Saturday Odds & Sods: Dead Flowers

Chagall The Drunkard

The Drunkard by Marc Chagall.

It’s run-off election day here in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. I’ll be voting later today in the Colonel Corpone vs. Foghorn Leghorn Senate race. Cornpone has it sown up and I don’t like Foghorn but I said I’d vote for him, so I’ll have to select an appropriate clothespin. I would say I was voting for the lesser of two hicks but Foghorn sounds like he’s been studying the oeuvre of Jeff Foxworthy. My friend Charlotte says he reminds her of Boss Hogg. Hard to argue that point, y’all.

The local news has been dominated by road rage and the law. The one many of you have heard about is the trial of Cardell Hayes for killing former Saints defensive captain Will Smith. I wrote about it in this space not long ago. It’s a very close case with the defense arguing self-defense. The local media have been all over it like turkey buzzards on roadkill. In this Saints obsessed town that was predictable and why the Judge sequestered the jury. The case *may* go to the jury later this evening.

The other road rage incident involved former high school football sensation and NFL player Joe McKnight. He got into it with some creep named Ronald Gasser and McKnight was shot to death. There was a huge stink when Gasser wasn’t charged immediately: he’s white and McKnight was black. Gasser was charged with manslaughter earlier this week. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand held a ranty press conference, spending more time attacking Facebook trolls than discussing the crime. Normand hasn’t gone off like that in quite some time. It might have been calculated anger (more on that later) or he simply lost his shit.

This week’s theme song fits my somber mood. Dead Flowers was written when the Stones were hanging out with country-rock godfather Gram Parsons. It’s one of the best lyrics the Glimmer Twins have ever written. It’s limey country rock at its finest.

We begin with the original version from Sticky Fingers, followed by a live non-Stones version featuring Keith, Willie Nelson, and Ryan Adams to name a few luminaries.

I’m feeling relatively terse this week so I’m skipping the break and diving right in. I mentioned intentional ranting earlier. The master of tactical screaming was the late great rock impresario Bill Graham.

Bill Graham & The Art Of Tactical Screaming: I grew up attending Bill Graham’s shows in the Bay Area. They remain the best organized and operated rock concerts I’ve ever been to. One reason was the hands on nature of the producer. He was always visible both onstage and in the front of the house. You knew who was in charge. There was one time at a Dead show at Winterland that there was a flood in the men’s room. I ran into Bill in the hallway and informed him. He thanked me and went over there personally. I followed out of curiosity and watched him grab a plunger. Now that’s attention to detail.

My old friend Gus Mozart shared a link to an interview filmed in 1977. It’s called The Mechanics of a Show. It’s well worth watching if you’re a rock and roll history buff. It’s also available on the YouTube. Here’s the segment about yelling:

I saw Bill scream at people many times. He was almost always in the right. An aggressive New Yorker like Bill Graham scared the shit out of California hippies, so they tended to comply with his orders. Besides, it was Bill’s world and we were there as paying customers. He was the boss and the best.

The centerpiece of this week’s post are tributes to two men whose deaths were announced on Thursday. Other than fame they had nothing in common. One of them was 95 years old and lived a long and eventful life. The other died at 69 after a lengthy private battle with cancer.

John Glenn R.I.P. Hero is the most overused word in the English language. Very few acts are heroic and there are even fewer heroes. John Glenn was a genuine hero. It was a label that he modestly rejected but one that he earned over-and-over again.  Despite his advanced years, I was still deeply saddened to hear that he’d died at the age of 95.

All of the Mercury astronauts were brave men. They risked death every time they stepped into those tiny capsules. John Glenn made it look easy, but orbiting the earth was fraught with peril. People knew that and it was one reason they went nuts (in a good way) over Glenn.

Here’s what I posted on my Facebook feed:

John Glenn went on to a distinguished career as a four-term Democratic Senator from Ohio. The punditry briefly went nuts over his 1984 Presidential bid because it coincided with the release of Philip Kaufman’s brilliant film adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff. Glenn was played by Ed Harris. It was the role that put Harris on the map. Glenn’s campaign went nowhere. Charlie Pierce pointed out why at his joint:

when John Glenn was preparing to run for president, I sat down in a bar on Beacon Hill in Boston for a chat with one of his chief strategists. This fellow smacked my gob across the room when he said that the campaign was planning to “downplay the hero stuff.” My god, I thought. Without The Hero Stuff, Glenn was just a kind of boring old sod from Ohio. Without The Hero Stuff, he wasn’t the first American to orbit the Earth. He wasn’t the guy who spent the last of those orbits in a tiny spacecraft with a problem the gravity of which the folks on the ground could only guess. Without The Hero Stuff, he wasn’t…an astronaut.

John Glenn was a modest man. It was how the best men of his generation comported themselves. As a Senator, he was a workhorse, not a showhorse, which is the highest praise I can bestow on a politician. He was also the antitheses of the braggart who won the electoral college and is claiming a landslide. They don’t make them like Senator Glenn any more.

He had a good life and a good death surrounded by his family. Godspeed, John Glenn.

Here’s a piece by Charlie Osgood broadcast on the 49th anniversary of Glenn’s historic Friendship 7 mission:

Let’s move on from the loss of an American icon to the passing of one of the pioneers of British prog-rock.

Greg Lake R.I.P. He was the original lead singer/bassist of King Crimson as well as the L in ELP. Greg Lake died at the age of 69 after a long battle with cancer.

I saw ELP several times at their peak. They were loud, bombastic, and pretentious. I loved every second of it. Lake was the steady, solid one while flamboyant keyboard player Keith Emerson and flashy drummer Carl Palmer whipped the crowd into a frenzy.

Emerson preceded Lake in death earlier this year. E and L are gone but P rocks on as the drummer with Asia. Here’s what Carl had to said about Greg’s passing:

The best way to pay tribute to Greg Lake is, of course, to post some of his music. I have used the opening lyrics for Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Part 2 more than once in lieu of an Odds & Sods summary: “Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends.” Greg Lake’s show has ended but the music never stops, corny but true.

Along with lyricist Pete Sinfield, Lake wrote one of the best rock Christmas songs, I Believe In Father Christmas. Here’s a live version from St. Bride’s Church in London with Ian Anderson and members of his band backing Lake up:

Ready for some live ELP? You have no choice:

I had hoped to post the original studio version of King Crimson’s 21st Century Schizoid Man but it eluded me. Another Lake-era King Crimson song will have to do.

“Confusion will be my epitaph.” Greg Lake will be missed.

That’s it for this week. May the Schwartz be with you:

yogurt-meme

Friday Catblogging: Before & After

Dr. A caught Della Street and Oscar sharing a chair in our living room. Oscar was too passed out to notice but Della opened her eyes. Another day, another devil-eyed Della picture.

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Oy, Such A Force

May the Schwartz Be With You.

Oy, such Spaceballs nuttiness.

I’ve been walking the anti-Semitism beat all year. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the revival of open anti-Semitism is one of the most alarming things about the so-called Trump movement. This Thirties revival, if you will, has inspired the silly along with the sinister:

White supremacists are calling for a boycott of the latest “Star Wars” movie as evidence of a Jewish plot to foist racial diversity on whites, even as some on the “alt-right” say they watch the film and root for the evil Empire.

“(((Star Wars))) Is Anti-White Social Engineering,” a Reddit user named GenFrancoPepe posted in a forum for the “alt-right,” a hard-line white nationalist movement. The triple parenthesis, known as an “echo,” is a way anti-Semites online call attention to Jewish names or perceived Jewish influence.

The evidence: “Alt-right” writers point out the multiracial makeup of the stars in the new film, the female starring role, and that Jewish producers and writers were involved. Criticism of the film evokes one of the central tropes of modern anti-Semitism, envisioning a Jewish cabal promoting multiculturalism to suit its own nefarious goals — at the expense of an embattled “white civilization.”

One writer at the neo-Nazi site Infostormer called “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” slated to be released this month, a product of “anti-white hate” produced by Jews. “Nearly all of the major characters are non-Whites and the main character is an empowered White female,” the post reads. “This film should be boycotted.”

Is there a Jewish influence on the series? Yes. Is it sinister? No. Is it a plot? No, as pointed out in an earlier piece at Forward by Seth Rogovoy:

You don’t have to be a linguist to figure out that the Jedi knights, who use “the Force” – the spiritual power of good deeds, aka the mitzvot — to do good in their battle with the “Dark Side” – the yetzer hara, or the evil urge within us all – bear the Anglicized name of a Jew. In other words, jedi = yehudi = Jew. And the name of the wise old man Yoda, who passed away at the very Biblical age of 900 in 1983’s “Return of the Jedi” and who was voiced by Jewish actor-director Frank Oz, translates as “one who knows” in Hebrew.

Philologists have argued, on the other hand, about just what the very Hebrew-looking writing on Darth Vader’s breastplate says. It’s been surmised to be upside-down Hebrew that translates as “One shall be regarded innocent until he is proven guilty,” which of course fits the character of Vader and his true identity.

None of this was lost on filmmaker Mel Brooks, whose 1987 “Star Wars” parody “Spaceballs” relied on Brooks’s usual Yiddish-shtick humor, including the catchphrase, “May the Schwartz be with you.”

Mel Brooks is always there with the joke first. I guess that makes him one of the main conspirators in the alt-right’s Protocols of the Elders of Star Wars world view. I wonder if the farting scene in Blazing Saddles has a deeper meaning? Conspiracy theories and theorists are hot in Wingnuttia right now. Another alarming thing about Donald Trump is his love of conspiracy theories, the nuttier the better, such as birtherism. The MSM may have moved on from that but I have not. As far as I’m concerned the Insult Comedian will always be the birther-in-chief as well as the pussy-grabber-in-chief.

As funny as conspiracy theories cooked up by the Reddit Right and Alex Jones are, they can be lethal when paired with an unhinged mind as in the recent “Pizzagate” shootings at Washington City. Some ideas *can* be dangerous and must be fought with the facts. There is no child sex ring linked to Hillary Clinton and John Podesta. A variation on that bizarre claim even showed up in the creepier sectors of the hard left during the primary campaign.

The far right and left have always had more similarities than people on our side of the spectrum are willing to admit. It’s why so many hardcore lefties have moved to the far right over the years: notorious Islamophobe David Horowitz is a relatively recent example, but it’s an old story. The 1950’s red scare was partially fueled by Communists turned McCarthyites. So it goes.

Speaking of the neo-Nazi far right, there was firestorm of controversy this week in response to an Atlantic article, Are Jews White? The erstwhile Gret Stet Fuhrer, of course, chimed in:

Humor is the best way to attack Dukkke’s nonsense and here’s the best example I’ve seen:

Oy, such logic. It’s hard to beat, right? I know more than a few Jewish Deadheads and prog-rock fans as well. What’s whiter than British prog rock? Perhaps I’ve Seen All Good People is a plot against the white race by self-loathing honkies. Let’s see:

I am obviously an exponent of using humor to combat bigotry.Ridicule has long been an effective weapon against hatred and intolerance. And I’m not going to abandon it just because an Insult Comedian won the electoral college in 2016. Trump’s reaction to satire shows how effective it is. He keeps slamming Alec Baldwin’s bang-on impression of him. It’s not how it’s supposed to work: Presidents get mocked and even the humor-impaired Tricky Dick was able to publicly take a joke. I don’t think Trump will ever learn to take a joke. It’s what happens when you are one.

It’s time to conclude this rambling essay and give the penultimate word to Mel Brooks as Yogurt:

Oy, such a schwartz. Oy, such a farce. Oy such a force. Oy, just oy.

In Other News, Opinions Differ On The Shape Of The Earth

flat_earth

And Team Trump thinks foxes make excellent hen house guards…

Am out of town, on a quick trip to a deep-blue state — felt like a brief change of scenery if not outlook would be good after last month — so keeping things short today…but still thinking, damn, this is going to be a long four years…

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Drums Of Destiny

I’m not sure what the tagline “lusty nights in old Haiti” has to do with drums but it sounds like an enticing destiny.

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The Fog Of Historical Pictures: Bad Company

No, I’m not posting pictures of Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke, Mick Ralphs or even the late Boz Burrell who is well and truly Gone, Gone, Gone. This post is about the bad company kept by Time Magazine: its latest person of the year, Donald Trump.

Time’s standard disclaimer is that the honor is based on who “for better or for worse…has done the most to influence the events of the year.” Whatever, y’all. The winners of US Presidential elections are customarily honored as were Trumpian lackeys Rudy and Newt.

I’m interested in the *really* bad company honored by Time over the years, especially the dictators. Here’s a sampler in reverse order.

We begin with the Insult Comedian’s bosom buddy, Vladimir Putin. I suspect both envision themselves as Tom Hanks, not Peter Scolari, neither of them wants to play Lena Durham’s father in Girls. I see Trump as a malevolent Forrest Gump instead. End of Bosom Buddies inspired riff. On with the parade of covers:

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I suspect manly man Vlad was bummed that Time gender neutralized the honor before he received it in 2007. Our next dictator is longtime KGB director and short-term Soviet leader Yuri Andropov. I suspect he’d be proud of the state sponsored hackerism Russia used to disrupt the 2016 election. Andropov was honored alongside his American counterpart who was a former movie actor, not a spook:

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Looks like they had each others back. Me, I would have dubbed them Men of the Yuri…

Speaking of bad company, Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was man of the year in 1979 even though he wore robes, not trousers. He certainly wore the pants in Iran for a decade.

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Here’s another honoree guaranteed to give the Islamophobes surrounding Trump the vapors. It’s an oil embargo based honor:

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Seeing King Faisal’s stern countenance reminds me of a pun made on the name of his oil minister by NYT columnist William Safire. The minister in question was Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, whose name inspired this 1981 column title: “Yamani or Ya Life.” Sounds like a real sheikhdown to me…

I’ve skipped several dictators including Khrushchev and Deng Xiao-Ping despite the latter’s punworthy name. All I have to say to any Deng fans out there is this: tough shit.

Our next dictator was a two-time honoree in 1939 and 1942. Time to introduce the mighty mite from Georgia aka the Red Tsar or Uncle Joe:

stalin-on-time-magazine-1939-and-1942

Just looking at Stalin’s ugly mug gives me a hangover. Vodka hangovers are the worst and Stalin loved drinking his associates under the table then mocking them for being hungover the next day. Nobody ever called him Comrade Nice Guy, after all.

Our last dictator is the worst company of all. A vegetarian teetotaler who loved dogs and Aryan children but hated everyone and everything else:

hitler

As you can see, Trump is in very bad company with this honor. Believe it. I’m surprised he didn’t insist on Time returning to the original man of the year rubric since he *is* the incoming  pussy-grabber-in-chief. I cannot wait until he starts bragging about it. In fact, I’m shocked he hasn’t tweeted about it as of this writing. It won’t be long.

Time to circle back to the beginning of the post and give Paul Rodgers and krewe the last word. They’re actually good company but Bad Company is a better band name:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Pearl Harbor and the Explosions

I don’t recall if Pearl Harbor Day and ACAW have ever coincided before. If they have, my taste level used to be higher. Hey, who’s laughing? Everyone? Oh well, what the hell. Hopefully, this will not be a day that lives in blogger infamy or is that blogfamy?

Pearl Harbor and the Explosions were a short-lived San Francisco new wave band. I had a passing acquaintance with several members. Their lead singer went by Pearl E. Gates *and* Pearl Harbor. She’s best known for adding a u to the Harbour and marrying Clash bassist Paul Simonson before embarking on a solo career.

Pearl Harbor and the Explosions only released one album. The cover art is no big whoop but posting it beats the hell out of watching Ben Affleck bomb in Pearl Harbor.

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Time to be a back cover man:

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Also of interest is this poster from a Halloween gig at the Mabuhay Gardens aka the Fab Mab:

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I found the eponymous album on the YouTube. There’s the E word again. The record is not a bomb, it’s pretty darn good, especially Shut Up and Dance.

Liz Spayd Isn’t Helping

Shit’s sake, this nonsense again: 

Carlson said that the tweets sent the message that “we tried to keep this guy from getting elected, but did anyways.”

“That suggests they don’t understand the mission of a newspaper, which is to bring you the news, not to affect the outcome of a political race,” Carlson concluded.

The Fox News host asked why the reporters had not been disciplined.

“Where are the editors here?” he asked. “I mean, if my — you know, If I was the New York Times and my editors were tweeting crap like that, I would say you stop that right now or I’m firing you. Why don’t they do that?”

“I don’t know,” Spayd replied. “I don’t know that any of those people should be fired, but I do think that when people go over the line like that, and I think some of those are over the line, that there ought to be some kind of a consequence for that.”

Let’s be clear. Every single thing that happens in a news organization happens in service of an agenda. What stories are covered, for how long, by whom. Where they’re run: A1 for this and the back of the back of the back section for that. How large the headlines, how prestigious the bylines, who gets to do what and go where … that’s all part of setting the parameters of the national conversation.

The national conversation that just took place was a loud fart noise followed by Heil Hitler, and people — including reporters, because they know better — have honestly said so, and that pisses off the Fox News rage-monkeys who GOSH DARN WHAT A COINCIDENCE have an agenda of their own.

And instead of telling those rage-monkeys to go fling their shit at someone who cares, here comes Liz Spayd to shit-talk the New York Times while cashing its checks.

Reporters at the New York Times risk their lives covering the news. They risk their lives in ways large and small every single day. And the New York Times takes money earned by the work of people who are brave and good and true, and uses that money to pay Liz Spayd to go on Fox News and say shit like this:

“I mean, everybody has got to have their personal political views. We all do. But they ought to be personal. And if you sign up to be a journalist, then that’s what you ought to be,” Spayd added.

What exactly should the NYT’s reporters have done? I suppose, in order to satisfy Spayd, they should have just shut up in the face of relentless assaults on their colleagues and their mission. They should have talked about the political news of the day with the anthropological detachment appropriate for contemplating one’s own demise, as one might examine a distant supernova exploding billions of years in the past. I suppose the NYT’s reporters should just have said my, how curious that an entire national movement that wants us dead is ascendant and please, Jeeves, bring me my tea so that I might consider dispassionately the way in which Donald Trump’s mouthbreathing army of chucklefucks screamed obscenities in the faces of my colleagues and called for their execution in camps. I suppose they ought to have tweeted about Hillary’s e-mails some more. It’s not like anything is at stake here.

Heaven forfend we act like there’s a crisis when there is in fact a crisis. Trump’s campaign put reporters in a cage, and that they went into it willingly makes the bars no less real. And day after day after day the man who is now President-Elect of the United States of America encouraged thousands of people to turn on those reporters and yell and threaten and harass and attack. This campaign, this “movement,” they put something they hated in a cage and they beat on the bars and they threw things and they hit it with sticks and they talked all day long about killing it, raping it, putting it down.

This is after, after mind you, two solid decades of the establishment press sucking up to the Right in all its alt- and non-alt forms. Reporters and editors and executive producers had gone out of their way for 20 years to make it clear they were willing to take anything the GOP dished out, and for that they were loathed and spit on and kicked in the face.

And after all that, after “let’s open up the libel laws” and “lugenpresse” and “there’s something happening, Katy,” a couple of reporters had the nerve to use bloody language to say the states are bleeding. A couple of people had the nerve to give a shit and act like it.

So here comes Liz Spayd to run them down, on a network that hates them already, for an audience ready to call for her head before she opens her mouth. Here comes Liz Spayd to agree that yes, bad bad bad reporters, forgetting to pretend not to care.

Schmuck.

A.

The Fog Of History: Taiwan On

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It turns out that the phone call from the President of Taiwan to the Insult Comedian was a deliberate-as opposed to accidental-fuck up. The Trumpers want to be disruptive and shake things up. That’s how they’d characterize it. I’d call it dick waving or undiplomatic diplomacy. One thing we’ve learned from this episode is that the Trumpers plan to export their penchant for impulsive, poorly thought-out gambits to the world scene. Heaven help us; make that son of heaven since we’re talking about China policy.

I’ve seen some on the right argue that United States China policy makes no sense. The whole “One China and Taiwan is part of it” has been policy since the Nixon to China days. It’s a way to finesse Taiwanese independence without unduly pissing off the Kleptocrats who run China in Communist drag. I agree that it makes no logical sense.

Here’s the deal: American China policy has never made sense. In the late 19th and early 20th Century, we posed as benevolent benefactors trying to “Christianize” China whilst exploiting the hell out of it. Then we mindlessly supported Chiang Kai-shek and his Kuomintang government until they fled the mainland to Taiwan in 1949. After the advent of “Red China,” we allowed the China Lobby personified by Time-Life’s Henry Luce, to control Chinese policy from 1949-1972. In that era, we pretended that Mao’s China did not exist and that tiny Taiwan was the true Republic of China. Repeat after me: American China policy has never made sense.

One reason that Tricky Dick was able to do the Nixon to China thing was that Henry Luce died in 1967. Luce’s parents were Presbyterian missionaries. He was born in China and lived there until he was 15 years old. Luce was the most important GOP press baron for decades. He was convinced that Chiang was the Chinese George Washington and that Mao was Satan. Neither was true but Luce dominated US China Policy for many years. He was also the dominant force in the Dewey-Eisenhower-Nixon internationalist Eastern establishment wing of the GOP. A wing that is well and truly extinct. Poppy Bush was its last gasp.

The current “One China” policy is a way to keep the peace between the PRC and Taiwan. In the late 1950’s hostilities nearly broke out. It was even a hot issue during the 1960 Presidential campaign: Nixon and Kennedy spent time discussing Quemoy and Matsu, which were flashpoints in the 1958 crisis.  I bet most of you have never heard of Quemoy and Matsu. Why? Because of the “One China” policy. It makes no sense but it’s kept the peace. That’s what really matters.

There’s a certain irony that a man who rarely makes sense about anything has allowed ambitious staffers to shake things up in an area of the world that’s relatively stable right now. The idiomatic expression “bull in a china shop” applies here;  both literally and figuratively.

  1. an awkward or clumsy person.
  2. an inconsiderate or tactless person.
  3. a troublemaker; dangerous person.

That’s Donald Trump in a wingnut shell. Stirring things up between China and Taiwan can only cause trouble. It will not lead to an American China policy that makes sense. It never has and likely never will. I’ll take polite fictions or diplomatic niceties over macho posturing any day.

Since I opened the post with Time Magazine covers featuring Chiang Kai-shek, I’ll let the post-Luce Time have the last word, uh, cover:

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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – World War Flee edition

Let’s give the old airlock door wheel a spin and see what the Freepers think about The Darnold’s foreign policy chops, shall we?

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Easy German 143 – What Germans say about Donald Trump

Easy German 143 – What Germans say about Donald Trump
Easy German/ YouTube ^ | 5/15/16

Posted on ‎12‎/‎3‎/‎2016‎ ‎12‎:‎45‎:‎53‎ ‎AM by DallasBiff

LOL, they have some Californian in Berlin commenting about Donald Trump in May 2016, and of course 95% of the comments are negative. With a German commentator to boot.

1 posted on 12‎/‎3‎/‎2016‎ ‎12‎:‎45‎:‎53‎ ‎AM by DallasBiff
JACKboot?
hitlerhoworiginal
And how dare an actual German  make a comment in Germany?
I’m expecting some cogent and self-searching discussion on what happens when a populist buffoon wins an election through ethnic scapegoating and blind nationalism.
To: lee martell

 

Yeah, Libruls. Look who won! You can tell Bronco Bama to report to the penalty box for some Time Out time.

I liked the part where Shrillary twirled her mustache, and chuckled, at the end of each debate. And then she lost!!!

Game over, Donkeycrats! Chetaers(sic) never prosper!

Winning! Duh!

4 posted on ‎12‎/‎3‎/‎2016‎ ‎1‎:‎10‎:‎55‎ ‎AM by BradyLS (DO NOT FEED THE BEARS!)

WinningBoom
…or Charlie Sheen…one of those two things, anyway.
To: DallasBiff

 

German politicians had better get used to the idea that there is a new sheriff in town. Americans are no longer being led by a crypto-Marxist, third-world agitator because we are extremely angry at what the international socialist/globalists have tried to do to us. The American public, much like the British public, enforced their will and decided their destiny for themselves despite the multinational-owned media onslaught. There will be changes to the international order so get used to it.

Americans have now become aware that politics no longer end at the shores of the oceans that once separated use from the filthy politics of Europe and we are angry. If Germany and other European countries keep interfering in our politics there will be a response that you will not like at all.

5 posted on 12‎/‎3‎/‎2016‎ ‎1‎:‎19‎:‎00‎ ‎AM by WMarshal ( Schadenfreude, it feels so good!)

What are you gonna do? Stop buying Mercedes? Scream and threaten to hold your breath until you turn blue?
Please proceed.
To: WMarshal

 

“If Germany and other European countries keep interfering in our politics there will be a response that you will not like at all.”

THIS time, we’ve got bombers that make those B-17’s look like toy planes!😉

8 posted on 12‎/‎3‎/‎2016‎ ‎1‎:‎34‎:‎38‎ ‎AM by Frank_2001

Of course.
Bomb Germany.
Will Dresden be first?
Of course, it will be easy to do, as The Darnold can just order the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade over there to bomb itself.
More sound international policy discussions after the jump…

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Big Media Doesn’t Have to Know Flyover Country

If I read one more thinkpiece about how reporters/liberal think-tankers/big-money activists need to leave the NY/DC nest and come out and eat fried chicken with the rubes I will lose my mind.

Guys, there’s no reason to squander money setting your HQs up in southeastern Wisconsin, however cheap the rent is. 

There’s no reason to fly your reporters to Columbus and Kalamazoo.

You don’t have to go back to school for an anthropology degree so you can write boring-ass longform wanks about the ways of the hicks who are strange to us all.

You just have to pay, and listen to, and care about, the journalists and activists and human services workers who are ALREADY HERE, who know which kringle shop is the best one, and can tell you all about the local politics and how the watch factory closed and who that hurt and why. 

Read, and listen, to the voices in the Rust Belt, just as you should read and listen to people all over the world whose experience is other than yours. The irony is that people with the most education and worldly experience are often the most provincial, bragging, instead of being embarrassed, that “they have never been west of the Mississippi” or that they “always get Iowa and Ohio confused.”

So what’s the takeaway here? Why not work toward a “local writing” movement akin to the local foods one? Make it a priority to give money, or clicks, to writers who live in the region they are writing about. This is as much a plea to big media as it is to its readers.

Maybe we could have a “local media Saturday” akin to “small business Saturday,” and encourage people to subscribe or donate. Editors should hire writers living in the Midwest to write stories about their region, instead of flying in journalists from elsewhere. Meanwhile, readers could do the flying in, taking a trip to Detroit or southern Indiana, spending time getting to know the region and its vibrant, dynamic communities, contributing to the local economy as they do.

 

In the weeks since the election I keep reading “heartwarming” stories about people subscribing to the Times and the Post. That’s nice. Friends of mine work at those places and compared to the septic tank explosion that is CNN, the two big papers are fabulously deserving of your money and attention.

However, they are a) not in need of extra cash and b) not publicly guaranteeing that your six bucks a month or whatever is gonna directly pay David Farenthold to fuck Donald Trump up.

Whereas, if you send your media money to a local shop you can be sure it’s not going to pay to load the company up with debt and needless acquisitions of TV stations and sports teams and shit.

Here are some Midwest suggestions (add your own in the comments):

Belt, without which I really don’t think I would have survived this election.

The Chicago Reader, which regularly takes on stories the downtown dailies can’t/won’t touch, which needs petition support.

City Bureau.

Big Media, Big Liberal Policy, Big Thought-Leading doesn’t have to come get to know flyover country.

They just have to Google flyover country’s reporters and send them some goddamn checks. Hire the effective locals on contract or — gasp! — staff. Listen to what they say.

And once and for all stop acting like coming up through the farm system of exurban & neighborhood organizations is inferior to a graduate degree. Months and years on the ground in a place you know beats a fancy CV every time.

A.

Sunday Morning Video: The French Resistance

Since I’ve gone on about les Maquis, here’s a pretty good documentary about the French Resistance. It’s an episode of the Secrets of War series and is narrated by Charlton Heston:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Liar

It’s been another weird week in New Orleans. The weather has been yo-yo-ing to and fro. We reluctantly ran the AC on a particularly steamy day and we’re back to the heater right now. The kitties, of course, prefer the latter. So it goes.

There was a lethal shooting last weekend on Bourbon Street. It doesn’t happen that often but when it does the media, city government, and tourism establishment lose their collective minds. This time there are suggestions of metal detectors and limited access. That’s typical NOLA think: propose something that would be simultaneously costly and unenforceable. We live in a country and a state with an armed population and when you add booze and crowds to the mix, violence is not surprising. It’s difficult to prevent an asshole with a concealed weapon from discharging it. That may sound cold and harsh but “to live in this town, you must be tough, tough, tough, tough.” Thus spake Jagger and Richards. She-doo-be.

The mendacity theme here at First Draft continues with this week’s theme songs. That’s right, my obsession with different songs with the same title continues. We begin with Todd Rundgren’s 2004 tune Liar. It’s followed in quick succession by Queen, the Sex Pistols, Argent, and, of all people, Three Dog Night who covered the Argent tune.

I had no idea there were so many songs with liar in the title and that’s the truth. There will be more prevarication after the break, but first I need to find that lying sack of shit that we’ve heard so much about over the years.

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Doctor makes “monkey face” comment about Michelle Obama. Outraged? Yes. Shocked? Nope.

In the days after the presidential election, people have tried to parse the reasons for the rise of Trump and how racism will awaken from the dark, like it’s the Force or something.

The current narrative has gone in one of two directions, both of which seem to land on the same group: Rural, uneducated white people. In one version of this, it was an economic/culture issue that led rural whites to see Trump as a savior. This is something Trump has been playing up in Indiana this week, where he courageously threw money at Carrier to only lose some U.S. manufacturing jobs. In short, it’s about the work and the country mouse/city mouse divide.

The second version is racism, although it pretty much lands on the same basic group: Rural, uneducated white people. This narrative pushes out the concept that Trump tapped into that vein of racism that flows through the heartland like melted butter and stoked fears of Muslims, Mexicans and African-Americans. It was these simple-minded rubes who turned out in droves to “Make America Great Again” in hopes of getting back to that simpler time when all you needed to know about minorities is how many fifths of a person they counted for.

The stats bear out a lot of both of those elements, although more of the first than the second. Of course, the main problem is that you don’t get to take your alleged job creator without his side order of racism, something many people overlooked in their race to the bottom.

The second problem is that when it comes to racism, sexism and other “isms,” it’s not as simple as population density or if you’ve ever seen a building taller than three stories before.

Dr. Michelle Herren, an anesthesiologist and University of Colorado professor, came under fire this week for posting racist comments about Michelle Obama. Herren called the First Lady a “monkey face” said she spoke in “poor ebonic English.” Naturally, she followed that up with “There! I feel better and am still not racist!!! Just calling it like it is!”

I don’t know what was supposed to convince readers more that she wasn’t racist, the heavy use of exclamation points or the “calling it like it is” thing. The person who turned her in to Denver Health and the board of regents said she was shocked and outraged by Herren’s comments. Herren is now on a leave of some kind until the hospital can figure out what to do with her/the fervor dies down and she can slink back to work.

The media reporting on this has listed her title, her salary ($363,000 a year) and her education, in what I’m assuming is a way to let people know, “Wow, look at this! This really SMART and RICH lady is even saying shit like this.”

I was outraged as well to see comments like this, but shocked? Not a chance.

I’m uncertain as to what people think makes someone who has a medical degree less of an asshole on any front. I guess we could hope that people with higher levels of finance and education are more likely to become cultured and worldly, thus giving them a better perspective on race and class.

A few recent media pieces have demonstrated that, no matter who you are or where you are, racism lives among us. John Oliver’s look at gentrified schools shows that these dividing lines in the North were given a pass when the Civil Rights Act was passed.

Trevor Noah and Tomi Lahren went at it this week about racism and Trump. Although the media notes that Noah “owns” her or whatever, if you watch the whole interview, he really didn’t. It reminded me of the Hagler-Leonard fight in which you saw Hagler punching hard, but for some reason, Leonard kept holding his own on the scorecards. (She’s got a college degree from UNLV, which obviously isn’t the reason she’s such a YouTube star. She might be the first woman a Republican jerked off to on a computer without turning the sound down.)

Christopher Caldwell’s piece on what I’d like to call the Control-Alt-Delete-Right showcases the spectrum of education and nuance in this scary-as-shit movement:

There are many such groups, varying along a spectrum of couth and intellect. Mr. Spencer, who dropped out of a doctoral program at Duke and worked, briefly, as an editor for The American Conservative, has his own online review, Radix Journal. The eloquent Yale-educated author Jared Taylor, who hosts the American Renaissance website and magazine, was at the conference, too. Kevin MacDonald, a retired psychology professor whose trilogy on Jewish influence is a touchstone for the movement, also came.

None of this excuses the bigger picture of people who spray paint swastikas on kids’ lockers or do the “hail Trump” salute. However, there’s enough shitty behavior to cover the people with Stars N Bars bumper stickers on their rusty truck and those who take a Lexus to the hospital, but won’t take an elevator with a black orderly.

Or as my father, a man with a tech-school degree, was fond of saying: “Educated doesn’t necessarily mean smart.”

Friday Catblogging: Della Street’s Faustian Box Bargain

This week’s post combines two classic catblogging themes: boxes and Devil-eyed Della. Who could ask for anything more?

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I’m fresh out of devil songs, so I’ll make a bargain with the Who instead.

Louisiana Politics: A Terrible Candidate For Terrible Times

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I swore I wouldn’t write about the Gret Stet Senate run-off since I prefer not to take shots at my own side. BUT a pro-Foster Campbell super PAC ran an ad that can be interpreted as flipping off part of the Democratic base. Here’s how Tyler Bridges described it in the Advocate:

A super PAC supporting Foster Campbell, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, is airing an unlikely television ad on the highly-charged issue of abortion.

The pro-Campbell ad attacks John N. Kennedy, his Republican opponent, from the right — even though Kennedy has the endorsement of National Right to Life, a prominent anti-abortion group.

The ad alleges that Kennedy supported abortion from 1988 to 2004 and, as viewers hear a beating heart, posts the number 22,581,040 on the screen.

 “That’s how many children were aborted during John Kennedy’s career as a pro-choice politician,” the announcer says, citing figures from National Right to Life.

“Foster Campbell worked with us to protect the unborn,” the announcer adds.

I understand that one reason for the ad is to accurately paint John Neely Kennedy as an opportunistic weasel. But the sub-text for people like me is that we have nowhere else to go, so they don’t care what we think. So much for this run-off tag line: Straight Talk with Foster Campbell.

Here’s the deal. I have voted many times for Blue Dog Democrats and I’m sure I will in the future, but Foster’s populist pose really riles me up as they say in the piney woods. He’s also running an ad wherein he states that he will work with Trump when he’s right; not exactly an uplifting message for a blogger whose slogan is Vive les Maquis. He has said he’d oppose Trump on Social Security and Medicare, which is why I’m holding my nose and voting for Foster.

I realize that the Insult Comedian got 58% while winning Louisiana but if Foster were a genuine populist he’d run against all the wealthy plutocrats appointed to the Trump cabinet. The DeVos, Mnuchin, and Ross appointments clearly establish Trump as the phony populist 49% of the people believe him to be. Instead of indulging in me-tooism, Campbell should indict Trump as a lying fake populist who appointed the “foreclosure king” as Treasury Secretary while forgetting the forgotten man. I’d also like to point out that Huey Long, the patron saint of Gret Stet populism, was willing to attack a popular President of his own party. And Trump ain’t no FDR.

Running a scorched earth campaign would also allow the doomed candidate to lose with some dignity instead of trying to out hick Neely. I considered calling this post Hick vs. Hick but I’m sick of the hick shtick so I didn’t. In the end, Foster is a candidate who reminds me of Foghorn Leghorn. I say, I say.

My dislike of Foster Campbell dates to the 2007 Gret Stet Goober Race. He was allegedly the leading Democratic candidate in a race that Bobby Jindal was destined to win. Foster barely had a pulse during that election. He ended up with 12.45% finishing in fourth place behind a guy who had been a Democrat for five minutes and independent John Georges, the dullest Greek tycoon in recorded history. I have a friend who told Campbell he could build a name for himself even in defeat if he ran a spirited campaign. He did not and he lost. Badly.

Campbell *is* running a better campaign than in 2007. His team includes many of the same people who helped elect John Bel Edwards Governor in 2015. The problem is that Edwards was a better candidate than Foster and Bitter Vitter was a weaker candidate than Neely. That race featured a West Pointer versus Diaper Dave. The 2016 Senate race is more like Foghorn Leghorn versus Colonel Corpone. In the end, Senate races are a different beast altogether: they’re about national, not state politics. If the opposite were true, Mary Landrieu would have won a fourth term in 2014,

I am planning to vote for Foster Campbell in the run-off. It will be a clothes pin vote. There’s been some debate among my friends as to what kind of clothes pin it should be. One friend advocates a strong spring clamp, another a cast iron clothes pin. I’m sticking with the old-fashioned pinewood clothes pin since we’re having a hick vs. hick run-off. Or perhaps I should go Claes Oldenburg on their asses:

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Foster closes one of his teevee spots by shooting a shotgun, Joe Manchin-style. At least he isn’t running an ad with this closing line: “I believe that love is the answer but you oughta own a handgun just in case.”

As an antidote to that Neelyism, I’ll give Todd Rundgren and Utopia the last word:

Malaka Of The Week: Konni Burton

A lot of things have fallen through the cracks of my mind lately because of the electoral college disaster. There’s a backlash brewing across the country against the progress that has been made on civil rights issues in recent years. To be more specific, against the remarkable gains made since 2008 on LGBTQ issues. One might even call it a lavender backlash. Yeah, I know, the term is retro but so is the backlash itself. You won’t be surprised to hear that one locus of the backlash is Texas. And that is why Texas State Senator Konni Burton is malaka of the week.

I was blissfully unaware of what was brewing in Austin until a tweet from Tim Peacock hit my timeline, which led me to a post at his blog, Peacock Panache:

As the state legislative session in Texas begins, state Senator Konni Burton (R) just filed legislation that would force schools to out LGBTQ students to their parents. SB242 takes aim at “the right of a child ’s parent to public school records and information concerning the child” on the surface. Under that veneer, however, Burton’s explicit intentions in filing the legislation are clear.

The bill was filed with the intention of subverting rules proposed by the Fort Worth Independent School District aimed at protecting the privacy rights of LGBTQ teens, especially transgender kids. It’s trickier than that so take a deeper dive into Tim Peacock’s piece.

Senator Burton claims that the intent of her bill is to provide parents with information about their children. It is, of course, a smokescreen (Konni job?) as is typical of so much discriminatory legislation. Haters not only have to hate, they have to hide behind family values rhetoric. Burton’s bill will effectively out LBGTQ students and that is what matters, not her increasingly strident disclaimers.

The implications of Malaka Konni’s bill are ominous and clearly stated by Tim Peacock:

As any LGBTQ person can confirm, keeping sexual orientation and gender identity/expression a secret from parents may literally be a matter of life or death. While society has made significant leaps forward in ensuring families with LGBTQ children are at a minimum tolerant, many areas of the and many belief systems still view being LGBTQ as wrong or criminal. Unwittingly outing a LGBTQ child or teenager to his or her parents can have devastating and sometimes lethal consequences.

If a student is transgender the chances of harm based on outing grow exponentially. A 2011 survey found that transgender people attempted to commit suicide at rates over 30 times the general population. And the causation behind that more often than not was discrimination, violence and/or rejection by those close to them.

While suicide is at the far end of the spectrum, LGBTQ students face a myriad of other consequence in having their identities unwittingly exposed to their parents including verbal and physical abuse, homelessness (after being kicked out) and involuntary conversation therapy (a practice condemned by the medical and psychological community though it’s still popular among anti-LGBTQ conservatives).

A quick reminder that Mike Liar Liar Pence On Fire has been a leading advocate of conversion therapy.

I recall reading some articles earlier this year about how our side had won the culture war. Since I live in a blue dot in a deep red state, I’m always skeptical of such claims. In the Gret Stet of Louisiana, socially conservative Catholics have an unholy alliance on such issues with Protestant biblethumpers. Like the people in Texas, we’re always on the lookout for crazy, retrograde legislation from our lege. It’s going to get worse after Trump’s electoral college victory. I eagerly await the backlash to the backlash. Now I’m feeling whiplashed, he said snidely.

I’d never heard of Senator Burton before her attempted Konni job. I hope to rarely hear of her in the future. If the people of Texas are lucky, she’s merely a malakatudinous comet streaking across the sky before crashing and burning. BTW, Burton was elected to replace Wendy Davis in the Texas Senate. That seat has gone from pink sneakers to lavender backlash in two years. And that is why Konni Burton is malaka of the week.

Dollars And Pence

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First, good for those employees at Carrier who didn’t lose their jobs. At this point in my  middle-aged life, I’m well aware of just how frightening the prospect of getting laid off is.

Second, I’m also aware that tax incentives and other financial/political considerations are all in the business playbook nowadays. Hell, my local downtown is getting rebuilt via a combination of direct state government spending, TIFs and lord knows what else (a good bit of it done by GOPers Mike Foster and PBJ…go figure). So, on a practical level, I won’t holler — too loud — at the “solution” Trump/Pence offered, which, in so many words, is Throw Money At It.

However, this is an excellent example of the hypocrisy of alleged conservative free-market ideology. Turns out, they’re as eager to spend tax dollars as anyone else. They just want the money to go to their donors and contributors (but not necessarily their voter base or the greater public good).

Oh, and again, while I’m glad some Carrier employees will remain employed, some won’t. So, not exactly saving the day. More like glass half full. Plus, think of how other businesses might react. It’s a whole new source of revenue to exploit.

Finally, saving a few jobs still doesn’t change my mind about Trump/Pence. Nothing can take the taint off of either/both/the whole incoming administration. Sleaze is sleaze.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Billy Liar

I’ve had mendacity on my mind this week. That brings me to Keith Waterhouse’s Billy Liar. Billy is a British “post-war babe” fantasist. He’s Walter Mitty for his time and place. Like Mitty, he’s more benign than the Trump Tower liar.

Billy Liar was a huge success when it came out in 1959 and remains in print to this very day. Below are two paperback editions:

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Quite naturally, the book was adapted for the stage. The original West End production starred the great Albert Finney as Billy.

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The 1963 film version of Billy Liar was helmed by John Schlesinger who later won an Oscar for Midnight Cowboy. Finney was otherwise engaged so Tom Courtenay played Billy. It’s a must-see movie classic.

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The property had legs as it was made into a Teevee series and the West End musical, Billy.

Here’s the trailer:

Finally, Billy Liar has provided the inspiration for some pretty darn good rock bands.

 

He Who Sups With The Devil Should Have A Long Spoon

The expression may date from the late 14th Century, but it perfectly describes Willard Mittbot Romney’s dinner with the Insult Comedian, and the Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver’s creature Reince Priebus. It’s a pity that neither of the principals drink: I would have needed at least 2 stiff belts of Bourbon to cope with Trump and his lackey.

It will be interesting to see if this leads anywhere. The submission ritual seems to be underway:  Trump has gotten Romney to say vaguely nice things about him after this blistering March speech:

Donald Trump tells us that he is very, very smart. I’m afraid that when it comes to foreign policy he is very, very not smart.

I am far from the first to conclude that Donald Trump lacks the temperament of be president. After all, this is an individual who mocked a disabled reporter, who attributed a reporter’s questions to her menstrual cycle, who mocked a brilliant rival who happened to be a woman due to her appearance, who bragged about his marital affairs, and who laces his public speeches with vulgarity.

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Think of Donald Trump’s personal qualities, the bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third grade theatrics. We have long referred to him as “The Donald.” He is the only person in America to whom we have added an article before his name. It wasn’t because he had attributes we admired.

And now Willard is reconsidering Trump’s attributes. Pitiful but typical. It’s what happens when you sell your soul to that old devil called power.

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I’m not sure if Willard still has a soul. I’ve been advised that bots don’t have souls but Mr. Data did. You say bot, I say android. Let’s call the whole thing off, but first some music: