Author Archives: Peter Adrastos Athas

Unsolicited Tea for the Tillerson

Image by Michael F.

First of all, I know that tea is slang for gossip, I watch, to my everlasting shame, the Real Housewives of Atlanta, after all. I’m seeking to expand the word’s meaning to include advice. Anybody buying that? I just want to fit it into my running Tea for the Tillerson joke.

Second, I’d like to thank my colleague and fellow Gret Steter Michael F for letting me use his image. I’m the world’s worst photoshopper so I gave it up in favor of memes years ago.

Michael and I discussed the irony of having *any* sympathy for the former Exxon-Mobil CEO. It’s the whole “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” thing writ large. I don’t have a lot of sympathy, just enough to fit into an album cover sized teacup.

Here’s my unsolicited advice for Rex: spill all the tea you have on Trumpy and spill it loud, proud, and immediately. You’re richer than God so you don’t have to wait to put it in a book: DO IT NOW. It’s a way to restore your good name post Rexit. Burn it down.

Think about it, Rex: before your trip to Trumplandia, the headline on your obit would have been “Former Exxon-Mobil CEO dies.” Right now it would be “Weak Secretary of State fired by President he called a fucking moron dies.” Is that how you want to be remembered? Another dutiful lamb to the Trump slaughter? The latest dignity wraith humiliated? What more can the fucker do to you? He’s already destroyed your reputation, so it’s time to fight back. Do the Sunday shows and fry the unfit fucker. It’s your patriotic duty, and it would be fun to burn it down. Make Rexit matter.

The last word goes to Los Lobos:

Sunday Morning Video: Van Morrison & The Chieftains Live

I can’t seem to let go of Saint Patrick’s Day. Here’s a 1988 set at the Ulster Hall in Belfast.

Saturday Odds & Sods: The Irish Rover

High Spring Tide by Jack Butler Yeats.

The Irish Channel Saint Patrick’s Day parade is on the day itself this year. I’m not sure if this will increase drunken revelry but I plan to do some day drinking. Dr. A and I have been going to our friends Greg and Christy’s open house for the last 11 or 12 years. It’s hard to be precise since whiskey and beer are involved. Whiskey, of course, is the devil.

The big local news is the death of New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson at the age of 90. The local media has done some cringeworthy coverage of this gruff car dealer whose demeanor and voice reminded me of Archie Bunker. The hagiography is a bit much given Benson’s attempt to move the Saints to his *other* hometown of San Antonio as the region reeled from the Katrina and the Federal Flood. He sent his image to rehab with donations to charity, the Super Bowl win didn’t hurt either. He was also a supporter of the GOP and other dubious conservative rich guy causes. As Archie would surely say at this point, goodnight nurse.

This week’s featured image is by the Irish painter Jack Butler Yeats. And, yes, he was related to the poet William Butler Yeats: he was his kid brother. I’m uncertain as to whether he was a pesky one. It would be poetic justice if he were…

Our theme song is a traditional Irish folk song. The Pogues and the Dubliners recorded The Irish Rover together in 1987. It was a hit in Ireland and the UK.

Now that we’ve taken a trip on a ill-fated ship, let’s jump to the break and hope we land in a lifeboat.

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McMaster, Baited

Trump World and the Tweeter Tube were aflutter  yesterday with rumors that the bald-headed glowering general/National Security Advisor was about to be ousted in the Not-So Great Purge of 2018. The dread Sarah Huckabee Sanders has denied the rumor, which means that it’s true.

Trump’s Kaiser of Chaos persona seems to have overtaken the Insult Comedian. Imagine firing your top national security aides a week after impulsively agreeing to talks with Little Rocket Man. In a word: madness.

If another rumor is true, John Bolton and his mustache will be McMaster’s successor. That makes the Kudlow hiring look good: Bolton has never been right about anything either, plus he’s batshit crazy. Believe me.

It remains obvious that the General is not McMaster of his own domain. I should apologize for that pun and the title but I won’t.

That is all.

Friday Catblogging: Doorman

Like any good private eye, Paul Drake likes windows. In this picture, he’s peering out a pane on our front door. I think he’d make a helluva good doorman. Imagine him with a red jacket with epaulets to go along with what Athenae has called his fur beret. It would be a fashion sensation, y’all.

Catblogging tends to expose us as lousy housekeepers. We’re not big on washing windows. In our defense, the interior pane is smudged with feline nose prints and the doorman is there every day. Window washing is futile.

Van Morrison gets the last word with this tidy tune:


The Lambslide

I am, of course, being sardonic, sarcastic, and other S words. Conor Lamb’s special election margin is 627 votes as I write this but a win is a win is a win. It’s a victory for coalition politics and a defeat for the president* and a feckless Speaker of the House who seems incapable of distancing his members from a wildly unpopular Trump. Paul Ryan is the most politically inept Speaker of my lifetime: the goal of any Speaker is to preserve their majority. Ryan is too afraid of the rabid right-wing base he’s pandered to all these years to even try to save his majority. Thanks, Paul.

This triumph will prove to be somewhat ephemeral since the crazy quilt Pennsylvania Gerrymander scheme was tossed out by the courts. Lamb will have to run in a differently configured district this fall but that somehow makes this victory even sweeter. Lamb beat a Republican in a district drawn to make it well-nigh impossible for a D to beat an R.  It took an asshole president* to produce a 20 point swing. Thanks, Trumpy.

In classic Trump fashion, he’s making excuses and absolving himself from any blame for the GOP’s latest special election defeat:

 “The young man last night that ran, he said, ‘Oh, I’m like Trump. Second Amendment, everything. I love the tax cuts, everything.’ He ran on that basis,” Trump said at the fundraiser, according to an audio recording obtained by The Atlantic. “He ran on a campaign that said very nice things about me. I said, ‘Is he a Republican? He sounds like a Republican to me.’”

In fact, Lamb ran a classic lunch pail/kitchen table pro-union campaign. It’s the way Democrats have won elections in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania since the New Deal. I don’t recall Trump being a fan of organized labor. Fake populism can only get you so far.

Here’s how former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau described Landslide Lamb’s campaign:

It takes a coalition to win any election that doesn’t take place in the purest truest bluest district. For the 50 state strategy to succeed, that requires supporting candidates who can win in a given district. That was the strategy Howard Dean used to help Democrats take back the House in 2006. You might recall that Dean ran as the most liberal candidate in the Democratic presidential race in 2004. He was still a believer in coalition politics, which is what made Nancy Smash Speaker and Harry Reid Senate Majority Leader.

The important thing is to win and negotiate our differences later: the future of the Republic may well depend on a blue wave this fall. A candidate who can win in Berkeley or Brooklyn cannot win in Western Pennsylvania or statewide in, say, Texas. A lot of “non-partisan progressives” on twitter have been unhappy with Beto O’Rourke because he’s insufficiently pure. Do they prefer Rafael Edward Cruz who the last time I checked was the wingnut’s wingnut?

The sitting president is *always* the issue in mid-term elections, especially since the South became a sea of red. The days when Tip O’Neill could hold his majority with a popular Republican president in office are long gone. Trump will be the main issue even when a candidate chooses to treat him like Voldemort and not speak his name aloud a la Landslide Lamb. It’s a losing issue for Republicans and a winner for Democrats and sanity. Believe me.

The last word goes to Genesis with my favorite song with the word lamb in it:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Applegreen Cat

I’m not sure what the hell an applegreen cat is but I like this Rudolph Belarski cover.


Poison Tea For The Tillerson

I’ve enjoyed my Tea for the Tillerson series and will miss having Rex Tillerson to kick around. Having said that, he was a rotten Secretary of State who hollowed out his department and did lasting damage to the foreign service.

Tillerson’s tenure at Foggy Bottom is proof positive that guvmint should NOT be run like a business. Tillerson was convinced he knew better than the area experts who populate the department. He tried to run it with a small cadre of loyalists and had no support at State when the crunch came. He was right on many policies but had no influence at the White House or in Congress. But the next guy is worse.

It’s been obvious for quite some time that Tillerson was not long for the job, especially after the “fucking moron” incident. Coming after he blamed Russia for the London spook poisoning, the timing made him look better than he deserved. Anyone who associates with Trump is diminished by the experience. Tillerson is just the latest in a series of dignity wraiths whose reputation has been damaged. But the next guy is worse.

The best description of the Rexit “process” came from New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait:

Every Trump administration personnel shake-up is a noir story of terrible, incompetent people squabbling with other terrible, incompetent people.

It’s a nightmare for the American people, but the Kaiser of Chaos is building the administration of his dreams: populated by yes men, ass kissers, courtiers, and sycophants. The incoming Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is a former Tea Party Congressman who ran the CIA in an overtly partisan manner. That should have been disqualifying since the head spook should be sneaky and able to play his cards discreetly. As far as Pompeo is concerned, pleasing Trump is all the matters. But the next CIA director is worse.

The MSM is forlorn since their narrative of the “grown-ups restraining Trump” has been shattered by John Kelly’s malakatude, Rexit, and the rumored departure of the National Security Advisor who is still not McMaster of his domain. General Mattis is the lone remaining adult in the room. The rest of the crew fit this president’s definition of loyalty:

“I don’t want loyalty. I want loyalty! I want him to kiss my ass in Macy’s window at high noon and tell me it smells like roses. I want his pecker in my pocket.”

The president in question was Lyndon Johnson and he only half-way meant it. He had many strong people in his administration but he liked having yes men on the White House staff, especially as the intractable Vietnam conflict destroyed his administration. Unlike LBJ, Trump is an unqualified fucking moron who wants lackeys everywhere.

We’re on our own now.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: She’s So Unusual

In the Trump era, we’re in desperate need of fun. What pop star has ever been more fun than Cyndi Lauper?

She’s So Unusual was Cyndi’s debut album. It was a monster hit because of the monster hits Time After Time and Girls Just Want To Have Fun. I told you she was fun.

The photography is by the great Annie Leibovitz:

I came upon this video of Cyndi describing how the cover photo was selected:

The entire She’s So Unusual album is not on YouTube so here are the aforementioned hits:


The Fixer

I’ve written about Michael Cohen before. He was malaka of the week in July, 2015 because of an incident involving Trump’s first ex-wife Ivanka. At that point, I viewed him as a peripheral player in Trump World. In 2018, I think he may be the linchpin to the Insult Comedian’s relationship to dirty Russian and Ukrainian money. Why? He’s Trump’s fixer.

Cohen is currently trying to fix the Trump-Stormy Daniels mishigas. I’m one of the few people who believes that Cohen *may* have paid off the porn star girlfriend with his own money. But I don’t believe that he mortgaged his house to do it. Cohen allegedly owns an apartment building in New York City for which he paid $55 million. Does that sound like a cash strapped guy to you? I think he’s working a future jury pool by posing as a working class lawyer. It’s a lie but what else would you expect from Trump’s fixer?

Here’s the reason I think Cohen might have paid hush money to Stephanie Clifford. He wants to impress and/or pay tribute to the boss. His relationship to Don Donaldo Il Comico Insulto is akin to a Mafia wise guy-don relationship. That’s why I’ve paired him with Soprano family consigliere Silvio Dante. It’s easy to imagine Silvio or one of the capos paying off someone for Tony. Once again life imitates The Sopranos.

The Sopranos analogy breaks down because Tony was *sometimes* loyal to his crew and might have even paid his fixer back. Trump is legendary for disloyalty and refusing to repay debts. That’s right, Don Donaldo is worse than Tony Soprano.

The last word goes to Pearl Jam, not the E Street Band. Sorry, Little Steven.


Quote Of The Day: Lost Cause Monuments Edition

Photograph via CBS News.

60 Minutes had a doubleheader last night. I used to be a devoted viewer until the Lara Logan fiasco and the addition of the dread Oprah to the roster. That’s neither here not there: they still do some fine work.

Anderson Cooper did a segment about the monuments controversy covering both New Orleans and Richmond, VA. Outgoing Mayor Mitch Landrieu got off several good lines. This was the money quote:

Anderson Cooper: You look at these monuments. You wouldn’t know the Confederacy lost.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu: Well, that was the whole point. The whole point was to convince people that actually they won, and even in their defeat, it was a noble cause. And of course, the whole point of this is to– is to confront history. I mean, this wasn’t an LSU-Alabama football game where it didn’t matter who won and lost, and you just got braggin’ rights. I mean, we were talkin’ about millions of people enslaved, 600,000 American citizens were killed, and they were trying to destroy the country.

I have mixed feelings about the second Landrieu mayoralty (the first was his father’s run from 1970-1978) but his handling of monuments issue was a high point. The removal of the massive Lee statute was a particular triumph as it loomed over the city. Lee and his ilk did not fight for a noble cause, they were traitors pure and simple.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Heart Of Gold

Tree Of Life by Gustav Klimt.

The weather is playing tricks on us. We’re having February weather in March. That’s fine with me. It beats the hell out of an early New Orleans summer. But the cool temperatures have brought the pollen that torments me in the Spring. Achoo.

In local news, the Mississippi River is on the rise, so it’s time to open the Bonnet Carre Spillway to divert river water into Lake Pontchartrain to prevent flooding. It has me pondering the way folks in South Louisiana pronounce French words. We’re usually off but as not badly as with the Spillway: the local media insist on saying Bonny Carry. That sounds like a blue-haired old lady up river in Duluth. It drives me nuts, y’all. I feel like taking a stroll up Charters (Chartres) Street.

This week’s theme songs are inspired by the layers of golden pollen that are everywhere in Uptown New Orleans. Achoo. Neil Young’s Heart Of Gold was the first of many sonic departures he was to take in his career. It worked: it was Neil’s first big solo hit.

Ray Davies has told two stories about the Kinks’ Heart Of Gold. One is that it was inspired by the birth of his daughter. The other story is that it was inspired by Princess Ann telling some photographers to “naff off.” Only Ray knows for sure. If you asked him, I suspect he’d come up with a third story.

I love Ray’s chorus:

Underneath that rude exterior,
There’s got to be a heart of gold.
Underneath that hard exterior,
Is a little girl waiting to be told,
You’ve got a heart of gold.
She’s got a heart of gold.

Let’s take our rude and hard exteriors and jump to the break. “Watch out, don’t get caught in the crossfire.”

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The Dotard & The Dictator

I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry over the news that Trump and Kim Jong Un may meet. It beats the hell out of a nuclear exchange, but we seem to be giving the diminutive third generation communist dictator what his family has always wanted without getting anything in return. So much for the art of deal.

The Insult Comedian probably thinks he can “win” any negotiation whereas I fear his ignorance. The State Department’s top Korea expert just retired so who, if anyone, is Trump asking for advice? I’d almost prefer a return to the days of Wormplomacy. Rodman knows what he doesn’t know. This president* doesn’t know shit from shineola but thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room. Oy, just oy.

It’s a good thing Trump doesn’t drink since soju might be on the agenda. Here’s how Charlie Pierce describes that lethal Korean beverage:

An aside: during my brief time in South Korea in 1988, I had an encounter with soju, a kind of high-intensity Korean poitin. If these cats were drinking soju by the bottle, it’s a wonder that they all didn’t get up on the tables and dance 60-odd years of hostility away.

My friend Clay turned me on to soju. It could be rocket fuel for Rocket Man for all we know.

The Dotard and the Dictator in the same room. What could possibly go wrong? Everything.

Friday Catblogging: On The Case

The original Della Street and Paul Drake worked a different kind of case. A case of water was all we had.

You Beto You Bet

Texas is a white whale for Democrats and I refuse to play Captain Ahab. I have some friends who are enthusiastic, nay giddy, about El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s challenge to Tailgunner Ted Cruz. As a firm believer in the 50-state strategy, I’m pulling for him but it’s an uphill struggle since Cruz is taking nothing for granted. It’s apt to be one of the most entertaining races in the country, especially since Beto is such a punworthy name.

Team Cruz has fired the opening salvo in its general election campaign. They’re out to Beto their opponent into submission with a radio ad, which informs us to a country Beto that you “if you’re gonna run in Texas, you can’t be a liberal man.”

The ad implies that O’Rourke adopted the nickname to pander to gun-grabbers and illegal aliens since Beto is a Hispanic nickname for Robert, which is the candidate’s given name. Without missing a Beto, the congressman told CNN that he was called Beto since he was a wee laddie as you can see from this tweet:

I hope he’s learned how to tie his shoes…

This tempest in a Texas sized teacup is, of course, ridiculous since Rafael Edward Cruz goes by the nickname of Ted. I guess the point of this stupid ad is to show that real men and/or manly conservatives don’t have nicknames or some such shit. If that’s so, I call bullshit on Cruz who has been a profile in political cowardice since he caved to the Trumpers. Like most wingnuts, Cruz is a fake he-man who is terrified of the Republican base and Trumpy.

The whole thing is extra-ridiculous because it clashes with two myths beloved by Texas right-wingers: the Alamo and John Wayne. The two myths converged in the bad 1960 movie directed by the Duke who played Davy  Crockett:

Just think, we’ve gone from a movie star with a dead raccoon atop his head to a reality teevee star with a dead nutria atop his head. So much for progress.

Country music has long been used by Texas politicians back to the days of Pass The Biscuits Pappy O’Daniel who was elected Governor in 1939 and Senator in 1941. Are you ready for a biscuity hoe-down?

If the Cruzites want to get really vicious, they could adapt a Kinky Friedman classic and use it against Beto O’Rourke:

The downside is that the Kinkster, who ran for Governor against Rick Perry in 2006, is unlikely to give them permission to use his tune. Besides, the real asshole in the race is Tailgunner Ted.

Whatever happens, the Texas Senate race will be a real barn burner. (Uh oh, I’m showing signs of John Neely Kennedy fake hick syndrome.) I’m sure I’ll write about it again since I have only begun to pun. The last word goes to (who else?) The Who:

No Country For Creepy Old Men

Image by Caitrin Muldoon Gladow.

Gret Stet Senator John Neely Kennedy fancies himself something of a peckerwood Oscar Wilde. Neely was asked a what if question because of the Stephanie Clifford/Stormy Daniels versus Donald Trump/David Dennison brouhaha. Neely stepped into a steaming pile of political shit and immediately put his foot in his mouth:

Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.), whose pithy comments have made him a favorite among congressional reporters, was tight-lipped Wednesday when asked how Republicans would have reacted if President Barack Obama was accused of having had an affair with a porn star.

“I don’t know,” Kennedy said before offering up a blanket condemnation of sexual harassment. “That’s the way I feel about it. This is no country for creepy old men.”

After starting to walk away, Kennedy quickly turned back to a reporter with an urgent clarification: His comments were not intended to reflect poorly on President Trump.

So, the clarification is that the Insult Comedian is a dirty old man?

Neely just discovered that it’s not always good to be a font of Hee-Haw style hick wisdom. Given how red the Gret Stet of Louisiana is nowadays, Neely might flee reporters the next time they want a quote about presidential* hijinks. Nah, you can’t teach an old, creepy fake hick new tricks.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Paul Rader

Paul Rader was an illustrator who had a long and prolific career in the world of pulp fiction. Here are four covers he did for Midwood books.

Malaka Of The Week: Sam Nunberg

Former Trump adviser and Roger Stone protegé Sam Nunberg had a manic Monday. I’m uncertain if it was performance art, an emotional meltdown or both, but it was a spectacular spectacle. And that is why Sam Nunberg is malaka of the week.

Nunberg worked for Trump for five years. He was ousted when the dread Corey Lewandowski became campaign manager. Nunberg blames Lewandowski and Hope Hicks for drawing attention to a bigoted tweet that proved to be his undoing. Ironic, innit? Half of the Insult Comedian’s tweets are bigoted and he won the electoral college. It’s good to be quasi king.

A subpoena from Team Mueller triggered Nunberg’s epic meltdown/publicity stunt. He did four, count ’em four, cable news interviews: two with CNN and MSNBC each. The craziest of the bunch was the one he did with Ari Melber on The Beat. The beat did indeed go on and on and on and on as did Nunberg.

Nunberg spent the segment asking for legal advice and bragging about how he planned to defy the subpoena because he didn’t have time to comply. Additionally, he called Trump stupid and the “most disloyal person you’ll ever meet.” My favorite bit was when he told Sarah Huckabee Sanders to shut up. The entire White House press corps has wanted to do so but have bit their collective tongues until they bled.

Despite the attacks, I wonder if Nunberg was trying to impress the president* with his brash bluster and bravado. The more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s method to Nunberg’s malakatude, not madness. That’s what New York Magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi and the Atlantic’s McKay  Coppins think and they know him better that the twitteratti. Here’s what the man with the Dickensian name wrote about Nunberg Monday:

But as anyone who’s known Nunberg for a while can attest, his behavior Monday doesn’t necessarily require special explanation. He’s been pulling stunts like this for years—this is just the first time he’s gotten the kind of audience he’s always craved.

I think that’s right. It was a tabloid stunt worthy of the Real Housewives of New Jersey. It’s just a pity that Nunberg didn’t flip a table: he might have gotten a rise out of CNN’s Jake Tapper or Erin Burnett. The latter insisted Nunberg had boozy breath, which wouldn’t surprise me in the least. He denied it, but who believes anything he says?

In the end, Nunberg appears ready to comply after his enormous meltdown/publicity stunt. Wise choice: Bobby Three Sticks will insist. I’m sure Numberg impressed Roger Stone, which doubtless was one of his goals. And that is why Sam Nunberg is malaka of the week.

The Nunbergian stunt gave me an earworm. He’ll have to comply with the subpoena or go to jail. They’ll give him no choice in the matter. The last word goes to Aimee Mann:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Lonesome Echo

The full title of this 1955 LP is Jackie Gleason Presents Lonesome Echo. In addition to his considerable talents as a comic actor, Gleason fancied himself a conductor but not of snooty long hair music. Lonesome Echo is what the Great One called mood music, I’d call it elevator music but it sold well.

The most interesting thing about Lonesome Echo is that the cover art is by Salvador Dali who was a friend of Gleason’s. Here’s how the Catalonian surrealist described the cover in the liner notes:

“The first effect is that of anguish, of space, and of solitude. Secondly, the fragility of the wings of a butterfly, projecting long shadows of late afternoon, reverberates in the landscape like an echo. The feminine element, distant and isolated, forms a perfect triangle with the musical instrument and its other echo, the shell.”

How sweet it is.

Not only did Dali do the cover, he’s on the back cover shaking Jackie’s hand.

And away we go:

The album itself could be prescribed as cure for insomnia. It’s a real snoozer:

That’s Why I Call Him The Kaiser Of Chaos

The word of the week in the MSM was chaos. I’ve been calling Trump the Kaiser of Chaos since last July so I guess I’m ahead of the curve. It’s not much to brag about given how many pundits and news writers are still waiting for the president* to grow in office or pivot. He shows no signs of either and seems to be shrinking the office’s stature, especially in foreign affairs.

Last week, the Kaiser of Chaos declared a trade war on steel producers thinking it was against China when it would impact friendly countries such as Germany and Australia. He also see-sawed between pro-gun control lawmakers and the NRA. It’s classic Trump: he sides with the last person he speaks to and the NRA’s lobbyist was there last. It continues to amaze me that he has an image as a tough guy when he caves at the slightest opposition from his party or the interest groups who finance it. It reminds me of an old baseball aphorism I first learned in Jim Bouton’s Ball Four: He’s has an alligator mouth and a hummingbird ass.

It was also the week that extent of Slumlord Jared Kushner’s corruption went public. Bigly. While I’m not shocked that he’s used his proximity to the president* to save his financial ass, the blatancy of these efforts surprised me. The Javanka-Kelly war was another thing that led the MSM to call chaos on Team Trump. It looks as if the kids may be losing to the asshole Marine general. I think it helps that Kelly is as big of a bigot as the boss. Believe me.

Trump spoke at the Gridiron dinner in Washington last weekend. He trotted out his Insult Comedian persona but stepped on the jokes with lame, incoherent ad-libs. Here’s one about outgoing New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu:

“And I know Mayor Mitch Landrieu feels right at home in Washington coming from Louisiana. I love Louisiana. … Not too bad right? Not bad Mitch! … It’s a beautiful swamp. I like that swamp. … That’s a much more legitimate swamp. But I have to say Mitch, that while you’re here in Washington, only one request. … They already hit him on the statues. I was going to say, ‘Don’t touch our statues.’ But they’ve already hit you three times on the statues. … But Mitch you did a good job tonight and honestly I love the way you finished. … I really did. I thought it was very appropriate. … Thank you.”

A swamp and statue joke from the leading swamp thing in Washington? Draining the swamp seems to be the ultimate lost cause.

A note on my use of the word Kaiser. It started back in the days of my eponymous blog. Then New Orleans Mayor C Ray Nagin had just appointed a windbag named Ed Blakely as recovery director. The local press insisted on calling him the Katrina Tsar. I offered Katrina Kaiser as a more alliterative alternative but it never caught on. That’s when my war on the word Tsar began It’s been a losing battle but I’ve enjoyed pointing out that Tsar and Kaiser are both rooted in Caesar. And both the last Tsar and Kaiser were world-class incompetents and losers. One of them, however, survived to a cranky old age in the Netherlands. I wonder if the Kaiser of Chaos has a golf course there?

Finally, I had some fun with the featured image. On one side, the Kaiser of Chaos with a dead nutria pelt atop his head. On the other side, Kaiser Wilhelm II with a pickelhaube atop his head and a dead animal pelt serving as a furry sash of sorts. Kaisers are kooky in a way that Tsars never are.