Monthly Archives: March 2017

UW Budget Cuts: There’s always a reason…

Every two years, Wisconsin Republicans come home and see that the UW burned the roast.

Or left a mess in the kitchen…

Or didn’t buy more beer…

Or forgot to pick up the dry cleaning…

There’s always a reason that when the budget comes along, and the UW System leaders ask for money, Republicans decide instead to smack it around and then cut higher ed in the state.

Four years ago, it was the allegation that the UW had stockpiled more than $1 billion in its coffers without telling anyone.

(Of course, that wasn’t true, but it was more than enough to create fake outrage and cut nearly a quarter of a billion from the System.)

Two years ago, it was the idea of an “autonomy for cuts” trade: We cut you to the tune of 13 percent and we then let you get away from us and live your lives.

(Of course, that was never going to happen. After making the cuts, the Republicans came up with the “what’s the point of giving you freedom if you won’t do what we want you to do with it?” argument that still makes my head spin.)

This time, I honestly thought it was going to be a Canadian hip-hop artist/UW-Madison professor who would be our sacrificial lamb. Damon Sajnani wrote a course called “The Problem of Whiteness” and Republican Dave Murphy lost his mind over it and threatened the U with budget cuts if this shit wasn’t stopped. Never mind Murphy is basically Exhibits A and B for what’s wrong with Whiteness…

In the end, Scott Fitzgerald realized he couldn’t fuck over the system of his alma mater just because of one class, so he needed a better reason.

And of course he found it.

Thanks in large part to some financial shell games at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, in which a former chancellor co-mingled state money and private foundation money to burnish his legacy and make his cock swell, all of the universities in the system are now being investigated.

Never let it be said Fitzgerald missed an opportunity to do his best Scrooge impression:

 

Fitzgerald stopped short of saying the university foundations issue would affect state funding for the UW System in the next budget. “When it comes to the state budget, members and finance committee members in particular, have a straight-forward process. How much is being set aside, how much is available.”

That said, “it’s human nature when you hear about something like this… ” Fitzgerald added.

 

Actually, Scott, it’s not. It’s sub-human nature to find flaws with everything in hopes of being able to make something suffer for your own pleasure. It’s the same approach kids take when they get a magnifying glass and discover they can use it to immolate ants. It’s power and dominion over those who lack the means and the recourse to fight back.

The state contributes 17 percent of the funding the UW System gets each year and yet you get to write all the rules. Every two years, you and your ilk get all fake outraged over some perceived slight, some perceived error in judgment or some stupid issue that allows you to whip people into a frenzy before you slash education.

The reason this works is because A) the universities suck at explaining anything to people who aren’t academics (and I say this as being an academic who watches the overly academic people fall all over themselves fucking this up every single time) and B) it’s so much easier to channel rage and anger than it is to marshal common sense.

I’m quite certain the cuts will come and the U will bleed and more quality faculty will flee this state like rats of the Titanic. We will then see a period of normalization until it comes time again for Ray “Oliver Twist” Cross to approach you with his bowl in hand and meekly request:

“Please, sir… more.”

Friday Catblogging: Here’s Looking At You, Kid

The artist also known as the O-Man keeps a watchful eye on his domain: the couch.

The Scandal Drip

As a serious Watergate buff, I usually shy away from comparing scandals to it. BUT the drip drip drip of the Russia scandal is eerily familiar; down to the competition between the NYT and WaPo. The drip drip drip is slowly turning into a flood. It’s like leaving your faucets dripping to avoid frozen pipes and finding them on full blast in the morning.

The Michael Flynn immunity story has dominated this evening. It means that he’s in serious trouble for as the man himself said on Meet The Press last September:

“When you are given immunity, that means that you have probably committed a crime.”

Neither the House nor the Senate should give Flynn immunity. It might be okay for a prosecutor but this is a trap. Oliver North got that deal and walked; leaving his colleagues at the NSC to take the fall for Iran-Contra. Not a happy precedent. That is why a special prosecutor is necessary. We don’t want Devin Nunes and House Republicans pulling a stunt that means immunity for Flynn is in. It should be ruled out, especially since it looks more and more like Nunes is an active participant in the cover up.

The scariest thing about this moment in time is HOW MANY Trump administration* scandals there are. There’s the Kushner building sale scheme; Carl Icahn’s sleazy self-dealing; the Pruitt perjury scandal to name a few. And, of course, the way the Trump family is profiting from his election. At any other time one of these would be THE BIG SCANDAL but none of them calls into question the legitimacy of the 2016 election. Russia is, to paraphrase Ken Kesey, the bull goose loony of administration* scandals.

I’m not quite sure how this will play out but I am glad that the Senate Intelligence Committee seems ready to conduct a thorough investigation of the Russia scandal. Devin Nunes is the latest in a long line of people who have been damaged by their relationship with Donald Trump. The Insult Comedian is a user and destroyer. Trump asserts dominance over what Josh Marshall calls his “dignity wraiths” and then discards them when they’re no longer of use.

General Flynn knows what it’s like to be one of Trump’s dignity wraiths. They’ve been setting him as the patsy for this scandal since he was shoved off the Titanic, Lusitania, or whatever sinking ship image works for you. It’s still going to be a slow process but Flynn is just the first rat bastard to flee the sinking ship that is the Trump administration*.

Whatever happens, Vladimir Putin has won. Putin and other Russian nationalists were humiliated by the fall of the Soviet Union. Putin wants America to feel his pain. He has embarrassed our country and played many of its citizens-on both the right and left-for suckers. The best we can do is to slap a bandage on the wound and carry on.

As the risk of sounding melodramatic, March 30, 2017 marks the day when the scandal drip, drip, drip turned into a flood. It’s going to be a bumpy ride but we’ll get through it. We’re not a Banana Republic even if we’re governed by a bunch of thieving, lying Banana Republicans.

Your President* Speaks: Easy To Be Hard

The lies are flying thick and fast in Trump’s Washington. One day, I expect to wake up to banner headlines proclaiming; TRUMP TELLS THE TRUTH. Now, that would be newsworthy.

Even in defeat, the Insult Comedian cannot stop bragging. He’s still talking about ACA repeal and how he can make it so:

President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening told senators that he will make a deal with lawmakers on health care despite the fact that House Republicans were forced to pull their bill to repeal Obamacare due to a lack of support for the legislation.

“I know that we’re all going to make a deal on health care. That’s such an easy one. So I have no doubt that that’s going to happen very quickly,” Trump said at a reception at the White House for senators and their spouses. “I think it will, actually. I think it’s going to happen. Because we’ve all been promising, Democrat, Republican, we’ve all been promising that to the American people.”

“We are going to be doing a great job. Hopefully it will start being bipartisan,” the President added.

If it’s such an easy one, why was the bill pulled from the floor twice?  At least he knows who to blame. He’s decided to take a tough line with the so-called Freedom Caucus:

The message is: defer to the dear leader or else. I don’t regard that as a credible threat; most of these bozos are in safe districts and Trump’s approval ratings are in the crapper. It’s going to be hard to run at them from the right. They’re as far right as it comes. I just realized I used the word credible. That was incredible…

Remember when the Insult Comedian made his Frederick Douglass gaffe? It’s Susan B. Anthony’s turn in what Roger Stone memorably called the barrel:

“Have you heard of Susan B. Anthony? I’m shocked that you’ve heard of her — who dreamed of a much more fair and equal future and an America where women themselves as she said helped to make laws and elect the lawmakers, and that’s what’s happening more and more.”

I’m shocked that he’s shocked and I don’t shock easily. Some media outlets are trying to pass this off as a “quip” but I’m applying the first rule of Trump punditry: don’t believe anything he says and never give that sucker an even break. Believe me.

USA Today asserted that it was a quip. I wonder if they’re rattled by this tweet?

It may be throwback Thursday on social media but it’s threatening Thursday on Trump’s twitter feed. I prefer the former, which is why I’m giving Three Dog Night the last word:

The Art Of The Steal

Trump_Mob_Men

So, it’s becoming — or maybe I should say finally becoming — a topic of discussion (source), the only question being whether Trump is a wholly owned subsidiary with little more than naming rights, or whether he also owes his soul to creeps that make Bebe Rebozo seem like JP Morgan. Hell, when I watched Phil Ruffin speak at an alleged Trump fundraiser for veterans I literally laughed out loud…turns out Ruffin might be the most upstanding and legitimate partner Trump’s had in some time.

To expand his real estate developments over the years, Donald Trump, his company and partners repeatedly turned to wealthy Russians and oligarchs from former Soviet republics — several allegedly connected to organized crime, according to a USA TODAY review of court cases, government and legal documents and an interview with a former federal prosecutor.

Duh. Glad they’re at long last taking a look, but this not being front and center throughout last year’s campaign was journalistic malpractice. Instead, we were treated to an endless nothingburger of Hillary’s emails, topped with an equally nothing secret sauce of alleged pay-to-play from the Clinton foundation. I mean, WTF? If Clinton had an iota of the sorts of business ties that look, pun intentional, par for Trump’s course, the wingnut howling might have disrupted the space-time continuum. As it stands, with the assistance of useful idiots like Devin Nunes, we’re treated to an almost farcical repeat of the latter stages of Watergate, when everyone fucking knew — knew — Nixon was guilty, but went to absurd lengths (quite literally for Rose Mary Woods) to give him the benefit of the doubt…and might have let him ride it out but for the tapes.

And yet, with all this, I think the most depressing aspect is that there are STILL a few folks — some of whom are my neighbors here in Red State/Red Stick — who will shrug their shoulders or maybe respond with, yeah, but her emails, or yeah, but Benghazi, etc. Goddamn.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Kiss Me, Deadly

There was an unexpectedly poignant moment in the last episode of Feud: Bette and Joan. Robert Aldrich (Alfred Molina) asked Jack Warner (Stanley Tucci) if he could be a great director. Warner’s response was NO. In fact, Aldrich was an outstanding genre film director who wanted to follow in the footsteps of Robert Wise and Anthony Mann and direct “prestige” pictures. The irony is that neither Wise nor Mann’s films were as good or distinctive when they left the world of genre films.

Genre films were not respected in 1962 when Feud: Joan and Bette is set. Aldrich continued to make thrillers, action movies, and westerns, which were more entertaining than many bloated big budget prestige pictures of his time.

The best movie Aldrich ever made was based on Mickey Spillane’s Kiss Me, Deadly. Spillane was a legendarily lowbrow writer but he was a good storyteller: Kiss Me, Deadly is his masterpiece. Aldrich’s  film adaptation of it is now regarded as one of the best films of the 1950’s. What’s not to love about Mike Fucking Hammer?

It’s time for a pictorial look, PFT-style, at Kiss Me, Deadly. We begin with two paperback editions of the book:

Robert Aldrich elevated Spillane’s gritty tale but it was a low-budget film without movie stars. Aldrich once mused that it would have been better with William Holden as Mike Hammer. My reply: most movies in that era would have been better with Bill Holden in the lead. He was *that* good. Ralph Meeker, however, gave the performance of a lifetime in Kiss Me, Deadly.

Kiss Me, Deadly may have come from a lowbrow crime fiction writer but Aldrich elevated the material enough for it to be released as a part of the Criterion Collection. It doesn’t get snootier or film buffier than that:

The movie has been remade but stick to the 1955 original. Here’s the trailer:

 

The Americans Thread: The World According To Gorp

Appearances notwithstanding, Elizabeth and her new target Ben didn’t poop all over the floor. Elizabeth/Brenda spilled some capitalist carob at a health food store to lure scientist Ben into a communist meet cute. That was among the things that happened in What’s The Matter With Kansas? That’s the title of a book by Thomas Frank but, frankly, the episode wasn’t based on it…

I had a lot of fun with the title this week. I considered borrowing the title of this old song:

But Elizabeth/Brenda’s colloquy about Gorp with Ben reminded me of a certain great John Irving novel. As the least outdoorsy guy on the planet, I was only vaguely aware of Gorp, which is a form of trail mix according to Garp. Henceforth, I will refer to Ben as (what else?) Gorp Guy and Elizabeth’s Topeka identity as Ebrenda. I wonder if the two of them will play Topeka-boo in the next episode. Things seem to be headed that way. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Say no more.

This episode boiled down this season’s storylines to their essence. The focus was on the main characters: Philip, Elizabeth, Paige, Oleg, and Stan. All of them had food and blackmail on their minds. I’d rather not serve spoilers so we’ll pick things up after the break. But first a musical interlude:

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Malaka Of The Week: Johnny Rotten

Thus spake Neil Young:

The king is gone but he’s not forgotten.
This is the story of Johnny Rotten.
It’s better to burn out than it is to rust.
The king is gone but he’s not forgotten.

The rock legend first recorded this song in 1979 and it’s undergone various permutations since then. John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten has gone through what Buddy Miles called Them Changes over the years as well. He’s always styled himself as a working class hero or man of the people. He has a big mouth and it has gotten him in trouble again. And that is why Johnny Rotten is malaka of the week.

Lydon fancies himself a contrarian. Most rock fans lean left politically: the Rotten Malaka does not. He went on a morning chat show in London and expounded on a certain American politician who claims not to be one:

The former Sex Pistols frontman, who became a U.S. citizen in 2013, said on ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” that Mr. Trump is “a complicated fellow” but doesn’t deserve being labeled a racist by his liberal opponents.

“What I dislike is the left-wing media in America are trying to smear the bloke as a racist, and that’s completely not true,” the 61-year-old said. “There’s many, many problems with him as a human being, but he’s not that, and there just might be a chance something good will come out of that situation, because he terrifies politicians.”

Mr. Lydon said Mr. Trump is like a “political Sex Pistol” whose purpose is to rattle the status quo. After co-host Piers Morgan described Mr. Trump as “the archetypal anti-establishment character,” Mr. Lydon added: “Dare I say, a possible friend.”

The former lead singer also declared his support for Brexit, saying he stands with Britain’s “working class” who voted to exit the European Union in June.

“Where do I stand on Brexit? Well, here it goes: The working class have spoke, and I’m one of them, and I’m with them,” Mr. Lydon said, raising his fist. “And there it is.”

I don’t think the Rotten Malaka was just pandering to Trump sycophant Piers Morgan. He defended his comments in a follow-up interview:

Speaking today (March 28) to Virgin Radio, Lydon said: “I didn’t expect to be misunderstood, I think I speak very clearly.”

He continued: “America now has a new President and whether you like him or not you have to support him or you will destroy the country. You got to make things work.”

We have to listen to a washed-up punk rocker who has only been a citizen since 2013? In words that he’ll surely understand: fuck you, Johnny. The country was polarized long before you became a citizen and it’s still standing. Perhaps you should go watch teevee with the Insult Comedian and rub his weave for good luck like past malaka of the week Jimmy Failin of the Tune Out Show.

I was never a punk rock fan. I had friends who were but I like melody, harmonies, and people who can play their instruments. I saw the Sex Pistols once out of curiosity. It turned out to be the last show for the original band. People are always impressed when I tell them. I was not. It was a miserable experience. Some razor blade clad moron kept bumping into me. After I moved, some chick with a blue mohawk puked on my shoes. I was not amused.

Back to Johnny Rotten. I really don’t care what this tosser thinks about Donald Trump. He’s not a cultural icon to me, he’s just an asshole who used to be famous. It’s a pity that he didn’t follow Neil Young’s advice and burn out or fade away instead of becoming a rusty Trumper. That’s his limited public image…

To paraphrase John Lennon, a working class malaka is nothing to be. And that is why Johnny Rotten aka John Lydon is malaka of the week.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Big Bopper

JP Richardson aka the Big Bopper was the epitome of a one-hit wonder artist. It was, however, a huge hit: Chantilly Lace. We’ll never know if he had more pop greatness in him because he was on that plane with Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and Eddie Cochran.

Richardson’s catalog is confusing because there are so many re-releases of so little material. The covers below are of the original LP and a later release with a cover with what appears to be the same model. The story is so convoluted that I opted not to wade into the thicket. I guess that means I’m not as thicket as a bricket…

A brief story before we play the Big Bopper’s boffo big hit. Longer ago than I care to admit, some friends of mine and I discussed doing a mashup of Chantilly Lace and the Elvis hit, In The Ghetto. We never got beyond the concept and two lines but I’d like to share with my readers:

Chantilly lace and a pretty face: IN THE GHETTO.

And his mama cried: OH BABY THAT’S WHAT I LIKE.

Let’s move on to the song itself. Here’s JP Richardson on American Bandstand:

It’s lagniappe time: Elvis performing In The Ghetto. Oh, baby that’s what I like:

All Of This Has Happened Before

Guys, I know it’s fashionable to pretend this is a New Moment for American Journalism, but check it: 

It was already widely believed in the South that black men had been brazenly stockpiling ice picks, pistols, rifles and explosives in anticipation of a larger race riot. With millions of white men now serving in the armed forces and stationed away from their families, the story went, white communities were vulnerable to an impending assault. When that day came, black women—many of whom worked in domestic service—intended to force their white employers to cook and clean for them. “Eleanor Clubs are stirring up trouble that never should have arisen,” a white North Carolinian observed with worry. “Clubs are making the Negroes discontented, making them question their status.”

A.

Everything Doesn’t Suck: Photography as Resistance

A great story: 

For Johnson, the still image and social justice go hand-in-hand: She wants to highlight the joy, power, and humanity of marginalized communities that are often overlooked or outright demonized by popular media. Through her tender images of everyday life, Johnson is systematically shattering preconceived notions about Englewood, and in their wake she offers outsiders — as well as the community itself — “a more accurate and artistically beautiful reflection of themselves” than is ever depicted.

A.

Jared Kushner: Renaissance Man?

See Jared Ski. Ski, Jared, Ski.

Trump’s son-in-law is everywhere. Jared Kushner missed the Trumpcare meltdown because he was skiing at that well-known populist resort town, Aspen. He’s being called before the Senate Intelligence Committee to testify about his meetings with the Russians. He still has a greasy finger in the foreign policy/national security pie. And today we’ve learned he’ll be in charge of deforming the Federal bureaucracy even though he never worked in government before 2017:

Kushner will report directly to Trump and will staff the office with former business leaders, according to the Washington Post. The office will work with business executives like Apple’s Tim Cook and Micrsoft’s Bill Gates, per the Post.

“We should have excellence in government,” Kushner told the Post on Sunday. “The government should be run like a great American company. Our hope is that we can achieve successes and efficiencies for our customers, who are the citizens.”

So much for the president* as a different kind of Republican. This is GOP boilerplate. The problem is that government is nothing like business and cannot be run as such. The purpose of business is to make money and show a profit. That’s particularly true for privately held outfits like the Trump and Kushner family businesses. They have no accountability to shareholders or anyone else. Now that I think of it, Trump’s White House is run like his company only they’re LOSING, not winning as promised.

The whole “run guvmint like a bidness” meme reminds me of a certain former New Orleans Mayor who is currently serving a 10-year stretch in Club Fed. Like Trump, C Ray Nagin promised to run City Hall like a business. The result was comic ineptitude in his first term and a series of second term scandals that led to what Meshach Taylor’s character on Designing Women called his “unfortunate incarceration.”

Nagin’s downfall was caused by his propensity to shake down people  to use his son’s business, the hilariously named Stone Age Quarry. Nepotism has always been a thing in New Orleans. It certainly is with the Trumps and Kushners as well. Nagin at least had the sense-I cannot believe I used that word in a sentence with C Ray’s name-to hide his filial malefactions. The Trumps do it in broad daylight as the president’s* frequent forays to Trump branded golf courses and hotels indicates. They’re not only above the law, they think they *are* the law. Hubris is not only an unattractive quality, it usually ends up biting one in the ass.

Back to young Jared’s new role as the White House’s point man on guvmint innovation and “reform.” It’s usually wise to appoint someone who has worked in the Federal bureaucracy to change it. Jerry Brown’s 1992 Presidential effort was based on the idea that only a reformed fund-raising sinner could change the way campaigns were financed. It didn’t turn out that way but it was a pretty good argument.

More famously, when FDR appointed Joe Kennedy head of the newly formed SEC, he was accused of putting a fox in charge of the hen-house. FDR’s reply was that only a fox knew where the bodies were buried. He didn’t exactly say that but it’s the whole “it takes a thief to catch a thief” thing writ large. Just ask Cary Grant or Robert Wagner

The Trumpers have already planted hundreds of political spies/commissars at departments and agencies. In some cases, the appointees have been even less qualified than Jared including a recent high school graduate. I am not making this up. It’s another example of the almost breathtaking ineptitude of these bozos. They remind me of the title of a book by the late, great Jimmy Breslin: The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight.

I used the word commissars because those were the loyal communists the Soviets appointed to supervise all arms of government including the military. As far as we know, the Trumpers haven’t tried that trick. Yet. That brings me to a fascinating NYT article by Anne O’Donnell about a strike by Russian civil servants against the Bolsheviks in 1917. The employees resisted the new government and even though they lost, it’s still a fascinating chapter in history. I don’t think of Jared as the next Trotsky or Bannon as the next Lenin but they can dream.

I wonder if the Insult Comedian is inspired by the second Red Scare attack on government employees by Senator Joe McCarthy and Trump’s mentor Roy Cohn. There’s that name again. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Oy, such a mentor.

I suspect that this attempt to run guvmint like a bidness will end up on the ash-heap of history alongside other failed Trump ventures. I hope that Bill Gates and Tim Cook will reconsider co-operating with the Kushner initiative. The Apple honcho should know by now that working with the Trump White House is bad for business. Of course, it wouldn’t surprise me if that part of the story turned out to be another snow job.

I have a suggestion for Team Trump. The Insult Comedian could pardon C Ray and put him to work on this misbegotten effort to run guvmint like a bidness. Nagin may not have been a Trump-level asshole but he has one thing in common with the Trumpers: INCOMPETENCE.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – special Trumpcare edition

Oh deary deary deary dear. I was watching the Trumpcare falboat set sail Friday afternoon, and idly wondered how it was playing in the land of the Freep.

Wonder no more.

Conservative Republicans are Today’s Biggest Losers
Kinvig on Politics ^ | 3-24-17 | Cameron Kinvig

Posted on 3/24/2017, 10:05:54 PM by ckinv368

The Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare—the American Health Care Act—finally came up for a final vote in the House. First put forward by Speaker Paul Ryan in 2009, it offered few surprises to Republicans. And the effort itself was very familiar, as Republicans had voted over 60 times to repeal Obamacare since its passage eight years ago. Yet, when the time came to exercise the prerogative of the majority and finally repeal and replace President Obama’s deeply flawed social program, Republicans came up short.

Over the past two weeks, moderate Republicans argued that they could not vote for a plan that did not keep certain fail-safe protections for the elderly in place. Conservative Republicans—many in the so-called “Freedom Caucus”—complained that Ryan’s plan kept popular portions of Obamacare on the books. They wanted a complete repeal, and many would accept nothing less. In the end, no-one got their wish. As Speaker Ryan admitted this afternoon, “we are going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.” This, in part, because the Trump Administration refuses to have its agenda held hostage. It is sidelining healthcare and moving forward with tax reform.

Democrats are celebrating Republican missteps. And the collective finger-pointing within the Republican establishment has already begun in earnest. An early contender for sacrificial lamb is Speaker Ryan.

1 posted on 3/24/2017, 10:05:54 PM by ckinv368
More on the sacrificial lamb later in this edition of Obsession, but first –
To: ckinv368

 

Fake news.

3 posted on 3/24/2017, 10:11:01 PM by Parley Baer

When does a portmanteau become self-parody?  I’m thinking right about now.
To: ckinv368

 

If this is losing, I’m happy to lose every day.

6 posted on 3/24/2017, 10:13:50 PM by thoughtomator (Purple: the color of sedition)

What a coincidence – I’m happy for you to lose every day. See? We can agree on some things.
To: ckinv368

 

Conservatives avoided having the collapsing socialized medicine fiasco rebranded as a Republican product.

More Winning.

13 posted on 3/24/2017, 10:20:35 PM by MrEdd (MrEdd)

“And then, I savagely attacked her foot with my balls!”
kick-balls
Fortunately, the Freeperville ban on cursing is still in effect…
To: ckinv368 

You’re completely full of shit!

At least I thought it was…

RyanCare did NOT bring back the medical system BEFORE obamacare.

We are not stupid.

The jury’s still out on that one…

Stupid people did not elect President Trump.

That’s right.

A WHOLE BUNCH of stupid people elected him.

We know when people like Ryan are lying, and he’s ALWAYS been a liar and a fucking weasel!

The Conservative Cause are HEROS for standing up to Paul Ryan, a stance that allowed time for millions of us to raise our voices and ultimately convince WAY more Congressmen to oppose this than just the Conservative Caucus.

So, Neub,

noobs

I STRONGLY suggest you go pimp your pathetic piece of shit blog at a more appropriate site, like therightscoop.com, where they’ll lap your bullshit up like it was chocolate sauce!

21 posted on 3/24/2017, 10:23:12 PM by catnipman ( Cat Nipman: Vote Republican in 2012 and only be called racist one more time!)

I thought this was the greatest thing to happen to the GOP since the immigrant ban?
Oops – ever mind.
And I’ve got a mind to report you to Blog Pimps Local Union chapter 52. I’m a member in good standing.
More rending of garments and pretending that it’s a fashion statement, after the jump.

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Tweet Of The Day: The Case Of The Punning Pundit

I considered stealing this pun outright. I decided not to out of fear of expulsion from the pun community. I take my status as a horrid punster quite seriously.

The punning pundit is Molly Ball of the Atlantic. It was posted when the Trumpcare Bill hopped out of the hopper:

That was a helluva sweet pun and I’m not Mollycoddling Ms. Ball by saying that. In fact, I relish the chance to praise a punning pundit.

That is all.

Don’t Let Them Come Back From This AGAIN

You guys, I am enjoying, so much, the humiliation of Donald Trump and Paul Ryan, the jackass Trump rented to run Congress for him so he could play president.

I should be a bigger person, but THEY TRIED TO LET INSURANCE COMPANIES OUT OF COVERING NEWBORN BABIES, so I’m gonna keep laughing for a few more days and I don’t really care if it gives some imaginary non-racist non-sexist Trump voter who just wants a job a sad.

But as I point and laugh at President Failstick and as I give all due credit to the Democratic voters who jammed phone lines and went to town halls and hounded Republican stooges who hadn’t heard from their constituents in months, I get angrier and angrier, because they never should have been allowed to get this far.

We keep letting them off the mat.

We keep letting them be a party. They pull shit, over and over, as should disqualify them from polite society, and we keep pretending they simply have a different point of view.

The GOP started an illegal war that killed thousands, based on nothing but lies, and we said we need to look forward, not back.

The GOP instituted a regime of torture and spying and we said bygones.

The GOP led a festering mass of racists as they burned Obama in effigy for being a black man. They invited the people who made Trump into their homes, and gave them space in their elite conservative publications.

Their conventioneers put Purple Heart Band-Aids on their faces to mock a war hero. Their advertising vultures morphed a triple amputee into Osama bin Laden. Their commentators said journalists deserved to be raped and murdered.

The president who led their party during this time — a man currently described as a very nice fellow who paints quite well — refused to meet with the mother of a dead soldier because she questioned his war, ignored an American city as it drowned, presided over the worst financial crisis in almost a century, and ignored intelligence briefings that might have warned him about 9/11.

This is just the stuff in recent memory, for the GOP. This isn’t even getting into Ronald Reagan and AIDS, Iran-Contra, Watergate, any of the shady shit the first Bush pulled at the CIA, any of it. This isn’t even mentioning the impeachment charges over a blowjob, the hit pieces they put out on a 15-year-old First Daughter, anything they did to Jimmy Carter. This is just THE LAST GOP PRESIDENT.

After all that, we let them be a party again. For eight goddamn years they howled and screeched that a free-market capitalist moderate, who would have been a member of their party in a less racist Eisenhower era, was a screaming pinko commie crackhead. For eight years, they courted every crazy they could in an effort to ruin anything Obama accomplished.

For eight years, they promised that they would repeal Obamacare. THEY SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT, and they were given airtime and column inches and treated, again, like just another opposing point of view. Like we had two parties with sensible disagreements, because Both Sides Did It, and We Can’t Be Bothered With Details.

Then they ran Donald Trump for president, and he grabbed America by the pussy, and they pretended not to see. They pretended they were better than the serial sexual predator and deeply unintelligent person they nominated, whose convention they ignored. They clung to his voters and they pretended he didn’t exist as he moved into the Oval Office.

Like he’s doing his thing, and we’re doing ours. And once AGAIN, America said okay, let’s listen to you. So what is your thing?

Kicking newborn babies off their health insurance.

That’s their thing.

Joking about mammograms.

That’s their thing.

Telling cancer patients to go to the ER.

That’s their thing.

They put out a bill so breathtakingly cruel even Republican voters were like goddamn, son. Do you know what you have to do to shock a mainstream white suburban Republican? You have to propose eliminating a minimum standard of care, that’s what you have to do.

We let them up again after this, where the hell do they even GO? I mean it, what do they even do from here? Their president wants to eliminate Meals on Wheels while carpet-bombing the Middle East and giving tax cuts to billionaires. We haven’t even talked about Russia.

What more do they need to do? At this point it would be a fucking thought experiment, if actual lives weren’t at stake: What does it take to destroy a modern political party? A year ago I would have said one’s presidential nominee being caught on tape bragging about sexual assault would do it, but here we are. Ten years ago I would have said the Iraq war being proven bullshit would have done it, or getting caught up in Planned Parenthood hoax videos, or paying lip service to someone who thinks Sandy Hook was a fake. Here we are.

How much farther does the GOP have to fall to prove it’s not a party anymore? To prove it’s not a set of ideals?

Should I check back in a year, when we’ve sold the nuclear codes on Ebay for 50 bucks? Is that what’s next? Fucking hell, how many times do they have to tell us what they are before we believe them?

A.

Stop Pretending We Ain’t Seen This Before

Of the many tired arguments that this is a New Era to which Journalism Must Respond (most likely by cutting newsroom jobs and reducing distribution), FAKE NEWS is maybe my least favorite: 

The production of fake, semi-false, and true but compromising snippets of news reached a peak in eighteenth-century London, when newspapers began to circulate among a broad public. In 1788, London had ten dailies, eight tri-weeklies, and nine weekly newspapers, and their stories usually consisted of only a paragraph. “Paragraph men” picked up gossip in coffee houses, scribbled a few sentences on a scrap of paper, and turned in the text to printer-publishers, who often set it in the next available space of a column of type on a composing stone. Some paragraph men received payment; some contented themselves with manipulating public opinion for or against a public figure, a play, or a book.

But … but … you mean to say satirical and/or politically motivated AND/OR just plain bullshit publications have always existed and maybe a bunch of Macedonian teenagers are not responsible for the stupid-ing of America forever? You mean maybe critical thinking skills and the nurturing thereof might be more important than the blaming of Facebook? YA DON’T FUCKIN’ SAY.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Promised Land

Marbotikin Dulda by Frank Stella.

We seem to have hit peak pollen this week in New Orleans. Achoo. As a result, I awaken each day with watery eyes and a runny nose. Achoo. It’s most unpleasant as is my daily sinus headache. The good news is that we’re supposed to have some rain to wash away the sticky yellow stuff. The bad news is that it won’t happen until later today when we have plans to attend a festival not far from Adrastos World HQ. Oh well, that’s what umbrellas are for.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or watching teevee with the Insult Comedian, you know that Chuck Berry died at the age of 90.  This week’s theme song, Promised Land, is my favorite Chuck Berry tune. I was introduced to it at the first Grateful Dead show I ever attended. It was a helluva opening number.

I have three versions for your entertainment: Berry’s original, the Band’s rollicking piano driven take from Moondog Matinee, and the Dead live in the Nutmeg State. It’s time to jet to the promised land, y’all.

I remain mystified as to why Chuck wanted to get out of Louisiana and go to Houston town. There’s no accounting for taste. Let’s ponder that as I insert the break, but not where the moon don’t shine.

Continue reading

Heck, Yeah

Uh oh, I seem to have a galloping case of Gorsuchitis. That’s why I couldn’t type Fuck Yeah when the news came down that Ryan had pulled the abominable GOP health care bill. I was not surprised. They were bleeding votes all day as every concession made to the denizens of Wingnutlandia cost them with sane conservatives. I think the nail in the coffin was when the House leadership promised to abolish the “health care essentials,” which were all the popular bits in the ACA. Thanks, Ryan.

The Brown House will pretend that Trump lobbied hard for the bill. He did not. He only met with large groups of GOPers instead of holding small meetings in the Oval Office. Nothing moves votes like personal attention from a President. I guess Trump didn’t want to interrupt his teevee watching. Also, never forget this photo-op from yesterday:

The Insult Comedian on a road to nowhere.

I never want to hear about Dukakis in the tank after Trump in the truck. Trump should have been working the phone instead of playing in a truck. Schmuck.

There are already signs that Steve Bannon’s allies in the media are sharpening their knives for Paul Ryan. Bannon has long had it out for Ryan and anyone who thinks he won’t go for the throat after this fiasco is kidding themselves. It may not be today but it’s coming. Believe me.

Republicans will attempt to minimize this disaster but I would like to remind them that the Clinton administration had a hard time passing significant first-term legislation after their health care plan died. We’ve learned how few GOPers are afraid of a mendacious, unpopular president* Thanks, Donald.

Finally, kudos to everyone who attended town halls and called their congresscritters to urge a vote against this atrocious bill. The pressure worked. Thanks, y’all.

Vive les Maquis.

 

Trump and the unfortunate addiction to spectacle

If you want to look for a “life imitating art” moment for today’s healthcare vote, it has to be this one from the movie “Black Mass.”

James “Whitey” Bulger tells his associate exactly what Trump told Republicans by calling for this vote: “You wanna take your shot? Take your shot. But make it your fuckin’ best because if I get up, I’ll eat you.”

This whole thing is horrifying: The potential repeal of the healthcare law, the CBO’s estimate of 24 million people losing coverage, the way in which our government can’t seem to run for three hours without falling all over itself… Say what you want to about the eight years of W., but compared to this, well… at least his stupid was just stupid. It wasn’t vindictive, blind-sighted and angry.

The one thing that makes it just so fascinating is the same thing that makes people slow down at a massive freeway wreck, despite pissing and moaning about the gaper’s block: It’s the rarity of spectacle.

This is how Donald Trump has made his money and gained his fame: He kept people guessing and he always delivered a cliffhanger.

He sued the NFL. Who does that?

He bragged to Billy Bush about sexual assault. Who does that?

He kept Omarosa on Season 1, week after week. Who does that?

The answer is Trump, because he knows what few people are willing to admit: Humans don’t like the safe play and we want to see if there’s going to be a car wreck.

Name the last time a president went to congress without knowing if he had the votes to get something done, especially something this big and this early in his term.

Name the last time regular citizens (or people like me who are abnormal but still don’t pay attention to politics) were aware that a big vote was coming and waiting to see it like “must-see TV.”

This is Gary Cooper in “High Noon” or John Wayne in “Rio Bravo” or Brett Favre throwing another fucking rocketball into triple coverage.

The spectacle works on TV because it has no real impact. You knew Cooper and The Duke would be fine. As for Favre, well, at least if you weren’t in Vegas, his errors wouldn’t cost you anything.

The same couldn’t be said for Trump to this point, given his actions cost this world the USFL and Billy Bush his job. The Omarosa thing still remains baffling, but minor issue. And perhaps that’s the best way to look at his jackassery to this point: It hurt people but not a lot of people most of us know or give a shit about. Meanwhile, the spectacle jacked a lot of people up through the roof.

But now, he’s playing with live ammo. He’s the paintballer with some serious weekend warrior skills joining the Marines. Lives are actually at risk here and yet he seems to think we’re still playing paintball.

In that case, he’s taking his best shot.

Let’s see if someone gets up and eats him.

Friday Catblogging: Jeepers Creepers

Writing about Neil Gorsuch’s propensity to say gosh and golly yesterday made me think of Johnny Mercer’s slangy lyrics as applied to Della Street’s devil eyes:

Jeepers creepers, where’d ya get those peepers?
Jeepers creepers, where’d ya get those eyes?
Gosh all, git up, how’d they get so lit up?
Gosh all, git up, how’d they get that size?
Golly gee, when you turn those heaters on
Woe is me, got to put my cheaters on
Jeepers creepers, where’d ya get those peepers?
Oh, those weepers, how they hypnotize.
Where’d ya get those eyes?

Heere’s Della:

Here’s the man himself singing Jeepers Creepers by golly: