Monthly Archives: March 2018

Saturday Odds & Sods: Don’t Be Cruel

Two Flags by Jasper Johns.

I suspect you recognize the featured image. I’ve used it many times during government shutdowns; most notably in my epic America Held Hostage series in 2013. It’s nice to have some Jasper Johns flags about the virtual house to plug-in when the GOP next decides to shut the government down. If only they’d shut their fucking mouths…

Easter Sunday and April Fool’s Day coincide this year. I  expect more bunny related hoaxes than resurrection pranks. The pagan spring fertility thing is more palatable than what Easter means to believers. I’m not one but I like holidays to be straightforward. Now that I think of it, I’m surprised that the biblebangers have never banged on about a war on Easter. It’s bound to happen, they’re the whiniest people in the country. It’s probably why they like the Insult Comedian. It can’t be the hair.

This week’s theme song was written by Otis Blackwell in 1956. Don’t Be Cruel was originally the B-Side of Elvis’ Hound Dog 45 before becoming a hit in its own right. We have two versions of the Blackwell song for your listening pleasure. One from Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show, the other from Cheap Trick.

It’s time for Nick Lowe’s variation on the cruelty theme with Cruel To Be Kind on Live From Daryl’s House:

Now that we’ve declared our hostility to cruelty, let’s jump, jive, and wail to the break.

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Tweets Of The Week: Laura Ingraham Edition

I usually dislike the new-ish twitter feature that places items liked by your followers on your timeline, but there’s an exception to every rule. This exchange landed on my feed courtesy of my buddy Monkeyfister:

I considered just stealing the jokes, but I didn’t want to shock the Monkeyfister to life.

Friday Catblogging: Boxers

There was a bit of “my box, my box” jostling between Della and Paul before settling down on Dr. A’s “donate to Goodwill” box. Enjoy it while it lasts, y’all.

The Americans Thread: When Oleg Met Philip

I was on the fence about recapping the sixth and final season of The Americans. But the minute the episode commenced with Don’t Dream It’s Over, I was hooked, fished in, captured, and dragged off to a safe house.

There’s been a substantial time shift. The show has moved forward three years to 1987. Holy Quantum Leap, Batman. A lot happened during those three years, especially the seismic changes brought about by the last leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev. Everyone on both sides is divided as to how to deal with Gorby including our characters.

The 1987 divide remains resonant in 2018. America is badly divided and it’s partially due to Russia. The victory of the “Russian good guys” was ephemeral. We know where Putin stood at the time and he continues to promote irredentist policies to avenge the demise of the Soviet Union. Spies are back in vogue on the Volga.

Before our spoiler break, let’s squeeze into a Crowded House:

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They Rebooted The Mittbot This Week

romney_bot_redux

And in rebooting, they set — or maybe just reset — whatever it is that makes Mitt run.

On Tuesday, the Utah Daily Herald reported that Romney made clear he’s still the same guy he was back in 2012. When asked to prove his conservative credentials at an event in Provo, he said:

I’m also more of a hawk on immigration than even the president. My view was these DACA kids shouldn’t all be allowed to stay in the country legally.

But, as always, Mitt’s principles extend only to the direction the wind is blowing…and he’s really going all in on the prevailing winds blowing from Vichy MAGA

Romney played his relationship with Trump off as a strength, not a weakness, when talking about his qualifications for U.S. Senate. His relationships with 40 U.S. Senators and the president are what will help him be effective as a Senator, Romney said.

 “(Trump) has endorsed me in this race,” Romney said. “He respects people who speak their mind, because now and then, as you know, if he says something I think is wrong, I’ll point it out. And if he disagrees with me, he points it out even harder.”

So much for his principled stand in 2016…and something to keep in mind if/when he’s anointed as some sort of “Republican Hero,” to use a phrase I heard Brian Williams say more than once in 2017.

Trump is a feature, not a bug. And Mitt’s no Republican Hero.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Gods Hate Kansas

I’d never heard of this book until last week. I picked it because it has a cool title and cover, the Kansas Jayhawks made the Final Four, Leftoverture by Kansas was featured yesterday, and my friend Dave Gladow is from Kansas. What the latter has to do with anything is beyond me but Dave *does* like Star Wars and comic book movies.

The book turns out to have a helluva back story:

Joseph Millard was an American pulp science fiction writer who published nearly a dozen short stories between 1941 and 1943, and then apparently gave up writing for good. Most of his stories appeared in magazines like Thrilling Wonder Stories, Amazing StoriesFantastic Adventures, and other pulps. He died in 1989.

In November 1941, he published his only novel, The Gods Hate Kansas, in Startling Stories magazine. It was reprinted a decade later in the November 1952 issue of Fantastic Story Magazine, and then appeared in paperback in February 1964 from Monarch Books, with a brilliantly gonzo cover by Jack Thurston, featuring a raygun-wielding hero riding bareback on a little red number and giving the business to an earnest-looking bug-eye monster.

Here’s the 1964 edition:

The Gods Hate Kansas became the 1967 British sci-fi flick, They Came From Beyond Space:

 

Here’s the trashy trailer:

We’re not in Kansas any more, Toto.

Procol Harum gets the last word:

First Draft Potpourri: The Legal Merry-Go-Round

I originally considered giving this post the sub-head, The Legal Docket. But given that it’s partially Trump related, I think Merry-Go-Round is more suitable. Trump’s legal woes do make me dizzy, and when I contemplate Stormy/Stephanie spanking him with a magazine with his face on the cover, I feel like puking. Somebody  pass the barf bag. Please.

Let’s start with the funniest legal story of the week thus far.

The di Genova Fiasco: So Trumpy decided to hire Fox News legal big mouth, Joseph di Genova after seeing him on teevee. He *thought* he liked the cut of his jib, not that the Insult Comedian knows what a jib is. What could possibly go wrong? Everything.

The announcement was made *before* the president* met di Genova in person. What could possibly go wrong? Everything.

It turned out that Trump didn’t like di Genova and his wife/law partner Victoria Toensing as much IRL as on cable news:

The senior administration official said the couple also looked disheveled when they came to meet with the president on Thursday, which helped convince Trump they weren’t the right fit for the team.

That trumped their obvious conflicts of interest. It’s always appearances with the Kaiser of Chaos. He hired Tillerson because he looked distinguished and Mattis because of his nickname, Mad Dog. The good news is that , unlike his boss, the general isn’t one.

So, Trump’s teeevee watching cost him his lead lawyer, John Dowd, and he’s still scrambling to find a decent replacement. We’ve come to a weird moment: no reputable lawyer wants to represent the Current Occupant. The reasons are manifold:

  • He’s known to stiff people who work for him.
  • Taking him on as a client would piss-off female partners at large law firms and hurt efforts to recruit women associates.
  • There’s an excellent chance that Trump would ask them to do something unethical and/or illegal in defending him. Who the hell wants to be disbarred because of an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop his head?
  • Life’s too short to have a raging, gaping asshole as a client.

No wonder nobody wants to work for him, not even tribal GOPers like Ted Olson. Maybe Michael Cohen can help, uh, fix the Trump defense team. If they settle the Stormy/Stephanie case, maybe Michael Avenatti can rescue Trump’s leaky legal ship.  #sarcasm

The Stevens Bombshell: You’ve all read or heard about retired Supreme John Paul Stevens’ op-ed piece in the Failing New York Times. Justice Stevens advocates repealing the Second Amendment. I’m certain that Stevens knows how difficult it is to repeal an amendment. I think he dropped this bombshell to get our attention and make us focus on the lunacy of the NRA/GOP’s absolutist position on guns in the post District Of Columbia vs. Heller world.

Stevens also wanted to remind us of conservative/Nixon appointed former Chief Justice Warren Burger’s view of the Second Amendment:

During the years when Warren Burger was our chief justice, from 1969 to 1986, no judge, federal or state, as far as I am aware, expressed any doubt as to the limited coverage of that amendment. When organizations like the National Rifle Association disagreed with that position and began their campaign claiming that federal regulation of firearms curtailed Second Amendment rights, Chief Justice Burger publicly characterized the N.R.A. as perpetrating “one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”

I’m glad Stevens has lobbed a hand grenade into the gun control/safety conversation. It’s also an excellent time to revisit his scathing dissent to Scalia’s fakakta majority opinion in Heller.

Let’s move on to another legal eagle op-ed in the FNYT. This piece comes from Duke Law Professor and former Clinton administration Solicitor General, Walter Dellinger.

Indict The Fucker Now, Try Him Later: Dellinger, of course didn’t refer to the president* as a fucker but I like to be direct. Dellinger was the lead government lawyer on the Clinton-Paula Jones case when the Justices ruled that a sitting president *could* be sued. He believes that the logic of the case applies to Trump:

In Clinton v. Jones the entire court agreed that the fact that a federal court’s exercising of its constitutional power to hear a case “may significantly burden the time and attention of the chief executive is not sufficient to establish a violation of the Constitution.” Mere indictment of a president would not meet the stringent standard in Clinton v. Jones for presidential immunity from ordinary legal processes.

Read the whole thing. It’s clear that current DOJ guidelines *only* bar trying a president while in office. An indictment is a whole ‘nother thing.

Repeat after me: Indict The Fucker Now, Try Him Later.

That concludes this brief ride aboard the Legal Merry-Go-Round, which is a term I prefer to carousel since it’s infinitely more evocative.

The last word goes to the Waterboys whose song, Room To Roam, has a merry-go-round feel to it. I hope it doesn’t make you dizzy.

The Red Stick Alton Sterling/Jeff Landry Blues

The news that Gret Stet Attorney General Jeff Landry declined to press charges against the Alton Sterling beatdown cops came as no surprise. The merits of the case had nothing to do with it even though Landry put on a show for the cameras.

Here’s my instant analysis:

Landry is a wildly ambitious politician with a gift for PR, not the law. He was elected to Congress in the Tea Party wave election of 2010 but lost his seat to redistricting. The only memorable moment of his tenure was when he waved a sign from the floor during a 2011 speech by President Obama:

Landry has spent his tenure as Attorney General picking fights with Governor John Bel Edwards even when his office didn’t have jurisdiction. He’s *that* kind of legal eagle. If he were in private practice, he’d volunteer to represent Trump for the headlines.

I’m glad that the Sterling family’s lawyers and advisers prepared them for this outcome: they expressed disappointment, not shock. This cake was baked long ago.

As to the Sterling case, there’s a chance the killer cops may get fired for violating departmental procedures. It’s not as satisfying as seeing them perp walking in orange jump suits, but it’s something.

As to Jeff Landry, if the wind is blowing in the right direction, he’ll challenge Edwards next year. But the Governor’s poll numbers are pretty good as of this writing, if that’s still the case Landry will run for re-election. He’d miss the cameras and attention that being AG brings his way. It’s all about politics, not the law.

I’ll give my friend Clancy DuBos the last word on Jeff Landry:

Earl Long used to scoff that if you wanted to hide something from then-Attorney General Jack Gremillion, put it in a law book. Today, Uncle Earl would surely say something similar about Louisiana AG Jeff Landry…

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Leftoverture

Rumor has it that I’m a sucker for puns. It’s true, especially when they’re attached to some fine cover art. That’s the case with the 1976 Kansas album, Leftoverture. And, yes, it was inspired by the Carrey On Wayward Son post. Anyone surprised? I thought not.

Founding member and drummer Phil Ehart was in charge of selecting album art for the band. Here’s what he had to say about Leftoverture:

“Artists were starting to submit artwork to us by this time. We would look at different paintings and we thought that the old man was really cool. We had the name “Leftoverture” already. The song “Magnum Opus” was originally going to be called “Leftoverture” but it was such a great name we said, “Screw it, let’s call the album that.” It worked. “Magnum Opus” became the title of the song. Dave McMacken submitted that and we thought it was really cool. He invented the old man and the toilet paper — somebody actually said that it looked like toilet paper on the cover. First a crab and now toilet paper…

Make sure you read the entire Goldmine article. It’s very interesting indeed.

Without further adieu, here’s the album art via Discogs.com.

I wonder if the cosmic terlet paper inspired NOLA’s very own Krewe of Tucks? Beats the hell outta me.

Here’s the whole damn LP:

Now Activist Kids are Killing Journalism

STOP IT KIDS:

What a tool.

Let me list, in order, the things that are killing trust in “our profession:”

  1. A 24-hour propaganda network streamed into every doctor’s office in the Midwest telling people that the news is fake and journalists are evil and biased and vaguely terroristic somehow.
  2. One of two major political parties spending the past four decades attacking the free press every time some reporter somewhere pointed out that they were full of shit.
  3. The other political party pretending numbers 1 and 2 didn’t exist, and whining ineffectively about message discipline.
  4. The press pretending numbers 1-3 didn’t exist.
  5. Rapacious corporate ownership that has stripped local communities of their unique voices, from cutting small newspapers down to glorified shoppers to replacing radio news with syndicated hate.
  6. Hedge fund managers loading up big city papers with debt, paying millions to executives and consultants who just happened to be their buds, giving them free reign to do whatever stupid shit they wanted while laying off every reporter who had the misfortune to be spotted actually working.
  7. An entire cottage industry of turns-out-mostly-perverts who parlayed average sourcing and borderline-adequate writing into some kind of legendary “insider” status, plus everyone who lined up to party with said inside perverts, plus everyone who invited them to speak at their colleges.
  8. Politico, Axios, whatever “ideas festival” is asking people to show up on stage with Steve Bannon, and earnest profiles questioning what Nazis want.
  9. Epic whining and defensiveness every time someone — and Isidor Stone forbid it is a young person — happens to mention 1-8 and correctly point out that all of it is crap.

These are the top nine things destroying journalism. A student journo talking about the need to speak truth to power and call bullshit on bullshit is number 697 if you accept that it’s a problem at all, which I for one do not.

There have forever been all kinds of journalism, even before these dastardly internets: Activist publications, advocacy journals, specialty and satire and yes, partisan media. The existence of none of these was a problem so long as they weren’t the only game in town, and if you think the only game in town twas ever self-professed objectivity William Randolph Hearst has a nice war with Spain he’d like to sell you.

Schmuck.

A.

Stormy Sunday: An Interesting Anticlimax

The tweeter tube was wild before Anderson Cooper’s interview with Stormy Daniels aired. They were impatient with the Kansas-Duke overtime whereas I was thrilled to watch Coach Buy-A-Vowel suffer after screwing up at the end of regulation by not calling a time-out. Coach K struck out.

The hype over AC/Stormy was overwhelming. There was no way it could have lived up to expectations greater than Pip’s and it did not. I was underwhelmed by the hype. I hate hype and always view it with skepticism.

People were hoping that the Stormy/Stephanie interview would be the magic bullet that would slay the monster. It was not, unless that is, Michael Cohen is the monster you had in mind. CBS has reported Trump and his Fixer dined at the White House the night before the interview. Presumably, Cohen ate well-done steak and kissed Don Donaldo Il Insulto Comico’s ring as well as his copious rump. Cohen will continue to maintain his Don had nothing to with the hush money. Nobody will believe him. He’s the perfect patsy.

As to the interview itself, not much new news was made but Stormy/Stephanie was very impressive. She came off more like the madam in a Western than a stripper/porn actress. I’m not sure if she was more  Joanie Stubbs in Deadwood or Miss Kitty in Gunsmoke:

Whatever she is, Stormy/Stephanie was impressive and, more importantly, credible. Her portrayal of Trump as a buffoonish blowhard rang true and she didn’t overstate. I suspect some people hoped that she’d denounce him as a monster and the worst president* ever but that would not have been as effective.

Trump comes off as pitiful. He’s definitely got the worst and creepiest pickup line of all-time: “You remind me of my daughter.” He deserved the spanking he got from her just for that line.

I admit to hoping that Stephanie/Stormy would show a bill from an abortion provider that was paid for by Donald Trump. The only new news was this description of the wise guy style threat she received in Vegas, baby:

Daniels said she was on her way to a fitness class with her infant daughter in Las Vegas when she was accosted in the parking lot.

“A guy walked up on me and said to me, ‘Leave Trump alone. Forget the story.’ And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, ‘That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.’ And then he was gone,” she said.

This sounds like something Cohen would hire someone to do but he’s denied it and she, quite rightly, did not tie it to Trump’s Fixer. The Fixer’s lawyer sent a cease and desist letter to Stormy/Stephanie, which will be ignored. Along with flawed non-disclosure agreements, cease and desist letters are a dime-a-dozen in Trumpworld,

I’m not sure where this story goes next. Team Stormy was wise to put her on 60 Minutes, which shows that she’s not in it for a quick pay-off. I don’t think it’s going to cost Trump the support of the horny louts who comprise a slice of his base base. It’s part of the steady drip, drip, drip of scandal. It’s certainly easier for people to understand than Kremlingate. Up to now, the volume of scandals has helped Trump but in the long run, the fog of scandal may prove to be his undoing.

Finally, my favorite part of AC/Stormy fest was when she described Trump watching Shark Week on teevee during their second meeting. I’d like to thank the good people at Slate’s Brow Beat for figuring out which episode it was.

I’m pretty sure Trump identifies with the shark. The problem for him is that the real shark in this case is Team Stormy’s Michael Avenatti, not Michael Cohen who is a fixer, not a litigator. This brings to mind a classic lawyer joke:

Why won’t a shark attack a lawyer swimming in the ocean?
Professional courtesy.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – “Mad Bimmer” edition

Oh, Clouseau can you see…….

Police: “Similarities” indicate link in deadly Austin package explosions (3 bombings so far)
CBS News ^ | Last Updated Mar 12, 2018 1:57 PM EDT | By CRIMESIDER STAFF CBS/AP

Posted on 3/12/2018, 1:10:58 PM by a fool in paradise

First post –

To: a fool in paradise

 

Cowardly, anonymous bomber. Sounds like a moslem.

2 posted on 3/12/2018, 1:14:23 PM by Jack Hammer

Sure it does.
To: Jack Hammer

 

Antifa?

40 posted on 3/12/2018, 1:40:05 PM by RushIsMyTeddyBear (Screw The NFL!!!!!! My family fought for the flag!)

AuntieFa
To: a fool in paradise

 

Any correlation to all that were transported there after Katrina in New Orleans?

41 posted on 3/12/2018, 1:40:13 PM by tina07 (In loving memory of my father,WWII Vet. CBI 10/16/42-12/17/45, d. 11/1/85)

I knowed it! It wuz one of them black mooslimes!!
To: Theophilus

 

psychopath = queer

34 posted on 3/23/2018, 6:40:57 AM by Thibodeaux (Long Live the Republic!)

I knowed it! It wuz one of them queer black mooslimes!!
To: tbw2

 

No, I don’t think so. I wouldn’t be surprised if this had something to do with the Black Muslim group that is active in that area. Don’t forget that Malcom X was killed by one of his own, and the group has been famous for dealing harshly with members who either try to get out or simply aren’t on the side of the head honcho of the moment.

The first man killed was wearing a suit and tie that looked a lot like what Black Muslims wear.

So I’d say – cherchez l’islam. Granted, Black Muslims are sort of an offshoot and are tolerated by “real” Muslims only because they are sort of reinforcements against the West and Christians and Jews. But they are very hard on members and expect total devotion and will punish if there’s any deviation.

On the other hand, it could be just your average mad bomber. But I think there’s probably a common thread between the victims that will lead to the killer.

62 posted on 3/12/2018, 5:23:33 PM by livius

And then they find out that he was a white home-schooled Christian.
Click on the thingy for more….
.

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All About That Platform

This, about Netflix:

reminded me of the entire OMG FACEBOOK STOLE OUR JOURNALISM AND WON’T PAY US clusterfuck which directly followed the OMG BLOGGERS STOLE OUR JOURNALISM AND WON’T PAY US clusterfuck, which followed the very very old OMG CRAIGSLIST STOLE OUR CLASSIFIED ADS AND WON’T PAY US clusterfuck.

Journalism entitlement clusterfucks interest me because they’re a prime example of the unasked question. Instead of yelling about why they “give away” their content to “other publishers” for free, they should be asking, “why do people prefer to encounter our content on another platform?”

It’s not just that Facebook is free. It’s the ease of use, the addictive nature, the ability to share and discuss and talk back. Facebook doesn’t drop 56 ad trackers on your computer and then crash every browser you own. If you sign into Facebook it doesn’t reject your login six times and then ask you to re-register and then start a free trial and then enter your billing information and then double-charge you and then send your receipt to the wrong e-mail address and then ask you to reset your password and then tell you you already used that password in the past five years and if you’d like to chat with a customer service rep here’s a popup window you have no way to close.

Not that I’m describing in any way a real newspaper. That rhymes with Schmibune.

(This is, by the way, not a defense of Facebook. It’s a defense of websites working like they should.)

If newspapers, which do not understand the business of newspapers, understood the business of online news they’d make something easy, reliable, valuable, and integrate micro-purchases in-app and curate a comments section that isn’t a trash fire of elderly InfoWars veterans throwing hamburger wrappers at each other.

The newspapers that have managed online subscriptions and web content well — NYT, the Post — have done that. It’s your local Gannett/Lee Newspapers chain paper that hasn’t, and that’s where most people feel the lack. It’s also from whence the most epic journalistic whining about Facebook and Twitter come.

More time and attention spent examining the aspects of alternative platforms that users (customers) enjoy and emulating those things would pay off in ways shitting all over social media never will.

A.

Rise Up

We forget, all the time, what we’re capable of.

How often, how many times a day, do we tell ourselves won’t, can’t, doesn’t? How many times do we say inevitable, impossible, never?

And then a girl stands in front of the whole world and she shakes their windows and she rattles their walls.

Do you know what it takes to hold a stage, to hold a crowd in your hands, for even one minute? To have them breathing with you, every indrawn breath yours to control? There are veterans of Broadway who can’t do that, not on nights when they’re visited by God himself.

I get the cynicism. I get the fear. I get the worry that somebody else will succeed where we’ve failed and I get the shame that drives us to push that away and I don’t care about any of it anymore, I reject it wholeheartedly, I shaven’t it, you can see what I see. Something happened there and when the world brings you a moment like that you thank God you were alive to witness it and you put your feet flat on the ground and you stand up.

We have been telling these children stories, telling ourselves stories, all our lives about those who rise above, about becoming heroes, about fighting back, and we’re still so astonished, almost offended, when someone listens. You told me I could be anything, so I became, and you don’t believe? How dare we?

We have eight months, and then the rest of our lives. Listen to that silence, and I don’t want to know you if you don’t hear the roar.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Caravan

The Egg by Tarsila do Amaral.

We suffered from weather whiplash in New Orleans this week. It was 84 degrees on Monday within 36 hours the temperature had dropped 40 degrees. My, my, my.

It’s election day in next door Jefferson Parish where they’re about to elect a new Sheriff. Long-time incumbent Newell Normand resigned last summer to become a talk radio big mouth. I don’t get talk radio: the idea of listening to anyone bloviate for three hours does not float my boat. It might even sink it.

The one certainty of the race is that a Republican with an Italian name will be elected. Interim Sheriff Joe Lopinto was anointed by Normand who, in turn, was anointed by the late Harry Lee. His opponent, John Fortunato, was the department spokescop for many years. He’s best known for bringing Steven Seagal and his crappy reality cop show, Lawman, to Jefferson Parish.

If Lopinto wins, it may be down to an error made on live teevee by Fortunato. He said that he’d support pervy parish President Mike Yenni about whom I’ve written in this space. Oopsie. He changed his mind but the damage was done. This ad tying the unfortunate Fortunato to Yenni has been running constantly this week:

It’s a powerful job and Lopinto has momentum as the campaign winds down. Winning the election could be a guarantee of lifelong employment: Lopinto is only the fourth Sheriff since 1964.

Welcome to Disambiguation City with this week’s theme song. (It’s not far from Sufragette City. Wham, bam, thank you m’am.) We have three different songs titled Caravan for your listening pleasure. I give you in chronological order: Duke Ellington, Van Morrison with The Band, and Todd Rundgren and Utopia.

Now that we’ve ridden across Eastern Europe with a Romany/Gypsy caravan, it’s time to jump to the break. Happy landings.

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March Madness On The Potomac

Yesterday’s septuagenarian smackdown was just a prelude to the crazy that was March 22, 2018. Mark the day, it was when it became obvious that the president* has decided to entrust his political and legal fate as well as our national security to his gut impulses. 

For the better part of the last month, Donald Trump has been winging it. His standoff with his chief of staff, John Kelly, appears to be resolved for the time being, with Trump having decided to return to the seat-of-the-pants decision-making that he believes won him the presidency. That doesn’t mean he has fully given up the idea of firing Kelly, though. One outside adviser to the White House said Trump has recently mulled the concept of creating a new West Wing structure without a chief of staff, one that would instead have four co-equal principals reporting directly to him. Trump seems to be loving his new freedom. “He was fucking excited and jubilant,” said one Trump friend who spoke to him in recent days. “He was like, everything’s great and these fuckers in the media are beside themselves.”

Everything’s great? Who knew? I certainly didn’t. This is what happens when the dumbest guy in the room thinks he the smartest.

All presidents live inside a bubble but for Trumpy to think everything’s great as the Mueller probe closes in, Stephanie/Stormy is slated to appear on 60 Minutes on Sunday, and he maniacally fires people is crazy even for him. The March madness mantra at the White House is let Trump be Trump.

John Dowd is out as Trump’s personal lawyer to be replaced by a married pair of Fox News contributors and the possible return of Marc Kasowitz. It’s the legal equivalent of going to the mattresses and preparing for a PR war against the Special Counsel and his crack team. In contrast, Trump’s team is full of crackpots. Believe me.

I’ll miss mocking Dowdy, which is why I’m posting this Separated at Birth-style tweet:

There’s nothing funny about Thursday’s other big news. The McMaster baiting finally ended and he was fired. His replacement is the war monger’s war monger, John Bolton. Trump purportedly decided not to give Bolton a job before this because he didn’t like his mustache. I am not making any of this up. I wish I were, but March madness is in the air.

The Bolton appointment is a reminder of how bad the Bush Junior administration was. Bolton and his mustache came to public prominence during the Beavis-Duce years. He was unconfirmable as UN ambassador and was given a recess appointment. At the UN, he alienated friends, poured gasoline on fires, and made Dick Cheney look like a peacenik.

Bolton has inverted the Churchillian aphorism to “better war, war, war than jaw, jaw, jaw.” He makes John McCain look like George McGovern.

Long-time readers know that I’m usually a glass half full kind of guy. The Bolton appointment makes that well-nigh impossible. Bolton never met a war that he didn’t like or a treaty that he didn’t want to tear up. The Iran nuclear deal is dead and war with Iran is more than just Bibi Netanyahu’s wet dream. It’s a possibility.

The Trump presidency* seems to have reached its Hitler in the bunker moment. It’s March madness on the Potomac writ large. The ascendancy of Bolton and Pompeo means that the country is fucked unless Trump decides to ignore their advice in the same way he’s ignored the so-called national security “grown-ups.” That means we’re subject to the whims of the Kaiser of Chaos, which is not a place any of us wants to be.

The last word goes to the usually calm national security/foreign policy writer Fred Kaplan:

 

Friday Catblogging: Stretching

Paul Drake is a long cat who likes to stretch out, especially when food is involved,

 

First Draft Potpourri: Carrey On, Wayward Sons

There’s something about Surrealist art that fits our moment in time. Surrealism came of age during the 1920’s and ’30’s in Europe. They were crazy times with rampant political instability after what one historian called The Fall of Eagles, I’d call it the overthrow of stupid hereditary monarchies who lost the Great War. Of course, what followed was worse: Nazism in Germany and Bolshevism in Russia. Things can always get worse, y’all. They can also get better. It’s why I’m a political surrealist nowadays. It’s a survival tactic.

Surrealism was not an overtly political movement: there were right-wing surrealists-Dali and di Chirico-and left-wing surrealists such as Max Ernst who came to America as a political refugee from Nazi Germany. That’s a long-winded explanation for why I’ve used an Ernst collage as the featured art for this feature in the past, and today am using a Magritte painting that I’ve nicknamed the Dumbbell Caveman, which is perfect for the Current Occupant. Believe me.

I should apologize for going down that rabbit hole but I enjoyed it too much to grovel in the gravel as it were. Or was it a Bungle In The Jungle? Now that we’ve reached daylight, let’s get on with it. We begin by kinda sorta explaining the post title.

Carrey On, Wayward Son: I’ll explain the plural “sons” in the next segment. Jim Carrey won the tweeter tube this week. The boneless comedian turns out to be a pretty good artist: human toon as cartoonist. His caricature of dread White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, raised some hackles on the right:

Carrey captured Huck’s horrible spawn’s inner ugliness quite well. Wingnuts and the flying monkeys of the right were not amused. Fuck them sideways, they’re the ones who are forever commenting on people’s appearances.

Speaking of flying monkeys:

It’s a pity that the body politic can’t melt its way out of this mess. Alas, Trumpy still has the ruby slippers on or, in his case, the overlong red tie. I guess Fred Trump was too busy practicing housing discrimination to teach Donald how to tie a necktie. Dude, it’s way too long and points at your teeny tiny weenie. Not a good look.

Before ending this segment, let’s take a trip to Kansas:

I always thought the title of this tune was Carry On My Wayward Son. My, my, my. Unlike the Insult Comedian, I learn something new every day. My, my, my.

It’s time to explain the plural “sons” in the post title, as if anyone but me gives a shit. Hint: it involves the Biden-Trump mishigas. They’re the wayward sons in question. My, my, my.

Septuagenarian Smackdown: The president* was in full-tilt WWE wrestling villain mode this morning in response to comments by former Veep Joe Biden:

The most amusing aspect of this stupid spat is that the Failing New York Times covered it in vintage Gray Lady fashion:

Mr. Biden, speaking at a University of Miami rally to combat sexual assault, said, “A guy who ended up becoming our national leader said, ‘I can grab a woman anywhere and she likes it,’ ” according to an Associated Press report. Mr. Biden was referring to an Access Hollywood audio recording in which Mr. Trump is heard boasting about kissing and groping women without their consent. Mr. Biden continued, “If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.”

The back-and-forth blustering between two men in their 70s comes a day after Mr. Trump criticized two of his predecessors, Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, for not being able to improve relations with Russia. And Mr. Trump is facing revived sexual misconduct accusations after a New York state judge ruled that a defamation lawsuit from a woman who has said Mr. Trump made unwanted sexual advances could go forward.

Remember when the right-wing media called Barack Obama’s tan summer suit unpresidential? Not only is this tirade unpresidential, it’s straight out of Dumb and Dumber  or is that Stupid and Stupider?

It’s not exactly presidential for Joey the Shark to talk about opening a can of whoop ass on Trumpy but he’s *our* grumpy old man. I guess that makes him Jack Lemmon. That means Walter Matthau is Trump. I’d like to apologize to the late actor’s family for that analogy. Perhaps I can make up for that by re-posting this image from The Sunshine Boys:

Speaking of unvicepresidential, this 1976 picture of Nelson Rockefeller still floats my boat:

I believe the MSM referred to this as an “untoward gesture.” Rocky was flipping off right-wing hecklers.  And now we have a cartoon villain for president* who panders to the folks who hated his fellow wealthy New Yorker. Oy, just oy.

Let’s circle back to my wee essay on Surrealist artists and give Paul Simon, Rene and Georgette Magritte and their dog the last word:

But A Very Classy Vassal

vassal_liege_600

Really, one of the best. Believe me, many people are saying this.

Actually, many people are once again speculating on just what might be in a Putin/Russian-held Trump dossier…because liege turns (on a dime) into lackey when Vlad’s the subject.

The former C.I.A. director John Brennan pulled no punches on Wednesday when he was asked why President Trump had congratulated his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, for his victory in a rigged election, even after Mr. Trump’s national security staff warned him not to.

“I think he’s afraid of the president of Russia,” Mr. Brennan said, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, of the phone call on Tuesday between the two presidents. “The Russians, I think, have had long experience with Mr. Trump and may have things they could expose.”

The possibility that Mr. Putin could have some hold on the American president has lurked in the background over the past year as Mr. Trump displayed a mystifying affection for the Russian leader and ignored or excused his aggressive behavior and nefarious activities, most important, his interference in the 2016 campaign, a subject of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

What’s the line? Is is irresponsible to speculate? It is irresponsible not to.

Pee tape? Who knows? But they’ve likely propped up the rat’s nest that comprise Trump’s assets enough to own him outright…while Stormy Daniels et al have plenty to say when it comes to the salacious stuff.

And I can’t believe either/both are…topics of serious discussion in the political press. Goddamn.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Kiss My Assassin

Same book, same title, dueling assassins. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was wildly popular when Rod Gray came up with The Lady From L.U.S.T. series. Knocked off is more like it, but when could I resist a punny title?