Monthly Archives: December 2014

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Cal Tjader Trio

Dr. A and I saw Tim Burton’s Big Eyes yesterday. It’s a very good film, I’d give it a B+ and Amy Adams an A. The movie started off in San Francisco in 1958 and one of the settings was the Hungry I jazz and comedy club. One of the house bands at Enrico Banducci’s joint was the Cal Tjader Trio who were depicted in the movie. Tjader played the vibes and his pianist for many years was Vince Guraldi who went on to do the Peanuts music for stage and small screen. They played cool Latin jazz, daddy-o.

Here’s a 1953 cover from their early days with Fantasy Records:


Here’s the album’s opening track:


There Is No Race Problem in Policing

Milwaukee edition: 

At this point, I was honestly surprised and told the officers I wasn’t aware that I could be handcuffed for asking questions. As this was happening, Officer Stoj transferred me, still cuffed to his partner, Officer Joseph Anderer, and began searching my vehicle, to which I said they were conducting an unlawful search. Within about 45 seconds of me being pulled from the car, at least four other police vehicles were present on the block (two marked squad cars – one blocking Auer at 28th and one on the corner of 27th and Auer – the unmarked car I had noticed on 26th and Auer and an SUV – maybe a suburban). I told another officer why I had been taken out of the car, to which he simply said, “Okay,” and kept walking. I, then, asked why I was being arrested and Officer Anderer, who was holding me by my arm, responded, “You’re a domestic terrorist.” In the initial aftermath, I clearly recall being accused of “stalking police” — a charge which would be repeated multiple times — and was asked if I was trying to kill a police officer. I also heard an officer ask, “Is he one of the three we’re looking for,” to which another voice replied, “Yes.” Also, in the course of this interaction, an officer, possibly Anderer, said, “We’re gonna fuck with you and your friends a bit.”

Less than 5 minutes, or so, after I had been pulled from my vehicle and handcuffed, I was in the back of another squad car on my way to the District 7 Police Station. My car was impounded, despite pleas that I couldn’t afford to get it out.

Upon reaching the station, I remained handcuffed and was instructed to wait on a bench in the parking area, across from a desk and computer. Officers Stoj and Anderer arrived and continued to assert that I had “stalked police” and was conspiring to kill an officer. They questioned me about the belongings they had taken from my vehicle — my camera, recorder and a walkie talkie — and the nature of, asking if I had ever written anything supporting the killing of cops. I said no. They asked me where I had gotten my equipment. I answered that I bought the recorder online, most likely through Amazon, had been given the camera from a friend and had neglected to return the walkie talkie after an event I had volunteered at and used it. They asked if it was stolen — or had been reported stolen — and insinuated they would like to charge me for theft. Throughout the entire interaction, I remained polite, referring to the officers as “sir.”

I look forward to the libertarian outrage at the violation of this man’s civil rights OH WAIT:

You deserved to get arrested. Why ask the police what they’re doing there? You wanna know what they’re doing? The police are protecting you and the city. How dare you have the audacity to ask what he’s doing parked there. His job is to serve and protect. If there is word of a protest happening, then i want the poilce to be there making sure nothing is getting out of hand. You don’t have anything better to do than to cause trouble and write a stupid article like this? You deserve that inconvenience in your day and get some real issues in your life please.


True story: Last summer, when Kick was very wee and I was paranoid about leaving her, I went out to run some errands. When I came back home, there were half a dozen squad cars in the parking lot of my building. Freaked out and assuming the baby had been kidnapped or something, I ran up to the nearest cop I saw and asked him what was going on.

By this person’s logic I should be cooling my heels in Gitmo because I had the audacity to question police.

Where does this end?


Lamar Strikes Again

Just when I take a wee blogcation, they drag me back in again. (If you get the reference, I’ll buy you an adult beverage some time. Make that a beer. I’m a cheap motherfugu.) I’d been largely off the grid, and then I learned that my old blogger friend (I almost called him my little buddy but I don’t want to be the skipper to his Gilligan) Lamar White Jr. had broken a story about past malaka of the week Steve Scalise giving a speech to David Duke’s group EURO. The story has, of course, gone viral as the kids would say. Jeez, now I sound like Thurston Howell. That’s not good.

Scalise’s minions are pleading ignorance about the nature of the group. They also offer the classic lame political excuse: bad staff work. When in doubt, blame some poor schmo who worked for you in 2002. Excuses are as rife in Gret Stet politics as bullshit; just look at the <shudder> front runner in the 2015 Governor’s race, our old pal, Sinator David Vitter. Btw, Vitter is pretending to strike a blow for liberty by going to see The Interview at the Chalmette Movies in da parish. Who woulda figured Bitter Vitter as a hashtag activist or that seeing a bro comedy is courageous. Now that I think of it, it takes a form of courage to endure James Franco’s smug mug on the big screen. End of the bit about Diaper Dave and the bro comedy.

This kerfuffle reminds me of the days when all sorts of “respectable” Louisiana Republicans played footsie with Dukkke. Many, like Scalise, have put some of Dukkke’s “populist” positions in a suit and tie and tried to make them respectable *after* the Gret Stet Fuhrer wannabe stopped doing so. It’s a minor league version of how Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter (yes, Jimmy Carter) cherry picked George Wallace’s political tree as it were. To be fair to my least favorite recent Democratic President, he borrowed Wallace’s anti-Washington/I’m an outsider shtick, and not the whole standing in the schoolhouse door thing.

On a personal level, I’m as pleased as punch that vast swaths of the MSM are giving Lamar credit for breaking the story. I expect that the Republican helots will be coming after him directly. He might even get slimed by Rush. If that happens, I will be a jealous motherfugu. (I’m trying swear less as well as to coin a swell new euphemism in addition to my continuing campaign to revive the word swell.) For now, I will merely bask in the reflected glory and hope that Lamar won’t forget the little people or Darby O’Gill for that matter…

I suspect that Scalise will keep his seat in Congress. He is, after all, from the same burg that elected Dukkke to the state lege. Moreover, as recently as 1999, Dukkke received 19% of the vote in a primary for the same seat Scalise holds today. Dukkke finished third behind former Governor Dave Treen and the eventual winner, our old pal, Diaper Dave. Scalise has already used the “I’m not a racist” dodge to the Vestigial Picayune. We’ll see how it plays.

As to Scalise’s continuing as majority whip, I’m not sure what will happen. This *should* be a major embarrassment for Speaker Boner but the nutbar caucus will rise to Scalise’s defense. Lamar is an Obama supporter so he must be a White House stooge and part of the Kenyan Mau Mau Marxist Nazi Jihadist conspiracy to destroy Merica. They should, however, read a piece by the wingnut blogger Erick Erickson with a priceless title: How Do You Show Up At A David Duke Event and Not Know What It Is? Excellent question since Scalise is a knave, not a fool. I cannot wait for the next diaper shoe to drop.

I’ll give the Rolling Stones the last word:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Sleaze On Earth edition

Hi, all – I had way too many Christmastime activities this week to assemble one of my three-hour-to-compose Obsessions, but here’s a quickie for you – Dolchstosslegende redux ‏!

GOP lawmakers preparing changes to immigration system (the smell of betrayal is in the air)
Fox News ^ | December 27, 2014

Posted on ‎12‎/‎27‎/‎2014‎ ‎7‎:‎59‎:‎52‎ ‎PM by E. Pluribus Unum

Interest in reforming the immigration law remains high as Republican lawmakers prepare bills that would make changes to the current system.

President Obama received harsh criticism after proposing an executive action steering clear from congressional approval to halt deportation for nearly four million immigrants. However, Republicans remain up to the task to enact their own proposals into the bill.

1 posted on 12‎/‎27‎/‎2014‎ ‎7‎:‎59‎:‎52‎ ‎PM by E. Pluribus Unum
(E.Pluribus Unum in this case meaning “out of many, derp”)
The thread starts off with the usual “I ain’t a-votin’ for no RINOs!” bullshit:
To: E. Pluribus Unum

In 2016 the GOPe are going to see plenty of turned backs.

2 posted on 12‎/‎27‎/‎2014‎ ‎8‎:‎05‎:‎24‎ ‎PM by Paladin2

To: E. Pluribus Unum

Might be time to march on Washington

4 posted on 12‎/‎27‎/‎2014‎ ‎8‎:‎07‎:‎01‎ ‎PM by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)

How’d that work out for you the last time you tried it?
Oh yeah.
To: Paladin2

> In 2016 the GOPe are going to see plenty of turned backs.

They damn sure are. We won’t forget their betrayal.

3 posted on 12‎/‎27‎/‎2014‎ ‎8‎:‎06‎:‎57‎ ‎PM by jsanders2001

And then:
To: jsanders2001
We won’t forget their betrayal.
Who’s “we”?This time next year, there will be a strong FReeper chorus starting with that golden oldie, “ANY R is better than a D!”
11 posted on ‎12‎/‎27‎/‎2014‎ ‎8‎:‎23‎:‎45‎ ‎PM by workerbee (The President of the United States is PUBLIC ENEMY #1)
To: CitizenUSA
I’m a FReeper going on about 10 years now, and I can’t remember anyone posting that we should keep voting for the RINOs no matter what they do.
Well, obviously you missed all those ABO posts from 2012, and then again during this last election cycle.
23 posted on 12‎/‎27‎/‎2014‎ ‎8‎:‎42‎:‎40‎ ‎PM by Timber Rattler (Just say NO! to RINOS and the GOP-E)
To: CitizenUSA

You’ve hit on a sore subject here…

This site is FULL of “burn it down” “conservatives”. This is a great place to pi$$ and moan about how crappy the Uniparty is but that’s where it ends… I’m SURE many are working hard in their LOCAL governments to make the changes necessary to move the GOP back in a conservative direction… It’s damn HARD WORK… but hey… it’s easier to come here and complain…

No one with a brain advocates voting R at all costs… no one with a brain advocates a 3rd party (How’s that Libertarian thing working out?)…

It’s going to take 10 to 20 YEARS to move it back in the right direction…

28 posted on 12‎/‎27‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎01‎:‎00‎ ‎PM by bfh333 (“We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality.”)

The “No True Scotsman” contingent rides into the fray, and it’s on like you-know-what:
To: CitizenUSA

So you are one of those ‘We need to take the party over from the inside.’ guys. So, how`s that going?

29 posted on 12‎/‎27‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎07‎:‎29‎ ‎PM by nomad

To: CitizenUSA

Bullshit. There are literally 5 that are with us and they better get out of that evil party before they lose whats left of our goodwill.

If you support evil, you are evil. Simple math.

32 posted on 12‎/‎27‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎11‎:‎27‎ ‎PM by Norm Lenhart (1`)

So the 5 GOP crazies need to get out of the GOP?  Makes sense to me.
Of course, the Freeperati have never met an enemy that wasn’t us:
To: Crazieman

Is it possible all that so-called “nonsense” talk so many of us had about the Democrats infiltrating our ranks all the way from the grassroots to the RNC wasn’t just talk after all? Or maybe we’ve always had far too many moderates in our ranks than we cared to admit.

Interesting mix of metaphors there.

Either way the GOP is about to take a winning advantage and blow it all in just a few years.

18 posted on 12‎/‎27‎/‎2014‎ ‎8‎:‎32‎:‎53‎ ‎PM by dowcaet

And, of course:

To: E. Pluribus Unum
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
15 posted on 12‎/‎27‎/‎2014‎ ‎8‎:‎28‎:‎07‎ ‎PM by MtnMan101
I kinda preferred it in the original German:
Dolchstoss   DolchstossJuden
See everyone next Monday…
Tagged , , , , , ,

Turning Our Backs


USA Today.

Josh Marshall on police unions and their rhetoric about the mayor: 

 The idea that police demand reflexive support from the city’s Mayor against large segments of or even the majority of the people they’re sworn to serve and protect simply makes no sense. The people of New York and the NYPD are two groups which by definition must coexist. They can do so well or poorly. But they cannot be rid of each other – even though segments of both groups seem to wish they could.

The conflicts over policing are ones that need to be worked out at the grass roots level in the hard but critical work of police-community relations and at the grander level of city politics. But what has been disturbing to me for weeks, well before this tragedy this weekend, is the way that at least the leadership of the police unions has basically gone to war against the Mayor over breaking even in small ways from lockstep backing of the police department in all cases and at all times. When we hear members of the NYPD union leadership talking about being forced to become a “wartime” police department, who exactly are they going to war with? WTF does that mean? And who is the enemy?

There are a number of easy answers here, glib statements that are no less true for being pithy: The police department is a hammer and everybody else is a nail. Everybody else is the enemy, everybody who’s not a cop. This is a foxhole and atheists (non-cops) aren’t welcome. Not with us, against us, etc, etc.

All I can think of is how long we have been turning our backs on each other.

We know, right? We know that we can’t afford to be generous or openhearted or kind, not anymore. We’ve been hearing it for years, the justifications: We can’t feed people, they’ll just want more food. We can’t teach people to read. We can’t cure diseases. We can’t patch up all the potholes or turn on all the lights or shore up all the dams or rebuild all the schools. We can’t just close the prisons. We can’t just stop the wars.

We can’t do anything for anybody else. We don’t have room for them, in our wallets or our discourse or our debate or our hearts. The world is dangerous, the world is cruel, it’s not our problem, we can’t, we can’t, we can’t.

It’s all we hear. It’s all we are, anymore. We have gotten so very, very mean.

It’s tempting to say this all started when I noticed it starting, after 9/11, when we pointed fingers and used the word “treason” as a comma and started a bunch of wars because fuck you, pal, what do you think you’re looking at? Those of you with longer political memories than mine will say Nixon, Reagan, Hoover, Ford. Andrew Jackson would probably like a word on the subject. The first slaves landed at Jamestown in 1619 but I don’t think I’m wrong in thinking that the past 12 years have made us very much smaller than we used to be and we keep pretending it has to be that way.

We keep pretending we have to sacrifice somebody so that somebody else can get ahead. Teachers, state-employed workers, kids on food stamps, anybody making less than Trump money, they can all go blow. Everybody who “chooses” to live in a high-crime neighborhood, everybody who “chooses” to work for companies owned by horrendous bigots, we cut them off as the price of doing business.

We won’t give them raises, support their strikes, join their protests, fund their pensions. We won’t take care of them. We turn our backs: They’re the enemy. We won’t look at them. We don’t have to listen to them. We aren’t the same.

I don’t see a way back from this for DeBlasio, not the way he’s being Dixie Chick-ed right now.  I don’t see a way he can be obedient enough to satisfy the Fox News howler monkeys and their credulous audience that is EVERYONE, and that’s horrifying, and wrong. So is a society that gives us the option to turn our  backs. To look away. To say we aren’t in this together.


Sunday Morning Video: Who Killed Jimmy Hoffa?

When PBS aired this installment of History Detectives I was dubious. But guess what? They’ve developed a plausible explanation of who was behind the hit and who pulled the trigger. They also spared us all the where’s Hoffa buried stuff, which became tiresome quite some time ago.


$72 million liars and Whacko Wayne

I was once an owner of two professional sports teams, I often tell my students.

It’s true, as I owned stock in the Cleveland Indians (when Dick Jacobs took the team public for a few years in the late 1990s and early 2000s) and the Green Bay Packers.

It’s one of those outlandish claims that I used to prove a point: Just because it sounds too good to be true, it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Conversely, something being accurate isn’t the same as something being truthful.

In either case, don’t take a source’s statements at face value. Look the shit up. Challenge the assumption. Make sure you are sure.

A lot has been written about Jessica Pressler and her story for New York magazine about Mohammed Islam. The 17-year-old claimed he made $72 million trading stocks on his lunch break and the reporter fell for it hook, line and sinker.

As quickly as the news broke, the story unraveled when other journalists started poking holes in the reporting and Islam and his friend, Damir Tulemaganbetov, admitted they made it all up.

Immediately, two factions emerged. First, the 83 percent of the Twitterverse went nuts basically equating Pressler with the reporters who looked the other way while Bush 43 fed them the “WMDs are sold at Iraq 7-11s and we’re just sitting here” lines. Second, reporters, former reporters, bloggers and other people along those lines who told their own “I’ve been there” stories about sources who fucked them over.

In the interest of full disclosure, I had my own house of cards moment as a reporter many years ago.

I was about 21 and working a night desk shift when I got a call from a guy named Wayne. He told me about an incident where he brought his girlfriend back to her place, only to be confronted by the woman’s ex-boyfriend. The ex had a gun and threatened them, at which point Wayne distracted the guy so the woman could run into the house and call 9-1-1.

When the cops arrived, the ex pointed the gun at them (or at himself, my memory being fuzzy with age) and the cops shot/arrested/did something to the guy and hauled his ass off to jail.

I did what anyone would do in that position as a reporter: I called the cops. They verified the ex angle, the arrest and named the guy. They wouldn’t give me the name of the girl or anyone else there, but the stuff I figured I could be sued for matched Wayne’s story. I attributed most of the stuff to the cops, added Wayne’s color stuff and ran the story.

The next day, the unnamed woman called. She read our story and figure out it was about her and she was irate. She said the stuff about the cops and the ex was true, but she didn’t have a boyfriend and wasn’t sure who the hell this Wayne guy was.

I was trying to figure out what happened by working through this with several editors when one of the copy desk vets came over and said, “Oh… that’s ‘Whacko Wayne!’”

Turns out, this guy had a police scanner and would listen to it all night. He would then find a story that was great on the scanner, insert himself into it as a hero and call local media outlets. He apparently got on TV a couple times, on the radio a few more and even made our paper before.

I had just gotten my “Whacko Wayne” cherry popped, apparently.

Was there anything else I could have done? Probably not.

Did that make me any less liable? Not entirely.

Did I feel OK? Shit no.

Other stories I have read fell into that same kind of pattern: Someone had a semi-plausible story, the reporter was pretty much a cub and people all got a good laugh out of the youn’un getting fucked over by a source.

Sure, we’ve “all been there” when it comes to having that moment of journalistically stepping on our dicks. But that’s not Pressler’s problem and it’s not why even with that sense of fuck-up camaraderie I just shared would I side with her in this debacle.

First, she’s not a rookie. According to her LinkedIn profile, she spent two years as a staff writer at Philadelphia magazine and the last seven at New York magazine, where she is now listed as a senior editor. She had a job lined up at Bloomberg News’s investigative unit, before the shit hit the fan with the Islam story and the news outlet rescinded the offer.

Think about this: A SENIOR EDITOR who was set to work the INVESTIGATIVE UNIT at BLOOMBERG got easily snowed by a 17-year-old who claimed he made $72 million trading stocks. Yes, anyone can fuck up but how did that not set off any alarm bells? Most of the war stories reporters traded after the Pressler disaster centered on much more plausible fuck-ups. They didn’t check to see if someone had the MBA he claimed to have earned or they didn’t verify the age of the woman who said she was the youngest member of some group. Even the Rolling Stone story, which fell apart pretty quickly, seemed much more plausible than this pile of crap. According to one person associated with the Pressler situation, the rigorous verification was done by a fact checker at the bottom of the Stuyvesant bridge “for maybe 10 seconds or so.”

Second, and perhaps more damning, was Pressler’s response:

Ms. Pressler, who is leaving New York magazine to join Bloomberg News’s investigative unit, defended her story on Twitter on Monday morning, before The Observer interview was published. “In any case,” she wrote, “it’s New York mag’s Reasons to Love issue, we’re not a financial publication.”

What she basically said was, “Look, I was working on a bullshit piece that didn’t need to be right because it was a bullshit assignment to begin with. Caveat Emptor, bitches.”

One of the best copy editors with whom I ever worked was fond of the line: “You can drown just as easily in two inches of water as you can in the Pacific Ocean.” His point was simple: It’s not just the giant stories you need to go through with a fine-tooth comb. EVERY piece of copy, especially the little bitty ones, need to be put through the wringer. It’s those tiny ones that come back to fuck you hard if you don’t take care.

Had Pressler done a mea culpa and really said, “Look, I was horribly preoccupied/having a bad day and I fucked up. I know it wasn’t good. I know it made us look horrible. I’m really sorry…” well, she might be at Bloomberg News right now. Instead, she came across with a very “fuck off, OK?” approach and that had more people coming after her. It also pretty much forced Bloomberg’s hand, as nobody on Earth was going to read her byline for at least the next six months without thinking, “I wonder if that story’s true…” It’s why Stephen Glass can’t get past the California bar and why Manti Te’o hasn’t talked about having a girlfriend lately.

I’m uncertain where Pressler will go in the future, but one thing is probably certain: If her mom says, “I love you,” Pressler’s going to check it out.

Redeeming Grace

It gets dark so early this time of year.

I took a second job, recently, that has me making a commute twice a week, and the end of the day finds me leaving in the dark and fighting traffic. It’s a hard way home, and I haven’t found the shortcuts yet, the best ways through the hairiest intersections. I sit at a lot of stoplights waiting for them to turn.  By the time I get home, it feels like the middle of the night.

Kick’s forgotten how to sleep. Or nap. She knew pretty early, at 3 months, how to sleep eight hours at a crack and take three hour naps, and we got spoiled. Now she’s a newborn again, up and down all night. She sings to her stuffed animals, lays in her crib and talks to herself, and sometimes falls back to sleep on her own. I don’t. I lie awake, waiting for her to wake again.

This time of year is all about waiting. Last year, waiting for her to be born, feeling her turn over and over inside me, seeking a quiet place to rest. Five years ago, waiting for my grandmother to die, knowing she was in terrible pain and longing for the end. When I was small, waiting for Santa Claus, for the magic of Christmas morning, which was supposed to bring peace on earth.

All the news at the end of this year was bad: Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice. The NSA report, almost going to war with North Korea over a fucking James Franco movie, the midterm implosion, and the cable-news sponsored political death spiral into the 2016 presidential election. We are arguing over which kind of torture is okay and how hard we should interrogate rape victims for holes in their stories and we are drug-testing welfare recipients just to be mean. We’re auditing t-shirts at protests. Modern feminism seems more eager to discuss rich women working than all women eating. And we’re getting pretty close to a court ruling that declares that once again you can refuse to let certain kinds of people sit at your lunch counter, because freedom and sincere beliefs.

This whole fall has felt like a giant step backwards, out of the light, and we’re just waiting now, for it to end. The traffic signal will change, and everything will begin anew. I was profoundly relieved on December 22: The days will get longer now, if only by seconds, and maybe the swing toward light will be more than just physics. Maybe there will be less stupidity, fewer excuses, if we can just flip the calendar like flicking a light off and then on again.

I doubt it, though. Not because I’m mired in some seasonal-affective-nihilistic despair. I doubt it because waiting for an opportunity to change is the opposite of making one, and there’s no such thing as a blank slate. The waiting’s never over. The world doesn’t get better because we close the books on one year and open them on another. There’s only one perfect time to begin again and be stronger and work harder, and that time is all the time.

This next year will bring efforts to correct all the problems we’ve had and those efforts will need support in all kinds of ways. The news won’t get smarter or better without a lot of people pushing back, the candidates who need to be heard often can’t amplify their own voices enough, and we can’t afford to wait for the light. The people depending on the decisions we make can’t afford to wait for the right time, the right place, the new year, a new day.

Daylight is scarce in December. It gets dark so early this time of year.



Friday Ferretblogging: Post-Christmas Treat Coma Edition

This Christmas we managed to snag the dingos some fancy new cage bedding by finding towels in very subtle colors on sale at Target. These are the kinds of presents they love best:



Here’s My Theory…

From Album 5

…as to the whole “his cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry” thing.

Anyway, thanks as always to Athenae and Adrastos for letting me play in the sandbox, thanks to y’all for stopping by to read and/or comment, and whether it’s Christmas, the Holiday Season, Winter Solstice, or anything else, hope the season is a good one for you and yours.


Early Guest Catblogging: Christmas Tree Edition

I know a lot of people named Mary. I guess it’s the whole living in a Catholic city thing. One of my favorite Marys is Chef Mary Sonnier, culinary rock star and Twitter legend. She’s also a gifted  amateur photographer as you can see from this picture of her cat Sprout underneath ye olde Christmas tree.


We haven’t had a real indoor tree for years. Our cats either eat or attack a tree, which is why Dr. A places our big fake tree on the front porch. It’s okay since we usually go to our Gret Stet family to do the whole Christmas day thing, which usually involves a lot of eating and drinking. Imagine that.

Pulp Fiction Thursday will return next week. Merry Christmas and all that jazz or is that rock-n-roll?

The Fog Of History: The Case Of The Foggy Historian

I’m used to people misusing history to make a point but it’s usually politicians or pundits who do so. This time it was a BC professor with an uber WASPY name, Heather Cox Richardson, in an interview with Elias Isquith of Salon:

Well, yes, the South and West were moving toward the Republicans in the ’40s, but it was not clear which direction the Republican Party was going to [on race issues]. It’s really worth remembering that Brown v. Board of education is [decided] by Earl Warren, who is a Republican politician; it’s a Republican [Supreme] Court; and Warren is appointed by Eisenhower, a Republican president …

She blows a perfectly valid point by getting her facts wrong. Earl Warren was the only Republican appointee on that court. They others were all Roosevelt or Truman picks. It was not a Republican court that decided Brown.

Professor Richardson is right in thinking that the GOP was on the civil rights cusp at that point. Tom Dewey ran to Truman’s left on civil rights and passed some landmark civil rights legislation in New York. Ike’s AG, Herbert Brownell, was Dewey’s former right hand man and a committed progressive when it came to racial justice. Brownell’s liberal views collided with those of his President and the GOP began a slow, torturous move to the right on civil rights. It was still a mixed bag until Tricky Dick sold what was left of his soul to Strom Thurmond in 1968.

Dewey is an underrated figure in our political history largely because he was a stiff. I have long thought that it *might* have been better for the country if he’d defeated Truman in 1948. The second Red Scare wouldn’t have spiraled out of control if there had been a GOPer in the White House. But that’s neither here nor there, the more colorful Truman won that year.

I’m still interested in reading Professor Richardson’s history of the Republican party, but she should stick to the agreed upon facts of history. They’re contentious and foggy enough.

Odds & Sods: All About Christmas Eve Edition

the-who odds--sods

I was originally going to try and solve the world’s problems in this post but decided I don’t feel like it. That’s selfish of me, but what can I say? I’m more of a Scrooge Potter Grinch type than some sort of freaking elf. I’m not big on elves, they can be Hobbit forming…

That leaves me with a helluva post title and a few longer articles that I’d like to steer you toward. We’ll start with the serious one first:

Jeb Bush and the Terry Schiavo Case: Charlie Pierce thought it was an excellent time to post an excerpt from his book Idiot America. Why? Jeb Bush may be running for President and he played a crucial and horrendous role in making a bad situation worse. So much for being a moderate.

Have Yourself a Colonel Sanders Christmas: TPM is branching out into longer feature articles and Molly Osberg’s piece about Christmas in Japan is a doozy. Hint: they think the late chicken mogul Harland Sanders is Father Christmas and that we all eat fried chicken tomorrow.


I must admit to some familiarity with the concept of a Kentucky Christmas but it usually involves Bourbon, not a bucket from the Colonel. I’m strictly a Popeye’s kinda guy.

Young Waif With A Horn: My friend and fellow horrid punster James Karst did some sleuthing recently and learned a secret from Louis Armstrong’s past. I won’t spoil the surprise for you.

Since I’m stupidly proud of this post title, I’ll give Bette Davis as Margot Channing the last word:


Album Art Cover Wednesday: Bad Christmas Covers

There are a lot of very bad Christmas album covers out there. This is my scattershot look at them. I’m not going to rate them and I’m too lazy and insufficiently masochistic to do any research. Here they are without further adieu:


That horn has got a lot of Ed Balls. I wonder if they William Hung any of them on the tree? I’ll let you know after the break.

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Christmas Snow Could Kill Us All, Or Not: True Journalism Chronicles

Shouty weather stories are among the reasons I don’t watch the local news at home anymore. Kick makes enough noise for the neighbors as it is, no need for me to yell SHUT UP YOU DICKSMACKS through the walls as well.

But still, shut up, you dicksmacks: 

The National Weather Service issued a special weather statement Tuesday that periods of heavy, wet snow are possible on Christmas Eve, which could have a big impact on holiday travel.

At O’Hare Airport Tuesday, lines are long, but moving quickly. Arrival and departure boards show few delays or cancellations.

A snowstorm could have a drastic effect on flights and put holiday cheer to the test.

So there is no snow yet, but snow COULD be drastic. Where is this snow, exactly?

The National Weather Service says the expected localized nature of the forecast snow makes it difficult to pinpoint where exactly it will occur. It could be as far east as northwest Indiana or possibly as far west as Rockford and Dixon.

It appears likely that some portions of the region will likely be impacted by a winter storm that could make travel difficult at best and nearly impossible for a time at worse.

EVERYBODY PANIC. We could get snow. It could be a lot. It could make travel terrible! It could be here, there, everywhere, nowhere! We don’t know!

Or not: 

Computer models put the snowfall totals between 2 and 5 inches throughout the area. Specifically, the models showed about 1.8 inches in Waukegan and about 5.8 inches in Kankakee. O’Hare International Airport may record about 2.8 inches while Midway International Airport could get about 4.0 inches.

The system will be a fast-moving one, however, and should be completely out of the NBC Chicago viewing area by the nighttime hours.

Buffalo, NY called and said Chicago should go fuck itself.

The actual facts, of course, are not getting in the way of nonstop WEATHER TERROR DOPPLER BE VERY AFRAID DON’T GO OUTSIDE EAT YOUR HOUSEHOLD PARAKEET IF YOU HAVE TO promos, all of which are causing various people to freak the hell out and wonder if we should cancel plans, stay off the roads, save ourselves, etc.

I am braising a pork belly in cider and beer. Mr. A went to the liquor store yesterday and bought half. Of the store. Just … half. I ain’t canceling SHIT for two lousy inches. Somebody has to drink all this. So merry merry, everybody. Be well and warm, and know that one of the universe’s constants is that local news is crap.


It’s Not About the Patient

Judge declares North Carolina ultrasound law unconstitutional: 

Informed consent frequently consists of a fully-clothed conversation between the patient and physician, often in the physician’s office. It is driven by the “patient’s particular needs and circumstances” …  so that the patient receives the information he or she wants in a setting that promotes an informed and thoughtful choice. This provision, however, finds the patient half-naked or disrobed on her back on an examination table, with an ultrasound probe either on her belly or inserted into her vagina. … Informed consent has not generally been thought to require a patient to view images from his or her own body much less in a setting in which personal judgment may be altered or impaired. Yet this provision requires that she do so or “avert her eyes.” Rather than engaging in a conversation calculated to inform, the physician must continue talking regardless of whether the patient is listening. … The information is provided irrespective of the needs or wants of the patient, in direct contravention of medical ethics and the principle of patient autonomy. Forcing this experience on a patient over her objections in this manner interferes with the decision of a patient not to receive information that could make an indescribably difficult decision even more traumatic and could “actually cause harm to the patient.” … And it is intended to convey not the risks and benefits of the medical procedure to the patient’s own health, but rather the full weight of the state’s moral condemnation.

I had approximately three dozen transvaginal ultrasounds when trying to have Kick. Thirty-five of them were submitted to willingly, and they were often unsettling or uncomfortable.

One was done at the behest of a doctor I never should have listened to, who demanded I do it before he would consult on my case despite my insistence that he talk to me first. That one was horrifying, and I still shudder when I drive past the guy’s office.

All of those ultrasounds, however, made me feel profoundly vulnerable, and laws like this are designed to do exactly what the judge describes in this opinion: Make a woman who is already there because she has a problem feel like absolute shit for no reason at all. Republican legislatures do this in order to punish women. It’s the only possible reason for laws like this to exist.

And they will not save “unborn children,” either.


AHS Freak Show Thread: Orphans


It’s time for the much hyped and ballyhooed (not Bali H’aied) Freak Show post. Yeah, I know, I’m the only one who hyped it but narcissism is a vital component of blogging. I never thought I’d describe an episode of American Horror Story as poignant but Orphans was very poignant and touching and other emotions I pretend not to have. It’s bad for the curmudgeon business, y’all. I may even use the P word again after the break so beware, take care.

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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Cuban Peat edition

Good morning, gentle people! Well, hardly had the dust died down from the frantic self-back-patting the Freeperati had been doing since the midterms when something very interesting happened.

Fox News ^ | 2014-12-17 | Associated Press (AP)

Posted on ‎12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎00‎:‎18‎ ‎AM by WhiskeyX

[Headline only]

1 posted on 12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎00‎:‎18‎ ‎AM by WhiskeyX

Now I read John Cole most days, and I have to disagree with him 0n his analysis:

In the defense of Republicans, there used to be a train of thought that the way to liberate the world was through trade and travel, but that notion on the right is as dead as Dick Cheney’s dark heart after 70 years of eating cheesy Freedom Fries

Actually, that’s as wrong as it can be.

Don’t believe me? Check out the replies on this thread. There’s currently a uncivil war going on at Free Republic, with the “trade and travel” contingent (in alliance with the glibertarian contingent) fighting the Cold Warriors in a no-holds-barred death cage match.

First – the old guard:

To: WhiskeyX

Another example of him cozying with his commie pals.

GOP equals AWOL again.

2 posted on 12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎02‎:‎05‎ ‎AM by manc (Marriage =1 man + 1 woman,when they say marriage equality then they should support polygamy)

To: WhiskeyX

Well, ever since the Election, OTrauma has gone full-on Communist.

6 posted on  12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎0 6‎:‎47‎ ‎AM by Lazamataz (“Two parties, governing AGAINST the will of the people, not with the consent of the governed.” –MrB)

To: jalisco555
At this point, if Obama is for it, I am against it.



He’s been consistently anti-American.

9 posted on 12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎07‎:‎44‎ ‎AM by Lazamataz (“Two parties, governing AGAINST the will of the people, not with the consent of the governed.” –MrB)

But then….

To: WhiskeyX

It’s about time. I am certainly no fan of Obama but there are two things I expected him to do and am amazed he hasn’t done. The first was to end the pointless and self-destructive War on Drugs. The second was to end the cruel and pointless embargo on Cuba. This isn’t the 1960’s anymore and the Castros are dying. If we can have normal relations with China, Burma and Vietnam we can certainly have them with Cuba.

4 posted on 12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎06‎:‎11‎ ‎AM by jalisco555 (“My 80% friend is not my 20% enemy” – Ronald Reagan)

To: dfwgator
Castro needs the embargo, and he will make the conditions so unreasonable that the US will never agree to them.
We may see another outrage like happened the past few times this idea was floated. But I suspect not this time. And I have always wanted to visit Cuba. Why should the US government make me jump through absurd hoops to do it? Who are they to tell me where I can and cannot go?
12 posted on 12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎09‎:‎56‎ ‎AM by jalisco555 (“My 80% friend is not my 20% enemy” – Ronald Reagan)
To: jalisco555

I totally agree. Once people in communist countries are exposed to the “rest of the world” it doesn’t take long for the regime to fail or at the very least make major reforms.

20 posted on ‎12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎17‎:‎53‎ ‎AM by Minsc

To: WhiskeyX

It’s mostly a cuban-American issue and while I can understand their hatred of Castro it’s way, way past time that the embargo was ended.

24 posted on 12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎19‎:‎41‎ ‎AM by bkepley

To: dfwgator
There’s a little matter of all of that US-owned property Castro stole.
Not to mention the property stolen from Cuban exiles. So this will be messy, no doubt. But it’s time to end the isolation.
26 posted on ‎12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎21‎:‎43‎ ‎AM by jalisco555 (“My 80% friend is not my 20% enemy” – Ronald Reagan)

One of them even gets all snarky with it:

To: WhiskeyX

The Embargo against Cuba has worked for more than 50 years and with a little more effort and a little more time, the Embargo will certainly inspire the Cuban people to depose Castro.

29 posted on 12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎24‎:‎35‎ ‎AM by Oliviaforever

To: jalisco555

The embargo against Cuba hasn’t done anything but depress the Cuban economy and make Cuban cigars unobtainable. It hasn’t worked for fifty years, and it is time to try something new. Obama finally got one right.

Cynically, despite my agreement with Obama on this matter, I suspect that it takes Florida out-of-play for the Demoncrats in 2016.

33 posted on 12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎30‎:‎39‎ ‎AM by bagman

The Old Guard isn’t going to take this commie-coddling lying down, of course:
To: Batman11

Ted Cruz’s father, Rafeal(sic), should immediately take the opportunity to educate POTUS publicly on Fox or elsewhere.

38 posted on 12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎38‎:‎10‎ ‎AM by gwgn02

God doesn’t love me that much.
At this point, Cruz is probably spiking the old fart’s Metamucil with roofies, and/or having his goons make sure Dad doesn’t get within 50 miles of a reporter. After the public shutdown/nomination-enabling and consequent slut-shaming by his peers, Old Ted’s probably going to want to run this one through a couple of focus groups before he opens his yap again.
To: WhiskeyX

What? Obama foreign policies make no sense.

47 posted on 12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎59‎:‎17‎ ‎AM by The Ghost of FReepers Past (Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light….. Isaiah 5:20)

To: manc


57 posted on 12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎10‎:‎05‎:‎40‎ ‎AM by molson209 (Blank)

Well, it seems to have driven Freeperville to distraction.  400 comments as of Saturday morning and still climbing.
Before the jump, the comment of the thread!
To: jalisco555

My wife is from there, you’re not missing much.

13 posted on 12‎/‎17‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎10‎:‎53‎ ‎AM by dfwgator

Oh no you didnt
“dfwgator” sleeps on the couch tonight, and much more after the jump.
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When Killings Happen

So it’s time for politics now. 

It’s time for finger-pointing, now.

It’s time to talk about violent rhetoric and the impact of words and it’s time to talk about how we talk about what we talk about.


Not when Gabrielle Giffords was shot, or the children in Newtown died.

Not when Timothy McVeigh blew up a building. Not when George Tiller was gunned down.

Those times, those were not the times for politics. For finger-pointing. For reflection or re-examination or change or care.

Now. Now it’s the time.

Now it’s the time for disclaimers: Of COURSE nobody should shoot police officers (my grandfather was a cop, killed in the line of duty, by a criminal with a gun). Of COURSE this was unjustified, and horrifying, and wrong. And of COURSE the incitement provided by the murders of black people simply because white people saw them as a threat contributed to this, and of COURSE what politicians say matters.

But it mattered before.

It mattered what we said to each other, how we treated each other, what we heard from the pulpit, what we whispered in the pews. It mattered that we fought each other and feared each other. It mattered that a person who didn’t agree was an enemy traitor, that a person who didn’t look like us was a subhuman. It mattered that anyone who didn’t love what we loved and hate what we hated was worthy of nothing less than our scorching of everything they were.

It’s always mattered.

It’s just that now is the time. Apparently.




Sunday Morning Video: Santa Claus

Another Sunday, another MST3K holiday episode: