Monthly Archives: July 2017

NOLA Mayor’s Race: The Forgotten Cause

New Orleans is experiencing monuments fatigue according to four leading contenders to replace Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Tyler Bridges of the Advocate quotes several of the front-runners in a front pager from Monday’s dead tree edition:

The monuments are serving as a huge distraction to this entire campaign,” said Desiree Charbonnet, a former Municipal Court judge who has won attention by collecting the biggest campaign war chest.

“We have way bigger fish to fry,” added Charbonnet, who is African-American. “They’re down. They’re probably going to stay down. The next move is to discuss what everyone can agree on to replace them.”

First of all, the phrase “war chest” is one of the lamest clichés of political journalism. It should be sent to the same place they’re storing Lee, Davis, and Beauregard.  If I weren’t opposed to capital punishment, I’d advocate the phrase be led to the gallows or taken out back and shot. Enough already.

The leading candidates: Desiree Charbonnet, Michael Bagneris, Latoya Cantrell, and Troy Henry are African-American. They’re all eager to be the crossover candidate who reaches the 36% of voters who are white, which is why they’re downplaying the monuments mishigas. Charbonnet has already proposed an OTT anti-crime package in the hopes of attracting white law-and-order voters. It does nothing for me or other white liberals who are a substantial chunk of the 36%. It would also be wise for Charbonnet not to say the monuments are “probably going to stay down.” That just generates uncertainty and more questions on an issue she wants to avoid.

The most amusing quote Bridges got out of the candidates came from businessman Troy Henry. He ran against Mitch Landrieu and finished a distant second with 13.8% of the vote in 2010. He’s best know for his friendship and business partnership with Wendell (Bunk) Pierce. Here’s Henry putting his foot in his mouth:

Henry said he supported the removal of the Battle of Liberty Place monument, which commemorated a white supremacist militia that fought in the city’s streets against Louisiana’s biracial Reconstruction-era government in 1874.

“It was a tribute to something heinous,” he said. “The other ones, quite frankly, I don’t know enough about the details and backgrounds of those folks,” meaning Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Gens. Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard.

That’s right ladies and germs, a man who wants to be Mayor of New Orleans, with its tri-centennial year on the horizon, is either a historical ignoramus or wants to duck the issue so badly that he’s willing to look like one. It reminds me of the just ousted  White House communications director who don’t know Mooch about history. Don’t blame me for that groaner: I got it from First Draft pun consultant James Karst.

One candidate who is willing to discuss the monuments is a guy named Frank Scurlock. He was opposed to removal and was on the periphery of the Lost Cause Fest demonstrations. It’s unclear how many locals are still sitting emotional hillbilly shiva. Scurlock is a non-factor in the race but could get 5-10% of the vote from Republicans and unrepentant bigots. He has money but his ceiling is 15% which was Trump’s total in Orleans Parish. New Orleans is a very blue city, y’all.

Do I think the monuments issue should dominate the Mayoral race? Absolutely not but neither should it be ignored. We still need a conversation as to what to do with the removed monuments as well as a coherent policy on how to address this issue in the future. The candidates are doing themselves no favors by ducking it. They should also remember how many of the 36% are white liberals. Hillary Clinton got 81% in Orleans Parish. Repeat after me: New Orleans is a very blue city, y’all.

I’ll give the last word to former city councilman and current talk radio host Oliver Thomas. Oliver was the frontrunner to succeed Nagin in 2010 before a gambling habit and sticky fingers sent him to jail.

“It’s disingenuous,” said Thomas, a former city councilman. “When (the candidates) talk to us privately in the black community, it’s a real issue. They’re down with the brothers and sisters. But when they talk to the white press, they say we should move on. There’s one speech to the black community, and there’s another speech to the white community letting them know they’re a safe candidate.”

It’s time for less profile and more courage on this divisive issue.

The Fly On The White House Wall

I have a dream: of a time when political news slows to a crawl in the dog days of summer. Instead, the Kaiser of Chaos (I’m testing a new Trump nickname) lops off another head on a Friday afternoon and the world goes mad. It’s too hot for this shit, y’all. But this is the new normal; make that abnormal.

The Friday news dump involved Trump’s dumping his chief of staff Reince Priebus. One usually wants to be the proverbial fly on the wall, but I’m less certain after learning about one of Reince’s weirder duties. It conjures up images of the 1958 movie, The Fly:

At one point, during a meeting in the Oval Office, a fly began buzzing overhead, distracting the president. As the fly continued to circle, Trump summoned his chief of staff and tasked him with killing the insect, according to someone familiar with the incident. (The West Wing has a regular fly problem.)

I guess I should have called Reince’s ouster a fumigation with Anthony Scaramucci as Tom (The Bug Man) Delay or Dale Gribble.  Did anyone see this van enter the White House grounds last week?

It’s always a white van. Of course, Dale called it a Bugabago but a white van is a white van is a white van. I realize that I’m comparing the super-New Yorker Mooch to two Texans but when you need a wingnut exterminator, you should not Delay in calling Dale…

That was an odd segue even for me. Let’s get this train back on the track. There are two accounts of Priebus’ ouster that floated my boat. (I *should* apologize for the mixed transportation metaphors but I won’t.)  TPM’s Allegra Kirkland (my new favorite name) compiled Reince’s ongoing humiliations since becoming a Trump dignity wraith last year. I savored this waltz down memory lane:

“People assume oh, are you – you must be miserable. You’ve got a horrible job. But I don’t see it that way,” Priebus said in an April 2016 interview with CNN. “I’m not pouring Bailey’s in my cereal, I’m not sitting here trying to find a Johnnie Walker.”

Exactly what someone considering pouring Bailey’s in his cereal might say.

Bailey’s on Cheerios might be a fabulous breakfast combination on Mardi Gras morning. I realize Omar Little would insist on Honey Nut Cheerios but that would be sickly sweet. Besides, he’s fictional, yo:

So much for getting this train back on track; that GIF may have even sunk the boat. Perhaps an automotive GIF will save the day:

The second primo Priebus piece comes from New York Magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi. Her article won the weekend because of this headline, Why the ‘Mooch’ Whacked Reince Priebus. Answer: it was a contract hit. The Insult Comedian made him do it.

One swell thing about Nuzzi’s piece is her list of insulting nicknames for the defenestrated chief-of-staff:

In and out of the White House, Priebus was referred to by all manner of derogatory nicknames centered on the male anatomy, like Rancid Penis, Reince Penis, The Penis, and Little Penis.

Team Trump *is* full of dickheads, pricks, and self cocksuckers, after all. The mild-mannered Priebus was destined to be a phall guy…

The derogatory nicknames make me wonder why Priebus goes by the nickname Reince. That’s right, it’s not his given name as we learn from this 2016 Politico puff piece:

The Chairman has no problem acknowledging he has a unique name that can be difficult to pronounce at first. Here’s a simple trick: Reince rhymes with “pints.”

As it turns out, Reince is actually a nickname for his full name, Reinhold, which has been passed down in his family for years. “It’s what happens when a Greek and a German get married,” Priebus joked.

“My life is very much like My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” 

Dude, if that were the case, you’d be like one of my male relatives and be nicknamed Chris, Nick, Con, Lou, or Pete. Reinhold is a terrible name but Reince is even worse. It’s one reason Charlie Pierce has long called you “obvious anagram Reince Priebus.” Why didn’t you become Butch, Buddy, or even Spanky? It might have spared you some of the penis jokes, except for the last one. One might even say that his fellow Republicans have Priebus envy…

Back to the fly on the White House wall imagery. I selected the double feature poster at the top of the post for a  specific reason: flies are like Trump dignity wraiths. Reince isn’t the first to be swatted and he won’t be the last. The problem in the White House is the psychopath who won the electoral college last fall and enjoys pulling the wings off flies. If General Kelly means business, he would ban the president* from tweeting and not let Scaramucci take the oath of office. That’s right, he’s not even formally on the public payroll yet and he’s already purged Priebus. The Mooch is bulletproof until he upstages the Insult Comedian. Then *his* wings will be pulled off. So it goes.

It doesn’t matter if the new chief of staff is a Marine General, this will happen again and again as long as the Kaiser of Chaos demeans John Adams’ White House with his presence.

The last word goes to Jeff Goldblum as The Fly in David Cronenberg’s 1986 version:

Yeah, I know there were no words but I am a creature of  habit.

Time to swat a fly. Thwack. Splat.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – unskinny bop edition

Might as well jump right in :

Skinny Repeal Failed

July 28, 2017 | Pinkbell

Posted on 7/28/2017, 12:40:04 AM by Pinkbell

Sorry if there is a thread; I didn’t see it.

McCain, Collins, and Murkowski voted No.

Republicans spent 7 years promising this, and they couldn’t get it done.

The Republicans don’t like Trump all that much, but he is willing to fulfill their promise that they made. Meanwhile, McCain, the GOP hero, helped kill their promise.

1 posted on 7/28/2017, 12:40:05 AM by Pinkbell
7 years.
Seven fucking years they have tried to crap on President Obama’s legacy.
50 attempts to toss as many people as possible off their insurance.
50.
As John Wilkes Booth once said: “Useless……..useless……”
To: Pinkbell 

McCain literally has a defect in his brain.

If you’re a Republican, that’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

Why is he allowed to vote anymore?

3 posted on 7/28/2017, 12:41:42 AM by DesertRhino (Dog is man’s best friend, and moslems hate dogs. Add that up.)

Why are you allowed to breathe anymore?
To: Pinkbell

 

McCain is not, never was and never will be a hero to me. He probably is terminal, so I’m reluctant to go full bore in speaking ill of him (…)

6 posted on 7/28/2017, 12:44:36 AM by Avalon Memories (The question about fighting back is not what average people can to do, but how to do we do it?)

Oh, I’m sure we can find a Freeper or thousand to step up to the plate for you :
To: LeoWindhorse
.
I hope McCain croaks tomorrow
.
5 posted on 7/28/2017, 12:43:33 AM by LeoWindhorse (America First !)
To: Pinkbell

 

Filthy evil McCain came back just to save Obamacare, which he claims to oppose. What a rotten creature.

10 posted on 7/28/2017, 12:46:26 AM by Williams (Stop tolerating the intolerant.)

….and about 100 more just like those…
And just think – even The Darnold loved him last week:
To: princess leah
TrumpTweetMcCain
He is an ungrateful and unrepentant traitor . I hope that President Trump states that he will never say his name again . Never , not even in memorium . I hope Trump decides to shun any further mention of him altogether .
34 posted on 7/28/2017, 1:07:59 AM by LeoWindhorse (America First !)
And, to wrap it up with a neat and putrid bow on it, a new thread :
John McCain is an piece of Crap
vanity
Posted on 7/28/2017, 12:40:41 AM by JPJones

Sorry for the vanity.

1 posted on 7/28/2017, 12:40:41 AM by JPJones
HannityConfused
No, he said: VANity!
The Freeperville campers are not happy, so let me pour them a fresh glass:
Tears
Click on the “continue reading” to continue reading.
.

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How We Got Here

Whet has a fantastic history lesson for all those MAH GRANDPAPPY JUST TOOK A CHICKEN TO THE DOCTOR TO PAY bleaters out there. Most likely Gramps didn’t go to the doctor at all, even if there was a spare chicken around.

A.

What They Live On

Been saying for a while that Trump isn’t complicated. He’s hit on a line — white resentment — that sells, and he’ll keep selling it until it doesn’t work anymore: 

The condemnations began soon after Trump’s speech to law enforcement officers in Brentwood, New York, Friday, aimed at bolstering local police efforts to combat a spike in violence attributed to the Marasalvatrucha, or MS-13, gang.

“When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice,'” the president told the officers assembled at Suffolk County Community College.

“Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head – you know, the way you put their hand over – like, ‘Don’t hit their head’ and they’ve just killed somebody. ‘Don’t hit their head,'” he added. “I said, ‘You can take the hand away, OK?'”

That a crime wave is not caused by cops making sure a suspect doesn’t bash his head on the car hood is obvious, natch, and every police department rushed out to Twitter to be all NOT US WE’RE NOT LIKE THAT NO NO NO. Which was nice, except that there are by far more allegations of excessive force than there are of excessive kindness: 

In a statement given to People’s Law Office attorney Flint Taylor last spring, Holmes said he was taken to an Area Two interrogation room, where detectives put a plastic bag over his head. Holmes said that after he bit through the bag in order to breathe, Burge put a second bag over the first. Holmes told Taylor that he remembered hearing a crank turning and Burge saying, “You going to talk, nigger, you going to talk.”

“It feel like a thousand needles going through my body,” Holmes said. “And then after that, it just feel like, you know–it feel like something just burning me from inside, and um, I shook, I gritted, I hollered, then I passed out. . . . They put the bag back on me, took me through the same thing again. They did that I don’t know how many times. . . . I said to myself, ‘Man, he trying to kill me.’ And I thought I was dead because all I could see was blackness, and I said, ‘Man, this is it. I’m gone.’ When I looked up, they brought me back again. Burge was the one that was . . . bringing me back. Every time I come to, he be the one standing over me.

“But the point is, when you see police doing you like this here and there’s nobody there to help you, you like, ‘Man, is this real?’ You know it can’t be real. . . . But then you realize it ain’t no dream state because you started feeling this pain, just like somebody stabbing you in your heart, you know, and you fixing to die, but you won’t die. You just still there. . . . Ain’t nothing like it. It’s just like, you know, just diving in some water that’s ice-cold and it hits you at one time and it take your breath away and you get pain. It freezes you up. It’s just like somebody just cut away everything that’s inside you and there’s nothing to hold you back. . . . When they got through with me, I didn’t care what it was–if they said I killed Bob or the president or anybody, I would say, ‘Yeah, how do you want me to say this? This the way I did it? Yeah, this the way I did it.’ . . .

“When I tried to tell people that they did me like this, ain’t nobody want to listen to me. When I go to the parole board, I tell them the same thing. They look at me like, you know, ‘You got jailhouse slick.'”

Trump’s talk of empowering cops to go beat the shit out of bad guys isn’t new, of course, that’s what being the “law and order” candidate and shitting all over Chicago was always about. His natural audience is people who picture the city as a teeming mass of minority criminals ready to rise up and murder nice white families downtown for their annual matinee.

At best, he’s an old racist shithead who, like many people his age, grew up on a steady diet of crime shows set in NYC. You know what’s on TV all day if you’re not watching Fox? Law and Order. Some channel is running a marathon at all times.

His supporters watched a lot of America’s Most Wanted, and they watched a lot of NYPD Blue, and they watched and still watch hours and hours and hours of Law and Order. Twenty-four hours a day, hookers are getting strangled and dumped in alleys, and the “perps” are going free because some cop who Just Couldn’t Take It Anymore didn’t wait for a weenie judge to sign a warrant.

That’s the city to them, that place where their parents had such a nice neighborhood and You Should See It Now, it’s been ruined by Those People. Their only interaction with city police is Lenny Briscoe. And if the cops were just “unleashed” to do it like they do in the movies, well, maybe they could get something done.

“Something” being hit with a $5 million misconduct lawsuit that’s just gonna stop the cops who aren’t assholes from solving any actual problems, but that’s not the point. The point is to talk tough, not to accomplish anything.

A.

Sunday Morning Video: The Jayhawks Live In 2017

Here’s a recent set from the Sellersville Theater in Sellersville, PA. Apparently, it’s a Sellersville market…

Saturday Odds & Sods: I Should’ve Known

Dog Eat Dog by Joni Mitchell.

It was a helluva week with one of the most eventful Thursdays in recent memory. We all thought the “skinny repeal” atrocity would pass. While I’m glad that John McCain voted NO, the real stars of the vote were Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. Team Trump has done many stupid things since coming to power but threatening Murkowski takes the cake. This is one tough woman. In 2010, she lost the Republican primary to a teabagger, ran as an independent, and won. Threatening her with an open political grave was futile, she’d already been declared politically dead and came back with a vengeance. Besides, the Murkowskis are a dynasty in Alaska with a collective 36 years in the Senate between Lisa and her father Frank. Take that Ryan Zinke. Z is for zero, zed, and Zinke.

On the local front, the big news was the surprising resignation of Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand. Normand is one of the most popular elected officials in the Gret Stet of Louisiana and a genuine maverick. I’ve both praised and blasted him over the years. You may recall that he was the guy David Vitter hired a gumshoe to spy on. Normand played an important role in defeating Vitter’s goober bid in 2015. On the down side, he was named malaka of the week for one of many bombastic press conferences he gave as Sheriff. He’s becoming the afternoon man at WWL talk radio. I suspect that the station’s money was what did the talking.

The reasons for selecting an Aimee Mann tune as the Saturday post theme song for a second time will be made clear after the break. Suffice it to say that it’s a great tune with a message that fits the post quite neatly. We like things tidy here at First Draft even if  my house is a cluttered mess. Neither Oscar nor Della will lift a paw to help clean. So it goes.

We begin with the 1993 promo video followed by a live version on the Beeb.

I’ve always loved the “dot, dot, dot” harmonies. I originally thought they were singing “bop, bop, bop” but I should’ve known…better. Ponder that as we go to the break.

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An Eagle’s Eye View on Trump and the Jamboree

The media firestorm over Donald Trump’s address to the National Boy Scout Jamboree had me digging deep into the back of both my mind and my storage closet this week.

In 1989, I was one of 32,717 scouts who poured into Ft. A.P. Hill, Virginia for a week of camping and camaraderie. I was the only representative from my school, which meant I was stuck with another troop from Wisconsin for the duration of the event. I was one of four outsiders who didn’t come from this Evangelical school of overly sensitive kids two or three years my junior.

Three of the days we spent there were among the hottest ever on record for that area, so much so that soda was banned and mandatory hydration occurred. We had just spent a week on a bus getting there, crashing at various armories and gymnasiums on the way, so we were ripe to say the least. It also didn’t help that showers were tough to come by (a long, long hike with even longer lines, if memory serves) and a lot of us were trying to earn a patch or a badge that involved us completing a mud-filled obstacle course or a swampy nature walk.

By the time we got home several days after the event closed on Aug. 9, we were so fried that any one of us (including God’s Children who once were so offended when I told one of them to go to hell that they actually debated if I should be put on a plane and sent home) would have stabbed any other one of us for the simple crime of looking at us on the bus.

The trip wasn’t all bad, and I still have some memories of this weird adventure and some souvenirs in a plastic tub marked “Boy Scout Stuff.”

In digging through it this week, I found the package of astronaut trading cards I received, still in mint condition. Each troop received something like 15 copies of one guy or gal and we were supposed to meet people from all over the country as we traded cards to get a complete set. The kid was supposed to write his name and address on the back so we could remain pen pals after the event. Marring a card like this was appalling to me, so instead, I set up an exchange with other kids in my troop, paying them off in candy I’d squirreled away to go get a perfect copy of each card for me.

Even then, I was an industrious card enthusiast.

The cards weren’t the only cottage industry available to us. Each troop had a specialized shoulder patch for the members’ uniforms. You could buy extras in advance for trading with other troops, which I failed to do (again, one of the pitfalls of not being in with the in-crowd). However, somewhere along the journey, a lot of kids had spent their travel money down to nearly nothing and were in desperate need of cash for soda and candy. I bought them out of spare patches and went about mastering the trading game.

The trades were supposed to be one for one, but some patches were considered more valuable than others, based on design, colors and quality of manufacturing. Ours were at least a 2-1 trade, but there were some that were ridiculously “over-priced.” The Holy Grail of patches was the one from a Texas troop: As space travel was the theme of the event, that patch, which was twice as deep as a regular shoulder patch, had the shuttle flying out of the Alamo. To get one, even we were expected to give up at least six of ours to get one from anyone who had one.

Alamo-Area-Council-2017-National-Boy-Scout-Jamboree

One of the guys I hung with out there had the idea of avoiding the patch traders and trying to find the source. We went to the main office site of the Jamboree and found out who these guys were and where their campsite was located. We hiked something like three miles or whatever to get there and when we did, the adult leader said, “It’s a one-to-one trade for us. You guys really showed you wanted it.”

I still have that patch among the collection I kept in a paper bag at the bottom of my sleeping bag the whole trip, for fear of having someone gank my Alamo patch.

I remembered the presidential address, but I had forgotten if we had received it from George H.W. Bush as a VP or as president. I remembered that he spoke, but as God as my witness, I couldn’t remember what he told us. I found his speech online this week and read it top to bottom, recalling none of it. I just remembered that we were all tweaking out when we noticed the snipers set up along the tops of the giant video screens used to project his image to the scouts.

I also remembered how much it sucked to be there because we were all packed in a field, it was the middle of the morning and we had to be in full dress uniform for the event, which meant calf-high woolen socks, long-sleeve shirts and neckerchiefs. Doing laundry in the field was a haphazard act that usually left our stuff smelling worse than when we started. In fact, the last couple days, we just stuffed our dirty stuff in the bottom of our duffel bags and figured we’d get to it eventually as we survived on newly purchased Jamboree T-shirts and whatever socks and skivvies we had left.

(My poor mother. When I finally got home at something like 4 a.m., I tossed my duffel to the bottom of the stairs, expecting to do laundry when I got up. Mom got up early and began to sort through my stuff. At the bottom was a plastic bag that contained my swampy, obstacle course clothes, which had been cooked in the sun and then marinated under a bus for three days. When she broke the seal on that bag, she swore she almost passed out. Once she recovered, she threw whatever was in there into the outside garbage dumpster and coated it with Lysol.)

Of all the things I remember, my most vivid memory was Fucking Lee Greenwood serenading us near the end of the event. He sang, “Proud to be an American” for what seemed like an hour and a half, imploring us to stand up when he sang the line, “And I’d proudly STAND UP next to them…”

I stood up. Everyone else did too, because that’s what you did.

Everyone except for my tent mate, John. He not only stayed seated but he put his head down as well.

I tried to get him up. He resisted.

When we got back to the tent that night, I asked him why he didn’t stand up. It was such a little thing, a stupid thing, that there was no reason not to.

“I don’t like mob patriotism,” he told me. “I should feel free in this country to do as I please.”

John had that kind of “hippie” vibe to me at that point. He looked like Shaggy from Scooby Doo, he didn’t pray at meals (much to the consternation of the Evangelicals) and he did his own thing. He was also one of the four outcasts and a voracious reader, which is why we ended up tenting together. I didn’t get him then, but that always stuck with me. I never thought of patriotism as a “mob” issue until he put that thought in my head.

(Of course, I went back to high school and immediately became an active member in the Young Republicans, so I can’t say he really impacted me right away. Most kids rebel by smoking weed and hippie-ing out on their folks. I pissed off my mostly liberal teachers by becoming Alex P. Keaton. I doubt any of us are really proud of our high school years…)

This is one of the main reasons why I don’t fault the kids who booed Obama or cheered Trump’s applause lines: They’re like 12 or 13 years old. Between learning to do what adults tell you because they tell you it and the general peer pressure that had me standing up for a fucking Lee Greenwood song, I doubt there was malice or even understanding going on there.

One other item I found in that bin of stuff came along about a year after we got back from the Jamboree: My Eagle Scout medal. It was pinned to my uniform, next to the medal I received for the ad altare dei award (Catholic scout honors) and just below the Jamboree patch. I was only the second Eagle in our troop in almost 30 years, the first being my friend Kyle who earned his six months before I did. To me, it was a big deal, because it was one of the first times in life I stuck with something long enough to complete the task. The ability and desire to finish things, even those that seemed impossible, would eventually become my modus operandi, but it all started with reaching Eagle Scout.

I was sad to learn that a man in Moorhead, North Dakota had turned in his Eagle to the scouting office in protest after he felt the Scouting leadership didn’t do enough to deal with Trump’s unhinged speech. That award meant a lot to me when I earned it and it still does. I always thought I might be over-emphasizing it until I heard somewhere that Jim Lovell, the commander of Apollo 13 and one of the most experienced astronauts of the Apollo program, still listed his Eagle award on his resume. I don’t know if that’s true, but I still receive mail from the Boy Scouts for various campaigns and they occasionally have Lovell’s auto-penned signature on them.

To give up something like that, because of a clusterfuck caused by our human brushfire of a president doesn’t work for me. It seems more like cutting off your nose to spite your face than like Cassius Clay tossing his gold medal into the Ohio River.

It also bothers me that this quadrennial event might be tainted for this group of kids, most of whom will probably never attend another national jambo. Then again, if my experience is any indication, half of these kids probably skipped the damned thing to go catch a hike or do some rafting or earn a merit badge. Those kids who did attend were probably busy texting or screwing around, as seeing the president wasn’t nearly as cool at that age as people kept telling us it was. We wanted to get back to doing the stuff we came there to do. Having some old dude tell us about what life was like when he was a kid wasn’t anywhere in the top 20.

(I’m glad the head of the scouts apologized Thursday for not stepping in earlier and stopping this shit show. I’m sure at the time it was happening, it was like watching a car wreck. We all like to think we’d be like Neo in a situation like this, dodging bullets in real time as we deftly fought for justice. In most cases, we’d be like Roscoe P. Coltrane, flying off the damned road and crashing into a tree, even as we knew it was happening. Cut the guy some slack for not jumping in on the FUCKING PRESIDENT the minute he went off the rails. When the goddamned provost shows up at my office, I’m a babbling idiot for about the first half hour, for chrissake… )

People outside of the event have made this about Trump and what he said and how people reacted and what impact this will have on our kids and… Just stop.

The kids are fine. They’ll bring back their own version of card swapping and patch trading in terms of memories. (I took a look at the Jamboree website and found that they have a “patch trading app” that helps you suss out the fake patches that tend to infiltrate the trade. How things have evolved…) They’ll have some friends that last a week and memories that last a lifetime. They’ll keep a few patches and cards and such in a bin that gets moved from home to home throughout their lives.

As for Trump and his chaos, they should probably do what mom did for me: March the nasty shit outside, toss it in the dumpster and coat it with Lysol.

Friday Catblogging: Cheek To Cheek

Oscar and Della Street have a new spot by our vintage 1930’s bar. Yes, Oscar has a bald spot but the hair seems to be regenerating even if he’s out of the running to be the 13th Doctor.

One would never confuse Oscar and Della with Fred and Ginger. That’s why I’m posting Sinatra’s version of the Irving Berlin tune that gives this post its name.

Skinny Repeal?

I wrote the bulk of this post *before* the Senate turned into an old fashioned insane asylum lacking only the padded walls. I looked in vain for McMurphy and Chief Broom. They were too sane for this bunch. All day long, we saw a series of Senators who claim to hate the “skinny repeal” bill say that they’re voting for it only if it doesn’t become law. This is madness. I think Little Lindsey should be fitted for a strait jacket, especially after he bought Paul Ryan’s vague assurances that there would be a conference committee. Ryan is a seasoned liar and Graham is a gullible fool.

I’m going to sleep before the final vote and posting this via timer. I hope I’m wrong but I think they’ll pass the bill that *everyone* hates. I still think the rest of this post has merit so why not post the fucker? It was written yesterday afternoon when the world was *almost* sane:

It’s beginning to look like Chinless Mitch’s plan is to pass something, anything health carewise in the Senate and take the resulting mess to a conference committee with the House. I have my doubts that Ryan intends to  convene a genuine one. Something Anything is a great early Todd Rundgren album, but it’s no way to run a railroad or the United States Senate for that matter. It’s Mitch McConnell’s latest crime against an institution he claims to revere. It’s high time to restore regular order and send this abomination to the relevant committees. They won’t but they should. So it goes.

Skinny repeal was scored to eliminate coverage for 16 million people and cause premiums to rise 20%. So much for helping the “victims of Obamacare.” Btw, it’s not a “failed left-wing experiment.” The ACA is based on conservative plans and Romneycare in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  That’s why they’re having such a hard time repealing the ACA.

The latest Trumpcare (nothing skinny about him) mess reminds me of the Huey Long quote I trotted out last week. In this instance McConnell is skinning us from both “the ankle up and the ear down.” The Turtle is both High Popalorum *and* Low Popahirum. Who knew such a thing was possible?

All this talk of Skinny Repeal has given me a benign earworm, I’ll give Ray Davies and the Kinks the last word. I mean it this time.

UPDATE: It’s good to be wrong. McCain joined Murkowski and Collins in voting NO. The Turtle got skinned. So much for his wizardry.

Quote Of The Day: Mooch Moments

I’m not a fan of journalistic clichés. One that I’ve never liked is “hit the ground running.” Having said that, I find it impossible not to introduce this Anthony Scaramucci quote without saying, Mooch hit the ground talking:

There are people inside the administration that think it is their job to save America from this president. OK, that is not their job. Their job is to inject this president into America…”

Is Trump some kind of drug now? If so, the entire country needs rehab.

Speaking of drug analogies, if Trump is cocaine, Mooch is crack. He’s a crazed distillation of the Trumper ethos. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, y’all. Mooch is only in his second week on the job and he’s acting like a Donald clone. The world does not need a Donald clone. In fact, we could do quite nicely without the original.

Mooch has already declared war on beleaguered chief of staff Reince Priebus. (I don’t know about you but I was surprised that the Insult Comedian knew that word. No wonder Jeff Bo is sweating.) Mooch is trying to impress everyone with his biblical scholarship and shit:

“We have had odds we have had differences. When I said we were brothers from the podium, that’s because we’re rough on each other. Some brothers are like Cain and Abel, other brothers can fight with each other and get along. I don’t know if this is repairable or not, that will be up to the president.

And the president* is famous for smoothing things over. #sarcasm. Reince seems to be a dead Greek walking but one thing Team Trump hasn’t thought through is this: who will they scapegoat when Reince is gone? Not that they ever think things through as the transgender “ban” fiasco illustrates. If Mooch gets too much air time, he could wind up serving as the next patsy when Reince inevitably moves on.

There’s a weird picture of Mooch and Reince  floating around the internets. I like the way it was used in this tweet:

All roads lead to Queen right now except when they lead to Bruce Springsteen. The Boss gets the last word:

I wonder if Mooch has any plans to get a Trump tattoo on his back ala Roger Stone’s Nixon tat? Now that would show loyalty.

UPDATE: I posted before Ryan Lizza published Mooch’s deranged comments about Reince and Bannon. Btw, I seriously doubt that Bannon is lithe enough to suck his own cock. Methinks Mooch exaggerates.

The funniest thing on twitter about the self cocksucking thing was a sight gag from Josh Marshall:

Then there’s this tweet from Charlie Pierce:

Don’t Play Trump’s Game

The Insult Comedian was a busy boy yesterday. His tweetstorm “banning” transgender people from serving in the military led to a collective freak-out among supporters of LGBQT rights. Here’s the deal: it’s just twitter. A tweet does not have the force of law; as of this writing there has been no follow-through. Zero. Nada. Zip. Bupkis. Tipota.

A tweet without an executive order is meaningless. The military is a mammoth bureaucracy that is based on order and discipline.  It cannot change course based on a whim and a tweet. Some sort of process is required to change personnel policies. That’s why former President Obama had the Pentagon go through two separate processes to allow gay and transgender folks to serve. The brass will salute an orderly process. Only an idiot would salute a disorderly tweet. Repeat after me: nothing that happens on twitter matters.

The policy “shift” came about to pander to wingnuts vexed by Trump’s mistreatment of Jeff Bo. It also has something to do with money for the president’s* stupid wall. It’s a cynical ploy that will never occur without follow through. It may happen but this administration* isn’t known for paying attention to details. Additionally, the federal courts take a dim view of anything that takes rights away from the citizenry. If an order is issued, it will surely be challenged in court. It would be the first travel ban all over again.

I understand why people were upset but freaking out every time this moron tweets something inflammatory is playing into his hands. He’s not a dictator, he just plays one on the tweeter tube. As the risk of sounding like my fake hick Senator John Neely Kennedy: tweetin’ ain’t doin’. Besides,  chicken little-ling never helps.

This whole twitter-based kerfuffle reminds me of the end of Chinatown:

Forget it, y’all. It’s twitter.

UPDATE: It’s good to be right. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says any changes must go through the chain of command. Twitter is not in the chain of command.

I told you so.

Real Housewives of… POTUS…

Prince_Brat_Trump_Sessions

First, no tears at all for JBS. While the few molecules of dignity he may or may not have once possessed are shredded by Orange Narcissus, perhaps it’s keeping him from pushing forward with a genuinely awful agenda.

However, Trumps actions are a bizarro mix, part reality show tantrum and part increasingly desperate behavior of someone trying to hide something…bigly. And whatever else, it’s…embarrassing on so many levels. The lunatic base, or if you prefer, the basket of deplorables, might keep clinging to him (like they do with their guns and religion?) but these are the folks who consume — with relish — things like reality television or professional wrestling (probably not many books though). That said, what Trump’s doing just isn’t good. Sure, we’ve seen some astonishingly dim individuals in positions of power (e.g., Bush/Cheney, and offhand, their own AG Alberto Gonzales), but…

I always thought Bush’s core supporters were…Bush voters. But now I’m wondering if, hell, maybe they really thought Bush Junior was…okay, but kinda sophisticated and nuanced. Not like Trump, who really speaks to them and tells us what they think. Damn, that’s a troubling thought, though I keep reminding myself the election was decided on a technicality…

And, to repeat yet again, despite all this, the country can likely trundle along, absent any serious crisis. But serious crises don’t wait until the reality show ends…and if/when we get one, look out…

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Death At Flood Tide

Great googly moogly, I found this cover on the google.

Follow Me Boys To The Trumpers Jamboree

When I was a kid, I knew Fred MacMurray as the pipe-puffing, sweater-wearing single father on My Three Sons. He also did a string of successful Disney movies in the Sixties. That’s why I was shocked the first time I heard about Double Indemnity and The Apartment wherein he played rat bastards. When I saw the two great Billy Wilder films, I realized Fred was a helluva actor when he wasn’t playing with Flubber. Instant Old Movie Update: A friend just pointed out that I missed Fred’s rat bastard role in The Caine Mutiny. Oops.

Follow Me, Boys was one of MacMurray’s Disney flicks wherein he played a scoutmaster to a troop that included future movie star, Kurt Russell. The Boy Scouts  of America liked the theme song by the Sherman brothers so much that they considered adopting it as their anthem:

I was an enthusiastic Cub Scout but an indifferent Boy Scout. One camping trip and it was over for me as my father predicted. It wasn’t even an “I told you so” scenario. He *hated* camping because he slept on the ground for three years during World War II and vowed to never do it again. My dislike of dirt sleeping is in the genes, y’all.

I’m not sure if the preceding was a set-up, digressively Maddowesque or both. That brings me to the real subject of this post: the Insult Comedian’s appalling speech to the Boy Scout Jamboree in West By-Gosh Virginia. We’ve all gotten desensitized to the crazy that this president* brings to a big crowd but this was way over the line. Of course, erasing lines is what the Darnold is all about. He thinks that political Norms have something to do with George Wendt’s character on Cheers. Repeat after me: the president* is a moron.

The Boy Scouts are an inherently conservative organization but have traditionally stayed out of partisan politics. That brings us to this edition of:

Trump’s speech was depressingly reminiscent of another leader’s speeches to youth groups. You know, the guy who looked like Charlie Chaplin and ranted like a proto-Trump, only in the original German. Here are a few choice cuts of this rancid speech along with some spirited annotations by yours truly:

You set a record. That’s a great honor, believe me. Tonight we put aside all of the policy fights in Washington, D.C. you’ve been hearing about with the fake news and all of that. We’re going to put that…

We’re going to put that aside. And instead we’re going to talk about success, about how all of you amazing young Scouts can achieve your dreams, what to think of, what I’ve been thinking about. You want to achieve your dreams, I said, who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts? Right?

Remember when it was unseemly for a president to use even mild profanity when speaking to kids? It wasn’t that long ago.  Ideally, a president is supposed to be a role model for children. The Current Occupant is not.

You know, I go to Washington and I see all these politicians, and I see the swamp, and it’s not a good place. In fact, today, I said we ought to change it from the word “swamp” to the word “cesspool” or perhaps to the word “sewer.”

I cannot imagine why it’s become a sewer. Oh yeah, because the Trump crime family eats, sleeps, and grifts there now.

I wonder if the television cameras will follow you? They don’t doing that when they see these massive crowds. They don’t like doing that.

<SNIP>

The fake media will say, “President Trump spoke” — you know what is — “President Trump spoke before a small crowd of Boy Scouts today.” That’s some — that is some crowd. Fake media. Fake news.

Trump acts like his captive audience was there for HIM. You joined them, not vice versa, dipshit. This speech got tons of coverage. It’s only “fake news” because so much of it was unfavorable.

Secretary Tom Price is also here today. Dr. Price still lives the Scout oath, helping to keep millions of Americans strong and healthy as our secretary of Health and Human Services. And he’s doing a great job. And hopefully he’s going to gets the votes tomorrow to start our path toward killing this horrible thing known as Obamacare that’s really hurting us.

CROWD: USA! USA! USA!

TRUMP: By the way, are you going to get the votes? He better get them. He better get them. Oh, he better. Otherwise I’ll say, “Tom, you’re fired.” I’ll get somebody.

Does he think he’s still on The Apprentice?  That’s when he was mighty like an Omarosa

I decided to skip the weird sex yacht story and his bragging about the 2016 election. We’ve heard it all before. It would be more interesting if he bragged about how they stole the election with the help of his pal Vlad.

The Insult Comedian channeled defrocked teevee big mouth Bill-O in a bizarre non-sequitur:

In the Scout oath, you pledge on your honor to do your best and to do your duty to God and your country. And by the way, under the Trump administration you’ll be saying “Merry Christmas” again when you go shopping, believe me.

Merry Christmas. They’ve been downplaying that little beautiful phrase. You’re going to be saying “Merry Christmas” again, folks.

He’s ready to fight the war on Christmas now. It’s high time to bring his soul brother Bill-O into the administration*, at least he speaks in complete sentences. He could be minister of propaganda post-purge when Mooch becomes chief of staff.

In reading the transcript of the speech, it’s easy to discern the written portions. The digressions are all boiler plate Trumpspeak. Believe me.

The worst part of the speech was when he got the boys to boo former president Obama. Obama was a scout, Trump was not. He’s not into unselfishness, honesty or loyalty. He’s the kind of guy who would cheat in the soapbox derby. Actually, he’d hire somebody to cheat for him.

Every time I think Trump has hit a new low, he tops (bottoms?) himself. He thinks the world revolves around him and that everything is about him. There’s a word that describes what he is: psychopath.

Krazy author Michael Tisserand had a lot of fun with the scouting angle on the Tweeter Tube. Here’s a sampler:

I originally planned to give Michael the last word but then I remembered a Nick Lowe tune that, with a  quick title change to Trumpers Jamboree, would be a swell theme song for this post:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Walt Disney’s Musical Monkeyshines Meets Trumpcare Instant Analysis

I’ve done more than my share of strange posts over the twelve years I’ve been blogging. This mashup may well take the cake but somehow it works. The title may be awkward but these are awkward times.

There were plenty of monkeyshines on Capitol Hill yesterday. The motion to proceed to debate the mystery Trumpcare bill passed in the Senate. That’s not the whole ballgame but the bad guys have the momentum right now. If anyone from Nevada is reading this post, it’s time to go off on Senator Dean Heller who tops the list of most endangered GOPers in 2018. I’ll be calling Double Bill Cassidy’s office again but he’ll do what he’s told by the leadership.

This is not the time to give up. Keep calling your Senators. They need to understand that they will pay a price for this vote. Senators *still* do not know what they’re actually voting for. If this weren’t so deadly serious, it would be funnier than a barrel of monkeys or the Marx Brothers’ flick Monkey Business. It’s time to send a big FUCK YOU to congressional Republicans for their health care votes. And what the hell is skinny repeal? It’s got nothing to do with Blake Farenholdt, that’s for sure. If he fought a duel with Collins or Murkowski I have no doubt who would prevail. It wouldn’t be the congresscritter who was once malaka of the week.

A word about John McCain. Every time I go soft on him, he does something terrible. I felt tremendous compassion for him over the de facto death sentence that was his diagnosis. I had planned to make his 2016 primary opponent Kelli Ward malaka of the week for crudely urging McCain to step aside. I deleted that post during McCain’s ludicrous speech after he voted AYE on the motion. If he was really concerned about the institution and “proper order” he would have given that speech *before* the vote and then voted NAY. I rarely yell at the teevee but I did Tuesday afternoon.

Shorter Adrastos:

This is the first time I’ve morphed an Album Cover Art entry into an instant analysis post and it will probably be the last. Lots of things are unprecedented in 2016.

Here’s the cover art. That’s all I got for you.

Awkward Dinner Conversations

Two things. The first is this thread, which will teach you more about what’s really at the heart of Trump’s support than a thousand New York anthropological examinations of Midwestern noble savages ever could:

The second is St. John McCain, pretending once again to be above the process he is in up to his neck, scolding his colleagues as if he could do nothing that would influence their actions:

McCain bemoaned the tone of modern politics, suggesting that wild partisanship was paralyzing the country’s political institutions and tearing the country apart.
“Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio and the television and the Internet. To hell with them. They don’t want anything done for the public good — our incapacity is their livelihood. Let’s trust each other. Let’s return to regular order.”

And that’s really the heart of it all. Shit had gotten awkward at dinner, for John McCain and for a lot of the wealthier supporters of Trump and his merry band of blithering GOP dicksmacks. It had gotten awkward talking around racism and sexism and general misanthropy and it was harder and harder to find cover for one’s overall contempt for the poor. People had grown less willing to believe in the inherent good will of a party that would start an illegal war, spy on Americans, burn a black president in effigy and grab women by the pussy. The invitations must have stopped coming, or at least slowed down.

How about this, though? NOBODY IN WASHINGTON IS ELECTED TO LIKE EACH OTHER THEY ARE ELECTED TO HELP PEOPLE.

I think it’s nice that there are friendships and bromances (until today, Kerry/McCain 4 EVA). Generally I think it is good that we have a society. I think it’s good to get along with your coworkers. But not when you’re people and they’re skin sacks filled with bees. And not when it requires you to balance your need to keep your buds with your need to serve your constituents, ie do your fucking job when you’re on the clock and bump fuzzies on your own time.

The most heartbreaking thing about all of this, though? Democrats would forgive it tomorrow.

I mean the elected ones, mostly, but also a lot of the rank and file.

If it meant we could help people some more, we would forgive all the horrific things that were said and all the horrific things that were done. For two years of a campaign and the first year of his presidency Barack Obama was subjected to the most vile racist attacks in modern political history.

His response? To try to give the very people who voted against him for vile racist reasons health insurance.

For her entire life Hillary Clinton was subjected to the most vile sexist attacks it’s possible to subject a white woman to, while she served her country with distinction.

Her response? To fight to protect that health insurance.

So I have very little doubt the Democratic Party would forgive it all tomorrow and go back to trying to help people. Some of us wouldn’t forget, but we’d go right back to work. Hell, some of us are still working, dark though our prospects are, to stop this while we still can.

The civility that the GOP is disingenuously begging for? After all this, we’d give it to them. If modern dinner conversation requires that liberals hold themselves in contempt for the very things that the contemptuous public says it wants politicians to do to help them, liberals would sign up for that shit tomorrow because taking one for the team is kind of our entire THING. Our fate is your fate, bitches.

I keep hearing that the past 6 months are the fault of dumb libtard feminazi bitches like myself who impose their political correctness by banning the words “Merry Christmas” and not valuing traditional American values. If my 12-years-of-religious-ed ass agrees that you can say whatever politically incorrect shit to me that you want, can we let people keep their baby’s chemo?

I’d consider that a fair bargain. I think a lot of my fellow libtards would as well, so babies can keep their cancer treatments. So that nobody has to face a bill they can’t pay after their baby dies. I think we would let people lecture us about traditional values. I think we would let them do it and we would fucking smile.

Just let us help people, that’s all we’re asking.

After all this time.

A.

Call. Call Even If Your Senator’s A No. Call Anyway. Thank Them. If Your Senator’s a Maybe? Call Again.

No posts today. Just this.

Call your senators. They’ll vote today on a bill that who even the fuck knows, just because. They need to hear from you. They need to hear your voice.

There’s nothing I can say that’s more important than that.

A.

Unpardonable

Team Trump continues to be all over the place on the issue of pardons. Mooch says one thing. Jeff Sekulow says something else. The president* says something entirely different. They *do* seem to agree that the pardon power is absolute just like the Insult Comedian likes his powers. I do not agree and neither do some people who know what they’re talking about.

The self-pardon issue is a non-starter according to our old friend Larry Tribe, former GW Bush ethics lawyer  Richard Painter, and former Obama ethics counsel Norman Eisen. They cite history something with which the president* is only vaguely acquainted:

The Constitution’s pardon clause has its origins in the royal pardon granted by a sovereign to one of his or her subjects. We are aware of no precedent for a sovereign pardoning himself, then abdicating or being deposed but being immune from criminal process. If that were the rule, many a deposed king would have been spared instead of going to the chopping block.

We know of not a single instance of a self-pardon having been recognized as legitimate. Even the pope does not pardon himself. On March 28, 2014, in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis publicly kneeled before a priest and confessed his sins for about three minutes.

The only non-Trumper thus far to claim that the president*can pardon himself is Jonathan Turley. I knew him when he taught at Tulane law school, but he’s the Slate of legal experts, a constant and consistent contrarian. Read his piece anyway but he’s more likely than not wrong. I hedge my bets because this issue has never been tested in court: no previous president ever contemplated a self-pardon as I pointed out last Friday.

I’m also dubious that the pardon power is as absolute as the Trumpers or the well-meaning knuckleheads at Vox think it is. There’s a thought-provoking piece in the NYT by two University of Chicago law professors that argue that some pardons *could* be crimes:

Yet federal obstruction statutes say that a person commits a crime when he “corruptly” impedes a court or agency proceeding. If it could be shown that President Trump pardoned his family members and close aides to cover up possible crimes, then that could be seen as acting “corruptly” and he could be charged with obstruction of justice. If, as some commentators believe, a sitting president cannot be indicted, Mr. Trump could still face prosecution after he leaves the White House.

Speaking of disputed, untested areas of the law ,one often hears that a president cannot be indicted while in office. That’s based on a finding by the Nixon Justice Department and the fact that Leon Jaworski’s office made Tricky an “unindicted co-conspirator.”  It turns out that Ken Starr’s office believed a president *could* be indicted while in office. Would that be wise? Beats the hell out of me but it’s not settled law.

In addition to Trump’s crazy interview with the Failing NYT, the reason this is arising at this point is that the Insult Comedian is *implying* that he will not allow *any* investigation into his family’s sleazy financial dealings. He, of course, does not get to choose what Bob Mueller’s office investigates. They have a broad mandate and anything they stumble into in the course of their investigation is fair game. Trump does not like that, which is why he may provoke a constitutional crisis unless Congressional Republicans make it clear that removing Mueller is a bridge too far. So far, their collective heads remain lodged up Trump’s ample ass.

In my experience, people who act this guilty usually are. Team Trump seems to think that all they have is a PR problem, which will go after squirting some Mooch juice all on it. The White House has a crime problem and all the smears in the world will not alter that. Repeat after me: Bob Mueller is a Republican who was appointed FBI director by a Republican president. He did such a good and non-partisan job in that post that he was re-appointed by a Democrat. Mueller is a straight shooter and if Team Trump are not guilty of any crimes, his office will say so. If they were genuinely not guilty, they’d let him do his job. Threats against Team Mueller are a tacit acknowledgement of guilt. If the White House had a lick of sense, they would back down and let Team Mueller do its job, but they don’t so they won’t.

In the immortal words of Bette Davis as Margo Channing:

That concludes this essay on the daily constitutional crisis.