Monthly Archives: May 2021

Memorial Day: Who I Remember

What a difference a year makes. Last year I wrote an introduction for this annual post in which I deplored then President* Pennwyise’s indifference to veterans despite his so-called super-patriotism. And that was before his “suckers and losers” comments led to one of my most scathing posts of 2020, My Uncle Was A ‘Loser’.

This year, Joe Biden is doing what presidents customarily do. Marking this holiday with the solemnity it deserves. Thank you, Mr. President.

It’s also a solemn day at Adrastos World HQ. The woman who brought the man I honor annually into my life died last Friday at the age of 99. I wrote about my mother-in-law turned “outlaw” Louise Allen Cobb Couvillion in the 2019 edition of my annual Thanksgiving post. She was an educator with a sharp mind and an even sharper tongue. Her passing is the period at the end of a long and glorious sentence. She will be missed, especially during the holidays.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

There’s nothing like a national holiday to make one feel ritualistic. This post is making its eleventh annual appearance at First Draft. It was also published in our anthology, Our Fate Is Your Fate.

I realize it *should* be posted on Veterans Day since my remembered soldier survived the war BUT old habits are hard to break. Besides, I would face the wrath of both Athenae and Dr. A if I didn’t post it. So, here we go again:

The veteran I’d like to remember on this solemn holiday is the late Sgt. Eddie Couvillion.

Soldier Boy

My family tree is far too tangled and gnarly to describe here but suffice it to say that Eddie was my second father. He served in Europe during World War II, not in combat but in the Army Quartermaster Corps. In short, he was a supply Sergeant, one of those guys who won the war by keeping the troops fed, clad, and shod. Eddie was what was called in those days a scrounger; not unlike Milo Minderbinder in Catch-22 or James Garner’s character in The Great Escape. 

Eddie’s favorite military exploit was running an army approved bordello in France after hostilities ended. He always called it a cat house and bragged that it was the best little whorehouse in Europe. One can serve one’s country in manifold ways…

Eddie died 5 years ago [2005] and I still miss him. He was a remarkable man because he changed so much as he aged. When I met him, he was a hardcore Texas/Louisiana conservative with old South racial views and attitudes. At an age when many people close their minds, Eddie opened his and stopped thinking of black folks as a collective entity that he didn’t care for and started thinking of them as individuals. Eddie was a genuine Southern gentleman, so he’d never done or said an unkind thing to anyone and confided to me that the only one he’d ever hurt by being prejudiced was himself. I was briefly speechless because we’d had more than a few rows over that very subject. Then he laughed, shook his head and said: “Aren’t you going to tell me how proud you are of me? You goddamn liberals are hard to satisfy.”

Actually, I’m easily satisfied. In 2004, Eddie had some astonishing news for me: he’d not only turned against the Iraq War but planned to vote for John Kerry because “Bush Junior is a lying weasel and a draft dodger.” That time he didn’t need to ask me if I was proud of him, it was written all over my face. It was the first and only time he ever voted for a Democrat for President.

I salute you, Sgt. Couvillion. I only wish that I could pour you a glass of bourbon on the rocks and we could raise our glasses in a Memorial Day toast.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – “Big Dumb Idiot” edition

Yet another quiet week in Freeperville, y’all. It’s like reading a transcript of the conversation on a Dallas Cowboys transport bus after they’ve lost yet another game – mostly quiet sulking.

Except, of course, for this –

FANATICS: THE DEEP END (Guess who the fanatics are)
Vice TV ^ | 5/29/2021 | ViceTV

Posted on 5/28/2021, 7:36:34 PM by Oshkalaboomboom

Alice Hines goes all in on a journey to the outer limits of obsession.

Season 1 Episode 1: “QAnon”

Alice investigates what causes people to think that storming the U.S. Capitol seemed like a good idea. What draws people to the cult of QAnon?

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

Alice works for Vice TV and the New York Times. This is TV in the Biden Era. If it makes Trump supporters look bad, it’s gotta be good.
1 posted on 5/28/2021, 7:36:34 PM by Oshkalaboomboom
Of course, pretty much everything about Trump supporters makes them look bad, so that’s some low-hanging fruit for sure.
To: Oshkalaboomboom
Some who appear to support President Trump are also trying their hardest to drive rational supporters away from him with crazy conspiracy theories, wrong medical advice, name calling, false accusations and demands for sane people to go away.

Or in other words, any day on Free Republic ending in an “y”

The left is taking that gift and running with it.

2 posted on 5/28/2021, 7:44:20 PM by familyop (Natural born slaves are easily led to distrust and hate their intellectual benefactors.)

Why, thenk yew. I do my best.
And then :
To: familyop
I think Trump is a big, dumb idiot,

.

.

How dare you insult big dumb idiots by comparing them to The Darnold?  And here, especially. Prepare for incoming fire!

 

but 95% percent of the Crazy conspiracies, bad Medical advice, false accusations and other things he never said were Rupars, taken or edited out of context by a dishonest media.

Bush/Romney republicans are even BIGGER idiots, because they think the media is their friend.

4 posted on 5/28/2021, 7:53:59 PM by UNGN

Sight!  Range! FIRE!!
To: UNGN
I think Trump is a big, dumb idiot
So, you’re a bigger billionaire

….who declares bankruptcy six times, and is working on his seventh.  And does that mean that Bill Gates would make a better President?

and you’ve been a better President than him?

Chester A. Arthur was a fucking better President than him.  He lost his second-term bid, too.

 

Any other lifetime achievements you’ve beat him at?

16 posted on 5/28/2021, 9:45:39 PM by BipolarBob (This is my chainsaw. There are many like it but this one is mine.)

Depends on how many women he’s grabbed by the pussy, I guess.
I’ve been watching Freepers slowly awaken to the fact that they were conned.  It’s like Orange Julius realizing he lost the election, but in ultra slow-motion.
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More after the break!

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Today on Tommy T’s obsession with Random Ruminations – No Clubbing, No Cry edition

Why I don’t go clubbing

You see, I spent an incredible amount of my lifetime in live music clubs – almost always to play.

I have inhaled enough cigarette smoke to kill a hundred healthy men (in case you never noticed, most club stages put the musicians’ heads pretty close to the ceiling, where the smoke pools up) – sometimes I’d have to bend down to be able to see.

My Rickenbacker 4001 was snow white when I got it in 1977 – it’s nicotine ivory-coloured now. Sometimes I wonder if the inside of my lungs look like that.  (it’s the second one from the left in the pic below)

But the worst part?

If I’m not performing, I feel like I’m on break. I sit at the table with fingers drumming, one eye on the clock, subconsciously waiting for my 15 minutes to be up. Decades of playing live music in clubs has conditioned me to feel like this, and it doesn’t lend itself to enjoying the evening.

If I’m there, I’m there to play – and I give it every fucking thing I’ve got, because it’s all about you.

So – if you invite me to your gig and I don’t come, this is why. It’s just too much like going to your place of work, then just sitting there instead of working.

.

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Sunday Morning Video: The Who Chicago Live

The Who planned an America tour in support of Who Are You before Keith Moon’s death. They pressed on the next year with Faces drummer Kenny Jones and assorted sidemen.

This Chicago show was broadcast on closed circuit teevee across the country. It was 1979’s version of a live stream.

Saturday Odds & Sods: She Said She Said

The Therapist by Rene Magritte.

We finally had our first day with a high of 90 degrees. As someone who lives in a semi-tropical climate, I prefer Fahrenheit to Celsius: 30 degrees Celsius does not sound as hot as it gets in New Orleans. It’s where ice people go to melt.

Surrealism and the Beatles go together like peas and carrots hence the featured image by Rene Magritte. He’s my other go-to Surrealist. I hope Max Ernst doesn’t mind.

She Said She Said has an opening stanza worthy of Surrealist poet Paul Eluard:

 She said “I know what it’s like to be dead I know what it is to be sad.”
And she’s making me feel like I’ve never been born.

This week’s theme song is credited to Lennon and McCartney but it’s all John. Once again, it’s from 1966’s Revolver album, which has a suitably surreal cover by the German artist/bassist Klaus Voormann.

The session at which She Said She Said was recorded was a sign of trouble in Beatle World. Macca didn’t like the arrangement and didn’t play on the track. George Harrison played bass. Yeah, yeah, yeah or is that no, no, no?

We have three versions of She Said She Said for your listening pleasure: the Beatles original, Gov’t Mule, and The Black Keys:

Now that we all feel like we’ve never been born, let’s jump to the break.

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Cole Porter Month: The Grand Finale

Cole Porter month has been delightful, delirious, and de-lovely. But all good things come to end, bad ones too for that matter.

We’re wrapping up Cole Porter month with seven Porter gems. Enjoy.

Our first selection was written in 1950 ending up in the film version of Kiss Me Kate. It features the vocal stylings of Francis Albert Sinatra:

You’re The Top was written in 1934 for the smash hit musical Anything Goes. Ella Fitzgerald’s version has a suitably whimsical arrangement by band leader Buddy Bregman.

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Names In A List

Flowers at VTA Yard

I was going to write about something else till local events overrode that plan.

Once again the country faces yet again another (I can’t use enough synonyms for often) mass shooting. This one was a little closer to home which makes it no less sorrowful but much more impactful on those of us in NorCal.

This was the largest mass shooting in NorCal history, eclipsing the 101 California Massacre in 1993. I hate that we have names for these unimaginable events. I’m sick at heart for the families who lost a husband, son, brother, best friend in an act that was as horrible was it was preventable.

They were just heading into or finishing work, another day moving the citizens of San Jose around from place to place. The shooting was timed to catch the most people being there, shift change. Half of them not quite awake at 6AM, half of them dog tired at 6AM. Just working folk who never did harm to anyone, the kind of people politicians always say they are for. I’ll add in that the names of the men who didn’t get home yesterday are a perfect cross section of the cultural melting pot that San Jose is: White, Hispanic, Sikh, Arab.

It was an equal opportunity shooting.

Read anything you want about the shooter (and I will not name him, his name should be lost to the eddies of history) and you will not find a single person saying “Oh, he was such a quiet man” or “he was a nice guy”. Again and again he’s described in anti-social terms, from his ex-wife to his ex-girlfriend (who had a restraining order on him) to his neighbors. I half expected to hear someone saying “yeah, I pretty much expected something like this from him”.

An angry white male loner incapable of a sustained romantic relationship who views his co-workers as having somehow swindled him out of better jobs and who owned not one but two semi-automatic hand guns. Copy that description and hold on to it because it fits all 15 of the shooters behind this year’s mass shootings. And it will fit the next 15, and the 15 after that.

Don’t even give me your “thoughts and prayers” Repugnicants. Don’t give me your piety about the 2nd Amendment which once again I will take the opportunity to point out that unlike the 1st Amendment does NOT include the phrase “Congress shall make no law”.  This is exactly the time to enact tough restrictions on gun possession, purchase, and registration. You want to own a gun? Then you have to be willing to accept the following:

  1. A limit to the number of guns you can own
  2. Full background checks at the time of purchase (including mental health)
  3. A national database of gun ownership, location, and transfer
  4. No gun show sales, purchase only through authorized sellers
  5. An absolute ban on military style assault weapons
  6. Limitations on the amount and specifications of bullets
  7. Mandatory gun safety and training classes
  8. Bans on modifications to most weapons (can’t turn a semi into full automatic)
  9. All weapons to be confiscated upon the granting of restraining orders

I absolutely can not see how any of these interfere with any law abiding person’s 2nd Amendment rights. They aren’t perfect but they at least make it so that if you own a gun you are less likely to use it to randomly kill innocent people. Were they in place on Wednesday nine human beings would be at home with their families today instead of just being names on a list.

  • Paul Delacruz Megia, age 42
  • Taptejdeep Singh, age 36
  • Adrian Balleza, age 29
  • Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, age 35
  • Timothy Michael Romo, age 49
  • Michael Joseph Rudometkin, age 40
  • Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, age 63
  • Lars Kepler Lane, age 63
  • Alex Ward Fritch, age 49

We’ll end with a local band as would seem appropriate. This song is about how the most patriotic thing you can do is to lay down your arms.

Shapiro Out

Friday Catblogging: Table Cats

Dr. A takes most of the cat pictures I post at First Draft. She specializes in pictures of our cats sitting in my chair at the table when she’s eating breakfast. I am not an early riser but Dr. A is.

These shots of the late, great Paul Drake and the current incumbent Claire Trevor are quite similar. Oddly enough, PD does not look twice as big as CT, which he was. Oh well, what the hell.

Happy Birthday, Neil Finn

It’s been a pretty darn gloomy week for me here at First Draft. I’ve written about George Floyd’s death, Anti-Semitism, and the passing of one of the last decent Republicans. It’s time to lighten things up this afternoon. Sometimes, like Cyndi Lauper, bloggers just want to have fun.

Neil Finn is one of the greatest singer-songwriters in rock history. His work with Split Enz, Crowded House, as a solo artist, and with his brother Tim have long rocked my world.

Today is Neil’s 63rd birthday. I should hate the fact that he still has a full head of hair but how can I hate Beaky?

It’s listicle time. Given how much I love Neil’s music, this Finny list captures my mood at a moment in time. If I were to do one next week, it’s likely to be different. So it goes.

It’s also really hard to limit it to ten, but who the hell wants to read a Top 100? I certainly don’t want to write such a thing. Besides, 100 videos would take forever to load.

My Top Ten Favorite Neil Finn Songs

Don’t Dream It’s Over

It’s Only Natural

Together Alone

Only Talking Sense

One Step Ahead

Better Be Home Soon

Distant Sun

Love You ‘Til The Day I Die

She Will Have Her Way

Chocolate Cake

The last pick might be controversial among some Finn fans but what’s a birthday without cake?

Perhaps I should do this every week. I forgot the song that I stole a line from for the title of my novel:

What’s a birthday without a little lagniappe?

Happy Birthday, Neil.

They Don’t Make Republicans Like John Warner Anymore

John Warner, Elizabeth Taylor, and Fritz Mondale after the Veep swore in the new senator.

I used to have many conservative friends. I enjoyed discussing, debating, and arguing the issues of the day with people who disagreed with me. I miss those exchanges. I learned how to argue politics from my father who was a center right Republican himself. He taught me that friendship was more important than politics. Lou knew how to disagree without being disagreeable. That’s how it should be in a democracy but no longer is.

Things started to go haywire during the Iraq War when some of my conservative friends argued that torture during wartime was acceptable. I never agreed and never will, but I could still cite conservatives such as John McCain and John Warner as being on my side. They don’t make Republicans like the two Johns anymore.

Former Virginia Senator John Warner died on Tuesday at the age of 94. He served five terms in the United States senate and made many friends and few enemies except those on the lunatic fringe of his own party.

Warner was a senator out of central casting: charming, genteel, handsome and on the verbose side. He usually voted with his party but could be persuaded to break with his fellow Republicans if a strong enough case was made. He was conservative but open minded.

John Warner always tried to do the right thing. After allegations of fraud were made in the super-close 1996 Louisiana Senate runoff between Mary Landrieu and wingnut Woody Jenkins, the ball landed in Warner’s lap as chairman of the rules committee. Warner ran a fair process, no fraud was found, and Landrieu was seated. The minute I heard that Warner was in charge, I relaxed because I knew he was a fair and decent man. For more on that crazy election, read Lamar White’s piece at Bayou Brief.

There’s a wonderful tribute to John Warner by New York Magazine’s Ed Kilgore  who worked in the senate as a Democratic aide when Warner was an important member of that body. Kilgore maintains that Senator Warner should be remembered for opposing extremism in his own party:

His long congressional career, which ended in retirement in 2009, was marked by his lofty position in the bipartisan-defense establishment, tons of military pork to keep restive Virginians satisfied, and, despite a generally orthodox Republican voting record, occasional high-profile acts of heresy. It was no great surprise when Warner announced support for Democrat Mark Warner (no relation) as his successor, and he was among the early Republican supporters of Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump in 2016. Years earlier, he staved off the takeover of his party by right-wing zealots such as Oliver North that would presage the danger to come.

<SNIP>

… Warner was an exemplar of the days before ideological rigidity gripped the GOP. Despite supporting some abortion restrictions, he was fundamentally pro-choice, which is a nearly extinct point of view among Republicans today. He joined his friend Ted Kennedy in opposing Robert Bork’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, a cause that is still dear to an older generation of conservatives. He supported the Brady Bill and other gun-safety measures. Even on defense issues, he was not entirely predictable; as Armed Services chairman, he opposed the Bush administration’s last “surge” in Iraq and joined John McCain in opposing torture by the military and intelligence agencies.

It was his willingness now and then to buck party discipline even in elections, though, that is now so amazing. In 1994, Oliver North — the key Iran-Contra operative convicted for lying to Congress who became a right-wing hero (sort of the Michael Flynn of his era) — won the GOP nomination to take on Warner’s Democratic colleague, Chuck Robb, who looked doomed by allegations of sexual misconduct and drug use. Instead of putting on the party harness, Warner endorsed an independent bid by moderate Republican Marshall Coleman, which split the GOP vote and made it possible for Robb to survive in a very Republican year. That Warner was renominated twice after that episode was a testament to his appeal and perhaps to the now-departed tolerance of Republicans for dissent.

Unlike the cowards and radicals among today’s Republican senators, John Warner was a true conservative. He wanted to preserve what was best about America but was willing to discuss ways to improve it. In that way, he was like my conservative friends and father who kept the lines of communication open despite our disagreements. Those days are long gone, but I miss them and always will.

I concur with Ed Kilgore’s description of John Warner as a “glamorous Republican heretic.” He practiced what he preached. The man *was* married to Elizabeth Taylor who was a liberal, after all. Rest in peace, Senator.

They don’t make Republicans like John Warner anymore. Isn’t it a pity?

The last word goes to George Harrison:

 

Scum Rises To The Top

The only surprise is that it took him this long to slither to DJT, aside from his recent stint as consort to the US Ambassador to the Holy See.

The rot runs even deeper, but if Newt can’t take home the sash and tiara, he can claim a finalist position among the toxic waste that’s the modern GOP and the elite media that enables the spectacle.

Calling it sophistry is unfair to sophists.

It’s more Professional Wrestling, with touts like Lee Atwater, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, et al, taking a fuck all approach to public policy.

And outlets like Politico can always be counted on for publicity.

Because why do actual journalism when it’s so much easier providing content?

Add in paid TV appearances, the lecture circuit, and maybe a book deal with revelations only an insider can offer…

Beats having to meet a deadline every day.

I don’t think it’s an accident that three of the last four GOP presidents were essentially entertainment figures (Bush Junior was a baseball executive before running for governor in Texas and I believe his undergraduate degree is in Marketing).

Their voter base, to the extent they even care, view politics not as public policy, but as TV.

or grievance rallies as performance art.

Gingrich himself is a huckster. The largest electorate he ever seriously faced was a suburban Atlanta congressional district.

But through the magic of TV, elite/insider journalism, etc., he’s managed to demagogue his way through life for coming on half a century.

Playing on prejudice beats working for him as well.

But not for us.

 

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Bamboo Gods & Iron Men

I had Super Fly on my mind when I searched for an image for today. I came upon a Blaxploitation movie I’d neither heard of nor seen: Bamboo Gods & Iron Men.

Apparently, it’s a martial arts action flick that’s heavy on the comedy. Why haven’t the guys at RiffTrax done this movie yet?

Here’s the trailer for this fakakta film:

It’s A Yellow Star, Not A Gold Star

I try not to write about Marjorie Taylor Greene. The QAnon Lady thrives on attention and controversy. I prefer not to give her what she wants, but sometimes you’ve got to get your hands dirty. This is one of those times.

The flap over MTG’s latest moronic and evil comments has been raging so hard that KMac felt compelled to admonish her. Mildy. Belatedly. It didn’t stop her: who the hell is afraid of the Candyass Candyman?

Like all Q-Creeps, MTG is fixated on the Nazis:

Last week, during a discussion about whether House members should document their vaccination status before they take off their masks indoors, Greene told the Christian Broadcasting Network host David Brody “we can look back in a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star, and they were definitely treated like second-class citizens—so much so that they were put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany and this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about.”

Since social media is what gives these trolls air, MTG doubled down on the Tweeter Tube:

While the Q-Creeps are fixated on the Nazis, I’m fixated on a detail in MTG’s comments. She keeps referring to the Nazi “Jew badge” as a GOLD STAR. It’s a YELLOW STAR, not a GOLD STAR.

I was a grade school kid in another century. Back then, getting a gold star was a good thing. Teachers would stick one on your work as a compliment. I understand that hasn’t changed except, that is, in the QAnon lady’s warped and miniscule mind.

The gold star has another meaning in American culture. It’s used to honor mothers who lost a child in combat. My yiayia was a Gold Star Mother. She lost her son in World War II. You know, the war in which we fought Nazism. That’s a detail that seems lost on MTG and her ilk.

The gold star is a badge of honor. The yellow star is a badge of infamy and genocide.

I should put it in terms that MTG will understand: Gold star good, yellow star bad.

Of course, Trumpers don’t honor Gold Star Families. Remember the Khan family and the controversy that should have cost the Kaiser of Chaos the 2016 election? It was an early sign of the rot that metastasized from 2016 to 2020 and exploded into the Dipshit Insurrection on 1/6/2021.

Ready for some comic relief? I certainly am.

Thanks, Jonathan. The self-described “big-headed kid from Jersey” scores again.

Speaking of tourists, MTG is not from another century, she’s from another planet: Q-World.

Q-World is a place where they can’t tell the difference between yellow and gold.

Q-World is a place where they’d tie a gold ribbon around the old oak tree.

Q-World is a place where they can’t tell the difference between the truth and a lie.

Q-World is a place where slavishly defending Bibi Netanyahu means that you can’t be Anti-Semitic.

Q-World is a place where trivializing the Holocaust is commonplace.

Marjorie Taylor Greene is a sick, stupid, and silly woman. She should be in a straitjacket instead of Congress. She’s a symbol of everything that’s wrong with the American right in 2021. I refuse to call them conservatives. They’re radicals and nihilists who warp and destroy everything they touch.

I had an alternate title for this post inspired by this comic novel:

MTG and her fellow Q-Creeps are The Gang That Couldn’t Hate Straight.

Repeat after me: It’s A Yellow Star, Not A Gold Star.

I’m shocked, shocked, to find that gambling is going on in here.

On Monday, Senator Joe Manchin was informed that there were not 10 GQP votes for the independent commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection. His response?

“So disheartening. It makes you really concerned about our country,” Manchin said. Asked if that is an abuse of the filibuster: “I’m still praying we’ve still got 10 good solid patriots within that conference.”

On Tuesday he was asked about the filibuster.  His response:

In addition, he and Kyrsten Sinema put out a statement “imploring” Senate Republicans to support the commission.

The response to both of these was predictable:  how could Manchin be so naïve? Hasn’t he been paying attention to everything the Republicans have been doing for years now?

I don’t know the senator personally, but he was the governor of West Virginia when I moved here, and he’s been one of my senators since 2010. Of course he’s aware that congressional Republicans are now going to oppose the commission—that’s what TFG told them they need to do.

I still think he’s going to change his public stance on the filibuster, although he may say he’s ready to move forward on the talking filibuster instead of abolishing it outright. Then why is it taking so long, right? Remember what I wrote earlier? Joe Manchin knows how to play politics. Chuck Schumer isn’t going to bring the bill up for a day or so, so there’s still political time to see if the bill can be passed with Republican input.

As I write this, both Mitt Romney and Susan Murkowski have indicated they will vote for the bill. There won’t be 10 votes, of course, but the more Senate Republicans who join, the better. McConnell probably won’t realize until it’s too late that trump will once again have sunk the Republicans by doing his bidding. I can see Manchin sorrowfully saying he had hope as his Republican colleagues had begun signing onto the bill, but now it’s going to be the work of the Democrats alone to save and protect the nation.

After all, if you are going to make a dramatic change in your political position, you might as well make it as dramatic as possible, like a heel turn in professional wrestling. Right now there’s still time for Manchin to entice Senate Republicans into working with the Democrats. And they’ve given him the perfect excuse to change his mind on the filibuster and still maintain his conservative Democratic credibility.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Super Fly

I still have Curtis Mayfield on my mind after yesterday’s post. I’ve always had a special passion for Curtis’ music. Great singer, great songwriter. The Super Fly soundtrack remains my favorite Mayfield/Impressions album. Just ask Freddie; never mind, Freddie’s Dead.

I was also a white boy who loved Blaxploitation movies. I spent many happy hours at a second run theatre: the Fox In Redwood City. That’s where I saw Super Fly, Shaft, and Blacula to name but a few. We called the theatre ‘The Bone” because admission was a dollar and my circle of friends called bucks, bones. I guess you had to be there.

Here’s the album cover:

Here’s the movie poster:

Here’s the trailer:

Finally, here’s the whole damn album via Spotify:

One Year

George Floyd was murdered by Derek Chauvin one year ago today. Floyd didn’t ask to be a movement martyr and hero. He wanted to live. His life was callously snuffed out by a police officer who ignored his cries for help. Chauvin’s colleagues were cowed by the chain of command and didn’t stop it. What stopped was George Floyd’s life.

One year later there are signs of progress as well as backsliding. Change never comes all at once. It takes patience and persistence. Some people possess those qualities, others do not.

Obviously, Black folks have no choice but to persist. It’s their lives that are threatened by police stops. Mine is not as long as I keep my sharp tongue sheathed. George Floyd tried politeness with his murderer. It did not work.

The randomness of police violence is one thing that makes it so frightening. Some people with power will always abuse it. It’s the dark side of human nature.

On the legal front, in some jurisdictions there are signs of change in how police violence is prosecuted. In other jurisdictions, they continue to back the police no matter how outrageous the misconduct. Change is never easy, nothing worthwhile in life ever is.

On the day after Derek Chauvin was convicted and led away in cuffs I wrote:

I made a mistake yesterday and spent too much time on Twitter before the verdict. The amateur lawyers and jurors were doing their thing, insisting that Derek Chauvin would be acquitted because that’s how it’s always gone. Each criminal case is different, a discrete and insular universe of its own. Precedents are for appellate courts; trial courts are all about verdicts. Each case stands alone.

That’s true in reverse as well. There will be times that the criminal justice system will fail; sometimes spectacularly. Few cases have such overwhelming evidence as the Chauvin trial. It’s easy to give in to despair and cynicism when the system fails. Repeat after me: Change is never easy, nothing worthwhile in life ever is.

I’d like to recommend a couple of articles about the state of the Black Lives Matter movement. First, Michael Harriot at The Root: It Turns Out, All Those ‘Woke’ White Allies Were Lying. He’s right about the flurry of corporate support. That was bound to be ephemeral. Corporate America follows the money. They were lying but most of the “woke white allies” were not. They lacked persistence and attention span. Repeat after me: Change is never easy, nothing worthwhile in life ever is.

Second, Imani Perry at The Cut: Stop Hustling Black Death. Perry profiles Samaria Rice who prefers to be thought of as Tamir’s mother, not a  “mother of the movement.” It’s a scathing reminder that individual lives have been devastated by police violence. It’s not an abstraction to Ms. Rice. She lost her baby to police violence and has no patience with those “who make a living hustling Black death.”

Harriot and Perry’s articles have wildly different perspectives on the state of the #BLM movement one year after George Floyd’s death. What they have in common is anger. I cannot blame them.  All I can do is empathize with Black Americans. I cannot walk in their shoes; I can only feel their pain.

“Wokeness” is a fad. I’m immediately suspicious of anyone who calls themselves “woke.” I call them the Hipster Twitter Left instead. They’re committed as long as it isn’t too hard or doesn’t require too much of their time. It’s also called human nature; some people are trend hoppers in search of the next big thing. So it goes.

It’s unclear what George Floyd’s death will mean in the long run. I think he’s destined to be the Emmett Till of his generation. But what George Floyd really wanted was to live. That beats the hell out of martyrdom any day.

Repeat after me: Change is never easy, nothing worthwhile in life ever is.

The last word goes to Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions:

 

A Postcard From Out Of The Past

A Postcard From Out Of The Past

Have you ever said something and wished you hadn’t?

If you’re married it’s probably a daily occurrence.

We’ve all done it. That cutting jab about the boss’s wife when she’s standing behind you at the office Christmas party. The letter to the editor excoriating the town council for a particular decision before realizing that policy is actually going to benefit yourself. The admiration for a band based on the only listenable song on an album.

Now-a-days we have Twitter to thank for being a repository of an entire lifetime’s supply of regrettable statements or opinions long since repudiated. With Twitter though even removing such thoughts doesn’t prevent them from reappearing years later. Someone somewhere will have cataloged and archived your appreciation for CATS The Movie.

A 22 year old Jewish woman named Emily Wilder finds herself pursed by the ghosts of Tweets past.  Ms. Wilder was a student at Stanford University where she wrote for the school newspaper, got good grades, put out an occasional Tweet filled with the passion that only a college student can exert, and also was a Middle East peace activist often taking the side of Palestinians. She was in particular involved in the Return The Birthright movement.

Birthright is a program by which young American Jews are given a free trip to Israel to experience the uniqueness of a country where they are in the majority. I always thought it was a great program till I found out that it’s major funder was Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Republican infamy and that once students arrive in Israel the program heavily slanted the experience away from anything having to do with those folks in Gaza, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank.

Returning to Ms. Wilder, a group of students calling themselves the Stanford College Republicans decided to go on a Twitter rant about her because, heaven forbid, she got a job with the Associated Press as a junior reporter. If we’re going to be honest calling her position reporting is a stretch. She was so far down the food chain microbes fed off her. Over a year removed from having graduated from Stanford, this group for some reason thought it was appropriate to rage against her.

Then again they seem to be one of those conservative college groups that feels no matter how much privilege they have it’s not enough. Here is the opening of their mission statement:

Against the backdrop of the pernicious leftist assault on our liberty and the moral fabric of our nation, challenging the left’s monopoly over American campus politics by exposing students to conservatism is crucial for the survival of conservatism in coming decades.

Um right, leftists are in control of Stanford. The Stanford that is home to Billionaire’s Corner where all the computer science buildings are. The Stanford that is home to the Hoover Institute. The Stanford whose endowment was doubled by demanding a cut of Google’s profits since the original search engine was developed using their computer network.

Yeah, it’s a real hot bed of liberalism.

Nevertheless an enraged group of incels, er, I mean, conservative students thought there was no way anyone with an activist pedigree could ever be impartial in her coverage of…um, hold on let me check what she was assigned to cover…oh yes, local Phoenix area goings on. That’s right, she wasn’t the AP Jerusalem bureau chief or even a reporter there or even a full fledged reporter anywhere but in the suburbs of the American southwest. She had about as much to do with AP’s coverage of the Middle East as the janitor in the chemistry building on campus.

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The Brothers Cuomo

The Cuomos hate Godfather references in stories about them. I’m skirting that issue by posting a poster for the 1957 film noir, The Brothers Rico. It does, however, star Richard Conte who played Don Barzini in the Coppola classic. And it *is* about a family enmeshed in the mob, which the Cuomos are not. And it’s based on a novel by the French master of suspense, Georges Simenon. It doesn’t get classier than that.

The Brothers Rico was featured on TCM’s Noir Alley last weekend, which is why it’s on my mind as well as on my DVR. It’s the story of an older brother who goes legit and gets pulled back into a life of crime by his bumbling brothers.

Cue obligatory Michael Corleone GIF:

The Brothers Cuomo find themselves embroiled in a controversy over a conference call.

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo advised his brother, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, and senior members of the governor’s staff on how to respond to sexual harassment allegations made earlier this year by women who had worked with the governor, according to four people familiar with the discussions.

Cuomo, one of the network’s top stars, joined a series of conference calls that included the Democratic governor, his top aide, his communications team, lawyers and a number of outside advisers, according to the people familiar with the conversations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private sessions.

<SNIP>

The cable news anchor encouraged his brother to take a defiant position and not to resign from the governor’s office, the people said. At one point, he used the phrase “cancel culture” as a reason to hold firm in the face of the allegations, two people present on one call said.

This is, of course, a violation of journalistic ethics. It is also stupid and arrogant.

The stupid is supplied by kid brother:

The arrogance is supplied by big brother:

I think Andrew’s awesome dog, Captain, is off the hook. The blanket, however, is under investigation.

If anyone thinks this is the first time a journalist advised a politician they’re dead wrong. Of course, when Ben Bradlee advised JFK, he had the good sense to do it privately and not on a conference call. Hell, both FDR and LBJ were advised by freaking Supreme Court Justices but they all had the good sense to do it privately.

Nobody has ever accused Chris Cuomo of having good sense. I’ve also never called him a journalist before. He specializes in infotainment, which is why CNN is letting him off easily.

“I can be objective about just about any topic, but not about my family,” he said on his CNN show. “Being a journalist and a brother to a politician is unique and a unique challenge, and I have a unique responsibility to balance those roles. It’s not always easy.”

“I understand why that was a problem for CNN,” he continued, referring to the conference calls he took part in with the governor and the governor’s staff. “It will not happen again.”

As to Andrew Cuomo, it’s another example of the arrogance and hubris that has gotten him into so much trouble. Rules and norms are for peons, not the Brothers Cuomo. If they don’t want to be compared to movie gangsters, they should stop acting like movie thugs.

Let’s circle back to the post title. The last word goes to the trailer for The Brothers Rico:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – old gold edition

Not much new in Freeperville this week, kiddies, so let’s look at some stuff from a few weeks ago, shall we?

First up – It’s gonna be YUGE!

‘It’s All Gonna Come Out’: Bannon Drops Major News About Election Case
Conservative Brief ^ | 5/10 | Carmine Sabia

Posted on 5/10/2021, 12:39:23 PM by TrumpianRepublican

Former White House adviser Steve Bannon revealed some massive news on Monday about Rudy Giuliani and his upcoming efforts.

During a segment on his podcast War Room, Bannon said it is “not by accident” that the deep state announced a probe on Giuliani for “FARA violations just as the investigations into the theft of the 2020 election are about to hit pay dirt.”

1 posted on 5/10/2021, 12:39:23 PM by TrumpianRepublican
When you think you’ve hit “pay dirt”, but you’ve actually just hit a septic tank….of course, when you go to the toilet, you usually hope “it’s all gonna come out”.
To: TrumpianRepublican

yeah……yeah…….yeah……

4 posted on 5/10/2021, 12:41:34 PM by wny ( )

They hate you, yeah yeah yeah!
To: TrumpianRepublican

I have nothing against Bannon specifically, but I’m tired of having my chain jerked with more “now its all gonna come out” or “this is where it all collapses” type statements.

5 posted on 5/10/2021, 12:42:03 PM by PGR88

The only thing more entertaining than a Trump-humper being convinced that The Darnold is going to be put in office is a Trump-humper tired of having his chain yanked about it.  Never gets old.
To: TrumpianRepublican

it didn’t all come out the last time he said it was about to all come out. I think it probably all stays in.

7 posted on 5/10/2021, 12:43:18 PM by JohnBrowdie

Heh.
To: PGR88

Yep. “Once one falls, they all fall” and “This is huge” is getting old.

8 posted on 5/10/2021, 12:46:12 PM by albie

Not for me, angel drawers – not for me. Keep slipping on that banana peel forever and ever.
To: TrumpianRepublican

Suicide watch for Bannon.

22 posted on 5/10/2021, 12:58:34 PM by Vaquero ( Don’t pick a fight with an old guy. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you. )

.
I’m on it!
.
To: TrumpianRepublican
24 posted on 5/10/2021, 12:58:53 PM by Sans-Culotte (11/3-11/4/2020 – The USA became a banana republic.)
.
Dude – dud.
.
To: TrumpianRepublican
This hearkens back to Hannity’s “bombshells”. Tick tock.I’m bombshelled out with anemic “revelations”.

26 posted on 5/10/2021, 12:59:20 PM by Governor Dinwiddie (Working like Crazy to support the Lazy.)

 

To: TrumpianRepublican

Jim, please change this website to FEyore Republic.

32 posted on 5/10/2021, 1:02:17 PM by bray (Hating Whites is racist)

If only….
To: TrumpianRepublican

“Trust the plan” – “Q”Lmao!!!!!

36 posted on 5/10/2021, 1:13:11 PM by dware (Americans prefer peaceful slavery over dangerous freedom)
And, of course….
To: TrumpianRepublican

Free beer tomorrow…

56 posted on 5/10/2021, 1:55:26 PM by gov_bean_ counter (Lift the rim. You’re not that good a shot.)

More old stuff below the folderino.

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Today on Tommy T’s obsession with Random Ruminations –

You rang?

I was staying with a (platonic) girlfriend overnight and head the doorbell ring. Thought
“who could it be this early in the morning?”

Heard a conversation at the front door, so I got up from the couch, dressed, and went to see.

My very nice host had opened the door to a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and she was trying to be nice and still get them to leave. Wasn’t happening.

I came up beside her and slipped my arm around her shoulders, saying “Who are these fine people, sweetheart?”. She looked at me and advised me that they were informing her about the Lord Their God, Jesus Christ.

I chuckled gently and told them “I’m terribly sorry. You see, we worship The Dark Lord.” – smiling all the while.

They left a hole in the air from their sudden departure.

 

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