Monthly Archives: March 2016

Thursday Night Music: When The Sun Comes Out

The older I get the harder it is to adjust to “springing forward.” It’s still an hour earlier as far as my body is concerned. These deep thoughts gave me an earworm: Ella Fitzgerald’s version of this Arlen-Koehler classic.

Malaka Of The Week: Corey Lewandowski


The Insult Comedian and Trump’s Trump. Photo by Joe Skipper/Reuters,

Stories about campaign managers usually describe how shrewd they are but 2016 is not an ordinary year. I’ve never compared a campaign manager to a bouncer before but that’s what Corey Lewandowski of Team Trump reminds me of. And that’s why he’s malaka of the week.

Like his candidate, Lewandowski acts like a professional rasslin’ villain. I only hope Gawker or TMZ don’t have a Hulk Hogan-like sex tape of this mook. Like the Hulkster, I suspect Malaka Corey shouts the odd racial epithet whilst in the throes of unspeakable passion but I digress. This lout, who is best described at Trump’s Trump, popped his cork the other day when BuzzFeed kicked him in the bollocks with a detailed account of his persistent misogynistic malakatude:

As Donald Trump faces questions about his campaign manager’s physical altercation with a protester over the weekend, BuzzFeed News has learned new details about the hard-charging operative’s behavior that raise questions about his judgment and the environment inside the Trump campaign.

In recent interviews with more than half a dozen sources who have worked with Trump’s top aide, Corey Lewandowski, the strategist was accused of pushing a CNN reporter who tried to ask the candidate a question; physically confronting an aide for a rival campaign in a post-debate spin room; publicly shouting threats over the phone at a restaurant; making sexual comments about female journalists; and calling up women in the campaign press corps late at night to make unwanted romantic advances.

Asked Monday for comment on these allegations, Lewandowski emailed, “Your story is factually inaccurate.” When BuzzFeed news asked him to clarify which portions of the story he was challenging, he wrote, “Be sure before you accuse me of something it’s accurate. And, in these instances you are wrong.”

Lie and deny is central to Team Trump’s modus operandi. They lie so much that the reporters covering them are unable to keep up with the daily flow of sewerage. There are so many lies that it would be like trying to measure blood at a busy abattoir. It’s appropriate that all my analogies are disgusting. It’s the Insult Comedian’s favorite word, after all. His campaign manager is a DISGUSTING LOSER.

I’ve written some harsh things about political consultants, handlers, and flacks over the years, but I’ve never called one a thug or goon before. Lewandowski is more like Paulie Walnuts than Karl Rove even if he’s on the road to having Turd Blossom’s hair instead of Paulie’s.

There was apparently a point at which the Insult Comedian’s staff was on the verge of rebelling against Malaka Corey but then they started winning. The Insult Comedian likes WINNERS, so the coup never came off. But Lewandowski’s reputation for vulgar, bad, and boorish behavior dates to his time as a Kochsucker with Americans for Prosperity:

Lewandowski rebounded from running former New Hampshire Sen. Bob Smith’s failed 2002 re-election campaign to a job with AFP, where he eventually rose to regional director for East Coast operations during his more than five years with the group.

While one former coworker called Lewandowski a “cowboy” who lent AFP a “cool factor,” he was reportedly known for heated exchanges with those who crossed him. He reportedly fell out of favor with the group after he loudly berated a female employee who challenged him during an October 2013 board meeting in Manhattan. Three anonymous sources told Politico how Lewandowski proceeded to get in the woman’s personal space and called her a “cunt” in front of fellow AFP employees, including senior officials.

This is the man who has become Trump’s very hands-on right-hand (wing?) man. And we know that the Insult Comedian never apologizes even when he’s egregiously wrong. It’s something he has in common with Dick Cheney; that and a love of torture. I’d like to see Trump and Malaka Corey waterboarded to see if they think it’s torture. Of course, that would muss the Trumpian cotton candy piss coiff so it will never happen.

The newfound prominence of a violent creep like Corey Lewandowski shows that the barbarians are truly at the gate. The feckless #NeverTrump gang show few signs of being able to stop the barbarian hordes from overrunning their party. It’s up to the Democrats to keep Corey Lewandowski from turning the West Wing into an adjunct of the WWE. It’s time to thump Trump’s Trump. He’s a dangerous sexist thug who shouldn’t be allowed  to take the White House tour let alone work there. And that’s why Corey Lewandoski is malaka of the week.

Newt Gingrich Polishes A Turd


Not that we needed more proof that Gingrich’s moral compass either never existed or lost its magnet decades ago:

Well, Callista and I were both very impressed. In that kind of a setting he talks in a relatively low tone. He is very much somebody who has been good at business. And he listens well … you read The Art of the Deal. And you follow that up by reading The Art of the Comeback … Here was a guy on the cover of Time magazine in 1989, who had the No. 1 best-selling business book in the 1980s, had the No. 1 television show … You are talking about a guy who was smart enough to build Trump Towers, build lots of hotels, build lots of casinos, and own the Miss Universe contest.

Wow. This guy would sell his own grandmother (or either/both ex-wives) to Somali pirates for the slightest chance of toadying up to political power … in the form of Donald Trump.  But, as I said, it’s not like further proof was needed of Gingrich’s preference for the low road. Which makes his endorsement of Trump totally sensible … professional courtesy.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Cuban Heel

The President’s historic Cuba sojourn sent me on a pulp quest. This is what I found:

Cuban Hell

Here’s a musical antidote to that simultaneously cheesy and sleazy cover:

Cuba: Everything Is Possible

It is important to restate what now divides Cuba from my country and from the other countries of this hemisphere. It is the fact that a small band of conspirators has stripped the Cuban people of their freedom and handed over the independence and sovereignty of the Cuban nation to forces beyond the hemisphere. They have made Cuba a victim of foreign imperialism, an instrument of the policy of others, a weapon in an effort dictated by external powers to subvert the other American Republics. This, and this alone, divides us. As long as this is true, nothing is possible. Without it, everything is possible. Once this barrier is removed, we will be ready and anxious to work with the Cuban people in pursuit of those progressive goals which a few short years ago stirred their hopes and the sympathy of many people throughout the hemisphere.

President John F. Kennedy, November 18, 1963.

The primary focus of Jack Kennedy’s speech to the Inter-American Press Association in Miami was on the Alliance for Progress, which was his administration’s attempt to spread New Frontier values to Latin America. Despite the tough guy rhetoric before the olive branch/signal to Fidel Castro, this was fundamentally a progressive, not a Cold War, speech. Unfortunately, JFK was murdered five days later, the Cold War ended in 1989, the Soviet Union went out of business in 1991, but our estrangement from Cuba persisted until President Obama landed in Havana on Palm Sunday.

I grew up during the Cold War but always hoped that our ties with Cuba would resume after the collapse of the Soviet Empire. I just didn’t think it would take this long. On reflection, it’s no surprise: the only Americans who care *passionately* about Cuba are the emigree community in South Florida. As time has passed, more and more Cuban-Americans support an opening to the proverbial old country. They want to legally send money and other forms of help to their relatives in Cuba instead of doing it under the table. There are still anti-Castro dead-enders but they, and Congressional Republicans, should remember that engagement between the United States and Soviet Union helped end the Cold War.

One thing that tickles me about President Obama’s Cuban sojourn is the use of beisbol diplomacy. Love of baseball is something that unites the two countries.  I, for one, would love to see a flood of Cuban ballplayers to the Major Leagues without resort to defection or other anachronistic measures. I only hope that we set up the same sort of equitable arrangement with Cuba that we have with Japan on player importation. I suspect the Cubans will insist. I look forward to the opening, and hope that some of the players will be as good as these two Cuban stars who should be in the Hall of Fame:


The Miami dead-enders and their Republican allies are having fits about President Obama’s trip, especially a picture of him with a Che Guevara mural in the distance. As if past American Presidents haven’t posed with real Commies, as Media Matters pointed out in this amusing meme thingamabob:

Media Matters Cuba

Finally, I’m proud of President Obama for changing our anachronistic polices toward Cuba. Fifty years of economic sanctions have not worked and it’s time for a new approach; one that *does* include “frank and candid” discussions about human rights and political prisoners. It’s a new day.

Viva Kennedy. Viva Obama. Viva Cuba. Viva Mambo Cubano:

Everything *is* possible.

Tweet Of The Day: Ted Talk Edition

We’re through the looking glass, y’all. Ted Cruz has become the “savior” of the Republican establishment. That’s right, the guy who pees his pants after every terrorist attack, proposes repressive measures, then walks them back a bit. That Ted Cruz. The ultimate skunk at the garden party, the creepy kid nobody likes is now kinda sorta popular with the kinda sorta cool kids of the GOP.

Tailgunner Ted had a good day yesterday in the Utah Caucus with 69% of  the whatever (I hate caucuses) thereby transforming it into a winner-take-all event under the rules of the Beehive state GOP. Apparently, Mormons do not like anything about the Insult Comedian. Score one for the LDS-ers. They have their flaws but Mormons are polite people and Donald Trump is, well, a guy that Charlie Pierce calls a vulgar talking yam.

Just when we thought the 2016 campaign couldn’t get any weirder, it did. Cruz has now been anointed in his role of establishment “savior” by the preppiest of the preppies, John Ellis Bush aka Jeb aka the biggest loser of this election cycle. That rabbit hole to wonderland is getting mighty crowded. Chris Christie is wedged in there and is in danger of suffocation since his head is so far up Trump’s ass that the White Rabbit had to leapfrog him. Hmm, can a rabbit leapfrog? Discuss among yourselves…

You’re probably wondering when the Ted talk will end and I’ll talk about the tweet of the day. This is when. It comes from Josh Marshall:

Yeah, you right, Josh. See you on the other side of the looking glass:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Mott The Hoople

I have a soft spot in my heart for the British glam rockers of the early 1970’s. Foremost among whom were Mott the Hoople. Mott’s frontman and primary songwriter Ian Hunter mixed wit, mirth, and anger in his lyrics. They also had some swell album covers. I’m going to feature two of them today: The Hoople and Brain Capers.

The Hoople was Mott’s last full-blown studio LP with Hunter as leader, and it’s a good one. What’s not to like about this “band in a chick’s hair” cover?

The Hoople

Brain Capers was released in 1971 before the band’s commercial break through with All The Young Dudes. There’s an amusing story behind the cover:

The covers of the original UK and Canadian LPs do not feature the mask seen on the US version (and some later re-releases). There was an actual mask packaged inside with the UK version of the album, but not with the Canadian LP. The band name and line under it are in the centre of the cover where the mask would be and the title shifted upwards. The US and Canadian LPs do not have the inner sleeve picturing fighter planes that the original UK album had.

It’s time to get all brainy and capery:

Mott Brain Capers

And now from The Hoople, ladies and germs, The Golden Age Of Rock and Roll:


Brussels Attacks and American Journalism Right Now

It is a miracle we have any allies left at all. Like, fuck us right now.

I mean, it is not that we don’t know what these people are, and we are putting them on our air anyway, to say their garbage, and then we are all shocked and outraged and whatnot, as if we didn’t ask them to be exactly this. When people ask why our politics is the way it is, we can point to the way we normalize and legitimize crazy fucking people by making editorial decisions that we then pretend aren’t decisions at all.

“But he’s the second in line for the GOP nomination!” Yes, and you still control the goddamn doors to your studio. This isn’t the weather.

There is no reason to cut to people like Cruz, Trump, Sarah Palin and whatever else despicable critter slithers out from under a rock today to Tweet shit. You don’t have to do a roundup of ridiculous nonsense said by everything with an R after its name (or a D, for that matter). You are not powerless. Stop pretending.


Getting Better Doesn’t Hurt

Kick mothers me.

When I was sick, the last time I was really sick with some kind of flu, she put a blanket over me and patted my shoulder. When I am getting snappish about something she will tell me, “Mama’s tired,” and she often offers me food from her plate, though her diet of fruit, graham crackers and random salami slices really isn’t my sort of thing.

So when I screwed up my back in early February, tore and strained every muscle I have and threw things so far out of alignment that I developed sciatic nerve pain and joint inflammation in both hips, Kick decided to do physical therapy with me.

“Stretches, Mama,” she says in the mornings, in the severe manner of a German headmistress.

She gets down on her hands and knees, planks, downward dog. Things I am not allowed to do yet. “Yoga pose,” she says sternly, as if I have missed the memo.

I am not allowed to do a yoga pose. I am not allowed to pick her up. I am not allowed to ride my bike, or run, or really even walk very far very fast. The physical therapist I go to, who is 12 years old and looks like a chipmunk, asked me what my recovery goals were at the first appointment.

“I want to run the Chicago marathon this fall.”

“Have you ever run a marathon?”

“No.” I realize how ridiculous I sound.

“What’s the farthest you’ve run?”

“Four miles.”

Chipmunk sighed, tapped some notes into his laptop, and looked up. “I can maybe get you back to a 5K by October.” He thinks I might ride my bike, slowly, by May.

I have never been physically ill for this long. Kick wants to run and climb and wants me to chase her. On Sunday we went to the aquarium; she is too short, only by a foot or so, to really see some of the animals, so I lifted her up against Chipmunk’s orders, over and over again for three hours. Then we went home and napped, her with her stuffed elephant and me with a handful of painkillers crammed in my face.

I’ve never had to tell anyone, “No, I can’t” before this. I work events that mean hauling equipment and tables and linens and boxes of stuff, up and down stairs. I can’t stand tiptoe, reach with my right hand for something over my head, without excruciating pain. I hate weakness, of any kind. It scares me, and my own weakness scares me the most, and being scared makes me so angry I can hardly see. Asking for help is one thing, if it’s one time something is too heavy, or too high. If it’s every day? If it’s every day for the rest of my life?

I won’t, I told the doctors, start down a road of narcotics and braces and shots until we’ve tried everything else. Get me better some other way. Get me better and get me back on the treadmill. I’m 40. Ninety-year-olds run marathons. Centenarians win weight-lifting competitions. Give me anything but drugs and a prescription to sit down and take it easy. Hence Chipmunk.

I have never had physical therapy before. I was expecting it to be like personal training, or a fitness class: Loud and mean. Instead it is quiet and slow, with small exercises meant, Chipmunk tells me, to draw the pain out of my leg and shin and ankle (the burning arc of the sciatic nerve) and up into my back, and then make it disappear. I don’t feel like the exercises are tough enough. They don’t hurt.

I tell this to Chipmunk. “I feel like I’m slacking.”

I’m afraid if I set the goals too low, if I don’t at least try to run the marathon, then I won’t get to the bike and the 5K and the spontaneous dance parties Kick wants to throw whenever Adele sings “Rumor Has It” on the radio. I’m afraid I won’t get any better at all. I have six weeks of this, the physical therapy, and we’re two weeks in, and Kick is still doing more yoga than I am.


I don’t know how anything changes if it doesn’t hurt. If it doesn’t hurt, all this exercising, how do I know if it’s working?

Chipmunk shows me X-rays. “It’s working,” he says.

“How’s your back?” asked some work colleagues at a meeting on Saturday. I explained. “Still?” they asked. Like, you’re not better yet?

My trainer is working on it, I said. And she is.

“I help you, Mama,” Kick says in the morning, and sits on my feet as I do press-ups. “I help.”


Quote Of The Day: Hungry Like The Wolffe Edition

Don’t worry America, I’m not planning to play that old Duran Duran hit at the end of this post. Chalk the title up to my fatal inability to resist a pun. I would hope y’all are used to that by now.

The Wolffe is question is Richard and he wrote a pretty damn good column last week for the Guardian comparing the probable party nominees:

We are now barreling towards a general election between a former secretary of state and a former judge of Celebrity Apprentice.

In the blue corner, a candidate who started her career at the Children’s Defense Fund. In the red corner, a candidate whose legal defense fund is fighting claims of a fake university.

One candidate dotes on her granddaughter. The other says he would date his daughter.

One watched the Osama bin Laden raid unfold in the White House situation room. The other has watched Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room on CNN.

It’s time for political realism to meet reality TV.

It scares me that anyone could learn anything from Wolf Blitzer. Sure, he has a great name and all that, but the man is a ninny. Just ask Alex Trebek…

The wackiness of this campaign is likely to continue in the general election. The chances of the #NeverTrump people succeeding are slim and none and slim is under the bed hiding from Corey Lewandowski.

I may have promised to NOT post a tune from Simon LeBonbon’s band but X is another story altogether:

Jindal: From Whiz Kid To Has-Been To Cautionary Tale

I never thought I’d write about Bobby Jindal again unless he did something newsworthy. In the immortal words of Sean Connery (or someone on Team Bond) I shall never say never again. The reason for this change of something (heart? head?) was a front page story in the Sunday Advocate by Tyler Bridges:

For years, national reporters profiling Bobby Jindal and his political rise inevitably referred to him as a whiz kid — Rhodes scholar at 21, Cabinet secretary at 24, university system president at 28, governor at 36 in 2008.

Not anymore.

Not with Louisiana threatened by financial disaster after Jindal inherited a $1 billion budget surplus eight years ago and left Gov. John Bel Edwards with a $3 billion deficit. Not with state legislators — Republicans and Democrats alike — openly deriding him, two months after he stepped down as governor. Not after ending his presidential campaign in November long before any votes were cast. Not after Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, the candidate he then backed, dropped out of the race Tuesday night.

PBJ seemed to have the magic touch until 2011. He was elected as a technocrat and his first term mostly reflected that. Then, he started believing his national press clippings and caught a bad case of Potomac fever. It was all downhill during his second term as he relentlessly pandered to Politico, Grover Norquist, and religious conservatives. He did so without keeping his eye on the homefront and a looming financial crisis caused by the latest oil price bust and PBJ’s taxophobia.

PBJ is not only a has-been, he’s a walking cautionary tale. His obsession with positioning himself to the right of everyone bit him in his skinny ass. He even undid two of his mentor’s, former-Gov. Mike Foster, signature accomplishments as Governor. First, a tax plan aimed at reducing the state’s dependence on sales tax and oil and gas money. Second, giving LSU med school the power to run the state’s public hospital system, which was undone by PBJ’s privatization scheme. Both moves have turned into disasters and the future looks bleak for the state budget and the former public hospital system. The private operator of the hospital in New Orleans keeps threatening to break its contract if target funding levels aren’t met. Who set the targets? The Jindal Administration.

PBJ was so busy pandering his way to a disastrous Presidential candidacy that he took his eye off the ball and saw his popularity at home plummet. He was not the only GOP Goober to run for President with horrendous approval ratings: Chris Christie is as popular in Jersey as the Zika virus. In fact, PBJ’s futile run was *more* arrogant than Christie’s: the latter could argue that Jersey was a blue state and that “sticking to conservative principles” was the cause of his woeful poll ratings. PBJ was in denial because he surrounded himself with yes men who had visions of cushy White House jobs. The lesson that one can learn from this is never believe your own spin. It’s a common mistake among ambitious pols and it’s often their downfall.

Back to PBJ as a cautionary tale. If you’re in government at any level, you cannot govern by adhering to a strict ideology be it right or left wing. You have to be flexible and realistic. The patron saint of wingnuttia, Ronald Reagan, was actually a practical Governor of California. He saved his ideology for things that wouldn’t impact the budget or people’s pocketbooks. PBJ went all in with Grover Norquist, and wound up wildly unpopular. It would be hard at this point for PBJ to be elected dog catcher in the most conservative parish of the Gret Stet of Louisiana.

I don’t feel sorry for Bobby Jindal. He made his bed and, not only laid in it, he shat in it as well. I had the same feelings about the Bush misadministration when it left office. They, too, forsook reality in lieu of ideology and wishful thinking. Mercifully, President Obama is a realist and avoided the pitfalls of ideological purity. Here’s hoping that our side of the political spectrum will continue to be limber and practical when in power. Ideological rigidity is a luxury that only protest parties can afford.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – the fart of the matter edition

Hi, good people – time to catch up on some oldies again.

But first – I don’t care :

Tax Returns Show Trump’s Donations To LGBT Groups, Including One That Promotes Child Homosexuality
Christianity Today ^ | March 03, 2016 | Hazel Torres

Posted on ‎3‎/‎4‎/‎2016‎ ‎11‎:‎02‎:‎46‎ ‎PM by Steelfish

Tax Returns Show Trump’s Donations To LGBT Groups, Including One That Promotes Child Homosexuality

Hazel Torres 03 March 2016

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has given financial support to LGBT groups, including one that promotes homosexuality to children, Christian News reported.

The Donald J. Trump Foundation donated $30,000 to “gay” activist organisations in 2012, according to his filed tax returns. $20,000 of the amount went to the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) while the remaining $10,000 went to the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, according to a form 990 posted online and available for public review.

GLSEN was founded in 1990 by Kevin Jennings and a coalition of Massachusetts school teachers who reportedly supported advocacy for homosexual issues.

Christian News noted that the group’s motto is “championing LGBT issues in K-12 education,” saying that it creates printed resources for teachers to use in the classroom, including for LGBT History Month and LGBT Pride Month. It also provides suggestions for reading material to use as lessons for the children, including the books “Heather Has Two Mommies,” “It’s OK to Be Different” and “Tango Makes Three.”

1 posted on ‎3‎/‎4‎/‎2016‎ ‎11‎:‎02‎:‎46‎ ‎PM by Steelfish


Gay (with quotation marks, yet)  organizations! Heather has two dykes Mommies! IT TAKES THREE TO TANGO!!

Is this going to be the ethical straw that breaks the camel’s back? Has The Darnold finally gone beyond the pale? What will the Drumpfkof’s supporters say now?

To: Steelfish


I don’t care.

2 posted on 3‎/‎4‎/‎2016‎ ‎11‎:‎04‎:‎57‎ ‎PM by VerySadAmerican

To: Steelfish


You’re wasting your time. They don’t care.

3 posted on 3‎/‎4‎/‎2016‎ ‎11‎:‎05‎:‎08‎ ‎PM by 2ndDivisionVet (TED CRUZ 2016)

I kinda got that impression.
Maybe it was an outlier?
To: Steelfish


Yawn. I don’t care.

37 posted on 3‎/‎4‎/‎2016‎ ‎11‎:‎14‎:‎40‎ ‎PM by sparklite2 ( “The white man is the Jew of Liberal Fascism.” -Jonah Goldberg)

To: Steelfish

Nobody cares. Not even the establishment pukes who keep digging up articles like this. Trump donated to a lot of groups all over the country, of all types.Trump 2016!

61 posted on 3‎/‎4‎/‎2016‎ ‎11‎:‎31‎:‎44‎ ‎PM by meadsjn
See? Nobody cares. I guess the “homosexualist agenda” he once railed against is now OK with Jim Rob.
So now, nobody cares.
Well, almost nobody.

To: 2ndDivisionVet

yeah they don’t ####ing care. What the ####!!~!

Now now -There’s no need for that kind of punctuation.

abortion in cases of rape or incest are no biggy because “they don’t matter when you’re hungry”

or “i’d want my daughter to kill a rapists baby. I’ll deal with God later” to paraphrase some of the insanity that’s taken over the board.

Thee should be hundreds of conservatives slamming these things,

instead we get people on this board, who will be gone after November, spitting ON EVERY GOD d…. thing this board stands for and they can all go straight to hell

26 posted on 3‎/‎4‎/‎2016‎ ‎11‎:‎11‎:‎15‎ ‎PM by dp0622

More after the GOD d….  jump.

Continue reading

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Tweet Of The Day: Dr. Seuss Meets The Insult Comedian

It showed up on my timeline via retweet. The tweeter turns out to work for Fox News, which is yet another sign that they’ve turned on the mouthy Republican frontrunner:

Negging Young Voters

Another day, another round of “young people are so stupid, hah hah, why don’t they listen to us they are so stupid!” on the Internets.

And it’s not that certain generations do or don’t vote. This isn’t about numbers. After I politely suggested on Twitter that assuming they don’t vote is a bad way to open your argument, I got half a dozen ‘splainers all WELL ACTUALLY up in my mentions, citing various studies that show that this, that or the other group we are currently referring to as “millennials” does not vote in numbers comparable to their noble forbearers.

Which wasn’t my point.

This is my point: If you are trying to convince someone to do something they don’t do and you want them to do, DON’T START THE CONVERSATION BY CALLING THEM DUMB.

How hard is this? I get frustrated every year with the “young voters” conversation not because any of the generalizations are untrue but because who cares? Yelling statistics about The Youngs at the one you’re presently talking to helps you in this conversation how? The aim is to get people to vote. Begin by telling them they don’t do this thing and they suck, and they will stop listening to you. It’s like political pick up artistry and it’s as gross as the non-political version.

I don’t care if my experience of college students and recent grads (quick recap: About eight of them I’ve met recently I wouldn’t throw a rope to if they were drowning and the other 11,000 I’ve worked with are outstanding humans) is an outlier. I care about inept strategy.

How long have we been watching, for example, the newspaper industry doing this? Twenty years ago when I was starting out I was regularly told “your generation doesn’t read papers.” Okay, so what you’re telling the person in front of you is that you have made up your mind about their value to you already, and they don’t even have to open their mouths. GREAT. I can’t imagine why Kids Today don’t flock in droves to that which already thinks they’re bullshit. I know I regularly sign up for experiences where I’m guaranteed to get a regular tongue-lashing for the crime of being a customer.

This shit isn’t hard. Talk to the person in front of you, not the study you read or the intern you fired or the Affluenza kid or whatever the fuck else you think is going out there in the world. Do the thing in front of you, and convince the person you are talking to, to vote.* You want a hashtag for that? You want it in five words, political strategists?

Do The Minimum Goddamn Job.


*If that’s actually your aim, and you’re not just out to jerk yourself off. Let’s not rule anything out here.

‘sad but entirely unavoidable natural disasters’

The Belt is doing the smartest reporting on the election right now: 

 Since at least the 2000 election, populist concerns have percolated to the pages of mainstream press, only to drift from the front page back into the business section after the delegates are all counted. It’s a sort of business-as-usual mentality, occasionally giving us heart-wrenching stories of individual factory closings delivered with the same sentimental fatalism used when writing about sad but entirely unavoidable natural disasters. Or, on the other end of the rhetorical spectrum, are the dry and context-free prognostications offered up in “market watch” sections of major newspapers. Both are inaccurate and amoral ways of telling the story of the decimation of America’s middle class and the uprooting of its industrial economic base. The first has all of the saccharine condescension of an anthropologist’s personal field notes about the tribulations of an alien tribe. The other, while at least honest, is also nihilist. Both reveal the larger truth that the upper-middle-class professional prognosticators are simply talking amongst themselves. No wonder they didn’t see it coming.

To be fair, this is how the legacy press covers almost everything. Identifying who is responsible for something requires upsetting someone, and upsetting people is to be avoided at all costs. It’s not even biased as much as it is bloodless, and an element of shock is necessary to maintain the fiction that what has happened to the middle class, and also the poor, has just happened. Rather than, has been done to them, by someone or a group of someones, on purpose.

I’ve been saying for a long time that we have convinced ourselves we are powerless in order to get out of doing work. Whether out of laziness or fear, we have convinced ourselves that factories are closing, the jobs aren’t coming back, and this is the new reality that everybody (else) just has to get used to from now on. That way, we can rail against “market forces” the way you bitch about the weather when it rains on circus day: Out of a desire to comfort yourself, since there’s nothing you can do about the wind.

You know what market forces are? They’re decisions people made. Holding people accountable for those decisions is what we all have to do. I get it’s hard and it’s not much comfort knowing you have to act, have to caucus and show up and canvas and work, and knowing that if you don’t you have to feel responsible, but there’s no other way out of this.

Things will change. There’s an easy way and a hard way, and whether or not the stunned elites realize it, electing a candidate who can at least entertain the notion of being skeptical of unfair trade is the easy way. The hard way would be for the jobs of lawyers, doctors, pundits, and the Washington elite to disappear also. It’s the next logical step in the telos of a rapacious marketplace monomaniacally focused on increasing shareholder value to the detriment of actually having a consumer class.

They’ll be just as shocked to see it coming for them as they were for everybody else.


Sunday Morning Video: Paul Rodgers Live At Woodstock 1994

Paul Rodgers has been around the block more than a few times. He’s the quintessential blues rock journeyman; so much so that the person who posted this video misspelled his last name. One more thing: the man can really belt it out.

Saturday Odd & Sods: Don’t Keep Me Wondering


Still from John Ford’s Fort Apache, 1948.

I’m writing this post well in advance of Saturday. It’s not exactly a breaking news post in any event. We’re in Baton Rouge visiting Louise who is 94, slightly ornery, and a lifelong Liberal Democrat. At one point she said something about lighting the Insult Comedian’s hair on fire, but I’m opposed to violence even though the image is not without its charms. She lives at St. James Place, which is a very nice retirement community. The residents all seem to know one another, which makes it feel like high school with walkers. We’ll be home this afternoon for the Fete Francaise in our neighborhood. I need some moule et frites and have to see if our friends Holly and Paul have built a new contraption for this year’s festival.

The weather has improved in New Orleans but the surrounding areas are still battling rivers that are determined to flood. They’re still trying to wash us away, y’all:

I used Aaron’s version because I make far too many Randy Newman references in this space. Speaking of Randy Newman, he played Jazz Fest on a rainy spring day in 1991. As corny as it sounds, the skies opened when he launched into Louisiana 1927. I am not making this up. Since the wall of camp chairs didn’t exist in 1991, Dr. A and I were able beat a hasty retreat and find shelter. The rain only lasted for 20 minutes or so but it makes for a good story, eh wot? Guess I lied about not mentioning Randy Newman again…

This week’s theme song was written by Gregg Allman for the first Allman Brothers LP. It’s a helluva tune and I found three swell versions on YouTube. I’m not a big G dropper so I followed the spelling as opposed to spellin’ on the other versions.

We begin with the Allman Brothers Band live at the Fillmore East:

Buddy Miles was an outstanding drummer and soulful singer who never quite achieved the stardom predicted for him in the Sixties. It’s what happens when you play with Jimi Hendrix, Michael Bloomfield, John McLaughlin, and Carlos Santana by the age of 25.

This next clip comes from the 2010 Crossroads Festival. Derek Trucks, who was in the Allman Brothers Band from 1999 to 2014, invited David Hidalgo and Ceasar Rosas of Los Lobos onstage. The result is magic:

If you’re wondering if it’s time for the break, you are correct. First, I will put you through Them Changes, Carlos and Buddy style:

Continue reading

Trump TV: ‘your show, your brand, your image’

Oh for fuck’s sake this is NOT YOUR JOB: 

Later in August, after a brief lull in his insults, Trump again attacked Kelly on Twitter, prompting Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes to issue a statement demanding Trump apologize. Trump responded by saying, “I do not think Megyn Kelly is a quality journalist.”

“It’s the Megyn Kelly effect,” said one MSNBC producer. “If you push back too hard, it will only hurt you. It’s only going to hurt your show, your brand, your image, because for some reason, Donald Trump is more impervious to these attacks than a typical politician.”

It’s not your job to worry about how challenging Trump makes your brand look, you fatuous gasbag. Go do something else for a living, or at least henceforth and forever more cease calling yourself a journalist or claiming in any way to be part of the machinery of democracy. Seriously, fry this bullshit. Oh, holding politicians accountable hurts your brand? THAT IS YOUR BRAND. When you are being out-fact-checked by Megyn Kelly it is time to sit DOWN.

And this is ridiculous:

According to two sources familiar with the call, the Trump campaign, citing security concerns from Secret Service, dictated to the networks that their camera crews can only shoot Trump head-on from a fenced-in press pen.

Under the Trump campaign’s conditions, camera crews would not be able to leave the press pen during Trump’s rallies to capture video of audience reactions, known in the industry as “cutaway shots” or “cuts.” Networks would also not be able to use a separate riser set up to get cutaway shots.

The terms, which limit the access journalists have to supporters and protesters while Trump is speaking, are unprecedented, and are more restrictive than those put on the networks by the White House or Hillary Clinton’s campaign, which has had Secret Service protection for its duration.

Facing the risk of losing their credentialed access to Trump’s events, the networks capitulated. They did, however, get one concession: When Trump finishes speaking, one person with a camera is allowed to exit the press pen to capture him shaking hands on the ropeline while he exits. That footage is then shared among the networks.

Wow, way to stand up for yourselves. You really negotiated a badass concession there. High five.

Why do you need credentialed access? Trump is more media-hungry than any other candidate before him, but this applies to every other media-managing candidate as well. It’s not like they’re not gonna return your calls. You don’t need to get a shiny badge no matter what Mr. Candidate Daddy Media Manager says. In fact, you’ll probably do better work if you don’t have one.

I went to the DNC in Denver in 2008 without credentials, and while it might have been personally exciting and personally a lot of fun for me to be in the room while famous politicians were paraded past me for scheduled interviews, there wasn’t a damn thing I could have gotten from inside that was of value to our readers that I couldn’t also get from outside. In fact, being outside was a shitload more interesting. If you aren’t being kept busy with “media availabilities” and being spoonfed rehearsed quotes, you get to find your own stories.

Yeah, you have to do some more chasing and yeah, you have to be creative, and yeah, wow, that’s really really hard work. Woe is you.

Look. This isn’t 1940. There are a billion other ways to cover these rallies, up to and including getting some damn tickets, and sitting on the floor like everybody else. The fucking things are livestreamed. You can shoot decent (not great, but decent) video from a handheld or your phone, and with the sheer volume of cell phone video you’re gonna show anyway from people who send it in, there’s absolutely no point to agreeing to any of this.

There’s no point to negotiating if the prize you’re after has no value. At least don’t trot out its value as the reason you can’t do your job right. Oh, poor baby, you have to stay in the press pen. Um, no you don’t. They’ll take your access away and be mean? TOO BAD. Stop acting like choices you make are things you were forced to do. We all know it’s bullshit now, and we don’t have any patience for it.

You can tell Trump and his people to get bent. It just takes balls as big or bigger than Megyn Kelly’s.


Friday Ferretblogging: Cruising with Ferrets!

I would totally have brought Bucky and Chicken along on a cruise if I could have: 

In other SeaTrade news:

▪ Regent Seven Seas announced that its new ship, the Seven Seas Navigator, will feature in-suite spas when it sets sail in July.

▪ Scenic, an Australian-based tour operator that owns two river cruising brands, Scenic and Emerald Waterways, is introducing a 228-passenger polar-class megayacht, Eclipse, due in 2018. The all-suite, all-balcony ship will feature butler service, two helicopters and a submarine. It will sail in polar regions with 200 passengers and in other regions.

▪ And for travelers who find cruising with only humans is so last year, after refurbishments this summer, Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 will have space to bring along dogs, cats and even ferrets in one of its 22 on-board pet kennels.

Why should they be denied scuba diving, open bars and Mayan archeological sites just because they’re furbies?

Friday Catblogging: In The Swag Bag

Dr. A caught a big bag of  St. Paddy’s parade swag from our friend Rebecca. Della, of course, views it as a new place to lounge.

In The Bag

The butthead isn’t the only one who finds the bag magically delicious:

Oscar in the bag