SMV: Crosby, Stills & Nash Woodstock 1994 Live

CSN were one of a handful of artists who played the original Woodstock to return 25 years later. They open with last week’s Odds & Sods theme song, Love The One You’re With.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Burning Down The House

Fire At Gronland, Oslo by Edvard Munch.

We’re in for an extended cold snap in New Orleans. I prefer my winter weather snappy. What can ya do?

I’ve been feeling fiery and feisty of late hence this week’s theme song. Besides, it’s fucking cold, so a little fire isn’t a bad thing. Just ask Edvard Munch. Why you’d ask a dead Norwegian artist is beyond me.

I bet it’s fucking cold in Gronland right now. The mere thought makes me gron out loud. I should apologize for that Nordic groaner, but I stand by my puns.

FYI, the Gronland in question is a neighborhood in Oslo, not the country the Impeached Insult Comedian wanted to buy. I wrote a 2019 post about the Greenland gambit that included a variation on the Drop Dead headline meme I used on Thursday:

WHAM. He was a Fjord, not a Lincoln. BAM.

This week’s theme song was written by David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison, and Tina Weymouth for Talking Heads 1983 album Speaking In Tongues. The album was the band’s commercial breakthrough. They went from a weird cult band to weird stars. Anything involving David Byrne is weird.

We have three versions of Burning Down The House for your listening pleasure: the Talking Heads original, Tom Jones with The Cardigans, and Bonnie Raitt.

Now that we’re feeling all fiery and shit, let’s jump to the break.

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It’s Only A Paper Moon

The featured image is from the late Peter Bogdanovich’s wonderful 1973 movie, Paper Moon. Tatum and Ryan O’Neal aren’t having cocktails, but it might have been Friday. You never can tell.

It’s Only A Paper Moon was composed in 1932 by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Billy Rose and Yip Harburg. The song’s original title was If You Believed In Me.

We begin with one of the earliest paper moony radio hits by the King Cole Trio. It’s a Natty version.

Has a Velvet Fog ever obscured a Paper Moon? Beats the hell outta me. Here’s Mel:

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Quotable Quotes

I woke up with the phrase Quotable Quotes on my mind for some reason. It rang a bell, but I wasn’t sure which one. Sometimes I have bats in the belfry upon waking up but that’s a story for another day.

I consulted with Mr. Google and realized it was a Reader’s Digest feature. I’ve neither read nor thought about that venerable publication for decades but a good title is a terrible thing to waste. So, I stole it.

When I was growing up, the Reader’s Digest was always around the house. So, I often picked it up and perused it. I recall liking it as a kid and disdaining it as a teenager. I was a damnably disdainful teenager. Perhaps I had bats in the belfry even then. So it goes.

I had no idea there was a current edition of the Quotable Quotes book with some current luminaries on the cover. It’s unclear if Stephen Colbert is displaying air quotes or making the V for Victory sign. Probably the former but his Comedy Central character dug Nixon and Churchill.

Thanks, Robin.

I have two quotes to share today hence the Quotable Quotes shtick,

We begin with a quote from a piece in The Atlantic by Adam Serwer:

Conservatives were often vocally pro-vaccination in the past, when anti-vaccine sentiment was vaguely associated with people the comedian Jon Stewart once mocked as “science-denying affluent California liberals.” With “affluent California liberals” as a symbol of the anti-vaccination movement, conservative culture-war instincts trended in a more constructive direction. Indeed, a 2015 measles outbreak at Disneyland illustrated the importance of mass vaccination to obtain herd immunity and suppress disease.

Many conservatives at the time made precisely that point. “If you think about the childhood illnesses that once permanently debilitated people like my grandfather, who contracted childhood polio—and you think today that measles, rubella, polio have been eradicated from the U.S. and much of the world—why would we go backwards?” Senator Ted Cruz asked in 2015. “In a feat that would have been unimaginable a few decades ago, the anti-vaccine movement has managed to breathe life into nearly vanquished childhood diseases,” the conservative pundit Rich Lowry had lamented presciently a year earlier. “Nothing good can come from undoing one of the miracles of medical progress.”

Conservatives used to be all about personal responsibility before placing their souls in a blind trust controlled by former President* Pennywise.

Our second quote comes from former GOPer and Willard Mittbot Romney fan girl, Jennifer Rubin.

The media today so often frame politics about winning and losing. Had they been covering John Lewis on the bridge, one shudders to think that they might have ‘scored’ that day as a win for the Alabama troopers who met the marchers with clubs and tear gas. Coverage entirely denuded of moral content becomes camouflage for bad conduct.

Rubin is spot on. Sometimes you win by losing. The inside-the-beltway media will never get that. The horse race is all that matters to them. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.

Finally, I made bats in the belfry jokes at the top of the post so here’s a Quotable Tweet Quote from some guy named Shecky:

The last word goes not to the late Marvin Lee Aday d/b/a Meatloaf but to the late Don Van Vliet d/b/a Captain Beefheart:

Chinese Checkers

Beijing Winter Olympics 2002 Logo

In two weeks the Winter Olympic Games ™ will begin in China.

I won’t be watching.

I will be boycotting these games. My physical attendance was never going to happen, so my boycott will be of the television kind. And I strongly urge you to join with me on this boycott journey.

First of all let’s face it, nobody really cares about winter sports unless they or a family member are playing them. Strapping boards on your feet and sliding down a mountain trying to be one tenth of a second faster than the other guy is not compelling sports viewing. Really, it is like auto racing, we’re just waiting for the crash. Don’t get me started on ice skating, a “sport” tailored to be a cesspool of corruption. Ice hockey? I have the NHL for that, if I really need it. Luge, bobsled, cross country skiing? Fine things to do, but a bore to watch. Now curling, that’s something I could get into, but until they let the curlers (don’t call them athletes) play it in their natural habitats, ie, with a beer can in their hands, I’ll pass.

But all that’s just my distaste for winter sports. That’s not the real reason I’ll be boycotting.

Did I mention these games are taking place in China? You remember China. The land that censorship loves so much it bought a timeshare there. The land of suppression and repression. Where surveilling leads to jailing. Where human rights are thrown into the back seat of a police car never to be heard from again. Yeah, that China.

China, or to be more correct the city of Beijing, was selected to host these Olympics through some pretty dubious means. Back in 2014 when the selection election was held, Oslo Norway was the leading candidate. That made perfect sense since, well, Oslo is well known for it’s winters, i.e., they have plenty of naturally occurring snow and ice. But at the last minute the International Olympic Committee (IOC) threw in demands such as:

“Diva-like demands for luxury treatment” for the IOC members themselves, such as special lanes on all roads only to be used by IOC members and cocktail reception at the Royal Palace with drinks paid for by the royal family. IOC also “demanded control over all advertising space throughout Oslo” to be used exclusively by IOC’s sponsors, something that is not possible in Norway because Norway is a liberal democracy where the government doesn’t own or control “all advertising space throughout Oslo” much of which is privately owned and has no authority to give a foreign private organization exclusive use of an entire city and private property within it.

Now the IOC is pretty well known for being a little footloose and fancy free when it comes to demanding things from potential host cities, but that was ridiculous. It actually sounds to me like the IOC made these requirements with the idea of gaming the election so that ONLY Beijing would be able to win. As it stands the only competitor for these games after Oslo pulled out was Almaty Kazakhstan, another Asian country with dubious credentials when it comes to human rights (but notably better than the Chinese).

So Beijing becomes the first city to ever host both a summer and a winter Olympics and they will have done both in the span of 14 years, far quicker than any other two time host city ever has. Then again, while once upon a time cities fought tooth and nail to get an Olympics now they mostly have an ambivalence about them, especially the winter games. Let’s face it, as a ski destination you only have a few months to make money and if those months have to be given over to preparing for and then hosting an event you don’t make money on, well thanks but no thanks.

But having the IOC game the system for them is the least of my problems with China hosting these games. Let’s talk about what they are requiring of those attending the games, both participants and partisans.

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Friday Catblogging: The Forecast Calls For Claire

Claire Trevor is forecasting cold weather. It’s fine with her. She loves the space heater.

The post title is a play on this Robert Cray song so that’s where we end.

What Exactly Is America?

Image courtesy of Marco Verch via Creative Commons.

This is sort of a minor trope in the movies and TV, where a character realizes that someone they trusted/loved/partnered with is actually a villain, and the shocked character gasps out “what ARE you?” as they back away in horror.

I’m sort of wondering that myself about our country.

I do know the past two years have been a little unnerving. We learned that a disturbing number of Americans are perfectly cool with you dying if you are elderly or have an underlying condition. I just want to be able get a beer in a bar and it’s been MONTHS, dammit.

We’ve learned that our public health messaging has to take into account what we are as a society. For example, this was a gaffe, but assuring people that you could ditch the masks as soon as you got vaccinated back in the spring of 2020 was focused on trying to get as many people as possible vaccinated. This is because along with the anti-vaxxers and those with legitimate concerns about missing work due to it, there were also the people who are so apathetic they couldn’t be bothered. That’s pretty wild when you think about it.

We’re also in this bizarre time of misplaced obsessions. Yesterday’s President Biden press conference had way too many questions about Biden being “divisive,” which is also wild given the prior president more or less lived for divisiveness. NBC Newslinger Kristin Welker first asked if he was concerned Black Americans feel abandoned by him, but then she later asked what he would to people who feel offended by his voting rights speech. Biden backpedaled some, of course, because we must always be deeply concerned about the feelings of those who have the worst opinions.

That’s telling in and of itself. We have a situation where one party is open about ruining our democracy, and calling it for what it is gets wails of “divisive!” in return from many in the media. Meanwhile, those of us who are greatly concerned, and yes, frightened, by where our democracy is heading get zero attention or concern. It’s hard not to wonder if a large portion of the DC press corps is pro-authoritarian, given this.

I also sometimes wonder how many white Americans truly want a multi-racial democracy, or even have a sense of racial justice. For example, a recent poll found a decline in support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

While 82 percent of Black respondents said they support the Black Lives Matter movement, 53 percent of white respondents said they opposed the movement, reflecting a pattern of public opinion when it comes to racial justice movements, said Vida Robertson, the director of the Center for Critical Race Studies at the University of Houston-Downtown.

I covered on First Draft how this is very similar to views on civil rights from the 1960s. Too many white people just seem easily hoodwinked into believing moral panics when they are related to race. Attacking a false image of Critical Race Theory seemed to be a winning campaign in the Virginia governor’s race, and those white moderates who bought into it are beginning to learn a lesson about what they voted for, exactly. Nothing new, of course. In the late 80s into the 90s, a lot of people bought into “PC out of control.”

There is also a lot of things that conservatives just are not hiding. Open attacks on voting rights are in vogue in the party. Winger BFFs Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema seem very unconcerned about hiding their donor connections and how they influence their votes, which makes sense given it seems to be pretty clear that it is not necessarily hurting them. Professional Pile of Garbage Ron DeSantis is gleefully killing his own constituents in Florida through his so-called COVID policies, and not seeing it hurt his approval, nor presidential election aspirations.

So, what do we want overall as a nation? A white Christian-dominated country where minority voting rights are destroyed and our history is nothing more than propaganda to that end? A nation that celebrates the “strong” and wants to eliminate the “weak?” A minoritarian, pseudo-authoritarian rule full of people who will openly reject any election result that is not in their favor?

And what percentage of Americans would even notice a complete slide into authoritarian rule, and would unironically celebrate America on July 4th as the freest nation in the world? Would we trade our very system of government, the most basic of freedom, for a promise of lower gas prices?

So much these days makes me figuratively back away in horror at my home country, and wonder “what are you?”

The last word goes to that sad bastard James Murphy.

Tagged

Supreme Court To Trump: Drop Dead

The post title is exaggerated hyperbole. That phrase may seem redundant but what’s a little redundancy among friends?

Times are tough, the news is bleak so we have to celebrate whenever we can. In this instance, the Supreme Court’s refusal to allow former President* Pennywise’s executive privilege argument to prevail. The Dipshit Insurrection Committee will get his papers including handwritten notes, which are surely done in Sharpie.

Only Clarence Thomas wanted to hear oral arguments.

Justice Bro muttered about the need for former Oval Ones to have some form of executive privilege, yadda, yadda, yadda,

SCOTUS issued an authorless opinion, which is the judicial equivalent of a poster shot such as this:

WHAM. Rejection by Kareem. BAM.

Yes, Virginia, Kareem wasn’t always a Laker and very few players ever blocked a shot by Wilt Chamberlain. That ends this throwback hoops reverie.

Who’s the Kareem of the 1/6 committee? Kareem is an intelligent literate man so how about Jamie Raskin? At 5’10” he’s only of average height but he’s a giant in every other way.

Let’s get back to the court’s ruling in Trump v. Thompson.

Here’s the money passage:

Because the Court of Appeals concluded that President Trump’s claims would have failed even if he were the incumbent, his status as a former President necessarily made no difference to the court’s decision.

WHAM. Rejection by SCOTUS. BAM.

I call it a rejection, the New York Times called it a rebuke, which is good as it rhymes with puke as in:

Whatever you want to call it, it’s a victory for the rule of law.

WHAM. Rule of law wins a round. BAM.

I’m still reading James Ellroy hence the WHAMS and the BAMS.  I should throw some credit John Madden’s way as well. DOINK. 

It’s time to circle back to the title. It’s inspired by this classic New York Daily News headline:

WHAM. Ford lost New York in 1976. BAM.

The Daily News knew it was on to a winner, so they’ve recycled the headline to hurl abuse at the Impeached Insult Comedian and his lackey Tailgunner Ted:

WHAM. Lady Liberty flips the bird at the Cowardly Cuban. BAM.

The Cruz headline was also inspired by this movie title:

WHAM. Freddie’s Dead. Phoebe’s retired from acting. BAM.

If you were expecting a semi-scholarly post because of the Legal Docket rubric, I wasn’t feeling it today. I don’t even want to delve into the Who Is The Unmasked Man? controversy starring Justices Gorsuch, Roberts, and Sotomayor.

WHAM. Mask up, you ludicrous libertarian fuck. BAM.

I might have written a more serious post if I’d predicted SCOTUS wouldn’t hear the Trump case here. I did so IRL but not doing it on Frist Draft meant I could not say:

WHAM. I told you so. BAM.

Back to my all-time favorite basketball player, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. One of my Christmas presents from Dr. A was a subscription to his Substack blog.

WHAM. Thanks, babe. BAM.

The last word goes to WHAM (who else?) followed by David Bowie’s Suffragette City with its “WHAM, BAM, THANK YOU M’AM” refrain:

 

Lyin’ Of The Senate

Yeah, groan, a bad pun, but welcome to the 21st century, where a Russian-loving, Trump-enabling, reptilian-tortoise chimera is apparently some kind of parliamentary genius for keeping his caucus slightly more disciplined that Chuck Schumer, while he spews small “d” anti-democratic bullshit…and gets pretty much zero pushback.

“This party-line push has never been about securing citizens’ rights,” said Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the minority leader. “It’s about expanding politicians’ power.”

No, it’s about ensuring basic voting rights for all eligible voters, which shouldn’t be an issue.

Forget about Sinemanchin for the moment, though, goddamn, if either really thinks they’ve displayed some sort of Profile in Courage, I’d love to sell them some Atchafalaya real estate (of course my gut tells me cynicism not altruism motivated both).

Anyway, The Cult of the Savvy‘s both-sides bias means the GOP gets a pass.

If the elite media wasn’t so dedicated to, um, preserving their elite status, maybe they’d be able to, I dunno, report (wow, imagine) that it’s not rocket science (though voter fraud/suppression/and/or/manipulation does require, um, maneuvering).

But I get the feeling they, and their GOP sources (librul media? laff) are far more interested in preserving their status than, I dunno, doing their jobs.

To them, status=savvy.

And Moscow Mitch gets lauded as some kind of genius for basically being an asshole.

And not a very smart one.

Because if he or the Villager media think they can outflank MAGA…well, I’ve got some swampland I’d like to sell them as well.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Counterfeit Corpse

This dame walks softly and carries a small stick.

The Games Republicans Play

The games in question involve Republican attempts to fix elections by legislative fiat in the several states and by filibuster in the United States Senate. They’re prepared to emulate the vintage board game and Lie, Cheat, & Steal to hold onto power.

The Sinematic Senator and the Man of La Manchin are deservedly taking a lot of heat right now but in the big picture they’re insignificant pissants who will be forgotten by history. History will remember how Mitch McConnell wrecked the Senate with his procedural chicanery and bald-faced hypocrisy, especially on voting rights.

Repeat after me: Blame the voting rights mess on Republicans.

And now for a brief history lesson.

When I was a young pundit without a platform, Republicans were confident that they could win elections without any chicanery. In the 1980’s the GOP won three straight presidential election landslides. If you think it’s hard being a liberal Democrat now, it’s nothing compared to how we felt after the 1988 election. Losing big to a great campaigner like Reagan was one thing, losing big to Poppy Bush really stung. Here’s why:

Politics is fluid so that changed as Democrats dominated presidential elections starting with 1992. You know the drill: the Republicans have only won the popular vote once then. They’ve gone from the majoritarian optimism of the Reagan days to a minoritarian party. Hence voter restriction laws.

The Solid South morphing from Democratic to Republican has been much commented on. Much less has been said about New England turning blue. It used to be the heartland of genuine moderate/liberal Republican Senators such as Margaret Chase Smith, George Aiken, Lowell Weicker, Bill Cohen, and Olympia Snowe to name a few. Susan Collins is a hack, not a moderate so she doesn’t count. Her malakatude during the Kavanaugh Mess still burns.

There were also liberal Republicans from states with corrupt old school Democratic machines such as New York’s Jake Javits, and Ed Brooke from the Bay State. In fact, Javits and Brooke were consistently among the most liberal members of the Senate. And I’m talking as liberal as Ted Kennedy then or Elizabeth Warren now.

This history lesson is aimed at those who think that Lyndon Johnson passed the Voting Rights Act by means of intimidation and even blackmail. He had the votes. In 1965, there were 68 Democratic Senators plus many fair-minded GOPers who supported civil and voting rights. LBJ had the votes even with a 2/3 cloture threshold. In 2022, we have the Fifty-Fifty Senate.  LBJ had the votes. Joe Biden does not. It’s simple mathematics.

In 2022, the Republican party at large is a Trump cult, but the Senate GOP caucus is a McConnell cult. They’re solidly against any voting rights measures because they fear that they cannot win a fair election. It’s the minoritarian impulse overriding the Senate’s reputation as the “world’s greatest deliberative body.” The onus for any lack of progress should be squarely on them.

Senate Democrats are trying to revive the talking filibuster as I write this. They know the 2 voting rights measures will be defeated in a cloture vote BUT it’s time to put everyone on the record. The Sinematic Senator and Man of La Manchin claim to support voting rights but they’re unwilling to tweak the filibuster. Put them and the Republicans on the record. That’s why a vote is so significant.

Voting rights used to be a nonpartisan issue. The 1965 Voting Rights Act was last reauthorized in 2006 with a 98-0 vote. It was supposed to be a 25-year reauthorization but then it went to the Supreme Court.

It’s time to point the finger of blame at another Republican: Chief Justice John Roberts. In Shelby County v, Holder, the Roberts court gutted the enforcement mechanisms of the Voting Rights Act holding they were no longer necessary. The events of the last year have proven the fallacy of Roberts’ opinion. Georgia and Texas were among the states required to submit changes in their voting laws to the Justice Department. We all know what has happened in their state leges in the last year.

After the Senate cloture vote, it’s time for Democratic activists to roll up their sleeves and do their best to out-organize Republicans wherever possible. Those who can count knew that this was a possibility and are ready to make some good trouble.

Enough with the circular firing squad, blame the Republicans. They’ll Lie, Cheat & Steal to get their way.

The last word goes to Joe South, the Staple Singers, and Lucinda Williams:

 

Ryne Hancock: Be A Real Ally, Not A Jackass

Years ago, I had the opportunity to have dinner with someone I knew from Saints Twitter at Soul Fish Cafe, an eatery located not far from where I lived at in Cooper-Young.

From my perspective, the dinner went well, except weeks later, the same person on Twitter had this to say to me.

“My son is scared of you.”

At first, I was thinking it was a joke, but when I read that comment again, I was taken aback.

How can you, a so-called ally for people of color, sit up here and say something like that to a black man?

During the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, I ran into that same problem with people on Facebook, when I loudly criticized Bernie Sanders and how I felt that he had a black people problem. I remember numerous people sliding into my inbox accusing me of being anti-Semitic and one person in particular asking me what was wrong with me because I didn’t support Bernie.

The same person that by the way, flew a giant Black Lives Matter flag outside her house not far from where I live at here in New Orleans.

In her small little pea-sized brain, the only black lives that mattered to her were the ones that for all intents and purposes, worshiped at the feet of Bernie Sanders.

The black lives that didn’t matter to her were the ones that were independent in their thought process and saw through the bullshit.

“How dare black people not fall in line with the Sanders platform,” these type of people would say, “He marched with Dr. King!”

Marching for social justice is basically the bare minimum for allyship. Because that’s something that is out in the public eye.

True allyship is understanding how someone feels and basically shutting the fuck up. It means educating yourself and figuring out how to do more as well as looking inwards at your own behavior.

If you feel that you have to tell me how to think and call yourself an ally, you’re not real.

You’re a jackass.

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Telly Savalas

Maybe Cousin Telly parlayed his Kojak stardom into a record deal. The cover on the left is one of the wordiest I’ve ever seen.

The cover for Who Loves Ya Baby is so dark that it’s hard to make out the title, which is a pity because it was Telly’s catchphrase. Who among us doesn’t love a catchphrase, baby?

Here’s the Who Loves Ya Baby album via the YouTube. It’s neither great not terrible but it’s all Telly:

Party On, Boris

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been compared to a greased piglet and Houdini because of his ability to get out of a jam. This political escape artist extraordinaire has finally been cornered because of a series of parties. I am not making this up.

He’s done worse but Johnson biographer Sonia Purcell thinks this is more damaging than past scandals, which she lists with some gusto in a NYT op-ed:

As his former colleague at a British newspaper in the early 1990s and as his only independent biographer, I’ve watched closely over the years as Houdini Johnson has emerged scot free time and again from debacles that would have sunk anyone else: the accusations of corruption over the funding of a lavish upgrade to his Downing Street flat; the alleged lies he told during his campaigning for Brexit now exposed by a British economy badly struggling to cope with the consequences; the diversionary sabre rattling against the European Union that could both wreak further economic pain and even endanger peace in Ireland.

Blatant hypocrisy is at the center of the “drinks party” scandal. The British government imposed tight restrictions on the public because of the pandemic. The Johnson government didn’t believe they applied to them. The most galling of the 13 drinks party took place on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral. It led to an apology from Downing Street to the Queen. The Queen was obliged to accept the apology, but the disrespect from the Tory government must have been irksome as they’ve traditionally been the royalist party.

The connecting thread between all the Johnson scandals is lying. Johnson lies early and often. I don’t think he’s lied as much as the Impeached Insult Comedian, but mendacity thy name is Boris. They both have bad hair, which has nothing to do with lying but it makes them look like clowns as they prevaricate.

The similarities between Johnson and Trump do not extend to their hold over their parties, political, not drinks. The Tories are a bloodthirsty lot. They deposed Margaret Thatcher after three landslide victories. Johnson has only one under his belt. There are already signs of political unrest.

Trump is the sorest loser who ever lost an election. Yet, he seems to have a vise-like grip over his party apparatus and its voters. It does, however, seem to be slipping as he is less omnipresent on teevee and is absent altogether from social media. His statements do not have the same impact as his tweets but he’s back to holding super spreader rallies, which uh rally the troops.

The United States has had a year-long hangover from the Trump bender, but thanks to a flaccid political press corps, many Americans think of the GOP as a normal political party instead of a proto-Fascist movement.

As to Boris Johnson, he’s still in power and the massive majority the Tories rolled up at the last election will be a steep hill to climb for the opposition Labour party. Disgust, however, is a powerful political tool and disgust is growing over Johnson’s disgusting  government.

There was a mordant column  by the Guardian’s Marina Hyde that captures the current mood across the pond:

 Not the greatest surprise, then, to see a voter in a TV vox pop judging that “Boris has lost his moral compass”. (I love the idea that he ever had one. What would this contraption have looked like? A custom-built device where the needle pointed magnetically to the words World King Get Big Drunken Shag?) If things carry on at this rate, it won’t be long before the Conservative party decides to Build Back Borisless. For now, the most positive reading of Johnson’s situation is that he’s in the last chance saloon – but hey, at least that means there’s booze.

Brexit foreshadowed the rise of Trumpism in our country. Here’s hoping Boris’ bit of bother is similarly portentous. I’m not optimistic about that but hope is imperative for the human condition.

Party on, Boris.

The last word goes to Nat King Cole and Bryan Ferry:

 

Conceding Is The Point

Great concession speeches

There was an election in Florida (why do these stories always come out of Florida?) last week. The winner, a Democrat named Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, won that election with 79% of the votes cast.

Back in the day, they used to call that a landslide victory.

It’s not surprising though. The district, Florida’s 20th, has a 5-1 Democrat to Repugnicant voter registration. Joe Biden won the district in 2020 with 77% of the vote, so Ms. McCormick actually outdid him. The Repugnicant candidate was perceived as a Boston carpetbagger. Third party candidates picked up enough of the vote so that he actually got less than 20% of the vote which means he couldn’t even get some of the registered Republicans to vote for him. In the past his status as a perceived carpetbagger would have been the attributing factor in his shellacking, but not in 2022 America.

Well you know where this is headed. The Repugnicant refuses to concede the election.

Now they called the race, I did not win, so they say, but that does not mean that they lost either, it does not mean that we lost

Forgetting for a moment his inability to speak the English language clearly, this has become the Repugnicant playbook with all elections. Never concede, send in lawyers, try to get the vote overturned. Use, I would say abuse, the system in any way you can. In a fractured political environment where most elections are decided by narrow margins, you just might get the right judge or the right secretary of state or the right governor to hand your candidate a victory the voters didn’t award to them.

Under those conditions the noted dumb play callers the Dallas Cowboys could petition Roger Goodell to just hand them the Lombardi Trophy as Super Bowl Champions every year.

What I really want to talk about is the importance of conceding; formally, graciously, and with a sense of tradition and humility that is entirely necessary for the idea of the peaceful transition of power to become a reality.

John McCain once said

I didn’t like the outcome of the 2008 election. But I had a duty to concede. A concession isn’t just an act of graciousness. It is an act of respect for the will of the American people, an act that is every American leader’s first responsibility.

Respect. Wow, there is a word you don’t hear in connection to politics much these days. Respect the process. Respect the institutions. Respect the history. Hell, respect your opponent and what he or she had to do in order to come out on top. Take your lumps, leave with your head held high, and make sure your election district, your state, or your country can come together to work on the great problems we face in this world.

One political party seems to do that pretty well. The other, not so much. The problem is we can’t even agree on which party is which in that scenario. Well I’ll tell you which one is in the wrong, it’s the Repugnicants. It’s always the Repugnicants. It’s always them because the only way they can win elections is to rig the game ahead of time. They gerrymander districts. They impose ridiculous voting restrictions (I want to be the first guy to go to jail for giving someone a bottle of water while they stand in line to vote in Georgia). In counties they control they make it easy for white voters to cast their ballots by having plenty of voting precincts in the areas where whites live and hardly any in areas where blacks live. In states where early voting is allowed (most of them) they have restricted when or how those early ballots can be dropped off.

Don’t concede, keep reading by clicking the link

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They Like Their Civil Rights Leaders Dead

Martin Luther King on Face the NationToday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national holiday where we’re supposed to reflect on what King’s legacy means to our current America. Oh, there’s lots of reflection on social media and elsewhere. Unfortunately, for conservatives and some centrists, today is a day for selective “reflection.”

You’ll see a lot of quotes being shared about equality, unity, etc. But these quotes are used as a weapon to sully King’s legacy and use it as a weapon, basically as a troll. The thing is, these people would have hated King (or actually hated him if they were old enough). King was not a popular man just prior to his death, with the Harris poll putting his disapproval at 75%. Gallup found he was increasingly unpopular, going from 41/37 approval/disapproval in 1963 to 32/63 in 1966, the last time they measured his popularity. In a reflection of today’s “oh dear, don’t rock the boat” thinking by many towards civil rights protests, Gallup found that as the decade progressed, a huge majority of Americans believed that civil rights protests hurt Black people more than it helped.

As Jeanne Theoharis pointed out in Time, a large percentage of America disliked King, and the civil rights movement.

Lest we see this as Southerners skewing the national sample, in 1964—a year before the passage of the Voting Rights Act—a New York Times poll found a majority (57%) of New Yorkers said the civil rights movement had gone too far. “While denying any deep-seated prejudice,” the Times reported, “a large number of those questioned used the same terms to express their feelings. They spoke of Negroes’ receiving ‘everything on a silver platter’ and ‘reverse discrimination’ against whites.” Fifty-four percent of those surveyed felt the movement was going “too fast.” Nearly half said that picketing and demonstrations hurt the Negro cause, and 80% opposed school pairings to promote school desegregation in New York City public schools.

Sound familiar? It should. Overly Celebrated Journalist Wolf Blitzer lectured that Black Lives Matters hurt Blacks by “not living up to King’s legacy.” After the Baltimore riots we had the George Floyd protests in 2022, and again the “not living up to Dr. King’s legacy” lectures started, despite protests being overwhelmingly peaceful and plenty of evidence that violence was instigated by counterprotesters or police (one could argue this is redundant).

But now, with King dead, his memory can be used by the very people he struggled against. With that in mind, here are some quotes to use in reply to your conservative aunt posting selective quotes of King’s and lamenting about how in the good old days, he “didn’t start no trouble like they do now.”

First, one for the filibuster-defenders dropping King quotes today.

“I think the tragedy is that we have a Congress with a Senate that has a minority of misguided senators who will use the filibuster to keep the majority of people from even voting.

Next, one for the moderates.

“I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

Then, about apathy, which is still a serious issue in America given we are pretty “what-evs” about our democracy falling apart.

“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy during this period of social transition was not the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but the appalling silence and indifference of the good people. Our generation will have to repent not only for the words and acts of the children of darkness, but also for the fears and apathy of the children of light.”

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The Other America

There’s not much left to say about Martin Luther King Jr. on the national holiday that bears his name. The media and conservatives have attempted to transform him into a toothless Teddy Bear. To some extent that worked as the I Have A Dream speech has become King’s best-known oration. It *is* an impressive speech, especially as part of it was pure improv; inspired by a conversation King had with Mahalia Jackson.

I prefer King’s Stanford speech on April 14, 1967. It was a formal lecture entitled The Other America. and focused on American struggles, not American dreams. The country was just as divided in 1967 as it is today.

It was an interesting setting as Stanford University was and is a citadel of privilege and the home of the Hoover Institute, The transcript can be found here.

Here’s one of many money quotes from that speech:

“One America is beautiful for situation… millions of young people grow up in the sunlight of opportunity. But tragically and unfortunately, there is another America. This other America has a daily ugliness about it that constantly transforms the ebulliency of hope into the fatigue of despair… They find themselves perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.”

A video of the speech itself in its entirety:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Gutless Blunder edition

Circular firing squad!

Reload!

Ready – Aim…

Trump calls politicians who refuse to say they received Covid boosters ‘gutless’
NBC News ^ | 1/12/2022 | Rebecca Shabad and Marc Caputo

Posted on 1/12/2022, 12:18:24 PM by Kevin C

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized politicians who refuse to say whether they’ve received a Covid booster shot.

In an interview with far-right cable channel One America News, Trump said he received the booster and has seen politicians get asked in interviews whether they’ve also gotten a third shot.

“They don’t want to say it because they’re gutless,” Trump said. “You gotta say it, whether you had it or not. Say it. But the fact is that I think the vaccines saved tens of millions throughout the world. I’ve had absolutely no side effects.”

Trump said that the Covid vaccine largely prevents people from being hospitalized or dying from the disease.

“If they get it, they’re not going to hospitals for the most part and dying,” Trump said. “Before it was a horror, and now they’re not.”

1 posted on 1/12/2022, 12:18:24 PM by Kevin C
To: Kevin C
Trump should forget about aspirations in 2024 and stfu.
2 posted on 1/12/2022, 12:21:05 PM by zek157
STFU?
Stray Tallying From Underwater?
Seek Tasty Farm Unguent?
Stop Tabloid From Ugliness?
Salivate To Foreboding Unfaithful?
To: Kevin C
I don’t know about Trump anymore.
3 posted on 1/12/2022, 12:22:03 PM by pleasenotcalifornia
I do.
To: zek157
He’s got a few days to turn his attitude around. That’s it.
4 posted on 1/12/2022, 12:22:39 PM by stanne
Well, you posted this on Wednesday and this is Monday, so I’d say – time’s up!
To: Kevin C
He sure is setting himself up for a fall. He never knows has never known when to stfu
10 posted on 1/12/2022, 12:29:40 PM by dkGba
FIFY.
To: Kevin C
Trump is a confused old man who apparently was brainwashed by Fauci. It’s unfortunate, but that is reality.
33 posted on 1/12/2022, 12:44:38 PM by devere
To: JoSixChip
I don’t support leaders that abandon their supporters and leave political prisoners behind in their hubris.
This is icing on a shitcake.
17 posted on 1/12/2022, 12:45:24 PM by zek157
Yummy!
.
Well, it looks like DeMoron is going to have to save them.
.
    “Help me, Obi-Wan DeMoron – you’re our only hope!”

Ron DeSantis: Flags in Florida will be lowered for late Nevada Sen. Harry Reid

Ocala Star ^ | 1/12/22 | CAPITAL BUREAU Posted on 1/13/2022, 1:01:35 AM by conservative98Flags in Florida will fly at half-staff to honor the late U.S. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office announced Wednesday evening.

Reid, a Democrat, had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early 2018. He died Dec. 28 at the age of 82.

Reid “will be remembered for the way he demonstrated immense grit and determination in his personal life and political career,” DeSantis’ office said in a statement.

1 posted on 1/13/2022, 1:01:35 AM by conservative98
If you CAN look, follow me into Hell itself!

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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with random ruminations – good neighbours edition

I guess you could call this one a guest post. It was written by the great geniuses behind MST3K, Kevin Murphy, for the pre-Rifftrax website “Timmy Big Hands”.

The site no longer exists, but I was able to save this wonderful piece with the assistance of the internet archive.

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The following series of letters appeared over eighteen months in a Minneapolis newspaper’s weekly gardening advice column “Ask Dan the Gardener.”

April 24th

Hey Dan:

Thanks for great column on leaf blowers. I took your advice and got the biggest one I could find– the Yard Monster Magnum with the big Tecumseh 5-horse motor. I used it to blow-rake the yard and it worked like a charm (I have almost half an acre!). And man is it powerful. Half my leaves ended up clear over to my neighbors yard! Sorry neighbors. I’m sure they won’t mind.

Thanks a bunch!

Larry in Bloomington

***

May 15th

Hey Dan:

I am in love with my leaf blower. I have some advice for all your leaf-blowing readers: take the wadding out of the muffler to increase the horsepower and send those leaves to smithereens. Sure it’s a little louder, but with all that power, I’ll get my work done faster. I use it every morning before I go to work, to blow-sweep the driveway and the walks, and also it keeps my yard neat as a pin.

Keep blowing!

Larry in Bloomington

***

June 9th

Hey Dan:

I just want to tell your readers a few uses for their leaf blowers they might not of thought of. I use it blow-sweep my garage, it sure beats a broom! And here’s a new one; you can use it to blow-brush all the twigs off your roof after storms. And the vacuum attachment lets me get every little leaf and twig out of the flowerbeds. My ex-wife told me she likes how the yard looks neat as a pin. Who knows, maybe I can win her back. (Just kidding honey, don’t call the lawyer!)

Larry in Bloomington

***

July 6th

Hey Dan:

Say here’s a novel use for your leaf blowers out there: on Independence Day, remember how it was all hot and not windy? Well I just turned my leaf-blower on the flag and left it on all day, with Old Glory waving proudly. When I got home from the family picnic, the blower was still running, thanks to the Yard Monster’s extra big capacity gas tank.

Also, I’m wondering if you know if there is a social group or association of people who use there leaf blowers. Maybe I’ll start one and you can be a charter member.

Blowing Away,

Larry in Bloomington

(click on the “read more” for the escalation and ensuing war)

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Sunday Morning Video: Lyle Lovett Live In 2007

Here’s Lyle and his crack band live at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. Did I say crack? I meant Large.