Monthly Archives: July 2019

I Can’t Stand The Rain

I’m a slacker pundit. I’ve opted out of watching this week’s cattle call debates. I have better things to do with my time than watch no-hoper John Delaney engage in a shout fest with Bernie Sanders. Doesn’t Delaney know that nobody outshouts Bernie?

I guess I’m sorry that I missed Marianne Williamson say “yadda, yadda, yadda” but I can watch the clips. I actually apologized to my readers in advance of the first round and it applies to tonight as well:

Repeat after me: debates don’t matter, especially early ones. Kamala Harris had her moment, then it receded because it’s simply too early to matter. Besides, if debates really mattered, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton would have been elected Oval Ones. When it comes to debates, I’m a mattering nabob of negativism. Holy shit, I just paraphrased Spiro Agnew and William Safire.

In hyper-local news, I start jury duty tomorrow. It’s been a long time. The last time was during September 2001. That’s right: I was in the jury lounge at Tulane Avenue when the twin towers toppled. The pace at Criminal District Court slowed to a crawl. I recall participating in only one voir dire that month. I’m hoping this August will be slow as well but for less dramatic reasons.

The rains keep coming in New Orleans. It’s gotten to the point that street flooding is a commonplace event. It used to happen every so often but now it’s a monthly, even weekly event thereby proving that climate change is a hoax. #sarcasm.

Dr. A and I are officially afraid of the rain. Our car perished in a flash flood when she was on her way to work a few weeks ago. It was totaled by the insurance company and we bought a new used car with the money. I guess one could call it a re-owned vehicle or some such shit.

The big buzz in Gret Stet state politics is a teevee ad by a hitherto obscure Republican candidate who is always described by the Gret Stet MSM as a “major donor” so I’ll follow suit.

Major Donor Eddie Rispone has pledged his troth to the Insult Comedian:

It’s amazing what one can do with sound FX:  Major Donor Rispone’s head is so firmly lodged up the Trumpian rump that it should sound muffled. Instead, it’s as clear as an Acadian bell.

I must confess that I’m disappointed that Major Donor Rispone did not holler “lock her up” or” send them back.” But hope springs eternal since his campaign has bought $5 million worth of teevee time.

The other Republican challenger to the Other Governor Edwards (there’s only one Edwin) is Doctor/Congressman Ralph Abraham. He’s a weasel and a dull one to boot. Lamar White Jr. has devoted considerable energy to exposing Doc Abraham as a phony at the Bayou Brief.

Before continuing, a musical interlude featuring the Original Abraham who, now that I think of it, was something of an amateur surgeon:

A shirtless, tattooed Albino rock star is the stuff of GOP nightmares. Holy Culture War, Batman.

The one-two punch of Major Donor Rispone and Doc Abraham has had the result of adding to the Other Governor Edwards’ support among pro-choice Democrats. I declared myself a clothespin Edwards voter two months ago; as bad as he is on abortion rights, he’s much better than the competition on everything else. If Major Donor Rispone weren’t against gay marriage, he’d propose to Trumpberius. It seems to be true love.

It’s time to circle back to the post title. The last word goes to Ann Peebles, Tina Turner, and Paul Rodgers:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Brother’s Keeper

Art Neville’s memorial service was yesterday, hence this week’s selection. Like most Neville Brothers studio albums Brother’s Keeper is a mixed bag. They were always at their best live but it has many highlights including Brother Jake and last week’s Odds & Sods theme song, River Of Life.

The cover art is brilliant. It’s by Alison Saar an African American artist from Los Angeles who is primarily a sculptor.

The back cover features a photograph by Larry Williams.

Here’s the whole damn album in the YouTube playlist format.

It’s Always 1989

Krugman: 

What I haven’t seen pointed out much, however, is that Trump’s racism rests on a vision of America that is decades out of date. In his mind it’s always 1989. And that’s not an accident: The ways America has changed over the past three decades, both good and bad, are utterly inconsistent with Trump-style racism.

It’s not just Trump. It’s his supporters. THIS IS HOW THEY ALL ARE. Blithering about Al Sharpton, bitching about TV shows and singers they don’t know, posting Facebook memes about how “if you know what this butter knife is, you’re my age” and all this other elderly, embarrassing shit. And no, it isn’t ageism. I know 90-year-olds culturally younger than most of these people and some of the worst offenders are younger than me.

You don’t have to have your tits way up high to know how to just Google Ariana Grande instead of making Taco Bell jokes and comparing the number of writers on a Beatles song to the number of people who produce for Beyoncé.

It’s why Hillary was the perfect foil for Trump, because most of his voters are still quietly pissed about Bill — young, high, horny, dodging the draft — beating H.W. Bush. It’s hard to explain to people who weren’t there but trust me, his election upended SO MUCH CULTURAL SHIT, not the least of which that he was friends with many African-Americans and was seen to move with an ease in a world lots of white people hated and feared.

(When Democrats followed him up with an ACTUAL BLACK PRESIDENT oh boy, were we off to the races.)

Due to persistent and vicious segregation they have no experience of black people that isn’t either entertainment — sports — or poverty. They have no conception of a black middle class, of a black upper class. Their last cultural reference to a black person was Michael Jackson, for shit’s sake. Maybe Bill Cosby, and that worked out GREAT.

They’re still muttering angrily about Rodney King asking for it or telling stories about how their kids had to come home from school early because the “black kids” were going to beat them up in the riots.

The world they’re living in is changing all the time and they’re out here proudly shouting that they’ve shut their eyes. The cultural stuff matters because it’s a harbinger; the books you read and the music you listen to is the sound of the world around you.

They stopped listening to America 30 years ago and they have no intention of taking out their earplugs anytime soon.

A.

Not Everything Sucks: Women’s History Edition

This is so cool: 

Mammadbeyova had her first child by the age of 16. Whilst attending Abilov’s Club, an educational resource for women, Mammadbeyova’s friend Zibeyda Ahmadova told her that that a flying club had been established in Baku. Excited, the two young women decided to sign up together. Zibeyda was rejected due to a heart condition, but Mammadbeyova was accepted. It was decided that her attendance should be kept secret, in order to protect her from negative reactions from people who believed that a woman’s place was in the home, not the cockpit. Indeed these sexist attitudes were to follow Mammadbeyova throughout her life: in Kchachmaz, a town in north-eastern Azerbaijan, she even survived an assassination attempt.

She made her first flight in 1931 whilst she was still in her early 20s.

A.

Quote Of The Day: Baltimore Sun Edition

Donald Trump is trying to transform Charm City into Verminville. The Baltimore Sun isn’t having it. They wrote a scathing editorial, Better To Have A Few Rats Than To Be One:

Finally, while we would not sink to name-calling in the Trumpian manner — or ruefully point out that he failed to spell the congressman’s name correctly (it’s Cummings, not Cumming) — we would tell the most dishonest man to ever occupy the Oval Office, the mocker of war heroes, the gleeful grabber of women’s private parts, the serial bankrupter of businesses, the useful idiot of Vladimir Putin and the guy who insisted there are “good people” among murderous neo-Nazis that he’s still not fooling most Americans into believing he’s even slightly competent in his current post. Or that he possesses a scintilla of integrity. Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever made an editorial excerpt the QOTD but there’s a first time for everything. We’ve never had an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop his head as president* before either.

This latest racist incident has really gotten to me. I have fond memories of the time I’ve spent in Baltimore. I have friends there and friends who are from there. It’s a great American city with a proud history and a thriving local culture. Mmm, crabcakes, hon.

Baltimore is the city of H.L. Mencken, Thurgood Marshall, Babe Ruth, Cab Calloway, Cal Ripken, Anne Tyler, Brooks Robinson, Donna Edwards, Barry Levinson, Johnny Unitas, Duff Goldman, David Simon, John Waters, W.E.B. DuBois, Boog Powell, Chick Webb, Barbara Mikulski, and Billie Holiday to name but a few.

It’s also Speaker Pelosi’s hometown and is ably represented by Elijah Cummings, not Alan Cumming although he’s pretty damn cool in his own right.

On the darker side, I nicknamed the president’s* son-in-law Slumlord Jared because of his literally vermin-infested properties in Mr. Cummings’ district. Fuck you, Jared and Donald.

Speaking of rats, Republicans are scrambling to defend the latest indefensible comments from their dear leader. Proving once again that he’s a journalist, not a FOX news hack, Chris Wallace nailed Mick Mulvaney to the wall about Trump’s racist and charmless attack on Charm City:

It’s time to follow-up on Athenae’s post yesterday with a personal note. My neighborhood was majority black when we moved here in 2000. It had some sketchy areas but I never felt unsafe or uncomfortable. In fact, I frequently lament the changes in the hood since Katrina and the Federal Flood. I find myself saying, “Where did all the unfriendly white people come from?”

Many of our African-American neighbors have been priced out  by gentrifiers and house-flippers. It’s a pity. I miss our more diverse pre-K neighborhood. Does that make me pro-vermin? According to the Insult Comedian it does.

The language used by Trump and his allies is despicable. The word “infested” was used by Nazis and Stalinists to justify their attacks on “unwanted” populations. I believe in judging political movements by the company they keep. That’s some bad company, y’all.

The last word goes to the Jayhawks who aren’t from Baltimore but recorded this song in 1989:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Seal Of Disapproval edition

Well, folks – pigs have flown, Hell has frozen over, and the twelfth of Never has come.

I agree with the Freeperati on something.

Unless you stopped breathing early last week or live in a cave you already know about this :

How did Trump end up in front of a presidential seal doctored to include a Russian symbol?
Washington Post via MSN ^ | 7/25/19 | Michael Brice-Saddler, Reis Thebault

Posted on 7/25/2019, 5:24:31 AM by DoodleDawg

At first glance, there was nothing unusual about President Trump’s introduction Tuesday at Turning Point USA’s student summit. In many ways, it mirrored the production style that has become synonymous with Trump’s campaign rallies.

Following a 12-minute video illustrating Trump’s rise to the presidency, music blared as the president’s name flashed across a giant screen in a bold shade of red. Trump took the stage and soaked in the raucous cheers from hundreds of young supporters packed inside the Marriott Marquis in Washington.

Charlie Kirk, Turning Point’s outspoken founder and executive director, was on his left. But the image on the screen to Trump’s right — captured in dozens of photos and videos from the event — is less familiar.

The image almost resembles the official seal of the president; but a closer examination reveals alterations that seem to poke fun at the president’s golfing penchant and accusations that he has ties to Russia. Neither the White House nor Turning Point know how it got there or who created it.

1 posted on 7/25/2019, 5:24:31 AM by DoodleDawg
Usually, the Freeperati react to this kind of thing (mockery) with threats to kill the mocker.
Right?
To: DoodleDawg

 

Someone went through some effort, can’t believe that it’s not easy to find out who as that’s the kind of thing that’s usually shared on social media.

The Russian double headed eagle and holding golf clubs in one talon. I assume that the president’s advance team has learned a lesson that should have been learned about 3 years ago – control all the digital displays while POTUS is in the room.

As far as pranks go, pretty harmless. Yuck it up and move on.

4 posted on 7/25/2019, 5:49:13 AM by kingu (Everything starts with slashing the size and scope of the federal government.)

JawDrop
To: Albion Wilde

 

Gotta admit it … that’s pretty clever and well executed.

6 posted on 7/25/2019, 5:49:49 AM by al_c (Democrats: Party over Common Sense)

To: yesthatjallen

 

Have to admit – the golf clubs were pretty funny.

7 posted on 7/25/2019, 3:09:37 PM by TomServo

To: yesthatjallen

 

I really have to give props to whoever thought of that and pulled it off. Grudging admiration.

Kind of like the Chinese signs behind Nixon that Dick Tuck pulled off.

Worth stealing.

16 posted on 7/25/2019, 3:25:58 PM by RedStateRocker (We had entirely enough government in 1789.)

To: winner3000

 

And we’d be laughing our butts off here if a similar thing had been done to a Democrat(sic) President.

42 posted on 7/25/2019, 4:06:37 PM by RedStateRocker (We had entirely enough government in 1789.)

To: Innovative

 

I thought it was well done … and funny.

50 posted on 7/25/2019, 4:20:19 PM by sparklite2 (Don’t mind me. I’m just a contrarian.)

One helpful suggestion :
To: I want the USA back
It was clearly deliberate.The people at Turning Point USA were infiltrated.

It seems people at TPUSA let their guard down and this creep had free reign and no oversight.

On a side note, I’d consider changing the name. While TP stands for Turning Point it’s also an abbreviation for toilet paper.

12 posted on 7/25/2019, 3:18:28 PM by yesthatjallen
And your point is ?
.
More below, yo ho!

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No Human Being

Well, it’s what they all think:

His voters, I mean. Even the nice ones. ESPECIALLY the nice ones. The ones that live in the suburbs because their parents’ neighborhoods were “ruined” by an “invasion.” Who aren’t racist, are perfectly nice to the black barista or their Mexican landscaper. Who just moved here for the schools.

They don’t think anyone lives in the places their parents left.

Not anyone with a job, or kids. Or a freaking dog. A mortgage, even on a house that isn’t fancy, even on a street that isn’t clean. A church, a school. A goddamn right to walk down the street and get a beer from the corner store.

They talk about the city — parts of it — like aliens live there and there are lots of reasons for that, nonstop reruns of Law and Order and the nightmares their grandparents passed on to them being right up there, but mostly it’s the inability to think of people of color as, you know, PEOPLE at all.

I used to work in some of Chicago’s “worst” neighborhoods. The places that give the suburbs vapors, I’d be driving around at all hours of day and night, and you know how many times I got mugged and murdered? Exactly zero. What did happen is I got invited to birthday parties. Told I needed to try this or that restaurant because the best sausage in town was made there. Helped out when my car wouldn’t start or got stuck in a snowbank.

I listened to conversations in barbershops and beauty parlors, conversations that yes, sometimes were about violence or neglect, but more often than not were about birthdays and obligations, who was bringing what to the church potluck, whose dog ran away. Who was getting married, who was cheating.

You know. People stuff.

So when the fraidy cats who live in our segregated world talk about “no-go” zones and places they don’t feel safe, when they say they wouldn’t even VISIT somewhere because they don’t think it’s okay, I wonder what on God’s green earth makes them think it’s okay for other people to live there.

And it’s really that they don’t think those people are human beings.

That’s what Donald Trump’s voters think, deep down. Underneath the euphemisms and the “property tax” stuff and the entirely avoidable ignorance and the very nice lady manners that keep them from ever saying the N-word because that would Doing Racism. They just don’t think people who don’t look like them are quite real.

It’s why they can justify the concentration camps and it’s why they can cheer the pointless foreign wars and it’s why they don’t give a shit if women in hijabs don’t feel safe going to the grocery store and it’s why they can shrug off every time he grabs someone by the pussy. People who aren’t them aren’t real.

Not human beings.

A.

Not Everything Sucks, Kitten Edition

Whenever things are real fucken dark I try to remember how many people are saving animals:

I worked in an animal shelter, as a volunteer and employee, for a long time. Animal people aren’t always people people, so things could get dicey, but I would put the WORST human being I worked with in that place up against the best member of the Trump administration any goddamn day. It’s worth remembering, as the world burns, that there are always imperfect people trying to save it.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: River Of Life

Elegy For Moss Land by Clarence John Laughlin.

It’s been a noisy week at Adrastos World HQ. The utility company is doing some work on our block: they’ve dug holes and marked off spaces for new gas mains and meters. Here’s hoping they finish soon.

I’ve had the Neville Brothers on my mind since Art’s passing. But he did not write River Of Life; one of the most underrated songs in the Neville Brothers canon. It was written by Cyril Neville, Daryl Johnson, and Brian Stoltz for the band’s 1990 album, Brother’s Keeper.

Here are two versions of this week’s theme song. I dare you not to get up and rock:

Now that we’ve flowed with the river of life, let’s swim to the break. No drowning, please.

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Binder Full Of Leaks?

One of the more bizarre moments of Muellerpalooza was an exchange between Utah’s Chris Stewart and Bobby Three Sticks:

During former special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony on Wednesday, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) boldly claimed to have a list of leaks about the investigation that originated in Mueller’s office.

Lifting a binder during the House Intelligence Committee’s hearing, Stewart declared, “I’m holding here in my hand a binder of 25 examples of leaks that occurred from the special counsel’s office.”

“All of these have one thing in common, they were designed to weaken or to embarrass the President,” he added. The congressman later amplified his comments on Twitter.

Reporters who’ve spent months covering Mueller and his team — and who’ve noted their reputation for not leaking — were baffled.

Stewart’s claims turned out to be specious. They were the sort of rumors that only Fox News viewers and or tin-foil hat wearing Alex Jones types are familiar with. No, Team Mueller did not leak the story about Roger Stone’s arrest to demon CNN. They had Casa Rog staked out.

A binder full of leaks sounds messy, doesn’t it?

I wonder if Stewart conferred with Utah Senator Willard Mittbot Romney about his choice of words? Who among us can forget the Binders Full Of Women moment during the 2012 debates? Not me. It launched a thousand memes, after all:

I was so intent on getting my instant analysis post online the other day that I neglected to suggest a theme song for Judiciary Committee GOPers. Bob Dylan gets the last word:

 

Friday Catblogging: Well Groomed

Dr. A and I are still blue after losing Della Street. She recently texted me some pictures of the krewe of cats named for Perry Mason characters that I had not seen. This snapshot was taken last January:

Final Thoughts About Muellerpalooza

I decided to write a followup to yesterday’s instant analysis post in order to flesh out my thoughts about Muellerpalooza. When I say instant analysis, I mean it. I wrote the post in under 35 minutes with as little reference as possible to what others are saying and thinking. Shorter Adrastos: I try to avoid punditry pollution at all costs. Hence what amounts to a sequel. I’m uncertain if there’s method in my madness or madness in my method. I’ll let you be the judge of that.

On a human level, I feel badly for Bob Mueller this morning. The expectations for both the investigation and the man himself were impossibly high. People hoped he would somehow save us from Trump. That was not his job: he’s a professional prosecutor not a resistance messiah. It was preposterous, indeed delusional, to expect a nearly 75 year old man to be something or someone that he is not. He did what he said he would do.

Upon diving into the pundit pool, I was struck by the age-ism of much of the commentary. Yes, Mueller looked old, tired, and querelous but his performance was hindered by the restrictions placed on him by the DOJ and the format of the hearings. He was repeatedly roasted by Republicans for his inability to answer certain questions when their attorney general is the one who tied his hands. Bill Barr is good at cover-ups in a way that Tricky Dick was not.

Other than Chairman Nadler, Judiciary Committee Democrats were there to be on teevee, not to get at the truth. I had hoped that professional staff would ask most of the questions. They asked none.

The Intelligence Committee hearing was better because members knew the facts and Mueller was both more alert and responsive to their inquiries. Committee Democrats did much less grandstanding and asked fewer questions that they knew would not be answered. They kept it snappy, which was why the second act was better.

Much of the criticism of Mueller involved the dread word optics. Many pundits were upset that Mueller was button-downed and reserved as opposed to flashy. It’s who he is. Many of the same pundits decry politicians for their lack of authenticity. Bob Mueller is a work horse, not a show horse. Anyone who expected impassioned speeches or a Perry Mason moment was kidding themselves.

Too much of the discourse over the Mueller Report has dwelled in cloud cuckoo land. There are villains aplenty but federal prosecutors are not comic book super heroes. Team Mueller’s job was to produce a report within the onerous constraints placed on them by the Justice Department. They did their job to the best of their ability and produced a report that many of their critics have not and will never read. Bob Mueller was never going to go rogue. It’s not who he is.

The discussion of impeachment has been equally fantastic in the original meaning of the word. I am firmly on the record as favoring impeachment but I understand the political calculations of House Democratic leaders, which have little to do with gumption or guts. In 2010, Speaker Pelosi decided that the ACA was worth losing the majority over. In 2019, she does not think that impeachment is worth losing the majority over. I disagree but her calculation is based on cold-blooded logic, not a lack of intestinal fortitude. Repeat after me: real life is NOT like a comic book movie.

Finally, Democrats should never have expected Robert Mueller to save us. That was not his job. He came out of semi-retirement at the age of 73 to serve his country again. We have to save ourselves.

The last word goes to the Beach Boys:

Repeat after me: real life is NOT like a comic book movie.

OK Democrats, That Was Your Moment Of Zen Mueller

st_mueller

And as moments, or all day hearings, it wasn’t awful, despite the spin from the goddamn-I-wish-it-were-actually-librul media. Mueller showed up, he spoke — sure, he didn’t produce a smoking gun or gotcha moment, or declare there was a cancer on the presidency (in a rich, mellifluous soothing dad voice) — which caused some to declare the whole thing a draw. Both sides. Boooring.

Well, as politics go, duh. Because you’ve got an entire political party — hint, the GOP — that’s gone full cult/full Kool-Aid/full Donald Trump could shoot a man…or at least launder money/conspire with Russians/pay off women he’s had trysts or affairs with, and they’ll say it’s fine. They’re not going to give a shit about Robert Mueller’s investigation. They WILL go out of their way to slime the guy in trying to protect Dear Leader. And they did. On TV.

Funny how those optics don’t upset Chuck Todd.

But the Democrats…and unfortunately, it’s always “but the Democrats,” or at least the Democratic leadership…the leadership is still dragging it’s feet. Yesterday you had the straightest of straight arrows, war veteran, former FBI head, under oath, saying the President of the United States is a fucking crook. But they’re gonna bail on the logical next step? WTF?

No, you don’t have to hold another impeachment vote, but time to investigate the hell out of the motherfucker(s).

Political calculation? Playing that game is exactly why people go “both sides” and write off the Democrats as having no spine and no principles. Letting the GOP con you for a generation into playing GOP Lite  — or worse, GOP janitor, cleaning up their giant messes every few years — is a sucker’s game.

Act like you care. Donald Trump is a horrible human being, a misogynist, a bully, a creep, and a crook. Investigate, impeach…and especially, lead.

If you blow this, you won’t get another chance.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Key Witness

This week’s selection is inspired by Muellerpalooza:

Instant Analysis: Muellerpalooza

It’s been a long day. The morning show got off to a promising start with Chairman Nadler’s strong opening but the rest of it was muddled. Judiciary Committee Republicans are deeply stupid. In fact, they’re as stupid as Louie Gohmert Piles and Gym Jordan. The latter still insists on not wearing his suit coat. I suspect he thinks he’s dazzling us with his pecs. He is not.

Morning Muellerpalooza was a snoozer. The witness looked tired and out of practice. He reminded me of a once great pitcher who has lost his fastball and is trying to get by on guile and control.  I’m uncertain if his frequent refrain of “can you repeat the question?” is a delaying tactic or a sign that he needs a hearing aid. The man is nearly 75, after all.

Here’s how I summed up Muller’s style on the Tweeter Tube:

Solicitors do the office work whereas barristers try cases. Mueller is not a trial lawyer, he’s a grind who didn’t grind enough this time around. There were times when he looked uncertain about the facts of his case. Holy bad staff work, Batman.

For those of us who have read the report, there was little new in the morning but things were better in the afternoon session chaired by Adam Schiff. He’s one of the best communicators on the current political scene. As much as I hate to say it, Intelligence Committee GOPers are not as stupid as their Judiciary counterparts. It made things less painful.

As to the substance, Mueller confirmed that:

  • DOJ rules against indicting a president made a huge difference to his case.
  • Trump’s written answers were not entirely truthful. The reason they did not subpoena him was two-fold: time constraints and the fact that they had sufficient evidence.
  • Russian interference in our electoral process is what really matters. Bobby Three Sticks was actually animated when discussing it.
  • He does NOT take politics into consideration when hiring people. For Mueller, it’s about competence, not ideology. Holy crap, I just quoted Dukakis. A 1988 flashback is invariably a bad trip, man.

The hearings were neither a triumph nor a disaster. The “optics” weren’t great but the fact that Mueller stayed above the fray was a major plus as was his insistence that this investigation is not a witch hunt. The only pointy hats I saw in the room were worn by GOPers.

I’m uncertain where we go from here politically. All I know for sure is that I need a nap after arising so early.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Button-Down Mind Of Bob Newhart

The Button-Down Mind Of Bob Newhart was a sensation when it was released in 1960. It firmly established Bob Newhart as one of comedy’s bright lights. It also won Newhart several Grammys.

The cover is not terribly distinguished. I’m mostly posting it because of the title. Bob Newhart is not the only one with a button-down mind. That describes Robert Muller as well. I’m not even sure if he loosens his tie before going to bed. I’m going to spend my day watching Bobby Three Sticks’ testimony and I’ll report back to y’all. Here’s hoping Gym Jordan says something that provokes the former head Feeb.

Dig the crazy diagram of Bob’s mind:

Here’s the opening track of the LP; much of which is unavailable on the YouTube.

 

Art Neville, R.I.P.

This is another tough one for me. The man we in New Orleans call Poppa Funk, Art Neville has died at the age of 81.

I was lucky enough to know Art; not well, he was more of a neighborhood acquaintance. We’re both proud residents of the 13th Ward in Uptown New Orleans. Our conversations mostly took place with him on his porch and me on the sidewalk. I wasn’t a stalker: Art lived a few blocks up Valence Street from Adrastos World HQ. Plus, I know one of his sons and several of his nieces and nephews. Repeat after me: New Orleans is the world’s largest small town. Condolences to everyone in the Neville family.

When I was neighborhood leader, I used to walk the neighborhood a lot. The first time I saw Art, I almost didn’t stop to chat. As a hardcore New Orleanian, I try to hide my inner fan boy. Fortunately, Art was a warm and friendly man who was always glad to talk when he wasn’t on the road with the Neville Brothers or the Meters.

Most of our conversations were relatively brief and fairly long ago, alas. We talked about neighborhood stuff, the weather, food, the Saints, and music; always music. I wasn’t even sure if he knew my name, but I knew his. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of reflected glory, 13th Ward style.

We had two particularly memorable conversations:

I told him that my first date with Dr. A ended up at Tipitina’s where we saw the Neville Brothers. Art smiled and said: “So, we helped you get the girl? That’s great, man.”

One day we talked about the late San Francisco concert promoter/music mogul, Bill Graham. Near the end of his life, Graham was on a largely successful mission to boost Art and his brothers and bring their music to the world. In fact, the first time I saw the Meters was when they opened for the Rolling Stones at a Bill Graham Presents show at the Oakland Coliseum.

I told Art about playing basketball (badly) against Graham at Winterland before a Grateful Dead concert. Graham had sharp elbows and an even sharper tongue. The game was on the honor system, so I called a foul on Bill when he poked me with an elbow. He protested: “The fuck you say.”

Even then, I was a smart ass: “You gonna throw me out of the arena?”

He smirked and said: “What kind of asshole you take me for? Your punishment is a fucking no-call. Ya dig, shit-head?”

After telling Art this story, he nodded and said, “Bill threw some sharp elbows for us too. Most creative cusser I ever met.”

I hadn’t seen Art for many years when I heard the sad but not unexpected news. I wish I had gotten to know him better but as John Lennon put it, “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

I suspect my encounters with Art Neville were infinitely more memorable to me than to him. He was an unpretentious music legend and a good listener. The perfect audience, the perfect neighbor.

Finally, a quote from Keith Spera’s tribute to Art in the Picvocate:

“It was peaceful,” said Kent Sorrell, Neville’s longtime manager. “He passed away at home with his adoring wife Lorraine by his side. He toured the world how many times, but he always came home to Valence Street.”

And that’s where we met. He will be missed by everyone who loved his music, especially those of us in his neighborhood, the 13th Ward. He always came home to Valence Street.

Here’s some music, Poppa Funk style:

A List of Things Mueller Will Not Say Tomorrow

“He’s definitely a criminal.”

“You should impeach him.”

“He deserves to die in federal prison.”

“You have my permission to try to get rid of him.”

“I promise if you do so Reasonable People Like Myself will not get upset in any way.”

“No Republicans will say mean things about you if you just do this the right way.”

I mean honestly: 

Republicans, with their control of the Senate, could protect Trump if Democrats in the House were to impeach him.

In fact, Trump and supporters have sometimes seemed to goad their opponents in the House to proceed with impeachment, confident the effort would ultimately fail to oust the president. A fizzled attempt would amount to another inoculation for Trump, in this view, and a rebuke to Pelosi.

These are the positions on the battlefield as Mueller enters. Will his appearance on Wednesday alter them?

I think we are quite possibly putting a lot of pressure on Robert Mueller that is not his to carry, and I say this rooting quite firmly for him to say all those things up there ending each one with “motherfucker.” If there’s anything about the past 20 years of Republicans I’ve learned it’s that nobody should put money on them discovering either shame or responsibility no matter what gets said in a hearing room. Richard Clarke put paid to that. Shit, Gerald Ford put paid to that.

We should also dispense with the idea that anything Mueller’s going to say will cause anyone in the national press to do anything differently. They’re going to report that there is one side that says this about what Mueller said, and one side that says another, and they will pat themselves on the backs for not letting Democracy Die in Darkness and then all go drink together. There’s not gonna be anything big enough, like Mueller could get up there tomorrow and say that he witnessed Donald Trump murder people in the Oval and we’d still have to hear WHAT ABOUT TED KENNEDY HUH? like idiots. This is our portion of the suffering.

So, given those fucking givens, what are we left with? Same thing we’ve always got. Fight ’em any way we have to until we can’t. We can keep calling Nancy to impeach the sumbitch and we can keep putting our bodies in the streets every day and we can keep blockading the doors of ICE HQ and we can keep pounding every drum we have but we can’t make this happen without making it happen.

Let’s not expect Robert Mueller to make it any easier tomorrow. How in God’s name is he supposed to? He did his job. He provided the report, he did the investigation, that Nancy is scared and Mitch is a treasonous turtle fuck is not his burden to carry. He’s not gonna save us. We were only ever gonna save ourselves.

A.

Tuesday Catblogging

Slade is such a ham (figuratively, as well as in actual proportion) that sometimes I forget to take pictures of Ada, who sleeps in this kind of mollusk position, feet daintily pointed and back perfectly curled:

[photo: Calico cat curled up asleep on a blue couch]

Trumper Incitement Speech

Just when we thought things couldn’t get any uglier, the Insult Comedian doubled down on his egregious bigotry. He briefly stepped back from the brink after Republican blowback over his remarks about “The Squad,” but he cannot help himself and was soon back to inciting the red-hatted hordes. It’s just the latest offensive language offensive by the party of Trump.

Trump’s latest racist comments led me to me ponder two legendary Supreme Court cases. In the first case, Schenck v. United State, Oliver Wendell Holmes (surely the best name in SCOTUS history) enunciated the “clear and present danger test.” 50 years later the Supremes limited that test in the case of a Klansman named Clarence Brandenburg, not to be confused with Clarence the goofball angel in It’s A Wonderful Life. In Brandenbeurg v. Ohio case, the Court held:

… that speech advocating illegal conduct is protected under the First Amendment unless the speech is likely to incite “imminent lawless action.”

When it comes to the First Amendment, I’m down with the late Justice Hugo Black who was a free speech absolutist. BUT just because incitement speech can be legal does not make it socially or politically acceptable. We cannot ban it unless it directly provokes violence BUT we can attack it at its source: the Trump regime and the GOP.

We’re seeing the effects of the Current Occupant’s vicious and racist attacks spring to life among his supporters. Rhetorical bombs are being tossed across the country.

Across the Big Muddy from Adrastos World HQ, a veteran Gretna police officer showed classic internet courage by first posting, then removing a Facebook thingamabob about Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez:

The Times-Picayune reported this weekend that police officer Charlie Rispoli had posted a threatening message about Ocasio-Cortez, who used to work as a bartender, on his Facebook page.

“This vile idiot needs a round…and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve,” Rispoli wrote in a caption above a fake article headlined with “Ocasio-Cortez On the Budget: ‘We Pay Soldiers Too Much’”

The cop seemed livid about the article, even though the site Taters Gonna Tate describes itself as a “satire” website and Ocasio-Cortez has never said that soldiers get paid “too much.”

A Trumper falling for a “fake news” article? Imagine that. Of course, anyone who has fallen for the Insult Comedian’s shtick is a fool and/or a poltroon.

Meanwhile, this happened in the Land of Lincoln:

Internet courage was also displayed by this group: they removed this offensive image as well as its even more offensive caption, “Political jihad is their game. If you don’t agree with their socialist ideology, you’re racist.”

That is, of course, Geoffrey Hughes’ character, Onslow, from Keeping Up Appearances, not one of the Illinois GOP honchos. But now that I think of it, all you have to do is add a Bears or Cubs hat and Bob’s your uncle. Your uncle, not mine.

They justified the racist image with this gobble-de-gook:

State Republican Chairman Tim Schneider responded to what he called the “bigoted rhetoric” in a statement, according to the Tribune.

“My intense disagreement with the socialist policies and anti-Semitic language of these four congresswoman has absolutely nothing to do with their race or religion,” he said. “I urge everyone who opposes them to keep the rhetoric focused on policy and ideology.”

Instead of gobble-de-gook, one might call this an Illini lie. Schneider is a German-sounding name, perhaps he should go back to Germany. Of course, German law takes a dim view of incitement speech for obvious reasons. Been there, done that.

The current political environment is ugly and getting uglier by the nano-second. Trump and his supporters will stop at nothing to keep him in office. I am genuinely concerned that this will result in even more politically inspired violence than we’ve already seen.

Like Pontius Pilate, Trump will wash his hands of any responsibility the next time someone gets hurt, especially if it’s one of The Squad. I have no sympathy for that devil, y’all.

And I was ’round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate

Trump and his followers are stirring the pot with their incitement speech. At the risk of sounding like an entry in the dictionary of political cliches, they will eventually reap the whirlwind and pay for their actions in the fall of 2020. But it will take hard work and persistence. And Boris Badenov and ilk may help Team Trump just as they did in 2016:

Repeat after me: Republicans lost the popular vote in the mid-terms by 9 points. Their only hope for victory is to depress Democratic turnout by hook or crook and pray for protection from the electoral college.  Never forget: massive turnout by the people Trump is trying to otherize is the cure to what ails the country.

Since bomb throwing is the metaphor of the day, the last word goes to 10cc:

UPDATE: The Gretna, Louisiana cop mentioned above was fired.