Monthly Archives: May 2018

Not Everything Sucks, Farming Edition

At my ‘hood’s Farmer’s Market recently Kick and I spent half an hour talking bees with this organization, which manages hives all over the West Side of Chicago and makes delicious honey. I thought of that when I read this story: 

Brown formed a partnership with Boe Luther and Wallace Kirby, two gardeners from Ward 7 who started Hustlaz 2 Harvesters to offer people released from incarceration ways out of poverty into urban agriculture careers and other social enterprises. Brown, a certified master composter for the city, helped Luther and Kirby transform an empty lot into the Dix Street community garden as part of an urban agricultural initiative called Soilful City.

Only 1 in 10 Americans eats the daily recommendation of fruits and vegetables, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and people living in poverty have especially low rates of consumption of fresh produce. Access to healthy produce is difficult in low-income communities like Clay Terrace, because major chain supermarkets are reluctant to locate their stores there. Ward 7 has only one large grocery store, and that means the people who live there have a harder time obtaining more fruits and vegetables to help reduce cardiovascular risk.

Yet Brown, Luther, and Kirby believe the community can grow its way out of food scarcity through the Dix Street garden and similar projects. They say crops that were staples of their African ancestors’ diets hold an essential key to restoring the community’s health.

“It’s not just about vegetables—we’re building a new way to rebuild neighborhoods,” Brown says.

People are trying to save each other every damn day. Don’t forget that.

A.

WRT Mueller

Just a quick note on the savior of the Republic.

Look. I am as susceptible as anyone to Twitter outrage over whatever Mueller’s found today that incriminates Trump and everyone around him. However, I want everyone to understand that a Republican Congress is not going to impeach Donald. Under no circumstances. The four loud Never Trumpers aren’t enough here, especially since they don’t back up their talk-show bullshit with votes.

November is all that matters. It’s ALL that matters. Even that might not be enough, but you gotta check some of his bullshit and Congress is the only way to do that. The courts are one Supreme away from being lost forever. If we want to stop Trump it’s gonna happen in the Capitol and in state houses across the country so buckle up and register some goddamn voters.

Yes, it’s an outrage (whatever it is we’ve found today, I dunno, I haven’t checked in 30 seconds or so) and yes, it’s fun to pop the corn. I’m not saying I ain’t drinking champagne on indictment day. But remember Fitzmas, remember Scooter Libby, and keep your eye on the fucking ball.

A.

Stupid Watergate Goes Postal

I try not to write about the same things as Athenae BUT a bloggers gotta do what a bloggers gotta do. Besides, I’m coming at the fake billionaire president* versus real billionaire publisher smackdown from a different angle, and this post title was too good to waste. I, too, am a grudge-holder but I’d prefer a Coke Zero button on my desk to a Diet Coke one any day. That may be a distinction without a difference but there you have it. Btw, I still don’t think my favorite soda pop tastes different now that it’s been rebranded as Coke Zero Sugar. It’s soda spin as far as I’m concerned: pop goes the marketing weasel.

In case I’ve confused you more than usual, I’m talking about the Insult Comedian’s harebrained scheme to screw Amazon by changing their postal rates. He and Melania seem to have a reverse Ricky and Lucy thing going on. He has the crazy ideas, she has the thick accent. It’s unknown if she ever sings Babalu.

Trumpy even called in the Postmaster General who tried to explain that she doesn’t have the power to unilaterally change rates or cancel contracts:

President Trump has personally pushed U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan to double the rate the Postal Service charges Amazon.com and other firms to ship packages, according to three people familiar with their conversations, a dramatic move that probably would cost these companies billions of dollars.

Brennan has so far resisted Trump’s demand, explaining in multiple conversations occurring this year and last that these arrangements are bound by contracts and must be reviewed by a regulatory commission, the three people said. She has told the president that the Amazon relationship is beneficial for the Postal Service and gave him a set of slides that showed the variety of companies, in addition to Amazon, that also partner for deliveries.

This president* doesn’t do process. I suspect he recalls his father Fred talking about his dealings with the Post Office back when it was a patronage spigot under FDR’s man Jim Farley. That changed in the 1970’s. Trump is usually stuck in the Eighties so this is at least a slightly different form of malakatude. I imagine him straightening his weave and saying in his best Archie Bunker voice: “My foddah told me about dis here t’ing.”

Once again we’re in Stupid Watergate territory. Nixon infamously tried to use the IRS to screw his enemies. He had John Dean hand the enemies list to the IRS commissioner who proceeded to sit on it. Nixon was not a fucking moron so he acted through intermediaries instead of doing the dirty work himself. Trump is still worse than Nixon. He’s always been stupider.

I’m not sure where Trump fits on the George W. Bush bad president scale because he hasn’t started a war or crashed the economy yet. He has, however, politicized the Justice Department and CIA just like the president who many are trying to rehabilitate. Just say no to that, y’all, just say no.

The last word goes to Rachel Maddow with a brilliant segment from her May 18th show. Rachel may not call Trump’s latest fakakta idea Stupid Watergate, but she places it in the proper historical context.

 

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – A quick one while I’m away edition

Won’t lie, folks – I’m more than a little burnt out. I hear that garbage collectors can go home and scrub and scrub and even burn their clothes, but the stench clings to them like a bill collector.

The stench from diving into Free Republic every week has started to cling to me to the extent that I walked down the aisle in Wally World, and fourteen thong-displaying customers fell over.

One brief thread below the “continue reading”, but first, a rant from the righteous dude The Red State Rustler which pretty much sums it all up:

“I haven’t posted lately because I’m in a bit of a funk about the sorry state of things in this twisted up, smoldering wreck of a country I used to love. Trump and his petty goon squad of hateful miscreants, buttlickers, grifters, whiners and walleyed lying liars has left me pissed off and honestly sort of paralyzed. It’s just tedious to mock this shit, over and over and over again, because the things that are happening right now are shocking and shameful and sad, not funny.

I don’t think it’s funny that every other word that spills out of Trump’s sneering hamburger hole is a lie. I don’t think it’s funny that Sarah Huckafuck wakes up every morning, spackles a human face over her true reptilian form, puts on her pearls and prepares to kick the press in the nuts again. I don’t think it’s funny that Rudy Giuliani is explaining away Trump’s crimes like he’s reading from the “Choose Your Own Adventure” book of legal strategy. (OK, I guess that’s actually kind of funny.)

The North Korea situation isn’t funny. The Israeli-Palestinian situation isn’t funny. Collusion isn’t funny. The hostilities unleashed in this country toward immigrants isn’t funny. The environmental sodomy, the tax “reform,” the healthcare horrorshow, the dumbing down of literally every federal department – not funny. The endless insults, the pot shots, the misinformation, the spin, the half truths, the none-truths and the obvious, refutable lies – none of this is fucking funny.

Not to mention that with the subtlety of an ice bucket challenge, we’ve all suddenly been forced to wake up and realize that roughly half of this country is made up of people who are either too proud to admit they’re morally bankrupt or too stupid to know what that means. It’s an ice bucket challenge for the soul of our democracy, and the outcome is still undecided.

“But we need to come together and find common ground,” they say. Sure. They can look for some up my ass.

It’s impossible to respect the other side when the other side is comprised of a frothy mix of anti-intellectuals, torch-waving nationalists and witless workaday bumpkins all controlled by a handful of string-pullers at the very top who sit on their piles of money and convince the rest of the lot to march into the voting booth in Nowheresville, Craptucky and punch themselves in their own faces until they fall down dead.

It’s really hard to capture this shit in a meme, is what I’m saying.

I’ll get back to writing jokes very soon. I’ve just needed a short break from the newspapers and the press briefings and the bonfire consuming our government. It’s depressing and exhausting, and I want Mueller to take down this bastard and his entire criminal empire so I can sleep again.

And now, a quickie:

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Why I Shouldn’t Be President

If I became president I would TOTALLY INSTALL A DIET COKE BUTTON ON THE RESOLUTE DESK.

Guys, this is like the only part of Trump — besides his clowning on Ted Cruz — that makes any sense to me. I would install a Diet Coke button and a button that brings me chips and salsa, and I would have someone every day at 3 come in and give me a phone full of kitten videos and then I would use the full faith and credit of the United States to screw with everyone who was mean to me in college.

I am a petty, vindictive bitch who doesn’t so much hold grudges as cuddle them lovingly and tell them they’re pretty.

Like, yes, theoretically, the Constitution and shit, but there are places I’d like to send the 82nd Airborne and if they work for me, sorry Wrigley Field, you’ve had a good run. The IRS is gonna be all up in the grill of certain historically conservative publications and I won’t feel bad about it at all. Congress gets upset, they can impeach me, the cowardly bastards.

WHICH IS EXACTLY WHY I SHOULDN’T BE PRESIDENT JESUS TITS.

I mean come on: 

Now, according to four sources close to the White House, Trump is discussing ways to escalate his Twitter attacks on Amazon to further damage the company. “He’s off the hook on this. It’s war,” one source told me. “He gets obsessed with something, and now he’s obsessed with Bezos,” said another source. “Trump is like, how can I fuck with him?”

According to sources, Trump wants the Post Office to increase Amazon’s shipping costs. When Trump previously discussed the idea inside the White Hose, Gary Cohn had explained that Amazon is a benefit to the Postal Service, which has seen mail volume plummet in the age of e-mail. “Trump doesn’t have Gary Cohn breathing down his neck saying you can’t do the Post Office shit,” a Republican close to the White House said. “He really wants the Post Office deal renegotiated. He thinks Amazon’s getting a huge fucking deal on shipping.”

This is why you don’t elect petty, vindictive, venal little bitches to be president of the United States. When you’re a CEO, you can do things like visit unspeakable acts upon those who bother you. If you wanna run a workplace where you hide dead fish in the desks of your rivals you go ahead and you do that. You find competitive advantages and you use them, and then you find ways to punish people for screwing with you, and you use those, too.

I’m not telling anybody running a business not to be ruthless about it. The high road is for snipers.

This is why the United States isn’t a business and the president isn’t a CEO. We keep electing these clowns (see Rauner, Bruce and Fitzgerald, Peter) who claim they can just yell government into submission with the magic powers of their business voices, or something. Like the problems must be easy to solve, and lazy politicians just don’t want to solve them. That’s it!

And then they get into power and the legislative branch says okay honey, go play with your Diet Coke button and let us do the real work, and these CEOs get all flummoxed. Yelling at the interns worked so well at Corporation X! Why won’t these junior congressmen from Utah do what I want? Why can’t I call in the National Guard if somebody bugs me? I was told I was now the most powerful man in the world!

Yeah, you’re not. And the junior congressmen from Utah don’t work for you. At best they work for their crabby, disaffected voters and at worst they work for themselves, and they, too, want a Diet Coke button someday.

I know I do.

A.

Not Everything Sucks, Even in Prison

This is the world: 

Seven days a week, the workers pull 10- to 15-hour shifts, often longer. It’s one of the lowest paid jobs available, making just 15 to 32 cents an hour. They brush patients’ teeth, massage sore limbs, read books out loud, strip soiled mattresses and assist the medical staff. Trust is a rare currency in prison, and some patients whisper conspiracies that the hospice doctors and nurses prioritize the interests of the criminal-justice system over their well-being. The workers can serve as the trusted middlemen between the patients and medical staff. When patients are in their final hours, it is the workers who sit bedside, holding round-the-clock vigils. They pride themselves on their policy: No prisoner here dies alone.

People have a phenomenal capacity for kindness and courage, and we underestimate that just all the goddamn time.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: One Week

Asheville by Willem de Kooning

I’ve mentioned the celestial switch that heralds summer heat in New Orleans. It switched on this week. Yowza. We’ve had record heat almost every day, followed by torrential rain yesterday.  Yowza. We’ve even had the odd afternoon brown-out as the utility company struggles to keep up with demand or so they say. Entergy doesn’t have a lot of credibility after they astroturfed a meeting at which the city council voted on a new power plant for the company. In short, they padded the room with paid actors. They blamed a sub-contractor but nobody’s buying it.

In other local news, two of my friends, Will Samuels, and blog pun consultant, James Karst, had parts on the season finale of NCIS: New Orleans. In honor of their appearance on this fakakta show, we have pictures.

Will is the gent in the shades. He usually wears Hawaiian shirts so I almost didn’t recognize him.

They actually let Karst hold a prop gun. I gotta say he looks like a proper Feeb, skinny tie and all. He’s even in a scene with series regular CCH Pounder best known to me as Claudette on The Shield.

This week’s theme song, One Week, was a monster hit for Barenaked Ladies  in 1998. We have two versions for your consideration. The original video followed by a clip wherein the band reunited with former co-lead singer, Steven Page earlier this year. BNL performed a medley of One Week and If I Had A Million Dollars.

It’s time to count this week’s receipts while we jump to the break. They’re considerably less than a million dollars.

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The Americans Thread: Only Human

There are only two episodes remaining in the final season of The Americans. The episodes keep getting more and more intense. The Summit was the best installment thus far. It contained a major plot development that surprised even me and I’m watching closely. We’ll get to that after the spoiler break.

It’s odd that the show runners haven’t used any Todd Rundgren, with or without Utopia, songs over the course of the series. (I googled it and couldn’t find any without going down an epic rabbit hole. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.) It’s time to rectify that with what amounts to a theme song for this recap.

I’ll explain Only Human‘s relevance after the spoiler break; even if the post is a day late, I know not everyone was watched The Summit yet. Here’s a hint: Gorbachev is the chap in the fedora, the better to hide the splotch on his head.

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Friday Catblogging: Paul Drake Meets Luna

Paul Drake is a remarkably tolerant boy. He’s the first cat we’ve ever had who doesn’t immediately hide from small children. My little buddy Ryan came over to help me with some stereo issues not long ago. He brought his almost 3-year-old daughter Luna along to hang out with Dr. A , PD, and a Krewe D’Etat bone.

It’s a two-part series that begins with a toddler/giant kitten stare down followed by Luna posing for Dr. A. Nice tutu, kiddo.

Thanks to Ryan and Jennifer for okaying Luna’s First Draft debut.

The whole plastic bone thing has given me an earworm:

From The Department of the Patently Obvious

trump_stromy_check_screen

Not exactly news, but yeah, she got paid, he knew she got paid…oh, and he openly lied about it. Which also isn’t exactly news , i.e., he’s a compulsive liar, but what is kind of…no, not weird, but troubling…is how the media is normalizing all this.

Adrastos cites Driftglass for “Stupid Watergate,” and it certainly is a case of history if not repeating then rhyming (as well as being both tragedy and farce). The obviousness of it all, the insistence of both the media and law enforcement to tread carefully (because, IOKIYAR — you can be certain if a Democrat showed one one thousandth of this degree of corruption…), the sad laments of people like Brian “where-are-the-Republican-heroes?” Williams, the high-handed pious pronouncements from Ghouliani and Pence that one year is enough and for the good of the country let’s put it all behind us…about all that’s missing right now is a smoking gun (in the form of a pee tape? Ugh) that can’t be dismissed as insufficient…though given the shamelessness of this administration — and an elite media that’s more interested in gossip and entertainment than journalism (now that I think of it, a pee tape — ugh — would likely be little more than fodder for the likes of Hannity and Geraldo)…

But it’s not just the corruption, which itself is beyond even Nixonian epic. Quite a bit of institutional rot is being exposed, and yeah, these are dangerous times.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Hell Crowds My Guns

It’s time for some Western pulpiness.

Tom Wolfe, R.I.P.

Tom Wolfe died Monday. It was his 88th birthday. The reason Wolfe was such a great reporter and novelist was that he was an acute observer of people. He was not interested in people who were just like him. His interests lay in telling the stories of quirky people in wildly different walks of life in his uniquely zippy prose style. For example, he had little in common with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters but he preserved their spirit for the ages. This quote captures his spirit of literary adventure:

“To me, the great joy of writing is discovering. Most writers are told to write about what they know, but I still love the adventure of going out and reporting on things I don’t know about.”

Reading all the tributes reminded me of how Wolfe’s vivid and lively prose influenced me as a writer. There’s a major exception. I hate exclamation points and Wolfe oversalted his writing with them:

“People complain about my exclamation points, but I honestly think that’s the way people think. I don’t think people think in essays; it’s one exclamation point to another.”

Since his stuff had the right stuff, it was easy for me to forgive the wild punctuation. Wolfe not only delivered the goods, he always made me laugh. His book titles were as amusingly flamboyant as his punctuation: The Electric Kool-Aid Acid TestRadical Chic & Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers, From Bauhaus To Our House, and his fictional masterpiece, The Bonfire of the Vanities.

Wolfe’s politics listed to the center right but he was a satirist and iconoclast, not an ideologue. He was a natural-born contrarian, if there was a conventional wisdom on a subject, he mocked it. Even his clothing reflected his worldview:

But as an unabashed contrarian, he was almost as well known for his attire as his satire. He was instantly recognizable as he strolled down Madison Avenue — a tall, slender, blue-eyed, still boyish-looking man in his spotless three-piece vanilla bespoke suit, pinstriped silk shirt with a starched white high collar, bright handkerchief peeking from his breast pocket, watch on a fob, faux spats and white shoes. Once asked to describe his get-up, Mr. Wolfe replied brightly, “Neo-pretentious.”

Wolfe got his start as a magazine writer, primarily for New York Magazine. I first read The Right Stuff when it was serialized in Rolling Stone Magazine. I recall eagerly awaiting the arrival of each issue to get the straight poop on the Mercury astronauts. It made me feel like a throwback to the days of Trollope, Dickens, and Zola who published their major works in the same way. Speaking of Zola, here’s what Wolfe had to say about the fierce French realist:

My idol is Emile Zola. He was a man of the left, so people expected of him a kind of ‘Les Miserables,’ in which the underdogs are always noble people. But he went out, and found a lot of ambitious, drunk, slothful and mean people out there. Zola simply could not – and was not interested in – telling a lie.

It’s odd to have had so much fun researching a tribute to a recently dead writer but I had a blast visiting quote web sites and reading some of Wolfe’s tastiest bon mots. It’s made easier by the fact that the man lived such a long, eventful, and witty life. As a close friend of mine observed after attending his elderly grandmother’s funeral, “That was the period at the end of the sentence. You only use an exclamation point when it’s someone who was too young to die.”

I’m not certain that Tom Wolfe would agree with that sentiment but I’m writing this piece, not him. He does, however, get the last word. Make that last words.

We begin this section with some pithy quotes, followed by short excerpts from some of Wolfe’s major works:

“If a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged, a liberal is a conservative who’s been arrested.”

“I have never knowingly, I swear to God, written satire. The word connotes exaggeration of the foibles of mankind. To me, mankind just has foibles. You don’t have to push it!”

“The problem with fiction, it has to be plausible. That’s not true with non-fiction.”

“A cult is a religion with no political power.”

“We are all of us doomed to spend our lives watching a movie of our lives – we are always acting on what has just finished happening.”
― The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

“Sir Gerald Moore: I was at dinner last evening, and halfway through the pudding, this four-year-old child came alone, dragging a little toy cart. And on the cart was a fresh turd. Her own, I suppose. The parents just shook their heads and smiled. I’ve made a big investment in you, Peter. Time and money, and it’s not working. Now, I could just shake my head and smile. But in my house, when a turd appears, we throw it out. We dispose of it. We flush it away. We don’t put it on the table and call it caviar.”
― The Bonfire of the Vanities

“Le Corbusier was the sort of relentlessly rational intellectual that only France loves wholeheartedly, the logician who flies higher and higher in ever-decreasing concentric circles until, with one last, utterly inevitable induction, he disappears up his own fundamental aperture and emerges in the fourth dimension as a needle-thin umber bird.”
― From Bauhaus to Our House

“A persistent case of the bingos was enough to wash a man out of night carrier landings. That did not mean you were finished as a Navy pilot. It merely meant that you were finished so far as carrier ops were concerned, which meant that you were finished so far as combat was concerned, which meant you were no longer in the competition, no longer ascending the pyramid, no longer qualified for the company of those with the right stuff.”
― The Right Stuff

That concludes a tribute with more exclamation points than a year’s worth of Adrastos posts. It was a sacrifice well worth making. In his quirky, contrarian, white-suited way, Tom Wolfe had the right stuff. He will be missed.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Food Glorious Food

These are dark days because of you know who doing you know what. It calls for comic relief that has bupkis to do with politics. I went in search of comic relief and found some goofy food oriented album covers at a “food culture” web site, Ateriet. That’s right, the food fight theme kinda sorta continues.

Initially, I thought the covers would feature yogurt or cheese since culture was involved. Instead they involve canned goods, Hawaiian food, and a space age weenie roast. Two of the covers are from obscure to me artists and the last one is one of the worst covers from a major band that I can think of. It flat-out sucks.

We begin with a soupy cover from the jazz pianist Roy Meriwether. I’m not sure why the table is set with a knife and fork. I don’t know about you, but I usually eat soup with a spoon. Perhaps jazz soup is different somehow.

The minute I saw the Gerhard Polt album, I nearly did a spit take. It turns out that Herr Polt is a well-known Bavarian satirist, which means that my reaction to the cover was appropriate. I almost made a joke about not knowing that there were German satirists but thought better  of it. What’s funnier than a head on a plate of food, after all?

Finally, Live It Up by CSN. What can I say about this cover? It looks like the Krewe of Spank’s dirty weiner drop game. I bet it was David Crosby’s idea: he’s full of them and it.

 

Color Blindness

I remember the first time Kick directly identified someone’s race. It wasn’t long ago. I’d waved to a neighbor through the window while we were having breakfast and she asked who I was waving at.

“Mr. M-, honey. He’s out in his yard.”

She turned, waved to him, and asked, “He’s a black man, right?”

“Right,” I said, trying to within three seconds identify if her intonation implied she thought this was a negative, something to be afraid of, something to mock, that would need to be corrected. It sounded neutral, a descriptive, the way she’d say the baby next door was a boy or Grandma has brown hair.

She’s been around families of any number of races and ethnic backgrounds since she was born, and while she’d noticed differences — that man is tall, that woman has curly hair — she’d never before asked if someone was black or Hispanic or Asian. We’ve read books about Rosa Parks and Ella Fitzgerald and Maya Angelou, about Frida Kahlo, and most recent children’s books include depictions of children of color, though fewer of them as protagonists than they should.

It’s not enough that she has a diverse environment and lives and learns with students of all races, when in our house we’re all so Caucasian as to be nearly transparent. There are still conversations to be had, about why Rosa Parks couldn’t sit at the front of the bus, or why people were mean to Maya Angelou, or what we are protesting next Saturday, or what someone down the street said to someone else.

White parents don’t get to be lazy about marking and honoring the differences between people, not when so many people use those differences to divide. Not when kids notice EVERYTHING, all the time, including how we talk about people of other races when we think they aren’t listening.

That morning, Kick was attacking her toaster waffle with gusto and I’m not sure was paying much attention to my subsequent explanation that Mr. M- has a skin color people call black even though it’s more of a dark brown, and we have a skin color people call white even though it’s more pink. By the time I got to the part about how skin color can be passed down in families sometimes but not always, she was off playing with My Little Ponies and I was basically lecturing to the cats. Race Conscious has good advice but it doesn’t always track with a 4-year-old’s attention span.

What talks do you remember having with your parents about race, and what did they tell you?

A.

I Should Feel Good and I Don’t

No matter how many NYT op-eds get run slobbing the knobs of every Trump voter in existence, they are gonna tell you how much liberals hate them, and you can’t argue with that: 

I agree that Nancy Pelosi probably shouldn’t spend her days going on MSNBC and calling conservative voters stupid racist shitwhistles.

Also Nancy Pelosi does not do that. Nor do the liberal hosts on MSNBC as far as I am aware of. Nor does anyone except cranky people on twitter (in the old days this was cranky people on blogs, but blogs don’t exist anymore).

It’s absolutely immaterial whether Nancy Pelosi hates conservative voters or not. She probably doesn’t, because she probably doesn’t think about them all that hard, which just pisses them off more.

We keep engaging with the substance of their criticism. “Liberals hate us!” And we rush to reassure them, like that’s going to make a difference, like they’re engaging with real people and not the versions of us they keep to chatter at them in their heads.

Because they hate themselves. They live beset with fear that they are inferior and small, like all of us, and greedy little hucksters like Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch, Robert Mercer and Donald Trump have always known how to prey on such people. So telling them you really do love them, you really do, and there aren’t many liberals out there who hate them, if any at all, won’t convince them of anything.

After all, we’re secretly laughing at them, and so of course that’s what somebody secretly laughing at you would say.

You can’t argue with paranoia, nor with those addicted to it. They’re crackheads for the Fox News vision of the world and who they are in it, and you don’t argue a crackhead out of their crackheadery. You try to get them into rehab, and for sure you stop giving them money, but you don’t genuinely expect them to listen to your well-reasoned argument that crack is bad and they should stop smoking it for lunch and make a rational decision based on listening.

And we think Trump is rock bottom for them. We have no idea how far down this goes.

A.

The Latest Etiquette Food Fight

You’ve surely all heard about the latest Trump administration controversy. There was a leak of a bad “joke” by a communications staffer, Kelly Sadler, who said that what John McCain thought about the Haspel nomination was irrelevant because “he’s dying anyway.” The national knickers immediately went into a twist because of this latest example of bad manners by Team Trump. Hence the post title.

Here’s the real question about the latest etiquette food fight: why is anyone surprised and why should anyone expect an apology from an administration headed by the vulgarian-in-chief? There’s a reason I call the president* the Insult Comedian: he spends most of his time saying and doing horrible things. It’s contagious and has spread down the chain of command like herpes. This isn’t the first time someone on Team Trump has violated the unwritten rules of human decency and it won’t be the last. But this isn’t even close to the worst thing they’ve said or, more importantly, done.

Let me make it clear: I don’t think it’s funny to mock a dying man. It’s beyond gauche, but it’s nothing compared to past things said on the record by Republicans about *another* war hero as these tweets from Athenae in response to Steve Schmidt made clear:

This exchange pinpoints one of the problems with Never Trump Republicans such as Schmidt and the Mittbot. They spend most of their time complaining about Trump’s manners. I agree that they’re horrible. He reminds me of an unfixed male dog marking the national living room, culminating in an exuberant dump on the rug. BUT that’s not the worst thing about this administration, it’s their policies, stupid. Watch what they do, not what they say. They lie like a shit-stained rug, after all.

Everyone seems to have forgotten that the unfunny wisecrack was prompted by McCain’s opposition to Haspel’s nomination as CIA director because of TORTURE sanctioned by Team Bush-Cheney. By all accounts, George W. Bush has good manners but he lied his way into war, crashed the economy, vilified his opponents, and generally made a mess of things. The mere fact that he knows which fork to use is irrelevant. Watch what administrations do, not what they say.

In addition to advocating the return of torture, Team Trump wants to take health care away from millions of Americans, separate immigrant children from their parents, slash disability payments, privatize the VA, destroy the EPA, and on and on and on. It’s a parade of policy horribles that most Never Trump Republicans support. Remember: Trump does not give a shit about policy, that has been sub-contracted to the hard right-wing of the GOP. That’s why “nice and polite” Paul Ryan still supports Trump: he’s furthering Ryan’s Randian agenda.

Even if the Sadler-sack communications aide apologizes, it shouldn’t matter. The etiquette food fight will go on as long as the Insult Comedian’s rude misrule continues. He may end up being replaced by “polite” Mike Pence but the rude policies will endure. Watch what they do, not what they say.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – “You sank my Blankenship!” edition

Sometimes I hate sitting on these things until the next Monday…

This is one of those times.

Two West Virginia Internal Campaign Polls Show Blankenship Narrowly Edging GOP Rivals
Weekly Standard ^ | 05/07/2018 | John McCormack

Posted on 5/7/2018, 10:04:51 AM by GIdget2004

Republicans are panicking as internal polls show Don Blankenship, a coal baron who spent time in jail for a mining disaster that killed 29 workers, surging into the lead in the West Virginia Senate GOP primary over Attorney General Patrick Morrissey and Congressman Evan Jenkins.

The results of an internal campaign poll conducted for one rival Senate campaign on Saturday and Sunday were: Blankenship 31 percent, Jenkins 28 percent, Morrissey 27 percent.

The results of another internal poll conducted Friday and Saturday were: Blankenship 28 percent, Morrissey 27 percent, Jenkins 14 percent. Two weeks earlier, the same rival campaign found Blankenship at 14 percent, Morrissey at 29 percent, and Jenkins at 26 percent.

Politico reported Saturday night that internal polling showed Blankenship surging, but the specific numbers are being reported for the first time by THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

President Donald Trump, who overwhelmingly carried the state in 2016, weighed in on Twitter Monday morning: “To the great people of West Virginia we have, together, a really great chance to keep making a big difference. Problem is, Don Blankenship, currently running for Senate, can’t win the General Election in your State…No way! Remember Alabama. Vote Rep. Jenkins or A.G. Morrisey!”

“If it’s truly a two-point race, that Trump tweet is going to make a difference,” one West Virginia Senate campaign official tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD. What explains the Blankenship surge? “The debate [Monday on Fox News] helped him because Morrissey and Jenkins did what’s kind of playing out on TV–they’re slicing each other up,” says the campaign official. “Don got to be a one-liner folksy guy.” Second, Blankenship has taken up all the news coverage in the race by labeling Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell as “cocaine Mitch” and launching racist attacks against McConnell for creating jobs for “China people.”

1 posted on 5/7/2018, 10:04:51 AM by GIdget2004
Of course, we all know how the primary turned out, but let’s not let that get in the way of a little retroactive “Be careful what you wish for” action, shall we?
To: GIdget2004

 

If Blankenship wins the primary, u can write WV off as a GOP gain.

2 posted on 5/7/2018, 10:06:25 AM by tennmountainman (“Prophet Mountainman” Predicter Of All Things RINO…for a small fee.)

But – he’s Trumpier than Trump!
To: tennmountainman

And how frustrating would that be. West Virginia has been becoming increasingly Republican in recent years. Hate to see Manchin get re-elected by default, because of a flawed GOP candidate.

WE can get snakebit so to speak, can’t we?

Well, when you do political snake-handling, you’re gonna get bit. Just sayin’…

Alabama is a strong Republican state too, yet Democrat Doug Jones won the special election there.Blog Posts

6 posted on 5/7/2018, 10:10:33 AM by Dilbert San Diego

 That’s right, readers. The BASE of the GOP has suddenly gotten all antsy about realizing that they’ve stuck the electric prod of hate into the ground, and more crazy worms than they were prepared to handle have squirmed up out of the ooze.
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That’s right. These scum-sucking pigs are suddenly nervous about their candidates abandoning their dog-whistles for foghorns.
To: GIdget2004

 

This says it all from the article:

“If Blankenship manages to win despite Trump’s opposition, it will be a strong data point for Kentucky congressman Thomas Massie’s theory that many Republican primary voters are simply “voting for the craziest son of a bitch in the race.”

7 posted on 5/7/2018, 10:12:58 AM by chuckee

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I prefer to think of it as “Peak Tea Party”.
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So – who’s responsible for this shitshow, anyway?

To: GIdget2004

Didn’t  DJT   iDJiT

FIFY.

 

carry WV by something like 70-25? If so he should be getting behind someone who can actually win in November…and do it loudly.If we can’t win WV we’re in deep poop.

8 posted on 5/7/2018, 10:13:00 AM by Gay State Conservative (You Say “White Privilege”…I Say “Protestant Work Ethic”)

TRUMP’S FAULT!!!
Stupid GOP voters!!!
43 posted on 5/7/2018, 11:01:21 AM by KavMan
STUPID GOP VOTERS’ FAULT!!!
Wait, whut?
To: tennmountainman

 

If Blankenship wins the WV GOP primary, WV will be a “sinking ship” for the Republicans. Are West Virginians that stupid? Oh, wait a minute … Wasn’t this the home of KKK Grand Klegal, Senator Robert Byrd?

9 posted on 5/7/2018, 10:13:11 AM by JME_FAN (uired to)

DEAD ROBERT BYRD’S FAULT!!!
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And, speaking of the KKK….

To: GIdget2004

I support Blankenship. Like Senator-in-Exile Roy Moore, he is a GODLY man who has been unfairly persecuted by the DEEP STATE and the ENVIRONMENTAL TERRORISTS. He is a blood and soil white warrior for the TRUMP

Is he, now?

BloodAndSoil

and speaks in the tribal REALTALK. I deem any disapproval coming from THE TRUMP – all by “unnamed sources”, y’know – to be the FAKE NEWS.

25 posted on 5/7/2018, 10:32:30 AM by Max Tactical (MAGA Style!)

Wait for it…
To: Max Tactical

I deem any disapproval coming from THE TRUMP – all by “unnamed sources”, y’know – to be the FAKE NEWS.

So a tweet posted publicly by President Trump himself is an “unnamed source” for the quote in your book?

Trollin’, trollin’, trollin’…

83 posted on 5/7/2018, 11:05:41 PM by Republican Wildcat
To: Republican Wildcat

 

Obviously hacked. THE TRUMP would say no such thing.

86 posted on 5/8/2018, 12:23:53 AM by Max Tactical (MAGA Style!)

And there ya have it.
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Continue reading at the “continue reading”….
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I Do Not Want a Grateful Child Today

Happy Mommy Martyr Day!

Sunday is Mother’s Day.  I know this because I have been to the mall three times in the past few weeks (through no fault of my own).  You can’t walk past a single shiny window without being bombarded with the certain way to make your mother happy come this Sunday morning —  BUY THIS.  Mom needs that.  IF YOU LOVE HER, YOU WILL SPEND A LOT OF MONEY ON HER.

I hate this stupid holiday. I hate the flower commercials and I hate the greeting cards and I hate the “spa day” thing and I hate the alcohol marketing, the you’re-why-Mommy-drinks little “jokes.” I hate all of it and it makes my skin crawl every year.

(I hate this holiday despite having a good mother, who cared for us and exhibited all the qualities lauded on greeting cards and in syrupy jewelry commercials: generosity, patience, kindness. I know for many of you, that’s not something that can be said, and it complicates the whole thing even more.)

Maybe it’s having lost my much-loved mother-in-law a few short weeks ago, a detonation in our lives around which the dust is still settling. More likely it’s my prickly relationship with my own motherhood, with the Mommy Wars that demand reflexive worship of childbearing without any recognition of the cost of mothering (or not mothering) in American society. I say worship because its implied adoration subtracts doubt and complication, replaces gratitude with supplicative guilt. It makes of a mother an object, to appease and to whom we atone. We direct feelings toward an implacable, unknowable, distant figure, and consider neither that figure’s motivations nor our own.

But what’s wrong with taking one day to say thank you? Nothing. Look, if your mom worked two jobs or gave you a kidney I ain’t telling you not to say thank you for that. If you were a screwup kid, and you want to apologize to your mom once a year for being an asshole, that’s one thing, as is simply wanting to say thank you and needing, I guess, a day other than every single one ending in Y to say it.

But the coercive, slavering Mother’s Day marketing — that implies children should feel ashamed of their weight in a family and try to make up for it — does nobody any honor, least of all mothers. There’s nothing wrong with taking a day to appreciate but there is something wrong with reducing motherhood to that day and nailing Mom to the cross on it.

I hear you already: You’ll understand when your daughter is older! Yeah, maybe, and then I hope you print this out and staple it to my forehead: I don’t want my child’s implied apology for the work I choose to do raising her.

It’s work. Of course it’s work. I play games when I’m tired and go to the park when I’m sick and read to her when her 5,000th request of Wheedle on the Needle bores me senseless, and I come home early for dinner when I could be out with friends. I cook endless pans of mac and cheese and cut her toast into quarters. I sign her up for soccer camp and make doctor’s appointments and ponder how she manages to rip holes in the knees of every pair of leggings she has. She’s the reason I function on six hours of sleep and eight cups of coffee and I swear to God the next time I have to remind her not to carry the cat around like he’s a feckin’ football I’m gonna lose it.

And I don’t ever even once want her to think that any of that was some noble sacrifice I made despite my heart’s desires, or think about how she was a bother or a chore or a piece of drudgery.

Because here’s the secret: We all are. Everything we do is in spite of our selfish instinct to lay on the couch and watch TV. I work hard for her and I work hard for Mr. A and for me and our friends and our families and for causes and causes and causes I care about. I work hard because I’m fecking breathing and that’s what you do. Parenting is hard work. Friendship is hard work. My two dumb cats are hard work. Love is hard work, and we do ourselves no favors by pretending it shouldn’t be.

Half of adult misery is waiting for a parade that isn’t coming or a rest that isn’t restful, thinking you’re due something you ain’t gonna get, and the problem with these days of special gratitude is that they end and then you go back to what you think is the grind. As if hard work can’t be deeply, deeply rewarding and not in an “it was all worth it, even the times you puked on me” grudging kind of mockingly resentful way.

I don’t want Kick to be grateful for a life we gave her, I want her to be a part of a life we’re all living every day, that we’re all working for, together. I want her to be kind and strong and unafraid, and I want her to love and be loved, and I want her to have joy in her work whatever that work is, and I want her to know that nothing is truly thankless unless you make it so.

Not even motherhood. Not for a minute. Not when every night there’s a pair of small arms around my neck and a whispered, “I love you, Mama” right before she pretends to fall asleep when we both know she’s gonna flop around in her bed for an hour talking to her stuffies and then whisper through the baby monitor, “Can I kiss the cats goodnight one more time?”

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: In The Still Of The Night

Contrasting Sounds by Wasilly Kandinsky.

It’s been an eventful week in New Orleans. The city celebrated its 300th anniversary and inaugurated our first woman mayor. I expressed my reservations about Mayor LaToya Cantrell on ye olde tweeter tube:

The slogans included “We are woke” and “We will be intentional.” I’m uncertain if that’s intentional grounding or an intentional walk. I dislike the latter baseball tactic as much as exclamation points. I still wish the new mayor well. Her propensity to mangle the language is good for the satire business, and there’s no business like giving a politician the business. I believe in taking care of business, every day, every way.

This week’s theme song, In The Still Of The Night, was written by Cole Porter in 1937 for the MGM movie musical, Rosalie. It was first sung by Nelson Eddy who was in a shit ton of hokey costume movie operettas with Jeanette MacDonald. I am not a fan of the duo but I am a die-hard Cole Porter fan as evinced by the frequent appearance of his work as Odds & Sods theme songs. I considered counting them but I’m feeling as lazy as the president* today. Where did all my executive time go?

We have two versions of the Porter classic for your entertainment. First, the elegant jazz-pop baritone Billy Eckstine aka the Voice of God.

Second, the Neville Brothers featuring some gorgeous sax playing by Charles Neville. He was an acquaintance of mine. Charles died recently at the age of 79. He was a lovely man with a kind word for everyone he met.

It’s time for a journey to Disambiguation City. Fred Parris wrote *his* In The Still Of The Night for his doo-wop group The Five Satins in 1956.

Yeah, I know, Boyz II Men also had a hit with the Parrisian song but I’m not going there. Instead, let’s jump to the break. Now where the hell did I put my parachute?

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Malaka Of The Week: John Kelly

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: John Kelly is a more polished version of Donald Trump. Like his master, he has a tendency to shoot off his mouth and say horrible, xenophobic things. And that is why General/White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is malaka of the week.

Kelly firmly believes in pulling up the drawbridge and excluding immigrants. He also believes in demeaning and degrading those who want to emigrate to our country. Kelly expressed these views in the crudest possible terms yesterday:

“Let me step back and tell you that the vast majority of the people that move illegally into the United States are not bad people. They’re not criminals. They’re not MS-13. … But they’re also not people that would easily assimilate into the United States, into our modern society. They’re overwhelmingly rural people. In the countries they come from, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-grade educations are kind of the norm. They don’t speak English; obviously that’s a big thing. … They don’t integrate well; they don’t have skills. They’re not bad people. They’re coming here for a reason. And I sympathize with the reason. But the laws are the laws. … The big point is they elected to come illegally into the United States, and this is a technique that no one hopes will be used extensively or for very long.”

Here’s a reminder to Kelly of how his own people, the Irish, were viewed in their early days in America.

That was a cartoon by Thomas Nast depicting an Irishman as a sub-human, drunken papist who got his orders from the Catholic Church. Nast was a legendary 19th century satirist who worked for high-toned publications such as Harper’s Weekly and the New York Herald-Tribune. But Nast also trafficked in the bigoted stereotypes of his day.

I assume that Kelly would find Nast’s anti-Irish cartoons to be offensive.  I wish that he’d understand the analogy, but I have my doubts. Like the president* he serves, he is incapable of empathy or understanding the other person’s point of view. And that is why John Kelly is malaka of the week.