Would My Home State Really Elect Dr. Oz?


Dr. Oz in a moment where he was not in Kansas anymore (this is the only Wizard of Oz pun in this post, I promise).

I love my home state (or actually, commonwealth). Pennsylvania is a good place to live. We have two wonderful cities; if you have jokes about Philadelphia and Pittsburgh as dumps, all you’re telling me is you are basing that on old information. There are beautiful natural areas, and many of the denizens are friendly.

However, we are of course not immune from making bad decisions. Trump won our state, for example. We had Rick Santorum as our senator. And now we have an opportunity to make another awful decision – Hearthrob Snakeoil Salesman Dr. Oz has thrown his hat in the ring for the Pennsylvania senator race.

Mehmet Oz (his real name) somehow became a “trusted medical voice.” Well, not somehow…the only somehow here is he managed to hoodwink an obviously smart woman, Oprah Winfrey, into being his salesperson. Not to pick on Oprah, as Dr. Oz has a successful show himself.

It’s not like he fooled everyone. In fact, there were people trying to tell us he’s a quack for years.

He is running, of course, as a Republican. He has the Republican bonafides. For example, he said this:

I certainly hope that Democratic operatives are all over that. Although I doubt it swings many Republicans, and sorry, our recent nonchalance stance toward death that seems to be coming from independents makes me wonder if it would work as well as we would hope.

In his announcement, Dr. Oz said this:

“During the pandemic, I learned that when you mix politics and medicine, you get politics instead of solutions. That’s why I am running for the U.S. Senate: to help fix the problems and to help us heal.”

Okay, first, come here…let me have your ear so I can tell you something:


That said, what exactly Oz has in mind as far as “fixing problems and helping us heal,” of course, he isn’t clear about. He’s obviously going to run the Virginia governor election playbook, sounding like the reasonable uniter, who gosh darn it wants everyone to heal. Because he’s a doctor! Get it? Meanwhile, he’d let the right-wing fever swamp on social media and right-wing “regular” media do the dirty work.

I have no idea whether any of this will work. No doubt in the primary one of his opponents will use his Muslim faith against him, and he will likely attempt to explain he is not one of those Muslims. He will likely go full throttle on bad COVID ideas, and I wouldn’t be stunned if that would work. Philadelphia suburban voters will see him as one of them, and his tenuous connections to Pennsylvania are all in that region.

But surely a complete quack wouldn’t be elected to Congress, right? What, are you a comedian? My goodness, they could create an entire Quack Caucus.

Oz is no dummy. In fact, I do not believe he himself is a full proponent of kooky medical supplements and potions. I believe he is a proponent of being wealthy as hell. He obviously fooled a lot of smart people. For example, watch the John Oliver clip above, you will see Joe and Mika of Morning Joe SWOONING over Dr. Oz, even after seeing his Senate testimony where he was exposed as a charlatan. He probably owes Oprah a sales commission for hawking his stuff. And remember, Libertarian Frat Bro Paul Ryan was treated as a Reasoned Conservative Voice, even with his economic ideas being complete nonsense, because he made them sound good.

We’ll see how this plays out. The last TV personality to win a national office didn’t work out so well, so fingers crossed he flames out.

The last word goes to Ray Charles – I hope my fellow Pennsylvanians think this if Oz is the GOP nominee.

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The Tears Of A Trumper

I originally planned to write about the interrogation of sniveling, whiny Trumper Danny Rodriguez last week but I was peddling fast to keep up with the news cycle. It’s a good thing that it’s a stationary bike…

Rodriguez has admitted to tasering DC Metropolitan copper Michael Fanone. He’s told a series of wild stories as to why he did it. This is my personal favorite: he did it to protect Fanone from the other MAGA rioters. Say what? It resulted in the strapping previously healthy 40-year-old officer having a heart attack. Some help. Schmuck.

Mostly what Rodriguez did in the interrogation room was whine and cry as you can see from the clips posted by the HuffPost’s Ryan Reilly:

That’s why I call it the Dipshit Insurrection.

My reaction to the video remains the same as when I first saw it: Disgust.

Disgust with this self-described stupid piece of shit for falling for the Big Lie.

Disgust with those in politics and the media who are whitewashing idiots like Rodriguez. Tourists don’t carry tasers.

Disgust with the people who exploited the stupidity and paranoia of morons like Rodriguez.

I’m just plain disgusted with the stupidity that’s infected our body politic. It reminds me of a venerable rock song that poses the question, “I asked the neighbor, why are you so stupid?”

It’s even more salient in 2021 than in 1980:

Rodriguez’s lawyers have moved to suppress the statement based on an inadequate Miranda warning. I can’t blame them. They don’t have much to work with. Their client was just as easily manipulated by the FBI as he was by the right-wing media he avidly consumed:

“Agents capitalized on the unique media attention of this particular incident, conveying to Mr. Rodriguez that his story had already been written, and that this was his only chance to help himself out of the situation,” his federal public defenders wrote in the motion. In a separate motion, his lawyers said they would argue that Rodriguez was acting “under public authority” at the direction of former President Trump.

The public authority argument is a loser. In this case it seems based on the misplaced belief that the sitting POTUS is commander-in-chief of the nation. They’re CIC of the military, not the people. The stupid it burns.

I’m not sure exactly when we became a nation of morons, but there’s now a political movement rooted in the stupidity of its leader. It’s led to others in his party feigning stupidity to keep up with the Impeached Insult Comedian. The most notorious example is Gret Stet Senator John Neely Kennedy but a new contender entered the dumbing down arena this weekend:

Thomas Massie is an MIT graduate who in 1995 received a prestigious prize for creating a 3-D interface for computers. At the time of the prize, “He is also exploring alternative energies through the production of methane from cow manure.”

Now Massie specializes in marketing political bullshit by pretending to be stupid. Maybe he wants to run for the Turtle’s senate seat if he ever retires. Dumbing down is dumb.

I have to give Danny Rodriguez points for realizing that he’s a stupid piece of shit. But I could do without the sniveling tears of a Trumper who has gone from the BIg Lie to the Big Cry, which evokes in me a Big Sigh.

Repeat after me: Dumbing down is dumb.

The last word goes to tearful tunes by Frank Zappa and the Mothers followed by The Who:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – “My shill-o” edition

Good morning, people.

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve checked in on the hilariously insane Mike Lindell, so here we go!

First up – it’s Back on crack!

State Attorney Generals’ Supreme Court 2020 Election Lawsuit sponsored by Mike Lindell
Frankspeech.com ^ | Nov. 27, 2021 | Ralph Mitchell

Posted on 11/27/2021, 8:58:36 PM by mitchell001

The state Attorney Generals’ Supreme Court Lawsuit sponsored by Mike Lindell has solid evidence. Bloggers to this item are challenged to post any rebuttals to the evidence.

1 posted on 11/27/2021, 8:58:36 PM by mitchell001

(BTW – the website “frank speech” linked here is so crazy it makes Freeperville look sane – with pages like “Chit chat with Diamond and Silk”.    Not “chat” – “chit chat”.    Because they’re girls, you see)

Wow – that headline sounds impressive – except for one thing –
To: mitchell001

State Attorney Generals’ Supreme Court 2020 Election Lawsuit…

What Attorneys General? He couldn’t get any of them to sign up.

21 posted on 11/27/2021, 9:46:38 PM by semimojo
To: semimojo

He said he had 30 AG’s a couple months ago.
Apparently he doesn’t have any. In other words, he lied again.

22 posted on 11/27/2021, 9:48:43 PM by tennmountainman ( Less Lindell CONS, More AZ Style Audits)

To: mitchell001

I read it. No attorney general will sign on to it because it contains multiple references to events/reports that have been thoroughly debunked.

25 posted on 11/27/2021, 9:54:11 PM by Rightwing Conspiratr1

Another Freeper says – Trust The Plan!
To: Rightwing Conspiratr1

Debunked in name only by the Main Stream Media.

28 posted on 11/27/2021, 10:01:04 PM by mitchell001 (Donald J. Trump is going to need Ted Cruz’s Help to change Washington)

Well, there you go!
To: Rightwing Conspiratr1

What happened to those Data Packets he said he was going to present
at his Cyber Circus a couple months ago? He never presented them.

29 posted on 11/27/2021, 10:01:34 PM by tennmountainman ( Less Lindell CONS, More AZ Style Audits)

Got ’em right here!
To: mitchell001

Where is the lawsuit?
He said he would file before Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving came and went. No lawsuit filed.

35 posted on 11/27/2021, 10:06:01 PM by tennmountainman ( Less Lindell CONS, More AZ Style Audits)

And sometimes even a broken Freeper is right twice a day :
To: Rightwing Conspiratr1

He’s probably back on Crack.

11 posted on 11/27/2021, 9:31:21 PM by tennmountainman ( Less Lindell CONS, More AZ Style Audits)

More hilarity below….

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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with Random Ruminations – “Four Stages” edition

The Stages Of Barbara’s Unemployment

I wrote this some years ago, when Barbara was unceremoniously dumped from her long-time job at SEI :

Stage 1 – Elation.

Sleeps late.

Gets dressed

Goes around the house singing “Ding Dong The Witch is Dead”.

Plays a lot of computer Mahjong.


Stage 2 – Catching up.

Gets up with me.

Gets dressed.

Starts cleaning house like the proverbial white tornado.

Washes and waxes pets.

Catalogues everything in house alphabetically.

Puts resume out.

Cleans house again.

Attempts to alphabetize firewood.

Calls all her old friends – as an afterthought, calls her brother.

Attempts to alphabetize pets – discovers that placing Bulldog next to Kingsford Kitty doesn’t work very well.

Looks for bandages.

Cooks dinner for me.

Click on the “read more” for the rest of the saga!


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Sunday Morning Video: A Sondheim Sampler

There are many cool videos about the late, great Stephen Sondheim on the YouTube. Here two of some of them:

Finally, my favorite Sondheim song:

Saturday Odds & Sods: More Than This

La lumière, la solitude by Yves Tanguy.

The weather has been beautiful this week in New Orleans: brisk, chilly, and sunny. Yet I’m still cranky verging on irascible. It must be the news cycle.

We went to a Confederacy Of Dunces themed birthday party last night. It was fun even though Burma Jones was not there to mop the ho flo. The birthday boy’s wife went to high school with former First Drafter Jude. As Jude would surely say at this point, it’s a small fucking world, after all.

As you know, the holidays are hard for me. This year I’ve been plagued with calls from telemarketers. I even marked one of them as SPAM RISK, but they keep calling from a variety of Gret Stet exchanges. Blocking them is emotionally satisfying but doesn’t work that well. It makes me appreciate caller ID even more.

This week’s theme song was written by Bryan Ferry in 1982 for Roxy Music’s Avalon album. It was also the title of a 1995 compilation album. It contains one of Ferry’s finest vocals more or less or is that more than this? Beats the hell outta me.

We have three versions of More Than This for your listening pleasure: the Roxy original, Robyn Hitchcock, and Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs.

Before we go off hoffs-cocked, let’s join hands and jump to the break.

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Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein circa 1966.

When I heard of the death of Stephen Sondheim at the age of 91, I knew one of his songs would be featured on the next Friday Cocktail Hour.

I had hoped to post a song that Sondheim had written both the words and music. It was a heavy lift because they’re not many first rate instrumental versions of those songs. Instead I landed on Tonight, which Sondheim wrote with Leonard Bernstein for West Side Story.

West Side Story was a phenomenon in its day as a play, movie, and record. Many artists covered songs from it, especially Tonight.

We begin with the great Billy Eckstine:

I’ve always liked Nancy Wilson but writing this feature has made me appreciate her work even more:

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Ryne Hancock: Enough With Doom & Gloom

It’s been a tough week, but Ryne has some thoughts about how to dispel the gloom.


Enough With Doom & Gloom by Ryne Hancock

Early in the week, one of my Twitter friends posed a question on why Gen Z and younger millenials enjoyed basking in the glow of bad faith ideology.

While I couldn’t answer right away due to my work load at my day job, after a few blocks of biking in the Central Business District here in New Orleans and thinking long and hard about the question she posed, I found my answer.

“The reason why we have this both sides crap,” I told her, “is because the media hates democratic presidencies and on top of that, the mainstream media doesn’t like sane and boring.”

Hours later, during a Twitter space I hosted, I expounded my answer further with the problem that is plaguing this county, something I’ve seen more often than not on my Twitter timeline.

“What we have in this country,” I stated, “is a ‘me’ problem. It’s why you get the temper tantrums about vaccines and masks from adults. It’s also why a lot of people you see on social media like to nag Biden and Harris to do something.”

In the minds of “do something, nothing will fundamentaly change” people, Biden and the former guy are basically the same person. To them, they feel that Biden should automatically come in and fulfill all their demands and that change is supposed to be quick and in a hurry.

What they fail to realize is that change is supposed to be in increments, not everything at once, that it’s okay to celebrate small victories because those small victories add up down the road. ‘

The more small victories you have, the more it adds up.

However, because of the horrible mind fuck the former guy had us in for four years, we’ve forgotten how to celebrate small victories as a country.

How do we get back to learning how to celebrate small victories, you ask?

For starters, cut the cord and free yourself from the garbage that media spews out. That also include newspapers.

Secondly, mute words that are equated with doom on your Twitter timeline. The reason why I bring this up, is because a lot of people on twitter love to doom and gloom everything. One of my neighbors is quite an expert at this method.

And finally, take joy in small things that are not on Twitter. The whole world doesn’t operate the same way that the Twitter world does.

Childhood’s End

The Beatles Get Back


There comes a time in everyone’s life when you realize the things of childhood, your routines, your pastimes, even your friends, have to give way to the realities of adulthood. To paraphrase the Biblical quote, it becomes time to put away childish things.

I just spent eight hours watching four men put away their childhood. It’s a miniseries/movie called The Beatles: Get Back and if I have to name the four gentlemen I’m talking about then you need a remedial class in Pop Culture 101.

If like me you watched the original Let It Be documentary when it was released in its two hour running time you will remember what a total mess it was. This version, taken from the exact same footage, allows the viewer to see what was actually going on in this four week sprint to create an album that was also a television show that was also a live performance that was supposed to be a culmination of The Beatles. It is a fascinating opportunity.

What we see is a band that is more than just the Lennon and McCartney songwriting juggernaut. We see Harrison and Starkey both making contributions; a total collaborative effort by the foursome. I found it frustrating at times when bits of songs we all know so well are being fiddled with. There is a definite desire to scream at the TV “no no Let It Be goes like this”.

There are many amusing moments, moments that put a new spin on the events of the later Beatle days. John trying to create I’ve Got A Feeling while Yoko balances her checkbook or knits next to him. Peter Sellers drops in at one point but with nothing in particular to do he clears out after a very brief stay. George noodles around with a song he’s written, trying it out for the other three and you find yourself wondering what a Beatles version of All Things Must Pass would have ended up sounding like. The four looking at a gossip item in the paper suggesting Yoko is breaking the band up with Paul quipping “yeah fifty years from now they’ll say it ended because Yoko sat on an amp”. And there is a lovely moment when Linda McCartney brings a six year old Heather into a Sunday session and the child turns the studio into a playground, ultimately getting ahold of a microphone and imitating Yoko singing. She does a pretty good job of it.

Of course there are also darkly comical bordering on tragic moments. I’m sure Jackson couldn’t help himself when he inserted a shot of McCartney and Starr musing at the end of a work day. “And then there were two” says McCartney. Yes, that’s right, now there are only two, those two. When George walks out of the session and effectively quits the band, John and Paul mull over the idea of getting Eric Clapton to join them, then Bob Dylan. “We could call it The Beatles and Company” says John, unaware of Clapton’s infatuation with George’s wife Patti but thus depriving the world of a Beatles version of Layla and Wonderful Tonight to add to Something. One woman, three classic songs about her.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you gotta click the link if you want some more

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Friday Catblogging: (Not) Elf On A Shelf

This picture of Claire Trevor is a throwback to our suburban exile after Hurricane Ida. I nearly called the post Butthead On A Shelf but thought better of it.

Wrong Again, Oh ‘Reasoned One’

I can’t cover what happened yesterday at the Supreme Kangaroo Court any better than Cassandra did here. So, I’ll just ask a few questions to the Reasoned Very Serious People, the ones who have been telling us the following over the last five years:

– Trump can’t possibly get the nomination.

– America would never elect someone like Trump.

– McConnell can’t block a Supreme Court nomination

– Trump will have to change, the office demands it.

– He’ll have people around him to control him.

– Tonight, Trump became presidential (multiple, multiple times)

– The Mueller Report will save us.

– The system will keep Trump in check.

– Relax, Kavanaugh won’t reverse Roe (oh, Susan Collins…how your brow must be hurting from all that furrowing yesterday to your state of being VERY CONCERNED).

– Relax, Barrett won’t overturn Roe (how so many smart people are this naive I’ll never understand).

– Trump will just disappear after he loses.

– The GOP will go back to what it was after Trump leaves.

– Trump supporters won’t turn violent, that’s demonizing the other side.

– Republicans aren’t going to gut voting rights (Curiously Skeletor-ish Overly Celebrated Political Pundit James Carville expressing on CNN his shock that GOPers are going after voting rights is evidence enough his time has past).

And so on and so on. I likely missed a bunch. But anyway, my questions: Do you ever think about how often you’ve been wrong? Do you ever consider that you’ve totally misread the last five years politically? And then, perhaps, not be so quick to dismiss those so-called “hysterical people?” Because yesterday, when those of you who were telling us that Roe would never be reversed by this Supreme Court, is another example of being wrong. All those examples I gave above are part of the same line of thinking, and it’s not good because we need everyone who is at least somewhat decent to understand what is happening right now.

I know that many of you have come around. Jonathan Karl, author of the Trump book “Betrayal,” expressed shock in his book at how horrible Trump was in his final year in office, as if he saw a dog in his house for the first time when it was barking despite it having been the family pet for five years. Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post was an early adopter of our current political reality and has done some wonderful writing about the last five years.

But some of you actually haven’t yet (!), including apparently those who hold positions of advisement to politicians. That’s the only thing that I can figure that explains why we don’t see more people in the Democratic political body with their hair on fire about what’s going on.

Anyway, I know it’s hard to admit that those annoying “over-the-top” progressives (and, well, democracy experts) were right, and your “Reasoned Person” persona is repeatedly making you look like someone who chastises people for overreacting because they are running and hiding during an active shooter situation. In response, you can once again react to being wrong by complaining about how people are shutting down your opinion and you can then go pout on Twitter.

But it would be better if you joined us in the current reality.

The last word goes to the wonderful Philly-based band The War on Drugs, who expresses what a lot of us feel right now and urges the others to “come around to the new way or watch as it all breaks down.”

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The Supreme Stench

There’s a definite theme to today’s posts. First, Michael F then Cassandra expressed their indignation over oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization hereinafter just plain Dobbs.  Far be it from me to break the chain of righteous indignation at the GOP, the MSM, and a SCOTUS on which Justices Thomas and Alito seem to be the dominant members.

Abortion has long been the GOP’s political catspaw. Raging against Roe v. Wade became mandatory in the 1980’s. Poppy Bush was pro-choice before becoming Veep and he downplayed his flip-flop on the issue for many years. After Bush’s defeat in 1992, Republicans were briefly in disarray over whether culture war issues should have dominated the Bush campaign. The culture warriors won the argument and the Gingrichification of the GOP commenced.

The politics of abortion rights has cut in the GOP’s favor since the 1994 Gingrich wave election. Limitations on Casey v. Planned Parenthood’s undue burden test began to pile up. That secured the fealty of the religious right to the GOP and the winnowing out of pro-choice Republicans. Conservatives such as Barry Goldwater were pro-choice because they were against government overreach in all aspects of life. Those days are long gone.

A majority of Americans has always been pro-choice, but they’ve been out shouted by the so-called pro-lifers. You know what they say about the squeaky wheel. Nobody squeaks louder than the anti-choice right. They may well get their way in the wake of Dobbs, but there’s another old adage at work here: Careful what you wish for. The GOP was better off having abortion as an issue. It’s unclear what form the backlash will take, but it will come.

I discussed my frustration yesterday at how people have ignored Casey and overstressed Roe. That was not the case in the courtroom on Wednesday. Mississippi solicitor general Scott Stewart mounted a sustained attack on Casey’s undue burden standard which prompted Justice Sonia Sotomayor to say this:

What hasn’t been at issue, in the last 30 years, is the line that Casey drew of viability. There has been some difference of opinion with respect to undue burden, but the right of a woman to choose, the right to control her own body, has been clearly set since Casey and never challenged. You want us to reject that line of viability and adopt something different. Fifteen justices over 50 years, or I should say 30 since Casey, have reaffirmed that basic, viability line. Four have said, no. Two of them, members of this Court, but 15 justices have said, yes, of varying political backgrounds.

Now, the sponsors of this bill, the House bill, in Mississippi said, “We’re doing it because we have new justices.” The newest ban that Mississippi has put in place, the six week ban, the Senate sponsor said, “We’re doing it because we have new justices on the Supreme Court.”

Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts? I don’t see how it is possible. It’s what Casey talked about when it talked about watershed decisions. Some of them, Brown versus Board of Education, it mentioned, and this one have such an entrenched set of expectations in our society, that this is what the court decided this is what we will follow. That we won’t be able to survive if people believe that everything, including New York versus Sullivan, I could name any other set of rights, including the Second Amendment, by the way. There are many political people who believe the Court erred in seeing this as a personal right, as opposed to a militia right. If people actually believe that it’s all political, how will we survive? How will the Court survive?

I indulged in quote overkill because Justice Sotomayor’s point about the supreme stench is even more powerful in context. The stench of politics is greater than at any time in the court’s history. The previous peak stench was the 2000 election case, Bush v. Gore. The best thing John Roberts has done as Chief Justice is to tamp down the stench of politics emanating from court radicals such as Thomas and Alito, The rule of six may render that task impossible.

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The Bastards Are Grinding Me Down

Our fearless leader discussed the oral argument at the Supreme Court about the Mississippi abortion law earlier, but I am not going to tackle any of the legal stuff. I’m not going to tackle it because I am so fucking angry about all of this that I can’t make a cool-headed, analytical post about this bullshit. As the only woman in this motley crew, I have some Thoughts on what happened on Wednesday.

Here’s my disclaimer—I didn’t follow all of it via the audio feed once I saw that Mississippi openly admitted it had expanded its goal from curtailing Roe to striking it down outright since Amy Comey Barrett had been added to SCOTUS and the state Solicitor General no longer had to court Chief Justice John Roberts. Since SCOTUS was all “hey, that’s cool!” I knew it was pointless to engage with any of it.

I got so angry listening for 5 minutes to Clarence Thomas that I thought I was going to literally explode. And that’s even though we already know what the decision will be. Alleged rapist Brett Kavanaugh compared a woman’s autonomy over her own body to Jim Crow, openly saying that SCOTUS had a role in correcting prior legal mistakes. I hope Susan Collins is happy now.

This leads me to the question I ask anti-choice people all the time:  where in the Constitution does it say that a woman has fewer rights over her own body than a man does over his? I have NEVER gotten any kind of answer from any anti-choice person, either.

The answer that the anti-choice extremists don’t want to admit to is that they absolutely believe women have fewer rights than men do. It’s as simple as that. Because this country is steeped in sexism, women who are raped are stigmatized by society. But Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape Christine Blasey Ford and he’s on the fucking Supreme Court. That’s all you need to know to understand the dynamic at work.

The extremist element on the court is going to push abortion to the states, and once that is done, the extremist activists will start pushing SCOTUS to recognize “personhood”, which is Doubleplusgood Newspeak for “the criminalization of abortion”. And then they’ll come for birth control, because Adrastros is 100% right that the extremists are determined to kill Griswold v. Connecticut.

The Democrats could pass a law that guarantees abortion access to women. But the margins in both chambers of Congress are minuscule to none, and the reality is that there are too many Democrats who can’t afford to vote “yes” on a bill like that because as bad as things are, things would be worse with Speaker of the House Marjorie Taylor Greene. So here we are.


Worst Cover Of Embryonic Journey Ever

Is anyone really surprised?

That said, I’ll defer to our benevolent blogmaster Adrastos for the real heart of the matter:

As awful as the eventual and inevitable decision is re: the SCOTUS review of Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization — and it will be awful, and not just for Mississippi — it’s also a Trumpeting (pun intentional) of a raw power dynamic from the GOP.

And the elite political media’s been more than asleep at the wheel — they’ve enabled or, more often, magnified — an asymmetry between the two major political parties that ensures the radical right has almost zero incentive to moderate, while the radical left…

Wait, laff, WTF am I saying? — anyway, the left, to the extent that there even is a left and that it has a modest bit of breathing room —  is constantly pressed to tamp down or moderate what are, gasp, popular positions, to appease a radical right that…has zero incentive to moderate.

Democrats perpetually in disarray is the consensus elite media position…unless they opt for a Sister Souljah Moment® and, in doing so, cleanse themselves of librul taint.

Which, duh, is how we got to The SCOTUS SIX’s shit cover version of Embryonic Journey in the first place, along with, hmm…

Offhand, the Clinton impeachment (and literal demonization of Hillary Clinton), Scalia’s Bush v. Gore pathetic-excuse-of-an-opinion, the Iraq war debacle, the Afghanistan war debacle, the 2008 economic implosion, the rabid reactionary reaction to the election of a fairly conservative Democrat who’s skin color was…unacceptable the radical right…the normalization of the filibuster in the Senate…the normalization of mass shootings…QAnon.

The election and subsequent fetishization of fucking Donald Trump as wingnut apotheosis (as if Bush Junior wasn’t sufficient)…

What’s the fix? Hell if I know, but waiting for Daddy Republican Heroes sure isn’t one.

Howard Baker was a fraud anyway.

And good luck finding even a Howard Baker.

Welcome to the future.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Peril Is My Pay

This one has a title to die for as well as a cover by Robert McGinnis.

The Law Is An Ass

The law is an ass is a quote from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist. Hence the featured image of Mr. Jaggers from David Lean’s film of another Dickens masterpiece, Great Expectations. It’s a venerable phrase that Dickens popularized according to The Phrase Finder, which is a nifty site I frequent from time-to-time. The original meaning of the phrase is “Said of the application of the law that is contrary to common sense.”

FYI, the ass in question is the critter that us Yanks call a donkey, not the human posterior but that works as well.

Not only is the law an ass, many people make asses of themselves when talking about it. There seem to be too many asinine asses to accurately assess, but I’ll give it a shot. That’s right, I’m on again about amateur lawyers. The worst offenders are the media. Their clicks and ratings are down because the Kaiser of Chaos is in exile at Mar-a-Doorn. Hype is what drives cable news coverage, so naturally Rachel Maddow had to *overstate* what a decision in the Mississippi abortion law case would do:

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear the case that Republicans have designed to overturn Roe versus Wade and make abortion criminal.

This is classic cable news hyperbole. The law in question is terrible, but it would only criminalize abortion in Mississippi and states with similar laws. It won’t happen in the more enlightened corners of the country. Unfortunately, I don’t live in one of them. I live on a blue island in a sea of red.

I have another drum to beat on. The controlling abortion rights case is Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which superseded Roe in 1992, but nobody ever gets that right. Oh well, what the hell.

If I were a cable pundit looking to hype the news, I’d point out that the right’s ultimate target is Griswold v. Connecticut. That’s the right to privacy case written by Bill Douglas in 1965. The Federalist Society types hate Griswold because it eventually led to Justice Blackmun’s opinion in Roe v. Wade. Stay tuned.

It remains unclear if the Supremes will explicitly overrule Casey and Roe this term. There are three justices ready to go for it: Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch. Even though they have the hammer, the other conservatives might prefer to place it in limbo. Hit it, Bryan:

That brings me to a brilliant essay in the WaPo by Ruth Marcus, The Rule of Six: A newly radicalized Supreme Court is poised to reshape the nation.

That’s some scary shit, innit?

The title is rooted in a saying by the great liberal justice Bill Brennan. (I’m on a first name basis with both Bills.) Here’s how Marcus puts it in the Post:

Brennan, master vote-counter and vote-cajoler, was right — but there is an important corollary to his famous Rule of Five, one powerfully at work in the current Supreme Court. That is the Rule of Six. A five-justice majority is inherently fragile. It necessitates compromise and discourages overreach. Five justices tend to proceed with baby steps.

A six-justice majority is a different animal. A six-justice majority, such as the one now firmly in control, is the judicial equivalent of the monarchy’s “heir and a spare.” The pathways to victory are enlarged. The overall impact is far greater than the single-digit difference suggests.

The Marcus corollary nails it. The current court is divided between radical reactionaries, conservatives, and three liberals who are powerless to do much but dissent. As Oliver Hardy was wont to say to Stan Laurel: “This is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into.”

The person who has gotten us into this fine mess is Mitch McConnell patron saint of the Federalist Society. Not only has he ruined the senate, he’s ruining the Supreme Court. Does that sound conservative to you? He’s a radical reactionary with a weak chin and a fat bank account. The Turtle can go fuck himself.

Finally, Dickens wrote extensively about the law. Bleak House is centered on the endless case of Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce. This quote is from the Old Curiosity Shop but it’s a fitting last word:

It’s Not Schadenfreude…

…unless it comes from the Schaden region of Germany.

Before the main course, the amuse-bouche:  You may have noticed Chris “I Ate The Meatloaf” Christie was all over TeeVee last week to promote his book. So far it’s sold fewer than 2300 copies. You hate to see it.

Time for an appetizer:  So Dr. Oz, who I never watch because I don’t watch CNN, is running for the Senate seat currently held by Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who is retiring. There’s one problem:  Oz doesn’t live in Pennsylvania. He lives in New Jersey. Now that in itself isn’t disqualifying—my own House rep, the useless Alex “I Spent Campaign Money On A LOT of Chik-Fil-A” Mooney, didn’t live in WV at first, either.  Oz recently registered in Philadelphia using his in-laws’ address and voted absentee from that address, but somehow I think that’s going to be a problem for the party that is determined to root out voter fraud.

The whole situation is ridiculous, and his own House rep had a perfect reply to the news:

We’re Americans so we eat our salads before the entrée:  The QAnon/Stop The Steal coalition has come apart at the seams. Last week Lin Wood threw Sidney Powell (who may or may not be under investigation) under the bus. As Adrastos wrote about yesterday, Michael Flynn said on a recorded call with Lin Wood that QAnon was “nonsense” and on Monday Wood told all of us.

And now the main course:  Lauren Boebert has been telling some really weird fake stories about Ilhan Omar, and one was filmed:

There is a description of another retelling of it here.

Omar is understandably upset and Boebert won’t apologize. And then Nancy Mace (you remember her, right? She put profanity and fake antifa symbols on her property on Memorial Day and then got as much press coverage as she could) and Marjorie Taylor Greene got themselves involved:

Things further escalated Tuesday evening:

Kevin McCarthy called them in and, uh, it didn’t go well:

You know, this schadenfreude tastes pretty authentic to me.

(As delightful as I am finding all of these comeuppances, I have to say that Boebert and Greene are truly reprehensible and have put Omar’s life in danger (she played a tape of a threatening message a Boebert supporter left for her on Tuesday night), Mace is a compete fake, and it’s shameful that this is how our national legislature operates.)

The reason I am enjoying all of this is that should the Republicans take the House next year, it doesn’t look like Kevin McCarthy is going to be able to get much done. The nuts have taken the reins of power and that’s not a recipe for a successful legislative session.

This seems appropriate, no?

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Buggles

The Buggles were a quirky British new wave band. So quirky that the band name is pronounced Biggles.

I’ve had them on my mind ever since I wrote about their song I Am A Camera a few Saturdays ago.

The Buggles were more of a duo than a band. It was Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn’s thing. They were short-lived but influential. In fact, their song Video Killed The Radio Star was the first video played on MTV.

The Buggles splintered when Downs and Horn joined Yes together. I saw the Drama tour and recall Horn being booed for the audacity to replace Jon Anderson. I thought he was good. I still do.

Trevor Horn went on to be one of the leading record producers of his era. Geoff Downes left the Buggles to form the pop-prog super group Asia and played a return engagement as Yes’ keyboard player in the 21st Century.

Here are the covers for their two albums:

Here’s the Video Killed The Radio Star video:

Finally, The Age Of Plastic via Spotify. I’ll stop Buggling you now:

Never Give A Sucker An Even Break

It will be no surprise to our readers that I think that Trumpism is a con, scam, and grift. Fleecing suckers is the Impeached Insult Comedian’s lifetime avocation, make that vocation. Sometimes the con job is legal: casinos in Atlantic City. Sometimes it’s not: Trump University. But it’s always a con.

That brings me to two of Trump World’s most blatant con artists: disgraced General Mike Flynn and professional asshole Steve Bannon. They both received pardons in the waning days of the Trump regime. They’re both out there shaking down Trumper suckers. Only one of them has been indicted again but I wouldn’t bet against Flynn joining Bannon in the dock.

We begin by going in like Flynn. I really should stop using the Errol Flynn trial line but I’m incorrigible. In the early days of the Mike Flynn scandal, I had some sympathy for him because of his distinguished military record. I’m a sucker for a guy in uniform. More importantly, he originally pled guilty and agreed to take his medicine until MAGA lawyer Sydney Powell took over his defense. That’s when shit got weird.

As you may recall, Flynn’s withdrawal of his guilty plea was supported by Bill Barr and eventually led to a presidential* pardon. I told you this shit was weird.

Since the pardon Flynn has become a QAnon hero. He’s been cultivating the most gullible group in the country and making a living off them. Nice work if you can get it.

I feel a musical interlude coming on:

Flynn is back in the news because of a phone call between him and MAGA shyster Lin Wood who is on the outs with some Q-types or is that Q-Tips?  I get the two confused.

Lin Wood has a nasty habit of recording phone calls. He did it again with Flynn:

In the call, Wood complains to Flynn that his QAnon supporters had attacked Wood online. But Flynn attempts to disown QAnon, claiming it’s a “disinformation campaign” created by the CIA.

“I think it’s a disinformation campaign,” Flynn said on the call. “I think it’s a disinformation campaign that the CIA created. That’s what I believe. Now, I don’t know that for a fact, but that’s what I think it is. I think it’s a disinformation campaign.”

Later in the recording, Flynn called QAnon “total nonsense.”

“I find it total nonsense,” Flynn said. “And I think it’s a disinformation campaign created by the left.”

Since Flynn was in military intelligence, one would think he knows from disinformation. He does not. Q-Anon is strictly a right-wing phenomenon with rhetoric straight out of the Bircher handbook. Besides, the CIA may have started life stuffed with lefties, but those days ended with the rise of Allen Dulles and James Jesus Angleton. Jeez, General, you oughta know that. He sounds like a guy who doesn’t know the difference between a mole and mole poblano…

As of this writing, Flynn hasn’t denied the story but I’m sure he will. QAnon is his golden goose. He’ll do anything to salvage a tie to the most gullible people in the country. It’s hard to find marks that easy to con. Why do you think the Kaiser of Chaos has always refused to denounce them?

The reason I used the title of the surreal WC Fields classic Never Give A Sucker An Even Break is our second MAGA con artist, Steve Bannon. I’ve long thought of Bannon as WC Fields’ evil twin. The sardonic and bibulous comedian was a Republican who threatened to run against FDR in 1940:

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Cry The Beloved Almost Visited Country

South African Flag

So while everyone waits with baited breath on the results of the further tests on the Omicron variant of COVID I have a selfish reaction to the news.

Fuck, there goes my vacation. Maybe.

Yes, the wife (Cruella) and I were going to be heading to South Africa in about six weeks. Why South Africa? The beauty and wonder of a land so far from our own. The chance to leave winter behind and regale in the warmth of the southern hemisphere. And, ironically, it had until last week, one of the lowest COVID infection rates IN THE WORLD. The U.S. has a rate of 25 cases per 100,000 people. South Africa has a rate of less than one per 100,000. In a country of 59 million that means, hold on let me get the calculator out, let’s see divide by 100K, multiple by one percent, oh crap the calculator battery ran out, anyway that means like 59 people in the entire country diagnosed as COVID positive.

Those are the kinds of odds I’ll take a chance on. Besides I wanted to photograph lions and hippos and elephants oh my.

I’ve been on the side of vaccination, social distancing, mask wearing, et al throughout the pandemic. Do I think the world is overreacting to Omicron? Hell no, until we know more everything should be shut down. Seal off any country where it rears it’s spikey little head. That includes those European countries that relaxed their testing and sequencing efforts (looking at you Belgium, you frivolous Flemish fop).

Here’s the thing about Omicron, at the moment hospitals aren’t overrun with Omicron variation patients. As a matter of fact, few have gone to hospital and even fewer have ended up in Intensive Care and those who do tend to be (say it with me) unvaccinated. The symptoms that present seem to be along the lines of general achiness and a bad cough. Um, I don’t know about you, but that’s how I wake up each morning. And yes, all those who have tested positive for it are on the younger side so are more likely to be able to fight it off with relative ease, but compare that to original COVID-19 where people got it and ended up on a ventilator eventually.

Here’s a thought. What if Omicron is the end stage mutation of COVID? What if it is like the mutation that turned the Spanish Flu of 1918-1920 from deadly killer to winter time annoyance? I have no epidemiology training and I don’t play a doctor on TV, but the fact that no one is dying of it suggests that there is at least the possibility of this being true. And if that’s the case, don’t you actually want that variation to reach as many people worldwide as possible? Is there a lab somewhere in the world where an original strength COVID molecule is being put into the proverbial ring with an Omicron microbe to see who bests who? I mean even Coke and Pepsi did that.

And now from the beautiful Sands Hotel in fabulous Las Vegas Nevada, it’s fifteen rounds to determine the heavyweight virus championship of the world!

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