Monthly Archives: April 2015

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 to Anthony Lewis and Tom Wicker. I do, however, think they should give Maureen Dowd a blood-alcohol test before she writes her next rant about the perfidy of the Clintons. I visualize her downing 5 or 6 cocktails with Peggy Noonan before sitting down to write…

All of the preceding are the result of the Gray Lady being a large institution with both virtues and vices. There’s no excuse, however, for giving credibility to notorious right wing ratfucker, Peter Schweizer. And that is why the New York Times is malaka of the week.

Schweizer is either a highbrow James O’Keefe or lowbrow Rich Lowry. He’s oozed out of the Breitbart-o-sphere with a new book of dubious investigative journalism. I almost put the last two words in quotes but I think y’all catch my drift. I’ll let Charlie Pierce cue you into Schweizer’s take on what the dread Mark Halperin insists on calling Clintonworld and Hillaryland:

Schweizer has a long history of fudge and nonsense in service to the conservative cause. His career is a pure creature of the well-funded ideological terrarium of the modern conservative movement. His work is on behalf of something called the Government Accountability Institute, an oppo-research outfit richly funded by all the usual suspects. His book, then, starts in something of a hole, credibility-wise, at least by any standard of journalistic vetting that I ever heard of. But neither the Times nor the Post seems reluctant at all to pile into the same mud hole as Fox and Breitbart’s Mausoleum For The Chronically Unemployable.

That’s right, the NYT has crawled into  bed with the lying pukes at Fox and Breibart. I am less surprised that the WaPo is involved in this enterprise. Their role in the great WMD deception is well documented and their Fred Hiatt helmed editorial page remains a festering pustule of unrepentant warmongering. At least the Times lanced its Judith Miller boil, but Fred Hiatt is still rampant on the heights of American journalism like an ink stained Moloch. Damn, that was some flowery language but there’s something about the great WMD deception that makes me feel all hifalutin and shit.

The Times were among the primary purveyors of the Whitewater story and as Pierce put it “has had a hard-on for the Clintons” ever since. Vengeance over getting a story wrong is a lame reason to jump into bed with a ratfucker, but that’s what the Times has done here. Schweizer can now claim to be neutral, even-handed and objective because the Gray Lady says so. In a word: BOLLOCKS.

Speaking of excuses so lame that they limp, here’s what Times Washington bureau chief Carolyn Ryan told TPM:

We had access to some material in the book, but we wanted to do our own reporting.

Then why on earth didn’t you wait until the book was published? Now it looks as if they’re in collusion with Roger Ailes, and the ghost of Andrew Breitbart. The whole thing reminds me of a line from the camp classic 1966 movie The Oscar: “You lie down with pigs, you come up smelling like garbage.”

That’s what they’ve has done and that’s why the New York Times is malaka of the week.

Update: The NYT’s public editor has had more to say about the deal with the ratfucker. I’m not rescinding the malakatude crown of thorns. They also printed that dipshit anti-marriage equality op-ed by my dipshit Governor, so fuck them.

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 over any clothing from Goodwill or The Satanic, um, Salvation Army store…but I’d probably run it through the washing machine.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Fabulous Clipjoint

The tagline makes me wonder if Athenae and Mr. A have ever been to this hot spot. I sure hope not. I’d hate for them to get clipped at a clipjoint even if it’s fabulous and fictional.


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 point. The question now is do we go out of our way not only to shoot people, but to give their families the middle finger after they are shot?

I mean, let’s grant the officer every benefit, of every doubt. The people he shot were threatening his life and the well-being of innocents in his community. Let’s pretend we know for sure that’s case. Even knowing that, is this necessary? Is it good? Is it kind?

Can the Kenosha Professional Police Association maybe, just, like SHUT UP for a while, in deference to the families of the parties in this dispute who are currently not drawing breath? This isn’t asking the cops to be nice. This is asking the cops to not be extra-special dicks right now.

Kenosha police asked agents from the state Division of Criminal Investigation to investigate both shootings. The investigation into the shooting of Knight was turned over to District Attorney Robert Zapf’s office on March 20, and he determined this month that the shooting was justified.

The investigation into Siler’s death continues.

So can you fucking give them a minute? Jesus. Somebody dies, and let’s assume he’s an asshole who deserved it. Do you show up basically at his funeral and say WOW DID BOB SUCK OR WHAT?

Or do you step back for a minute, and say that given that I am alive and Bob is not, maybe I can do his loved ones the supreme service of not whipping my authority out and slapping it on the casket? Just until we find out if I had a right to kill him?


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 few examples of their handiwork:

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 alternative death penalty method if lethal injections aren’t possible, either because of a court ruling or a drug shortage.

Executions are on hold in Oklahoma while the US supreme court considers whether the state’s current three-drug method of lethal injection is constitutional. Supporters of the new law maintain nitrogen-induced hypoxia is a humane and painless method of execution that requires no medical expertise to perform.

“Oklahoma executes murderers whose crimes are especially heinous,” Fallin said in a statement announcing that she had signed the bill into law.

“I support that policy, and I believe capital punishment must be performed effectively and without cruelty. The bill I signed today gives the state of Oklahoma another death penalty option that meets that standard.”

There it is: the futile quest. There is NO WAY to humanely kill a human being. Any method is inherently cruel but depressingly usual. There seems to be no proof that this method will work quickly and humanely. It hasn’t been tested on lab rats or even on rattlesnakes or some other varmint native to the state. The first use will be on death row prisoners. This is shockingly casual even for a bloodthirsty state like Oklahoma.

The states in the death belt have spent years assuring us that lethal injections were not cruel but there’s mounting evidence to the contrary. They’ve argued that they’re more humane than the electric chair, gas chamber, or hanging. Lethal injections aren’t humane, they’re simply more sanitized than previous methods. In the context of capital punishment, humane = quick. The only quick methods of state sponsored murder than I can think of are the guillotine or firing squad. The first method conjures up images of Madame DeFarge kniting her way through beheadings and the second is only currently used by the state of Utah. I think the Beehive state is on to something: a bullet to the chest or head may be barbaric but it’s quick.

The only way around the futile quest is, of course, abolition of the death penalty but that’s not going to happen in the benighted states that populate the death belt. They’ll continue seeking an allegedly non-cruel and humane method of killing people until the Supreme Court does what it did in 1972 and declares it unconstitutional, which is a futile quest in and of itself.

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.

Woman In Gold is very strong in its depiction of the terrifying anti-Semitism that afflicted the Bloch-Bauer family in Vienna. The casting of Ryan Reynolds as Randol Schoenberg, Mirren’s lawyer, is problematical. Much is made of the fact that he’s the great composer Arnold Schoenberg’s grandson, which *is* an interesting point. It led me, however, to spend part of the movie staring at Ryan Reynolds’ button nose. Arnold Schoenberg had a large, magnificent nose that I would call a honker as does the real Randy Schoenberg.

Other than the nose, Reynolds was decent in the role, but the whole thing reminded me of the difference between a movie star and an actor. Reynolds put on glasses, wore ill fitting suits, and acted generally geeky but was unwilling to go all the way and wear a stage nose. Orson Welles wore a fake nose for almost every role, so I thought of him when contemplating the nasal aspect of Woman In Gold. He would have asked Reynolds: do you want to be a movie star or an actor? I think we know the answer.

Despite a script that sounded at times like a circa 1938 Warner Brothers melodrama, Woman In Gold is a good movie. I’d give it 3 stars, a Ebertian thumbs up, and an Adrastos grade of B.

We saw the film at the Prytania Theatre, which is celebrating its 100th Anniversary as a movie theatre. It’s one of the few single screen neighborhood theatres left in the country. We went to a weekday matinee and there was a bus full of elderly folks from an Uptown retirement community in attendance as well. As I waited in the lobby for Dr. A after the show, I heard an old, presumably Jewish, lady declare: “No Jew has a nose like that young man who played the lawyer.”

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 LP via the YouTube:

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 have boundaries, to feel safe—but like adults: “I know I’m not bad, so if you think this is bad, it must be very good. Or else why would I do it? And if you think it’s bad, then you’re bad. And whatever you think is good must be evil as hell.”

A new church would spring up within the year, The Fellowship of the Unrecycled Chik-Fil-A Bag. Some very few people would get very rich. The GOP would get wind of it, make littering a large plank in the platform, then use their time machine rhetoric to claim it always had been. “Ronald Reagan was a proud litterbug,” the posters would say. “Or else why would we do it?”

And too, recycling or carrying your own shopping bags would become the sign of the homosexual, feminazi, child-rapist, NPR-listening elite.

Would those people be evil? No, they would be dicks, but that’s already true of them, individually. They are looking for a part of the world they can make feel as bad as they, for whatever reason, feel. That’s the rank and file, at least. At the top would be people who do not themselves litter, but know a constituency and a consumer base when they see it.

Seeing consumer choices as your personality isn’t new, of course; which tailor you went to once upon a time was as important at which soft drink you drink is now, which is to say OH MY GOD SHUT UP. But I feel like what the Internet has done for this particular upfuckery is make us all aware of it, the things we tie ourselves to, and the things others tie themselves to.

Go read the whole thing.


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 for president, at the time, was Republican Elizabeth Dole, who briefly ran for the office in 2000. Geena Davis’ president in “Commander in Chief” is a Republican, Patricia Wettig’s Caroline Reynolds is implied to be conservative, and Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell), in “Battlestar Galactica,” exists in a universe without our political parties, but is demonstrably hawkish.

Actually Roslin was generally the voice of reason in the early days, when Adama was all kill-crazy. It was only later that she became Madam Airlock. Still, if her character provided in some small way a way in for women to appear in more powerful roles, I say SO SAY WE ALL.


Notre Dame to Cops: You Can Interview Rape Suspects. Just Don’t Tell the Athletic Department

We don’t want to know who on our roster is accused of raping people: 

Cottrell said during his early years on the Notre Dame force, officers were able to contact coaches or other athletic department employees in order to talk to student athletes who were the subjects of police reports on any type of case.

In one case involving a fight between two football players, Cottrell called head football coach Tyrone Willingham to ask for help getting in touch with one of the students.

“Willingham called the football player into his office and told me: ‘You can interview him right here,’ ” Cottrell recalled.

Willingham was coach from 2002 to 2004. Sometime after he left, Notre Dame officers were told they could no longer approach any coach or athletic department employee to reach a student athlete for questioning, Cottrell said.

Cottrell said the order came from NDSP Chief Phillip A. Johnson, who has worked for the campus police department since 1986 and became chief in 2007. Cottrell said he doesn’t know what prompted the change, or whether the decision came from Johnson or a higher-ranking campus administrator.

The change was announced verbally, he said. There was no similar policy for non-athletes, he said, such as those in student government or band.

Charming. I mean, on the one hand, I get that what happens off the field isn’t the coach’s concern, but on the other, knowing how these entrenched power structures mutate to protect themselves, it’s hard not to hear this as an effort to maintain plausible deniability.



Mad Men Thread: You Just Ooze Everywhere


Thus spake Sally at the end of The Forecast. She was aggravated at having to play second fiddle to both Betty and Don in this episode so she let Big Daddy have it like one of those pesky no-neck monsters in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. It didn’t work. Don reminded her how much like both parents she is. I quite agree. She wanted the limelight just like they do and was snippy over her friend Sarah’s flirting with Don as well as a certain person’s obvious infatuation with Betty. More about that later.

The Forecast was clearly the best episode of Season-7 mach two thus far. In the previous episode, Don looked back whereas this time around he asked all and sundry what their dreams and hopes for the future were. Neither Sally nor Peggy took it very well. In Peggy’s case, she was upset that Don wanted her to look past advertising and discuss the big picture. Don is having a hard time coping with the agency’s success and is appalled that Ted Chaough’s vision of the future was confined to advertising. Ted’s career crisis is clearly over. Me, I was appalled that Ted wasn’t wearing a sweater. What’s up with that, Teddy boy? It’s not nice to make me er, sweat…

As Don groped for a bigger meaning to life, I was brought back to the song that concluded Severance: Is That All There Is? Don has at least moved on from the Zou Bissou Bissou memorial penthouse by selling it.

More random and meandering comments after the break.  The Veep  circa 1970 might have even called me a nattering nabob of negativism. Note that I don’t call Spiro T Agnew my countryman, he didn’t embrace his ethnicity until he ran for national office. Oy, such malakatude.

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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Odds and Clods edition

Good Monday morning, people! Let’s suit up and hit the iso chamber – there’s some extra-stinky freepitude waiting for us,

First up – grave consequences!

Gravestone of Hillary Clinton’s father vandalized in Pa. cemetery ^ | April 15, 2015 | John Luciew

Posted on 4‎/‎15‎/‎2015‎ ‎7‎:‎41‎:‎05‎ ‎AM by prisoner6

Is nothing sacred? The question is being raised in wake of a disturbing discovery in a Pennsylvania cemetery: The gravestone of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s father has been found toppled over, NBC News is reporting.

According to NBC, police say vandals may be responsible for upending the gravestone of Hugh Rodham in the Washburn Street Cemetery in Scranton.


Of course it will be blamed on the evil Tea Party.

1 posted on 4‎/‎15‎/‎2015‎ ‎7‎:‎41‎:‎05‎ ‎AM by prisoner6
Gee – I wonder why that might be?
To: prisoner6

[ The gravestone of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s father has been found toppled over, ]

Was there a hole under it and the faint smell of sulfur wafting out of the hole?

33 posted on ‎4‎/‎15‎/‎2015‎ ‎9‎:‎43‎:‎28‎ ‎AM by GraceG (Protect the Border from Illegal Aliens, Don’t Protect Illegal Alien Boarders…)

Hmmm. Maybe it was the Amish?
To: prisoner6

He’s dead. “What difference does it make now”?

25 posted on ‎4‎/‎15‎/‎2015‎ ‎8‎:‎56‎:‎51‎ ‎AM by Huskrrrr

To: prisoner6
Of course it will be blamed on the evil Tea Party.

The vandals are on the left. We all know that.

4 posted on 4‎/‎15‎/‎2015‎ ‎7‎:‎43‎:‎49‎ ‎AM by FatherofFive (Islam is evil and must be eradicated)
Yep – definitely couldn’t have been a tea partier.
To: prisoner6

It was old man McCaffery, dressed like the Cemetary Creeper who knocked the gravestone over. He wants to scare people away from the cemetery so he can mine the gold deposits hidden below. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for that pesky old cankled woman in the Scooby van!

13 posted on ‎4‎/‎15‎/‎2015‎ ‎7‎:‎52‎:‎29‎ ‎AM by dead (I’ve got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)

Mystery solved! It was William Hanna and Joe Barbera!
Of course, it takes about 2 minutes for the False Flags(tm) to start flying…
To: prisoner6

False Flag operation to make Hillary the victim again?

5 posted on 4‎/‎15‎/‎2015‎ ‎7‎:‎44‎:‎39‎ ‎AM by Iron Munro (It IS as BAD as you think and they ARE out to get you.)

My mistake. That was 3 minutes and 34 seconds after the OP.
To: prisoner6

As crooked as the Clintons are, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was orchestrated in order for Hillary to play the sympathy card. This happens 3 days after she announces her run for President. Coincidence?

14 posted on ‎4‎/‎15‎/‎2015‎ ‎7‎:‎58‎:‎46‎ ‎AM by Durbin

Surely there must be something besides that tired old “False Flag” routine to put a different spin on this?
To: prisoner6

The story at the link does not say WHEN the stone was toppled, just that police say someone recently told them about it. Could have happened years ago; too bad there are no JOURNALISTS anymore who know how to report a full story. Correct headline is probably: “Hillary Neglects Father’s Grave”.

21 posted on 4‎/‎15‎/‎2015‎ ‎8‎:‎39‎:‎14‎ ‎AM by Chewbarkah

To: stilloftyhenight
Sadly, here in PA vandalizing graves has become pretty common. Young people with nothing better to do, drunk of on drugs, will wander through a graveyard tipping any headstones they can on their way through.
38 posted on ‎4‎/‎15‎/‎2015‎ ‎1‎:‎31‎:‎39‎ ‎PM by Kay Ludlow (Government actions ALWAYS have unintended consequences…)
Interesting that just that one was tipped over, though, innit?
One Freeper has a pang of regret for sophomoric behaviour (not sure if he’s talking about the tombstone-tippers, or the Freepers cackling about it):
To: prisoner6

This just sad. Seriously. I don’t like the Clintons or any one associated with them, but this sophomoric behavior is beyond me and they need to grow the heck up and get some humanity. Let the dead rest in peace.

9 posted on 4‎/‎15‎/‎2015‎ ‎7‎:‎46‎:‎47‎ ‎AM by stilloftyhenight (

A call for decorum!
Asked –
To: prisoner6
I would put this picture at the grave site with a caption something like:

“Hillary, we met your dad here on the other side. We introduced him to Bin Laden and then left him for dead.”

39 posted on 4‎/‎15‎/‎2015‎ ‎3‎:‎09‎:‎32‎ ‎PM by hattend (Firearms and ammunition…the only growing industries under the Obama regime.)
…and answered!
More Scooby Snacks after the Mystery Jump.

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The World is Always Burning: Game of Thrones Thread


Show me a picture of you now. And a picture of you before the thing that happened to you, that made you what you are.

Do those people look like each other?

Do you remember what it felt like, walking in that person’s skin?

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Make Room, Judith Miller

There’s really only one question she should be asked. 

Where are the profits from your book going?

Are they being given to charities that make prosthetic limbs for the soldiers returning from the war?

Are they being given to an Iraqi family that is homeless? To a child that is orphaned? To a city or town bombed or burned or overrun?

Are they being used to dig wells, to buy generators, to lay sewer pipes? Are they purchasing back the cultural heritage looted in the chaos following the war about which you were “proved fucking right?”

If they are not, then get the fuck out of the green room, you goddamn ghoul. Make room on the couch for somebody, anybody, who was right about the war you were so staggeringly wrong about.

Make room for Joe Wilson, for Valerie Plame, for Cindy Sheehan, for Howard Dean, for every one of a hundred thousand people who shut down the goddamn streets back in 2002 so that we maybe might not do this. Make room for any one of the 156 members of Congress who were not chickenshit, who did not fail in their duty, who were not interested in sucking up or knuckling under.

Make room for the reporters who weren’t jerking themselves off about their access at a party. Make room for the bloggers and the writers and the artists and the singers who were told to shut up and sit down if they didn’t want to wave flags around and yell. Make room for the smelliest hippie with the rudest T-shirt you can think of, the one with the book about Che in his Army surplus backpack, because he has more to say about this than you ever should.

Make room for people, even, who admitted their mistakes and tried to fix them. Make room for people who tried, too late, to stop things from getting worse. Make room for John Kerry and John Edwards and everybody who turned around on Bush not in 2005 when it was convenient but in 2003 when nobody could be bothered.

Make room for those still fighting the war. Make room for a soldier or a sailor or a Marine. Make room for somebody who faced actual consequences, whose family might miss a meal, as a result of world events. Make room for somebody who was in danger of something more drastic than mean things being said about them on the Internet. Make room for somebody who didn’t just tour the war zone. Make room for the first guy into the war and the last guy out. Make room for somebody whose boots have dust on them, because he or she will have more to say than you.

Make room for her. And him. And him. And her. Make room for them. For these people. These. And these.

Make room for people who can talk like grown-ups. Your book should be one sentence long. It should say, “I am sorry about all the dead people.”

Have the good sense to say that and go the fuck away, and make room for somebody who matters.


This Needs To Be A Movie Right Now

Holy crap, this is cool: 

 In 1958, Congress permitted its library to establish locations overseas. Specifically, they’re set up when research materials can’t be retrieved any other way.

The library collects resources from just about every country and language; typically, acquisitions staff work with international vendors, who send materials to the library’s Capitol Hill home. But this model doesn’t work in areas without a robust infrastructure, or those ruled by regimes with little interest in sharing.


Sunday Morning Video: Richard Thompson Live In 2013

Here’s the Richard Thompson Band live on BBC 4:

Odds & Sods: Saturday Night Fish Fry

the-who odds--sods

I’m back for another bite at the Saturday apple, hope y’all have a Gala time. This week I have a compendium of reading suggestions and the odd musical selection. Speaking of odd, that brings us to this week’s theme song courtesy of one of the forgotten founders of rock and roll, Mr. Louis Jordan:

I’ve long thought that Jordan is underrated because he was funny. Funny people are usually underrated, especially in the realm of popular music where the solemn often win the day. Just a crackpot theory, more oddity and soddity after the break. Continue reading

Bigotry Is Bad For Business

I didn’t know that Dave Duke had moved to Jersey:

“No matter what you are — Muslim, Jewish, black, white, gay, straight — you should be proud of what you are. I shouldn’t have to feel bad about being white,” Boggess told the Hunderdon County Democrat in March.

However, many people had a problem with Boggess’ sign, including his neighbor, Bhakti Curtis, who accused Boggess of “mocking Black History Month,” according to the Hunterdon County Democrat.

Boggess took down the sign after a few days and apologized to Curtis.

However, it seems the apology was not enough to keep Boggess in business. Boggess closed his deli and has started a GoFundMe page for his deli in hopes of raising money to reopen.

“It was only supposed to be a white thing but people read more into it than that,” Boggess wrote on his GoFundMe page about his sign. “I did get tons of supporting letters from all across the USA. Which was very comforting during such a stressful time.”

“Then the bottom dropped out and customers were no longer coming into my deli, and now I am forced to close down my Deli and lose my American dream. I have become heavily in debt and getting shut off notices from everywhere for both business and home,” Bogess continued in his note. “I don’t think I deserve this just because I wanted to be proud of being white and be able to celebrate my heritage like everyone else does.”

As of early Friday morning, Boggess had raised $215.

I don’t know about you, but I have no idea what a “white thing” is or  what “white history month” would look like. Did Boggess plan to show episodes of Fifties sitcoms like Ozzie and Harriet, Leave It To Beaver, or Father Knows Best? He clearly didn’t not know best despite having an awesome surname, which sounds like the Blogess.

Here’s the deal: controversy isn’t good for business. It’s a cliche, but the only color that matters is green. There was a local business, whose name I won’t mention to protect the guilty, that did some serious trolling on Twitter last year. Their act included gay baiting and egregious gun nuttery. It was a classic case of keyboard courage because the offensive tweets were deleted within an hour post-outburst. After a series of flame wars, the stupid tweets stopped and the whole thing ended up in the dustbin of internet history. The moral of that story is: use your business feed to promote your product, service or whatever and not your opinions, especially if you’re a dumbass

I hate to see anyone’s business damaged by something like this BUT it’s a self inflicted wound. I guess Boggess was hoping to emulate the Indiana pizza bigot’s tin cup rattling but it’s been a flop thus far. Next time maybe he’ll think first before doing something like this. Then again, thinking doesn’t seem to be his strong suit.

Repeat after me: Bigotry is bad for business.

Internet to Grieving Family: Your fucking 2-year-old started this…

I still remember the name and cause of death of every dead kid I ever covered as a reporter. It’s not a small list, either.

There was the 4-year-old AIDS victim, the 17-year-old drunk driver, the 12-year-old who was playing with a gun… The list goes on from there in a brutal recounting of wounds that never healed.

The only saving grace in any of these stories was that it always seemed like there was a communal moment of sadness for these families and their loss. In the wake of this crippling pain was a small halo of sympathy before people moved on.

Randall Terry got none of this as a series of tragic (and yes I mean that in the way Shakespeare wrote) events diminished his family and placed him in the public eye.

Damani Terry, the man’s 2-year-old son, was at a birthday party when he ran out into the street, the way a million other kids have done a million other times.

Every kid who ever did this has heard an adult scream, “You’re going to get hit by a car if you do that again!”

Damani never had a chance. A van, driven by Archie Brown Jr., ran the boy over.

As Brown stood over the boy, distraught and anguished, Damani’s uncle, Ricky Ricardo Chiles III, retrieved a gun and shot Brown dead. In the process, Chiles also shot his own 15-year-old nephew, Rasheed Chiles. On Thursday, as authorities closed in on him, Chiles shot and killed himself.

There was so much wrong with this that it would just turn a normal person inside out.

Damani was just a toddler who made one tiny mistake. Reports on Brown’s actions show that he was not driving recklessly and made no attempt to leave the scene. Had he perpetrated a hit-and-run, we would all admonish him, but he’d still be alive. Instead, by owning up to what happened, he died.

Ricky Chiles was already a one-time loser in the criminal justice system. He was a felon on extended supervision who wasn’t supposed to have access to a gun. Yet there he was on the street, displaying both a lack of impulse control and vengeful rage that would lead to a total of four deaths.

How do we make sense of this? How do we come to grips with this? How many ways can we ask why?

Don’t worry. That’s why we have the Internet:

In the days that followed, Terry said, their family became the subject of hatred and threats on social media. People they didn’t know cursed their son, blaming the 2-year-old for setting off the chain of events that traumatized the community by running into the street. Online commenters called for Tidwell’s arrest, saying she should be thrown in prison for not supervising her child closely enough.

In other words, “Fucking 2-year-old! Get your shit together!”

Lock ‘em up. Blame ‘em good. Nice call there, John Wayne. I’m sure there’s no problem out there that your caps lock and lack of grammar can’t solve. Because that’s what needs to happen here: Someone needs to be punished and blamed so we can all go back to eating Cheetos and watching “American Idol.” Once we solve this, we’re ready to be done with the “hard stuff” like four lives cut short for no good reason.

Every time I had to write about some of this “hard stuff,” I felt the ripples of these people’s anguish. I mourned in my head while I had to ask things like, “So you were told that she was legally intoxicated before she crashed the car?” One time, a woman told me that my story about her son had so injured the boy’s father that he wasn’t able to go to his son’s funeral. She told me she held me personally responsible for that. It’s been decades and that still won’t go away. That’s why it’s so hard for me to see this:

The couple ignored the hateful comments and had planned to join Brown’s family at a vigil Wednesday evening — the day one of Damani’s sisters turned 6. But a pastor phoned Terry and told them not to come, fearing for their safety in light of the online harassment.

I don’t know if this is an Internet thing, a dissociation thing or just that people are generally bigger and louder assholes these days. I also don’t know if these social-media warriors will ever have a moment that causes them to regret their simple-minded “There-I-Fixed-It” rantings. I do know that this family will never be the same and neither will anyone who reads about what happened this week.