Finally, We Are Talking About Money for Journalism

I have been screaming about this since I last worked in newspapers, and lest you think that’s me exaggerating, here’s 200FUCKING6.

It wasn’t the internet. It never was the internet. All the internet did is make it impossible to hide the stupidity and greed anymore. Back when papers were drowning in money they could spend it on dumb shit and pay off sexual harassers and hand out consultant contracts to their idiot buddies and nobody would even notice. Now, well, the margins are still good but they’re not THAT good.

Look at those margins, though. THIRTY PERCENT. Do you know what most phenomenally successful businesses make most years? A ten percent margin is considered good, and that’s by the soulless standards of American finance. These guys are swimming in it like Scrooge McDuck and they’ve got their reporters out here telling readers if they don’t subscribe everyone will die of starvation and it’s infuriating to the exact degree that it’s unnecessary.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Life Is A Carnival

I’m deep in the Carnival bubble, which is a wondrous albeit crowded place to be. We’ve had big company and small company. It’s been fun but as always I’ll be glad when it’s over. I’m so pooped that I’m repeating last week’s featured image.

There was a parade-related accident at the corner where I’ve been watching parades for the last 20 years. A parade-goer was run over by a float in the Nyx parade near the corner of Magazine and Valence. It was fatal, alas.  I’ll have more about that and other Carnival related issues in next week’s 13th Ward Rambler column for the Bayou Brief.

This week’s theme song was written by Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, and Levon Helm for The Band’s 1971 Cahoots album. The horns were arranged by New Orleans’ own Allen Toussaint.

We have three versions of Life Is A Carnival for your listening pleasure: the studio original, a 1995 teevee appearance by The Band, and a cover by Norah Jones, which is new to me

Lest you think I’ve strayed too far from New Orleans Carnival music, here’s Our Mac:

I try not to spend too much time peering around corners looking for spy boys, skeletons, or baby dolls. If you understood that sentence, you know enough about Carnival, New Orleans style to jump to the break without crash landing.

Continue reading

Not Everything Sucks

Jalaiah Harmon exists: 

Though Jalaiah is very much a suburban kid herself — she lives in a picturesque home on a quiet street outside of Atlanta — she is part of the young, cutting-edge dance community online that more mainstream influencers co-opt.

The Renegade dance followed this exact path. On Sept. 25, 2019, Jalaiah came home from school and asked a friend she had met through Instagram, Kaliyah Davis, 12, if she wanted to create a post together. Jalaiah listened to the beats in the song “Lottery” by the Atlanta rapper K-Camp and then choreographed a difficult sequence to its chorus, incorporating other viral moves like the wave and the whoa.

She filmed herself and posted it, first to Funimate (where she has more than 1,700 followers) and then to her more than 20,000 followers on Instagram (with a side-by-side shot of Kaliyah and her performing it together).

This sort of internet anthropological detective work is always fascinating to me, because I get to the end of the day and am like why are we all talking about llamas all of a sudden, having not seen the progression.

A.

Friday Catblogging: Table Manners

The title is, of course, ironic because Paul Drake has none. He’s charming until he tries to steal your dinner. That’s one reason he needs to wear a bell:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Shorter and Sweeter edition

OK, people – stepping up to the plate here while Adrastos recovers mentally from the horrible event that brought the Mardi Gras parade to a premature end….

I now present – THE SHORTEST THREAD IN THE HISTORY OF FREE REPUBLIC!

Finally – FINALLY – they found some health care fraud.

Former Michigan Health Care Consultant Pleads Guilty to Fraud and Tax Evasion Used Faked Credentials to Obtain More than $1.4 Million, and Did Not Pay Taxes
justice.gov ^ | February 18, 2020 | DOJ

Posted on 2/19/2020, 11:33:27 AM by ransomnote

A former health care consultant pleaded guilty today to mail fraud and tax evasion relating to her scheme to be employed under false pretenses as a highly paid health care consultant, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Sonja Emery, using several aliases including “Sonja Lee Robinson,” “Sonjalee Emery-Robinson,” and “Sonjalee Emery,” resided in Georgia, New Jersey, New York, and California.  From 2011 through 2018, Emery falsely represented her professional status, educational background, and work experience to secure and maintain highly paid consulting positions in the health-care industry. She falsely claimed to have a nursing diploma from a school she never attended.  She also falsely claimed to be a Registered Nurse licensed in New York, Georgia, Connecticut, and California and provided employers with licensure numbers that belonged to other people. In fact she never was a Registered Nurse.  Emery also falsely told employers she had a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Health Administration, a Master in Business Administration, and a Doctor of Philosophy from Emory University and New York University, but Emery never attended those schools or received these degrees.

As a result of these lies, from 2012 through 2018, Emery secured high-level health-care positions.  She worked as a Senior Vice President for an Ann Arbor, Michigan healthcare consulting firm earning an annual salary of approximately $285,000; as a consultant for a community health system in Wisconsin earning approximately $267,000; and as a health care consultant for a Massachusetts company that paid her approximately $226,000.  From 2015 until her arrest in May of 2018, Emery worked as a senior executive for a county government health services agency in California that paid her a total of approximately $960,000.

During these years, Emery either did not file or late-filed tax returns, despite owing more than $400,000 in taxes.  She sought to avoid being detected by providing employers with different names and false social security numbers, by falsely instructing employers that she was “exempt” from taxes, and by supplying an employer with an identification number that did not belong to her.

U.S. District Judge Linda V. Parker scheduled sentencing for June 17, 2020.  At sentencing, Emery faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for mail fraud and five years in prison for tax evasion. Emery also faces a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.

1 posted on 2/19/2020, 11:33:28 AM by ransomnote

Responses, Freepers?

CricketsCan

 

Zilch.

Nada.

Nothing.

Not.  One.  Single.  Reply.

As for myself, due to my Neurosurgeon refusing to do my spinal surgery without an OK from my Cardiologist, and my Cardiologist not being able to schedule a nuclear stress test until after my scheduled surgery date of February 13th, my laminectomy/discectomy/foramina-whatever-ectomy, has now been rescheduled for March 6th.

A week after that, I should be back in the saddle (able to sit at my chair in front of the PC for more than 15 minutes) again. and looking forward to ploughing through the Freeperati backlog and picking only choicest juicy chunks of fresh Freeper ram’s bladder, emptied, steamed, flavored with sesame seeds whipped into a fondue and garnished with lark’s vomit.

 

 

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Begging Pardon

The_Scream_by_Edvard_Munch,_Trump

So, am still far, far away from the USA, which means I wasn’t around for last night’s debate or DJTs festival of pardons on, I guess, Tuesday… but in what I hope doesn’t become something that bores people to tears, I’ll repeat last week’s mantra: Anyone but Trump…

And yeah that even includes, gag, Mike Bloomberg, though god knows I hope it doesn’t come to that.

Trump this week was a preview of Trump, The Second Term. Just like how super storms these days are a preview of the new normal after global warming.

Imagine this week’s Trump…every week.

I can’t.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Case Of The Shoplifter’s Shoe

It’s time for our third annual Muses Thursday PFT post. Why am I repeating myself? Half the city is coming to our house later today. That’s why. Here we go again:

I know what you’re thinking: when in pulp fiction doubt, post a Perry Mason cover. Guilty as charged. It’s also relevant this Muses Thursday. That all chick krewe throws decorated shoes.

I’ve also posted a cleaned up version of the cover that I stumbled into on the artist’s website. Thanks to John Farr.

Disbar Barr/The Pardon Bender

Leave it to the Impeached Insult Comedian to ruin a perfectly good original post title (Disbar Barr) by going on a pardon bender. He may not drink but he’s drunk with power. I’m not sure what Bill Barr’s problem is other than his deranged boss. A big problem indeed.

Disbar Barr: The legal profession as a whole has finally noticed that Bill Barr is acting as Trump’s personal lawyer, not as the public’s lawyer. They should have understood that when he sat on the Mueller report, then spun it incorrectly. Barr may be shitty at dispensing justice but he’s good at cover ups. He’s like one of Rene Magritte’s non-descript men falling in line behind his president*.

A petition has been signed by 2000+ former DOJ lawyers over Barr allowing Trump to pretend to be the nation’s number-one law enforcement officer when he’s really the nation’s number-one lawbreaker. It’s unclear if Trump thinks he’s George III or Judge Roy Bean who was the law west of the Pecos. It is clear that among the actors who played Roy Bean, Trump resembles Edgar Buchanan or Walter Brennan more than Paul Newman.

The MSM hasn’t been much more acute than lawyers about Barr. When Barr said that Trump’s comments made his job harder, he meant his job covering up the crimes of the president* and associates. It’s what he’s dedicated his tenure at DOJ to, after all.

Barr isn’t the first corrupt Attorney General. Nixon henchmen John Mitchell and Richard Kleindienst went to jail over their roles in Watergate. Barr makes them look like pikers. The former AG he’s most like is Gamaliel’s guy, Harry Daugherty who was indicted on corruption charges then acquitted. The indictment did ruin Harry’s career as a bag man so there is that.

There’s a chorus of voices demanding that Barr resign. He will only listen to his master’s voice, alas. I’m not buying the leaks that he’s thinking of hanging it up; not Judge Roy Bean style.

I, too, think Barr should resign. Additionally, he should be disbarred for egregiously unethical conduct. Repeat after me: Disbar Barr.

The Pardon Bender: There are still people who think that President* Pennywise had a logical political reason for issuing 11 pardons in one day. He issued them because he has the power and was getting antsy over Mike Bloomberg getting more pub than him for a few days.

Pardoning Blago ain’t gonna help in Illinois or Western Indiana. Illinois House GOPers should be up-in-arms but they’re so afraid of their feudal suzerain that they’re biting their tongues until they bleed. And now for the obvious musical interlude:

It appears that personal lobbying and Fox News viewing explain the pardon bender. Fox News contributor Bernie Kerik is Rudy’s stooge, so the Kaiser of Chaos pardoned his stooge’s stooge. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

There was a Gret Stet connection to Tuesday’s pardon bender. Former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo testified against the man he bribed, former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards. DeBartolo cut a deal but was a convicted felon until the Impeached Insult Comedian pardoned him at the behest of Jerry Rice and other former players. Dollars to donuts that Trump will claim he did this for black folks.

While this *could* be the prelude to pardoning the “very unfairly treated” Roger Stone, Mike Flynn, and Paul Manafort, Trump does not think that far ahead. He lives in the moment and doesn’t mind the denunciations: he’s the center of attention where thinks he belongs. It’s not unlike the guy who was asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest and said, “Because it’s there.” With Trump and pardoning, it’s “Because I can.”

The WaPo revived one of the Impeached Insult Comedian’s greatest hits in its pardon piece:

“He’s been in jail for seven years over a phone call where nothing happens — over a phone call which he shouldn’t have said what he said, but it was braggadocio, you would say,” Trump told reporters last year. “I would think that there have been many politicians — I’m not one of them, by the way — that have said a lot worse over the telephone.”

Blago’s call was perfect as was his hair when he wore a toupee. I wonder if his rug was in storage at the prison or at home with his family. Enquiring minds want to know.

It’s time to Rufusize the last word:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Violent Femmes

The word iconic is so overused that it drives me to iconoclasm, but sometimes it fits. That’s the case with cover of Violent Femmes eponymous (a word I love as much as I hate iconic) 1983 debut album.

The story of how the cover came to be is often told:

Billie Jo Campbell was discovered at age 3 while walking down a street in Los Angeles with her mother. A photographer approached, told the mother that Billie Jo was adorable, and asked if she wouldn’t mind her daughter appearing in a photo shoot at a house in Laurel Canyon. The mother—“a free spirit,” Billie Jo explained—promptly set up an appointment. They later learned that the shoot was for the cover of an album by an obscure acoustic-punk trio from Milwaukee about to release their debut. In the photo, barefoot Billie Jo wears a cute white dress and strains to peer inside a darkened house through a window. She had no idea that this was an apt metaphor for the band’s songs, which capture that precise moment when childhood innocence is corrupted by the obsessions of the adult world—sex, violence, perverted religiosity, and omnipresent death.

A long quote but well worth the space. Here’s the cover:

Here’s the whole damn album:

 

 

Human Trafficking Panics

I’ve been seeing this make the rounds of the mommy Facebookers and thinking it sounded bullshit: 

Among both children and adults, there is little evidence that human trafficking is a widespread phenomenon in need of universal public awareness. In 2018, the National Human Trafficking Hotline received 10,949 reports of human trafficking, but these figures are based exclusively on anonymous calls and are not verified in any way. The hotline’s director, Caroline Diemar, said that many calls are simply vague suspicions — there’s a massage parlor on my street; I saw a suspicious family at the mall — that may reflect public anxiety about trafficking rather than trafficking itself.

Law enforcement figures are even smaller. Despite a yearslong, high-profile, government-wide campaign against human trafficking, the Department of Homeland Security identified just 428 victims nationwide last year, and the FBI made fewer than 650 arrests for trafficking in 2018.

The mismatch between the small number of confirmed cases and the large estimates that appear in anti-trafficking publicity campaigns (the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking, for example, says America has “potentially over a million” victims of sex trafficking) can’t be reconciled as underreporting. Other crimes for which victims are reluctant to come forward, including sexual assault and domestic violence, produce more confirmed cases each year.

I mean, if we are truly afraid for our children, we should be blanketing the airports and neighborhood baby-toy-swap groups with posters about the dangers of gun violence but that would make the NRA have a sad, so instead we have PREDATORS ARE SEXNAPPING YOUR CHILDREN!

(They are, but not the “your” usually implied in mainstream press coverage. Or the “they” for that matter.)

I don’t know what it is about this kind of thing that makes people WANT to freak out about their Suburban White Daughters. Like they look for a reason to freak even when you tell them this isn’t a thing you have to worry about.

Yikes! It’s a battle field out there. Predators every where.

I would be overjoyed this was a thing I could safely consign to the realm of Liam Neeson films. I spend all day every day worrying about my kid. It is all I think about. Right now she is in a top-rated public school with reasonable amounts of security with teachers she adores five blocks from home along a route she probably, in extremity, could travel by herself from memory. Mr. A works from home and can be there in 30 seconds. She knows my phone number. She knows our address. She has no known food allergies and she’s never shown any interest in chemicals or sharp knives and she’s smart enough to know to ask an adult before doing something that seems dodgy. She is as safe as it is possible to be as a middle class child in America.

And every single day I am barraged with thoughts of car accidents and sudden brain tumors and wandering off into a drainage ditch. I breathe a sigh of relief every time she wakes up in the morning. When I am away from her, as I have been every working day since she was 8 weeks old, all I can think of is the moment I can wrap all four of my limbs around her body and clutch her head to my neck.

So if you present me with evidence that one source of my anxiety (I am dealing with it, don’t comment that this is unhealthy, I KNOW IT IS) doesn’t exist, dear God, I’m not gonna yell at you.

Keeping myself paralyzed over the idea that this MIGHT happen to MY CHILD is just preventing me from doing something about what is actually happening to the children it’s actually happening to. Who also deserve someone to wrap themselves around them in protection.

A.

Not Everything Sucks

Roger Angell is still with us: 

In 1962, Shawn decided that The New Yorker needed more sports pieces, and, knowing that I was a fan, asked if I wanted to go down to Florida and write something about spring training. I was surprised he even knew there was such a thing. I’d never been to spring training, so I said yes, thank you, and went down to the White Sox camp, in Sarasota, where I found the little wooden stadium jammed with elderly fans watching the young stars. Later stops at larger parks in St. Petersburg and Tampa confirmed this peaceable view and also offered a first look at the squirming newborn Mets. The piece, “The Old Folks Behind Home,” ran a few weeks later in the magazine, and everybody seemed happy with it. It happened without any plan at all from me. I didn’t see it as a career move, I mean. And the long trail of those pieces and books happened one by one and grew only out of my own pleasure and excitement over the endless complexities and beauties of the game.

I don’t want to live in a world without him in it.

A.

U Is For Unpredictable

I started using the image of Harold Lloyd hanging from a clock in Safety Last during the 2018 campaign. It captured my worries and concern for that election, which turned out well. The 2020 election is feeling even more fraught as Democrats seem hell bent on pulling defeat from the jaws of victory.

I was in the Carnival bubble all weekend, which is a lovely place to be. We had a small group of friends over yesterday to cheer on friends who rode in the King Arthur parade. When I came back to reality this morning, I wished I hadn’t pulled that pesky sword from the stone.

Donald Trump is a historically unpopular president* who is rightly seen as a menace by more than half the populace. He is beatable but he’s an incumbent with deep pockets and a willingness to cheat. He may well blow things up but Democrats are back to slashing at one another and sabotaging their chances in the fall. Once again, they’re missing the big picture. Campaigns are about themes and stories. While a positive message is needed, it need not be detailed. Take a look at FDR’s platform in 1932. He knew that the only issue was the failings and failures of the incumbent. In 2020, the most important issue is TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP.

I am, however, enjoying the takedowns of Mike Bloomberg. A 78-year-old misogynist and racist with a habit of changing parties when it’s expedient should not be the Democratic nominee. The guy supported Bush in 2004 fer chrissake.

I had high hopes for the Democratic field last year but the winnowing process has been brutal. I remain frustrated that Elizabeth Warren’s campaign has floundered. Here’s how I put it on the tweeter tube in a response to Herriman biographer and parade route book signer Michael Tisserand:

I’m going to emulate my pal Dakinikat and present some Monday Reads, since on the whole I’d rather be in the Carnival bubble.

First, a piece by former Harry Reid aide, Adam Jentleson: Why Don’t We Know Which Democratic Candidate Can Beat Trump? A reminder that Harry Reid urged Senator Professor Warren to run for president time around. Here’s hoping that Nevada Democrats know that.

NYT Op-ed columnist David Leonhardt poses a haunting question given the caliber of some  of the candidates who dropped out of the race: Did Biden Scare Off Our Next President?

New York Magazine’s Gabriel Debenedetti takes a trip to Obama World: What Obama Is Saying In Private About The Democratic Primary.

Finally, the Washington Monthly’s David Atkins on my preferred candidate: Warren Is Paying The Price for Her Honesty. And Her Gender.

Finally, a message from Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush to despairing Democrats:

Your Mike B Feelings, Internet

All right, look.

Bloomberg, a rich racist asshole, would obviously be terrible.

Everyone is still mad at Bernie from 2016 and other stuff, he is 467 years old and a second heart attack waiting to happen.

Pete is … who the fuck is Pete, fuck Pete. Fuck South Bend and Notre Dame and every Republican in Indiana.

And yet.

Any of the three of them, and a sentient bag of dogshit besides, would likely sacrifice fewer of our children on the altars of endless gun violence, war with Iran, asylum and immigration bans, and cuts to food stamps.

Which is really what this is about. Every candidate on our side is going to be a dirtball in some massive way. Two weeks ago I’d resigned myself sincerely to Democratic nominee Joe Biden and was talking myself into him. I can do the same with Bloomberg and Pete and Bernie.

(Liz, obviously, is my first choice.)

I can talk myself into Tom Steyer or, who’s the other people, whoever, given enough time and *gestures vaguely at everything.*

Bernie’s campaign seems to be having lots of fun online and he’s gonna do his best to not have everybody die of medical bankruptcy. These things MATTER. The party platform matters. The aims of the campaigns matter. It is still being framed as who you’d have a beer with, now, in the year of Our Lord Blue Ivy 2020. As if people don’t depend on politics to live.

We’re still on national news on winners and losers and who’s up and who’s down and talking about strategy is so much easier than talking about dead kids. That’s what politics is: how do you want your kids to die? Of old age, warm and safe in their homes? Or on the street, in school, on a battlefield, too young to have ever even known love?

That’s the decision you’re making, every time you go and vote, and it infuriates me to no end that one party can have an endless debate over how to actually keep your living children that way while the other one is over there debating shot versus starved versus preventable disease in terms of cost-efficiency and pleasingness to Prosperity Jesus.

And we talk about a Bloomberg vs. Trump contest as if it would be “two billionaires.” First of all, as Mikey B has himself pointed out, Trump ain’t. Second, WHICH BILLIONAIRE STILL FUCKING MATTERS. We had a two-billionaires fight in Illinois recently and one of them shut down the government for three years out of spite and the other one not only runs things fairly decently, he gave us legal weed. They were not the same, and neither are Bloomberg and Trump.

I don’t love that the only voices at the top of our politics are rich ones, but that being unlikely to change in the next SIX GODDAMN MONTHS, can we please at least acknowledge that some rich people are going to be worse for the general public than others?

There’s so much to bitch about when it comes to the actual candidates. There are differences that actually matter. “Bernie’s supporters are rude online and so he’s JUST LIKE TRUMP” is not an argument and neither is “Bloomberg is rich and so is Trump and that just proves that EVERYTHING IS GARBAGE.”

(I got nothin’, with regard to Pete, I don’t understand the appeal of that weird little squirrel at all, but still: not like Trump in any way.)

This election, like all elections, is about who is going to give you a better life. It’s easy for me, the white mother of a white kid, to say Bloomberg wouldn’t be terrible for me. It’s easy for me, done having children, to discount someone’s squishiness on reproductive rights, and it’s easy for me, middle-class who went to college before that required crushing debt, to say that for shit’s sake at least a couple of the candidates have A Plan if not All The Plans.

But. We have the choices we have, and we’re gonna make the choice we make, and when we have to, whoever it is, even if it’s fuckin’ Pete, none of them will be anything like Trump. I’ve been hearing about refusing to choose the lesser evil my whole life and guess what, we tried the thing where we chose the greater one.

How’s that working out for us?

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Straighten Up and Fly Right

I’m exhausted from the lead up to and the aftermath of this year’s Krewe du Vieux parade. There were a series of mishaps and missteps that made it stressful for me. The political news hasn’t improved my mood either. I’m trying to get in the Carnival spirit by posting the 1939 poster seen above. Additionally, we have company tomorrow so it’s time to straighten up and fly right.

This week’s theme song was written in 1943 by Nat King Cole and Irving Mills and is based on a folk tale involving a buzzard and a signifying monkey. I am not making this up.

Straighten Up and Fly Right was the biggest hit the King Cole Trio ever had. We have three versions for your listening pleasure: the original, Diana Krall, and an instrumental by the Skatalites:

Now that we’ve straightened up, let’s fly right to the jump.

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Biden/Muskie

Original photo via Salon. 

I don’t usually take requests but this one came from Our Scout Prime. It wasn’t actually a request but a question posed via twitter DM: “You see parallels between Biden and Muskie?”

I do indeed. They were both ratfucked by sitting presidents. Muskie’s ratfucking was more successful: it destroyed his candidacy. He was driven to tears by vicious attacks on his wife Jane. That was long before Cryin’ Speaker Boner and it did not go down well with voters. Muskie won the New Hampshire primary but not resoundingly enough for a New Englander. Sound familiar? It should.

Ed Muskie’s ratfucking, however, was done by Nixon’s underlings, not by Tricky himself. Donald Segretti for one. Roger Stone for another. The latter skated. Sound familiar? It should.

Both Biden and Muskie were frontrunners who lost big leads in the polls. I think Muskie would have been a more formidable general election candidate than Biden. He knew how to STFU. Joey the Shark does not.

Muskie was ratfucked in 1972 because Nixon wanted to run against George McGovern. McGovern was a fine man who was captured by his more extreme supporters. The climate on the left was so anti-military that McGovern could not run as who he was: a war hero who opposed the Vietnam War as a dreadful mistake.

Biden was ratfucked in 2020 because Trump wants to run against, and red bait, Bernie Sanders who has some supporters who continue to damage his reputation.  He deserves better than the Bernie Bros and those supporters whose main goal is to burn down the Democratic party.  We’ve had enough arson in out politics courtesy of the Impeached Insult Comedian. I will support whoever wins the Democratic nomination. Our future depends on it.

Muskie was a better man, candidate, and senator than Biden. He was as steely and stolid as any Mainer. Biden is warm and garrulous, and there’s always been a disconnect between his brain and mouth. It’s been made worse by age.

Finally, anyone who mentions Hunter S. Thompson’s ibogaine canard will have their comment deleted. It was either a sick piece of parody or an act of journalistic ratfucking. Hence my unpopular opinion that HST is overrated. He was the Rick Wilson of the left: funny but sleazy. Teenage me would have disagreed.

The thought of Edmund Sixtus Muskie crying in the snow gave me an earworm. The last word goes to The Police;

 

Friday Throwback Catblogging: Still Missing Della

Paul Drake remains a solo artist. I’m still not ready to get another cat. Our longtime vet’s staff mishandled everything about what turned out to be her last visit. He is no longer our vet but they keep sending us shit. Knock it off, y’all.

Here’s a picture of Della Street on my lap:

Peter Gabriel & Me

I am officially old. One of my musical heroes, Peter Gabriel, turned 70  today. I’ve been a fan since he had hair and I had more hair. Happy Birthday and many returns of the day from one Peter to another.

I’ve seen PG many times, especially when I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was lucky enough to see him twice with Genesis including the epic The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway tour. I was in high school and went with my closest cronies. You know who you are. All of us except the driver dropped acid. I had a test the next day, which I aced. A minor miracle but my teacher knew I was high. He pulled me aside after class. Fortunately, he was a cool teacher. I told him I saw Genesis and he turned out to be a fan so he let me slide. I was not a low maintenance teenager. Anyone surprised?

I recall seeing PG”s first solo tour at my home away from home, Winterland. King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp was in the band. But he was introduced as “Dusty Rhodes” and played the entire show in the shadows

I had a close encounter with PG during the Peter Gabriel 3/Melt tour. It was at the Warfield Theatre on Market Street. I’d just finished using the facilities when I walked into the lobby and ran into Peter Gabriel and one of his roadies. He was about to enter the theatre via the center aisle; initially in darkness until the opening notes of  Intruder started.

I had heard that there was some talking during a quiet moment in his Arthur Bremer song, Family Snapshot, the previous night. I took it upon myself to apologize for other’s loud mouthery. He shrugged and said, “It’s rock and roll, man.”

In honor of Peter Gabriel’s 70th birthday, here’s a shit ton of live music:

A Modest Reminder

Trump_il_Sung_4

So, am fortunate to be traveling/taking a break from, well, everything up to and including the Northern Hemisphere. But while out of the loop, I’m not entirely disconnected.

I did see, though, some hand wringing from the usual suspects. Democrats in disarray. Is Bernie too far left?

Well, to repeat what Adrastos said below, the house is on fire. The enemy is the guy pictured above.

If Sanders wins the nomination, I’ll vote for him. Same with Buttigieg. Same with Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, or even Joe Biden if either of the latter two gains any traction (and as an aside, more than ever I think Iowa and New Hampshire have outweighed any usefulness in first-in-the-nation status. Time to move to national or at least regional primaries)… sorry to digress, but I’ll vote for any Democrat over Trump.

And if you think otherwise, um, that means you’re part of the problem.

Because if you think Trump is awful — and for fuck’s sake, he is — imagine what a re-elected Trump will be.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Mars Monopoly

We have side-by-side covers of a 1956 sci-fi tome by Jerry Sohl. The second cover is from an Australian edition of the book.

Still There’ll Be More

pennywise_3_trump

Image by Michael F.

Some of President* Pennywise’s evangelical supporters, including Rick Perry, claim that he’s the chosen one. They’re big on Old Testament wrath so they’re happy with Trump’s revenge campaign. Apparently, Christian charity is reserved for Trumpers.

The post title comes from Keith Reid’s lyrics for a Procol Harum song. Here’s the least offensive verse:

I’ll bathe my eyes in a river of salt
I’ll grow myself right up to the sky
I’ll sing in the forest, tear down the trees
I’ll foul all the fountains and trample the leaves
I’ll blacken your Christmas and piss on your door
You’ll cry out for mercy, but still there’ll be more

I come from a long line of grudge holders but I still agree with George Orwell who wrote an essay called Revenge Is Sour. I believe in justice, not vengeance but President* Pennywise disdains the former and lives for the latter.

I was in the Krewe du Vieux bubble when Trump’s Friday Night Massacre happened. When the bubble popped, I was appalled but not surprised to learn that the Impeached Insult Comedian went on a firing spree against those with the cojones to testify; even smug major donor Gordon Sondland. Trump’s treatment of Col. Vindman was particularly sadistic:

Friday’s developments were dizzying, even by recent standards. President Trump ordered dismissed from the National Security Council staff a key impeachment witness, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, and—even more inexplicably—his twin brother, an ethics attorney on the NSC legal staff. That action was followed within hours by the firing of Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, another key impeachment witness, who reportedly refused to resign. The Vindman brothers were publicly escorted out of the White House, a method that current and former officials readily understood as a form of stigma rather than any decent expression of appreciation for their service. In case there were any doubt about the motivation for all of this, a series of tweets by the president and his son made clear that Lt. Col. Vindman’s ejection was a direct response to the testimony he provided Congress that pointed to the president’s wrongdoing.

President* Pennywise doubled down by urging, but not ordering, the Army to punish Vindman.

This is the second time Trump has intervened in the military’s disciplinary procedures. The first time was to rescue a war criminal from well-deserved ignominy. This time, he’s urging the Army to punish an officer who did his duty and reported wrongdoing. There’s no offense to punish so presumably the Army will show more intestinal fortitude than Senate GOPers.

Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski claimed that Trump would learn his lesson from the impeachment process. As I said earlier today: “The only lesson the Impeached Insult Comedian has learned is that he can get away with anything as long as his party backs him up.”

Thanks Lisa and Sue. You should have known this was coming. If you didn’t, you’re idiots as well as enablers. I hope Sara Gideon opens a well-deserved can of whoop-ass on the Senator who should be called Runaround Sue. And now for a brief musical interlude:

In other Trump Unbound news, he intervened in the Roger Stone case. The line prosecutors, who take election fuckery seriously, wanted to throw the book at Ratfucking Roger. President* Pennywise made his displeasure clear and DOJ backpedaled like Ginger in an Astaire-Rogers movie.

DOJ supervisors have claimed that they were “blindsided” by the sentencing recommendation. That’s nonsense. The line prosecutors were Bob Mueller’s people who do everything by the book, which means the supervisors are lying.  All four line prosecutors have resigned from the case in protest. Judge Amy Jackson Berman is unlikely to be amused.

Trump’s subjugation of the Justice Department is one of the most sinister things he’s done. Bill Barr should be impeached and/or disbarred for acting like the Impeached Insult Comedian’s personal lawyer. Barr has brought DOJ to its lowest repute since Watergate. The DOJ’s reputation took a huge hit during the Nixon years: two of Tricky’s AGs, Mitchell and Kleindeinst, went to jail. Order was restored by Jerry Ford’s AG Edward  H. Levi and the department has largely dispensed impartial justice ever since.

It’s astonishing how much damage Trump has done since the so-called adults in the room left government. Things are so bad that John Kelly and Jeff Bo Sessions look good in retrospect. Unlike Barr or Trump, Jeff Sessions at least had some ethical boundaries.

Back to the post title. I posted the less offensive verse of Still There’ll Be More earlier. It’s easy to imagine President* Pennywise singing this verse in his Trump Unbound mode:

I’ll put a blight in the orchard
I’ll run wild through the fields
I’ll waylay your daughter and kidnap your wife
Savage her sexless and burn out her eyes
I’ll blacken your Christmas and piss on your door
You’ll cry out for mercy, but still there’ll be more

The only mercy we’re likely to get is from the voters on November 3rd.

Repeat after me: The national house is on fire and the arsonist lives in the White House. The only issue in 2020 is TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP.

 The last word goes to Procol Harum: