Category Archives: Adrastos

Family Smackdown Day

We all have relatives whose politics we dislike. These family ties have become increasingly strained with the advent of the crude dictator wannabe, Trumpberius aka the Kaiser of Chaos. There seems to be something in the air today that led two men I’d never heard of go after two relatives that we know and loathe.

First, Stephen Miller’s uncle Dr. David Glosser wrote a scathing article about his nephew for Politico. It may be the best thing I’ve ever read in that deservedly ridiculed online publication. After detailing their family history, Uncle David let his hypocritical nephew have it:

I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, who is an educated man and well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country.

I shudder at the thought of what would have become of the Glossers had the same policies Stephen so coolly espouses— the travel ban, the radical decrease in refugees, the separation of children from their parents, and even talk of limiting citizenship for legal immigrants— been in effect when Wolf-Leib made his desperate bid for freedom. The Glossers came to the U.S. just a few years before the fear and prejudice of the “America First” nativists of the day closed U.S. borders to Jewish refugees. Had Wolf-Leib waited, his family would likely have been murdered by the Nazis along with all but seven of the 2,000 Jews who remained in Antopol. I would encourage Stephen to ask himself if the chanting, torch-bearing Nazis of Charlottesville, whose support his boss seems to court so cavalierly, do not envision a similar fate for him.

Dr. Glosser has a future as a polemicist. It took a lot of guts to go after his sister’s son like this. It seems as if he’d finally had enough of his nephew’s wicked wicked ways. Thanks, Doc.

Then there’s Bobby Goodlatte who is the son of retiring Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte who we last met when he ran the Strzok hearing with all the style and finesse of a Kangaroo Court judge. The Good Goodlatte took to twitter to announce his support for the Democratic woman who is running for dear old dad’s seat:

Then he confessed his shame over his father’s handling of the Strzok hearing:

I’m blown away by the intestinal fortitude shown by the Good Goodlatte *and* Dr. Glosser. I hope we see more of it amid the infamy of the Trump administration and the 115th Congress. It’s time for people to speak out and save the Republic from the likes of Stephen Miller.

The holidays should be very interesting for the Miller-Glosser and Goodlatte families.  Just thinking about it tops this great scene in Barry Levinson’s ode to “chain immigration” Avalon:

The Ego Has Landed: Why Not Me Avenatti 2020?

It’s time to press pause on my pledge NOT to write about the 2020 election until after the mid-terms. Porn star mouthpiece and cable teevee big mouth Michael Avenatti attended the Iowa State Fair last week. He was not just there to dine on food-on-a-stick: he claims he’s exploring a presidential candidacy. He even spoke at the Iowa Democratic party’s annual Wing Ding thing. Wing-a-ding-ding.

I suspect he’s missing the limelight since he’s been eclipsed by the Manafort trial and has been less ubiquitous on cable news the last few weeks. His rationale, such as it is, is that Democrats need a fighter as opposed to someone with actual experience. In short, he wants to be our version of the Current Occupant and fight hot air and bullshit with hot air and bullshit. He’s equally unqualified, opinionated, and brash. Unlike Trump, he’s smart and may even understand the complexities of international time zones.

Get ready for more of this nonsense. The election of an unqualified Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop his head was bound to lead to a spate of Why Not Me candidates. I hereby dub it Why Not Me-ism. We’ve seen this movie before: Jimmy Carter’s out of nowhere 1976 bid was inspired by McGovern winning the Democratic nomination in 1972. Carter’s campaign biography was titled Why Not The Best? when it should have been Why Not Me? Of course, McGovern and Carter had some qualifications as opposed to Why Not Me Avenatti whose sole “qualification” is yelling at Trumpy and Cohen on MSNBC, CNN, and the Tweeter Tube.

Avenatti is a natural-born citizen who’s over 35 years old so he meets the constitutional qualifications to run. He can run if he wants to but we’re NOT obligated to take this publicity hungry egomaniac seriously. Here’s why not: as opposed to the nihilists in power, Democrats believe in governing. Donald Trump and the Republicans have made an unholy mess. The next president will do what Barack Obama was obliged to do: spend much of their time in office cleaning up after their predecessor. It will not be pretty but it needs doing. It’s hard to see the likes of Avenatti having the skills and knowledge to wield the political mop.

Speaking of bad ideas, the Republicans have decided to run against Nancy Pelosi. It’s unlikely to work, but the MSM has picked up on the notion and is asking all Democrats if they plan to vote for her for Speaker. Nancy Smash’s response is a cool “Just win, baby.” She knows she has the votes and that the House will need able and experienced leadership when the Democrats resume control. Our House leadership *should* get younger but I think a better target is Steny Hoyer. The notion of an inexperienced leader replacing one of the best Speakers in recent memory is as absurd as Michael Avenatti as president.

Democrats are not so desperate that we need to resort to the likes of Why Not Me Avenatti. Just say no to Why Not Me-ism.

Saturday Odds & Sods: The Calling

Tales from Topographic Oceans by Roger Dean.

Summer colds are the worst. I’ve been laid low by one. Achoo. My nose looks as if it belongs to Rudolph and I sound like Froggy in The Little Rascals. Shorter Adrastos: I’m going to keep this introduction concise lest writing it winds me. Hopefully, the rest of the post will make sense: I’m blogging hurt. Make that wheezy. Jeez, that sounds like an episode of The Jeffersons.

This week’s theme song is the stirring album opener from 1994’s Talk by Yes. Like many other fans, I call the Trevor Rabin-era band, Yes West. They moved their base of operation to Southern California in the 1980’s, and had a different sound than classic Yes; pop-prog as opposed to pure prog. Hence Yes West. The Calling was written by Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, and Chris Squire and it rocks like crazy.

We have two versions for your entertainment. First, a video featuring a goofy cosmic introduction by Jon Anderson. Second, a live version from the Talk tour that commences with an instrumental Perpetual Change.

While we’re on the subject of Yes, the featured image is Roger Dean’s cover of Tales from Topographic Oceans without the lettering.

Now that I’ve gone all art rocky on your asses, let’s jump to the break.

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Friday Catblogging: Loose Screw

This week’s entry features a big ass Allen screw in the foreground of the picture. It came to us via Eddie Couvillion, the man I post about every Memorial Day. He was a salesman for Allen back in the day and it’s some kind of salesman’s sample. We took it to the Antiques Roadshow when they were in New Orleans. The experts had never seen anything like it before BUT they valued it at a mere $150-200. So it goes. The cats like it. Of course, they’re screwy

 

Judge Ellis Is Not Sui Generis

The MSM is gobsmacked by TS Ellis, the judge in the Manafort case. The political reporters among them are convinced that he’s one-of-a-kind and that federal judges are Olympian figures who don’t say things like this:

“I am a Caesar in my own Rome,” he said at one point, discussing why he refused to allow defendants to plead no contest instead of guilty. “It’s a pretty small Rome,” he added.

What Judges like Ellis do is bring the Socratic Method to the courtroom. He just happens to be a bit stricter and considerably funnier than most judges. He’s not sui generis. The courts are loaded with tinpot dictators who run the show with an iron fist.

The Ellis coverage reminds me of a close encounter I had with one of my sterner law professors. I’ll call him Professor Hardass. He was tyrannical in class. He expected students to be perfectly prepared and beyond punctual. If you were unprepared and couldn’t bluff your way through it, he asked you to leave in a theatrical manner. If you were late, the door was locked and woe betide to anyone who knocked. The one time I saw someone attempt this, they were rewarded with a withering glare and wagging finger.

Having said that, Professor Hardass was a great teacher. He made the material come alive. His classes were never dull. I had him for Criminal Law as a 1L, he focused on two crimes: burglary and RICO. To this day, I’m fairly knowledgeable about both subjects. The latter comes in handy in the age of Trump since the administration* is an ongoing RICO violation.

As a 2L, I threw caution to the wind and took another class from Professor Hardass. This time, we were assigned a paper. I turned it in to his secretary who placed it on his surprisingly cluttered desk. Guys like Professor Hardass are usually clean desk types. It turned out to be a clue as to who he really was.

When grades were posted, I received an incomplete. I knocked on Professor Hardass’ door and entered the lion’s den. He was seated at his desk with a stack of papers in front of him. He looked at me balefully over the top of his horn-rimmed reading glasses as I’d seen him do dozens of time in class. I told him I *had* turned in the paper on time.

To my great surprise, the facade vanished. He smiled at me and said: “Let me check. As you can see I keep an untidy office.

He found my paper amidst the clutter and began apologizing profusely for his mistake. I must have looked shocked because he looked at me with a smile and said: “That’s right, we’ve never met outside of class before. I play a character in class. I’m the jerkiest judge one could ever encounter: rigid, dictatorial, and hostile. I want my students prepared for the real world.”

He offered me a cup of coffee, read my paper on the spot, and gave me an A. Professor Hardass turned out to be a helluva nice guy.

I’m not sure whether or not Judge Ellis is a nice guy away from court but I know he’s not sui generis. There are dozens of Judge Ellis’ out there and some of them are just trying to move their dockets along and keep the lawyers in front of them on their toes. They don’t call his circuit the rocket docket for nothing.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Last Hurrah

The Last Hurrah is the story of Frank Skeffington an Irish pol based on Massachusetts legend, James Michael Curley. It’s about his last campaign, which took place in the teevee era thereby dooming a dinosaur like Skeffington. It was made into a helluva movie by John Ford who knew from Irish-American politicians.

GOP SCOTUS SOP

I really hadn’t planned a sequel to Monday’s GOP SOP post but it’s time for another acronym fest. The GOP SCOTUS SOP is what could be called the “nice guy narrative.” We’ve seen it many times over the years as far back as Rehnquist and more recently with John Roberts, Neil Gorsuch, and now Brett Kavanaugh.

Here’s how the Divine Dahlia Lithwick put it at Slate:

I like Brett Kavanaugh. If niceness-to-me-alone is the sole indicator of judicial qualification then, like the authors above, I’m all in. Kavanaugh has never been anything but kind and courteous to me, personally. Unfortunately, that calculation leaves out millions of nameless, faceless, vulnerable people who don’t often get a chance to write op-eds about the carpool skills and free-floating niceness of Article III jurists.

Niceness is nice. I’d even go so far as to venture that niceness is very, very nice. But it’s not the basis from which to offer someone lifetime tenure on the highest court in the land. And I am still waiting for the Republican appellate lawyers, D.C. lobbyists, and operatives to stand up and tell us how “nice” Judge Garland was. Because I would submit that he was just about equal in “niceness” to Kavanaugh, and yet it mattered not one bit to anyone two years ago, since at that time, niceness was irrelevant. At the very least, then, we should be able to agree that if Garland’s kindness to small animals and assorted D.C. charities was immaterial in 2016, Kavanaugh’s warmth of character should not be an issue in 2018.

I hereby stipulate that Kavanaugh does not pull the wings off flies, walks little old ladies across the street, and does not beat his wife or children. Hereinafter I will call him Mr. Nice Judge. None of that matters. His views and experience are what matters. And that’s the problem with this nominee. His years as a senior aide to George W. Bush have given him the most expansive position on executive power imaginable. As far as Mr. Nice Judge is concerned the Oval One is an elected dictator who can do whatever the hell he wants, whenever the hell he wants to.

Even more worrisome is the fact that Mr. Nice Judge has been involved in some serious GOP overreach: the Starr chamber investigation, the 2000 Bush-Gore recount, and the Bush  administration’s un-American  torture policies. That is why it is so important that Senators have access to his papers from his time as W’s staff secretary. What was his role in that process?

Belying his Mr. Nice Judge tag was Kavanaugh’s role in the Starr chamber investigation into Clinton White House counsel Vincent Foster’s suicide, which the wingnuts of the day posited was a murder ordered by the Clintons:

In early 1995, however, Kavanaugh offered his boss, independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr, the legal rationale for expanding his investigation of the Arkansas financial dealings of President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, to include the Foster death, according to a memo he wrote on March 24, 1995. Kavanaugh, then 30, argued that unsupported allegations that Foster may have been murdered gave Starr the right to probe the matter more deeply.Foster’s death had already been the focus of two investigations, both concluding that Foster committed suicide. ““We are currently investigating Vincent Foster’s death to determine, among other things, whether he was murdered in violation of federal criminal law,” Kavanaugh wrote to Starr and six other officials in a memo offering legal justification for the probe. “[I]t necessarily follows that we must have the authority to fully investigate Foster’s death.”

That’s not very nice, is it? But that doesn’t matter. One can be a great Supreme Court Justice and still be a colossal dick, IMO William O. Douglas was a prickly prick but one of the greatest Justices to ever don robes whereas William Rehnquist was a sweetheart. Their views are what mattered, not their niceness or lack thereof.

So, the next time you hear a testimonial to Mr. Nice Judge, ignore it and focus on the fact that he’s likely to vote Roe vs. Wade into oblivion and stated in a public forum that US vs. Nixon (the Watergate tapes case) was wrongly decided.

Senate Republicans have got the confirmation process down to a science, which is why I call it the GOP SCOTUS SOP. Hopefully, red state Democrats won’t fall for it. Just remember:

There Is ONLY ONE Q

My colleague Tommy T wrote extensively the other day about the low IQ Q conspiracy. It’s a new one on me. I can’t keep up with all the tin foil hatters on the extreme right so I let Tommy do it for me. This new mad hattery brought out my inner Emily Litella:

For those of you who aren’t comedy buffs, Emily Litella was a befuddled character from the early days of Saturday Night Live. She was created and played by the late, great Gilda Radner.

I thought of Emily because as far as I’m concerned there is ONLY ONE Q:

Q was an all-powerful character who delighted in tormenting Captain Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Since Q is an immortal space traveler dude he also turns up on Deep Space 9 and Voyager, but the Frenchman with the Yorkshire accent was his favorite whipping boy.

I refuse to acknowledge the New Q unless it turns out to be a hoax perpetrated by lefties to fish in gullible Trumpers. There is ONLY ONE Q.

Since I made a Gilda Radner reference earlier, I’ll give Q and Emily Litella the last word with Emily’s stock closing line:

Not Everything Sucks: Hey Luc At Me Now

Since so much bad shit happens on the tweeter tube, I reckoned I should share some rare good news about everyone’s favorite French Star Fleet Captain with a Yorkshire accent:

Jean-Luc Picard has been on hiatus so long that I’ve been unable to pun on his name during my time as a blogger. It’s one of many reasons I’m tickled about the return. The name seems to inspire me to break out in punny show tune memes:

It’s more like the Stern Luc Of Love. It’s what authority figures do, y’all.

The next one is more menacing. It’s when Picard was assimilated and became Locutus of Borg.

At this point, we’ve gone from make it so to make him stop. The last word goes to David Byrne who was also born in Scotland but was never assimilated as far as I know:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get

The Dramatics are an anomalous soul group for their time and place. They came out of Detroit but had to go to Memphis based Volt records to hit it big. The title track of this 1971 album put them over the top. It was written for the Dramatics by Tony Hester and, yeah, they do sound quite a bit like the Temptations; one reason they didn’t stick at Motown.

I don’t know about you but I’ve got my eye on this cover:

Here’s the gatefold. I skipped the back cover because it’s pedestrian as well as eyeless.

We have two versions of the smash hit title song for your enjoyment. The extended album version followed by the guys lip syncing to the single on Soul Train:

GOP SOP

It’s human nature to want to think the best of people. Hell, even I give *most* people the benefit of the doubt, and I was first called a curmudgeon in my teens. But I don’t think this presumption should be extended to Republican politicians and anyone with the last name Trump.

Since the president* is on “holiday” at his golf club in Jersey, he’s had an itchy twitter finger. He’s made several admissions against legal interest and also slammed two high-profile African-American gents:

I thought the Kaiser of Chaos never watched “fake news” CNN. Guess he’s lying about that. Go figure.

The occasion for LeBron’s interview was the opening of a school for at risk kids in his hometown of Akron, Ohio that the hoops legend is funding. An act of generosity equivalent to his style as a “make everyone look good” basketball player. LeBron made a few mildly critical remarks about the Insult Comedian. I’m sure you’ve heard the details so I’ll skip them. It wasn’t as strong as this earlier LeBronism:

U Bum. How short and sweet it is.

The reasons, such as they are, behind Trump’s tweet are multi-faceted: projection of his own intellectual inferiority on to others and, most importantly, racist red meat for his idiot base. Trump has a habit of calling black people “dumb” or “low IQ” when, in fact, he’s the dumbass. It’s all a part of his pandering to the worst instincts in white America while dog howling (the whistle has been traded in for a larger model) his own bigotry.

The most interesting thing about the LeBron affair was the press and social media reaction to Melania Trump’s reaction. Melania’s people issued a statement that mildly praised LeBron:

“It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation and just as she always has, the First Lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today.”

In a spurt of the sort of human generosity I alluded to at the top of post, people gushed praise of FLOTUS* including those who should know better. This is the same reaction that greets many of Ivanka Trump’s mild disagreements with her monstrous father when, in fact, she’s Agrippina to his Tiberius. (I guess that makes Junior, Nero.) Here’s how my pal Dakinikat put it in a post about the Sam Bee flap a few months back:

 I’d like to remind y’all that vaginas are deep and warm and Ivanka Trump is neither so I suggest we think of a better set of words to describe KKKremlin Caligula’s daughter than “feckless cunt”.  We could adopt Demoness reincarnation of Diva August or good ol’ Aunt Livia to keep it all in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Historically, Livia was the mother of Tiberius and if you know anything about Roman history of the time, you’ll know he was as perverted and evil as the rest of them. Remember, Rome was still supposed to be a Republic at the time but that dreadful set of ghouls–including the fiddling Nero–ruined nearly everything within a few generations.  We could give her a nick name based on Agrippina but that would be a weirder sexual dynamic than I’m prepared to put through my mind.  However, I am praying for a few good men with lean and hungry looks to end our Trumpvian nightmare.

I know that was a long-ass quote but I think good writing should be rewarded.

Back to the post title: it’s SOP (standard operating procedure) in the GOP for female relatives of a leader to soften their image. It’s been going on for years, most notably in the Bush family, as Slate’s Christina Cauterucci explains in a wonderfully titled piece, Make-Believe Mutiny:

In 2001, Laura Bush famously departed from her husband’s stance on abortion by saying she thought Roe v. Wade should stand. The first lady was contradicting her president spouse on an issue of great import, and at the time, I thought it was a gutsy move that could have a positive impact on GOP abortion politics.

<SNIP>

And before Laura, Barbara Bush criticized the GOP during George H.W. Bush’s second presidential campaign for enshrining a “fundamental individual right to life” for “the unborn child” in its party platform. The strategy neatly aligns with the right-wing model of a heterosexual partnership: The big tough man makes big tough decisions from a place of rational judgment and patriarchal authority, while the woman respectfully registers a slightly different opinion, borne of feminine emotion. He is free to take or leave her suggestion, which carries no meaningful weight or influence. If he does modify his stance to lean towards hers, he can claim that his hypermasculine immunity to empathy—a quality Republicans fetishize in their leaders—blinded him to the nuances of an issue that needed a female touch.

This is particularly important when the Republican president* is an asshole of epic proportions like Donald Trump. It’s well-nigh impossible to humanize Trumpberius but they’ll continue trying. The media and public should be leery of this because it’s just spin. In fact, it’s the only slightly skillful spin to come out of the Trump administration. So everyone should treat it as what it is: disinformation calculated to distract and divert attention from the evil incompetence of the Insult Comedian and his team of sycophants.

So, the next time Melania or Ivanka slightly deviates from the Trump line, just remember: it’s GOP SOP.

Sunday Morning Video: The Doors Live At The Hollywood Bowl

Doors week continues with this 1968 concert. The good news is that Jim Morrison neither exposes himself nor gets arrested.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Riders On The Storm

Rain, Steam, and Speed by JMW Turner.

There will be no tin cup rattling today since we reached our goal Friday. I’d like to thank everyone who supported what we do here at First Draft. I suppose I should thank Al Capone for helping out but what does a dead wise guy care? Btw, I neglected to state that Stephen Graham in Boardwalk Empire is my favorite reel Capone.

The big story in New Orleans is the ongoing clusterfuck involving the Sewerage and Water Board. A year from tomorrow, there was major street flooding in Mid-City. I hate hearing about the August 5th flood since it’s my birthday but what can ya do? The people whose homes, businesses, and cars flooded hate it even more.

The latest mess involves billing. The lunkheads at SWB have computerized the way they bill customers. In theory, it’s a fine idea, but in practice they failed to adequately train the meter readers in the new system. The result has been crazy large bills that customers have refused to pay. The SWB vowed to crack down on what our new Mayor called “bad actors” by cutting off their water.  They backed down the other day when it became clear that some of the “bad actors” were poor people with $5,000 bills *and* that they could only disconnect 50 customers a day. TFC: This Fucking City. Stay tuned.

I selected this week’s theme song after it popped up in the last episode of Sharp Objects. That show seems to be a love/hate proposition for viewers. I’m on the love side for the music, atmospherics, and acting, especially the divine Amy Adams.

Riders On The Storm was written by the Doors for their last full-blown LP, L.A. Woman. Jim Morrison’s lyrics are moody and expressionistic even for him. We have two versions for your consideration: the original studio track and a live version by 21st Century Doors, a band featuring Doors keyboard player Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robbie Krieger. I wish they hadn’t hired a Morrison lookalike as their singer: it’s creepy.

A quick story about Jim Morrison. My sister-in-law’s mother-in-law went to high school with Morrison. She remembers him as a nice boy. I bet you’ve never heard that anywhere else.

It’s time to break on through to the other side and jump to the break.

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Life Imitates I, Claudius: Trump As Tiberius

There have been a spate of stories this week depicting the Trump White House as the court of a mad king/emperor. We’ve learned that many of Trump’s associates prepare CYA documents because of his slipperiness, mendacity, and disloyalty. The Insult Comedian expects absolute loyalty from his underlings but, as we’ve seen over and over again,Trump’s loyalty is a one way street.

Then there was this alarming report by Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman:

 Whether it’s confidence, bluster, or delusion, Trump is venting to advisers both inside and outside the White House that the Manafort trial proves Mueller has nothing on him and his family, because Manafort’s trial doesn’t involve Russia or the 2016 campaign. “The Manafort trial is spinning him into a frenzy,” one Republican in frequent contact with the president told me. Another Republican told me Trump thinks “the only thing the trial shows is that Manafort is a sleaze.”

It takes one to know one. Trump is also being fed patent nonsense by his lawyers:

Trump’s latest attacks on Mueller are partly being enabled by conversations with his attorney Emmet Flood, one source told me. “Emmet feels there’s nothing there with collusion, so it’s fine for Trump to comment and tweet,” the source explained. This person added that Trump appears to be in earnest about his desire for Sessions to end the Mueller probe, and spoke of a timeline of a couple of weeks. Otherwise, Trump has threatened to fire Rosenstein himself.

Sessions has recused himself from the investigation he CANNOT fire Rosenstein and/or Mueller. Ever since Trump’s disastrous performance in Helsinki, elected Republicans seem less inclined to further his “you’re fired” delusions. They’re not criticizing him but they’re showing more caution, especially since the Jordan-Meadows attempt to impeach Rosenstein fizzled. But the truth has no meaning for Trump, so who the hell knows what he’ll do next? I’m a pundit, not a prophet.

I’ve spent part of this week comparing historical characters and their fictionalized selves to the freak show that is the Trump administration. I’ve also dubbed Trump the Kaiser of Chaos because of his similarities to the infantile and petulant Kaiser Wilhelm II. BUT Kaiser Bill was never this crazy.

My friend Dakinikat of Sky Dancing fame calls Trump Kremlin Caligula. It’s a good one but Trump increasingly reminds me of another crazy Caesar who was also depicted in the classic teevee series, I Claudius: Caligula’s predecessor, Tiberius. In that great 1976 series, Tiberius was installed via the machinations of his mother Livia. That, in turn, left him dubious of his own legitimacy and led him to do crazy and extreme things. Sound familiar?

At the end of his life, Tiberius isolated himself from the court at Rome and spent most of time debauching at his version of Mar-a-Lago: his villa on the Isle of Capri. Neither golf nor cable teevee had been invented at that point but I’m sure Tiberius would have dug them.

It’s side-by-side picture time. On the left is Trump without his epic combover and orange spray tan. On the right is George Baker as Tiberius who is oranger than Trump in this shot.

The good news is that George Baker grew up to play nice Inspector Wexford in The Ruth Rendell Mysteries. Trump will never grow up. He’ll always be Trumpberius.

Friday Catblogging: Throwback Fundraiser Edition

I still miss Oscar. This is an image I’ve used for past fundraisers.

Please click here if you’d like to keep the cat pictures flowing here at First Draft.

Here’s a weird reason to donate. Once we meet or surpass our goal, I won’t have to use this as my twitter avatar:

Please save me from Dollar Bill. It’s what Oscar would have wanted.

Annual Fundraiser: The Capone Shakedown

I had a lot of fun writing Life Imitates The Untouchables: Scarface Paul Manafort. It occurred to me that I missed the chance to raise some money for First Draft. The last I heard from our publisher/Chancellor of the Exchequer, Athenae, we were 2/3 of the way to our goal of $1650. It’s time to go gangster on your asses:

Don’t worry, Gabby Hartnett won’t get it. The Hall of Fame Chicago Cubs catcher died on his birthday in 1972. Capone was long gone.

Hartnett got in trouble for signing an autograph for Capone’s kid at Wrigley Field. Then commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis called the Cubbie on the carpet and told him not to consort with gangsters. There are many versions of this story but my favorite is that Gabby said to the irascible commish, “You try saying no to Al Capone, Judge.”

That was a long-winded way to ask you to support our annual fundraiser. We’re the most benevolent shakedown artists you’ll ever encounter except for Della. She’s a badass.

The last word goes to the Grateful Dead. Let’s take a trip to Shakedown Street:

Let’s see, I gave you gangsters, baseball, cats, and the Dead. How can you not donate after that? Here’s the link again.

Life Imitates The Untouchables: Scarface Paul Manafort?

The Kaiser of Chaos was a busy boy with an itchy twitter finger yesterday. The tweets dripped with flop sweat and palpable panic.  He “ordered” Jeff Beau to end the “rigged witch hunt” and praised Paul Manafort for his work for Ronald Reagan and Bob Dole. Those tweets arguably constitute witness tampering by tweet since Trumpy hands out pardons like Oprah doles out cars.

Ending the “rigged witch hunt” could bring the Manafort trial to a screeching halt, which would be a pity: I want the jury to hear more about Paulie’s lavish wardrobe. It’s also a pity that Judge Ellis has barred the use of the term oligarch. I believe in calling an oligarch an oligarch. Ole Garch sounds like a Swedish architect to me. I wonder if he had anything to do with the theft of the Swedish crown jewels? It could have been an angry Norwegian outraged over 91 years of Swedish domination of his homeland. If revenge is a dish best served cold, ain’t nothing colder than a Scandinavian winter or an angry and bitter Norwegian.

Enough of my weirdness, the weirdest of Trump’s recent tweets was this one:

Does this mean Manafort is a syphilitic murderer? He’s certainly a tax avoiding motherfucker like Scarface. Speaking of the gangster, the Insult Comedian misspelled his name: it’s Alphonse with a PH, not Alfonse with an F. That proves that Rudy Giuliani didn’t write this tweet: he’d spell a paisan’s name correctly. Remember when Rudy used to be anti-gangster? Now he’s a mob lawyer working for Don Donaldo Il Comico Insulto. Many of us become what we hate.

I think Josh Marshall nailed *why* Trump used this seemingly bizarre analogy:

To Trump, Capone was a winner. He was rich. Everybody gave him respect. But he was brought down on BS charges, mundane financial crimes. He was treated very unfairly, to use the President’s signature phrase. This isn’t hyperbole or a mere attack. Over a forty-plus year career, Trump was deep in business with some of the most notorious and violent mobsters of the late 20th century. Trump managed not to get in to trouble first because he had the right friends but just as much because he kept the relationships largely passive. He laundered their money. His main overt act was willful obliviousness. Trump Tower itself was a notorious haven for all sorts of organized crime figures, mostly from other countries. Mostly from Russia and the former Soviet Union.

There have been many fine movies and teevee series over the years featuring Alphonse with a PH. I should thank the president* for giving me the latest in a series of Life Imitates post titles. First, there was The Sopranos, then The Americans, and now The Untouchables. Cue an extended version of the theme music, which was written by the great Nelson Riddle:

Now that I think of it, Ennio Morricone’s theme music for Brian DePalma’s 1987 film is pretty darn swell as well:

Al Capone *was* a fascinating character, which is why he remains such a famous gangster 71 years after his death. It is disturbing however that POTUS* identifies with him, not Eliot Ness. One would think he’d like comparisons to the best-known screen Nesses, Robert Stack and Kevin Costner. Hell,Costner is even a Republican; at least he used to be until the advent of the Trump regime. Good on ya, Kevin.

Enough Elliot Nessery. It’s time to post a rogue’s gallery of actors who played Alphonse with a PH. We begin with a two-fer: Ben Gazzara from a decent 1975 bio-pic, Capone, and Robert DeNiro in the DePalma/Mamet take on The Untouchables.

Next up from left to right: Neville Brand in teevee’s The Untouchables, Stephen Graham in Boardwalk Empire, and chewing a cigar as well as the scenery, Rod Steiger in 1959’s Al Capone. Steiger was a walking slab of prosciutto in this role. He’d be in the hammy actor hall of fame if such a thing existed.

There’s bound to be a white-collar gangster movie about Paul Manafort at some point in time. I’ve already made a casting suggestion in the form of a Separated at Birth segment:

Chazz Palminteri has played more than a few wise guys in his career including Big Paul Castellano, boss of the Gambino family before he was whacked by John Gotti. The Trumps, of course, had ties to the Gambinos and Rudy is the one whose team brought them down. It’s a small fucking world, after all.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Deadly Mermaid

This book has nothing to with either the movie Splash or my friend Charlotte’s post-K blog, Traveling Mermaid.

The Insult Comedian’s Florida Man

Florida Man Ron DeSantis and Trump. Photograph by Octavio Jones/Tampa Bay Times

The president* held one of his incoherent rallies yesterday in Tampa, Florida. He said one of the stupidest things he’s ever said and that’s saying a lot:

Trump claimed Democrats were attempting to give undocumented immigrants the right to vote.

“Which is why the time has come for voter ID, like everything else,” Trump told the crowd. “You know, if you go out and you want to buy groceries, you need a picture on a card. You need ID.”

In a career of specious arguments, this one is near the top. When was the last time the Insult Comedian went grocery shopping? Has he ever gone grocery shopping? The only times I’ve ever been carded was when I’ve bought booze. We know the Darnold only drives people to drink, he’s not a drinker himself.

I conceived this post before the Kaiser of Chaos put his foot in his mouth last night. He was in Florida campaigning for Congressman Ron DeSantis who is running in the GOP primary to succeed Governor Bat Boy. Typically, Oval Ones stay out of primaries but Trump cannot help himself. FYI, Rick Scott, who is challenging incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, skipped the rally. He’s nervous about appearing in public with his fellow megalomaniacal rich guy.

Trump endorsed DeSantis because of his appearances on Fox News as a fierce MAGA Maggot and Trump flatterer. That’s right, the Fox and Friends effect is in force. Anyone surprised? You shouldn’t be, the Insult Comedian schedules impromptu meetings based on what he’s seen on his favorite show. I wish I were making that up but I am not.

Florida Man DeSantis’ head is so far up the Trump rump that he made the ickiest and most obsequious pro-Trump ad of the year thus far.

I hope young Casey DeSantis grows up and rebels against her father’s stupid politics.  It’s what he deserves after exploiting her in that ad. Oh, the malakatude.

Tweet Of The Day: The Sound Of Mueller

The New Orleans Advocate’s Walt Handlesman is justifiably proud of his Walt Toons. This one is best described as Rodgers and Hammerstein meet Kremlingate. It’s so good that I set aside a lifetime of loathing The Sound of Music to post it.

If you enjoyed The Sound of Muller, please donate to First Draft’s annual fundraiser.