Author Archives: Peter Adrastos Athas

Kirstjen’s Katrina Connection

It had to happen. Some pundits are calling the caged children scandal “Trump’s Katrina.” First, former Failing NYT editor Jill Abramson in the former Manchester Guardian followed by New Yorker editor David Remnick. To be fair, Remnick acknowledges a crucial difference:

Some pundits have suggested that what is happening now in Texas will be “Trump’s Katrina.” But, without excusing the racism and the indifference shown by the authorities in that horrific episode, it ought to be pointed out that at least the federal government did not order the flooding of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. What is happening now is purely gratuitous, a deliberate act of cruelty intended as leverage to build a “beautiful wall.” And it is a wall intended not only to block Mexicans and Central Americans from making their way into the United States but to divide the United States itself, in order to retain power.

Bush’s Katrina moment was based on incompetence and casual racism whereas the separated family scandal (I’m trying out different rubrics) is deliberate and based on incompetence as well as malicious racism. Shorter Adrastos: the shitheads want to keep out people from shithole countries. Team Trump *wanted* the outrage thinking it would gin up the baser elements of their base. This is what happens when Jeff Sessions, Stephen Miller and the Insult Comedian are driving the train. Hopefully, it will cause a wreck in November.

There’s a more interesting direct link to Katrina involving the very white lady at DHS:

Nielsen moved over to the White House as special assistant to the president and senior director for prevention, preparedness and response. She had that job in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast. Nielsen’s job didn’t involve coordinating storm response—she served more as an information conduit to the White House—but the George W. Bush administration’s botched response to Katrina reflected poorly on all involved.

A bipartisan report (pdf) prepared by the House of Representatives after Katrina specifically cites Nielsen for not recognizing the storm’s potential for destruction, although her office had received warnings. The Washington Post reported that “Nielsen was one of a handful of White House officials warned of the so-called ‘New Orleans scenario’: a hurricane rated Category 3 or higher hitting the city and bursting its aging levees.” Even after in the storm’s aftermath, with hundreds of people awaiting rescue, Nielsen’s office had trouble getting the attention of Bush, who went to California to give a speech. “It does not appear the president received adequate advice and counsel from a senior disaster professional,” according to the House report.

Nielsen is yet another example of upward mobility based on failure. She helped screw the Katrina pooch and ended up Homeland Security secretary.

I rarely watch Trump administration press briefings but I saw Nielsen the other day. It’s bad enough when the Press Secretary pleads ignorance, it’s infinitely worse when the person in charge of things does so. Nielsen made like Huck’s horrible spawn and said she hadn’t seen the images from South Texas or heard the heartbreaking recording of the weeping six-year-old Salvadoran girl. She told the assembled press corps that she’d look into it and get back to them. She’s done neither. Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a shitty role model, y’all.

Harry Truman famously had a sign on his desk saying “the buck stops here.” Team Trump is intent on passing the buck. Bigly. So much so that Dahlia Lithwick compiled a list of Trumper excuses, evasions, and downright lies in defense of this disgusting policy. Their spin doctors are so dizzy that *they* need a doctor. It’s a pity Ronnie Jackson is no longer there to minister to their needs.

Speaking of pointing the finger of blame, I recently read Bob Mann’s fabulous biography of Gret Stet Senator Russell Long. The events involving the very white lady at DHS put me in mind of Long’s legendary aphorism:

To say these are trying times is a grotesque understatement. We have a president* who tweets out shit like this:

Applying the word “infest” to human beings is straight out of the Goebbels playbook. The fucking moron president* may not know the history behind this but Stephen Miller does. Making matters even more grotesque is the fact that Miller is Jewish. Oy, just oy.

Back to the very white lady at DHS. I’d like to praise the folks who heckled her out of a Mexican restaurant in Washington City. And they say that irony is dead. Nielsen puts the tacky in taco.

I was tempted to call this post Kirstjen’s Katrina Konnection but decided that was a bit heavy-handed. I’m as fond of alliteration as anyone but it’s what the Ku Kluxers do, so include me out.

Finally, it may be a struggle in 2018 but I *still* try to be a glass half full person. That’s why Todd Rundgren gets the last word:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Bootzilla

I’m about to break a rule and perhaps even set a new precedent for this feature. Bootzilla was the first single from Bootsy Collins and the Rubber Band’s 1978 debut album  Bootsy? Player of the Year. The album cover is somewhat pedestrian but the single cover is Bootsylicious, which is why I’m featuring it.

The album cover is the featured image of the video below. Cool shades, meh album cover. Get ready for the tale of “the world’s only rhinestone rock star doll.”

Hostages To Misfortune

Every time we think Trumpism cannot get worse, they exceed our already low expectations. The family separation policy makes sucking up to dictators and fighting with allies look positively tame. Angela Merkel is a tough woman who can take care of herself. Children torn from their parents cannot. Let the children go, Mr. Trump.

Team Trump’s chaotic messaging has made matters even worse. The very white lady at Homeland Security cannot keep her story straight, Jeff Bo is quoting the Bible, and the president* started blaming Democrats the minute the story blew up in the administration’s face. Democrats are supposed to repeal a non-existent law so the kids can go free and/or be deported. It’s the clusterfuck of clusterfucks. That’s why I call him the Kaiser of Chaos.

What’s really going on is a hostage crisis. Team Trump are the kidnappers. They’re making unreasonable demands: FUND THE WALL or else. The hostages are children torn from their parents and placed in cages, cells whatever you want to call them. What’s important is that this outrage stop. Pronto.

Trump has no problem using immigrant children as hostages. There’s a long history in this country of demonizing non-white children as Rebecca Onion pointed out at Slate:

Like so many cruelties that have intensified under Trumpism, the idea that only white American children are truly “innocent” and worthy of protection isn’t his invention—it’s just subtext, made text. As historian Tera Hunter wrote in the New York Times, “child-snatching” has a long history in the United States. Black parents in slavery and Native American parents facing white colonialism had children sold, killed, or put into boarding schools and re-educated out of their culture. “Nits make lice,” Col. John Chivington is supposed to have said before the Sand Creek Massacre in Colorado in 1864, when his soldiers killed a group of Cheyenne and Arapaho, women, children, and all. Part of the rationale for these atrocities was that these children are not really children, in the way white people understand it—those families were not really families, and those people were not really people.

It’s horrifying that Trump *is* capable of saying something as deplorable (there’s that word again) as “nits make lice.” In this instance, it’s probably good that his ignorance of history is as profound as his malice for everyone who does not look like him. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen such raw, naked, overt racism in the White House. It should curdle the blood of all decent Americans. It was too much for Laura Bush. Let the children go, Mr. Trump.

Adding to the horror of the situation is that the New Yorker is reporting that the government does not have a plan or protocol to reunite the families they’ve torn apart.  They think of them as pawns in this president’s* game of low brow chess with Congress. It’s because the families consist of “nits and lice” as far as the Trump regime is concerned. They do not give a damn.

I thought of Francis Bacon’s words when I sat down to write this post:

He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief.

There’s no fortune to be made in this situation. Donald Trump’s goal is to wreak as much havoc and destruction as possible while he’s in office. They say that misery loves company and the Insult Comedian is one miserable, angry son-of-a-bitch. His election made us all hostages to misfortune.

We should resist in whatever way available and, more importantly, get out and vote this November. Only a Democratic Congress can reign in this cruel, racist, and evil government. I’m tired of being a hostage to misfortune.

The last word goes to the good people at the New York Daily News. A tabloid headline speaks louder than a thousand words;

Saturday Odds & Sods: Life On The Road

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper.

Dr. A and I are on the road today after a whirlwind trip to Virginia for our nephew Ryan’s high school graduation. His graduation ceremony was a bit *too* exciting as there was a threatening phone call that led to the hall being cleared. It turned out to be a crank call, but in 2018 one has to take these things seriously. So much for my plan to embarrass the nephew. So it goes.

This post is a place holder but I do have a theme song: Life On The Road from the 1977 Kinks album, Sleepwalker. It’s the opening track of that record and it rocks like crazy:

The closing track of the album has the word life in the title as well. It’s the story of a guy who tries to commit suicide on an impulse but decides to live instead. A subject that’s both timely and timeless.

How about one more Kinks tune for the road.

That’s it for this week’s weak edition of Saturday Odds & Sods. I wrote this before hitting the road so I’m using a two-year old picture of the nephews doing what they call the Twin Towers. Kids today.

Quote Of The Day: Dictator Wannabe Edition

The Insult Comedian went on his favorite teevee show this morning. He had a lot to say even though little of it made sense. We’re used to nonsense from this president*. It’s one reason he wears an asterisk. Anyhoo, here’s the quote heard round the world:

“He’s the head of the country, and I mean he’s the strong head. He speaks and his people sit up in attention. I want my people to do the same.”

He’s also a dictator, you nitwit. Trumpy is just a wannabe although he’s transformed the Republican party into a personality cult centered on him. The stupid bastard isn’t even a longtime Republican. It’s something of a cautionary tale that Democrats should pay heed to as well. Turning your party over to an independent is madness even if that person isn’t as bad as the Kaiser of Chaos. Nobody is as bad as Trump.

I’m old enough to remember when GOPers were anti-communist and anti-Russian. Under Trump they pander to Putin and the bloodthirsty Kim regime. Kim is an old school commie and Putin is a KGB irredentist seeking revenge for the Soviet Union’s “humiliation” at the end of the Cold War. John Foster Dulles and Ronald Reagan are spinning in their graves. Hell, my head is spinning like a top.

I believe in talking to everyone BUT not in taking one’s talking points from a dimunitive dictator with a bad haircut. Next thing we know Trumpy will start wearing a jump suit in honor of his little buddy, the artist formerly known as Little Rocket Man. A too long red tie will look weird with a jump suit but Trump has the right stuff to make it work. Did I say right stuff? I meant weird stuff.

Trumpy has, of course, said other stupid shit this week but I have a summer cold and I don’t want my head to explode. It’s time for another aspirin.

 

Friday Catblogging: Basket Case

Paul Drake is a large cat who is an expert at squeezing into small spaces.

 

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Judas Cat

I’m not sure which of the covers below is from the first paperback edition. I have a guess, it’s the one with the old man and the cat. What’s a vintage pulp fiction cover without either a femme fatale or damsel in distress?

Chiming In

I’m on the road and should zip my lip but I’m not very good at being silent when there’s this much news. I guess you’ve noticed that already. I prefer writing on the mighty Wurlitzer that is my desktop keyboard but a laptop will just have to do. I’m not, however, a fan of track pads. I find them user hostile and unatracktive…

The G-7 summit was a Trumped up fiasco. Remember when even jerky American presidents made nice with our allies?  How is it possible to fight with Canada, which currently has one of the most amiable leaders in the world, Justin Trudeau. Trudeau has followed his father’s playbook in dealing with Donald Trump. Trudeau the elder disliked Nixon but forged a decent working relationship with him. When he learned that Tricky had called him an asshole on the White House tapes, Pierre Trudeau had an elegant response: “I’ve been called worse by better people.”

Everyone is better than the Insult Comedian.

The Dictator-Dotard summit was a farce. Trump left it spouting North Korean propaganda. If they allowed dancing in the streets in Pyongyang, they’d be doing it as I write this. If this is winning, I’d rather lose.

The good thing about being on the road is that I’ve missed all of Trumpy’s teevee bragfests. I like how my friend Laura described his appearance: “Even sitting down for an interview, 45 is gross. Looks like he is working hard to have a bowel movement.”

Hey, at least he gives a shit…

In election news, Never Trump Republicans are doing a rotten job of “taking back” their party. Exhibit A: Mark Sanford. Exhibit B: Corey Stewart. Virginia Democrats are thrilled that Lost Causer Corey will be Tim Kaine’s opponent this fall. It’s yet another sign that the GOP is well and truly Trumpified.

That’s it for me. I have a high school graduation to attend. I’m glad that relatives don’t have to wear caps and gowns. It’s not a good look for anyone, especially a grown man with a size 8 head.

That is all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Resurrection Of Pigboy Crabshaw

The Resurrection Of Pigboy Crabshaw is one of the best album titles ever. Pigboy Crabshaw was the nickname/alter ego of Elvin Bishop. Why anyone would want to be called Pigboy is beyond me, but I’m not from rural America like Elvin. I’m a confirmed city slicker.

In addition to the cool art design by William S Harvey, this is a helluva album musically. The Butterfield Blues Band moved from a guitar based blues ensemble to a horn heavy R&B combo after the departure of Michael Bloomfield to form Electric Flag. A very young David Sanborn plays alto sax on the album.

Here’s the whole damn album via the YouTube,

SMV: Farewell To The World 20th Anniversary Concert

Crowded House week continues at First Draft. In 1996, Crowded House said farewell to the world by playing a show outside the Sydney Opera House. Since they regrouped in 2006, they decided to celebrate the earlier celebration on its 20th anniversary. How celebratory of them. Pop open some bubbly and enjoy.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Saturday Sun

Cafetiere et Carafe by Jean Dubuffet.

It feels like August outside as I write this with the ceiling fan whirring up above my head. It’s time to dispense with the weather report lest I sound whinier than I am. And I’m pretty damn whiny even though, unlike Della and Paul, I don’t have a fur coat to contend with. Paul Drake deals with his by shedding copiously. Della Street rages against the elements in her own way. She is one mouthy cat, y’all.

I may have cats on my mind but the rest of the city is obsessed with rats in a French Quarter eatery. There’s a viral video and everything. Oh wait, there’s always a viral video in 2018. As someone who worked in the Quarter for many years, the thought of rats near the Big Muddy is not shocking. I’m not planning to go to that restaurant but even good places with clean kitchens have the odd rat. Repeat after me: to live in this town you must be tough, tough, tough, tough. She-doo-be.

The new Mayor is “being intentional” by launching a PR campaign dubbing New Orleans the City of Yes. In the immortal words of movie mogul Sam Goldwyn, include me out, unless it involves the veteran prog rock band. I’m still trying to figure out what the hell “being intentional” means. So it goes.

When I started this regular feature in 2015, I used songs about Saturday as theme songs for the first few weeks. Saturday Sun is one I somehow missed but I’ve had Neil Finn on my mind and in my ear of late. We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the promo video and a live performance on the BBC.

Now that we’ve basked in the Saturday Sun, it’s time to put on some sun screen and jump to the break.

Continue reading

Anthony Bourdain & Tee Eva Perry, R.I.P.

Depression is a horrible thing. From the outside, Anthony Bourdain was on the top of the world with a job he loved and more adventures on the horizon. The hoary aphorism “never judge a book by its cover” rings true today: Anthony Bourdain committed suicide at the age of 61 in France.

His body was discovered by his friend, the world-class chef, Eric Ripert who Tony called the Ripper. I call him Tony not because I ever met him in person but because of his style. It was intimate and confidential thereby living up to the title of his first book, Kitchen Confidential.  Most of his viewers feel as if they’ve lost a friend. A friend of mine who’s in the restaurant business described him as her Pope. The loss is shocking and deep. It was a helluva thing to wake up to this morning. Imagine being in the Ripper’s shoes. Mon dieu.

Bourdain took us many places in the world to which we’re unlikely to travel. Despite his renegade/bad boy image, Bourdain treated other cultures with the sensitivity and respect that they deserve. He always looked like he was having a great time but looks can be deceptive His demons finally caught up with him. He will be missed.

I never ran into Anthony Bourdain, but Tee Eva Perry was a New Orleans legend who I met on many occasions. She was an amazing character: baker, back-up singer to brother-in-law Ernie K-Doe, and a baby doll on Mardi Gras day. She died this week at the age of 83.

Everyone called her Tee for auntie so when she opened up her first place on Magazine Street she called it Tee-Eva’s. It was an eclectic hole-in-the-wall located around the corner from Adrastos World HQ:

I’m not a snow ball guy but I loved her pies and pralines. After Katrina, she relocated to a bigger location on Magazine but I’ll always have a special feeling for the original space. It was as charming and eccentric as Tee Eva herself.

I hate to use a term out of the dictionary of journalistic clichés, but Tee Eva Perry was a New Orleans original. She will be missed.

UPDATE: it turns out that Bourdain ate Tee Eva’s jambalya on an episode of his first teev show A Cook’s Tour. I haven’t seen that series but it’s on Amazon so I will soon.

Friday Catblogging: Born Again Lap Cat

Della Street was an aloof cat for the first 9 years of her life. Our running joke was that she was Oscar’s cat and he was all she needed. Slowly but surely she became a lap cat: first with Dr. A and then with me last fall. Here she is on my lap in our messy living room.

Scott Pruitt: Chickenshit Grifter

I’m sure you’ve all heard about Scott Pruitt having an aide badger Chik-fil-A into giving his wife a franchise. Hey, they’ll need an income when Scotty stops grifting the EPA. It’s gotten so bad that Gret Stet Senator John Neely Kennedy publicly urged Scotty to “stop acting like a moron.” The national media has learned what the Louisiana press has known for years: Neely likes spouting off on teevee and usually has a corny one-liner saved up. If he weren’t a Republican, I might offer to supply him with some Neelyisms but he is so I won’t. Besides, I’m not adept at Hee Haw humor.

Back to Scott Pruitt. The reason I call him a chickenshit grifter is that he’s fond of grifting relatively small amounts aka chickenfeed or chickenshit. He’s even been asked to stop messing up the White House mess by eating there so much. Yo, Scotty: pay your tab, it’s only 400 bucks.  In short, this is chickenshit grifting at its smallest and pettiest. Avarice thy name is Scotty.

I was astonished when this tweet landed on my timeline:

I checked to make sure this was an genuine Fox News feed. It is indeed and it’s actually “fair and balanced.” I didn’t know they were allowed to criticize Scotty. This could be a signal to the Insult Comedian that it’s time to stop watching Scotty grift. Grift, Scotty, grift.

One would think that, as a major criminal, Trump would be offended by the picayune and penny-ante antics of Scotty. They’re both grifters but Scotty is strictly small time. He’s hanging on because the president* likes his terrible policies but he can turn on a dime; just ask Trudeau or Macron. I wonder when Scotty will ask for a pardon. Let’s start the countdown…

Whenever I think of Chik-fil-A, I think of this masterful float by the Krewe du Vieux sub-kreme, Seeds of Decline, as well as this photo by my erstwhile nemesis, Michael Homan.

Photograph by Michael Homan.

Since I refuse to give Homan the last word, I might as well expel this disgusting earworm from my head.

One of these days I’ll write new lyrics and transform that horrendous tune  into Watching Scotty Grift. There could even be an alternate version, Watching Scotty Blow.

The answer, my friend, is grifting in the wind, the answer is grifting in the wind.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: James Meese

James Meese week continues at First Draft. He’s something of an internet man of mystery. I wasn’t able to learn much about him other than he was as short-lived as he was as prolific as a pulp fiction illustrator. I’ll just have to let his work speak for itself:

I don’t want to give you the impression Meese never did covers for some of the more popular crime fictionistas. Here are two he did for Agatha Christie paperbacks:

Burning Down The (White) House

Donald Trump, amateur historian, has struck again:

President Donald Trump reportedly justified the tariffs he placed on Canadian steel and aluminum by asking Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a phone call: “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?”

CNN reported on the exchange, citing sources familiar with the call. The British burned down the White House in the War of 1812, when Canada was a British colony. CNN reported the President may have been joking, but the tariffs, justified on national security grounds by the Trump administration, have left Canadians furious.

“To the degree one can ever take what is said as a joke,” one source “on the call” told CNN, when asked if Trump meant the comment as a joke. “The impact on Canada and ultimately on workers in the U.S. won’t be a laughing matter.”

I guess we can be grateful that Trumpy didn’t go on about Dolly Madison pastries while tossing zingers at Trudeau the Younger in pursuit of his stupid trade war. He probably doesn’t know that James Madison was president in 1812 and that Dolly was a legend in her own right. The Insult Comedian will inevitably claim that he gave Madison his period nickname, Little Jemmy.

Only in the Trump era would the words Canada and trade war be found in the same sentence. Canada is the best damn neighbor in the world and Justin Trudeau is the most amiable of world leaders. Oy, just oy.

Since Trump makes all educated Americans feel like Charlie Brown, it’s time to pass the zingers:

Now that we’ve had an afternoon snack with Charlie Brown, Lucy, Sally, and Linus, it’s time to make like the Canadians:

Wait. Talking Heads aren’t Canadian? Who knew? Certainly not president* Trump.

You Say Jungle Primary, I Say Open Primary

There’s even a third alternative used to describe electoral systems such as California and the Gret Stet of Louisiana: top two. I prefer open but hate the system itself. It led to much advance agita about yesterday’s election in California. There is rare good news: Democrats were NOT locked out of any Congressional primaries. A collective sigh of relief was heaved, otherwise we might have hurled.

I admit that I was surprised when California adopted an open primary system via ballot initiative in 2011. No state should emulate Gret Stet politics but they did. At least the California lege can pass a budget, which ours cannot do as I pointed out on the tweeter tube:

The premise of the open/jungle/top two primary is that the role of political parties should be limited. It’s a deeply silly goo-goo notion. Repeat after me: You can’t take politics out of politics. It’s the system that gave Louisiana the run-off from hell in 1991: the Charming Crook versus the Kreepy Klansman. Mercifully, things turned out well yesterday despite this goofy system. The best way to check the Kaiser of Chaos is to retake the House and unleash the subpoena power. Then Scott Pruitt will really have to go to the mattresses.

The teevee punditocracy insist on calling the open/top two system the jungle primary. It has the virtue of being dramatic, it certainly beats the hell out of a *fourth* term of art: non-partisan blanket primary. I hate to be a wet blanket but that sounds like a dull and wonky slumber party.

Jungle primary is a meaningless term that must have been dreamt up by someone who watched too many Tarzan movies on teevee as a kid. I watched a few of those fakakta flicks on TCM recently and I cannot decide if they’re from hunger or campy fun. Tarzan even fights the Nazis in a couple of war-time entries. Tarzan good, Nazis bad.

The news from New Jersey was also pretty darn good. Democrats have an excellent chance to flip four seats held by the GOP. There’s even a rising star in the bunch:  former Navy pilot Mikie Sherrill who’s also a graduate of the Naval Academy.

It was a another good night for Democrats. Turn-out was good and the enthusiasm gap was visible; something the inside the beltway pundit class continues to have a hard time spotting. I think Nate Silver nailed it:

They’d rather beat the drums for jungle primaries. You say jungle primary, I say open primary. Let’s call the whole thing off.

What would I do without Ira Gershwin? Or Ella and Louis for that matter:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Reach Out

I hadn’t planned to do three consecutive Motown album covers in this space but that’s how it worked out. The cover is by painter James Meese who is best known for his pulp fiction paperback covers.

As you can see, Tamla/Motown often used back covers as ads for their other releases:

Finally, here’s the title track from this 1967 album:

It’s Good To Be Kaiser

The Kaiser of Chaos was feeling feisty this morning. He tweeted out a preposterous assertion of executive authority:

So, why tweet this if you’re a not guilty man? (Like “collusion,” “innocent” is not a legal term of art: please substitute “conspiracy” and “not guilty.”) Something big is going on behind the scenes right now. This is the latest in a long line of panic tweets sent by the man who thinks he’s dictator. He’s a dictator in his mind only but the public needs to pay careful attention when he gets like this.

Trump’s plan is to live and die by the tweeter tube so it’s only fitting to post a twitter riposte to the president*:

I’ve complained before about amateur internet and cable teevee lawyers. Trumpy is by far the worst of the bunch. Frankly, his real lawyers aren’t much better after that fakakata memo they sent to team Mueller asserting that it’s legal for the president* to shit on the constitution and wipe his ass with the bill of rights. And of course Mayor Noun Verb 9/11 has been all over teevee belching and farting smoke. I’ve come to the conclusion that Rudy and Trumpy are the same dude. Heckuva job, Rudy.

Very few genuine legal eagles think that Team Trump’s claims hold any water. If they did, we’d already be living in a dictatorship instead of watching a pre-Great War style autocratic hereditary monarchy creep up on us. There are signs of it every day; particularly in the admonitions to exempt Trump’s family from criticism and scrutiny. His son-in-law and daughter are White House aides so they’re fair game. Junior and Eric have big mouths so they are too. I feel sorry for Melania and cannot blame her for disappearing. Lord, what a family.

Back to legal scholars. I’d like to direct your attention to two op-ed pieces in today’s Failing New York Times. The first by a Democrat: former Deputy Attorney General and US Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Harry Litman. The second piece is by former Reagan and Poppy Bush White House counsel, Douglas Kmiec. who deftly lays out precedents on executive power. Holy bipartianship, Batman.

There are also some swell pieces at Slate. The first by Jed Shugerman posits that Trump’s lawyers seem to have admitted that he obstructed justice. It’s a detailed essay so you should read it for yourself but it’s as convincing as hell. We already knew that a legal team featuring Jay Sekulow, Rudy Giuliani, and the departed John Dowd was not ready for prime time. The Shugerman piece confirms that belief.

Finally, the divine Dahlia Lithwick conducts an extended interview with Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe; known to our readers as Larrrr-eeee Tryyyyyy-buh. Tribe and Dahlia both urge Democrats to avoid “magical thinking” and understand the limits of what can be accomplished by Team Mueller, impeachment, and the 25th amendment.

These are perilous times. We have a petulant president* who believes that he is above the law. He’s surrounded by yes men and women who only tell him what he wants to hear. He conducts himself like a medeval monarch dispensing justice to his followers and denying it to his opponents. I’m fond of the Kaiser Wilhelm II analogy because *that* fucking moron was deposed at the end of the Great War. Like Trump, he was an arrested adolescent who fled to Holland to avoid being arrested. I wonder if they’d take Trumpy in? Not bloody likely.

One more tweet before we go. If only the Kaiser of Chaos would listen to Jerry Ford:

For the record, Ford’s Attorney General, Edward Levi, was the one who cleaned house at the Justice Department after Watergate. It’s his legacy of apolitical justice that’s under attack by the Kaiser of Chaos and the Duke of Deception, Rudy Giuliani.

The last word goes to the late Tom Petty. All you have to do is substitute Kaiser for King:

Trumpy Bear?

I thought of Henry Adams when I learned of the Trumpy Bear this morning on a friend’s Facebook feed. The grandson of our most brilliant president and great-grandson of Paul Giamatti famously said:  “The progress of evolution from President Washington to President Grant was alone evidence to upset Darwin.”

I wonder what Adams would have made of the Current Occupant who has become the second Oval One to be transformed into a plush toy:

The fact that it was Teddy Roosevelt supports the Adamic theory of devolution. Life appears to not only imitate The Sopranos but the band Devo who posed the eternal question: “are we not men?” In 2018, the answer is not Devo, but Trumpy Bear.

I felt obliged to check Snopes to see if Trumpy Bear really exists. To my chagrin, I learned that it does. Oy, just oy.

Imagine giving Trumpy Bear to your favorite toddler. They’d be scarred for life even if they dig the secret compartment containing Old Glory. It reminds me of a Chucky doll and I hate Chucky. He makes me wanna upchucky as does Trumpy.

I suspect you won’t be shocked to learn that Trumpy Bear originates in Texas, home to Energy Secretary and syrup hugger Rick Perry and the wingnuttiest wingnuts in Wingnuttia. If I were an actual journalist I’d do more research but I’m a pundit, so fuck it. Just read the Snopes entry.

The commercial for the product sounds like a vintage SNL parody ad:

I wonder if the Insult Comedian gets a cut? He likes to wet his beak, after all.

The Trumpy Bear is the Trump butt-plug in reverse. It’s for fans and people who like to traumatize friends and family of all ages. It could, however, be posed in various obscene ways but I’m unwilling to shell out $39.90 plus shipping and handling. That’s right, I’m not from Texas.

I have another concern about this product: why isn’t Trumpy Bear orange? A brown Trumpy Bear strikes me as unrealistic but the hair *does* resemble a dead nutria pelt.

Since I played Elvis yesterday, I have a raging earworm. Sorry for not being more original. As far as I know, there’s no rock song about Henry Adams, so here we go:

I just want to be your Trumpy Bear. Did I say that? Is Joy Reid’s hacker after me now?