My greatest concert experience, and my band Grendel
Emerson, Lake and Palmer in Dallas – Oct 20, 1977
I saw ELP on their Brain Salad Surgery tour. Entered Dallas Memorial Auditorium with anticipation. As I topped the balcony steps the audio geek in me fixated on the P.A. system, reportedly (pre-internet info age) quite a big deal.
I looked at the stacks on either side of the stage (nobody was flying PA systems at that time) and saw a PA that was the equal if not better than any I had ever seen. – impressive, but not THAT big a deal. Then I turned to the left to go up to my seat and found myself facing the twin of the stage right PA stack. Ulp.
Slowly I turned (gotta copyright that) to the right and saw, on the other side of the balcony, the twin of the stage left PA stack.
They were not only carrying double the largest PA system I had ever seen, it was QUAD!
The FOH man had fun for the whole show, dive-bombing the audience by sweeping Emerson’s Moog leads from upper right to lower left. The snarling Moog (they’re a completely different beast at 115db than they are coming from your living room stereo) made an interesting effect. I could see the heads of the floor audience DUCK as the Moog leads passed (sonically) over their heads.
They played just about everything they had recorded, came back for an encore, and played the entirety of Pictures At An Exhibition. The whole bloody album.
They also played this astoundingly difficult repertoire about 20% over album tempo. It was like they had decided “Well, we’re going to play every single thing we’ve recorded, and if we don’t get on the stick, we’re going to be here all night.”
Carl Palmer kept up this relentless pace with perfect timing, and didn’t seem human. I would NOT have been surprised to have seen a big key sticking out of his back.
They played for 3 hours and 20 minutes, and I was deaf for three days afterwards.
Meanwhile, my band Grendel was cranking out the old Prog rock (covers for the most part) at club after club.
We were playing music of a difficulty level that most other bands just couldn’t perform it. Too complicated. So we were the only way for them to see a band playing these pieces, unless Yes, ELP, Moody Blues, etc. were in town. We started noticing that our audiences were largely other musicians.
It was amusing to see our audiences (guys, mostly) divide themselves up – keyboardists on the stage left side, guitarists in the middle, bassists on mid-stage right (in front of me), and drummers on stage right (where the drummer was located).
During breaks, I would be cornered by other bassists who wanted to talk shop, music, and gear. I always had time for them, and never brushed them off.
Grendel started our shows with the ignition of “caramel candy” in two barrels behind the backline, lights off during the guitar intro to “Tie Your Mother Down”, then as the guitar smash chords came in, lights coming on to reveal the band, shrouded in smoke, in front of our homemade 30’X12′ backdrop. Good times!
Today is supposed to be the Krewe du Vieux parade. It was cancelled because of the pandemic. The timing was good for me: last year was the worst Carnival season I’ve had since coming to New Orleans in 1987. I wrote about some aspects it in a piece called The Cursed Carnival?
Shorter Adrastos: I needed a year off from Carnival so I’m not as unhappy with the situation as most people are. Some of the Krewe du Vieux sub-krewes including Spank are presenting art installations instead of marching. Since I wasn’t feeling it, I did not participate. So it goes.
John Hiatt wrote this week’s theme song for his 2003 album Beneath This Gruff Exterior. It’s one of his fatherhood songs as it describes taking his daughter to college. It also rocks much harder than the cradle ever should.
We have two versions of Circle Back for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a live version. Both feature Sonny Landreth and the Goners.
I mentioned Hiatt’s fatherhood songs. Here are two more:
Now that we’ve rocked the cradle, let’s jump to the break before we get too dizzy.
Irvin Berlin spent a lot of time traveling back and forth between Broadway and Hollywood. Let’s Face The Music and Dance was written for the 1936 Astaire-Rogers movie, Follow The Fleet. Hey, sailor.
Let’s Face The Music and Dance was under-recorded until the mid-Fifties when it emerged as a classic. It has some dark undertones that rendered it less commercially palatable than most Berlin tunes. That’s one reason I like it so much.
We begin with Friday Cocktail Hour fixture Ella Fitzgerald:
Anita O’Day is another one of my favorite jazz singers. Here’s her take on this terpsichorean classic:
The Chairman of the Board somehow missed this tune on his Come Dance With Me concept album. This version is from an album with a deeply silly title, Ring-a-Ding-Ding:
Diahann Carroll was best known as an actress but she could belt it out with the best of them:
One of the most influential versions of Let’s Face The Music and Dance was recorded by Nat King Cole in 1964:
Finally, Diana Krall puts the boss in Bossa Nova:
That’s all for this week. Pour yourself a belt and toast the end of another week. It’s what Bogie, Betty, and Frank would want. Never argue with them.
It’s time to revisit our favorite horror movie, Kremlingate. The sequel is even scarier than the original.
Speaker Pelosi once said of the Kaiser of Chaos, “With him, all roads lead to Putin.”
I’d like to amend that remark, “With him, all roads lead to Russia.”
Pennywise was a Russian asset long before Putin became a 21st Century Tsar.
There’s a new book out by veteran investigative reporter Craig Unger, American Kompromat. Former KGB agent Yuri Shvets is one of his primary sources. Shvets spoke on the phone with the Guardian’s David Smith. Here’s the extended money quote:
… in 1987, Trump and Ivana visited Moscow and St Petersburg for the first time. Shvets said he was fed by KGB talking points and flattered by KGB operatives who floated the idea that he should go into the politics.
The ex-major recalled: “For the KGB, it was a charm offensive. They had collected a lot of information on his personality so they knew who he was personally. The feeling was that he was extremely vulnerable intellectually, and psychologically, and he was prone to flattery.
“This is what they exploited. They played the game as if they were immensely impressed by his personality and believed this is the guy who should be the president of the United States one day: it is people like him who could change the world. They fed him these so-called active measures soundbites and it happened. So it was a big achievement for the KGB active measures at the time.”
Soon after he returned to the US, Trump began exploring a run for the Republican nomination for president and even held a campaign rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. On 1 September, he took out a full-page advert in the New York Times, Washington Post and Boston Globe headlined: “There’s nothing wrong with America’s Foreign Defense Policy that a little backbone can’t cure.”
The ad offered some highly unorthodox opinions in Ronald Reagan’s cold war America, accusing ally Japan of exploiting the US and expressing scepticism about US participation in Nato. It took the form of an open letter to the American people “on why America should stop paying to defend countries that can afford to defend themselves”.
The bizarre intervention was cause for astonishment and jubilation in Russia. A few days later Shvets, who had returned home by now, was at the headquarters of the KGB’s first chief directorate in Yasenevo when he received a cable celebrating the ad as a successful “active measure” executed by a new KGB asset.
“It was unprecedented. I am pretty well familiar with KGB active measures starting in the early 70s and 80s, and then afterwards with Russia active measures, and I haven’t heard anything like that or anything similar – until Trump became the president of this country – because it was just silly. It was hard to believe that somebody would publish it under his name and that it will impress real serious people in the west but it did and, finally, this guy became the president.”
It appears that a bit of flattery was enough to kick start Trump’s love affair with Russian intelligence. It was even more damaging than his love affair with the diminutive North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un. What a maroon.
Nothing in the Guardian story should come as a surprise to anyone with a pulse. Trump spent four years in the Oval Office doing Putin’s bidding. Everything about it screamed kompromat, but the MSM remains in denial. The so-called tough guy is a pussy. He should grab himself.
Russia policy is one area in which the party of Trump is not an extension of the Reagan GOP. Reagan was an ardent Cold Warrior who would have been appalled by Pennywise’s appeasement of Putin whose main policy goal is to revive what he regards as the glory days of the Soviet Union. Aided and abetted by the Impeached Insult Comedian.
The readout of Joe Biden’s first phone call with Putin was a breath of fresh air. He mentioned the recent anti-Putin protests and the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Putin’s fingerprints are all over the attack on Navalny: the KGB was big on poisoning enemies of the state.
Putin was a former KGB colonel when Boris Yeltsin elevated him from obscurity. Yeltsin must have been really drunk when he did that. It was a betrayal of everything he stood for as the destroyer of the Soviet Union. Spasiba, Boris.
The scariest thing about Shvets and Unger’s account of the relationship between Trump and Russian intelligence is that it’s unclear that the Russians had to blackmail the Impeached Insult Comedian. Fulsome flattery may have been enough to turn Trump’s head. As Unger said to the Guardian:
“He was an asset. It was not this grand, ingenious plan that we’re going to develop this guy and 40 years later he’ll be president. At the time it started, which was around 1980, the Russians were trying to recruit like crazy and going after dozens and dozens of people.”
“Trump was the perfect target in a lot of ways: his vanity, narcissism made him a natural target to recruit. He was cultivated over a 40-year period, right up through his election.”
He forgot two of Pennywise’s most notable qualities: ignorance and stupidity.
It’s no surprise that craven and cowardly Congressional Republicans have decided that their future lies with Pennywise and his extremist followers. There are at least 2 House members who are QAnon cultists, which is worrisome for House Democrats and Speaker Pelosi:
While addressing members' security concerns, Pelosi says that they'll need additional protective measures when "the enemy is inside the House of Representatives." pic.twitter.com/M6MkKPXOqM
I recall seeing AOC on MSNBC right after the Dipshit Insurrection. She quite plausibly stated that she did not feel safe being in lockdown with some House Republicans. She reiterated those views last night:
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said on Wednesday that “white supremacist sympathizers” sit the heart of the House’s GOP caucus and that their increasingly extremist views have gone unchecked with “no consequences” from House leadership.
“It increasingly seems, unfortunately, that in the house Republican caucus, Kevin McCarthy answers to these QAnon members of congress, not the other way around,” Ocasio-Cortez told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes in an interview Wednesday night.
