Palmetto State: Pick Your Poison

This morning, my love of old movies and state nicknames collides with my hatred of the death penalty. The featured image is the firing squad at the end of Stanley Kubrick’s anti-war classic, Paths Of Glory. The Palmetto State is reviving execution by firing squad with a macabre twist.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has signed into law a bill that forces death row inmates for now to choose between the electric chair or a newly formed firing squad in hopes the state can restart executions after an involuntary 10-year pause.

South Carolina had been one of the most prolific states of its size in putting inmates to death. But a lack of lethal injection drugs brought executions to a halt.

This sounds like one of those build-your-own burritos eateries. Instead, the state is asking inmates to build their own execution. To say this is sick is an understatement. It’s another win for those who believe prisons exist to torture as opposed to punish inmates.

I’ve never understood the concept of a “humane execution.” That’s what execution by lethal injection is supposed to be. In fact, the guillotine, gas chamber, and electric chair were all thought to be more “humane” than hanging or having one’s head chopped off by an axman. The guillotine is swift but it’s messy. Death is messy and inhumane no matter how they try and dress it up.

I’ve also never understood the concept of an “honorable execution.” The Nazi war criminals sentenced to death at the first Nuremberg trial were outraged that they were to die on the gallows. They believed that death by firing squad was an “honorable execution.” One reason Hermann Goering “cheated” his executioners by swallowing cyanide was their insistence on hanging him.

By all accounts, hanging is slow, painful, and has been known not to work. That was what led to all the insane/inane attempts to find a “humane” means of execution. Killing someone is inherently inhumane whether it’s done by the state or an individual. There’s blood, piss, and shit involved no matter how they try and dress it up.

There was a fleeting moment in which SCOTUS banned the death penalty in Furman v. Georgia. They left more loopholes than the abolitionist justices wanted, which led to capital punishment’s revival  four years later in Gregg v. Georgia.

The first murderer to be executed after the restoration of the death penalty was Gary Gilmore by the state of Utah. The method of execution was by firing squad. BTW, If you’ve never read The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer, check it out. It’s the best thing he ever wrote. The teevee movie with Tommy Lee Jones is excellent as well.

There are several things the Palmetto State did not factor into its new law. The most obvious one: is what if you’ve got the wrong person? DNA testing has led to the reversal of many convictions including murders. Of course, the South Carolina lege is interested in punishment, not justice. It’s too much to expect them to follow the example of the Commonwealth of Virginia which recently abolished the death penalty after having executed the most prisoners in the post-Gregg era.

The other factor is the effect of being on the firing end of a firing squad. Famously, Utah provides blanks to one shooter, but some firing squad member still have psychological problems. Infamously, the Nazis moved from mass shootings to gassings because of the psychological impacts on their soldiers. Does South Carolina plan to recruit sadists and psychopaths to make up their firing squad?

If I were asked to pick my proverbial poison, I’d choose the firing squad, a blindfold, and even a cigarette. I regard asking death row inmates to pick their poison to be a form of psychological torture. It’s bad enough to lose one’s liberty without being required to select one’s exit.

The only humane form of execution is NO executions at all. Murder is murder regardless of who’s pulling the trigger or flipping the switch on the electric chair.

The last word goes to George Orwell from his essay Revenge Is Sour:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Morning Wood edition

Morning, everyone! Let’s check in on the deputy Kraken, shall we?

Lin Wood:  Trump has secret military backchannel to authorize nuclear strikes
droolindog.net ^ | May 12, 2021 | David Edwards

Posted on 5/13/2021, 12:00:19 AM by Eagle Forgotten

Election attorney Lin Wood claimed this week that former President Donald Trump maintains a secret backchannel to the U.S. military that allows him to order nuclear strikes.

Wood made the assertion during an event in Myrtle Beach, where he was campaigning to become the next South Carolina Republican Party chair. Video was later obtained by PatriotTakes.

“He won the election,” Wood said of Trump. “Donald J. Trump is still the guy the military will call for the code if they need a first strike. Joe Biden is not the president of the United States.”

*******************************************************************

Apparently, a site called Patriot Takes got a video, the info was picked up by RawStory and then by DroolinDog. I know RawStory is hard left; I never heard of the other two sites.But, regardless of the source, there’s a video. It sure seems that Wood is making this wild assertion about the military chain of command. I can’t imagine that the military would actually bypass Biden and phone up Trump for orders. I also can’t imagine how, even if that were true, Lin Wood would know it.

Go ahead, dump on RawStory all you want, but I think Lin Wood has just totally lost it.

1 posted on 5/13/2021, 12:00:19 AM by Eagle Forgotten
Analysis?
To: Eagle Forgotten

Lin Wood has just totally lost it.

Lin Wood is right on. 100%.

DJT signed the Insurrection Act on Jan 10 of this year. We all know the election was stolen, and Biden is, if anything, an illegitimate POTUS. Taking the oath of office is Treason. With the Insurrection Act, Civilian government is temporarily on hold. The military is in control. A covert operation is now engaged to restore the Constitutional Republic, from the current insurgency.

For details on the tasks that have been performed, are being performed, and will be performed to complete the transition and return to civilian control, see sections 11.3 and 11.4 of The DOD Law of War Manual:

ii FOREWORDThe law of war is of fundamental importance to the Armed Forces of the United States…

15 posted on 5/13/2021, 12:14:27 AM by C210N (“)

Well, you can’t spell “analysis” without “anal”…
To: C210N
Uh, no. That is nonsense and disinformation. Trump isn’t secretly running the military. No cavalry will riding into restore anything anytime soon. Trump is a private citizen residing in Florida with as much control over the U.S. military as a guy bagging groceries at a Wal-Mart in Cedar Rapids…

When SDNY gets through with him, he’s going to WISH he was a guy bagging groceries at a Walmart.

which is to say, none.

25 posted on 5/13/2021, 12:27:21 AM by irishjuggler

Woody pecker does still have some fanboys in Freeperville :

To: C210N

Yep. You got it.

This appears as a facet of Eisenhower standing orders kept out of view in the background.

Since that era there are whispers of a generation to generation contingent ready to activate to save the Republic no matter what circumstances emerge.

The Mission is to ensure the United States will never be conquered.

Insiders report all that has been revealed had to happen for ordinary Americans to understand the consequences of an attack from within. It is asserted there is simply no other way for people to become aware other than to directly witness history unfold before their eyes.

Those accusing Lin Wood of being ‘crazy’ conveniently ignore the ‘crazy’ history of 2020. If ‘crazy’ connotes “insane”. “sociopathic”, ‘bizarre’, ‘out of mind’ and so on, then Lin Wood is a model of mental fitness compared to the events of 2020 and the behaviors of so-called ‘elites’.

33 posted on 5/13/2021, 12:44:50 AM by Hostage (Article V)

.
Most of the Freepers, however, are of a different opinion :
To: Eagle Forgotten

fool.

2 posted on 5/13/2021, 12:02:19 AM by the_daug ( )

To: Eagle Forgotten

Guy is a kook or a saboteur or both.

6 posted on 5/13/2021, 12:05:50 AM by Williams (Stop Tolerating The Intolerant)

To: Eagle Forgotten

Umm no, Lin, no.

7 posted on 5/13/2021, 12:06:09 AM by cranked

To: Jonty30

“Lin Wood has been a consistent Democrat donor all his life. He is purposefully throwing conservative concerns into disrepute in order to make it impossible to challenge the Democrats.”
*********************************************************
Yep, Lin Wood is a DemocRAT serving as a saboteur. I think no one on our side believes his silliness except for the low-IQers and the most gullible in our ranks.

8 posted on 5/13/2021, 12:06:59 AM by House Atreides

Lin Wood is a nut job!

11 posted on 5/13/2021, 12:09:58 AM by Doofer (The Lockdowns Will Continue Until Your Morale Improves! )

To: Eagle Forgotten

lin wood didn’t lose it. he never had it. if you followed him breathlessly during the election aftermath debacle, you’re a fool. if you still follow him breathlessly, you’re clinical.

12 posted on 5/13/2021, 12:10:02 AM by JohnBrowdie

To: Aria

I paid attention to Lin Wood until he started telling people in GA not to vote GOP . . .


many people here on FR vociferously advocated the boycott, and defend their mindlessness to this day. the boycotters gave the senate to the democrats.

17 posted on 5/13/2021, 12:18:38 AM by JohnBrowdie
But – but – “Q” told them to!!
To: Eagle Forgotten
Lin Wood has lost his frikkin mind.

He had one to lose?

He lost Georgia for us, and now he’s trying to screw up South Carolina. If there was a stealth Manchurian Candidate in our ranks, it this guy.

The MSM pounces on the idiocy, and it sets us back.

22 posted on 5/13/2021, 12:24:03 AM by Fido969 ( Sc)

One Freeper addresses “C210N” directly :
To: C210N

you need counseling. lots of it. stat.

19 posted on 5/13/2021, 12:20:19 AM by JohnBrowdie

Now, where did i put that Freud meme?
.
Anyway, in response,  “C210N” does the Big Reveal :
.
That’s not really Joe Biden in the White House – IT’S AN ACTOR!!!!
.
No, really.
.
Stop laughing.
.
STOP LAUGHING!!!
.
Continue reading for the undeniable proof.

Continue reading

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Today on Tommy T’s obsession with Random Ruminations – Context is everything

Context.

I see a lot of embarrassment and attempts to hide (NOT “cancel”) movies, shows, even music from the past – just because it doesn’t jibe with modern sensibilities.

When I watched “Birth Of A Nation” for the first time, I didn’t think  “Wow – I want to go out and join the KKK!”. I thought  “That approach was obviously acceptable back in 1915.” It was a window into the past. Not the past of 1865, but the past of 1915.

After I read “Snow White”, I got the original version (I don’t think Mom and Dad knew exactly what was in the Grimms’ Fairytales volume when they gifted me the Collier’s Junior Classics set) .
You know – the one where the evil Queen is forced to wear red-hot iron shoes and dance until she’s dead? With her sweet daughter Snow White (another little tidbit excised from the original story) watching in glee.
Why?
Because it was written in the middle ages, and people in power tortured their enemies by putting red-hot shoes on them. It’s how they did things back then.  Allow me to display an example :

 

And the other original Grim Grimms’ fairy tales were worse. Rape, cooking children and feeding them to their father (Holy “Game Of Thrones”, Batman) – it goes on and on.

Sure, these stories were sanitized in 1825, and more so in later years, but a simple trip to the library would have revealed the horrendous original versions of these delightful “children’s stories”. Trying to hide it doesn’t work.

When I watch “Gone With The Wind”, I don’t cringe at the “Mammy” character, because it’s a pretty good representation of how things were back then. I just enjoy Hattie McDaniel’s performance, and move on.

When I see Caucasian actors playing Asians or Africans in old films, I shrug and remind myself that men played all female parts in Shakespeare’s plays at the Globe Theatre. The real “Lone Ranger”? A black guy. And so on…that was then.

This brings us to NOW.

I cringe when I see real diversity dishonoured by casting POC as historical figures who were white as milk. This doesn’t undo anything, and comes off as pandering at best. Picture Jackie Chan playing Benjamin Franklin. And I’m still waiting for the version of “Hamilton” where the Congressmen from the North and the Congressmen from the South have it out over slavery.

That would be quite a bit of fourth-wall-breaking, no?

And I’m also still waiting for the movie starring Neil Patrick Harris as Nelson Mandela.  Or Ed Begley, Jr. playing Shaka Zulu.

“Whitewashing”, and sugar-coating bad people are (for the most part) things of the past.
And we need to remember the past.
All of it.
In context.

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Sunday Morning Video: Peggy Lee Live In 1984

Ladies and gentlemen, the Quintessential Peggy Lee:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Getting Better

Chez Tortoni by Edouard Manet.

The weather remains the leading topic of conversation in New Orleans. A tornado ripped through the city causing property damage but no serious injuries.  It took place a mere two miles from Adrastos World HQ ,but I slept through it. I seem to be turning into a cat.

First Draft contributor Ryne Hancock came over to record his podcast with yours truly as his guest.

Beatles month continues with this week’s theme song. It was written by Lennon and McCartney for 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. It’s mostly a Macca song but has a mordant aside written by John: “It can’t get no worse.”

We have four versions of Getting Better for your listening pleasure: the Beatles original, Cheap Trick, Peter Frampton & the Bee Gees, and Gomez.

Feeling better? Let’s jump to the break before it gets much worse.

Continue reading

You Do Something To Me

Cole Porter month continues with You Do Something To Me. He wrote it in 1929 for the musical, Fifty Million Frenchmen. The song is best known for one line, “Do do that voodoo that you do so well.” I’ve used it myself more than a few times. I only steal from the best.

We begin with Marlene Dietrich emoting the song. She couldn’t really sing but, boy, could she emote.

Ella’s Cole Porter Song Book is the gold standard for all such records.

Continue reading

Ride With The Devil

There’s been a lot of scathing commentary about the Liz Cheney mishigas on my social media feeds. I get it: She’s a hardcore right-wing neo-conservative. She’s not a conservative with redeeming characteristics like Willard Mittbot Romney, Lisa Murkowski, or Michael Steele. She’s her father’s daughter. Christian Bale compared Dick to a certain insalubrious figure after playing him in Vice.

I understand the anti-Cheney sentiment. I’ve been known to call her daddy Vice President Duce, after all.

Having said that, I still admire her stand against creeping Fascism in her party. She’s not a hero for opposing Trump’s BIG LIE but she *is* a patriot for doing so.

One of the most important features of our democracy is the peaceful transfer of power. Cheney considers herself an arch-Reaganite. Here’s what her main man said in his first inaugural address:

To a few of us here today this is a solemn and most momentous occasion, and yet in the history of our nation it is a commonplace occurrence. The orderly transfer of authority as called for in the Constitution routinely takes place, as it has for almost two centuries, and few of us stop to think how unique we really are. In the eyes of many in the world, this every 4-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle.

Cheney is, of course, well to the right of the former president but she agrees with the sentiments expressed in that speech. I do too. In contrast, Pennywise’s inaugural address was about American Carnage.

As always, the MSM has mischaracterized the Cheney-KMac mishigas. It’s not a civil war, it’s a purge. Veteran pundit and former RFK aide, Jeff Greenfield, pointed that out at Politico Magazine:

…beyond a few spats that make headlines, it’s getting harder to detect any serious division among rank-and-file Republicans. In Congress, and at the grassroots, the dominance of Donald Trump over the party is more or less total. The small handful who denounced the former president for his massive lies about the election and his seeding of an insurrectionist riot are now either silent, or have embraced a mealy-mouthed argument for “election integrity.” The same state officials who pushed back against Trump’s attempt to overturn November’s results have embraced a series of restrictive voting measures ostensibly designed to combat non-existent “fraud,” all aimed at hobbling voters inclined to vote for Democrats. Mitch McConnell, who denounced Trump’s behavior in high-minded tones in the aftermath of the riot, also—on the exact same day—voted to exonerate him of wrongdoing.

<SNIP>

The pattern is striking: if you want to survive as a Republican official, you will support the former president; if you support the former president, you will support laws that reflect his conviction that the election was stolen; if you enact those rules, you are making it more possible that he will win a second term. The party is talking with one voice; the voice is Trump’s, and it’s one that plenty of Americans are still perfectly receptive to.

Repeat after me: It’s a purge, not a civil war.

The word purge is associated with a specific historical figure: Joseph Stalin. In the 1930’s, he ruthlessly purged senior comrades from the Soviet Communist Party until he was one of the few original Bolsheviks alive.

That brings me to the post title and the featured image of Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill at the Teheran Conference in 1943. It was imperative to defeat Nazism, so FDR understood that there was no choice but to ride with the Soviet devil. The war against Nazism could not have been won without the Red Army, so we rode with the devil then broke up with it after the war.

America also rode with a lesser devil in Winston Churchill. Churchill was an unabashed reactionary with redeeming characteristics. He was a great orator, first-rate writer, and a good drinking buddy. BUT Churchill was a racist and imperialist who in addition to fighting for freedom fought Nazi Germany to keep the British Empire intact. Mercifully, he lost the 1945 general election to Clement Atlee’s Labour Party who knew that the Empire was doomed.

Liz Cheney is somewhere between Stalin and Churchill on the devil scale. She’s no Stalin but she’s not a convivial companion such as Churchill.  Churchill got drunk because he enjoyed it. Stalin got drunk in order to manipulate, control, and humiliate his sycophants. The Kaiser of Chaos does the same thing only stone cold sober.

If we could work with Stalin and Churchill to defeat Hitlerism and Japanese imperialism, we can work with Liz Cheney to defeat Trumpism. She’s right on the survival of American democracy and wrong on everything else.

We face an existential threat to our democracy. We have to take our allies where we can find them. I would never vote for Liz Cheney or anyone who shared her views but sometimes you have to ride with the devil. This is one of those times.

The last word goes to New Orleans’ own Paul Sanchez:

The Hidden Figure of Ruth Freshour

Ruth Freshour & Avidac

The expert teaches the newbies how to program a computer.

Today would have been my mother-in-law Ruth Freshour’s 94th birthday.

Ruth would be amazed at the world we live in. Not because she would have been amazed at all the wonderous gadgets we can play with. Not because she would be astounded at how technology permeates our lives. No, she would have been astounded because all of those gadgets and systems and technology are things she had a hidden hand in creating.

She grew up in Worcester Massachusetts, her mother a homemaker and her father, well you could say her father had a variety of ways of making money. Most of those ways involved some form of speculation. Speculation as to the turn of a card or the speed of a horse. He must have been pretty good at it since they lived as comfortably as could be expected during the Depression.

Ruth was a bright girl. Really bright. Smarter than her brother and sister. Smarter than a lot of the boys at school. Smart enough that she could apply to and get into Smith College, one of the “Seven Sisters” colleges, the equivalent in the pre-coed days to the Ivy League. Of course while her classmates had their tuitions paid for via the interest, never the principle, of their trust funds, Ruth’s tuitions were paid via crumpled up fives and tens adorned with cryptic notes about various horses’ pedigrees.

I’m sure the Bursar’s department at Smith must have loved that.

At Smith she studied mathematics, not only out of a cerebral love of math and a feeling of calling to the field but out of the prosaic desire to have a job that paid a decent salary, didn’t involve manual labor, and could put her in position to find a husband who she could feel was her intellectual equal. In 1949 she graduated Smith and began applying for jobs.

A degree in math usually meant a ticket to a teaching position, but teaching jobs were hard to come by. Returning WWII vets got first pick, then any other man, then the other guys, then back to the first guys to see if maybe the other job fell through, and then if desperate finally down to highly qualified women. But find a job she did, with the largest employer of mathematicians in the world at the time — the United States government.

First she was sent to Annapolis Maryland, to the Ballistics Research Lab of the Aberdeen Proving Ground. Aberdeen did the research that developed all types of new weapons. They needed a way to be able to test the theories about what those weapons could do before deciding if it was worthwhile making the weapons. For that you turn to math. Math and a giant room filling box of wires, diodes, and lights with the enigmatic name of Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer.

ENIAC

Ruth spent three years programming the ENIAC though the term programming didn’t even exist back then. It was just math and the people who tamed the mechanical beast were mathematicians, not programmers. She must have been pretty good at it because eventually she got the call to the big leagues and headed off to the deserts of New Mexico, home to the Los Alamos Scientific Lab to work on the math for the second generation of atomic and thermonuclear weapons. Continue reading

Friday Catblogging: Upside Down Cat

The other day we watched Hitchcock’s The Birds. I hoped that it would be an entertainment two-fer: a great movie that drove the cat crazy. Instead, Claire barely reacted to all the bird noises and slept through most of the movie. I was simultaneously disappointed and impressed. Perhaps she knew it was a movie. Beats the hell outta me.

The Sons Of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness

Maury Terry before his descent into obsession.

The new Netflix docuseries The Sons Of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness is a tale of obsession and manipulation. Journalist Maury Terry was so obsessed with his plausible alternate theory of the Son Of Sam case that he allowed himself to be manipulated by convicted murderer and notorious schlemiel David Berkowitz.

The Son Of Sam or .44 caliber murders took place in New York City in 1976-1977. It was one of the most sensational cases of its or any other time. It fueled a newspaper war between the NY Daily News and NY Post, which was won by the NYDN because its star columnist, Jimmy Breslin was manipulated by David Berkowitz much like his less well-known colleague, Maury Terry.

Breslin published a series of bizarre letters from the so-called Son Of Sam claiming that a dog channeling its dead master made him to do it. It was the homicidal equivalent of the old “dog ate my homework” gambit but it somehow worked on Breslin and the NYPD.

The detectives working the case convinced themselves that it was a lone gunman, not because the evidence led them in that direction but because it was easier than delving into the complexities of it. That was left to Maury Terry.

Terry posited that there had to be more than one person involved. This supposition was supported by the fact that the original police sketches looked nothing like Berkowitz. This belief was widespread at the time as it became clear that David Berkowitz was a follower, not a leader. Mind games were Berkowitz’s specialty, not action.

In the early days of his investigation, Maury Terry pursued evidence to support his theory. There does seem to have been some sort of satanic cult in Yonkers, NY with which Berkowitz was involved. One of the cultists, John Carr, was Berkowitz’s neighbor and resembled the police sketch more than Berkowitz. Carr’s irascible father was named Sam. That’s right John Carr was literally the son of Sam who apparently was a son of a bitch. Terry believed that John’s brother Michael was also involved in the cult. Both Carr brothers died in mysterious circumstances. That fed Maury Terry’s obsession.

Berkowitz and the Carrs are the Sons of Sam of the title, but it was Maury Terry who descended into darkness. He took the notion of satanic cults to its extreme and dived down hundreds of rabbit holes. He drew many plausible connections but convinced himself that there was a link between the Manson family and the Yonkers cult. In that case I believe he was:

The docuseries unfolds in four acts. The final act depicts the unravelling of Maury Terry. He was mostly right about the case BUT he spent his final years trying to make the facts fit his theories as opposed to following the facts where they led him. Berkowitz continued to manipulate Terry in an elaborate game of mental five-card monte. It’s boring in prison.

The Sons Of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness is a well-made and surprisingly entertaining series. Director Joshua Zemen uses the contemporaneous teevee news coverage to great advantage. He also does a superb job of chronicling Maury Terry’s descent into obsession. Unsurprisingly, Terry who died in 2015 urged Zemen to make the documentary:

…he met Terry, who quickly became hell-bent on the idea of Zemen making a documentary about his work.

“I originally had wanted to make [Terry’s book] The Ultimate Evil into a narrative TV series. I didn’t want to do a doc at all,” Zemen said. “Maury’s pestering me for literally a year — ‘please do a doc, please do a doc.’ I think he sees me as some kind of hope for him that he’s going to finally get his story out there.”

But Terry died before anything could come of the project. And in what may have been a last-ditch effort to shed light on what he always believed was the truth behind the Son of Sam case, he left all of his research to Zemen.

“I get Maury’s files and all of these interviews with David Berkowitz — all the B-roll, all his letters,” Zemen recalled. “Suddenly, the idea hits me — yes, you can make a doc. Not just about the investigation, but about Maury, this kind of fascinating character who had gone down the rabbit hole for 40 years and never came out.”

That sums it up well. Maury Terry was right to believe that Berkowitz did not act alone but he took it too far. Obsession ain’t pretty and neither is the effect it has on people.

Before grading Zemen’s film, here’s the trailer:

I give The Sons Of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness 4 stars and an Adrastos Grade of A-.

I gave myself an earworm as I wrote this so, the last word goes to John Lennon:

Spot The Tourist

Rep. George Clyde (R-of course-GA) would insist it’s a trick question — it’s most if not all of them

“Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the…ropes taking videos and pictures. You know, if you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit,” he said.

And that’s how The Big Lie propagates. Lather, rinse, repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat again.

Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that the elite media has been played — or worse, has been complicit — in various Big Lies for decades or longer.

Failed social programs…welfare queens…limited government…local control of schools/forced busing…supply side economics…super-predators…WMD…birtherism…and, last but not least, the Clinton Rules (not that I’m much of a fan of either Clinton, but good lord…).

All dutifully “reported.”

Both sides…

Geez, they must really think being accused of being librul — and I guess being tainted with librul cooties — is the absolute worst.

Like a stopped clock, DJT wasn’t entirely wrong about fake news, but the fake news was the generations-long nonsense: Vince Foster, ‘but her emails,’ etc., the end result being a cult that can’t even abide goddamn Liz Cheney’s heresy, not that I’ve got any sympathy for Rep. Cheney (too bad she and the MAGA’s can’t both lose, to paraphrase another horrible GOoPer).

DJT’s, um, skill — to give him more credit than I want — was managing to find himself at the right place and time to take advantage when the media doesn’t even bother to phone it in anymore. They Tweet it in instead.

And now he’s got an entire major political party all-in with his particular style of fascism.

Trumpublicans.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Headless Lady

For some reason this cover gives me a headache.

All About Elise

It should be obvious by now that my love of old movies often informs my writing. I wish I could say I thought of All About Eve in the context of the Liz-n-Elise mishigas. I did not.

It was my longtime friend Susan Kelly Caldwell who made the connection. If I could stand the winters, I’d move to Chagrin Falls to expiate my shame, but I can’t, so I won’t. Susan, however, isn’t perfect: she’s legendary for giving bad directions, which is less salient in the GPS era but has been a running joke between us for decades so…

Everyone who knew that Elise Stefanik nominated Liz Cheney to be House Republican Chair, raise your hand. The Boss insists:

I did not know that, but it adds a touch of poignancy to the farcical ouster of Cheney. Cheney’s sole offense against the GOP is telling the truth about the 2020 election and 1/6 Dipshit Insurrection. Stefanik is making like Eve Harrington in All About Eve and betraying Liz Cheney/Margo Harrington.

I’m not going to belabor the About All Elise analogy other than to post Susan’s husband Steve’s casting suggestion for Addison Dewitt who was played by George Sanders in All About Eve:

Remember Ray Davies’ line about George Sanders? Let’s paraphrase it: If you covered him with garbage, Lindsey Graham would still lack style…

There’s nothing particularly interesting about Elise Stefanik. She’s just another hack trying to climb the greasy pole by kowtowing to the Kaiser of Chaos. It’s what GOPers will do until the spell is finally broken. I suspect Trump’s passion for Stefanik is driven more by his lustful impulses than anything else. I keep waiting for the “I’d hit on that” quote to emerge from Mar-a-Doorn.

If this were a matter of ideology or policy, Liz Cheney would stay in place. She voted for the Impeached Insult Comedian’s agenda 92% of the time whereas Stefanik did so 77% of the time.

Some of the wingnuts in the Caucus are alarmed that Stefanik is a squishy Northeastern moderate. But they will still vote to oust their ideological soul mate, Liz Cheney because the GOP is an empty vessel filled with Trumper bluster and bullshit, which will eventually evaporate.

The other day, the weak bozo who is House Republican leader sent a letter to his colleagues urging Cheney’s removal. As a fan of unintentional comedy, I enjoyed this passage in KMac’s epistle:

“We are a big tent party. We represent Americans of all backgrounds. And unlike the left, we embrace free thought and debate.

What can you expect from a guy who sorted Pennywise’s candy? Now he’s sorting voters: claiming all the white ones while trashing the black and brown ones.

It reminds me of something Willard Mittbot Romney said in 2019:

“There are many young people who might tend to think that the Republican Party is only represented by one point of view, the president’s point of view, were there not people like myself. We are not a pup tent … rather a much larger tent. And we can accommodate different people with different views.”

I don’t camp so I don’t know anything about tents, but a pup tent sounds puny to me. Much like KMac.

Speaking of tents, the House leadership may regret “recalling” Liz Cheney. She’s bound to feel liberated. They might have been wise to follow Lyndon Johnson’s example. When asked why he didn’t oust J. Edgar Hoover as FBI director, LBJ said, “Better to have him inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in.”

As if to prove my point, Cheney gave a fiery speech last night in anticipation of today’s vote: 

“I am a conservative Republican and the most conservative of conservative principles is reverence for the rule of law. Remaining silent, and ignoring the lie, emboldens the liar.”

I disagree with Liz Cheney on everything else BUT the preservation of democracy is not just another issue. If they can get away with the BIG LIE of 2020, what’s to stop them from doing it again? Not a damn thing.

That’s why bucking history and maintaining control of the House and Senate in 2022 is so vital. The BIG LIE will be repeated in 2024 if Republicans control Congress and a Democrat wins the popular vote as has happened 5 of 6 times in the 21st Century. The last thing we need is a sequel to 2020.

As long as the GOP is in thrall to former President* Pennywise, this Margo Channing quote will prove prescient:

If Bette Davis were still with us, I’d be afraid not to give her the last word but since she exists only on celluloid, the last word goes to The Cure:

Why you got to gimme a fight?

Many (many) years ago, my then teen-aged brother was going to microwave himself a hot dog for lunch. A vigorous debate immediately ensued between one of my sisters and a visiting friend about how he should dress his hot dog. The discussion and the dog got a little heated (I come from a Polish-American family where everyone has an opinion on everything.).  My other sister popped in to see what the rumpus was about, and after she’d been briefed, she asked my sister and her friend “Are you going to eat that hot dog?”. After they both answered no, she said “Then what do you care?”. Decades later, that is still a question my family asks when one person is getting upset over something that has zero effect on their life.

I remember the days when conservatives and libertarians used to constantly talk about “personal freedom”. I remember when liberals used to make their own cases for it, too, but over the last 14 months the world has gone mad.

The same people who refused to wear masks and now who refuse to get vaccinated are all het up over those of us who prefer to continue to wear masks indoors and outside in unfamiliar crowds even though they are fully vaccinated. And some of the people who wore masks and got vaccinated are incensed that some of us aren’t ready to let it all hang out yet.

If you are still being careful after being vaccinated, you are being subjected to bullshit like this:

And this:

And this:

The Liberals Who Can’t Quit Lockdown

Here’s a fact: It is normal to need time to process and get over a traumatic event. We have been, and are still going through, a traumatic event even if a good chunk of the American public is in complete denial about it. My 80something dad was hospitalized in March 2020 with Covid, back when we didn’t know very much about the virus.  We were lucky that he was able to come home in a few days and completely recovered with no complications, but it was a truly awful weekend for my family as we could not have any in person contact with him. I had to anticipate the death of my beloved father and also not being able to mourn in person with my family.

My experience isn’t unique, of course, and many people had much worse experiences. Expecting people to just flip a switch and start pretending everything is back to normal isn’t reasonable reaction to a traumatic event. It’s even less reasonable when you realize that the pandemic is still ongoing! Close to 1,000 people are still dying EVERY DAY.

And the spread of vaccinated people is not evenly distributed across the country. That’s why am I going to wear a mask indoors when I am among people I don’t know even if CDC lifts that guidance. Look at this map:

The fact that the same people who wouldn’t wear masks or respect social distancing now won’t get vaccinated and make a point of berating people who are still being careful isn’t lost at all on me. Worse though are the so-called liberals and progressives who now are upset if you make a choice FOR YOURSELF, quietly and without fanfare, to help you navigate this still unfamiliar hellscape. How dare you not believe in science!! They say this as they conveniently forget that guidance has changed several times as we have learned more about this novel coronavirus. Or as Chuck Wendig put it:

We’re not sitting in the dark, aroused by our own isolation. It’s just, we remember Jurassic Park. There were just dinosaurs eating people like, ten minutes ago. We’re not so eager to re-open the park just because you say it’s safe.

As my family says “What do you care?”. How is my behavior, which has zero impact on you, something that puts you on tilt?

Some people are mocking people being quietly cautious because they are terrified and they need for the rest of us to play along with their fantasy that everything is back to “normal”. (It’s not and it will never be the same normal ever again.) And it is abundantly clear that the push among some people for everyone to pretend everything is normal is fueled by their desire to escape any ramifications for exacerbating the spread of the virus by making us forget about what happened. They want us to forget about the terrible death toll of this pandemic, about the people who were infected because their employers wouldn’t implement the proper safety measures, the people in states with awful governors to tried to take away their unemployment, and the still uncontrolled spread of the virus because they won’t get vaccinated.

Well, I won’t forget any of these people or their behavior. Ever. In the meantime, leave me alone.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Mimi Benzell & Felix Knight Sing Cole Porter’s Can Can Kiss Me Kate

Since it’s Cole Porter month at the Friday Cocktail Hour, I decided to make it Cole Porter week here. I think it’s also the longest album title ever to turn up on a Wednesday morning.

I have never heard of either Mimi Benzell or Felix Knight but I really dig Jim Pearsall’s cover art. It makes me want to dance the Can Can and kiss Kate.

I’ve also never heard of design compatible fidelity before. Ya learn something new everyday.

Here’s the whole damn album:

 

Malaka Of The Week: Briscoe Cain

Hand to God, I am not mocking a child. Texas State Representative Briscoe Cain is 36 years old; he just looks like a tween. Cain is perhaps the wingnuttiest member of a reactionary lege. He’s in the news as a co-author of the latest Texas voter suppression bill. And that is why Briscoe Cain is malaka of the week.

Briscoe Cain came on my radar screen during this segment of the Rachel Maddow Show:

The racist relic in question is not Briscoe Cain himself, although the label fits, but language in the Texas constitution about the “purity of the ballot box.” It dates to the Jim Crow era and was originally used to ensure that the dominant party primary was all-white. The “purity” language was included in Cain’s impure bill.

In the clip, Malaka B pretends not to understand the significance of the “purity” language, but I’m not buying it. He looks like a middle school kid trying to get out of a test by claiming that his Peepaw or Meemaw died. That’s Southern for grandfather and grandmother.

I went to school with a kid who pulled that stunt so many times that he seemed to have dozens of Papous or Yiayias. That’s Greek for grandfather and grandmother.

Cain is the sort of committed Christian who should be committed. He’s anti-LGBTQ, anti-vax, and anti-mask. I’m anti-Briscoe Cain.

In his freshman session, Malaka B was named one of the worst legislators by the Texas Monthly:

We typically exempt freshmen from the Worst list. We usually forgive their trangressions, because they don’t know how the Legislature works. So just know that we tried. We tried really hard to give Briscoe Cain a pass. But he left us little choice.

When we asked Capitol insiders for Worst list suggestions, his name, almost universally, was the first one mentioned. During one floor debate, when a fellow legislator fell ill with a serious intestinal ailment, Cain objected to the usual procedure of granting the lawmaker an excused absence and called for a record vote. He was the only no vote. But one particular moment, during the budget debate on the House floor, best exemplifies Cain’s uninformed and belligerent performance this session. He offered an amendment to defund a state council that promotes palliative care. He called it a “death panel.” Under questioning from his colleagues, it became clear that Cain didn’t know that palliative care is the treatment of terminally ill people for pain and anxiety to ease their passing. He eventually withdrew his amendment, but not before he’d very nearly zeroed out funding for a good program without actually knowing what it does. Thankfully his colleagues saved him from himself in that instance. Unfortunately, there was no one to save the rest of us from Briscoe Cain.

Belligerence and ignorance are a toxic combination as is everything about Cain’s brief political career so far.

In the spirit of his lord and master former President* Pennywise, Cain likes to pick fights, then claim it’s all a joke.

He shaded Steven Hawking after his death:

This is the case of a living dipshit trolling a dead genius. It’s typical of this chickenshit creep that he deleted the tweet after he was universally slammed for it.

In a further display of keyboard courage, Malaka B threatened a fellow Texan:

This stunt landed Malaka B in Twitter jail. He doesn’t have the guts to threaten Beto in real life: Malaka B is 5’7″ and Beto is 6’4″. I double dog dare him to take a poke at long tall Texan Beto.

I wonder if wee Malaka B used his time in jail to play prisoner and sheriff? He thinks he’s some sort of Western hero, after all. At best, he’s a Wyatt Earp Mini-Me.

I bet he can’t pull off this rocking chair stunt perfected by Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp in John Ford’s My Darling Clementine:

I bet Beto could do it since he’s as gangly as Fonda and two inches taller. It all comes down to John Ford movies with me.

Briscoe Cain has a well-established pattern of picking a fight, then running away the minute there’s any resistance. It happened with the “purity of the ballot box” controversy as well. The language was pulled from the final bill.

Malaka B is a puffed-up chump who thinks he’s a he-man. He’s as phony as the Impeached Insult Comedian and twice as cowardly. And that is why Briscoe Cain is malaka of the week.

The last word goes to Elvis Costello:

A Postcard From Their Cheating Hearts

Medina Spirit

Nothing wrong here, everything’s good. Pee test? Well he gets a case of shy kidneys…

Cheating seems to be in vogue this spring.

As you might have heard, in a post race drug test the winner of the Kentucky Derby, Medina Spirit, tested positive for 21 picograms of betamethasone and if you know what that is and why it’s illegal than you probably hang around horseracing tracks a hell of a lot more than I do. All I know about horseracing is to bet the longshots on a muddy track.

To be clear, betamethasone is basically horse Advil. It alleviates pain in joints and it’s actually legal to administer it, but it has to be out of the horse’s system within two weeks of a race. That’s a stipulation Medina Spirits’ trainer, Bob Baffert, should be familiar with since Medina Spirit is the fifth horse of his in one year to have failed a post race drug test.

“I’m not a conspiracy theorist,” Baffert said.

Which is always the precursor to any new conspiracy theory.

“I know everybody is not out to get me, but there’s definitely something wrong. Why is it happening to me? You know, there’s problems in racing, but it’s not Bob Baffert.”

Yeah Bob, but if you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem. And Churchill Downs, home of the Derby, has decided Bob Baffert is part of the problem. They have suspended Baffert from the track which means the man who has trained more Kentucky Derby winners can not have a horse in any race there let alone the Derby.

What did Bob do? He went on OANN and said he was a victim of cancel culture. No you’re not Bob. You cheated, got caught, and now are being punished as you should be.

Look, cheating in sports is a time honored tradition. The line you will hear in any locker room is “if you ain’t cheatin’ you ain’t tryin'”. Mostly that’s put away when you reach the pinnacle moment of any particular sport. Most Americans can’t name their local track but they can tell you when the Kentucky Derby is run. It’s the pinnacle for horseracing. You’re not supposed to cheat. It would be like a team using an elaborate system of surveillance and signals to spy on their World Series opponents so they could relay to their batters what the next pitch was.

Oops.

Meanwhile in New Hampshire a different angle on cheating is playing out. At Dartmouth’s prestigious Geisel Medical School allegations of cheating on internet based exams have thrown the campus into turmoil. It seems 38 students were supposedly caught using the campus software Canvas, which has all the course work on it,  while taking tests. 21 cases were dismissed because their professor admitted he told them his was an open book test. However the other 17 students were punished anywhere from having to take the class over to being expelled from the school. In many cases students plead guilty only because they were told that to plead innocent would expose them to the most severe punishment.

Here’s where the gray area begins to emerge. It seems that the evidence of cheating was that the Canvas software pings in to the central computer whenever the software is running, leaving a record of who was active and at what time. That’s even if it’s not actually being used but rather just running in the background. Or on a second device. A second device the university demanded students have access to as a backup during the test.

Stop right there for a moment. How many programs are currently running on your phone or your tablet or any other device you might have lying around that’s not the one you’re reading this on? And how many of those programs can you name?

Now you understand the problem.

Most of these students had Canvas running on that second device because it’s ALWAYS running. In essence Canvas is a medical library available 24/7 to any student. The whole advantage of it is that it’s always there. Why turn it off, especially on a secondary device that you’re not taking the test on?

Oh and one other thing. Dartmouth failed to say to the test takers “make sure you are logged out of Canvas on all your devices before beginning the test”. As a matter of fact they never told students that Canvas had time, date, and location monitoring abilities built into it.

Oops.

But in the grand tradition of Ivy League Schools Dartmouth has made a decision and the decision stands. Now who is cheating? Especially when some of the punishments were having to retake an entire year of school over again. At a cost of $70,000 for another year of school.

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Stormy Monday Blues

26 years ago New Orleans had rainfall of Biblical proportions. The rain came on May 8, 1995 and the extent of the damage was unclear until May 10, 1995. It had rained up to 27 inches in some parts of the city and surrounding parishes. It was a fucking mess.

Unfortunately, street flooding has become commonplace since then. We’ve never had water in our house since we live on high ground, but we lost a car to flood waters a few years ago.

Every time there’s heavy rain, New Orleanians live in fear of flooding. It happened again in the wee hours today:

I’m writing this during a break in the rain, but more is expected later. We’re all sick of it. My birthday in 2017 was the occasion of another flood caused by extreme rainfall and an antiquated water system. President Biden took a tour of the plant last week and has mentioned it several times subsequently. I hope that’s a good sign. This has got to stop.

I don’t believe in the Noah myth since it calls for more suspension of disbelief than I’m capable of. There are times, however, that building a jumbo ark like John Huston did in his misbegotten 1966 film The Bible seems appealing. I think Nick Lowe had the right idea as well:

In other news, there’s a lot of chatter about how to proceed in the After Times of the pandemic. This sign sums up my attitude:

After 14 months of internal tedium and external malakatude, I’m still not ready to return to normal. I’m fully vaccinated but I’m mistrustful of others who are not.

I handled the pandemic and lockdown better than most, but I feel like wrapping myself in caution tape right now. My life experience has made me cautious but not fearful in dangerous situations beyond my control. I’m sure I’ll get over it but at my own pace.

I’m not judging those who are running towards normality, I’m just not there yet. The virus and its variants are still out there. There are still outbreaks and the quest for herd immunity seems stalled because there are still many out there who think it was all a hoax; some of whom are visiting New Orleans, which is why I have no plans to visit the French Quarter any time soon.

The world has always been a dangerous place. I’m engaged in risk management. A new study has estimated that more than 900,000 Americans have died during the pandemic. Given the Trump regime’s attempts to fiddle with the books, I’m inclined to believe the new figure. Another reason for caution.

Finally, Dr. A and I been driving back and forth to Baton Rouge once a week to visit Louise aka Mother-In-Law #1. She’s not doing well at all. She’s 99 years old and slowly fading away. She’s bedridden and having vision problems on top of everything else. It may sound callous, but I hope she lets go soon. As her late husband Eddie was wont to say, “Getting old is not for sissies.”

The post title refers not to the T-Bone Walker song whose full title is Call It Stormy Monday But Tuesday’s Just As Bad, but to an earlier song written by Earl Hines, Billy Eckstine, and Bob Crowder. I definitely have the Stormy Monday Blues. The last word goes to Billy Eckstine and Count Basie:

 

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Face Bored edition

Well, we all know what social media mavens the Freeperati are, amirite? I mean, with such media giants as Parler, ONAN, and all?

The ones who actually have Facebook accounts, and don’t spend every other month in FB jail, were anxiously awaiting this outcome :

Facebook Board Readies For Its Biggest Decision Yet: Whether To Reinstate Trump
NPR ^ | 5/4/21 | Rachel martin

Posted on 5/4/2021, 12:40:30 PM by 1Old Pro

Facebook created the Oversight Board a year ago to make final calls on the most difficult decisions the social network makes about what users can post. Each case is decided by 5 members of the 20-person board. They consider Facebook’s rules and international human rights principles and seek out the views of outside experts and members of the public. In the Trump case, the board received more than 9,000 public comments. The final decision must be approved by a majority of the full board, and Facebook has agreed to abide by its ruling.

The Trump case is the biggest test so far of the board’s legitimacy: whether it’s seen as independent from the company that created and funds it, or whether it’s seen as a cover to let Facebook duck responsibility.

***************************

Break them up. There should be no “control” over free speech. Reasonable expectations perhaps, but no banning.

1 posted on 5/4/2021, 12:40:30 PM by 1Old Pro
So much for “The Power Of The Free Market”, huh?
To: 1Old Pro

How about reinstating Donald J. Trump to the Presidency. That’s where he belongs. MAGA!!!

19 posted on 5/4/2021, 12:57:38 PM by spincaster (i)

Wow! What power that board has! Can they also turn water into wine?
To: 1Old Pro

Technically our Government cannot censor people . So how to get around this roadblock when it wants to bury annoying truths ? Simple, give certain companies special favors and allow them to become monopolies in return for said companies to do the censoring for them.

22 posted on 5/4/2021, 1:02:57 PM by Nateman (Keep Liberty Alive! Article V!)

.
A few Freepers still stick to reality :
To: 1Old Pro

“Break them up. There should be no “control” over free speech. Reasonable expectations perhaps, but no banning.”

Should private companies be allowed to develop their own policies or not. Conservatives argue a bakery should be allowed to refuse to bake a gay wedding cake. It would be hypocritical to make that argument and at the same time declare Facebook shouldn’t be allowed to set the rules for use of its services.

Should a motel be required to allow pets in the rooms? Should an over 55 community in Florida be required to allow families with children to purchase and inhabit homes?

6 posted on 5/4/2021, 12:46:07 PM by Soul of the South (The past is gone and cannot be changed. Tomorrow can be a better day if we work on it.)

To: Soul of the South

I agree with you. I think if the government seizes control over who Facebook and Twitter are allowed to censor and ban, what’s to stop them from forcing FreeRepublic to allow bad posts to go without being removed or to allow trolls and other undesirables to continue posting indefinitely?

I think if you don’t like the website, find another. I don’t like Facebook, so I left it. I never liked Twitter. I do like FreeRepublic. Not everyone does. They should find somewhere else; not get the government to force FR to let them be a problem here.

21 posted on 5/4/2021, 1:01:30 PM by 2aProtectsTheRest (The media is banging the fear drum enough. Don’t help them do it.)

And then :

BREAKING: Facebook Announces Decision NOT to Reinstate Donald Trump’s Account Conservative Brief ^ | 5/5 | Carmine Sabia Posted on 5/5/2021, 8:09:38 AM by TrumpianRepublican

The world’s preeminent social media site, Facebook, has made its decision on whether to allow Donald Trump back on its platform.

The answer came on Wednesday when the site’s Oversight Board ruled that Trump will stay banned from the platform.

Access to Facebook is seen by many as crucial to Trump’s chances of victory if he decides to campaign for president in 2024.

1 posted on 5/5/2021, 8:09:38 AM by TrumpianRepublican
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Today on Tommy T’s Random Ruminations – Ants and Uncles edition

There’s a lot of jibber-jabber from the right-wing about Tim (Look! We have a black friend, so we can’t be racist) Scott’s responding to President Biden’s first address to congress.

Most of it centers around the “Uncle Tom” thing currently bouncing around in hashtag land.

I’m a musician. And an engineer/producer. I’ve had (and still have) a number of black friends and associates. And yes, I’ve heard the “Uncle Tom” thing used.

By them.

I’ve never heard one white person call a black person an “Uncle Tom”. Not one.

It’s  a term exclusively used by black Americans to describe someone they consider a sellout.

Like Tim Scott.

Someone like Tim Scott (or Diamond and Silk, etc.) who has acquired some money and/or prestige, and now wants to join the club that the right-wingers will never let him or her into.

They think they’ve won a place at the table, but they’re really just parking the cars.

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