Monthly Archives: June 2015

The War Isn’t Over

We’re still failing the survivors: 

“In more than 20 years, the VA attempted to reach just 610 of the men, with a single letter sent in the mail,” NPR reporters said. “Brad Flohr, a VA senior adviser for benefits, says the agency couldn’t find the rest, because military records of the experiments were incomplete. There was no identifying information, he says. No Social Security numbers, no addresses, no … way of identifying them.”

But an NPR research librarian, working just two months using VA’s own list to scour public records, found more than 1,200 of the subjects.

The radio journalists interviewed more than 40 living test subjects and family members. The volunteer troops had been unwittingly subjected to mustard gas to test the effectiveness of masks inside a gas chamber –at a time when U.S. intelligence feared use of such gas by the Germans and Japanese.

These are the things we don’t think about when starting a new war every month.


Speaking of Things Just Happening: Ron Fournier Finds the Republican Party Just Too, Too Dumb Now

Guys, which one of you woke up Ron? I thought we’d agreed not to disturb him until the primaries were over:

Yeah, they sure are dumb! Gosh, this is new, them being dumb! I wonder how they managed to amass so much power and visibility and from whence came the idea that they could be this dumb and get away with it? Certainly couldn’t have been from the utter lack of expectations continually placed upon them while their opponents are expected to be Hannibal atop an elephant every fucking day.

I mean, it’s not like these dumb dumb dumb people could have any reasonable hope of continuing to be treated like adequate adults by people like Ron Fournier, right? It’s not like no matter what they say, they’ll be able to keep getting a free pass on things like bigotry and obstruction while bright lights like Ron Fournier blame it all on Democrats, right?

I swear, this deploring of the Confederate-American Clown Car by those in the press who long for someone to express backward thinking and horrendous prejudice as politely as Old Dead Sainted Dad Reagan did is one of the most disgusting and ridiculous rituals of the past two decades.

They are this stupid because they’re this stupid, Ron. They’ve been this stupid for a while. It has nothing to do with a poll-tested fight for debate status (the plebes, making decisions!) and everything to do with your desperate, endless attempts to make them seem serious so you don’t have to admit that everything you spent the late 90s saying was wrong.


Corporate Welfare Leads to Diminished Returns

Back when I was covering land-use issues in the suburbs, we used to write the same story every week: A Jewel, or a Wal-Mart, or a Target, or somebody representing one of the many big-box stores in the area would propose a giant strip mall, and ask that taxes be reduced because this exciting new development — totally different from the other 40 CVS-dry cleaner-nail salon developments within driving distance — would EVENTUALLY provide incredible vitality and jobs to the town on which it so generously bestowed itself.

The town fathers would then fall all over themselves to argue that they MUST prove they loved said development more than the next craphole over, and give bigger tax breaks than they anticipated would be offered by said craphole.

(The school districts, natch, were silent on the matter.)

And all those promised benefits? 

Marquette has been hit hard by a tactic that the country’s biggest retailers are using to slash their property taxes. Known as the “dark store” method, it exemplifies the systematic way that these chains extract money from local governments. It’s also the latest example of the way that, even as local governments across the country continue to bend over backwards to attract and accommodate big-box development, these stores are consistently a terrible deal for the towns and cities where they locate.

Marquette is one of the countless places that has bought into big-box economic development. Over the years, the township in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan spent millions extending water mains, law enforcement, and other infrastructure and services to its big-box commercial corridor along U.S. 41. When the Lowe’s opened there in 2008, local officials including the mayor turned out for a “board-cutting” ceremony—the home improvement center version of a ribbon-cutting.

Then, less than two years later, Lowe’s flipped the script. The mega-retailer, which reports annual net sales of about $50 billion, went to tax court to appeal its property tax assessment. Marquette had pegged the taxable value of the store, which had just been built for $10 million, at $5.2 million. In front of the Michigan Tax Tribunal, an administrative court whose members are appointed by the state governor, Lowe’s won assessments that were, instead, $2.4 million in 2010, $2 million in 2011, and $1.5 million in 2012.

So less money goes to the schools, the libraries, the towns that shelled out infrastructure improvements and tax “incentives” and everybody just wonders how the whole world went broke all of a sudden. It must have just happened on its own!


Malakas Of The Week: Whiny Alabama Neo-Confederates

In a world full of real problems-including a financial shitstorm in my ancestral homeland-this week’s honorees are a bunch of whiny titty babies outraged about the removal of a piece of cloth from a Confederate monument near the Alabama state capitol. And that is why whiny Alabama neo-Confederates are malakas of the week.

If you’re like me and avidly read Tommy T,  you know that today’s wingnuts are into high drama and idiotic invective. They are also preternaturally delusional and prone to use Nazi analogies. My firm rule of political discourse is that if you resort to Nazi analogies, you’ve lost the argument. Ain’t nothing in Merica remotely as bad as the Hitler-Himmler-Goering-Goebbels gang:

Confederate flags returned to the cradle of the Confederacy on Saturday as hundreds of flag supporters arrived at Alabama’s Capitol to protest the removal of four rebel flags from a Confederate monument next to the building where the Confederacy was formed.

 Standing at the bottom of the Capitol’s steps, where 50 years ago Martin Luther King Jr. led a march for civil rights, Tim Steadman said it wasn’t right to remove the flags.

“Right now, this past week with everything that is going on, I feel very much like the Jews must have felt in the very beginning of the Nazi Germany takeover,” he said. “I mean I do feel that way, like there is a concerted effort to wipe people like me out, to wipe out my heritage and to erase the truths of history.”

Days earlier, Gov. Robert Bentley had ordered the flags taken down from the 1898 monument amid national controversy about whether Confederate symbols should be displayed on state grounds.

The whiny titty baby neo-Confederate malakas trotted out the Reconstruction era term scalawag to describe the very conservative Alabama Governor. Unfortunately the article spelled it “scallywag.” The reporter must have asked one of the neo-Conferderate malakas how to spell it. In my experience, dumbasses can’t spell. It’s part of their heritage as malakas.

More egregious malakatude after the break.

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Fuck Yeah, Jefferson Parish

The floodgates are finally opening in Louisiana:

Jefferson Parish will begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses to anyone who applies for them on Monday, Clerk of Court Jon Gegenheimer said.

 Gegenheimer’s office made the decision about 10 a.m. after speaking with his agency’s legal counsel, attorney John Litchfield. Litchfield spent the weekend reviewing the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision on Friday to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide and said Jefferson Parish should begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples immediately.

By about 10:30 a.m., Gegenheimer said, Jefferson Parish issued what appeared to be Louisiana’s first same-sex marriage license to a pair of women whose names are Celeste Autin and Alesia LeBoeuf.

Autin and Leboeuf work in the Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court’s Office, Gegenheimer said.

Common sense and personal knowledge trump malakatude from the Governor and Attorney General. This makes the otherwise very conservative Mr. Gegenheimer a good next door neighbor indeed. One could even call this a Gegenheimer maneuver…

Orleans is the most gay friendly parish in the state, but it’s also the only one where the Gret Stet guvmint issues marriage licenses at a state office building. To be fair, if this were up to the Mayor and Orleans Clerk of Court, we would have been the first in the state.

It’s unclear exactly when couples will be able to marry but I suspect it will be sooner than the 25 days mentioned in the article.

Meanwhile, Gov. Jindal is reduced to sputtering irrelevant inanities about abolishing the Supreme Court to save money. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

UPDATE: A New Orleans couple obtained a license in Jefferson Parish and were married by an Orleans Parish judge. Congratulations to Michael and Earl.

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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Golden Oldies edition

Good morning, all! Once again, the backlog of unopened drums of stinking Freepitude is spilling out of the storage room, so it’s time for some cleanup.

In reverse chronological order…

First up – up – up – uppity!

Texas woman suspended from job after allegedly starting controversial McKinney pool fight
My SA ^ | 6/11/15 | Joshua Fechter

Posted on 6‎/‎11‎/‎2015‎ ‎2‎:‎29‎:‎02‎ ‎PM by Oliviaforever

A California-based company has placed a Texas woman on administrative leave for her part in a controversial pool incident in McKinney that went viral after footage surfaced of a police officer pinning down a 15-year-old black girl.

1 posted on 6‎/‎11‎/‎2015‎ ‎2‎:‎29‎:‎02‎ ‎PM by Oliviaforever

To: Oliviaforever

Ridiculous! And take note that it was one of those commie black activist groups that launched this attack on this woman’s career and financial well-being by now making her dispute with that mob a company issue.

3 posted on 6‎/‎11‎/‎2015‎ ‎2‎:‎43‎:‎00‎ ‎PM by Timber Rattler (Just say NO! to RINOS and the GOP-E)

To: TexasFreeper2009

They are going to have to prove that Tracey made comments that can be seen as racist. However, Texas is an Employment at Will state and a person can be fired without cause.

6 posted on 6‎/‎11‎/‎2015‎ ‎2‎:‎51‎:‎35‎ ‎PM by Oliviaforever

And who exactly pushed for that legislation, exactly?

“Hoist on their own petard” comes to mind here…

Where’s the insightful analysis we’ve come to expect from Freeperville?

To: absalom01

“And the people who caused the whole problem……..”The real problem causers were those that owned the rent houses, who rented to the African Americans, allowing them to move into a neighborhood of white-flighters.

So when the young teenagers of color started getting uppity, this woman had to put them back in their place

29 posted on 6‎/‎11‎/‎2015‎ ‎3‎:‎38‎:‎14‎ ‎PM by Ben Ficklin

Ah – there we go.

More crazy after the uppity “Continue Uppity Reading” link below…

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Chris Squire, R.I.P.

Members of the musical group Yes: Trevor Rabin, left to right, Alan White, Chris Squire, Jon Anderson and Tony Kaye in an 1984 file photo. (Gannett News Service)

Yes in 1984. From left to right: Trevor Rabin, Alan White, Chris Squire, Jon Anderson and Tony Kaye. (Gannett News Service)

Yes co-founder and bassist Chris Squire has died at the age of 67. Squire was an amazing musician whose signature rumbling bass was the lead instrument on many songs. Chris Squire’s unique style was often copied but never surpassed. When it comes to his beloved band, Yes, he was the only one who was a member of each and every incarnation, which makes him, in a word,  irreplaceable. He will be greatly missed by his band mates and many fans.

The best way to honor his memory is for Yes to be voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at long last.  There will be a few musical selections in his honor after the break.

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It’ll Soon Shake Your Windows and Rattle Your Walls

It’s turning into “where were you when you heard?”


It’s turning into “what was life like, before the war?”


It’s turning into the biggest change, the biggest alteration, and it only took a decade.

Except it didn’t. It took a hundred lifetimes.

I think we have this idea, in America. We have this idea, because our stories are still largely written by a past generation, that before 1960 everybody was okay with black people being subjected to Jim Crow and gay people being arrested for dancing in a club and women being felt up in the elevator. And after 1960 all that got fixed and suddenly gays were out of the closet and women were free to do whatever and black people were full citizens everywhere.

We have this idea of a stark dividing line: a before, and an after, and we think we know when it was.

(White people, generally, and men. White women, too, a lot, especially if we’re middle-upper class and kind of sheltered.)

And then a week like this one comes roaring down from the mountaintop and we realize we weren’t in the after.

We were in the before.

Many, many people prior to the Civil War were not okay with owning slaves. Many, many people prior to the Voting Rights Act were not okay with continuing to punish black people for the North winning that war, either.

Many, many people were living lives worthy of respect and dignity at risks to themselves that I can only shudder at today. If Mr. A were Mrs. A and this was 1815, the authorities could take my family away. How do you feel about your family? I will Red Wedding you, I swear, you come near mine. Despite that, the people in these photographs held one another tight.

We don’t know their names. We never will. We don’t know when this fight — the private, quiet one, preceding the public ones — began; probably around the time feminism began, or racial disparities, ie around the time the first person stood up on hind legs and uttered words.

They didn’t know they were living in their before, until they saw their after. Until Stonewall and Selma and Seneca Falls, until property laws and the Voting Rights Act and the fight Harvey Milk picked with the whole damn world.

(Many of them didn’t see it, lived and died in silence, their courage unknown. It’s things like that, make me wish I believed in a literal heaven.)

It will be amazing to my daughter that we once cared who you married. If she grows up to like girls, I could still be the mother of the bride and she will think nothing of it. She will say, “I can’t believe you used to live this way.”

Photo by

Photo by

Which is what every new thing says to the old. What every after says to every before. We hear it as condemnation, and it is. We hear it as repudiation, and it is. The old world is rapidly aging. A young woman scaled the flagpole outside the South Carolina statehouse Saturday morning, in the dawn’s early light, and tore the Confederate battle flag down.

They can raise it again, but they can’t erase the sight. They can’t erase that it happened.

And every act of courage, as large as scaling a flagpole and as small as holding a hand, brings us just a little farther forward. Every lifetime has a before, and an after. We only know it when we cross the line.

Where were you when you heard? I was at my computer at work, and the news came over Twitter. I can’t believe we used to live the way we did — in fear, in inequality, in being so threatened by the happiness of others that we would demean the very existence of love.




Sunday Morning Video: Aretha Franklin Live At Fillmore West


The Queen of Soul played a legendary 3 night stand at the Fillmore West in San Francisco in March of 1971. The band leader was the great saxophonist King Curtis and Ray Charles joined Aretha on stage for Spirit In The Dark. The set is full of Aretha’s fine interpretations of popular rock songs. The shows were recorded and released as the classic live album Aretha Live At Fillmore West. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

The video quality isn’t fabulous but the sound and performance are first rate. Enjoy.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – special “Boy – when things go wrong” edition

My goodness – I certainly am getting out of my Monday morning box often these days, but this hasn’t been the best few days to be a Freeper.

First there was this:

Bristol Palin: Second Out-of-Wedlock Pregnancy (Sorry Mom)
TMZ ^ | 25 June 2015 | TMZ Staff

Posted on ‎6‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎19‎:‎07‎ ‎PM by Steely Tom

Bristol Palin just threw cold water on what’s supposed to be a joyous occasion … being pregnant.

Palin’s in the early stages of her second out of wedlock pregnancy, and this time she’s full on grumpy, saying she knows it will be “a huge disappointment to my family, to my close friends, and to many of you.”

Bristol says she’s “trying to keep [my] chin up on this one.”

Sarah Palin’s daughter was engaged to U.S. Marine veteran Dakota Meyer, but they broke things off last month. Bristol didn’t say if Dakota’s the dad.

Bristol was full of piss and vinegar, saying, “I do not want any lectures and I do not want any sympathy.”

She famously had her son, Tripp, with Levi Johnston in December 2008. They broke up a few months later.


1 posted on 6‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎19‎:‎07‎ ‎PM by Steely Tom
Uh oh. Here comes the shitstorm.
To: Steely Tom

I’m assuming the father is her ex-fiancee.What a mess. She needs to get off of social media and find a career she can lose herself in.

4 posted on 6‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎23‎:‎32‎ ‎PM by CaptainK (…please make it stop. Shake a can of pennies at it.)
You’re kidding, right?
This IS her career.
To: Blue Jays
The girl is stupid.
Of course, if she would just have an abortion, the left would love her.

12 posted on 6‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎25‎:‎26‎ ‎PM by ilovesarah2012

No, I don’t think I could love her any more than I do right now.
To: CaptainK
“I’m assuming the father is her ex-fiancee.”
Or if he’s not the father, that’s probably the reason he IS the ex-fiancee.

16 posted on 6‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎26‎:‎41‎ ‎PM by Boogieman

To: Steely Tom

I like Bristol, and you people should give this poor girl a break.

It’s not like anybody else has figured out what causes this.

25 posted on 6‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎29‎:‎00‎ ‎PM by meadsjn
Meadsjn, you and your folks need to have a talk.
To: Steely Tom

Has this girl never heard of abstinence or birth control?

Wait… wasn’t she going around giving lectures on abstinence?

34 posted on 6‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎31‎:‎45‎ ‎PM by CAluvdubya (
To: Steely Tom
She needs to keep her legs closed. No sympathy from me. She is no better than a dog in heat. Calls herself a Christian! What a joke, but that is new way they do things nowdays have your children from multiple fathers, and be married after 40 years of age to someone whom is not the father of any of the offspring. The new morals of America! What values did the parents teach!

42 posted on ‎6‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎35‎:‎20‎ ‎PM by hondact200 (Cruz: Stop trying to unload the trainload of manure on the American Conservative)

Aw, go ahead, guys.  Quit prevaricating, and saying that Our Sarah is not to blame for how her daughter turned out, and it doesn’t matter because she’s technically an adult, and all that crap.
Go ahead and say it – you know you want to.
To: Steely Tom
You can fill the trailer with cash, but the occupants are still trash.147 posted on 6‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎6‎:‎19‎:‎21‎ ‎PM by montag813 (Pray for Israel)

There – now, isn’t that better?
To: Steely Tom

That explains why Sarah is lying low when she could have been running for president or at least more active in furthering the conservative cause than she has been. I hope this Bristol realizes that through her poor decisions, she has utterly and completely destroyed the once promising political career of her mother. Not to mention denying the nation a conservative voice they could have really benefited from at this time.

Yes, she’s an adult. Which makes this even more inexcusable.

43 posted on ‎6‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎36‎:‎22‎ ‎PM by SamAdams76
And now – the post of the thread!
To: Steely Tom

I do not know what “SMH” means, but Bristol evidently has no morals. One doesn’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

For the record, I’ve been celibate for the past 32 years. I know what is involved in saying “NO!”.

3 posted on 6‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎22‎:‎55‎ ‎PM by SatinDoll (A NATURAL BORN CITIZEN IS BORN IN THE US OF US CITIZEN PARENTS.)

To: SatinDoll

“For the record, I’ve been celibate for the past 32 years. I know what is involved in saying “NO!”.

What a surprise to find my wife here on FreeRepublic!

59 posted on 6‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎43‎:‎29‎ ‎PM by MNDude (God is not a Republican, but Satan is certainly a Democrat.)

OK folks – special Saturday fun is just beginning. Follow me below the abstinence line for Freeper reactions to teh gays taking over the Supreme Court, and the ACA ruling meltdown!

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Reelin’ In The Years

Sideshow banner by Fred G. Johnson.

Sideshow banner by Fred G. Johnson.

Summer has arrived with a vengeance here in the Gentrified Kingdom and it’s a cruel mistress indeed. You never quite get used to a New Orleans summer but the first month is the hardest; eventually you adapt or become completely languid. That’s Oscar and Della’s response: they are liquid kitties right now and spend as much time on the relatively cool wood floors as possible. Hmm, Liquid Kitties sounds like a band name.

It’s been a pretty good week for us Lefties and a bad one for homophobic, anti-Obamacare, Confederate flag wavers. They tend to be one and the same in my experience. I had an amusing exchange with my blogger comrade in arms and fellow Deadhead Monkeyfister on Twitter yesterday:

On to this week’s theme song. I recall the first time I heard Reelin’ In The Years and being blown away by Skunk Baxter’s lead guitar. Trivia time: Jeff Skunk Baxter is now a defense consultant and a zealous right winger. It’s a far cry from his time as a long haired guitarslinger for Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers.  Speaking of creeps, the first of two live versions is introduced by Bill Cosby. This clip makes it crystal clear that Steely Dan’s success had nothing to do with their looks. The second rendition is a radically re-worked arrangement from their return to the stage in the 1990’s.

More stowin’ away the time after the break. I’ll try not to drop any more gs than necessary.

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Never kept a dollar past sunset
It always burned a hole in my pants
Never went to school, but I’m happy
Never blew a second chance

-“Happy” Rolling Stones

On a nearly perfect June evening, Mom and I braved the most ridiculous traffic jam this side of New York City to squeeze into the Summerfest grounds and witness four men with a collective age of more than 280 years ply their trade.

The Rolling Stones had included Milwaukee as one of their stops along the 15-city “Zip Code” Tour the band crafted in honor of the re-release of the 1971 “Sticky Fingers” album. Eschewing Chicago for Milwaukee was kind of a stunner, but what made it even more shocking was the choice of venue: The Marcus Amphitheater. This 26,000-seat shit-box on the shores of Lake Michigan lacked the sound system, seating capacity and stage options associated with other places in Milwaukee. Still, it was where the band went, so that’s where we went.

I had seen the band in 1994, when the Stones visited Camp Randall in Madison. Mom hadn’t gotten the chance in the 10 stops the band had made in Cream City since 1964, and this was likely to be the only shot she’d have. Tickets sold out in seven minutes and only a miracle of computerized randomness had me picking up two tickets without having to brave the astronomical secondary market.

By all rights, this concert never should have happened.

This band should have been dead in 1969, when Brian Jones drown in his swimming pool or that same year when the Hell’s Angels killed Meredith Hunter in front of the Stones at Alamont Speedway.

If not then, probably when Mick Taylor left the group in 1974 and the music scene began to shift away from rock ‘n’ roll.

Or maybe in 1977 when Keith Richards was busted in Toronto for possession of heroin with intent to traffic, an offense that carries a seven-year prison sentence in Canada.

Or after the 1981 tour basically crapped out, in what one journalist noted was a “series of performances fueled more by sponsorship money from Jovan Musk perfume than intensity from the Stones.”

Or in 1986, when Richards and Jagger’s lengthy feud over vocals finally boiled over publically.


And yet, here were these septuagenarians mounting a stage again.

It wasn’t because they needed the money. It wasn’t because they had to prove anything to anyone. It was because they wanted to play live and we all wanted to see them.

To watch Mick Jagger run from pillar to post on that stage was something to behold as he belted out lyrics that were as strong and true as the first time they erupted from his prodigious lips. Ron Wood, the “kid” who joined the band in 1974 and never left, ripped off riff after riff, even busting out the slide guitar to back his buddy Keith during Richards’ two-song vocal set.

Perhaps the most incredible and yet unnoticed part of the performance was Charlie Watts. A Stones aficionado once told me that if I got another chance to see the Stones live, I should spend at least one song just listening to the drums. Watts has spent a lifetime quietly giving the band its steel core and spine as he adapted a jazz-drumming style to fit the needs of the band. Although everyone in the band has an ego, during one interview, years ago, the other four members (Bill Wyman was with the group at the time) noted that anyone could be replaced. Except Charlie.

As I watched this joyful expression of musical mastery, I thought of my mother.

It wasn’t because we spent the last two summers catching incredible musical acts together, but because of how similar she was to these guys.

Once she hit her 35th year of teaching, people kept asking, “So, when are you going to retire?” She never gave them an actual answer and often felt insulted by the question. To her it was an indictment of talent and skill.

She would teach until she was done. It’s what she loved. It’s what she enjoyed. It’s what she was good at.

When she finally called it quits after 45 years, it wasn’t because she hated the kids or the administration or anything like that. It was because the state had piled on ridiculous testing requirements and floated ideas that made her fear for her pension. She wasn’t about to lose all she’d worked for, so she grudgingly took a bow and left.

Still, she loved teaching, so she took part in a “Teachers on Call” program and volunteered to teach as a paid substitute for her old school. She had multiple long-term gigs, subbing in for her friends who were taking trips or new teachers who were going on maternity leave.

Why? You just retired, people would say.

Because I love it, she would answer. I’m not going to sit around the house and watch TV.

The concert experience was an extension of that “get busy living or get busy dying” approach my mother took to everything in her life, especially teaching.

Just before the show began, the guy in front of us started making small talk.

“Redwings fan?” he asked, pointing at my jersey shirt.

“Sort of. It’s Gordie Howe’s jersey.”

The guy told me he was a Blackhawks fan and we chatted a bit.

I never thought about the shirt until the guy pointed it out, but it’s one more case of someone who just loved doing something great.

Gordie Howe played for 25 years as a Detroit Redwing and as he got older, people kept asking when he was going to retire. He’d always have the same answer:

“I’m going to play next year, anyway. And if they don’t figure out that I’m done, well, I’ll probably play another year after that.”

Finally, the Wings had had enough of their ageless star. Sports personality Dave Diles noted that the Wings management of that era “couldn’t find their fanny with both hands,” and they moved Gordie into an office job. He used to say he got “the mushroom treatment: They keep me in the dark and every once in a while they shovel some manure on me.”

When the World Hockey Association drafted Howe’s sons, he decided to make a comeback at age 45. Hockey purists called it ridiculous. Howe went out and scored 100 points. He kept scoring and playing and winning. When the WHA folded and several teams came into the NHL, Howe was on familiar ice again, playing until the age of 52.

Even when he called it quits the second time, he wasn’t really done. When he would go scouting for the Hartford Whalers, he kept his equipment in the trunk of his car, just in case the team invited him onto the ice.

One of his colleagues noted that many people feel as though maybe they should do something else with their lives after doing one thing for a long time. That wasn’t Gordie. All he ever wanted to be was a hockey player.

In this strange confluence of events, I found myself in awe of Stones, my mom and anyone else of “a certain age” who can still bring it. If I am ever able to be as good at ANYTHING as these people were at that age, I would be grateful beyond any calculability. If I loved doing it to the degree they did, it would be absolutely incredible.

Two days after the concert, I had a long-dreaded meeting with the provost about my involvement in the student newspaper. He approves my salary for that part of the gig and for the past seven years, he’s never even asked for an email from me. This year, with budget crunches and general state insanity, he asked my boss to schedule a formal sit-down meeting with me. I was bracing for the worst.

The first thing he asked me was if I wanted to keep working at the paper.

“More than anything,” I explained.

He went on and touched on a few minor issues, asked a few questions and then kind of summed up.

“We’ve had people in this role before who either do it for the money or because they’re forced, so I wanted to see where you were at with this. I also wanted to make sure you felt involved.”

“Yes, sir, I am. It’s my life. I love it more than anything else I do.”

“Good to know,” he said with wry smile.

He walked me to the door and sent me on my way.

Fuck Yeah, America

As expected the Supremes have legalized same-sex marriage in the entire country in a 5-4 vote. The majority opinion was written by Anthony Kennedy thereby cementing his place in history as the Gay Rights Justice. To those pundits who insisted that Kennedy was the “swing vote” in this case: You were wrong and I was right.

I cannot wait to hear the reaction here in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. PBJ just shit his pants.

Friday Ferretblogging: Rescued Cali Ferrets Edition


Sixteen ferrets confiscated from a man in Santa Ana will be moved to a rescue sanctuary operated by a group licensed to care for them.

On Wednesday, 23-year-old Sebastian Swisher was cited after Santa Ana animal control officers found the illegal animals in his home. Animal Services officials were working Thursday to transfer them to a rescue sanctuary.

Swisher was arrested and released on suspicion of importation, transportation and possession of live restricted animals, said Cpl. Anthony Bertagna of the Santa Ana Police Department.

Orange County Animal Care officials said Thursday that the animals were headed to a sanctuary to be cared for by a group licensed with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“We’re trying to make the move happen as soon as possible,” said Jennifer Hawkins, director of the animal care agency. Hawkins would not elaborate about the group’s name or location but did say they likely would be moved out of state.

She did, however, confirm that the animals would not be euthanized.

“The only reason we would consider that is if they were at risk to public health or they were suffering.”

Hawkins said the 1-to-2-year-old “bright, playful” bunch were in good health.

Ferrets are illegal in California, and people who risk keeping them there often wind up facing their pets’ deportation or killing.



Friday Catblogging: Della Street & The Fish Lamp

That’s fish, not Phish, even though Trey Anastasio *is* playing with the Dead in a few days. Della doesn’t give a shit. Guess I didn’t raise her right:


Maybe this will catch her attention:

Yawn: The Jindal Announcement

PBJ’s campaign launch was as dull as the candidate himself. He gave a boilerplate right wing speech and his attempts at humor were typically cringeworthy: “I’m tanned, rested, and ready to go.” Yes, he said that. I had to explain to the young ‘uns on Twitter than PBJ stole that from Tricky Dick. That kept me briefly awake during Jindal’s sopoforic speech. One would think that word salad would have a crunchy sound but it doesn’t. In fact, PBJ’s speech was word salad without any dressing. Yawn. Here’s how I described the crowd reaction on the Tweeter Tube:

The much ballyhooed protest occurred and more Mad Dogs and Louisianians showed up in the mid-day Kenna, brah sun than expected. The estimates ranged from 100 to 300. It was more like a be-in than a protest since nobody outside the Pontchartrain Center in Kenna, brah thought that PBJ will be the next losing GOP nominee. Some of my Spank krewe mates braved the 90 degree heat and attended. I did not. I’m not a fan of heatstroke but they’re made of Tom Hardier stuff than I am. We’re known for our bumper stickers so this were produced by one of our people:


The only vaguely interesting thing about PBJ’s entry into the race was this bizarre video:

I’m not sure why this was shot via hidden camera like an upskirt video, but they’re trying anything to be different. It’s not working but they’re trying. They did, however, provide grist for Funny or Die’s mill.

PBJ’s speech contained very few sound bite worthy phrases so the Advocate was obliged to run this quote on the front page of its dead tree edition: “We can rock the boat and we will.”

As banal as that quote is, it did give me an idea for a PBJ campaign song, which I offer in my usual spirit of helpfulness and, no, it’s not We Will Rock You:

I hope the token black chick on the platform during the speech can steer the Jindalites in the right direction. It’s Hues, not Hughes like Howard, which reminds me that PBJ could use his own billionaire.  Back to the song: the lyrics could use some technocratic PBJ style tweaking as could this logo:

Jindal 2016 logo

I hope they didn’t spend too much money on that thing. It looks like an inedible candy cane or something that you’d get in a box of Cracker Jack but it’s no prize and neither is the candidate.

I’m glad that the announcement is over so I can go back to ignoring PBJ. He’s the long shot’s long shot what with his 27% rating in Louisiana and his 0.75% standing in the national polls. Dude can’t even crack 1%.

I’ll give the 2000 king of Krewe du Vieux, Advocate Cartoonist Walt Handelsman, the last word:



Quote Of The Day: Unlikely Heroes Edition

I never thought I’d be quoting South Carolina Gamecocks football coach Steve Spurrier with approval. I don’t care one way or the other about the Gamecocks, but Spurrier was the coach of the hated Florida Gators for 11 years. He is, however, right about the Confederate battle flag and has been for many years. I’m not sure if current LSU Coach Les Miles even knows what it is. The quote comes from Dave Zirin’s blog, Edge Of Sports:

But maybe we wouldn’t have to re-litigate this question and that toxic symbol of racist terror would not be flying with government sanction if the state’s NCAA coaches had been heard. Legendary University of South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier, a man of the south with a drawl so thick it sounds like he has a mouth full of honey, said in April of 2007, “My opinion is we don’t need the Confederate flag at our Capitol. I don’t really know anybody that wants it there, but I guess there are a lot of South Carolinians that do want it there.” The setting was an awards banquet and Spurrier “caught everyone by surprise” by speaking off the cuff about his disgust over a 2006 South Carolina-Tennessee game where in the background on national television at ESPN’s “GameDay,” he was appalled to see “some clown . . . waving that dang, damn Confederate flag behind the TV set. And it was embarrassing to me and I know embarrassing to our state.” Spurrier then said, “I realize I’m not supposed to get in the political arena as a football coach, but if anybody were ever to ask me about that damn Confederate flag, I would say we need to get rid of it. I’ve been told not to talk about that. But if anyone were ever to ask me about it, I certainly wish we could get rid of it.” Keep in mind, “the Ole’ Ball Coach didn’t say “put it in a museum.” He said “get rid of it.”

Yeah, I know it’s more like a paragraph. I love the whole dang, damn flag thang, which is surely how Spurrier would pronounce it.

I remain skeptical that the flag removal will actually happen since it requires a 2/3 vote of both houses of the legislature. That’s right, a super majority to remove a piece of cloth. I hope I’m wrong but in the end it’s just a symbol and the South Carolina lege will continue being a retrograde, right wing body. Confederate flag removal is more of a tactical retreat than anything else.

Despite my cynicism over this episode, I think it’s important to celebrate the unlikely heroes who have taken a stand in favor of common decency; even if it involves praising Steve Spurrier.

True Judicial Conservatism

I assume everyone has heard that the Supremes upheld the ACA insurance subsidies in a 6-3 vote. Chief Justice Roberts wrote for the majority and Justice Kennedy joined as well. Justice Scalia, continuing in his role as the court’s Crow T. Robot, claimed that this transforms Obamacare into SCOTUS care. I must apologize to Croow: Scalia is more like his evil twin. He does, however, give good sarcasm even if he rarely makes logical sense. Jiggery-pokery, my ass.

King v. Burwell was a picayune challenge to important legislation based on a goofily literal interpretation of the statutory language. The court’s ruling is a victory for common sense and true judicial conservatism as well as judicial modesty. We’ve gotten so used to activist right wing judges that we forget that classic judicial conservatism defers to the people’s branches of government whenever possible. I’d like to thank Slate’s Jordan Weismann for quickly posting the money quote from the Chief’s opinion:


That, in a nutshell, is true judicial conservatism. The alternative to this ruling was chaos and millions of people losing their health care coverage. It’s a day to praise the Roberts Court, especially since the majority reduced Scalia to the role of a kid sitting in the back row throwing spitballs at his colleagues.

I cannot await for the vituperative eruption on the right. Let the freak out begin.

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And Two More On Board The Clown Car

From Album 5

Grumby won’t make it official until next week, but Gilligan announced yesterday…and at least in Baton Rouge, Mother Nature reacted with some of the worst weather of the season: heavy rain, high winds, severe lightning/thunder that knocked out power and was loud enough to send my cat under the sofa for the duration.

Probably just a coincidence.


Anyway…guess it’s fitting they jump in more or less together. If they were a tag team, their approval ratings would put them squarely in heel territory. And when you’re getting beaten — badly — by the human equivalent of a troll doll, well…guess it takes a river in Egypt to decide that the (clown) show must go on.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: White Trash

We’ve all had white trash on our minds this week. At least these folks don’t have the Confederate battle flag flying outside their humble abode:


Time for some lagniappe: White Trash was also the name of Edgar Winter’s band before he achieved fleeting pop stardom with Frankenstein and Free Ride. Here’s the cover of the first of the band’s two albums:


What? No tag line?

Finally, more lagniappe from a band with one of the best names in musical history: Southern Culture On The Skids. Hard to believe they’d have a song titled White Trash but they do: