Category Archives: Adrastos

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Winds Of Fear

Hodding Carter was a distinguished journalist. He was a Southern liberal when it was dangerous to be one.

I did not know that he’d ever written a novel but sometimes you strike gold when you go down an internet rabbit hole.

Trivia Time: The author’s son Hodding Carter III was the State Department spokesman during the Carter administration.

New Orleans Trivia Time: The author was married to Betty Werlein of New Orleans. People of a certain age will remember the much loved Canal Street music store, Werlein’s. It’s now the home of The Palace Cafe.

The Campaign As Science Experiment

We begin with a few words about the featured image. It comes from a season-one episode of MASH: Yankee Doodle Doctor. Hawkeye is channeling Groucho and Trapper John is making like Harpo. Honk, honk. That’s a bit too highbrow for the Trump regime: they’re more like The Three Stooges or The Bowery Boys. For all we know, Donny from Queens could be Huntz Hall’s evil twin…

In the immortal words of REM, “let’s begin again, begin the begin.”

The Trump regime has openly joined the herd immunity stampede. Quack medicine is in the saddle at the White House and on the campaign trail. It’s well and truly Midsommar In America.

Herd immunity has been White House policy since Dr. Scott Atlas Shrugged became the head wrangler of the dormant COVID task force. They’re finally admitting it now that the Impeached Insult Comedian is holding swing state super-spreader events. He’s making bizarre claims of immunity and supernatural health. He’s not immune and he’s certainly not Superman.

We need a double-barreled musical antidote to the mishigas coming from Team Trump:

Long-time readers know my motto: there’s a Kinks song for every occasion. Thanks, Ray.

Mockery remains the best medicine when it comes to Team Trump, but this latest nonsense is deeply disturbing. They’re putting public health and safety at risk with their rallies, which pack unmasked Trumpers in close proximity to one another. Then there are the vague pronouncements on Trump’s health by his lackey, Dr. Sean Conley who should be investigated by whatever licensing agency he answers to.

The herd immunity stampede appalls Dr. A’s homey, NIH director Francis Collins:

“What I worry about with this is it’s being presented as if it’s a major alternative view that’s held by large numbers of experts in the scientific community. That is not true,” Collins, the NIH director, said in an interview.

“This is a fringe component of epidemiology. This is not mainstream science. It’s dangerous. It fits into the political views of certain parts of our confused political establishment,” he said. “I’m sure it will be an idea that someone can wrap themselves in as a justification for skipping wearing masks or social distancing and just doing whatever they damn well please.”

That’s the sound of mild-mannered Dr. Francis Collins boiling with righteous indignation. What does he know? He’s only one of the most eminent scientists in the world. Who needs experts when President* Pennywise’s gut instincts are in charge?

In other campaign news, the Kaiser of Chaos’ support among senior citizens is slipping. That could cost him Florida. He’s been trying to woo them back then he tweeted this out:

The picture is obscured. I don’t want to let them off the hook so here it is:

 

Mocking seniors strikes me as a weird way to win their votes back. But the Kaiser of Chaos is a weirdo.

Joey B. Shark struck back with a blunt attack on his opponent:

“You’re expendable. You’re forgettable. You’re virtually nobody. That’s how he sees seniors,” Biden told a crowd of senior voters on Tuesday. “The only senior that Donald Trump cares about — the only senior — is the senior Donald Trump.”

The 2020 campaign has become an ordeal thanks to the incumbent. They’re conducting a weird science experiment on the body politic. It will be interesting to see if President* Pennywise gets it right this time and calls it herd immunity, not herd mentality. Either way, it’s insanity.

The last word goes to Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and my homey Kris Kristofferson:

 

 

 

 

Why I’m Not Watching The Barrett Hearings

I hate Senate hearings, especially illegitimate ones. I’m usually the guy who says, “don’t boycott.” But this time I wish they had. I understand the reasons for Democratic members participating but I don’t want any of them catching COVID from the senator we know has had it, Mike Lee, or the senators who refused to be tested, Graham and Grassley. It’s not worth it, y’all.

I have a personal reason for hearing avoidance: the junior senator from the Gret Stet of Louisiana, John Neely Kennedy. I cannot stand watching him hick it up and sound like a hillbilly ninny. He’s the second phoniest man in American politics. Repeat after me: John Neely Kennedy can go fuck himself.

As to the process itself, it’s a rush job to cram an extremist judge down our throats. We all know that she’s itching to reverse Roe, but they keep denying it. I may not be watching the hearings but I’m reading about them and watching the clips. You could cut the sanctimony in that room with a knife.

I’m baffled by the Republican focus on the “injustice” done to Justice Bro. Why do they want to relive that nightmare? It’s not going to help them politically. Just ask Runaround Sue Collins. They know they’re losing, that’s why they’re putting their hypocrisy on parade.

I wish they weren’t there, but I agree with the Democrat’s focus on health care. The ACA and COVID are winning issues for Team Blue. Since this process is strictly political, they should milk it for all it’s worth.

The clips I’ve seen from day two show an over rehearsed almost comically evasive nominee. It’s the same act that GOP nominees have been doing since John Roberts, but he did it with style and panache qualities that Judge Barrett lacks.

I’m glad committee Dems are scoring points but life’s too short to invite Ted Cruz into my living room. I don’t want to traumatize Kitty Claire Trevor.

A brief thought about “court packing.” I think it’s high time for SCOTUS reform, but I wish our side would STFU about court packing. It’s a pejorative term that was used by FDR’s enemies during his attempt to reform the high court. Call if reform, call it anything else but don’t call it packing. Words matter. I agree with the headline of a recent Josh Marshall post: It’s Not ‘Court Packing.’ Don’t Be A Moron and Call It That.

It’s time to gavel this post to a close. In an attempt to inject some levity into the proceedings, we have two judge songs for your listening pleasure:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Last Time Around

Buffalo Springfield were like a comet: briefly sighted, never forgotten. 1968’s Last Time Around is their last official studio album before Stills, Young, Furay, and Messina went on to other projects and greater glory.

I’ve always loved this cover because it perfectly captures Neil Young’s restless spirit. He’s always looking for the next challenge, which is what makes him a difficult band mate and a great solo artist.

I couldn’t find any artwork credits but suffice it to say that it’s swell:

Thanks to Sgt. Pepper and We’re Only In It For The Money, everyone in those days was into photo montages. This one was on the back cover:

Here’s the whole damn album:

 

In 1492, Columbus Sailed The Ocean Blue

Team Trump was not content with pandering to Italian Americans on Columbus Day. They attacked “political correctness” as well:

Sadly, in recent years, radical activists have sought to undermine Christopher Columbus’s legacy.  These extremists seek to replace discussion of his vast contributions with talk of failings, his discoveries with atrocities, and his achievements with transgressions.  Rather than learn from our history, this radical ideology and its adherents seek to revise it, deprive it of any splendor, and mark it as inherently sinister.  They seek to squash any dissent from their orthodoxy.  We must not give in to these tactics or consent to such a bleak view of our history.  We must teach future generations about our storied heritage, starting with the protection of monuments to our intrepid heroes like Columbus.  This June, I signed an Executive Order to ensure that any person or group destroying or vandalizing a Federal monument, memorial, or statue is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

This is a White House, not campaign statement. They don’t distinguish between the two. They’re equally incompetent at both so why not?

I’m not a “radical activist” but I agree with the Columbus revisionists. The White House statement left out the bits about corruption and slave trading. Details, details, details.

This statement is a perfect distillation of Trumpist grievance politics. You build a straw man, then burn it down. It’s a pity that they couldn’t work Hillary’s emails into it.

It’s time for my annual viewing of the Sopranos episode, Christopher. Some think it’s the worst episode in the Sopranos canon, but I like it. What can I tell ya? It beats the hell out of the two major movies made about Columbus who was played by two great actors neither of whom were remotely Italianate looking, Fredric March and Gerard Depardieu:

I have no idea why the March image looks like a baseball card. I wonder if there are stats on the back and stale bubblegum that tastes like cardboard in the pack? Questions, questions, questions.

As always, I think the best medicine against Trumpism is mockery and ridicule, especially when they put out such a ridiculous statement. I guess President* Pennywise doesn’t want to piss off his pals in la Cosa Nostra. Wise guys are one of the few groups Trump’s not eager to offend. He identifies with them, after all.

Here’s the Impeached Insult Comedian with his old buddies Big Paul Castellano, Fat Tony Salerno, and Roy Cohn:

Oops, I forgot to call him Don Donaldo Il Comico Insulto.

The last word of this meandering Columbus Day post goes to Burning Spear with a song that includes this refrain: “Christopher Columbus is a damn blasted liar.”

Guest Post: The All-Time, No-World Series Starting Nine

Tommy T is on the mend and still not quite up to doing that voodoo that he does so well.

For the second consecutive week, we have a guest post by Ryne Hancock. This time, he’s talking baseball.

-Adrastos

The All-Time, No-World Series Starting Nine by Ryne Hancock

One thing my friend Peter and I bond over is our love of baseball history (in fact I had floated around the idea of a podcast that focused on baseball history before the Great Pause). Despite the fact that I’m a diehard Cardinals fan and the fact that Peter’s Giants have beaten us three times in the postseason in my lifetime, we can both say that we’ve seen our teams reach the Fall Classic in our lifetimes.

With baseball playoffs in high gear, I thought about a starting nine of players that never saw their talents showcased in the Fall Classic. While I’m pretty certain that you, the reader, have different opinions on who should be on this list, I encourage you to leave comments in the comment section on who I left off.

 OF Dale Murphy:  Sandwiched between Hank Aaron & Chipper Jones, Dale Murphy was the only reason why most people during the 1980’s gave a damn about the Braves. In 15 years with the Braves, Murphy won two MVPs and led the Braves to the 1982 NL West title, where they would lose to the Cardinals in the NLCS. After that season, the Braves would have one more winning season during his time in Atlanta, an 88-win season in 1983. Despite the fact that he put up numbers that were Hall of Fame worthy, Murphy’s name isn’t etched in the annals among the immortals in Cooperstown.

OF Ken Griffey Jr. The greatest tragedy in baseball history was not the Indians choking away a 3-1 lead to the Chicago Cubs and extending the misery of the Cub fans, but kids of a certain generation never got to see Ken Griffey belt a home run with that sweet swing or rob someone of a home run in the World Series. The closest Griffey ever got to the Fall Classic was in 1995, when they beat the vaunted Yankees (more on one of their players later on) to reach the ALCS. Another postseason appearance followed two years later that ended in the ALDS with the Mariners, which would be the last one for Griffey until 2008 when he played on the White Sox.

I thought about that the other day when I was watching a softball game at the Fly when I had a conversation with a 14-year-old kid about Mike Trout and how the Angels were wasting his prime.

“Kid, when I was your age,” I told him, “we didn’t see Griffey in the World Series. You’re getting that with Trout”.

OF Vlad Guerrero: There were a bunch of names that stood out for me for the rightfield position. Of the four names I had (Andre Dawson, Vlad Guerrero, Sammy Sosa, Juan Gonzalez) the one that stuck out for me was Vlad Guerrero.

Of all the players I grew up watching, no one hit the ball more violently than Guerrero, especially balls that were out of the strike zone. Despite all the success the Angels had during that time, with five division titles in six years, Guerrero could never reach the Fall Classic.

3B Ron Santo: Kids of a certain generation in Chicago saw the primes of Gale Sayers, Dick Butkus, Ernie Banks, & the third baseman on this team, Ron Santo, squandered like an Atlanta Falcons lead in the Super Bowl.

A key cog in the Cubs’ resurgence in the 1960’s, Santo didn’t get a chance to sniff a winning season until 1967, when the Cubs finished third behind my Cardinals, who of course won the World Series that year. In 1969, the first year of divisional play, the Cubs looked primed to reach the playoffs and possibly the World Series when thanks to the managerial malpractice of Leo Durocher and the fact that Wrigley didn’t have night games, the Cubs squandered an eight-game lead in the new National League East to the New York Mets.

The Cubs wouldn’t reach the playoffs until 1984.

SS Ernie Banks: When the Cubs won four years ago, the first person that came to my mind was Ernie Banks. In 1958 & 59 Banks won the National League MVP when the Cubs finished fifth and seventh, respectively. It wasn’t until his 11th season in which the Cubs had a winning record, when the Cubs finished 82-80.

Banks had to deal with not only racism, but also an eccentric owner that was more focused on the ballpark than fielding a competent team. He saw the dregs of a pennant race late in his career, but never got a chance to see the Fall Classic.

Just think how things would have been had he had a competent front office.

2B Ryne Sandberg: Despite my fandom for the Cardinals, I was named for Ryne Sandberg. Long before Sosa made his sojourn to the North Side, Sandberg was the face of the Cubs. Fifteen years after their collapse in 1969, the Cubs reached the playoffs for the first time since 1945 when they won the National League East. Another trip would follow in 1989 as they won the division by six games over the New York Mets.

Unfortunately, those two trips would be the closest Sandberg would get to the Fall Classic. In 1984, the Cubs would blow a 2-1 lead to the Padres and five years later, the Giants behind the bat of Will Clark would derail pennant hopes for the Cubs.

1B Don Mattingly: Similar to Dale Murphy in Atlanta, Mattingly was the gap between Reggie Jackson and Derek Jeter. Despite putting up solid numbers during his time in the Bronx, Mattingly could never showcase his talents in the World Series. Many baseball scholars suggest that had the 1994 strike not happened, the Yankees would have probably made the postseason.

P Jim Bunning: Lost in the shuffle of great pitchers in the 1960’s and long before he became a quack politician, Jim Bunning was one of the best pitchers in baseball. In a 17-year career, most notably with the Tigers and the Phillies, Bunning led the American League in wins once and strikeouts three times. During his time in Detroit, Bunning got close to the World Series once, playing on the 1961 team that won 101 games and finished second behind the Yankees. In Philadelphia, he played on the 1964 team that collapsed down the stretch and lost the pennant to the Cardinals.

C Joe Mauer: In a perfect world Joe Mauer is like Kent Hrbek, a local kid who made good by playing for the local baseball team and won two world championships.

Despite being the face of the Twins for over a decade, Mauer didn’t have the same luck in the postseason as Hrbek. In five trips to the postseason, Mauer never won a postseason series.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Delta Lady

Hummingbirds by Walter Anderson.

It’s been an unduly stressful week in New Orleans. For the sixth time this hurricane season, we were in the cone of uncertainty. My friend Chef Chris DeBarr calls it “hurricane dodgeball.”

Hurricane Delta obeyed what could be called Adrastos’ First Rule Of Hurricane Forecasting: If there’s a bull’s eye on New Orleans 4 or 5 days before a storm hits, it will not come here. It happened again. It’s pure luck but it beats the hell outta the alternative. Delta is following an eerily similar path to Hurricane Laura, alas. Best wishes to everyone in Southwestern Louisiana.

All is not gloom and doom in the New Orleans area. In suburban Pearl River, a man saw a Catholic priest having sex with two women. In the church. On the altar. The scene was being recorded. Instead of beating off like a proper pervert, the peeper called the cops. One could call this an altercation. But were they doing it dog collar style?

This story is funny because it involves consenting adults, which makes it an anomaly for the Catholic church. It turns out the women were rough trade. There’s been a raging dispute as to the plural spelling of dominatrix. Some say dominatrices but I’m sticking with dominatrixes because X is a funnier letter than C.

I’m feeling terse this week, so this will be a relatively short Saturday Odds & Sods. We will dispense with our second act altogether. I’m worn out from all the presidential* acting up so one less act sounds good to me.

This week’s theme song was written by Leon Russell in 1969. It was first recorded by Joe Cocker but I’m still putting Leon’s version first. I don’t want to trip over his beard or some such shit. Of course, both Leon and Joe are no longer with us.

We have three versions of Delta Lady for your listening pleasure: Leon Russell, Joe Cocker live with Leon Russell, and a mostly instrumental version by the great Rick Wakeman. It’s unclear if his cape attended the session.

One reason for the avian Walter Anderson featured image is that Leon Russell also wrote a song called Hummingbird:

Let’s fly or hover to the break. There may be pollen on the other side. Achoo.

Continue reading

I Can’t Stop Loving You

I realized that I haven’t done any country torch songs in this space. It’s time to rectify that omission with a much loved, oft-recorded mid-tempo ballad.

I Can’t Stop Loving You was written by Don Gibson in 1957. He sat down to write a “lost love ballad” and came up with a classic.

We begin at the beginning with Don Gibson and the Jordanaires on backing vocals.

Kitty Wells was one of the ultimate country torch singers, so naturally she recorded Gibson’s song:

Ray Charles had the biggest hit of all: reaching number one on the pop charts for five weeks. No wonder the Genius loved this song.

