Monthly Archives: January 2018

Lost Cause Festers Do Mardi Gras

Photograph via SPLC.

In the past, Carnival has united New Orleans. The first season after Katrina and the Federal Flood was both memorable and moving. Some outsiders criticized us for throwing a massive street party after a disaster but it’s what we do in the Crescent City. In 2018, divisiveness is in the air, driven by our old “pals” the Lost Causers.

A guy named Charles Marsala and his group Save NOLA Heritage (not to be confused with the tasty veal dish) are selling the “Forever Lee Circle” beads you see at the top of the post. They’ve set up a Facebook page to help hawk their divisive wares and mock their critics. Hawk-n-mock sounds vaguely Trumpian.  Since the only thing the Insult Comedian and I have in common is a fondness for nicknaming people, this Lost Causer will hereinafter be called Spoiled Veal Marsala.

Marsala spoke to WWL-TV the other day:

Marsala is a part of Save Nola Heritage, a group that wants to educate and demand more transparency from the city about what it does with public art, such as monuments.

“We spent the money from the bead sales, we put banners on the monument itself. Robert E. Lee’s birthday was about two weeks ago,” he said.

Marsala said the beads are not meant to be racist in any way. He wants them to serve as a reminder that Lee Circle still needs attention.

Spoiled Veal Marsala’s group is NOT about transparency. It’s about nostalgia for the Confederacy, Jim Crow, slavery, and white supremacy. Instead of banners, they should adorn the empty pedestals with nooses to “honor” the lynchings that used to be depressingly common in the Deep South.

Carnival throws in New Orleans have been traditionally non-commercial and relatively apolitical. Some parading krewes have already asked their members not to throw any of the Lee Circle Forever beads. I suspect they’ll turn up when some of the more retrograde krewes roll: I omit the names to protect the guilty.

Another weird feature of the Forever Lee Circle Facebook page is a cartoon of the three deposed statue dudes, Davis, Beauregard, and Lee, riding a float. They’re throwing books labelled history. I though the Lost Causers were about saving their view of history, not throwing it away.

It’s a pity that they don’t depict Jeff Davis in drag.

It’s no coincidence that Southern Lost Cause Festers have risen again with a white nationalist talking terlet in the White House. The Trumpers have signaled that bigotry, intolerance, and hatred are back in fashion. There are “good people on both sides,” according to the president*. Wrong again, Donny, baby. There’s the right side and the all-white side.

I said this about our Spank-a-Mole box earlier today:

Spank-a-Mole is a game of endurance wherein you beat the mole into submission. That’s what the anti-Trump resistance has to do: keep spanking the ugly orange mole.

That goes double for such enduring pests as racism, xenophobia, sexism, and religious bigotry. They have to beaten into submission. Every time we think we have the hate moles on the run, they pop up again. People of good will hoped that the election of our first black president would be the death knell of overt racism in the country. Our optimism was premature: haters keep popping up.

I’ve been pleased by the overwhelmingly negative reaction to the beads as well as to a fundraiser held at the Mid City Lane Rock ‘n’ Bowl to raise money for local Lost Cause Festers. I hope touring acts will avoid playing that venue as its owner is an ardent Trumper and supporter of Save NOLA Heritage. Just say no to bigots.

The last word goes to John Boutte with his interpretation of Neil Young’s Southern Man:

 

Spanktuary City

Photograph by David Aguiar.

The forecast was dire for last Saturday’s Krewe du Vieux parade. I am the Krewe of Spank’s voice of weather doom but I was wrong. It poured off and on until 3:30 PM, then the front moved on leaving us with slightly slippery streets and a dry parade.

The sub-krewe of Spank’s theme this year was Spanktuary City. I’ll let a neutral observer, my boy Kevin Allman of the Gambit Tabloid, describe it for you:

Krewe of SPANK, which always mounts ambitious floats and even more ambitious themes, paid tribute to the pushme-pullyu over New Orleans’ status as a sanctuary city with the theme “SPANK-tuary City” and a float with an elaborate, moving whack-a-mole game.

Time to edit the editor. There’s no hyphen in Spanktuary, dude. It’s our pun and we’ll decide how to punctuate the sucker. Besides, we’ve used that moniker for our annual parade route party since its inception. Additionally, it’s Spank-a-Mole as you can see in these pictures taken by Dr. A:

Spank-a-Mole is a game of endurance wherein you beat the mole into submission. That’s what the anti-Trump resistance has to do: keep spanking the ugly orange mole. I understand the SOTU was an endurance test as well. I skipped it. 80 minutes of an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria atop his head? No thanks.

It’s time for some non-Spanky pictures involving members of Drips and Discharges. They mocked pervy NOLA celebrity chef John Besh. This headpiece won the parade:

My buddy Brother Bob Bolin is also in Drips. Here he is slumming it with me:

Here’s a close up of Bob’s sign:

A reminder: Krewe du Vieux is a homemade parade. All the work was done by the talented members of the various sub-krewes. That’s what makes it so distinctive and great. The satire is pretty darn good as well

A quick shout-out to my fellow Spankster and Deadhead David Martin for turning me on to the marvelous parade route photo by David Aguiar. Thanks, man. To read more about the parade take a closer look at Kevin’s instant analysis.

Finally, this year members of the Krewe of Spank costumed as Lady Liberty with blue togas. We looked like an inebriated gang as we marched. I’m not sure if we were the Jets or the Sharks. We *were* the first Blue Wave of 2018:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: In Between Tears

1973’s In Between Tears was something of a comeback album for Irma Thomas. She had not recorded a new album in seven years; then she met Jerry Swamp Dogg Williams. The result was one of her best records.

The album art is stunning. It was designed and executed by George Reeder Jr. It was his only album cover, which is a pity. In fact, I could find nothing else about him on the internets.

The cover is worthy of the Soul Queen of New Orleans.

The back cover is just as striking.

The full album is not available on the YouTube, here are some selected tracks.

‘a jobs program for disgraced white supremacists’

You don’t owe Steve Bannon your stage.

We keep hearing this from our elite totebag liberals, that we simply must invite the most cancerously dishonest wingnuts we can find into every place we can fit them, so as to promote the free speech which will eventually lead to the downfall of these human tumors.

If we do not, of course, we are Just As Bad because “not wanting to listen to someone scream about the master race” is Exactly The Same as “let’s put all members of this ethnic group in an oven.”

And it’s just such fucking crap I can’t even engage with it anymore. Look, if Bannon is owed a speaking opportunity at the University of Chicago, why isn’t he owed one at UIC as well? At Northwestern? At Loyola? At IIT? Why isn’t he required to speak at the Art Institute? At the Field Museum? At Brookfield Zoo? At NASCAR? At my kid’s birthday party? Wouldn’t that just be the height of enlightened discourse, and prove once and for all my commitment to free speech, letting him spew his nativist crap while a bunch of confused preschoolers eat blue-frosted cupcakes?

Institutions book speakers to send a message about what those institutions are about. Classical opera houses don’t do Fiddler on the Roof. Shakespeare companies are not doing Death of a Salesman. I don’t go to the Art Institute to look at live pandas and the zoo is under no obligation to hang Picassos. Private universities do not have to book in people like Bannon or Milo or Coulter. They do so to tell their students, faculty, staff and communities what they consider worthy of a hearing.

They can jaw on all they want about presenting all kinds of free thoughts on the issues of the day, but the stage on which they propose to put Bannon is not available to everyone. It’s not available to the people Bannon’s work in the White House displaced, terrorized and silenced, for example.

Look, it’s 2018. We have a whole Internet now, which happens to include several thousand sites which are just absolute buttholes of white supremacist nonsense where these people can get together and sing their little songs and talk about how much they hate black and Mexican people. Bannon had the entire goddamn White House from which to speak.

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States gives him the sidewalk and the open air. That’s all he’s owed, and it should be all he’s given.

A.

Tuesday Catblogging

Yeah, it was supposed to be Sunday. Figured we could all use a little kittums before the SOTU tonight.

Ada has that baby thing of falling asleep anywhere, including directly on top of me while I’m trying to write on the Internets.

A.

Hush Money

I’ve never seen the movie depicted above. I assume that it’s about blackmail. The phrase hush money is a venerable one, dating as far back as 1709. And no I was not the original coiner…

The first time I heard the term was after transcripts of the expletive deleted  Watergate tapes were released. Tricky Dick’s potty mouth was one reason his popularity plummeted.

I’ve had hush money on my mind ever since the Stormy Daniels story came out of the cake. I remain gobsmacked that this story hasn’t had silk stockinged legs. It’s got it all: sex, lies, and pay-offs. The problem is that there are so many scandals that the MSM is less interested in pursuing this president’s* tiny penis. After all, he’s got a big mouth that keeps saying stupid shit. So much so that the Guardian’s Steve Bell depicts him thusly:

That’s right, Trump the Talking Terlet. Btw, Bell depicted former British PM John Major as wearing his underpants on top of his trousers and David Cameron as encased in a condom. Good times.

Back to the Insult Comedian. His big bazoo is the gift that keeps on giving, which is why I’ve come to the conclusion that the person who should be paid hush money is the president* himself. This is the guy who told Lester Holt why he *really* shitcanned Comey and volunteered to testify under oath. Dumbass. You’re the president*, not just a sleazy real estate developer: your words matter, dipshit. That’s the problem with being a serial prevaricator. It’s hard to keep the lies straight.

I have some unsolicited advice for Ty Cobb and John Dowd. The only way to shut your client up is to bribe him. He loves taking bribes; in fact, he lives to take them. He’s the grifter-in-chief, after all. Sure, the hush money will only work for a while but a few moments of Trumpian silence could be golden. Believe me.

Giving Away the Store to Get the Store

Back when I covered local government this was beyond routine: Jewel wants to build a store to make money off of (and employ a few of) our residents! Let’s give them tax breaks to come here because if we don’t, they’ll build 10 feet down the road in a town that will!

Thus ensuring that any economic development doesn’t benefit the schools or the residents, which is … the entire rationale behind encouraging economic development in the first place.

I’m seeing more pushback against this in the Amazon discussion than I ever did previously:

Critics of Amazon’s “race to the bottom” as it searches for a home for its second headquarters said on Thursday that the company’s newly released shortlist of 20 cities highlights a crisis in the U.S. economy—one exemplified by the huge incentives offered to Amazon in the bidding war among potential hosts.

When politicians talk about incentives for businesses people assume they mean giving Jane and Joe a break on their water bill while they’re opening an ice cream shop, not giving Jeff Bezos a free pass to rebuild their whole city for rich white people.

A.

The Rule of Law Without Lawyers

You tell me how this works out well for anybody: 

John Anderson’s weeks blur together as the lone judge in Bayfield County. The largely rural county sits at the top of Wisconsin and is home to hundreds of miles of trails, some of the Apostle Islands, and 15,000 residents. But there are just 14 active attorneys.

In Anderson’s courtroom, one scenario unfolds over and over: Nonviolent drug offenders file into court without a lawyer, Anderson tells them to contact an attorney and then they are released on a signature bond. They’re due back in court in two weeks for another hearing, and possibly an offer for treatment if they’re able to find a lawyer.

But they often don’t last that long. The offender often ends up back in Anderson’s courtroom in a week on bail-jumping and more serious felony charges, with no representation. Now the opportunity for treatment is gone.

“That happens every week,” Anderson says. “Somebody is put back into the community with a serious drug or alcohol problem, waiting to get their lawyer, and then they reoffend.”

Like much of the state, Bayfield has faced serious, and worsening, problems with meth and opioid addiction, leading to many overdoses a year.

But unlike Wisconsin’s more affluent counties, Bayfield is also facing a shortage of lawyers to take up public defender cases, resulting in a backlog that lengthens delays for treatment and leaves people in jail awaiting trial.

Instead of people getting assigned a public defender within days of being arrested and charged, it can take four, six or even eight weeks. This gap in defense leaves people addicted to opioids or meth in a high-stress situation, without treatment options. If they do get assigned representation, it can be from an inexperienced attorney.

Other than the for-profit prisons, I mean.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Smack Dab In The Middle

Tonight is the Krewe du Vieux parade. This last week has been fraught for a variety of reasons, especially the weather. Marching several miles in the driving rain has little appeal to me.  I suspect that the overall theme of Bienville’s Wet Dream was tempting fate. That’s why I’m keeping this snappy.

We do have a theme song. Why Smack Dab In The Middle? I originally thought the Krewe of Spank would be in the middle of the parade. I was wrong. Woe is me, bop.

It’s still a great song. We have two versions for your listening pleasure: Joe Williams with the Count Basie Orchestra and Ry Cooder live with the Chicken Skin Band.

I have one article to share with you. Local writer and Tulane professor Richard Campanella is our king this year. Rich has written a piece for the Zombie Picayune that offers a virtual tour of the route.  I hope he has some suitably regal rain gear so he can stay drier than Buster:

That’s it for this abbreviated edition of Saturday Odds & Sods. The last word goes to the two-legged Paul Drake and Della Street. Their four-legged compatriots will have to wait.

Thome, my homie

Jim Thome made the Hall of Fame this week in the same way he began his career: As an afterthought.

Baseball pundits flocked to Larry “Chipper” Jones, writing stories about him “headlining” this class of inductees. Or, as one writer noted about him, he “feels” like a Hall of Famer. Vladimir Guerrero had more votes, so he deserved more attention. Edgar Martinez didn’t get ENOUGH votes, so people were talking about him as well. Oh, and let’s not forget talking about the steroid guys who we are somehow either too soft or too hard on.

Thome? Mmph. OK.

For all the bitching people do about how we don’t have any heroes left or how we are constantly a people distracted by scandal, it seems that we don’t pay enough attention to those things we pine for. Things like work-ethic, playing by the rules and remaining inside yourself are all deified but never recognized when they present themselves, which is one of many reasons why Jim Thome never really got his due until now.

Thome grew up in Peoria, Illinois where is father worked for the Caterpillar and his brother worked construction. Before Thome, Peoria’s most famous citizen was Richard Pryor, who used the city’s crime and brothel culture to evolve his comedy. Thome grew up a few blocks from that part of town, so while he may have grown up to be country strong, he wasn’t a country boy.

The Indians drafted Thome in the 13th round in 1989 and signed him for a bonus similar to what I paid for my first shitty car. Only one other player from that round even made the majors (Mike Oquist, a righthanded pitcher with a 25-31 career record). In his first minor league season, he didn’t hit a single home run.

It was Charlie Manuel, who would later be his hitting coach with the Indians and his manager with the Phillies, who found the power in the lefty’s swing. Manuel used Robert Redford’s habit from “The Natural” of pointing the bat at the pitcher before each delivery to help Thome calm down and focus. He added hip movement to the arm strength the young man possessed. The actual country bumpkin from Northfork, West Virginia and the perceived country bumpkin from Peoria bonded over the art of the swing.

Still, Thome wasn’t a lock for anything. He was up and down in his first few years. When he finally stuck with the Indians in 1994, he didn’t even make the Opening Day line up, sitting out in favor of the immortal Mark Lewis. The next year, Thome would hit 25 home runs as the Tribe captured its first AL pennant since the Eisenhower administration. He batted sixth in a line up just flat-out crushed teams. In a 144-game strike-shortened season, the Indians won 100 games but lost the World Series to the Atlanta Braves.

The problem for Thome was that he was always overshadowed by something. In that 1995 season, his teammate Albert Belle hit 50 homers to lead the league. The next season, Thome hit 38 dingers, only to be outdone by what seemed to be half the league. He barely cracked the top 20 in the MLB and guys like Brady Anderson, Jay Buhner and Vinny Castilla all out homered him.

The numbers for Thome never seemed to be big enough. In 1998, he crushed 30 homers, but that was the year in which Mark McGwire hit 70 and Sammy Sosa hit 66. Only once in his career did he lead the league in home runs: 2003 when he hit 47 for Philadelphia and tied with Alex Rodriguez at the top of the MLB. And the mentioning of those three guys brings to light some of the “why” when it comes to Thome’s relative obscurity in those years: Steroids.

MVPs, home run kings and even pedestrian players trying to make an extra buck found the Fountain of Youth at the end of a needle during Thome’s prime. McGwire, Sosa, Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Ken Caminiti, Mo Vaughn and more… Powerhouse sluggers who rewrote the record books, gave pitchers nightmares and profited greatly back then will now have about the same chance of making the Hall of Fame as Thome did of making it out of Peoria. Thome’s name never once came up in the list of users of “the cream” or “the clear” or whatever shark piss people shot up their nose to get six more inches on a home run in those days.

Thome’s homers had the lack of majesty that McGwire’s had. His swing lacked the poetry that Ken Griffey Jr.’s had. And yet to watch him at the plate was something to behold.  I remember him pole-axing a grand slam that looked like it should have shattered the foul pole off some Red Sox pitcher in a playoff game. When he dropped the head of that bat on a too-slow fastball or a non-curving curve, it was like watching Paul Bunyan take out a giant redwood with a single swing of an axe.

Thome wasn’t perfect and his career didn’t end in the best of ways. I remember him leaving Cleveland to take more money in Philly, which broke my heart. I remember him coming back to Cleveland for a “farewell and thank you” tip of the cap to the fans. I forgot he played for the Dodgers for about 12 minutes or that he finished his career in Baltimore Orioles orange.

The biggest thing I remember was that this guy was always exactly who he was. He never took the easy way, didn’t make the game about him and he just kept doing his job.

Just like a blue-collar kid from Peoria would do.

Friday Catblogging: Armchair Quarterback

It’s been a trying and very short Krewe du Vieux season. A saving grace, as always, was Dennie the Den of Muses cat:

Photo by David Tower.

Four

Kick, today you are four, and I am ready.

I am ready to give up.

I have had fights about food and fights about toys and fights about TV and fights about books. I have listened to you argue convincingly that you should not wear a hat when it is five below, that you should wear your boots to bed, that we should find a Lego Moana figurine for you in the bottom of the car upon arriving home at 10:30 p.m. after an absolutely bitching 3-hour drive in the snow. I have listened to you argue that you did NOT just promise to pick up your crayons when you DID, I have listened to you argue for another story after we’ve read five, and I have listened to you argue that baths are for staying in until they’re almost outdoors-cold.

It’s impossible to justify the cost of the fight any longer. I can’t do it. I’m done.

These are the terms of my surrender:

First, you will not give the kittens any peanut butter. Or any chicken. Or any peas. Or any bacon. Or any human food at all. Nor will you entice them onto the table, inside the dishwasher, into your room, under the bed or anywhere else you know they are not supposed to be.

You will not instigate bad behavior with the kittens. They are not soldiers in your resistance army. You’re going this alone.

Second, you will go to bed on time. I don’t care what you do while you’re in bed. You can sing to yourself, play with your stuffies, have one hand tell stories to the other hand, whatever. You can launch the space shuttle from your rocking chair for all I care, so long as you are in your room. I cannot make you sleep, but I can make you go to bed, so you’ll do that at a time of my choosing.

Third, you will not be rude to people, nor rude to me in front of people, especially if you are hilarious about it. The other day we were at your Nana and Papa’s house and I asked you to help clean up the toys there because we were getting ready to leave. At the top of your considerable lungs you yelled, “I’m BUSY!” I would prefer you rephrase to something like, “May I please have a moment to finish what I’m doing first, mama,” because your grandmother almost choked to death laughing and we’d like to have her around a bit longer.

Fourth, and most importantly, you will stay approximately this age forever. FOREVER. This age is awesome.

Let me tell you something about you right now, as you drive me absolutely up a wall: You are so freaking happy. You are delighted, as always, by everything, but now you are old enough to poke holes in the dirt with a stick by yourself, and run past me up trails and down hills, and you are a mere HALF INCH from being my roller coaster buddy (your father being, as I’m sure you’ll one day learn, a chickenass about rickety carnival rides).

You are not a chickenass. You are afraid of nothing. Oh, you pretend you are sometimes, to get attention, to get snuggles, to get an extra story or a treat or some time with the kittens, but really nothing scares you. This past summer you and I rode in a Ferris Wheel so high I could see the lake from well inland, and I was clutching the sides of the tiny bench we sat on, and you looked around serenely confident that that which had lifted you up high would set you safely down. You patted my hand condescendingly and then told everyone we met that afternoon how scared your mama had been but not you, you had been brave.

You’ve learned so much in the past year: how to write your name, how to dress yourself, how to play games that involve counting and turns, how to play almost half of hide and seek (you tend to wander off, leaving your poor friends hidden waiting for you long after you’ve forgotten them), how to pet cats gently and talk to littler kids sweetly and hang up your backpack each day, clear your place at the table, put your coat on its hook.

You like ponies and princess things and dinosaurs and books, but your ongoing and violent lack of interest in “playing mommy” never fails to warm my heart. The other day one of your little friends really wanted you to play with her baby doll. She kept trying to hand it to you. “Hold the baby,” she kept saying, shoving the (naked, natch) (mangy, kind-of) doll at you, until finally you lost it and slapped it out of your hand and said forcefully, “I DON’T WANT A BABY.”

“Use your words and say ‘no, thank you'” I told you.

ATTAGIRL, I thought.

That’s my fourth condition. Stay this age forever, cuddled up under my chin as we read in your rocking chair, your tiny hands always in motion, making shadow puppets and butterflies and now and then reaching up to twine through my hair the way you did when you were a baby, both a moment and a thousand years ago. Stay this age, rolling out of bed all sleepy and confused, asking why the bears in your dreams have such big feet and don’t like flowers in their hats.

That’s all I’ve got. That’s all I need.

Beyond that, have at it, kid.

A.

Reductio Sad Absurdum

rush_limbaugh_600

Of course, they’ve always been bullshitters to the nth degree, but now they’re not even bothering to limit the sheer bugfuck lunacy.

The Democrat Party is the Washington establishment, and the Washington establishment believes that Gore won the presidency, that the Florida recount aftermath was bogus and rigged, that James Baker did a better job than the Democrat people did in finding votes, the hanging chads. What if the intel on the war in Iraq was another disinformation campaign, to damage another Republican president? And boy, did that work.

[…]

What if the quote-unquote “intelligence community” misrepresented, on purpose, the degree to which Hussein had WMDs? Because I’ll tell you it was a very, very embarrassing moment for the Bush administration.

[…]

What if, based on what we know now, we know how the deep state has been trying to undermine Donald Trump since the days he was a candidate, to during his transition, to even it’s ongoing now as president? We’re learning of Strzok and the FBI and the Hillary [Clinton] opposition research dossier that ends up becoming fodder for a warrant at the FISA court to spy on Trump.

And it isn’t confined to the fever swamps of right wing noise machine radio. Actual flesh and blood congresscritters are getting in on the act.

As you probably know, Fresno Rep. Devin Nunes has a memo. It’s four pages long. It’s classified. It’s the subject of a relentless conservative Twitter campaign called #releasethememo

Also, too

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) says that a whistleblower has told Congress about secret meetings between FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials who allegedly gathered to discuss ways to undermine President Trump following his victory in the 2016 election.

It’s almost funny to see who they’re willing to toss to the wolves in attempting to divert attention from the kleptocratic train wreck that is the Trump administration. I mean, sure, the Democrat [sic] party. But the intelligence agencies? DOJ? The FBI? The areas of government conservatives generally concede as acceptable? That’s just nuts.

Or ominous.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Lenny Bruce

I’ve had the legendary “sick” comedian Lenny Bruce on my mind because he shows up in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel as a character. The fictionalized Lenny bails fellow potty-mouthed comic Midge Maisel out of jail. I’m sure the real Lenny would have done so too. Trivia time: In The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Lenny is played by Luke Kirby who played Daniel Holden’s do-gooder lawyer in Rectify. He knows from bailing out people.

Lenny Bruce was the bad boy of comedy in his day. His frequent obscenity arrests led to his being less funny over time. Who could blame him for obsessing over his legal situation?

These albums date from 1958 and 1959 respectively. They capture Lenny as his glorious politically incorrect peak. I use that term in its pre-Trumper sense. They’ve spoiled a perfectly good phrase just like they’ve spoiled everything else. Thanks, Donald.

Who among us doesn’t want to picnic in a graveyard?

If Lenny were alive today, there would be tiki torches on this cover.

It’s lagniappe time. Frank Zappa and the Mothers were Lenny Bruce’s opening act at the Fillmore West in 1966. Here’s the poster:

Finally, here’s The Sick Humor of Lenny Bruce in its entirety:

 

 

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.