The Ones She Has Found: Game of Thrones Thread

That was sincerely, no shit, no cynicism, no joking, one of the loveliest hours of television I have ever seen in my entire life.

Spoilers within:

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Dems Aren’t Solely Responsible for Fixing This

So it took about ten minutes after the Mueller Report for people to start screaming at Democrats for being spineless worthless cowards who lacked the political will to impeach Donald Trump immediately. People spent the rest of the week losing their shit at Nancy, Steny Hoyer, Chuck Schumer and all the rest of the leadership, demanding they do the right thing and IMPEACH OR GTFO.

Meanwhile the national press began autowittering gibberish about the optics for Democrats of impeaching or not impeaching. Every Clintonista who’s been looking for a paycheck found one opining about what it did to their president when Newt Gingrich stuck his head up his own ass and decided he liked the view. The OP EDS ALONE. How would impeachment impact Bernie’s or Biden’s or Warren’s chances in 2020? How does this play in a MAGA dipshit diner in Iowa? There are head-to-head national polls! Nothing makes these losers orgasm like completely baseless speculation and insane hypotheticals and this was a banner week for both.

And spare me the ‘splain. I am not defending Nancy or Steny or Chuck. And I do know the Democrats have the House majority and we gave it to them at great cost, so don’t mistake anything I’m about to say for a gesture of sympathy for highly paid people being asked to do their literal job.

I just have a question.

Why is impeachment being discussed as if only Democrats can do it?

Why is all the pressure on THEM to impeach or not impeach, to come out for removing Trump, to deal with the political implications of impeaching or not impeaching, to make a statement or take a stand or release a strongly worded press release? Where is the call to get on the record every single pudsucking suburban rep from the Party of Lincoln saying why THEY don’t want to impeach?

I mean it. Yes, the Dems have the House majority and could do this on their own if they wanted and they don’t want to which is insane, but why does that allow Republicans to not even get a question about this. And speaking of political will and Nancy’s lack of it, if 20 Republican reps suddenly went to Nancy and Steny and Chuck and said look, we want the motherfucker out of here today, I find it hard to believe that wouldn’t make a difference in her eagerness to move.

If 10 Republican senators came out in the press and said we would vote to convict Donald Trump of obstruction of justice, I find it hard to believe that wouldn’t change the game.

Why isn’t anyone in the national press calling for THAT? Why aren’t our favorite Twitter screamers mad at the silence from the GOP? Where’s the running tally of GOP statesmen and their positions, opposite the one keeping tabs on what AOC and Elizabeth Warren are up to? Where’s the holding of their feet to the fire? If democracy’s out here dying in darkness why are we only asking one party to light the goddamn match?

And if we’re not going to expect the same things from them, why don’t we even bother to PRETEND anymore that the GOP is an actual party with the same job and obligation as the Democrats? Why do we have to do fucking everything? Clean up their mess AND worry about how cleaning up their mess makes us look? You’ve got to be kidding me with this.

By all rights, having read that report, Democrats should be able to do a victory lap on Mitch McConnell’s flopsy turtle face with their balls. I mean good God, those are some of the dumbest crimes I’ve ever heard of and I used to cover night cops in small towns. These galaxy genius brains are texting each other detailed notes of fraud and grand larceny and shit, what a bunch of buffoons.

Democrats should be able to kick back, pass those articles of impeachment along and get half of Republicans to vote with them without even trying.

Maybe some of the Clinton alumni who’ve been out here jerking it to their boss’s record for the past 20 years can explain why the media they flooded only ever demands Democrats turn on their own. Al Gore and Joe Lieberman get advised to run away from Bill Clinton in 2000 but within the GOP it’s accepted wisdom that Truly Savvy Politicians will continue to suck Trump’s dick up to and including the day he puts their kids in a cage.

