Category Archives: Adrastos

Quote Of The Day: War Of The Rebellion Edition

It’s the 156th anniversary of the glorious surrender at Appomattox Court House. My sympathies are obvious even after living for decades in the Gret Stet of Louisiana, which was not only part of the Confederacy but voted for Strom Thurmond in 1948 and George Wallace 20 years later.

Today’s quote comes from a writer who has been quoted more than once on First Draft, TPM’s Josh Marshal:

April 9th is a glorious anniversary: the day Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, Commanding General of the US Army, received the surrender of Robert E. Lee, a renegade US Army Colonel who was a leader of a violent rebellion against the United States, which killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. Grant offered generous terms to Lee and the other traitors making up his army. Six days later President Lincoln was assassinated in Washington, DC.

Lee was an able tactician but lacked the strategic genius that made Grant the towering military figure of the US Civil War. His Memoirs are one of the great works of American literature, quite apart from his fame and prominence as General and President. Certainly it is the greatest work of literature written by an American political figure. I wrote about both here.

The reality of the past is unchanging, as immutable as time proceeds only in one direction. But our perceptions of it, our understanding of its meaning and the stories we tell about it are perpetually in flux. Humans are story-telling creatures. Many of the great artifacts of human intellection are analytic, mathematic, visual. But at the deepest and most penetrating level we understand the world through stories, narratives. The production of these narratives become histories in themselves.

Nowhere is this more viscerally apparent than in the century of valorization of the traitors who led the pretended state called the Confederate States of America. This even goes down to the deep valorization of Southern military culture and the Confederacy’s top generals. This goes for Lee himself, a very skilled tactician but a highly conventional commander. This applies equally to the denigration of the commanders and common soldiers of the North whose reputations were downgraded as an offering to the wounded pride of the South.

That was a longer quote than I typically use but it sums up my own views quite neatly. There was, of course, nothing neat about the aftermath of the War of the Rebellion. Reconstruction ended with a whimper with the “compromise” over the disputed Hayes-Tilden election of 1876. General President Grant did not approve, but as we were reminded recently Congress had the final say.

Finally, some folks in Alabama who call themselves White Lies Matter swiped a Confederate Monument and turned it into a terlet. I am not making this up.

The last word goes to Cheap Trick with a song that has nothing to with today’s anniversary, but the title works and the song rocks:

 

Friday Catblogging: The Wee Bairn On The Wash Stand

Dr. A and I just finished binging the fabulous British TV show, Vera. We’ve fallen under the spell of Brenda Blethyn and use several of her catchphrases when addressing Claire Trevor. That’s why we call her the Wee Bairn, which is a Northern English and Scottish expression for a baby and a wee one at that. Beats the hell outta calling her the Terror of Tiny Town.

More Hick Schtick From John Neely Kennedy

The junior Senator from the Gret Stet of Louisiana is the man I love to hate. I considered two Sue Grafton inspired titles for this post, P Is For Phony or H Is For Hypocrite, before settling on this one. It would take a crack detective such as Kinsey Milhone to locate Neely’s integrity, after all.

Neely loves to go on teevee and denounce the liberals; one of whom he used to be. That was before he lowered his political IQ and became a Fox News favorite. He did it again the other day but first some background snark about Neely’s hick schtick.

As Treasurer of the Gret Stet of Louisiana for seventeen years, Neely was a publicity hound, but his brand was as a skinflint guarding the public coffers against both Democrats and Republicans, not the rabid wingnut of today. He was every bit as hard on Bobby Jindal as on his Democratic predecessor, Kathleen Blanco. Of course, he was a Democrat until 2007.

Neely didn’t start hicking up his accent and speaking style until he changed parties. Before then, he was not ashamed of being well-educated and articulate. The dumbing down began in his second run for the US Senate in 2008 against incumbent Mary Landrieu who had also served as Gret Stet Treasurer.

Neely perfected his hick schtick in his successful run for the Senate in 2016. Having secured the prize he’d spent his entire life chasing, he became one of the loudest Trump sycophants and enablers in a Republican party full of them. I wrote a long piece for Bayou Brief in 2018 about what I called his Neelyisms: the cornpone “wisdom” he dispenses on the boob tube.

The Neelyisms stopped being funny when he started using them to defend retrograde, racist, and downright stupid policies. After the slaughter in Boulder, Colorado he said that what America needed was idiot control, not gun control. He’s not really an idiot, he just plays one on teevee.

Neely popped up on Fox News the other day and deployed his cornpone “wisdom” against Major League Baseball for relocating the All Star Game from Atlanta to Denver:

Forget Mars. We need to search for intelligent life in the Major League Baseball commissioner’s office. I have never seen anything like this. Commissioner Manfred has a fiduciary responsibility to Major League Baseball. His job is to do the very best that he can not to suck. He has failed at that. Think about what he’s done. Major League Baseball is losing popularity to football and other sports. His job is to grow it. So what is the first thing he does? He decides to get involved in national politics and alienate hundreds of millions of Americans who actually like the Georgia bill and think that it is an honest effort for election security.

The commissioner hasn’t explained why he thinks these hundreds of millions of Americans who support the Georgia effort are a bunch of racists. He hasn’t bothered to explain why he thinks the bill is racist. The only excuse I can think is he made all of these decisions after his morning beer. I have never seen anything like it. It costs $150 to attend a major league baseball game in some cities. Is this going to encourage people to go? I just don’t think so.

This has nothing to do with Jackie Robinson. It has nothing to do with race.

It has everything to do with race, Senator. In fact, Jackie Robinson was born in Georgia, but his family fled Jim Crow and moved to California in search of a better life.

Republicans are afraid that they’re losing their grip on power in Georgia, so that state’s lege passed an atrocious bill that overwhelmingly effects black voters who are overwhelmingly Democratic. It might as well be called the Beat Raphael Warnock Bill.  One would think that logic would reach a man who was an adjunct professor at LSU law school for 14 years, but he’s only interested in the next election. His election.

Neely is also fond of mocking diversity and claiming that racism is not systematic. Our old pal Deep Blog saw the faux idiot on Faux News the other day and got a bellyful of his pseudo ignorant spiel. He sent me a screen shot of Vanderbilt University’s yearbook from 1973. John Neely Kennedy is second from the right on the top row:

The observant among you have surely noticed that, except for two Asian dudes, everyone on this page is of one race. It explains a lot about John Neely Kennedy. He not only mocks diversity, he’s uncomfortable with it. Imagine that.

Presumably, Vanderbilt is considerably more diverse in 2021 than it was in Neely’s day, which was a mere 9 years after that pricey private school was fully desegregated. In the Seventies, Black Commodores were still rare on the University’s Nashville campus unless some students owned records by the band then fronted by Lionel Richie.

John Neely Kennedy is a cornpone con man who thinks diversity is for suckers. To paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt, Neely talks loudly and carries a hick schtick. I look forward to voting against him in 2022.

Since Neely is so fond of guns, the last word goes to The Commodores with the title track of their debut album:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Man In The Moonlight

As you can see below, Dell Books had cool graphics back in the day.

How about some moonlight music?

Gaetzgate: Blankety Blank

We begin with a couple of housekeeping notes. I wrote my maiden Gaetzgate post before hearing that the Panhandle Pinhead himself made a request:

I’ve decided to take pity on a doomed pol and spell it his way instead of in all-caps. Who knew that the Panhandle Pinhead’s fellow whiny man baby had the wit to make such a good pun?

Since Gaetz allegedly sough a blanket pardon, the phrase blankety blank immediately came to mind. I didn’t realize that it was the name of the UK equivalent of The Match Game. Where have you gone Gene Rayburn, Charles Nelson Reilly, and Brett Somers? They’re all long dead, alas.

Dead is also the word that best describes Matt Gaetz’s political career. It’s so dead that not even the Impeached Insult Comedian could revive it. He’s yet to defend his little friend, Matt; only Gym Jordan and Marjorie Taylor Greene have done so. How’s that for:

I know I’ve made that joke before but I can’t get enough of it. That concludes the classic rock jokes section of the post.

How was that for an epic opening tangent? It’s windy even by my standards.

Let’s move on to the opening lines I wrote immediately upon hearing about the latest Gaetzgate twist:

Blankets have been in the news recently. First Andrew Cuomo, now Matt Gaetz.

in the final weeks of Mr. Trump’s term, Mr. Gaetz sought something in return. He privately asked the White House for blanket pre-emptive pardons for himself and unidentified congressional allies for any crimes they may have committed, according to two people told of the discussions.

Around that time, Mr. Gaetz was also publicly calling for broad pardons from Mr. Trump to thwart what he termed the “bloodlust” of their political opponents. But Justice Department investigators had begun questioning Mr. Gaetz’s associates about his conduct, including whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old that violated sex trafficking laws, in an inquiry that grew out of the case of an indicted associate in Florida.

It was unclear whether Mr. Gaetz or the White House knew at the time about the inquiry, or who else he sought pardons for. Mr. Gaetz did not tell White House aides that he was under investigation for potential sex trafficking violations when he made the request. But top White House lawyers and officials viewed the request for a pre-emptive pardon as a nonstarter that would set a bad precedent, the people said.

An idea so bad that even Team Trump flinched at the notion? That makes it a *really* bad even rotten idea. The whole Trump era could be summed up by the title of this failed Mel Brooks sitcom:

While Gaetz may not have known that a gate was to be affixed to his name when he begged for a pardon, he knew that his little friend Josh Greenberg was in deep shit and sinking fast. My hunch is that Greenberg was to be covered in the blankety blank blanket pardon. But was the My Pillow Guy involved? What’s a blanket without a pillow? I deserve to be given sheet for that joke…

I eagerly await the Panhandle Pinhead’s next PR gaffe. Who will he drag into his mess next: Hannity? KMac? BillO? Donnie Junior?

Stay tuned.

The last word goes to The Kinks:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: In Search Of The Lost Chord

A friend recently asked why I’d never featured a Moody Blues cover in this space. I didn’t have a particularly good answer. I’ve never connected with their music, but that’s true of many other artists whose covers I’ve posted.

In Search Of The Lost Chord is one of the moodiest Moody Blues covers ever. The album was released in 1968 and has cover art by Philip Travers.

Here’s the whole damn album via the YouTube:

The Thinning Blue Line

I paid another extended visit to the Derek Chauvin trial yesterday. I wanted to see Minneapolis police Chief Medaria Arradondo’s testimony. I was not disappointed.

The Chief’s demeanor goes against all the cop stereotypes. He’s a calm and soft-spoken man who thinks before speaking as opposed to the blustery cops we’re more familiar with from both real life and fiction. These qualities made him a devastating witness for the prosecution. I was tempted to make a Marlene Dietrich or Tyrone Power joke but decided to skip it; more or less.

The Chief made it clear that Chauvin’s actions on that fateful May evening violated departmental policy:

“To continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back — that in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy,” said the chief, Medaria Arradondo. “It is not part of our training. And it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values.”

It’s extraordinarily rare for a police chief to testify against one of their officers but it’s not the first time for Arradondo:

 In 2017, he became its first Black chief after his predecessor was forced out in the wake of a police shooting: Another officer, Mohamed Noor, was accused of murder in the fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk, who had called the police to report what she thought was a sexual assault of a woman in an alley behind her home.

In one of the few previous instances of a police chief testifying for the prosecution against an officer, Chief Arradondo took the stand in that case as well; Mr. Noor was ultimately convicted of third-degree murder.

The Chief kept his cool while under cross-examination by pesky, annoying defense attorney Eric Nelson. He has a nasty habit of ending every question with either “right” or “agreed.” He laid several rhetorical traps for the Chief who declined to take the bait.

Given the weakness of the defense’s case, Nelson kept posing hypothetical questions to muddy the waters. Arradondo listened carefully and thought before replying as well as asking Nelson to repeat his questions. Nelson is a wordy lawyer who often trips himself up because he’s in love with his own voice. It’s an occupational hazard.

The Chief has a long record of independence: he sued his own department for racial discrimination and served as the head of internal affairs; not a post that’s guaranteed to win friends among old school coppers.

Arradando was the third senior police officer to testify against Chauvin. His former supervisor and the head of the department’s homicide bureau chimed in earlier. The thin blue line may not be vanishing in Minneapolis but it’s eroding.

One thing I’m not going to do is to predict a verdict. That’s a sucker’s game. I do, however, think that the Chief’s testimony reduced the chances of an outright acquittal as has the defendant’s demeanor. He rarely makes eye contact with the jury instead scribbling notes even when nothing is happening in the courtroom. Chauvin is lucky he’s required to wear a mask: I have a hunch he’s scowling under it. He’s such a cold fish that the visitor’s seat behind the defense table has been empty every day. I’d feel sorry for another defendant but not this guy.

Back to possible outcomes. It will take more than one holdout to hang this jury. It’s difficult for a lone juror to resist peer pressure and refuse to compromise. That’s why Henry Fonda was cast in Twelve Angry Men. It was plausible that the guy who played Young Mr. Lincoln, Tom Joad, Wyatt Earp, and Mr. Roberts would stand on principle and buck the majority. There are few Henry Fondas in real life. It always comes back to John Ford movies with me, doesn’t it?

I’m cautiously optimistic about the trial. My only quibble with the prosecution is they’re using too many lawyers: five by my reckoning. That gives Nelson the chance to play David to the prosecution’s Goliath. Nobody roots for Goliath. But given the complexity of the evidence, it’s understandable. Besides, Nelson is *not* a likeable lawyer so this is a push.

The blue line may be thinning in Minneapolis but whether or not it will happen elsewhere is a different story. If a department has a reform minded chief, it can happen, but we’ve ridden the reform rollercoaster several times in New Orleans. We had a reform chief in Richard Pennington from 1994-2002. NOPD suffered a relapse of “old school” policing after the storm and federal flood so pronounced that a consent decree was imposed by the Feds in 2013. It requires not only strong leadership but eternal vigilance. And you know what they say about that.

A final note about Chief Arradando’s surname. It’s similar to that of longtime WWL-TV weatherman Carl Arredondo.  Carl, too, is a calm man who radiates knowledge and authority. He was my go-to guy during hurricane season: when he looked grim on the Friday before Katrina hit, I knew we were in for it. He had to retire in 2019 because he’s going blind. I wish him well. The same goes for Chief Arradando. Hopefully, he won’t reap the whirlwind after this trial concludes.

The last word goes to Roxy Music:

Soak The Fat Boys & Spread It Out Thin

Hack Looks Askance At Hick Schtick.

Repeat after me: Soak The Fat Boys & Spread It Out Thin.

Thus spake Willie Stark in Robert Rossen’s brilliant film adaptation of Robert Penn Warren’s All The King’s Men. The line was adapted from advice Willie’s fixer Jack Burden gave him in the book after Willie delivered a dull speech:

“Just tell ’em you’re gonna soak the fat boys and forget the rest of the tax stuff…Willie, make ’em cry, make ’em laugh, make ’em mad, even mad at you. Stir them up and they’ll love it and come back for more, but, for heaven’s sakes, don’t try to improve their minds.”

I realize that sounds like something that pardoned felon Steve Bannon would have said to the Impeached Insult Comedian, but it’s sound advice for any politician even an honest one like Joe Biden. It certainly fits the time we live in:

Quite literally, the super-rich got richer, and the poor got poorer during the pandemic.

Repeat after me: Soak The Fat Boys & Spread It Out Thin.

One way to do this is to enact the Biden administration’s increase in corporate taxes. Another more satisfying way is to enact the Wealth Tax proposed by Senator Professor Elizabeth Warren. It will make the fat boys squeal like the pigs they are.

But will the Emperor of the Senate Joe Manchin support such a surtax? He’s from one of the poorest states in the Union but raising taxes became heresy for Blue Dogs after Mondale was blown out in the 1984 election and reinforced by the Gingrich wave election in 1994.

in 1984, Fritz Mondale made it a point of honesty in his acceptance speech:

‘Mr. Reagan will raise taxes and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did.’

When I searched for the exact quote, it turned up articles warning Democrats not to raise taxes. All were written before the boom, bust, and boom of the pandemic.

Income inequality began its rise in the Reagan era, and exploded last year. Since the right no longer has an appealing salesman like Ronald Reagan, that makes it time to:

Biden’s infrastructure bill *should* be enormously popular. We can all cite crumbling infrastructure in our states and communities. In New Orleans, the greatest infrastructure need involves our water system. The vast majority of the pipes are over 100 years old. They burst with alarming regularity, which leads to frequent boil water orders. The city needs federal money to replace the system. It will take many years, but we need to get going as soon as possible.

I, for one, am relieved that Mitch McConnell has declared his entire caucus against the American Jobs Act. That means there will be no bad faith negotiations with Republicans as Leader Schumer plans to use the filibuster proof reconciliation process again. As with the COVID relief plan, I consider McConnell’s move to be cynical: GOPers will pop up to support projects if the bill passes.

It’s up to Democrats to find middle ground between AOC and the Man of La Manchin. It may sound hard but it’s easier than getting libertarian creeps like Aqua Buddha to agree to a spending proposal that’s guaranteed to attack income equality while improving roads, bridges, and the like across the country. It’s ironic that the original proponent of internal improvements, Henry Clay, hailed from Kentucky given the Turtle and Aqua Buddha’s posturing but he was a Whig, they’re Trumpified Republicans.

The Republican attack on the COVID relief plan was muted because they knew their states would benefit. I expect the same dynamic to play out here. Besides, the faux populism of Trump has seeded the ground for more government spending. Infrastructure week may have been a running joke under Trump, but President Biden hopes to make every week infrastructure week.

Willie Stark was famously based on Huey P. Long who was a blowhard with authoritarian tendencies, but he was big on infrastructure before it was called that. He talked a lot of rubbish, but delivered massive projects throughout the Gret Stet of Louisiana.

Joe Biden seems an unlikely heir to Long but the mere fact that he’s regarded as a moderate helped pass the first huge spending bill and will help pass the next spending bill if the Man of La Manchin allows it. He should follow the example of former West Virginia Senators such as Jennings, Byrd, and Rockefeller and take the money and run.

Make it so, Joe, make it so.

Soak the fat boys by passing a wealth surtax and/or corporate tax hikes, then spread it out thin by passing the American Jobs act.

The last word goes to the Steve Miller Band:

 

Sunday Morning Video: Diana Krall Live In Paris

I seem to have Paris on my mind this week. Here’s the divine Diana Krall live in 2002. FYI, she loves her fellow Canadian Oscar Peterson as much as I do.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Roll Away The Stone

Notre Dame by Pablo Picasso.

I’ve already blasphemed about Easter in my Son Of Jab Talking post so I’ll resist the urge here. Besides, how can a non-believer blaspheme? A question for the ages.

This week’s theme song was written in 1974 by Ian Hunter for Mott The Hoople’s The Hoople album. They’re one of my favorite bands of that era; all flash and swagger. I like flash and swagger in a rock band.

I saw Mott perform live on that tour on a bill with BTO and a totally unknown band from Boston, Aerosmith. Great show although I’m not sure what Mormon rocker Randy Bachman thought of Ian Hunter and Steven Tyler; not to mention Mott guitarist Ariel Bender. That’s a stage name: his real moniker is nearly as colorful, Luther Grosvenor.

We move from glam rock to roots rock with this week’s co-theme song. It was written by Michael Dempsey and Leon Russell for the latter’s eponymous debut album:

Two more songs with stone in the title:

Let’s crawl to the break then jump if such a thing is feasible.

Continue reading

April In Paris

 

I’m not in Paris but it’s April. That’s why I picked April In Paris by Vernon Duke and Yip Harburg as this week’s selection. It was written in 1932 for a Broadway musical that nobody’s ever heard of so we’ll skip the name. The song, however, is memorable.

We begin this week’s promenade down memory lane with  Ella & Louis:

It’s vocalese time with Lambert, Hendricks & Bavan:

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Quote Of The Day: Boehner On Birtherism

Barack Obama and John Boehner on St. Patrick’s Day, 2014.

The man I used to call Speaker Boner has published a memoir of his days in elected office. The Politico Magazine excerpt has a cool title: Panic Rooms, Birth Certificates, and the Birth of GOP Paranoia.

We can argue about the timing of the paranoia but not about its existence. It’s the sort of arguments we *used* to have with conservatives when we agreed on facts but not on policy.

Anyhoo, Heeeeeeere’s Johnny on what became the foundational big lie of Trumpism:

“In January 2011, as the new Republican House majority was settling in and I was getting adjusted to the Speakership, I was asked about the birth certificate business by Brian Williams of NBC News. My answer was simple: ‘The state of Hawaii has said that President Obama was born there. That’s good enough for me.’ It was a simple statement of fact. But you would have thought I’d called Ronald Reagan a communist. I got all kinds of shit for it—emails, letters, phone calls. It went on for a couple weeks. I knew we would hear from some of the crazies, but I was surprised at just how many there really were.

It’s quite a contrast with current House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy who is, to be blunt, a ninny and silly-billy. Who among us has forgotten the post I wrote about him in 2015 called Untrustable In Hungria. Most of you, I know, but it’s one of my all-time favorites so I trot it out whenever possible.

Even though I gave him an anatomical nickname, I was always fond of John Boehner. He’s a human being as opposed to the sock puppet McCarthy or the butt-plug Scalise.

Another image I keep trotting out. I got a million of them…

Another Boehner quote about the 2010 Tea Party wave election is quite revealing:

“You could be a total moron and get elected just by having an R next to your name—and that year, by the way, we did pick up a fair number in that category.”

Boehner’s Speakership coincided with the GOP’s headlong rush into full-tilt insanity. It turned his dream job into a nightmare. The same thing happened to our political system. We’re still trying to recover.

I get a kick out of the fact that Boehner is now a weed lobbyist. Party on, John.

The last word goes to the Chairman of the Board with a double dose of Cole Porter:

Friday Catblogging: Claire’s New Spot

We brought a new to us piece of furniture home last weekend. Claire Trevor has already staked her claim.

Son Of Jab Talking

America loves sequels. I usually don’t but I’ll make an exception this time. This is NOT an April Fool’s joke.

I received my second Pfizer jab this morning. I’d already gotten an apology from the local medical behemoth for the needless confusion caused by one of their minions. As expected, there was plenty of space at the Morial Convention Center. I arrived early and they took me immediately.

One of the volunteers was offering to take pictures. I handed her my phone then this happened:

I never post pictures of myself, but I wanted to mark the occasion. I hadn’t worn that jacket since Carnival 2020. How do I know that? There was a koozie caught during the King Arthur parade in one of the pockets. Note the Krewe du Vieux lapel pin. One could call it my Carnival coat.

I crammed a lot of stuff into the pockets and thought I’d lost my CDC vax card, but it landed on the floor of my study. Is that a so it goes or oh well, what the hell moment? Beats the hell outta me.

I’m hoping that I won’t be Mr. Side Effects this time around. I’m glad that I got jabbed earlier than planned so I can be resurrected on Sunday. It’s just a joke. I’m a heathen but if I were a believer I suppose I’d be Greek Orthodox. And their Easter is late this year: May 2, 2021.

I always think of my favorite cousin at this time of year. She was simultaneously devout and irreverent, which is an unusual combination, but it explains why the favorite cousin thing was mutual. I miss getting a call from her every holiday. FYI, she loved Oscar the cat as much as our readers did.

My childhood memories of Easter Sunday center around food, not church. There was usually roast lamb and other Hellenic delicacies cooked by my blue-eyed Norwegian mother.

I recall decorating hard boiled eggs followed by an egg battle of sorts. I don’t know what else to call it, but it involved bashing your egg into someone else’s egg while saying, “Christos annesti.”

That’s Greek for Christ has risen; even as a kid I thought that was a fairy tale. It’s why it’s called faith.

Back to the original purpose, such as it is, of this post. I intend to keep my guard up until we reach herd immunity. I’m uncertain if that will happen in Louisiana because of all the Trumpers in other parts of the Gret Stet. Plus, we’re surrounded by the stupid sammich I wrote about last month:

Governors Hey Abbott, Edwards, and Tater Tot.

Freedom, man.

Another reason to keep one’s guard up is the latest update from Pfizer. Their vaccine is 91% effective for six months against COVID-19 and some of the other variants. If we don’t reach herd immunity by then, a booster shot might be in order.

A reminder that everyone should get jabbed when their turn comes.

Never underestimate the power of the Gibb:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Hollow Needle

We’ve done a lot of jab talking lately. It’s time to really put the needle in:

Calling The Cops On The Cops

I’ve been watching bits and pieces of the trial of Derek Chauvin for murdering George Floyd. I have some random thoughts about what I’ve seen thus far.

The way the defendant’s name is pronounced is jarring to this Louisianan’s ear. In the Gret Stet, it’s pronounced SHOW-VAN. We have some good friends who are Chauvins, no relation.

In Minnesota the name seems to be pronounced SHAW-VIN.

Oh well, what the hell.

The prosecution’s main witness is THE VIDEO. But it needed to be authenticated by Darnella Frazier who filmed the whole incident with her camera phone. She was also a helluva witness. The defense opened the door with a question about her emotional reaction to the murder of George Floyd. The prosecution threw her a hanging curveball and she knocked it out of the park.

Defense lawyer Eric Nelson is a bad cross-examiner whose attempts to provoke witnesses have been largely ineffective. He’s trying to prove that the crowd assembled outside Cup Foods was an angry mob in a bad neighborhood. It hasn’t worked with me but I’m not on the jury. It’s the only audience that matters.

Nelson wisely limited his cross-examination of the underage witnesses. Bullying a 9-year-old girl is a bad look.

He had no compunction about going after Donald Williams who was one of the most voluble eyeball witnesses at the crime scene. He’s a mixed martial arts fighter so he immediately understood the peril George Floyd was in.

Williams heckled the cops with the refrain, “You a bum.” I believe in calling a bum a bum so I’m in complete agreement.

Nelson trotted out the angry black man thing with Williams. It was undermined by the simple fact that he was the one who called the police on the police. I’ve paraphrased it for the post title: cops flows better.

That brings me to firefighter Genevieve Hansen. The defense quite rightly views her as an existential threat. She’s a certified EMT who has the expertise to comment upon Chauvin’s actions.  The police refused to allow her to help George Floyd.

Hansen is also a white chick and, more importantly in Minnesota, Norwegian or Swedish. Probably the former because of the sen.

If you’ve ever seen the original Fargo, you know that her ethnicity is a big deal in heavily Scandinavian Minnesota. It’s like a Cajun witness testifying against a rogue racist cop in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Nelson’s cross-examination of  Hansen made me cross. He patronized her because of her youth and gender. Hansen got irritated and fought back. The judge was not amused. I was.

The prosecution case is off to a roaring start. The hard part comes next: proving intent. In order to convict Chauvin of any degree of murder, intent is the key. His actions meet the depraved indifference standard but intent is the key to locking this bigoted bastard up.

The MSM focus on social media reactions to the trial is amusing but misplaced. The only reaction that matters is that of the jury. Just ask Perry Mason and Hamilton Burger, they know. Mercifully, Eric Nelson is no Perry Mason.

GAETZGATE?

I have Watergate on my mind because the nitwit who “masterminded” the break-in, G Gordon Liddy, died yesterday at the age of 90. Liddy was known for his mindless loyalty to Tricky Dick and post-prison talk radio windbaggery.

We go from no-hair Watergate to big-hair Gaetzgate.

Liddy’s death provided the backdrop for a blockbuster New York Times story about one of the Trumpiest Trumpers of all, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz:

Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida and a close ally of former President Donald J. Trump, is being investigated by the Justice Department over whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him, according to three people briefed on the matter.

Investigators are examining whether Mr. Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws, the people said. A variety of federal statutes make it illegal to induce someone under 18 to travel over state lines to engage in sex in exchange for money or something of value. The Justice Department regularly prosecutes such cases, and offenders often receive severe sentences.

It was not clear how Mr. Gaetz met the girl, believed to be 17 at the time of encounters about two years ago that investigators are scrutinizing, according to two of the people.

The investigation was opened in the final months of the Trump administration under Attorney General William P. Barr, the two people said. Given Mr. Gaetz’s national profile, senior Justice Department officials in Washington — including some appointed by Mr. Trump — were notified of the investigation, the people said.

The three people said that the examination of Mr. Gaetz, 38, is part of a broader investigation into a political ally of his, a local official in Florida named Joel Greenberg, who was indicted last summer on an array of chargesincluding sex trafficking of a child and financially supporting people in exchange for sex, at least one of whom was an underage girl.

This is some serious shit, y’all. Greenberg is looking at an extended stretch in the slammer. If he can be induced to flip on Gaetz, the latter could be in deep shit. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

I realize that I’m on the record as opposing affixing a gate to every scandal. But this is an exceptional case because it’s punny and scans so well: GAETZGATE. I think it looks best in all caps.

Like his lord and master, Pennywise, Gaetz looks out for #1. In 2017, he was the only member of Congress to vote against an anti-human trafficking bill.

In response to the NYT story, Gaetz cried SQUIRREL and gave the media hounds something to chase: an alleged extortion scheme.

Gaetz even tried to use fellow wingnut shitbag Tucker Carlson as an alibi. Tucker may be a fucker, but he denied dining with Gaetz and a young lady who is NOT jailbait according to Gaetz. Would he lie? Hell, yes.

GAETZGATE. Try it, you’ll like.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Meet Robert Clary

I knew Robert Clary from watching Hogan’s Heroes reruns as a kid. He played the lovable Louis Le Beau who, in the manner of all comedic Frenchmen, was a swell cook forever bribing the inept guard Sergeant Schultz with food.

It wasn’t until I reached adulthood that I learned there was much more to Clary. He was a Holocaust survivor and a helluva singer.

We have two covers this week: the weird Hogan’s Heroes album led me on a Clary quest. I found 1955’s Meet Robert Clary, which has a similar vibe to some early Beatles covers. Oui, oui, oui.

Here’s the Clary album via Spotify:

Your American Healthcare System At Work

As a rule, I never use this forum to complain about something that happened to me in real life. Since it’s vaccination day here at First Draft, I’m breaking that rule. As I like to say, there’s an exception to every rule.

I received my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the Morial Convention Center on March 13. It’s where the local hospital chain LCMC has been vaccinating people. My first visit went well, and I suspect my second one will too. There was, however, some weirdness last night and this morning.

I’ve been patiently waiting for my second jab, which was originally scheduled for the afternoon of Saturday April 3. I missed a call from LCMC who left a voice mail informing me that my appointment had to be rescheduled.

No reason was given but I suspect it had something to do with Easter weekend. New Orleans is a very Catholic town, and they might have had a problem with volunteers or something. I don’t know since communication is not the medical behemoth’s strong suit.

I returned the call in a matter of minutes last night only to learn that they were closed. Fair enough: it was after 6:30 PM.

The message gave me two options: April 1 and April 6. I prefer the former. I’m tired of waiting for my second jab. I want to get this over with.

I called early this morning and was informed that April 1 was unavailable. I asked why and was told “I only make the appointments.”

I pointed out that LCMC was accepting walk-ins at the Convention Center and that some vaccine had been wasted. Again, I was told “I only make the appointments.”

She might as well have said, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

I reluctantly accepted the later appointment, but I was fuming. I hate things that make no sense, and this was as arbitrary as it gets. I arrived 20 minutes early for my first jab and was taken immediately because they had the space.

Instead of getting mad, I decided to get even by calling back. I got a different operator who actually listened. It turned out that there *were* appointments on April 1, so I rescheduled after giving the second operator a piece of my mind. I did so without raising my voice.

The operators both sounded local so the first one should have gotten it. LCMC insisted that I move my appointment. All I wanted was some flexibility. I understood that it would have to be a specific date because I need a second dose of Pfizer, but they needed to work with me.

Operator #1 acted as if I was trying to reschedule a normal doctor’s appointment. The Convention Center is serving as a mass vaccination site: there’s built-in flexibility. I understand hating one’s job but taking it out on someone who just wants to be vaccinated during the pandemic is ridiculous. Oy, just oy.

There are two lessons to be learned from this incident:

  • The squeaky wheel gets oiled.
  • Our healthcare system needs change.

I know my experience with disembodied voices at the end of a telephone line is not unusual. To be told that I had to delay my second jab was too much. I’m glad I’m fought back but I shouldn’t have had to. Oh well, what the hell.

Let’s close on a lighter note and give the last word to ELO:

Quote Of The Day: Montana Meth Nostalgia Edition

Montana is not only famous for dental floss tycoons, it used to have its own homegrown meth. Just ask Senator Steve Daines:

“Twenty years ago in Montana, meth was homemade. It was homegrown. And you had purity levels less than 30 percent,” Daines said alongside other Republican seantors who had traveled to the southern border. “Today the meth that is getting into Montana is Mexican cartel. It has purities north of 95 percent. Far more dangerous, far more addictive, and it’s less expensive.”

Ah, the good old days of meth lab explosions and local entrepreneurship. Dang furriners are taking over everything.

I’m glad I’m not the only one who has a senator who says stupid shit and I mean you John Neely Kennedy.

I used a line from the Zappa song Montana for my senior yearbook quote: “Moving to Montana soon, gonna be a dental floss tycoon.”

A friend’s mother asked him when I was leaving. A minor triumph but it was mine, all mine.

You’ve probably guessed by now that this entire post was a pretext to post those Zappa dental floss images I found on the internets. Just humor me.

The last word goes to Frank Zappa and the Mothers: