this agreement is the status quo and eventual war with Iran.  That would grant Little Lindsey and Senator Walnuts’ wish:

I’m also not crazy about continuing to sub-contract our foreign policy to the Saudis and Bibi. The Israeli’s are, in part, seeking to maintain their nuclear monopoly in the region.  Slate’s Fred Kaplan nails the real reason the Saudi Arabian and Israeli governments oppose the deal:

The most diehard opponents—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi King Salman, and a boatload of neocons led by the perennial naysayer John Bolton—issued their fusillades against the accord (“an historic mistake,” “diplomatic Waterloo,” to say nothing of the standard charges of “appeasement” from those with no understanding of history) long before they could possibly have browsed its 159 pages of legalese and technical annexes.

What worries these critics most is not that Iran might enrich its uranium into an A-bomb. (If that were the case, why would they so virulently oppose a deal that put off this prospect by more than a decade?) No, what worries them much more deeply is that Iran might rejoin the community of nations, possibly even as a diplomatic (and eventually trading) partner of the United States and Europe.


What Netanyahu and King Salman want Obama to do is to wage war against Iran—or, more to the point, to fight their wars against Iran for them. That is why they so virulently oppose U.S. diplomacy with Iran—because the more we talk with Iran’s leaders, the less likely we are to go to war with them. Their view is the opposite of Winston Churchill’s: They believe to war-war is better than to jaw-jaw.

Bingo. This nails the reason for King Salman’s Rushdie to judgment. Bibi, of course, has been blatantly and defiantly wrong about Iran for 25 years. As to the so-called GOP tough guys aka the knee jerk nuke jerks, when they came into office in 2001, the Bushies reversed President Clinton’s policy of engagement with North Korea. They hit that member of the “axis of evil” with more sanctions and empty threats of violence. The result was that North Korea now has nuclear weapons. Way to go, Bush-Cheney gang. The GOP’s manly men have also conveniently forgotten that the Beavis-Duce administration negotiated a nuclear deal with Libya before Gadhaffi’s sand nap. I guess the knee jerk nuke jerks mistrust Obama because he knows how to pronounce nuclear or some such shit…

The nuttiest thing about the knee jerk nuke jerk’s response is its premise. They believe that the Iranians are suicidal and would go out of their way to violate the agreement thereby triggering the chance of war. That’s as wackadoodle as past malaka of the week Tom Cotton’s letter to the Ayatollahs a while back. They somehow think all the US has to do is to dictate conditions and Iran will surrender. In short, they’re out of their frickin’ cotton pickin’ minds. The Obama-Kerry policy of engagement with Iran *could* result in the sort of country that most Persians want. If nothing else, it deters them from getting nukes for at least 10-15 years.

There’s a lot of instant expertise on nuclear matters flying around the internet. I may be married to a scientist but, in the great tradition of Speaker Boner, I’m not one myself. Unlike most deal opponents, I don’t pretend to understand the details. The reaction from nuclear experts and the scientific  community seems to be positive thus far:

Jeffrey Lewis was so eager to read the Iran nuclear deal that he woke up at 3:30 am California time to pore through all 150-plus pages of the text. Lewis is a nukes super nerd: He’s the director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and also runs an excellent arms control blog networkand arms control podcast and has a regular arms control column in Foreign Policy. He is the person to talk to on this.

When Lewis and I first spoke, in early 2015, he was skeptical, as a lot of arms control analysts were. He was skeptical that the US, world powers, and Iran would ever reach a nuclear deal. And he was skeptical that if they did reach a deal, it would be good enough. But when the negotiators released the “framework” in April, describing the broad strokes, Lewis came away impressed and happily surprised — but with some caveats and some unanswered questions.

I called up Lewis to see what he thought of the final deal. His assessment was very positive: Asked to grade the deal, he said, “I would give it an A.”

The knee jerk nuke jerk response is obvious: what the hell do they know? Many of them are scientists like that damn hippie Moniz. We don’t trust them because they’re on university faculties and read books without pictures in them. I suspect at least a few of the knee jerk nuke jerks wouldn’t trust Jeffrey Lewis, who was quoted above, because he has the same name as the Bravolebrity and star of Flipping OutI wonder if he has a sassy, mouthy equivalent to Zoila in his lab?

Zoila & Jeff

Now that I’ve gone off on another digressive tangent, back to the knee jerk nuke jerks. Their opposition to the pact is based on fear. The irony is that they’re more afraid of giving peace a chance than of going to war including brogressive hero, Senator Aqua Buddha. This is insanity. It’s time to stop the madness and give peace a chance:


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