Monthly Archives: August 2017

What To Do, What To Do

While DC’s political venture capitalists are flinging money at yet another fashion blog pretending to do news and yet another centrist jerk-off party pretending to recruit candidates, people are actually out there working: 

Kelly Sullivan, a 30-year-old restaurant server in Sioux Falls and member of LEAD, noted that rural America has long been politically diverse, but the recent surge of political activism has made it more noticeable.

“People like us in smaller places and people that are in the rural communities, we’re just the same as the big city slickers,” Sullivan said of her fellow rural activists. “The feeling that we’re not being represented, or the feeling that the current administration is doing things that we disagree with, we’re on the same page as the people who are in the big cities.”

It’s almost like there are views out there beyond “this poor white woman sitting on a porch while her kids scrabble in the dirt like chickens loves Trump because fuck you.”

If these people got Axios/Win the Future/Politico attention and money every state in the union would be bluer than Bannon’s balls right now.

A.

Boys Only Want Love When It’s Torture: Game of Thrones Thread

Apologies for not getting this up Sunday night. We moved house Saturday and then I worked all day Sunday and got home very, very late and didn’t have it in me to do more than crash on the mattress which is on the floor right now because our bed is in pieces in the garage.

Spoilers.

Continue reading

Lost Causers Fester In Charlottesville

I’ve spent a lot of time in Charlottesville over the years. It’s a lovely college town with a population of 45K when the University of Virginia isn’t in session. Dr. A spent her formative years in Staunton 45 miles away, and studied and worked in Charlottesville. We know and love the place. We still have friends there including Parenthetical who wrote a guest post about the May warmup demonstration aka the Klanbake.

Charlottesville is not your typical “moonlight and magnolias” Southern college town. UVA alums think of their school as a Southern outpost of the Ivy League and the town is full of preppies, not bubbas. But just like ANYWHERE in America, there are bigots, xenophobes, and racists nearby. Never forget that one of the ugliest fights over school desegregation took place in liberal Boston. And the president* who gave a green light to the self-styled alt-right is from liberal New York. It may be trite to say it but racism and bigotry are an American, not Southern, problem. It’s everywhere.

About the post title. I’ve mostly used the labels Lost Causers and Lost Cause Fest to describe the anti-monument removal protesters in New Orleans. Since Richard Spencer is not tied to my city (David Dukkke must be slipping), we saw less neo-Nazi shit here but who are bigger losers in history than the Nazis? The Lost Cause label fits them and will remain affixed to their odious cause here at First Draft.

I’m a writer so words mean a great deal to me. I remain conflicted as to what exactly to call the self-styled alt right. I lean in the direct of calling them white nationalists as a way of linking them to the right-wing nationalist movements in Europe. I tend to prefer the label neo-Nazis to just plain Nazis because the latter word is tied to a specific time, place, and people. I am not, however, going to quibble over those terms: a Fascist is a Fascist is a Fascist.

It’s obvious that the right-wing extremist groups who gathered in Charlottesville hope to replicate the Nazi vs. Communist street thuggery that preceded the Nazi takeover of Germany. The anti-fa folks are playing into their hands but it’s hard to argue with someone who defends themselves. Tension in Charlottesville was exacerbated by Virginia’s status as an open carry state. While I think that’s madness, there is a way to reduce the level of thuggery at future demonstrations in open carry states. Many of the neo-Nazi, unmasked Klan types were carrying riot shields, helmets, and billy clubs or baseball bats. Those items can be proscribed in the permitting process thereby allowing the cops to remove a person possessing them from the scene of the future crime. Legislative action would be better but I’m not holding my breath.

I was at a birthday party for a good friend on Saturday night. There was much talk about Charlottesville and the Insult Comedian’s non-statement about the neo-Nazi riot. As Athenae pointed out yesterday, there aren’t MANY SIDES to this issue. It’s a choice between fundamental human decency and hate. I’d like to focus on another side of Trump’s poorly delivered and half-assed remarks:

My administration is restoring the sacred bonds of loyalty between this nation and its citizens, but our citizens must also restore the bonds of trust and loyalty between one another. We must love each other, respect each other, and cherish our history and our future together. So important. We have to respect each other. Ideally, we have to love each other.

On the surface this sound okay because he talks about love, trust, and loyalty. The key phrase is in bold face: this is whoever wrote the remarks (my money is on Miller) way of signalling to the Lost Causers that Trump is on their side. This march was allegedly about keeping a monument to Robert E. Lee and cherishing history as seen by Richard Spencer and erstwhile Gret Stet Fuhrer David Dukkke. It’s certainly how they understood his remarks as historian Rick Perlstein pointed out on his Facebook feed:

I let Rick read the Daily Stormer so we didn’t have to.

It’s telling that a president* who is willing to attack gold star families, disabled reporters, Kim Jong-un, and Chinless Mitch by name is unwilling to call out neo-Nazis and Lost Cause racists. Why? They’re part of his base. Even if Trump is forced into naming names, it will be grudging, half-hearted, and meaningless. We know where he stands. He’s one of them.

It’s time for some comic relief. One of the twitter feeds I’ve been enjoying of late is Yes, You’re Racist. This particular exchange made me laugh on a rather grim weekend:

The picture of that slack-jawed preppie moron led to this bon mot by one of my favorite people on the tweeter tube, me:

Mosley was, of course, the leader of the pre-World War II British Union of Fascists. I half way expected to see the banner of his party waved in Charlottesville last weekend:

If you see the flag at future Lost Cause Fest events, you know what it is.

The best thing I’ve read about the events in Charlottesville came from Slate’s Dahlia Lithiwck who lives there. Here’s how she finished her piece:

The Nazis may come to town, terrorize and threaten people with guns, even brutally murder a young woman. This president may fail to condemn it. But all right-thinking Americans will recoil in horror. And white supremacists will be replaced. There is no room for them here. On Saturday they were relegated to parking at the shopping mall and walking miles in the hot sun, in their sad supervillain Comic-Con outfits. Today they are already slinking back to their own homes, where they are also being replaced, by history, by moral justice, and by our children, who are growing up exactly where they belong, at home, irreplaceable, sacred, and, especially today, brave.

I should give Dahlia the last word but I want to circle back to the featured image of Captain American punching Hitler. I am not an advocate of violence but Nazi punching strikes me (pun intended, it always is) as the least bad and most understandable form of violence. People who attend a rally packing heat below their absurd tiki torches deserve mockery and the odd punch. I’ll stick to the former but I’m beyond sermonizing about the latter.

The last word is part of my continuing effort to prove that there’s a Kinks song for every situation. This song is about Captain America asking for help in a troubled time:

I remember, when you were down
And you needed a helping hand
I came to feed you
But now that I need you
You won’t give me a second glance
Now I’m calling all citizens from all over the world
This is Captain America calling
I bailed you out when you were down on your knees
So will you catch me now I’m falling

The song was written for 1979’s Low Budget album but rings truer than ever:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Ups and Downs edition

OK, people – I’m back!

First up – down like a clown!

FR is nearly unusable
7/29/2017 | self

Posted on 7/29/2017, 5:33:27 PM by djf

Sorry I have to say this. But FR has become nearly unusable these days.

You used to have a feeling that within 30 seconds to a minute, your page would be resolved and loaded.

But no more. I don’t know how many times lately, I have hit refresh or picked a new thread only to wait and wait and wait and then I give up and go to another site.

The powers that be recommend limiting your window options to twenty. My reply is, if that’s the problem, the just taking the option away and making it twenty should be the solution.

And I know about DOS attacks – they can easily be filtered by a front-end server – so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Anyways, whatever it is, it’s getting series. And Hugh!

1 posted on 7/29/2017, 5:33:27 PM by djf
And now, for the instant and indignant “JimRob can do no wrong / ban him” response!
To: djf

But don’t forget to donate to the freepathon. /s

3 posted on7/29/2017, 5:35:42 PM by steel_resolve (And an angel still rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm)

Oops.
To: steel_resolve

 

I am ongoing contributed(sic), doesn’t give me better, more consistent access or info.

6 posted on 7/29/2017, 5:37:06 PM by Reno89519 (Drain the Swamp is not party specific. Lyn’ Ted is still a liar, Good riddance to him.)
To: canalabamian

This started the day Electoral College voted it has been unstable since is FR under some kind of ongoing cyberattack?

10 posted on 7/29/2017, 5:40:14 PM by gibsonguy

Yeah.
That’s it.
A cyberattack.
To: djf
“You used to have a feeling that within 30 seconds to a minute, your page would be resolved and loaded.”
I do this kinda stuff for a living. A lightweight site like this should load in ONE second, tops.

I warned FR not to hire Awan.

14 posted on 7/29/2017, 5:42:12 PM by BuddhaBrown (Path to enlightenment: Four right turns, then go straight until you see the Light!)

And where the hell are the JR-humpers, anyway?
To: djf

Well, the EarlyBird gets the….Oh, never mind.

9 posted on 7/29/2017, 5:39:45 PM by Engraved-on-His-hands

Oh come on – you can say it –  ZOT!!!
To: djf
It seems to be sporadic. I wanted to post a thread this morning, and gave up and went and did some errands. I was able to easily post the thread when I returned.

But for most of yesterday, FR was slower than Mitch McConnell advancing a conservative agenda.

21 posted on 7/29/2017, 5:47:10 PM by LostInBayport (When there are more people riding in the cart than there are pulling it, the cart stops moving…)

ArnoldGoodOne
To: Reno89519

I agree with you.

Sadly, FR continues doing the same “maintenance” over & over & over and expecting different results. Einstein had a name for that behaviour….but I digress.

It’s waaaay past time to consider a qualified outside IT consultant to correctly analyze the problem and begin to move the site in a direction to bring long term stability to the site.

If the “same old, same old” continues, freepers will begin leaving due to the inability to run a basic website.

I hope an outside IT consultant arrives soon…..

45 posted on 7/29/2017, 6:02:51 PM by newfreep (“If Lyin’ Ted was an American citizen, he would be a traitor.”)

GeekSquadHelp
More Freeper Fail after the DDOS attack…

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the KKK – getting in Dutch edition

I’m going to have to hire some staff.

The “Obsession” post today after this one was written first, but then this thing happened, and Ms. A gave me permission to post both. So – bonus “Obsession” today.

The Freeper stupidity just keeps coming and coming and coming.

This thread, however, is……………..special.

Car Runs into Crowd at White Nationalist Protest in Charlottesville Virginia [BREAKING NEWS]
US News Today ^ | Aug 12, 2017 | US News Today

Posted on 8/12/2017, 1:49:17 PM by dragnet2

Car plows into protesters during clashes at Unite the Right rally. Car Runs into Crowd at White Supremacist Protest in Charlottesville Virginia [BREAKING NEWS]

*************

VIDEO at linkMultiple injuries

1 posted on 8/12/2017, 1:49:17 PM by dragnet2
First reaction is to deny that the murder was intentional:
To: dragnet2

 

Three car wreck at an intersection a block from the site of the protests.
Even the CNN announcers on your link say they don’t know if it was an accident or intentional.

5 posted on 8/12/2017, 1:53:51 PM by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)

To: dragnet2

 

Fox News is wondering if the car sped though the crowd because people were throwing objects at it (as it sped down the street) and that is why the driver was speeding therefore it must have been accidental…..

30 posted on 8/12/2017, 2:06:50 PM by pinkandgreenmom

To: grey_whiskers
Even the CNN announcers on your link say they don’t know if it was an accident or intentional. 

A video just surfaced showing the car driving down the side street as it was being bombarded with bottles, rocks and other debris by peaceful ANTIFA protesters.

In my opinion, it wasn’t intentional, it was self preservation………..

35 posted on 8/12/2017, 2:09:04 PM by Hot Tabasco
SELF DEFENSE !!!
Of course, we all know who’s REALLY behind this :
To: wastoute

 

The Southern Poverty Law Center is up to their beady little racist eyeballs in all of this.

7 posted on 8/12/2017, 1:55:01 PM by digger48

Bless your heart.
Of course, the Freepers have no doubt about the religion of the murderer self-defending patriot :
To: deks

 

Pajamahadeen on the case!

64 posted on 8/12/2017, 2:21:52 PM by silverleaf (We voted for change, not leftover change)

I can hardly wait for the “Allahu Snackbar” comments to start…
To: wastoute

 

Man, those Amish—you let them behind the wheel and all hell breaks loose…

247 posted on 8/12/2017, 3:31:12 PM by American Quilter (President Trump’s making good on his campaign promises–it’s morning in America!)

Close enough.
More below, as the Freeperati try to blame everyone from the Dutch to President Obama…

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Sides

I’ve been reading about them for months now.

Trump supporters. Trump voters. Most of them in rural areas, lots of them poor.

All of them white.

I’ve been reading lots of stories about why they voted for Trump. Sympathetic stories.

And all these stories say the same thing.

I never heard anybody blame Hispanics for local crime, or make racist remarks about them; it was much more common to encounter Islamophobia, although the nearest mosque is about four hours away.

All the stories say the same thing. “Trump’s voters didn’t mention race.”

They did, though.

They are talking about race.

They don’t use the word “black” or “Hispanic.” They don’t use the epithets. They don’t say that, so we say they’re not talking about race.

When they talk about people taking from the system, though?

They’re talking about race.

When they talk about undocumented immigrants swarming over the borders taking American jobs?

They’re talking about race.

When they talk about crime, they’re talking about race. When they talk about schools, they’re talking about race. When they talk about culture, about parenting, about music, they’re talking about race.

You can almost see it, the black or brown person they imagine in their heads, the pre-arranged exception to the sweetly stated rule that of course all of us are equals before our God. You can hear it in their voices when the picture shifts and if you say you can’t you’re a liar.

White people like me go to church with white people like them. We have dinner with white people like them. We work with white people like them and you can hear it, the nastiness underlying their assumptions when they’re among people who look like them.

Every single one of them is talking about race, and every single one of them who hates Obama (not talking about disliking or criticizing Obama, talking about hating) is talking about race and we have to stop letting them off the hook, like this is some kind of big mystery.

Where did it come from? We wonder.

We have to stop acting like there are only two sides, good upstanding citizens who’d never in a million years ride in a rally like the one in Charlottesville, and the motherfucking grand wizards. We have to stop acting like this is the dichotomy: 

Sometimes I worry that I am going to end up working on a plantation, or behind a wall or in a camp, the way things are going. I have to ask about race. “People try to make us out as crazy rednecks or hood-wearing Klansmen,” a man from rural Ohio told me.

Because if that’s the dichotomy, of course the light is winning, and Hillary Clinton (or shit, even Ben Carson) is president, and when this bullshit went down yesterday the president came out and said, “Fuck this shit, wave a Confederate flag and get hanged for treason, you garbage slobs.” If the bar we’re holding people to is “not a torch-bearing Nazi,” well, lots of us pass that test.

 

Passing that test shouldn’t be enough to get you into heaven. It shouldn’t be enough to buy you sympathetic profiles in every publication imaginable. It shouldn’t get you excused from racism. Racism doesn’t have two faces. It has a thousand, including the ones in Charlottesville, but also including all those nice people who just voted for Trump because they were mad at the world, and all those nice people who just think political correctness is out of control, and all those nice people who just moved here for the schools.

Racism has a thousand sides (including the one in the mirror, let’s not kid ourselves, crackers). You’re not lighting up a tiki torch? Good for you, I guess, but don’t come over here looking for a medal when you pulled a GOP lever because Obama gave too many people extra welfare.

You didn’t have to say the n-word to talk about race. Those people in Charlottesville heard you loud and clear.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: I Can’t Stand The Rain

Landscape in the Rain by Vincent Van Gogh.

It was the week from hell in New Orleans. There turned out to be much more human error involved in the flood I wrote about Monday. It has led to an orgy of recrimination and paranoia. The bottom line is that the city’s pumping system is in poor shape at the peak of hurricane season. It makes me glad to live in the so-called sliver by the river but it still bites the big one.

Mayor Landrieu has been re-enacting my Russell Long meme:

Comparisons to Katrina and the Federal Flood remain overwrought but things should not have gotten as bad as they did. It was also my birthday and in the future the August 5th flash flood will join the list of local flood dates. Heckuva job, Mitch. Btw, your fantasies of a presidential bid are underwater, both literally and figuratively.

This week’s theme song was an easy choice since I live in a city with marginally functional drainage as of this writing. I Can’t Stand The Rain was written by Ann Peebles, Don Bryant, and Bernie Miller. It was a big hit in 1973 and could be the theme song not only of this post but of the city of New Orleans in the summer of 2017. Heckuva job, Mitch.

Here are two versions of this superb song: the Ann Peebles original and a live version from the great Paul Rodgers. Rodgers recorded the song in Memphis for his Royal Sessions album. It was one of my birthday albums. It’s a good ‘un.

I’m feeling terse and not particularly funny as I write this on Friday morning. I’ve been on the receiving end of some extraordinarily bad customer service this week and I’m still fuming as you can see from this tweet:

The post was already assembled so I’ll play hurt as it were. We’ll see how that works out after the break. At least I’m not concussed…

Continue reading

Only the kids have aged…

I spent the past week at our annual journalism conference, taking the chance to eat a lot of good food on my publisher’s dime and catching up with old friends. The funny thing? None of us seemed to age a bit.

I caught up with what was left of my doctoral cohort. Tracy, Andrea and I were among 17  Ph.D.-hopefuls who spent a chunk of our lives in a basement office loving dubbed “The Pit.” The place was so subterranean that you had to climb on somebody’s desk to open a grass-level window. The joke always was that they put the Ph.D. students there because you can’t commit suicide by jumping out of a basement window.

We ate dinner at a wine and chocolate bar because, hey, they had seating and we would have eaten at a food cart if we could have some time to catch up. The stories were the same: Weird colleagues, dopey campus situations, students who “just needed a little boost to pass…” We talked about possible promotions and what we were up to. It was like we were back in that pit: Tracy, loud enough to startle Chicagoans walking by and Andrea bright eyed and drawling her “y’alls” as the night progressed.

The only real way to know time had passed was when we talked about our kids.

Andrea’s daughter had just returned from a three-week trip abroad to take part in her sorority’s recruiting drive. Her son was still dating the same girl and had gotten his own apartment in advance of the upcoming school year. I remember the twins, as we called them, being at a doctoral faculty party some of us grad students had crashed. They were in their PJs, clutching stuffed animals and clinging to Andrea’s leg. “Mommy… We want to go hooooommmme…”

“Hell,” Tracy responded when I brought that up, “I used to BABYSIT them.” They lived next door and would often knock on her door and ask to play with Tracy’s dogs. Now, they could be in one of her classes, begging for “just a little boost…”

I caught up with Scott, who looked none the worse for wear after his heart transplant. Most of what we had to talk about was his move up the administrative ladder, with many of the stories reminding me why I never want to be an administrator. “Spending the day dealing with other people’s bullshit,” was pretty much the quote of the day.

In a more serious moment, he told me he had to wear a mask in public a lot, as his immune system was shit. He also had some health setbacks here and there, but overall, he was hanging in there. Life for him he said was a day-by-day measurement. Not years. Not months or weeks. Days. Each day was another moment to be on this side of the grass.

His son? He figured out hockey wasn’t going to be his future, even as he still enjoyed playing. He was going to be a college junior this year, on track to graduate. The freckle-faced kid who was riding bikes out in front of the house whenever I stopped by was now a junior.

I saw the guy who TA’ed my broadcast class in college: His sons were both in college. He, however, was the same guy who once chewed me out for running a clip of a used condom in a package I did on park sex. (My only saving grace was someone else in that broadcast included a shot of dead cats in a box as part of an animal shelter piece. Apparently, in the “what the fuck were you thinking?” spectrum a box of dead cats > a used rubber.)

My dissertation adviser? As vibrant as always, laughing at a reception with a half-empty glass of red wine in her hand. Her “7-year-old” daughter? Now out of school and married to an Army Ranger.

As I return home to add another notch on to my own kid’s age (12, she’s going to be 12. This is not possible…), I found myself smiling at the silliness of it all. Even as we all change and age, none of us is really different or older.

The only ones who really age are the kids.

 

Friday Catblogging: Old Man Cat

Oscar is 15 going on 16 and he’s showing his age. He’s as sweet and lovable as always but has good days and bad days. This was one of the good ones:

I think Neil Young would understand even if he wrote this song when he was 27:

Aimee Mann: Poet Laureate Of The Resistance?

Yeah, I know that’s hyperbolic but what’s a bit of hyperbole between friends. This is the age of bluster and bullshit as opposed to Paul Simon’s age of miracles and wonders, after all.

I’m, of course, referring to La Mann’s campaign season song, Can’t You Tell?, about the Insult Comedian wherein she put herself in his golf cleats and fat boy pants. I wrote about Can’t You Tell? last October. It’s just a click away.

It’s time to get to the point and this time there actually is one. Believe me. Long-time readers may recall my penchant for proposing theme songs for candidates and such like. Last spring, I suggested 10cc’s I Wanna Rule The Rule The World as the theme song for the president’s* foreign policy by tweet and tantrum. I even came up with this meme, which bears repeating:

Back to Aimee Mann. There are three of her songs that fit the surreal moment we find ourselves living through. The first could be sung directly to the Kaiser of Chaos:

The second Aimee tune comes from her presciently titled album, I’m With Stupid. You’re With Stupid Now has officially been double theme songed as I used it for Saturday Odds & Sods in 2015. 

That’s a boatload of stupid, y’all. The next Mann song is of a more recent vintage. It comes from her 2012 album Charmer. It’s called Crazytown, which is currently located at some Trump golf resort in Jersey.

Aimee Mann may or may not be the poet laureate of the resistance but she’s a helluva songwriter. Her current album is called Mental Illness. Who does that remind me of?

I guess I should re-post Can’t You Tell? The question mark is, of course, in the song but I remain a somewhat questionable person.

Vive les Maquis.

King Putz, The Child Emperor

kid_king_trump_bomb

..but with nukes. I think it was John Dean some time back who said the real fear is what Trump might do as he gets more comfortable … which I guess means for as long as it lasts, we’ll have to hope for a sort of unofficial regent (Axis of Adults) … or that Mueller finds something significant.

In the meantime, welcome to president as pathetic farce, a kind of sad parody of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a version of Dr. Strangelove where President Muffley can’t wait to launch Wing Attack Plan R and Operation Dropkick.

Scarier still is that Trump remains popular with about a third of the voting public, even after all this…lord.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Hangman’s Whip

It’s time for another fine cover from master pulp artist Rudolph Belarski:

Fire, Fury, & Flimflammery

Donald Trump likes being the first at things. His latest first as president* is a public, off-the-cuff threat of nuclear war against North Korea:

“They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening, beyond a normal state, and as I said they will be met with fire and fury and, frankly, power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

This overheated rhetoric comes after ONE arm of the intelligence community reported that North Korea has the capability to fit a small warhead on a missile. The DIA is the agency in question and they’ve been wrong about this before as well as about WMDs in Iraq. The stakes are too high not to get this right.

Perhaps we should be glad that Trump has called a cease-fire with the intelligence community but this report calls for skepticism. There are no good options on the Korean peninsula. There are even fewer simple options and we have a simple-minded president* who thrives on chaos, drama, and hyperbole. That’s why I call him the Kaiser of Chaos.

One of many scary things about yesterday’s rant is that, once again, Trump was winging it. There was no consultation with his national security or foreign policy team. It was a chance to look tough and stir up drama. The good news is that the Insult Comedian can never be taken at his word. He has made bellicose and belligerent statements before without any follow through. That, in and of itself, is worrisome. It increases the possibility of a mistake since we’re dealing with an equally unstable and erratic leader in  Kim Jong-un. One could even call him the unleader...

The secretary of state from central casting has spoken in what considers “reassuring” language:

“Nothing that I have seen and nothing that I know of would indicate that the situation has dramatically changed in the last 24 hours,” Tillerson said.

Tillerson defended Trump over his bellicose language, which shocked US allies and has been heavily criticised in the US and around the world as reckless.

“What the president is doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong-un can understand, because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language,” Tillerson said. “I think the president just wanted to be clear to the North Korean regime on the US unquestionable ability to defend itself, will defend itself and its allies.”

That’s supposed to be soothing tea from the Tillerson but matching that lunatic’s OTT rhetoric is a lousy idea. The US government is supposed to be the sane party in this dispute. Of course, Trump’s idea of diplomacy is fighting crazy with crazy. I halfway expect a revival of Wormplomacy. Rodman *was* on Donald’s stupid reality teevee show, after all.

I’ve been asked many times recently if I expect a wag the dog scenario from the president* to save his failing administration. That would require a more realistic Trump: he’s convinced himself that he’s the greatest president since Lincoln. In this instance, the real world benefits from his ability to construct an alternate reality. Right now, we’re dealing with a wag the tongue scenario since Trump is all bluster and bullshit with very little action. Let’s hope he stays true to form.  Cross your fingers and repeat after me: wag the tongue, not wag the dog.

General Kelly was appointed chief of staff a mere twelve days ago. His mission to bring order and discipline to a chaotic White House has already failed. It was truly mission impossible since the chaos and indiscipline flows from Donald Trump. Hence my new nickname for him, the Kaiser of Chaos. Kaiser Wilhelm II was also an arrested adolescent who lacked impulse control. He, however, did not have nukes.

As of now, yesterday’s outburst is just fire, fury, and flimflammery. Let’s hope it stays that way.

The last word goes to the Kinks. Let’s hope none of us will have to walk through the Wall of Fire because of two madmen:

I hope the wall of fire imagery doesn’t give the Insult Comedian any ideas about his doomed border wall. Imagine an actual wall of fire manned by the local milk people. Of course, if Trump ever had an idea, it would die of loneliness.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Bad Company

I’ve selected Bad Company’s debut album because the cover spawned the logo that the band uses to this day. The logo was designed by Hipgnosis and still  adorns Simon Kirke’s drum kit as well as providing a backdrop for their live shows.

I prefer the cover of the single of Can’t Get Enough to the LP back cover, so here it is:

Here’s the whole damn album via YouTube:

Party Is Going Down Tubes, Says Member of Bottom-of-the-Tubes Party

Jeff Flake:

SO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, buttnugget! You’re a sitting U.S. senator and a member of that party. Don’t just go on Meet My Ass and loudly deplore the tone in the room as if you’re not the one with the keys to the server. Jesus H. Butter Poached Christ, these assholes, Flake and John McCain and the Dipshit Twins, Susan and Lisa, who are currently taking a victory lap for not killing their own constituents, like that’s a moral stand.

They get to go out there and have themselves a Mardi Gras for being barely human, because being barely human is bucking the Republican Party line, and nobody seems to notice that this means THE REPUBLICAN PARTY LINE WANTS TO KILL YOU. Opposing that isn’t a grand act of bravery, but all these fools want a chest full of ribbons like they’ve charged a Nazi machine gun nest.

Fuck Jeff Flake. Your party is going down the tubes? Going? Did you just sleep through the past four decades of welfare queens and charter schools and militia-fellating? You been to CPAC ever? Your modern-day party gave Confederates a soft place to land when they jumped off the Dem train after the Civil Rights Act. Going, he says, like that train ever had to leave the station.

I mean, if you wanted to grow a conscience, Jeffy, it’s not like you lacked opportunities. There was an illegal war based on bullshit that you are old enough to remember (I won’t insult all of us by implying you might have served in any of your party’s wars) but somehow THAT didn’t make you feel squishy inside. I wonder what could have changed.

Could it be … a book tour? Is that what’s gotten you all het up about the state of your party? NAH, you wouldn’t be that cynical.

And you know, as much as fuck you, Jeff Flake, fuck also everyone who is interviewing this asshole and not asking why now, why is this a bridge too far, why wasn’t “Mexican immigrants are rapists and murderers” or “grab them by the pussy” the end of this, why wasn’t the end about twenty miles back?

Just look at this trash: 

While the things he lays out in his book may well endear him to independents and even Democrats in Arizona, the radical way he takes on Trump without [sic] abandon certainly won’t help him in his first test next year: A GOP primary, where challengers — who are being egged on by the White House — are already circling.

Jeff Flake has not voted to hold Trump accountable in any way except with his stupid word hole. How “radical” is it to vote for a guy’s agenda 93 percent of the time? How is that taking on someone with abandon? He’s not abandoning shit. He’s making bank, that’s all. Get back to me when he either accepts the Resistance as his personal savior or learns his own party’s history.

A.

This Isn’t Generosity

We should stop talking about helping other people and start talking about helping everybody: 

The National Academy of Sciences’ (NAS) exhaustive literature summary on the economic effects of immigration concluded that: “When measured over a period of 10 years or more, the impact of immigration on the wages of native-born workers overall is very small.  To the extent that negative impacts occur, they are most likely to be found for prior immigrants or native-born workers who have not completed high school—who are often the closest substitutes for immigrant workers with low skills.”  Although the effect is small, RAISE seeks to take advantage of the finding in the academic literature by inferring that if an increase in the supply of workers slightly lowers some wages then a decrease in that same supply will do the opposite.

The entirety of society — rich, poor, middle-class — is served well when we have a strong economy, sensible immigration policies, reasonable worker protections and appropriate taxes. This isn’t just about being humanitarian. It’s about recognizing that the common good helps even the wealthy, as much as they bitch about every single cent they spend on the poor.

A.

Survivor’s Guilt Flashback

We had another weather event last Saturday. Parts of New Orleans got 8+ inches of rain in three hours. The rain was random and much worse in parts of the city leading to some flooding in the affected areas. Adrastos World HQ got 2 inches that day so we were fine.

Some of the post-rain incident discussion has danced on my last nerve. It’s not analogous to Katina/Federal Flood in that it didn’t impact 80% of the city and nobody died. It’s also less clear as of this writing that human error was a major factor as it was in 2005.  The human factor may have caused some problems around the edges but that sort of deluge is going to wreak havoc no matter how well prepared we are. Sometimes shit just happens. This was one of my initial reactions on social media:

There was much lively debate and disagreement on the thread but I remain convinced that we have to learn how to live with water in New Orleans as the Dutch have. We need cleaner catch basins and better infrastructure but severe weather is going to happen, particularly in the age of climate change. This was a random freak event and there will be more to come.

This is not the first non-hurricane/levee break style flood the city has had. It won’t be the last. One of my FB commenters, Carlos Froggy May, posted this list on the thread:

Summarizing between May ’78 and the 2005 Federal Flood, leaving out hurricanes/major tropical storms, New Orleans floods from rain alone include:

May 1978. Well documented.

Feb 1979. “Hundreds of Area Homes Flooded. New Orleans Times-Picayune, 7 February 1979 I”

April 1980. A few references.

April 1983. Major event. National media reporting.

June 1991. National media, though only sparse traces online. “The deluge, which started during the evening rush hour Monday, caught New Orleans by surprise. The downpour abated overnight, then resumed Tuesday morning.” “To have it flood two separate times in 24 hours is just unheard of,” said Rob Spangenberg, who measured 16 inches of water on the ground floor of his house.”

May 1995. Major event, very well documented online.

September 1998. Described.

June 2005. Seems largely forgotten given what happened a few months later. What have I missed?

Any time someone insists that people can triumph over nature, I think of a passage in one of Tony Hillerman’s Joe Leaphorn novels. Leaphorn is a detective on the Navajo tribal police in Arizona. I wish I could quote it directly but it involves Leaphorn marveling at white people planting lawns in the desert and being shocked when they die every time they’re planted. Hillerman’s point is that you have to learn to live with your environment. You can sand down the rough edges and minimize damage but nature will win in the end. Some may think this is fatalistic but I think it’s realistic. Can they abolish earthquakes in my native California?

It’s time to address the post title. Every time something like this happens, my post-K/Federal Flood survivor’s guilt kicks in. It’s a common malady for those of us who live in what has come to be known as “the sliver by the river.” We did not flood in 2005, so I do not like arguing with those who did. It makes me uncomfortable and uncharacteristically deferential. In the year immediately after the storm, I  cringed every time I had to tell *our* Katrina story to those worse off since we were so lucky. We did have $20K worth of damage and were in exile for 7 weeks but that was nothing compared to what so many others went through. Hence my survivor’s guilt and this weekend’s survivor’s guilt flashback. I re-posted my account of Dr. A and my sneaking into the city at First Draft in 2015. Here’s the link.

This was a terrible event but all the people acting as if it’s 2005 all over again need to take a deep breath followed by a chill  pill. Nobody died, only pockets of the city flooded, and nobody was forced out of their homes at gun point. I had some advice on twitter for local voters in the upcoming mayoral election:

Perspective not drama is called for. We should fix anything that contributed to the recent flooding but we cannot abolish nature even if there were times we wish that was possible. It is not.

That was exhausting. Any time I dredge up these memories, I feel rotten until the feeling passes a few hours later.

Finally, one of my theories in life is that there’s a Kinks song for every occasion. We’ll give the Davies brothers the last word:

Tweet Of The Week: Separated At Birth Edition

I usually save Separated at Birth for Saturday Odds & Sods but this one was too good to keep in cold storage. Besides, cold storage ain’t easy in August in New Orleans since one could steam dim sum outdoors in this climate.

Here’s the original tweet in all its glory:

Sometimes, the tweeter tube can be a wonderful place. As a confirmed twitter curmudgeon I cannot believe I just said that. Oh well, what the hell.

In researching my last Separated at Birth segment featuring Ellen Degeneres and Owen Wilson, I stumbled into some side-by-side Stephen Miller-Joseph Goebbles pictures. It’s a funny idea but other than the high foreheads and perpetual smirks I don’t quite see it. Besides, Cheadle-Miller is much funnier in a rootless cosmopolitan kind of way.

Meanwhile, the Insult Comedian is rage tweeting whilst on yet another vacation. John Aravosis compiled them so we don’t have to:

That is all.

We Rise Again in the Grass: Game of Thrones Thread

Spoilers, for the three of you who didn’t watch the hacked version or read the blow-by-blow spoilers that got posted.

Continue reading

Call It By Its Name

Finally: 

That white resentment simply found a new target for its ire is no coincidence; white identity is often defined by its sense of being ever under attack, with the system stacked against it. That’s why Mr. Trump’s policies are not aimed at ameliorating white resentment, but deepening it. His agenda is not, fundamentally, about creating jobs or protecting programs that benefit everyone, including whites; it’s about creating purported enemies and then attacking them.

A.