Monthly Archives: November 2017

Liar, Con Artist, or Delusional, Unhinged?

leonardo-da-vinci-vitruvian-man-trump-color-burn-650

Whatever, he’s no Vitruvian Man

Another series of reports look at the president’s casual disregard for truth and ask if it’s a bug or feature…the answer of course, no surprise, is both, and that’s why most of us couldn’t quite believe it when he managed to pull off a victory-by-technicality (which only wingers are allowed to claim as victory).

Not that it would ever happen — the political demographics won’t allow it — but if a Democrat pulled off a similar upset, the puke funnel/noise machine would go to eleven. I can picture Faux News in full hostage crisis mode.

Anyway, while, hell yes, we’re concerned that this low-rent intellect-only-matched-by-his-low-rent-character, who can’t make it through a non-partisan ceremonial event without demonstrating just how thoroughly cloddish he is…the thing is..it’s nothing new.

Trump’s always been a mix of vainglorious and shitheel. His association with Roy Cohn speaks volumes, as do his dictator chic residences, as does his history of “lying under oath.” I think John Dean got it spot-on when he said earlier this year that the real worry is when Trump realizes just what he can do. Then it’s all bets are off.

Dean also said it’ll be about “surviving disaster.” Yep.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Dead As A Dummy

Mannequins and ventriloquist’s dummies are scarier than hell. What’s worse than being Dead As A Dummy?

If you enjoy reading Pulp Fiction Thursday as much as I enjoy writing it, please click here to learn more about donating to our fall fundraiser. Pulpilicious thanks to everyone who does so.

Who’s Going To (Fund) Drive You Home Tonight?

In  September of 2009, I got an email from Athenae asking if I’d like to write for First Draft. I figured Scout recommended me so I agreed with alacrity. For better or worse, I’m still here but, more importantly, so are our core readers. Y’all must not have anything better to do with your free time.

On a more serious note, I’ve loved my time at First Draft and they’ll have to drag me kicking and screaming out of here. In short, I’m here to stay. I think we have a terrific combination of writers right now. We don’t always agree but we respect one another’s writing and the intelligence of our audience. I may pun relentlessly but I never talk down to our readers.

Not long ago, a friend of mine dubbed me the king of regular features. He’s right and I know that most of you like them too. (I say most because there’s bound to be a heretic in the crowd.) So, if you like Album Cover Art Wednesday, Pulp Fiction Thursday, Friday Catblogging, Saturday Odds & Sods, and/or the Sunday Morning Video, please click here to learn more about donating.  I don’t want to have to go into traffic to raise money but I’ll do it if I have to. First Draft means that much to me.

Ever since I saw Athenae’s fundraising drive post atop the blog, I’ve had the Cars classic Drive in my head:

Since this post is all about the fundraising drive, let’s pass the First Draft collection plate and give you another chance to DONATE.

The Ugliest American

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Donald Trump is the worst person ever to live in the White House. He proved it again on Monday with the whole Navajo code talkers-Pocahontas mishigas. It’s not the worst thing he’s said since becoming president* but it’s the perfect distillation of who he is. It’s the context that makes this uniquely awful.

Asterisk-free presidents love ceremonial occasions where they act as head of state. It’s a chance for them to soar above controversy and conflict. The act of appearing non-political benefits them politically. If we had the British system of government, I would never have wanted Ronald Reagan as prime minister but he would have made a helluva constitutional monarch. Nobody did ceremonial occasions as well as the man who played the Gipper. It was one reason for the personal popularity that saw him through the ups and downs of his presidency.

Barack Obama was the second best American head of state of my lifetime. He loved mingling with non-politicians from celebrities to the hoi polloi. Some of the most memorable moments at the Obama White House involved the president interacting with children. Kids love the man, which should have led to his political opponents saying: I don’t like his policies but he’s a helluva nice guy. He was the first president of color so that didn’t happen. Instead, they posted pictures of him as a witch doctor on social media. We all know who those creeps voted for.

The White House ceremony honoring the Navajo code talkers was the perfect chance to act presidential. One might even call it a no-brainer; unfortunately, this president* is a no-brainer himself so he blew it by attacking a political opponent. If he had honored the code talkers for their grit, wit, and valor, the ceremony would have been about them. Instead, he made it about him by saying this:

“I just want to thank you because you’re very, very special people,” Trump said to the group. “You were here long before any of us were here — although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas. But you know what? I like you. Because you are special.”

The tone is, of course, patronizing. He addressed these elderly veterans as if they were simple-minded fools. I guess the Insult Comedian was projecting again.

Context is everything. This was not an occasion to bring one’s political vendettas to the table, er, podium. Calling Senator/Professor Warren Pocahontas is, in this context, a racist slur as well as typically mean-spirited. Trump’s apologists denied it was a racist insult but the best response came in this  statement from John Norwood of the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes:

There are some who ignored the response from Indian Country and defended Mr. Trump, both then and now, with the excuse that the name “Pocahontas” is not a racial slur. When honorably referencing the actual historic figure, this indeed is true. However, the name becomes a derogatory racial reference when used as an insult. American Indian names, whether they be historic or contemporary, are not meant to be used as insults.  To do so is to reduce them to racial slurs.

There are many in Indian Country who have given various perspectives on Senator Warren’s claim of an American Indian ancestor. There are many non-tribal Americans who make similar claims of indigenous ancestry. Sometimes it is a matter of documented genealogical fact and sometimes it’s merely a matter of family lore. Such private claims, when not used to claim the legal protections or benefits of the citizens of American Indian Nations, cause little or no harm to tribal people. However, degrading an American Indian name or historic tribal reference by using it as an insult is making a racial slur, whether knowingly or unknowingly. The right to determine if it is a slur belongs to those who have been insulted, not the one who made the insult.

I suspect that Pocahontas is the only name of a Native American female that Trump knows. It has lodged in that pea-brain of his as the perfect way to insult Professor/Senator Warren. It is more revealing of Trump’s nature than anything else: he’s a bully and a coward but we already knew that. As his own secretary of state said, “He’s a fucking moron.”

I was also struck by the staging of the event. The podium was placed in front of a portrait of General/President Andrew Jackson who is well-known for his extreme animus against Native peoples. It’s as if the Tuskegee airmen were honored in front of a portrait of John C. Calhoun. This may well be one of the few Trump flaps that was premeditated as a way to pander to the worst of the MAGA maggots out there. The soundbite sounded written, which means it could be the handiwork of Stephen Miller.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ response to this mess was to defend her president* and lie like a poorly woven rug. She may have gone to the loom once too often as it were. This tweet from a certain internet smart ass sums it up rather well:

The White House is the people’s house. That’s why we call sitting presidents the Current Occupant. It’s not just a place for those who voted for the Current Occupant, it’s a place where *all* Americans should feel welcome regardless of their politics. Hospitality is almost sacred in the Greek community so I was raised to treat my guests like they’re honorees at a ceremonial occasion. I’ve wanted to throw people out of my house but have never done so. I do, however, want to throw Trump and his tacky crew out of the people’s house.

I originally planned to call this post That’s Why I Call Him The Insult Comedian hence the meme. I woke up this morning thinking of the book The Ugly American hence the final title. Being an Ugly American should be a “bad thing” as the Insult Comedian would surely interject at this point. It was fashionable during the first Bush-Cheney term but began to slowly fade after Rummy was shitcanned. Ugliness is back in vogue and it’s being whipped up in what Mencken called the “sahara of the bozart” and elsewhere in the boondocks by the Ugliest American of all. The barbarians are not at the gate, they’re in the White House.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Chet Baker

Trumpeter/Singer Chet Baker was the Jazz matinee idol of the Beat generation. He was handsome as all get out and as cool as a cucumber. Album covers from his prime reflect his status as the Marlon Brando/James Dean/Dean Moriarty of Jazz. Here’s a sampler:

It’s time for some cool Jazz from 1956:

Finally, if you like this feature, please click here to learn more about donating to our fall fundraiser. Thanks in advance.

On #GivingTuesday, Consider The Media

I mean us, of course.

Remember this? Yeah, it’s real.

Today I’m gonna write about our fundraiser because we’ve been doing this Internet thing for 17 years now and sometimes it feels like no time but sometimes I feel like Internet Grandma talking about the good old days when if you knew what HTML was you were like some kind of magic genius and people threw money at you.

Well, not really, but it did seem back in 2004 when we merrily threw ourselves into fighting the Bush administration’s bullshit that there was gonna be some kind of knocking down of barriers. I should have been smart enough to know the world always gets rebuilt as closely as it can be to the way it was before, but it was my first time through the meat grinder and I thought better of us all back then.

A lot of the smaller blogs that started out when we started out have folded. A lot of the bigger blogs that started out when we started out have folded. A lot of writers wound up at other publications, bigger publications. A lot of writers wound up with day jobs that became day careers. A lot of people gave up, moved to Twitter, moved offline entirely.

A lot of writers flounced out of the Internet entirely because it’s mean. But a lot of us stayed, even though it’s mean.

It’s understandable. This was never any kind of new media world, and going it alone means the work’s never done. (If anyone wants to buy us, please, give me a call!) I’m the daughter of a small business owner who always said it’s great to own your own business because you can pick your day off. You get one day. Per year. Off.

Ads were plentiful for a while. Then they weren’t, or they got intrusive, or they depended on some kind of #sponcon non-disclosed dodge that felt like lying to you, or they demanded traffic numbers we couldn’t sustain. Our backbone has always been our annual reader contributions and I’ve never wanted to change that.

We don’t do this every quarter. Everybody’s a volunteer. This fundraiser covers basic costs like paying our hosting fees and, you know, the electricity. And if it feels more critical this year it’s only because it’s been 17 years and we’re all exhausted from staying alive and it gets harder every day and we lean into it and tell you to do the same.

Everybody’s a volunteer. Everybody’s got a day job or two. My side hustles have side hustles. That’s my choice, I get that, but this is important. I hope it’s important to you if you’ve been reading all this time. We’re about a third of the way to our goal. Our goal, by the way, is $1,500. That’s it.

Can you help us get there?

Click here to donate.

A.

Tuesday Foodblogging: Sugar Cookie Edition

Sugar cookies make the best presents. I bake up batches of these and these, give them to people and everyone is happy.

A.

Gaslighting Trumpy

This post title cuts both ways. Donald Trump’s entire political career has involved gaslighting the American people: he tells blatant lies with such vehemence that his most devoted and dumbest followers believe him. The latest whopper is that Doug Jones, best known for prosecuting domestic terrorists who murdered children, is “weak” on crime. Of course, the Insult Comedian knows something about crime given the fact that he’s a cartoon villain. All he needs is a Snidely Whiplash mustache to go with the dead nutria atop his head. Cartoon villains typically have bad hair or no hair like Lex Luthor.

There’s an odder form of gaslighting going on at the Trump White House and the culprit is a man with a Snidely stache.  It looks as if  the president* is being gaslit by his own lawyer, Ty Cobb, who maintains publicly and privately that the Mueller probe will wrap up by the end of 2017. I think that’s nuts given the complexity, sprawling nature, and importance of the investigation. These things take time, which is something that drives people with short attention spans crazy. Ain’t nobody with a shorter attention span than the crazy current occupant.

The question that looms over this discussion is whether Cobb believes what he’s saying or is gaslighting his boss to keep the Trumpy’s head from exploding. In addition to his Snidely stache and reputed kinship to the baseball great of the same moniker, Cobb is known for being an experienced Washington hand. While he *could* just be stupid-not all lawyers are wicked smart, after all-I think he’s trying to keep his idiot client from impulsively starting a constitutional crisis by firing Mueller. Cobb surely knows that major federal investigations have lives of their own and the probe will go on without Bobby Three Sticks. The Insult Comedian is an incurious ignoramus who doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. He believes what he wants to believe, which makes him a perfect target for gaslighting; either that or Ty Cobb is just as stupid as Trump.

The post title is inspired by a Becker and Fagen song from the 2000 album Two Against Nature. Now that I think of it, that album title could describe the lawyer-client relationship discussed in this post. Anyway, it’s time to paraphrase the chorus of Gaslighting Abbie:

Flame is the game. The game we call gaslighting Trumpy.

The last word goes to Steely Dan:

I fibbed about the last word. If you like what we do at First Draft, please support our fall fundraising drive. No gaslighting involved, not even the Boyer-Bergman kind:

 

 

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – “I split on your grave”edition

It’s splitsville, baby!

Flynn Splits from Trump Lawyers
NY times ^ | November 23, 2017

Posted on 11/23/2017, 4:49:06 PM by Heff

A Split From Trump Indicates That Flynn Is Moving to Cooperate With Mueller

**********

Any thoughts on this… coming from NYT makes me less concerned however…
1 posted on 11/23/2017, 4:49:06 PM by Heff
Oops.
To: Heff

 

Seems like he’s taking a plea deal.

4 posted on 11/23/2017, 4:52:05 PM by Alter Kaker (Gravitation is a theory, not a fact. It should be approached with an open mind…)

AllIsWell
To: Heff

 

New York Times. Enough said.

11 posted on 11/23/2017, 5:02:22 PM by Snowybear

Yeah!
Of course, there’s always a silver lining :
To: Heff

 

“Any thoughts on this…”

Good for Flynn – he can tell the Left just how full of Shiite they are.

31 posted on 11/23/2017, 5:34:40 PM by BobL (I shop at Walmart…I just don’t tell anyone)

Are we reading the same article?
To: FlipWilson

 

So lemme get this straight. Mueller and his Gestapo squad basically telling Flynn to give them something on Trump or they will jail his son.


Flynn fabricates a story. Is caught. Goes to jail. Mission accomplished by Inquisitor Mueller.

34 posted on 11/23/2017, 5:43:59 PM by Flick Lives (The FBI is a taxpayer funded Mafia organization)

PythonNobodyExpects
To: drewh 

THis story is exactly why I kept saying Trump should just shut up and stay off twitter when it came to the investigation

Fortunately, he’s not that smart.

Mueller will use that tweet for his obstruction case.

62 posted on 11/23/2017, 6:34:55 PM by RummyChick (I have no inside sources, media sources, or federal government employee sources. NONE)

YaThink
More rumination on this obviously fake news story below the fold…

Continue reading

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Facebook & Twitter Did Not Elect Trump. Fox News Did.

I’ve written before about the decline of local news and how it led to Trump. I’m always yelling on the Twitter machine about how if social media disappeared tomorrow we’d still have Republicans all over the TV so if we can have some hearings about that, it would be great.

A couple of links for further reading. First, this:

That year, Sinclair created a national news desk to produce segments for stations’ local newscasts, and in 2003 it followed up with a Washington bureau. Sinclair’s political leanings gained more widespread attention in 2004 when Ted Koppel planned to spend an episode of Nightline reading the names of soldiers killed in Iraq. Sinclair ordered its ABC affiliates not to run the show, saying it was “motivated by a political agenda.” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called Sinclair’s move “unpatriotic.” During that year’s presidential campaign, Sinclair sparked a national uproar when it planned to air Stolen Honor, a controversial documentary widely seen as a hit piece on then-Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the Democratic nominee. Amid the backlash, Mark Hyman compared news networks that refused to report Stolen Honor‘s allegations about Kerry’s anti-Vietnam War activism to Holocaust deniers. After Sinclair’s DC bureau chief described the documentary to a Baltimore Sun reporter as “biased political propaganda with clear intentions to sway this election,” the company fired him and sued him for breach of contract.

And this:

I’m not discounting the fact of Russian meddling in Facebook and Twitter and the influence Reddit played in boosting the signals of inbred MAGA dipshits who wanted an excuse for why women wouldn’t service them. But Fox is omnipresent in ways the Internet still is not for the demographics that reliably vote Republican. Walk into any car dealership, any podiatrist’s office, hell any airport, and there’s a better than average chance Fox is what’s on. I had to yell at my doctor’s office to turn that shit off and I live in the People’s Republic.

Local news, which takes its cues from Fox and the like, tends to trivialize any “politics” in favor of stories about the conveniences of the upper middle class. You want an example? Last Friday, my local Fox affiliate ran a story about protests on Black Friday that focused on drawing attention to police brutality against black people. The protests focused on that, I mean. The story focused on shit like this:

At Boycott Black Friday demo in Chicago, two from Revolutionary Communist Progressive Labor Party told me Russia lost “true communism” after death of Joseph Stalin. He’s their hero, not a brutal mass murderer of millions. They called Nikita Krushchev’s famous 1956 speech about Stalin’s monstrous crimes “lies.” GULAG? Berlin Wall? Fuggetaboudit!

The entire tone of the piece (which isn’t online, natch, because why would you make your news site useful) was that these protests for black lives are dumb and over compared to suburban mommies buying overpriced dolls, and I mean tone in everything from the reporter’s voice to the word choice. “Yeah, there were protests, but whatevs, they’re not gonna change anything, they didn’t draw any huge crowds so they’re wrong, they just got in the way of shopping and were loud. Hee hee, commies.”

I seriously doubt these idiot kids were involved in Stalin’s purges. These dumb poseur-communists and the protesters marching right next to them have killed exactly nobody in the past year, in stark contrast to the Chicago Police Department, but sure, let’s spend some of our limited time on this planet making fun of them.

This, by the way, is the station’s “political editor.” A bazillion more people saw this broadcast than follow Trump’s tweets and what they saw was that black people protesting are worthy of ridicule and aren’t as important as the Disney Store.

Do you see where I’m going here? You don’t have to log on to Facebook to find this shit. Forget TV, even, since we’re talking about people who aren’t online: Talk radio, which has spent 30 YEARS calling all Democrats baby-killers who want to let black men rape all the white women, is omnipresent in the Midwest. Right now this shitbird is on a redemption tour but he was the main reason Republicans like Scott Walker — Trump with slightly better table manners — and his legislative cronies got elected in Wisconsin. His entire schtick was basically LOLOLOL LIBERALS R FAGS, sucking up to the right wing of the Roman Catholic church, and hating on food stamps.

Radio listeners across the Republican base of white-flight suburbia heard him. Tens of thousands of them. Far beyond the reach of any bot-driven MAGA shut-in re-tweeting Trump’s rage.

This is leaving out so many other things that reinforce the status-quo narrative, including broadcasts of religious leaders who are neither, profiles of FUCKING NAZIS because we have learned nothing since Charlottesville, celebrity coverage that lionizes inoffensive white girls who don’t speak up about being groped by man-pigs, and on and on and on.

We have to solve the media disparity before anything changes, and that doesn’t just mean hauling Snapchat in front of HUAC to find out if they have any rubles in their pockets. It is worse than pointless to bitch out Zuckerberg and leave out Rupert Murdoch and creatures like Limbaugh and his lesser acolytes. It is counter-productive.

A.

ps. Want to help sustain liberal voices? Donate to First Draft’s fundraising drive here.

THANK YOU EVERYONE!

20171203_120515

I always worry we’re not gonna make it and you always, always, always all come through. This means a lot, guys, especially in this rough stretch of a year. Thank you for supporting this place and what we’ve been doing here since ye olden days of 2004.

And, since I promised a photo, here’s my own little Reason for Resistance, the smallest critter in our house at the moment, our apple-picking, hot-chocolate-guzzling, no-nonsense-taking, argumentative, fierce brave I-can-do-it-MYSELF Kick.

She would says thanks too, but the only thing she knows about the Internet is that it’s where you find kitten videos.

So on her behalf, thank you all.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Let The Night Fall

Early Sunday Morning by Edward Hopper.

It’s hard to write a full-blown Odds & Sods post during a holiday week so I’m not going to try. I did, however, write about the late New Orleans election and overshare about my past this week so there’s that.

It’s been chilly in these parts lately. I even broke down and turned on the central heat. For some reason, the vents weren’t as dusty as in past years, which means the air inside the house wasn’t as smoky as usual. In the past, I was worried that the original Smokey Bear would show up and harsh my buzz.

I got a free ticket for last Sunday’s Saints home game. One of Dr. A’s favorite colleagues has had end zone seats since Bum Phillips was head coach. The seats are in the first row and the view is spectacular when they’re coming at you. It was a crazy game with an insane comeback leading to victory in OT. I’m taking credit for the win: the Saints are 4-0 when I sit in Section 101. We also got to see this up close and personal:

I associate the music of the Band with Thanksgiving so this week’s theme song comes from Islands, the final studio album recorded by the Robertson-Helm-Danko-Manuel-Hudson lineup. Let The Night Fall is a sleeper in the Band’s catalog with a beautiful lead vocal by Richard Manuel and stirring harmonies by the rest of the group.

I’m aware that the featured image is a morning scene and doesn’t match the theme song. Since when was I a matchy-matchy guy? I did, however, like the original version of The Match Game. Alec Baldwin is no Gene Rayburn, natch.

I have a few more things to share. The first involves the death of Charlie Manson.

Tweet Of The Week: George Herriman biographer and parade route book signer Michael Tisserand won NOLA twitter the other day:

Tabloid Headlines Of The Week: The two daily tabloids in New York City usually have wildly different viewpoints. The Daily News leans left and the Post is owned by Rupert Murdoch. Say no more. This week the two papers came together in an expression of disgust after the Insult Comedian re-endorsed Judge Pervert:

Saturday GIF Horse: Who among us will ever forget the WKRP turkey drop?

Now that we’ve seen Mr. Carlson melt down, it’s time to finish up with some holiday music, Adrastos style.

Saturday Classic: Stage Fright was regarded as a disappointment upon its 1970 release. Those people must have smoked some really strong weed because it’s a wicked awesome album featuring some of the Band’s finest songs.

That’s all for this week. I thought I should recycle last week’s bat meme, which is one of my all-time faves. Tony, Phil, and Mike say toodle-pip:

Friday Catblogging: Mouthy Tuxedo Cat

Della Street has a loud, annoying meow. She uses it to impose her will on her humans:

Happy Harvest Fest

portrait-of-norman-rockwell-painting-trump-700

If you’re traveling, hope your outbound and return trips are safe; otherwise, here’s to good food, drink, and good company wherever you may find yourself.

Cheers.

Now Be Thankful

Adrastos’ late mother in her Chicago heyday.

The holidays are hard for me. I like Thanksgiving’s gluttonous aspects but it’s still hard for me. It’s when I think of my mother who died 16 yeas ago. My mother was the sort of person who took in strays for the holidays. We’d have up to 20 people around the table; some of whom were friends of friends of friends. Mom believed that everyone should have a home cooked meal on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many of our guests for Christmas dinner were, in fact, Jewish. No Chinese food for her Jewish friends.

Mom spent the day before Thanksgiving and the day of cooking away. She was a perfectionist when it came to entertaining: no holiday buffets for her. We had to gather around the table and it had to have a starched white table-cloth. There were no paper plates or people eating whilst milling about: fine china, silver, and crystal were mandatory for the holidays. She was informal the rest of the year but holidays were state occasions when, as my father was wont to say, we put on the dog.

When I got old enough, one of my jobs was to set the table. I made sure that Mom had final approval: she wanted everything just so. I recall feeling triumphant one Thanksgiving: I’d set the table perfectly on the first try. There were usually changes but not that year. I was inordinately proud of myself but she admonished me not to get too cocky. It was the Midwestern Norwegian Lutheran in her coming out. She left the bragging to my dad. It’s what Greeks do, y’all. Not me, of course, other Greeks…

I also helped make a fresh cranberry/orange sauce from the recipe on the back of the Ocean Spray bag. We had a venerable hand-cranked grinder that had to be attached to the kitchen table. We spread newspaper around it because it was messy. There was a bucket at my feet to catch the bitter red cranberry drippings. Mom was not sentimental about her kitchen gadgets: she bought a food processor the first time she saw one. I was away from home and past the cranberry grinding, table setting phase of my life by then.

My favorite part of the traditional turkey dinner was the stuffing. I looked forward to it every year. It was loaded with herbs as well as pine nuts and chestnuts. We didn’t exactly roast them on an open fire but I helped shell the bastards. They were uncooperative, downright surly, actually. When I was really young, I was convinced they were alive but my no-nonsense mother disabused me of that notion. She informed me that I’d seen the Wizard of Oz one too many times. As usual, she was right.

Unfortunately, there was often conflict at the dinner table during the holidays. I’m the youngest of three by thirteen years. My sisters were off living life and I was raised more like an only child. I admit to liking it that way. My oldest sister thrives on drama and conflict. There was always one big row per holiday, which drove my poor mother crazy. She was always the woman in the middle. When she died, so did our nuclear family for reasons too complex to go into. The good news is that holidays are more tranquil but I miss the glue of my family.

Thanksgivings in Louisiana had a familiar feel when I moved here. It’s all about the food, y’all.  I married into an old Louisiana family and learned some new traditions. What’s not to love about oyster dressing? I still missed my mom’s stuffing. It was a part of me.

My first wife was a petite, feisty, beautiful, and brilliant spitfire. She took the idea of being a redhead seriously: she had a temper to match my own. Her mother took me in as one of her own but made it clear that when we moved to Baton Rouge, we’d have to tie the knot. Unfortunately, my wife’s family tree was a witches brew of genetic maladies and she died of cancer during what should have been her final year at LSU Law School.

She passed away a week before Thanksgiving so the holidays were rough sledding for me until I met and fell in love with the tall, feisty, beautiful, and brilliant woman known to you as Dr. A. The good news is that Dr. A and my mother-in-law instantly hit it off and she was admitted to the Louisiana family post-haste. It was Dr. A who started calling our Louisiana family the outlaws and the nickname stuck.

We spent many holidays with the outlaws in Red Stick over the years and are about to do so again. My mother-in-law has left the comfortable house that she shared with her late second husband Eddie to whom I pay tribute every Memorial Day. She’s 96 now and lives at St. James Place, which is a somewhat posh retirement community. We’ll be eating in the dining room but it’s still pretty darn homey: we’ve gotten to know many of the residents over the last decade. I am lucky that Dr. A and mother-in-law #1  get on so well. She is also a howling liberal (to use her own phrase) so there will be no Trump-driven conflict.

In recent years, we’ve expanded our Thanksgiving plans exponentially to what amounts to a triple-header. We have lunch in Red Stick, then it’s back to New Orleans for dinner with our friends Jennifer and Will and finally, unless we’re too wiped out, a nightcap with our de facto family: Cait, Dave, and the child army. It’s a sticky end to a long day and now I’m committed. I hope Dr. A won’t be too vexed with me but I fear the wrath of Cait as well as retribution from the child army of darkness.

I sat down to write a brief, nostalgic food-centric post and ended up explaining my tangled family tree. So it goes. I never hide the fact that I was a widower at a young age but I only tell people when asked how I came to the Gret Stet of Louisiana from California. It’s a long and painful story but I’m fortunate to have married well twice.

Family by choice are the best family of all but I still miss my mother. She could dance on my last nerve, but I miss our long conversations and teasing her about her crazy dog Brutus.

Mothers are powerful. They have the ability to make you revert to childhood. I know that many of your mothers get on your nerves. It’s what they do. Shrug it off and remember that they won’t always be with you. Around the holidays is when I miss my mom and Dr. A misses her charming, beautiful, and eccentric mother. Mother-in-law #2, however, was not a good cook and expected us to consume the radishes she’d lovingly cut. I hate radishes but her company was the best.

Happy Thanksgiving.

The last word goes to Fairport Convention with the gorgeous Richard Thompson song that gave this post its title:

Here’s another one from the songwriter. It’s a day for gluttony, after all:

Pulp Fiction Thursday will return next week.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Home Cookin’

I did a search for albums with food-inspired covers. That’s how I stumbled into Home Cookin’. Jimmy Smith was the master of the Hammond organ; one of my favorite instruments. He also apparently liked diner food; as do I. Although food from 1959 would be a mite stale now.

If you’re ready for some tasty organ licks (not the lewd kind) here’s the whole damn album via the YouTube playlist format:

Poison in the Water

When I was in college I became friends with a much older man who was in a position of authority where he could snap his fingers and give me a job. I’d gone to him with a project in which he saw value and promised to see through. We had meetings in his office. He took me to lunch a bunch of times. Talked to me like I was people, told me jokes, laughed at mine.

Because I’m an arrogant asshole it never occurred to me that I wasn’t on his level. I thought I had every right to be his peer. And a lifetime of not being considered pretty led me to think that men couldn’t be interested in my body anyway.

He never tried anything. Never moved too close or talked too soft, never touched me but to shake my hand. Never so much as opened a door for me.

But as he promised over and over to find me a job in his department, his assistant, who he kept asking me to talk to, kept steering me away. That job’s been filled. I don’t think that will work out. Let me talk to him about what’s really suitable for you. We don’t have anything there. I’m not sure this is going to pan out. 

I thought she was just being a jerk. I needed a job, after all, and I believed people kept their promises. He wants me hired, so get over yourself and do what your boss wants.

Now I wonder. I wonder if she was protecting me.

Like I said, he never treated me as anything less than an equal. I thought he liked me. Like as a person.

I wonder how he would have treated me if I worked for him.

If I owed him something.

Thinking like this might be deeply unfair to a good person trying to help out a broke college student in whom he saw something promising. Thinking like this might be maligning, in retrospect, a friend.

Thinking like this might save the next young woman who sincerely believes a septuagenarian authority figure respects her mind.

I hate that this is the calculus. I hate that this is the math we all do in our heads. It’s not fair to us, in our working weeks, and it’s not fair to the relationships we try to nurture and the networking we try to do and the things we’re taught from day one are essential to our professional lives. It’s not fair to women. It’s not fair to men. It makes me angry and it makes me sad.

Grow the fuck up, everyone.

A.

Who Teaches

A while back I asked some family members and white childhood friends who they remember as the first person of authority — a person whose opinions they were expected to respect even if they didn’t agree — who wasn’t white, in their lives.

Very few remembered anyone at all.

I grew up in a fairly segregated town and went to Catholic schools. All my elementary school teachers were white. In high school I had one black teacher and one Hispanic teacher. In college (state school) I had two professors of color, though there were more professors of color teaching, mostly in ethnic studies courses, who I didn’t encounter. It wasn’t until 10 years ago that I had non-white, non-male bosses. Mr. A started working for a woman of color for the first time two years ago.

An under-covered aspect of the Obama freakout (and then the Clinton freakout afterward) was the idea that a lot of white people living segregated lives — the only black people they ever saw were on TV, probably playing football — had to confront the idea of a black person having authority over them. Blah blah, I know, the president works for us, but there was a huge swell of rage at “having” to listen to a black man. They’d never “had” to do that before, and damn if it didn’t piss them off.

Segregation of AUTHORITY matters as much as segregation of housing, jobs, amenities and everything else. It matters tremendously to children of color: 

Gershenson, Hart, Lindsay, and Papageorge demonstrate that if a black male student has at least one black teacher in the third, fourth, or fifth grade, he is significantly less likely to drop out of high school and more likely to aspire to attend a four-year college (as proxied by taking a college entrance exam). They find that these effects are especially pronounced for economically disadvantaged black male students. For instance, they find that a disadvantaged black male’s exposure to at least one black teacher in elementary school reduces his probability of dropping out of high school by nearly 40 percent. This estimated effect is not just statistically significant, but also highly educationally relevant.

We are long overdue for so many corrections in this country, and this is the last one coming for myself and my fellow white folk: That people who don’t look like us have something to teach us, and that we should shut up and learn.

A.

New Orleans Politics: The Bonfire Of The Vanities

New Orleans made a helluva lot of history during the 2017 election cycle. Most notably, we elected our first woman mayor, LaToya Cantrell who won in a landslide over her hapless opponent, Desiree Charbonnet. We also elected our first Hispanic councilmember in the primary, Helena Moreno, and our first Asian councilmember, Cyndi Nguyen on Saturday. I’ll talk about the council races and explain the post title in a bit. All good things come to those who wait or some such shit. Despite stealing Tom Wolfe’s book title, I have no plan to wear a white suit any time soon. It’s fall, y’all.

Cantrell is not well known outside Orleans Parish, so this oopsie was posted by the AP  after the race was called:

That is, of course, a picture of her vanquished foe, Desiree Charbonnet. Oopsie redux.

I got a few things right about the election. I predicted a Cantrell landslide, which hardly makes me the second coming of Karnak:

Did anyone know that Karnak was into Jeopardy? I wonder what the answer was and how he predicted my bloggerhood. We’ll never know. Inserted because I miss Johnny.

Back to shit I got right and wrong. I was wrong about Charbonnet not getting white conservative votes but right about how unimportant that would be. The Steve Scalise flyer hurt her in most of this deep blue city. Repeat after me: there are very few white conservative voters left in Orleans Parish. I was also right about the 2 council races on the ballot but we’ll get to that in a moment.

Other people have done some excellent analyses of the mayoral election so I don’t have to. I’d rather tell a few jokes:

Clancy DuBos on Da Winnas and Loozas.

Lamar White Jr. on the new paradigm in New Orleans politics.

Jeff Adelson on the Cantrell coalition and how it was built.

Back to me. Team Charbonnet ran a traditional top-down consultant driven campaign. They spent more money than Team Cantrell but not wisely: over $450K on consultants. Cantrell assembled the Obama coalition locally and ran a bottom-up campaign. In short, Cantrell out organized her well-heeled opponent. Perhaps the MSM will stop obsessing about fundraising in the future and take this song off their karaoke menus:

I was more engaged in the council races during the run-off. There was a major upset by the aforementioned Cyndi Nguyen in district E. The incumbent Jame Gray is, to be blunt, a crook. He was Dollar Bill Jefferson’s law partner back in the day and is one of the few Dollar Bill associates still active in politics.  Here’s why I call him a crook: Gray’s law license was suspended by the Louisiana Bar Association for misusing client funds and he’s currently under investigation for the same offense. That’s something the Saul Goodmans of the world do. I’m not shy about calling a shyster a shyster.

Nguyen is a community activist who ran a bottom-up campaign and defeated an African-American incumbent in a district that’s over 80% black. Gray didn’t deliver for the poorest district in the city and he’s out. It’s a Nguyen-Win situation, which is why she defeated her Pho with 59% of the vote. I promise to stop making puns on Vietnamese food but some Pho would be swell right now.  It’s a cold Monday in New Orleans, y’all. And, yes, I know it’s pronounced fuh. Just tryin’ to make trouble fuh ya after Cindi’s win. Somebody make me stop.

The race in which I was most engaged was district B where I live, natch. It was won by my candidate, Jay Banks, by a mere 133 votes. Banks will be the first Zulu King to serve on the council since the late Roy Glapion who was honored posthumously by the krewe. This is a Zulu heavy district y’all: our former councilman Jim Singleton was the Captain for many years. Enough Mardi Gras nostalgia.

I mentioned Jay Banks first so you wouldn’t think I was *just* opposed to his obnoxious opponent, Seth Bloom. I’ve written about Bloom here, there,and everywhere. Here’s how I described my run-in with Bloom on social media:

I had several run-ins with Bloom and his annoying supporters on twitter as well. It’s all over but the whining. Bloom has demanded a recount, which will take place tomorrow. It’s unlikely to succeed. A challenge against Kristin Palmer in district C went nowhere and she won by 22 fewer votes than Banks. I think those two should form the “landslide” caucus when they join the council.

I’m on the verge of letting the cat out of the bag and/or spilling the beans about the post title. Seth Bloom was the yard sign king in this election cycle. They were everywhere, especially the big ones with a vanity head shot of the candidate. My friend Ryne Hancock even asked Bloom to explain all the signs on abandoned buildings in Central City:

Central City is an overwhelmingly black neighborhood and Bloom was a terrible cross-over candidate. He got 9% of black votes whereas Jay Banks got 27% of white voters including this somewhat swarthy Greek-American.

It’s time for the big post title reveal:

FYI: Bonfires are a holiday tradition in the Gret Stet of Louisiana so all I was doing was urging the Bloomites  (Bloomers?) to get in the seasonal spirit.

I asked for help on the tweeter tube:

I got several submissions via direct message. The best one came from someone who wanted their name kept out of it:

I particularly like the eyebrows. I’m not sure if the submitter was the defacer but I sure hope so. The good news is that Seth Bloom will not be de face of my city council district.

A final campaign note. Last week’s malaka, Rob Maness aka Col. Mayonnaise, lost his legislative race. I was wrong about that one. It’s a pity. I thought it would be entertaining to have him throwing bombs in the lege. The guy who beat him is a bog standard conservative Republican so he’ll vote the Mayonnaise line but it won’t be half as fun.

The last word goes to Col. Mayonnaise. I wonder if he said it to his opponent?

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – EJECT! EJECT! EJECT! edition

I….just….can’t, people.

I….just….

 

I_cant_even_tumblr

I honestly tried. I cruised Freeperville to try to find something that wasn’t crowing-over-Al-Franken and had to shut it off after 3 minutes.

So instead, I penned this:

On Senator Al Franken and the accusations…

So-called conservatives are running around on social media hooting like howler monkeys. They’re not concerned with harassment issues, or they wouldn’t have condoned Donnie Darko’s “grab them by the pussy”.

It’s just locker room stuff, after all. Or tour-bus stuff.
Or something.

Leaving alone the FOX news connection and the interesting fact that her “bombshell” was spoken of by the Stone people before it was spoken of by her – that aside, the whole thing reeks of right-wing hypocrisy.

If Trump had been accused of this behaviour, it would have been dismissed as boyish hi-jinks. Hell, if Trump had even been over to the Middle East and Afghanistan a tour to raise troop morale (instead of dodging the draft so he could sit safely over here and enrich himself), they’d be calling him a selfless hero for even considering going.

Trump’s supporters aren’t really concerned about women being harassed because, after all, they all have it coming. They ALL have it coming.

Just ask them. Let’s start with Newt Gingrich and work our way down to Mark Foley.

(Or maybe start with David Vitter and work our way up to Ken Calvert)

All I’m really seeing now is a bunch of hooting and gibbering because they think they finally, at long last, got one on the scoreboard.

Thanks for listening. I’ll try it again next week.

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