Monthly Archives: August 2017

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Shabby Street

I don’t know about you but I don’t even want to stroll down Shabby Street let alone live there.

Remember my Kinks song theorem? It applies here. I believe Shabby Street is located in Sleazy Town. Welcome.

 

 

The Primal Scream President’s* Ego Rallies

I batted around several possible post titles. I wound up combining my top two choices: the Primal Scream Presidency* and Ego Rallies. They were good enough to marry. I’m not sure who proposed. It was probably the primal screamer: that fucker cannot shut up to save his life. That’s why I stuck with the Your White Nationalist President* Speaks meme as the featured image. It’s beautiful. Believe me.

While watching clips of the primal scream president’s* latest ego rally, I cast my mind all the way back to Monday when the usual MSM suspects insisted we’d seen a new, humble-n-serious Trump. Only the most gullible people in the country bought the New Trump. Athenae did not, neither did I. It was more of a divot than a pivot. It lasted a mere 25 hours. There will never be a pivot. Trump is like Popeye’s evil twin: he is who he is and nothing that Ivanka Olive Oyl does will change that. As I said back in Februrary, he’s the worst person ever to live in the White House. Believe me.

Last night’s meltdown in Phoenix was depressingly predictable. Put the Insult Comedian in front of a crowd of MAGA Maggots and he’ll in engage in a public form of primal scream therapy. There was one new twist: he misquoted his statements about the Charlottesville neo-Nazi riot. I’m glad he can keep the crazy fresh for the basest members of his base base.

Trump is sui generis. It’s true that he combines some of the worst facets of past national leaders so not everything about his style is original, but he’s the worst as well as the craziest. Here’s a wee check list of traits he shares with recent presidents and party nominees:

Narcissism: Bill Clinton and Lyndon Johnson both had healthy egos as well as an abundance of self-love. They kept it behind closed doors whereas Trump’s narcissism is on daily display.

Self-pity: The Phoenix diatribe was an exercise in self-pity. Clinton, Nixon, and LBJ were known to feel sorry for themselves. Once again, they rarely showed it in public. LBJ and Tricky, however, let the mask slip near the end of their respective terms as Oval Ones.

Dog Whistling: Nixon, Reagan, and both Bushes did their share of racist dog whistling but they knew better than to do it overtly. Trump isn’t sophisticated enough to be as subtle as Poppy Bush was in the 1988 campaign. In that race, he seemed to be running for national police chief instead of president. Poppy’s race baiting was strictly for the campaign. He didn’t believe it. Trump does. Believe me.

Referring to Oneself In The Third Person: This is something that drives me nuts. In this area, Trump follows in the footsteps of former Senator Bob Dole who was on the GOP ticket in 1976 and 1996. He did a lot of Bob Doling. Trump sticks to his surname, which could be called a surly name in his case.

Anger Management Issues: It’s well-known that LBJ, Nixon, Clinton, and 2008 GOP nominee John McCain had volcanic tempers. They kept their angriest moments private, which is where they belong.

Public Attacks On Members Of Their Own Party: This is unusual to say the least. The only direct comparison is FDR’s attempt to purge Conservative Southern Democrats in the 1938 off-year election. Johnson got publicly tetchy about Democratic doves but knew that mounting primary challenges was folly.

Trump seems prepared to ignore these precedents. He thinks the world started over on November 9, 2016. I guess that makes him the asshole messiah. It’s gotten to the point that even Chinless Mitch cannot stand him. I wonder if Trump has threatened to turn him into Turtle soup. Donald is big on empty threats.

One quality that Trump lacks is impulse control; if he had any at all, there would be fewer self-inflicted wounds. He also possess all the worst qualities of baby boomers and none of that generation’s redeeming characteristics. Once again, he’s the worst of the worst.

As long as Trump remains president* there will be ego rallies. It’s the only way to assuage his epic insecurities. I think Bill Moyers summed it up best:

Instead of a soul, Donald Trump has an open sore.

That’s why he’ll keep on primal screaming at ego rallies and on twitter. He cannot help himself. It’s why the country is in such deep trouble that Mike Pence looks less bad than Trump. He does have better hair than the dead nutria Trump wears atop his head, after all.

In my continuing effort to establish that there’s a Kinks song for every situation, I’ll give them the last word. It’s Ray’s ode to positive nonconformism as opposed to Trump’s open sore nonconformism:

Tales Of The Trumpclipse

Yeah, I know, the Trumpclipse is not a thing. This post is a pretext for posting the New York Daily News’ eclipse edition:

I can just imagine his internal monologue: “Fuck nature. I’m Donald Fucking Trump. Fuck the stars, the moon, and the sun. Fuck the eclipse. I’ll see you on the Dark Side of the Stone.”

The lunatic is on the grass and the Truman balcony.

Let’s take one more bite out of the Trumpclipse apple with this tweet:

I guess I should be more concerned about a Trumpocalypse.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Total Eclipse

I have a confession: I watched the eclipse on the tube with the other boobs. I ventured out briefly to shadow gaze but it was insanely hot so  Oscar and I watched CBS and the Weather Channel. Della didn’t give a shit because it wasn’t about her. So it goes.

The sum total of my contribution to eclipse mania is to post this 1974 Billy Cobham album cover two days after the fact. Hey, at least it’s a great album made by great players including Cobham on drums, John Scofield on guitar, Michael Brecker on woodwinds, and Randy Brecker on trumpet. It’s fusion at its finest. The cover is swell as well.

The back cover is good but doesn’t eclipse the front:

Finally, here’s the whole damn album. Play it loud:

Are We Still Feeding Content Into a Funnel or …

How is the rebranding going? 

Coming off poor second-quarter financials – down 8.6% in overall revenue and 15% in advertising – Tronc managed to turn in numbers that compared unfavorably even with some of its ever-struggling peers. Its digital revenue results hurt the most for a company renamed last spring on a promised digital transformation: “Total revenues for troncX [the company’s digital division] for the second quarter of 2017 were $58.2 million, down 5% from prior-year quarter. Advertising revenues for troncX declined by 9%.” The one encouraging ray: digital-only subscriptions increased nicely, as Tronc’s game of catch-up showed it most results there.

The poor performance even forced Dearborn to acknowledge that the company was still playing catch-up. With these moves, then, the company aims to do two things: 1) jumpstart the lagging digital business; 2) further streamline management and cut costs.

The answer is always short-term cost cuts. It somehow never seems to be NOT GIVING UPPER MANAGEMENT MASSIVE ESCAPE CLAUSES. I swear to you, if I made an entire year’s salary for fucking up at my job, I would get really, really fired.

I don’t understand the impulse to pay people to get shitcanned. I know the JUSTIFICATION, that they’ll feel more empowered to take risks etc, but come on, these people have more money than God already. They don’t feel like doing the office equivalent of skydiving, that’s a character weakness, not a checkbook one.

Fuckin’ 23-year-olds living three to a studio take more professional risks than the hardest CEO in town. Give THEM the exit packages.

A.

Endless Chances

I would say you’ve got to be fucking kidding me but I know you’re not fucking kidding me:

They’ll keep giving him room to be the president they need him to be — one who operates within normal (monstrous) parameters, whose racism stays polite and whose language reflects prevailing sentiment on the editorial pages of our nation’s suburban newspapers — so that they can keep being who they are.

Trump openly supports white supremacist movements? We all stand shocked for a moment, then move on to stories about how his voters still love owning libtards. Trump reads a speech competently, a speech that might have been given by Ted Cruz or John Kasich or Chris Christie, the creatures, and the relief in the room is palpable: We can do what we know. We can slide back into the groove on which we run.

The biases of the press are endlessly discussed on both right and left, and what neither side discusses is the fundamental laziness of the political press corps and how that affects the entire process.

Forget Trump for a moment. If political commentators and “thought leaders” need politicians of both parties to say certain things, in certain ways, for them to declare things Normal, then it’s no wonder politicians will say those things. It’s no wonder both parties have become addicted to this mealy-mouthed horseshit of deploring “partisanship” and wanting to come together to cut taxes for the hardworking Real American.

It’s human to want affirmation, and our political press affirms whatever lets them use the words they already know by heart. At this stage of Chris Cillizza’s career do you really think he’s gonna pull out the dictionary?

This is not, by the way, letting politicians off the hook. The Wall Street Journal editorial board does not elect you. Find your fucking spines.

It does, however, explain the blatant neediness with which the national narrative-driving media approach Trump. PLEASE BE OKAY, they seem to say with every tweet or story, BECAUSE THEN WE CAN BE OKAY TOO.

As if the world turns on what lets you leave the office early. As if that’s something real.

A.

The Fog Of History: There Is No Such Thing As White Culture

I’m never certain as to whether white nationalists live in a fantasy world or a fugue state. They talk about a world that never existed with absolute certainty, which means they’re absolutely wrong. They filter everything through their warped ideology and it ends up sounding like they’ve followed Alice into the rabbit hole; a reference many of them would not get. The only Alice they know is the zany maid on The Brady Bunch. Why? They believe in white culture, and what’s whiter than the bloody, buggery, bollocky Brady Bunch?

American white nationalists like to speak in buzz words and epithets. They have a label for everyone and everything. I’m not sure what they’d call me: liberal internet snarkmeister comes to mind. One label they insist of affixing to everything is white culture. They’re a little vague as to exactly what they mean by this. High European culture? Bach was into fugues, after all. End of feeble attempt to make a fugue state pun. Do they mean American pop culture? I haven’t the foggiest and, in the end, neither do they. They’re as coherent as the President they so admire.

Speaking of cultural M*A*S*H-ups,  I’m reminded of Radar’s attempt to be cultured:

The cleverer white nationalists like to contrast African and Asian cultures unfavorably with that of Europe. They almost sound like EU fetishists when they go on about European music, literature, and history. Of course, their version sounds very little like the agreed upon facts and more like delusions. It’s always fun to see if they know how much of European high culture was the work of Jewish artists such as Gustav Mahler, his conversion notwithstanding.  They probably think Mahler has something to do with the postal service…

The vast majority of white nationalists only have a vague idea of what could be called Eurocentric culture. They call it white culture, which is something that does not exist. There is Polish culture, English culture, French culture, German culture and on and on and on. There is no such thing as a culture based on skin color, which is is a granfalloon on steroids. There are sub-cultures influenced by one’s ethnicity but there is no such thing as white culture.

American white nationalist bigots have been with us a long time. They used to belong to xenophobic groups like the Know-Nothing party and the 1920’s iteration of the KKK who were rabidly anti-Catholic. Today’s white nationalists have dropped the anti-papist rhetoric in favor of ranting about black and brown people and that old standby, the Jews. It’s an easier sell to the Trump base some of whom are Catholics who skipped the cafeteria stage…

One thing I’ve noticed in my time as a political observer is that we no longer hear much about pols seeking the votes of European ethnic groups. It used to be a big deal to go after, say, the Polish vote in Chicago, the Irish vote in Boston, the Italian vote in New York, the pan-Slavic vote in Cleveland, and the German vote in Milwaukee. That’s a radical oversimplification that leaves out many groups but it’s still pertinent to what passes for analysis in this piece.

People don’t seem to identify as much with their ethnic background as they once did. As someone who does, I’ll often ask someone if their last name is, say, Croatian. It used to be that everyone knew the root of their names but that’s increasingly less common. I guess the whole assimilation thing is working. Those European ethnic groups all had their baggage and discrete and insular prejudices but it was healthier for one to identify as, say, Polish than white.  It’s the difference between a karass and a granfalloon in Kurt Vonnegut’s fictional faith Bokononism. It may be the time for a Bokononist revival. Anyone game? At the very least, we should all read Cat’s Cradle the book from whence Bokononism sprang.

The next time someone mentions white culture as being bound up with Confederate monuments, just shake your head and walk away. I, too, am tempted to argue with them but it’s as futile as  arguing with one of the Robert E. Lee statues that are being taken down across the country. It’s a pity that they’ve settled upon harmful lies as opposed to the Bokononist idea of foma, which are:  “…harmless untruths; lies that, if used correctly, can be useful.” That’s another term for a white lie which exist whereas white culture does not.

Repeat after me: white culture does not exist, and white nationalism is the ultimate granfalloon.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – “You are the weakest link” edition

OK, people – after last week’s double-header, it’s time for old Tommy T to take a well-earned break from all the –

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME ???

Trump Tells Aides He Has Decided to Remove Stephen Bannon
New York Times ^ | August 18, 2017 | MAGGIE HABERMAN

Posted on 8/18/2017, 11:46:56 AM by reaganaut1

President Trump has told senior aides that he has decided to remove Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled White House chief strategist who helped Mr. Trump win the 2016 election, according to two administration officials briefed on the discussion.

The president and senior White House officials were debating when and how to dismiss Mr. Bannon. The two administration officials cautioned that Mr. Trump is known to be averse to confrontation within his inner circle, and could decide to keep on Mr. Bannon for some time.

As of Friday morning, the two men were still discussing Mr. Bannon’s future, the officials said. A person close to Mr. Bannon insisted the parting of ways was his idea, and that he had submitted his resignation to the president on Aug. 7, to be announced at the start of this week, but it was delayed in the wake of the racial unrest in Charlottesville, Va.

Mr. Bannon had clashed for months with other senior West Wing advisers and members of the president’s family.

But the loss of Mr. Bannon, the right-wing nationalist who helped propel some of Mr. Trump’s campaign promises into policy reality, raises the potential for the president to face criticism from the conservative news media base that supported him over the past year.

1 posted on 8/18/2017, 11:46:56 AM by reaganaut1
 (composite thread)
To: BookmanTheJanitor

Then I’m out.

5 posted on 8/18/2017, 11:39:39 AM by txhurl

To: wyowolf

This is an INCREDIBLY stupid move by Trump. The one thing Trump cannot afford to do is alienate his base.

You think he gives a fuck who he alienates? You haven’t been paying attention the last 20 years or so, have you? He got what (he thought) he wanted, and as far as he cares, you and the rest of “the base” can go fuck off.

And I can’t think of anything more surely guaranteed to alienate his base than dumping Bannon.

9 posted on 8/18/2017, 11:40:23 AM by TheConservator (“The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.” — Aristotle)

To: Tea Party Terrorist

It was a great ride while it lasted.

12 posted on 8/18/2017, 11:41:08 AM by proust (Since a politician never believes what he says, he is quite surprised to be taken at his word.)

To: Tea Party Terrorist

If true, Trump is is cutting his own legs out from under himself.

15 posted on8/18/2017, 11:41:21 AM by Truth29

Well, you have to do that when gangrene sets in and the stink starts to overwhelm you…
To: wyowolf

‘That f***ing Steve Bannon [is] taking credit for my election,’ Trump recently told a confidant, according to the left-leaning Buzzfeed website.

I don’t believe that quote for one second.

26 posted on 8/18/2017, 11:42:50 AM by pgkdan (The Silent Majority Stands With TRUMP!)
Of course you don’t.  It’s well known that dissing The Darnold in interviews is a fast lane to his smiling approval.
To: Tea Party Terrorist

 

Oh, well.
Trump was our last shot.

29 posted on 8/18/2017, 11:43:31 AM by Lurkinanloomin (Natural Born Citizen Means Born Here Of Citizen Parents – Know Islam, No Peace -No Islam, Know Peace)

Not true!
You guys have plenty of shots still coming.
To the head, to the midriff, to the crotch…..
More Freeper tears below…

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Diverse Books

A friend recently reached out asking what her good-hearted, brave daughter, barely a teenager, could do to combat racism in her mostly white small town. The kid had overheard a discussion about racist incidents and wanted to go out and bust some Nazi heads, and directing that impulse to something peacefully productive instead of stifling it entirely was her mom’s first response.

In the round-robin text thread that ensued we came around to the idea of making sure the local library had books by and about people of color, for all age groups. I thought of that reading this: 

Fattal: In your book you talk about nostalgia and how parents are reluctant to acknowledge racism in the books they loved growing up and want to read to their kids. Can parents share these books with their kids while also acknowledging their troubling elements?

Nel: I think that what we have to do is admit that our relationships with these books can be complicated. It’s okay to think fondly of a beautiful story, but you need to also think about the way in which that beautiful story may also be racist. We can talk about what is masterful about it or what is artistic about it, but we also need to talk about some of the things in the book which are not, and if presented uncritically are simply transmitting these ideas to a new generation. I think adults need to recognize that their fondness for a book or a movie is not a defense of that. I think you would actually have a richer and more profound relationship with a work if you do think about it critically, and if we do acknowledge those mixed feelings.

Kick has a bazillion books and lots of them have characters who are black; fewer and farther between are Asian or Hispanic characters. Often the children of color in these books are one of an ensemble; a named character is almost always white or Deliberately Vaguely Biracial. She has a book about Maya Angelou she’s obsessed with, however, and one about Frida Kahlo.

Do you remember the first book you read about a person of color? What was it? Would you recommend it to someone else?

A.

They’re Going Wild in Boston

This should be the end of them.

As a small group of “free speech” ralliers took their place on Boston Common’s bandstand, tens of thousands of people marched from Roxbury to the Common in a show of unity against hated and bigotry.

Between the march and other groups of counterprotesters, up to 40,000 people were estimated to be in the Boston Common area protesting the original rally, according to Boston police.

It won’t be, but it should.

They’ve had their moment, now. They’ve had their sad tantrum, yet again, and they’ve had their validation from the government that their White Lives Matter, and in Boston — which has an ugly segregation history all its own, as every American city does — they’ve been ridiculed and shouted down and badly outnumbered.

They’ve been laughed at. That should be the end.

Someone asked this week what it would take to stamp them out for good, the Nazis and the self-indulgent provocateurs who support them because they think being disgusting is the same thing as being shocking and being shocking is the same thing as being interesting or feeling important. What would it take? Apparently ten thousand decent people for every one of them, that’s what it would take.

That’s the ratio that should end things right here.

And the only reason it won’t is that at the highest levels of government there’s an interest in keeping their rage-gasm going. For political power from the local level on up, for financial gain in the personal and public senses, for comfort, for fear, the people in charge right now need this drama to continue.

Boston should end it. So when it doesn’t, ask who benefits from it being kept alive. Don’t ask what Nazis or alt-righters or white supremacists want (for shit’s sake, that last, it’s right there in the name). Ask who gains when their voices are amplified. Ask who makes money, ask who wins elections. When their concerns are ascendant in our political conversations, who profits? And who suffers?

We should be done with them now, just as we should have been done with them a long time ago. Why aren’t we? We’re ugly and we’re venal and we’re mean, sure, but nobody does this much work for free. Who’s getting paid?

A.

Sunday Morning Video- Charlottesville: Race and Terror

The SMV is back from hiatus with the VICE episode that everyone’s talking about:

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Spirit In The Dark

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper.

It’s full-bore summer in New Orleans. We’ve had our share of heat advisories this week. All one can do is drink buckets of water, keep out of the sun, and stay in an air conditioned space. It’s a good thing that I’m essentially an indoorsman. It’s too bloody hot to be all outdoorsy and shit.

I usually write about matters personal and local in the Saturday post intro, prologue or whatever the hell this is. But I cannot resist taking a swipe at the idiot president* over his recycling the “Black Jack Pershing pig’s blood on bullets to ward off Muslims” story. First, unlike the Insult Comedian, Black Jack Pershing was an intelligent man who never said or did such a thing. Second, who the hell, with the possible exception of Frank Gaffney, believes this crapola in 2017? Only a very superstitious moron, that’s who. Third, there *is* a New Orleans connection. There’s a General Pershing Street not far from Adrastos World HQ. Some of the streets in my neighborhood were named after Napoleon I’s battles: Cadiz, Bordeaux, Milan, and Marengo to name a few. General Pershing was originally Berlin Street but was renamed while the country was in throes of anti-German hysteria during the Great War. We go through times like that periodically. We’re in one of them now thanks to the Kaiser of Chaos. So it goes.

As to the featured image, I usually steer clear of using an artist’s best known work but how could I resist Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks for this nocturnally named post? Like Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops, I Can’t Help Myself.

This week’s theme song was written by Aretha Franklin for her 1970 album of the same name. It’s perhaps the best song the Queen of Soul ever wrote. We have two versions for your listening pleasure: Aretha’s original and a duet with Ray Charles from her fabulous 1971 album, Aretha Live at Fillmore West.

It’s hard to top the Genius and the Queen of Soul, y’all. I won’t even try. Well, maybe after the break.

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Fuck You Nation: “No, NEVER!” edition

 
(NO NEVER! Hardly ever? FUCK YOU!)

I coined the term “Fuck You Nation” a few years back in looking at how people treat one another in the age of Donald Trump. So many people are less about being able to formulate something they favor, but they’re very clear about the “hey, fuck you” mentality they possess. In other words, people were less “pro” something and more “fuck you” toward people they saw as “the opposition.” At the core of the argument was a general sense of self-righteousness, absolute certainty and an overwhelming sense of anger and bile.

This week, the only thing Donald Trump has ever said that was true emerged once again. He famously noted that he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and not lose his supporters. We essentially hit that point this week, when he failed to denounce Nazis, then was kind of forced to read a “Ryan Leaf apology” on the topic and then went off the rails the next day defending the Nazis and admonishing the “alt-left.”

If anything, ANYTHING was going to sink him in at least SOME voters’ minds, this would HAVE to be it, right? Mitch McConnell came out against him. The “Bush Pack” came out against him. A growing list of Republicans spoke out against him. All those good, (R) people saying, “Nazis are a bridge too far for us,” had to sway the people who voted for him, right?

Nope.

Recent polling data, taken both before and after his Nazi nuzzling, have indicated that people who love Trump REALLY love themselves some Trump. (My president, right or wrong. And by the way, he’s never wrong, so fuck you.) Making this even more ridiculous is that these people say that they can’t imagine ANYTHING the president would EVER do that would EVER make them change their mind about him.

Having spent half my life in journalism, my mind can go to some pretty dark and evil places. Pair that with the things Trump has said or done (“Grabbing Pussy-gate,” stiffing contractors, threatening nuclear war to the point that “Duck and Cover” is up for an Emmy this year, the “good Nazi” argument etc.) and the possibilities are endless for what might be next. I can easily see Trump doing something like a cross between the home invasion scene in “Clockwork Orange” and President Camacho’s state of the union address as an upcoming Pay-Per-View event in the next week or two.

His supporters? “Cool! How much is it?”

Fuck You Nation is predicated on the idea that people cling to their own shit regardless of how horrible it smells because to do otherwise would be ADMITTING to the ENEMY that being wrong is POSSIBLE! That’s weaksauce and unacceptable.

Trump figured that out about our nation long before anyone else did. Or, at the very least, he figured out how to galvanize it for his own benefit in a way that others couldn’t or wouldn’t. This puts those of us who have a brain, enjoy thinking and are willing to reconsider things for the betterment of reality in a real bind. Either we have to counterbalance by pulling in the opposite direction of the Posse Comadumbass or we run the risk of constantly fracturing the opposition that exists as we all independently come to different conclusions on who or what we should support.

In the mean time, we might not be that far from seeing Trump grab a Luger and head to Midtown.

Friday Catblogging: By Your Side

This picture perfectly captures Oscar and Della’s personalities. He looks earnest and sincere and she’s smirking. That’s our Della Street.

The post title is largely a pretext to post a Squeeze tune from their punniest album, Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti:

First Draft Potpourri: Bayou Briefing

It’s been a difficult week. Everyone I know is upset about the Charlottesville neo-Nazi riot. It’s taken a lot out of me because I know and love the place as I said on Monday. That’s why it’s time to lighten things up a bit. It may not work but comic relief is my middle name. I guess I should’ve capitalized the phrase in that case.

The post is NOT called Bayou Briefing because it’s all stories of the Gret Stet. It’s because the Bayou Brief has published my first column. Holy shameless plug, Batman.

It’s called The Fog of New Orleans Mayoral Race History and they even let me tell some jokes. Unlike some other Bayou Briefers, I wasn’t Born on the Bayou but neither was John Fogerty for that matter:

We’ll keep it in the Gret Stet of Louisiana for now.

Tweet Of The Week: Former Louisiana Governor and federal inmate Edwin Edwards’ 90th birthday soiree was held on August 12th; his actual DOB is 8-7-1927. I’m envious: there was no flooding like there was on my birthday a week earlier. Oh well, I guess us Leos have to stick together. Holy Grandfalloon, Batman.

The big shebang took place in Red Stick and EWE did his Cajun Shecky shtick as you can see from this tweet by the AP’s Melinda Deslatte:

Edwin Edwards, of course, opened a can of whoop ass on Trump’s buddy David Dukkke in 1991. He may have been a crook but he was our crook.

We’ll keep it down South, but first a marginally relevant musical selection:

Actually, I posted that because Dr. A and I usually drive through Birmingham on our way home from the Commonwealth of Virginia. Fast.

My Kind Of Cover-Up: Democratic Birmingham, Alabama Mayor William Bell was tired of looking at a Confederate monument across from City Hall. He had a novel solution:

Bell covered up the monument to Confederate veterans, first with tarps and then with wooden walls erected by city workers overnight Tuesday. Bell told reporters earlier in the day that his immediate goal was to temporarily cover the monument “until such time that we can tell the full story of slavery, the full story of what the Confederacy really meant.”

“What the Confederacy represented was the maintaining of individuals as being less than human, of promoting a supremacy doctrine that is no longer valid, and wasn’t valid then,” he added.

I guess you can tell that Mayor Bell is black. He’s being sued by the  Lost CauserAlabama AG for violating a new state law that protects Confederate shit. It’s thrilling that this is happening in the city where Bull Connor sicced police dogs on civil rights protesters.

It looks as if Birmingham is finally living up to the chorus of the Randy Newman song:

I still don’t think it’s “the greatest city in Alabam,” my money is on Mobile since they have Carnival, but Mayor Bell not only rules, he rocks. Speaking of those who do neither:

Your Twit President* Tweets: I hadn’t planned to do this segment but when I checked TPM that plan went out the window alongside the running joke in my Bayou Brief column.

The Lost Causer In Chief announced his candidacy to be the second president of the Confederate States of America in a “beautiful” tweet storm this morning:

That’s why I added Lost Causer In Chief to my panoply of Trump nicknames.

The whole “they’re trying to change history” thing drives me batshit crazy; almost as crazy as Trump. There are no monuments to Hitler in Germany or Austria. They haven’t forgotten that history, dipshit. I wish we could make like Mayor Bell and cover up Trump’s big bazoo.

How’s that whole disciplining the president* thing going, General Kelly? Not very well from the looks of it.

It’s time to cheese it across the pond for our final segment.

Finest Festival In The District: There was a different kind of Rumble in Brighton recently. Over cheese. I am not making this up:

A festival celebrating cheese is facing serious backlash for running out of it, something the weekend-long event’s organizers apparently didn’t “anticipate” a “demand for.” This Fyre Festival–level fiasco was held in the English city of Brighton and, it’s also worth noting, had sold out beforehand. It’s part of a traveling festival series literally called the Cheese Fest, where people pay £3 to £6 in advance to supposedly enjoy a drool-worthy afternoon filled with endless raclette wheels, halloumi fries, grilled cheeses, and the “most amazing mac and cheese in the world.”

The complaints started pouring in immediately on Saturday — too few stalls, outrageous lines, woefully underprepared vendors, not enough bathrooms. Very soon, the eponymous food ran out entirely. Some visitors noted they didn’t get so much as a sample-size morsel. As the afternoon stretched on, visitors kept coming, spawning more awful feedback, and organizers allegedly stooped to removing negative comments from the event’s Facebook page.

No cheese at the Cheese Festival? It’s too bad that organizers didn’t have Brie Larson or Adrastos crush Alison Brie there to distract attention.  It’s a pity that there are no chicks named Cheddar…

The Brighton cheese rumble reminds me of one of my favorite Python sketches:

Cleese: It’s not much of a cheese shop, is it?

Palin: Finest in the district sir!

Cleese: (annoyed) Explain the logic underlying that conclusion, please.

Palin: Well, it’s so clean, sir!

Cleese: It’s certainly uncontaminated by cheese.

The last word goes to John Cleese and Michael Palin to the strains of bouzouki music. I am uncertain as to whether there was a bouzouki at the  Brighton cheese rumble. One would hope so since there was no cheese. Finest festival in the district, sir.

Deplorable Enough For You?

basket_deplorables

Last weekend we got a not-so-gentle reminder of the sorts who comprise the base of the Trump-flavored GOP…and according to the POTUS himself, despite some pretty compelling evidence otherwise, not ALL of them are Kluxers, bigots, and neo-Nazis. So, there. That’s his story, he’s sticking to it…and none other than David Dukkke himself is grateful for our President’s unwavering support.

Which, you’d think/hope, would be more than enough to open their eyes: when Dukkke is on your side…

But this version of the GOP has slid so far down the rabbit hole…whether they want to admit it or not, the allegedly sane ones spent last year defending the notzoid (dangerously nutzoid) base…with the help of a compliant media that went out of its way to force an apology … from CLINTON (basket of deplorables now seems like an understatement in retrospect).

And…it’s only been a little over six months. The ride still has some distance to go…ouch.

 

Pulp Fiction Thursday: William S. Burroughs

It’s linkage week here at First Draft. Yesterday, I posted an album cover by a band whose name was taken from a novel by William S. Burroughs, The Soft Machine. Today, we have three-count ’em three-pulpilicous covers of Burroughs books concluding with The Soft Machine.

Junkie was published under a rather dull pseudonym, William Lee. It was an extremely daring book for 1953. Its publication was not a howling success despite Allen Ginsberg’s role in publishing and publicizing the book.

Naked Lunch was published in 1959. It was Burroughs’ breakthrough book. The beats were bopping by that time. Naked Lunch famously inspired the name of one of my favorite bands, Steely Dan. It was the name of a dildo.

The Soft Machine was published in 1961 and has a classier cover than his earlier books.

It’s time to jump into my soft machine and eat junkie food for my naked lunch. I should apologize for that groaner but when did I ever issue a pun-pology?

Your President* Speaks: Lost Causer In Chief

We all knew it couldn’t last. I’m referring to Trump’s second Charlottesville statement on Monday. Call it a brief spasm of coerced contrition over his initial reaction to Saturday’s neo-Nazi riot. Actually, it looked more like a hostage video of a man reading words he did not believe in. Believe me.

Tuesday’s ranty press conference was the latest in a series of  public meltdowns. This time he revealed himself as the Lost Causer In Chief. I halfway expected him to demand that statues of him be erected in towns across the country. He’s a big enough dick to demand such an erection, after all.

Let’s tackle a few of the Insult Comedian’s comments with the odd comment by your humble blogger. Somebody’s gotta be humble in a country headed by a blowhard and braggart. I forgot a b word: Bigot.

Q Let me ask you, Mr. President, why did you wait so long to blast neo-Nazis?

THE PRESIDENT: I didn’t wait long.

Q You waited two days —

THE PRESIDENT: I didn’t wait long.

Q Forty-eight hours.

THE PRESIDENT: I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct — not make a quick statement. The statement I made on Saturday, the first statement, was a fine statement. But you don’t make statements that direct unless you know the facts. It takes a little while to get the facts. You still don’t know the facts. And it’s a very, very important process to me, and it’s a very important statement.

So I don’t want to go quickly and just make a statement for the sake of making a political statement. I want to know the facts. If you go back to —

<SNIP>

And honestly, if the press were not fake, and if it was honest, the press would have said what I said was very nice. But unlike you, and unlike — excuse me, unlike you and unlike the media, before I make a statement, I like to know the facts.

Mr. Conclusion Jumper (no relation to Mr. In Between) wanted to know all the facts before spouting off? Even by Trumpian standards, this is preposterous piffle. He wouldn’t know a fact if it bit him in the dead nutria atop his head.

Esme Cribb of  TPM has compiled a list of all the times the Kaiser of Chaos leapt to conclusions about *other* terrorist episodes.  (I love her name: she sounds like a Dickens character.) Apparently, fact checks only apply when the terrorist is a Trumper.

Q Nazis were there.

Q David Duke was there.

THE PRESIDENT: I didn’t know David Duke was there. I wanted to see the facts. And the facts, as they started coming out, were very well stated. In fact, everybody said, “His statement was beautiful. If he would have made it sooner, that would have been good.” I couldn’t have made it sooner because I didn’t know all of the facts. Frankly, people still don’t know all of the facts.

This latest idiocy is, yet again, about the fact that the people don’t love him and hang on his every word. We’re ingrates as far as Trump is concerned. He should be worshiped. Why? I’ll never know.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, what about the alt-left that came charging at — excuse me, what about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?

Let me ask you this: What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do. As far as I’m concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day.

It’s a documented fact that the neo-Nazi, neo-Klansmen, neo-Confederates initiated the violence. They were the ones who showed up clad in riot gear. That’s a whole lotta neos. If I were into The Matrix movies I might make a Neo joke but I’m not so I won’t. I just couldn’t get past the presence of Keanu Reeves, dude in the role of Neo, dude.

Now where the hell was I? Oh yeah, your white nationalist president* speaks.

THE PRESIDENT: But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue of Robert E. Lee.

Q Should that statue be taken down?

THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me. If you take a look at some of the groups, and you see — and you’d know it if you were honest reporters, which in many cases you’re not — but many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee.

So this week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?

So, Trump is conflating the Civil War with the American Revolution now? The first and third presidents were present at the creation of the republic; neither committed treason like Lee or Jackson. Trump does have something in common with Stonewall Jackson though. They’re both sociopaths. Believe me.

I planned to save the reaction to today’s diatribe for the end but this one is priceless. It’s one New Orleanian quoting another New Orleanian on the tweeter tube:

Back to this episode of your white nationalist president* speaks.

Q Mr. President, are you putting what you’re calling the alt-left and white supremacists on the same moral plane?

THE PRESIDENT: I’m not putting anybody on a moral plane. What I’m saying is this: You had a group on one side and you had a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs — and it was vicious and it was horrible. And it was a horrible thing to watch.

But there is another side. There was a group on this side. You can call them the left — you just called them the left — that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that’s the way it is.

Q (Inaudible) both sides, sir. You said there was hatred, there was violence on both sides. Are the —

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I think there’s blame on both sides. If you look at both sides — I think there’s blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either.

<SNIP>

Q The neo-Nazis started this. They showed up in Charlottesville to protest —

THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me, excuse me. They didn’t put themselves — and you had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. You had people in that group.

There are “very fine people” who are neo-Nazis wearing riot gear? That’s a new one on me. Neo-Nazis and white nationalists are not “very fine people” they’re what kids today call haters. It’s what they do. It’s what they live for. It doesn’t bother Trump because he’s one of them. The politics of grievance and revenge are Trump’s politics even though he grew up with wealth and very white privilege. I’d call it a paradox but I try to use language the Insult Comedian will understand. That was a lie; something he does understand. Believe me.

The most significant reaction came from the erstwhile Gret Stet Fuhrer:

That’s really all you need to know about the third Charlottesville statement. It pleased David Duke, Richard Spencer, and their neo-Nazi brethren. They didn’t buy the second statement, they didn’t even give it secondhand love.

Anyone who was shocked by Trump’s latest hissy fit has not been paying attention. He started toying with running for president in 2011, which is when he began beating the birther drum. His entire political career since then has been based on racism and bigotry. No shock to any of our readers but it apparently still is to the MSM and most Republican office holders. It’s who and what he is.

A personal note. I believe in free speech but I do not believe in being nice to neo-Nazis and white nationalists. My father and three uncles fought against fascism in World War II. One uncle was killed in action in Italy. We didn’t fight a bloody war against the real Nazis only to see them rise to prominence 72 years after their ignominious defeat. They’re LOSERS, Donald. So are the Confederates. So much for “so much winning.”

Speaking of veterans, some people are quoting remarks made by Bob Dole denouncing racism in his 1996 acceptance speech. The problem with that is that Bob Dole is still alive. Bob Dole endorsed Donald Trump in 2016. We haven’t heard a peep from him or most party regulars about the transformation of the GOP into a white nationalist party. I guess they’re afraid to have a cross burned on their tidy white bread lawns.

Here’s hoping that the Charlottesville is a turning point in the struggle against our white nationalist president* and his despicable supporters. Remember what Hillary Clinton said about the basket of deplorables? She was right about that and so much else.

Since the Pepe the frog crowd  is fond of using memes to wage their war against trite genocide, I’ll fight tiki torch fire with tiki torch fire:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Soft Machine

I’m reading Dave Weigel’s brilliant history of prog rock, The Show That Never Ends. One of the earliest prog bands were the Soft Machine who took their name from the title of a book by beat generation icon William S. Burroughs.

The cover of their eponymous 1968 debut album had moving parts as described at Discogs:

Circular cut-out in sleeve, revealing rotating ‘clockwork image’ card insert- through which the band members can be viewed on a further inserted full-color backing sheet.

The older brother of a friend of mine had the LP. I recall messing about with it much to his displeasure. Kids do the darndest things.

Here’s the cover:

Here’s the gatefold featuring the band and a woman’s butt:

Here’s the whole damn LP. Despite the blank look, if you click on play, it, well, plays;