Monthly Archives: August 2016

The Gret Stet Senate Race: 24 Candidates In Search Of A Plot

The Gret Stet flood of 2016 put the race to replace Bitter Vitter on hold for a few weeks. It was no great loss for Louisiana  political junkies, it was a snoozer until recently. There are 24 candidates running; only a handful with any chance of making the run-off: State Treasurer John Kennedy, Congresscritters Charles Boustany and John Fleming, and Democrats Foster Campbell and Caroline Fayard.

David Duke is running and also has an outside shot at making a run-off. Unlike the others, he has *no* chance at winning the seat. UNO did a Duke oriented  poll and found that his negatives remain sky-high despite his embrace of Donald Trump. Only 13% of those surveyed would vote for him in a primary and only 16% would vote for him against a Democrat in a run-off. It’s good when bad things happen to horrible candidates.

Duke recently recorded a robo-call, which I did not get. I’m bummed about that. I enjoy a good laugh at Dukkke’s expense, y’all. Here’s the Gret Stet Fuhrer Wannabe’s message:

Hi, this is David Duke. I’m sorry I missed you. I’m running for U.S. Senate, and I’ll tell the truth that no other candidate will dare say.

Unless massive immigration is stopped now, we’ll be outnumbered and outvoted in our own nation. It’s happening. We’re losing our gun rights, our free speech. We’re taxed to death. We’re losing our jobs and businesses to unfair trade. We’re losing our country.

Look at the Super Bowl salute to the Black Panther cop killers. It’s time to stand up and vote for Donald Trump for President and vote for me, David Duke, for the U.S. Senate. I’d love to hear from you.

To find out more, contribute, or volunteer for the DavidDuke.com. Go to Davidduke.com. Together, we’ll save America and save Louisiana. Paid for by the Duke campaig

Team Trump quickly denounced the calls. The last time they tangled with Dukkke they were slow to respond so they *have* learned something. As for Duke, his campaign co-ordinator, Mike Lawrence, blamed Trump’s staff for the disavowal and issued a somewhat pathetic warning:

“Trump does not want to lose the Duke support in the state of Louisiana,” he said.

“Duke and Trump’s future are linked together,” Lawrence added in an email follow-up to his phone call with TPM. “Trump will overwhelmingly carry the State of Louisiana; however, this cannot be done without the Duke vote.”

It’s nice when an uncomfortable shoe is slipped on the Insult Comedian’s foot. Duke may be a member of the old-right, as opposed to the alt-right, but Trump needs his unrepentantly racist voters. Team Duke, however, shouldn’t gloat: Trump is the big fish in this race, at best, Dukkke is a mid-sized whitefish. He looks more like a wizened piranha at this point.

I opted not to write about Duke’s candidacy before this because it’s not going anywhere. In a year with Donald Trump running for President, it’s hard to get too outraged over the return of a perennial loser. Duke is only running for the money and attention, after all.

The robo-call flap *did* inspire a blast from the past: the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism have rebooted to oppose Duke’s candidacy. It was instrumental in defeating Duke in his 1990 Senate and 1991 Goober campaigns. Welcome back, y’all. The lifting won’t be as heavy this time around.

I originally came up with this post title before the flood. It still applies: the race has the Duke sub-plot but polling has been scarce, so the course of the campaign remains a minor mystery. Gret Stet opportunist-in-chief John Neely Kennedy has the highest name recognition, so he got 28-32% in earlier surveys. He’s hoping the voters have forgotten that he previously ran for the Senate in 2004 as a liberal Democrat and in 2008 as a conservative Republican. I have not forgotten. As to the Democrats, Campbell has had a long career in elective office but ran a horrible statewide campaign against Bobby Jindal in 2007. For some reason, he has the Governor’s support. I quite like Caroline Fayard who ran a decent race for Lt. Gov in 2010 getting 43% of the vote. I’ll vote for her but the GOP is likely to hold the seat.

As to the other Republicans, I may write about them when there’s more data. I know one thing for sure about this murky race: David Duke will not be the first Gret Stet Fuhrer Wannabe elected to the Senate. Other than that, it remains 24 candidates in search of a plot.

The Fog Of Historical Pictures: Trump/Clinton

There are people who think that Donald Trump is running as a stalking horse for Hillary Clinton. It’s one of many ludicrous conspiracy theories floating around. I don’t buy it: if the Insult Comedian were a patsy for the Clintons, he wouldn’t be as savage in his criticism. He’s not going to win but he’s inflicting some damage along the way. The good news is that the public tends to like Hillary when she’s working even if they’re not crazy about her when she’s running for office. She’s much better at the former whereas the thought of Trump as the Oval One would gag a maggot; another arcane phrase I’m trying to revive.

Let’s move on to the pictures. The first one comes from a 1997 Trump book that Tony Schwartz declined to ghostwrite, The Art of the Comeback. It was when HRC was FLOTUS:

29052088940_f499a9c21d

The second picture was taken at Trump’s 2005 wedding to the plagiarist:

donald-trump-hillary-clinton

The Insult Comedian looks like he’s ready to run off and brag that a former President was at his nuptials. They’d be most unlikely conspirators. Besides, many right-wing conspiracy buffs think that the Clintons have inconvenient people murdered to get them out of the way. Anthony Weiner’s continued existence on this mortal coil is proof positive that they do not.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Stanley Mouse

Stanley Mouse was one of the Fillmore artists grinding out what they thought was ephemera in the 1960’s. Mouse was born Stanley George Miller and is still alive and making art today at the age of 75. In partnership with Alton Kelley, he created some of the best early Grateful Dead LP covers.

I’m going to focus on his solo work. The album covers were mostly done for Bay Area artists and the lettering is as important as the imagery. It’s time for a Stanley Mouse sampler.

12421256_f520

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There Is Literally No Way to Be Married or Work or Raise Your Kids Right

IT IS 20FUCKING16, latest in a series of occasional RAGESMASHes: 

[…] Weiner isn’t just facing questions about his political career. He’s facing questions about his parenting skills. And for the third time, his questionable decisions are ensnaring his wife, one of Hillary Clinton’s top aides, by raising questions about her decision to leave their son alone with her husband while she’s on the campaign trail.

It’s written in the standard contrarian perspective of a lot of politics blogging; the “what if” tone that carries an internal defense that it’s “just speculating.” Phillips isn’t, after all, actually saying that Abedin is a bad mom because she dared to leave her son with his father, she’s just raising the question. It’s a tired approach to writing about women in politics, though one we’ve seen quite a bit in this particular election. It simply posits that this will be a line of attack by the opposition and thus is a fair line of inquiry.

Of course, the speculation is underpinned by ridiculous stereotypes about working mothers, as well as the moral responsibility of wives to persistently monitor the inevitably bad behavior of men.

Several things, in order, about this regressive bullshit:

  1. Sexting around one’s toddler is not, by itself, a dangerous thing for the toddler. It’s not like Dumbfuck McChucklehead was lighting off fireworks and chugging Bud Lite and texting pictures of THAT to his sidepiece. Should you be subjecting your preschooler to the sight of your peen? I don’t know, I doubt it, but the kid in the pic was sound asleep. People read porn when their kids are asleep, probably. Is that endangering those kids? Before we make wild accusations of basically negligent sexual abuse, shouldn’t we think about this a little more?
  2. Something does not “raise questions” all by itself. People raise questions. Those people should put their names to their bullshit questions so that we can laugh at them, or take into account whether they have a history of being assholes, or on second thought just laugh at them. Fuck this tendency to write as if stupid conclusions are like the weather and just descend upon us.
  3. If it “raises questions” about anybody, it raises questions about Anthony Weiner, who is the husband of a person who is an aide to a person who is running for president so just out of curiosity did Trump not talk today or something? Are we this bored?
  4. Anthony Weiner can’t get hisself a job because of how he is embarrassing, so someone has to feed that baby we are so worried about. I don’t think Huma Abedin would be a better mom OR JUDGED ANY LESS if she didn’t work and they were homeless.
  5. It is not any woman’s responsibility to keep a man from sticking his dick in any other woman. First of all, it’s ineffective. If the only way you can keep your husband faithful is by constant surveillance, your husband does not want to be faithful, and will figure out how not to be no matter how many nannycams you buy. Second, ladies, our own lives are complicated enough that we shouldn’t be spending valuable time running other people’s, even if those other people are our spouses. Huma has to manage HILLARY CLINTON’S LIFE. I’m surprised she has time to cut her own food, much less corral Daddy’s dingdong.
  6. Just shut up and stop it. Women are bad if they stay home because they are stupid fat cows whose brains have melted and women are bad if they work because they are selfish shrews and women are bad if they work and send their kids to daycare because they are letting strangers raise their kids and women are bad if they work and their husbands stay home because CUUUUUUCKS and women are bad if they don’t even HAVE any kids because that is tragic and women are bad if they have too many kids because a vagina is not a clown car and there is literally no way for a woman to Kobayashi Maru this shit so let’s stop giving the dumb fucking test already.

A.

 

Today in Ungrateful Youngsters

Maybe you kids need to experience STALIN so you understand how good you have it! 

Those born in the 1930s were alive during Hitler’s conquest of Europe. Those born a bit later have no memory of World War II, but they do remember Stalinist Russia, a more distant threat, but one that was still frankly terrifying. Those born later still have no memory of the darkest days of the Soviet Union, but they do remember the Cold War and the Berlin Wall.

Those born as late as the 1980s have no memory of living in a world where democracy was threatened in any serious way. It is so much easier for youngsters to take democracy for granted. For them, it’s like taking oxygen for granted. They have fewer real-world foils to compare democracy with. Churchill’s quip that democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others doesn’t resonate with them in quite the same way.

It’s easy to take oxygen for granted if no one is holding your head under water, but none of us, it’s safe to say, would argue that oxygen isn’t essential or that it’s a bad thing. Yet a quarter of young people think democracy is actually bad.

Just stop. Just fucking stop it. The millions of people dead in World War II did not die in order to teach Kids Today to stop looking at their iPhones and appreciate a real society with, like, voting and stuff. That is sociopathic, and gross, and anyway was not the function of the Greatest Generation.

One of the best things I ever did with my life, one of the things I plan to offer up against all the ways in which I am Not Right should there actually be a Judgment Day, was an editing project involving a series of stories from the early 1940s. The writers were college students, opining on subjects from prom elections to cafeteria food, and reading them one of the things that was very, very obvious is that they were all about to die. Not in the abstract. Immediately, upon shipping out if their boats got blown out of the water, or on landing if they made it to the beaches, or at the top of the first hill they made it up.

They were spectacularly unconcerned that the young people of the world would one day throw them a parade and give the right answers in a fucking poll, or whatever Totten up there is flipping his shit about. They were going to die, and it was all they were thinking about. Trying to stay alive. That’s all anybody’s thinking about, for Christ’s sake.

“It is so much easier for youngsters to take democracy for granted.” Jesus tits. I suppose it’s easy for them to take democracy “for granted” because their minds are otherwise occupied with having enough food to eat and not living in their cars, but by all means let’s hold their heads under water until they put a bust of Churchill up in their dorm rooms.

Can we please stop acting like these are abstractions? People born in the 1920s and 1930s didn’t take democracy for granted because fascism was trying to kill them with physical bullets. People born in the 1980s don’t think democracy is the shit because they and their parents did everything right and a bunch of guys in suits walked off with all the pension money and some extra taxpayer ducats besides. I swear, our elite magazine writers need to meet some actual humans instead of just learning about them from television beamed to their planets.

What will happen in a world where those things are no longer true, especially when rising generations care less for democracy than their elders? And what will happen, as we continue to pass through the transition we’re clearly in now, if Western democracies suffer sustained French-style terrorist campaigns by Middle Easterners with the warped minds of medieval genocidaires?

Nobody knows, but it’s probably safe to say at this point that the relative tranquility the West has enjoyed now for decades in ending.

Relative tranquility. You know, the kind that ensued during the glorious 1970s and 1980s, when those who truly loved democracy were in charge. 

A.

Malaka Of The Week: Paul LePage

LePage meme

I’ve come close to anointing Maine Governor Paul LePage malaka of the week quite a few times over the last 6 years. It’s certainly not because of a lack of malakatude. He’s been bringing the crazy to the American political scene since 2010. And that is why Paul LePage is malaka of the week.

First, I have to give credit where credit is due for the nickname, the Human Bowling Jacket. LePage’s fellow New Englander Charlie Pierce came up with it, and I’ve stolen it on several occasions. You threw a strike, sir.

Let’s move on to the Mainer Malaka’s latest verbal gutterball. It involves a phone message he left for a state legislator who criticized racially charged comments he made about auslander out-of-state criminals.

“Mr. Gattine, this is Gov. Paul Richard LePage,” a recording of the governor’s phone message says. “I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a racist, you cocksucker. I want to talk to you. I want you to prove that I’m a racist. I’ve spent my life helping black people and you little son-of-a-bitch, socialist cocksucker. You … I need you to, just friggin. I want you to record this and make it public because I am after you. Thank you.”

The Portland Press-Herald deleted the Mainer Malaka’s expletives. I re-inserted them. They did, however, post a recording of his rant:

Don’t you love how he closes by saying thank you? I guess his mama raised him right except for the whole cursing and invective thing. #sarcasm. The content of the rant makes me wonder if he’s the love child of Phyllis Schafly and Al Swearingen, cocksucker was the Deadwood super-villain’s favorite insult as well:

LePage was an early Trump supporter but one has to wonder if he’s jealous that the Insult Comedian has cornered the market on political crazy. On June 29, 2015 TPM ran an article entitled 5 Times Paul LePage Truly Lived Up To The Title Of America’s Favorite Gov. This was the number-one pick and my personal favorite:

‘Giving it to the people without Vaseline’

During a heated budget battle in 2013, LePage said then-state Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson (D) “claims to be for the people but he’s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline.”

The off-color remark has followed LePage ever since. Earlier this year, a former Democratic mayor and state legislator tossed a jar of Vaseline at the governor during a town hall meeting, bringing the event to a premature end.

It’s good that he upholds the dignity of his office even as others attempt to grease the skids for his departure.

LePage subsequently issued a non-apology apology for the “little son-of-a-bitch socialist cocksucker” remark:

“I would like to apologize to the people of the state of Maine for having heard the voicemail I left for Rep. [Drew] Gattine,” LePage said to reporters today. And despite being heard on the voicemail to Gattine saying, “I want you to record this and make it public,” the governor went on to tell reporters today: “It was intended for his ears and his ears only.”

LePage continues to maintain he has “binders full of pictures” of non-Mainer drug dealers:

“I don’t ask them to come to Maine to sell their poison but they come. And I will tell you, that 90-plus percent of those pictures in my book — and it’s a three-ring binder — are black and Hispanic people from Waterbury, Connecticut; the Bronx; and Brooklyn,” LePage said.

Binders full of drug dealers? Does that ring a bell with anyone?

Mittbot binders

Like Willard Mittbot Romney, Paul LePage is full of something else. He refuses to resign and the State Lege is, once again, threatening impeachment, but it’s unlikely to happen even after the Portland Press Herald apologized to America for their teabagger Governor:

Dear America: Maine here. Please forgive us – we made a terrible mistake. We managed to elect and re-elect a governor who is unfit for high office.

He has a gruff exterior and blunt way of talking that some of us find refreshing, but he has shown again and again that he governs by grudge, and uses his power to beat up on people who cannot fight back.

I guess that makes the Press Herald’s editorial board little socialist cocksuckers as well. In addition to his binder full of minority felons, the Mainer Malaka claims that he’s “helped black people all his life.” That’s the politician’s variation on the old bigot’s theme: some of my best friend are black. Of course, in the Mainer Malaka’s case they’re all named “D-Money, Smoothie, and Shifty.” And that is why the Human Bowling Jacket aka Paul LePage is malaka of the week.

I bet he hasn’t lost the Vagenda of Manocide guys. Here’s another of their greatest hits:

maine sign photo-5

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – natural election edition

OK folks – you know the drill.  ISO suits on, airlock open – let’s open the first drum of…

EEYAHHHH!!!   The floor and walls are covered in Freeper slime! What in the hell could have caused that front drum to rupture and spray like that??

Oh.

Clinton ad ties Trump to KKK, white supremacists

A video released Thursday by Hillary Clinton’s campaign makes the case that Donald Trump is the candidate of racists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

“The reason a lot of Klan members like Donald Trump is because a lot of what he believes, we believe in,” a robed man identified as the Imperial Wizard of the Rebel Brigade Knights of the Ku Klux Klan says at the top of the video, followed by images of a Confederate flag fluttering in the wind, Trump waving after a speech, and a man performing a Hitler salute at what appears to be a Trump rally.

1 posted on ‎8‎/‎25‎/‎2016‎ ‎11‎:‎55‎:‎40‎ ‎AM by Scythian_Reborn
At Freeperville, they’re finally starting to realize that some extremely unsavoury people are stinking up their “movement”.
To: Scythian_Reborn

 

What’s the message? “The Klan supports Trump, all other Democrats should too!”

4 posted on 8‎/‎25‎/‎2016‎ ‎11‎:‎57‎:‎58‎ ‎AM by wheatmiller (No one thinks anymore….)

OK – make that “bowel movement”.
To: Scythian_Reborn

 

Maybe Trump will get Smersh to counter with the history he uncovered that the Kkk was a creation of the democrats

5 posted on 8‎/‎25‎/‎2016‎ ‎11‎:‎58‎:‎07‎ ‎AM by stanne

You know, I could just stop the thread right here.
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Either:
.
 .
b. Freepers are completely aware of history, are lying out their asses about the Democratic Party being the current abode of racists, and have cognitive dissonanced themselves into a fugue state of denial.
 .
To: Scythian_Reborn

 

Those are not KKK people, they are actors in KKK robes

At least the left found white guys to play the KKK parts this time

So they got part right for once

The last time they did this the KKK actors at Trump rallies were black, oops

12 posted on 8‎/‎25‎/‎2016‎ ‎12‎:‎03‎:‎27‎ ‎PM by arl295

.
I’m going with “b”.
 .
To: Scythian_Reborn

 

WOW – Trump really must be making an impact on the black vote.

19 posted on 8‎/‎25‎/‎2016‎ ‎12‎:‎06‎:‎34‎ ‎PM by Baldwin77 (They hated Reagan too ! TRUMP TOUGH – AMERICA STRONG)

 .
SpitTake
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Of course he is. Why, one poll has him all the way up to 6%.
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To: nhwingut

Maybe Trump is making in roads(sic) with blacks and Hispanics. They can’t have that. They must keep them on the government plantation

43 posted on 8‎/‎25‎/‎2016‎ ‎12‎:‎15‎:‎56‎ ‎PM by Trumplican

 .
“Government plantation”?
I’m so glad we cleared up the misconception that Trump supporters are racists.
I feel so much better now.
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In the mean time (not a typo) , READ MORE!!
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#NeverWingnuts

Watching otherwise intelligent people make common cause with scumbag assholes just because they both hate Trump is going to be the thing that ends me this election cycle. Jude and I have been texting this GIF back and forth to each other for like a year now:

varnish

Example one:

This deliberately stupid motherfucker was mocking Katrina victims AS THE HURRICANE WAS HITTING THEM. His mom made her bones convincing women to rat out other women in order to get likes back when likes were just dollars, and then he got a job appealing to the people even he thought were gross. And now, NOW, he wants to know who will speak up for him?

Buddy, you made sure anybody who would have been on your side was already six feet under politically. We tried to tell you this would eventually turn around on you, but you looked at the spreadsheet and called hippies smelly, called liberals fascist, called John Kerry a traitor and when called on your snide shit thought only of your sacred reputation.

Supposedly intelligent people should not be moved by pleas for sympathy from the likes of this. Jonah up there is the equivalent of those fratbros who buy a tiger as a pet and then are absolutely astonished when it grows up and rips their faces off.

Example two: ANYTHING Little Green Footballs tweets or posts regarding the unhinged-ness of Republicans and how awful and racist and crazy the party is now. I see people who are not otherwise idiots approvingly retweeting this site and again, forever, INTERNET GRANDMA, but  back in my day LGF was not something you went near without garlic and a big bag of sharpened stakes.

NEVAR FORGET: 

The man who was almost president shares a stage in Davos, Switzerland, with a rogue’s gallery of enemies, including the former president of Iran and his Iraqi puppet.

Nearly beyond belief. But this is John F. Kerry, doing what he does—giving aid and comfort to the enemies of America during wartime.

When reporter Jill Carroll was captured, then freed, by terrorists, this was LGF’s measured response: 

Note that even after her release, Carroll maintained that she had been treated well by her captors—so it would appear that this journalist for the Christian Science Monitor made these anti-American comments voluntarily.

Jesus H. Cuttlefish Christ. The “leftist-Islamist axis?” I almost forgot how fucking stupid everyone talked back in those days.

You don’t get to walk back from that and get anything other than a shortened wait time in purgatory. Like good for you for figuring it out before approximately 65 percent of your other wingnut friends, but I don’t think you’re due a parade. You certainly don’t get a cookie from people who at the time were looking at you and saying, “the FUCK, dude” while you were smearing your own poop on the walls and yelling about ISLAMOFASCISM.

I’m not saying people can’t come to Jesus. Plenty of them do and that’s fine, apparently, with Jesus. But I’m not Him and I don’t have to forgive, and with the Internet being a permanent record of everything ever, I’m certainly not willing to let anybody else forget.

A.

Sunday Morning Video: Deep Purple Live At California Jam

I won’t use any purple prose today. And I won’t try to out scream David Coverdale: my vocal chords couldn’t take it.

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Feels Like Rain

Rain, Steam, and Speed by JMW Turner, 1844.

Rain, Steam, and Speed by JMW Turner, 1844.

Tis the season for New Orleanians to freak out over the tropics. Social media is *great* after a disaster but it’s a disaster as storms line up in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s what happens at the end of every August, y’all. It’s too early to freak out about storms that may or may not pay us a visit. Here’s what I said on the Tweeter Tube the other day:

It doesn’t matter if a storm is named if it has your name on it. Look at what happened in the Baton Rouge area: that was an unnamed storm and it wreaked havoc.  My advice to people who are new to the hurricane zone is to prepare but take a deep breath and relax. Freaking out never helped anybody even if Freak Out is the title of the first Mothers album:

End of obligatory Zappa reference.

It’s been a hyper-allergenic week here in New Orleans. I’m not sure if the wind has blown allergens our way from the Gret Stet flood, but I’ve felt like warmed over shit all week. Sinus headaches are no fun, y’all; neither is being dizzy because your sini are clogged. I prefer them to be as dry as the Sinai. I have a tell-tale allergy related red spot on my right cheekbone. It’s usually dime-sized, this week it’s like a Kennedy half-dollar. Instead of day drinking like a proper New Orleanian, I’ve been day benadryling. Enough whining, wheezing, and whinging, Let’s move on to our theme song.

It’s been raining a lot so this week’s theme song is one of John Hiatt’s finest, Feels Like Rain. It’s so well crafted and constructed that it’s been covered by a wide variety of singers. I also like it because of the Lake Pontchartrain reference.

We have three versions for your enjoyment. First, the songwriter’s original version from his classic Slow Turning album. Buddy Guy loves the song so much that he made it the title track of a 1993 album. Finally, Aaron Neville crooning Feels Like Rain with the Neville Brothers to a crowd that included Dr. A and little old me.

Aaron sure can sing, y’all. There’s more to come after the break. I’m not sure if it qualifies as a full English breakfast but it’s all I got.

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Tripping Triggers on College Campuses

As colleges across the country come back to life after a three-month slumber, the issue of who has the right to do what and when and where has once again trumped almost every other issue.

Perhaps the college gaining the most attention is the University of Chicago, which welcomed its freshmen this week with the typewritten version of Cher’s famous scene in Moonstruck. The letter explained that students should not expect “trigger warnings” in classes or “safe spaces” on the campus, in large part because the university embraces freedom of expression and isn’t into this whole coddling thing.

Seconds after that note became public, many faculty members and members of the general publicly applauded this effort to tell millennials to get their shit together and suck it up. Other faculty and many trauma advocates saw this as an offensive display of tone deafness by people in power.

It’s unclear to what degree this flat-out statement will lead to negative consequences or how it will impact the university throughout the year. However, the university’s attempt to inform its students came across in a John Wayne-like fashion. And much like a John Wayne movie, this statement had little nuance, sought to pound its point into the ground and people either loved it or they hated it.

In reading through the letter and through various other pieces written about this generation and the college environment, I find myself going back to my days researching media convergence: You would have 10 people researching “convergence” only to find that none of them were defining it the same way and everyone told the other people they were wrong in their approach.

Start with the idea of trigger warnings. Conceptually, they are meant to provide people who have suffered traumatic experiences with the ability to be aware of potentially triggering content so they can either avoid it or prepare themselves to deal with the circumstances. A good way to think about this is to think about what happens to some military personnel who come home from active war zones. For some of these folks, loud noises, like violent video games or fireworks, can short circuit their minds and drop them back into the war environment. Thus, they react in a way that is harmful or socially problematic without being able to stop themselves. One of my former students married a man who had PTSD and he could never be around during hunting season. The sounds of the guns would have him acting out violently toward her or anyone nearby. Thus, they kept him away from guns and away from the noises during the season.

In triggering situations, victims of trauma are unable to control their reactions and the triggers can cause them serious harm. A good friend once wrote about a traumatic experience involving her former partner’s death and how that trauma still impacts her to this day. Thus, when a professor in her grad program said something about how students would probably “rather slit your throat than do this assignment,” it literally triggered a horrifying response in her. She was violently ill, riddled with crippling anxiety and unable to function. I doubt the professor knew or thought about that before saying it, nor would he have likely said it if he knew the backstory on one of his students. The point, however, is that when we talk about “triggers” and “trauma” and “trigger warnings,” this is what they are materially about.

What the U of C letter is actually talking isn’t trigger warnings, but instead the idea of self-censorship out of fear of things people don’t like to hear or things that people find offensive. For quite some time, people have been noticing that colleges seem to be less and less about the free marketplace of ideas and more and more about “Oh, shit, we’re gonna get sued!” Comedians have noted they need to censor their work on campus. Speakers have been cancelled because of everything from religious objections to failing to “speak for the entire community” of some group. The specter of appearing insensitive has led to what some people have called the “wussification” of this generation. In an attempt to draw a line in the sand on this issue, that’s where the U of C went off the rails and lumped in everything anyone would ever call “icky” and stuck it under the umbrella of trigger warnings.

I agree with U of C on the idea of keeping things that are unpleasant or that have the ability to challenge a student’s worldview in play. Just because you don’t like something, it doesn’t follow that you can’t actually handle dealing with it. In talking about it, for the people who just don’t like certain things, discussions can breed understanding and potential growth. That’s not the same as triggers or trigger warnings.

Here’s an example of the distinction I’m trying to draw: I do not like talking about rape or thinking about it. That said, I have not been a victim of sexual assault of any stripe and despite my dislike of the topic, I can, in fact, have a discussion about it in hopes of improving how I see things and how I can be a better ally to victims.

There are people for whom the mention of a rape or any reference to sexual assault takes them all the way back to a traumatic experience and that literally breaks them. They can’t help it, there’s no way of stopping it and when it comes at them from left field, it renders them helpless and wounded. Their reactions are involuntary and are often unpredictable.

Furthermore, U of C isn’t banning trigger warnings or opening Pandora’s box of topics for their professors. Professors can choose to issue trigger warnings as they see fit and in most cases, professors who have classes with the potential to trigger students know when things are likely to cause pain. In my editing class, for example, I do an ethics assignment that has students weigh perspectives over a set of photos that showed a deadly car crash. The photos are real and at least one of them is extremely graphic. I post the assignment with a “read me first” note that explains what is going to be in the photos. I tell students if they have a reason they cannot view these or do this assignment to get ahold of me so that we can figure out a different assignment. I have had students contact me, telling me that they lost a family member in a car crash or that they have a friend who committed suicide in this way and that they don’t think they can handle the images. We worked around it and managed to create a decent substitute assignment.

Professors can do this if they see fit at the U of C. They just aren’t expected to or forced to. Kind of an important distinction.

That said, the lack of trigger-warning enforcement doesn’t mean professors can just be assholes. Just because I don’t have to issue a trigger warning about discussing sexual assault, it doesn’t follow that I could start with, “So, which of you ladies have gotten the old ‘I bet she meant yes’ treatment and how did that feel?” Levels of human dignity and decency still apply in the classroom and unless you are so socially inept that you make Rainman look like James Bond, you should be able to figure that out.

I get why the U of C thing is creating this dichotomy of rage: People often take shit way too far and thus the exemplars of those extremes are all we see. For every kid who has survived a traumatic experience and yet finds a way to persist in day-to-day life, amid all sorts of tripwires, there a dozen examples of people getting pissed off for things that make the mainstream folks want to scream.

The microaggressions outlined in this article include the famous “where are you from?” question, which some find offensive. The underlying assumption is that for certain groups, there’s an insinuation that the question presupposes them to be “not real Americans.” Truth be told, I ask every kid in everyone of my classes that question because in many cases, they’re from this state and I probably know someone from their hometown. I have yet to have a kid stand up and yell at me, “Oh, so I’m Asian, I must be from China or something? Why don’t you ask me where my fucking wok is you racist asshole!” The worst it ever gets is when I get kids from North and West high schools in my class and they still carry those rivalry grudges.

The “macroagression” exemplars are also things that make the mainstream scream. I had a colleague tell me once that a student noted, “I can’t call you doctor because you’re a woman.” OK, then… Guess that Ph.D. was a waste…

Professors who tell people that Hitler was an OK dude, people who talk about rape like it’s part of a regular night on the town or faculty who treat their students like sex toys deserve a swift kick in the ass.

However, it’s not being sexist if I don’t refer to that opening in the middle of the road as a “personal sewer ingress” instead of calling it a “manhole.

That’s not a trigger and that doesn’t need a warning and that’s something everyone involved in this discussion needs to learn pretty damned fast.

Otherwise, we will be harming the most vulnerable students and acquiescing to the most idiotic ones.

Friday Catblogging: Up Close & Personal with Della Street

It took many years but Della Street has decided to emulate Oscar and become a lap cat. Dr. A took this close up not long ago:

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Hillary Clinton’s Alt-Right Speech

It’s no secret that I’m an ardent Democrat and staunch Hillary Clinton supporter. She’s a helluva tough woman who has endured 25 years of vicious attacks and has always, to paraphrase the old Kern-Fields song, picked herself up, dusted herself off, and started all over again. I have never been prouder of her than I am today. It took guts for Hillary to call out Donald Trump over his ties to white nationalists/supremacists.The speech was timely and well-delivered. It was also effective. Trump is  squealing like a stuck pig on his Twitter feed. And some people claimed Good Cop Kellyanne Conway took his phone away. They were wrong.

The more squeamish quarters of the punditocracy have been squirming ever since HRC’s speech. It’s impolite to say such things; just as one should never call one’s opponent a liar. Donald Trump doesn’t abide by the Marquess of Queensbury Rules and neither should his opponent. He *is*a liar. He *is* a racist. He *is* a misogynist. He *is* a con man. He *is* everything horrible that has been said about him. He *is* a menace.

Trump gave racialists/racists a seat at the table by hiring Breitbart Dude as his campaign CEO. David Dukkke has been one of his most ardent defenders. It may be impolite to tell Republicans that they’ve allowed the lunatic fringe to take over their party but it’s the truth. While it’s true that this has been coming on for years, the short-fingered vulgarian has accelerated the process. Reagan and Bush the elder denounced David Duke in the late 1980’s. Trump pretended not to know who he is in 2016. Reagan and Bush maintained a facade of plausible deniability when it came to the racists in their party as opposed to Trump’s implausible claim that Hillary Clinton is the bigot, not him. It’s just more projection by a sociopath. It’s what they do.

In addition to burying Trump, I want to praise Ms. Clinton for discarding euphemisms by calling a racialist a racist. After the break is  the transcript of her very important speech via TPM. I have omitted her introductory remarks since it’s the longest quote I’ve ever posted at First Draft. It’s also the most important.

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Vagenda Of Manocide

I don’t usually post things I see on Facebook but this was too good to pass up:

I think Vagenda of Manocide is an excellent name for a thrash metal band.

You’ll be glad to know that somebody on  Team Clinton has hijacked vagendaofmanocide.com. Well played, y’all.

I don’t care for thrash metal so I’ll post some Deep Purple instead. Why Highway Star?Gulf of Maine Gunsmithing is right off U.S. Route 302 in Raymond, Maine. I bet human bowling jacket Paul LePage shops for all his weaponry there.

 

 

The Full English Brexit Goes To Jackson

The Trump campaign visited the “swing state” of Mississippi yesterday. Say what? That’s right, as his path to electoral college victory narrows, the Insult Comedian visited the ruby red Magnolia State. It makes no sense whatsoever but neither does the Trump campaign. Apparently, Trump wanted to bathe in the adulation of a friendly audience, which is not how you win a general election. It’s another sign that he knows he’s losing. He should be defending Georgia and South Carolina both of which seem to be in play. I’m skeptical about the latter but the Peach state is possible.

Another oddity was the appearance of former UKIP leader Nigel Farage at Trump’s side. The Insult Comedian is obsessed with Brexit; even calling himself Mr. Brexit at one point. Why? It beats the hell out of me. Farage fed the crowd a barrage of bullshit including this howler: “I wouldn’t vote for Clinton if you  paid me.” That’s a given since Farage isn’t a citizen.

It’s been a bizarre week for Team Trump so serving up a full English brexit in a red state isn’t even the weirdest thing to go down. I wonder, however, if this is part and parcel of Trump’s doomed effort to woo African-Americans: a nice black pudding is usually served with the full English brexit. It’s a ludicrous explanation but Trump is a ludicrous candidate. It does, however, give me a chance to mock Farage and make a brexit pun so it’s win-win for me.

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I would be remiss in my duties if I didn’t close by posting a certain famous song about Jackson. It may be about Jackson, Tennessee but why should I worry about verisimilitude in a post about Trump and Farage?

 

 

Tweets Of The Day: Jeet Heer Say Edition

Jeet Heer is a talented New Republic writer and an amusing tweeter. He also has one of the greatest names ever. It’s so punworthy that even I should not abuse it, not that you’d know that from the punny post title. Take my word for it. It’s not heersay…

The topic du jour is the Insult Comedian’s immigration “policy.” If any of you knows what it is, please tell me. It seems to change hourly. What Trump really has is a series of attitudes on immigration: the latest one is Mr. Kinda Sorta Nice Guy. I still haven’t the foggiest idea of what his policy is but it has pissed off Ann Coultergeist and that’s not a bad thing at all.

Jeet Heer was following last night’s Trumpian chaos and had a bit of fun at Coultegeist’s expense:

I am officially glad that I gave up Godwin’s Law for the duration of this campaign. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to post that tweet or this video:

That’s right, it’s already happened, even if the dread Coultegeist isn’t in it. You can’t have everything, Jeet.

All Trump has done with his latest position is confuse people. Will it last? It seems to depend on who he spoke to last. His campaign gets more farcical by the day. It’s also turning into a cop show cliché: they have Bad Cop (Breitbart Dude) and Good Cop (Kellyanne Conway.) The MSM will hype this change as-you guessed it-a pivot that will change everything. It changes nothing: his supporters have drunk the orange Kool-Aid and most everyone else thinks he’s unstable and perhaps even batshit crazy.

Trump’s “positions” are so chaotic and changeable that they gave me an earworm. I’ll give Neil Finn and Crowded House the last word:

Lipstick On A Pig Time

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Well, that was 45 minutes I’ll never get back…though, to be fair, Kellyanne Conway managed to remain what I assume would be called “poised” and/or “professional” throughout…which is about 44 minutes and 59 nine seconds longer than the person whose campaign she’s now managing could.

No, no minds were changed, and despite Ms. Conway’s best efforts to paint (or lipstick) The Donald as anything other than the crashing-and-burning Hindenburg of a candidate, this was really more the better part of an hour of kabuki (albeit kabuki where Maddow, as usual, um…ruled, for lack of a better word) … something to normally be ignored; however, one, turns out I might have been affected by the floods after all (possible roof leak, long story, will spare the details), and two, I was trying to deal with that while also packing for a short trip out of town … not exactly great timing.

So … even if this was only Trump in surrogate form, previous Republicans appearing on Maddow’s show aren’t exactly a Murderers Row: Rick Santorum, microcandidate (and former Loosiana governor) Buddy Roemer…Tim Pawlenty (I think). In other words, MSNBC (minus the Scarborough show) is where dying Republican candidacies go for a few last, gasping breaths of air(time).

OK, maybe Trump isn’t THAT desperate, though the fact that he’s spending time in Mississippi strongly suggests that he’s looking less to win and more to bask in the adulation of his base … the campaign equivalent of all-you-can-eat McDonald’s French Fries. I suppose if you like McDonald’s fries … but … eat too many and you’ll make yourself sick.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Flim-Flam Man

The movie I mentioned on Monday is based on a book by Guy Owens: The Ballad of a Flim-Flam Man. The book covers are all remarkably dull but this movie poster is as colorful as the subject matter.

Flim Flam poster

The Flim-Flam Man still pops up on TCM from time-to-time. I haven’t seen it in years but recall it as a pretty good movie that’s largely played for laughs.  It’s not as funny as the Insult Comedian’s attempts to formulate an immigration policy but it’s much less sinister.

Gret Stet Flood Notes

Baton Rouge debris photograph by Carolyn Scofield.

Baton Rouge debris. Photograph by Carolyn Scofield.

First, I’d like to thank everyone who has donated to Gret Stet flood relief causes, either via this First Draft link or elsewhere. Dr. A and I gave money to the Denham Springs Animal Shelter. They exceeded their target and received matching funds from the Petco Foundation. I checked out them rather carefully since it was a gofundme appeal. Two friends who are active in animal rescue causes vouched for them. I mention this because the scamsters are using online flim-flammery to rip people off. Please be careful who you give to, especially if it’s a gofundme thing. At some point, we’ll be posting more links but I want to be sure that they’re reputable first. Besides, recovery is a marathon, not a sprint.

President Obama visited the Red Stick area yesterday. He shrugged off the critics and gave a nuts and bolts speech about how FEMA is not the same organization that it was in 2005. The people who hate him continue to carp and complain but that’s not helping anyone. Anybody who confuses Craig Fugate with Heckuva Job Brownie is an ignoramus.

POTUS stressed the importance of Congressional action to supplement FEMA’s emergency assistance. Unfortunately, three members of the Louisiana House delegation voted against Sandy Relief: Steve Scalise, John Fleming, and Baton Rouge’s very own Bill Cassidy who is now an empty suit in the Senate. And Fleming is running for Bitter Vitter’s seat. The good news is that New Jersey and New York Democrats believe in guvmint and will vote for Gret Stet flood relief according to Rep. Bill Pascrell:

“They don’t get it until they get hit on the side of the head themselves by a two-by-four and everything’s supposed to stop. All of a sudden it’s, ‘This is different; this is oranges and apples,’ ” said U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, a Democrat from Paterson, New Jersey.

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Pascrell, who said he’s going to do “everything as a congressman I can to help the people of Louisiana,” said he wished that state’s delegation had taken a similar approach when it was his state that needed assistance.

“Not one dime is going to be delayed to the Baton Rouge area or to Louisiana. I can’t say the same thing about 2013. Money was delayed,” he said. “We had to fight from the beginning for the dollars. While that’s not going to color my response, I’m not going to forget it. I don’t forget. There’s always a day of reckoning. That’s Jersey style.”

Messsage received loud and clear. In 2013, conservative ideology trumped disaster relief. The errant Louisiana pols deserve to be reminded of their hypocrisy before we move on.

In other Gret Stet flood related news, it remains unclear if or what Donald Trump donated to flood relief. He seems to have lied about the 18-wheeler he claimed to have brought with him to the flood zone. He *may* have donated money to a right-wing church favored by “family values” creep, Tony Perkins. As is so often the case with the Insult Comedian, the truth is elusive. But we all know that the truth is not his middle name:

There’s been much talk of the exploits of the ‘Cajun Navy.’ I put the term in quotes because it’s an informal group of people with boats who help during disasters. As my friend and post-K blogger comrade in arms Troy Gilbert put it on the Tweeter Tube:

Troy ought to know: he’s one of this informal group, which is most impressive to this landlubber. There have been several scams involving the ‘Cajun Navy,’ so beware, take care.

There’s a legislator who wants to regulate the activities of these public-spirited citizens:

Republican State Senator Jonathan “J.P.” Perry of the Vermilion-Lafayette area said he is working on legislation that could require training, certificates and a permit to allow these Good Samaritans to get past law enforcement into devastated areas.

In a radio interview on News Talk 96.5 KPEL in Lafayette, Sen. Perry said it comes down to two main points for law enforcement officials.

“At the end of the day, there are going to be two things that are going to be the hurdle when you approach it from the state’s standpoint,” Sen. Perry said. “Liability is going to be number one for them. They don’t want the liability of going out to rescue them and then not being able to find them, and secondly, there’s a cost.”

Perry continues by saying the liability issue could be solved by something like a waiver that boaters sign prior to a natural disaster.

Clouarte and other members of the ‘Cajun Navy’ said they do not understand the regulations.

“How can you regulate people helping people? That doesn’t make sense to me,” Clouarte said.

I’m not quite sure what I think of this very lawyerly idea. Regulating the ‘Cajun Navy’ is like to trying to regulate the wind. It’s amorphous and spontaneous. I don’t think people should be discouraged from helping one another but a waiver of some sort *might* be a good idea. One person’s Good Samaritan is another person’s officious intermeddler. That’s one of my favorite Tort law terms: it’s legalese for buttinski.

Finally, I’m having horrible allergy problems so I’m unable to do much in the way of hands-on volunteer work; all I can do right now is donate money and write about the Gret Stet flood of 2016. But many of my friends have pitched in and helped people in the flood zone. I’d like to give a brief shout out to Brett, David, Jonathan, Julia, Troy, and Desier. I know I’m forgetting someone; inflamed sinuses impair my little gray cells.

Below is a picture of my friends Carolyn and Kyle who have been house gutting with the United Saints Recovery Project who *are* a reputable group.

Photograph by Kyle Melancon.

Masked house gutters. Photograph by Kyle Melancon.

New Orleanians are used to masking, after all. Since volunteering in the Gret Stet heat can be funky, I’ll give the last word to Sylvester Stewart and his combo: