Monthly Archives: January 2018

Cave Diving

This, pretty much: 

So Democrats staved off the worst effects of a government shutdown. They prevented a turn in public opinion against their party for this shutdown, as well as Dreamers. They got CHIP. They got a commitment from McConnell to bring up immigration legislation. And they gave up none of their leverage.

It may be tempting to insist that Democrats should have pressed on with the shutdown strategy until they got everything they wanted. But Congress works slowly ― barely ― until the moment that it all comes together in an instant.

Democrats took a step toward that moment.

I know they should have held out for DACA, sure, but you tell me how that was going to happen. I don’t believe Schumer trusts McConnell and I don’t believe McConnell is going to do the right thing and I don’t believe Paul Ryan is anything other than the vaguely sentient sexbot Ayn Rand wishes she had built. Of course they’re not going to bring up DACA again. Of course Lucy’s gonna pull the football away. Of course we’re just gonna have to do this again in three weeks.

Three more weeks for DACA recipients to be deported. That’s monstrous. That’s not in any way all right.

And there was no way for the Democrats to stop it. They don’t have the House, the Senate, the White House. They don’t have a majority of statehouses and they’re never gonna take the streets.

But in 10 months they can take two of those things back. Ten months from now they can take back the House, take back the Senate, and fix DACA for good. Authorize CHIP for a hundred years. Impeach the orange motherfucker whose chaos-enabling shitlord underlings engineered this whole mess. I believe this is the answer:

Conservative Dems are infuriating. Republican-lite Dems are infuriating. But it’s their disproportionate representation in Congress that makes them powerful. Elect 70 Dem senators and the four assholes we all hate don’t matter. Elect a few dozen more Dem House members and the 12 gutless pricks that drive us crazy every time lose all their leverage. Elect Democrats to hold every statehouse in the land AND NO REPUBLICAN POLICIES WILL EVEN COME UP FOR A VOTE.

You know who’s yelling loudest that Democrats are CAVING and it’s all terrible for Democrats?

Republicans.

So shout at your senators if you want. Tell them they should have held out for DACA. Shit, primary them if you want (though you come for Tammy Baldwin First of Her Name, you’re gonna have to go through me). That’s your right, and maybe I’m wrong here. Maybe in 3 weeks it’ll all go tits-up and you can all say I TOLD YOU SO NEOLIBERAL SHILL.

That’s your right, too.

But don’t add your voice to the Republican spin machine that would have said ANY outcome was terrible for Democrats, who are always In Disarray and always Letting True Progressives Down. Absent Republicans, absent ALEC, absent Koch/Murdoch/Fox, none of this would be happening at all.

Tell your senators they made a terrible compromise. And let’s try to get rid of the reason for terrible compromises in the first place.

A.

America Held Hostage Day Three

If Yogi Berra were still with us, he’d say it was “deja vu all over again.” The last federal government shutdown was in 2013, which was when I inaugurated the first incarnation of this feature with this opening paragraph:

I keep dating myself (I kiss and tell too) on this blog but I do it for a good cause. I remember when ABC News launched a late night newscast after bored students stormed the US Embassy in Tehran and took a bunch of hostages to avoid studying for finals. The show was originally called America Held Hostage before morphing into Nightline, which is apparently still airing but I haven’t seen it in eons. A late night network news show is now kinda quaint but it was cutting edge in 1979.

This could be called the Stupid Shutdown since the Republicans control both houses of Congress and the executive branch. Stupid is on brand for the Trumpified, post-Tea Party GOP as is the whole notion of a government shutdown. Anything that is the brain child of N Leroy Gingrich is presumed stupid until proven otherwise.

Since government shutdowns have been part of the GOP brand since 1995, Democrats should hold firm on their demands. A closely divided Senate gives them leverage on DACA, which is an idea everyone but the dimmer people on the White House staff claim to support. Despite Trump’s urging, Chinless Mitch ain’t nuking the filibuster. He’s been in the minority before and will be again, hopefully in 2019. Veteran senators take the long view on the filibuster. Besides, the filibuster was the Turtle’s best friend when he was minority leader.

As to the White House, I call Trump the Kaiser of Chaos for a reason. He thrives on chaos, disorder, and instability: they’re part of his brand. As far as he’s concerned, this is Congress’ problem, he’ll sign whatever they send over. Some leader, some leadership.

The White House has provided some unintentional comedy relief as you can see in this tweet from Krazy author Michael Tisserand:

I am, however, disappointed that Michael missed the Get Smart shoe phone:

As Agent 86 would surely say at this point: “Missed it by that much.”

FYI, the bad guy spooks in Get Smart were Chaos. Sound familiar? I hear they have a Kaiser, not a Tsar.

The bumbling in Washington would be funnier if the real life implications weren’t so potentially terrible. Republicans expect Democrats to behave as responsible adults and cave. It hasn’t quite worked out that way in the past but it’s their expectation. What tends to happen is bi-partisan caving. Repeat after me: moderates always cave.

The joker in the 2018 shutdown deck is the Insult Comedian. Other that his stupid wall, he doesn’t believe in anything or care about anyone, he just wants a win. Every time he opens his mouth or unleashes his itchy twitter trigger finger he upsets an apple cart. I figured I should use an arcane phrase because he’s trying to take us back to the pre-civil rights, pre-feminist era. What he wants to do when he gets there is beyond me. Chaos is the result.

The teabagger driven 2013 shutdown lasted 16 days. The 2018 shutdown is driven by stupidity and Trump’s love of disorder. That’s why I call him the Kaiser of Chaos. Right now, he’s stupidly happy:

Repeat after me: the Kaiser of Chaos is stupidly happy.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Q who? edition

Short one today, folks – horrible back pain nerve-shorting-out issues.

But this one’s a lulu.

(composite thread)

Q Post believed to be President Trump’s words to prepare you for today
qcodefag.github.io ^ | Jan 13 2018 | Q Anon

Posted on 1/18/2018, 6:04:47 PM by ransomnote

OK – lay it on us!

WE, THE PEOPLE!

Yes?

WE, THE PEOPLE!

You said that.

WE, THE PEOPLE!

Teleprompter not rolling, Donnie?

WE, THE PEOPLE!

Somebody hit him on the side – he’s stuck.

WHERE WE GO ONE, WE GO ALL.

YOU GO NOW!!  FOUR HOUR YOU HERE!!!

NO ONE PERSON IS ABOVE ANOTHER.

WE, THE PEOPLE, ARE MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE.

WE, THE PEOPLE, ARE TAKING BACK OUR COUNTRY (& WORLD) FROM THE EVIL LOSERS WHO WOULD DO US HARM (ALL FOR A BUCK).

NO MORE.

STAND UP PATRIOTS.

STAND UP AND DEFEND WHAT YOU KNOW IS RIGHT.

GOD BLESS YOU AND GOD BLESS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

So, Donnie – what are tonight’s winning Pick Three lotto numbers?

4, 10, 20

Thenk yew.

Stand by for Donnie – I mean “Q”‘s next important message:

“Drink more Ovaltine”

Above is the text of Q post #530. I believe that Q is more than one person and sometime it is President Trump. Note the last line of numbers are matched to the position of letters D J T in the alphabet. Note the style – I can almost hear him saying it with his east coast accent and American vigor.

1 posted on 1/18/2018, 6:04:47 PM by ransomnote
Some Freeperati are a tad skeptical:
To: SamAdams76

Is that Quix?
Q writes like Quix.
Biggest friggin’ nutjob in the history of FR.

4 posted on 1/18/2018, 8:32:33 PM by Artemis Webb (Maxine Waters for House Minority Leader!!)

 .

To: SamAdams76

So what is the translation?

Did it actually predict something? Thanks!

5 posted on 1/18/2018, 8:33:32 PM by Golden Eagle (Mueller has his scalps, and is looking for more. Where are ours?)

I predict a nothingburger with fries on the side.
.
More messed-up missives from the oh-so-mysterious “Qbert” after the encoded jump –

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Sunday Catblogging

Caption Slade here:

A.

Forced

Let’s talk about these conscience clauses, shall we? 

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration announced on Thursday that it was expanding religious freedom protections for doctors, nurses and other health care workers who object to performing procedures like abortion and gender reassignment surgery, satisfying religious conservatives who have pushed for legal sanctuary from the federal government.

[…]

“President Trump’s promises are becoming a reality,” said Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council. “Americans should not be forced to choose between their faith and their desire to help patients.”

It has been a bugaboo in the religious wingnut community for 20 years now that someday a gay-hating pastor would be forced to marry two dudes. Like two dudes, who want to get married, are hunting around for an officiant, and are gonna walk into the Westboro Baptist Church and be like “I know your sign says ‘God Hates Fags’ but WE WOULD LIKE TO GET VERY GAY MARRIED HERE PLEASE.”

Because that’s a thing that happens a lot.

The gay-hating pastor would refuse, of course, because of JAYSUS, and the two would-be grooms would then sue, claiming their rights had been violated. Churches would be shut down, religious leaders imprisoned, dogs and cats living together, etc etc. All the gold crosses would be melted down to make into urinals to install at The Man-Hole.

This is the nightmare with which wingnuts whipped up their flocks in the early 2000s and its the nightmare they expanded in recent years to predict anti-abortion doctors sued for refusing to provide abortion services, and anti-birth-control pharmacists forced to handle the unholy demon Pill.

It’s not just the backwoods snake-handlers claiming this. I once sat at lunch and listened to a now-deceased Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago proudly declare to a roomful of rich bigots that he was prepared to go to prison rather than marry a same-sex couple. He got a standing ovation, because everybody’s ready to climb up on the cross until they see the box of nails.

Now our great religious leaders themselves know no such thing is about to happen, because they understand the difference between the First Amendment and the shit they put in their sermons. They’re not idiots and they have entire legal departments advising them for a reason, and those lawyers are not earning their cash if they’re not saying, “Your Eminence, no way in FUCK is anybody ever going to make you hitch ’em. Nobody wants to get married by a sour-faced old prick what don’t wanna be there.”

Their followers, though, accustomed as they are to respecting the church’s authority and taking what their spiritual leaders say seriously? (Which by the way, I don’t actually think is a terrible thing in the absence of this kind of bullshit?) Those followers believed it, and spread the word, and pretty soon we were one performative atheist protesting a city hall Nativity away from a full-on religious war.

Now we’re expanding the nightmare scenario yet again. Now a doctor who doesn’t want to provide surgeries for transgender people is somehow going to be forced to do so.

Forced.

Never mind that Jesus says exactly nothing in the Bible about gender transition and somehow this all got lumped into that one bit of Leviticus which bans same-sex blowies but also seems to prohibit football and polyester. Never mind, also, that to provide these types of surgeries you have to volunteer to be trained and then receive extensive training in, you know, how to actually do the surgeries in question. Never mind all that.

Just for funsies, let’s take the bigots at face value and play their little scenario out here.

You, a person who wishes to have genital sex-reassignment surgery: “Hello there, I would like you to operate on me please.”

A doctor who has Sincerely Held Religious Beliefs: “I am against such a thing and will not do it as it would violate my contract with God. I am strongly opposed to doing this. You are an abomination.”

You, an idiot: “I can think of no better person to be my surgeon for this insanely expensive, not-at-all-fraught, difficult operation than a person who hates the very idea of it, me, etc. I DON’T CARE IF YOU REFUSE, YOU’RE HIRED!”

Like in what universe do we imagine this is a commonplace occurrence? A doctor is out there advertising he or she will provide this surgery and then when an actual person comes in to request a surgery the doctor says LOL JUST KIDDING? Do religious conservatives think you can get these services at the Kwik Trip, like walk into any small-town ER and be like, “Time for my surgery now, Unlucky Intern on Duty!”

And don’t throw the bakery thing in my face unless you really want a lot of bad frosting analogies regarding the difference between purporting to offer services to the public and then gotcha-ing unsuspecting members of that public.

Forced. I mean.

What these jackholes really think is that they’re being forced to consider the lives of people not like them. They’re being forced to realize that where they are is not all the world. They’re being forced to justify the way they live based solely on the way they want to live and not on the absence of difference, and being forced to stand on their own ground and make their own arguments scares the shit out of them.

And that’s something they should very much be FORCED to do.

Schmucks.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Cold Cold Heart

The Messenger Boy by Childe Hassam.

To say that it’s been a crazy week at Adrastos World HQ is an understatement. It’s been crazy even for New Orleans but in a dull as opposed to a lively way. Multiple hard freezes have made a mess of our water system. Our water pressure is lower than the Insult Comedian’s IQ and we’re under a multi-day boil water advisory because of all the broken pipes in the city. I am stoical in the face of this mishigas since our pipes did not burst but it’s a major pain in the keister, booty, butt, hinder, or whatever you call your ass.

Our houses are not built for this weather. My Jazz Age era house is raised on piers and our pipes are under the house, semi-exposed.  It helps the house breathe during our usual severe weather season: the summertime. There’s no way to winterize a semi-tropical burg like New Orleans. And even if we threw billions, that we don’t have, at the problem, it wouldn’t work. We haven’t had a hard freeze since 2015, snow since 2008, and multiple hard freezes since 1995 and 1989. We *do* need to upgrade our drainage and basic water infrastructure but it’s summer that really matters, not the winter. Geography is destiny and we’re destined to have more hot weather than cold. Okay, I’ll dismount my soap box now and play some music.

This week’s theme song is the Hank Williams classic Cold Cold Heart. Why? Because I’m fucking cold, that’s why. I have three versions for your listening pleasure: one from the songwriter as well as renditions by Nat King Cole and Aretha Franklin.

I love Nat’s interpretation. It truly melts my cold cold heart, especially when he plays the Hammond B-3. As the Beatles once allegedly said: “Turn me on, dead man.”

As it’s been hard for me to maintain any writerly rhythm, I’m going to keep it relatively snappy this week. Btw, rhythm is one of those words I am incapable of spelling without consulting  Mr. Google or Otto Correct. I’ve let down Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Chris Squire and the rest of Yes West. Sorry, chaps.

I’m only linking to one article today but it’s a must read for Peanuts fans. I’ll let the Failing NYT icon thingamabob serve as the segment header.

That’s right, it’s been 50 years since Franklin joined the Peanuts gang as a supporting player. Sparky Schulz was reluctant to add a black character because he didn’t want to be accused of tokenism. Then a reader changed his mind:

Mr. Schulz wrote back to Ms. Glickman within two weeks, but only to tell her he couldn’t fulfill her request. He and his fellow white cartoonists, he said, were “afraid that it would look like we were patronizing our Negro friends.” Undaunted, Ms. Glickman sent another note, asking if she could share his letter with black acquaintances. Mr. Schulz assented, though he again expressed reluctance to introduce a black character into “Peanuts.”

Ms. Glickman wasted little time in enlisting her friend Kenneth C. Kelly, a black father of two, who told Mr. Schulz, essentially, to get over his anxiety.

“An accusation of being patronizing would be a small price to pay for the positive results that would accrue!” he wrote. Mr. Kelly suggested that Mr. Schulz begin with a “supernumerary” black character, a de facto extra, who “would quietly and unobtrusively set the stage for a principal character at a later date.” This cautious approach would serve the dual purpose of not burdening Mr. Schulz and “Peanuts” with the duty of making a Major Social Statement and presenting friendship between black and white children as utterly normal.

I halfway expect the Bigot-in-Chief to denounce the Franklinversary as a plot to deprive the blond pianist Schroeder of precious Peanuts panels. Oops, I forgot that he’s the least racist person you’ll ever meet and doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. As if one could find any bones amidst the blubber.

There hasn’t been much to do this week as the city has shutdown because of icy roads but we’ve done some major teevee watching including a smashing Amazon series. Sounds all jungley and shit but it’s not.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a series created by Amy Sherman-Palladino who is the woman behind Gilmore Girls. I have been told repeatedly over the years that I’d love that show but have yet to view it. I do, however, love Sherman-Palladino’s latest effort.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is set in the late 1950’s and tells the story of Miriam (Midge) Maisel an upper-middle class Jewish housewife who is an aspiring stand-up comedian. A show with the word marvelous in the title had better be good since they’ve provided their own straight line. As Johnny Mercer might say at this point, it’s too marvelous for words, but words are all I got so I’ll keep writing. The show is a winner.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is full of wacky situations and zany characters. It’s chock-full-o-Sheckys. I kept waiting for Buddy Sorrell to show up and insult every bald guy in sight.

The main reason I tuned in is the presence in the cast of Tony Shalhoub as Midge’s eccentric father, Abe Weissman. I know what you’re thinking: he always plays quirky characters. Adrian Monk makes Abe look like Ward Cleaver. Not really but hyperbole is the name of my game.

The writing and acting are superb. It’s a star making role for Rachel Brosnahan as the preternaturally sassy Midge. Alex Bornstein as Midge’s androgynous manager Susie is also a stand out. She reminds me of the writer Fran Lebowitz and is almost as funny.

It’s trailer time:

As I watched The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,  I kept thinking of Barry Levinson’s great 1990 film Avalon. It’s set in a similar cultural milieu and also stars Kevin Pollack. That’s high praise indeed: Avalon is on my top twenty favorite movies list. Remember: Never cut the turkey without me.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is streaming on Amazon. I give it 4 stars, an Adrastos Grade of A- and a big thumbs up. It has a chance to become a classic.

Saturday GIF Horse: I mentioned my love of Tony Shalhoub’s work. His best known character is the OCD teevee detective Adrian Monk. Here he is tidying things up.

Checkmate? Speaking of Chess Records.

Saturday Classic: The freaky winter weather has given me the blues. Hence this 1963 LP by the great blues harmonicat, Marion Walter Jacobs aka Little Walter.

That’s it for this week. I guess one could say that I came, I thawed, and I conquered. I’m not exactly sure what or how I conquered but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. The last word goes to Abe Weissman and his kooky daughter, Midge Maisel.

 

 

There are always people like this.

Somehow, she thought this was OK.

Something, somewhere in her life convinced Harley Barber that it was OK to open her mouth and pour forth a river of vile, putrid, ignorant racism.

Somehow, she figured she’d get away with it. Maybe it was her “finsta” profile, a fake Instagram account that she erroneously thought would provide her with the anonymity to act with impunity. Maybe it was alcohol or the invincibility that comes with youth that told her nothing bad would happen because nobody knew her or nobody took this stuff seriously. Maybe it was a life of privilege or a “mob mentality” that gave her a sense of protection from whatever might be out there.

Maybe, she didn’t care who saw it or what they thought.

After all, as she pointed out multiple times, she’s in the South, where denigrating people based on the color of their skin seemed to be as normal as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. After all, she’s from NEW JERSEY, which gave us such greatness as Chris Christie’s bloated bravado and the anger-soaked rhetoric of “The Sopranos.”

After all, she has a fur vest from Nieman Marcus, bitches, so don’t fucking think of “snaking” her again.

Like many people, I watched the first video, and shook my head at the stupidity of her thoughtless words. What the fuck is wrong with her, I asked myself. I wonder how she’s going to try to get out of this.

Like many people, I watched the second video where she… whatever the infinity factor of “doubled down” is on her racist tirade, dropping n-bomb after n-bomb as a dare, shouting that she couldn’t give a fuck less if it was Martin Luther King Day. It was like watching a car wreck unfold in front of me on the highway: First a swerve, then a skid, then suddenly it was flipping over and over and over before catching fire and exploding in the ditch.

As she finished up and the video halted, my throat locked and my mouth filled with ashes. I thought about her parents. I thought of them because of the simple rule my father gave me when he sent me off to college: “Have fun, do whatever you want, but don’t bring shame on the family. It’s my name, too.” I lack the capacity to imagine what my father would have thought if a horrific personal failing on my part had made the family name the number one trending story on the Washington Post’s website for an entire day.

(Her estranged mother stepped forward today and said she completely agreed with the decision Alabama made to rid itself of her daughter. She said the child was not raised to be a racist, although with the few exceptions of those people in scary documentaries on the Klan, I can’t think of anyone who would state their child had been raised for such a purpose.)

What I do know is that various people will take various things from this incident. Perhaps those who view the Greek system as elitist and racist will have another exhibit in their case against it. Perhaps students will see that there is no fool-proof level of privacy in a digital age and once again, we have a fool who proved it. Perhaps social media users will understand that they are always playing with live ammunition and that consequences exist for every action taken in the public arena.

Unfortunately, few people will take away the one thing we all need to understand when it comes to our humanity and our ability to live and breathe as a nation. For every poverty-soaked redneck who sees their losses as the black man’s gains and for every person who professes love for the “history” of the Confederacy and for “fogey” who “just grew up in a different time,” we likely have at least one Harley Barber.

Harley Barber is 19. She is from the “union” side of the fight. She has the money to attend an out of state school and pledge a sorority. On the surface, she would lack any reason to harbor the racist resentments we can so easily ascribe to those fungible elements of time, place and deprivation listed above. And yet there she was, not “making a mistake” of using race as a costume or “failing to fully grasp” what it meant to appropriate another person’s culture, but rather defiantly displaying her racial animus.

The thing people need to understand is that there are Harley Barbers all around us, quietly lurking, politely nodding and peacefully existing. They “pretend to like black people” enough that on the surface, there’s no reason to think otherwise. They are the “least racist people” you would ever know. Until they reveal themselves with an n-bomb, a “Miss Housekeeper” comment or a general flinch of disgust about “those people.”

In each of those people, under that polite surface and those occasional dermis-level glimpses rests the heart and soul of that video: A rich, thick hatred that only lies dormant because to release it would be to their demise.

Friday Catblogging: The Paul Drake Report

The new kitty is in his second week with us. Before the big freeze, he was content to stay in the guest room. He’s slowly living up to his name and investigating the rest of the house. There are still some minor altercations with Della but we’ve reached the point where they need to work things out between them. It’s going to take some time but I think they’ll get along eventually.

There’s nothing a cat named for a private eye likes more than an unmade bed:

 

Bedlam

Bedlam was originally the nickname for an early psychiatric hospital in London. The word has subsequently become synonymous with madness, chaos, and disorder as well as this swell 1946 movie:

In the Trump era, our nation’s capital has become the world’s largest loony bin even if the president* passed a cognitive test administered by his doctor. He may not have early signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s, but he’s a fucking moron with a short attention span and impulse control issues. Boris Karloff might have said that he’s nuttier than a fruitcake. I concur: he’s every bit as nasty as one too; his “incredible genes” notwithstanding.

The Kaiser of Chaos has no idea what his policies are or how to argue for them. Congressional Republicans want to use CHIP as a weapon against Democrats to blame them for a shutdown.  Such subtleties are lost on the Insult Comedian who blew up this strategy on the Tweeter Tube:

He’s already tweeted against bills that his administration proposed and is likely to continue doing so. His position on DACA shifts hourly depending who he last spoke to. The result is chaos, confusion, and bedlam.

Trump has convinced himself that a 2018 government shutdown will be a “good shutdown.” There ain’t no such thing. The notion that voters will blame the party that controls none of the political branches of government fails the smell test. It’s the Insult Comedian pandering to a diminished base who are the only ones who still believe anything he says. The result is chaos, confusion, and bedlam.

Well-meaning personally decent Republicans like Jeff Flake are speaking out against the bedlam. Flake’s recent speech comparing the Trump to Uncle Joe Stalin was a good one BUT fine words aren’t enough in this situation. Flake has voted the Trump party line 90% of the time. Flake’s critique is increasingly reminiscent of someone who corrects your grammar or table manners. It’s all style and no substance. It contributes to the chaos, confusion, and bedlam.

Things are so bad that reports about Trump’s affair with Gret Stet born porn star Stormy Daniels are getting no traction. This is the sort of story that the Beltway press corps used to live for, but now they seem to have scandal fatigue. They’re increasingly numb to the chaos, confusion, and bedlam.  (Parenthetical aside: Stormy threatened to run for the Senate against Diaper Dave in 2010. There’s a swell account of this by Mitch Rabalais at the Bayou Brief. Y’all know how much I love sub-plots and this is a juicy one.)

The country has been battered, beaten, and abused before, but we’ve never had an administration with so many scandals that the press has a hard time prioritizing which one to cover. The extent and scope of the Trump administration’s crimes dwarf anything we’ve seen in our history. Teapot Dome was a tempest in an oily teacup compared to the Trump scandals. The result is chaos, confusion, and bedlam.

Moving The Goalposts

trump_goalpost_575

 

Call it whatever — moving the goalposts, working the refs, tilting the playing field…defining deviancy downward, or even the ultimate soft bigotry of low expectations — but the librul media is falling in, even as it’s obvious that Donaldo is bringing Banana Republic style governance to El Norte.

while we have mostly managed to resist treating Trump as a normal president, I’m increasingly worried that we have simultaneously fallen into a more subtle trap: Even the private citizens, the business executives, and the politicians who are fully conscious that the president of the United States is a peculiar aberration have not changed their behavior in the day-to-day; despite knowing everything that there is to know about Donald Trump, they go about their personal and professional lives as though we lived in perfectly ordinary times.

Many Republican congressmen and senators, for example, have not only distanced themselves from Trump’s most outrageous comments in public; in private, they have also acknowledged that he is a dangerous fool who will most likely do immense damage to their party, their country, and the world. And yet, they have spectacularly failed to walk that wise talk, neglecting to put real limits on Trump’s ability to fire special counsel Robert Mueller or launch nuclear weapons.

Of course, the response from the New York Times is … to publish a series of letters from Trump’s base, I assume as some sort of apology for … for what? Acting like fucking journalists? Yeah, there are Trump voters out there who still like the guy. Quite a few, though less by about three million than HRC voters, who haven’t seen similar generosity from the Gray Lady…and will forever be defined by the various outlets of the right wing noise machine/puke funnel as criminal accomplices of the “Democrat” Party if not actual enemies of the state.

These are not normal times — I can attest to that as we endure another brutally cold night, which is keeping me wide awake watching faucets continue to hopefully drip and/or monitoring space heaters — and Trump’s not a normal president. There’s no need to pretend otherwise.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Fire Will Freeze

This cover fits the weather conditions this week.

NOLA Snow Day

It’s 20 degrees as I write this. It wasn’t exactly a blizzard but we had snow last night. My front stairs are treacherously icy and I’m too comfortable in my study to take a picture of them. The smallest room in the house is the warmest by far. Yay, warmth.

New Orleans is cut off right now as most of the bridges and elevated highways are closed. I kind of like it when we’re an island. It keeps the riff raff out except for those who are already here. I’m more raffish than riffish myself…

Here’s a spectacular de facto ice sculpture picture from the news director of WWL-TV:

The local media once again has a raging snow boner. I should trademark the phrase, but only a bonehead wants a t-shirt or cap with Snow Boner on it.

One positive of the extreme (by New Orleans standards) cold is that new kitty, Paul Drake, joined us in the bedroom last night in order to worship the space heater. Della Street was a bit grumpy about it but it’s too cold to chase him so all she did was hiss. It’s slow progress but progress nonetheless.

I realize that the hardcore ice people out there are rolling their eyes but it’s cold here, y’all. I never said I could live through a Wisconsin winter: I’d wind up like the Donner Party only without the cannibalism. My late mother grew up on a farm in rural Wisconsin and she *hated* the snow and ice and was thrilled to live in California. She was too nice to gloat about the winter weather to her relatives in Cheeseland but every time it snowed back home she’d smile and say: “Don’t miss it at all.”

That concludes this brief meteorological foray. Repeat after me: wintry mix.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Spirit Of The Boogie

It’s time to get funky at First Draft. This 1975 album from Kool & The Gang really brings the funk. Here’s what James Brown had to say about the band:

“They’re the second-baddest out there…They make such bad records that you got to be careful when you play a new tape on the way home from the record store. Their groove is so strong you could wreck.”

Good gawd, y’all.

I couldn’t find out who the album artist was but it’s a terrific package of African and/or African influenced artwork. We begin with the cover. Where else?

The back cover is nearly as good:

Not only was the LP originally released on Dee-Lite records, it’s a delight to listen to. I’d never heard it before and was pleasantly surprised by the musical range shown by Kool & The Gang. There’s traditional soul as well as hardcore funk. Good gawd, y’all.

Kevin McCarthy: Candyass Candyman

In 2015, I wrote a funny post about how House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy blew his chance to replace Speaker Boner. It had a classic title if I do say so myself and I do, Untrustable in Hungria: The Kevin McCarthy Story. McCarthy has trouble with the language, which may be one reason Trump likes him; that and his obsequious toadying:

President Trump and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) were alone in the presidential suite on Air Force One, flying east toward Washington in early October, when the president reached for a handful of Starbursts, the square-shaped candy fruit chews.

But instead of unwrapping all the treats, the president was careful to pluck out and eat two flavors: cherry and strawberry, McCarthy noticed.

“We’re there, having a little dessert, and he offers me some,” McCarthy recalled in an interview. “Just the red and the pink. A bit later, a couple of his aides saw me with those colors and told me, ‘Those are the president’s favorites.’ ”

Days later, the No. 2 Republican in the House — known for his relentless cultivation of political alliances — bought a plentiful supply of Starbursts and asked a staffer to sort through the pile, placing only those two flavors in a jar. McCarthy made sure his name was on the side of the gift, which was delivered to a grinning Trump, according to a White House official.

First, Starbursts are nasty. I thought only small kids and teenagers ate that sticky and nasty shit. It makes sense that the arrested adolescent president* would like them. Ick. What is it with Republicans and nasty artificial fruit flavored candy? Reagan was a jelly bean freak. Now it’s the Insult Comedian and Starburst. One would think that a man with orange hair would favor that flavor instead of pink and red. Is it a subliminal message that he’s a pinko? His pal Vladdy used to be a red, after all.

Second, having a staffer sort Starbursts is an example of your tax dollars at work in the  Trump era. Admittedly, it beats the hell out of taking away health care from millions of Americans, but it still sucks. Plus it’s icky and sticky. Perhaps the staffer in question will quit and write an expose: I sorted Starburst  for Trump. I guess Kev didn’t know you could buy the red kind separately…

Kevin McCarthy is a dolt and  a world-class sycophant. His head is so far up Trump’s ass that the president* calls him “my Kevin.” That’s as sickly sweet as Trump’s favorite treat.

Writing this post has given me dueling earworms from an unlikely pair: Sammy Davis Jr. and the Grateful Dead and they’ll get the last word. We’ll go with the hit first:

Quote Of The Day: Radical MLK Edition

The MSM portrays Martin Luther King as a Civil Rights teddy bear when, in fact, he was a tough-minded man. He *was* pragmatic and believed in non-violent action BUT he was a more radical and polarizing figure in his day than the man from the “I have a dream” speech. He would not have accomplished so much if he hadn’t been a bad ass.

There are many good radical MLK quotes out there. This one fits our era quite well:

“Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance. It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn. The reality of substantial investment to assist Negroes into the twentieth century, adjusting to Negro neighbors and genuine school integration, is still a nightmare for all too many white Americans…These are the deepest causes for contemporary abrasions between the races. Loose and easy language about equality, resonant resolutions about brotherhood fall pleasantly on the ear, but for the Negro there is a credibility gap he cannot overlook. He remembers that with each modest advance the white population promptly raises the argument that the Negro has come far enough. Each step forward accents an ever-present tendency to backlash.”

— Where Do We Go From Here1967

In 2018, we’re experiencing a backlash to the election of our first black president even if the Current Occupant maintains that he’s “the least racist person you’ll ever meet.”

Yeah, right.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – “He sold us out” edition

I gotta tell you guys – after last week’s ceremonial under-the-bus-throwing of Steverino Bannon, I figured that the Freeperati were now completely out of people to disown.

I was wrong.

Trump says he’ll ‘take the heat’ for bipartisan immigration reform
NY Post ^ | January 9, 2018 | Bob Fredericks

Posted on 1/9/2018, 2:29:58 PM by EinNYC

President Trump on Tuesday said he’d be willing to “take the heat” if Democrats and Republicans can push through comprehensive immigration reform — calling for “a bill of love.”

Trump reiterated his demand that any deal to protect the so-called “Dreamers” — undocumented immigrants protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — would have to include funding for his border wall.

So, OP – what do you think?

What the HELL? Since when is Trump taking instruction from the RINO Lindsey Graham, who really should in all honesty hang out his dummcrap placard? Why, with a majority in the House and the Senate, must immigration reform be a “bipartisan” issue? That is politi-speak for SELLOUT. Why should we allow illegal invaders to stay in our country? Does his “compromise” include the continuation of chain migration, immigration lottery, and anchor babies? Just to get a wall, allowing those things to continue is hardly worth it, and then the dummocraps get ALL THEIR AGENDA FULFILLED. Dummocrap voters forever. So if having “Republicans” as a majority in the House and the Senate is not enough to get rid of these filthy stinking illiterate disease-ridden cheating invaders, what will it take? Why does Trump think he has to take any “suggestions” from the likes of sellouts to the American people like Pelosi and Schumer, professional criminals? I am so disgusted, I could spit.
1 posted on 1/9/2018, 2:29:58 PM by EinNYC
Otherwise, OK?
To: EinNYC

 

Wow, it is getting depressing.

2 posted on 1/9/2018, 2:31:22 PM by central_va (I won’t be reconstructed and I do not give a damn)

You misspelled “hilarious”.
To: EinNYC

 

Then Trump will be a one term president.

3 posted on 1/9/2018, 2:31:23 PM by ealgeone

To: ealgeone

 

.7 term

4 posted on 1/9/2018, 2:31:46 PM by central_va (I won’t be reconstructed and I do not give a damn)

But enough about Mueller….
To: EinNYC

We don’t need no stinkin’ bill of love!

How precious!

Bannon screwed up BIGLY. He might have provided a conscience and kept them honest if he had only kept the cork in the bottle.

I don’t think that Bannon’s been able to keep any cork in its bottle for some time now. Just sayin’…

As soon as Bannon is dumped, the Grahamnisty and “Bill Of Love” poison bubbles to the surface.

9 posted on 1/9/2018, 2:36:35 PM by Governor Dinwiddie (CNN is fake news.)

Hey  – you and your Freeper fucktoys were the ones who wanted him dumped.
.
Or was that last week?
To: EinNYC

 

He is sounding more and more like Yeb. Makes me sick

12 posted on 1/9/2018, 2:37:28 PM by nbenyo

Yeb?
Yumpin Yimminy!
To: Governor Dinwiddie

 

For God sake Bannon better clean up his act and get back in the game. The wheels are starting to wobble and may fall off.

14 posted on 1/9/2018, 2:37:59 PM by central_va (I won’t be reconstructed and I do not give a damn)

ThatShipHasSailed
To: EinNYC

 

“Bill of Love” = Democratic landslide in 2018. Does Trump have anyone advising him?

22 posted on 1/9/2018, 2:45:06 PM by LydiaLong

Bwahahaha
(snif)
Oh deary deary dear…..
(wipes eyes)
To: Truthoverpower

 

Here comes where we get screwed.

41 posted on 1/9/2018, 3:08:34 PM by Mouton (The MSM is a clear and present danger to the republic.)

You voted for The Darnold, and you’re surprised that he’s screwing you?
.
Are we talking about the same Trump?
.
More fears from the vale of tears after the Love Bill…

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Sunday Night Catblogging

After a brief hiatus of hissing and chasing, Slade and Ada remembered they were brother and sister, and have spent the past couple of weeks tearing through the house after one another, fighting over the same toy even though there are three identical versions of it one foot away from them at all times, and biting me when I try to use the phone or computer.

QUIT WRITING WORDS ON THE INTERNET AND THROW OUR FEATHER TOYS, SLAVE.

They’re settling in well and we’re having a lot of fun with them. Ada’s a bit more shy than her brother. He’ll trot right up to new people and introduce himself, while she likes to hide under a chair for a while. She also holds a grudge; I accidentally stepped on her foot while cleaning one day and she hid under the TV stand for an HOUR until it was time for dinner.

We’ve tried to set ground rules, like having them sleep in the basement where there are ample pet beds and food/water/litterboxes, and not giving them human food, but Kick has already tried to feed them things she doesn’t like without us seeing, and they blew her cover by meowing loudly for MOAR.

Furry little snitches.

A.

Pivot to JOURNALISM YOU IGNORANT NUGGETS

YA DON’T FUCKIN SAY: 

Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the New York Times that the social network will revamp its news feed to emphasize “meaningful interaction” between friends and family. As a result, the news feed will significantly decrease the number of posts you’ll see from news outlets such as Motherboard.

Good.

This move has been long-rumored, and has been looked at by many in the industry as an incoming algorithmic apocalypse that will have far-reaching impacts on the bottom lines and ultimate survival of outlets whose readers find them through Facebook.

Which wouldn’t have been the case if they had FUCKING LISTENED to everybody saying this was temporary, this was crap, but no. We all had to drop everything and pray to the Great Zuckerberg and master his optimizations and study his algorithm and tailor our work to suit his platform, so that he could just yank it out from under us which is what HAPPENS when you rely on something that isn’t yours.

I mean Jesus H. Blue Ribbon Christ. Some third party company whose only interest is making money is not ever gonna save you. They might pay you for a little while, and not much, but they’re interested in their own thing, not yours. They were never gonna do your jobs for you. They were never gonna act out of the goodness of their hearts and be what you needed which was a goddamn reason to exist.

The only thing that has ever worked for journalism is journalism. That’s it.

A GOOD question to ask as a result of all this would be why people preferred to read news on a platform that wasn’t yours. Maybe it was because Facebook for a long time didn’t have a hundred pop-up ads EVEN IF YOU SUBSCRIBED or auto-play video or a funnel to feed your content into and extrude it all over what should be the calm experience of reading the news about a world that is on fire. It would be a good thing to find out what your customers wanted out of Facebook that you didn’t give them.

That’s if you were actually concerned about them, though. Maybe you could pivot to that.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Eyes Of The World

Train Smoke by Edvard Munch.

It’s going to be another cold weekend in New Orleans. Yesterday’s high temperature was at midnight, and it steadily declined thereby requiring me to layer up; beats the hell out of lawyering up. I’m not sure if I looked more like a seven-layer burrito, a wedding cake, or the Michelin Man. It was a dress rehearsal for today’s den day. The Den of Muses is a warehouse and it holds the cold. Holy Raymond Brrrrrr, Batman.

The big local news is that the Saints won their first playoff game and are playing in the frozen North against the Minnesota Vikings. I’m glad it’s in a domed stadium for two reasons. First, many New Orleanians are attending the game and we’re not used to the arctic cold. Second, a domed stadium is the Saints natural habitat: Drew Brees is one of the greatest indoor athletes ever. Hmm, that sounds naughty but you know what I mean. I hope all the Packers fans out there are rooting for my guys.

I chose a lesser known painting by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch because it’s bloody cold and I mocked Norwegian food on Thursday. The post title is one of my better efforts so it bears repeating: Shithead Says Shithole.

Munch’s most famous painting is, of course, The Scream. When Dr. A was writing her doctoral dissertation, she had a blow up doll of The Scream dude in her office as a stress reliever. She passed it on to our friend Dr. Bonster so she could do likewise. I’m not sure what happened to the blow-up screamster. Perhaps it ended up in the office of Richard Belzer who played Detective John Munch on Homicide and Law & Order SUV. I’ve always wondered what kind of SUV it is: a Ford Exploder? Yeah, I know it’s SVU but it’s a pun I’ve been making for years and you know how I am.

January in my house means the music of the Grateful Dead. I’ve been indoctrinating young Paul Drake in the ways of the Deadhead and he seems down with it. This week’s theme song was written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter in 1974 and became a fixture on the band’s, and its spin-offs, set list. First up is the studio version from Wake of the Flood followed by an epic 1990 live version with Branford Marsalis on saxophone. I could call it When Homies Collide but I won’t. Oops, guess I just did. Never mind.

Now that we’ve awakened to discover the new day or some such shit, let’s jump to the break. We better make it snappy after that awkward paraphrase of Robert Hunter’s lyrics.

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A nation of shitholes

GreatGrandpa

This is my great-grandfather. A farmer by birth, a carpenter by trade, a factory worker by necessity.

He came to this country in his early 20s, leaving behind his family and everything he ever knew to start a better life in America. Shortly after he left Bohemia, it no longer existed, as it was swallowed up through the consolidation of what became Czechoslovakia. He lived to be 100 and died when I was 12. His wife, my great-grandmother, lived to be 96 and they were married for more than 70 years. They had four children who lived and never moved from the house he built for them shortly before my grandfather was born.

WeddingGreatGrandparents

These are my mother’s grandparents, immigrants from Poland. I never knew them, other than through the tales my grandfather and mother would tell me. They would tell stories about family members back in the old country and have half the family rolling on the floor with side-splitting laughter. The other half? They didn’t speak Polish.

Factory workers, farmers, carpenters, barbers, artists and homemakers. These are my roots. Poland, Bohemia, maybe pre-1900s Germany. These are my lands.

These people were not the countries’ “best people” sent as emissaries, but rather as hard-working, hardscrabble people who wanted to make better lives for themselves. This country gave them hope. It gave them help. It gave them a new home.

Today? It never would have given them a chance.

A lot has been made of our president’s question about why we’re getting people from all these “shithole countries.” His indignation, venom and disgust flow freely in that two-word phrase and it represents how many people feel about these “Johnny Come Lately” immigrants who are just stealing from the “real Americans.” A lot of people believe this because they can’t see back far enough (or they just don’t want to) to understand that every, single person out there came from somewhere else (except for the Native Americans, who we shuffled around like the queen in a game of three-card monte). And every, single person who came here from elsewhere came from a shithole somewhere.

And the people who were here already had no problem letting them know that.

You had the “thieving wops and dagos.”

You had the “drunk, lazy Micks.”

You had the “stupid Poles.”

You name a group, you can guarantee the group that got here six minutes earlier already had a disparaging name for it and a “there goes the country” attitude about it.

People in this country essentially live this paradox:

I know where I came from and I know that it took a lot for us to get here and become who we are. My father, who in his later years has become more introspective, has noted to me a few times recent, “We were poor. I never thought about it at the time, but we were really poor.” My mother’s grandparents survived through the Depression because my great-grandmother rented rooms in her upstairs to workers from the slaughter house and the foundry. Her husband was a barber, and there wasn’t a lot of hair being cut at 25 cents a head back then.

They came at a time when I’m sure many in this country wanted to turn on the “No Vacancy” sign or at least they didn’t want “those people” here. To say now to the next group, “Sorry. We’re not taking any of you shithole immigrants” is unconscionable.

Those of us who came here from shithole countries need to stand up to this shit-talk from this asshole and speak to him in his native tongue.

“Pardon me, Mr. President, but fuck you.”