The More The Merrier

Welcome to the latest post wherein I steal the title of an old movie. The More The Merrier was a brilliant 1943 comedy about the wartime housing shortage in Washington D.C. It’s noteworthy as the last comedy directed by George Stevens before going off to war. Stevens was among the first Americans to see a Nazi death camp and stuck to more serious subjects after the war. As much as I love A Place In The Sun, Shane, and Giant, I wish Stevens had done some comedies after the war. Nobody did them better and his post Giant output defined the phrase mixed bag. That concludes the film buff portion of the post.

Let’s turn out attention to the 2020 presidential campaign. There’s some hand wringing among Democrats about the number of candidates who plan to run. I say the more the merrier. A diverse field of candidates shows the strength of our party. And a large field gives us a better chance to pick a candidate who will reflect the nation’s mood in November 2020.

It’s been forgotten what a large field of talented candidates ran for the 2008 Democratic nomination. It quickly boiled down to Obama versus Clinton, but John Edwards was a serious contender early on. We dodged that bullet but we could have found ourselves stuck with Edwards when the National Enquirer baby daddy story hit.

We know what worked in the 2018 midterms: new faces, especially women and minority candidates. That might be the right formula for 2020 as well but an experienced old hand such as Joe Biden might be appealing to voters sick of Trumpian incompetence by the time the election rolls around. Or maybe not. It’s hard to tell this far out from the election. Repeat after me: the more the merrier.

I remain undecided about 2020 but I find much to like in the candidacies of Warren, Harris,  Castro, and Gillibrand as well as the thus far undeclared cohort of Booker, Klobuchar, Brown, Beto, and others who are flirting with running. It’s a veritable cast of thousands: the more the merrier.

As to Mike Bloomberg and Bernie Sanders, I’m a fan of neither but let them run and see how they do. Bloomberg’s wanderings from Democrat to Republican to Independent and back to Democrat gives this hardcore Democrat pause. Similarly, Sanders’ status as a stubborn Independent is vexatious. I’m also unconvinced that a passion candidate like Bernie will do as well the second time around, BUT if both he and Bloomberg want to run, I say the more the merrier. Let the voters decide.

Everyone who is a native-born citizen over the age of 35 has the right to run for president even Tulsi Gabbard. I’m mystified as to why she thinks that running on a platform of compromising with Trump, Obama bashing, and Kremlingate skepticism will appeal to Democratic voters. I’ll skip detailing her anti-LGBT past, which has already crippled her candidacy.

Speaking of the Current Occupant, he’s the elephant in the room. If Trump runs for re-election, he will be the GOP nominee even if he faces a primary challenge. But I remain uncertain that he’ll be on the ballot in 2020. As a partisan Democrat, I hope the Insult Comedian runs because he looks beatable in the wake of the midterms, but as a patriot I hope he’s out of office ASAP.

Democrats need to be prepared to run against another Republican nominee, be it Pence or someone else. That’s another reason to be glad that the Democratic field will be so large. We need options. The more the merrier.

The last word goes to The Mighty Sparrow:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Peter Gunn

Peter Gunn was a detective show starring Craig Stevens that ran for 114 episodes between 1958-1961. It’s best remembered for its creator, Blake Edwards, and the marvelous music of Henry Mancini. The theme song has been recorded many times over the years by a wide variety of artists.

Let’s rumble, private eye style:

Finally, here’s a prog rock ringer:

He Doesn’t Care Who He Hurts

The shutdown, and food stamp recipients: 

What’s left after that is an approximately $3 billion contingency reserve that’ll be dipped into to ensure benefits continue into February. What happens next—will the remainder of that reserve be used up to distribute money to these low-income households in March?—isn’t clear.

An expert in the field confirms to Delish there’s no precedent for a situation like that and that it’s only the Department of Agriculture and the administration who’d be able to answer that question. There is a world where if there is no appropriation for the programs, there is no program at all. Even after the government re-opens, if the law that re-opens it doesn’t include funding for SNAP, there would just not be any authority for the government to fulfill those benefits, though the source hesitates to say so.

If you have a local food pantry and have been holding off giving, now would be a good time. They’re going to be slammed from this with no help in sight. Trump doesn’t care about any of these people and he and McConnell are all too happy to sacrifice them if it means “winning” in this mess.

And while we’re here, JUST ONE MORE GODDAMN PERSON please write a column about how both sides need to come to an agreement. Democrats have offered approximately everything BUT a giant border wall in order to reopen the government, and since they now have the House, we OUGHT to be due a few hundred thousand words on how Republicans need to reach across the aisle and compromise but no, it’s all “this is happening because we are so partisan and divided” and “both sides” and just generally give me all the fucking breaks. It’s too stupid to believe, most days, where we are.

A.

The Women Have Always Been Here

Yep: 

Before lifelong activist Florence Reece took the stage to sing her now-iconic labor anthems, she sat at the kitchen table writing those songs from the perspective as a mother and wife—and as a union agitator. “Unofficial social worker” Edith Easterling leveraged her local knowledge, and the federal resources she gained access to as a staffer for the anti-poverty program known as Appalachian Volunteers, to launch her own personal war on poverty at home in Pike County, Kentucky, with the Marrowbone Folk School—and saw her daughter Sue Ella follow her footsteps straight into the civil rights movement via multiracial youth organizing efforts. When Appalachian health activist Eula Hall opened the Mud Creek Clinic and Dr. Elinor Graham taught mountain women how to self-administer breast and pelvic exams and provided information on birth control, they were enabling poor women to take control of their own bodies and make their own childbearing decisions.

Discussions of women’s movements that leave out poor and lower-middle-class women who have always had to work and fight and scrap and “resist” for what they needed drive me bonkers. We have these “lean in” moments where it seems like it’s all about our personal fulfillment and our private desires, instead of about the baby eating or the roof getting fixed. Women have had to fight for those things long before (and will long after) the slogan-embossed tote bags wear out.

A.

America Held Hostage Day 31

The Trump shutdown goes on and on and on. As does the president* himself: he tweeted 40 times yesterday according to Politico.

The Insult Comedian’s attempt to impose a “compromise” flopped. Bigly. It’s what happens when the “negotiations” involve only Republicans. It pissed off anti-immigration hardliners and was rejected out of hand by Nancy Smash *before* Trump spoke. She continues to play contract bridge while the president* plays go-fish.

The Turtle finally poked his head out of his shell but the proposal went nowhere Saturday and will not get 60 votes in the Senate. Democrats remain united even though reports of suffering federal employees are painful. We can’t negotiate with a gun pointed at our heads. If we give in, Trump will pull this stunt over and over again.

It’s Martin Luther King Day everywhere in the country except in Mississippi and Alabama where it’s MLK/Robert E. Lee Day. The Lost Cause dream dies hard in the cradle of the confederacy. I wonder if Jeff Beau Sessions is wearing gray today?

It’s “we wuz robbed” day in New Orleans after that egregious blown call in the NFC Championship game. There are even calls for a Saints parade on Super Bowl Sunday. I’m not crazy about the idea. I’d prefer placing the refs in the stocks and pelting them with stale King Cake, but that’s just me. Vengeance is sticky…

That concludes this edition of America Held Hostage. The last word goes to U2:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – fallen zeros edition

Before we get to the Freeping idiots, The Darnold says : “Hold my tequila!”

(mind you, this is from FOX news)

President Trump says to reporters that San Antonio, a town 157 miles from U.S. border, has a wall

While addressing reporters ahead of a special announcement Saturday on the partial government shutdown and border wall funding, President Trump cited San Antonio as a city that had its crime problem solved after getting a wall.

“You look at different places, they put up a wall, no problem,” Trump said. “You look at San Antonio, you look at so many different places, they go from one of the most unsafe cities in the country to one of the safest cities immediately.”

San Antonio does not have a border wall. It is located 157 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.

There is, of course, a wall around part of the Alamo (8 /10 feet high), but that didn’t really stop any Mexicans from climbing it.

Yeesh – he must think everyone is as stupid as he is.

Speaking of stupid – Hail To Da King, Baby!

White House: Rep. Steve King’s white supremacy remarks ‘abhorrent’
PBS ^ | 1/16/19

Posted on 1/16/2019, 10:58:57 AM by Blue House Sue

WASHINGTON — The White House is describing comments by Republican Rep. Steve King about white supremacy as “abhorrent.”

Presidential press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is praising the move by House Republicans to strip the nine-term Iowa lawmaker of his committee assignments.

1 posted on 1/16/2019, 10:58:57 AM by Blue House Sue
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So – not only did The Darnold call King’s blather “abhorrent”, he sent Baghdad Boob out to the assembled press corps to say so.

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I’m sure this  dolchstosslegende  is going to bring down the wrath of Freeperville on ole Tweety Amin.
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No?
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To: Blue House Sue 

Horse crap.

That’s no way to talk about your Fuhrer.

His comments were no such thing. Vilification of someone asking a question regarding today’s political discourse, or the lack thereof, is eroding our representative foundation.

2 posted on 1/16/2019, 11:01:18 AM by rjsimmon (The Tree of Liberty Thirsts)

To: Blue House Sue

 

Jeez…yet another successful political assassination by the New York Times Trump.

4 posted on 1/16/2019, 11:02:21 AM by House Atreides (Boycott the NFL 100% — PERMANENT)

FIFY.
To: House Atreides
Jeez…yet another successful political assassination by the New York Times. 

The New York Times didn’t spy on the guy and illegally record his conversations.

He sat down and gave them an ‘effing interview.

I have no sympathy — and no patience — for a moron like this. I hope he resigns soon, so he can be replaced by someone who has an IQ above 80.

6 posted on 1/16/2019, 11:05:29 AM by Alberta’s Child (“In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey.”)
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Well, that rules out The Darnold.  I hear that Randy Quaid is available…
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So – there’s two schools of so-called thought here – King was an idiot for saying this shit on the record, and King is an upstanding true American for saying this shit on the record.
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And not one person from either of these two special needs schools is blaming The Darnold for his stabbity-stab in the back of the once and future King.
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Not one.
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To: Blue House Sue
Just what in the hell did Steve King say that was so abhorrent?That he was a white nationalist. 

Well so am I. I’m a white male

What a shocker!

and I love my country and I hate seeing where the commiecrats are taking us.

10 posted on 1/16/2019, 11:13:17 AM by puppypusher ( The world is going to the dogs.)

One Freeper ALMOST goes there :
To: Blue House Sue

 

Why is the White House falling for this NYT smear?

White House can not afford to throw conservative leaning legislators under the bus every time someone on the left attacks them.

Foolish.

11 posted on 1/16/2019, 11:16:39 AM by unlearner (War is coming.)

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DangerClose
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Fortunately for “unlearner”, nobody responds to his little tiptoe through the minefield.
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Join me below the fold for Ann Coulter’s wall squall.
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Just Kids

I was eight, maybe? Nine?

At the shopping mall, because it was the 1980s. With my aunt.

We were sitting by some kind of fountain or courtyard. There were lots of little kids jumping and playing, chasing each other, their voices echoing off the tile floors and metal furniture. I don’t remember why some of them bothered me, whether they bumped into me or I just saw them and didn’t like them, but they bothered me somehow.

And I turned to my aunt — both of us so white as to be transparent, in case you’re new here — and I said, “Look at those little colored boys running around.”

I’d heard older relatives use that word. I’d heard the tone of contempt in their voices when they did it. I mimicked both, no, I said it. I was old enough to know better and I said it meanly.

“WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?”

My aunt grabbed me by the shoulder. I’ll never forget the look on her face. She dragged me to a chair and got down to my level and she asked me a question I couldn’t answer then and certainly can’t now.

“Who do you think you are? You think you’re better than them? Why, because they’re black and you’re not?”

She was fuming. Exasperated. But somehow sad, too.

“You don’t call people ‘colored.’ That’s a terrible thing old people said a long time ago. They prefer African-American. And you don’t talk about people that way, ever, no matter what they look like or what they’re doing.”

She adored me. I was her tiny little princess who she spoiled and indulged. I’d never seen her angry at me before but she was angry then.

It’s been more than 30 years and I think about that moment all the time.

I thought about it again yesterday: 

In video footage that was shared widely on social media, one boy, wearing the red hat that has become a signature of President Trump, stood directly in front of the elder, who stared impassively ahead while playing a ceremonial drum.

Some boys in the group wore clothing associated with Covington Catholic High School, an all-male college preparatory school in Park Hills, Ky., near Cincinnati.

High school kids surrounded and intimidated an elderly Native American man and laughed while they did it.

The wingnutsphere is in full cry already, and the kids’ “defenders” are out there talking about how somehow the old man started it, or that the video doesn’t tell the whole story, or that they’re just stupid kids and everybody was a shithead in high school.

Public shaming is getting out of hand in this country and more often than not, we aren’t getting the full story. Anyways, it’s time we as a nation learn not to judge others when you and I are nowhere near perfect. We need to forgive because we’ve all said and done dumb things in our lives, especially when we were their age.

Probably lots of kids are stupid. Lots of kids are shitheads.

But that’s the point.

When they do shit like this, you correct them and you educate them and you for the love of God don’t make excuses for them and then turn around and scream about how the elderly Native American man they were taunting “started it” because then they learn nothing.

Yelling at adult MAGA chuckleheads is beyond pointless. They’re out there cheering for this, they’re past changing. But some of the kids might not be.

Unless the only response by the adults in their lives is to pretend their kids did nothing wrong.

This is bad reporting. Those that were there said the man approached the kids beating his drum and even joined into the kids as well as they did to his beat. Disgusting what the AP did with this. If you notice the man is smiling as the Indian does the “stare down” done during the ritual. Jeez.

I think about my aunt and the mall when kids do stupid, racist things. I think about the time I came home from school laughing because somebody called somebody else a faggot and I thought that word sounded funny and my mom explained why it wasn’t. I think about the people who took the time to knock my ass down when I spoke out of turn or presumed or overstepped.

I think about how long it took me to be grateful for those times.

Would she have done me any favors, my aunt, had she simply shushed me? Had she made sure nobody heard, and then muttered darkly about the “PC police” and “the media” setting up “good kids” to look bad? Would that have, in any way, prepared me for the world we live in now?

 

If they’re “just kids” that means there’s a chance they could turn back from this.

The adults in their lives egging them on and defending them are the ones who are irredeemable.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Drinking Again

Subway Portrait by Walker Evans

The weather roller coaster continues in New Orleans but nobody cares because the Saints are playing the Rams in the NFC championship game tomorrow. Our loud fans are bound to blow the roof off the Superdome and it’s going to be raucous everywhere in town. There’s some overconfidence among the fans but very little on the team itself. I still refuse to say Who Dat but I will say Geaux Saints.

In other local news, the Rolling Stones are playing Jazz Fest. I’ve seen the Stones 6 times, but I’m not shelling out $185 for their special day, which is especially expensive. I may just have to listen for free from my top-secret location nearby. Here’s my  only comment on the continuing gentrification of Jazz Fest:

This week’s theme song, Drinking Again, was written in 1962 by Johnny Mercer and Doris Tauber. We have versions by two of the greatest singers ever: Aretha Franklin and Francis Albert Sinatra. Bottoms up.

The song was reworked in 1968 by the Jeff Beck Group:

I hope you’re not too tipsy to jump to the break.

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Quote Of The Day: Maybot Edition

The Maybot by Steve Bell

I’ve been following British politics my entire adult life. In the pre-Brexit era, there were occasional outbreaks of lunacy on the extremes of both major parties. But since the country narrowly voted to leave the European Union, there’s been an unprecedented outbreak of the crazy. It’s as if the Raging Monster Loony Party has seized control of both Labour and the Tories. Yes, there really is such a thing. It’s the real life counterpart of Monty Python’s Silly Party.

That brings me to this week’s events in the House of Commons. First, hapless Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit “compromise” bill was overwhelmingly defeated. Then, the equally hapless Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, tabled a vote of no-confidence in the government. The Prime Minister won that vote since the last thing her party wants to do is face the electorate.

May is a stoical and unemotional leader. That’s why the Guardian’s John Crace dubbed her the Maybot. Remind you of anyone? May, however, makes Willard Mittbot Romney look like a ball of fire.

That brings me to the quote of the day. It comes from a NYT article entitled Theresa May, Britain’s Lady of Perpetual Crisis:

“She is indestructible,” wrote Tom Peck, a sketch writer for the Independent, reflecting on the events of the day. “She is the cockroach in nuclear winter. She is the algae that survives on sulphuric gas from subaquatic volcanoes, seven miles beneath the daylight. She is the Nokia 5210.”

That’s quite a list. The only comparison Peck missed is this one: She is the Keith Richards of Prime Ministers. I’ve long referred to Keef as a human cockroach. Indestructibility is the only thing the two have in common.

The last word goes to (who else?) Keith Richards and the Rolling Stones:

 

Friday Catblogging: Mr. Drake Is Ready For His Close Up

Here’s a picture Dr. A took of Paul Drake on his Gotcha Day: Twelfth Night.

America Held Hostage Day 26

Flags by Jasper Johns

I did a daily update on the 2013 Ted Cruz shutdown using the Jasper Johns image above and the *original* title of a teevee news show hosted by Ted Koppel. Here’s how I explained it back when Cruz was clean-shaven and idea of President* Trump was a punch line:

I keep dating myself (I kiss and tell too) on this blog but I do it for a good cause. I remember when ABC News launched a late night newscast after bored students stormed the US Embassy in Tehran and took a bunch of hostages to avoid studying for finals. The show was originally called America Held Hostage before morphing into Nightline, which is apparently still airing but I haven’t seen it in eons. A late night network news show is now kinda quaint but it was cutting edge in 1979.

The Trump shutdown is in its 26th day, which is the longest in American history. That makes it the latest in a series of dubious firsts for the Trump regime.

The modern era of extortion by government shutdown started in 1995 when Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House and Bill Clinton president. The Gingrich shutdown was the previous record holder at 21 days. Clinton stood frim and the GOP took the blame for that shutdown.

I feel the pain of federal workers who have missed a paycheck but it’s important for Democrats to hold firm on the Trump shutdown. If they cave, he will keep doing this every time his will is thwarted. It’s extortion pure and simple.

Speaker Pelosi’s SOTU gambit was smashing. She *is* the host of the event and is hoping that Trump will be unable to resist the clarion call of a speech in the most dramatic setting imaginable. The Insult Comedian loves the sound of sycophantic GOPers cheering his every lie, after all. He’s unlikely to revert to the pre-1913 custom of a written SOTU. Woodrow Wilson initiated the modern in-person SOTU but he was a noted orator, not a ranter like Trump.

It’s time to thank the president* for taking responsibility for the shutdown. I’ll never forget the smirk on Chuck Schumer’s face when Trump fell into that trap. It’s what happens when you have no impulse control and cannot STFU. That’s why Rex Tillerson called him a fucking moron. Thanks, Trumpy.

At day 26, it’s no longer just the Trump shutdown, it’s the Trump-McConnell shutdown. There are the votes in the Senate to override a presidential veto but Chinless Mitch won’t schedule a vote despite how badly Republicans are tanking in the polls. The Turtle has crawled back into his shell. I didn’t know they hibernated.

The last word on the Trump-McConnell-Limbaugh-Coulter shutdown goes to Josh Marshall:

Republicans are desperate – and not even doing much or well to hide it – to have Democrats start negotiating with them about a wall. We’ve moved on from demanding the chunk of money. Now it’s wanting to negotiate, begging frankly. For all the atmospherics and strategies, the only important point to make is that the President is holding the government hostage to force his way. That has to stop. The shutdown bacillus that Newt Gingrich injected into our political system in 1995 must be eradicated. It was dormant for almost two decades until Republicans (neo-Gingrichites) returned to power in the House in 2011. It’s wrong. It’s destructive. And it’s the same principle we apply to all terrorists. You can’t negotiate with terrorists or hostage takers, because it encourages the behavior.

Yes!

wa_po_front_page_yes_men_4

My own effort isn’t nearly as impressive, but I cranked it out pretty quickly; The Yes Men’s latest was carefully crafted and well worth a look

Early this morning, thousands of commuters in Washington, D.C. were handed a spitting image of the Washington Post. But this one was dated May 1, 2019 — and in lieu of the Post’s usual tagline, “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” the phrase “Democracy Awakens in Action” appeared at the top. The paper’s lead headline: “Unpresidented: Trump Hastily Departs White House, Ending Crisis.” (An online version of the paper has also been making the rounds, at democracyawakensinaction.org, complete with PDF of the print version.)

A scan of the paper’s front page offers up a compelling backstory for Trump’s flight: a women-led, multi-racial grassroots resistance. Their winning strategy is borrowed from other movements against authoritarian rulers: target those who support the tyrant, rather than the tyrant himself.

That strategy has also led to growing support for a package of groundbreaking progressive legislation known as the “Bundle”64 bills sure to be popular across the political spectrum, including some — the Green New Deal bills, Medicare for All, the H.R. 1 election reform bill — that already are.

“The story this paper tells is more reasonable than our current reality,” says author Onnesha Roychoudhuri, who created the paper together with author L.A. Kauffman and trickster activist collective the Yes Men. “And it’s anything but far-fetched. We’re already seeing unprecedented levels of protest and resistance. Now we just need to ask ourselves: What’s next? This paper offers a blueprint to help us reclaim our democracy.”

One can hope.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Winter Kill

I still have winter on my mind. Winter Kill was first published in 1946. The paperback cover was done by the noted pulp artist Rudolph Belarski.

 

Republicans In Disarray

It’s been a bad week for the president* thus far. His wildly unpopular shutdown enters its 27th day, he’s been mocked for serving cold hamberders to jocks from Clemson, and his administration* has been leaking like a sieve. The stories about his NATO-phobia and Interpretergate have been particularly damaging as well as damning. It’s been an excellent week, however, for Putin’s plan to foment chaos in what used to be called the free world. We’ll just have to keep on rockin’

Enough of the Insult Comedian, let’s talk about *other* Republicans in disarray. Two past malakas of the week have been in the news: Steve King and Chris Christie.

The Same Old Racist Iowa Cornholer: Emulating Captain Louis Renault in Casablanca, House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy is shocked, shocked to learn that Steve King is a bigot. Based on his legendary “untrustable in hungria” comment, McCarthy is not the brightest bulb in the lamp. He’s also not very observant: Steve King was a racist long before he was stripped of his committee assignments.  I wrote about it in a 2017 post called King Of The Bigots and Trip Gabriel of the Failing New York Times has compiled Steve King’s Greatest Hits. What a long, strange Trip it’s been.

Perhaps Kevin hadn’t noticed before because his head is so far up Trump’s ample rump that he’s been blind to King’s racism. It’s a lame excuse: King has been saying this shit since he was a member of the Iowa lege. This quote comes from 2002, when the Trump presidency* was just a bad dream:

Mr. King, in the Iowa State Senate, files a bill requiring schools teach that the United States “is the unchallenged greatest nation in the world and that it has derived its strength from … Christianity, free enterprise capitalism and Western civilization.”

The Congressman from next door Metry and past malaka of the week, Steve Scalise, has been too busy selling books and pretending NOT to be a more politically viable David Duke to notice King’s bigotry either. Scalise prefers code words to raw naked hatred but he’s guilty of Renault-ism as well:

The King of Bigots took to the House floor yesterday to defend himself:

Dolts like King always twist history to justify their words and actions. Many abolitionists were racists and preferred emigration and separation to integration and equality. I wonder if King has ever heard of Liberia.

The only reason Republicans stripped the bark off King’s committee assignments is that House Democrats voted to rebuke the Iowa Cornholer’s latest statements. The vote was 424-1. And the no vote came from Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush who thought the House should censure the King of Bigots.

Let’s move on to our next example of Republicans in disarray. The post title feels slightly illicit since it mocks a million such stories about Democrats in Tiger Beat on the Potomac aka Politico. Perhaps I’ll win the morning.

Governor Asshole’s Revenge: There’s a consensus out there that the Trump regime operates like a mob family. I’ve even given him a wise guy name: Don Donaldo Il Comico Insulto.

The man who wanted to be Clemenza to Trump’s Godfather has written a book that verifies the old Sicilian adage “revenge is a dish best served cold.” I wonder if the dish is pizza? I happen to like cold, leftover pizza for breakfast. I’ve also been known to hold a grudge.

Back to Christie’s upcoming tome, Let Me Finish. Yesterday, the Guardian published an exclusive article about the most explosive parts of the book, which involve the Governor Asshole/Slumlord Jared blood feud:

Christie blames this key player[Kushner] in the president’s inner circle for his ignominious dismissal shortly after Trump’s election victory in November 2016. Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, writes that Kushner’s role in his sacking was confirmed to him by Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign chief, in real time.

As Bannon was carrying out the firing, at Trump Tower in New York, Christie forced him to tell him who was really behind the dismissal by threatening to go to the media and point the finger at Bannon instead.

“Steve Bannon … made clear to me that one person and one person only was responsible for the faceless execution that Steve was now attempting to carry out. Jared Kushner, still apparently seething over events that had occurred a decade ago.”

The political assassination was carried out by Kushner as a personal vendetta, Christie writes, that had its roots in his prosecution, as a then federal attorney, of Charles Kushner in 2005. The real estate tycoon was charged with witness tampering and tax evasion and served more than a year in federal prison.

Apologies for the long quote but I couldn’t quite channel my inner Mario Puzo or David Chase this morning, so I let the Guardian guys do it for me.

I’ve missed having Governor Asshole to kick around. I’m glad he’s publishing an *almost* tell-all book about the Trump regime. I say almost because he’s softer on Trumpberius than on anyone else:

At his first meeting with Trump in 2002, at a dinner in the Trump International Hotel and Tower, in New York, Trump ordered his food for him. He chose scallops, to which Christie is allergic, and lamb which he has always detested. Christie recalls wondering whether Trump took him to be “one of his chicks”.

At another dinner three years later Trump told the obese Christie he had to lose weight. Addressing him like one of the contestants in Miss Universe, the beauty contest organisation that he owned, Trump said “you gotta look better to be able to win” in politics.

Trump returned to the theme of girth during the 2016 presidential campaign, exhorting Christie to wear a longer tie as it would make him look thinner.

Christie hates lamb? Fuck him and the long red tie he rode in on. Was that a bridge too far? Nah, in the immortal words of Bobby Bacala:

No, Bobby, I don’t. It’s what I do.

There’s one more example of Republicans in disarray. Chinless Mitch may be preventing a vote on re-opening the government but he lost a vote yesterday, which had to be one of the most newsworthy Tuesdays in history. One could even call it Christie Gras.

The Oleg Deripaska Sanctions Blues: Team Trump wants to lift sanctions on the Russian oligarch to whom Paul Manafort owes millions of dollars, Oleg Deripaska. 11 Republican Senators joined Democrats to stop this move in its tracks; one of whom, to my great surprise, was Gret Stet Senator John Neely Kennedy of Neelyisms fame. As Neely himself might put it, even a blind pig finds an acorn sometime. Boy howdy.

This was a preliminary vote: they need 2 more GOP votes to stop Mnuchin’s folly but any sign  of Republican disarray is inordinately pleasing. Props to Chuck Schumer for organizing this mini uprising. He’s showing more backbone since Nancy Smash became Speaker. Keep it up, Chuck.

That concludes this episode of Republicans In Disarray Theatre. The last word goes to the Gin Blossoms who have anthropomorphized disarray.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Winter In America

It’s been cold so I ran a search for winter album covers and came up with Winter In America. This 1974 album is a collaborator between the late, great Gil Scott-Heron and his old friend jazz pianist Brian Jackson. The cover art is by another friend of the duo’s Eugene Coles.

Here’s a nifty inner sleeve collage designed by Peggy Harris:

I’d never heard this album until this week. It’s pretty darn good.

Blogger Ethics Train’s Never Late

Our august journalism elders are wanking away about unqualified diversity hires who ARE NEITHER: 

Now on top of those errors, the graf above says VICE wanted ppl with “the look.” “But” it hired “very young” reporters w/ “scant experience.” I’m the 1st example of this. Elements of the graf paint me as an “edgy” but inept diversity hire, rather than a competent journalist.

To attempt to explain what’s happened to journalism:

Jill Abramson follows four companies: The New York Times, The Washington PostBuzzFeed, and VICE Media over a decade of disruption and radical adjustment. The new digital reality nearly kills two venerable newspapers with an aging readership while creating two media behemoths with a ballooning and fickle audience of millennials. We get to know the defenders of the legacy presses as well as the outsized characters who are creating the new speed-driven media competitors. The players include Jeff Bezos and Marty Baron (The Washington Post), Arthur Sulzberger and Dean Baquet (The New York Times), Jonah Peretti (BuzzFeed), and Shane Smith (VICE) as well as their reporters and anxious readers.

Merchants of Truth raises crucial questions that concern the well-being of our society. We are facing a crisis in trust that threatens the free press. Abramson’s book points us to the future.

Meanwhile this shit is happening: 

I’ll keep saying it until I’m dead but you are not talking about what’s happened to journalism unless you’re talking about money.

Hedge fund money. Billionaire money. Corporate money and the slavering greed that called 17 percent profit margins “struggling” and pissed away every ounce of customer loyalty that media brands spent centuries building.

Media company bosses fired experienced reporters and hired younger ones, counting on the old hands to yell at their replacements and not their bosses and for 20 years that’s been the response, along with screaming at “millennials” to stop being so hip and edgy and getting their news “for free.” You are not talking about what happened to journalism unless you’re talking about that.

For that matter, you are not talking about what’s happened to journalism unless you’re talking about the consolidation of production and delivery that doomed people who wanted information to getting it irregularly, incorrectly or not at all.

You are not talking about what happened to journalism unless you’re talking about systematically attacking customers by redirecting them to bloated, heaving websites that drop 35 ad trackers on you while screaming at you to subscribe even after you log in three times.

You are not talking about what happened to journalism unless you’re talking about running a sports team and a TV station and an events production company and a luxury high-rise with the money you’re supposed to be spending on DOING THE FUCKING NEWS.

If you’re talking about the content, and taking potshots at the hip hairstyles of people who ACTUALLY WANT TO BE REPORTERS IN THIS GODFORSAKEN MEDIA HELLSCAPE (people you should be mentoring and nurturing and encouraging, not smacking around for violating your antique gender norms), you are already so far behind the 8-ball that locating Charlottesville in North Carolina is the least of your problems.

And let’s not even get started on supposedly surveying everything the light touches in American journalism without centering Fox and its media and cultural imitators, who are responsible for the parts of the slaughter hedgies haven’t gotten to yet.

In the year of our Lord and Savior Nellie Bly 2018, we cannot possibly still be saying the problem is young people with partially shaved heads. In the year of endless hearings into misinformation on Facebook shared over and over by elderly MAGAtroids, our pundit class cannot still be obsessed with the blogger ethics panic that seized the entirety of the early oughts, right?

RIGHT?

A.

The Dental Lobby

Got into a discussion the other day about the infuriating cost of dental work and the near-total uselessness of dental insurance and a friend pointed my way to this story, which explains in some ways why my dentist acts like money doesn’t exist:

On a recent Friday, Michael Hanson, 54, a lobsterman who went 15 years without seeing a dentist, was sitting in the community health clinic near Maine’s Acadia National Park. Over time, lack of care and poor health ruined Hanson’s teeth. In February, they were all pulled. He sat toothless, talking about eating soft food for months while he awaits his dentures.

Hanson said his daughter, too, skips annual exams because it is hard to come up with the money.

The dental system is broken, he said. “You go to the hospital and they give you time to pay your bill. But you go to the dentist and they want you to pay right there, and people just don’t have the money.”

The sickest I’ve ever been was from a botched root canal that abscessed. No pain was like that in my life, not the C-section, not the burst ovarian cyst, not the herniated back disc. At 3 a.m. I was begging Mr. A to either pull the tooth out with pliers or put me immediately to death. But in calling around to emergency rooms to try to find someone to shoot me like a horse we realized almost none of them consider dental care health care at all.

I have a decent dentist now, but my teeth are genetically horrible and if I tilt my head just right I can get radio signals, I have so much metal in my head. Every time I go in it’s $200 with head-shaking advice to spend approximately 10 grand (I’m exaggerating but only a little) on veneers, replacing all my old fillings, getting implants and/or bridges, and they get downright SHIRTY when I say flat-out that I can’t afford what they want to do.

“When are you going to get these implants?” the dentist asked, noting the four holes in my mouth where adult teeth never came in.

“When they’re free.” She stared at me like I’d suggested paying her with my body. At $3,500 times four, it would be the only way to get it done.

If we had a decent government and not a dumpster fire overseen by a fascist lunatic, we’d be adding to Obamacare a few levels that let us get our teeth fixed before we all died of blood poisoning or had to get dentures in our 30s.

A.

Tweets Of The Day: Protest NOLA Style

The Insult Comedian came to Nashville New Orleans today. I wasn’t able to attend the protest but some very talented people did.

The tweets come from some local media types who covered the protest.. We begin with two food oriented tweets from the Gambit Tabloid:

Here’s a close up of the guillotine from the Advocates’s Jeff Adelson:

I’ve saved the best for last: a Krewe du Vieux worthy mini-float that the unknown (to me) artist calls Fat Man and Little Boy after the first two nukes, They’re definitely da bomb.

Finally, after a shaky start the Saints beat the Eagles 20-14. Next up are the Rams in the NFC Championship Game. We’ll see if Jared Goff handles the crowd noise better than Nick Foles. We witnessed a Foles fail yesterday and it wasn’t even the fall.

I still refuse to say Who Dat but I will say GEAUX SAINTS.

The Fog Of Scandal: Worst Case Scenario

Photo via radioopensource.org

I wasn’t surprised by Friday’s NYT blockbuster but I was still shocked. We need to retain the capacity to be shocked, if we lose it, they win. There are more stories of White House horrors in the pipeline, if we’re numb to the outrages, they win. This is not normal.

I’ve resisted the temptation to label Kremlingate the worst scandal in American political history, but that ended Friday with the confirmation that the FBI has investigated Trump’s sinister pro-Russian conduct as president*. Imagine if Woodrow Wilson had connived with the Kaiser in 1916 or if FDR was in league with Tojo and Hirohito in 1940. That’s where we find ourselves in 2019.

I deliberately picked the years before war was declared (a quaint thing we used to do in the pre-Korea/Vietnam/Gulf Wars era) to remind everyone that Trump’s peacetime affiliation with Putin’s Russia is subversion and sedition, not treason, which, as I pointed out early last year, is the only crime defined in the constitution:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

An additional definition is offered in the constitutional dictionary:

treason n the offense of attempting to overthrow the government of one’s country or of assisting its enemies in war.

We’re not at war with Russia and when it comes to the law words matter. I understand why the T word and its variations roll off the tongue and one’s twitter timeline but repeat after me:  Kremlingate is sedition, not treason.

I’m *almost* a Russia hawk but I don’t want war. Bullies like Putin should be resisted. But we should use the tried and tested methods of containment. It worked with the infinitely more powerful Soviet Union. Putin’s efforts to subvert small-L, small-D liberal democracy by stealth are an admission of weakness, not strength. Unfortunately, we have a fake tough guy as president* who is compromised by Russian intelligence.

Until last Friday, I was in favor of slow walking impeachment. I’m well aware that it’s a politically explosive topic. The last thing I want is for Trump’s eroding base to rally around him BUT with the latest confirmation of his seditious activities there’s no choice but to impeach. Timing remains important: the House should wait for Muller to issue his final report on the Kremlingate aspects of this sprawling scandal. BUT they will have to confront this issue directly this year even if the votes to convict in the Senate aren’t there. At the very least, impeachment will turn this president* into a political eunuch.

As I’ve said many times before, Watergate was my formative political issue. In fact, I’m currently re-reading Woodstein’s The Final Days. So, I’m loathe to admit that any scandal is worse than Watergate or that any president is more corrupt than Richard Nixon but the time has come to put aside my “childish ways” and agree with Congressperson Rashida Tlaib that it’s time to “impeach the motherfucker.”

Today on Tommy T’s obsession with the Freeperati – Trumpy bare edition

A quick one today, folks – starting off with – Kanye believe this shit?

Kanye Is Back On That Deranged $#*+ With Trump!!
Hypefresh ^ | January 2, 2019

Posted on 1/2/2019, 11:04:59 PM by 2ndDivisionVet

It seems like Kanye’s deranged behavior is here to stay in 2019.

Through 2018, Kanye had a lot of ups and downs in his personal life. The rapper has seemed to have fallen from stardom due to his outspoken personality and random outburst. Because of his actions he has lost the respect of the peers in the world of music. It seems as though his arrogance continues to grow and rubbed people throughout the year. It even went as for to typical Kanye finding ways to piss people off at Cher opening. Most of the animosity has come by way of him being an advocate for Donald Trump within the urban community.

Many people were appalled when news broke that Kanye West arrives at Whitehouse for lunch with Trump. Fellow artist that have accepted Kanye West stunts in the past would not be silent on this particular shenanigan. Artist such as Snoop Dogg, T.I., and former label mate Camron took to social media to air out the Chicago native. Everyone is highly offended by Mr. West rocking the highly controversial “Make America Great Again” hat. Shortly after his wife Kim Kardashian says she educated Kanye after the Trump visit.

Longtime colleague Charlemagne Da God canceled his interview his discussion with Kanye West because of his public outcry for attention. After all of the drama, Yeezy eventually apologized publicly on Twitter for making the wrong stance regarding the world of politics. Even his label Pusha T claimed that Kanye doesn’t wear the MAGNA hat anymore. At the moment it seems as though Kanye is back to supporting Trump again. During his cabinet meeting to kick off the year, the President shouted out Mr. West.

It’s obvious that Ye loves to be the center of attention, as he even called out larger than life rapper Drake on Twitter. He claims that Drizzy took shots at him several times, and he was steamin after Drake followed his wife on Instagram.

Is Kanye really deranged? Or is he trying to stay relevant?

1 posted on 1/2/2019, 11:04:59 PM by 2ndDivisionVet
Is that a trick question?
Yin:
To: 2ndDivisionVet
I don’t care about Kanye anymore 

Seems like an attention whore to me

…but enough about Trump…

A few days before the 2018 election he claims he has been had and used and stopped support MAGA.

Not a friend of Trump, just another moocher looking to line is pockets.

Get lost Kanye

2 posted on 1/2/2019, 11:10:54 PM by Trump.Deplorable

And yang:
To: Trump.Deplorable
Kanye is a Master Persuader.

 

masterbaiter

I’m glad he’s on our side.

4 posted on 1/2/2019, 11:12:26 PM by an amused spectator (Mitt Romney, Chuck Schumer’s p*ssboy)

So’s The Darnold.
To: conservative98

 

He went against Trump and could not support the policies and that borders were bad. He was had

Screw this Kanye, we don’t need him or all of his “issues”

6 posted on 1/2/2019, 11:15:39 PM by Trump.Deplorable

To: 2ndDivisionVet

 

Who gibs a phlying phuque ??

7 posted on 1/2/2019, 11:16:05 PM by truth_seeker ( ^^\/**|_|**\/ ^^)

Do you kiss your mom with that mouth?
And as for who “gibs”….
To: Trump.Deplorable

 

“I don’t care about Kanye anymore”

I never pay any attention to the worthless, lowlife filth. Anyone who did an idiot. He’s a con-artist, subhuman garbage and a racist POS. He richly deserves the “Tupac Treatment”, bigtime, for his trash rags and noise.

10 posted on 1/2/2019, 11:30:21 PM by carriage_hill (A society grows great when old men plant trees, in whose shade they know they will never sit.)

What is this?  Marry/fuck/kill?
Read more…..if you dare!

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