It wouldn’t be the Friday Cocktail hour without the Chairman of the Board. Frank cut this track with Bill Basie and Quincy Jones in 1964:

Van Morrison may be a malaka but he’s a helluva singer. This version features The Chieftains as his backing band. By all accounts, they are not malakas.

What’s the Friday Cocktail Hour without a jazz instrumental? This time it’s Duke Ellington:

That’s it for this week. Pour yourself your favorite adult beverage and toast the end of a long, crazy week. It’s what Bogie, Betty, and Frank would have wanted. Never argue with them.

Malaka Of The Week: Rod Rosenstein

Rod Rosenstein & Scoot McNairy.

One of the best things about Showtime’s The Comey Rule is its portrayal of Rod Rosenstein. Rosenstein comes off as a schlemiel, putz, worm, nerd, weasel, and toady. By all accounts, it’s an accurate depiction. And that is why Rod Rosenstein is malaka of the week.

Rod Rosenstein was briefly an unlikely resistance hero. He was seen as the man who prevented Bob Mueller from being fired. There were even demonstrations to “save” Rod Rosenstein from being sacked by the Kaiser of Chaos. From what we’ve learned this year, they should have been calling for his pinhead on a pike.

Bob Woodward has argued that naming the post-Comey investigation after Robert Mueller is a misnomer. He believes that it was really the Rosenstein probe. I concur and I think history will as well. That’s why it was doomed.

Malaka Rod was instrumental in steering the Mueller Probe away from two of the most promising aspects of its investigation: counter-intelligence and Trump’s finances. It always comes down to money with Donald Trump.

Rosenstein let Team Mueller think that the FBI was continuing with its counter-intelligence probe when, in fact, it withered and died after Andrew McCabe was demoted and later fired.

Rosenstein ordered Mueller NOT to investigate President* Pennywise’s ill-gotten gains. Bobby Three Sticks is a rule-follower and an honest man. They were able to flip those good qualities against him and effectively neuter the investigation.

In addition to his Rosenstein probe malakatude, Malaka Rod was up to his neck in the worst thing Team Trump has done: the family separation scandal.

The five U.S. attorneys along the border with Mexico, including three appointed by President Trump, recoiled in May 2018 against an order to prosecute all undocumented immigrants even if it meant separating children from their parents. They told top Justice Department officials they were “deeply concerned” about the children’s welfare.

But the attorney general at the time, Jeff Sessions, made it clear what Mr. Trump wanted on a conference call later that afternoon, according to a two-year inquiry by the Justice Department’s inspector general into Mr. Trump’s “zero tolerance” family separation policy.

“We need to take away children,” Mr. Sessions told the prosecutors, according to participants’ notes. One added in shorthand: “If care about kids, don’t bring them in. Won’t give amnesty to people with kids.”

Rod J. Rosenstein, then the deputy attorney general, went even further in a second call about a week later, telling the five prosecutors that it did not matter how young the children were. He said that government lawyers should not have refused to prosecute two cases simply because the children were barely more than infants.

“Those two cases should not have been declined,” John Bash, the departing U.S. attorney in western Texas, wrote to his staff immediately after the call. Mr. Bash had declined the cases, but Mr. Rosenstein had overruled him. “Per the A.G.’s policy, we should NOT be categorically declining immigration prosecutions of adults in family units because of the age of a child.”

Jeff Sessions’ role in this atrocity should come as no surprise: Steven Miller was his bequest to the Trump regime. Like fellow lackey Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel, Malaka Rod was just following orders. He’s a dutiful schlemiel, after all.

Back to The Comey Rule. The fine Australian actor Scoot McNairy plays Rosenstein as an awkward, ill-at-ease, and nervous little man. He was eager to please his superiors and easily impressed by more secure men such as Comey and Mueller before turning on them. Weasels will stab you in the back given half-a-chance and a green light from someone higher up the ladder. Orders are orders.

One of the Impeached Insult Comedian’s few talents is an ability to uncover the dark side in other people. It’s part of the con man’s art. He figured Malaka Rod for a mark early on, squeezed him until he was hollowed out, then discarded him. Everything Trump touches turns to shit; even “distinguished lawyers” such as Malaka Rod. And that is why Rod Rosenstein is malaka of the week.

As I wrote this post, I thought of the lyrics to a John Lennon song:

You can wear a mask and paint your face
You can call yourself the human race
You can wear a collar and a tie
One thing you can’t hide
Is when you’re crippled inside

The last word goes to John Lennon whose birthday it is. He would have been 80 if he were still with us:

 

Friday Catblogging: Upside Down Claire

Cats have a unique way of looking at the world. Claire Trevor likes to see it upside down:

Bluster, Bravado & Bullshit Backfire

I decided to revive the North By Nothwest campaign notes meme because Republicans are finally running away from President* Pennywise. The separation has been slow but even such lackeys loyalists such as Texas Senator John Cornyn are putting distance between themselves and Trump. Cornhole’s rebuke was a mild one but he’s never even vaguely criticized Trump before:

“I think he let his guard down, and I think in his desire to try to demonstrate that we are somehow coming out of this and that the danger is not still with us — I think he got out over his skis and frankly, I think it’s a lesson to all of us that we need to exercise self discipline.”

In Arizona, Martha McSally who is on the verge of losing her second Senate race in two years declined to praise Trump in her last debate with Mark Kelly. Kelly is crushing her in recent polls and is helping Biden build a lead in the Grand Canyon state. The last Democrat to carry Arizona was Bill Clinton in 1996. There’s something in the air.

The WaPo’s Robert Costa used to work for the National Review, so he’s hooked into the conservative network like few other reporters. The headline on his news analysis piece yesterday says it all:  ‘A Republican Party unraveling’: GOP plunged into crisis as Trump abruptly ends economic relief talks, dismisses virus.

The GOP is unraveling, and Trump is floundering because he’s running his own campaign. He doesn’t listen to anyone because he’s a self-proclaimed “stable genius” whose gut instincts are brilliant. There is no strategy. There is no plan to reach non-base voters.

Trump’s recent conduct is repelling voters he needs: seniors and suburban women. Fewer and fewer of both groups support him. Why should seniors support a candidate who wants to abolish the Social Security payroll tax? Why should suburban women support Team Misogyny aka the Trump-Pence ticket? There’s something in the air.

Trump’s confrontational take no prisoners style is backfiring with precisely the groups he needs to reach to be competitive in the election. He’s just being himself, y’all. He is who he is.

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the most grandiose piece of bluster, bravado, and bullshit offered up by the Impeached Insult Comedian is backfiring. I’m referring to his petulant threats to not accept the election result if he loses. While some have been quaking in terror at the prospect, others are voting early in record numbers. They want a clear outcome on election night to neuter Trump’s fascist fantasy. I think he’s bluffing but the surest antidote to bluster, bravado, and bullshit is a landslide.  Make it so, America, make it so.

The last worst goes to Thunderclap Newman:

Debate Roundup: Return Of The Fly

We’ll call this semi-instant analysis as I wrote most of this post after the Crack Van closed. It was a bumpy ride and Scout could not get that pesky fly off the ham no matter how hard she tried. It kept coming back “more horrific than before.” The same goes for the unctuous soon-to-be former Veep.

Is it just me or did Mike Pence look ill during the debate? It’s unclear if the man even had a pulse, his performance was so low key. He appeared to have pink eye, which is a malady that hangs out with the ‘rona. He has been exposed repeatedly to folks who are COVID positive, after all. The man needs a quality PCR test pronto.

Then there was the real star of the evening, the fly on Pence’s head:

He never once shooed the damn fly away. There’s no way I could let a damn fly stay on my head unmolested for several minutes. It runs in the genes: my father could never let a fly go unswatted. He was known to chase them about the house in his pajamas and slippers. I am more dignified than that. I let the cats chase flies. They’d do it anyway. Thanks, kitties.

I plead guilty to being captivated by the fly on Pence’s head. I’d also never noticed what beady, shifty eyes he has. I don’t trust people with beady, shifty eyes. Never have, never will.

I’m biased but I thought Kamala Harris won the debate on both style and substance. She was lively and decidedly had a pulse. She hit all the major points that the campaign needed hit and she did it with passion and eloquence. To paraphrase Pat Benatar, she hit us with her best shot.

In contrast, Pence is a champion mansplainer. He talked over both Senator Harris and moderator Susan Page. He spoke without inflection or passion. He knows that they’re losing, which is one reason for the low wattage performance. Lordy, he was boring.

Pence was so laid back that I halfway expected him to take a cat nap. Perhaps he was channeling this song written by fellow Hoosier Hoagy Carmichael:

Wherever his debating style came from, he was condescending and patronizing to both his opponent and the moderator. Harris’ new catch phrase is: “I’m Speaking.”

Harris did what she had to do last night. Pence did not.

Let’s return to the fly. Imagine finishing third in a debate to your opponent and a fly. Sigh, Mike, sigh.

There are now 26 days until the election. Tick tock, motherfuckers.

The last word goes to Curtis Mayfield:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Dirty Look Librarians

This week’s entry took me on a voyage of discovery; a minor one. Initially, I wasn’t sure if The Dirty Look Librarians was a genuine vintage cover or a parody. It’s the real deal.

Hell, I couldn’t even find a file big enough to post here until I consulted with the Pulp Librarian. That’s a fancy way of saying I stole these pictures from one of his old tweets, which is posted below the pictures. I did, however, use the teeny-tiny picture of the cover as the featured image. I like messing with my readers.

I don’t know about you but I’d never mess up their shelving.

A dirty look is worth a thousand words. I learned that from living with the Queen of Dirty Looks, Della Street.

Here’s the tweet I alluded to:

Madman On The Balcony

American politicians have long avoided posing for pictures on a balcony. It leads to ridicule and comparison to the Three Stooges short, You Nazty Spy.

Donald Trump is made of sterner stupider stuff. He doesn’t mind comparisons to notorious dictators like these creeps:

That’s Benito Mussolini on the left and Juan and Eva Peron on the right. These are the dictators that Trump is most comparable to even if Melania makes an unlikely Eva Peron. Don’t cry for me, Slovenia?

President* Pennywise has been behaving erratically lately even by his low standards. The motorcade to nowhere so alarmed Donny Junior that Gabriel Sherman filed this report on Monday:

Donald Trump’s erratic and reckless behavior in the last 24 hours has opened a rift in the Trump family over how to rein in the out-of-control president, according to two Republicans briefed on the family conversations. Sources said Donald Trump Jr. is deeply upset by his father’s decision to drive around Walter Reed National Military Medical Center last night with members of the Secret Service while he was infected with COVID-19. “Don Jr. thinks Trump is acting crazy,” one of the sources told me. The stunt outraged medical experts, including an attending physician at Walter Reed.

According to sources, Don Jr. has told friends that he tried lobbying Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and Jared Kushner to convince the president that he needs to stop acting unstable. “Don Jr. has said he wants to stage an intervention, but Jared and Ivanka keep telling Trump how great he’s doing,” a source said. Don Jr. is said to be reluctant to confront his father alone. “Don said, ‘I’m not going to be the only one to tell him he’s acting crazy,’” the source added.

Donny Junior is an asshole, but he has a history of standing up to his deranged daddy. Of course, he’s currently all profile and no courage.

After staging his ludicrous balcony photo-op, President* Pennywise went on a twitter bender. These are the two that doomed his candidacy:

He crawfished on the second one owning the failure of a COVID relief package, but the damage was done. He stands by the first one.

It’s apparent that the Impeached Insult Comedian’s manic behavior is partially caused by the cocktail of drugs dispensed by his docs. Steroids are just as likely to cause a sense of euphoria as roid rage. I’m not sure how disrespecting the memory of the 212,000 and counting Americans who have died during the pandemic helps his cause politically.

In his newsletter, Press Run, Eric Boehlert poses this question:

His erratic actions pose grave concerns for the country. Yet newsrooms today refuse to address the mounting, obvious signs that Trump remains a deeply unstable man.

It all needs to be addressed, unapologetically, in the news coverage and not left for opinion writers and pundits to ponder Trump’s troubled state of mind. It’s a fact and it’s a news story, so why shy away from it? Why don’t we regularly see, “Trump is a Madman” headlines in the news pages?

I agree 100%. The MSM continues to treat this lunatic as if he’s a normal person. Haven’t y’all read Mary Trump’s book?

Repeat after me: Donald Trump Is Mentally Ill.

The last word goes to Elton John and Genesis:

 

 

Joe Biden Has Donald Trump’s Number

“Joe Biden wasn’t my first choice” is a common refrain heard around the virtual water cooler. He wasn’t mine either: Elizabeth Warren was my clear first choice. Biden proved that being people’s second or even third choice in a field of thousands isn’t a bad thing. It’s how he won the nomination.

I have come to believe that Joey B Shark is the perfect candidate to face Donald Trump. A reminder that Trump was impeached because he feared facing Joe Biden in the general election. He dispatched his toothy henchman Rudy Giuliani to dig up dirt on the Bidens. It backfired spectacularly.

The former Veep’s personal qualities are kryptonite to President* Pennywise. Biden’s warmth and empathy are formidable tools during the pandemic since his opponent’s only weapons against it are bluster, bravado, and bullshit. It’s the candidate who “cares about people like me” versus a man who only cares about himself. What better contrast could there be?

In 2016, the Kaiser of Chaos passed himself off as a “man of the people” because he’s a crude lout. It was phonier than his $70,000 hairdo. Joey from Scranton is the real deal. He doesn’t have to pose and posture, he’s Joe Sixpack only without the beer. One of the few things the two candidates have in common is that neither drinks. Trump is punch drunk, not booze drunk.

That vile “debate” last week is clear evidence of how Biden gets under Trump’s skin. Trump arrived angry and proceeded to get stupid angry. Joe’s default response was to laugh at his opponent. Like all humorless people, Trump hates being laughed at and got angrier and angrier as the evening went on. The mask was off. The country saw the real Donald. It was not a pretty sight.

Joe Biden is a party man. That’s why he has moved to the left to reflect the party whose standard bearer he is. His opponent is a party of one. Joe Biden wears his flaws as a badge of honor. His opponent denies having any. He’s “perfect” like the phone call that led to his impeachment.

Yesterday, Joe Biden gave one of the best speeches of his life. The setting was Gettysburg, the site of one of the most important battles in American history. It led to the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln’s re-election, and ultimately victory in the War of the Rebellion.

The speech’s main topic was race: how we got to this moment and where we go from here. He went farther than his former boss ever dared. This was my favorite passage:

There’ve been powerful voices for justice in recent weeks and months, George Floyd’s, six year old daughter, who I met with, who looked at me and said in her small child’s voice, “Daddy changed the world.” Also, Jacob Blake’s mother was another. When she said, “Violence didn’t reflect her son and this nation needed healing.” And Doc Rivers, the basketball coach, choking back tears when he said, “We’re the ones getting killed. We’re the ones getting shot. We’ve been hung. We keep loving this country and this country does not love us back.”

I think about that. I think about what it takes for a black person to love America. That is a deep love for this country. That has for far too long, never been recognized. What we need in America is leadership that seeks to deescalate tensions, to open lines of communications, to bring us together, to heal, to hope. As president, that’s precisely what I will do.

In 2016, Trump was a Teflon candidate, nothing stuck to him. In 2020, he’s a Velcro candidate, everything sticks to him. The cumulative weight of four years of lies, corruption, and outrageous conduct are catching up with him. Drip, drip, drip.

It’s not just one thing that’s bringing the Impeached Insult Comedian down, it’s everything. It’s also the guy he’s running against: the steady, reliable, and eternally underrated man we at First Draft call Joey B Shark.

Joe Biden is the anti-Trump and the antidote to him. He has Trump’s number.

The last word goes to Boz Scaggs:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Great Debates 1960

They used to put everything on records. This recording of the Kennedy-Nixon debates is also one of the first double albums I’ve ever heard of.

This was an obvious selection for October 7, 2020 as Kamala Harris is debating Mike Liar Liar Pence On Fire this evening. I wish they weren’t going to be in the same room but there will be some sort of plexiglass divider between the candidates. I suspect Karen Pence would like them in separate rooms but not because of the pandemic. Karens have gotta Karen.

I don’t usually post covers that are both dog eared and have some sort of frame but these are hard to find. The image is still pretty darn swell.

The GOP Dominoes Keep Tumbling

Do you know what you have done?
Do you know what you’ve begun?

Domino by Genesis. Lyrics by Tony Banks.

People have been parsing images from the Amy Coney Barrett Super-Spreader reception as if it were the Zapruder Film. There’s only grass, no grassy knoll.

This captioned photo from Getty Images was tweeted out by the CNN anchor whose name is better than his reporting:

There are more than six GOP dominoes and soon there’ll be more.

Since I’m an evil bastard, I hope Bill Barr will contract COVID from getting up close and personal with Kellyanne Conway. I am, however, sorry that Conway’s daughter caught it from her mother.  Poor kid has been through enough. Imagine being the spawn of the right-wing Bickersons. Get well soon. Claudia.

I’m glad to report that the last week has been an unmitigated disaster for Team Trump. The fundamental dynamic of this campaign is that any time the pandemic is the main topic of conversation, it hurts President* Pennywise. Trump’s vilest outbursts at the “debate” were provoked by any mention of COVID-19.

This weekend’s events are a reminder of Trump’s recklessness and selfishness. That fakakta motorcade to nowhere needlessly endangered the health of the Secret Service agents in the SUV with the Impeached Insult Comedian.

Trump’s Sunday stunt was so horrific that a Walter Reed Doc took to Twitter:

Dr. Phillips is head of disaster medicine at GW as well as a CNN contributor. I may have to watch CNN more after that righteous outburst.

The motorcade to nowhere was all about the show. Message: I’m a tough guy. The real message is that he’s a reckless and selfish prick. I feel a musical interlude coming on:

Trump isn’t the first POTUS* to lie about his health but he’s among the most brazen. Dr. Conley’s briefings have been evasive at best, dishonest at worst. Instead of addressing the nation, Conley had an audience of one: the patient. My favorite part was when Conley said he didn’t want to damage the upbeat mood of the team. Really, Doc? I thought your profession’s motto was, “first, do no harm” not “don’t bum anyone out.”

Another classic moment was when Conley said that he didn’t know what Trump’s temperature was at its peak, he’d have to ask the nurses. Another lie. All he had to do was read the patient’s chart. Leave the nursing staff out of this. It’s on you, Doctor Commander Conley.

Trump’s docs need to be careful to maintain their professional integrity. A reminder that everyone who gets involved with Donald Trump gets slimed.

Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman filed a bone-chilling report at The Hive this morning:

On Saturday, the West Wing plunged into damage-control mode after Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, told reporters that Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Wednesday—a day earlier than Trump previously disclosed. The new timeline meant that Trump would have been contagious when he debated Joe Biden on Tuesday and attended a fundraiser on Thursday at his Bedminster golf club.

The White House released follow-up statements saying Conley misspoke, but they did little to quell the chaos. The White House’s shifting chronology and lack of transparency are being driven, in part, by Trump’s desire to conceal the seriousness of his illness from the public. Three sources said Trump argued with his doctors on Friday after they told him he needed to be moved to Walter Reed. “He didn’t want to go to the hospital a month before the election,” a Republican close to Trump told me. Two sources said doctors gave Trump an ultimatum: he could go to the hospital while he could still walk, or doctors would be forced to take him in a wheelchair or on a stretcher at a later point if his health deteriorated. “They told him, ‘You can go now or we’re taking you later and it’s non negotiable,’” a second source close to the White House said. Trump waited to leave for the hospital until the stock market closed on Friday, a source said.

After spending months denying the dangers of COVID-19, Trump is expressing an emotion aides have rarely seen: fear. On Friday, Trump grew visibly anxious as his fever spiked to 103 fahrenheit and he was administered oxygen at the White House, according to three Republicans close to the White House. Two sources told me Trump experienced heart palpitations on Friday night—possible side effects of the experimental antibody treatment he received. Trump has wondered aloud if he could defeat the disease. “Am I going out like Stan Chera?” Trump has asked aides, referring to his friend, New York real-estate developer Stan Chera, who died of COVID in April.

The COVID chickens are coming home to roost. The GOP dominoes keep tumbling. TPM’s Josh Marshall wonders if the Kaiser of Chaos himself is the super-spreader. That means he’s gone from Trumper Superman to Super Chicken to Super-Spreader in the course of one disastrous week.

There’s a marvelous passage in a WaPo story about the arrogance of White House staffers who mistakenly believed that testing was enough to protect them from the virus:

Inside the West Wing’s narrow corridors, where staffers for months have worked in proximity largely without masks, what had long been an atmosphere of invincibility turned into one of apprehension and panic. “People are losing their minds,” said the outside adviser.

First, aides fretted about their own risks of exposure. If the president got infected, so might they.
Then they considered the political implications, coming so close to the Nov. 3 election. “We don’t want to be talking about coronavirus and now we’re talking about coronavirus,” the outside adviser said. “The hit writes itself: He can’t protect the country. He couldn’t even protect himself.”

He also can’t protect his own people; not that this reckless and selfish prick gives a shit about that.

The election cake is baked, especially with the RNC Chair and Trump’s campaign manager sidelined by COVID. Democrats and our allies need to execute, and victory will follow. Here’s hoping that it’s a landslide that will send the Trumper rats running for cover. The GOP dominoes are tumbling.

I’ve never really bought the coup talk. It’s always struck me as a diversionary tactic. Does anyone seriously think that Team Trump can pull off a coup when they can’t even run a competent cover-up?

The Domino Effect is in play. The GOP dominoes keep tumbling.

Repeat after me:

Do you know what you have done?
Do you know what you’ve begun?

The last word goes to Genesis:

Another day, another last word fib. Trumper mendacity is *almost* as contagious as COVID-19. If you have not already read Ryne Hancock’s great guest post, Hard Sympathy, click here.

Guest Post: Hard Sympathy

Good morning. Tommy T is on the disabled list with a serious health problem. It is not, however, caused by reading the Freepers so we don’t have to. Here’s hoping our beloved friend and colleague gets well soon. That’s as mushy as I get, y’all.

Today’s guest blogger is my young friend Ryne Hancock. He’s the guy who inspired my Bad Karma post last week, which led to his first First Draft shout-out. I also owe him because his bike was stolen in front of my house a few years ago. Sorry about that.

Ryne is a native Memphian who moved to New Orleans right before the 10th Katrinaversary. Don’t worry, he’s not a carpetblogger. He’s done a little bit of everything since he arrived in New Orleans but what he does best is tell stories.

Cheers,

Adrastos

Hard Sympathy by Ryne Hancock

For three years, I had to deal with the ups and downs of having a crackhead for a landlord on Washington Avenue in Central City.

During the first two years I lived on Washington Avenue, things were pretty calm. Mainly because my landlord was in Mississippi for six months and I didn’t have to deal with extras from “Tales From the Crypt” knocking on the door all times of the night looking for him.

However, around the end of Mardi Gras 2019, my landlord told me that he was headed to some rehab in Jefferson Parish. I found the timing odd because it was the first of the month, which was when he got his lump sum (as well as my rent money) from Social Security.

That was when I learned that he owed money to damn near everyone in the neighborhood and was looking for a way to abandon his responsibilities.

The same night the Blues clinched their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 49 years, I received a call from my landlord, who was hiding at someone’s house on Seventh Street near Dryades.

Because of a phone conversation I had with someone, I was being evicted. Not because of late rent or my habits as a tenant, but a phone conversation. To my landlord, rent money was a sign of loyalty and the context of my phone conversation to him was an act of betrayal.

A couple of weeks later, while I was in bed at my friend’s house in the Bywater, my former landlord called me from a South Carolina number.

“Hey man,” he told me, “all my stuff got stolen in Alabama.”

After I hung up with him, I thought to myself, this guy wanted me gone two weeks prior and owed everyone money. Now he wants me to help him.

You hate to see people suffering, but it’s hard to conjure any type of sympathy for a person that did a lot of people wrong.

That same line of thinking applies for Donald Trump.

Despite the fact that Trump will go down as the worst president in American history, which means James Buchanan & Herbert Hoover are off the hook, it’s a shame that he has this deadly disease. Nobody should have to suffer through that.

But when you for starters, downplayed the seriousness of this disease and said that it was just like the flu, you indirectly signed the death certificate of over 200,000 people. 200,000 people that needlessly died. Sure, there was a travel ban, but that was as useless as those thin cable bike locks.

There was no type of pandemic education or anything that could help save lives because you decided to decimate the pandemic response team.

Ya know, the people that you needed in your corner?

Apart from the countless things that you’ve bungled during this pandemic, you had a man die after one of your rallies from the covid. But because he was black you didn’t even attempt to send your condolences or even acknowledge him at the Republican National Convention.

To you, Herman Cain was collateral damage, an ugly sofa that was in your way in the living room. If you had something that is known as compassion, you would have stepped back and stopped doing large scale rallies. You could have held virtual fundraisers, socially distanced outdoor rallies, things that slow the spread of this disease.

In other words, an example for our country like my bartender crush at my office on Magazine Street was an example for customers.

But you didn’t do that.

You took a cavalier approach to this pandemic, which for the most part most of your cult and party went along with.

Instead of turning the corner as you publicly said time and time again, the actions of your cult and yours for that matter has made things worse.

As I write this, the number of people dead is more than the population of Jackson, Mississippi (pop:173,514), Evansville, Indiana (117,429), & Clarksville, Tennessee (132,929).

The amount of dead could fill two Tiger Stadiums, six Wrigley Fields, and about eight or nine Fenway Parks.

It’s a shame that you and your cronies have this disease. I don’t wish ill on you or anyone for that matter.

But feigning sympathy for you?

Nah.

It is what it is.

That’s my attitude towards you because you decided to be a knucklehead. That you decided to not listen to science and people who know a whole lot more than you.

I would hope that this would humble you.

But knowing you, you won’t change. It’s just not in you.

Saturday Odds & Sods: For What It’s Worth

Flying Eyeball by Rick Griffin.

Some call it fake fall, I call it a tease. Whatever you call it, the weather has been mild and temperate all week. I’m not going to say more about it because I don’t want to jinx it.

The city of New Orleans is entering Phase 3.1. They’re loosening more pandemic-related restrictions since we did not have a major post Labor Day spike. I thought we would, but I was wrong. It’s not the first time and won’t be the last. Punditting is risky business. I’m still not going inside bars or restaurants but I’m hoping more of them will be able to survive. Let my people go-cup. You’ll have to read 2020 Fatigue at Bayou Brief to get the reference.

Stephen Stills wrote this week’s theme song in 1966. It’s the protest song’s protest song. It was originally written about clashes between hippies and cops on the Sunset Strip, but it’s become a universal protest song. It’s still relevant in 2020.

We have four versions of For What It’s Worth for your listening pleasure: the Buffalo Springfield original; CSN live with Tom Petty; Keb Mo, and Billy Porter with Stephen Stills from this year’s DNC.

Now that battle lines have been drawn, let’s jump to the break.

Continue reading

It Makes No Difference

 

I’m stretching the Friday Cocktail Hour’s boundaries to the limit by posting a rock torch song. What are Sammy, Dean, and Frank gonna do? Come back from the grave and kick my ass? I’ll take my chances.

Robbie Robertson wrote It Makes No Difference for The Band’s 1975 album Northern Lights-Southern Cross. It’s a deceptively simple tune sung beautifully by Rick Danko. Few singers did sad and plaintive as well as Rick,

We have two versions by The Band for your listening pleasure: the studio original and Rick and Robbie killing it at The Last Waltz.

Another singer who knew his way around a sad song was the late, great Solomon Burke:

That was a short one so pour yourself a double to celebrate the end of another taxing week. It’s what Bogie, Betty, and Frank would want. Never argue with them.