Monthly Archives: February 2018

‘a reprieve’

What the fuck is wrong with you? 

But a gun massacre at a Florida high school last Wednesday, which left 17 dead, seemed to shift the media glare away from the Trump scandals and gave embattled aides an opportunity to refocus on handling a rare crisis not of their own making. While the White House mourned the loss of life in Parkland, Fla., some aides privately acknowledged that the tragedy offered a breather from the political storm.

A breather. A breather. A fucking breather. What kind of solipsistic asshole … you know, this is paragraph two of this story and I’m already longing for the better part of a bottle of scotch.

Press staffers cited the tragedy as a reason to cancel on-camera briefings for the remainder of the week, allowing them to avoid questions about the swirling controversies. The White House could hold its next briefing on Tuesday, a full week since press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders last faced reporters.

THANK GOD FOR THOSE DEAD KIDS, THEY GOT US A BREAK FROM THE WIFE-BEATING.

“For everyone, it was a distraction or a reprieve,” said one White House official, speaking anonymously to reflect internal conversations. “A lot of people here felt like it was a reprieve from seven or eight days of just getting pummeled.”

No one who says something so demonstrably horrifying gets to remain anonymous. The American people need to know who this is so that when they see him or her on the street they can throw rotten fruit. We should bring back the public stocks for people like this. You have got to be kidding me.

The official likened the brief political calm to the aftermath of the October 2017 gun massacre in Las Vegas that left 58 dead and hundreds more injured. That tragedy united White House aides and the country in their shared mourning for the victims and their families.

“But as we all know, sadly, when the coverage dies down a little bit, we’ll be back through the chaos,” the official said.

I’m sorry, would you like America to arrange a few more mass killings so that you can keep your focus off the pussy-grabber’s porn star problems? I just … how is this person still alive after saying this to another human being? Sometimes I cannot fathom covering this White House and not punting everyone in to the sun.

Now, I am Super Savvy and therefore know that of course the writers of this story aren’t endorsing the view these anonymous White House anuses are espousing. Of course they don’t agree, present the administration’s view, both sides, etc. But the tone of this thing is just … yes, that’s what Republicans are about now, hoping school massacres distract us from the treason.

“The national tragedy in Florida has really, for now, turned the page on some of these crises,” said Ron Bonjean, a Republican strategist close to the White House. “They’re going to come back, but what it does do is give the White House a chance to collect itself and, if they can, organize a communications strategy and get their ducks in a row.”

By conveying this viewpoint so dispassionately the story sends a message that this is just one outlook among many, rather than THE TEXTBOOK DIAGNOSIS OF A MOTHERFUCKING SOCIOPATH. These people should be straitjacketed, not quoted like they’re humans.

There are a thousand ways to approach this story that don’t wind up sounding like hey, a bunch of children died bloody but there’s a silver lining here folks! There are a thousand ways to turn this around, including but not limited to talking to people who think these officials are horror shows and should not only be shitcanned but sectioned.

I’m sure lots of people who don’t believe I’m Super Savvy and Serious will explain to me now that the paper can’t just be 72-point headlines that say EVERYTHING IS FUCKED AND ON FIRE, but that’s really the problem here. Adhering to the conventions of ordinary Washington coverage — while Democracy Dies in Darkness, natch — leads to opining that sure, a bunch of parents are planning funerals instead of graduations but at least Joe and I got to take a coffee break for once.

A.

Your President* Speaks: Dumbbell Caveman Edition

It’s President’s Day. The Current Occupant is currently at his Florida pad and there’s a tweet storm brewing. Who am I kidding? He’s been watching Fox News, hanging out with his idiot sons, and whining about the cards life dealt him all weekend. Self pity is never pretty and when it comes from an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria atop his head it’s uglier than Steve Bannon’s wardrobe. What’s the deal with the shirt layering, Steverino?

A note about the featured image/meme. I was searching for a Magritte painting for Odds & Sods when I came across Perpetual Motion. This image of a caveman with a dumbbell head screams Donald  Trump. The analogy breaks down somewhat since the caveman dumbbell is svelte and fit but what’s not to like about the bone in his hand? Trump is boning the country, after all. Bigly.

The Kremlingate indictments obtained by Team Mueller have the Kaiser of Chaos flailing and ranting. His is not the leadership that doesn’t let one see him sweat. The flop sweat has been rolling in rivulets across the Tweeter Tube.

I picked three of the Trumpiest tweets ever to quote and dissect. By Trumpiest I mean self-serving, self-pitying, and reprehensible as he blames everyone but himself for his latest woes.

This tirade is factually challenged even for Lyin’ Donny. The FBI’s Miami office is the one that dropped the ball on Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooter. It has nothing to do with investigating Kremlingate. The president* claims to love local law enforcement, especially those who beat the shit out of suspects, but they fucked up in this instance as well.

More importantly, the murder of 17 students and teachers is not about Donald Trump. He thinks he’s the sun, the stars, and the moon when he’s really just a black hole of suck. If Trump were a planet, he’d be Uranus. Believe me.

The main event on Trump’s twitter feed this weekend was, of course, Kremlingate. Trump’s national security adviser may not be the McMaster of his domain but he seized upon the indictments to tell the truth about Russian interference in the 2016 election. His boss was not happy with his statement. McMaster forgot to lie, which is a Bozo no-no in the Trump administration.

I doubt if the Insult Comedian read the indictment but I did. It makes a plausible case that the election results were influenced by the drumbeat of anti-Clinton propaganda. We all know ostensibly liberal people who swallowed whole what turned out to be Russian disinformation. The most gullible among them sat out the election or voted for useful idiot, failed folkie, and Crunchy Granola Machiavelli, Jill Stein.

The charge of collusion between Democrats and Russia is absurd but predictable in the fact free zone that is Trumpworld. The Russians were out to get the former Secretary of State and help the Kaiser of Chaos. Speaking of chaos:

Trump *is* the chaos the Russians were hoping to create. The federal government is dysfunctional, understaffed and at war with itself. They helped elect a president* who has so many scandals going that some of them cannot break through the wall of white nationalist noise and corruption erected by Team Trump. It’s the only wall they’ve built thus far.

As a veteran political observer, I still believe the country can move past this catastrophic presidency*. We’ve had terrible presidents before but none of them deliberately set out to damage the country and its institutions; not even Tricky Dick. Once again, Trump is worse than Nixon.

Ever since finding the dumbbell caveman painting, Perpetual Motion, I’ve had a classic Yessong in my head. Perpetual Change is what we need right now as an antidote to the selfish nihilism of Trump and what I dubbed the Me Party in 2013. They need to be drubbed up and down the ballot in 2018 to give the country a better chance to recover from the misrule of the Dumbbell Caveman and his wrecking crew. Believe me.

Yes gets the last word:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – two steps forward, one step back edition

Greetings, all – still recovering from the herniated disc thing, and every time I think it’s gone away, it comes back. In the immortal words of Joan Hackett in “Support your local Sheriff” :

“I’m sick and tired of all these stupid things that keep happening to me, and somebody’d better do something about it soon!

So  – a short “Obsession” today.

I won’t even go near the latest mowing down of schoolchildren, because the Freeperati response is exactly the same as the last 20 times it happened.

It did generate one interesting thread, though –  good for the Russian mafia!

Are you allowed guns in Russia?
16 Feb 18 | hapnHal

Posted on 2/17/2018, 10:52:12 PM by hapnHal

Are you allowed guns in Russia? Found this information.

Individuals are not allowed to carry guns acquired for self-defense; a license only serves as a carrying permit for hunting and sport firearms when these guns need to be transported. Russian citizens may not own guns that shoot in bursts or have magazines with more than a ten-cartridge capacity.

1 posted on 2/17/2018, 10:52:12 PM by hapnHal
I see a Cognitive Dissonance alert coming, as their new BFF Russia dare not be criticized!
To: billakay
As I understand it, the law was amended a couple of years ago to allow anyone who had a permit to own a weapon to carry it for self defense. 

Got to wonder how much the growth of the Russian mafia contributed to that.

Regardless, good for them!

7 posted on 2/17/2018, 11:09:20 PM by doorgunner69 (Give me the liberty to take care of my own security……….)

TrumpCogDis

To: hapnHal

 

Just as I thought, the Democrats are trying as hard as insanely possible to turn America into Russia.

13 posted on 2/17/2018, 11:52:06 PM by American in Israel (A wise man’s heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)

So – Russia = bad?
To: American in Israel

 

“Just as I thought, the Democrats are trying as hard as insanely possible to turn America into Russia.”

Not in all ways. Russia today protects their kids against gay recruitment.

14 posted on 2/17/2018, 11:57:58 PM by BobL (I shop at Walmart and eat at McDonald’s…I just don’t tell anyone)

So – Russia = good?
To: hapnHal

 

Tell the liberals that, now that they hate Russia! Remember how they loved Russia when she was full commie?

15 posted on 2/18/2018, 12:09:25 AM by JimRed ( TERM LIMITS, NOW! Build the Wall Faster! TRUTH is the new HATE SPEECH.)

I’ll tell you what I remember:
McCarthyList
One Freeper dares to go there:
To: billakay

 

What are your thoughts on….

“Russian citizens may not own guns that shoot in bursts or have magazines with more than a ten-cartridge capacity.”

Maybe the Russians are on the right track. Do we need these type of guns and if so, for WHAT PURPOSE ?

12 posted on 2/17/2018, 11:49:58 PM by hapnHal (B)

And is promptly reminded of how a fat fuck with an AR15 is going to hold off a drone strike:
To: hapnHal
Do we need these type of guns and if so, for WHAT PURPOSE ? 

To fight back against government forces that will be sent to take them away the next time we get an Obama or a Hillary.

18 posted on 2/18/2018, 12:11:41 AM by JimRed ( TERM LIMITS, NOW! Build the Wall Faster! TRUTH is the new HATE SPEECH.)
MilitiaDefense
.
One more bit of stupid after the moron labe
.

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Marry Me, Steve

This is a glorious evisceration of Chicago’s worst newspaper columnist, who’s typical of so many old middle-class scolds in that Kass thinks it’s just fine if people in “those neighborhoods” die so long as it doesn’t happen near him:

“Chicago police commanders aren’t supposed to be shot to death, not there, not at the heart of city business and politics.”

As with so many John Kass columns in this stage of his career, I can only wonder: Where to start?

1. Ignore the stats. Go by feel – perhaps the feel you get from Fox News.

2. People’s sense of safety is shaken by what happened Tuesday because it was downtown. What people? Downtown people, the only people who are actually people, in Kass’s construction, because a lot of other people have had their sense of safety shaken – if it ever existed – long ago.

Perhaps what Kass means is that his sense of safety has been shaken, because the killing of a cop happened so close to the office he has commuted to for decades from the suburbs.

3. Police commanders aren’t supposed to be shot to death. Who is? Thugs. They’re supposed to be shot to death.

It’s so predictable. Since, well, forever, the media expresses shock over terrible events that happen in places where they aren’t supposed to. The accretion of those events doesn’t seem to teach us that they actually happen everywhere, to all kinds of people.Certainly not with the same regularity, but then, that’s an equation the media ought to continue to examine with renewed vigor and compassion.

Go read the whole thing. The only possible response to “this shouldn’t happen here” is to ask, “Then where should it happen?” And somehow these sheltered pricks never do have an answer to that one.

A.

 

Your Sons and Your Daughters Are Beyond Your Command

I spent Saturday night in a crowded hot room above a coffee shop, writing notes to Paul Ryan and Donald Trump.

I know, right? But listen to this girl, Emma Gonzalez:

I watched an interview this morning and noticed that one of the questions was, do you think your children will have to go through other school shooter drills? And our response is that our neighbors will not have to go through other school shooter drills. When we’ve had our say with the government — and maybe the adults have gotten used to saying ‘it is what it is,’ but if us students have learned anything, it’s that if you don’t study, you will fail. And in this case if you actively do nothing, people continually end up dead, so it’s time to start doing something.

Listen to her, and be ashamed of your cynical assumption that nothing’s going to change.

I got tired of listening to people talking about how there’s nothing we can do, that this is just the way we live now, and when a meetup popped up near me offering the chance to write postcards to elected officials, I signed up. When I did, there were three people committed to come.

By the time I got there, there were 20.

There weren’t enough chairs. People shared lists. Everyone brought food. Lots of people brought their kids. A man walked around pouring glasses of water and wine. The room, above a coffee shop, was warm.

An elderly woman couldn’t make it up the stairs and sat down at the door writing postcards. To Paul Ryan. To Donald Trump. To Mike Pence. To John McCain and every other senator who took money from the NRA. To our senators. To everyone else’s.

Would they read them? someone asked. That’s not our problem, the organizers answered. We do what we can.

A group of kids sat at one table, and by kids I mean girls and boys too young for PG-13 movies, and they wrote things like, “I don’t want to be here tonight but because of you I don’t have a choice.” They wrote things like, “Save my friends. Save me.” An adult asked if there had been any communication from their school about what had happened, remembering bulletins about Columbine and Virginia Tech, asking if the school had offered counseling.

“Nothing,” one of the girls replied. “They didn’t tell us a thing.”

How dare we tell children like these that nothing’s going to change? How dare we tell them nothing IS changing? How dare we disappear the everyday work that is being done by activists at every level, from the township on up? How dare we act like our glib, snide asides are written in stone?

Listen to Emma Gonzalez. This isn’t over. It’s barely begun. Our surrender is an insult to their rage.

One of the kids offered to help with the postcards I and the women at my table were making. Carefully, onto each one, they glued tiny pictures of victims of school shootings, their small fingers pressing down on faces that could have been their own.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Fever

The Grand Jatte Hibernators by Max Ernst.

We’ve put Carnival in the books and my repentance comes in the form of a cold. Mercifully, it’s not the flu, but I’m still going to keep it extra snappy since I might get the vapors at any moment.

There was sad news for New Orleanians Thursday night. Arthur Robinson, better known as Mr. Okra died at the age of 75. I’ll let Advocate food writer Ian McNulty tell you a bit about him:

For decades, Arthur “Mr. Okra” Robinson provided one of the distinctive sounds of a city famous for its music, but he didn’t play the trumpet or the piano.

He was a roving produce vendor, traveling the neighborhood streets in a heavily-customized pickup truck and using a loudspeaker to sing the praises of his oranges and bananas, his avocados and, of course, his okra.

<SNIP>

The young and old alike knew Robinson as Mr. Okra, and he was a frequent sight across many different neighborhoods. In his trade, he was a link back to a different era in New Orleans when everything from ice to charcoal was sold door to door. For Robinson, the job was actually part of a family tradition, one he picked up from his father, the late Nathan Robinson.

It was a pleasure to hear Mr. Okra’s voice echo through my neighborhood. I couldn’t always catch up to him, but when I did I enjoyed chatting with him and squeezing the odd piece of fruit. He will be missed.

Since I have one, I selected Fever as this week’s theme song. We have two versions for your entertainment: Peggy Lee and the Neville Brothers.

I have very little gas in the tank right now, so that’s it for this week. I’ll be back with a full-blown Odds & Sods next Saturday. Let’s finish up with one of my favorite bat memes from 2017: the Spitting Images Genesis puppets.

 

 

Friday Catblogging: Pizza Boy

Paul Drake is suffering from Carnival withdrawal. A trail of admirers found their way to our house to see PD. He also misses food opportunities such as this one:

Oh Look: A Box Of Thoughts And Prayers

thoughts_and_prayers

Bet you can find it on the same aisle that has the sailboat fuel.

More seriously, if thoughts and prayers actually stood a prayer’s chance, why didn’t it stop yesterdays shooting? Or the one before that, or the one before that, or the one before that, etc.?

Already we’re seeing the grim ritual repeat itself, and we will for the next week or so, after which all is forgotten … until the cycle repeats.

Well, forgotten by us.

For those who manage to survive, life is altered dramatically, in ways we rarely hear about and hardly ever consider.

All because gun nuts insist that actual, certified nuts should be allowed to purchase/possess any gun on-demand. Makes you wonder who the real nuts are…

 

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Peril Is My Pay

I asked Mr. Google to suggest some Olympics related pulp books. That’s how I found Peril Is My Pay. I picked it because of the hardboiled title, not the Olympic connection.

Words Matter

The word treason is being thrown around rather freely of late. It is a very specific crime. In fact, it is the only crime that is defined in the Constitution:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

An additional definition is offered in the constitutional dictionary:

treason n the offense of attempting to overthrow the government of one’s country or of assisting its enemies in war.

At the risk of sounding pedantic, Team Trump has skirted around the edges of treasonous behavior but has not committed the offense itself. We’re not at war with Russia and while conspiring with them to alter election results is an extremely serious crime, it’s not treason. There are other laws on the books and they’ve broken many of them. For one thing, the entire administration is a rolling (reeling?) RICO violation. And RICO is some serious shit.

Why does this matter? Words matter, that’s why. Words are the weapon of choice in a democracy. In fighting a corrupt, mendacious, and authoritarian government, it’s tempting to fight fire with fire. But the reality of what the Trumpers have done is so bad (to use the Insult Comedian’s favorite word) that hyperbole is unnecessary. Words matter.

I firmly believe that you fight lies with the truth, not exaggeration or hyperbole.  The facts are damning enough, gilding the Trumper lily to heighten drama is tempting but gets in the way of exposing their manifest and manifold malefactions. The truth is dramatic enough and will send many of this president’s* men to prison. Truth trumped (pun intended, it always is) Nixon’s lies and it will eventually take Trump down. Words matter.

The most important word in the political lexicon right now is ELECTIONS. One thing that politicians understand is the power of the ballot box. It’s why GOPers have worked so hard to make it difficult to vote. They only want the *right* people to vote. That’s why the resistance’s focus should be on registering voters and getting them to the polls. That’s how you send politicians a message, by voting them out.

Words matter. Use them wisely and well.

I’m old enough to remember when conservative Republicans stood with Eastern European dissidents against totalitarian communism. Now they stand with a former KGB agent whose goal in life is to avenge the “humiliation” of the Soviet Union. That’s why the last word goes to the late Vaclav Havel who knew something about defeating the big lie with truth.

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Old & In The Way

Old & In The Way was an early side project of Jerry Garcia’s. It was something of a bluegrass super band with Jerry, Vassar Clements, David Grisman, John Kahn, and Peter Rowan.

I’ve always been fond of this 1973 album art by Greg Irons.

Here’s the whole album via the YouTube:

Happy Mardi Gras

Dr. A and I are on the disabled list this year. She has a bad cold and I have a gimpy leg; nothing serious or permanent. We were the krewe of the couch and watched parade coverage on WWL-TV. The krewe of kitties named for Perry Mason characters approved.

The fact that Mardi Gras day coincides with the Ice People Olympics means that it’s time to revive a classic moment from the 2014 Krewe du Vieux parade. It’s the Drips and Discharges Skating Dick.

To quote an old proverb, it ain’t over until the dick skates. Did I say old? I meant odd.

Zero-Sum

That Michael Lewis piece starts badly and gets worse: 

Back when he was president, Barack Obama told me that only two people treated any interaction with him as a zero-sum game. One was Vladimir Putin, the other congressional Republicans. Both behaved as if there was no such thing as a win-win situation: Any gain for Obama was a loss for them, and any gain for them must also entail a loss for Obama. The moment that the Russian president or congressional Republicans saw he wanted something, they went to work trying to keep him from getting it — even if it was something they might otherwise have approved of.

Approaching any aspect of life as a zero-sum game has obvious practical costs: Deals that leave some people better off without making anyone else worse off suddenly don’t get done, because making some people better off now, by definition, makes other people worse off. It also comes with some psychological side effects. It cripples your imagination. It blinds and deafens you, as you sort of know what your adversary is going to do or say before they do or say it. Or, rather, you know how you are going to make sense of it: uncharitably.

The zero-sum approach in politics has since spread, as it tends to do wherever it takes hold. It has infected congressional Democrats and parts of the news media, and is seeping into everyday political discourse.

Really? WHERE? HOW has it affected Congressional Democrats similarly? How has it just crept in and taken over their minds, like poison gas in a vent? SHOW ME, motherfucker, how both sides are the same.

I know it’s fashionable to pretend that everybody bears some blame for the currently gridlocked Congress, but until you can give me an example of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi passing legislation just to fuck with Republicans, sponsoring bills like the We Have No National Language Act and the Actually Let’s Expand Medicaid Nationwide Act and the Rename All the Reagan Buildings After McGovern act, you won’t convince me Congressional Ds are on the zero-sum train.

I mean, they have no power. None. They haven’t had any really since the 2010 midterms and they sure as hell have even less now. So how have they been “infected” by this mindset? Show your work or don’t show up at all.

I see no sign that Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi want to protect Dreamers just to piss Paul Ryan off, or preserve Obamacare because it makes McConnell squirm. Congressional Dems did not block Trump’s Supreme Court nominee simply because they could, meanwhile Merrick Garland of noble name is sitting on a couch someplace. Shit, Congressional Dems confirmed far more of Trump’s nominees than their base is really comfortable with so if there’s a zero sum game it’s not between Dems and Republicans, it’s between Dems and their own fucking voters.

They are occasionally corrupt and often deeply stupid but they do actually have policy goals involving helping people, which is more than I can say for their opposition, which shut down the government rather than confront the operational reality of immigration.

This is a throwaway paragraph, the kind of nut graf boilerplate you put into a story to kind of paint the walls blue so everyone knows they’re looking at the sky, and that’s exactly why it’s so damaging. The lazy shorthand is all anybody hears and so all anybody hears is that both sides are at fault. They’ve been infected. It’s seeped into them.

A.

Tuesday Fuck It Whenever Catblogging

Slade:

They’d both rather sleep on a gnarly snagged up blanket in the basement generally, but Slade sometimes condescends to use the ridiculously fancy cat bed I bought him.

A.

Quote Of The Day: Birds Of A Feather Edition

I’m peeking my head out of the Carnival bubble because Josh nails the Insult Comedian and his creepy criminal cohort yet again:

We can start with the simple fact that this President surrounds himself with men who abuse women. Abuse and predation may know no party. But abusers seek out and run together. Trump’s politics are rooted in grievance, both gendered and racial. Trump is consistent if nothing else. He is an embodiment of his politics. It’s no surprise that this isn’t theoretical or merely expressed in political terms but is interpersonal and personally violent as well. Abusers know the President is one of them. They seek him out and he protects them in turn. Few men in the President’s coterie have multiple wives who’ve been willing to take the step of describing their former husband’s violence on the record. But it’s remarkable the number of Trump’s top advisors who have a history of abuse, whether it’s accusations of harassment or sexual assault or chronic physical violence against former spouses or girlfriends.

The Porter scandal is simultaneously appalling and fascinating. We already knew Trump didn’t give a shit about predatory behavior but we’ve had another reminder that John Kelly is just a slightly more polished version of his boss. Spousal abuse doesn’t seem to faze  him one bit. He may be an officer but he’s not a gentleman.

It’s also been fun watching the hapless Hope Hicks flail. It’s what happens when you place a sycophant who is also dating the wife beater in a position that she’s woefully unqualified for. They might bring back the Mooch who is also woefully unqualified to be communications director. Woefully Unqualifed would be a good Trumper band name.

Okay, time to re-enter the Carnival bubble. The real world bites the big one right now.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Back In Blecch edition

OK – back in the saddle. I’m going to TRY to ease back into this, but I have a horrendous backlog of bookmarks to plough through.

First up – SOROS’s FAULT!!

Holocaust Denier Likely to Represent GOP on Illinois Congressional Ballot KSBW ^ | 2/5 Posted on 2/5/2018, 4:48:13 PM by nickcarraway

A long-shot candidate with a history of anti-Semitic statements and Holocaust denial is primed to represent the Republican Party in a congressional race in Illinois.

The candidate, Arthur Jones, is running unopposed in the GOP primary for Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District,

SNIP

His website contains sections such as “Holocaust?” which features a statement that says “there is no proof such a so-called ‘Holocaust’ ever took place anywhere in Europe, against the Jews.”

SNIP

“I’m sorry I voted for the son of a b****, I really am,” Jones told the Guardian.

SNIP

1 posted on 2/5/2018, 4:48:13 PM by nickcarraway
I’m sure this will provoke some deep soul-searching among the Freeperati as to why Nazis feel so at home in the GOP.
To: nickcarraway

 

This guy is so bad I wouldn’t be surprised to find he’s a Soros plant.

2 posted on 2/5/2018, 4:50:54 PM by rfp1234 (I have already previewed this composition.)

Just kidding. You need to have a soul to do any soul-searching.
To: rfp1234
This guy is so bad I wouldn’t be surprised to find he’s a Soros plant. 

This guy has run for the Republican nomination seven times since the 1990’s. You think Soros plans that far ahead?

5 posted on 2/5/2018, 5:03:29 PM by DoodleDawg
Commie.
.
“LurkingLibertarian” tries to Freepsplain this one away :
To: Joe Dallas
The GOP dropped the ball on this one. 

More likely, no serious candidate from the GOP wanted to run in this district; it has voted Dem in 24 of the last 25 congressional elections and all four of the last four presidential elections. Bernie Sanders won the district by 8 points in the 2016 primary.

6 posted on 2/5/2018, 5:04:09 PM by Lurking Libertarian (Non sub homine, sed sub Deo et lege)

“Joe Dallas” ain’t buying it :
To: Lurking Libertarian

 

Then find a somewhat serious candidate that is not a Nazi.

8 posted on 2/5/2018, 5:05:37 PM by Joe Dallas

BanHimHitlerAngry
To: Joe Dallas 

Then find a somewhat serious candidate that is not a Nazi.

Well, you’d have to find one in the district.

Hard to find Republicans in a ghetto, even harder to find one that has the time and money to even run to lose.

11 posted on 2/5/2018, 5:15:45 PM by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge)

Um – about that “ghetto”…
To: piasa
Hard to find Republicans in a ghetto, 

The district is 74% white.

18 posted on 2/5/2018, 5:54:48 PM by Lurking Libertarian (Non sub homine, sed sub Deo et lege)
Of course, we all know who’s REALLY to blame, don’t we?
To: nickcarraway

 

This is classic media horseshiTe….badmouth a gop guy (who deserves it) and make it the headline.

22 posted on 2/5/2018, 6:49:41 PM by irish guard

TrumpWinning
One more short bit after the jumparoonie …

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2018: Anyone But An Elephant

If the checks won’t check then nothing balances: 

For White House and the National Security Council staff veterans, the revelation that Porter did not have a full security clearance raises a number of real questions that must be answered. Those questions speak directly to the safety of America’s most sensitive intelligence officers and most dangerous operations.

Having worked at the White House — including both at the National Security Council and alongside the staff secretary – I believe Porter-gate has all the markings either of a very high security breach or a highly unusual staff structure. It also raises real questions about how Trump White House staff under both Reince Priebus and John Kelly managed sensitive information, and what both of them knew about the allegations against Porter and when they knew it.

So? Oh, dear God, so what? I am having the hardest time right not getting het up about this or that scandal because it’s all a scandal and until November none of it is going to stop. Republicans are not going to do anything about this and until we elect lots and lots and lots more and better Democrats and/or Anyone But An Elephant, we can be as scandalized as we like but nothing’s gonna change.

The Founders planned for Trump. Hell, they’d just overcome rule by an unchecked and uncheckable manbaby so they explicitly planned for a tyrant with two whole other branches of government for the people to call on.

What they didn’t plan on was one party controlling everything, and that party being so craven it would allow ANYTHING if only it didn’t have to lose any power. Anything. Illegal wars in the Middle East, warrantless spying on Americans, an epidemic of gun violence without recourse for the victims, starving children of education and safe housing and clean drinking water because they weren’t white, deporting people who’ve lived here for decades …

Oh, plus everything Trump and his cronies have done.

What George W. Bush figured out is that once you are elected president nobody can do shit about shit, not if Republicans are venal and Democrats are scared. The rules might as well not even exist. Security clearances? HAH! Warrants for wiretapping? Why bother? Weapons of mass destruction? Who gives a shit? There are no rules. You can just ignore it all.

So following the ins and outs of this or that horror seems to me to be indulgent when all that matters is winning a whole shitload of elections on the backs of whatever donkey, red rose, turtle, toaster, or VW beetle we can hump across the finish line.

Let the elephants rot.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Box Of Rain

It’s been a somewhat stressful Carnival season thus far. The reason has been the weather: it’s been chilly and wet. The skies opened and poured down rain on the all female Krewe of Nyx on Wednesday night. We braved the elements and watched large chunks of the parade because we have friends in it and wanted to show our support. We can also run home and change clothes if we’re soaked. Props to the ladies who rode and survived the deluge of 2018.

Our annual Muses open house was a roaring success as was the parade itself, which took place on a dry Thursday evening. Half of New Orleans seems to come to Adrastos World HQ every year and 2018 was no exception. We had a record number of children including the legendary child army. New kitty Paul Drake came out to meet company but eventually got spooked by a close encounter with Lagniappe who is the craziest, cutest, and funniest 2+ year old I’ve ever met. Believe me.

Muses is another all-chick krewe who are famous for their shoe throws and marvelous themes. This year’s theme, Muses Night at the Museum, was their best yet. They riffed on masterpieces by artists such as Seurat, Magritte, Matisse, and Hopper and gave them a satirical twist. It was brilliant thematically and beautifully executed. My years in Krewe du Vieux have made me something of a parade critic but I have no criticism of this parade. It was stone cold brilliant. Four stars all the way, y’all.

Muses has a swell slide/show photo gallery of their floats at their Facebook page. Take a peek you’ll enjoy it, even this one:

Here’s the counterpart to that float. It’s as wistful as hell:

I know what you’re thinking: another Grateful Dead tune as the theme song? It’s actually tied to Carnival by analogy. We live inside what is referred to as the parade box. On parade days, except for Mardi Gras day itself, our movements are constricted by the parades. We even have parking wars.  This forecast for the rest of the weekend is a shit ton of rain. Hence Box Of Rain:

I have just two articles to suggest this week, so we’ll forego the break and usual segment format. I’m not sure if it’s innovative or lazy; probably the latter since hosting a party of 100+ people is hard work. I feel as if I was run over by a float.

Dr. A wanted to see the Super Bowl half time show even though we only watched snippets of the game. She was disappointed by it as was Vulture’s Brian Moylan who was inspired to write a list ranking Super Bowl half time shows from worst to best. Moylan is something of an Irish Shecky who is known for his hilarious recaps of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills aka Rich Ladies Doing Things. I particularly enjoy how he rags on one of the husbands. He once called this chap a pustule with legs. Now that’s entertainment.

It’s Black History Month everywhere except the Trump White House. The Failing New York Times published a list of must-see movies:

It’s a great list. I’ve only seen half of the films listed so I have some catching up to do. I am pleased that they like Devil With A Blue Dress as much as I do.

That’s it for this week’s limited edition of Saturday Odds & Sods. I can’t assure you that it will grow in value but it’s mercifully short. That’s something, innit?

The last word goes to the Krewe of Muses:

Parsing the Medill #MeToo Debacle

Yes, even at the Jesus H. Christ School of Journalism Gods, people can be total dipshits:

Ten women released an open letter on Wednesday accusing Northwestern University Professor Alec Klein of persistent sexual harassment and bullying since he has been at the helm of the school’s “crown jewel” investigative journalism program.

Calling it the storied journalism school’s “#MeToo Moment,” the eight former students and two former staffers of the Medill Justice Project wrote that Klein’s “controlling, discriminatory, emotionally and verbally abusive behavior has to end.”

Klein, who has been at Northwestern for a decade and in charge of the Justice Project since 2011, has taken a leave of absence while the university sorts out all the allegations brought forth in the letter. This is likely to take some time, as a) digging into charges that range back five or more years isn’t easy and b) the women who signed the letter set up an email address for others to use if they want to add their stories regarding Klein and his behavior toward them.

Klein’s lawyer, Andrew T. Miltenberg, issued a statement that really does a nice job of making him look guilty as hell:

“While Mr. Klein denies the allegations that are being made, he intends to respect the confidentiality and privacy of Northwestern University and its internal process,” Miltenberg wrote. “It is unfortunate that these allegations are being made in a rush to judgment, denying Mr. Klein of due process. We are confident that upon review, the allegations will be determined to have been unfounded.”

If you are playing “clearly guilty bingo jargon,” you probably got the cover-all here: “denies allegations,” “respect the confidentiality” “respect the… process,” “rush to judgment,” “due process” and unfounded allegations.

Klein, for his part, issued a letter that blamed all of this on a “disgruntled employee” and then pivoted to how great his teaching evaluations have been.

The university conducted an extensive investigation, interviewing current and former employees, former students and others, and reviewing emails, expenses and other records. The complaint was determined to be completely unfounded. I was cleared of any wrongdoing and the claim was dismissed. The university determined the complainant was not credible and documented, through records and her own words, several falsehoods in her charges.

Klein, a journalist, needs to be a little more accurate here. According to media reports, the claim was not “completely unfounded,” but rather it was a situation where the U declined to roll the dice on pursuing it because it didn’t think it had enough to get the goods on him. It’s like that line from “And the Band Played On,” about what do we think, what do we know and what can we prove? In this case, you couldn’t prove the situation was rotten but it did have some serious stank on it. The school paid Olivia Pera off and as part of the payoff, the rule was that she couldn’t reapply for a job, not that she would want to:

 

“I went through absolute hell,” Pera said. “My family saw me go through such personality changes. My son saw me crying every day. That’s not something your kid should see. I have nothing but bad memories of Northwestern.”

The allegations regarding Klein are problematic, and there is nothing I would like more than to jump up and down on this guy. I have frequently come out against professors who treat students like sexual canapes, the arrogance of the elitism that comes with places like the Med-Dildo land that is that journalism school and people who are generally sleazy fucksticks. That said, there are really two sets of allegations here and they need to be separated before hanging this guy from a yardarm.

First set: He’s a sexually sleazy, lecherous fuck:

And let’s be clear: Some of us have also experienced sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.

  • He attempted to kiss a prospective employee, prior to hiring her. On the same occasion, he asked if she smoked marijuana and asked to smoke with her and ordered her several cocktails.

  • He asked a female employee to come to his hotel room “for drinks” on a business trip.

  • He gave unwanted neck massages while a female employee was trying to work.

  • He asked for a hug in return for giving an employee a requested day off.

  • He made other unwarranted physical contact, such as grabbing a student’s hand during conversations

  • He made sexually graphic remarks at work

  • He talked about his sex life and pressed for explicit details about others’

  • He frequently commented on employees’ physical attractiveness, appearances, attire and bodies

  • He told female students they would be good fits for broadcast journalism because they were “good-looking.

  • He asked if an employee was having another baby when she mentioned that her stomach hurt

  • He asked an employee if she was a stripper

  • He sent texts “intended for his wife” to a female

 

I’ll give him a pass on the text issue, as my Twitter followers have often been subjected to the, “So do we still need milk?” Tweets when I fucked up and hit the wrong button. Other than that… What the fuck? Your students are not a smorgasbord of pussy, so knock it off. And as for the asking the woman back to your hotel room thing, could you be any more sleazy while still being cliche? If you’re not with your wife and you suddenly have that pent up dick rage you seem to possess, there is nothing dumber than what you attempted to do. Here’s some advice: Go back to your room, find that little bottle next to the conditioner and go fly a solo mission.

Second set of allegations: He’s a fucking miserable human being:

Let’s start breaking these into “zones of danger.”

  • He repeatedly accused students of insubordination and reprimanded them to the point of tears over minor or perceived offenses, such as pushing back on an editorial misjudgment or offering an alternative method to pursue an investigation, or agreeing with a peer’s suggestion instead of what Alec Klein proposed. Several of us were summoned into his office individually, made to sit on a short cushion in a corner as he hurled accusatory vitriol about our mistakes and then refused to accept any apology. He sometimes retaliated by lowering students’ final term grades even though these disagreements had nothing to do with academics.

  • He retaliated against an employee by giving her a poor performance review after she defended herself against his verbal abuse.

  • He has yelled at employees and students and accused them of “ignoring him” for not immediately answering his phone calls or emails — at times, outside of working hours, or when one employee was on vacation, despite her returning his call within a few minutes.

  • He continued to show retaliatory behavior after discovering that students went to senior staff at Medill to voice their concerns about him.

  • He was openly dismissive in class to a student who struggled with English and made it apparent that he did not like her Middle Eastern accent. According to this student, he “killed” her confidence and made her feel like “nothing,” and he screamed at and hung up on her friend whom she had put on the phone with him for help.

The concept of retaliation, reprimand and dismissiveness are often in the eye of the beholder, especially in student-faculty relationships. Not saying these things didn’t happen, but on occasion students aren’t as amazing as they think they are and any attempt to demonstrate that is likely to lead to “melting snowflakes.” It also pains me to say this, but I have found that students at some of the best (as in most prestigious, highest ranked etc.) institutions are the ones that are the least able to deal with hearing that they don’t quite measure up. If I had a nickel for every time a kid blamed a bad grade on me or cried over not being told he or she was perfect in every way, I wouldn’t need a job any more. This group needs more cooking before it becomes soup.

Chunk two:

  • He has said: “You aren’t as smart as you think you are ”

  • He has said: “You will never be a journalist.”

  • He told one of us, after learning her mother is a professional writer: “Your mother is a writer, I’d expect you to be a better writer.”

  • He told one of us she needed an A- to earn his recommendation. He later promised a male student in the same class a recommendation in exchange for a B+.

  • He scolded employees for “taking too much credit” for their work and in one instance denied any credit until proof was provided.

When I hear back from students years later, I find out that a lot of shit came rolling out of my mouth that I can’t believe actually did. Part of it is working in a newsroom environment. Part of it is finding the need to buzz a kid with a fastball to back him or her off the plate a bit. Part of it was that I fucked up and learned that I needed to smooth off some of the rough edges. Part of it is that I’m just a dick sometimes, despite my best efforts.

I’ve said the first one, I’m sure. The second one was actually said to me when I was in high school, by a female teacher. She told me that not only would I never be a journalist, but that I’d never be ANYTHING and that I needed to go to a trade school if I wanted to be able to support a family. The third one is weird. The fourth one is something that I could easily see happening. I can’t remember what I ate for lunch yesterday as opposed to who I promised what to whom. The last one, again, some kids need to get backed off the plate or forced to prove stuff. Even students I’ve had dead to rights on plagiarism or other such things would deny it and threaten and bluster until I literally had to say, “You bring your proof and I’ll bring mine and we’ll see what the U has to say.” Then, they fucking crumbled. If these items alone were the basis for a complaint, I could see how the admin would wave this off and call it a day.

CHUNK 3:

  • He often required excessive and unnecessary closed-door meetings during which he pressed several of us to divulge deeply personal details about our lives, only to later use this information against us as a tool of manipulation.

  • He questioned whether an employee had actually attended her grandfather’s funeral after she had requested and taken the day off.

  • He has said about and to female students that they are “too emotional” and “immature.”

This is really problematic stuff in that a) it shows a gender bias and b) it infuses him into the private lives of his students and employees. The gender thing is already discussed above. The other one is something that is an issue because we have to draw lines as faculty and prevent ourselves from crossing them. I have always told newsroom students that I don’t care who you’re sleeping with or what you’re drinking or where you threw up last night. That’s none of my business. However, if I can’t get photos for the front page because my design editor was sleeping with the photo editor, but now they broke up and they’re not talking… OK, NOW I have to care.

I think logically that a lot of this stuff in chunks one and two wouldn’t be as horribly problematic if it weren’t for the first set of allegations (stuff on the harassment) and the last chunk of section two (getting involved in their business). Yes, this isn’t nice workplace behavior in those other two subsections, but I found out something once about stuff like this: There’s no law that prevents people from being an asshole at work.

I had a long discussion with HR and with a harassment specialty lawyer when I was getting knocked around by a particularly shitty colleague in ways like those listed in the two  (non-sex stuff) chunks. I was told, “Look, this isn’t good and he shouldn’t be able to do this, but there is no law against him being a dick.” I wasn’t pleased with that answer, but I got it.

However, there ARE laws about getting your business into my private business. There ARE laws about keeping your fucking hands to yourself and not treating everyone like they’re a fuckdoll with a personality, installed at work for your amusement.

And those laws need to be enforced everywhere, including this situation.