Monthly Archives: May 2019

Perspective

I had no plans to write about the Game Of Thrones series finale. It feels like I’m poaching on Milady Athenae’s territory but some of the more overwrought reactions to the final season compelled me to write. Some of the agita was caused by the showrunners’ willingness to engage in “fan servicing,” a dreadful term that I’m loathe to use but what can I tell ya? When some Sopranos fans demanded “less yakking and more whacking,” David Chase didn’t give a shit. Pandering to one’s dumbest and most bloodthirsty viewers is folly.

I’m a casual fan who hasn’t read the books. I don’t bleed GOT dragon blood or even fire and ice. Here’s my verdict: season 8 was erratic. It had one of the best episodes of the series, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, and one of the murkiest, The Long Night. And I’m not 100% certain that I found the finale 100% satisfying but I never expected perfection. The show has always been messy and uneven: don’t get me started about Arya and the faceless whozit story line, which was the GOT equivalent of Vito in New Hampshire on The Sopranos.

The reaction I’ve found most annoying is the notion that the Khaleesi’s fiery atrocities came out of nowhere. I’ll let Vulture’s Hillary Kelly do the heavy lifting in her recap of the penultimate episode: 

In the days to come the battle among viewers will revolve around one big idea: Daenerys the Mad Queen giving in to her worst impulses and torching an entire city and its people to the ground. How can they drag a good woman down? the Twitterverse will wail. Crowds of angry viewers are going to revolt against the fact that this single woman isn’t keeping their feminist fantasies alive, that the showrunners would dare do something so complex as have a woman with rather questionable DNA, a devout belief in her divine rights, a propensity for crucifixion, a long storied history of being talked out of vicious acts by her advisers, and a savior complex the size of Wun Wun actually do the logical thing and go HAM. If you’re wondering how long this has been building, go back and rewatch Daenerys burn Mirri Maz Dur in season one, watch her burn Pyat Pree in season two, watch her burn Astapor in season three, watch her crucify the Masters in season four, watch her burn the slave owners of Meereen in season five, Vaes Dothrak in season six, the loot train and the Tarlys in season seven.

If anything, this squabble has intensified after the finale.  But I think everyone dug Drogon melting the iron throne, which was reminiscent of the death of Danny’s brother, Viserys, at the hands of Khal Drogo back in season one; before America had its own version of the Mad King.

Yeah, I know that I mocked bloodthirsty viewers but that was wicked awesome.

I am less mystified than many by the series ending since it seems to be based on history. The Council was the Westerosi version of the conclave that produced the Magna Carta in 1215. The British lords met and came up with a way to limit the so-called divine rights of kings. That’s a concept that would work quite well in a fictional landscape plagued by endless and endlessly violent power struggles. Westeros would do better as a confederation of principalities than a centralized monarchy. Think Germany before it was Prussianized by Bismarck and the Hohenzollern dynasty. That did not end well.

As to the installation of Bran the Broken as fictional monarch of the fictional seven kingdoms, it’s not entirely satisfying. I would have preferred his sister, Sansa. BUT it’s based on a venerable notion that the reluctant ruler is the best ruler. It’s part of America’s founding myth that George Washington did not want to be the first president and had to be talked into it by, among others, Alexander Hamilton. I guess that makes Tyrion the diminutive Hamilton. I can’t wait for the musical.

In a show about power, there was never going to be a happy ending. This is as close to that as Team GOT was likely to get. It was their creative choice, which pleases some people and outrages others. So it goes.

In the end, some perspective is called for. It’s just a teevee show.

The last word goes to Peter Gabriel whose position on GOT is unknown to me:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – now and Zen edition

Oh dear.

The Freeperati used to love them some Pat Robertson.

It used to be:

To: NormsRevenge

 

I am thankful for Pat Robertson because he says things that others are afraid to say. I believe he truly is trying to interpret current events through a Biblical perspective.

6 posted on 2/18/2006, 5:24:01 PM by Reddy

 

To: TLBSHOW
Pat Robertson is right, again.
37 posted on 4/4/2003, 7:40:39 PM by thepitts
That was zen, this is meow :

Conservative televangelist Pat Robertson says Alabama abortion law is ‘extreme’ and he believes…DAILY MAIL UK ^ | May 15, 2019 | Keith Griffith For Dailymail.com Posted on 5/16/2019, 1:29:24 AM by Morgana

FULL TITLE: Conservative televangelist Pat Robertson says Alabama abortion law is ‘extreme’ and he believes the state ‘has gone too far’

Christian televangelist Pat Robertson has said that he believes Alabama’s near total ban on abortions is ‘extreme’ and that the state has gone ‘too far’.

Robertson, who opposes abortion and hopes to see Roe v Wade overturned, made the remarks on Wednesday on The 700 Club, hours before Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed the new law.

The Alabama law contains an exception for when the pregnancy creates a serious health risk for the woman, but not an exception for rape or incest, and would punish doctors who perform abortions with up to life in prison.

‘I think Alabama has gone too far,’ remarked the 89-year-old Robertson

‘It’s an extreme law, and they want to challenge Roe verses Wade, but my humble view is that this is not the case that we want to bring to the Supreme Court, because I think this one will lose,’ the conservative minister continued.

Robertson has been an outspoken opponent of abortion, and drew condemnation when he implied in 2005 that Hurricane Katrina’s destruction of New Orleans was God’s punishment for America’s abortion laws.

But in Wednesday’s broadcast Robertson said he feared that Alabama’s new law would not create the right test case to challenge the 1973 precedent of Roe v Wade.

‘It’s ill-considered,’ he said. ‘The Alabama case, god bless ’em they’re trying to do something, but I don’t think that’s the case that I’d want to bring to the Supreme Court.’

Governor Ivey signed the measure on Wednesday. The law will make performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony punishable by 10 to 99 years or life in prison.

*************************

Someone please get this twit off the air!
1 posted on 5/16/2019, 1:29:24 AM by Morgana
To: Morgana
Dementia. It’s a sad thing.

4 posted on 5/16/2019, 1:43:51 AM by irishjuggler

To: Morgana
Someone please get this twit off the air!

Seriously. He has been saying stupid thing to embarrass Christians for too many years.

32 posted on 5/16/2019, 10:21:38 AM by Buckeye McFrog

And then a Freeper goes there….
To: Morgana

 

I think you want to pass the most restrictive law that might be upheld before the Supreme Court. This one is so politically risky that it could lead to serious election losses in 2020. If we could roll back the 19th Amendment, this wouldn’t be a problem. Thing is – women can vote, and they tend to vote against politicians who want to ban abortion.

7 posted on 5/16/2019, 3:06:23 AM by Zhang Fei (My dad had a Delta 88. That was a car. It was like driving your living room.)

Otherwise, OK?
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More at the “read more”…

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There Were Hundreds of Ways Out / But Only One Way Here: Final #GameofThrones Thread

This show and these books and every single bit of terrible merchandise from all of it will be worth it forever for introducing us to this goddess. Go argue elsewise if you must but do it away from my hearing.

Since this is the last one ever I have a few things I’d like to address from previous episodes.

First, no, Sansa Stark did not thank her rapist in that scene with the Hound.

Second, of course this all could have gone another way. That’s THE POINT.

People make choices and those choices have consequences and nobody HAD to do any of this. Lysa Arryn could have burned Littlefinger’s note and none of this shiz would have happened and Robert would still be falling down drunk at jousts and stuff.

“What if Dany went crazy but in like a sympathetic way?” is not a way of arriving at the same point. It’s another story, which is fine, but you’re not writing the one that’s on TV.

Third, Danaerys Targaryen was not being ruined by sexist showrunners who turned her from a heroine into a villain. What books did you all read? Forget the books, what show did you all watch?

Dany has always been problematic AF. So has Jon, frankly, with his martyr complex and his whinging about Ned and his refusal of the throne Because A True Ruler Never Wants It. So has Varys. So has Tyrion (so, so much, has Tyrion). So, honestly, have Arya and Brienne. If you think you’ve been watching a show about heroes and villains buddy have I got beachfront in Arizona for you to buy.

This is a story about power. About what it does.

To everyone.

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Don’t Tell Me We Weren’t Vigilant

I got mad and wrote a pitch e-mail to an editor this week that was basically THERE IS A SWARM OF HORNETS COMING OUT OF MY FACE and this is the result: 

Women did not cause the current clusterfuck by “taking our rights for granted,” and we don’t get any further along in a fight we are already expected to fight alone by implying that if we’d simply been more vigilant, Republican men wouldn’t have been so evil.

I want to reinforce that point again and again and again. Women, especially poor women, women of color, young women, were never unaware that these were the stakes. If you’re mad at middle agedwomen, white women, then say that, because OH BOY IS THERE STUFF TO BE MAD AT US ABOUT, but stop lumping the people who tried to stop this in with the people who did it.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: You Keep Me Hangin’ On

Golconda by Rene Magritte.

After a deluge on Mother’s Day, we’re having Indian spring in New Orleans. Is there such a thing? If there’s not, there should be. The best thing about it is that the oak pollen that plagued me got its ass kicked by the rain.

I’ve never re-used an Odds & Sods featured image within a month before, but it’s a perfect fit with this week’s theme song. Besides, if you blog long enough, you end up repeating yourself, repeating yourself, repeating yourself. One side benefit of the vinyl revival is that everyone knows what a broken record is, what a broken record is, what a broken record is. It’s time to lift the needle and move on.

Motown May continues with the Supremes. The crack songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote You Keep Me Hangin’ On in 1966. It was a number one hit song with a bullet, with a bullet, with a bullet. The preceding was an inside joke for hardcore Zappa fans. Everyone else can move on to the next paragraph.

We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the Supremes original and a 1967 “psychedelic rock” cover by Vanilla Fudge, which was also a  top ten hit. I put psychedelic rock in quotes because it’s one of those phrases that’s like ketchup or mayo: some people slather it over everything.

Now that we’ve hung on as well as out, let’s jump to the break. Perhaps all this hangin’ means we’ll land in a hangar. One more thing:

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Friday Catblogging: Gunga Paul

Those of you with long memories might recall that there was a post titled Gunga Della in 2015. It’s Paul Drake’s turn in the barrel:

You’re a good man, Gunga Paul.

(War) Party Like It’s 2002

You know things are bad when you wish Steve Bannon was still a member of Trump’s inner circle. I cannot believe that I just wrote that sentence but I mean every word of it. Bannon’s sole redeeming characteristic is that he’s on the dovish side and was not a fan of the Iraq War. Trump’s ultra-hawkish national security team is ready for a sequel to the Mess In Mesopotamia: war with Iran.

I was worried about this when John Bolton and his mustache of war joined Team Trump. Bolton is the ultimate chickenhawk: a man who loves war but has never fought except with his mouth. His flashback to his bureaucratic glory days is giving many whiplash:

With the Trump administration slipping onto war footing with Iran, there are growing fears inside Washington that John Bolton, the president’s hawkish national-security adviser, is plagiarizing his own Iraq war playbook. “Everyone feels the shadow of 2002–2003: The administration seems determined to find a cause for conflict; allies are aghast; the public seems disengaged,” a former senior U.S. official told me, shortly after The New York Times reported that administration officials had begun drawing up plans to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East. “It’s hard for anyone to fathom why [Donald Trump] would think a war of choice is a good idea, given what he’s said in the past about Iraq and Afghanistan.”

As we saw at the dawn of the 21st Century, war plans have a momentum of their own. Bolton may be a cartoon militarist BUT he’s one of the few members of Team Trump who is not a blithering idiot. He’s also a skillful bureaucrat who knows how to manipulate the levers of power.

Bolton has been dreaming of war with Iran for years. He thinks his time has come: he works for a president* who makes Dubya look savvy and well-informed. The axis of assholes is down with some sort of attack on Iran: Bibi and Mister Bone Saw would love to trick a gullible American president* into another Middle Eastern misadventure. Strike the word misadventure, a ground war with Iran would be a catastrophe. It has the potential to make Iraq look like the “cakewalk” of the neo-cons fever dreams.

If a story in the WaPo is to be believed, the Insult Comedian may be dubious of Bolton’s bolt to war:

But President Trump is frustrated with some of his top advisers, who he thinks could rush the United States into a military confrontation with Iran and shatter his long-standing pledge to withdraw from costly foreign wars, according to several U.S. officials. Trump prefers a diplomatic approach to resolving tensions and wants to speak directly with Iran’s leaders.

I hope the story is right but the thought of relying on Trump’s gut instinct gives me indigestion. I’m also leery of counting on his desire to keep a campaign promise. He can always change his story and lie about his previous views. He does it on a daily basis.

The last thing we need is a sequel to the Mess In Mesopotamia. We’ve seen this movie before and it’s bound to end badly.

The last word goes to XTC:

The Trump Brand IS The GOP Brand

new-coke_trump_2

And the brand is toxic. It’s New Coke.

Which is why it’s so … frustrating to watch the Democrats flailing about (via) with half-assed, mincing, “self-impeachment,” better-test-the-political-winds-for-the-thousandth-time, milquetoast expressions of timidity while Trump and his fellow party members — they are one and the same — look for another dumpster fire to toss the Constitution into, because, hey, who’s going to stop them?

Geez.

No, they don’t have to hold an impeachment vote tomorrow, but a little bit of spine wouldn’t hurt either. To repeat yet again, if the tables were turned, does anyone think the GOP wouldn’t be investigating, subpoenaing, holding hearings, demanding documents and otherwise doing all they could to oppose?

Um, they did just that for eight years, and after being clearly beaten in two presidential elections.

Trump himself is clearly criminal…and stupid. The Repugs have gone all in with him. Their ONLY option is to shrink the electorate by any means and promise as much red meat to their evangelical, white supremacist base…and hope that Dems will cringe, cry…and act like losers. Maybe promise to be just a little less conservative. You know, like they’ve always done. Because of, I don’t know, infrastructure or something.

Meanwhile, the public, who never much liked Trump anyway — how many times do we have to repeat that he lost the actual (not “popular”) vote? — delivered a clear message with the midterms. They like him about as much as they liked New Coke.

So, Democrats, don’t insist the answer is to offer Pepsi…

Pulp Fiction Thursday: A Night For Treason

It’s time for another classic pulp image by Verne Tossey. The femme fatale on the cover may be ruthless but she’s well put together.

1956’s A Night For Treason was an early book by John Jakes who became famous for writing best-selling historical novels such as North and South. I don’t believe that there’s a A Night For Treason mini-series but Revlon or another lipstick company would have been a perfect sponsor. Oh well, there’s always Netflix.

 

Alabama Goddam

Photo via @ALostrich.

The Alabama lege has gone there by passing a bill that effectively bans safe, legal abortion. It confirms the asterisk placed on the state motto in the featured image above.

The Guardian nailed it with this brilliant headline: These 25 Republicans-All White Men-Just Voted To Ban Abortion In Alabama.

Governor Kay Ivey hasn’t announced whether or not she’ll sign the bill BUT she’s a blue-haired right-winger from central casting so she’s expected to do so. That will be the day that stars really fall on Alabama.

Anti-choicers have been “praying” for this ever since Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. It’s why they support Donald Trump who has pledged to only appoint judges who will strike Roe down. Unfortunately, it’s the only promise he’s kept.  Thanks, Mitch.

I’m usually cautiously optimistic that Chief Justice Roberts will land on the side of precedent since he’s a genuine judicial conservative as well as an institutionalist. Unfortunately, institutionalism is on the run in the Trump era. Besides, the Chief’s record on abortion rights issues is clear: he’s apt to be just as eager to reverse Roe as his wingnuttier colleagues.

Justice Stephen Breyer issued a warning last week about the current court’s willingness to disregard precedent. Here’s an excerpt from a piece by Slate’s fine legal writer Mark Joseph Stern:

In dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer acknowledged as much. Overruling precedent typically requires a “special justification,” Breyer wrote, but “the majority does not find one.” Instead, it merely decides that Hall “was wrongly decided” and should go. “The law has not changed significantly since this Court decided Hall,” Breyer pointed out, “nor has our understanding of state sovereign immunity evolved to undermine Hall.” All that has changed is the composition of the court. He added:

“To overrule a sound decision like Hall is to encourage litigants to seek to overrule other cases; it is to make it more difficult for lawyers to refrain from challenging settled law; and it is to cause the public to become increasingly uncertain about which cases the Court will overrule and which cases are here to stay.”

It is “dangerous,” Breyer concluded, “to overrule a decision only because five Members” of the court disagree with it. “Today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next.” And if there were any doubt which cases Breyer was alluding to in this dark denouement, he cited the portion of Planned Parenthood v. Casey that explained why Roe should be upheld. The justice has hoisted a red flag, alerting the country that the court’s conservative majority is preparing an assault on the right to abortion access.

Justice Breyer rarely writes such scathing dissents: he’s usually the soul of moderation and courtesy. That’s why we need to take him seriously. Shit meet fan.

I am not eager for the Alabama law to reach the Supreme Court but that’s its likely destination absent an unlikely veto by the Governor. We’re on our own now.

Tweet Of The Day: Gret Stet Sycophant Edition

The Insult Comedian was in the Gret Stet of Louisiana yesterday for an event in Lake Charles and a fundraiser in Jefferson Parish. The Metry shebang caused major traffic snarls and gave local commuters another reason to loathe the First Criminal.

When Trump landed at Armstrong Airport he was greeted by past malaka of the week and perennial frat boy, Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser:

Actually, the Nungesser piece was entitled Gret Stet Grifter but it began life as a malaka of the week post. The man some call Bordello Billy is a poor man’s Trump. He claims to be a self-made man but his father was the longtime chairman of the Louisiana GOP. He’s a Lost Causer who could care less about stirring up fear and resentment. And, like his hero, Nungesser talks tough, but is a pussy who should grab himself.

Nungesser is a bully and as with all bullies, he’s willing to abase himself upon meeting a superior bully. The Trump hair socks were intended to mock the Kaiser of Chaos, not praise him. I’m only surprised the Lt. Goober didn’t bring his Trumpy Bear.

The last word goes to LSU Journalism Prof Bob Mann with this rock-em-sock-em tweet:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Love Me Or Leave Me

I did a search for Doris Day album covers. They were all flattering head shots and not terribly interesting. The cover of the soundtrack album of Love Me Or Leave Me was as atypical as her performance as torch singer and tough broad Ruth Etting. Does this look like a “professional virgin” to you?

Here’s a glamorous lobby card as lagniappe:

Finally, here’s the whole damn album:

 

I Think Elizabeth Warren Just Got My Primary Vote

We are spending endless amounts of money creating tools to try to increase trust in journalism and trust in politics and reduce misinformation and divisiveness and partisanship and ALL OF IT IS A FUCKING WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY THAT COULD BE DEVOTED TO THE ACTUAL FUCKING FUCK MOTHERFUCKING NEWS, like just stop this with the Institute for Sniffing Shep Smith’s Goddamn Jockstrap, you are so embarrassing. All of you.

For chrissakes. You want to know how old white people in the Midwest suddenly became resentful of the city and “discovered” that everyone not in “Real America” hated them and thought they were rubes? FOX NEWS TOLD THEM. Fox, and its talk radio predecessor/contemporaries, and the GOP that profited off it. People in cities are focused on not getting shit on by pigeons and going to their jobs and stuff. It’s the Fox denizens who are obsessed with hating them, not the other way around. You don’t just wake up one day and suddenly know that people you’ve never met and will never meet who likely don’t think about you at all are actually secretly loathing you and trying to dismantle your Pure Good Old Fashioned society.

A nonstop 24-hour propaganda network blared into every airport and car repair shop and podiatrist’s office and dialysis center told them that everyone young and cool hated them and their guns and their values and whatever else we’re supposed to hate right now, I can’t even keep track. Fox highlighted things that would outrage old white people, outright made a bunch of shit up, stoked fears and paranoia, and then told their viewers not to trust anything they didn’t hear from Rush or see on Fox. It set the stage for all of this and raked in the goddamn money.

And all the while, while crazy unhinged libtard feminazis were out here saying maybe don’t go to parties with these people, America’s elite journalists said well, there are some good people at the local affiliates. They said it’s just entertainment. They said we have to invite them to the potluck or else they’ll call us biased. They said maybe if we play nicely with them, these people who say that everyone but them is prejudiced and slanted and commie and WE REPORT YOU DECIDE, maybe if we hunker down and are very very quiet and just keep holding our Future of Journalism Panels at the University of Please Don’t Hurt Me, maybe it’ll all just go away.

Well LOOKIE THE FUCK HERE, YOU GODDAMN CHUMPS. While you were debating the best time slot to book in the Fox-nurtured fascisti to call you babykilling peace-freaks, they took all your money and they burned down your house. So keep having your civility debates while Fox tells everyone that Michelle Obama forbade Macy’s from saying Merry Christmas. Keep it up, geniuses. It’s working out GREAT.  Just ONE MORE BLUE RIBBON PANEL on Facebook and Google stealing all the ads. Throw a couple of Pinocchios in there for good measure.

Fox is the problem. Fox is the issue. Fox and the media disparity that creates a picture across America of an America that most Americans don’t recognize so that old white fossils can feel better about hating their kids who moved to the city, that’s the problem that if you don’t solve it none of the rest of this matters.

Nobody in suburban Ohio’s even gonna HEAR Elizabeth Warren’s policy papers if the conversation is driven by Fox and its imitators and mini-mes. Why don’t voters CARE about the ISSUES? Well, because Fox and the national narrative it drives explicitly tell them not to care and to instead get upset that some town somewhere had its Nativity scene stolen by atheist radicals.

So the candidate of put a goddamn lid on this pit of vipers and let them eat each other, the candidate of calling them what they are, just got my primary vote. I know I said I wasn’t gonna commit but I just did. Warren 2020: Fuck Fox. Let’s fucking GO.

A.

Not Everything Sucks

This man is out there making gorgeous music, that speaks to how hard and hopeless everything seems, and how you get up and do the damn job anyway.

I had the good fortune to meet him at a show last fall, during a torrential downpour, like a 7-year rainstorm. He was playing a show in the upstairs of a small bar on the north side of the city and I got there like an hour early because I’m a huge dork so that gave me plenty of time to try not to look like a huge dork and think of things to say to him, and all I came up with was “thank you, I’m pretty sure this is making the world worth living in right now.”

A.

Doris Day, R.I.P.

My parents were both Doris Day fans, so I grew up watching her eponymous sitcom, then her movies on the late, late show. They owned some of her records and my mom was known to sing along with Doris. She got a kick out of informing me that Doris Day was my dad’s celebrity crush. His response, “She’s my type. She’s a beautiful Midwestern blonde. Just like your mother.”

Doris Day died today at the age of 97. She lived a long, productive, and difficult life. She was a survivor: she made it through a series of bad marriages and outlived her only child, Terry Melcher, by 15 years. Terry was Manson’s real target on the night that Sharon Tate was murdered. He was never quite the same again but his mother persevered. People who grew up during the Great Depression and lived through World War II were as tough as nails; even America’s Sweetheart.

As much as I loved her movies with Rock Hudson and Tony Randle, it was a revelation when I saw her in the two movies whose lobby cards are this post’s featured image. She was a mom and wife in the Hitchcock flick but her turn in Love Me Or Leave Me as Ruth Etting, a torch singer married to a gangster, was unlike any other part she ever played. Ruth was one tough cookie as was Doris.

Doris Day was a legend: singer, movie star, actress, and animal lover. What a life, what a broad. She will be missed.

The last word goes to Doris herself with the theme song from Love Me Or Leave and the song from The Man Who Knew Too Much that became her signature number, Que Sera, Sera:

 

Memories Of The Muskie Administration

The MSM punditocracy hasn’t learned anything from the 2016 election. They’re still fixated on early polling and “discovering” bright shiny objects instead of reporting the campaign. I *had* hoped they’d learned that insider political journalism was bankrupt as declared by Ben Smith last summer. But they haven’t learned a damn thing and continue to focus on the horse race aspects of the “why not me” campaign. Remember the Avenatti boomlet? I’d prefer to forget it.

After declaring Joe Biden’s candidacy DOA, many in the punditocracy now think that he’s the inevitable nominee. They’re wrong in both instances. Frontrunner status has a way of bringing a candidate crashing to earth, especially in such a large field. Remember President Dean?

I have fond memories of the 2009-2017 Hillary Clinton administration. She was the frontrunner that time around and ended up losing the nomination. Secretary of State was a pretty damn good consolation prize. Thanks, Obama.

The ultimate Democratic frontrunner who failed was Senator Edmund Sixtus Muskie of Maine. 1972 was my formative year as a political junkie. It was the first time I was old enough to pay attention. I supported George McGovern but liked Muskie and didn’t understand why he was torn down by a media that had built him up as the inevitable nominee for two years. I was too young to get it then.

Ed Muskie was Hubert Humphrey’s running mate in 1968. The contrast between him and the man I refuse to claim as my countryman, Spiro Agnew, was stark. Muskie was calm, thoughtful, and qualified. The self-loathing Greek, Ted (Don’t Call Me Spiro) Agnew, was the exact opposite: bombastic, shallow, and unqualified. He was also a crook who took bribes while serving as Veep.

One of the best ads of the 1968 election cycle mocked Agnew:

Back to Ed Muskie. He emerged from the ’68 campaign as a national figure. His calm, reasoned reply to a frenetic midterm broadcast by Tricky Dick in 1970 made him a star and the ’72 frontrunner. The tall Senator was called Lincolnesque by many observers. What candidate wouldn’t want to be compared to Honest Abe?

Muskie led in every Democratic preference poll from that moment on. He was frequently ahead of Nixon in head-to-head polls through the early months of 1972. One of his campaign themes was Trust Muskie, drawing an obvious contrast to a president whose nickname was Tricky Dick.

This button is a good example of Muskie’s message:

Muskie was inevitable, until he wasn’t. His frontrunner status made him a target for Nixon’s dirty tricksters and at 6’4″ he was a big target. Attacks on his wife, Jane, caused Big Ed to snap and cry in public, which in the uber-macho atmosphere of 1972 helped doom his candidacy. Nixon and his lackeys had the opponent they wanted in the general election.

Among the many ironies of Muskie’s doomed campaign is that he actually won the New Hampshire primary, but the punditocracy, unaware of Nixonian dirty tricks, declared McGovern the “winner.” Muskie’s campaign might have come a cropper anyway: he was over reliant on big name endorsements and blurred his strongly liberal political views into blandness on the advice of his advisers.

Muskie was also dogged in 1972 by a bizarre and untrue story concocted by Hunter S. Thompson about his use of a hallucinogenic drug, Ibogaine. Thompson later claimed it was a joke and that nobody believed the story anyway. That just wasn’t so. I think of Ed Muskie every time I hear Hunter Thompson lionized as a voice for fearless independent journalism when, in fact, he was in the bag for Team McGovern. Projection thy name is Hunter S. Thompson.

What lessons can be drawn from my memories of the Muskie administration?

It’s not over until it’s over.

Don’t trust the MSM punditocracy and early polls. They’re both eminently changeable. Just ask former media darling Beto O’Rourke.

Insider political journalism *should* be dead, but it’s not.

The last word goes to Alice Cooper with a hit song from 1972:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – World’s Biggest Losers edition

Hello, sports fans! Well, The Darnold seems determined to do to our economy what he did to the Taj Mahal casino, so let’s get right to the mayhem!

US tariffs on China jump
CNBC ^ | 10 May 2019 | Jacob Pramuk | Everett Rosenfeld

Posted on 5/10/2019, 12:09:09 AM by BeauBo

The Trump administration is hiking duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese products to 25% from 10%… Industries and businesses affected by the tariff hike will not feel the effect right away: it will apply to goods exported after May 10, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. It will not affect products already in transit to the United States. Trump has prepared to put even more pressure on China as he pushes for an agreement. The president has threatened to slap 25% tariffs on $325 billion in Chinese goods that remain untaxed.

*************

This is going to rip whole industries out of China, if they don’t make a deal – but they may just not be able to.

Nah – they’ll just subsidize any affected industries with state resources, just like they always have. They can probably only afford to do this for 15-20 years, though.

This is a big deal, and Chinese markets should take it hard on the chin when they open.

1 posted on 5/10/2019, 12:09:09 AM by BeauBo

I think you’re worried about the wrong markets, shithead.
To: BeauBo

 

While a agree with Trumps actions here. It is going to be painful for our 401k accounts. I’ve lost 25% of the gains I have made this year already this week. I have painful memories of being up 11% in October of 2018 only to be down 1% for the year in December. I hope that does not happen again. Then again, I don’t need to access my 401k until about 2023. So should be recovered by then, provided we don’t elect another obama.

3 posted on 5/10/2019, 12:32:07 AM by JoSixChip (Trump stands alone.)

Commie.
.
“cba123” wants to throw gasoline on the fire our 401Ks are currently burning in :
To: MtnClimber

 

I don’t know.

I think the Chinese should be punished for going back on the original aggreements.

Trump should enact 25% tariffs on everything as a new baseline, but should then announce they are going to 100% in a month, 200% in two months, then 500% in three months.

THEN start negotiating from there.

We do not repeal the 25% tariffs, ever.

8 posted on 5/10/2019, 12:47:32 AM by cba123 ( Toi la nguoi My. Toi bay gio o Viet Nam.)

Aren’t you glad there’s so many professional economists posting on Free Republic?
To: BeauBo

China says they will retaliate – but there is not $200 billion of US imports remaining to them to raise tariffs on. This round is the end of equivalent tit for tat exchanges of tariffs.China is running out of ammo. The next (final) round, if imposed, would be largely one sided, and would likely send Chinese our markets into crisis, their our economy into recession, and risk a debt and/or asset bubble and/or currency crisis.

FIFY.

I’d guess this round will be triggering some stops on Chinese stock markets tomorrow. Much of the industry getting these tariffs will simply be leaving China, if the tariffs stay in place.

6 posted on 5/10/2019, 12:41:20 AM by BeauBo

Meanwhile, in the real world…
To: BeauBo

China is running out of ammo.

They could recall the US debt we have to them. That would do some damage.

9 posted on 5/10/2019, 12:47:46 AM by JoSixChip (Trump stands alone.)
Ya think?
Oh and about that 401K thing :
To: JoSixChip

 

No one cares about your precious 401k.
This is about the fight for our Republic.

16 posted on 5/10/2019, 1:13:29 AM by mkleesma (`Call to me, and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’)

More meta-economic stupidity below the fold….

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Mommy Martyr Day Sucks

Everybody say I’M SO SORRY I WAS SUCH A SHITTY KID, MOM, HERE’S A ROOMBA today: 

This year’s guides suggest in their sometimes admirable, sometimes obligatory, attempts at semi-wokeness that Mom has her own life, they know! Which is why she needs this Roomba. Hey, she does a lotta stuff! Which is why she needs a face mask for those eye bags. The mom of today, as rendered by these guides, is “on the go,” “multitasking,” “out and about,” and “living her life.” But she’s also “stressed out,” “really needs a vacation,” and would like this bottle of wine with a label reading, “WINE BECAUSE KIDS.”

Let’s not dismantle any of this, let’s buy her some shit!

God, THIS. But there’s something even more insidious here, which is the topping of all this crass commercialism with displacement of our anger at society onto our kids.

Like yeah, raising children right now really sucks, especially if like most people you don’t have a shitload of money. But we’ve turned that into a joke at the kids’ expense. You’re why Mommy drinks! Hee hee! You owe your mother for her episiotomy! Mom hasn’t slept in 15 years, haha, aren’t you sorry for it?

I hate the marketing of this holiday as a way for kids to apologize to their parents for being kids. HATE. IT. “Your mom was in labor for 97 hours, so buy her jewelry!” How is that the kid’s fault? Jesus Christ. “You’re why Mommy drinks!” and ADS LIKE THIS ARE WHY WE’RE ALL IN THERAPY.

Let’s be honest. Ninety percent of what middle-class parents bitch about (with physically standard, neurotypical kids) is stuff the kids aren’t totally responsible for. Like show me a kid who doesn’t whine and who sleeps perfectly at all times and can always remember where their shoes are. Show me a teenager who doesn’t make dumbass decisions or avoidable mistakes or throw an attitude about their clothes or whatever. Their brains aren’t formed yet. Of course they’re pains in the ass. Because they occasionally say intelligent shit to you doesn’t mean they can be judged on your level.

Because I am An Older Parent (everyone else in her preschool has folks who got hitched in the last 5 years and Mr. A and I are working on our second score here) and because I have resources and good luck and years of meds/therapy and one very good kid, I can be amusedly detached about all of this. But I find it enraging that I am supposed to regard middle-class parenting as a horrible gauntlet and expect to be sucked up to about it by the person who had the least amount of choice in it.

Do you want to hear a litany of misery? I could give you one, especially about the two years after her turning 10 months old when I took a second part-time job to pay for the childcare that let me do the first job and went completely fucking insane from stress and guilt and started acting out like an adolescent and burned down my entire life.

But what, of that, was HER choice? Did she make Mr. A’s and my industries unstable from her place in the pack-n-play? Did she make all our prior terrible financial decisions? Shit, at least she snuggled and said thank you occasionally, which is more than I got from those two jobs combined.

You’re why Mommy drinks? Grown-up bullshit is why Mommy drinks, and Daddy too, and implying that kids are ungrateful little assholes who make their parents’ lives difficult is a shitty way to let society off the hook. My kid doesn’t owe me a card. The American economy might, or my own brain chemistry, but nobody’s lifing them all day in commercials.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: You Haven’t Done Nothin’

Der Vogelmensch by Max Ernst

It’s been a good news, silly news week in New Orleans. I’m a good news first person: with the help of Governor Edwards, Mayor LaToya Cantrell has secured millions in tourism money to help fix our aging infrastructure. Here’s what I mean by aging infrastructure:

In silly local news, the Krewe of Nyx is planning a summer parade. Just what we needed: a sweaty-n-steamy faux Carnival parade. This is why I call them the krewe of mediocre themes and bad ideas. The only good thing is that they won’t be sweat-rolling on the traditional parade route near Adrastos World HQ. It’s a terrible idea: the allure of Carnival is enhanced by its seasonality. This is like eating oysters in a month without an R. Shorter Adrastos: Nix on Nyx.

Motown May continues with this week’s theme song. Stevie Wonder wrote You Haven’t Done Nothin’ in 1974 in response to the news of the day: Watergate. That’s right, it’s about Nixon. I’ve used it before but never as an Odds & Sods theme song. Since we’re in a slow-motion constitutional crisis, it works. Just think of Trump instead of Tricky Dick.

We have two versions for your listening pleasure: Stevie’s original and a 2018 cover by Roger Daltrey.

Now that we’ve trashed talked Tricky-n-Trumpy, let’s jump to the break.

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