And in the face of all of that I’m supposed to be mad at Nancy Pelosi? I mean, I guess, okay, but in the hierarchy of who I’m pissed at the GOP is at the top of the list and is staying there. I am just so tired of WHAT ARE THE DEMOCRATS DOING ABOUT TRUMP being the headline when WHAT ARE REPUBLICANS DOING is the only question until we take the Senate back.

Where are the headlines and op-eds about that? Where is the running tally of how many Republicans would vote to convict Trump and the pressure to declare or shut the fuck up?

I am so tired. At some point I’d like it if we could ask the people who shit the bed to clean it up.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Without You

Vue de Notre-Dame de Paris by Pablo Picasso

It’s been a tough week that got off to a bad start with the Notre-Dame fire. Instead of uniting people in solidarity, it led to petty bickering on social media as to which was worse, that fire or the church fires perpetrated by a racist in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana.  They’re equally terrible in their own way: there’s no need to weigh them on a scale of horror. Notre-Dame will be rebuilt and there’s an online fundraising effort afoot for the churches in Louisiana. Click here it you’d like to donate.

I nearly wrote a post about all the crazy hot takes on the tweeter tube until I realized that the last thing the world needed was my hot take on hot takes. Instead, here’s a funny story about flies. We’ve had some aggressive flies in the house this year: Paul Drake likes to chase them but rarely, if ever, catches them. His frantic efforts remind me of my father’s reaction to flies. Lou was obsessed with swatting and killing them. He was relentless. After years of observing him in action, I finally asked him why. It had to do with his service in the Pacific theatre in World War II. There were so many damn flies there that he hoped never to see them again once he was home. It made perfect sense so I stopped teasing him about his fly swatting exploits. It’s a good thing that he never lived in the Gret Stet of Louisiana.

Sorrowful times call for sad tunes. Pete Ham and Tom Evans wrote Without You for Badfinger’s 1970 No Dice album. The ultimate version of this song was recorded the next year by Harry Nillson who wrung every ounce of emotion out of the lyrics and melody. It was a monster hit: sitting atop of the US charts for 4 weeks.

It’s disambiguation time. This Without You was written by John Wetton and Steve Howe for Asia’s eponymous 1982 debut album. Holy power ballad, Batman.

Now that we’ve established our self-sufficiency, let’s jump to the break; either alone or together alone.

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The Mueller Road Map

Fog of Scandal meme

I’ve focused on Volume 2 of the Mueller Report thus far. As expected, it’s a road map for Congress and/or future prosecutors to Trump’s obstruction of justice crimes. Bill Barr has lied about pretty much everything in the report: Team Mueller’s decision NOT to charge is driven by the DOJ’s shitty policy that bars a sitting president from indictment. Barr said that it was not.

The evidence is even more overwhelming than expected but Bobby Three Sticks is a small c conservative prosecutor who was unlikely to go against the dreadful no indictment policy. Anyone else would have been indicted by now. Repeat after me: Donald Trump is a criminal.

I have a few random observations. I’ll bite the bullet and use bullet points:

  • The report is well and clearly written. You don’t have to be a lapsed lawyer like me to understand it. There *is* legalese but you can skim through it.
  • I was pleasantly surprised by the minimal redactions to Volume 2. Most of them involve our old pal Roger Stone who, absent a pardon, is royally fucked.
  • Most White House “insider” news stories have been accurate. Of course, given that Don McGahn was the source of many NYT stories as well as of the Report that’s no surprise.
  • Speaking of McGahn. It won’t be long until Trump starts calling him Traitor Don or better still McTraitor. He’s the source of many of the most damning stories about Trump’s misconduct in office. He also takes notes, which according to Trump good lawyers like Roy Cohn do not. Only mob lawyers do not take notes. That’s why they’re called mouthpieces.
  • Trump is convinced that the Attorney General is supposed to be a fixer for the president* He goes on and on about Bobby Kennedy and Eric Holder. While it’s true that RFK *was* JFK’s fixer, it’s simply not true about Holder. Obama didn’t need a fixer to get him out of tight legal scrapes: he’s an honest man. Trump cannot fathom such a person.
  • Trump’s attorney generals are reminiscent of Nixon’s first two, Mitchell and Kleindeinst; both of whom went to jail. Barr, however, is more dangerous than Sessions: he’s smart and competent whereas Jeff Beau is a dipshit and dumbass.
  • Like any good piece of narrative history, Team Mueller has woven together known facts into a compelling narrative. It’s all in one place now and the effect is devastating. Thanks. Bob.

I use the term road map quite deliberately. It’s what Team Jaworski gave Congress during Watergate. It’s the raw material to thoroughly investigate the Trump regime. It’s up to the House to decide what to do with it.

Impeachment is an unappetizing prospect. Barr’s version of the four corners basketball stall has delayed things considerably. It’s apparent that one reason Team Mueller did not try to subpoena testimony from the Insult Comedian is time. The clock is ticking as we approach election day.

There’s a defensible political argument to be made that the voters should decide Trump’s fate; impeachment is merely an invitation for the Senate to remove a president from office, which has never happened and is unlikely to occur this time around. BUT we can’t let this president* get away with his crimes, if we do we’re inviting future presidents to think that they’re above the law. The next criminal president might not be an incompetent fool. Impunity cannot be rewarded.

One more thing on the politics of impeachment. There’s a myth that Republicans suffered politically for the Clinton impeachment. They only suffered for one cycle: they elected a president in 2000 and re-took the Senate in 2002. That’s suffering?

There are no good options for House Democrats but they cannot let this evil fucker get away with the crimes he’s committed in office. Here’s my slogan for 2019: I is for Impeachment.

Friday Catblogging: Stroller Boy

Befitting a cat named after a fictional shamus, Paul Drake investigates everything that comes in the house. This stroller carried the 6 week old daughter of one of Dr. A’s favorite former students. Her father fell in love with PD who, in turn, fell in love with the stroller:

The 24 Minute Spin Cycle

The cover-up in plain sight continues. Bill Barr spun, equivocated, and explained away Trump’s conduct in a presser lasting from 9:32 to 9:56. He praised the regime’s “transparency” and threw a pity party for the president* Make that HIS president*

Rod Rosenstein stood behind Barr during the 24 minute spin cycle. He looked stiff and deadpan even for him. I’m not sure if it rose to the level of a hostage video but it was close. It’s hard to tell. Rosenstein is  one of those lawyers who looks as if he just stepped out of a coffin. I did, however, see him flinch a few times.

I’m not the only one saying this but Barr acted like Trump’s defense counsel today. He mentioned exonerating information and ducked questions as to what Mueller thought about his own report. He also parroted the Trump party line saying NO COLLUSION no fewer than 6 times. Repeat after me: collusion is a media/political word, not a legal term of art.

Nobody should be surprised that Barr has turned into Sarah Huckabee Sanders, only without the frock. Calling a press conference before the release of the redacted report is both unprecedented and sinister. I’m currently downloading a PDF, which is 139 MB. There are 20 minutes and counting until I get my hands (eyes) on it. I plan to read it before issuing my instant analysis here.

The last word goes to Scout Prime:

“No One Said Anything About The Full Mueller”

fullmueller_525_redacted

That’s what I think Barr will be repeating over and over shortly from now as he and the rest of the team see just how thoroughly they can spin and how gullible the press corpse [sic] might be in swallowing, hook, line, sinker…rod and reel…whatever bullshit they can push (“lightly redacted”???).

And…not to get all political, but…to get all political, it’s not like anyone’s mind will be changed by this report, or any report. The Trumpeteers are all in, Trump has decided that’s his play for another term, i.e., divide the country and see if he can squeak out another Electoral College win or at best a bare victory that he’ll insist (“many people are saying”) is the greatest and best of all time…and his cult will hypnotically nod in agreement.