Ocasio-Cortez said on Wednesday that the top House Republican hadn’t gone far enough in taking seriously the threat of such behavior because it was a “core animating political energy” for the GOP base.
“When I hear that Rep. McCarthy is going to pull a member aside who has made white supremacist-sympathizing comments, the thing I think is: What is he going to tell them? Keep it up?” she said.
“Because there are no consequences in the Republican caucus for violence. There’s no consequences for racism. No consequences for misogyny. No consequences for insurrection. And no consequences means that they condone it. It means that that silence is acceptance,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
This is some serious shit, y’all. The Q creeps think that Trump is some sort of deity and that all Democrats are pizza purveying pedophiles.
Leader McCarthy is in Florida to meet with the Kaiser of Chaos at Mar-a-Elba. He’s expected to kiss Pennywise’s ring and reinsert his head up the Trump rump.
Somehow the same people who failed to contain or control Donald Trump for the last four years think that they can control the lunatic fringe that has infested their party.
Who are they kidding? Themselves and the rest of the country.
The only way to rid their party of dangerous extremists is to expel the likes of Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene from their caucus and deny them committee assignments. Do we really think Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise are capable of this? McCarthy has a spine made of Jell-O and Scalise once described himself as a more respectable David Duke.
House Democrats want to move against Taylor Greene and Boebert, but expulsion is impossible absent GOP votes as it requires a super-majority. Censure is a more promising way to vent their outrage against the enemy within the House. It takes only a majority. It’s not entirely satisfying but it’s a good first step.
The GOP needs to look in the mirror and decide what kind of party they want to be. By kicking the can down the road on dealing with extremists in their own caucus they’re only delaying the inevitable.
The Oscar is one of the best bad movies ever made. There’s a quote from that stinker that comes to mind: “If you like down with pigs, you wake up smelling like garbage.”
I guess Republicans are used to the smell of garbage after turning their party over to the Impeached Insult Comedian.
America dodged its Weimar Republic stage, but the Republican party has not. Stay tuned.
New US Sens. Raphael Warnock, left, Alex Padilla and Jon Ossoff are sworn in on the Senate floor on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, by Vice President Kamala Harris. (Image from C-SPAN video)
Inspired by Cassandra’s introduction of her senator Joe Manchin to the wider world now that he’s got a higher profile, I thought I’d introduce all of you to MY new senator from the State of Bliss, aka California, Alex Padilla.
At best what you might have heard about him is that he’s Latino, that’s he from the LA area, and that he was our Secretary of State. Boring. Alex Padilla is in the most interesting man in the world contest. I will bet he drinks Dos Equis as well as a buttery oak tinged Chardonnay from California.
First some background. His parents are Mexican immigrants who came to California in the late 1960’s. Padilla was born in Pacoima in the San Fernando Valley so fer sure, he’s a Valley Boy. He graduated from San Fernando High School before going to MIT where he got a degree in mechanical engineering. Yes, he is the American dream, the son of immigrants who worked hard and got a college education that would get him a high paying white-collar job. But after working for a year or so at a Hughes Aircraft writing software code, he dropped out to get into politics. He worked his way up from Senate aide to Dianne Feinstein, to campaign manager of several successful runs for others, to at 26 being elected to the LA City Council and the next year being elected President of the Council. Election to the State Senate presaged a successful run for Secretary of State.
In 2018 then Lt. Governor and former Kimberly Guilfoyle husband Gavin Newsom had locked up all the Democratic Party nomination so Padilla ran again for Secretary of State. His stock had risen quite a bit the previous year when he was one of the loudest voices opposing Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity or as it came to be known the “Kris Kobach I Don’t Want To Let the Brown People Vote Kommision”. With anti-Trump sentiment at an all-time high in the state that move alone was enough to guarantee re-election.
2020 and COVID made running a presidential election a challenge in a state with 22 million registered voters. He advocated for all counties in the state to adopt the mail in ballot many regularly sent to their citizens. This allowed a voter to fill out the ballot at home then either mail it back, drop it off at designated spots starting twenty days before the election, or just bring it to the polling location on Election Day. The pandemic necessitated immediate implementation in all counties, and it ended up being a successful proving ground for the concept. 81% of registered voters went to the polls in some format with 86% of those voting doing so by “mail in” voting.
When the Biden-Harris ticket took the White House, California was now in need of a new senator. Initial speculation centered on five candidates, but Padilla was clearly the front runner from the beginning. With 40% of California’s population now claiming some form of Latino background it was the politic choice. For the first time in 27 years California will have a male senator and for the first time in our history we will have a Latino senator.
So, what kind of senator will Alex Padilla be?
You can expect he will be at the forefront of the immigration reform issue. He is the first senator of what is known as Generation 187. Proposition 187, a referendum voted on in 1994 that would have eliminated all public services, including public education, for any undocumented person in the state had been passed. It was immediately overturned by a court, but it became a clarion call for many Latinos to get involved with politics, Padilla included. Don’t be surprised if this junior senator with the largest Latino constituency spearheads the Biden immigration plan.
Tote bags aren’t just giveaways you get for contributing to your local PBS station. Here in California they are in everyone’s car trunk, the necessary outcome of Padilla’s work on the environment. His law bans plastic bags at grocery stores and makes paper bags cost you a quarter. Environmental issues will be paramount for him especially when it concerns, being the senator from wildfire central, climate change.
At least initially he’ll be guided by his former boss Feinstein in learning the ways of the senate, but I fully expect he’ll draw the line at hugging Lindsey Graham. While he does prefer to form a consensus it was said of his time on the LA City Council, “it’s not that he didn’t make waves, but he didn’t make enemies”. He’ll be the very model of the modern Senate Democrat.
Voting rights will also be on his radar. His motor voter bill here and his experience with the 2020 election puts him in a position to be a point person on this issue. Democrats will be wanting to power up a revised Voting Rights bill, one that the Supremely Unqualified Court can’t pick apart.
And of course he will be one of the two senators from Silicon Valley so intellectual property rights, cybersecurity, and high-tech piracy are sure to be issues he will want to tackle. He will be one of the few senators who when some tech exec testifies in front of them will actually be able to go toe to toe on code. That MIT degree means he speaks their language so any work around they may try is likely to fall on deaf ears.
That should be enough for the two years between now and when he must face the voters. Californians like our senators to be out in front on national issues. Hell, we’re Hollywood, we make our actors into politicians and our politicians into reel heroes all the time. I expect Alex Padilla will be coming to a political debate near you very soon. And if he does well enough, a Republican nightmare, a Latino senator on every corner.
After a generation’s worth of Cletus Safaris, the NY Times finally took a look beyond the rural diners of central Pennsylvania and/or Southern New Jersey.
As President Biden’s inauguration ticked closer, some of Donald Trump’s supporters were feeling gleeful. Mr. Trump was on the cusp of declaring martial law, they believed. Military tribunals would follow, then televised executions, then Democrats and other deep state operatives would finally be brought to justice.
L: Jerry Garcia, Mickey Hart, & Pat Leahy. R: Mickey Hart, Pat Leahy, & Bob Weir.
Vermont Senator Pat Leahy is in the news this week. As Senate President Pro Tempore, he will be presiding over the second impeachment trial of the Kaiser of Chaos. He was unwell last night and taken to the hospital He’s doing better but when you’re 80 years old any health scare is alarming.
Pat Leahy has long been one of my favorite senators: he’s the epitome of the sort of people we want in elective office. He’s principled, honest, and liberal, which are all qualities I admire and value. We have something else in common: Pat Leahy is a Deadhead.
I did an internal search and was surprised that I’d never written about our shared passion for the Grateful Dead before. That ends today:
Leahy’s oldest son, who attended the University of Vermont, invited his father to join him and his friends at a Grateful Dead show many years ago. Leahy was smitten, and he and his wife, Marcelle, attended several of the band’s concerts.
“Marcelle and I would sit there on the stage right by the sound guy so we could see the whole show,” Leahy said. He recalled one concert in Maryland shortly before Garcia died when the front man asked the Leahys for their favorite Grateful Dead song; they told him “Black Muddy River.” The band hadn’t played that tune in years but chose it for their final encore that night, then Garcia bowed toward the couple when the song was done.
“We were both touched,” Leahy said, “but the crowd went wild. He said, ‘You know, we ought to put that back in our repertoire.'”
I wish Senator Leahy well as he presides over the Trump trial. He’ll have to be patient with Republican senators who argue that the trial shouldn’t even be happening since the defendant is former President* Pennywise. Of course, the then GOP majority refused to schedule the trial while Trump was still in office but that was too soon. Now they say it’s too late. In the great American tradition they want the insurrectionists to take the fall for the Impeached Insult Comedian’s actions. Never punish the CEO when you can punish the office boy has long been the GOP’s mantra.
Here’s to Pat Leahy. I know he’ll be a fair judge and make any rulings based on the law. Senate Republicans do not deserve to be treated well by the presiding officer, but they will be because that’s who Pat Leahy is. The senator is also a Deadhead.
The last word goes to the Dead with one of Senator Leahy’s favorite songs:
Josh Hawley has made a name for himself since the Dipshit Insurrection. It’s not the sort of reputation that a United States Senator should want to have, but Hawley is the worst kind of extremist: a whiny entitled one.
Hawley wrote a piece for the New York Post in which he claimed to be a victim of cancel culture whatever the hell that is. Poor baby is upset because his home state papers, a major donor, and his mentor, former Senator Jack Danforth are appalled by his antics as are the seven senators who asked for an investigation into his conduct.
The Star reported that following the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, Hawley wrote a column for his hometown paper, The Lexington News, in which he warned against calling antigovernment militia members domestic terrorists.
Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, the men who carried out the bombing that killed 168 people, had ties to the Michigan Militia, an antigovernment group dating back to the 1990s.
