Monthly Archives: August 2020

Virtual Convention Notes: “There Is No Vaccine For Racism”

The second night showed the upside of the virtual convention format but the third night showed its limitations. The stirring speeches given by Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris cried out for a live audience whereas those by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama worked better without one. Not surprising in Clinton’s case but Obama typically feeds off the energy of the audience as he builds to a crescendo. There was little of the soaring rhetoric the former President is known for: it was a somber and solemn address befitting our somber and solemn times

Let’s begin with Obama’s remarkable and unusual speech. The best word to describe its tone and content is jeremiad. I wish I could take credit for dubbing it as such, but I heard Princeton professor Eddie Glaude Jr. use the word in the post-game show on MSNBC. Here’s how the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines jeremiad: “a prolonged lamentation or complaint also a cautionary or angry harangue”

In addition to being a bullfrog in the Hoyt Axton song, “Jeremiah was a naysayer. That Jewish prophet, who lived from about 650 to 570 BC, spent his days lambasting the Hebrews for their false worship and social injustice and denouncing the king for his selfishness, materialism, and inequities.”

We’ve never seen Barack Obama like this before. It was an angry Obama: angry at what Donald Trump has done to our country and to Obama’s own legacy. He never raised his voice, but you could see the rage in his eyes and feel the anger in his words. It was coherent and rational anger. It was Obama anger.

It was a powerfully written and delivered speech. It was pitch perfect for these troubled times:

 

Obama’s jeremiad made it possible for Kamala Harris to strike a more positive tone in her acceptance speech. We’ve all seen tough and steely Kamala on the debate stage and in Senate hearings, it was time to see her warm and friendly side. We needed to hear more of her personal story as much of the country is just getting to know her. It worked because it’s genuine: she’s nice person from a nice immigrant family. Nice people can be tough too. People are complicated.

Senator Harris also showed her tough side. I used her most memorable line as part of the post title. “There is no vaccine for racism.” If there was, President* Pennywise would be against it as indicated by his bizarre remarks about QAnon yesterday. There are good people on both sides, after all. #sarcasm

Speaking of Trump, Harris trotted out one of her greatest hits, “I know a predator when I see one.” I do too and he looks something like this:

Image by Michael F.

The ending of the speech was as awkward as the address itself was powerful. Joe Biden sauntered onstage and obviously wanted to hug his running mate. A wave and a smile would have to do thanks to President* Pennywise’s grotesque incompetence and negligence in handling the pandemic.

A personal note. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m pleased that the Democratic party has finally put a Californian on the ticket. The GOP did it in 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1968, 1972, 1980, and 1984. Remember when California was a swing state in presidential elections? I do. That changed when Gov. Pete Wilson went proto-Trumper on immigration. Let’s hope Texas follows their example in 2020.

Since I posted Obama’s speech, here’s the Vice Presidential acceptance address:

 

I’m excited about the upcoming campaign. Joe Biden was not my first choice, but he strikes the perfect contrast to the Impeached Insult Comedian. Trump posed as a “common man” in 2016. Joe Biden is the real deal. A reminder that Trump was impeached because of his fear of running against Biden in 2020. His worst nightmare is about to come true.

The last word goes to Frank Sinatra with the 1960 campaign versions of High Hopes and All The Way:

 

It’s The Right Wing Nut Thing To Do

trump_qanon_oats

Of course he’ll go all in with the batshit crazy — he’s chosen to do so his entire life

President Trump on Wednesday offered encouragement to proponents of QAnon, a viral conspiracy theory that has gained a widespread following among people who believe the president is secretly battling a criminal band of sex traffickers, and suggested that its proponents were patriots upset with unrest in Democratic cities.

“I’ve heard these are people that love our country,” Mr. Trump said during a White House news conference ostensibly about the coronavirus. “So I don’t know really anything about it other than they do supposedly like me.”

We knew it was going to be an excruciatingly ugly campaign, but when it begins with a Qanon endorsement, you wonder just how low it will get, and how much more damage will occur.

And to think that only four years ago the scandal was a nothing burger over email. Hope all their finger pointing and condescending sneering over Hillary Clinton’s “poor judgment” was worth it to them.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Deadlier Than The Male

Pulp Fiction Thursday collides with TCM’s Noir Alley yet again. Eddie Muller is good company, especially in his very own tiki bar.

Deadlier Than The Mail was written by screenwriter James Gunn.

Gunn’s book has nothing to do with the 1967 British spy movie of the same title. It was, however, sold to RKO studios and renamed Born To Kill. Gunn did not write the screenplay of this classic film noir.

I mentioned Eddie Muller. In lieu of the trailer, here are somewhat blurry clips of his intro and outro for Born To Kill:

 

 

 

We’ll have more about Eddie Muller, Lawrence Tierney, and Born To Kill in this week’s Saturday Odds & Sods. Stay tuned.

 

No DeJoy In Mudville

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy claims that Post Office “reforms” are being delayed until after the election. As always, the devil is in the details. The whole USPS gambit was a smokescreen blown by the Impeached Insult Comedian at one of the few institutions that’s popular across party lines. It’s another sign that Trump has lost the hot button mojo he had in 2016. The Kaiser of Chaos knows he’s losing and is flailing, trying to save his worthless ass. Stay tuned.

I’ve lad a lot of fun with the Postmaster General’s name:

  • De Almond Joy
  • DeJoy Division
  • DeJoy To The World
  • DeJoy Of Cooking
  • Ode To DeJoy
  • DeJoy Luck Club
  • DeJoy Ride
  • DeJoy Reid
  • DeJoyful Noise

I’m sure I’ve missed a few. No punster is perfect.

Let’s close things out with some DeJoyful Noise from Lucinda Williams and Three Dog Night:

Virtual Convention Notes

In 2016, I did full-blown recaps of each day of the Democratic convention. The 2020 shebang is different so I’m doing something different; at least I hope it is. I’m going to start with the second night and work my way backwards much like this Neil Finn lyric: “I believe in doing things backwards. Take heed, start doing things in reverse.”

I’m impressed with what Team Biden has managed to pull off. Apart from the major speeches by Bernie Sanders and Michelle Obama, the second night was stronger than the first. So much for doing things in reverse. The virtual convention is a new thing and they were nimble enough to correct some of the issues from day one. Well done, y’all.

I’ve always loved the roll call with its pageantry, silly hats, and OTT rhetoric. The new-fangled filmed roll call was even better. It was a tour across America showing the country’s diversity as well as calamari. The road trip format was particularly cool for those of us who are taking the lockdown seriously. Thumbs up to the road trip road call.

The themes of the second night were stronger and more cohesive as well: health care, national security, education, and “meet Jill Biden.” The national security segment was excellent: it was great to see Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch one of the heroes of the House impeachment hearings. Holy pleasant surprise, Batman.

As to the “meet Jill Biden” segment, I liked how it weaved together the personal and the political. The Bidens *were* a broken family when Dr. Jill joined it. The analogy to the current state of the nation is apt. We’re a broken country that needs fixing. Help is on the way.

I spent little time on social media as things unfolded. I’m a big picture guy and social media focuses on momentary details. The purpose of this convention is to expand the party’s support and reach reachable independents and Republicans who dislike Trump. Next week’s neo-Nuremberg rally has the opposite goal: scare “the base” into fervent support for the dear leader. It’s apt to repel non-fanatics and push many voters off the fence into the arms of the Biden-Harris ticket. Thanks, Donald.

Even though the second night was stronger overall, the best speeches thus far were by Bernie Sanders and Michelle Obama. In this year’s convention speech, the former FLOTUS’ tone went from go high to bless your heart. It was personal, heart-felt, well-written and delivered. The virtual format was perfect for her conversational style. Her message was spot-on: President* Pennywise is not up to the job and never will be.

The best *political* speech of the first two nights was given by Senator Bernie Sanders. He framed the upcoming election as a choice between democracy and authoritarianism and urged his supporters to do the right thing and support the ticket. Some on the performative left, however, will never get the message even when it’s delivered by Bernie. In 2020, Team Sanders are team players, working to write the platform with Team Biden. Everyone should read a piece about the platform process in Vanity Fair. This passage sums up the Vermont Senator’s approach in 2020:

It helps that Sanders’s backing for Biden runs deeper than political necessity. At a base level, there’s a collegiality between the two rooted in their time serving together in the Senate. “Biden has, despite differences of opinion with Bernie, a fundamental respect for him as a person of conviction who advocates for issues that he cares deeply about,” said Faiz Shakir, who served as manager of the 2020 Sanders campaign. Speaking with Sanders, it’s clear that respect runs both ways—that he sees Biden as prepared to meet the moment.

“Look, I can’t predict to you what’s going to happen tomorrow, let alone in the next four years. Politics is strange in that with somebody like Joe Biden—who I know fairly well—you have a person who has been, as he will tell you, throughout his political career, a moderate. But I think that what he has told me and he has told the American people is that he understands the enormous crises we are facing today,” Sanders said. “At this moment we have a president who’s trying to undermine democracy and move us into an authoritarian form of society. Those are huge issues. Unbelievable. And I think Joe understands that. I think if you talk to Barack Obama, he will tell you the same thing. That what we did yesterday is not good enough.” If elected, Biden will likely be the most progressive president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Sanders believes.

