Monthly Archives: November 2014

What We Say Is Important Is Important: The Newsroom Thread

It’s just sad now.

You know why it’s sad? Because nothing Lucas said was an enemy of what  Charlie said. Jim and Hallie aren’t enemies. And there is no reason we can’t have everything we want, if only everybody would stop jerking off about it in public.

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On Violence

Ntodd: 

 It’s easy for white dudes to say that when white dudes who riot are never representative of their demographic and white dudes who kill always have a good reason because of those rioting black thugs and demons and animals.  It’s easy for white dudes to say we should trust the system when it consistently and persistently disenfranchises and disrespects and disregards and dispossesses and disillusions black Americans.

Violence is never the answer, we say piously, looking at TV images of looting and burning.

Violence has always been our answer.

Where we fall down, in these discussions, is in our definition of violence.

Deliberate neglect of black neighborhoods is violence.

Predatory lending is violence.

Food deserts are violence.

Laws designed to discourage minority voting are violence.

Economics is a weapon. Development is a war. And we are not all on the same side.

After all, if the protesters in Ferguson had just thrown some tea into a harbor we’d be building statues of them today.

A.

Sunday Morning Video: Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell Live

production_899_3016

This is a 2014 Lincoln Center Out of Doors set that I just stumbled into. The opening act Robert Ellis is pretty good but the main event starts at around the 30 minute mark. Like fine whiskey both Emmylou and Rodney have aged very well indeed:

Weekend Question Thread

Thanksgiving with Kick this year meant Mr. A and I hosting, in our not over-large hole in the wall, both sets of new grandparents, my sister, some wonderful friends of ours and their daughter. I abandoned the idea of a traditional sit-down dinner, laid out all the food buffet-style, told everybody to eat whenever and get their own damn beer. I will never be an official grown-up.

It was hardly the most we’ve ever had in this house, though. For our 10th anniversary we crammed I think 30 in here, with most of the food/booze happening out on our tiny back deck.

What’s the largest number of people you’ve ever had over?

A.

Friday Ferretblogging: The Ensnugglement

Bucky really does love his Claire:

20141124_131301

A.

Everything’s Fine: Thanksgiving Edition

It was about 9:30 last night and my wife plopped down on the couch next to me in our basement. She had this defeated look on her face.

Thanksgiving has always seemed like a chore for us, with either travel or guests or something. Those four days always seemed like less of a chance to recharge and more like something that left us all with an even-more-drained battery.

This year was supposed to be different. We were supposed to be in our new house. We were supposed to be safe at home. We were supposed to be all mellowed.

Some of that worked out in spots. We stayed home this year with my mother-in-law, who moved in a few months back. It was a quiet day, with the smell of turkey floating throughout our house.

Then I heard my kid shrieking and my wife screaming, “I NEED YOU! I NEED YOU! I NEED YOU!”

As I sprinted up the stairs, I heard The Midget crying, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to!”

There is my wife, hands covered in blood, holding my child’s hand straight into the air. The hand was wrapped in a towel, but I could see it soaking with red.

Apparently, scissors and a wad of electrical tape don’t mix. She had slashed through at least three of her fingers.

The next two hours were filled with blood, tears, shots and stitches. The nice man who spoke semi-accented English patched her back together. I offered The Midget my “magic hat,” which was nothing but a ratty Twins cap, but she took it. I used it to shield her eyes from what he was doing to her hand, lest she freak out even more.

By the time we got home, promising our child she could eat all the olives, pie and whipped cream she wanted and nothing she didn’t, it was nearly dinner time. MIL and I pushed The Missus to pare down the grandiose meal to something manageable. The turkey was great, although she cursed up a storm about dryness and her inability to get the gravy to work right. Brussels sprouts were left in the fridge. The bean casserole was “runny,” she fumed. Our good china was still in storage and we ate off our regular stuff. We said grace and began the gorging as we watched Tony Romo get smacked around.

We couldn’t decide on a movie after the second game, but we found “Free Birds,” a cartoon-based Thanksgiving/Owen Wilson vehicle that was better then passable.

I went downstairs to continue the laundry. Shortly after, my beloved came down for a soda and a hug.

“I ruined it,” she began. “What a lousy…” Tears. Exhaustion. Defeat.

It was at that point I became the optimist in the relationship, a rare role for a former journalist. Still, holidays bring some of that out in me, given what I remember of my younger adult days.

“You didn’t ruin anything. That’s where the kid gets this from, by the way. That’s why she’s gushing blood and saying she’s sorry. It’s no one’s fault and everything is fine.”

I didn’t even really realize what I was saying at the time, but it was true. We were fine.

Yeah, the house didn’t sell, but we’re still in a good house. We can afford it and we aren’t being chased by creditors.

Sure, a trip to the emergency room wasn’t part of our plans, but the doc said there was no tendon damage and she seemed fine after the shock wore off. (Except, of course, I had to take all the scissors out of her room, clean them and then hide them so she couldn’t find them. Her rules. I just followed them.)

Yeah, we didn’t have a spread that would rival the Golden Corral, but so what? We were stuffed to the gills. Even more, I remember Thanksgivings at the newsroom, which consisted of a turkey sandwich and some chips that I scarfed down between reports of traffic crashes or “family dispute” shooting calls.

We were warm. We were safe. We were with family. Shouldn’t that be the point?

The Missus smiled and sighed. We hugged.

“By the way,” she began. “I told her she could sleep with me on the pull out tonight because she’s afraid of bad dreams.”

“That’s OK,” I told her. “Take the bed. I’ll sleep out here.”

She gave me that “You’re totally going to fuck up your back” look and then said, “You sure?”

Yeah. Everything’s going to be fine.

It already is.

Friday Guest Catblogging: Artiste

Oscar and Della are taking the day off. Actually, I lost track of the days of the week since yesterday felt like a Sunday with the hard drinking nonagerians. Since I had bourbon inspired ennui, here’s the furry king of ennui, Henri Le Chat Noir:

 

Well, Reckon It’s About Time For Another War On Christmas

From Album 5

So let’s make sure Santa’s ready…anyway, with the holiday, I’ll keep this short and sweet, Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Holidays, though I’m guessing y’all pretty much knew where I stand on the the Great War.

Cheers!

Now Be Thankful

I like Thanksgiving and I like ritual, which is why I’m posting this song for the third year in a row:

Happy Thanksgiving. Pulp Fiction Thursday will return next week. Just remember to never cut the toikey without me:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Nichols & May Examine Doctors

American cultural icon Mike Nichols died last week at the age of 83. His track record as a film and stage director was unparalleled.  My personal favorites among his films are The Graduate and Charlie Wilson’s War, which were done some 40 years apart. He was also the favorite stage director of one of my comedic heroes, Neil Simon. Additionally, Nichols was one of the few people ever to win, if that’s the right word, the EGOT. If you don’t know what that is, I’m not sure if we can remain friends…

One of the reasons Nichols was so adept at comedy was that he began life as a comedian in partnership with Elaine May. Here’s the cover of one of their LPs:

Nichols & May Examine Doctors

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I Hope You’re Proud, Rush Limbaugh

I’ll bet he is, actually: 

One Less held seminars for student groups on bystander intervention and how to be supportive of survivors. Jackie dove into her new roles as peer adviser and Take Back the Night committee member and began to discover just how wide her secret UVA survivor network was – because the more she shared her story, the more girls sought her out, waylaying her after presentations or after classes, even calling in the middle of the night with a crisis. Jackie has been approached by so many survivors that she wonders whether the one-in-five statistic may not apply in Charlottesville. “I feel like it’s one in three at UVA,” she says.

But payback for being so public on a campus accustomed to silence was swift. This past spring, in separate incidents, both Emily Renda and Jackie were harassed outside bars on the Corner by men who recognized them from presentations and called them “cunt” and “feminazi bitch.” One flung a bottle at Jackie that broke on the side of her face, leaving a blood-red bruise around her eye.

I wonder where this fine young fellow learned that term. Not that Rush invented the idea of women’s rights activists spoiling all the MENZ fun by, you know, demanding they not get raped and stuff, but he certainly gave it a catchy nickname.

This whole story is a massive nightmare, but for whatever reason this the part I glommed onto, because doing that to women? That’s TAUGHT behavior, and you can talk all you want about girls going to parties and drinking underage and drinking too much and walking home alone and the frat system and everything else, but at the root of this is teaching young men that women are not friends. They are prey.

This comment on Gawker gets close to making a lot of sense: 

Men and women should live in the same buildings in college. The dorm I lived in college had mens and women’s sides, but they were just different ends of the same hallway, with the elevator and common area in between, and mens and women’s bathrooms on each side of the elevator. We were free to walk through and spend time in each others’ areas and rooms. One RA per floor, for both the men and women together. Frankly, it would have been about the same if the rooms were just mixed. And with the growing number of out LGBT students, mixed-gender rooms should be on the table too.

It dramatically lessens the sense of having some all-male “fox den” or all-female “hen house”, and makes the presence of the opposite sex something normal and mundane, rather than an infrequent, sexually-charged booze-fuelled encounter. College age men need to be able to see women as actual people – friends and peers – that they run into in the elevator and laundry room and TV lounge – rather than as some mysterious, sexualized, foreign being which only enters their living space late at night during parties.

I grew up with boys, boy cousins and guys my dad worked with. I was always around men, and when I worked with boys in college they were all like my brothers, and we’d have taken bullets for each other. I’m not saying I’m some kind of exception or that rape culture doesn’t exist, I’m saying my environment, healthy as it was, was rare and that’s not a good thing. That breeds this kind of exoticism, this resentment at something not really well understood, this tendency to argue with imaginary people, with “feminazis” and “cunts” instead of the girl in the next room.

We are not real to each other and that is taught, and it is taught in the avalanche of hate and fear that comes out of the right-wing puke funnel and it’s always had its adherents, but we didn’t used to amplify it every single day and make it a fucking catchphrase.

A.

A Nation Under The Law

Obama last night: 

First and foremost, we are a nation built on the rule of law.  And so we need to accept that this decision was the grand jury’s to make. There are Americans who agree with it, and there are Americans who are deeply disappointed, even angry.  It’s an understandable reaction.  But I join Michael’s parents in asking anyone who protests this decision to do so peacefully. Let me repeat Michael’s father’s words:  “Hurting others or destroying property is not the answer.  No matter what the grand jury decides, I do not want my son’s death to be in vain. I want it to lead to incredible change, positive change, change that makes the St. Louis region better for everyone.”  Michael Brown’s parents have lost more than anyone. We should be honoring their wishes.   

The point isn’t even that laws exist. The point is that if the system doesn’t serve people, if the system doesn’t make us better, if the system doesn’t fix us or help us or keep us safe, then the system is bullshit and the system needs to go.

And the system in St. Louis Count hasn’t been serving people for a good long time. If you needed evidence of that, look at the orchestrated prime-time grand jury announcement, the way they set it up so that everybody would see and hear: There will be no justice for you. There will not even be a QUESTION if you should receive justice. There will not even be a trial. Hours of build-up, and then the lights went on and everybody heard.

We will spend far more time talking about the behavior of protesters than we ever will the behavior of police. We will talk about whether a young black man should be shot for supposedly robbing a convenience store, whether a young white man should be kicked off the football team for videotaping himself and his buds gang raping a girl, and we will decide yes to the former and no to the latter.

Because we are a nation built on the rule of law.

A.

 

Malaka Of The Week: Uber

During the New Orleans City Council’s heated debate over Uber, my eyes glazed over and I swore that I’d never write about them. I stuck to my guns until last week’s revelation of Nixonian style ratfucking and learned that there was a world of malakatude surrounding it and that is why Uber is  malaka of the week.

Uber’s corporate ethos, such as it is, is a combination of 19th Gilded Age Century capitalism and modern dudebro frat boyism with a heavy dose of Randian gobbledygook. Last week, Uber Veep Emil Michael added a dash of Donald Segretti to the company’s toxic mix of malakatude:

A senior executive at Uber suggested that the company should consider hiring a team of opposition researchers to dig up dirt on its critics in the media — and specifically to spread details of the personal life of a female journalist who has criticized the company.

The executive, Emil Michael, made the comments in a conversation he later said he believed was off the record. In a statement through Uber Monday evening, he said he regretted them and that they didn’t reflect his or the company’s views.

His remarks came as Uber seeks to improve its relationship with the media and the image of its management team, who have been cast as insensitive and hyper-aggressive even as the company’s business and cultural reach have boomed.

You say insensitive and hyper-aggressive, I say arrogant and obnoxious, let’s call the whole thing off. Uber prides itself on being a “disruptor” of the moribund ground transportation market. What the hell are they, Klingons?

Klingon disruptor

Underneath the macho glibertarian bravado,  Uber seems to be a shell game and scam. It values the business at a cool 18 billion simoleons for a ride share company with an app, which is stone cold crazy according to an analysis posted at TPM this morning. They have substituted chest beating and dick waving for a sound business plan and seem to have gotten away with it for now. I know that’s an oversimplification but since Uber oversimplifies everything I’m in bad good company.

I have a confession to make. I’m something of an aficionado of the Shark Tank/Dragons’ Den genre of teevee shows. (Dragons’ Den Canada is my favorite. Thanks, YouTube.) We all have our guilty pleasures and one of mine is watching cartoon villain Kevin (Mr. Wonderful) O’Leary and company mock pitchers for their crazy valuations. Uber makes the craziest of those folks look sane and rational. It’s all about their rabid PR pitch: cabs slow, regulation bad, technology good. That’s right: they’re essentially high tech cavemen and lots of people have fallen for their spiel.

I admire chutzpah as much as the next guy. Uber has an abundance of chutzpah but its empire rests on a frail reed of a business model. If Uber spreads, there will be an increasing number of stories such as this:

An Uber driver is accused of seriously injuring a passenger by bashing him on the head with a hammer in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood, authorities said Friday.

Patrick Karajah, 26, of Pacifica pleaded not guilty Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court to charges of assault with a deadly weapon and battery with serious bodily injury. He is free on $125,000 bail.

Karajah allegedly picked up the victim and his two friends from a bar at about 2 a.m. Tuesday. While driving the two men and one woman to their destination, he got into a dispute with the victim over the route he was taking, according to court documents.

Karajah, who was driving for the basic UberX service, stopped near the intersection of Ellsworth Street and Alemany Boulevard and forced the victim and his friends to get out, according to documents.

An Uber spinner claimed that safety was their top priority after the attack and presumably laughed like a demented hyena after making that specious comment. If safety were their “top priority” they would screen and insure their drivers. I both dread and eagerly await the first crime committed by an Uber driver in New Orleans. I hope that it won’t be lethal but our criminals aren’t known for their subtlety; given Uber’s antipathy to details such as background checks there are bound to be some NOLA Uber drivers like the hammer man in San Francisco.

As you can see, the ratfucking that inspired this post is merely the first layer of Uberian (Uberite?) malakatude. It’s too sordid and creepy for me to go on much longer and that is why Uber is malaka of the week.

The tale of the Uber hammer man has given me a Monday morning earworm, so I’ll give Todd Rundgren the last word:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Post-Racial Society edition

Good morning, everyone!  We haven’t opened a drum of toxic Freepitude in the “Post-racial” category for some time, so I’d say they’re overdue.

This seems a good place to start:

Clavell Jackson: Teabaggers Hate the Government, But Love Government Programs
EURWeb ^ | November 10, 2014 | Clavell Jackson

Posted on ‎11‎/‎12‎/‎2014‎ ‎12‎:‎02‎:‎28‎ ‎AM by 2ndDivisionVet

*I am still recovering from the midterm election results, but I hope two years of a Republican-run Congress will convince voters to get off their asses and put a Democrat in the White House.

I often find it hard to take Republicans seriously, because so many of their arguments fall apart under close scrutiny. Republicans are an odd bunch, some of their ideas show many of them have no idea how government works. During the rise of the tea party, there was an infamous quote from a woman at a rally, who said, “Take your government hands off my Medicare!” Who does she think provides Medicare? I never got the mentality behind teabaggers and even their love for President Ronald Reagan. Reagan once said the most frightening words in the English language were, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” He had a general disdain for government, which was odd because he sought the highest government position in the land.

(snip)

I was researching Erik Prince, founder of the notorious mercenary company Blackwater. Prince, who has deep ties to the Republican party, describes himself as a libertarian and thinks the government does things inefficiently. The growth of Blackwater was brought about because the George W. Bush administration decided it wanted the military to focus on fighting wars and many of its services could be outsourced. As a result Blackwater has received more than $1 billion in government contracts.

(snip)

If your company has received more than $1 billion in taxpayer money, then essentially it’s a government company. You don’t get to turn around and bash the government about being inefficient, when your sucking on the government teat. If you hate the government so much, how about you stop taking its money?

Another example of this hypocrisy is seen in rising GOP star Joni Ernst, who was recently elected to the Senate. Ernst, who has been compared to Sarah Palin (Is that a good thing?), has bragged about her expertise in castrating hogs as an example of how she would cut pork when she got to DC. She also said she keeps her nine millimeter handy to protect against a potentially tyrannical government.

She conveniently fails to mention that she has spent a lifetime working for the government she supposedly loathes. She is career National Guard and has health care and a nice retirement package paid for by the government. The Des Moines Register writes, “Joni Ernst hates the money government spends, but she sure enjoys the revenue her family receives from the government and will continue to receive from it. She was a county auditor, state senator and National Guard officer. She will receive a military pension at age 60. She is eligible to take advantage of Social Security laws due to the fact that her husband is 61 and will be exempt from her proposed privatization scheme.”

I would take Ernst more seriously if she didn’t benefit from the very government programs she rails against. Tea partiers seem to live by the motto, “I hate the government, but give me my government program.”

*******

I’ve had dozens of people here tell me that the GOP-e won the midterms and the Tea Party lost. Okay, then why did the left, as a whole, once they’d shaken off their shock at losing, go after Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin and the Tea Party? Why didn’t they attack Yertl, Oompah-Loompah and Juan McInsane?
1 posted on ‎11‎/‎12‎/‎2014‎ ‎12‎:‎02‎:‎28‎ ‎AM by 2ndDivisionVet
Interesting question.
Interesting responses?
To: 2ndDivisionVet

Why would anyone read this drivel?

2 posted on 11‎/‎12‎/‎2014‎ ‎12‎:‎04‎:‎47‎ ‎AM by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)

Well, since you read it, you’d have to answer that one yourself.
To: 2ndDivisionVet

Wow, a CEO who uses the filthy term Tea Baggers to describe people he disagrees with Politically.

I wonder if he would refuse to hire a “Tea Bagger” to work for his Company?

Just another Bigot, ho hum.

8 posted on 11‎/‎12‎/‎2014‎ ‎12‎:‎17‎:‎46‎ ‎AM by Kickass Conservative (11/04/14, the day people finally realized that their Dictator is just a Dick..)

Love your sig line.
To: 2ndDivisionVet

Because these people irrationally hate anyone who doesn’t agree with them. They also take out their hatred at the more conservative people because they need something of a cut out to stereotype, scapegoat, etc.

9 posted on ‎11‎/‎12‎/‎2014‎ ‎12‎:‎18‎:‎40‎ ‎AM by Morpheus2009

IronyMeterPegged
To: GeronL

The transfers he is talking about are democrats,that’s where the fagotts(sic) reside

39 posted on 11‎/‎12‎/‎2014‎ ‎6‎:‎04‎:‎21‎ ‎AM by ballplayer

GaySpray
And finally, one Freeper gets a handle on the whole “Makers vs. Takers / Get Government out of my Medicare” thing!
To: 2ndDivisionVet
Clavicle can call me a teabagger?
F U nigger.
33 posted on 11/12/2014, 3:04:55 AM by Post5203 (For the first time in my life, I despise this country. Relocate D.C. to the border)
AllRightyThen
More after the white privilege.

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Everybody Stand Down: The Newsroom Thread

leeeeoooona

Spoilers within. Mostly about the filthy things I would let that woman do to me.

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Sunday Morning Video: 1964

1964 is an American Experience documentary that I somehow missed when it aired earlier this year. It must have been during Carnival. Robert Caro and Rick Perlstein are among the talking heads:

About Bill Cosby’s Feelings, And Yours, And Mine

It’s important we not worry our little heads about Bill Cosby because we might sprain something: 

The show Friday night in Melbourne, Florida, might have seemed destined for disaster for the comedian, enveloped in growing accusations of rape and sexual assault that have derailed his career comeback and crumbled his tour schedule. What he got, though, was an adoring audience that laughed so hard they slapped their knees, shouted love at the stage and rose to their feet as he came and went.

“I think people went in there with him as Bill Cosby from the TV show,” said Travis Weberling, 40, of Melbourne, “not the guy they heard about on the news.”

We’re human beings. We defend ourselves, first last and always. We defend ourselves, physically, and we defend the way we think now.

We defend the way we think about something, the way we’ve always thought about something. We defend the rails on which we run, and we throw everything that threatens the track right off the train.

It’s muscle memory almost: Get it out, get it away.

Here’s the thing, though. IT DOESN’T MATTER.

“Chances are Bill Cosby is a serial rapist. That’s a tragedy. Not for you. Not for Bill Cosby. Not for comedy. Not for America. But for the women he raped.”

The pushback always sounds the same, doesn’t it? What about the feelings of the accused? What about due process? What about the court of public opinion? What about the media? What about the young man’s future? What about the Internet lynch mob? What about the rush to judgment?

What about this?

Grace, the 16-year-old who was allegedly raped in September, returned to school after being absent for two weeks following the assault. Word had traveled fast, as had a short video of the assault, allegedly shot by Brian.

The day she returned, her mother told me, Grace was immediately approached in a school hallway by another student.

“I hear you love being raped in the ass,” he said to Grace, as she remembers it.

Grace was holding a heavy book bag. She swung it at the boy. Her boyfriend, standing nearby, punched him. All three were suspended.

When Grace’s mother contacted the school to complain about her daughter’s treatment and its alleged cause, she says a school administrator told her, “Maybe you should keep her out of school until this calms down.”

Until this calms down. Which it will do, once she’s out of school. Which it will do, once the accusers go away. Which it will do, once everybody forgets, because if we let everybody forget, then we don’t have to work. We don’t have to change. We don’t have to grow or get better or stronger or draw the circle any bigger or let anybody else in. We can stay the way we are, until this calms down.

It is the most pernicious force in the universe, the strongest, the most difficult to overcome: This need to maintain the status quo. To just hold still, to not cause trouble, to not make anybody take one more step than they’re already taking. As if thinking about something a little harder is some kind of trial.

As if becoming a better person, which is what you fucking do when you side with the powerless against the great, is something you should ever be afraid of.

As if your transformation weighs anything, against the life of someone else.

A.