Everybody Wants To Rule The World

Oligarchy Definition

OK class, use it in a sentence.

It’s been a bad week for oligarchs.

From the 48 hour birth, life, and death of the European Super League in soccer to the pullback of Russian troops from the border with Ukraine, the fat cats have been taking a bit of a pounding, most of it at the hands of the so called little guys.

If you still can’t quite understand the entire Super League fiasco don’t worry. I follow European soccer pretty closely and I am hard pressed to come up with a rational for the absurd circus the Dirty Dozen have put us through. The no longer failing New York Times has a good play by play of how this all came to be.

Suffice it to say, twelve of the fourteen richest teams in Europe decided they wanted to create their own league to play in, one that they would have total control of and which ultimately would have destroyed the delicate pyramid that feeds and nurtures the other hundreds of teams in dozens of national leagues. Fans, the people who actually pay to go to or watch games on TV, revolted. It was quickly established that even the most ardent of fans would abandon lifelong allegiance to one of the twelve in favor of continued allegiance to their national leagues. Television networks, the ones who would be paying the largest portion of the tab for the Super League, started muttering “what if they have a league and no one watches”.

And just like that, poof, it’s gone.

The birth and demise of the Super League is being laid squarely at the feet of the Glazer family, owners of Manchester United as well as being the guys who sign Tom Brady’s checks, Stan Kroenke owner of Arsenal, the LA Rams, the Denver Nuggets, and the Colorado Avalanche, and John Henry, owner of Liverpool FC as well as the Bahstin Red Sox. The line being put out is it’s all American hubris, coming in and thinking they can make this into the NFL. They’re taking the fall, but this whole plan stinks of Russian and Arab oligarchic slight of hand.

That’s how oligarchs work. They quietly pull all the strings so that if something goes wrong they can walk away with clean hands. That’s what’s happening in this case, Americans are taking the fall while the Russian oligarch owner of Chelsea FC and the Emirati prince owner of Manchester City get to say “I know nothing!“.

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Friday Catblogging: The Other Claire Trevor

Here’s my kitty’s namesake cuddling with a Maine coon kitten in the 1952 movie, My Man and I.

Next, a picture of Claire’s hand with Nikki, the same cat from the same movie:

Quote Of The Day: Lady Bird Johnson Edition

It’s Earth Day. President Biden is hosting a climate change summit today. That made me think of the environmental First Lady, Claudia Taylor Johnson, better known as Lady Bird. Bird is perhaps our most underrated First Lady, she did a lot of good things but the Other LBJ’s aides insisted on “ladying-up” her efforts:

In her East Wing policy shop, Lady Bird began to build a portfolio of environmental policies, working with Interior Secretary Stewart Udall. She brought Jane Jacobs to the White House, and conferred with other urban planners and environmental thinkers. But forswearing potentially polarizing talk of urban renewal and land stewardship, Lady Bird spoke of “beautification,” though she had mixed feelings about the word. “I’ll never forgive Lyndon’s boys for turning my environmental agenda into a beautification project,” she said. “But I went ahead and talked about wildflowers so as not to scare anybody, because I knew if the people came to love wildflowers they’d have to eventually care about the land that grew ’em.”

Whatever works, Bird, whatever works.

The last word goes to Tom Petty:

Why Is Miss Universe Always From Earth?

A lot of us are feeling a lot of anticipation right now—for those who have not yet been jabbed it’s the anticipation of that jab and how your body will react to it (my first Moderna shot elicited a slight headache and the second some pretty bad fatigue and muscle aches for about 10 hours, but so worth it), the semi-jabbed anticipate the next jab, and the fully-jabbed anticipate returning to the larger world.

I am looking forward to seeing my family and friends, and resuming the things that bring me joy:  volunteering at a no-kill animal shelter, singing with my choir, doing Church Lady things with the St. Mary’s Guild at church, wandering Costco, seeing a movie in a theater, eating a hot meal I didn’t cook and having all the plates taken away for someone else to wash.

I am anticipating these things in the context of the awfulness of our current society:  the continued fallout of a violent insurrection, almost daily mass shootings, police officers STILL FORKING KILLING Black people. I’m an anxious person to begin with, and none of those things are balm for a worrywart like me.

But the thing I am anticipating the most right now is a fairly rare and quite delightful experience:  the return of Brood X, the largest and most populous periodic cicada emergence. I have been part of a Mid-Atlantic weather community for 15+ years and in addition to tracking spring storms, we are also tracking the emergence of these amazing insects. That’s the magnitude of this event.

I grew up in New England so I didn’t experience this surreal phenomenon until I moved to DC. In 2004 I lived in a prime neighborhood for cicadas with established tree-lined streets and a large wilderness park just a few blocks away. And even better, the small building I lived in had a giant Japanese maple tree right in front of my windows. As the nymphs came out of the ground to shed their skins, grow wings, and fly away I could see them on my window screens. The noise in my neighborhood was deafening and that tree was absolutely covered with cicadas.

Here’s the thing:  I am not a fan of bugs. I like pollinators, praying mantises, katydids, and I catch inside spiders and take them outside (or at least I did before we got our cat Rey because she is always at war with spiders and she always wins), but the rest of the insect world can go pound sand. I was excited to experience Brood X but I was also quietly terrified. All those bugs! In the air! On the ground! Would they hurt me (no)?

As it turns out, cicadas are harmless and bumbling. I would even say they are charming. You’ll see the newly emerged ones rocking upside down on the street. (I used to turn them right side up as I headed to my bus stop. I couldn’t help myself.) They are flying doofuses with no capability to hurt you. Our cats are absolutely obsessed with bugs, to the point that last summer the aforementioned Rey got stung by a potter’s wasp she was annoying and she continues to annoy them still, so I imagine they are going to go nuts in a few weeks.

One of the best things about Brood X is that there are different cicadas that emerge, each with its own song and each with specific mating calls. So while it is loud, it’s also a whole boatload of loud.  One of the cool songs is the “pharaoh” song:

Another group sings a frying pan/lawn sprinkler sound (I think this is a mating call) :

And my favorite sound, and the one that inspired the title of this post, is a high-pitched alien spaceship song—you’ll have to listen for it in the background, but once you hear it, you’ll know it:

It seems unusually early, as the cicadas didn’t emerge en masse in 2004 until May, but there are already reports of some early birds up and singing in the trees in the DC metro area. They will pay for their temporal mistake as they will be gobbled up by eager prey. In the meantime I watch for emergence holes in the yard and listen for first song of the swarm. I really can’t wait for it to begin.

Stacey Abrams Takes John Neely Kennedy To School

The burden of proof should be on those who demand restricting the right to vote.

During a Tuesday Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on voting rights, Republican Sen. John Kennedy (La.) asked Abrams if she believes the Georgia voting bill signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp (R) last month is “racist.”

“I think there are provisions of it that are racist, yes,” she responded.

Kennedy then asked the former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee to “give” him a “list of the provisions that you object to.”

Abrams, who founded the voting rights advocacy group Fair Fight Action, proceeded to list the components of the bill that she says would place unfair disadvantages on certain segments of the population, including voters in minority groups and low-income residents.

“It shortens the federal run-off period from nine weeks to four weeks. It restricts the time a voter can request and return an absentee ballot application,” she began before commenting on the provision that requires voters to present a photo ID when participating in absentee voting.

Abrams added that this provision would make Georgia “only the fourth state in the nation to require voters to put at risk their identity” before she was interrupted by Kennedy.

“What else?” he questioned.

The former Georgia state representative continued to list other provisions she opposes, including limits on the number of ballot drop box locations and its ban on “nearly all-out-of precinct votes.”

“Meaning that if you get to a precinct and you are in line for four hours and you get to the end of the line and you are not there between 5 and 7 p.m., you have to start all over again,” she added.

“OK. What else? Is that everything?” the Louisiana senator said.

“No, it is not,” Abrams replied before letting out a quick laugh. “No, sir.”

Abrams pointed out that the law allows precincts to have shortened voting windows, which she said “may have an effect on voters who cannot vote during business hours.”

She then started to move on to another provision before Kennedy interrupted, “OK. I get the idea.”

Stacey Abrams is a national hero.

A couple of weeks ago I noted I’m so old I remember when the right to vote was considered central to free society.

But I guess for the wingers freedom to vote is like the free press or free market: guaranteed only to those who own [one].

And their race to restrict voting rights is a tell.

They’re panicking.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Mr. District Attorney

I don’t usually post comic book covers in this space but this one was irresistible:

The Chauvin Trial: Evidence Matters, Lawyering Matters

I made a mistake yesterday and spent too much time on Twitter before the verdict. The amateur lawyers and jurors were doing their thing, insisting that Derek Chauvin would be acquitted because that’s how it’s always gone. Each criminal case is different, a discrete and insular universe of its own. Precedents are for appellate courts; trial courts are all about verdicts. Each case stands alone.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison assembled a 21st Century dream team for the prosecution. They also had a dream case and the right jury to hear the case. Evidence matters. Lawyering matters. Voir dire matters. Everything came together for this conviction including some significant erosion of the thin blue line.

I’m not a fan of teevee cameras in the courtroom. The prosecution handled it well, acting as if they weren’t there. Eric Nelson (who can still suck it) played to the cameras and his own vanity. Lawyers tend to revel in detail and miss the big picture. Nelson kept making those mistakes and, more importantly, misread the jury. Jurors matter.

During his doomed closing argument, Nelson missed a chance to woo the jury. At the ninety-minute mark, he should have paused and said something like this, “Your honor, I’m going to need more time to make my case, but I see that it’s lunch time. I bet everyone in the court room is hungry. Why don’t we take a break and I’ll finish after lunch.”

Would it have helped his client? Given the evidence, no, but he should done it anyway as a signal to the jury that he cared about them, instead the judge was obliged to intervene.

I don’t know about you, but I get cranky when I’m really hungry. The focus of juror crankiness was Nelson who can still suck it. My idea of hell is his closing argument on a loop for eternity. Now, that’s damnation.

It’s another example of how the defense was focused on minutiae. Details matter but getting lost in them leads to three hour closing arguments that lead to disaster for a client. In this case, Chauvin had it coming.

I usually stick up for lawyers defending the indefensible. Everyone has the right to representation. This was a tough case but Nelson (who can still suck it) made everything worse with his showboating and verbosity. He was blowing smoke to get the jury to invoke reasonable doubt, but his case died of smoke inhalation, right? Apologies for the Nelsonism, they’re annoying, agreed? Nelson can still suck it.

It would not surprise me if the police union and the convicted defendant fired Nelson. Given the mountain of evidence, an appeal is unlikely to succeed in this case but the best ground is ineffective representation by counsel. Nelson was that bad.

A friend asked if I thought Nelson was throwing the case. Definitely not. Tanking a case can get you fired and even worse disbarred, especially in such a high-profile case. Cliche warning: He couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: not all lawyers are smart. I went to law school with some dumb people, but they were good test takers, so they made it through. That’s not unusual in a society where teachers teach to the test, not because they want to but because it’s required. Herd immunity is a good thing, but group think is not. Heed George Harrison’s advice and:

In fairness to Eric Nelson, if the prosecution had the dream case, he had the nightmare client. Derek Chauvin is as unlikeable a defendant as imaginable.

One reason Chauvin murdered George Floyd was stubborn pride. The crowd was urging him to get off Floyd’s neck and he wasn’t going to let them tell him how to do his job. He should have listened. I’m convinced that many problems could be solved if people just shut up and listened.

Chauvin’s face was blank as the verdict was read. He blinked but his visage was as emotionless as when he knelt on George Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. I try not to take pleasure in other people’s misfortune but watching him led away in handcuffs was a thing of beauty. His face remained expressionless and his eyes blank much like the character in this Kinks song:

Justice *was* achieved in the Chauvin case notwithstanding the desire of some to pull defeat from the jaws of victory. But like all criminal verdicts, it stands alone, it has no precedential value. One could even call it a legal island.

It’s a good start but few cases will have such perfect evidence and such good lawyering. It should, however, serve as a warning to rogue cops that things have changed, and that accountability is possible. Some of them, alas, will be slow learners.

In the end, people matter. The conviction was made possible by people like Darnella Frazier, Genevieve Hansen, Donald Williams, Charles McMillian, Courtney Ross, Chief Arradondo. Lt. Zimmerman, Doctors Tobin and Rich, and all the other witnesses who stood their ground and told the truth.

The truth matters.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: A Twist Of Lemmon

Since it’s Oscar week, we present a 1956 album by two-time Academy Award winner Jack Lemmon.

The cover is hokey as well as dog-eared but what’s not to love about STEREORAMA?

Here’s the whole damn album via the YouTube playlist format:

The Verdict: Guilty On All Counts

I know everyone has already heard but we’ve gone through the process together so we might as well have a brief encounter.

I was expecting a guilty verdict but this exceeded my expectations. The look on Chauvin’s face when he was cuffed was priceless.

The criminal justice system still has a lot of work to do but this is a step forward. I expect some people on the left to try and pull defeat  from the jaws of victory but we should enjoy this moment.

Suck it, Nelson.

I promised to do this. I’ll the Master speak for me:

I’ll be back with more on the verdict tomorrow when the dust has settled.

The last word goes to Randy Newman:

Fritz Mondale, R.I.P.

Then Senator Walter Mondale throws out the first pitch at a Minnesota Twins game.

I was lucky enough to meet Walter Mondale in between national elections sometime in the early 1980’s. It was at some sort of Congressional function. I can’t remember if it was on or off the Hill, but I made a beeline for him and introduced myself.

Me:  Nice to meet you, Mr. Vice President.

WM: Former Vice President.

Me:  Mr. Mondale then…

WM: … just call me Fritz.

I did and I still do,

I knew that he loved the Minnesota Twins, so I mentioned meeting Jim (Mudcat) Grant who was one of the stars of the 1965 team that lost to Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers in the World Series.

WM: Great nickname. Great guy. Did you know that he was a heckuva singer and had a nightclub act called Mudcat and the Kittens?

Me:   I did not know that.

I lied to one of the most honest men in American public life because I didn’t want to slow his roll. I also skipped my stock line about the 1980 election: “I voted for Mondale for Vice President.”

Much to my surprise, we chatted for about ten minutes. He liked talking to young people. Believe or not I used to be young.

Fritz Mondale died yesterday at the age of 93. He was a modest man from a humble background who never forgot his roots or his commitment to the poor, minorities, and the elderly.

Mondale should be remembered for revolutionizing the Vice Presidency, not for his blow-out loss to Ronald Reagan. But that led to one of my favorite Fritz Mondale stories:

He liked telling that story. He said it kept him humble.

He conducted his 1984 presidential campaign with dignity and honor. He lost but he was true to himself and his beliefs. He also made history by picking Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate. It took 36 years for a woman to be elected Veep. The current Vice President Kamala Harris was among the last to speak with her predecessor. Fortuna’s Wheel keeps spinning.

I chuckled when I read that Mondale was selected by Carter because of his Washington experience. That’s only partially accurate: Carter was mistrusted by the liberal wing of the Democratic Party and organized labor. Fritz Mondale was their guy.

Fritz Mondale and his mentor and fellow Minnesotan Hubert Humphrey had many things in common. Mondale was appointed to fill HHH’s senate seat when the latter became Veep. Humphrey urged him to accept the Vice Presidency despite Hubert’s appalling treatment by Lyndon Johnson. They were both Democratic nominees for president and both lost. More importantly, they were good and decent people who helped steer the Democratic party “out of the shadow of states’ rights and …. into the bright sunshine of human rights” in Humphrey’s memorable phrase.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar won Twitter last night after her mentor’s passing:

Fritz Mondale lived a long and glorious life. Instead of mourning his death, we should celebrate his life and legacy as a heckuva nice guy and the greatest Vice President in American history. Along with Hubert Humphrey, he was the best president we never had.

The last word goes to Mudcat Grant at a memorial service for his teammate, Harmon Killebrew:

A Postcard From Hollywood

Greetings From Hollywood

I’ve been kinda serious the past few posts so I’ve decided in honor of 2021’s Oscar pageant this coming Sunday let’s have some fun. Here are some of my favorite Oscar trivia questions. Go ahead and Google the answer if you want, but I promise you it’s more fun to just play along. No points given, none taken away. By the way, I’m going to use the generic term “actor” to mean both male and female actors.

First of all, a basic question. How long does a film have to be to be considered a feature (as opposed to a short subject) by the Academy?

40 minutes. I don’t know who came up with that, but I’d sure as hell be POed if I paid twelve bucks to see a feature that only lasted 40 minutes. On the other hand, if THE ENGLISH PATIENT had only been 40 minutes I might have liked it better. By the way, the shortest run time for a movie that won Best Picture is 91 minutes, MARTY.

From shortest to longest. What movie nominated for Best Picture had the longest title?

If you said BIRDMAN (OR THE UNEXPECTED VIRTURE OF IGNORANCE) I’d give you half a point if we were keeping score. It’s the longest title for a movie that won Best Picture. But the longest title for a movie nominated goes to, of course how could you not get this, DR. STRANGELOVE OR HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB. Another Oscar fact about Strangelove, the man who played him, Peter Sellers, also played Group Captain Lionel Mandrake and President Merkin Muffly and thus is the only actor to be nominated for playing three roles in the same film.

Well then let’s get familial. What family has the most nominations for Oscars? I’m talking about a blood relationship, no married into the family, no in-laws, a direct blood relationship.

I know the impulse is to say the Fondas or the Hustons or the Coppolas, but the actual answer is the Newmans. And I ain’t talking about Paul. I’m talking about Alfred (45 nominations), his brothers Emil (1) and Lionel (11), his sons David (1) and Thomas (16) and his nephew Randy (22). That’s 96 nominations between them, all for musical scoring or original song.  To put that into perspective including this year there have only been 93 Academy Award ceremonies. In this most unprecedented of years it is almost unprecedented that no Newman scored a nomination this year.

Staying in the family, what two couples won acting Oscars while married to one another?

The first was Laurence Olivier and Vivian Leigh, he for HAMLET and she for, no not GONE WITH THE WIND (they weren’t married yet) but for A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE. The second were those Newmans again! This time, yes, Paul for THE COLOR OF MONEY and Joanne Woodward for THE THREE FACES OF EVE. By the way, Vivian Leigh holds a distinction shared with Luise Rainer and Hilary Swank as the only actors to have a 1.000 Oscar batting average, two nominations, two wins. Sally Field used to be a fourth but she spiraled her average down to .667 by being nominated for Supporting Actress in LINCOLN and losing. But other than that how was the play Sally?

Speaking of multiples, who are the six actors to be nominated for playing the same character in two different movies?

Bing Crosby as Father O’Malley for GOING MY WAY and THE BELLS OF SAINT MARY’S, Al Pacino as Michael Corelone in THE GODFATHER and THE GODFATHER PART II, Cate Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth I in ELIZABETH and ELIZABETH THE GOLDEN AGE, Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa in ROCKY and CREED (bet that one you forgot about), Peter O’Toole as King Henry II in BECKET and THE LION IN WINTER and finally, holy crap it’s that Newman fellow again in THE HUSTLER and THE COLOR OF MONEY. Of the six the only winners were Newman for the sequel and Crosby for the original.

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Closing Arguments

The day began with jury instructions from Judge Peter Cahill, which were, of course drafted with input from both sides. I listened carefully and they sounded fairly standard; nothing wildly pro-prosecution or defense. That did not surprise me. The judge has been fair and even-handed throughout the trial. This does, however, give the prosecution an edge because they have such a strong case.

PROSECUTION ARGUMENT: Calm but impassioned best describes lead prosecutor Steve Schleicher’s style. It’s what you’d expect from a Minnesota lawyer. Those people aren’t known for raising their voices. It’s a perfect demeanor for a trial lawyer.

Schleicher began by discussing who George Floyd was and why the police response to his alleged crime was disproportionate. A reminder that the call for service was initiated because Floyd passed a counterfeit bill. It remains unclear if he knew it was a fake or not. Whatever the case, suspects are rarely cuffed and arrested for passing funny money. They’re typically issued a summons. That’s right, it’s a ticket, the monetary equivalent of a traffic stop. Repeat after me: Nobody should die during a traffic stop.

Schleicher emphasized that Floyd complied with the police until they tried to shove this large man into the cramped backseat of a squad car. Even then Floyd’s “resistance” was mostly verbal telling the cops that he was claustrophobic and not a bad guy. I understand this because I’m mildly claustrophobic myself. They did not listen and the result was George’s Floyd’s death.

Schleicher urged the jury to use their common sense and ignore the nonsense thrown at them by the defense. Nonsense is, of course, Eric Nelson’s specialty.

Schleicher pre-rebutted some of Nelson’s sillier arguments: crowd noise, carbon monoxide and the like.

For any conservative leaning jurors, Schleicher stressed that this was “not a prosecution of the police, it’s a prosecution of the defendant.” Something that was supported by the testimony of seven law enforcement professionals AGAINST Chauvin.

This was one of the strongest passages of the prosecution’s argument:

“This wasn’t policing; this was murder,” Schleicher told jurors. He cited the motto of the Minneapolis Police Department, which fired Chauvin and three other officers involved the day after Floyd’s arrest: “To protect with courage and to serve with compassion.”

“George Floyd was not a threat to anyone,” Schleicher said, often speaking with audible anger and disgust. “Facing George Floyd that day that did not require one ounce of courage, and none was shown on that day, no courage was required. All that was required was a little compassion and none was shown on that day.”

Compassion seems to be in short supply when it comes to Derek Chauvin.

I’m in a pedagogical mood so I’ll rate Schleicher’s argument. It was cogent, coherent, and well organized. I give him an A- mostly because I’m a tough grader.

DEFENSE ARGUMENT: Nelson’s argument started off fairly well, but unraveled under the weight of his words. He even conceded that he was going to be long-winded. He did not disappoint.

I originally planned to count Nelson’s use of the word right. I gave up at twenty. Oy just oy.

Nelson’s argument was disjointed and disorganized. It gave me a reasonable doubt that he’s a competent counsel. He also has some issues with the language. I’ve never heard the word fanciful pronounced fancy-full. I laughed, then thought of this venerable song:

Nelson stressed the “reasonable police officer” argument. As far as I’m concerned there’s nothing reasonable about putting one’s knee on another guy’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.

I thought Nelson’s use of video backfired. It made it clear that Floyd was begging for his life as Chauvin pinned him in a prone position. Floyd was even polite calling Chauvin, Mr. Officer when he was really Officer Asshole.

Nelson must have hoped that the guttural and agonized sounds made by Floyd would evoke stereotypes of scary Black street criminals but instead they were pitiable. Chauvin reacted with no pity. I don’t think he’s capable of it; another reason for keeping him off the witness stand.

The cause of death portion of Nelson’s argument was equally weak. Instead of keeping it short and punchy, he went on and on and on, so I’ll keep it short and snappy. It was unconvincing and so windy that the judge took a lunch break before Nelson finished.

I tried not to be too hard on Nelson just because I’ve come to dislike him over the course of the trial. It’s a very tough case for a defense lawyer. He has an unappealing client who would have no chance of acquittal if he weren’t a cop. I’m doubtful that an acquittal is possible at this point, especially since the jury is likely to be pissed off at Nelson’s windbaggery,

Nelson’s strategy seems to have been to bore or starve the jury into submission. I don’t think it will work. I give his closing argument a D- and that’s being charitable.

PROSECUTION REBUTTAL: Two of MSNBC’s Black reporters insisted on calling Jerry Blackwell the Johnnie Cochran of the Midwest. It’s meant as a compliment, but their styles are entirely different.  Besides, Blackwell is alive, and Johnnie is not. So it goes.

Blackwell did a decent job but I, along with everyone else, had trial fatigue as he spoke. I just wanted it to end.

Finally. today was a disaster for the defense. Nobody wants to hear anyone speak for 3 hours. Nelson is lucky that Chauvin didn’t kick his ass on the break. Eric Nelson is now the Fidel Castro of the legal profession. What a maroon.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – “Derp State rights” edition

And the hits just keep on coming.

Cheney: ‘Election Wasn’t Stolen’ — Trump ‘at War with the Constitution’
Breitbart ^ | 11 April | PAM KEY

Posted on 4/12/2021, 4:11:45 AM by RandFan

Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the 2020 presidential election was not “stolen” from former President Donald Trump.

Anchor Margaret Brennan said, “Unfortunately, last night the former president seemed to be talking in a proud way about the crowd size on January 6. He gave a speech at Mar-a-Lago. He was the keynote speaker at an RNC fundraiser. He talked about Vice President Pence not doing more to stop the election certification, according to reports in the Times and the Post. So he is the best messenger for the party?”

Cheney said, “The former president is using the same language he knows provoked violence on January 6. As a party, we need to be focused on the future. We need to be focused on embracing the Constitution, not embracing insurrection. I think it is very important for people to realize that a fundamental part of the Constitution, and of who we are as Americans, is the rule of law, the judicial process. The election wasn’t stolen. There was a judicial process in place. If you attack the judicial process and you attack the rule of law, you aren’t defending the Constitution. You’re at war with the Constitution. We have to embrace the Constitution and put forward positive solutions. We have to be the party of hope, of aspiration, of inspiration, the party that recognizes and understands that the taxes need to be low, the government needs to be limited in size, a strong national defense, though substantive things, not the party of insurrection.”


Goodbye Liz…
1 posted on 4/12/2021, 4:11:45 AM by RandFan
“Hello, wall!”
To: tflabo
The Cheneys always speak of “war” as though they are experts on the topic. Why is it they have never fought in one? Her father had six draft deferments to keep out of Vietnam, for marriage and college yet was the instigator of the crazy war in Iraq.
9 posted on 4/12/2021, 4:34:41 AM by laconic
Is this the same “Free Republic” where every single poster gibbered and hooted about WMDs and getting Saddam and his best buddy OBL while they were playing poker in the royal palace? Where every single Freeper thought that Dick Cheney was a better President than Dubya?
Let’s step into Tommy’s Time Tunnel, shall we?
To: All; NormsRevenge; Grampa Dave; SierraWasp; blam; SunkenCiv; Marine_Uncle; Allegra; Dog; Coop; …
I will go with Cheney’s statements over anything coming from Congress where the Demo’s have a hand in twisting any report….
2 posted on 4/6/2007, 12:57:14 PM by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The DemonicRATS believe ….that the best decisions are always made after the fact.)
To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Funny how all intelligence reports supporting Democrat talking points are 100% correct and gospel, while every intelligence report opposing them is “manipulated”,”cherry picked”, “falsified” and “Agenda driven”.
Good on ya Cheney.
3 posted on 4/6/2007, 12:59:10 PM by SolidWood (Islam is an insanity cult that makes everyone act Arab)
To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Vice President Cheney is absolutely correct.
9 posted on 4/6/2007, 1:07:54 PM by jveritas (Support The Commander in Chief in Times of War)
To: Peach
Cheney gives me a warm fuzzy feeling….love the guy!
40 posted on 4/6/2007, 2:03:37 PM by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The DemonicRATS believe ….that the best decisions are always made after the fact.)
To: meandog
Too bad the ticket couldn’t have been Cheney/Bush with Pres. Cheney keeping Bush visiting factories and attending funerals of foreign dignitaries.
7 posted on 8/13/2009, 8:54:41 AM by SharpRightTurn (White, black, and red all over–America’s affirmative action, metrosexual president.)
To: dfwgator
Believe me Cheney, you were not alone in your disappointment.
Hear, hear. It is becoming more apparent that Bush DID distance himself from Cheney during the second term because Bush became more “squishy” and liberal.

IMO, Bush’s strength, which we saw in his first term, came from Cheney and, today, I have far more respect for Cheney than I do Bush 43. Cheney’s book should be an interesting read.

20 posted on 8/13/2009, 9:09:04 AM by DustyMoment (FloriDUH – proud inventors of pregnant/hanging chads and judicide!!)
Yeah – And you all cheered for Liz Cheney when she ran for office, too.
Well, let’s go back to the future (after the jump, of course)

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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with Random Ruminations – “A modest proposal” edition

Nuclear fearmongering, and a modest proposal

I’ve seen a lot of hysterical gobspatter over the Iran Nuclear Treaty.


You know what?

GIVE the Iranians some of OUR nukes.

Go ahead. They’ll come to the same realization that every nuclear power has – that the things are fucking worthless.


You can’t use them.

They’re hideously expensive tinkertoys that serve no offensive military purpose, other than to try to keep someone (like Israel in this case) from nuking YOU.

I’m about as worried about Iran launching an ICBM they don’t have (with a nuclear warhead they don’t have on it) at us as I am of a plane crashing on my house.

Actually, less, as there is a one-in-fifty-million chance of the plane crash.

So – let’s say Iran does have nuclear weapons. Weapons they don’t dare launch because the retaliatory strike will make a crater where Tehran used to be, before their missile even lands. See? You can’t USE the damned things.

But –but – what about nuclear terrorism?

What if Iran slips some of those nuclear weapons they don’t have to a terrorist group?

Allow me to introduce you to a term : “Nuclear forensics”.

What does it mean?

It means that there is NO SUCH THING as an anonymous/untraceable nuclear device. Every fission product (and byproduct) has a fingerprint that is unique, and shows EXACTLY where it was mined.

If the nuclear device the terrorists don’t have was exploded, and the forensics results pointed to Iran – well – see above (Tehran crater).

Even if Iran did have a nuclear device, the LAST thing they would do is to give it to someone who would be stupid enough to use it.

So – let’s give them some of OUR nukes. They need something non-productive to spend their money on maintaining and guarding.


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Paul McMahon: Second Verse, Same As The First

If it’s Sunday, it must be part two of Pmac’s Big Adventure.  I *should* apologize to Paul for the cheesy Peter Noone/Herman featured image but sometimes I cannot help myself. This is one of those times. Hopefully, it won’t lead to High Noone…


Second Verse, Same As The First by Paul McMahon

So, maybe I’m really Henry VIII?!?

Following Wednesday’s airport debacle, we awoke on Friday morning with an attitude of fuck the past and let’s move on to bigger and better things. I mean, the gods can only inflict so much punishment on a man not named Job, correct?!?

Get to the airport and arrive at the United check in counter with 4 pieces of luggage, dog in a carrier, guitar in a case and 4 carry on pieces. Start to place the luggage on the scale, and the clerk utters those ominous words, “oh, oh.” Yeah, my dear wife has overloaded both of her bags a good 10 lbs each beyond the maximum capacity set by United. So, much to the chagrin of the patrons queued behind us, my beloved opens up her two pieces and quickly starts to grab and throw various items into my much lighter pieces of Samsonite. After having exposed various items of lingerie to the huddled masses at Louis Armstrong International, the bags are now all sufficiently svelte, and we proceed to our boarding gate.

Our new itinerary has us heading west to go east, with our first stop in Houston before proceeding to DC, Frankfurt and finally to Casa de Pmac in Spain. The hour-long flight to Houston goes off without a hitch, hopefully a precursor to what we know will be a long day. Board our flight to DC and despite having been told that the three seated rows will all have an empty middle seat to help enforce Coronavirus standards, we discover that there is a pre-teen boy firmly ensconced in seat B. I politely ask the young man if he would like the window seat in order for my wife and I to sit together, to which I am met with a resounding, yet simple, “No.” Fair enough. My wife climbs over this seated young Einstein, puts the dog under the seat in front, while I wedge myself into seat A, and away we go on our 3-hour journey to DC.

Since I cannot engage in any banter with my spouse during this flight, I decide to take a nap, from which I am awakened by the sounds of whimpering. Fearing that it’s our dog, I open my eyes but quickly notice that it’s my junior row companion, who is quietly whimpering to himself, with the onset of some tears streaming down his cheek. Overcoming my initial thought of the little bastard had it coming, I inquire if there’s something wrong, and now discover that junior actually is capable of more than a one-word utterance. “I don’t feel good” is quickly followed by that all too familiar yack sound and the expulsion of vomit from the kid’s mouth, onto his lap, and my pant leg. Luckily, the stewardess quickly emerges, and pulls junior off to the bathroom, and drops a few packets of wet wipes in my lap and asks if I’ll assume the role of janitor and clean up the remains. I look over at my wife, and she is laughing uncontrollably. Yeah, empathy is not her strong suit.

So, junior re-emerges and, thankfully, the rest of the flight is uneventful. We land in DC, with only a little more than an hour before our flight across the pond starts to board. On the way to the new gate, we find a pet park, allow our pup to relieve himself, and then quickly find ourselves in line for the Frankfurt flight.

I want to write that the rest of our day was joy filled and ends with us entering our new digs in Seville. I want to, but I can’t. When we get to the gate agent, and present our papers for the flight, we are summarily dismissed and refused entry since our Covid tests, while within the 72-hour mandate imposed by the Spanish authorities, are now outside of the 48-hour limit that our German friends have adopted. Despite numerous pleas/threats to various officials, we still are not allowed on the flight (a fate shared by at least 20 other ticketed customers), and instead find ourselves at the United customer service stand.

So, I am composing this missive while sitting in room 176 at the Hilton Dulles airport, having taken yet another Covid test (to those still counting, that makes three tests in the past 5 days), and awaiting our new flight on Saturday evening to Frankfurt with a final connection to Seville. And, to add further levity to the situation, all of our luggage is now in Seville, which while it does relieve me of the Herculean task of carrying again the 4 pieces of luggage, it does leave me still wearing the pants that junior soiled.

“I’m Henery the 8th I am, Henery the 8th I am…..”

Saturday Odds & Sods: Pictures Of Matchstick Men

Main Press by LS Lowry.

The weather has been horrendous in New Orleans this week. We’ve had high winds, thunderstorms, and torrential rain. One day it looked as if we were having a tropical system out of season. I hate thunderstorms, they’re like heavy metal. I hate heavy metal.

It’s been so bad that we’ve had to work around the weather for fear of street flooding. Dr. A went to work preposterously early yesterday because she was administering an exam. I was so grateful that the garbage men closed the bin lid that I went on the porch and thanked them.

This week’s theme song was written by Francis Rossi for Status Quo’s 1968 album Picturesque Matchstickable Messages from the Status Quo. How’s that for a long ass title? It was to be the band’s only major hit single in the US&A.

The song was inspired by the paintings of Mancunian artist LS Lowry. He pretended to be an unsophisticated artist but had serious chops as a painter. Lowry also excelled at myth creation often telling wildly contradictory stories. His painting Main Press is this week’s featured image.

There’s some dispute as to whether Lowry should be called a Mancunian artist since he lived in nearby Salford. But I like saying Mancunian so I’m sticking with it. FYI, a Mancunian is someone who hails from Manchester, England, mate.  Who the hell wants to be a Salfordian or is that Salfordite?

We have three versions of Pictures Of Matchstick Men for your listening pleasure: the studio original, Status Quo live, and a 1989 cover by Camper Van Beethoven, which was a hit in the US&A.

We’re not finished with matchstick men, here’s a 2018 song written and recorded by Mark Knopfler:

Now that we’ve pondered matchstick men in music and art, let’s strike quickly and jump to the break.

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Let’s Fall In Love

The Friday Cocktail Hour began as a place for torch songs, the sadder the better. I’ve expanded that remit to bring a bit of joy into our lives as the pandemic slowly recedes. This week’s song is particularly joyful.

For the second consecutive week, we feature the work of Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler. They wrote it for the 1933 movie of the same name. That would be Let’s Fall In Love. It’s an old movie I’ve never seen. There has to be at least one, right?

We begin with the first version I ever heard. It comes from one of my all-time favorite albums recorded by two sweet and noble souls.

Anita O’Day brings some sultry Irish soul to a song written by two Jewish guys.

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The Defense Rests

Who are these masked men? Eric Nelson and Derek Chauvin.

I originally didn’t plan to write about the defense mounted on behalf of Derek Chauvin by his pesky and annoying lawyer Eric Nelson. But I was asked several times to do so, and I’ve been known to take requests. I will not, however, play either Louie Louie or Whipping Post, which are my stock mock concert song requests. I once got Weather Report’s Joe Zawinul to play a few bars of the former and was mocked by Richard Thompson for requesting the latter.

I only watched bits and bobs of the defense presentation because Nelson annoys me so much. Besides, I have other things to do such as writing about my parents and the corrupt Gilroy cop. End of shameless plug for one of my better recent posts.

Nelson’s defense predictably consisted of throwing shit against the wall and seeing how much sticks. But the defense doesn’t have the burden of proof, in a case like this its job is to poke holes in the prosecution’s case. Nelson tried mightily but as far as I can tell failed. His experts simply weren’t as good as those of the prosecution. His use of force guy essentially paraphrased Tricky Dick:

Just substitute police for president and do for does and Bob’s your uncle.

Nelson’s medical expert Dr. David Fowler was no better. He’s the reflexively pro-police former chief medical examiner of Maryland. He’s currently being sued by the family of a 19-year-old black man killed by police. Fowler ruled Anton Black’s death to be accidental and caused by his heart problems and bipolar disorder. The facts of that case are strikingly similar to the Floyd case.

Dr. Fowler pulled a joker out of the deck and cited carbon monoxide poisoning as a factor in George Floyd’s death. That led to the prosecution calling lovable expert witness Dr. Martin Tobin to rebut Fowler’s claim. That was win-win for the prosecution: Fowler is a dick with a South African accent and Tobin is a nice guy with an Irish brogue. He reminds me of two Irish members of the John Ford stock company: Barry Fitzgerald and Arthur Shields.

The least surprising thing that happened yesterday was Chauvin’s decision to exercise his 5th Amendment right not to testify. The guy has 18 citizen complaints against him. If he testified, they would have come in. There was no way Nelson would advise him to take the stand. Nelson is a jerk, not an idiot. I stand by what I wrote on Tuesday.

The trial is on hiatus until Monday. The defense tried to throw Judge Peter Cahill for a loop by resting earlier than expected. The judge was not rattled by Nelson’s antics and stuck to the plan of closing arguments on Monday. He promised the jury the weekend off before being sequestered for deliberation. One of the least commented upon aspects of a judge’s life is jury management. This judge kept his word to his jury. He’s got a swell first name as well.

A few words about the teevee coverage. I mostly watched MSNBC and CSPAN, but I dallied with Court TV. I skipped CNN because of my Wolf Blitzer phobia. Mercifully, MSNBC let its regular hosts handle the coverage, which spared me from seeing New Jersey’s answer to Wolf Blitzer, Brian Williams.

Court TV is used to covering tabloidy trials and its coverage reflected that. This trial is significant in a way that the Casey Anthony trial never was. Their analysts and anchors were shockingly bad. One predicted that Chauvin *would* testify. Say what? Talk about pundit malpractice.

As to MSNBC, its reporters were in over their head and fell back on reporting on juror quirks. How can you read their reaction when they’re wearing masks? Oy just oy.

When MSNBC’s crack legal analysts such as Chuck Rosenberg, Joyce Vance, and David Henderson were on the air things were better. I could have done without some of the political/cultural analysts such as Professor Eddie Glaude who specialized in windy and negative pronouncements about the jury. Here’s the deal: even when juries get it wrong, they’re doing the best they can. It’s not easy being a juror in a high-profile case, you’re going to get criticized whichever way you come down.

The closing arguments should be interesting. Both sides will use them to remind the jury of what happened during the trial. The prosecution has the upper hand because it has a stronger case, but Nelson might be able to pester and annoy the panel into hanging.

Predicting outcomes in a jury trial is a sucker’s game. I don’t expect an acquittal, but a hung jury is a possibility.

Stay tuned.

The last word goes to the Allman Brothers Band:

One Size Does Not Fit All

doctor administering vaccine

Just checking, you’re not a female 18-48 by any chance?

I don’t know about you dear reader, but I’ve always been a bit suspicious of the phrase “one size fit’s all”. Personally I’m not the kind of one size that would allow me to fit in anything that might be considered all.

The number of people who fit well into one size fits all is pretty small. For most people it will be a little small or a little big or a bit tight or a bit loose. Most of us might fit into it, but few will actually be happy about it.

Which brings us to the COVID vaccine(s).

You might have heard that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been put in a time out because six women between 18 and 48 developed blood clots after receiving a J&J jab. That’s six out of roughly I don’t know how many millions. One died. I will not in the least discount this, but really folks, stopping the distribution of a vaccine in the middle of a pandemic because 6 women of child bearing age had a bad reaction is just a little too one size fits all for me.

Or maybe it’s more throwing the baby out with the bathwater. That seems a tad more appropriate.

Discourage women of child bearing years from getting the J&J jab and encourage them to get the Moderna or Pfizer? Seems to make sense to me. Obviously there is something going on with that particular vaccine when it comes to menstruating women as far as the limited facts on hand would indicate. Tell those who fall into that category, sorry this one’s not for you, try across the proverbial pharmaceutical street. Then do the medical detective work to figure out what went wrong (clue: menstruating might have something to do with it).

In the meantime let males and women over 50 get it so that we accomplish what the primary goal of the exercise is: To Eradicate COVID.

Ah but to do that Big Pharma would have to admit something that they have never wanted to do. They’d have to admit that not every drug/vaccine is right for everyone. In other words, one size doesn’t fit all.

I live with that fact everyday. My wife (Cruella) can’t take codeine because unlike most of the rest of the world her body lacks the enzyme necessary to turn codeine into morphine.   In the parlance of the medical world she is a “poor metabolizer”. It’s rare but not so rare as to never have been seen before. However whenever she has needed pain medication and tells the nurse/doctor/nurse’s aide that codeine doesn’t work and that she needs straight morphine the immediate reaction is that she’s a drug abuser. Don’t believe me? Try it the next time you go to the dentist for a root canal.

Knowing this yet still wanting to be part of the solution Cruella went and got her first Pfizer jab. Her reaction was swift and undeniable.

She got a case of shingles.

Oh yes, shingles, or herpes zoster for the medical students out there, is a known side effect of the Pfizer vaccine. Shingles laughs at blood clots in the netherworld of COVID vaccine side effects. Six blood clots? Try 148 cases of shingles from the Pfizer vaccine (240 overall from the three brands). Far and away the number one reported side effect on the CDC’s VAERS reporting site. Still that number is incredibly small compared to the millions who have been jabbed over the past few months.

And here’s where I have to fault the Feds and the Pharmas. Pfizer, even with all those reported cases, still insists it’s just a coincidence. The Feds say there’s not enough evidence. Six blood clots were enough for the Feds to put a temporary kibosh on the J&J vaccine. 240 cases of shingles, well that’s just coincidence/too soon to tell.

When we sit here and wonder why so many people are apprehensive about getting vaccinated the usual suspects are conspiracy theories and right wing media messaging. It’s rarely posited that people are tired of not getting the full story, of being lied to by their government and leaders. You say I should take this vaccine? Aren’t you the same people who said Vietnam was winnable, Watergate was a third rate burglary, I did not have sex with that woman, there was no collusion.

Yes, I understand, the Feds want people to get vaccinated so we all can get back to “normal”. But the Biden administration not giving the public all the information they need to make an informed choice is just as bad as the Trump Administration telling people COVID will just disappear one day.

Joey B. Shark or Dr. Fauci or Jenny PressWrangler need to stand up and say “Hey, we know the vaccines aren’t perfect, you might get a bad side effect from it, but the side effects aren’t nearly as bad as DYING from COVID. And on top of that only a very small percentage of people even get these adverse reactions. A good plan today is better than a great plan tomorrow.” Then they need to back that up by footing the bill for any medical care required because of an adverse reaction. Better yet get Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson to foot the bill since they’re the ones making the profits.

The bottom line is that if what worries authorities is telling people they MIGHT have an adverse reaction to the vaccine, then they are giving COVID vaccine alarmists fuel to fire up their misinformation cannons. Tell the truth, warts and all, it’s in everyone’s interest.

Denial — it ain’t just a river in Egypt.

These guys denied they were married.

Shapiro Out




Friday Catblogging: Don’t It Make My Green Eyes Blue

One of young Claire Trevor’s many quirks is the way she stretches before leaving her ottoman. It took awhile for Dr. A to capture this phenomenon. The resulting picture makes her green eyes look blue. I think it’s the rug, which is mostly blue.

The post title is a play on Crystal Gayle’s hit song Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue. She gets the last word.