Category Archives: Adrastos

Decoration Day

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. It was created in 1868 by a Union veterans’ group. They urged survivors of the fallen to decorate their graves on that day. Decoration Day did not morph into a way to reunite the opposing sides in the War of the Rebellion until after the end of Reconstruction.

You may have noticed that I’m an originalist on what to call the Civil War. In the Northern states it was called the War of the Rebellion. If Lost Causers can call it the War Between The States, I can use its Unionist name.

I was pleased to find a featured image that captured the original spirit of the holiday. Post-Reconstruction imagery often featured Grant and Lee shaking hands in front of entangled flags: the stars and stripes and the stars and bars. Forgotten were the reasons for the War of the Rebellion: the preservation of slavery and white supremacy. Such imagery troubled General/President Grant as well: as president he supported racial equality and civil rights. The South lost the war but won the historical battle.

Since I’ve been accused of “politicizing” the holiday by some online trolls, let’s go there again. President* Pennywise has desecrated the holiday by attacking Democratic North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper during what was supposed to be a Memorial Day address. The Governor is understandably nervous about the Republicans gathering in Charlotte for their convention. The Impeached Insult Comedian is livid that a mere Governor is raining on his parade. How about decorating his mouth by stuffing a Confederate flag therein? There were good people on both sides, after all.

The last word goes to Jason Isbell:

Memorial Day: Who I Remember

Memorial Day should be a solemn and somber holiday as we’re honoring those who served in the military during wartime, especially those who paid the ultimate price. The nature of this holiday is often honored in breach by those who crowd the beaches and parks. In ordinary times, that’s merely annoying. These are not ordinary times; in 2020, it’s infuriating.

Memorial Day 2020 is beyond somber, it’s downright grim. We’re approaching a macabre milestone: the 100,000 death from the novel coronavirus, which was memorably noted in Sunday’s New York Times. Two stories captured my attention this morning as I scanned the digital edition of the Gray Lady. The first is about how our monstrously mendacious president* went golfing this weekend as the country suffers from his misrule. He has yet to express sympathy for those who have lost loved ones to the pandemic; not even on his beloved Twitter. Mourner-in-Chief has long been part of the job description but he’s incapable of even paying lip service to the dead. In a word: monstrous. That’s why I call him President* Pennywise.

The second story is about the pandemic’s toll on Holyoke Home for Soldiers in Massachusetts.

Of the 210 veterans who were living in the facility in late March, 89 are now dead, 74 having tested positive for the virus. Almost three-quarters of the veterans inside were infected. It is one of the highest death tolls of any end-of-life facility in the country.

This is a gut punch of a story, reminding us of how hollow the nation’s commitment to our veterans often is. Meanwhile President* Pennywise golfs and tweets; oblivious to the grim milestone noted by the NYT. He is incapable of even feigning empathy with the survivors of those who have died due to his grotesque incompetence. It didn’t have to be this bad and the buck stops in the Oval Office. In a word: infuriating.

We return to our regularly scheduled annual programming, but I would have been remiss in not mentioning our current national tragedy on this most solemn of holidays:

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

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

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

Soldier Boy

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday Odds & Sods: Shapes Of Things

Abstraction by Rolph Scarlett.

I don’t have a helluva lot to add to what I said as the 13th Ward Rambler earlier this week. I’m still keeping my head down during the lockdown. We’ve had a few front porch visitors, which breaks the monotony and allows Paul Drake to make goo-goo eyes at company and get his nose prints all over the lower glass panes of our front door.

This week’s theme song was written by Paul Samwell-Smith, Keith Relf, and Jim McCarty in 1966 and represented a  sonic breakthrough for The Yardbirds. The tune’s Wikipedia entry is absurdly detailed and argues that Jeff Beck should have received a songwriting credit as well. It’s okay: Beck assumed de facto ownership of the song after recording it with The Jeff Beck Group on 1968’s Truth album.

We have three versions of Shapes Of Things for your listening pleasure: the Yardbirds original, the Jeff Beck Group, and David Bowie from Pin-Ups. They’re all shapely and thingy:

Now that we’ve shaped things and contemplated Jeff Beck’s guitar virtuosity, let’s jump to the break.

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Friday Cocktail Hour: John Barleycorn

Let’s cross the pond for some bibulous folk music. Rumor has it that the Brits like to tipple even with all the pubs closed. At least I hope they’re still closed. I know some Thatcherites are getting antsy. Freedom, man.

We’re going to keep it simple this week and post multiple versions of the same song. It’s known as both John Barleycorn and John Barleycorn Must Die.

In case you’re wondering who the hell John Barleycorn is:

The character of John Barleycorn in the song is a personification of the important cereal crop barley and of the alcoholic beverages made from it, beer and whisky. In the song, John Barleycorn is represented as suffering indignities, attacks and death that correspond to the various stages of barley cultivation, such as reaping and malting.

It’s hard to be a metaphor but John Barleycorn has borne it with grace for centuries.

We begin with two of the finest recent practitioners of traditional folk music, Martin Carthy, and the late Dave Swarbrick:

Martin Carthy is one of the leading members of the Waterson-Carthy family. It has various branches and tributaries including his wife Norma Waterson and his fiddler daughter, Eliza Carthy. The next bit of Barleycorn comes from the Imagined Village album and features Paul Weller along with the odd Carthy and a more modern sound starting with the second verse:

Up next, a John Barleycorn I’d never heard until today. It’s a typically tricky Tull arrangement featuring the Greek singer George Dalaras:

John Barleycorn sung with a Greek accent? Now I’ve heard everything.

Finally, you didn’t think I’d skip the Traffic version, did you? It was the first rendition of John Barleycorn I heard as a wee laddie:

The last word goes to cartoon Frank, Dino, and Sammy:

Headline Of The Day: GOP Sycophancy Edition

I awoke this morning feeling unproductive. It may have had something to with the 32 ounces of frozen margarita I imbibed last night. To paraphrase an old beer ad: Great taste, not so great feeling. Whiskey and beer are my jam, not tequila.

Shorter Adrastos, I’m feeling unproductive this morning. Did I say that already?

I may rally before the Friday Cocktail Hour but Charlie Pierce has bailed me out with this headline:

Ron Desantis’s Devotion To Trump Makes Brian Kemp Look Like Adam Schiff.

Both Florida and Georgia have governors who won close races against African American opponents. Kemp was helped by some good old-fashioned voter suppression and his refusal to resign as Secretary of State during the campaign

Neither DeSantis nor Kemp would have won without Trump’s support. Hence their endless sycophancy. They’ve both fiddled with the books to minimize the impact of the pandemic in their states. So much for the latest iteration of the New South. To paraphrase, H.L. Mencken: it’s the Sahara of the Trumper Bozart.

This tweet from the peerless Mr. Pierce set NOLA Twitter ablaze but left me nonplussed:

Been there, done that with Buy Us Back, Chirac. Pick up the phone, Macron doesn’t have the same ring to it.

The last word goes to The Champs:

Friday Guest Catblogging: Brother Louie

Little Buddy is a repeat offender. I’d like to introduce his canine brother, Louie. They appear to be giving their human, Kyle, the evil eye. He’s a drummer so he probably had it coming.

This one’s for the pooch:

Home Is Where The Heart Is

In this edition of Songs For The Pandemic, we focus on the home front. One home in particular, mine. It’s Dr A and my anniversary today. I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather be home bound with.  As Maybe Cousin Telly would surely say at this point:

That brings me to today’s music. Songs about home: being there, going there, losing your way, and finding your way home.

Our first selection comes from our friends in Fairport Convention. I say friends because Dr A and I met them on our grand English music tour in 2007 and they’re all nicer than nice:

While we’re on the subject of hearts and home, a tune from a former Fairporter or is that ex-Conventioneer?

Can you handle another Winwood song? Just lose yourself in the music:

After wandering about, it’s time to head home.

When you finally return home, it’s time to proclaim: This Must Be The Place:

Bayou Brief: The Age Of Uncertainty

My latest column for the Bayou Brief went live at 11 AM yesterday. I’m trying to make the time and day, Wednesday, a bi-weekly thing. Regularity in regular features floats my boat. Oops, that sounded like a laxative commercial or some such shit. I should flush that paragraph, but I won’t. I don’t want to bring on another toilet paper apocalypse…

I had a lot of fun writing The Age Of Uncertainty. There’s even a vaguely amusing story about the writing process. I had a notion that I wanted to write about masks, reopening, and pandemic politics BUT I didn’t have a theme to tie everything together in a wordy bundle. The idea of stealing a Galbraith title came to me in a moment of wakefulness at 3 AM on Sunday morning. Sometimes insomnia can come in handy.

I spend some time in the column pondering the masking of America:

An important part of making phase-1 work is a willingness to wear a mask in public. I understand why people dislike masking. I have a size 8 head, which makes it difficult to find a mask that fits. Additionally, I’m almost as blind as a bloody bat and I’ve had a problem with my glasses fogging up while masked. It’s a pain but it’s imperative to protect others from your germs. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to keep my germs to myself and for you to do likewise. It’s one reason I’m staying in my Bat Cave for the time being.

It’s all part of being a grown-up. You gotta do what you need to do, not what you wanna do. What I wanna do is post a Graham Parker song with mask in the title:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Border Lord

I usually avoid posting “bodice ripping” romance novel covers. The one on the left, however, has a ripping good tagline: “A saucy wench defies her king for love.” Red sauce or white?

Open

I’m skeptical about the efforts to “reopen” the economy. Why is it always the economy, not parks or schools? Oh yeah, money.

For your listening pleasure, we have three songs with open in the title. None were hits but I like them. Maybe you will too. The titles get longer as the post goes on. Do you detect a pattern or just patter?

First, Squeeze goes to church; a wedding to be exact. That’s right, a Difford and Tilbrook gospel song:

Next up is the title track of the worst album Yes ever recorded but what a title track. It features swell harmonies from Anderson, Squire, and Sherwood as well as typically stellar bass work by Chris Squire:

Finally, some fusion era jazz from the great Flora Purim featuring another great bass player, Alphonso Johnson:

The Age Of Overkill

It’s hard to know where to start some days. There’s so much happening that my mind reels like the drunk monkey in the ancient koan. Overkill is the koan of the realm in 2020. Pun intended; it always is.

It should come as no surprise that there’s rot at the core of the federal government. The Impeached Insult Comedian has been on a firing bender of late. A sinister one indeed: he’s been firing Inspectors General. They’re the ones in charge of keeping the various departments on the straight and narrow. That’s impossible during the Trump regime. Straight is out, crooked is in. It’s the age of overkill, after all.

The most worrisome of the firings is at the State Department where Mike Pompeo was being investigated for various abuses of power including turning his staff into servants. Inspectors Generals frown on civil servants walking their bosses’ dog. They’re only supposed to walk government dogs but since they don’t exist, dog walking is out.

I wonder if anyone in Trumpistan is literate enough to be familiar with Nikolai Gogol’s satirical play The Inspector General aka The Government Inspector. It mocked corrupt provincial officials in Tsarist Russia. In 1949, Hollywood reduced Gogol’s biting satire to imbecilic farce. Imbecilic farce certainly describes the Trump regime’s bumbling response to COVID-19. Make that deadly imbecilic farce.

Notice Danny Kaye’s orange skin in the poster below. I hesitate to make a Trump comparison since Kaye was a leading Hollywood liberal. Besides, he had much better hair than the Kaiser of Chaos:

Back to Gogol. Perhaps Mike Flynn discussed him in one of his many conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. You know, the ones he lied about to protect himself and President* Pennywise.

In other news, Trump has been making outlandish and untrue statements on a daily basis. No surprise there: he’s the personification of overkill, after all. He gave a whole new meaning to the term American exceptionalism with this deeply stupid remark:

When we have a lot of cases, I don’t look at that as a bad thing — I look at that in a certain respect as being a good thing because it means our testing is much better. … So I view it as a badge of honor, really.

Really? A badge of honor? The only good thing about this loony remark is that it gives me an excuse to post this:

Where is my badge? Indeed, sir.

You’ve surely heard the Trumpian claim that he’s taking hydroxychloroquine to keep the coronavirus at bay. He’s lying, deeply stupid or both. Given what Nancy Smash called his “morbid obesity,” I wonder if he’s ingesting these instead:

It’s hard to top that sight gag. Attempting to do so would be overkill.

The last word goes to Men At Work and Colin Hay with two versions of an insomnia song I forgot to post last week:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Little Games

I’ve had The Yardbirds on my mind since my friend Sam Jasper posed a trivia question about them on the Tweeter Tube. Here’s the question Jeopardy-style: Who are Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page?

Little Games is the fourth and final album recorded by the original band. Jimmy Page stepped forward as the sole lead guitar player but there was sonic confusion. The Yardbirds were evolving into a proto-Jam band live. This album was produced by Mickey Most who was best known for producing acts such as Herman and the Hermits. The result is something of a musical mess. So it goes.

As you know, I’m inordinately fond of psychedelic covers even when, as in this case, they don’t reflect the music.

Here’s the whole damn album:

Many A Mile To Freedom

Who knew one could be slammed while hunkering down at home? That’s where I find myself today. I’m working on a fairly tricky 13th Ward Rambler Column for the Bayou Brief and helping Dr. A research a new iPhone. Her current phone goes down to nothing when she does anything elaborate so it’s time for a change. I blame PD since it’s often caused by photographing that four-legged prima donna.

I did some good work at First Draft last week but one post hasn’t gotten quite as much love as the others. It’s feeling needy. If you haven’t already read it, check out Conspiracy Of Cretins, not Cretans, I like the latter.

On with today’s entry in our Songs For The Pandemic series. Every time we hear some Trumper whine about losing their liberties to the lockdown, Dr A and I say, “Freedom, man.” Those knuckleheads are among the cretins referred to above. Oy, just oy.

I had already planed to use one of Steve Winwood’s most underrated Traffic tunes, Many A Mile To Freedom, as a reminder that this shit is going to be around for awhile. Patience is in order.Then it occurred to me that Winwood has recorded two other outstanding songs with the word freedom in the title. Freedom, man.

I give you Steve Winwood’s Freedom Song Cycle. Here we go:

Since we’re glad to be free, I couldn’t resist posting the first two tracks from John Barleycorn Must Die. They belong together. Freedom, man.

I thought of this next song while watching Governor Whitmer deal with armed cretins in Michigan. Freedom, man.

Freedom, man.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Drift Away

The Sleeping Girl by Pablo Picasso

Summer is slowly but surely returning to New Orleans. The first two weeks of May were blissfully temperate but summer’s cauldron has begun to boil. It’s unclear if it’s a Pepper Pot but you never can tell.

We had a serious thunderstorm in the wee small hours of Friday morning. I originally planned to put PD’s big ass box out with the trash but thought better of it. I wish I could claim second sight but I’m glad I didn’t have to scoop wet cardboard off the grass.

I did not know until googling information about this week’s theme song that Mentor Williams was Paul Williams’ kid brother. It’s unclear if Paul mentored Mentor in the songwriter’s craft but the older brother never wrote a song as good as Drift Away. Mentor W wrote it in 1970 and after several misfires it became a monster hit for Dobie Gray in the summer of 1973. One couldn’t escape its refrain:

“Oh, give me the beat, boys, and free my soul.
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away.”

We have two versions of Drift Away for your listening pleasure by Dobie Gray and my 13th Ward homies the Neville Brothers.

I know there was a hit version of the song in 2002. I refuse to post a video by anyone who spells cracker with a K. Take that, Uncle Kracker.

Let’s pay a visit to Disambiguation City with the Kinks hard rocking, Drift Away. It sounds nothing like Mentor W’s song but it’s a classic in its own right.

I hope your attention isn’t drifting away. If it is, the time is right to jump to the break.

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Friday Cocktail Hour: I Ain’t Drunk

We made it through another week more or less in one piece. Some New Orleans businesses are dipping their toes into the reopening. I’ll be on the inactive list until phase 2. I may not have the Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues but I’m cautious.

The Friday cocktail hour has arrived. We have three toe-tapping tippling tunes for your listening pleasure.

First, Albert Collins Ain’t Drunk, he’s just drinking. Thanks for clarifying that Iceman. This song is hot enough to melt your ice cubes.

This is in the nature of a rejoinder to the happy drunk in the first tune. The songs have one thing in common: a great guitarist. In this case, Robin Trower.

Finally, a song from Van Morrison’s Marin County period:

Cheers. Bottons up.

The last word goes to the Cartoon Rat Pack.

Conspiracy Of Cretins

Image by Michael F.

Conspiracies *do* exist. Unlike some people, I don’t see them everywhere. Conspiracy theorists such as Alex Jones use them to explain things they hate and fear. If I were one, I’d try explaining Alex Jones, but I don’t want to fly a false flag whatever the hell that means.

Conspiracy theories used to be disseminated slowly by word of mouth, pamphlets, and books. Occasionally, a Mark Lane would pop up on a teevee talk show to share his theories about the Kennedy assassination. Lane was a higher class of conspiracy theorist but kept some odd company. A side note: I met Mark Lane when I was a French Quarter shopkeeper. He was very nice and did not have crazy eyes. As far as I recall, he waved no flags; false or otherwise.

The advent of the internet and social media have made the wackier conspiracy theories more easily available and harder to refute. If it’s on the internet, it must be true, right? Wrong.

In 2020, conspiracy theorists are everywhere; waving false flags and spreading disinformation. Among the leading conspiracy theorists is the temporary occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Donald Trump.

Spreading fear and disinformation suits Trump’s political needs. It’s unclear if he believes the nonsense that comes out of his big fat bazoo, but it serves his political purposes. Fear is the key to what passes for his strategy. That’s why I call him President* Pennywise.

As I said when I introduced the nickname last summer:

Pennywise the evil clown (is there any other kind?) thrives on fear. He gets stronger the more he fearmongers. It’s what emboldens him to get out of the gutter and come into the open. The Insult Comedian never leaves the gutter BUT he too thrives on fear. That’s why I mock him: he feeds off our fear and recoils from our scorn. President* Pennywise is a pussy. He should grab himself.

Trump’s cooked up his latest conspiracy theory to distract attention from his administration’s disastrous pandemic response. He calls it Obamagate but it makes no sense whatsoever as Slate’s Jeremy Stahl explained at length and Vanity Fair’s Gabe Sherman summed up with surgical concision:

That’s why I call it a Conspiracy of Cretins. Only an idiot would believe the smoke currently emanating from the fever swamps of Trumpistan. Barack Obama’s latest offense was criticizing the Barr-Flynn affair. His real offense is to be everything that Trump is not: intelligent, articulate, and handsome. Did I mention that he’s black? Birtherism was Trump’s initial foray into the conspiracy theory game. That racist nonsense helped elect him. Heaven help us.

There’s a long tradition of blaming the other guy for the country’s woes. After the War of the Rebellion, Republicans “waved the bloody flag” as they blamed Democrats for everything. When I came of political consciousness, Democrats were still blaming Herbert Hoover for everything. The Republicans turned the name Jimmy Carter into a catch-all insult. Both Hoover and Carter were poor presidents but not as bad as painted by their enemies. As the late Gret Stet Senator Russell Long was fond of saying:

President* Pennywise has taken the blame game to a new level. His attempts to destroy his predecessor’s legacy led directly to the Trump Regime’s epic pandemic fail and the deaths of 87K Americans thus far. That’s Trump’s legacy: Transforming the country into a vast charnel house. Heckuva job, Trumpy.

People believe what they want to believe. Their capacity for self-deception and delusion seems infinite. That gives conspiracy theorists an eager audience for their hateful nonsense. That’s why I called this post Conspiracy of Cretins.

The last word goes to Chris Squire & Billy Sherwood’s Conspiracy:

Quote Of The Day: Howard Stern On Trumpers

Stern-Trump mashup via New York Magazine.

I don’t listen to talk radio so my exposure to Howard Stern has been somewhat limited over the years. I am, however, aware that the Impeached Insult Comedian used to bloviate on Stern’s show. Stern considers Trump a good radio guest and a terrible president*.

One thing Stern and Trump have in common is a penchant for crude sexist humor. Hence the featured image mashup. Much to Donald’s chagrin, Howard has better hair.

I stumbled onto an interesting piece in the New York Dauly News. In it, Stern tells the world that Trump hates his supporters. Here’s the money quote:

“The oddity in all of this is the people Trump despises most, love him the most. The people who are voting for Trump for the most part… he wouldn’t even let them in a fucking hotel. He’d be disgusted by them. Go to Mar-a-Lago, see if there’s any people who look like you. I’m talking to you in the audience.”

I undeleted the expletive the NYDN deleted. It wouldn’t be a Howard Stern quote without an F-bomb, now would it? Fuck, no.

One more quote:

“One thing Donald loves is celebrities, he loves the famous,” Stern said on his SiriusXM show Tuesday. “He loves it. He loves to be in the mix.”

You know what that makes President* Pennywise? A Starfucker:

I’m forever undeleting expletives deleted. It’s delightful, it’s delirious, it’s de-lovely.  In an effort to lower the testosterone level of this post, the last word goes to Anita O’Day:

Friday Catblogging: Big Box Boy

A big ass box took up residence in our living room for a few days. Paul Drake turned it into his new home. Anyone surprised? I thought not.

I’m Only Sleeping

I had another bout of insomnia last night. That’s a roundabout way of saying I lost the battle. That allows me to sneak a Yes reference into this post in a roundabout way. That’s a lose-win proposition in my book. Yawn.

We began our week of sleep songs with a Beatles tune. It’s appropriate to finish in the same power poppy manner. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yawn, yawn, yawn.

The opening lines of I’m Only Sleeping reflect how I felt when I awoke at 3:30 this morning, “When I wake up early in the morning. Lift my head, I’m still yawning.”

The tone of the song is cautiously optimistic. It embraces sleep and I need some. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yawn, yawn, yawn.

We have two versions of I’m Only Sleeping: the original and a cover by the great Rosanne Cash:

We have two more musical selections in this edition of Insomniac Theatre. First, wistfulness from Richard Manuel and The Band, followed by some no fucks to give bravado by Warren Zevon. It’s what WZ did best.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yawn, yawn, yawn.

The Flynn Case: Shit Gets Even Weirder

I predicted that Judge Emmet Sullivan wasn’t going to take the Flynn dismissal motion lying down. BUT I didn’t expect him to appoint a noted former federal prosecutor and judge to act as a special master. That’s some special and masterfully weird shit:

While judges do sometimes appoint such third parties to represent an interest they feel is not being heard in a case, Judge Sullivan’s move was highly unusual, said Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches criminal law at Duke University.

Judge Sullivan, he said, is essentially bringing in an outsider to represent the point of view of the original prosecutors, who believed Mr. Flynn had committed a crime before Mr. Barr intervened and essentially replaced them with a prosecutor willing to say he had not.

“This is extraordinary for the judge to appoint somebody to argue against a prosecutors’ motion to dismiss a criminal case,” Mr. Buell said. “But it’s extraordinary for a prosecutor to move to dismiss this sort of criminal case.”

And John Gleeson is not an ordinary retired federal judge. He co-authored an op-ed for the WaPo denouncing Barr’s dismissal of the Flynn case. More importantly, Gleeson is the guy that got Gotti. That’s right, he was the lead prosecutor at the trial that stripped the Teflon off the Teflon Don. The man is a bona fide bad ass.

Gleeson’s op-ed is apt to foreshadow the arguments he’ll make as what the Times called an Outsider and I called a Special Master. Tomato, tomahto:

Prosecutors deserve a “presumption of regularity” — the benefit of the doubt that they are acting honestly and following the rules. But when the facts suggest they have abused their power, that presumption fades. If prosecutors attempt to dismiss a well-founded prosecution for impermissible or corrupt reasons, the people would be ill-served if a court blindly approved their dismissal request. The independence of the court protects us all when executive-branch decisions smack of impropriety; it also protects the judiciary itself from becoming a party to corruption.

There has been nothing regular about the department’s effort to dismiss the Flynn case. The record reeks of improper political influence. Hours after the career prosecutor abruptly withdrew, the department moved to dismiss the indictment in a filing signed only by an interim U.S. attorney, a former aide to Attorney General William P. Barr whom Barr had installed in the position months before.

Sorry for that long quote. Consider it a preview of coming attractions. It’s what happens when you violate first rule of litigation: Never piss off the judge. I learned that on my first day of law school. Judge Sullivan is righteously pissed. Hell hath no fury like a federal judge scorned.

I expect the flying monkeys of Trumpistan to rain hellfire on this move by Judge Sullivan. Guess what: he’s out of fucks to give. As for Judge Gleeson, do they really think that mean tweets will bother a man who received death threats from the Mafia? Donald Trump is a fake tough guy; John Gleeson is the real deal.

Repeat after me: Gleeson is the guy that got Gotti.

The last word goes to Rodney Crowell: