Headline Of The Day: Josh Marshall Edition

The Louisiana lege is in session, desperately trying to divert attention from the destruction it and Gov PBJ hath wrought in the last 7 years. (Contemplating the wreckage makes me feel all Old Testamenty hence the hath.)And what do GOPers do when they’re in such a fix? Find a social issue hot button to mash down on via legislative resolution. Ain’t no hotter button right now than marriage equality, and while you’re at it, demand the two Jewish  female Supremes recuse themselves. Here’s Josh Marshall’s headline on a post linking to the TPM story linked to above about the whole mishigas: I decided to … Continue reading Headline Of The Day: Josh Marshall Edition

Lazy (Media) Days

I’m never surprised when the national MSM media falls back on cliches and platitudes but it still bugs the living shit out of me. At a time when research has been made easier by the interwebs, they prefer spewing out the received knowledge of the conventional wisdom rather than doing any actual reporting. The political punditocracy are usually the laziest media cats, but some of the “reporting” out of Baltimore and the Supreme Court beat has been lazier than Oscar and Della on a hot August afternoon. I turned on MSNBC a few hours ago and they had two of the players … Continue reading Lazy (Media) Days

So, Did Anyone Else Watch The Daily Show Yesterday?

From Album 5 It wasn’t exactly funny: Judith Miller, in all her smug, unctuous glory, hawking a book I won’t read and copping an attitude I’ll never understand. The same attitude Rumsfeld has in the Errol Morris movie — not the slightest remorse, and even a bit of arrogance over, if not having pulled it off, having paid no price Nauseating. If you can stand the extended interview…you’re a stronger person than me. Continue reading So, Did Anyone Else Watch The Daily Show Yesterday?

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Lady Is A Lush

Most artists from the heyday of pulp fiction were relatively anonymous. That’s why I’m always interested in learning something, anything about any of them. The ode to day drinking below was designed and executed by Ron Lesser. I’m not “fresh from alcoholic frenzies” but writing this post did give me an earworm: Continue reading Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Lady Is A Lush

The Fog Of History: Last Days In Vietnam

Last night we watched the American Experience documentary Last Days In Vietnam. It’s quite simply an amazing film, and one doesn’t have to have supported that war to be moved by the tales of heroism by Americans and Vietnamese alike. It all happened 40 years ago, but director Rory Kennedy and some of the most interesting talking heads I’ve ever seen in a documentary make it come alive as if it happened the other day. There were vast swaths of the film that played like a thriller; the stories of individual bravery and moral courage. We all know the big … Continue reading The Fog Of History: Last Days In Vietnam

So Much For Outreach To Black Voters

Brogressive no more: Railing against what he repeatedly called “thuggery and thievery” in the streets of Baltimore, Paul told Ingraham that talking about “root causes” was not appropriate in the middle of a riot. “The police have to do what they have to do, and I am very sympathetic to the plight of the police in this,” he said. As for root causes, Paul listed some ideas of his own. “There are so many things we can talk about,” the senator said, “the breakdown of the family structure, the lack of fathers, the lack of a moral code in our … Continue reading So Much For Outreach To Black Voters

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Swingin’ Down Yonder

I’m still feeling a bit rat packy after they used a Dean Martin song at the end of Mad Men on Sunday.Or is that ratty and packy? I’m not sure which it is, y’all. Swingin’ Down Yonder was released in 1954 and was Dino’s first full length 33 1/3 LP. It’s essentially a songs of the South concept album. It employed some trad jazz (a term I prefer to Dixieland) themes and musicians. On the cover, Martin looks as if he’s eager to board that riverboat and steam on down to New Orleans without that annoying brat Jerry Lewis in tow. I’d … Continue reading Album Cover Art Wednesday: Swingin’ Down Yonder

Mad Men Thread: Everything Must Go


This week’s recap is late because it was like a bloody Carpenters song in New Orleans yesterday. John Phillips was obviously right: Monday, Monday can’t trust that day. If I recall correctly, the color of Roger’s jacket was a hue unknown to nature, electric blue. I had the electric blues yesterday: power flickers and internet wonkiness so I threw in the towel and decided to write this today. Too much information? Perhaps, but what’s a bit of oversharing among friends?

As much as I hate to agree with the conventional wisdom on anything, in this case I do: Time & Life was by far and away the best episode of the Season 7 rump of Mad Men. Glad I don’t have to give it a rump roast. There were plot twists aplenty, and it evoked some of the best past episodes of the series including this image of Pete Campbell in a wee punch-up at a fancy school in Greenwich, CT:


Remember in Season-5 when dweeby Brit Lane Pryce kicked Pete’s equally dweeby preppie ass? Jared Harris who played Lane directed this episode and I think he gave Vincent Kartheiser some pugilistic pointers. More random and discursive comments after the break or is that round? I promise to answer the bell.

Continue reading “Mad Men Thread: Everything Must Go”

We Deplore the Violence

On the reflexive need to lament violence, to condemn, to use the word peace as a passive one:  Non-violent resistance requires a kind of implicit reason on both sides. It requires that both sides see an end to matters, that they acknowledge, even tacitly, that there is a level of violent repression that is unsupportable in a civil society. But how does one reason in the face of brutalized futility? How does one reason in the face of repeated injustices, of unacknowledged crimes, and of injuries blamed not on the perpetrators, but on the victims? The logic of non-violent resistance … Continue reading We Deplore the Violence

Into the War

Attacks on the press, within and without, matter:   More and more news organizations began pulling their staff out of Syria, but they were still desperate for content from what would become one of the deadliest and geopolitically sensitive wars in history. Some organizations tried to hire local stringers to send photos and video footage, and others turned to a different alternative: freelance journalists. I was one of them. At that time, interviews with local, average Syrians, many of whom were trying to avoid aerial bombardments and to, more or less, survive, were lacking in the global media sphere. That was … Continue reading Into the War

‘You Call 911 and Nobody Answers’

Baltimore is burning. About five stores in the 600 block of Eutaw Street had busted windows and were looted after rioters came through about 4 p.m. Joe Lewis, 41, of Cherry Hill, said he and his brother tried to stop the rioters and urged them to move on. “If [police] don’t stop what they’re doing, I wouldn’t care if they called Jesus or the law down here,” he said. “They’re going to see a side of them they wish they never brought out.” Boubacar Sall said looters destroyed his sister’s store, Benita’s. They stole hair extensions, a television set and … Continue reading ‘You Call 911 and Nobody Answers’

Today on Tommy T’s obsession with the Freeperati – Dave’s not here edition

Hi all – Barbara and I are enjoying Playa Del Carmen, where the smartest thing anybody has ever done occurred – they restricted all buildings to three stories or less. If I wanted to go to a 24-story glass-and-steel monstrosity and have drunk college kids throw up down my back, I’d go to the Doubletree during Texas-OU weekend. See you guys in a week or so! I’ll enjoy waking up to the sounds of the howler monkeys that live in the rain forest center of the resort. They’ll probably make more sense than the Freeperati, and certainly throw their feces … Continue reading Today on Tommy T’s obsession with the Freeperati – Dave’s not here edition

The Weight of Every Lie

Yet again, we are poised to implement consequences for Brian Williams we are unwilling to impose upon anyone who made decisions to go to war:  A report tonight on the ongoing saga of Brian Williams reveals that NBC News discovered yet another embellishment of his, in the midst of its internal investigation into the many embellishments Williams made publicly. According to The New York Times, the NBC inquiry found Williams exaggerated his experience covering events in Tahrir Square during the Arab Spring in Egypt four years ago. The Times does not have much detail on what NBC learned, but recounts how Williams told Jon Stewart, in … Continue reading The Weight of Every Lie

112 People Covering People Who Should Be Covering Other People: The White House Correspondents Dinner

There’s no money for journalism anymore:  National Journal White House correspondent George Condon told me that, “If I could wave a wand, I’d eliminate the red carpet. I find the red carpet embarrassing.” Whiston says the red carpet is a big pain for her as well. “The hardest part of the dinner is handling the red carpet,” said Whiston. “It gets larger and larger. … There were 112 people covering the red carpet this year. That’s a lot of people.” Yes. Yes it is, at a time when we talk so easily about how hard it is to find the resources to … Continue reading 112 People Covering People Who Should Be Covering Other People: The White House Correspondents Dinner

Odds & Sods: Drive-In Saturday Edition

the-who odds--sods

It’s been a long week in New Orleans. I have two friends who were touched by tragedy. Sorry, y’all.

In a lesser disaster, the New Orleans Pelicans blew a 20 point lead in their first home playoff game in 4 years by ignoring one of the best players in the NBA, Anthony Davis, for the last 9 minutes of the game. I spent most of the game on Twitter ragging on Pelicans head coach Monty Williams who bears an eerie resemblance to  former Mayor C Ray Nagin. In his case, I only want him him fired, not incarcerated.

It’s the first weekend of Jazzfest, and I’m not feeling it. It used to be an event thrown by locals to which the world was invited. In the post-K world, it’s just another way to lure tourists and it’s priced for them. The Who are playing tomorrow and I’m not interested since I saw them in their prime and the worst Who set I ever saw was outdoors. While we’re on the subject of classic rock, here’s this week’s theme song:

Enough kvetching. I have some reading assignments after the break. There will be no pop quiz, not even about Aladdin Sane, the Bowie album from whence our theme song comes.

Continue reading “Odds & Sods: Drive-In Saturday Edition”

In response to anti-gay bullying awareness, teens enact anti-gay bullying

Bill Maher once noted of young conservatives that it’s totally understandable that they’re assholes at the age of 14: They’re too young for sex and too old to carry a blankie around everywhere, so it’s a very stressful time. If that’s the case, I’m calling for the school administrators at McGuffey High School in Claysville, Pennsylvania to start giving out Woobies or hookers in the next two days. News reports have more than 100 students at the school taking part in a protest against the Gay-Straight Alliance club’s Day of Silence by hosting an “Anti-Gay Day.” The anti-gay crew drew … Continue reading In response to anti-gay bullying awareness, teens enact anti-gay bullying

Malaka Of The Week: The New York Times

I don’t do a lot of hand wringing about the state of contemporary journalism. I mock. I criticize. I zing, but I don’t worry about things that I can’t control. While I’ve always respected the New York Times, I’m well aware of its imperfections: from critical blacklisting (Gore Vidal cordially loathed the Gray Lady for its treatment, or lack thereof, of his work after The City and the Pillar) to allowing Judith Miller to run amuck instead of muckrake after 9/11. I’m not even going to touch the Jayson Blair mishigas, and the terrible op-ed columnists on a page that was once home … Continue reading Malaka Of The Week: The New York Times

Is Your Washroom Thrift Store Breeding Selling Bolsheviks Satanism?

From Album 5 Pat Robertson — who was once considered a “serious” candidate for the Repug nomination for president — thinks … yes, possibly: ”Can demonic spirits attach themselves to inanimate objects? The answer is yes…so hey — it isn’t gonna hurt you any to rebuke any spirits that might attach themselves to those clothes.” To repeat, this person ran for president representing a major political party. Christ…pun intended. This is the same mentality that attributes disease to evil spirits…or “sin.” Imagine what things would be like if they held even more power. By the way, personally…no, I wouldn’t pray … Continue reading Is Your Washroom Thrift Store Breeding Selling Bolsheviks Satanism?

There’s a Way to Be a Person, Cops

Talk about tone-deaf:  A new billboard featuring a police officer who recently shot two men, one of them fatally, is causing controversy in Kenosha. The billboard includes a photograph of Kenosha Police Officer Pablo Torres and his dog and reads, “Thank you for your support, Kenosha.” Family and friends of Aaron Siler, 26, who was shot and killed by Torres, are outraged and calling for the billboard to be taken down. The culture of authoritarian bully-worship in this country is really out of control. Talking about a particular case or officer one way or the other here is beside the … Continue reading There’s a Way to Be a Person, Cops

Tweets Of The Day: Cool Ed Miliband Edition

British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband has a well-deserved reputation as a dweeby nebbish. Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell always depicts him as the human half of Wallace and Gromit. Miliband seems to finally be shaking that reputation after some spunky debate and teevee performances. Hell yes, seems to be his new mantra. I’m not sure if it will help him win the election but he’s been winning on Twitter in the last few days. Someone has started a photoshop crazy Twitter feed called @cooledmiliband. The thing has really taken off, which has led to various Twitteratti throwing images their way. Here are a … Continue reading Tweets Of The Day: Cool Ed Miliband Edition

The Futile Quest

Ever since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976 after a four year hiatus, there’s been a bizarre and sick attempt to find a  “humane” way to execute prisoners. The latest has popped up (where else?) in Oklahoma. They had to change their method after a botched execution lat year. The latest method is our old acquaintance, gas, but a different variety, which is being called “foolproof” by the idiot Governor of Oklahoma: Oklahoma became the first US state to approve nitrogen gas for executions under a measure Governor Mary Fallin signed into law Friday that provides an … Continue reading The Futile Quest

Not Quite On The Nose

Dr. A and I saw Woman In Gold the other day. It tells the surefire story of how a legendary Gustav Klimt painting and its rightful owner were reunited some sixty years after it was stolen by the Nazis from the family’s Vienna home. Most of the movie is quite good, and Helen Mirren is brilliant as, once again, an epic battleaxe, Maria Altmann. The script is strong on *why* Austria remains so squirrelly about its Nazi past and role in the Shoah: they were treated like a conquered people instead of willing participants in the crimes of the Third Reich. … Continue reading Not Quite On The Nose

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Hard Nose The Highway

I’m a big fan of Van Morrison’s early work but Hard Nose The Highway has always left me cold. It was something of a letdown after Van’s great run of studio albums from 1968 to 1972: Astral Weeks, Moondance, His Band and the Street Choir, Tupelo Honey, and my personal favorite St. Dominic’s Preview. I do, however, love the artwork by Rob Springett who also did the cover for a previous honoree, Herbie Hancock’s Thrust. It’s ironic that one of Van’s lesser albums had one of his best covers. I write it off to his artistic perversity and overall cantankerousness: Here’s the … Continue reading Album Cover Art Wednesday: Hard Nose The Highway

Each of Us a Stranger

I’m so, so glad Jacob is writing about this because most of what I’ve read about these fanboys and their tantrums makes me tired, and this doesn’t:  I think if we treated, say, casual litterbugs with the same blacklist techniques that we do unreconstructed idiots like those two above—once tainted, never to be redeemed—we could create a thriving subculture of people within a few days who would spend all their money on proudly buying garbage and spreading it on every lawn they see. Not like children saying “you think I’m bad, I’ll show you bad”—that is just about needing to … Continue reading Each of Us a Stranger

Roslin 2016

Female power on the small screen plays into — and against — stereotype:  In the years right before Hillary Clinton’s 2008 bid for the presidency, numerous different stories, mostly on television, posited some kind of female president, in what was, perhaps, a little micro-trend: Syfy’s “Battlestar Galactica” (2004), Rod Lurie’s CBS series “Commander in Chief” (2005), and “Prison Break” (2005; Patricia Wettig’s character became president in 2007). Interestingly, Aaron Sorkin’s “The West Wing,” arguably the most popular show about the presidency, never strayed into the territory of a female commander-in-chief. But that might be because the most prominent female candidate … Continue reading Roslin 2016