I’ve long thought that Bernie Sanders was better than his more extreme supporters. He’s proving that in 2020. I have little use for what I call the performative left and Athenae calls the purity ponies. I hope they join Bernie in his full-throated support for the Biden-Harris ticket but if they don’t, they don’t. I’m not wasting my breath on them. We have a Kaiser of Chaos to defeat.

Joe Biden is a party man. There’s little in the Sanders platform that is alien to the pre-Reagan revolution Democratic party. The party is moving left and so is Joe Biden. In 2020, the practical thing is to support sweeping change; Joey Shark is a practical man. A reminder that FDR ran as a moderate in 1932 and made the incumbent Herbert Hoover the issue. The sitting president is always the issue in a re-election campaign even when the title comes with an asterisk. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.

National conventions have been morphing into teevee shows for decades. The last time the nomination for either major party was decided at a convention was 1976. I find that I prefer the virtual convention to the traditional kind. What’s not to love about the road trip roll call?

I cited Neil Finn’s Love You ‘Til The Day I Die at the beginning of the post. It’s an appropriate song for our times: 170K and counting Americans have died during the pandemic. It’s time for those who made it worse to go. Make it so, America, make it so.

The last word goes to Crowded House:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Thriller!

I cannot believe I used an exclamation point in the post title. I feel unclean. I perpetrated this heinous act to make it clear that the cover in question is not the 1984 Michael Jackson album but a 1973 album by the Bay Area funk-soul-rock band Cold Blood.

Cold Blood never broke through to a national audience, but I saw them several times and they never disappointed live, especially their charsmatic lead singer Lydia Pense. That’s Pense with an S; no relation to Trump’s sycophantic Veep.

The cover is by George Hunter aka Globe Propaganda. I picked it to make our readers think that Pulp Fiction Thursday came a day early. This is the age of confusion, after all.

I was pleasantly surprised to find Cold Blood on Spotify. Here’s the whole damn album:

Happy Biden Campaign Thing

Gonna be doing this often so if you’re not down with this being a Biden/Harris fan page you probably should have signed off long ago.

 

A.

On Unity

I’ve been done since March 20th with shaming individual people for decisions that should have been handled by the institutions we task with such things. Mad at kids partying in a club?

That’s not on “college students,” who make terrible decisions, news at 11. It’s on the city, county and state, and the presumed adults who own and operate that club, to shut that shit down.

We keep acting like people aren’t people. The entire reason to have laws and regulations is because people are idiot assholes, and not just when they’re 19. I am a grown-ass woman who’s old enough to be embarrassing to her teenage nieces if she goes out dancing but I swear sometimes I feel like eff it, no one else is doing shit, why am I staying home?

You put out a tray of shots, I am taking one. SO STOP MAKING BUTTERY NIPPLES BY THE PITCHER, FER CHRISSAKES.

(This is a cousin to the news stories every year about stampedes for a waffle iron at Walmart on Black Friday. Everybody laughs at the poor people tripping over each other and nobody asks why the store encourages that shit.)

Periodically throughout this crisis we’ve heard about how we’re not united in our response to it, nor collectively experiencing it the way we have other major crises, and then told it’s all our fault: 

Still, focusing solely on Washington’s response to the pandemic would be letting the American public broadly off the hook, McElya said.

“We need to really consider this and talk about this as a collective national failure,” she said. “One certainly encouraged by our leadership. But people have to submit or commit to that narrative, and so many have, and that’s an enormous sadness.”

 

Look. I am not excusing people who’ve picked up on the anti-mask thing as one more way to be a belligerent dickhead to the sandwich girl, but someone sold them that line. A lot of someones, on a network that starts with F and ends with X and in the middle is an endless stream of grievances and resentments and fears. I don’t think you can let off the hook the people profiting from chaos and confusion.

Yelling at your neighbors on Facebook is where Republicans WANT you right now. They want you demoralized by the everyday stupidity of individuals instead of the rapacious greed of leadership. They want you to yell at me and me at you. Why? Because then we’re not yelling at them.

Christ, my neighborhood corona-info group had to BAN posts that were like I WAS OUT WALKING TODAY AND THERE WAS A PERSON NOT WEARING A MASK RIGHT because that’s all it was after a while, not the kinds of breakdowns of information that would actually inform anyone.

If we’re not focused as a nation on something, if we’re not facing something collectively, it’s not because young white people went to the bars and it’s not because somebody wasn’t wearing a mask in a public park. It’s because our president insisted we open the bars. It’s because the GOP’s propaganda network told people masks were tyranny.

Stop wishing for unity and then deploring your neighbors for the actions of your leaders. We don’t have time for this.

A.

Not Everything Sucks

People are still making art, public art: 

A new grant program in central Wisconsin will employ artists to paint murals in rural parts of Portage County. It’s inspired by New Deal-era employment programs, and designed to help put artists who’ve been affected by the pandemic back to work.

“Paint the County” is a new project by the nonprofit CREATE Portage County. They’ve identified five sites for the murals so far, and have opened applications for artists interested in creating them. Over the next year or so, CREATE will use grant funding of between $50,000 and $100,000 to pay the selected artists to create the murals, said Executive Director Greg Wright. The funding comes from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and Arts Wisconsin, with state money through Wisconsin’s “We’re All In” COVID-19 relief funds. It’s intended to help support artists, and also to create work that will be meaningful to small towns in the area.

“Part of this for us is trying to figure out how to use the arts to give people hope and excitement during this time,” Wright said.

You can donate to the nonprofit supporting the project here.

A.

Rebirthing Birtherism

I had a relative who tried every new age fad. One of the weirdest fads was rebirthing: the notion that if you regress to the womb, you will achieve enlightenment. Yeah, right. Whatever.

There’s a form of political rebirtherism abroad in the land. This time it comes not from gullible new age flakes but cynical “conservatives.” I put that word in quotes for a specific reason: ain’t nothing conservative about Trump era conservatism. Conservatism is supposed to preserve the best of the past instead of wrecking the present.

The people floating the racist “Kamala Harris is not a citizen” canard are not conservatives, they’re radicals out to deny and destroy the plain language of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

All persons means all persons, not just white Trump voters. One thing that the MSM has largely ignored in its stories about reborn birtherism is that John Eastman, who wrote the specious Newsweek article cited by the Impeached Insult Comedian, ran for California Attorney General in 2010. He finished second in the GOP primary in a race that was won by Kamala Harris in a general election squeaker. That makes this racist attack on Senator Harris a combination of sour grapes and right-wing ideology; a toxic blend if ever there was one.

I’ve read Eastman’s piece but I’m not linking to it because it’s what Sherlock Holmes would have called a tissue of lies. Instead, read Mark Joseph Stern’s brilliant piece in Slate. He ably disembowels Eastman’s tawdry theory so I don’t have to. Stern points out the links between this witless and baseless white supremacist theory to the Federalist Society and the Claremont Institute:

Why, then, do outlets like Newsweek and the Washington Post keep publishing articles that promote this lie? A coterie of racists based at the Claremont Institute hope that if they repeat it enough, they can leave the door open for a mass expatriation of second-generation Americans, most of them minorities. Indeed, there are few if any supporters of this falsehood who lack connections to the Claremont Institute. Eastman is a senior fellow at Claremont and the founding director of its Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence. Josh Hammer, the Newsweek editor who commissioned the piece, is a former fellow at the institute. Michael Anton, who manipulated the text of a quote from the Senate debate over the 14th Amendment in a Washington Post op-ed to make this lie seem more credible, is a senior fellow there.

<SNIP>

The Claremont Institute masquerades as an intellectual salon of the right, but it is really just a racist fever swamp with deep connections to the conspiratorial alt-right. It even granted a fellowship to Jack Posobiec, who helped promote the notorious Pizzagate conspiracy theory. Claremont’s resident bigots offer deranged fantasies of violently expelling Americans from their home country because of their ethnic backgrounds. Their work deserves the intellectual weight given to that of David Duke and his Nazi-loving fellow travelers.

The principle of Birthright Citizenship was upheld by the same Supreme Court that validated Jim Crow in Plessy v. Ferguson. Children of immigrants who are born in America are Americans. Period. Case closed.

I remember when Newsweek was a vital and respected news outlet instead of a source of racist Trumper disinformation. I subscribed to it for decades. Unlike its rival Time Magazine, it stopped being vital quite some time ago. Newsweek alum Jonathan Alter sums it up perfectly:

Finally, I have a new featured image as well as a new blog category: The Legal Docket. I like having featured images for my posts and I’m donning my lapsed lawyer hat so much that it was time to do this. The inaugural image is of Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan at the Scopes Monkey Trial. Film buffs will note what a good job Bud Westmore did of making Fredric March look like Bryan in the original Inherit The Wind.

I originally planned to write a more Newsweek focused post and use the song below for the post title. I believe in recycling so Jethro Tull gets the last word:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – shortest post ever edition

Taking a short mental health break, people.

Have to.

Saw this while cruising Freeperville for reaction to Kamala Harris’s VP pick:

KamalaFreeper

 

I got nothing.

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

Actually, that’s not true – I do have one little observation to make :

A few weeks ago, I opined that Trump’s attack on the USPS would backfire on him, and in spectacular fashion.
I’d like to take this opportunity to say “I told you so”.

But why?
It’s not Pelosi’s actions in recalling the House from recess to address this transparent rat-fuckery.
It’s not the Veterans who get almost all of their medications by mail.
(after all, this is a “president” who doesn’t know – or care – what a Gold Star family is)

It’s the older voters.
Voters 50 and above largely have a unique experience with our USPS delivery people.
They’re our friends.
We grew up waving to them as they pulled up to our mailboxes, and talking happily with them. They were a part of our neighbourhoods, and we treated them as such. Not as government employees, or Federal stooges, but as our friends and our neighbours – which they were.

When Reagan disemboweled the Air Traffic Controllers, few of us interacted with (or even KNEW) an ATC.

This is different.

Why does it matter so much this time?
Because we oldies not only fondly remember, we VOTE.
In large numbers.
More than any other demographic.

Keep it up, Trump – and your ship will sink even faster than it currently is.

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RBG’s Fanclub Isn’t The Problem

Jesus tits, the world is on fire, imagine thinking people making Etsy pins are the problem here: 

This national death watch is an absurd and distressing phenomenon. And yet Ginsburg’s physical frailty is central to her pop-cultural cachet. The whole appeal of her little-old-lady archetype is that it situates her as an underdog and makes for a heady contrast to her intellectual might. In a sequence from the 2018 documentary “RBG” that has been sliced into GIFs and pasted around the internet as tribute, she wears a “SUPER DIVA!” sweatshirt as she heaves teensy hand weights over her shoulders. Even footage of Ginsburg nodding off at the 2015 State of the Union was celebrated by her fans, especially after Ginsburg explained that she had not been “100 percent sober.”

I’m just about done with thinking the problem with our society is not systemic inequality but basic Starbucks bitches in pussy hats being silly online. Can we do the fashion criticism of La Resistance after we’re done GETTING RID OF THE FASCISTS?

I mean every revolution eventual descends into assholes picking on each other but I swear to God you’ve got to do these things in order. First you win, then you start crabbing about the way everyone is doing their victory dance.

The fucking mail is getting dismantled, the neon asshead cheeto bigot is telling everyone that voting by mail is some kind of evil conspiracy, people at the first store I went to in four months yesterday were yelling at security guys who outweighed them by 150 pounds that masks actually spread the virus, and everyone’s kids are choosing between staying home forever and dying. Is it actually possible to not do the thing where the wrong color ribbon got used for the End Hunger brochure?

Now that the Trump era has been met by a true activist movement with the sustained protests of Black Lives Matter, the Ginsburg memes hit like relics. In 2016, Ginsburg was asked about Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem, and she called it “disrespectful” and “really dumb.” She later apologized, admitting that she had been “barely aware of the incident or its purpose.” Today the symbol of progressive change looks not like a justice in a chic dissent collar but a regular person for whom justice was not served.

RBG’s the wrong symbol. Fine. But when we’re done telling people to take off their T-shirts what exactly is the plan to do more than keep telling people their T-shirts are wrong? And it’s not exactly an accident that it’s generally women who get told they’re not doing the protest right, while men don’t do anything at all except grab the mics we rented and paid for and hired someone to set up, and then yell about overthrowing the country and also can they crash at our place this weekend, their cousin threw them out.

It chaps my ass to see us going after easy targets — each other — instead of looking at which ones of our friends and relatives are persuadable and figuring out how to get them to the polls.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: A Trick Of The Tail

Illustration From Dante’s Divine Comedy by William Blake.

The weather in New Orleans has been beastly. We’ve alternated between extreme heat and extreme thunderstorms. Not an unusual summer pattern but the intensity has been, well, more intense than usual. Extremely intense or is that intensely extreme?

My birthday came and went last week. Birthdays are best celebrated when you’re a toddler or a dodderer. In my case, it’s just another tick of the clock or some such shit. All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall. Holy crap, I sound like a mason. Lest you think I’m as Thick as a Brick, I should stop rambling and get down to this week’s post. I don’t want this turning into a Trump press conference. Believe me.

Keyboard wizard Tony Banks wrote most of this week’s theme song in 1972, but it didn’t see the light of day until Peter Gabriel left the band. It was the title track of the band’s first post-PG album. The album is one of the best things Genesis ever did and sent the message that they were here to stay. Oddly, the departure of lead guitarist Steve Hackett in 1977 had a bigger impact on the band’s sound than the exit of Gabriel. Go figure.

A Trick Of The Tail was inspired by William Golding’s novel The Inheritors. We have two variations on it for your listening pleasure. First, the audio track followed by the first promo video Genesis ever made.

Phil Collins later described the video as the most cringeworthy thing he’d ever done. This from the man who wrote and recorded Sussudio, In a word: UGH. Other than the Face Value album, I’m not a fan of his solo work. Is UGH a word? If not, it should be.

I’m still feeling tricky so here’s a Who song:

Now that we’ve figured out that we’ve got no horns and no tail, let’s escape the light by jumping to the break.

Continue reading

Friday Cocktail Hour: Blue Gardenia

My love of torch songs and film noir converge this week. The song Blue Gardenia was introduced by Nat King Cole in the 1953 movie of that title. It’s a Fritz Lang film with a helluva cast including Anne Baxter, Richard Conte, Ann Southern, Raymond Burr, George Reeves, and Nat King Cole.

The song was written for the movie by Lester Lee and Bob Russell. It’s a much loved and oft performed torch song.

We begin with the original version as recorded by the unforgettable Nat King Cole and the incomparable Nelson Riddle:

Blue Gardenia became something of a signature song for the great Dinah Washington:

Here’s an uptempo big band version from Tito Puente and Woody Herman:

Pour yourself a drink and toast the end of the week. Cheers from Richard Conte, Nat King Cole, and Anne Baxter:

 

Wash That Man Right Out Of Our Hair

It’s no secret that Donald Trump is the weirdest  president* ever. A compendium of his quirks and oddities could fill an entire post or a week of posts. One of the Impeached Insult Comedian’s weirder quirks is his obsession with water pressure. It began with his complaints about low flush terlets and expanded into a full-blown shower fetish.

The federal government is finally taking action on this crucial problem:

Donald Trump’s hair has mesmerized many observers since he began his career in politics, but now the president’s own pride in his locks has prompted the US government to propose an easing of shower pressure standards.

The Trump administration proposed rule changes that would allow shower heads to boost water pressure, after Trump repeatedly complained that bathroom fixtures do not work to his liking.

The Department of Energy plan followed comments from Trump last month at a White House event on rolling back regulations. He said he believed water does not come out fast enough from fixtures.

“So what do you do? You just stand there longer or you take a shower longer? Because my hair – I don’t know about you, but it has to be perfect. Perfect” he said.

His hair is perfect like the Werewolves Of London? The hair that Penn Jilette described as looking like cotton candy piss?

It apparently takes up to two hours daily for Trump’s hair and makeup to be perfect. Who the hell does he think he is: Joan Crawford? What’s next: an attack on wire hangers?

Other presidents have had weird hair. Ronald Reagan dyed his hair orange, but Trump is the first Oval One to remind us of a classic hair care product commercial:

America needs to flush this  failed president*. To paraphrase Rodgers and Hammerstein, we need to wash that man right out of our hair.

The last word goes to Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald:

 

Friday Catblogging: Missing Mr. Drake

I even miss PD’s bag collection. They’re gone but I have a few previously unpublished bag pictures to share:

Here’s one last look at the legendary Revel bag, which somehow lasted for months:

An Alternative Post-Election Scenario

As the campaign season unfolds, it becomes clear that the fate of the Republic is hanging by a thread or like Harold Lloyd in the featured image. If the election is a fair one, it’s clear that President* Pennywise will lose. But he and his minions are determined to steal the election. The good news is that they’re doing it in broad daylight when such a theft is best accomplished covertly as in 2016.

Even better news for those of us who believe in democracy, the man who brought peace to the Middle East and tamed the pandemic, Jared Kushner, is Team Trump’s election fuckery point man. Why the Kaiser of Chaos still thinks he’s a renaissance man is beyond me. Of course, a fuck-up is bound to identify with another fuck-up. Incompetence thy name is Team Trump.

The avenue of election fuckery that concerns me the most is Trump’s Postmaster General messing with the mail. But they’re facing a ferocious push back and have been known to cave when that happens. Stay tuned.

There are many dire post-election scenarios out there. Some think the Impeached Insult Comedian will simply refuse to leave office. The proponents of this view are unclear how this can be accomplished. Once Joe Biden takes the oath of office, Trump’s orders will be ignored. Given Trump’s strained relationship with the military brass, a Seven Days In May type coup isn’t going to happen.

Others fear that Trumpers will take to the street, riot, and augment the confusion caused by their dear leader. I’m skeptical.  Recent pro-Trump rallies have flopped as more and more of his supporters realize they’ve been marks in an elaborate con job. There are enough armed extremists out there to cause trouble but not enough to keep the Kaiser of Chaos in office.

The preceding scenarios illustrate why it’s important to roll up the popular vote as well as win the electoral college. If, like me, you live in a red state, your vote still matters. Running up the score will make the Trumpers think twice about pulling any extra-constitutional stunts. Did I just use Trumper and think in the same sentence? There’s a first time for everything.

Let’s turn to the alternative scenario of the title. Trump has a well-established pattern of running away from trouble. This meme from 2018 sums it up:

He’s all bluster and bullshit. He’s a physical and moral coward. If there’s a blowout. he’ll fold like a cheap suit. It’s what happened when the legitimacy and legality of Trump University and the Trump Foundation were questioned. He quit. He’s a quitter, y’all.

In this scenario, President* Pennywise and his lawyers will cut a deal with Mike Liar Liar Pence On Fire. A resignation in exchange for a pardon. That would make Pence the 46th president for a few months. That puffed-up little chump will jump at the chance to piously lie, “there was no deal, that would be inappropriate.” It’s the only way Pence will ever be the Oval One. He’ll be a Hoosier Hasbeen after the election.

Trump would cite poor health as his reason for resigning during the lame duck period. If he buys into it, he’ll be the sickest man in human history, tremendously ill, and all the usual bluster and bullshit. Lying is like breathing to this evil fucker.

A reminder that a presidential pardon only covers federal crimes. New York DA Cy Vance will still be on the case; many of Trump’s crimes took place in the Empire State.

Whatever happens, we can expect a flurry of post-election presidential pardons. The most interesting question is whether Trump would issue an anticipatory pardon of Princess Ivanka and Slumlord Jared. Jerry Ford pardoned Tricky Dick *before* he’d been charged with anything. I’m not sure that Trump would do it: his sense of family loyalty is limited as his niece Mary can attest. Donald threw her father, Freddy, to the wolves, after all.

On the 46th anniversary of Tricky’s quitting, historian Michael Beschloss posted this picture of his farewell address:

 

 

 

I had long thought that Nixon’s bizarre, rambling, and shambolic speech was the weirdest thing to ever happen in the White House. It’s a daily occurrence with the Impeached Insult Comedian: the man who cannot pronounce Yosemite. Hasn’t he ever hear of Yo Semite Sam?  Oy, just oy.

The last word goes to James Taylor with a song that begins with these lyrics:

Remember Richard Nixon back in ’74
And the final scene at the White House door
And the staff lined up to say good-bye,
Tiny tear in his shifty little eye,
He said, “nobody knows me, nobody understands.
These little people were good to me,
Oh I’m gonna shake some hands.”

 

 

The Rot Runs Deep

zombies_maga_675

Not to get ahead of things — sending Trump packing, and fitting him for a matching orange jumpsuit, is still Step One  — but goddamn if there’s not a whole lot of stupid out there

Marjorie Taylor Greene triumphed in the Republican primary for Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, one of the reddest in the country, meaning she’s odds-on to win the general election in November, too. She won 58 percent of the vote in a matchup with Dr. John Cowan, a neurosurgeon. (“She is not conservative—she’s crazy,” Cowan said of Green. “She deserves a YouTube channel, not a seat in Congress. She’s a circus act.” Clearly, she’s what Republicans in the 14th district want.) Green runs a construction company with her husband, and also believes that Donald Trump is waging a secret war against a cabal of Satanist pedophiles in the Democratic Party, the media, and beyond. She has also suggested Muslims should not hold public office; called George Soros, who is a Holocaust survivor, a Nazi; and said Black Americans “are held slaves to the Democratic Party.” Naturally, she has the support of the President of the United States.

Greene is the most likely to win in November, but she’s one of many QAnon believers who are gunning for seats in the national legislature. In this equation, they will serve side-by-side with at least some people they believe are engaged in the ritualistic sexual abuse of children. This does not sound like a recipe for bipartisan cooperation. But it’s far worse than any of that. The QAnon thing, as an article in The Atlantic laid out in June, is far closer to a religion than any run-of-the-mill Internet conspiracy theory at this point. It is completely impervious to evidence, real-world events, and reason. It sprung from a prior conspiracy theory, Pizzagate, which held, among other things, that a Hillary Clinton-led child-trafficking ring was operating out of the basement of a Washington, D.C. pizza parlor. The establishment, Comet Ping Pong, does not have a basement

There’s a reason these folks keep accusing people, basically at random, of engaging in pedophilia. They fantasize about the day Hillary Clinton will not just be arrested, but summarily executed. Will there be a trial? Who needs one when you’ve done your own research? And what happens if the arrest never comes, and Donald Trump fails to win re-election, and these people believe the pedophiles are running free at the summit of world power again? What will they do to find their own version of justice?

Would be nice if the corporate media gave QAnon the Hillary’s-emails treatment, but sad to say I’m not holding my breath.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Whip Hand

Is this Chuck Rhodes’ dream woman?

The last word goes to the Rolling Stones:

 

That’s The Ticket

Good news is so rare in 2020 that I’m not sure I recognize it anymore. Just kidding: Joe Biden’s selection of California Senator Kamala Harris is good, indeed historic, news. She’ll be the first black woman as well as the first Asian Pacific person to be on a national ticket. She was my first choice for the Veep slot and second choice in the primary after Senator Professor Elizabeth Warren. I am pleased.

The process was messy. People took a gossipy Politico story about the Veepstakes way too seriously. Some on Team Biden apparently thought Harris is “too ambitious” as if ambition is only seemly for male politicians. That’s why Charlie Pierce calls it Tiger Beat On The Potomac.

Fortunately, Joey Shark is comfortable in his own skin and secure enough to select someone with better rhetorical skills as his number two. Kamala Harris is the right person at the right time. Her own campaign flopped, but she’s been a force to be reckoned with as a first term Senator. That’s as rare as President* Pennywise telling the truth.

Team Trump is already overreacting to the Harris pick. The Impeached Insult Comedian called her “nasty” for being mean to Justice Bro during his confirmation hearings. Poor baby. They’re calling Harris a “phony” for criticizing Biden when she was running against him. That’s rich considering the shit Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, and Ted Cruz threw at Trump in 2016. Besides, it goes with the territory: in 1960 LBJ essentially called JFK an invalid and in 1980 Poppy Bush denounced “voodoo economics.” They were both on the ticket. And Bush became an exuberantly loyal Veep for 8 years. That’s some weak shit as is the cliched “too radical” attack.

There were some rumblings from the “Kamala is a cop” crowd on the performative left yesterday. Nobody is better suited to help reform the criminal justice system than someone who has worked in it. Call it the “reformed sinner” argument. She can follow in the footsteps of her fellow Californian Jerry Brown. When Brown became an advocate for radical campaign finance reform, he argued that he could change the system because he understood it.

I’m not going to defend Harris’ record as a prosecutor, I’ll let San Francisco public defender Niki Solis do it:

“Having had this experience, I feel compelled to speak on Harris’ record while she was a district attorney. Simply put, Harris was the most progressive prosecutor in the state. This is not an anecdotal opinion. It is based on facts.

As San Francisco DA, Harris refused to seek the death penalty — even on a case where a very respected police officer was tragically killed. Marijuana sales cases were routinely reduced to misdemeanors. And marijuana possession cases were not even on the court’s docket. They were simply not charged. Unless there was a large grow case, or a unique circumstance, this was the reform-minded approach then-DA Harris’ office took. The accusations about marijuana prosecutions being harsh during her tenure are absurd. The reality was quite the opposite.”

There was much glee in my social media circles over the prospect of a Harris-Pence debate. Sure, she’ll clean his clock but the quadrennial discussion of the importance of debates causes my eyes to glaze over. Debates have nothing to with governing and have minimal impact on the election results. If debates were as important as some seem to think, we’d have had Presidents John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. Hell, Willard Mittbot Romney cleaned Barack Obama’s clock in their first debate and held his own in the other two. Who won in 2012?

The Harris pick makes perfect sense politically. Black women have long been the backbone of the Democratic party. Joe Biden has probably gathered as many white working class votes as possible. Turnout remains the key in 2020. If yesterday’s reaction is any indication, African American turnout should be back to 2008 and 2012 levels this time around.

I’m hoping that there will be more outreach to the Indian-American community than there was during Harris’ own run for the top job. Ethnic politics are as American as apple pie. Having the daughter of a Jamaican man and an Indian woman on the national ticket sends a powerful message of inclusion. It presents a stark contrast to the Current Occupant who is one of the most xenophobic and racist presidents* in American history.

A final note. Senator Harris’ first name is pronounced COMMA-LA. It’s an Indian name that means lotus or pale red in Sanskrit. It’s now the name of the next Vice President of the United States. Make it so, America, make it so.