Monthly Archives: November 2019

Impeachment Hearings Day Four: The Hotelier Flips

It was the most dramatic day of testimony by far. I gladly abandoned one possible title: A Fifth Of Sondland.

Consider this moral equivalent of live blogging. Let’s get down to it.

—> I had already read Gordon Sondland’s opening statement but even if I hadn’t I would have known that he was going to come semi-clean by his demeanor. He looked like someone who had a weight lifted from his shoulders.

—> Devin Nunes was blindsided by Sondland’s flip and gave an opening statement warning the hotelier that he was about to be smeared. I enjoyed Nunes’ humiliation.

—> While Sondland named names he did so our of self-preservation, not patriotism. That’s okay, his motives are irrelevant: his lawyer is trying to keep his client out of jail and save his business. The key to the Hotelier flipping was David Holmes’ description of the cell phone conversation between Sondland and President* Pennywise. Dipshits.

Here’s something I tweeted out about Gordo’s motives:

—> I cannot wait for the Insult Comedian and the artist formerly known as Mayor Combover to respond and make matters worse.

—> In his first round of questioning, Nunes decided NOT to attack Sondland. Instead, he peddled the discredited Ukraine did it theory. They’re milking that conspiracy theory like a cow…

—> Counsel Castor Oil is an annoying ninny. He used the Boltonian phrase “drug deal” as if it were meant literally. Of course, Gordo denied being part of a “drug deal.”

In his second round of questioning, Castor took off the gloves and went after the witness after it was clear that things were not going well.

—> BURISMA. BIDEN. BURISMA. BIDEN. BURISMA. BIDEN. BURISMA. BIDEN.

—> Casting Update:  Wallace Shawn as Gordon Sondland and Philip Baker Hall as Castor Oil.

—> Adam Schiff and Danny Goldman were wise to treat Sondland as a semi-hostile witness. The man has lied before and will likely do so again. Most witnesses to conspiracy are co-conspirators, after all.

—>  Gordon Sondland is proof positive that wealth and intelligence are not synonymous. He has a poor memory, which needs constant refreshing. Perhaps that why he drank so much water and perspired profusely.

—> Sondland had a lot of nerve asking his lawyer to request special treatment so he could catch a flight to “resume his duties.” Dude, nobody on the committee likes you and if you had any decency, you’d resign. Pronto. It provoked Schiff to shift into Homey the Clown mode:

I think we need a list of those thrown to the wolves today: Trump, Giuliani, Pompeo, Bolton, Volker, and Mulvaney.

I don’t feel like commenting on shouting House GOPers so it’s time to wrap up this wrap up post even before the hearing ends. One more tweet from some internet wise ass:

I have other things to do so I won’t write about Laura Cooper’s testimony this afternoon. I may have it on in the background. Hopefully, she has a better memory than the Hotelier.

The last word goes to Peter Gabriel and the Smithereens. Hopefully these tunes will refresh your memory:


Impeachment Hearings Day Three: Vindmania

House Republicans keep trying to turn the impeachment hearings into a circus but, like Homey the Clown, Adam Schiff don’t play that. It’s time for my scattershot take on yesterday’s hearing.

—> I almost felt sorry for Jennifer Williams. She was the sideshow, Lt. Col. Vindman was the main event. On the other hand, no one questioned her patriotism or impugned her integrity. Perhaps it’s because she started life as a GOP operative before joining the Foreign Service.

Her testimony neither helped nor hurt her boss, Mike Pence. It did, however, damage *his* boss as well as frustrate committee Republicans who could no longer rant about hearsay and indirect evidence. Williams heard what she heard and told the truth about it. It’s what a good citizen does.

My favorite Jennifer Williams moment was when she hopped into a cab after testifying.

—> Vindman started off jittery and camera shy BUT he warmed to the task brilliantly. This was not a man desperate for attention, publicity, and acclaim. That’s the guy whose conduct he described as inappropriate and wrong: Donald J. Trump.

Both Devin Nunes and oily GOP counsel Steve Castor tried to slime and otherize Vindman. A high point was when Vindman insisted that the rank ranking member call him by his title: Lt. Colonel, not Mister. I halfway expected Nunes to break out in a Mr. Mister song.

Castor went on and on and on about a putative job offer from a Ukrainian official for Vindman to be that country’s minister of defense. It was an offer that Vindman did not take seriously but Castor acted as if it proved he was disloyal and unpatriotic. The whole thing was nauseating. It turned into a set-up for the Colonel to proclaim he didn’t take the job because “I’m an American.”

—> Whistleblower, whistleblower, whistleblower.

—> Jim Jordan tried to score points but Vindman refused to be his punching bag. Vindman swatted Gym away like the annoying fly he is. Jordan seemed to understand that he’d been bested by Vindman and just howled at the moon when he got his second bite at the apple.

 —> After his encounter with the unjacketed and unhinged one, Vindman grew in confidence and scored point after point. He also showed a dry sense of humor when asked what languages he spoke, “Russian, Ukrainian, and a little bit of English.”

—> New York Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney threw Vindman a hanging fastball of a question, which the V Man hit out of the park:

Before the afternoon session, there was a lot of big talk from Republicans about how Kurt Volker and really tall guy, Tim Morrison, would defend the indefensible. These were their witnesses. Things did not go quite as planned,

Both Volker and Morrison confirmed the outlines of the scheme while trying not to piss off their fellow GOPers. Their conduct showed the difference between career civil servants like the previous witnesses and political appointees like these two jokers.

I didn’t watch the entire afternoon session because overexposure to House Republicans is hazardous to one’s mental health. If I had to listen to Jim Jordan holler one more time, I might have been ready for the laughing academy. I wish he’d use his inside voice but I don’t think he has one.

One of the funniest things I saw about the afternoon session came from New Orleans writer Michael Tisserand:

Google Fred (Herman Munster) Gwynne and Lonesome George Goebel and you’ll see what’s so funny.

The last word goes to Robbie Robertson and U2:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Deguello

ZZ Top are one of the hairiest bands in rock and roll history. They became unlikely superstars in the MTV era but Degeuello predates their rocket to stardom. It was released in 1979 and  is one of many ZZ Top albums to have a Spanish language title.

The album’s Wikipedia entry describes the title as follows:

“Degüello” means “decapitation” or, idiomatically, when something is said to be done “a degüello”, it means “no quarter” (as in “no surrender to be given or accepted—a fight to the death”) in Spanish. It was also the title of a Moorish-origin bugle call used by the Mexican Army at the Battle of the AlamoTexas, in 1836.

I love it when history and blues rock merge. I nearly lost my head when I saw Bill Narum’s album cover:

If that cover looks familiar to you, it’s because I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide from Deguello was posted here on Monday..

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

 

 

From Elsewhere

About those shithole countries: 

… Ali signed up as an interpreter for the Americans, whose official rhetoric claimed they were promoting classical liberal values in Iraq, establishing a vision realized on their own shores but belonging to all mankind — democracy, freedom and equality. At least that was the theory. And in theory, we could “go forward with complete confidence,” as President George W. Bush proclaimed, “because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul.” In theory, that longing would lead Iraqis to greet American troops as liberators and make the shouted words “We’re Americans!” capable of calming a firefight in a hostile neighborhood.

In practice, and in American history, more has been required. America may be “a nation of immigrants,” where people of different nations and faiths forge a common identity. But that common identity has relied on far more than the notion of all people hungering for freedom in dark places. For citizens to labor and sacrifice on a nation’s behalf, they must feel what Edward Wilmot Blyden called “the poetry of politics,” that sense of inclusion in a broader community with its own distinctive character and historical consciousness.

The aspirations still exist:

I’m a pessimist; I’m sometimes surprised but rarely disappointed that way, and I deeply understand the instinct to say fuck it and eat chips and watch TV. Who doesn’t want to watch TV? Go live in the woods, where no one will bother you. Drop out, tune out, never talk about anything that matters ever again. Just nope out of our entire endealment, especially now, when it’s getting dark, and obligations start pressing in. Why can’t we just avoid everything, forever?

Well, because we fucking can’t, because there are people counting on us. This time of year I re-read Trinity: the rising will start when one man alone has had enough. I re-read Winter’s Tale: every time the world is being destroyed it’s beginning again and they had no intention of being left out. How dare you be tired, if you’re warm and safe and comfortable, for longer than a night? Rest by the fire, put your coat back on, and keep fighting.

I started posting those “not everything sucks” posts not to just show you cute animals or feel-good stories but to say: People are good and brave, and we fail the good and brave with our glib nihilism and fashion-show exhaustion.

How dare we say nothing has changed since Sandy Hook when scores of volunteers are out at every corner every night signing people up to vote for gun safety laws at every level including the federal?

How dare we snicker “lol low Q rating” at career civil servants testifying to the president’s crimes in the face of death threats to themselves and their families?

How dare we shrug “whatevs” at the people our national myths seduced, as if they’re the ones to blame for believing what we told them? As if they’re the suckers, and we don’t need to think about what that makes us.

How dare we tell anyone who’s angry about any of this to take it easy in the name of some false civility, as if pacifying someone’s book club meeting is the ultimate goal? How dare we make these things abstractions, when they’re flesh and blood and in front of us every day?

If our national myths rely on aspirations of others then we have a goddamn obligation to make sure this place isn’t worse than the places others come from. We have a country people want to belong to and if there’s one thing about the past 3 years I will never understand it’s making that into a bad thing and telling people it’s a lie.

It’s so much harder to kill hope than it is to make yourself worthy of it. Look at that, up there. Look at everything they knew, everything we’ve done, and still they looked to us. It’s harder to destroy that idea than it is to make it real.

A.

Not Everything Sucks: PEEEG Edition

No, not Peppa, fuck that pink bitch. I’m talking about LILOU: 

The five-year-old Juliana pig and her owner, Tatyana Danilova, are part of San Francisco International Airport’s “Wag Brigade” – a program that brings therapy animals to the airport to cheer passengers up and help ease travel anxieties.

Dressed in a pilot’s cap and with toenails painted bright red, LiLou breezes through the metal detector at airport security and trots to the departure gates. She raises a hoof in greeting, poses for selfies and entertains departing passengers with a tune on her toy piano.

“People are very happy to get distracted from the travel, from their routines, whether they’re flying on their journey for vacation or work,” said Danilova. “Everybody is usually very happy and it makes them pause for a second and smile and be like, ‘oh, it’s great.’”

When she’s not delighting passengers at the airport, LiLou lives with Danilova in her downtown San Francisco apartment, where she enjoys a diet of organic vegetables and protein pellets, sleeps in her own bed and goes for daily walks around the neighborhood.

I am for all animals in airports. Bring on the therapy ferrets.

A.

I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide

The results of the Gret Stet Goober race confirmed that President* Pennywise is a rotten surrogate whose efforts are often stillborn. I suspect he’s already forgotten Eddie Rispone’s name, that is, if he ever knew it. His rallies are always about himself, after all.

It just occurred to me that there’s a tune that should be Trump’s campaign theme song, especially when he’s stumping for other GOPers. Here are two versions of that song, the original by ZZ Top and a swell cover by Dwight Yoakam:

Gret Stet Goober Race Wrap Up

The Gret Stet of Louisiana dodged a bullet last Saturday when Governor John Bel Edwards defeated know-nothing nitwit Eddie Rispone. The latter proved that you need more than TV and internet ads to win a statewide race. The incumbent proved that you can overcome primary overconfidence and win if you mobilize the Democratic base instead of depressing it. That’s what happened in the first round. As you can tell, I’m simultaneously relieved and underwhelmed. Team Edwards should have won this in the primary. That should not be overlooked.

It’s been forgotten that six months ago, Louisiana Republicans could not find an A-list candidate to take on Edwards. Senator John Neely Kennedy preferred going on TV to spout Neelyisms in defense of President* Pennwyise and nobody else of any stature was willing to run against the conservative Democratic Governor. That’s how they ended up with two nobodies like Doc Abraham and Eddie Rispone as their standard bearers.

As always for any Democrat in any state, the key to Edwards’ win was turnout. In the primary their GOTV operation was lousy, let’s crunch the Goober race numbers.

PRIMARY

Democrats:   636,993

Republicans: 696,399

RUNOFF

Edwards:  774,469

Rispone:  734,128

Repeat after me: TURNOUT, TURNOUT, TURNOUT.

I see the footprints of the Trump effect in those vote totals. The Trump rallies during the runoff seem to have backfired. Note that the GOP vote only increased by 38K whereas Edwards’ total went up by 138K; much of that in Orleans Parish. New Orleans saved John Bel Edwards’ ass, let’s hope he shows some gratitude.

In other Trump effect news, Edwards carried heavily Republican Jefferson Parish next door to New Orleans 57% to 43%. It’s jam packed with the sort of educated suburban voters who Trump repulses nationwide. Edwards even got 40% of the vote across the lake in St. Tammany Parish; one of the richest and most Republican parishes in the Gret Stet.

I should pause to thank Rispone and Trump for my most seen tweet ever:

Those were the voters mobilized by Trump’s rallies. This is the kind of backlash I could get used to, y’all. In my own 13th Ward precinct it was Edwards 217 Rispone 11.

One of the best quotes about the Trump effect came from anti-Trump GOP strategist Tim Miller in the Failing New York Times:

“If you had any doubt that Trump was a human repellent spray for suburban voters who have a conservative disposition, Republicans getting wiped out in the suburbs of New Orleans, Louisville and Lexington should remove it.”

Let’s move on from the Insult Comedian.

This tweeted graphic by New Orleans native and Larry Sabato right-hand man Miles Coleman shows the shifting voting patterns in Louisiana:

Acadiana aka Cajun Country in Western Louisiana *used* to be the Gret Stet’s swing region. That’s no longer true. Rural and oil patch voters seem to like Trump, which means they supported his hand puppet Rispone. I suspect this is as permanent a shift as anything in politics. Of course, a Democratic candidate of the caliber of Acadiana natives Edwin Edwards, John Breaux, or Kathleen Blanco could change that in a heartbeat.

Is there any national message in the 2019 Gret Stet Goober race? It was largely decided on Gret Stet issues, but the key was TURNOUT, TURNOUT, TURNOUT. Plus, there’s gold in them thar suburbs. It’s refreshing to know that there are still conservative leaning voters who think POTUS should be presidential instead of an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop his head.

I’m just glad it’s over and that my Eddie Rispone impression is now moot. No more TV ads from sleazy PACs supporting Rispone and slandering his opponent. Huzzah.

The last word goes to Frank Zappa and the Mothers:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Quick takes edition

Ok – “Obsession” is officially getting too long-winded, so some short takes this week:

First up – He sounds GAY to me!

Audio tape reveals Richard Spencer is, as everyone knew, a racist
Vox ^ | Nov 4, 2019, 5:20pm | Jane Coastonjane

Posted on 11/5/2019, 5:12:10 PM by FewsOrange

In audio first put online by right-wing pundit and provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos on Saturday, white nationalist Richard Spencer can allegedly be heard ranting about Jewish people and mixed-race people.

The audio — purportedly from an emergency meeting that took place on August 13, 2017, the day after the far-right “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, disintegrated into violence, resulting in the murder of a counterprotester named Heather Heyer — features Spencer screaming racist and anti-Semitic slurs he has generally avoided using in public in an effort to more politely argue for “the creation of a White Ethno-State.”

… We are coming back here like a hundred f*&^ing times. I am so mad. I am so f*&^ing mad at these people. They don’t do this to f*&^ing me. We are going to f*&^ing ritualistically humiliate them. I am coming back here every f*&^ing weekend if I have to. Like this is never over. I win! They f*&^ing lose! That’s how the world f*&^ing works.

Little f*&^ing kikes. They get ruled by people like me. Little f*&^ing octoroons … I f*&^ing … my ancestors f*&^ing enslaved those little pieces of f*&^ing shit. I rule the f*&^ing world. Those pieces of f*&^ing shit get ruled by people like me. They look up and see a face like mine looking down at them. That’s how the f*&^ing world works. We are going to destroy this f*&^ing town. …

1 posted on 11/5/2019, 5:12:10 PM by FewsOrange
Come on, Freepers – tell the world there’s no place for bigotry at Free republic!
To: FewsOrange
He sounds kind of….GAY, actually.  They tend towards unhinged rants like this. The Nazis had tons of Brown Shirt faggots…until they didn’t one fateful night. 

15 posted on 11/5/2019, 5:57:52 PM by montag813

AllRightyThen
Next up – “Where do conservatives go?”

Democrats win full control of Virginia statehouse BREITBART ^ | Nov 5, 2019 | ap Posted on 11/5/2019, 10:01:43 PM by Morgana

so not good.
1 posted on 11/5/2019, 10:01:43 PM by Morgana
The burning question ?
To: Morgana

Stick a fork in beautiful Virginia… it’s done. George Soros’ $$ contributed to the win in VA tonight.20 years ago, I wanted to move to formerly ‘Red’ Virginia to escape the high taxes and socialism of The People’s Republik of Connecticut (where we’re still stuck). That’s gone forever… Virginia is now South Maryland. Just another insane Blue State. It may as well be Connecticut.

Where do conservatives go if *all* 50 states turn Blue??

29 posted on 11/5/2019, 10:14:14 PM by nutmeg
I hear Somalia is nice this time of the year.
Or, there’s always GoFuckYourself-istan…..
.
More bits and pieces below the fold…

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The Impeachment Hearings Aren’t Going to Save Us

By “us” I mean the “us” Meet the Press envisions, not “us” as in the Republic: 

NBC News has been mocked on social media after complaining that the first public impeachment hearings were lacking in “pizzazz,” causing the word to trend on Twitter.

The network tweeted a story overnight complaining that the testimonies of State Department official George Kent and the U.S. Ukraine diplomat Bill Taylor “lacked the pizzazz necessary to capture public attention.”

Its analysis article on the hearings linked in the post also said the depositions were not “dramatic” and described the manner of the witnesses as “reserved.”

A lot of deserved shit was given to this NBC piece, but I think it’s worth examining where it comes from, which is the same place all those pleading “NOW do Trump supporters still support him?” pieces come from, which is the same place Mitch McConnell comes from.

Which is to say, racist-ass crackers who cannot be saved, and I write this as a white lady who lives in a good school district.

One in four Americans have always been terrible morons and are always gonna be terrible morons, and we have GOT to surrender the fantasy that this will one day not be the case. Just stop arguing with them. Jesus Christ, I watch people fight on Facebook with these boobs and I can’t understand it. Stop acting like you’re gonna zing ’em and they’re gonna come around to your point of view and Trump’s poll numbers will tank. The poll-answerers are all six eps deep into a 36-hour Law and Order marathon and not one of them gives a shit about Trump’s crimes.

They’re not gonna care how much “pizzazz” the hearings have. They’re not gonna care if Donald Trump takes the stand and yells that he ordered the code red. They’re gonna be able to spin it as long as they can spin it in their heads so that over the Thanksgiving turkey they can still tell their liberal daughter-in-law that she’s a stupid bitch. That’s all they care about and nothing’s going to change it.

And once upon a time the Royal News We didn’t hang on these people’s every word or even really care that they existed anymore, but now that we’ve added comments to news stories they’re somehow an audience we cannot lose.

So what is there to do, good sirs and madams of the press corps, who consider themselves influential over the tastes and topics of the modern person? Change the fucking subject. Decide you’re gonna do your job as a grownup and let your viewers and readers howl all they want.

You know, the way you do when you run a profile of a well-groomed Nazi or a retrospective of American unity after 9/11. The way you do when one of your columnists calls somebody a bedbug.

If you won’t, well too bad, so sad, I guess we’re gonna have to have the hearings anyway, despite your assessment of the optics of it all. But I’d like us to surrender the fantasy that at some point everyone will turn on Trump and it will become socially acceptable to ask for his resignation. Resistance will never not require courage, guys. Hate to break it to you.

Thirty percent of this godforsaken place would happily see us all burn if it meant they got to say the N-word again and until you reckon with that you’ll keep after this forlorn hope and blame the optics instead of the racists.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Still Learning How To Fly

Der Vogelmensch by Max Ernst.

It’s been colder than hell in New Orleans this week. It’s not Wisconsin cold but it’s fucking cold. We had some electrical issues that one of my Spank krewe mates fixed. It’s good to know “people who need people” I understand they “are the luckiest people in the world.” I cannot believe I just went there. In order to salvage my cool cred, here’s some Oscar Peterson:

It’s election day in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. I’m cautiously optimistic that Blue Dog Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards will be re-elected. I hope the voters will remember that Coach O wants them to vote for the Governor. Geaux, Tigers. Geaux, Team Blue.

This week’s theme song was written in 2003 by Rodney Crowell. It’s the opening track of his Fate’s Right Hand album and features one of his finest couplets: “Life’s been good, I guess. My ragged old heart’s been blessed.”

We have two versions of Still Learning How To Fly for your listening pleasure. The original with a full band and a live acoustic rendition.

While we’re in mid flight, how about a song with a similar title by an equally great artist?

It’s time to land. See you on the other side of the break.

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Instant Analysis: Impeachment Hearing Day Two

I’m on record as disliking hot takes but since consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, here are my hot takes on Ambassador Yovanovitch’s testimony:

—> Masha mashed it. Her opening statement was compelling. She’s soft-spoken, which meant that people had to listen carefully. I’m not sure if Jim Jordan has ever listened to anyone in his benighted life. He certainly didn’t listen to the molested wrestlers at Ohio State.

The Ambassador was as impressive as GOPers were unimpressive. Their questions were confusing as well as confused. Nutty conspiracy theories are hard to follow. I’m talking to you Devin Nunes. Don’t have a cow, man.

—> I tweeted my thoughts on Yovanovitch’s opening statement:

—> The  morning break taken by Chairman Schiff was exquisitely timed. It allowed him to describe Trump’s odious AM tweet as witness tampering. It was surreal to watch Yovanovitch respond in real time. Here was my reaction:

—> Republican counsel Steve Castor is lucky that he’s on the Insult Comedian’s side. He’s boring and sleepy-eyed, which means that Trump would call him Sleepy Steve. I’d almost rather hear Gym Jordan. Almost.

—> Congresswoman Elise Stefanik seemed to be auditioning for a slot on either The Real Housewives of New Jersey or New York but given her demeanor, she’d  be a  better fit with Tre, Melissa, and the Gorga gang:

Now that I think of it, Jim Jordan is the Juicy Joe of the GOP caucus.

I hope you’re not scarred for life by that image but it has to be said, uh, shown.

—> Committee Republicans were a tad less flamboyant today. I think the Insult Comedian’s nasty tweet put a damper on their theatrics. Besides, Masha is a cool customer and GOPers failed to get under her skin. Chris Stewart under one’s skin? What a creepy thought and image; much worse than Joe Giudice’s tattooed torso.

—> Whistleblower, whistleblower, whisteblower.

In other news, Roger Stone was convicted on seven counts today. So far, Trump still admits to knowing him but this cannot be too far in the future:

I wonder if he and Rog have had any perfect phone calls? Everything he does is perfect, after all. The last word goes to Badfinger:

Friday Catblogging: Throwback Grooming

We all still miss Della Street. Here’s a picture Dr. A found on her iPad of Paul Drake grooming his big sister.

Thursday Night Music: Dear Mr. Fantasy

I’m not a fan of generational stereotypes. Perhaps it’s because I’m on the cusp of two generations. In any event, here’s some music to say “OK, boomer” to. I remain mystified what Boomer Esiason has done to deserve this.

We have three versions of Dear Mr. Fantasy for your listening pleasure: the Traffic original, Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton live, and Crosby, Stills & Nash. All certified boomers and in Crosby’s case certifiable.

 

Bayou Brief: Ode To Coach O

My latest column at the Bayou Brief is online. In which I tell my Tiger fan origin story and discuss the ultimate underdog, Ed Orgeron.

I’m literally waiting for the electrician so I’m not sure if I’ll post again today. That’s why I’ve decided to share today’s earworm. It’s winter music from the North Country:

I know what you’re thinking: isn’t that a Dixie Chicks song? True dat but it was co-written by Gary Louris.

A Tale Of Two Hearings

What We Saw

pennywise_4_trump

What They Saw

Trump_il_Sung_4

To me it would take the sort of squinting reserved for reading the finest of fine prints in the harsh glare of the brightest of bright summer days — or a intravenous Fox Noise feed at fire hose volume — but I guess if you’re all in with Trump, you’re all in.

And they’re all in.

So, what to a normal person is pretty clear evidence of disgusting, corrupt, petty if not criminal venality becomes in the light-bending black hole of MAGAtry an attempt to root out corruption, and that’s their story and they’re sticking to it.

If Trump killed someone on 5th Avenue, they’d say the victim needed killing.

If clear evidence emerged that Trump was licking the boots of Vladimir Putin, they’d insist it was the classiest, hugest, bigliest boot-licking they’d ever witnessed. And why would anyone be against licking Putin’s boots, unless they hated Donald Trump?

Cult doesn’t even begin to describe.

But I’ll still insist he’s bluffing, and he’s vulnerable. Not that I much like citing David Frum, but credit where it’s due, and yeah, it’s due here.

frum_on_trump

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Jambalaya Loverman

This post is dedicated to my friend and fellow pulp fiction aficionado Kevin Allman. He’s  leaving Louisiana and returning home to California. Happy trails, amigo.

The last word goes to Emmylou Harris:

 

Instant Analysis: Impeachment Hearing Day One

I saw most of today’s hearing. Here are my takeaways:

—Nancy Smash was right to make the intelligence committee and Chairman Adam Schiff the tip of the impeachment spear. He was unflappable even in the face of moronic provocations by the Republican minority. He ruled on their sporadically dumb motions and moved on.

—I might rather have a beer with George Kent (I’ve heard he’s very funny offstage) but Bill Taylor is an impressive and formidable man. He reminds me of the small c conservatives who used to be common until Newt, W, the Tea Party, and Trump dumbed the GOP down.

Taylor reminded me of my father’s friend Paul Haerle who was a San Francisco super lawyer and California Republican Chairman from 1975-77. He ran afoul of the right wing of his party for supporting Ford over Reagan in 1976, resigned the next year, and focused on lawyering.

A quick personal story: I worked as a paralegal on the plaintiff’s side of a massive anti-trust case for a few years. It involved accusations of price fixing by Kaiser and other cement companies. I worked on the document production at Kaiser cement HQ in Oakland with another young paralegal with whom I shared a mutual disdain.

Anyway, the jerk-alegal and I were present to shuffle papers for a deposition. Paul Haerle was there representing the cement overlords. My nemesis glared at me, but his face fell as I addressed his big boss:

PA: “Hello Mr. Haerle. I’m Peter, Lou Athas’ son. We’ve met before.”

PH gave me a big smile and said: “Great to see you again. I miss your dad. Haven’t been to our Kiwanis club for a while. Give him and your mother my regards.”

PA: “Will do, sir.”

PH: “When you talk to your mom, tell her I’d love to eat her delicious Greek cookery again.”

My nemesis’ head looked like it was about to explode. He was not invited to dinner at my parents’ house. Paul Haerle was, and a good time was had by all.

That was quite a digression even for me. I’ll try and do better; not that y’all believe that.

—Neither Taylor nor Kent fell into any Republican traps. They insisted that they were fact witnesses and that it was up to Congress to deal with impeachment. I was relieved that none of the GOPers called Kent a “bow-tie motherfucker.” I guess none of them heard Omar call Brother Mouzon that on The Wire.

—Jim Jordan was there: unjacketed and unhinged. He seems to think that talking really fast and loud will dazzle the witnesses. They were emphatically undazzled by the second-rate wrestling coach. Jim Jordan to the rescue? Not even close.

—The GOP’s defense of Trump is ridiculous. Just because the crime was not perfected doesn’t make it legal. The only reason aid to Ukraine was not withheld is that Congress intervened.

—Democratic counsel Danny Goldman rocks. He showed why Schiff opted to have a genuine trial lawyer handle much of the questioning. Much like when Law & Order‘s Adam Schiff had Jack McCoy do likewise. You didn’t think I’d pass a chance to make that joke again, did you?

—Finally, a point of order from the sensible party on the Tweeter Tube:

I did not know that. Unlike House Republicans, I learn something new every day. I’ll remember that the next time I order Chicken Keev.

The last word goes to ELP:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Ralph Steadman

Ralph Steadman is best known for illustrating Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. He also did quite a few album covers over the years.

This Steadman sampler starts off fairly normal, then gets increasingly weird:

Killing the Conversation

It’s quoting myself which is lazy but:

This gets to the heart of what annoys me about centrism, civility fetishism, and the deploring of partisanship. It’s a way to shut someone up without having to own that you want them to shut up.

I want lots of people to shut up. I want just for one goddamn day for Donald Fucking Trump to shut his festering assmouth so we can have, like, Christmas or Thanksgiving or something without him being like “Merry Holocaust Remembrance Day! I love The Jews!” and then spell something wrong so there are three days of terrible jokes.

I would like anyone sincerely arguing that the spiritual descendants of Nixon bagmen need to be given large auditoriums on major college  campuses in the name of free speech but trans people shouldn’t be allowed to have driver’s licenses with their identities on them, I would like anyone like that to shut up, too.

If you’re out on the street corner screaming at and spitting on teachers on strike, add yourself to the shut-up list.

I want those people to shut up and I have no problem telling them that.

So if you want me to stop saying things like, “we should not cage immigrant children” or “it’s really not that big of a deal to say Happy Holidays” or “possibly after you commit war crimes you should not appear in public,” then you should tell me that.

But don’t say “be civil.” Don’t say “listen to the other side.” Don’t say “let’s not make this political.”

Just say shut up. That’s what you mean.

A.

Not Everything Sucks

This guy’s still catching lobster: 

John shows me the lobster fisherman’s license he received at age 16. Dated July 1, 1938, the creased and torn document is a remnant from the Depression, when lobsters sold for 15 cents a pound. After high school, he bought a brand-new boat, paying for it the Maine way: “I went into the woods and cut 100 cords of pulpwood with a bucksaw and ax,” John remembers. “There weren’t no chainsaws.”

Via Virgotex.

A.