Oh, hell, who am I kidding? They won’t nod hypnotically, they’ll scream, yell, stomp their feet, burn rubber in parking lots, and otherwise continue to be as obnoxious as ever…or worse. Much, much worse.

Stay tuned…

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Hot Rod Mania

Anyone who has ever seen Rebel Without A Cause, can attest that hot rods were a big deal in the 1950’s. Here are two more examples of hot rod mania:

John Fogerty gets the last word:

The Bayou Brief Goes To The Movies

You may have noticed that I’m a film buff. My latest piece for the Bayou Brief combines my love of movies, history, and the Gret Stet of Louisiana: Set In Louisiana: Top 40 Movies, 1938-Present.

Tweet Of The Day: Pulitzer Prize Edition

The Advocate has won its first Pulitzer Prize. It’s not the first time a New Orleans newspaper has won a Pulitzer: the Times-Picayune won for its Hurricane Katrina/Federal Flood coverage. That was, of course, before that paper was hollowed out by its masters and transformed into the Zombie-Picayune.

Many former Picayune people are now with the Advocate. One of whom is my friend Gordon Russell who is the managing editor for investigations, and one of the winners of the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting. They won for a series about Louisiana’s non-unanimous jury system. It was reporting that made a difference as the voters abolished that Jim Crow relic last fall.

The tweet in question shows the paper’s New Orleans newsroom exploding with joy upon learning the news:

Congratulations to everyone at the Advocate for proving that local newspapers still matter. Well done, y’all.

Repeat after me: Not Everything Sucks.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Waiting For Columbus

Little Feat’s 1978 double LP Waiting For Columbus is one of the greatest live albums of all-time. That shouldn’t surprise anyone who has seen any of the band’s iterations over the years. Little Feat flat-out rocks, especially when the Tower of Power horns join in on the fun as they do on this album.

The cover art is by Neon Park who began life as Martin Muller and did all but one of Little Feat’s covers until his death in 1993. Cheerful tomatoes became a recurring motif on Little Feat album covers and the band even named their record label Hot Tomato Records.

If you’re ready to rock, here’s the 2002 CD re-release complete with 10 extra tracks.

Our Lady of Paris

I lit candles for Kick at every church in Paris.

I visited for the first time when I was heavily pregnant, against the advice of everyone but my doctor. An overnight transatlantic flight at seven and a half months gone, plus a week of walking nonstop, climbing stairs and taking trains and buses and cabs, in what was going to be a chilly November the week before Thanksgiving? Ridiculous.

Kick’s coming wasn’t known to anyone outside our families, then. Even among our close friends, I shunned mention of the pregnancy, fear lingering from the decade of trying before her conception. Paris was yet another way of denying the inevitable, of protecting myself. We planned the trip, rented the apartment, and I slept intermittently from from O’Hare to Charles de Gaulle.

The first morning, we walked up the hill in our neighborhood to Sacre Coeur, and I stopped in front of a row of votives. My wish for my future daughter, for myself: Courage. The strength to take up a task when it presents itself, and to pursue it despite obstacle and ridicule, failure and fear. I lit a candle there, and prayed for the child that rolled and twisted inside me: Please, let her be brave.

The second to last day, at Notre Dame, I did the same. In the shadow of the stained glass, beneath the stones as old as the city, at the shrine of Joan of Arc, I prayed for her future, for health strength love joy power, for the saints and angels to watch over her, in whatever form they took.

I am not a good Catholic. I am a practicing one, in that I make attempts, motions, that often feel clumsy and false and out of tune. I stumble over the words of childhood prayers and forget the Holy Days of Obligation and joke that Jesus and I are fine but His friends are another matter. My husband and I did not attend Mass in Paris. We were going to the churches as tourists, not faithful.

But I lit candles at every single one.

It felt fraudulent. Notre Dame was not my parish, and I was barely its parishioners’ co-religionist. It was presumptuous, and likely foolish too. But if there is a place for presumptive fools, it is the Church, and we are all unworthy at its table. If it does nothing, I told myself, if it’s only light, there are worse things than light.

Today Kick ran home from school, healthy and strong and brave and joyous. The sanctuary where I prayed for all those things is ash. The candles would have guttered out an hour or two after we left, but I have thought of them every day since, knowing nothing but that what I prayed for came true, whether through my prayers in that place or not.

Our children are brave, though the world is burning, the irreplaceable places crumbling into dust. They aren’t ours, except that we pass through them and leave our prayers behind.

A.

Axis Of Assholes

In his 2002 State of the Union speech George W. Bush denounced Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as an “axis of evil,” an inflammatory turn of phrase authored by David Frum. That’s right, the Frum who can be seen on your teevee as an anti-Trump conservative. He writes for the Atlantic Weekly now and still hasn’t topped the line that began life as “axis of hatred.”

In 2019, we face a corrupt, malevolent, and egomaniacal axis of assholes. They’re scattered across the globe, but the bull goose assholes are Bibi Netanyahu, Donald Trump, and Crown Prince MBS aka Mister Bone Saw seen above holding hands. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

The United States may be the most powerful country in the terrible troika, but Netanyahu is the powerhouse; both mentoring and setting a bad example for the Insult Comedian who aspires to Bibi’s level of malevolent malakatude. That makes Bibi  the Mr. Bad Example of the axis of assholes:

Netanyahu just won a scorched earth re-election campaign in which he demonized his opponents, the media, and the Israeli Arab minority. As depressing as it is for those of us who remember the Israel of Ben-Gurion, Meir, Rabin, and Peres: it’s Bibi’s country now. The Israeli left is dead as is the two-state solution. Netanyahu continues to transform Israeli democracy into a system akin to apartheid era South Africa or Jim Crow era America.

The Kaiser of Chaos aspires to Bibi’s level of strongman dominance. What’s not to love about a guy who was re-elected while under threat of indictment? Mercifully, Israel’s multi-party system makes that feat difficult to replicate elsewhere but the Trumpers are hoping to follow in Bibi’s sleazy footsteps.

New Yorker honcho David Remnick wrote a perceptive and must read post-election piece, The Trump-Netanyahu Alliance. These excerpts capture the zeitgeist of the axis of assholes. The he in question is Netanyahu but it could just as easily be Trump:

Practicing a politics of division, he targets enemies in the press, the academy, and the courts. Increasingly, he finds his global allies in the ever-growing club of the Illiberal International, from the Sunni Arab leaders in his own region to Viktor Orbán, in Hungary; Jair Bolsonaro, in Brazil; and Vladimir Putin, in Russia. He has determined that the world no longer cares very much about the Palestinians or about democratic niceties. He has marginalized the left––even the center-left. The “peace camp” that [Bibi’s father] Benzion loathed now barely exists.

<SNIP>

Just as Netanyahu provided Trump instruction on the political possibilities of right-wing populism, Trump has provided Netanyahu with instruction on the possibilities of outrageous invective, voter suppression, and disdain for the law. Netanyahu now delights in the use of such phrases as “fake news.” Investigations into his financial adventures are “witch hunts.” To suppress the Arab vote in last week’s election, his supporters mounted more than a thousand cameras at polling places where Arab citizens ordinarily vote, the better to intimidate them. And, of course, both men like a wall. As Trump put it, “Walls work. Just ask Israel.” To which his proud mentor tweeted, “President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea.”

The axis of assholes sticks together. Neither Trump nor Netanyahu found the murder of Jamal Khashoggi objectionable and took MBS at his word that his regal hands were clean, not blood-stained. Liars tend to believe other liars.

There’s a lot of saber rattling in the direction of Iran right now. Since distraction is the only thing Trump is good at, there are well-founded fears of a “wag the dog” attack on Iran. I think the Trump regime is likely to sub-contract any such attack to the Israelis and Saudis because bombs are expensive and the president* is a cheapskate. Iran is why the leadership of those once bitter foes have converged. The Bibi-MBS nexus of the axis of assholes almost makes one nostalgic for bad old/good old days in the Middle East. The Palestinians must be.

It’s beyond ironic that the leader of the Jewish state has formed such close bonds with two anti-Semitic leaders but “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is the rule in that region. It should matter that Saudi Arabia was rhetorically pro-Nazi, but it doesn’t. It should matter that Donald Trump’s Archie Bunker-style philo-semitism is fundamentally anti-Semitic but it doesn’t. All that matters is power.

The only good thing about the axis of assholes is that it’s likely to be ephemeral. People like Bibi, the Kaiser of Chaos, and Mister Bone Saw invariably turn on one another. Cannibalism is part of assholery at this level of malakatude.

Speaking of cannibalism, the last word goes to Paul Kantner and Grace Slick:

Today on Tommy T’s obsession with the Freeperati – bits and pieces edition

Just some random stuff this week.  Finally recovered from that herniated disc thing, BTW, so that’s a plus.

First up – the barber takes a poll !
(apologies to Spinal Tap)

Poll: 58% Of Voters Approve Trump Economy Ahead Of 2020
Breitbart ^ | 4-11-2019 | Michelle Moons

Posted on 4/11/2019, 1:08:05 PM by blam

American voters were concerned about an economic downturn in a Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service poll that found 58 percent of voters approve of the president’s performance when it comes to the economy.

Registered and likely 2020 voters from both sides of the Republican-Democrat aisle were surveyed in the “Battleground Poll” from March 31-April 4 that reached 1,000, according to NBC News.

Of those, 59 percent expressed concern about the possibility of an economic decline. However, 58 percent approve of the job President Donald Trump is doing when it comes to the economy. The report noted that the president has been relatively consistent at a 55 percent overall job approval rating.

A whopping 82 percent of those surveyed said they are “extremely” likely to vote, according to the report.

As to the question of whether the country is going in the right direction, 74 percent of Republicans said yes it is while 92 percent of Democrats said no.

1 posted on 4/11/2019, 1:08:05 PM by blam
And instantly, it blows up in “blam”s face.

.

BLAM !!!

.

To: blam

 

I don’t believe what I saw this morning:

Blake Burman or Brad Blakeman, whatever, the Fox Business White House Correspondent reported this morning that these figures were on Lou Dobbs last night and they were wrong.

58%approval for economy was correct, but
55% approval overall was WRONG…THAT NUMBER WAS FOR DISAPPROVAL.

I just read the whole article and reporter was WRONG.

And I am furious!!!!

16 posted on 4/11/2019, 1:54:30 PM by Maris Crane

Sucks to be you.
.
Next up – McNutt’s case !

Texas House Speaker drops constitutional carry bill after gun rights activist shows up at his home The Hill ^ | 04-06-19 | OWEN DAUGHERTY Posted on 4/6/2019, 12:25:51 PM by McQ444

Texas’s Republican House Speaker on Friday moved to drop the state’s “constitutional carry” legislation after a gun rights activist showed up at his home to push for the bill. Dennis Bonnen said the bill was “dead” after Chris McNutt, the executive director of Texas Gun Rights, appeared at his home to advocate for the controversial legislation that would allow Texans to carry firearms without a license, The Dallas Morning News reported. McNutt, according to the outlet, drove 50 miles south of Houston last Wednesday before turning up at Bonnen’s house to question why the legislation wasn’t moving forward faster. The paper reported that McNutt had posted rants on Facebook about the lack of movement on the bill prior to driving to Bonnen’s house.

1 posted on 4/6/2019, 12:25:51 PM by McQ444
Jeez – it’s almost as if he had second thoughts about letting unregistered doofuses with political axes to grind (and a handgun strapped to their waist) stalking people and trying to intimidate them.
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But fear not – the Freeperati are on the case!
To: McQ444
Interesting. Maybe we should all show up at his house and ask him about this.
2 posted on 4/6/2019, 12:28:57 PM by TheZMan (I am a secessionist.)
You do that, cupcake.  Let me know how it works out for you.
To: SleeperCatcher

 

He should have said, “Get off my property or I’ll shoot.”

24 posted on 4/6/2019, 1:25:03 PM by ConservativeMind (Trump: Befuddling Democrats, Republicans, and the Media for the benefit of the US and all mankind.)

That might work, too,
To: ConservativeMind

 

Sorry sport, you can’t murder someone for standing there trespassing.

30 posted on 4/6/2019, 1:30:32 PM by DesertRhino (Dog is man’s best friend, and moslems hate dogs. Add that up. ….)

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More bits and pieces below the fold…

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Joy is Part of the Fight

As we are all, rightly, quarreling over the defense of Rep. Ilhan Omar, a reminder that when we politicize people’s faith and make them symbols, we don’t just create misery. We poison ordinary human joy: 

I wrote my second book because I wanted to read a story where a young queer Muslim girl’s story was not about pain or suffering. I wanted the things that got in the way of her love story to be the everyday kinds of things that get in the way of many of our own love stories. The misunderstandings. The fear of vulnerability. The aching longing that first love so often evinces.

To be carefree and Muslim is no easy thing.

But I do write stories in which it is. Because while that world may not exist yet, I get to play by my own rules in fiction. And I want to give the next generation of Muslims stories where they can see themselves, not just as the victims of hate, but as the instigators of love.

After 9/11 and the wave of local Chicago hate crimes that followed it, I spent about a week with a Muslim family, doing my favorite kind of journalism, the kind where I just sort of hang out and write about what’s happening in a life not my own. I wrote about their prayers and their struggles but also about their pet parrot who was loud and rude, about the kids teasing each other around the dinner table. About how even in that dark time, they were happy.

I’ll be forever grateful they let me see them in those moments. They didn’t have to. It was a recklessly generous act of faith.

The times when my own prejudices have been challenged have not only been times when I’ve recognized someone’s misery as my own but when I’ve recognized their joy. We are fully in each other’s lives when we are a part of their celebrations AND their struggles, when we are as at home at each other’s weddings as at each other’s funerals.

We need to remember to be in solidarity with each other not just when times are difficult but when they are transcendent.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Stop Breaking Down

Golconda by Rene Magritte

I’ve been busy putting the finishing touches on an epic piece I’m writing for the Bayou Brief about movies set in the Gret Stet of Louisiana, which is why this week’s outing will be relatively short. Hey, stop cheering out there.

The Jazz Fest merry-go-round keeps on spinning out of control. Stevie Nicks has pneumonia and Finnwood Mac have cancelled the rest of their US tour including Jazz Fest. They’ve already been replaced. That means Jazz Fest has descended down the rock evolutionary scale from the Rolling Stones to Fleetwood Mac to Widespread Panic. The last band’s name aptly described how promoters must have felt upon hearing about Stevie.

This week’s theme song was inspired by the Jazz Fest mishigas. Robert Johnson recorded Stop Breaking Down aka Stop Breaking Down Blues in Dallas in 1937. God only knows when it was written. Johnson was not big on record keeping.

I have two versions for your listening pleasure. Robert Johnson’s original and the Exile On Main Street version by noted Jazz Fest drop-outs, the Rolling Stones:

Ordinarily, I’d call a tow truck after breaking down but let’s hop, skip, and jump to the break.

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The Bland Bespectacled Bomb Thrower

Attorney General Bill Barr is so ordinary looking that he’d never stand out in a crowd. As a witness, he speaks softly and occasionally mumbles his responses. As a public speaker, he’s as charismatic as Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State Warren Christopher who looked as if he stepped out of a coffin.  Barr is as dull as a lawyer can be until you closely examine his words: then you realize that he’s a bland bespectacled bomb thrower.

In front of House Judiciary Committee, Barr stuck to the basics of his cover-up line, which involves deflection, misdirection, and kicking the can down the road for as long as possible. In the friendly confines of Lindsey Graham’s committee, Barr sounded like a spokesman for the Freedom Caucus. I almost expected him to morph into Jim Jordan just like Bruce Banner transforms into the Hulk. Barr smash.

Given Barr’s background in intelligence, he knows how inflammatory the word spying is. He crawfished on the usage later but his work was done. The Attorney General of the United States has given the green light to wingnut conspiracy nuts everywhere. I think former Clinton-Gore-Biden-Obama aide Ron Klain put it best:

Klain is a Democratic utility infielder: he was also Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee and Attorney General Janet Reno’s Chief of Staff, so he knows the DOJ and how it’s supposed to work. This isn’t it.

Not only does Barr sound like a conspiracy buff, he sounds like a spokesman for the Trump re-election campaign. Their goal is to confuse the issues surrounding the Trump scandals and to discredit the Mueller Report when Barr finally gets around to releasing even a redacted version.

Barr’s testimony was all about placating the president* and the red hat set. There was no spying, only an authorized FBI counterintelligence probe.

The bland bespectacled bomb thrower is a throwback Attorney General. Before Watergate, it was not unusual for campaign managers to become Attorney Generals. On the good side, there were Robert Kennedy and Herbert Brownell who was Ike’s top legal eagle and the leading advocate of Civil Rights in that administration. On the dark side, there were Tricky Dick’s law partner John Mitchell and Harding’s venal AG, Harry Daugherty. That’s why I don’t want to hear that Barr’s conduct is unprecedented. It doesn’t make it any better but it’s not.

I like how never Trump Republican and all-around smart ass, Rick Wilson, described Barr:

William Barr’s tone was calm, but his agenda was clear: His job is to protect Donald Trump, no matter the prerogatives of Congress or any consideration of the rule of law. Bill Barr is not the attorney general of the United States. He is the Roy Cohn whom The Donald has craved since become president; an attorney general who sees his duty as serving Trump.

<SNIP>

Barr exudes just enough of the comforting style of the Washington insider to quiet the fears of many in the House and Senate. He comes across as pedestrian and legalistic, bordering on dull, but he’s the most dangerous man in America.

That’s why I called Barr a bland bespectacled bomb thrower. He’s there to help the Kaiser of Chaos foment, uh, chaos, not to the serve the public interest. Repeat after me: this is horrible but not unprecedented.

In other scandal news, the cover-up has spread to the Treasury Department. Mnuchin the Moocher is dragging his heels on turning over Trump’s taxes. He’s not supposed to have a role in this: it’s up to the IRS commissioner. The Moocher has tried kicking the can over to the DOJ but they don’t have a role in this either. The law is clear as it uses the mandatory shall, not might or maybe. The Moocher’s inaction could even put him in legal jeopardy. He should be careful: he’d look shitty in an orange jump suit.

I keep hoping that we’ll wake up and discover that the Trump regime was just a bad dream. Unfortunately, life isn’t like the series finale of St. Elsewhere. The nightmare is real.

Friday Catblogging: Bathtub Boy

You’ve seen Paul Drake the sink walker, here he is relaxing in the bathtub:

That’s a whole lotta white, y’all. It looks like an Osmonds concert with shower curtains.

Are you ready for PD’s brand new theme song? Little Feat get the last word.

Tweet Of The Day: Scout Prime Edition

Our beloved colleague Scout Prime is on her way to YouTube comedy stardom:

I can’t wait for the second episode. I was worried that Della Street and Paul Drake might be jealous until I saw the kitty in the car in the car wash. Yikes.