“Many of the people populating these movements are not radical, right-wing, pro-assault weapons freaks as they were originally stereotyped,” Hawley wrote of militia groups. “Dismissed by the media and treated with disdain by their elected leaders, these citizens come together and form groups that often draw more media fire as anti-government hate gatherings.”
He added: “Feeling alienated from their government and the rest of society, they often become disenchanted and slip into talks of ‘conspiracy theories’ about how the federal government is out to get them.”
Also in the column, Hawley said Mark Fuhrman, the Los Angeles police detective whose use of racial slurs became known during OJ Simpson’s trial, was being unfairly depicted as a racist.
“In this politically correct society, derogatory labels such as ‘racist’ are widely misused, and our ability to have open debate is eroding,” he wrote.
I’m tired of the Hawleys of the world defending the indefensible. Vague and generalized grievances against the government do not justify mass murder. That’s what Timothy McVeigh was: a mass murderer. The bomb was planted near the Murrah Federal Building’s daycare center. Of the 168 people murdered by McVeigh 19 were children.
The McVeigh case did not involve abstract intellectual notions as 16-year-old Hawley seemed to think. It involved slaughter, blood, and mayhem. It’s easy for some to excuse the writings of a callow high school kid. The problem is that he applies the same logic to the Dipshit Insurrection.
It’s not okay to incite a riot.
It’s not okay for a mob to attack the Capitol.
It’s not okay for Republicans to dismiss this violent insurrection as old news.
We should never let this go and never forget the events of January 6, 2021. It was the first time since the War of 1812 that our Capitol was breached. It was the first time the flag of slavery and treason was brought into the Capitol. None of that is okay.
I feel a meme coming on:
That, of course, stands for: IT’S OKAY IF YOU’RE A REPUBLICAN.
Perhaps a new acronym is in order for today’s Trumpified GOP: IOKIYAWS.
Senate Republicans are not happy to have the impeachment hot potato dropped in their laps. In fact, they’re reacting like scalded dogs and trying to excuse the inexcusable. They’re afraid of the feral Trumper base so they’re making lame excuses like a student trying to get out of taking an exam.
The Incredible Mr. Lindsey blames Speaker Pelosi for lax security during the Dipshit Insurrection and President Biden for not stopping impeachment.
Rand Paul blames his next-door neighbor for being mean to him. It’s his catch-all excuse.
Marco Rubio thinks impeachment is stupid. He’s a coward who fears a primary challenge from Princess Ivanka.
Ted Cruz blames Trump Derangement Syndrome. It’s something he should have had in 2016.
Tim Scott thinks an impeachment trial will lead to more hate and division. I will never call him Great Scott.
Tom Cotton thinks it’s unconstitutional to try a former president. I think he’s out of his cotton-pickin’ mind.
Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy are playing both sides against the middle. They seem to have forgotten that they blamed the Impeached Insult Comedian for the Dipshit Insurrection.
Amnesia seems to be the default GOP position. Remember when they were the party of personal responsibility? If inciting an insurrection isn’t an impeachable act, what is?
It all boils down to this: The Dog Ate The Constitution.
I had a little fun with the featured image. It depicts two of my favorite movie/teevee dogs Asta from The Thin Man movies and Eddie from Frasier. Neither dog nor Nick and Nora Charles would ever eat the constitution. I’m not so sure about Frasier Crane. Hopefully, Marty would stop him. Eddie was his pooch, after all.
Cassandra is back with a piece about her Senator, Joe Manchin. As a red state/Gret Stet Democrat, I miss our former Blue Dog Senators John Breaux and Mary Landrieu. They were always convincible unlike GOPers Double Bill Cassidy and John Neely Kennedy.
Enough from me. Here’s Cassandra’s take on the Other Joe.
Just A Soul Whose Intentions Are Good by Cassandra
Every president’s agenda lives or dies in Congress, and Joe Manchin has set himself as the gatekeeper for everything Joe Biden wants to do. Manchin doesn’t want additional stimulus checks to go out, he won’t vote to expand the Supreme Court, he won’t kill the filibuster, he’s against DC statehood, he voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, and on and on and on and on. Naturally, we all hate him, right?
I don’t. Here’s a quick primer on the senior senator from West By God Virginia:
–He’s not going to become a Republican, not now and not ever. For one thing, he’s consistently opposed the vast majority of GOP policy initiatives. For another, why would he hitch his wagon to a party that is about to be severely damaged by the pent-up fallout of the Trump administration?
–He has never voted against the Democrats when his vote was needed. Let me say that again, because people don’t seem to be able to grasp this fact: he has never voted against the Democrats when his vote was needed.
–“He’s not a real Democrat.” I hear this all the time–from blue state Democrats who have lived in blue states their entire lives. Well, Democrats from red states get elected too, and they have constituents who are moderates or even center-right. My response? Blue state purity tests lose red state Democratic seats.
–Manchin had decided to retire in 2018 so he could run for governor again. He really doesn’t like being a senator in the hyper-partisan Senate that McConnell created, and being governor of West Virginia is more immediately rewarding (plus you have your own private helicopter). Chuck Schumer convinced him to run again to hold that blue seat and so he did. His own sacrifice has given the Democrats their new majority because he is the only Democrat in the state who would have won that seat.
I think the most interesting question regarding Manchin is what he will do now that, in a fit of pique, McConnell has brought the business of the Senate to a grinding halt. Manchin, like the late John McCain, is a big believer in “regular order”. He is concerned with the entire institution of the Senate: its procedures, customs, and courtesies. Manchin is the new chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The Georgia Senate election has been certified, the 2 new Democratic senators have been seated, yet Lisa Murkowski still holds the gavel. This can’t sit well with Manchin.
For what it’s worth, I don’t take any of Manchin’s pronouncements at face value. For example, I think there are scenarios where he votes to expand SCOTUS (e.g., the Biden commission returns solid constitutional reasons to do so). Obviously, he is well aware of the need for stimulus checks for many West Virginians. But in the rush to condemn him, people didn’t read the rest of the interview where he supported $4 trillion in infrastructure spending.
Along those lines, I also believe that there is a scenario where Manchin votes to eliminate the filibuster. He said that he would not be the deciding vote on that issue, but given his emphasis on regular order, he clearly meant that he would not be the deciding vote if the filibuster were preventing passage of an actual bill. That is, implicit in his opposition to nuking the filibuster is the real-world existence of a fully functioning, “regular order”, Democratic-controlled Senate.
Manchin could also say that he supports eliminating the filibuster just for the vote on the organizing resolution, thus keeping the rest of his powder dry for future fights. The latter option would also severely limit what obstruction McConnell could concoct going forward, and Manchin would still be able to make deals for his vote on key pieces of legislation. Let’s see what happens this week.
UPDATE: Naturally, as I finish this, the news breaks that the Senate organizing resolution impasse has broken, and Joe Manchin had a key role in it. Twitter and the message board where I post are full of hot takes about the first 3 items of my Manchin primer (please feel free to link them to this post for edification).
I am surprised that so many Democrats don’t know that currently there are not enough votes to nuke the filibuster (and, honestly, there are reasons to keep it, albeit structured differently, but that’s a conversation for another time) among the Democratic caucus. Manchin is being vilified across the ether for reasons I don’t understand. McConnell wanted a written statement from the Democrats that they would preserve the filibuster, or at least a Schumer speech on the Senate floor, and he got neither. He did get 2 non-binding promises to keep the filibuster from 2 non-leadership Democrats over whom he wields no political power. I’m sure we’ll learn soon enough what Manchin and Sinema got from the Democratic leadership. Oh, and the first Black Secretary of Defense was sworn in today, and the first female Secretary of the Treasury was confirmed. Joy be with you all, indeed.
(Yes, that’s Lady Gaga with the senator and his wife. Her mother’s side of the family is from Wheeling.)
3 posted on 1/20/2021, 7:14:05 AM by DAVEY CROCKETT (Ec 1:2 The rest is, Vanity of vanities..vanity of vanities!All is vanity.)
Oh – and courtesy of Borowitz :
Trump Issues Alternate Inaugural Poem
Roses are red Violets are blue I won the election by a landslide And everybody knows it There were a lot of horrible things going on That should never be allowed to happen In our country I’ve been treated Very unfairly.
Had to cut away from Newsmax. They have some guy named Mustafa on trashing Trump.
I didn’t fly my American Flag the entire 8 years of Obamao.
208 posted on 1/20/2021, 9:01:59 AM by fwdude (Pass up too many hills to die on, and you will eventually fall off the edge of the world.)
I am so mad and sad at the same time. This should not be happening. Furthermore they are counting votes STILL in Arizona for one. This is just sickening.
And I’m tired of hearing about Jan 6th as if there was something more there than what was. The hyperbole is despicable. And the turncoats in Congress. I hope we do have a patriot party that I think we should call the Constitution party.
Wasn’t it bad enough for Arkansas to have had Mike Huckabee as Governor for 11 years? Huck’s Horrible Spawn aka Sarah Huckabee Sanders has announced she’s running for Governor as an unrepentant Trumper. Does that mean that she’s down with the Dipshit Insurrection?
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, President Donald Trump’s former White House press secretary, announced in a video her gubernatorial campaign in Arkansas on Monday morning.
“With the radical left now in control of Washington, your governor is your last line of defense,” Sanders said. “In fact, your governor must be on the front line. So today I announce my candidacy for governor of Arkansas.”
The former Trump official railed against “socialism” and painted herself as a victim of “the far left and their allies at CNN and the New York Times.”
Poor Arkansas. I’m old enough to remember when they had a string of good Democratic governors: Dale Bumpers, David Pryor, and Bill Clinton. Two of them became long serving US senators and I think you know what happened with the other guy.
As you may recall, Sarah Sanders was a terrible and mendacious press secretary in the “proud” tradition of her predecessor Sean Spicer. She’s trying to make like Gum Spice and fail upward into the Arkansas governor’s mansion.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders (hereinafter Huck’s Horrible Spawn) is well on her way to becoming the most hated White House press secretary since Ziegler; even the dread Ari Fleischer had his supporters. Huck’s Horrible Spawn clearly knows nothing about what’s going on in the White House she pretends to speak for. Today she urged ESPN to fire Jemele Hill for criticizing her boss on the sacred tweeter tube. Apparently, Trump is the only one who can fire off insulting tweets. So much for free speech.
Huck’s Horrible Spawn also dusted off her non-existent law degree and proclaimed James Comey a criminal. This is simultaneously ludicrous and menacing. The White House is threatening its opponents with jail or, in the case, of Ms. Hill, loss of her livelihood. This is a classic authoritarian move, which is why I originally called this post Creeping Authoritarianism. The image of Ron Ziegler in a frock is much funnier. And we need all the comic relief we can get in the Trump era.
I stand by what my 2017 self wrote. I should thank Huck’s Horrible Spawn for giving me an excuse to recycle my old work, but I’d prefer not to think of her at all. Ugh, just ugh.
When I say jab, I don’t mean Jabberwocky, Jabba the Hutt, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, or a punch. Jab is what the Brits call a shot in the arm administered by a medical professional. That’s right, this long punny intro leads to a post about our hope to vaccinate our way out of the pandemic.
COVID is the David Bowie of viruses. It keeps morphing and changing like crazy. Scientists are cautiously optimistic that the various vaccines can keep up with the virus, but I have the jab jitters as we move from the Ziggy Stardust phase of the virus to the Thin White Duke phase. The good news is that Bowie lived a long life, the bad news is that we’re stuck by analogy in his most decadent phase: the mid-1970’s.
It’s unclear how well the Bowie analogy holds up but what is clear is that the Trump Regime like its leader was not big on planning. Team Biden is left with a mess that requires their immediate attention. It’s one of many. I think there will be days where President Biden will say to his estimable chief of staff Ron Klain, “Remind me why I wanted this job again.”
The good news is that Joe Biden is not a quitter. In fact, he’s a tougher sumbitch than given credit for. This toughness is epitomized by a man with a serious stutter going into a line of work that requires public speaking. You can still see him struggle with his stutter then overcome it by force of will. This is not a man easily deterred by setbacks. It’s just what the doctor ordered at the end of the Trump error.
The headline on an article by TPM’s Josh Kovensky says it all: How Trump Left The Country With No Real Vaccine Distribution Plan. Make sure you read the whole damn thing. You’ll alternate between moments of schadenfreude and worry about how we’ll get out of this mess. Mercifully, Team Biden is imbued with the can-do spirit that America was known for before wallowing in white Trumper angst for four years.
Under the previous administration, we were neck deep in shit and sinking fast, but help is not only on the way it’s here.
The last word goes to David Bowie with a song that name checks the Thin White Duke:
I have to admit – I’m a 50s horror movie buff. I used to sneak out of bed at midnight, tune in to the distant (distant from Waco, anyway) DFW channel 11, adjust the rabbit ears, and sit in front of the TV for movies like “The Giant Claw” and “The Crawling Eye”.
Another fave was “The Beginning Of The End”, which featured giant grasshoppers (harvested, coincidentally, from the farmland around my Dad’s farm) attacking Chicago as a finale’.
So I have been duped by Conservatives and Q Followers alike. Trump was supposed to be soooooo close to dropping info to prove Biden stole the election. What happened? Biden is now our president. Nothing on Horowitz. Nothing on Durham. Nothing on Declass. Nothing on stolen elections. Trump packed it up, split town and left us with Biden. Brilliant! It feels like I’ve been punched in the gut. I’m sure there are others out there that feel the same way. I listened, and bought into, the BS about saving the world… Yadda Yadda Yadda. I am done. I believed the hype and have nobody to blame but myself. That is all. It was fun while it lasted.
I’m not the only one at First Draft with pardons on their mind. Shapiro has a modest proposal for President Biden.
Pardon Me, Do You Have Any Get Out Of Jail Free Cards? by Shapiro
There’s a joke going around the internet. A Rolls Royce pulls up next to Biden’s presidential limo. The back window rolls down and Donald Trump sticks his head out. Biden rolls his window down. Trump says “pardon me, but do you have any Grey Poupon?” Biden looks at Trump for a minute then says “I’m not pardoning you for anything” as he rolls up the window and has the driver take off.
OK, the joke’s not very funny but it gave me an idea:
Joe Biden should pardon Donald Trump.
You heard me right. And before you get all up on your high horse or want to string me up as the enemy of the people Trump once said the media was, hear me out.
Pardon Trump with three conditions.
First, he must admit it was all a scam. Everything.
The Muslim ban?Hey, they weren’t staying at my hotels so why should I care.
The Ukraine call?I thought that was how diplomacy works, you want from me you gotta do for me.
The Russian investigation?Bobbie Three Sticks was right all along.
Putin was giving you orders to carry out?Duh, da.
Downplaying the seriousness of COVID so you could get re-elected? Actually he already admitted that on tape. (Jeez how dumb can one guy be, admitting to THE Watergate reporter who told him he was taping the conversation that it was all about re-election.)
Did you incite the mob that attacked the capitol? Of course, autocoup was the last chance I had and besides, it always works in those shithole countries.
Did you make those deals with the Mob to get your buildings built? Jeez of course I did, how do you think real estate in NYC works? Same as in Moscow, only the Mob there is called the Putin regime or the Middle East where it’s called the House of Saud.
On a side note this pardon will allow Trump to keep Secret Service protection but still he’d better get fitted for a bulletproof suit so one of Putin’s or bin Salman’s guys doesn’t go all Hyman Roth at the end of Godfather II on him.
In addition Trump needs to admit to everything we have always suspected no matter how bizarre or outlandish.
The pee tape?Absolutely true.
Did you sleep with Ivanka?You bet.
Is there more than one Melania?Absolutely how could you not have seen that before.
Were you grinding up Adderall and snorting it?How do you think I could stay up all night Tweeting and watching TV?
Was Stormy Daniels right when she said your dick looked like a little mushroom?Yeah, well, whatcha gonna do, genetics.
Oh and he’s gotta admit to sexually assaulting and/or raping all those women. E. Jean Carroll, Ivana, the Miss Teen USA contestants, the Fox News correspondents, all of them. That includes the girls Epstein got for him. Speaking of which Donny John you gotta fess up you had him whacked.
But most of all he has to admit that everything he said about the 2020 election was a lie. He will have to stand up and say there was no fraud, Biden won the election fair and square, all the lies he told after the votes were counted were just in a vain hope of overturning the outcome. He will have to tell the American people the truth, even if it’s for the first time in his life, that he didn’t win, there weren’t 11,800 votes in Georgia to be found for him, that Cindy McCain was right and he pissed off Arizona Republicans by trash talking her dad, that all the bluster and all the prevarication was just so much hogwash. That it all came down to this: Donald Trump just couldn’t stand the thought of being branded a loser.
The second condition of the pardon is no takebacks. No turning around and saying, “oh I just said it to get the pardon”. Nope. He’s gotta admit it all in a joint interview with Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow broadcast on every network in the cablesphere. Hell, let Nickelodeon do a version like they did with that NFL playoff game, complete with him getting slimmed. He’s gotta tell the entire sordid story, come clean about anything and everything. Look at the bright side Trumpy, you always wanted to be the biggest star on TV so here’s your chance. The ratings would be better than any Super Bowl, any Olympics, hell they’d beat the final episode of M*A*S*H.
The third condition I’ll admit this one is just for my own personal perverse pleasure. We’ll call it the Sophie’s Choice condition. Donny John you have to pick one of your kids to get a pardon with those same two conditions as yours. But only one. So decide if Vanky, Jr., or the dumb one gets to skate and which two must learn how to make friends with their new cellmate. I’d love to see the backbiting, groveling, pathetic cloying they’d all do to get that pardon. I wouldn’t even mind if Mark Burnett gets him big upfront money for a one shot special so we can all watch. Hell if it goes well, Burnett could turn it into a series starring all of the supporting characters from the last four years. The Kushner, Bannon, Miller episode would make delightful holiday viewing.
Now why would I put this proposition out to the world? 81 million plus people in this country want Trump’s hide hung high. 74 million people think he’s the cat’s meow and had a second term stolen by evil Demoncrats. It’s obvious to me that the only way these two extremes can meet in the middle, the only way this nation will heal from the four years of divisiveness Trump stoked with his angry, insipid, malevolent words and actions is for the people who fell for it to understand they were lied to and for the people who always saw through it to get the vindication they deserve. The American people need to be told by the person who lied to them that he did it only for the power and the money and that he never really cared about them or their problems. That for the last four years they were nothing but the toys a narcissistic man-child pulled out from the closet to play games with, even when playing with those toys meant sadistically pulling them apart limb from limb. This is the way we can begin to heal. I have no delusion his doing this causes everyone to join hands around the campfire and sing Kumbaya, but if we can at least get the temperature down to 2012 level when political discourse was sharp but not stick a knife in your neighbor sharp then maybe we can get on with solving some really big problems this country and the world face.
If we’ve learned anything over the last four years, it’s that Trump and his family are all about pay for play. So here it is, the biggest payday. Refuse it and you will face the remainder of your life as defendant, bankruptee, and inmate. On the other hand accept this pardon with all its conditions and you skate away from all responsibility for the harm you have done and kickstarted the process of healing. And for the first time in your life you will have done a service to your country.
That’s my proposal to President Biden. I submit it in the hopes he will give it all the due consideration it deserves.
PS: If you clicked on the link for the Grey Poupon commercial and happen to be a fan of British television, yes that’s the guy from Yes Minister and the guy from the original House Of Cards.