Monthly Archives: June 2021

Last Day Of June

A social media post by my old friend Parenthetical reminded me that Neil Finn and Mitchell Froom recorded a new version of Last Day Of June last year. It’s a gorgeous song written by Neil. It comes from a 1995 album by the Finn Brothers, Finn. It was a homemade two-man project on which Neil and Tim Finn played all the instruments.

The 2020 version has a solemn COVID era feel to it. A reminder that it’s still not over.

Since I’m currently on a Finn/Crowded House/Split Enz bender I thought I’d share both versions:

The Law Is Slow

Charles Dickens famously wrote that “the law is an ass.” He should have added that it’s slow. 21st Century American law is not quite as slow as in Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, the interminable case in Bleak House BUT it’s still slow. The featured image is of Francis L. Sullivan as Pip’s solicitor Mr. Jaggers in David Lean’s 1946 version of Great Expectations. I used it instead of an image from Bleak House to slow things down…

This slowness is currently driving the MSM and the amateur lawyers mad. (I used the Britism to keep the Dickensian theme going.) There have been rumors that charges will soon be brought by the Manhattan DA’s office, which has left the MSM twitchy, and the amateur lawyers vexed. They seem to have forgotten how they reacted to similar slowness during the Mueller probe. Andrew Weissmann, who prosecuted Paul Manafort, has not:

… it`s fascinating now being on this side. You know, I spent two years where the press was speculating on what the special counsel investigation had and whether we had the goods and on who. And we`re doing the same thing now with respect to Manhattan.

But it`s clear something is going to happen. And to me it sounds like there may be individuals who are charged. There may be companies that are charged. And to me that`s sort of a classic case where they may build to go up and pressure people to cooperate.

But you`re not hearing that they yet have the goods on Donald Trump. There are no signs of that yet, although we could be surprised.

In addition to being slow, the law is also surprising. What shouldn’t be surprising is that rumors of impending action are often wrong. They fail to take account of the law’s slowness and the secrecy of the grand jury process.

One synonym for slow is methodical. Investigating the finances of a criminal organization must be done carefully. They have to start from the bottom and work their way up. Think of an investigation as a pyramid: you start at the bottom and build your case layer-by-layer, brick-by-brick. You need a solid foundation otherwise the case will collapse. They should not move against the boss until the underlings have been dealt with. The foundation of a case against the Impeached Insult Comedian is his company. That’s why it’s likely to be indicted first. Hopefully, the Weisslebergs and Calamaris will jump ship. The latter should land in a hot pan with garlic, onions, and olive oil. I like my calamari simple…

This brief treatise applies to Merrick Garland and the DOJ. Judge Garland is clearly a methodical, process-oriented lawyer. It’s what we should want after the Wild West shoot-from-the-hip Trump days. Think of Sessions, Barr, and the various acting AG’s as hired guns much like Jack Palance in Shane. They made a mess of DOJ and cleaning it up is going to be a slow process. New policies are in place, but the devil is always in the details. Detail work is always slow, especially when lawyers are involved.

The MSM and amateur lawyers have a hard time accepting how much of the spadework for legal investigations is done in secret. For example, the public did not learn that the FBI was investigating the Trump-Russia mishigas until well after the election. They were building a case. The DOJ’s Inspector General is already investigating Trumper misconduct, and the FBI may be at it as well. Whatever they’re doing it will be slow.

Larry Tribe recently admonished two Never Trump former Republicans for conclusion jumping:

The Salon headline in the second tweet is clearly click bait. Even if the Kaiser of Chaos had been charged, he’d be out on bail annoying wedding parties at Mar-a-Doorn.

Shorter Larry Tribe: The law is slow.

Finally, the wheels may grind slowly, but tomorrow is supposedly the day indictments will be handed down by the grand jury. I’ll believe it when I see it.

The last word goes to The Beatles:

Bayou Brief: The House That Chep Built

My latest Bayou Brief column is online. Here’s the whole damn tag line: 13th Ward Ramblings on former Mayor Chep Morrison, and Mayor Cantrell’s proposal to relocate New Orleans City Hall to Treme.

I name checked Louis Armstrong and Back of Town in The House That Chep Built. That’s why Satchmo gets the last word:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Stormbringer

After yesterday’s McCloskey Mishigas post, it was either a REO Speedwagon or Deep Purple album cover. I chose the latter since I used the song Stormbringer in that post.

Let’s set the Wayback Machine to 1974 and rock out to an album featuring the Whitesnake dude with a cover designed by John Cabalka.

Here’s the whole damn album via the YouTube:

Quote Of The Day: McCloskey Mishigas Edition

One of the stupidest things to come to national attention in 2020 was the McCloskey mishigas. They’re the St. Louis couple who raced out of stately McCloskey manor to “defend” themselves from BLM protestors. It’s hard to take someone who’s dressed like a mime seriously. I hate mimes. I’m not crazy about Mark and Patricia McCloskey either.

The McCloskeys have ridden this dubious incident to a speaking slot at the RNC, a guilty plea, and a senate run by Marky Mark or is that Macky Mac? They should have taken some gun safety classes instead. I’ve never even held an unloaded gun and I know better than to point a rod at anyone. I learned that from watching Mike Hammer and Frank Cannon.

This minor league Pennywise held a rally the other day in a parking lot. It bombed but led to a hilarious piece in the Riverfront Times by Daniel Hill. The opening paragraph is a classic:

Noted local criminal Mark McCloskey played host to a barbecue/political rally on Sunday afternoon, drawing tens of admirers to the sweltering parking lot of a closed outlet mall in St. Louis County to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the time he pulled a gun on a crowd of people who otherwise would never have noticed or cared he existed.

Make sure you read the whole damn piece. It contains spit take after spit take. Well done, Mr. Hill.

The entertainment at this rally ducked by Trumpist “luminaries” such as Michael Flynn and Madison Cawthorn was a Deep Purple cover band whose lead singer used to be in REO Speedwagon. I am not making this up.

The last word goes to Deep Purple with a song that was performed by the aforementioned cover band at the sparsely attended rally:

It’s Still A Trap

I have some good news for y’all:  just like I hoped they would back in February the Democrats are FINALLY playing politics. And boy are the Republicans mad!

It was very clear what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s game plan was:  to try to corral the moderate Senate Democrats in a bid for bipartisanship, to agree to a plan that was sub-optimal, pass it, let it fail the American people, and then blame the Democrats on the campaign trail in 2022. And they might have gotten away with it…if their chief opponent hadn’t been Joe Biden.

See, congressional Democrats had already decided among themselves that there would be 2 bills:  one that the moderates could show bipartisanship on, and one that progressives could tout next year and use reconciliation to pass, both of which Democrats would pass. And the Republicans knew this all along—in fact, Shelley Capito referenced it back in May:

And McConnell himself referenced the 2 bill plan:

And like I said back in May:

Capito and friends met again with President Biden this week and I give him a lot of credit. Everyone knows that even if the Democrats agreed to everything the Q Party wanted, they’d still vote against it! And I mean, even if it had everything, including leaving their precious corporate tax rate alone, they have no intention of giving Biden and the Democrats another accomplishment.  That’s because:

There won’t be any Q Party votes for any Democratic proposal. Ever.

And so here we are once again.

In reality, it’s a tempest in a teapot, sustained by McConnell and his buddies because their Grand Plan was thwarted they think they now have a great excuse to do what they always planned anyway. Both bills should pass and McConnell will have to find another excuse to explain away his pre-planned obstruction.

The reason that this non-issue is getting attention is our lazy mainstream media. It’s hard to write interesting stories about straightforward facts, and it’s even harder to get clicks on those stories after all of the circuses of the trump administration. In lieu of actually working, the press just repeated Republican lies.

From AP:

Senators were described as “stunned,” “floored” and “frustrated” after Biden publicly put the conditions on accepting their deal, according to two people familiar with the private conversations who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the reactions.

Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at NYU, tweeted this as an explanation for how egregiously the press is handling current events

He’s wrong. You don’t need a journalism degree to know one side is lying. And you don’t need a journalism degree to push the narrative that prizes the truth. It’s not pedagogy that is failing journalism; it’s character. Democracy might die in darkness, but it is also strangled by intellectual laziness.

 

 

Doing What He Was Elected To Do

Marc Levine Assemblyman for CA10

We, by which I mean I, spend an inordinate amount of time here at First Draft excoriating national or wannabe national politicians for their various grandstanding moves and Sunday Morning talk show blather.  We, by which I mean I, never seem to talk about politicians doing the job they were elected to do.

Now yes politicians are elected for the most part to vote on enacting laws or to be our “leaders”, whatever that word might mean to you. But we are also supposed to elect politicians to help with more mundane everyday problems. The issue is that too often we forget about that last reason. Try and get a politician to help ME? They only want to help the big money donors. They only want me to remember them come election day, they’re not going to help ME with any personal problem.

But I’m here to tell you that political leaders can help you in your everyday life. One just did that for me.

Since the first days of shelter in place I’ve been on unemployment. All of my rather substantial work bookings for 2020 disappeared pretty much over night in late March and early April. Even though I got a job as an enumerator for the Census just as the bookings were drying up, that job ended up not beginning until mid August and ended in mid October. Thus I was four months without a paycheck.

I am fortunate to have other sources of income so the wife (Cruella) and I didn’t go hungry and we didn’t lose our house, but those bi-weekly checks from the Employment Development Department (EDD) went a long way to keeping us from the middle class’s greatest bête noir, dipping into savings.  Even when we both started work with the Census and our wages were greater than what we were getting via unemployment we kept the accounts going because we knew the Census job was ultimately a temp gig. Sure enough when it ended it was easy to get back to getting checks from the state.

I wanna stop at this point to say something about Unemployment Insurance. It IS an insurance policy. Workers pay into it on a paycheck by paycheck basis. In my case I not only paid into it for forty plus years, but for many of those years I paid into it twice per paycheck, once as the employee and once as the employer (yes, in case you didn’t know, your employer matches your contribution on a dollar for dollar basis). What it is NOT is an entitlement as some in the political sphere would have you believe. Whenever I hear things like that I want to respond “so when the house you’ve made insurance payments on for years burns down you’d be okay with the insurance company saying they’re not going to pay you because that would be an entitlement”? It’s the rainy day fund and in 2020 it was pouring.

By the way, it’s the same story for social security and disability. Insurance policies, not entitlements. Both.

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Trumper Tittle-Tattle

It was a long night. I woke up at 3:30 and couldn’t find my iPhone, which I use as an alarm clock. I felt like an overage millennial zombie as I searched. I found it but the search made me wakeful. Oh well, I came up with the idea for Arriving UAP while tossing and turning.

I’m not feeling perky right now so I’m just going to throw some links at you and see what sticks. I worked the morning shift for Tommy T and those are big shoes to fill. I skipped the clown shoes jokes because he doesn’t wear them, he just writes about them.

Trump On Dipshit Insurrection Day: There’s a smashing excerpt from Michael Woolf’s upcoming book at nymag.com. It’s a blow-by-blow account of how the Impeached Insult Comedian spent Twelfth Night, 2021.

Trump spent the day wallowing in his delusions and Rudy was drunk off his ass. Most teetotalers I know are uncomfortable with drunkenness. I guess Pennywise thinks it makes them easier marks or some such shit.

This is my favorite passage:

But it was also a pretty good insight into Trump’s relationship to his army of supporters. The president often expressed puzzlement over who these people were with their low-rent “trailer camp” bearing and their “get-ups,” once joking that he should have invested in a chain of tattoo parlors and shaking his head about “the great unwashed.”

Yet they still admire the nasty son-of-a-bitch. Go figure.

Barr Bites Back: The former AG is trying to salvage his reputation. It’s unlikely to work but he sat down with anti-Trump conservative Jonathan Karl to discuss the White House meeting wherein he broke with Trump.

I love Karl’s description of the meeting:

Barr, Levi, and Cipollone walked to the president’s personal dining room near the Oval Office. Trump was sitting at the table. Meadows was sitting next to him with his arms crossed; the White House adviser Eric Herschmann stood off to the side. The details of this meeting were described to me by several people present. One told me that Trump had “the eyes and mannerism of a madman.”

He went off on Barr.

“I think you’ve noticed I haven’t been talking to you much,” Trump said to him. “I’ve been leaving you alone.”

Barr later told others that the comment was reminiscent of a line in the movie Dr. Strangelove, in which the main character, Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper, says, “I do not avoid women, Mandrake, but I do deny them my essence.” Trump, Barr thought, was saying that he had been denying him his essence.

Trump brought up Barr’s AP interview.

“Did you say that?”

“Yes,” Barr responded.

“How the fuck could you do this to me? Why did you say it?”

“Because it’s true.”

The president, livid, responded by referring to himself in the third person: “You must hate Trump. You must hate Trump.”

I’ve always hated people who refer to themselves in the third person. It’s the sign of a weak disordered mind even when it’s true as it is here. Who among us doesn’t hate Trump? Adrastos does…

Javanka On The Run: The funniest story of last week came from the good people at Vanity Fair’s The Hive. It certainly had me buzzing.

Ivanka and Jared continue to be as deluded as her father. They seem to somehow think they can separate themselves from Papa Bear.

In a move right out of the same playbook they used during their time at the White House—wherein they would literally flee the scene any time Trump did something extra bad, and hope people would think they had nothing to do with it despite being senior advisers to the president, Jared and Ivanka are now reportedly trying to convince people who don’t know any better that they’ve all but cut ties with the 45th president over his erratic behavior and insistence that he won the 2020 election. Naturally, sources “familiar with the matter” have shared the couple’s alleged chilliness with Trump…

Their porridge must be spiked with some hallucinogens, y’all.

That’s it for this groggy edition of First Draft Potpourri. The last word goes to The Kinks:

Arriving UAP

The government’s UFO report got lost in the news cycle last Friday. It was overshadowed by the Chauvin hearing among other things. The rebranding of our old pal the UFO as UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena) also buried the story.

The unclassified UAP report released to the public is mercifully short; a mere nine pages. It wouldn’t have satisfied Mulder the believer but might have placated Scully the skeptic. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click on this X-Files listicle link. I prefer the stand alone episodes myself.

I haven’t had the stomach to see what hardcore UFO weirdoes think of the UAP report. They’re bound to regard it with suspicion since it comes from the intelligence community. Surely, there’s a new deep state alien abduction conspiracy theory out there already.

The DNI breaks UAP into categories. That works for me. I like categories. It feels like Odds & Sods only with aliens.

The categories in boldface below come from the DNI report. I replaced the details with snide remarks. Hey, it’s what I do.

Airborne Clutter: Shit in the air. Beware of birds and plastic bags, they’ll fuck you up.

Natural Atmospheric Phenomena: Weather shit. I feel a song coming on:

USG or Industry Developmental Programs: Top secret shit.

Foreign Adversary Systems: Commie shit.

Other: Little green men. Thou shalt love thy alien neighbor:

Now that I’ve mocked the report, I think it constitutes a breakthrough. Pilots who were reluctant to report UFO sightings out of fear of being branded a nut, might just report a UAP. That’s the theory at least.

The report does not rule out the possibility that ET is phoning home as I write this.

I think something is out there but whether other species are more or less advanced than earthlings beats the hell outta me. As a Star Trek fan, I hope they’re more like Vulcans than Klingons. I have visions of Klingon restaurants where they serve live worms and blood wine with Klingon opera blasting. Haven’t we suffered enough?

The last word goes to Yes with the song that inspired the post title:

I wonder if Klingons eat Tormatoes…

SMV: The Cars Live On The BBC

The Cars rumble in Brighton in 1979.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Strange Magic

My Brother Imitating Scherzo by Andre Kertesz.

You’ve probably noticed by now that I like themes that tie my posts together. This week’s theme is book and movie magic, music magic. and today Strange Magic.  I even included Jeff Lynne’s interpretation of Bewitched in this week’s Friday Cocktail Hour. One could say that this week has been magically delicious, which is the untrue ad slogan for the disgusting cereal Lucky Charms.

This week’s theme song was written by Jeff Lynne in 1975 for ELO’s Face The Music album. As if by magic, the single and album were strangely successful.

We have three versions of Strange Magic for your listening pleasure: the studio original, ELO live, and a 2012 remake.

As if by magic, it’s time to jump to the break, strangely enough.

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Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

Rita Hayworth, Frank Sinatra, and Kim Novak in Pal Joey.

Magic week continues here at First Draft. This time we skip the demented dummy and focus on the music.

Richard Rodgers and Larry Hart wrote Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered for their smash hit 1940 Broadway musical Pal Joey. The song title is often shortened to Bewitched but I prefer it in its long-winded glory.

We begin with the first known recorded version by Benny Goodman and Helen Forrest:

Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Rodgers and Hart Songbook is an underrated part of her canon. I have no idea why.

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The Chauvin Sentencing Hearing: 270 Months

I couldn’t resist posting my favorite picture of convicted murderer Derek Chauvin and his annoying defense attorney, Eric Nelson. I have not missed Nelson, but I’ve covered this case extensively, so I didn’t want to miss the finale.

I’m writing this bit right before Judge Cahill calls the hearing to order. It’s somewhat anti-climatic. The Judge has already ruled that there are aggravating circumstances so the chances of Chauvin getting a light sentence seems low. Nelson asked for probation: never gonna happen, my friend.

Consider this live blogging even though it’s being posted at once.

I was hoping to see Chauvin in a prison jump suit, but he wore a suit. He did, however, sport a prison-style haircut along with his suit, which hung loose on him. He looks pale and thin. Good.

Four relatives of George Floyd made victim impact statements.

The video made of George Floyd’s young daughter Giana was heartbreaking. It’s unclear if she completely understands what happened. Poor baby.

The Floyd family wants the book thrown at Chauvin; preferably a thousand-page hardback.

Both Floyd brothers called it an execution. I concur.

It was good to see prosecutors Matthew Frank and Jerry Blackwell. A reminder that good lawyering helped win the case.

The four aggravating circumstances are some serious shit that should lead to a serious sentence. #fingerscrossed

I didn’t expect as this much argument from the lawyers. The Judge has likely made up his mind. It’s all in the briefs.

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The Milley-Gaetz Mishigas

The right is at it again. Mindless support for the Impeached Insult Comedian has replaced everything that conservatives once believed in. That’s why I no longer call them conservatives, they’re radicals bent on strip-mining our democracy until it’s so enfeebled that it will cave in.

There was a House hearing the other day at which Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley testified. They were upstaged by suspected sex trafficker Matt Gaetz who used his time to bang on and on about Critical Race Theory.

Gaetz wouldn’t know what CRT was if it bit him in the ass. Stupid didn’t just fall on Alabama, it fell on this Florida Man.

The suspected sex trafficker accused the military brass of being “woke.” Mercifully, he didn’t call them pansies like Ted Cruz in this infamous tweet:

Oy just oy.

Back to the Milley-Gaetz mishigas. The latter was expounding on CRT and wouldn’t let the General speak. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan yielded her time to General Milley who cut Gaetz down to size:

 … on the issue of critical race theory, et cetera, I’ll obviously have to get much smarter on whatever the theory is, but I do think it’s important actually for those of us in uniform to be open-minded and be widely read. And the United States Military Academy is university and it is important that we train and we understand. And I want to understand white rage and I’m white, and I want to understand it.

So what is it that causes thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the constitution of the United States of America? What caused that? I want to find that out. I want to maintain an open mind here, and I do want to analyze it. It’s important that we understand that because our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and guardians, they come from the American people. So it is important that the leaders now and in the future do understand it.

I’ve read Karl Marx. I’ve read Lenin. That doesn’t make me a communist. So what is wrong with understanding, having some situational understanding about the country for which we are here to defend? And I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military, our general officers, our commissioned, non-commissioned officers of being quote woke or something else because we’re studying some theories that are out there.

Remember all the flag waving and strident admonitions to support the troops during the Bush-Cheney administration? The Trumpified right has turned on the military. It’s not the first time either: Joe McCarthy’s attacks on the Army proved to be his undoing. I wish I could say that Milley’s remarks would have the same effect that Joseph Welch’s shaming of McCarthy had, but they’re too far gone.

The anti-intellectualism of today’s right is so pronounced that a military man felt compelled to defend intellectual curiosity. Unlike suspected sex trafficker Matt Gaetz or suspected rapist Donald Trump, General Milley actually reads books. Does that make him a woke pansy?

It’s a short step from barring the teaching of CRT to banning and burning books. Is that the future Matt Gaetz and his ilk have in mind? It’s hard to tell because everything they do is for short-term effect, but raw meat eventually spoils. They would be wise to heed the words of a genuine conservative, General President Eisenhower:

Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you’re going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don’t be afraid to go in your library and read every book…

The last word goes to XTC:

Welcome Home

Welcome Back to California

Some say the best part of going away is the coming home.

Well it’s certainly nice to be home. At least I know where everything is supposed to be and generally is unless of course I moved it before we left because “It’ll be so much easier to find it when we get home”.

When we left California there was still a pandemic going. When we got home…not so much. I mean it’s still going on everywhere else, but here in the Golden State it’s become as clothing optional as Baker Beach. And by clothing I mean masks. Masked up I walked out of our favorite coffee house with hot Joe to go on our way out of town, came back to find Safeway has only a few people wearing masks working there, no customers wearing them, and all social distancing signs, posters, stickers, and/or any related chazerai gone.

And I mean gone. Zero, nada, nilch, the big bagel.

Pandemic? What pandemic? Never heard of such a thing. Go on with your silly self.

The only Delta variant we know about is if DL345 JFK to SFO gets diverted to DFW and we need to XPD OTO ASAP.

Acronyms — just like words only more confusing.

I was expecting that there would be a gradual slide back to normal once the state fully “reopened”.  All the coverage I was able to read or watch on TV from afar seemed to indicate that was what was going on. Masks were still on faces, distances were still observed, and at least in the beginning things would slowly return to normal. It was going as expected so I stopped following reopening stories.

What a difference a week makes. And a state.

On our way back through Oregon it was still mass pandemic mode. Limited is still the working theme in the Beaver State, as in “we have limited seating for our limited menu and only during our limited operating hours”. But hey, Trump flags are still flying and nobody seems to be working so tell me again how this is working out for ya? It’s so bad the wife (Cruella), who had been yelling “HE LOST” at any Trump sign still up or flag still waving, had to stop it or risk losing her voice. And this in a state where Biden won with almost 60% of the vote.

But then again it’s a state whose travel industry is based on getting tourists to come up and become live bait to catch Bigfoot. Of course that might help explain their fascination with the Big Orange Julius Caesar Salad. Is it that much of a stretch to go from believing in Bigfoot to believing in The Big Lie? Both are conspiracy land creations designed to explain what to a simple mind is unexplainable. Both are promogulated by so called experts with little to no actual expertise.  And both are perpetrated by and for the enrichment of a select group of individuals. Kinda sounds like they go hand in hand.

Besides, have you ever seen a picture of Trump and Bigfoot together? As the QAnonuts say “do the research”.

Meanwhile here in California it looks like we’ve weathered germ warfare…er…I mean a once in a century naturally occurring viral explosion. Just in time to put bricks in our toilet tanks, low flow shower heads on in our showers, and watch as our lawns wither and die in the water parched summer heat. One natural disaster at a time is how we roll here in the best of all possible worlds.

“Well this living off the road is getting pretty old” Yeah Levon you got that right.

Shapiro Out

 

Friday Catblogging: Louise & Caspar

I paid tribute to my late mother-in-law Louise Couvillion on Monday. She had a series of black cats; three of whom were named Walter. The Walters were unfriendly. Caspar was a sweetheart. Here he is with Louise:

I was asked by a friend why I didn’t post a certain song by Ernie K Doe in my tribute. I didn’t have a good answer, so here it is:

Fuck Yeah, Carl Nassib

The fuck yeah post used to be a First Draft staple. Athenae and I used it to note progress on the LBGTQ front. It’s been three years since the last fuck yeah post. There wasn’t much to celebrate during the Trump era unless you were a hater and homophobe.

I’m glad to report progress on the sports ball front. Oakland/Los Angeles/Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders Defensive End Carl Nassib has come out of the closet. He’s the first active NFL player to admit that he’s gay. The MSM is falling back on the “openly gay” thing, but it’s a tired cliché that should be retired post-haste, make that post-Nassib.

I’m pleased to report that the reaction to Nassib’s announcement from the NFL and his fellow players has largely been positive.

The last word goes to Bryan Ferry with a Bob Dylan song:

Leave Britney Alone

I don’t follow celebrity gossip, I only know 1 Britney Spears song (“Oops I Did It Again”, which by the way is an excellent pop song), and I misspelled her first name throughout the first draft of this post. Nevertheless when I read about this part of her recent testimony I got sick to my stomach:

Spears, who is the mother of two teenage boys, told the court that her father and the group of people who control her affairs do not want her to have any more children. She said she was not allowed to go to the doctor to remove her IUD, or intrauterine device, a small birth control device implanted in the uterus.

It’s heart-breaking that a grown woman is being denied the opportunity to have another child. But what really upset me was her father being so obsessed with her reproductive system.

And then there was this:

On medication: Spears said on Wednesday that she was put on lithium against her will. “I felt drunk. I couldn’t even stick up for myself. I couldn’t even have a conversation with my mom or dad about anything. I told them I was scared and they had six different nurses come to my home to monitor me while I was on this medication that I didn’t want to be on to begin with.” Lithium is commonly used to treat bipolar disorder, which often causes episodes of depression and mania, a feeling of uncontrolled irritability or excitement. It can also be used to treat depression. In court today, Spears did not mention any possible medical condition.

One of the hallmarks of US society is the obsession men have with the uteri of women, whether they know those women or not. And this isn’t a recent phenomenon. At the turn of the 19th century, US women’s reproductive health began to move from the care of midwives to the care of “credentialed” medical doctors during a movement to “professionalize” some of these newly-christened “professions”,

One of the things male doctors did was to give hysterectomies (literally removing the “hysteria” from women) to uppity women seeking the vote and equality because they thought the uterus was the loci of that disruptive behavior. See, an uppity woman was a “hysterical” woman, and the cure, obviously, was to remove her uterus. Surgery was primitive and many women who survived it spent the rest of their lives as convalescents. And because there were no antibiotics, women died from infection. This is still an operation that can be debilitating for women, and it takes the option to have children from women of child-bearing age.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Hmmm.

Gov. DeSantis Would Like To Ask You Just A Few Routine Questions

The next step

In his continued push against the “indoctrination” of students, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed legislation that will require public universities and colleges to survey students, faculty and staff about their beliefs and viewpoints to support “intellectual diversity.”

Source.

They keep upping the ante because they never get called.

As to the Dems, well…as I’ve said, my entire voting experience has been lesser of evils, but it’s also — again and always — an  elite/corporate media that will never accept Democrats as anything but subordinate.

Repugs can — and do — make outrageous charges and claims, which filter through the wingnut media, get dutifully and uncritically echoed by the rest of the elite press, and become accepted, if not as facts, then myths.

The media can’t quit Trump…but they can’t quit Mitch, they couldn’t quit Bush Junior, they couldn’t quit the Tea Party (or their present-day CRT rageaholic descendents).

They practically willed Bush, Jr. into office after hounding Clinton and exulting toxic Newt Gingrich…

You can go back further. Oliver North should have been disgraced.

Instead, he became a wingnut hero (Dems didn’t help when they did everything in their power to ensure Reagan’s Teflon would never be tarnished).

Lee Atwater, Roger Stone, and Paul Manafort were or are established and accepted Beltway denizens…hmmm…I wonder if they were as smarmy and sleazy in their day as Tucker Carlson is now?

My guess is…yeah.

And, to go out on a tangent here, that’s also why and how utterly cynical attempts to suppress votes don’t immediately generate outrage up to eleven.

Why the hell is it okay for the GOP (with, yeah, Sinemascope and Man of La Manchin) to snuff out a debate about something as basic as voting rights?

An even halfway decent/anemic press should be vigorously demanding that a small-d-representative-democracy should be taking any and every step to ensure universal access to voting, without hours-long lines, which is a modern-day version of a poll tax.

Instead, we’re treated to blather about Moscow Mitch’s hardball tactics or savvy manipulation of Senate rules.

Oh, and Democrats will perpetually be in disarray.

Sigh.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Magic

William Goldman was one of the best screenwriters of his era. And he had a lucrative sideline as a novelist.

Here’s a triptych of one of Goldman’s most successful books, Magic. It was a swell movie too.