Monthly Archives: April 2012

Confessions of a Watergate Junkie

I cut my political teeth on Watergate. It was the first political event during my lifetime that I followed obsessively and I remain deeply addicted to any nuggets of Watergate-iana.

It was also the source of considerable familial tension as the shit slowly hit the fan during. My father was not only a Republican but had been a Nixon delegate at the 1972 GOP Convention. His thesis was that Nixon was too smart to have allowed so much dumbassery to go on. I was then, as now, of the school that even smart people do stupid things and let things slide out of control. So, we spent 2 1/2 years arguing Watergate. I was right and he was wrong but he was never going to admit such a thing. So it goes.

There’s all sorts of Watergate news as we approach the 40th Anniversary of men in suits being caught breaking in to the DNC’s office. Convicted Watergate shitbird, Chuck Colson, a serious candidate for the malakatude hall of fame, died the other day at the age of 80. Colson was the second biggest asshole in an administration full of dickishness. President Tricky was, of course, the bullgooseloony asshole.

Colson also achieved notoriety by being one of the godfathers of the GOP’s unholy alliance with religious fundamentalists. Colson allegedly swore off politics after establishing a personal relationship with Jesus in the slammer but I never bought it. How could you buy it from the guy who said: “If you grab them by the balls, their hearts will follow.”

In other Watergate related matters, it looks as if Woodstein’s claim that they never spoke to any of Judge Sirica’s grand jurors simply ain’t true. Woodward protege, John Himmelman, stumbled into some info in Ben Bradlee’s files that contradicts that assertion. Talking to grand jurors is a no-no BUT the statute of limitations is Woodstein’s new best friend. It also appears that the whole red flag in the potted plant detail of the Deep Throat story may be an embellishment. Guess Woodward should have kept that under hisMark Felt hat…

Finally, movie Woodward, Robert Redford, is planning a new Watergate documentary for the Discovery Channel. (Hmm, wonder if they plan to run it as a part of Shark Week?) This has led fellow Watergate buffRon Rosenbaum to urge them to *try* and solve the ultimate Watergate mystery: who ordered the break-in. Rosenbaum and I are as one in our conclusion, Tricky pulled the trigger and then planned how to lie his way out of it:

The best summary of my case appears inthis column from 1999: in which I pull together the fragments of the evidence that Nixon was the one who gave the order. Here are the bones of my argument: Nixon is heard on a recording made two days after the news broke of the break-in proclaiming that he was shocked by it and—knowing the tape is rolling—saying it was silly for anyone to break into the Democratic National Committee party headquarters because any savvy pol would know that all the valuable dirt would be found in the (yet to be named) presidential candidate’s headquarters.

And then he delivers one of his most inculpatory statements on tape: “That’s my public line.” In other words, that was how he was going to lie his way out of any connection: By arguing that if he were planning a break-in, he wouldn’t have targeted Watergate, because nothing of value could be found there. When, in fact, as later tapes and witnesses would show, he thought something very, very important to his future might be there.

I’m pretty sure that then DNC Chairman and later NBA Commish Larry O’Brien had some dirt on Tricky’s connection with Howard Hughes after the mogul stopped looking like Leo DeCaprio and began to resemble aMonty Python Hermit dude. Dirty money was second nature to the germophobic billionaire…

End of today’s spasm of Watergate mania. To be continued when John Dean comments…

Here’s a video Jude sent me a link to. If you hate it, blame him not me but who among us hatesFuturama?

Cardinal’s Pulitzer, Emmy Winners Optimistic About Journalism’s Future

That really shouldn’t have to be a headline, right, but how many of these do I complain about to you guys, panels of journalists talking about how journalism’s glory days have passed by and kids today don’t read and everybody’s just interested in Kardashians now and everything sucks? I either attend one of those things or read about one happening elsewhere once a week, which is why I drink so much.

Finally, on Friday, I went to one that was inspiring instead of hectoring. It was in conjunction withThe Daily Cardinal’s 120th anniversary, and was actually two panels, one of Emmy/Peabody winners and another of Pulitzer winners. They had in common that they got their start at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s oldest student newspaper, and they were speaking primarily to an audience of journalists and other journalism students.

In the morning, there was a lot of talk about ethics and transparency intraditional media. Chuck Salituro of ESPN said the network now bans its journalists from writing “as told to” books for sports figures, because of the inherent conflict in being the ghostwriter for someone you’re covering (IMAGINE). Both Steven Reiner and Peter Greenberg of CBS talked aboutvideo news releases and the perniciousness of their use in smaller markets.

They also spoke about “experts” paying to opine on various news subjects. And all these things were allowed to happen, were allowed to flourish, because the new economics of journalism placed ever more pressure on people to produce material, and the temptation to take the easy path was greater.

(As an aside: Why is it that every Q&A ever includes at least one person who stands up and says, “MY QUESTION IS I HATE YOU?” It’s like a law of nature.)

Cardinal photo by Mark Kauzlarich

In the afternoon, the print folks took over and a lot of the questions they were asked about the “future of news” resulted in my two favorite answers: It’s always been endangered and it’s actually less endangered now because new voices have less expensive platforms to work through.

Abigail Goldman, formerly of the LA Times, said that one day we’ll look back on this as a golden age of journalism, because students are learning to be entrepreneurial, to scramble, to push themselves through the noise online. “Those who do good work will rise,” she said, and, “The medium doesn’t matter. The story does.”

Neal Ulevich, who photographed the Vietnam War for the AP, said the web has been good for getting news photos attention, and noted that a lot of the imagery coming from war zones now comes from cell phone cameras. “It’s not about the technology. It’s about the image.”

Which is very true. What we have now, in journalism, are tools we didn’t have before, and the ability to combine those tools, to specialize in terms of subject matter but broaden our work in terms of the ways we cover things. Immediacy isn’t always bad. Twitter isn’t ruining everything. Asking people to send in a cell phone video is not going to kill us all. And as long as the story isn’t trivial, the coverage won’t be.


Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – “Freepathon meltdown” edition

Suit up, folks – the fit has hit the shan over in greater Freepistan for sure.

When I put last week’s “Downfall” parody together, I had no idea how closely reality would follow satire, but it has, and more.


…had become this:

Let’s put this FReepathon to bed. We have bigger fish to fry.
April 27, 2012 | 2ndDivisionVet

Posted on Friday, April 27, 2012 6:56:50 AM by2ndDivisionVet

Everyone please send whatever you are able to, whether it is $10, $100 or $1,000+.The DUmmies, Morons, Kos Kiddies and that crew are laughing up their sleeves. Jim may have to make this site members only or allow ads. Better for us to just help with what we can. Maybe you can donate as a memorial for a lost loved one, a servicemember who never made it home or was disabled defending our country. Perhaps you’d like to give to keep free discussion alive and to show them that we’re not knuckling under. I’m sure a well thought out or prayerful meditation will lead you to see the need and how you can help. If every registered FReeper and our lurkers would each just help out with a fin or a sawbuck, or better yet a Ben Franklin, we could put this to bed and get on with the conservative cause.

1 posted on Friday, April 27, 2012 6:56:52 AM by2ndDivisionVet
Comment #2 Removed by Moderator
Well – we’re off to a flying start on this threadwhatever could that first response have been?
Unfortunately for the Freeperati, I captured it defore deletion:

To: 2ndDivisionVet
Yes, ya’ll haven’t smeared Romney near enough to re-elect your favcrite house negro President.

2 posted on Friday, April 27, 2012 7:15:58 AM byPeter from Rutland

Oh, my.

Perhaps you’d like to give to keep free discussion alive (???????)
10 posted on Friday, April 27, 2012 7:58:01 AM bywtc911 (Amigo – you’ve been had.)
To: wtc911

You don’t believe that free discussion takes place here?

11 posted on Friday, April 27, 2012 8:01:02 AM by2ndDivisionVet (Ich habe keinen Konig aber Gott)

To: 2ndDivisionVet

Insulting FReepers is not exactly the best way to solicit funds.

You may want to reflect on why contributions are way off.

12 posted on Friday, April 27, 2012 8:03:32 AM bySecond Amendment First (“Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not…” – Thomas Jefferson.)

To: 2ndDivisionVet
I believe that there used to be a model of free discussion here. But, the number of zots over opinion as opposed to violation of posting rules gives credence to those who say that this model has ceased to exist.

You know that I speak my mind. What you don’t know is that I have received well over a dozen messages in the past two years from freepers who said that they were afraid to post similar opinions for fear of being zotted.

That’s the fact of it…many long-time freepers do not feel “free” to discuss. I believe that the pendulum will swing back but in the mean-time FR will lose good people.

15 posted on Friday, April 27, 2012 8:12:52 AM bywtc911 (Amigo – you’ve been had.)
To: wtc911

If FR survives the next four years of Obama, I will be pleasantly surprised.

18 posted on Friday, April 27, 2012 8:19:07 AM bynetmilsmom (I am Breitbart)
If Freepervile survives this thread, I will be pleasantly surprised.

To: 2ndDivisionVet

Try harder next time, perhaps threaten my life.

19 posted on Friday, April 27, 2012 8:20:22 AM byPeter from Rutland
To: Peter from Rutland

Aren’t we the little martyr?And your “house negro” comment sure doesn’t hurt those enemies of FreeRepublic who constantly attempt to paint us all as hood wearing Klansmen or skinhead neo-Nazis.


Just what a troll would do.

28 posted on Friday, April 27, 2012 8:41:51 AM by2ndDivisionVet (Ich habe keinen Konig aber Gott)
To: WatchOutForSnakes
Ask all the people who have been run off over a simple difference of opinion

Bless your heart. It’s not a simple difference of opinion.

1. A Conservative bastion cannot support a socialist.

2. Conservatives are fighting Republican liberals for control. Surrendering is just that, surrender. Why would they ever believe conservatives “line in the sand” if we cave to them again?

3. Principles matter.

34 posted on Friday, April 27, 2012 8:50:48 AM byDJ MacWoW (America! The wolves are here! What will you do?)
Freepers argung over principles is like two Heart Attack Grill patrons arguing over healthy lifestyle choices.

To: Peter from Rutland

The originator of this post is doing a fine job of “putting this FReepathon to bed”.

I wonder if he is actually an anti-freeper looking to put the final nail in FR as we have known it.

35 posted on Friday, April 27, 2012 8:52:03 AM bySecond Amendment First (“Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not…” – Thomas Jefferson.)
To: wtc911
You are so correct. I have been a member since 2001 and have always been quite loyal. However, the insults and constant badgering that is currently allowed has soured me on the site. Believe me I am extremely conservative, but feel that it is more important to remove Obama than anything else. That is obviously no longer the objective on this site. Instead it seems to be to insult anyone who believes as I do.

Because this site is supported by we who contribute, I don’t understand the thinking that only some peoples ideas can be heard. Of course, if I am an Obama backer I should be insulted and banned, but that is far from the case. It will unfortunately destroy the site. I am so sad, because I have always loved this site. i just don’t come here any more because of the insults.

44 posted on Friday, April 27, 2012 9:05:19 AM byw1andsodidwe (Barrak has now won the contest. He is even worse than Jimmah.)
To: 2ndDivisionVet

The vindictiveness that comes out on almost every thread is far from open and free discussion. This is a major part of the donation problem, as I see it.

47 posted on Friday, April 27, 2012 9:12:02 AM bySouthTexas (You cannot bargain with the devil, shut the government down.)

To: Second Amendment First
those being banned are the ones silenced for expressing their opinions.

The owner has made clear that Conservative FR will not support a socialist. Those banned for various reasons know the rules. They made a choice.

A decade ago this used to be a real free discussion site

Then you haven’t been paying attention. For the whole life of FR there have been “lines in the sand” and there has been those who chose to cross them.

49 posted on Friday, April 27, 2012 9:17:00 AM byDJ MacWoW (America! The wolves are here! What will you do?)
To: 2ndDivisionVet
“Free discussion…” LOL! How can you even post such a lie.I told the goon squad last January they were losing donations due to their stupid antics of Zotting, tattle tailing(sic) and brow beating posters that don’t tow(sic) the line. Now you come with your tin cup in hand wondering where the money went.It’s NOT the economy but you all won’t listen anyways.
51 posted on Friday, April 27, 2012 9:20:20 AM byladyvet ( I would rather have Incitatus then the asses that are in congress today.)
To: norwaypinesavage

I don’t believe that telling the truth is “stirring the pot”. Sometimes the truth hurts, but that’s usually when it most needs to be said.

That is not what you are doing. This is a fund raising thread

(Clouseau) “Not any-meure.”

and you have taken this opportunity to take shots at FR for standing on principle.

54 posted on Friday, April 27, 2012 9:25:45 AM byDJ MacWoW (America! The wolves are here! What will you do?)
I’m sorry – was that a double, or triple-bypass burger?

To: DJ MacWoW

Principles matter? Are you kidding. They are so fluid here, I’m not even sure they exist. Many of the “Go Newt!” crowd were flaming him as a liberal they couldnt vote for as late as last December.

55 posted on Friday, April 27, 2012 9:25:47 AM byRaider Sam (They’re on our left, right, front, and back. They aint gettin away this time!)

Much more and much worse to come after the manifold, including an appearance by Jim Rob himself on what I’m now calling the official“What the fuck’swrong with you people??” thread

Continue reading

Sunday Morning Video: Sunday Street

A bit of Squeeze for a Sunday morning. It’s an odd duck of a video though: it was filmed in Los Angeles whereas the song evokes strolling through the Portobello Market in London. Oh well, it’s a good tune:

Weekend Question Thread

You find a $100 bill on the ground. You’re only allowed to spend it on yourself. What do you buy?


Caption This: Mitt the Sandman Edition

Here’s a photo taken by TPM’s Benjy Sarlin:


Friday Ferretblogging

Our ferrets are not deprived. They have a giant plastic container filled to the brim with various kinds of old sweatshirts, sleeping bags, round pet beds, fuzzy blankets, and other such things designed especially for them to nap in.

Yet more often than not, we’ll find Riot on the table, curled up in Mr. A’s hat:



Are there any questions? Why not?

Spent the past two days talking to a wide array of school-aged kids as part of various festivals, conferences and fairs. Once this post is over, I’ll pack a bag and head off to the Daily Cardinal’s 120th anniversary celebration, for what is likely to be even more of the same.

I spend a lot of time with college students who are forced to take my classes. This is one of the downsides of teaching a class that is a prerequisite for pretty much everything else in the major. Some students come through and actually care about the material while most try to find a seat that is as close to the back wall as possible and the only question they ask is, “So, is this going to be on the test?” I tend to expect this, and when you add those factors into an 8 a.m. class, I understand that I’m unlikely to get a lot of enthusiastic engagement.

However, this week, I got the chance to work with student journalists at various high schools who were heading to our campus. They paid good money to hear me help them improve their papers and sit in a one-on-one environment. Since they came to me and actually paid to do so, I offered to answer any questions, deal with any issues or address any concerns they had or wanted to talk about first. In other words, let’s make this about you and what you want.


They all lookedlike they were about to get “the rat treatment” from Game of Thrones if they were noticed. Their advisers, meanwhile, were prodding and poking them to say something/do something/breathe.

No dice.

I figured it was because I was and old guy and talking to old guys is uncool for high school students. However, when I checked with my newspaper staff, I found out they had a similar experience in leading the newsroom session. In fact, it was worse, as the visitors sat around and kept checking their watches/phones/personal digital devices.

“One interesting thing happened,” a kid told me in my class that next day, as she pointed at the girl next to her. “There was some 15-year-old kid who was totally hot for her. It was cute.”

Pondering that for a moment… 22-year-old college woman + 15-year-old high school boy = cute. 22-year-old college man + 15-year-old high school girl = criminal charges. Ah… to be young again.

Speaking of young, the last event of the week was Career Day at The Midget’s school. I’d kind of kept trying to blow this off so I didn’t have to go. The reasons were valid, at least in my mind:

1) I teach. They see that every day. That’s like telling people I’m a professional shoelace tie guy.

2) This would be the end of a week from hell, as the Missus was out of town at a knitting camp (don’t laugh… OK, laugh) and I had a list of stuff to do before I could head to Mad-Town for some fun.

3) I’m always afraid I’m going to not notice and say “fuck” or something in front of the kids. If you know me, you know that fear is logical.

Still, the Midget begged me, so I acquiesced. However, I decided to try a different strategy: I’d talk about the newspaper and the newsroom.

I got copies of the paper for them, after furiously reading them over for anything that might merit a call from the principal. What’s acceptable for college students isn’t necessarily acceptable for first-graders. Fortunately, they decided against running the story about the woman who assaulted the cop with a pink dildo, so I was set.

I got some reporter’s notebooks and pens for them and I even printed up “official” press passes that I put into clear plastic holders so they could wear them and be honorary members of our staff.

I packed all this crap into a box and headed over to the school for my 10-minute chat. In, out, on with life.

However, what I found made me smile all day.

As I was waiting for the kids to come back in from lunch recess, a boy about 7 years old, walked to the bubbler, took a drink and then noticed me.

“What’s in the box?” he asked with absolutely no pretense.

“Some stuff for my Career Day talk.”

“Hmm. Like what?”

“Some newspapers and… Do I know you?” I asked.

“Nope.” He walked away.

As the kids started coming in from recess, a good number of them passed me, with at least half of them stopping and asking, “What’s in the box?”

It got to the point that I half expectedBrad Pitt to pop up with a handgun and start screaming, “What’s in the box? WHAT’S IN THE BOX?”

Once I got started telling them about life in the newsroom (the sanitized version), things went well. They found out what was in the box and appeared to be thrilled at getting paper, pens and something to wear around the neck.

I did my 10 minutes and left the requisite two minutes for the “Does anyone have any questions?” precursor to silence that would allow me to leave and go get lunch.

Instead, the kids were raising their hands and yelling out questions:

“Can we write stories?”

“What happens if the machine that makes the newspaper breaks?”

“How do you make the pictures get into the paper?”

“Why do you have to write about sad things?”

“Why doesn’t the newspaper paper feel like paper paper?”

On and on it went. About 15 minutes later, the teacher had to cut them off. They all kept their hands up, just in case she relented.

It was a stunning turn of events for me. I found myself wondering where was that unperceivable pivot in life in which we went from asking all the questions to questioning nothing? When did that unbridled joy of finding stuff out stop for us? What age was it that we stopped being forthright and nosy and started being shy or reticent? If my unscientific analysis is anything to go by, it’s somewhere between first and ninth grade and in my book, that’s way too soon.

We got this far as a country, a people and a planet by asking questions. Who says the world is flat? Why can’t we build a flying machine? What if we made people wear too much hair gel and call themselves disparaging pseudo-Italian names on the air? Some answers came quickly, others took time, but they all found a way to the surface because someone decided it was worth it to ask about something.

In social situations, too often we hear people say something that makes no sense and rather than challenge the assumption, ask the question or in some other way make it known that we’re not “with you” on that, we do the “Yeah, I know, right?” thing. I honestly think this is how Scott Walker is able to run ads about how shitty Milwaukee has been without ever being called on the fact he was the COUNTY EXECUTIVE for that area as well as the GOVERNOR for the state in which Milwaukee exists. Instead of saying, “Wait a minute, if Tom Barrett lost all those “Milwaukee jobs,” what were you doing for the county at that point to stop him/restore lost work? Was the county not losing anything?” we mutter and move on or do the “Yeah, I know, right?” thing.

Little kids aren’t afraid of telling you where the bear shit in the buckwheat. If they don’t get it, they don’t get it and they’ll tell you as much. If they don’t eating something, they’re not eating it politely with a “Mmm… Wow… What IS this?” smile. They’re shuddering and coughing like a shitty lawnmower and saying, “I no like this!”

And they’ll remind you of that each time you make it.

And they’ll tell their grandparents what kind of shitbag cook you are as well.

Most of all, they question things because they know they don’t know everything. Somewhere along the way, we figure we’d better know everything or at least not let on that we don’t.

At that point, we allow others who know less to talk more and do horrible things.

Why is that?

Friday Catblogging: Shop Cat Wannabe

I’m finally settling in to a routine at the new shop and I’m online on work days again. I was experiencing serious withdrawak symptoms; not as bad as the wine handgover after the grand opening.

Anyway, a wee gray and white kitty showed up on Wednesday, demanding entry. I’m pretty sure that she’s someone’s cat since she’s so friendly (much friendlier than Della) so I’m not letting her come inside.

Shop Cat Wannabe

The exclamation point blues

I’m legendary among my friends and readers for loathing exclamation points. I used to be an agnostic on the subject but it’s out of control in the interweb era: some folks use them like ketchup and pour them over everything. Actually, I have a cousin who used to put peanut butter on everything even my mom’s homemade moussaka. I hope he’s outgrown this disgusting habit but at least he’s from the Norwegian side of the family and those people consume shit like lutefisk and pickled herring. <shuddering>

Where the hell was I? Oh yeah, an article that my friend Karen Gadbois stuck on my facebook wall:

I can still remember the pact I made with a co-worker five years ago. We began to notice an alarming increase in the number of exclamation points crammed into e-mails and text messages. False enthusiasm was giving us a headache. The English language had taken enough of a beating, and there was no need for this kind of sucker punch. We would have no part of it.

The problem was that nearly every e-mail I received ended with an overzealous “Thanks!” E-mails and texts cheerfully chimed “Can’t wait to see you!,” and I recall more than a few “How are you!” e-mails. Since when did an exclamation point wrestle a helpless question mark into submission?

The co-worker and I agreed that we would not fall prey to the trend. But I’m now ashamed to admit that I’m just as guilty as those I once chided. I’ve become a serial exclamation pointer.a

I am made of sterner stuff than the author Christopher Muther who seems to be a weak-willed, uh, mutherfucker. I know it’s a cheap pun but it was irresitible. My alternatives were Cotton Mather or Jerry Mathers jokes and I have a fuck quotient to fill…

I remain resolute in my war against promiscuous punctuation. It may not be much of a cause but it’s mine. It even figured in one of my favorite Seinfeld bits:

I’ve always liked Julia Louis-Dreyfus but I disagree with her here. And what’s up with the Swedish subtitles, he exclaimed while refusing to use an exclamation point.

Enough of this nonsense. We’ll be back tomorrow with another episode featuring Cotton Mather as the Beaver…

Adrastos, Diary, Film

Queen Of The Schnorrers

Dr. A and I went to a free sneak preview ofThe Best Exotic Marigold Hotellast night. It’s a pretty good flick set in India with a stellar veteran cast that makes me feel young: Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy and Maggie Smith to name a few.

This post, however, is not about the movie. We sat behind an elderly woman who not only seems to go to every free movie in the New Orleans metro area BUT to know everyone else who does. There’s quite a sub-culture out there, which doesn’t surprise me but something else did: the sneak previewschnorrers sample other movies whilst waiting for their free screening to commence. One gent slipped in and checked outCabin In The Woods, which he described as a “slasha movie that wasted 5 minutes” of his life. Time is precious when you’re a schnorrer.

The only thing that bugged me about this immersion in schnorrer culture was that they got a free pizza and we did not. Bummer, man.

Athenae, Big Damn Heroes, Terrorism

Some People Spoke Up

Never let it be said that everybody went along:

Over and over again, in Afghanistan and Iraq, in Guantánamo, in secret CIA black sites and at CIA headquarters, in the Pentagon, and in Washington, men and women recognized the torture for what it was and refused to remain silent. They objected, protested, and fought to prevent, and then to end, these illegal and immoral interrogations. While the president and his top advisers approved and encouraged the torture of prisoners, there was dissent in every agency, at every level.

The documents are full of these voices. In fact, it is thanks to these dissenters that much of the documentary record exists. Fromemails among FBI agents sharing their shock over scenes they had witnessed in interrogation booths in Guantánamo, toletters and memoranda for the record, tomajor internal investigations, the documents show that those who ordered and carried out the torture did so despite constant warnings and objections that their actions were ineffective, short-sighted, and wrong. It is no wonder that so many of these documents were suppressed.

There’s this tendency, especially among our stupider punditry, to act like “everybody” just lost they damn minds in the wake of 9/11 and went all torture-happy because “we” were all so pissed off from having been attacked like nobody had ever attacked us before with the new world we were living in and all that transformative socio-bullshittery and nonsense. Thus, if “we” are all responsible, then none of us is responsible, and nobody needs to be held to account, and nothing needs to be said. Let it all be forgotten so we can go on our merry way.

Obama’s record on this stuff, by the way?Appalling. Especially so, and all the more so, for a fucking scholar of the law. Forget punishing the people who did this. It would be nice if he, himself, stopped doing this, first off.


Michael F

A Trip Down Memory Lane


Or maybe it’s a Nightmare on Elm Street. Anyway, I guess in the future, or, in this case, the recent past, every Republiclown lunatic will be famous for fifteen minutes…or the front runner for presidential nominee.

True, I had to fudge a bit, pun intended, by adding Chris Christie as filler, along with Jeb…

Meanwhile, down in Florida, Bat Boy defies his critics and announces he will seek re-election in 2014.

Athenae, So Called Liberal Media, Stupid Republican Tricks

Steve Chapman Finds a Nut

If only Republicans weren’t such racist assholes these days, he laments:

Time was, Republicans could appreciate how people would be so determined to enter the Promised Land that they would ignore the law. It was the GOP iconRonald Reagan who in 1986 supported and signed an immigration bill offering absolution to nearly 3 million undocumented foreigners.

“I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though some time back they may have entered illegally,” he declared unashamedly.

The Dream Act once had considerable Republican support.Robert Gates, George W. Bush‘s defense secretary, endorsed it. Texas Gov.Rick Perry defended it in presidential debates.Richard Lugar, the longest serving U.S. senator in Indiana history, signed on as the chief GOP sponsor. When it came up in 2007, it had the support of a dozen Republican senators.

But that was before anti-immigrant fever infected the party. Lugar is facing a primary challenge from atea party favorite endorsed by the Americans for LegalImmigration Political Action Committee — which has called undocumented foreigners “Nazis” who “have set up ethnic cleansing zones.” So the usually steadfast Lugar dropped the bill like a hot stove.

Why yes. Once upon a time, Republicans kept the racists in the basement, chained to the walls, while everybody had their nice cocktail party upstairs. Now, those same people who for years voted Republican to keep the browns in their proper place actually have the temerity to demand to be seen in public with the politicians they support, and it’s having ACTUAL CONSEQUENCES.



Adrastos, Law/Justice, Sports

Listen to me


The post seasonannus horriblus continues for the New Orleans Saints. This time it’s an accusation that GM Mickey Loomis is into wiretapping, bugging and eavesdropping according to ESPN and its one, count ’em one, anonymous source. This accusation looks a mite thin to me and theguy who has done all the sound work at the Dome for eons doesn’t buy it.

The feebs and state po po are looking into this accusation, why I don’t know. This allegedly happened between 2002 and 2004 and the statute of limitations has run so there’s no chance of criminal prosecution. In short, this is bullshit, horseshit and just plain old shit.

There’s a positive side to this crapola: it will increase the “us against the world” attitude that’s been growing within the Saints and their fan base. I was a Raiders fan back in the Madden-Stabler glory days and that was the attitude that made that team both memorable and successful. It’s time for the Saints to circle the wagons and take no prisoners, metaphorically speaking, that is. Good thing the Commish isn’t listening to me or he might suspend me from something or other…

Adrastos, Sports

Still Artesty

I’m inclined to call people what they want to be called: hearing folks call Ali, Cassius Clay, made me wince. I was down with Keith Wilkes becoming Jamal and even Lloyd Free morphing intoWorld B Free. I have, however, struggled with calling the irascible and cranky Ron Artest, Metta World Peace. Yeah, I know it’s part PR stunt and part emotional palate cleanser but it bugs me.He’s been on fairlly good behavior since joining the Lakers but had a relapse of nastiness the other night:

He’s said he’s sorry and I believe it. He’s also claiming that it was purely accidental, which I don’t believe. An accidental glancing blow I could buy but not a concussion causing forearm worthy of Fred (The Hammer) Williamson in his AFL days. Hmm, I wonder if his Artestiness has a future as a blaxploitation star? He might, if they ever revive the genre, and bring back the glories of such turkeys as Black Caesar

I’m sure some of you disagree with this and would counter thusly: “All we are saying is give metta world peace a chance.”

I wonder what Yoko Ono thinks of all this? I’d be afraid to ask because she might start “singing”Don’t Worry Kyoko at me, which would worry the bejesus out of me…


Where Are They Now, Tennessee Edition

Catapulted to national notorietyafter getting thoroughly lampooned on The Colbert Report, perennial Tennessee Republican candidate Basil Marceaux has brought his fight to abolish gold-fringed flags, slavery at traffic stops and other nefarious tools of big government to the race for the Tennessee State House.Sadly, he’s hit a road bump:

Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern on Monday morning sentenced him to serve 10 days in jail for contempt of court.

She did so after the Soddy Daisy resident first told her, “You’re out of order.”

Then, as he was leaving the podium, he said, “I run for everything. And when I get elected, you’re going down.”

The judge then told bailiffs to take him into custody.

He was before the judge on an appeal from City Court of a traffic violation conviction.

He maintains that Criminal Court judges do not have jurisdiction to hear City Court appeals – only Circuit Court judges.

Judge Stern said she is a Circuit Court judge as well.

She said, “Mr. Marceaux, if you were an attorney, you would know that.” He is representing himself in the case.

Marceaux is one of those colorful characters I imagine every state has: folks who are always running for office out of some need for attention or who knows what else. Tennessee has an awful lot of these guys, though. My favorite wasByron Low Tax Looper — yes, that was his legal name, he had his middle name changed from Anthony to Low Tax cuzwe take this shit seriously, people! — who eventually was elected Putnam County Tax Assessor before going down in massive flames of fraud and incompetence. That didn’t stop him from running for state senate though!

Where is he now? Currently serving a life sentence formurdering his opponent in that race, State Senator Tommy Burks. Looper continued to campaign from jail and nearly won, thanks to a technicality preventing a dead person’s name from appearing on the ballot.

I like to remember people like Byron Low Tax Looper and Basil Marceaux as I ponder today’s crazy politics. These aren’t crackpots from 150 years ago, these are politicians of our modern information age, when we’re all supposed to be so damn smart because we read it on the internet. Criminals and crazies abound in American life. Sooner or later one gets elected dog catcher and before you know it, they’ve gotten a taste of it and a political career is born. It really makes me wonder, hearing what that comes from the mouths of folks like Michele Bachmann, Joe Barton and Louis Gohmert, if they didn’t start out as their state’s Basil Marceaux. Knowing the Tennessee General Assembly actually took a stand on tinfoil hat crap like Agenda 21 and Obama’s birth certificate, it’s obvious that crazy is the new normal.

Whatever happened to the Age of Reason?

Adrastos, Current Affairs


A Chinese company is marketing-get ready-Helen Keller sunglasses:

Deliberate irony or innocuous oversight? Neither, apparently. A Chinese company now marketing Hellen Keller-brand sunglasses said it found inspiration in Keller’s personal traits (rather than her blindness), the Wall StreetJournalreports.

Still, though, it’s a bold (and perhaps questionable) move, especially considering the company’s motto: “You see the world, the world sees you.” While some might have guessed that the firm chose to brand the product without understanding the full implications, Keller’s actually a widely-known figure in China, discussed in classrooms across the country.

Chen Wenjing, one of the company’s spokespeople, told theJournal the team was aware of Keller’s blindness, but valued her traditions of philanthropy and optimism, thus celebrating those traits over her inability to see.

What’s next? Ron Kovic sneakers? A Chinese produced line of Dick Cheney pacemakers would be interesting…

This is, of course, an excuse to post some Talking Heads: