Odds & Sods: Dogs, Ducks and Populist Balladeer Edition

the-who odds--sods

It’s time once again for my newish semi-regular feature. Let’s climb aboard the magic omnibus for another magical misery tour of what’s going on in this crazy world.

Gone To The Dogs: I have an admission to make. While I enjoy Stewart and Colbert, I’m not a regular viewer. The main reason is that I don’t want to steal shtick from them. I want to make my own bad jokes about politics. I respect them, it’s *hard* to do what they do, even with a full-blown staff, on a daily basis. I was one of the least shocked people in America when Colbert took the CBS Late Night gig. It’s hard to stay in character for that long and not feel burnt out. Besides, they backed a Brink’s truck up to his house…

Now that I’ve said that, let’s turn to John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight. It has many of the virtues of the aforementioned shows and the advantage of being on once a week, which means they can edit out some unfunny bits. He can also say fuck without being fucking bleeped. Fuck yeah.

That was a long way of introducing Oliver’s absolutely brilliant casting of dogs as Supreme Court Justices. Since the Supremes refuse to allow teevee cameras into their stuffily sacred precinct, all we ever hear are audio clips. And it took almost a century after radio came into being for that to happen.

Anyway, Oliver offered footage to any news organzation who wanted to use dogs playing judges and lawyers to spice up their SCOTUS coverage:

Rachel Maddow said that she’d “totally use it” if she were the Goddess of NBC News. I totally hope that she totally uses it on her own show. Totally.

More oddities and sodities after the break.

Tales of The Prairie Populist Balladeer: Dave Weigel has left Slate to become a denizen of Bloomberg Politics along with Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. I’m pleased to report that Dave hasn’t caught Halperinitis and retains his own distinctive, outsiderish style. Us prog rock fans have got to stick together. Besides, he follows me on the Tweeter Tube. I hope he doesn’t mind puns and baseball chatter. Hey batter, batter, batter, batter…

Dave filed a great report last week on the suddenly competitive South Dakota Senate race, focusing on Rick Weiland, the prairie populist balladeer of the title. A scandal and the surprising strength of airheaded former Senator Larry Pressler has given Weiland a chance to win. He’s running a McGovernish, Wellstonian campaign but with a musical twist:

I’m rooting for Weiland’s attempt to revive prairie populism. If nothing else, it’s fun to see someone practicing old school retail politics. I’m not sure, however, if Dave is right to call him a balladeer. He may be more of a troubador or even, I daresay, a Minstrel In The Gallery:

A Duckling Quacks:  The dicks from Duck Dynasty seem to regard the Louisiana 5th Congressional District as their own plaything. First, they helped elect the Kissing Congressman, Vance McAllister. Then they turned on him for having a hyperactive tongue and violating Robertson family values. McAlister dropped out and subsequently dropped back in. Louisiana politics is never dull. Except, that is, for Dr. Cassidybot.

That brings me to the duckling. He’s Robertson nephew Zach Dasher who’s making a dash at the Duck Commander House seat. Do the Robertsons know that Dasher was Jimmy Carter’s secret service name? Do they care?

Now that I’ve duck called the former President, back to Zach Dasher. He said something malakatudinous and teabaggy the other day:

“Are we in danger of this Mussolini-Hitler-Stalin type regime?” Dasher wondered. “Are we in fear of this happening here in America? Is this is far fetched to think that America could decline to a point where we are susceptible to be taken over by an authoritarian government? Well, I want you think about that for a second because I think we arrogantly think ‘nah, that’ll never happen in America.’ Why not? Why not?”

Zach clearly has the Robertson family knack for putting his webbed foot in his mouth. At least he didn’t grow a beard and pretend to be all earthy and shit.

I have a feeling he’s unfamiliar with Sinclair Lewis’ book about American fascism It Can’t Happen Here since literacy doesn’t seem to be a thing with the duck dicks. Dasher does have the teahadist habit of conflating totalitarian regimes without understanding a damn thing about them. All he is apt to know about Mussolini is that he  made the trains run on time much like Zach’s other bearded boss, Santa Claus: On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer, on Vixen, on Comet…

Will the Louisiana 5th elect a Congressman with a reindeer’s name? Will the voters ponder that age old question Why A Duck?

Stay tuned.

Representing The Giants: On an even lighter note. I wore my San Francisco Giants cap and my Grateful Dead Steal Your Face/Giants t-shirt to the Blooze Festival. I was astonished at how many people approached me, praising the team and my fandom thereof. A Baltimore Oriole fan said that he hoped the Giants would avenge his team’s ALCS loss by kicking some KC Royal butt. Even a Cardinal fan congratulated me on my team beating his team. Holy reflected glory, Batman.

I’m considering writing new lyrics to this old Little Feat tune:

On Posey, on Panda, on Pence, on Madbum…

Finally, some finality without too much frivolity:

Ben Bradlee, R.I.P: Swashbuckling, flamboyant former WaPo editor Ben Bradlee died last night at the age of 93. Bradlee was a movie character come to life:  His Girl Friday’s Walter Burns (Cary Grant) and himself as played by Jason Robards in All The President’s Men. Here’s one of several money paragraphs in David Remnick’s New Yorker tribute:

Younger people watching the actor Jason Robards’s portrayal of Bradlee in “All the President’s Men” can be forgiven for thinking it is a broad caricature, an exaggeration of his cement-mixer voice, his cocky ebullience, his ferocious instinct for a political story, and his astonishing support for his reporters. In fact, Robards underplayed Bradlee.

There’s a lot of good writing about the late editor online today so let me steer you to a few pieces:

Former WaPo editor Robert Kaiser’s official obit captured the spirit of Ben Fucking Bradlee with all of his flaws, follies, and foibles on full display.

We hear a lot about the Pentagon Papers and Watergate, but the creation of the Post’s style section was one of Bradlee’s prized accomplishments as I learned in this piece by former Stylista Martha Sherrill.

Finally, Josh Marshall shrewdly points out why we will never see Ben Bradlee’s like again.

I’ll give Jason Robards as Ben Fucking Bradlee the last word: