Monthly Archives: July 2021

Saturday Odds & Sods: Wouldn’t It Be Nice

The Great Wave by Hokusai.

I’ve been having wild dreams lately. I actually dreamt about writing The Truman Myth. The opening line came to me in my sleep: “I was present at the creation of the Truman myth.”

Present At The Creation was the title of Truman’s Secretary of State and unlikely friend Dean Acheson’s memoir. It’s not quite as fanciful as Miller-McCullough Man but it comes close.

It’s been crazy hot this week. I’ve been huddling under ceiling fans with the AC roaring and I’m still sweating. Oh well, what the hell.

I realize that the featured image has become something of a cliche since it appears on tchotchkes and such. Don’t blame the Hokusai guy for that or me for using it. It fits the Beach Boys like a glove.

This week’s theme song was written by Brian Wilson, Tony Asher, and Mike Love for the Beach Boys finest album Pet Sounds. Even professional asshole Mike Love did something right from time-to-time.

We have two versions of Wouldn’t It Be Nice for your listening pleasure: the studio original, the Beach Boys at Live Aid, and Alex Chilton.

Nice was my mother’s favorite word. She used it to praise people, places, and things. She liked this nice song as well:

Now that we’ve made nice let’s jump to the break,

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Black and Blue

A note about the featured image. Louis Armstrong was the first to record this week’s song, but Oscar Peterson did not record it. I used the picture because of my Louis-Oscar love. Besides, it’s a stunning image.

The full title of this week’s song is (What Did I Do To Be So) Black and Blue. It was written in 1929 by Fats Waller, Harry Brooks, and Andy Razar for the Broadway musical Hot Chocolates.

Black and Blue is a rare “race song” from the jovial Waller. It still packs a punch to this day.

We begin with an instrumental version from the tunesmith.

Louis Armstrong was the first to record Black and Blue. I prefer the 1955 version from Satch Plays Fats. It’s one of the great man’s finest albums. It will show up as tomorrow’s Saturday Classic.

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The More You Know #2

Back in May I wrote:

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

I’m here to say that I was wrong. On Wednesday night, 17 GOP senators, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, voted for cloture on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. I did not see that coming back in May. But I know what happened.

On Tuesday night, the Trump-backed candidate in a Texas primary for a US House seat lost. And some Senate Republicans realized Donald Trump isn’t the kingmaker they all thought he was and decided the party needed actual accomplishments prior to the midterms. Will wonders never cease?

Simone Biles All American

Simone Biles

Just in case you have been living under a rock the past week, Simone Biles, preeminent women’s gymnast, considered by many the gymnastics GOAT (that’s Greatest Of All Time) withdrew from the 2020(1) Olympic competition because of mental health issues.

Like everything else these days, it quickly became a political issue. Liberals cheered her decision as a matter of personal sacrifice in the face of truly difficult circumstances. Conservatives jeered her as unpatriotic and unwilling to do whatever is necessary for the USA to chant “USA USA USA”.

Unwilling to do whatever is necessary for the USA to win. Of course all you conservatives are also vaccinated because that’s doing whatever is necessary for the USA to win against COVID.

But I digress.

I think Simone Biles is doing what a lot of Americans are doing coming out of this pandemic. She spent a good amount of time the last year and a half with nothing else to do but ponder what she wanted out of life. And she came to the conclusion that the mental strain of being the GOAT wasn’t worth it. Just like an awful lot of people around this country are coming to the conclusion that working for minimum wage in a job they hate is not quite a fulfilling life. For Biles, all those commercial endorsements have cushioned the financial strain she will perhaps take for her decision. For the rest of us, the government cheese (as the wife, Cruella, calls it) has given a small lifeline allowing many to ponder their life choices.

And what exactly is wrong with that?

For possibly the first time in their lives many Americans have taken this mandatory time-out to really THINK about their lives. So many of us just try to get through the day, make enough money to keep ourselves in food, clothing, and shelter (with a little WiFi thrown in). Suddenly there was nothing but time to delve into our own psyches, to ask ourselves just what do I want out of life.

I think that’s terrific.

But conservative media isn’t buying that. It’s people taking advantage of a free handout they cry. Cause you know, conservatives never get free handouts. Well we won’t count corporate welfare. Or a tax system that allows them to pay little if any taxes. Or a gerrymandered voting system that allows the minority of voters to block the will of the majority. Oh and shall we talk about Tucker Carlson?

Sorry, I digressed again.

What they’re really worried about is having to give up some of that money they so carefully horde in order to get people to work for them. Nothing gets a rich conservative to shout SOCIALISM faster than having to take a ten cent a share dip in earnings in order to properly compensate the people actually doing the work.

So Simone Biles says she’s had enough of it and conservatives go nuts and say she’s just a quitter. Hmm, a young black woman “couldn’t hack it” according to them. This will make it so much easier to pass on the African-American female candidate interviewing for a job. “Look, if Simone Biles can just up and quit, what’s to say this woman won’t do the same thing”. And you know that is the thought going through a lot of hiring managers heads right now.

If, dear reader, you happen to be a young black woman trying to advance in the world of business, and even if you are not, know this: Simone Biles has a kind of courage and fortitude those hiring managers will never have.  You don’t want to work at a company that would have them in that position because that company is going to fail. Work for someone who will be willing to take your life experience and use it for the betterment of all. Show them you are the hero of your own story.

Just like Simone Biles, All American.

If only we had had a chance to hear more of what would come from his own personal time out.

Shapiro Out

Friday Catblogging: Remembering Paul Drake

It been nearly a year since Paul Drake was stricken with Saddleback Thrombosis. He died a mere 51 hours later. It was the most traumatic cat death Dr. A and I have ever experienced.

We still miss him and often talk about what Claire Trevor is missing by not being introduced to the way of the Mojito Cat by PD.

Here are three of my favorite PD images including one with the late great Della Street.

Finally, the boy and his namesake:

Not Everything Sucks: Progress In Washington

I just realized that I’d dropped the Not Everything Sucks flag. It was mostly Athenae’s banner, but I helped run it up the flagpole a few times. It’s time to pick the flag up and run with it or some such shit. Holy exhausted metaphor, Batman.

I have no illusions that last night’s cloture vote means that Congress will become less constipated BUT it’s a sign of progress. 17 Republican senators acted like politicians and voted to debate sending home the bacon. It shouldn’t be that hard but unrelenting obstructionism has been the name of the GOP game since the Turtle became their leader. He actually voted for cloture, which was unexpected. Mitch McConnell can still go fuck himself.

A swell subplot to yesterday’s vote was the fact that the Impeached Insult Comedian denounced Senate GOPers as cowards and RINOs as the negotiations intensified. It does not signal a break with that malevolent moron, but any progress is welcome however incremental.

People have forgotten what legislating looks like. It’s never pretty as it involves much posturing and some prevaricating. That’s why I don’t take seriously the Sinematic senator’s announcement that she’s not voting for the Democrats only infrastructure bill, neither does Josh Marshall:

I think this is best interpreted as Sinema throwing up a flag that she’s going to continue to preen and create drama for the purpose of building a reputation as an uber-‘moderate’ and generally have everyone kiss up to her. She wants to come out of this as the person who wasn’t totally down with Democratic priorities and shaved the numbers down, at least a bit. If she really wanted to stop the process she wouldn’t vote to let it begin, which she is. That tells you the story.

The flags are really flying today. Here’s some more from Josh:

Sinema meanwhile is a preening phony. She started out as a member of the Green party. Then she was a progressive Democrat. Now she’s an uber ‘centrist’. She’s a total phony and I doubt very much that she will be able to pull any of this off if she’s there alone without Manchin. Without Manchin, she’ll fold.

Sinema’s annoying antics are just part of the legislative game. One that we could live without.

In other good news, the Justice Department announced that it would NOT invoke executive privilege in the inquiry into misconduct by Trump DOJ officials after the election. That inquiry is being conducted by the Senate Judiciary Committee and another log was placed on that fire last night by a WaPo story about daily “perfect phone calls” from Trump to the Acting AG, Jeffrey Rosen. Stay tuned.

The DOJ also declined to defend Alabama wingnut Mo Brooks in the Swalwell Capitol riot lawsuit. Essentially, Brooks claimed that inciting a riot was part of his job description. DOJ disagreed. I can’t wait until he’s deposed by Swalwell’s lawyers. Stay tuned.

Finally, President Biden is expected to require federal employees to get jabbed. This common sense measure will make it easier for state governments and private sector employers to follow suit. Cassandra isn’t the only one tired of being held hostage.

That concludes this sprawling edition of Not Everything Sucks. I’m not spiking the ball, but incremental progress merits an incremental celebration. I’m not sure what that entails but it scans well.

Writing this post gave me two earworms: one inspired by the legislative gamesmanship (gamespeopleship?) and the other by more perfect phone calls by the Kaiser of Chaos. That’s why Bryan Ferry and Badfinger get the last word.

On Second Thought, Don’t Meet Me In St. Louis

Gateway To The West Gothic

 

WMDs have come full circle.

Wingers embrace biological weapons as a tactic in their never ending culture war

The St. Louis County Council moved to end the county’s new mask mandate Tuesday, throwing the order into legal limbo.

After hearing dozens of people rail against the mandate and County Executive Sam Page, council members voted 5-2 to end the order and rebuke Page for failing to consult them before issuing it, which they say was required under a new state law.

“Too many American men and women have given the last full measure of devotion for us to be cavalier with the very liberty they fought and died to provide,” said Councilman Ernie Trakas, R-6th District. “I will not abide any measures that seek to compromise or erode our liberty and freedom.”

And it’s not just St. Louis.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas…of course) threw a mother-of-all-terrible-twos-temper-tantrum on the House floor re: mask mandates, while at the State level, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds couldn’t resist playing politics.

And instead of reporting the obviousactive refusal to vaccinate is the driving force behind the latest Covid surge — the idiot media is so addicted to their winger sources they find it impossible to point this out.

They fall back on their old tired standbys of controversy, people disagree, both sides, etc. etc.

What. The. Ever. Living. Fuck?

I used to think it was the hard core authoritarian-curious-if-not-actual, um, fascist crowd, that needed civics lessons…and maybe anger management classes.

But maybe there are a few more who could use some remedial education, in both civics and basic science.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Curse Of Drink

This week’s entry is not pulp fiction per se. It’s a 1904 temperance propaganda novel based on an “ethical melodrama.” I am not making this up.

That lurid image screams out for a musical last word. It goes to The Kinks with a song about the demon you know what.

Who Hired The Hitman?

I usually hate Congressional hearings. The members talk too much. Most of them have no idea how to pose or frame a question. The first day of the House Dipshit Insurrection Select Committee hearings was different: solemn, dignified, and focused.

Speaker Pelosi should thank feckless House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy for boycotting the committee. There are no wingnuts determined to speak over others and put on a show for the cameras. The committee is small: only 9 members. The two Republicans are willing to face the scorn of their idiot leader who denounced them as Pelosi Republicans. Nobody cares what KMac thinks. He maneuvered himself into oblivion last week.

The four police officers who testified were great witnesses and deserve a shout-out: Aquillo Gonnell, Michael Fanone, Daniel Hodges, and Harry Dunn. They epitomize the sort of people who *should* be in law enforcement. During the Dipshit Insurrection, they protected and served. As Adam Kinzinger said, “You guys won. You guys held.”

They were all impressive, but Capitol copper Harry Dunn stood out: both literally and figuratively. Dunn is a big dude. He’s 6’7″ and built like an old school NBA power forward such as the late Wes Unseld who played his entire career for the Baltimore/Capitol/Washington Bullets.

Officer Dunn was denounced before the hearing by that entitled little shit Tucker Carlson as “an angry left-wing activist.”

Harry Dunn *is* angry and with good reason:

Dunn, a 13-year-veteran of the force, testified that as rioters were nearing the a room directly off the House floor, they shouted about having been invited by Trump to “stop the steal” — prevent the congressional affirmation of Joe Biden’s victory. He said those rioters said “nobody voted” for Biden.

“I’m a law enforcement officer, and I do my best to keep politics out of my job, but in this circumstance, I responded: ‘Well, I voted for Joe Biden. Does my vote not count? Am I nobody?'” said Dunn, who is Black. “That prompted a torrent of racial epithets. One woman in a pink MAGA shirt yelled: ‘Did you hear that, guys? This n—– voted for Joe Biden.’ Then the crowd, perhaps around 20 people, joined in screaming, ‘Booo, f—— n—–.’

“No one had ever, ever called me a n—– while wearing the uniform of a Capitol Police officer,” Dunn continued, adding that after the riot he heard from other Black officers who faced racial abuse from the mob. “One officer told me he had never, in his 40 years of life, had been called a n—– to his face, and that streak ended on January 6th. Yet another Black officer later told me he had been confronted by insurrectionists in the Capitol who told him to ‘put your gun down, and we’ll show you what kind of n—– you really are.'”

The Trump mob showed what kind of cowards they are. There’s safety in numbers. None of them would have dared to abuse Harry Dunn one-on-one.

The sub-text of the hearing was ingratitude. The ingratitude of Republican lawmakers whose lives were saved by the cops who risked their own lives to protect them. The Trumpers are lionizing Ashli Babbitt and calling her fellow rioters political prisoners. I know what to call them: Terrorists.

Congressional loons Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, and Louis Gohmert Piles (hereinafter the Four Gs) showed what they were made of yesterday. They staged a “protest” outside the Justice Department. They demanded the release of insurrectionists who they claim are political prisoners. So the QAnon Shaman is the new Andrey Sakharov? Who knew?

It was a disgusting display of cosplay courage: they were run off by a guy with a whistle. I am not making this up. Here’s the proof:

One more note, make that Tweet, about the freak show surrounding yesterday’s hearing:

Holy Cosplay Tough Guy, Batman.

Back to the main event: the hearing.

The officers made it clear that they want those behind the insurrection held accountable. It was Harry Dunn who inspired the post title: “If a hitman is hired, and he kills somebody, the hitman goes to the jail. But not only does the hitman go to jail, but the person who hired him does.”

We all know who he’s talking about: former President* Pennywise. He’s incapable of planning anything but capable of inciting a riot. That’s what he did on Twelfth Night, 2021.

The last word is inspired by the Four Gs DOJ Mishigas and the guy who made them look ridiculous:

Sit Down And Mask Up

On Thursday, a woman undergoing breast cancer treatment at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, was sprayed with bear mace, physically assaulted, and verbally abused outside a cancer treatment center in West Hollywood, Los Angeles by far-right activists who were angry over the clinic’s mandatory mask policy. WTF?

Not to be outdone, an anti-mask protest this week in Albuquerque took a scary turn after a protester pointed a gun at a driver passing by. Oh and then there was this headline:  Billy Graham’s grandson Jonathan Lotz, son of Anne Graham Lotz, in hospital with COVID-19.  Here’s the kicker:  his spokespeople won’t say if he’s been vaccinated. And he’s a cancer survivor. I am a Christian and I try very hard to be a decent, compassionate person who doesn’t take joy in the physical suffering of people I don’t like, but these people are plucking my very last nerve.

I spent MONTHS unable to grocery shop or attend church or see friends because this subset of stupid, selfish dumbasses could not sacrifice for anyone else and repeatedly drove up the infection rate as soon as it started to come down. I missed Christmas with my family and didn’t get to visit with my 80+ year old parents.

I’ve had enough of these people. And evidently so has Joe Biden:

President Biden will announce Thursday that all federal employees will be required to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or face repeated testing mandates, a White House official said, a dramatic escalation of the administration’s effort to combat the spread of the delta variant.

I cannot tell you how much I approve of this move. We have waited long enough for these people to get up off their asses and get the jab. The carrot did not work. Bring out the stick.

I of course also realize that there is a subset of people who want to get the vaccine, but have child care issues, or no paid sick leave, and we as a nation should fix each of those issues to make it easier for those people to get vaccinated.

But the rest of them should start to be shunned by society. Don’t want to get vaccinated? You’ll have to wait to see that movie on demand in a few months. Or you can get takeout from the restaurant and eat it at home, away from the rest of us. Do you work in a public sector job? Time to get jabbed. Don’t want to? Go find another job.

I understand that the Trump cultists are pushing the anti-vaccine/mask stuff because they’re hoping that vaccinated liberals and other non-Trumpist voters will still catch Covid and die, but it’s increasingly clear that that’s not going to happen. Early on in the pandemic Jared Kushner was content to let Covid rip through blue states in the hope it would kill lots of liberals, and obviously the strategy hasn’t changed, even if the outcome has the GOP now cynically killing its own voters.

But the anti-vaccine/mask push could end up as an electoral loss for Republicans. As Josh Marshall noted:

To understand the politics, we need to take a different look at the numbers. We’re used to hearing the rather disappointing fact that even months into the vaccination drive and with surplus vaccines everywhere only just under half (49.1%) the US population is vaccinated. Epidemiologically, that’s bad news. But it looks different from an electoral perspective. 60% of adults (over 18) are vaccinated and fully 69% have received at least one dose. Shift our perspective in this way and you see that when you’re talking about the political nation, a big, verging on overwhelming majority are vaccinated. Among people over 65, the group that votes most consistently, 80% are vaccinated. Furthermore there is a lot of evidence that vaccination rates escalate with age. People in their forties are substantially more vaccinated than people in their twenties. So higher rates of vaccination align with propensity to vote.

I can’t think of more fitting poetic justice than the GOP losing the midterm elections because their chickens finally came home to roost. Stay safe out there.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Pink Moon

Nick Drake was a shooting star who brightened the musical horizon for a few years before his tragic death in 1974 at the age of 26.

Pink Moon was released two years before Drake died and was his final album. The album cover is by neo-surrealist artist Michael Trevithick.

Here’s the gatefold:

Here’s the whole damn album:

The Truman Myth

I was present at the creation of the Truman myth. It came in response to Watergate. The straightforward 33rd president was seen as an antidote to the slippery and crooked Richard Nixon.

The Truman myth began in earnest after the man’s death on the day after Christmas in 1972. The bible, as it were, of the myth was published the next year: Plain Speaking by Merle Miller. This oral biography grew out of a failed teevee project. The interview tapes had more or less sat in a closet for a decade before hitting the best seller list and staying there for months on end.

My mother liked to give me books for my birthday. Plain Speaking was my birthday book in 1973. It was enormously entertaining, so I devoured it. Even then I understood that Merle Miller’s Harry Truman was an embellished version of the real man.

I come from a long line of storytellers. My father’s business colleagues insisted that he was scrupulously honest. I believed them but I also knew he liked to embellish his stories to make them funnier and more interesting. I recognized the same traits in Merle Miller’s Harry Truman.

Plain Speaking Harry Truman was the hero of every story, especially in his dealings with enemies such as Gen. Douglas MacArthur. He was an erudite auto-didactic expert on world history and geography. He was loyal to a fault to the man who made his political career, Kansas City political boss and convicted felon, Tom Pendergast. Truman’s defensive refrain about Boss Pendergast was, “He never asked me to do a dishonest thing.”

It was hard not to be entertained by the sassy and feisty former president as he cussed out his enemies. His favorite word to describe Gen. MacArthur and others was counterfeit. Teenage me knew that nobody was *that* courageous in the face of their opponents. Merle Miller’s Harry Truman always sounded like the stuff we say to ourselves *after* an argument. You know, I shoulda said this that or the other.

The Truman myth went on the road with James Whitmore’s one-man show Give ‘Em Hell, Harry. I saw it and liked it. Like Plain Speaking it was enormously entertaining and provided the role of a lifetime for a journeyman actor such as Whitmore. The stories were embellished, but that’s entertainment.

The Truman myth was set in stone in 1992 by David McCullough’s Pulitzer prize-winning biography, Truman. McCullough is one of our finest non-fiction writers and he buffed and shined the Truman myth until it sparkled. He did comment on some of the less savory aspects of his subject’s political career, but they were outweighed by tales of the mythic Truman. What’s not to love about the story of the 1948 campaign? It’s when Truman became the patron saint of underdogs.

I know that there are many other Truman books, but Miller and McCullough are the mythmakers. One could even call the mythic Truman Miller-McCullough Man.

Now that I’ve taken some of the shine off the Truman myth, on balance I think he was a good president. He accomplished some major things such as the Marshall Plan and made a start on treating black folks as full citizens. He just wasn’t David McCullough or Merle Miller’s Harry Truman. He was a mere mortal.

That brings me to the reason for this post. Law professor and Lawyers, Guns, and Money blogger Paul Campos has published a bombshell piece in New York Magazine: The Truman Show.

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Assault On A Queen

Assault On A Queen Poster

I’m a sucker for a good “caper” movie. Give me protagonists with shady pasts who devise brilliant schemes to make themselves and their buddies rich and man that is just good old fashioned entertainment. This movie, ASSAULT ON A QUEEN, is a 1966…well…at best okay addition to the caper cannon. Sinatra just kinda walks through it, the plan has you wondering why they do things the way they do, never explains away nagging incongruities, and the two best acting performances are supplied by supporting characters (Franciosa and Conte). But in terms of audacious plans it’s hard to beat raising a sunken submarine, retrofitting it, and making it your get away vehicle for robbing an ocean liner at sea.

I’m sure by this point you’re probably thinking “okay where’s he going with this”. Patience. Just like a good caper movie you need all the backstory.

The film’s ocean liner is a real ship, the RMS Queen Mary. When used for the filming it was in it’s next to last year as a seafaring vessel. Soon after the filming was completed Cunard/White Star sold the Queen Mary to the City of Long Beach in southern California where it has been permanently moored for the past 54 years. It has functioned as a hotel, convention center, and general tourist attraction for all that time.

The city had leased the ship to a management company who agreed to run the facility and keep it in good shape. “Just send us the check each month” seemed to be the municipal attitude. But Grande Dames, especially those of the ocean going variety, need constant maintenance and upkeep. Constant maintenance and upkeep costs a lot of money. For as long as tourists paid their way onboard to see how the other half once traveled or conventioneers thought it was a hoot to stay on a ship instead of a Sheraton things were fine. For the last year and a half though the tourists haven’t been coming. Neither were the checks. And an independent inspection of the ship’s condition showed that it needed over a hundred million dollars just to get it back to a state that would keep it afloat for the next 25 years. It would be close to half a billion dollars to retrofit it to last another hundred years.

The management company, when informed of the repairs needed, basically said “New phone, who dis?” and declared bankruptcy, leaving the City of Long Beach holding the proverbial bag and forcing the city council to debate what to do with the ship. By the end of the debate I’m sure most of the council members were wondering why in hell their predecessors had come up with this cockamamie scheme.

Their options, according to the Daily Mail, came down to three:

Option 1: Renovate and preserve the Queen Mary for 100 years 

It’s estimated that preserving the Queen Mary until 2120 could cost taxpayers between $200 million and $500 million. Extensive repairs and upgrades would need to take place on a dry dock and could take several years to complete.

Option 2: Renovate and preserve the Queen Mary for 25 years

Experts say short-term preservation could cut immediate costs to the taxpayer. Marine engineering firm Moffatt & Nichol says taxpayers will fork out $150 million and $175 million to keep the boat viable as a tourist attraction until the late 2040s.

Option 3: Dismantle and/or sink the boat

It is estimated that either sinking or dismantling the boat could cost upwards of $105 million because metal from the 81,000 ton vessel would have to be transported to a scrap facility or moved further out into the ocean

First of all it’s a ship, not a boat. A ship can carry a boat. A boat can never carry a ship. End of naval semantics lesson.

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Quote Of The Day: Boris Johnson’s Hair

Boris Johnson governing style is getting Trumpier and Trumpier by the day. He mishandled the pandemic, made the Brexit mess even messier, and allows headlines to change his mind on a daily basis. There’s never a plan, he just wings it. Sound familiar?

Unlike Trump, Johnson won an election fair and square but he’s pissing away that advantage as I write this.

One thing that Boris has always had in common with the Kaiser of Chaos is weird and silly hair.

Here’s ace Guardian satirist Marina Hyde latest salvo about the prime ministerial hairdo:

Johnson’s hair, always ridiculous, now seems to have reached animal rescue stage. The PM resembles one of those old English sheepdogs that charities put on sad-music fundraising adverts, with a voice saying: “When Boris came to us, his coat was so matted he was effectively blind … ” Or maybe he’s the star of an 80-minute Netflix movie in which the sheepdog somehow becomes president, and we end up learning a lot – if not about politics or ourselves, then definitely about the Netflix commissioning process.

Boris spends much of his time feuding with former aides. His former right hand man, Dominic Cummings, is now a sworn enemy of the man he made PM.

Cummings’ testimony before a parliamentary committee two months ago was a laugh riot:

Dominic Cummings has laid bare the “surreal” chaos in Downing Street in March last year as the government grappled with the Covid pandemic, portraying the prime minister as obsessed with the media and making constant U-turns, “like a shopping trolley smashing from one side of the aisle to the other”.

During an extraordinary evidence session to MPs at Westminster on Wednesday, Boris Johnson’s former chief aide targeted the prime minister for personal criticism, accusing him of being “unfit for the job”.

He claimed that Johnson regretted the first lockdown and held out against imposing later restrictions, despite the advice of many people inside Downing Street, and that overall, “tens of thousands of people died who didn’t need to die”.

Cummings told MPs the prime minister had repeatedly said in respect of the first lockdown, “I should have been the mayor of Jaws and kept the beaches open,” and confirmed reports that in October, Johnson said he would see “bodies pile high” rather than order a third lockdown.

Imagine wanting to be like Mayor Vaughn in Jaws who thwarted the efforts of Chief Brody to protect the town from sharks. Does Boris realize that Murray Hamilton who played the Jaws mayor was cuckolded by Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate? Playing the movie analogy game is tricky.

Dominic Cummings is a professional asshole, but I wish more of Trump’s former aides would feud with him publicly. They prefer to be quoted without attribution like John Kelly. Better a brave asshole than a cowardly one

The last word goes to Split Enz with a song about sharks, not hair:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Hannity Vanity Insanity edition

Poor Freepers – hit from every side by indictments, failure to overturn vote counts, truly shitty attendance for the MGS and Matt Gaetz mobile shitshow, and the Delta variant killing off their base (with their help) like the Orkin man gassing a roach nest.

At least they still have Hannity.

SEAN HANNITY: ” … I believe in science. I believe in the science of vaccination”
twitter ^ | July 19 | Sahil Kkapur

Posted on 7/19/2021, 9:02:28 PM by RandFan

@sahilkapur

SEAN HANNITY: “Please take Covid seriously. I can’t say it enough. Enough people have died. We don’t need any more death. Research like crazy. Talk to your doctor… I believe in science. I believe in the science of vaccination.”

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

Hannity urges viewers to get vaccinated: “Please take COVID seriously”
Axios ^ | July, 20th, 2021 | Rebecca Falconer

Posted on 7/20/2021, 8:07:45 AM by David Chase

What he’s saying: Hannity said earlier this year he was “beginning to have doubts” about whether he would take a vaccine.

But on Monday night, he told “Hannity” viewers, “I believe in science, I believe in the science of vaccination.” “I can’t say it enough. Enough people have died. We don’t need any more deaths,” Hannity said. Of note: Fox New hosts Steve Doocy and Bill Hemmer also urged people on Monday to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, the Hill notes.

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

Uh oh.

Comments should be interesting.
1 posted on 7/20/2021, 8:07:45 AM by David Chase
At least his comments will prompt the Freeperati to make some long-overdue decisions.
To: David Chase
I’m glad he’s saying this. It just reinforces the decision I made years ago to stop watching his show and Fox News.
4 posted on 7/20/2021, 8:11:43 AM by CatOwner (Don’t expect anyone, even conservatives, to have your back when the SHTF in 2021)
I was thinking about a different decision,  actually.
To: RandFan
Does he ever state that he got the jab?
10 posted on 7/19/2021, 9:09:53 PM by Mark (Celebrities… is there anything they do not know? Homer Simpson)
To: Mark
All Fox hosts including Tucker have been vaccinated.
11 posted on 7/19/2021, 9:10:29 PM by Trumpisourlastchance

To: RandFan
Well he’s always claimed to be a diehard republican so I guess we now know that it means he’s a RINO. Either that or someone’s got something on him.
7 posted on 7/19/2021, 9:06:53 PM by Pollard
One little problem with that :
To: Pollard
But(sic) your logic, Trump is a RINO for promoting the vaccine.
12 posted on 7/19/2021, 9:10:53 PM by hawkaw
To: Pollard
So you are saying Trump is a RINO?
40 posted on 7/19/2021, 9:30:34 PM by nickcarraway
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To: hawkaw
So, you’re saying you’re a pro-Fascist Fauci shill?
41 posted on 7/19/2021, 9:31:07 PM by ColoCdn (Nihil, sine deo)
What an excellent comeback!!
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To: RandFan
People have become so stupid that they don’t know the difference between believing in science and believing in scientists. I believe in my own common sense
21 posted on 7/19/2021, 9:16:55 PM by ac-rep
When you die, can I have your car?
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To: RandFan
Hannity always was a cretin.
92 posted on 7/19/2021, 10:13:25 PM by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change with out notice.)
Takes one to know one.
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More after the jumperooni…

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Today on Tommy T’s Random Ruminations – Leaping Lemmings edition

You know, people – I’m obviously fascinated with the GOP’s destruction of their own voting base – old white people, of course.

Do they realize that by spreading the anti-vaxxer tropes, they’re killing their own voters?

Is this intentional? Is there someone at the top (no, not The Darnold, someone who actually runs things) who is a Democratic Party plant? A double agent whose mission is to put the Dems back in power permanently?

It’s a legitimate question, and I can’t come up with a lot of answers for “why are they so intent in killing their own voters?”

Do they think they can pin this on President Biden somehow, when we have to start piling their bodies in refrigerated trucks again?

I have to agree with Showercap when he says : The practical effect of all this disinformation has been to feed your audience directly into the queue with the captive bolt pistol at the end.

Showercap also speculated because they’re all in Big Mortician’s pocket?, but he was kidding.

I think.

I’ll let Joe Heller have the last word:

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SMV: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Live At Fenway Park

Here’s  52 minutes of magic from 2014:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Hamburger Midnight

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper.

Dr. A is more disciplined that I am. She’d been on a rather stringent diet until she came home craving a burger but not at midnight. We ordered delivery from Shake Shack in the broad daylight. I’m not sure if the Nighthawks are eating hamburgers but I wouldn’t be surprised.

This week’s theme song was written by Lowell George and Roy Estrada in 1970 for Little Feat’s eponymous debut album. It’s a long-time favorite of mine; one that I used to request when I saw the band live. They ignored my pleas. And I wrote such a lovely tribute to Paul Barrerre in 2019. Oh well, what the hell.

We have three versions of Hamburger Midnight for your listening pleasure: the studio original, a 1973 live version, and a 2014 live version with guest vocalist Vince Herman.

Little Feat’s first single was Hamburger Midnight/Strawberry Flats. Here’s the B-Side:

Now that I’ve made you flat-out peckish, let’s jump to the break.

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Crazy He Calls Me

Last week I featured a “guy song,” this one is for and by the ladies with an exceptional exception. Crazy He Calls Me, however, was written in 1949 by two men, Carl Sigman and Bob Russell.

The song quite rightly is associated with the great Billie Holiday who was the first artist to record it. That’s where we begin our musical journey.

Here’s the aforementioned exceptional exception. What was it with Nat and sweaters? The man lived in LA. I guess he was trying to Crosby-fy his image; either that or he got cold easily.

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Malaka Of The Week: Beth Mizell

The Gret Stet lege made history this week, holding the first ever veto override special session. Both houses are required to override with a 2/3 vote. The session was a flop: the lege did not override any of Gov. Edwards’ vetoes. It was a great relief because of two measures: a “freedom, man” concealed carry bill and a ban on transgender folks in school sports. The sponsor of the latter bill was State Senator Beth Mizell. And that is why she is malaka of the week.

I have a confession: I don’t follow the doings at the state lege as closely as a pundit should. They do some crazy shit, and I don’t want my blood pressure to spike. I did, however, follow the Veto Session. That would have made a good pseudonym for Vito Spatafore when he was outed and fled to New Hampshire in the final season of The Sopranos.

Back to the Gret Stet lege.

Mizell is a Republican who hails from Franklinton. It’s a small town in rural Washington Parish. Even though it’s only 70 miles away from New Orleans, it might as well be a thousand miles. Some call those folks rednecks, I prefer the term peckerwoods. It’s more evocative.

Mizell was the original sponsor of the hateful and unnecessary anti-trans bill. The senate overrode Gov. Edwards’ veto, but the house did not. I guess they had a fleeting moment of sanity.

Mizell claimed that transgender folks in sports was the most important issue for the people of the Gret Stet of Louisiana. I have my doubts that these claims are true:

“If you have not heard the voices of the large majority of people in this state by emails, by phone calls, by personal visits, there’s no words I can give you,”

I have a word for this: malakatude. Bigotry is another word that comes to mind.

It remains weird to live in such a blue city in such a red state. The lege is full of people who hate New Orleans. One reason they hate us is our diversity and tolerance of those who are different. Sounds pretty darn Christian to me but bible thumpers like Malaka Mizell don’t see it that way. It’s what happens when you live on a steady diet of red meat…

Mizell is term-limited and will leave the senate on January 8, 2024. I have no idea if she plans to run for another office. It’s one of those things that I don’t care about.

Mizell has promised to push her despicable bill in the next legislative session. That means we’ll have to fight this stupid battle all over again thanks to Mizell’s malakatude.

I’m not sure if Mizell is praying in the featured image or if she’s hanging her head in shame. I hope it’s the latter: she and her cohort have much to be ashamed of. And that is why Louisiana State Senator Beth Mizell is malaka of the week.

The last word goes to Dwight Yoakam: