Monthly Archives: September 2011

Friday Night Music: Damn This Town

Here’s a bit of John Hiatt from his latest discDirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns:


Whatever, dude:

Keith Gilkes ran Walker’s campaign last year, helped lead his transition and has served as chief of staff since Walker’s January swearing in. Gilkes will return to his political consulting firm on Oct. 8.

Gilkes disclosed his plans to top Walker aides during a cabinet meeting Friday at a Madison hotel. In an interview, he said he would serve as lead adviser to Walker’s campaign, but also take on other clients for campaign work. He said he would not go into lobbying.

His departure comes at a time of strain for the administration, with Democrats poised to try to recall the governor next year and a widening John Doe investigation of current and former Walker aides.

That investigation intensified Sept. 14 when FBI agents and other law enforcement officers raided the home of Cindy Archer, who until recently was Walker’s deputy administration secretary and had been a top aide to Walker when he was Milwaukee County executive. Archer abruptly quit as deputy administration secretary and moved into a job as legislative liaison at the state Department of Children and Families three weeks before the raid, but she has not yet reported for that job because she has been on paid sick leave.

Gilkes said his departure was not related to the investigation.

Course not.


Malaka Of The Week: The Guy Who Put This Billboard Up


Tim Tebow is a past “winner” of malaka of the week honors and now there’s somedouchey businessman in Denver who really, really wants Tebow to play. Either that or he wants some publicity and I’ve fallen into his trap. I don’t, however, have to mention his name; especially since he’s into exclamation points and pounding on the caps lock key, which are both evidence of egregious malakatude.


The word “fan” comes from the word “fanatic” and there’s very little good about the definition in there:

a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics.

Or sports, as the case may be.

Last week, I wrote about the idiot who threw a banana at Wayne Simmonds, an action viewed as racist or stupid or both. The guy, Chris Moorhouse, has been arrested andhas pleaded to absolute stupidity, noting that the banana was merely a fruit of convenience.

This week, I finally got the chance to see“Catching Hell” the ESPN documentary on Steve Bartman and the 2003 Chicago Cubs. Bartman’s infamous grab at a foul ball became the focal point of fans’ scorn and rage, as the Cubs booted away yet another chance at breaking the Curse of the Billy Goat.

I was working that night in 2003 and managed to see just a brief glimpse of what had happened. In reviewing our coverage years later, Bartman wasn’t but a footnote. The headline instead read “Crazy 8s,” playing on the idea that the eighth inning was a mess in which the Marlins scored eight runs.

In watching this documentary, I finally figured out what made people so nuts: It was the uncontrollable urge to be fans. It was the sense that because it was “their” team and “their” World Series on the line, it was fine for them to cast out the pariah who cost them everything.

The documentary never talks to Bartman, which I think was a good thing. I hope he’s found peace and quiet somewhere safe and that this movie finally lays to rest the obsession with him. I doubt it, as people didn’t forgive Bill Buckner until the Red Sox won the World Series. As an interesting side note, when those “loveable losers” from Boston missed the playoffs this year after winning not one but TWO World Series rings in eight years, the push is on to fire manager Terry Francona. This is the same guy who could have become governor of any of the six New England states after 2004 or 2007.

Fans can be fickle.

They can also be brutal, firing off their salvo of anger at anyone with the temerity to speak ill of their team. I’ve been a victim of this when it came to the Tribe and their run at the post season. Bobby Valentine, whom the Indians had passed over for manager, was doing color commentary on a Tigers/Tribe game on ESPN when he noted the Tribe wasn’t good enough to make the playoffs. At this point, people were healthy, the pitching was great and the team had a couple game lead in the division. I was cursing and muttering and changing channels. I went so far as to mute the game, although that didn’t last long. Still, that was the privacy of my own home.

Bills fans have a different way of approaching their bile: it’s called Voicemail.

Jennifer Gish of the Albany Times Union wrote about the Bills’ 2-0 start in a way that wasn’t “Go, Bills, GO!”and found herself on the back end of some ugliness. As a fan (not of the Bills), I can understand why fans would be pissed off by Gish’s column. It’s written in a mocking tone, it tells the fans to “keep it real” and it essentially pokes the bear.

Do I think she was unfair in telling the fans the 2-0 start is probably fool’s gold? No.

Do I think she approached in a smart or well-written way? No.

Did she deserve what came next? Hell no.

The fans posted her picture everywhere and made debating her sexuality, her “square jaw and pig-faced nose” and her “moustache” a trending topic in Bills land. They then took to the phone lines to rip the holy shit out of her. As you can imagine, being a woman in sports isn’t easy, but these fans felt it necessary to give her a gentle reminder of that:

So how does it feel to be both a woman and so wrong about football? I guess those two go hand in hand.

F*** yourself ya stupid C***, Go Bills!

seen some photos of you and you are as ugly as your story about we bills fans. we may lose, we may win but you will still be ugly either way.

YOU SUCK DONKEY D***! That’s why females shouldn’t be allowed to write articles about sports. You better not write a good article about the Bills now because then everyone will know that you really just a dumb, bandwagon slut.

I am a well educated, compassionate, thoughtful, and caring man. I still am after reading your article, but my response will not be erudite or clever; that I promise you.

Simply put, f*** you you stupid, arrogant, thoughtless b****, and stick all of your snide Bills comments up your a** …

Well great prediction! Maybe your article will help get women like you removed from sports media. You are incompetent and really offered no unique points that haven’t already been beaten to death in the past ten years in your tirade against the bills. Glad they could prove a hack borderline blogger like you wrong.

Maybe you should stay in the kitchen next time.

Nothing like the “class” of a fan. Of course these came via voicemail, which unlike email can’t be easily tracked back to these proud, strong men who call themselves fans.

Gish has the whole laundry list of comments here and if you read them, you’ll likely find yourself wondering what the hell is wrong with this world.

As for me, I plan to lock myself in my basement Saturday. The Badgers play Nebraska and the Brewers kick off the series against Arizona for a shot at the NLCS. I might get radiation burns from my TV by the time all is said and done.

And yes, I will curse and scream and wail. I might also cheer and cry if things go well.

Emotion is part of being a fan. It’s just hard when those emotions are the wrong ones.

Friday Ferretblogging: Behind the Music Video Edition

So last week we put Buckyinto a sweater and bribed him with the thrilling taste of his own paw in order to thank you all for donating to the First Draft annual fundraiser.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes shot that shows you how much fun that was.



Friday Catblogging: Shameless Plug Redux

I try not to abuse what little power I have here at First Draft but it’s time for another plug for one of Jennifer Roches awesome hand painted cat tiles.You know, the ones I sell at my shop:


Thursday Night Music: Mockingbird Time

Tonight on Adrastos’ obsession with the Jayhawks:

The title track of their new disc. I’ve only had it for a few days but so far I like it a lot. The melody is tres Mark Olson with a lush Gary Louris production and awesome harmonies. Yup, that’s the Jayhawks:

Macondo Mambo

My friend and fellow NOLA blogger Clay has a fine post up about the report on the BP Oil Spill at his blog NOLA-dishu He’s an engineer and was one of my guides to the disaster last year.

Thanks for reading this shit so we don’t have to, Clay.

NOLA Signage

There’s a lively controversy in Uptown New Orleans over ananti-Obama signsome right wing malaka has put up at his house. The local news led with a false dichotomy last night: is this offensive or free speech? It’s both: there’s a lot of stuff that offends me but I don’t call for it to be banned unless it involves the mythical guy yelling fire in a crowded theatre.

It’s not easy being aHugo Black-style First Amendment absolutist nowadays but that’s what I am. There’s lots of annoying shit out there but if we want to remain a semi-free country we just gotta roll with the punches.

Okey doke, here’s the tacky signage posted by an idiot on private property. Let’s call it stupid but protected speech:


The Gaydar App

Via commenter Ruth on Facebook, there’s an app to tell if your son is gay. It does not ask the question, “Does your son have intimate relationships with men?” which makes the thing kind of a waste of time, really.

Shockingly, it also does not ask the only question that matters, which is, why the hell do you care? I swear, the more I look around me and watch people fuck up their lives flatter than hammered shit, the more I wonder why anybody would be dissatisfied with a child simply for being gay.

Do you KNOW what people get up to these days? Doesn’t anybody worry about their kids becoming serial killers anymore, or developing some horrible disease, or getting pasted on the freeway, or any one of a hundred thousand things that would be actually problematic? Doesn’t anybody worry their sons will never find jobs, or will be drug addicts, or any one of a thousand things that would keep me up at night? Doesn’t anybody worry their kids are the class bully or torture small animals in the alley?

Shit, these days if your kid is employed and said employment does not involve robbing nursing homes or selling counterfeit baby formula, if your kid is not impregnating schoolgirls or spreading STDs among the clergy, you should be down on your knees thanking God you raised a winner.

If all you have to worry about is that your son may one day prefer the penis, maybe it’s time to stop monitoring his every move on your phone and start noticing that you have raised a kid who will be better off than 90 percent of anybody else’s mouthbreathing offspring, and chill the hell out about who he likes to date.


Food to Die For


I remember in the early 1980s my very conservative dad telling me, in a mildly incredulous tone, that one of his co-workers thought lethal injection was a bad idea because it “didn’t make the criminal suffer enough.”

Must be the same sort of mentality thatthrows a tantrum over last meals of the condemned.

Last week the state of Texas said it would no longer let condemned prisoners order practically anything they want for their last meals before execution.

Aswe reported, “the huge meal that white supremacist Lawrence Russell Brewer ordered and then left untouched before his execution … convinced Texas officials to end the state’s traditional practice.” Among the foods he was given: a bacon cheeseburger, three fajitas, a pound of barbecue, a pizza and a pint of ice cream.”

Here’s a quick update on the Texas decision:

Brian Price, who when he was an inmate in Texas worked in the prison kitchen and prepared about 200 last meals, now runs a restaurant in East Texas. He’s offered to prepare future last meals for free. “Taxpayers will be out nothing,” he told The Associated Press.

The state says thanks, but no thanks.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokeswoman Michelle Lyonstold theLos Angeles Timesthat Price’s proposal is “a kind offer.” But, she said, “it’s not the cost but rather the concept we’re moving away from.”

So, what’s next? Will we require them to mix their own “cocktail” of lethal drugs or maybe dig their grave? Or will we dispense with the whole idea of a trial in the first place? After all, actual guilt or innocence hardly matter in places like Texas — or Georgia — andAntonin “Fat Tony” Scalia’s said as much officially.

Innocent families trapped onboard plane with kissing lesbians

When the bits of information aboutLeisha Hailey’s experience on a Southwest Airlines flight first started trickling out yesterday via Twitter (which I was of course on at the time), I had two simultaneous reactions. One, I assumed without knowing any other source information that the airline was at fault. Two, I snickered at the PR ramifications because, I mean really, could you not find someone more adorable to pick on, Southwest? She’s one of theYoplait bridesmaids fer chrissakes, not to mention the only remotely likeable character on theL Word.

So yeah, as noted by a Twitter friend, maybe I rushed to judgement believing the worst of Southwest. I didn’t care then, and I don’t really care now, even though Hailey and girlfriend have since stated they take “full responsibility for getting verbally upset with the flight attendant after being told it was a ‘family airline'” and the airline has “clarified” the real reason they got booted wasn’t their “excessive” display of affection but their profanity and “aggressive reaction.”

In Hailey’s version, the “excessive” PDA was one kiss, after which the couple was approached by a flight attendant who told them they were traveling on a “family airline.” And that, that right there, is what this is about:the completely unselfconscious, unexamined assumption that GLBT people are supposed to have the decency to be ashamed of ourselves, to know our place, and to accept it without any kind of undue reaction.

You’re a paying customer on a crowded airplane, someone in authority says something to you that translates as “what you and your partner are doing isn’t merely irritating, it’s disgusting, harmful to children and families even.” You then have the choice of swallowing the hatred quietly and politely, conforming, going along to get along, or you get angry. Short of physically harming someone or doing something that might cause the plane to crash, I think anger is perfectly understandable in that situation.

In fact, as far as I’m concerned, it’s the only really sane reaction.

This story isn’t important because Southwest kicked another celebrity off a plane because they can get away with it because it won’t put a dent in their business. The story is important becausewe do know our place, and we will continue to claim it.

Snarker gets the last word:

So for every person out there who persists on thinking we’re just shoving our big gay agenda into their faces, trust me – we’ve thought about the consequences of what we’re doing a lot more than you ever have. And we do what we do because we’ve decided that it’s worth it – despite all the bullshit – to be who we are. Because to self-censor ourselves for other people’s so-called comfort isn’t doing the world any favors. In fact, it hurts the world to let this double standard exist that says one kind of love is more acceptable than another kind of love. We think long and hard and endlessly about many of the simple gestures that straight people just take for granted.

So each time gay people demand to be treated equal, cry foul against discrimination and simply dare to give the person we love a kiss before the plane takes off, we chip away at that double standard. We stake our claim on our own equality. We say, I have the right to do this. If that makes you uncomfortable world, well, that’s your fucking problem. It’s not excessive to kiss someone you love, Southwest Airlines. And it is definitely worth it.

The Cheesiest Billboard Ever

Given all the Sconnies here at First Draft, I probably shouldn’t be the one to post this item but here it is:


This tower of cheesiness was erected near Lambeau Field in Green Bay by the physicians/national scold group, the PCRM. They’re essentially trying to scare America out of eating certain foods and now they’regoing after cheese. And in Wisconsin of all places. Hmmm, I wonder if they have any plans to expand to France? Probably not, French cheesemakers would probably force them to eat stinky fromage until they recanted.

The folks who make the cheesehead hats are also not amused at having their product worn by the Grim Reaper and are threatening legal action. That’s unlikely to happen but it’s great PR and casts Fomation Inc. as a champion of all things cheesy and Wisconsiny.

This whole episode, of course, reminds me of the cheese shop sketch:

Okay, I’m off to score some rogue cheddar…

Joey the Shark Called, He Says You Suck

I think we should go back to electing the VP separately, because I want tokeep Joe forever.


Tuesday Night Music: Inca Roads

All the talk last week about the satellite falling from the sky, put this tune in my head. It’s kinda sorta a Sci-Fi tune by the Mothers. This was the last band that Zappa called the Mothers and it was one of his best as well as best loved combos.It featured Chester Thompson on drums; percussionist Ruth Underwood; bassist Tom Fowler; Napoleon Murphy Brock on woodwinds and vocals and George Duke on keyboards and vocals:

House of Crazy

People tend to think of California as the bluest and most liberal state in the union. They tend to forget that the John Birch Society was born in Orange County and that the only two Presidents from the Golden State were Tricky Dick and the Gipper.

President Obama got a reminder that the there are California wingnuts last night at a fundraiser at the House of Blues in LA.He also learned something new, he’s the anti-Christ. I did not know that:

Waiting for the Miracle

Oliver would like those kids today to be good so Daddy won’t hit them:

If you dress up like a dope-smoking hobo, expect to be treated like one and not be taken seriously. Get a haircut. Wear a nice shirt. Carry a sign with a message that makes some kind of sense to an average American.

It might work.

Dan continuesthe discussion over at Corrente, citing an observation from Allison Kilkenny on the media coverage:

For every batshit crazy quote Bellafante presents, I can match it with a calm, articulate response from another attendee. I guarantee that. However, that’s not the point. I’m not a believer in the “perfect objectivity” goal for journalists because it’s impossible to ever obtain. Human beings inherently possess prejudices and biases that blind them to aspects of reality. Bellafante is less likely to see the Matthews. I’m less likely to see the black bloc.

Yet we risk much when we traipse into this false equivalency territory. The two approaches I’ve described above aren’t given level platforms in our society. Bellafante reaches a far, far larger readership, and the ones who dismiss protesters always do because their corporate overlords love depicting protesters as flower-waving, stoned-out-of-their-gourds hippies. If you thinkthose are the only people on your side, why get off the couch at all?

Well, that’s the point, really: To find a reason not to get off the couch. If they’re all just hippies in hoodies, there’s no reason for you to think about what they’re saying. If they’re all just filthy teenagers, you can go back to your dinner and not worry about that nagging feeling in your gut that says get on a goddamn bus and go join them. If you can find a reason why this protest, these protesters, are unsuitable, then there’s really nothing you need to get worked up about.

Better bide your time, keep your powder dry, and wait for a protest when everybody’s wearing a color that doesn’t clash with your hair. Better wait for the perfect cause, with the perfect leader, for the perfect reasons. That’s sure to come along any minute now.

Every second spent worrying about the clothing and behavior of the protesters is a second spent not talking about why they’re out there in the first place. We saw this during the Wisconsin protests, too: the constant fear that one single shitsmack would spit at a cop and then it would all be over. We debated if protesters had “jumped the shark.” Monitoring the behavior of people who were standing up to power so easily took precedence over monitoring the behavior of people in power, as if their actions had equivalent consequences. It’s easier to kick down than to punch up, and with our new journalism that equates amoral disinterest with objectivity and passion with bias, the powerless find their mohawks as much of an affront to America as mortgage fraud.

My view on this is pretty simple: The meanest thing a protester could possibly do would be nicer than the nicest thing Dick Cheney has ever done, so until that son of a bitch is in chains in a basement somewhere, you’ll pardon me if I can’t get too excited about somebody yelling anarchic slogans.

Because here’s the thing: It is never okay to treat anybody likethis:

Among the video clips on theOccupy Wall Street website is one that shows a police officer macing a group of young women penned in by orange netting.

Another video has circulated of a police officer throwing a protester to the ground, though it is not clear why. The video shows the man standing in what seems to be a non-threatening manner before the incident.

No matter what he’s wearing, or what she’s saying.

x-posted to Firedoglake.


Sweet Home Alabama

Thosezany Alabamians are at it again. Here’s my old acquaintance Jonathan Turley’s take on it:

In Bay Minette, Alabama, felons are being given the opportunity to climb the wall. Not the prison wall, mind you. The Alabama court and local police are helping felons over the wall of separation of church and state by giving convicted citizens an opportunity to avoid jail if they volunteer — so long as it is with a church.

Non-violent offenders with misdemeanor convictions are given a list of local churches unless they want to wait in jail and pay a fine. The constitutional problems are magnified by the absence of anything other than churches as an alternative to jail.

Town police chief Mike Rowland insists that this will save the city $75 per day to jail citizens and is based on the consensus of “all the pastors that at the core of the crime problem was the erosion of family values and morals. We have children raising children and parents not instilling values in young people.”

To help Rowland make the case for an entanglement challenge, Rev. Robert Gates added You show me somebody who falls in love with Jesus, and I’ll show you a person who won’t be a problem to society.”

Of course, in addition to the absence of secular options, no mosques or synagogues are listed.

It will be interesting how much of that $75 per day savings will be spent on the litigation over this unconstitutional program.