Category Archives: Adrastos

After Justice Ginsburg

Krewe of Mishigas Float, 2019. Photo by Dr. A.

The news came on a Friday night. Because of the pandemic, most of us were home. It lit up new media and old, social media and anti-social media. Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died at the age of 87.

This frail-looking and petite woman was so mentally and morally tough that some thought she was immortal. I’ve spent a lot of time around people over 80 in the last decade, so I was not surprised. It was a nearly unparalleled act of will for her survive the sort of major illnesses that would have finished off lesser beings. As depicted by the Krewe du Vieux sub-krewe of Mishigas in 2019, Justice Ginsburg was a fighter,

There have been many marvelous tributes to Justice Ginsburg. Here’s a brief list:

Pierce made an apt comparison between Ginsburg and Thurgood Marshall. As a litigator, Ginsburg followed the trail blazed by Marshall and fought to establish important rights for women. Thurgood Marshall, however, was a reluctant judge. He preferred being on the other side of the courtroom. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was just as distinguished a jurist as an advocate. Those two skills rarely coincide. She was a remarkable person who led an exemplary life both personally and professionally. Above all else, she was a fighter.

While I wish that Justice Ginsburg had retired while Barack Obama was still president, her reasons were based on her experience as a Justice. Each generation of Justices learns a different lesson: Bill Brennan and Thurgood Marshall retired when they did because of the negative example set by Hugo Black and Bill Douglas who stayed on the Court too long. Ruth Bader Ginsburg saw her friend and colleague Sandra Day O’Connor regret her retirement to care for a husband who died while she was still on the court. That was a major turning point as her replacement was Samuel Alito who is an unbending member of the conservative bloc whereas O’Connor was the ultimate swing vote.

We’re on the cusp of another turning point with Justice Ginsburg’s death 46 days before the election. Those of us who admire Justice Ginsburg should follow her example, get off the floor, and fight back. I heard despair and defeatism this weekend. That’s a shitty way to honor a tough old bird like RBG, Dahlia Lithwick said it best:

America has lost a warrior, and it’s OK to be crushed. I am flattened. And I will mourn, because she deserves to be mourned. But we are also facing an almighty battle that will rage in the coming weeks, with attempts to fill her seat in an unseemly and grotesque manner. It will be hard and painful, but if you find yourself feeling hopeless and powerless, then you are emphatically doing it wrong. Because if anyone had a right to say “nah,” it was the woman who couldn’t get a job or a clerkship after graduating at the top of her class. But she pushed on, and then she pushed forward. She stepped into the fight of the phenomenal women who paved the path before, and now, well, it’s time to step into her fight and get it finished. I think the Notorious RBG would have peered owlishly out at all of us tonight and asked what the heck we are waiting for. And I think we can probably honor her best by getting to it.

The confirmation battle is joined. The most cynical man in politics has already discarded the rule bearing his name. The Turtle plans to move a Trump nominee through the Senate. I suspect he’ll do the most cynical thing imaginable and hold the vote in the lame duck session. To do otherwise, would doom the only thing that McConnell cares about as much as SCOTUS, his Senate majority.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham has already flip-flopped on his pledge not to push a nomination through in an election year. Nobody should be surprised. In 2016, Graham called Trump “a kook and a con man” among other ephemeral epithets. Now they’re golfing buddies.

The Democratic minority should announce a concrete and specific Court reform plan. (Don’t call it court packing, that evokes FDR’s failure in 1937-38.)  It should expand the number of Justices to eleven. They should also pledge to abolish the filibuster if a Trump nominee is rammed through. It’s time for it to go.

I saw some despairing tweets that a SCOTUS battle would decide the presidential election in Trump’s favor. Color me skeptical. Conservatives who care about SCOTUS and abortion sold their souls to President* Pennywise long ago. In 2020, it’s more likely to galvanize Democrats. A reminder that the Kavanaugh Mess did NOT turn the 2018 mid-terms in the GOP’s favor. The number that counts is this: 204,122 and counting dead of the novel coronavirus.

Back to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was an inspiring figure who will be missed, especially by the young women she inspired to fight the good fight. Women will decide the 2020 election. My hope is that they will be inspired to keep fighting until Democrats recapture the White House and Senate. Vote like the fate of the Republic depends on it. It does.

The last word goes to RBG’s close friend Nina Totenberg with a tweet for the ages:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Wasted On The Way

Three Musicians by Pablo Picasso.

New Orleans dodged a wet and windy bullet earlier this week. Hurricane Sally dumped two feet of rain in some areas on the Florida-Alabama border. I don’t guilty for being relieved. If I were Poseidon, I’d send all tropical systems out to sea. I do, however, feel bad for folks in the affected areas. They got slammed by that evil bitch Sally. Blow ill wind, blow.

I had put this feature to bed and tucked it in when I learned of Justice Ginsburg’s death. I wish everyone would dial their predictions back. It’s unclear what impact RBG’s death will have on the election. I also wish that those who admire Justice Ginsburg would show more respect for her passing, especially since it’s Rosh Hashanah. There was, however, a moment of unintentional levity when the crowd outside the Supreme Court started singing Amazing Grace. It’s a Christian hymn, y’all. I’ll have more on Ginsburg’s passing on Monday.

In some ways, this week’s theme song matches the featured image. Three Musicians = Crosby, Stills & Nash. Graham Nash wrote Wasted On The Way for CSN’s  1982 Daylight Again album. Eagle Timothy B. Schmitt added harmony vocals making that Four Musicians. So much for the Picasso analogy. Oh well, it was imperfect to begin with.

We have two versions of Wasted On The Way for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a live version without Timothy B. Schmitt. Go, Team Picasso.

Stills’ intro to the live version is poignant. I rarely do poignant but sometimes the mood strikes me.

Before we jump to the break, a Neil Young song from the Buffalo Springfield days:

Holy Wall Of Sound-style production, Batman.

Time to take the plunge. See you on the other side.

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Ill Wind (You’re Blowin’ Me No Good)

This week’s edition is dedicated to those in Alabama and Florida who took it in the chin from Hurricane Sally.

Ill Wind was written in 1934 by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler for The Cotton Club Parade. It’s a sad song with lyrics and a melody that fit our troubled times. It *was* written during the First Great Depression, after all.

We begin with a 1955 version from the patron saint of the Friday Cocktail Hour:

Next up, a late career version from Lady Day featuring some stellar guitar picking by the great Barney Kessell:

Sax great Ben Webster blew on Billie’s Ill Wind, then recorded it the next year:

Lonette McKee performed Ill Wind in the troubled 1984 film, The Cotton Club:

Finally, an appropriately bluesy instrumental interpretation by jazz guitarists Larry Coryell and Emily Remler:

That’s it for this week. Pour yourself a drink and toast those who survived Hurricanes Sally and Laura. It’s what Bogie, Betty, and Frank would want you to do. Never argue with them, y’all.

Abolish The Electoral College

I realize that I’ve said it before and that I’m preaching to the choir but one of things the Biden-Harris administration should do is abolish the electoral college. It’s done nothing but cause mischief in both the 19th Century and early 20th Century.

The electoral college is not only anti-democratic, it focuses candidates on specific often unrepresentative states. Just think of all the times candidates have been obliged to support ethanol subsidies to win votes in Iowa. It even happened to fictional candidates such as Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda) in The West Wing episode King Corn.

The loser of the popular vote has won the electoral vote five times in our history. It didn’t happen for 112 years after Benjamin Harrison lost the popular vote by 90,956 to Grover Cleveland. We all know what happened in 2000 when one of the best qualified candidates in American history, Al Gore, lost the electoral college to a dipshit named George W. Bush. History repeated itself in 2016 when Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2,868,518 against a criminal dipshit named Donald J. Trump.

The Bush-Cheney administration played favorites at times, but the Trump regime has gone to extremes in favoring “their people” and “their voters.” As we’ve seen time and time again, President* Pennywise only cares about his people, his voters. Any time there’s an issue in a blue state, he has no interest in addressing it. If the electoral college were abolished even Trump would have to think about Republican voters in blue states.

Here are the Top Six Trump Popular Vote States:

  1.  TEXAS                    4,685,047
  2. FLORIDA                 4,617,886
  3. CALIFORNIA           4,483,814
  4. PENNSLYVANIA      2,907,441
  5. OHIO                       2,841,006
  6. NEW YORK              2,819,557

If the electoral college did not exist, Trump would have been obliged to deal fairly with the states he won his 3rd and 6th most votes in instead of focusing on the 31.49% and 36.51% of the vote he received in California and New York respectively.

Democrats have suffered as a result of the current system BUT this is about democracy, not partisan advantage. The Republicans won’t see it that way, but this is about truth, justice, and the American way. I’m not sure what the exact mechanism would be but there’s a long article by Lee Drutman in the Washington Monthly that looks at the issue in historical context.

It’s time for the electoral college to go. It was nearly abolished in 1970 but fell prey to a filibuster by Southern Senators. It’s also time for the filibuster to go. It’s done in more progressive legislation than Mitch The Grim Reaper McConnell.

It’s time for a change. The last word goes to Sam Cooke:

 

Quote Of The Day: Watch What They Do, Not What They Say

I’m alarmed by the number of people who are taking the wilder statements by Team Trump literally. I thought we’d gotten over it, but there’s been a widespread relapse of late. Perhaps it’s caused by the stresses of the campaign or the pandemic. Nonetheless it’s alarming. The default should always be that they’re lying. They’re the lyingest liars who ever lied, after all.

The quote comes from page 263 of Bob Woodward’s book Rage:

Kushner said one of Trump’s greatest strengths was, “He somehow manages to have his enemies self-destruct and make stupid mistakes. He’s just able to play the media like a fiddle, and the Democrats too. They run like dogs after a fire truck, chasing whatever he throws out there.”

Don’t fall for it. Don’t let Slumlord Jared and the Kaiser of Chaos play you. Set your bullshit detector to maximum the next time something crazy comes out of their mouths. There are plenty of actions to be alarmed about; don’t take the bait.

The last word goes to Rachel Maddow:

 

Friday Catblogging: Claire’s Toys

Claire Trevor likes to leave her catnip toys in the doorway. Beats the hell outta finding a lizard, bird, or mouse there.

Herd Mentality

The Impeached Insult Comedian gave another incoherent teevee performance this week. This time, it was not in the friendly confines of Fox News but on ABC. The host was my diminutive countryman George Stephanopolous who was able to get Trump to repeat his COVID disappearing act. If you pretend it’s not there, it’s gone.

The post title is the latest Trump malaprop. He said, “herd mentality” when he meant to say, “herd immunity.” That seems to have become U.S. policy by stealth as the Shrugging Doctor, Scott Atlas, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force have told states with high infection rates to cancel mask requirements. Midsommar In America has arrived. Freedom, man.

Pondering the presidential* malaprop made me realize that herd mentality describes the entire Trump phenomenon. Hardcore Trumpers are an unruly group when it comes to “owning the libs”but submissive to the whims and wishes of the Kaiser Of Chaos the man whose only plan is to foment enough confusion so that he can stay in office to avoid federal criminal charges. Freedom, man.

Team Trump seems to have given up on conventional campaigning in favor of tweeting out nonsense and holding super-spreader rallies for the foolish faithful. I’m on the record that the Trump cult is smaller than believed. There are, however, lemmings among them:

Freedom, man.

Younger Trumpers think that prancing maskless through a Target is a cool thing to do:

Florida Man meets Freedom, man.

Team Trump is blowing a lot of smoke right now but there’s one positive development.  Crazy Caputo at HHS has taken a 60-day leave of absence. This is the bozo who talked about armed scientists taking to the streets if Trump is re-elected. Despite working with the CDC, Caputo obviously hasn’t met many scientists. They’re not exactly a group of gunslingers. Caputo turned out to be too crazy even for Team Trump. That’s what happens when you let a Roger Stone protege enter the corridors of power. Mercifully, Caputo is Kaput.

Things are so nutty right now that I have a sudden urge to rake the forests, commit election fraud, or do something equally Trumpy. That’s what happens when you’re caught up in the herd mentality. That would also be a swell name for a band: HERD MENTALITY.

The last word goes to the Beatles with some advice we should all heed:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Old Battle Ax

In my extended family battle ax is an affectionate term. My favorite aunt prided herself on being a battle ax and a tough broad. This post is a tribute to all the battle axes out there. Long may you run.

I just gave myself an earworm. This is a song about a car but it works: my Aunt Mary had a radar detector in her car when she was 80.

 

 

Free Chicken

I was an Alexander Vindman fan boy during his testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. He’s the poster for bad shit happening to good people in the Trump era. Telling the truth cost him his military career, but not his integrity. That’s something the Trumpers will never understand because they haven’t got any.

It’s been a big year thus far for Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg. First, the “losers and suckers” story. On Monday, he published the first post retirement interview with Lt. Colonel Vindman. Vindman let it rip calling the Impeached Insult Comedian, “Putin’s useful idiot” among other things.

One reason I liked Vindman as a witness so much was his utter lack of guile and cynicism. That made smears against him ineffective except among the Trump cult. Fellow witness Fiona Hill summed it up brilliantly to Goldberg:

It is noteworthy that two other key witnesses in the impeachment—Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, and Fiona Hill, formerly the senior director for European and Russian affairs at the NSC (and Vindman’s boss)—were immigrants. Yovanovitch was born in Canada and grew up speaking Russian at home; Hill came from England. “The truth is that Masha and Alex were very good in their roles, but they were in shock much of the time as this all unfolded,” Hill told me. “Mugged right outside your own door. You can’t quite believe it, because this is not the America that they idealized. I idealized it too, when I got here. There’s no Rudy Giuliani playing this kind of role in your American dream.” William Taylor, who served as acting ambassador to Ukraine after the Trump administration removed Yovanovitch, said of Vindman, “One thing Alex Vindman is not is cynical. I’m absolutely convinced he’s a patriot, to the point where he’s a bit Boy Scoutish.”

Vindman is an intellectual and a straight arrow. That’s why he was such a breath of fresh air even for a hardened skeptic like me. Trump and his minions are incapable of understanding the Alex Vindmans of the world. They cannot be bought, which is a rarity in Trump’s Washington.

My favorite Vindman quote from the Goldberg article is in the second paragraph below:

But do you think Russia is blackmailing Trump? “They may or may not have dirt on him, but they don’t have to use it,” he says. “They have more effective and less risky ways to employ him. He has aspirations to be the kind of leader that Putin is, and so he admires him. He likes authoritarian strongmen who act with impunity, without checks and balances. So he’ll try to please Putin.”

Vindman continues, “In the Army we call this ‘free chicken,’ something you don’t have to work for—it just comes to you. This is what the Russians have in Trump: free chicken.”

I wonder what kind of chicken: Kiev? Pot pie? Tandoori? Kung Pao? Popeye’s? KFC? Super Chicken? Foghorn Leghorn?

Or is there a musical component? There’s always a musical component with me. That’s why the last word goes to Little Feat:

Bayou Brief: Stuck On Stupid

My Bayou Brief column is usually published every other Wednesday. That changed this week because of Hurricane Sally. I was concerned that many of our readers would lose power and internet connection. Instead, Sally decided to visit Alabama and Florida. My condolences to everyone in the impacted areas.

Here’s the tag line for this week’s column, Stuck On Stupid: “13th Ward Ramblings on the Louisiana Democratic Party, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, and wayward wingnut pundit Dan Fagan.”

The part about Gret Stet Dems has received the most attention but my favorite bit is about former Picvocate pundit Dan Fagan. That’s Fagan with an A, not an Fagin with an I like this guy:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Stop The World- I Want To Get Off

Stop The World- I Want To Get Off is a title for our times. The stage show premiered on London’s West End in 1961. It told the story of a young man’s rise from lowly tea boy to rich dude. The setting was a circus; every time something bad happened to the lead character, he said “Stop the world.” Disappointed that it’s not about the apocalypse? Audiences in the Sixties were not.

On to the covers, we have the original Broadway cast album and the 1966 movie soundtrack album:

There was a 1978 revival of the show on Broadway.  Here’s the revival soundtrack starring Sammy Davis Jr:

 

 

Sally Can’t Dance?

It’s time to sally forth on another week. There’s a storm in the Gulf, which will make landfall near me. It’s taken a jog to the East so New Orleans is  no longer in the bull’s eye but we could still lose power. If that happens, I wanted to chime in early as opposed to often.

I set a precedent with Hurricane Laura of using a featured image from the movie Laura. Today, I’m using my favorite fictional Sally. It’s Sally Rodgers as played by the late, great Rose Marie. She’s surrounded by Dick Van Dyke as Rob Petrie and Carl Reiner as Alan Brady. They’re three zany peas in a wacky pod. If the Van Dyke and Reiner clans were humorless, I’d apologize for using a picture in which Dick and Carl are semi-decapitated. It adds to the surreal nature of this Monday. We still can’t trust that day.

First, our good friend and beloved colleague Tommy T is having some health issues that prevented him from posting this morning. If you’re religious, pray for him but whatever you do, don’t prey on him. Get well soon, buddy.

Best wishes to my West Coast friends who are dealing with a deadly and smokey round of fires. They’re wearing masks for more than one reason today.

We continue with a quote from a Flynn case filing, which means we need a proper subject header:

Retired federal judge, former Gotti prosecutor, and all around badass, John Gleeson filed a brief last Friday blasting Bill Barr’s corrupt DOJ. Here are some snippets provided by TPM’s Josh Kovensky:

The Justice Department’s move to drop charges against Michael Flynn “reflects a corrupt and politically motivated favor unworthy of our justice system,” the court-appointed attorney arguing against the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss stated in a Friday filing.

“In the United States, Presidents do not orchestrate pressure campaigns to get the Justice Department to drop charges against defendants who have pleaded guilty — twice, before two different judges — and whose guilt is obvious,” wrote John Gleeson, a former federal judge and prosecutor appointed to oppose the Justice Department in the case.

The extraordinarily scathing brief alleges in detail and with precision that the Justice Department broke from decades of procedure to help out a friend of President Trump’s. Dripping with contempt for the government’s position, Gleeson argued that federal prosecutors were too lazy to respond to earlier arguments he had made, including whether the content of Flynn’s lies was material.

He added that the DOJ typically does not “make a practice of attacking its own prior filings in a case, as well as judicial opinions ruling in its favor, all while asserting that the normal rules should be set aside for a defendant who is openly favored by the President.”

“Yet that is exactly what has unfolded here,” Gleeson wrote.

Tell us what you really think, Judge. John Gleeson is not afraid of a mean tweet from the Impeached Insult Comedian. He’s the guy who got Gotti, after all.

In other news, President* Pennywise is still holding super-spreader campaign events despite remonstrations from state and local officials. This 74-year-old man is acting like a rebellious teenager. His followers are even less mature. It’s time for them to go. Make it so, America, make it so.

I’m an avid consumer of local news during Hurricane season. I had this amusing exchange with a local weatherdude:

I am easily amused this morning. I tend to laugh in the face of disaster. So it goes.

There was much talk about Sally songs this weekend. Here’s a selection of them beginning with the song that gave this post its title:

The last word goes to Wilson Pickett. If he were still with us, he’d insist:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Six Months In A Leaky Boat

Blue Painting by Wassily Kandinsky.

It’s September and it’s still hotter than hell in New Orleans. Pandemic fatigue is widespread here just like everywhere else. Unfortunately, America didn’t do the work needed to suppress COVID-19 so we’re still muddling through.

The NFL season opens this week and I find myself utterly indifferent. I’m mildly amused by wingnut fans who say that they’ll boycott the season because the NFL has gone BLM on their asses. These are the same people who claim they want sports and politics on separate plains, make that separate planets. The Saints will be playing on Sunday at an empty Superdome. It’s hard to get excited about any of this. So it goes.

This week’s theme song was written by Tim Finn in 1982 for Split Enz’s Time and Tide album. It refers to the amount of time that it took British pioneers to sail to New Zealand and is also a metaphor for the songwriter’s nervous breakdown. That’s a lot of substance for a song that still rocks like crazy.

We have three versions of Six Months In A Leaky Boat for your listening pleasure: The Split Enz original; a 2000 live version by Tim Finn, Bic Runga, and Dave Dobbyn and a 2006 performance by a reunited Enz featuring some stellar keyboard work by the great Eddie Rayner.

Kiwi singer-songwriter David Dobbyn has his own nautical classic:

Now that we’re all seasick, it’s time to don a life jacket and jump to the break.

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I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good)

I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good) was composed in 1941 by Duke Ellington with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster. It’s been covered many times over the years and is one of Duke’s most beloved compositions. It suits my mood on this pandemicky Friday. Is that a word? Maybe not; it sounds a bit too much like Mantle, Dolenz, or Mouse…

We begin with an instrumental version from the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival. The standout is Johnny Hodges on sax.

Next up Friday Cocktail Hour regular Ella Fitzgerald backed by the Duke Ellington Orchestra:

As one would expect, Sinatra’s version is epic.

I heard Dianne Reeves’ fabulous 1987 interpretation for the first time last week.

It’s time to go avant garde on your asses with some Monk; Thelonious, not Adrian:

That’s it for this week. Pour yourself a beverage and unwind after another frenetic news week. It’s what Bogie, Betty, and Frank would want. Never argue with them, y’all.

19th Nervous Breakdown

The slow news day seems to have been abolished. Hence another potpourri post in lieu of a stand-alone piece. I made the featured image after the Yo, Semite incident. It was more of a malaprop than an incident but having Yosemite Sam on my side is somehow comforting. Varmints, beware.

19 Years: It’s the 19th anniversary of a terrorist attack that led a previous lousy president to go off half-cocked and start a two-front war without paying heed to the consequences. We’re still paying for the Bush-Cheney administration’s folly.

I was on jury duty when the planes hit the twin towers. We were dismissed early and were only required to come in once more. The only good thing that came of that day.

For what it’s worth, the 19th is the bronze anniversary. To me it evokes this tune:

It may be a venerable song, but it’s still relevant. Who among us isn’t having our 19th Nervous Breakdown of the pandemic?

Trump-Woodward Followup/Fallout: When I first heard of the big COVID revelation in Rage, I was enraged. I almost wrote a post titled Bob Woodward Can Go Fuck Himself.

The more I thought about it, I focused my rage on Trump instead of Woodward. An earlier revelation would not have changed policy and saved lives. The Kaiser of Chaos was determined to fuck things up as shown by his insipid defense yesterday. Woodward’s defense was much stronger: he wasn’t sure if Trump was telling the truth. Holy credibility gap, Batman.

Joe Biden said it best in these two tweets:

A reminder that George W. Bush was a cheerleader at Yale. Sis-boom-bah. Boola-boola. Where the hell are the Whiffenpoofs when you need them? Perhaps one of them is a Whistleblower. You never can tell.

I missed something important in my D Is For Donald & Dumb post. One of the reasons Trump allowed Woodward to interview him so many times is that Woodward is a celebrity. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump said this during one of their sessions, “Why aren’t you as good-looking as Robert Redford?”

Timesman Peter Baker has written an excellent piece about why Trump agreed to talk to Woodward. It’s summed up by this song title:

It’s surprising that Trump hasn’t assembled his own version of the Palmer Girls. He should hire a lame choreographer and put Melania, Ivanka, Tiffany, Hope, and Kayleigh to work. Imagine a rewrite of another Robert Palmer hit: “Might as well face it, we’re addicted to Trump.”

Sometimes I get carried away. This is one of those times.

One of the stories that got lost in the news blizzard requires its own featured image meme thing:

Bill Barr For The Defense: The news that the Department of Justice would defend the Impeached Insult Comedian in E. Jean Carroll’s defamation suit against him enraged legal eagles everywhere. The DOJ is not usually in the business of defending accused rapists in civil suits. It’s part and parcel of Barr’s degradation of the DOJ. He seems determined to prove that, unlike Tom Hagen, he *is* a wartime consigliere.

The sick Trump-Barr relationship reminds me of-you guessed it-an ancient Paul Simon song about a con man:

“Everywhere I go
I get slandered, libeled
I hear words I never heard in the Bible
And I’m one step ahead of the shoeshine
Two steps away from the county line
Just trying to keep my customers satisfied”

Just substitute client for customer and Bob’s your uncle or is that Bill’s your Attorney General? I confuse the two. Maybe one of them is actually Artie:

In Memoriam:  A quick shout-out to Tom Seaver, Lou Brock, and Diana Rigg; all of whom died recently. Tom was one of the greatest pitchers of all-time. Lou was one of the greatest World Series performers ever. And Diana was my first celebrity crush when she played Emma Peel in The Avengers. They will all be missed.

I could not find a decent animated GIF of St. Louis Cardinal great Lou Brock but Tom Terrific tips his cap to him:

Ny Mets Sport GIF by New York Mets - Find & Share on GIPHY

Diana Rigg as Emma Peel closes the door on this segment:

Finally, there’s a new Springsteen album coming out next month. That allows me to go out on a positive note in a week overloaded with scandal tornadic activity. The last word goes to Bruce and the E Street Band:

That was just what I needed. Thanks, y’all. Don’t forget to hang up the goddamn phone.

Friday Catblogging: Introducing Claire Trevor

We have a new kitty. She’s a two-year-old Calico whose previous person died. His family wouldn’t take her but we did.

She was rescued by the same person who gave us Paul Drake. The omens are good. In fact, if PD were still with us, she’d be his pesky kid sister. She was destined to join our family.

We named her after Claire Trevor one of my favorite actresses of the 1930’s and ’40s. She specialized in playing tough broads and femme fatales. Her namesake is on the shy side right now but she’s going to be something.

Here’s the Claire Trevor movie list I came up with for Saturday Odds & Sods last month:

My Top Ten Favorite Claire Trevor Movies:

  1. Stagecoach
  2. Key Largo
  3. Born To Kill
  4. Murder My Sweet
  5. Raw Deal
  6. Two Weeks In Another Town
  7. Crack Up
  8. Dead End
  9. Johnny Angel
  10. The High and the Mighty

Without further ado, here are some pictures of the wee lassie’s floor show. First, on PD’s favorite rug:

Here’s CT giving a dirty look worthy of the late great Della Street:

D Is For Dumb & Donald

News of the new Bob Woodward book, Rage, landed like a scandal tornado yesterday. I have mixed feelings about Woodward’s withholding the fact that President* Pennywise understood the threat that the virus posed and lied about it instead. I’m uncertain if an earlier release would have changed anything BUT others have differing views including First Draft/Crack Van regular, Lex Alexander, who wrote a pithy post titled, Bob Woodward Has Blood On His Hands. He has a point but I think the focus should be on Trump’s conduct, not Woodward’s ethics.

Trump’s defense is typically preposterous. He didn’t want to cause panic? That’s rich coming from the guy I call the Kaiser of Chaos. Panic is his middle name. I want to shake him like Paul Douglas did to this small-time crook in the pandemic classic, Panic In The Streets:

Panic and pandemonium are hallmarks of the Trump regime as is stupidity. The Impeached Insult Comedian has done a lot of dumb things in his life but sitting for 18 interviews with Bob Woodward takes the cake. He somehow thought he could talk the steely Woodward into giving him good publicity:

CNN reported on Wednesday night that Trump was dead set on granting interviews with Woodward, who was working on a book about Trump titled “Rage,” to boost his image, with the President reportedly relying on his experience as a salesman to present himself in a positive light.

White House aides “repeatedly” warned Trump against speaking to the dogged reporter, a source told CNN, but as usual, the President ignored their advice and acted on his own instincts instead.

Once again, Trump’s instincts were wrong. He knew Woodward was recording him, but he babbled and bragged anyway. The presidency is not a real estate deal and, whatever his flaws, Bob Woodward is not an easy mark. Lordy, there *are* Trump tapes.

The right is flummoxed by this news. They’re blaming everyone but Dumb Donald for this latest catastrophe. My favorite is Tucker Carlson blaming Lindsey Graham:

I know who’s to blame: Donald Trump and his arrogance and stupidity. Make that tremendous stupidity. He’s too dumb to be president*. Believe me.

The last word goes to Todd Rundgren:

Hang Up The Goddamn Phone

I have an admission to make. It may send me to hell in a hand basket, but I’ve developed a sneaking fondness for Michael Cohen. I had a lot of fun at his expense when he was still Trump’s fixer but I quite like Mikey the Flipper as well as his book title: Disloyal.

The Maddow-Cohen interview was more fun than a barrel of monkeys for me, and more uncomfortable than a ferret down the trousers for President* Pennywise. Cohen mostly stuck to what’s in his book but there was a lot a good stuff in the interview. He talked about his and Trump’s role in planting the first story below:

Mikey the Flipper also dished on the Falwell cuckold mishigas. That’s where my new catchphrase comes from: Hang Up The Goddamn Phone. Thus spake Becki Falwell to Jerry Junior. What is it with all the Juniors in this story? It almost makes me nostalgic for this Junior:

Always put the lid on the blender, Corrado.

Mikey the Flipper was cagey and credible last night. He declined to speculate on things he lacked direct knowledge of such as money laundering. He did, however, state something that observant Trump watchers already knew: Donald has no sense of humor. That doesn’t mean I’m abandoning the Impeached Insult Comedian as a nickname. Having a sense of humor requires an ability to laugh at yourself or even smile spontaneously. All Trump can do is mock others and dish out lame nicknames. He’s never come up with anything as good as the Kaiser of Chaos, after all.

One thing that pleased me inordinately about the interview was this colloquy commenced by Rachel:

“You say at the very end of the book that the president and Attorney General William Barr ousted the U.S. Attorney of New York and tried to install, effectively, the president’s golfing buddy as the new U.S. Attorney there because the president, in your view, wanted to arrange for himself to be indicted while he’s still in office because that would give him the opportunity to pardon himself after he lost the election,” she said.

“Well, my theory is that if he loses, there’s still the time between the election and the time that the next president would take office,” Cohen elaborated. “And during that time, my suspicion is that he will resign as president, he will allow Mike Pence to take over, and he will then go ahead and have Mike Pence pardon him.”

“And it’s a very, let’s just say it’s a very Nixon-type of event and it was probably discussed between Roger Stone and President Trump at some point,” he continued. “That this is certainly one way to avoid any potential prison time.”

When Dr. A heard that she said, “That’s what you’ve been saying.” And I said it here at First Draft in an August 13th post,  An Alternative Post-Election Scenario. No wonder I’ve become fond of Mikey the Flipper as opposed to Mikey the Fixer who was a big-time asshole.

I mentioned the possibility that I might go to hell in a hand basket for liking the new improved Michael Cohen. The last word goes to the good old Grateful Dead with an alternate means of transportation to Lucifer’s domain:

Hang up the goddamn phone, y’all.

The Fugazi Presidency*

The Kaiser of Chaos treats the government as his personal plaything.  He also has trouble discerning a fake from the real deal:

President Donald Trump’s November 2018 trip to France is again in the news because of his canceled trip to a cemetery for fallen Marines and allegations that he disparaged veterans. But Bloomberg reports on another aspect of the trip that raised more than a few eyebrows. After Trump’s cemetery trip was canceled, the president suddenly had a few hours to kill inside the U.S. ambassador’s historic residence in Paris and it seems that during that time he took a particular liking to a few pieces of art. The next day, he ordered a Benjamin Franklin bust, a Franklin portrait and a set of figurines of Greek mythical characters be loaded on Air Force One to go back to Washington with him, reports Bloomberg.

<SNIP>

The art was reportedly worth some $750,000 and the White House may have called them “historical” but the truth is that they were fakes and replicas. The figurines that now sit in the Oval Office are from the early 20th century by an artist who was trying to claim they were from the 16th or 17 centuries. The figurines have little value and are really “20th century fakes of wannabe 17th century sculptures,” according to an art dealer. The Franklin bust and portrait were also copies of the originals. White House officials ended up borrowing the original portrait from the National Portrait Gallery and hanging it up in the Oval Office rather than the replica Trump brought back from France

The joke’s on you, Donny. You’re the fake. Ben Franklin was the real deal.

I bet the Impeached Insult Comedian doesn’t know that Franklin was the first Postmaster General. It was an important job back then, not one for flunkies and donors. It used to be DeLovely, not DeJoy:

 

This story is an excellent metaphor for the Trump presidency*. He’s a fake tough guy. He’s a fake billionaire. He has a fake tan and fake hair. Nothing about him is real. It’s the Fugazi presidency*.

That reminds me of a more convincing fake gangster, Al Pacino as Lefty Ruggiero in Donnie Brasco:

What? No apostrophe? Did President* Pennywise make that GIF? Punctuation isn’t his strong suit either. He might, however, warn Lefty that Donnie is an agent of the deep state.

The last word goes to Frank Zappa: