Monthly Archives: September 2017

Saturday Odds & Sods: Tenderness On The Block

Surrealism and Painting by Max Ernst.

It’s still too darn hot in New Orleans and the municipal election drones on like annoying background music. I should be more engaged but (with the exception of Frank Scurlock’s malakatude)  it’s duller than tarnished silver. Hopefully, the run-off will be more interesting.

There is an interesting political story happening next door in Jefferson Parish. I wrote about Parish President Mike Yenni’s perv issues in this space last year. Yenni survived a recall attempt and is clinging to office. One sign that he doesn’t expect to be re-elected is that he’s spent over $200K  to redo his office to make it look like George W. Bush’s Oval Office. I am not making this up.

I hope Mike doesn’t get a Yenni to invade Arabi in nearby St. Bernard Parish. There’s enough weird shit happening in Da Parish already y’all.

This week’s theme song is Warren Zevon’s Tenderness On The Block. I have a confession: I like Shawn Colvin’s 1992 cover even more since it features my homeys, the Subdudes:

Speaking of subdued, I’m feeling that way this week because of Oscar’s illness so I’m going to keep this snappy. So snappy, in fact, that I’m skipping the break and jumping in with both feet or something like that.

My Anglophilia is in bloom this week so we begin with a hilarious piece by the Guardian’s Marina Hyde about the recent Labour Party conference in Brighton. I dig the headline; here it is in its exuberant entirety:

Oh Jeremy Corbyn. I Bet You Think This Song Is About You: The reason I love the Guardian so much is the quality of the writing. They let their funny people be funny. Ain’t nobody funnier than  Marina Hyde:

If you are a political archivist, there are two seriously covetable gigs in the world right now. The first is conceptualising the unprecedented annals facility that will one day be the Donald Trump Presidential Library. The second is collating the many different euphemisms for the Labour party having not won the recent general election.

At party conference in Brighton, you gotta catch ’em all. “We didn’t lose,” Emily Thornberry declared. “The real losers were the Tories.” At Momentum’s parallel event, the official literature noted that Labour had “witnessed possibility being snatched from the jaws of disaster”. In the conference hall proper, shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey elicited a huge cheer for “the biggest narrowing of the polls in British electoral history”.

My favorite bit was about the folks from Momentum, which is a hard left pressure group made up of British dudebros:

Momentum gets a lot of stick for a certain strain of its needling – branding people “centrist dads” and so on. But it rather reminds me of that episode of The Simpsons where Bart inquires of a man: “I’m Bart Simpson – who the hell are you?” “I’m Dave Shutton,” comes the stuffy reply, “an investigative reporter who’s on the road a lot, and I must say that in our day we didn’t talk like that to our elders.” “Well, this is my day,” shrugs Bart, “and we do.” And so with many of Momentum’s in-jokes – there is something Bartishly irreverent and invigorating about them, and pants ought not to be wet in response. All the grownuppery was far more off-putting, anyway. Emily Thornberry kept insisting Labour were “the grownups”, while Keir Starmer echoed that the party was “the grownups in the room”.

It’s unclear as to whether Labour’s performance in the late election was a real political shift or a massive anti-Tory protest vote. I lean in the second direction: many of the new, younger Labour voters are passionate “remainers” whereas Corbyn’s inner circle are soft-Brexiteers. It will be interesting to see what happens when UK voters go to the polls believing that it’s possible for Corbyn to be their next Prime Minister. I threw away my crystal ball on 11/9/2016 so I make no predictions. Stay tuned.

We remain in England (not the EU) for our next segment, which is about one of the more sympathetic royals, the Queen’s late kid sister Princess Margaret.

Princess Margaret’s Misadventures In Bohemia: I’ve long had sympathy for Margaret because she’s one of the few people my main man Gore Vidal never said anything catty about. Hell, Gore even mocked people he liked and admired but not Princess Margaret. He felt sorry for her and admired her snooty wit. Gore was always big on snooty wit.

The Guardian has published a fascinating excerpt from a book by Craig Brown about Margaret, Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret. I knew that she hung out with the Rolling Stones when they were at their most hedonistic but I did not know that Pablo Picasso was madly in love with the Princess and hoped to marry her. I am not letting the catty cat out of the bag by telling you this never happened. Picasso may have not been a surrealist artist but he was a surrealist in everyday life.

I’ve had Puerto Rico on mind since Hurricane Maria. I posted a series of pictures of great Puerto Rican baseball players on Twitter, which led to this list, which is strictly for baseball history buffs but what can I say? It’s made up of players who were born on the island.

Adrastos’ Puerto Rico All-Star Team

1B: Orlando Cepeda.

2B: Roberto Alomar.

SS: Jose Valentin.

3B: Mike Lowell.

OF: Roberto Clemente, Carlos Beltran, Bernie Williams.

DH: Carlos Delgado.

C: Ivan (Pudge) Rodriguez.

Starting Pitchers:  RH:Javier Vasquez. LH: Juan Pizarro.

Relievers:  RH:Roberto Hernandez.  LH: Willie Hernandez. No relation.

The outfielders, catchers, and first basemen were the toughest position to winnow down. Pitching, however, is not a strength. So it goes.

That concludes this tribute to Puerto Rican baseball. Let’s go back to woody old England.

Saturday Classic: Steeleye Span were one of the bands who helped create British folk rock. Parcel of Rogues was one of the albums that emphasized the rock part of the equation. As always, Maddy Prior’s vocals are sublime.

That’s it for this week. I wrote about Ripper Street last week. This time around I’ll give the last word to the cast in their Victorian finery:

How trying to make free speech free can really not do that

The state of Wisconsin is in the process of considering a bill that would allow for higher levels of punishment against UW folk who “disrupt” the free speech of others. On its face, the idea seems good: Everyone has a right to speak, so let’s make sure that we let all voices be heard.

Naturally, that’s not the point of this, as previous writers have pointed out. Republicans who supported this bill (all but one of them voted for it; naturally all the Democrats opposed it) believe college campuses are filled with weed-smoking hippies who hate anyone conservative enough to wear socks, so the law is needed to even the playing field. After all, how would a campus be able to host a shy butterfly and resident Crypt Keeper Ann Coulter if a law wouldn’t allow the U to clear away the raging liberal scum so her voice of reason could rise above the hysterics of the crowd?

Today, the board of regents sent out a policy document draft that outlined its response to the bill:

The State of Wisconsin Legislature is currently considering a bill that would direct the Board of Regents to adopt a policy on free expression that includes disciplinary sanctions for those who disrupt the free expression of others, and includes other accountability requirements.
The attached Regent Policy Document, “Commitment to Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression,” communicates the expectations of the Board of Regents regarding academic freedom and freedom of expression, expectations for those who violate the free expression and others.

<SNIP>

Finally, the proposed policy supersedes and nullifies any provisions of institutional policies that improperly restrict speech, and requires UW institutions to revise or remove any such policies.

This is a good opening and a strong first step, especially considering how the regents are basically Scott Walker drones, to say, “Look, we abide by that whole ‘sifting and winnowing’ thing somebody wrote a long time ago, so let’s not get bent out of shape that Milo isn’t coming to town unless we can guarantee everyone in the audience will give him a hug.” That said, this is embedded way deep in the document (bolding is mine):

4. Restriction of Expression
UW institutions may restrict expressive activity not protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution or Article I of the Wisconsin Constitution, including any of the following:
(a) Violations of state or federal law.
(b) Defamation.
(c) Harassment.
(d) Sexual harassment.
(e) True threats.
(f) An unjustifiable invasion of privacy or confidentiality.
(g) An action that materially and substantially disrupts the function of an institution.
(h) A violation of a reasonable time, place, and manner restriction on expressive activities.

<SNIP>

Of course, different ideas in the university community will often and quite naturally conflict. But it is not the proper role of the university to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they, or others, find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive. Although the university greatly values civility, concerns about civility and mutual respect can never be used as justification for closing off discussion of ideas, however offensive or disagreeable those ideas may be to some members within the university community.

Time-place-manner restrictions are part of law, so that’s always been there. The idea of function disruption is also fairly common. The key issue is WHO gets to decide WHAT is a clear violation of the items listed there? I like the explanation that we can’t just rely on civility to say, “Go away. We don’t want you here.” If that weren’t the case, I’d probably never be able to leave my basement and I’d be given food via clothes chute. However, rules are always applied at the behest of the beholder, so it’s worth keeping an eye on this stuff. If you want to make a statement to the regents on this, you can do so here.

 

Friday Catblogging: Classic Oscar

Oscar isn’t doing well after several weeks of steady progress. The marking has stopped but he’s listless and reluctant to eat. We have some new strategies but I’m worried. As an antidote of sorts, I’m posting this picture of the Big O in his goofy prime:

Love Is (Luther) Strange But Roy Moore Is Even Stranger

Yeah, I know, the Senator who was appointed to replace Jeff Sessions by disgraced former Alabama Governor Robert Bentley lost to a lunatic. I’d been meaning to use the first part of the title forever but ain’t it funny how time slips away.

Republicans are rallying around the erratic former Alabama Supreme Court Justice. I’m not sure if it’s because of the hat he wore at a recent rally, the gun he waved around, his homophobia, or Islamophobia:

 Those bearhugs come in spite of Moore’s decades-long bigotry and radicalism.

He has suggested the 9/11 attacks happened because America turned its back on God, called Islam a “false religion,” claimed parts of the Midwest were already living under Islamic Sharia lawwarned that “immorality, abortion, sodomy, sexual perversion sweep our land,” and continued to claim that President Obama wasn’t born in the U.S. — and that’s just in the course of this current campaign.

In past years, Moore has argued Muslims should be barred from serving in Congress and that “homosexual conduct should be illegal.”

Crazy is in right now thanks to Donald Trump and the morons who voted for him. I guess Ken Kesey would have called him the Bull Goose Loony In Chief. Of course, Trump is a sinner and Roy Moore is a religious zealot who’s out to baptize the world. In a sane world, the religious right would hate the twice divorced Trump but, at the risk of being repetitive, crazy is in right now. Bigly.

There are two good things about Moore’s victory. First, Strange’s loss caused a presidential* hissy fit with the tiny finger of blame pointed at Chinless Mitch. Second, Moore is so barking mad that he’ll automatically be the most entertaining member of the Senate. And the most appalling.

The chances of Moore losing the general election to Democrat Doug Jones are slim and slim is  unlikely to turn out to vote in December. The reasons are obvious: it’s Alabama where Trump’s brand of crazy is still popular and Moore’s hardcore supporters will vote even if it’s raining hellfire.

A brief word about Luther Strange. Trump dubbed him Big Luther in the closing days of his doomed campaign. Strange is 6’9″ and played college hoops at Tulane from 1972 to 1975.

He wasn’t much of a player. His stats are those of a graceless white goon, which apparently carried over into his career in Alabama politics. Btw, I still don’t know what the hell a Green Wave is.

I never heard whether or not Moore attacked Strange for having lived in Sin City whilst in college and law school. I guess the big fella (God, not Luther Strange) didn’t tell him to do it.

The lessons of Roy Moore’s success are that bigotry works and that Trump cannot control Trumpism. I doubt if he even wants to: he thrives on chaos and disorder. That’s why I call him the Kaiser of Chaos. I predict he’ll have an uneasy relationship with Roy Moore who fancies himself a contemporary old testament prophet. Trump is into profits, not prophets.

That last word goes to the song that inspired the post title. I’m not sure what Mickey and Sylvia ever did to deserve this:

 

Nero Never Actually Fiddled

nero_rome_trump copy

Nor did he sing accompanied by himself or someone else on the lyre …

But our president sure does like to tweet. And apparently has the attention span of a gnat. While the Caribbean is still in full crisis, and Texas is now dealing with, among other things, flesh eating bacteria, Trump and the GOP think it’s the perfect time to pivot to … tax cuts.

For years, Republican lawmakers lamented the soaring national debt, pressing for spending cuts and clinging to the mantle of fiscal responsibility. But last week, Senate Republicans hammered out a deal to allow for as much as $1.5 trillion in tax cuts, betting that supercharged growth will make up for lost revenue, a potentially dubious prospect. The tax plan outlined Wednesday by the White House and Republican leaders in the House and Senate could cost more than $2 trillion over the next decade, according to a preliminary estimate by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

And, I dunno, maybe they think we have the attention span of gnats as well…

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Girl In The Cop’s Pocket

The cover of this book is rather pedestrian but the title and tag line rock.

Heckuva Job, Trumpy

I rarely write the  next day on the same topic as Athenae. It has to be important. It is: Puerto Rico is drowning and the current administration* is throwing it a life-preserver weighted down with conditions. That’s not how our government should treat American citizens. I’m not even certain that Trump knew Puerto Ricans are Americans before Hurricane Maria decimated that beautiful island. If it’s not about him, it doesn’t matter.

I guess Fox News is running stories about Puerto Rico. That could explain why the president* interrupted his #takeaknee diversion with some stray commentary on Puerto Rico’s plight. In his pea brain, if it’s important it must be tweeted about:

This coming from a man who stiffs contractors and declares bankruptcy as often as some people change their socks.  Also, Texas and Florida are not “doing great.” A friend of mine volunteered in Port Arthur, Texas last weekend and they still need help.

The Insult Comedian spoke more positively later Monday about helping Puerto Rico, but with this bozo the initial, off-the-cuff reaction is what matters. He only pretended to give a shit after being subjected to withering criticism. The proof is in the administration’s* refusal to waive provisions in the Jones Act that are interfering with the relief effort:

The Trump administration on Tuesday denied a request from several members of Congress to waive shipping restrictions to help get gasoline and other supplies to Puerto Rico as the island recovers from Hurricane Maria.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) declined the request to waive the Jones Act, which limits shipping between coasts to U.S.-flagged vessels, according to Reuters. DHS waived the act following hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which hit the mainland U.S.

The agency has in the past waived the rule to allow cheaper and more readily-available foreign vessels to supply goods to devastated areas. But DHS said Tuesday that waiving the act for Puerto Rico would not help the U.S. island territory due to damaged ports preventing ships from docking.

 “The limitation is going to be port capacity to offload and transit, not vessel availability,” a spokesperson for Customs and Border Protection told Reuters.

In a letter to the department on Tuesday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) urgedDHS to rethink the decision, citing the agency’s willingness to waive the Jones Act for relief efforts in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

“The Department of Homeland Security has been given the ability to waive the Jones Act to accommodate national security concerns, and has done so twice in the last month,” McCain wrote. “These emergency waivers have been valuable to speed up recovery efforts in the impacted regions. However, I am very concerned by the Department’s decision not to waive the Jones Act for current relief efforts in Puerto Rico, which is facing a worsening humanitarian crisis following Hurricane Maria.”

The fact that John McCain is one of the members of Congress urging a waiver makes the more cynical among us (myself included) wonder if this is payback for his role in scuttling Graham-Cassidy. It’s doubtful that this decision went to the White House but some ambitious bureaucrat might be pandering to the Idiot in Chief. Let’s hope not. The waiver should be granted. Pronto.

Even if revenge is not involved in this decision, discrimination is since waivers were granted in Florida and Texas, both states with Republican governors. I guess Houston is lucky that Trump thinks it’s a town full of plucky white people instead of one of the most diverse cities in the country. As many have pointed out, one reason Puerto Rico is dying is that Trump doesn’t like “brown people.” That led me to point out something on the Insult Comedian’s favorite medium:

That’s right, folks, Puerto Rico is a white supremacist’s nightmare. It’s enough to give the average MAGA Maggot a migraine or Jeff Sessions a seizure. The late great Roberto Clemente would tell them to STFU and roll up their sleeves to help his people; make that our people. As New Orleans writer Edward Branley said on the book of Zucker:

My post-Katrina/Federal Flood PTSD has not been far from the surface of late. Watching the events in Puerto Rico and the American Virgin Islands reminds me of the dilatory response of the Bush administration as New Orleans flooded. Dr. A and I were in exile in Bossier City and Dallas during the worst parts of the disaster and I recall being approached in the parking lot of an upscale mall in Plano, Texas where we went to use the internet because the cousin with whom we were staying has mildly Luddite tendencies. We were hailed by a man wearing a classic Dallas power outfit: an expensive suit, Stetson, and hand-made cowboy boots. Initially, I thought he was a wingnut prepared to dance on my city’s watery grave. Instead, he said in a thick Texas accent, “I see from looking at your car that y’all are from New Orleans. I bet you’re pissed at that pissant president for fucking you over.”

I bet people in Puerto Rico are pissed at *this* pissant president* for fucking them over. Obviously, NFL protests are more important than suffering in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. #sarcasm. Heckuva job, Trumpy.

Our fate is your fate.

UPDATE: After days of lame excuses, the administration* has waived the Jones Act. It’s unclear if a player to be named later was part of the deal.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: McLemore Avenue

The great soul keyboard player Booker T. Jones was blown away by Abbey Road:

I was in California when I heard Abbey Road, and I thought it was incredibly courageous of The Beatles to drop their format and move out musically like they did. To push the limit like that and reinvent themselves when they had no need to do that. They were the top band in the world but they still reinvented themselves. The music was just incredible so I felt I needed to pay tribute to it.

And that’s how the Booker T. & the M.G.s album McLemore Avenue came to be. It’s loaded with  instrumental versions of Beatley goodness. The Fab Four not only inspired the album,  Abbey Road inspired  Joel Brodsky’s photographs and the album title: 926 East McLemore Avenue was the address of the Stax studio in Memphis.

This swell 1970  tribute to the Beatles holds up to this very day.

Here’s the front cover. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

The back cover:

And here’s what’s inside the gatefold:

Here’s the whole damn album:

 

 

Our Fate is Your Fate

They’re letting Puerto Rico die: 

Four days after a major hurricane battered Puerto Rico, leaving the entire island in a communications and power blackout, regions outside San Juan remained disconnected from the rest of the island — and the world. Juncos, in a mountainous region southeast of the capital that was slammed with Maria’s most powerful winds, remains isolated, alone, afraid.

Just like they let New Orleans drown, and California burn, and Houston flood, and the Midwest rust. I’ve been saying it for years. Don’t think you’re immune. Don’t think you’re safe. If they can do this to your neighbor they will do it to you.

Our fate is your fate.

It’s hard to quantify right now the sense that America has given up on America. It’s hard to describe. Talk to any 10 people and eight of them will give you the idea they live under some kind of hostile occupation of which they’re not in charge. Turn on Fox any day, any time, and you’ll hear that the government is nothing but a burden, nothing but thievery, nothing but waste.

Turn on any non-Fox TV station and all you hear about politics is that “Washington” is broken and nobody can get anything done. All politicians are alike. All are liars. All are corrupt. And our votes for or against them are meaningless.

So where does that leave us? Angry and scared, ignorant of our own history, wanting so badly to matter but ready to laugh at anyone who tries to, gravitating toward the loudest voices and the easiest answers, paralyzed anytime anything happens that’s real.

Of all the damage done, I can’t think of much that’s worse than making us afraid of ourselves.

Why else do we do nothing in times like these? I mean it, what other excuse do we have? We have wealth unimaginable and courage uncommon, we have problems we can actually solve and the way I know that we can solve them is WE DONE DID THIS BEFORE.

The country that pulled off the Berlin Airlift could save those dying in Puerto Rico.

The country that rebuilt Europe could restore clean drinking water to Flint, Michigan and any number of other towns similarly afflicted with lead contamination and malignant neglect.

The country that sent a bunch of guys to the freakin’ moon on the advice of a slide rule and some punch cards could engineer ways to keep cities from flooding.

We WANT TO, that’s the worst thing. We want to do the big stuff.  Those people bitching about their taxes? Scratch their surfaces and in most of them you find this incredible longing to matter, to see the end of what they contribute, to know they’ve made their mark. We donate over and over and over to charitable causes wanting to make a difference, and forget entirely that our tax dollars make a difference, too.

(A lot of that is bad news blaring YOUR TAX DOLLARS ARE BEING WASTED 29 hours a day, but buy some fuckin’ ear plugs for that crap already.)

Our tax dollars sent someone to the moon, and food to Berliners, and bricks and mortar to Poland. We pulled together for the things we like to remember, for the moments we were proud of ourselves. We made the decision to do so, and yeah, a solid 35 percent of people were pissed about it but once upon a time we didn’t let them hog the mic and ruin things for everybody else.

We can do this for Puerto Rico. We can do it for Flint, we can do it for Houston, we can do it for all of us. We just have to stop thinking we’re powerless.

And we have to vote anyone who tells us to hate and fear ourselves and each other the fuck out of office now and forever, strike their names from the rolls of society, turn our backs when they walk down the street.

I saw this MSNBC chyron this afternoon and nearly choked on my coffee:

“Washington” isn’t broken. “Washington” isn’t dysfunctional. “Washington” isn’t ignoring natural disasters and refusing to pass bipartisan bills and ramping up white supremacist rallies and defending the killing of unarmed black people and gutting the half-a-loaf healthcare protections we managed to achieve while people were screaming about death panels.

Republicans are.

A GOP Congress is trying to make sure you can get kicked off your employer’s health insurance plan and have nowhere to go. A GOP president is bitching out football players on Twitter like National Racist Grandpa. And GOP party-run media are setting a daily agenda that ignores the voices of those most in need to let a bunch of comfortably situated loudmouths claim white victimhood.

Enough.

Enough pretending that we can elect Breitbart-addled rage-monkeys for fun because government is just a big ironic joke. Six days of the year when disaster strikes it’s an actual fucking job, and none of these people have any interest in doing it.

We don’t have that luxury. We don’t get to shirk our responsibilities. We don’t get to imagine that the governments we’ve been electing lately can handle this kind of thing. We did this to ourselves and we need to fix it because if it’s not you today, it sure as hell will be tomorrow.

I got it tattooed on my fucking arm a few years back.

Our fate is your fate. 

A.

Malaka Of The Week: Frank Scurlock

Photo via WDSU.

I try to avoid writing about literal malakatude, especially when it’s the public variety. It’s sticky and gross. Sometimes you’ve got to deal with ugly reality and ain’t nobody uglier than the NOLA mayoral pretender and bouncy house mogul who was allegedly caught with his pants down in Southern California. And that is why Frank (Top Hat Guy) Scurlock is malaka of the week.

The story popped (bopped?) like a one-eyed weasel last Friday afternoon:

New Orleans mayoral candidate Frank Scurlock is facing a misdemeanor count of lewd conduct in Santa Monica, California, where he is accused of masturbating in an Uber vehicle in February.

Scurlock, whose splashy campaign ads have pledged to “Uberize” the New Orleans Police Department, was allegedly caught masturbating by a driver taking him to a hotel in West Hollywood on Feb. 10, Santa Monica Chief Deputy City Attorney Terry White said.

<SNIP>

The Uber driver told police and prosecutors she was driving on a freeway near Santa Monica when she heard sounds coming from the back seat, White said Friday, reading from the driver’s statement. Concluding that Scurlock was masturbating, the driver pulled over and opened the door, White said.

When she did, she said, she found Scurlock with his pants around his ankles, his shirt pulled up and his erect penis in his hand.

The driver ordered Scurlock to get out and went into a gas station to call police, according to her statement. While she was inside, Scurlock left the scene. Police ended up going to Scurlock’s hotel, and the driver identified him from a photo lineup, White said.

Lewd conduct is a misdemeanor in California, but if found guilty, Scurlock would be required to register as a sex offender in the state, White said. It was not immediately clear whether he would also have to sign up for Louisiana’s sex offender registry.

This episode may explain Scurlock’s Uber fixation. Uberize me, baby.

Frank Scurlock entered the Mayors race hoping to be the Donald Trump of the field: an outrageous, mouthy rich guy who would sweep to victory. It was always a forlorn hope in deep blue New Orleans. Instead, he’s a punchline and was a joke even before he pulled this stunt. Here’s what I said in a column last month at the Bayou Brief:

One of my tasks at the Bayou Brief will be to analyze, and occasionally mock, the candidates as the process unfolds. Did I just say occasionally? Who am I kidding? They deserve mockery, especially minor candidate Frank Scurlock, who promises a crime blimp and anti-crime patrols of the French Quarter by the National Park Service. The rangers give tours, dude.

Scurlock inspired several derisive nicknames even before the exposure of his alleged masturbatory exploits. One friend calls him Top Hat Guy and another dubbed him Skank Furlock. That evokes tugging at the forelock. We all know that he’s good at tugging at something. Additionally, Frank rhymes with wank. I got a million of them but you already knew that.

This was Scurlock’s second brush with law enforcement this year. He joined the Lost Causers in their shiva sitting at the former Jefferson Davis monument and ended up in handcuffs:

The citation for the incident states that Scurlock “rattled the fence where he wasn’t allowed to cross,” something he acknowledged he did to get officers’ attention. The citation goes on to accuse Scurlock of bumping the officer, something he denied and which he is not seen doing on the video.

Scurlock, who said he opposes the monuments’ removal because it could ignite a “Civil War II,” said he only just started learning about the city’s two-year-old effort to remove the monuments.

He said he had hoped to question the police about the timeline for the planned removals and to ask whether they were working on the city’s dime or if they were there as a private detail.

I wonder if he would have disrespected a park ranger in an anti-crime blimp in the same way? It’s a funny way for a law and order candidate to behave, innit?

In the wake of the current charges, I bet the cops were relieved they cuffed Malaka Scurlock’s hands during Lost Cause Fest:

Photo via The New Orleans Advocate.

Those charges were dropped but it accelerated Scurlock’s rise as the clown prince of the 2017 mayoral field. I have to give him credit, he’s the only one who’s trying to refute the premise of my second Bayou Brief column: that a weak field of candidates has led to a dull campaign, hence the title The B-List:

Unfortunately, Cantrell, Charbonnet, and Bagneris are B-Listers and the campaign is defined by those who did not run: Stacy Head, Walt Leger, Karen Carter Peterson, and Sidney (Trashanova) Torres among others. The first three belong on the A-list of local politics whereas the current field ranges from the B-to the Z-list. Z is for zany and includes perennial candidate Manny (A Troubled Man for Troubled Times) Chevrolet as well as political newcomer Frank Scurlock. The latter at least has a pulse, even if his ideas are flakier than a dried-out Zulu coconut.

Notice the semi-clever self-promotion. That’s something Malaka Scurlock is good at as well. He’s been known to hire sky-writers to buzz the Fairgrounds during Jazz Fest. It’s a pity that he’s never promoted this local business in his role as the Alt-Skywriter:

Not even Frank the Wank can beat their meat but he allegedly tried in Santa Monica. In fact, he put the pubic into public in that Uber. And some local wag put the cock into Scurlock. My friend Roberta LeGrand spotted the dick and photographed it:

Photo by Roberta LeGrand.

I suppose I should cease and desist the jokes about literal malakatude. I don’t want to rub anyone the wrong way or get into any trouble I can’t, uh, handle. Scurlock’s latest legal problem gives an entirely new meaning to a headline suggested by a friend for a Scurlock piece that will never be written: Scurlocked and Loaded. I somehow don’t think Top Hat Guy will grant me an interview if he hears about this post.

I suppose I should thank Frank the Wank for livening up a dull campaign. We all need a good laugh in the Age of Trump, especially when the rubber hits the road in the backseat of an Uber. And that is why Frank Scurlock is malaka of the week.

Finally, in the spirit of helpfulness for which I’m known, I’d like to suggest a theme song for the Scurlock campaign. It’s Pete Townshend’s ode to wankery, Pictures of Lily:

While we’re at it, Bowie covered it on his Pin Ups album:

I learned that one YouTuber doesn’t understand Pete Townshend’s lyrics. They used Pictures of Lily for a video about their dog and there was no leg-humping involved. Oy, just oy.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Endless Freepathon edition

Good Monday morning, all!

Well, the Endless Freepathon finally ended on Friday, and there’s only 9 days between the third quarter edition and the fourth quarter edition. At this point, they might as well just leave the damned thing up year-round.

Also, I’m thinking that the final push every quarter that puts them over the top (see what I did there?) is just surrendering and calling it a victory : “Oh well – donations have dried up completely for the last couple of weeks, so let’s color the chart to the end and say we won. At least we’ll be spared the embarrassment of Freepers publicly noting that the beg-a-thon has become a permanent fixture of the site.”

Otherwise, it’s business as usual :

Ellison compares illegal immigrants to Jews fleeing Nazi Germany
The Hill ^ | Josh Delk

Posted on 9/20/2017, 1:50:37 PM by SJackson

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is comparing giving sanctuary to undocumented immigrants in the U.S. to giving shelter to Jews fleeing the Holocaust in Nazi Germany.

“And if you ask yourself ‘What would I do if I was a gentile in 1941, if my Jewish neighbors were under attack by the Nazis? Would I give them sanctuary?'” Ellison said Monday in comments on President Trump’s move to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“I’m one of the people who believes we should give our neighbors sanctuary,” he told supporters in Minneapolis, as reported by the NTK Network.

Trump said earlier this month he was ending the Obama-era program, which spares from deportation those who were brought to the U.S. as children. The president, however, has called for a legislative solution and indicated a willingness to work with Democrats on the proposed Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.

(snip)

“So this is not someone else’s fight; this is all our fight but some people are in the bull’s eye and others of us are not exactly the target. Therefore, it is our responsibility to stand up and fight and do the right thing,” Ellison said.

1 posted on 9/20/2017, 1:50:37 PM by SJackson
Very first comment?
Thanks so much for your support to this point… I personally apprecaite it…
FReepers, it’s far beyond time to wrap up this FReep-a-thon.  Lets get the job done.  Please chip in.

President Donald J. Trump and the Free Republic of the United States of America
President Donald J. Trump’s address to the United Nations on 09/19/2017.


Please join the monthlies, an automated and the best way to help support Free Republic.  If you opt not to join the automated monthly support program, please consider joining the One One Done project.  LINK



FReepers, 93.50% of the Third Quarter FReep-a-thon goal has been met.  Click above and pencil in your donation now.  Please folks, lets end this FReepathon.  Thank you!

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Just $442.00 dollars and cents to 94.00%

2 posted on 9/20/2017, 1:52:14 PM by DoughtyOne (DACA: Their dream, our nightmare… will the rule of law prevail or not?)
Oh, STFU.
To: SJackson

 

Keith, you mean like those Jews Roosevelt would not let into the US and sent them back to their deaths?………………

4 posted on 9/20/2017, 1:54:29 PM by Red Badger (Road Rage lasts 5 minutes. Road Rash lasts 5 months!…………………)

Amazing how sensitive these little snowflakes get when racial cleansing is brought up.
Why, in another thread about D.O.G. (Darkies Owning Guns), one Freeper debunks the Nazi connection once and for all :
To: marktwain

 

Sterilization in inner cites would help as well.

13 posted on 9/20/2017, 3:33:54 PM by maddog55 (After years of trying, you actually can’t fix stupid.)

hitlerhoworiginal
For more little nuggets of Fascism, read on –

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Forbearance

Just a reminder to my fellow white people:

THERE IS NO EQUIVALENT FOR US OF THE RESTRAINT WE EXPECT PEOPLE OF COLOR TO EXERCISE IN THIS COUNTRY.

We get all bent out of shape and call the fucking 5 o’clock news when the phone company doesn’t give us a $2 refund, but we expect people of color to call a police officer “sir” as he’s threatening to shoot them. As he’s shooting them. After he’s shot them.

We ask why people of color aren’t addressing crime in “their own” communities, admitting that we think of “our” communities as white ones, and then when there are protests we yell GET A JOB.

We equate burning down a CVS or punching an individual Nazi with the institutionalized power of the state sanctioning the murder of our kin, and call whoever gets maddest on the cable news about it the loser in the argument.

We police language, clothing, music, books, and we treat every politely written request to redress decades of systematic oppression as if it’s a demand for a lollipop, but God forbid anyone cut US off in traffic or we make it a federal fucking case.

The onus is always on them to respond in the “proper” way, which is to say not respond at all, while we get to do/say whatever we like wherever we like including the highest halls of government power. And then we want to claim some mantle of oppression? We want to say white people are persecuted?

There’s a white supremacist in the White House because we couldn’t give up the national talking stick to a person of color for 8 measly years without having a freakout of Oscar-winning proportions, and we want to claim we’re the victims here?

I got news for us. We have no idea.

A.

Sunday Morning Video: James Brown Live At The Ritz

Here’s the Godfather of Soul live in 1986:

Saturday Odds & Sods: How About You?

Court of the Patriarchs by Ansel Adams.

We had another boil water advisory in New Orleans this week. I’ve gotten used to them by now and don’t freak out. I’m married to a microbiologist so we ignore the “don’t shower” bit. It’s okay to bathe as long as one doesn’t have wounds or open sores. Besides, I’m not about to be stinky because the Sewerage and Water Board can’t get its shit together. Fuck that shit.

Oscar Update. It looks as if doubling his head meds and changing his diet has done the trick. Knock on wood. He hasn’t marked in several days and doesn’t look and act  like a scaredy cat. His tail is in the air when he walks instead of drooping. Let’s hope it lasts. Knock on wood. I had forgotten about that live Bowie version. Make sure you click on that last link.

In other New Orleans news, I wrote a second column for the Bayou Brief about the Mayors race. The campaign is so dull and listless that I refer to the candidates as The B-List.

This week’s theme song is inspired by last week’s Gershwin brothers reverie. How so? The opening lyrics:

I like New York in June, how about you?

I like a Gershwin tune, how about you?

That works for me.

How About You? was written by Burton Lane and Ralph Freed for the 1941 MGM musical Babes on Broadway starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. We have two versions for your enjoyment. First, the Chairman of the Board with a Nelson Riddle arranged version from an album you’ll hear more about later. Second, Harry Nilsson did an album of standards with *another* Sinatra arranger, Gordon Jenkins. Harry’s version was featured in Python alum Terry Gilliam’s best film, The Fisher King.

Heh, heh, heh. We just saw Robin William’s furry butt, he said in his best Beavis and Butthead voice. On that supremely lowbrow note, lets jump to the break.

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Memento Mori

I was sitting in my basement early this week, sorting through the dozens of things I had to do when my wife came down to add one more:

“Do you have anything you’re doing this weekend?” she asked.

I tried not to flinch as I tried to answer in a vague way that would allow me somehow get out of whatever she was about to ask me to build, fix, move or buy while still not admitting I wanted a free weekend.

“I’m not sure right now. Why?”

“There’s that benefit at the park for Jacob…”

Jacob is a 9-year-old boy I’ve written about here before, who has lived through two bouts of brain cancer . We bought his family’s home a few years back and had such trouble doing it, I honestly thought I was going to lose my mind. (Turns out, it was a shitty real estate agent on both ends and we ended up becoming more than friendly with the whole family.) The family moved into a home up the block and he would often stop by to play with The Midget. We still run the occasional stray letter or package for them that lands on our doorstep over to their house.

Now, he has leukemia and some friends are putting on a benefit this weekend for him. It includes a golf outing, food in the town park and a series of raffles. There are silent auctions, T-shirt sales and other similar things happening to raise money to help his family pay what have to be astronomical medical bills.

Fucking cancer…

I learned a long time ago while publishing a study in a journal of thanatology that I was an “instrumental griever.” The term came from the attempt to de-gender the idea of what had previously been deemed “masculine” and “feminine” grieving behaviors. Intuitive (formerly feminine) grievers deal with death, sadness and loss through things like crying, wailing and emotional expression. Instrumental (formerly masculine) grievers feel the need to “do something” even if that “something” has no hope of actually fixing the problem. People talk about instrumental grievers starting a MADD or SADD chapter after losing a child in a drunken-driving accident or carving a tombstone/memorial to commemorate the departed. The idea is that we act, even in the face of overwhelming odds that what we do won’t matter worth a pinch of shit of a difference. We’re not going to stand there with thumbs in our asses just waiting to “take it” from whatever is fucking with us.

Twenty minutes after I learned of all this, I was tearing through my basement, looking for things I could donate. I found the Facebook page for this event and discovered they were taking “silent auction baskets” to help raise money. What I saw was really nice stuff but most of it had a similar vibe: Cooking stuff, food stuff, grilling stuff, some lottery stuff… I figured some sports stuff might make for a nice complement to this, so messaged the folks in charge and asked if they were still taking donations.

They were, so there I went… The instrumental griever on a mission.

I started with the idea of one thing and ended up putting together four baskets of stuff: A collection of Packer items, one of Brewer items, one of “man cave” items and one a labor of love. The Mitchell and Ness Bart Starr jersey I always wanted but never wore? Fuck it. It’s in there. The autographs I gathered at the Lombardi open from Packer hall of famers? In the fucking box. The autographed football I had from somewhere? In there. The Max McGee autographed card I scored somehow? Tossed in without a second thought.

A Bob Uecker autograph that forced me to run across a golf course and wait for him to give enough of a shit to let his bouncer let me ask? Yep. Brewer Box. Autographed Gorman Thomas ball? Somebody’s gotta want that. The Robin Yount Rookie Card in about a two-inch-thick bulletproof plastic case? In there. Cards, posters, pennants, game-worn jersey card… I just kept adding to it. I yanked one of my newest neon signs off the wall and carefully walked it up to the truck. I tucked it next to the giant NFL Coors light mirror.

Then, I built a binder full of all my favorite refinishing projects and topped it off with a “gift certificate” for me to fully refinish ANY item somebody wanted me to rework. I don’t care if it’s a chair or great grandma’s fully dining room set. You win the bid, you make me your bitch. I once told my buddy Matt about wanting to do this for some sort of charity thing and he asked, “Don’t you worry that someone is going to make you redo something ridiculously large and it’ll cost you a ton?” Nope. Don’t give a shit. You got the cash, you win the bid, you get the job you want done. I did put in a caveat about pianos and wooden floors, as I’m not moving either of those, but for the most part, you get what you want.

Just help this kid…

I spent last weekend at a card show where I added yet another half-dozen bobbleheads to my already ridiculously huge bobblehead collection. Until I heard about Jacob, I had planned to spend the weekend trying to build some scaffolding to hold more of those damned things in my office. Now, it feels borderline pointless. What sits in my mind is not flipping furniture or going rummaging, but this image in my mind of his round, little face. The thick glasses, the almost impish smile. The superhero T-shirts he wears and how he’d march up the driveway while I was working on something or other and ask if my kid could come out and play.

I still see him and his folks last Halloween. He came dressed as Harry Potter. His tiny sibling, still in a stroller, was dressed as Hedwig. He had been feeling better that year. I threw as much candy as I could into their buckets until his folks basically made me stop.

I’m torn daily between between two wildly swinging emotional states:

  1. Persistent workaholic urgency. I have this almost guttural urge to do something, anything more to help these people and make this kid’s life somehow a little better. My baskets of shit aren’t going to cure cancer or make him better. I know that. And yet, here I am trying to figure out something else I can do that will. My wife gets it: She’s thinking about how she can make “freezer dinners” for their family so they don’t have to cook and can still have nice meals. We have to do SOMETHING.
  2. Blind visceral rage. I hate politics so much because it always feels like emotionally detached deities playing chess. The pawn doesn’t bleed or cry when you sacrifice it for something else. The rook doesn’t know it will die in three moves because you chose for that to happen.
    But guess what, assholes? The people you serve AREN’T FUCKING CHESS PIECES. We’re in the middle of yet one more attempt to “repeal and replace Obamacare,” this one even worse than the last one. Why? Because we said we would, that’s why? What’s in the bill? We don’t know, but what we have is “like Thelma and Louise” going off a cliff, so this has to be better. How do you know that? Have you read this thing? No.
    This kid is 9 years old and is basically one giant pre-existing condition. I’m sure he’s not the only one out there like this. I have no idea how Jacob’s insurance works, but if any single kid like Jacob gets fucked over just so you, Mr or Ms. Congress-critter, can say you “won” and defeated the evil Obama-Kenyan-Socialist, you need to be on the back end of Ezekiel 25:17.

This uncertain brevity of life has always scared me. Funerals make me twitch. Terminal illness horrifies me. Even though I’m a Catholic and I have that “whole better place” waiting on me (I hope), I hate change and the unknown. I’m basically Jack Burton in a a fucking elevator: In the midst of magic, afterlife and the unknown descending upon me, I’d rather climb up a three-story elevator cable because it’s real and I can touch it.

If you feel the same way, please give this page a look . Jacob deserves all the help he can get right now, whether it fixes the problems of the world or not.

Friday Catblogging: Tabled

Della Street likes to sprawl all over the furniture. Here’s a close up of her exploits:

Malaka Of The Week: Bill Cassidy

Republican attempts to repeal the ACA started before the ink was dry on the bill.  After the 2010 Teabagger wave election, the House GOP’s hobby was voting for a bill that could not become law because there was a real president ready to veto it. But the bad repeal and replace idea refuses to die. It has more lives than a bad cat thanks to Little Lindsey and one of my senators. And that is why Doctor/Senator Bill Cassidy is malaka of the week.

There’s a lot of talk about the Zombie Health Care bill. The analogy is apt but trite due to the gazillion zombie shows and movies out there. I prefer to think of the Graham-Cassidy atrocity as belonging to the Frankenstein family of horror flicks wherein the characters are reanimated, not undead. The current clusterfuck reminds me of this scene from The Bride of Frankenstein:

That was a (James) Whale of a movie but Graham-Cassidy is an ugly, mean-spirited bill that should be buried, not reanimated.

2017 has been a weird  year in American politics but this week *may* take the cake. We have the supporters of a reality show host president* telling a late night talk show host to STFU and stay out of politics. This is more surreal than a gallery full of gory Dali paintings or any Edward Gorey image for that matter.

The Bill Cassidy-Jimmy Kimmel face-off has really been something. The chat show host has accused the Gret Stet Solon of “lying to my face.” Doctor/Senator Cassidy has compounded the lie by asserting that Graham-Cassidy passes the Jimmy Kimmel Test when it clearly does not. The comedian has asked Cassidy to stop invoking his name but Cassidy has no shame and is unlikely to do so. He’s the center of attention. What pol would exit such a glaring spotlight?

Here’s a tweet from a certain internet smart ass on the Graham-Cassidy-Kimmel mishigas:

I was referring to the fact that Cassidy double billed LSU for his work when he was quacking his way around the Gret Stet public health care system. Take a gander at my publisher’s recent piece about that at the Bayou Brief. That’s right, Senator Malaka is an expert at ripping off the government and poor people. It’s second nature to this so-called moderate.

I also tweeted about the Jimmy Kimmel factor:

I am impressed with Kimmel’s guts and fortitude on this issue.  I am ready to light a torch and stand beside him as we storm Double Bill’s castle or some such shit.

A few words about Cassidy. I called him Cassidybot throughout his successful 2014 challenge to incumbent Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu. He is stiff, lifeless with beady, sunken eyes, which makes the Frankenstein monster analogy spot on. Cassidy’s Victor Frankenstein was our old “friend” former Senator David Vitter. Vitter recruited Cassidy to run against Landrieu and dictated his campaign strategy. It involved relentless dog-whistle attacks on then President Obama, especially over the ACA. It worked.

As  long as Vitter was in the senate, Cassidy was his creature. He didn’t do anything unless his master approved. I guess he was more like Igor in Young Frankenstein at that point. Vitter’s departure from the political scene left Cassidy adrift: he’s a follower, not a leader. In 2017, Cassidy made fucking up the health care system by fucking over the poor and elderly his life’s work. Graham-Cassidy is the fruit of his labors. I liked him better when he was a fake moderate.

I have no idea what’s going to happen in next week’s vote on this hastily stitched together legislation. It’s the worst version of repeal and replace yet. But it has the aura of respectability of being sponsored by phony moderates like Graham, Cassidy, and Dean Heller whose master is right-wing casino mogul Steve Wynn. It savages Medicaid, which is bad for Louisiana. It stripped away the last bad bill’s  provisions to help with the opioid epidemic, which could put a few votes into play. In the end, it may come down to whether or not John McCain believes what he’s said about restoring regular order. Everything about this bill is irregular including the insane deadline of September 30. This is nuts. Believe me.

Here’s hoping that the MSM will stop calling the likes of Graham and Cassidy moderates. This bill is not only procedurally irregular, it is substantively immoderate. The attempt to destroy the ACA was dead until Doctor/Senator Cassidy reanimated this monster. And that is why Double Bill Cassidy is malaka of the week.

Speaking of monsters, the last word goes to Edgar Winter and Rick Derringer:

 

Stranger Than Fiction

trump_americans

More evidence the Russians were all-in on The Donald

Suspected Russia propagandists on Facebook tried to organize more than a dozen pro-Trump rallies in Florida during last year’s election, The Daily Beast has learned.

The demonstrations—at least one of which was promoted online by local pro-Trump activists— brought dozens of supporters together in real life. They appear to be the first case of Russian provocateurs successfully mobilizing Americans over Facebook in direct support of Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, Paul Manafort was cozying up with Russian oligarch, friend of Vlad — and allegedly-more-than-just-a-little-mobbed-up — Oleg Deripaska.

Less than two weeks before Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign chairman offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin, according to people familiar with the discussions.

There is no evidence in the documents showing that Deripaska received Manafort’s offer or that any briefings took place. And a spokeswoman for Deripaska dismissed the email ex­changes as scheming by “consultants in the notorious ‘beltway bandit’ industry.”

Nonetheless, investigators believe that the exchanges, which reflect Manafort’s willingness to profit from his prominent role alongside Trump, created a potential opening for Russian interests at the highest level of a U.S. presidential campaign, according to people familiar with the probe. Those people, like others interviewed for this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss matters under investigation.

Would a producer even consider a scenario where a right-wing “populist” blustered and bullied his way through a political campaign, relying on his name recognition as a reality television show celebrity…and then managed to pull off a big upset thanks to a combination of weird rules and bad news cycle timing for his opponent…but it turns out the whole time the reality show guy’s been a pawn (and possible money launderer) of an intertwined foreign government and criminal syndicate?

Hmmm…

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Ant Men

It’s pre-historic monster time here at First Draft.

Nambia Pamby?

After scaring the world yesterday, Donald Trump is trying something completely different: accidental comedy. He *is* an accidental president* after all. Trump seems determined to channel two Groucho Marx characters: Captain Spaulding the African Explorer from Animal Crackers and Freedonia President Rufus T. Firefly of Duck Soup fame. That’s right folks, the Insult Comedian has discovered a new country, Nambia:

President Donald Trump on Wednesday praised the health system of an African country that does not exist while speaking at a United Nations working lunch with African leaders.

“In Guinea and Nigeria you fought a horrifying Ebola outbreak,” he said. “Nambia’s health system is increasingly self-sufficient.”

There is no country named Nambia; it was not clear whether Trump had misread the name of Namibia or Zambia.

Asked to clarify, the White House referred TPM to the National Security Council, which did not immediately respond.

Well, at least Trump isn’t Nambia pamby like that Kenyan Mau Mau fake birth certificate dude. He’s an old-fashioned explorer and a president* in the spirit of Rufus T. Firefly as depicted in this tweet by that Krazy (Kat) guy Michael Tisserand:

Dig that crazy (krazy?) Boy Scout uniform. That reminds me of Trump’s jamboree jam. Ah, sweet memories of other people’s youth.

The last word goes to Captain Spaulding and his admirers who are going Animal Crackers:

Crowd: Hooray for Captain Spaulding, the African explorer.

Groucho: Did someone call me schnorrer?

Roll film: