Category Archives: Adrastos

Fog Of Historical Pictures: Labor Day Edition Revisited

I had an idea for a post last night. I even dreamt about it but I never wrote it down. I have officially forgotten it, which means it wasn’t all that great to begin with.

In lieu of the lost post, it’s time to revisit a photo essay from Labor Day 2016.  Consider it part of my continuing campaign to demystify what happened later that year. Hell, three of these candidates lost too but they fought the good fight.

September 5, 2016

Labor Day used to be the official kick-off of the general election campaign. It no longer is. Campaigns get longer every cycle and that’s not a good thing. It’s even worse this year because the conventions were so damn early. I’m taking today off from politics except for posting some election year photographs of Democratic nominees on Labor Day. I skipped the 1972 and 1976 nominees because neither McGovern nor Carter had warm relationships with labor. Besides, that would have been overkill. I picked 1984 as an cut-off since Fritz Mondale was the last nominee with close union ties.

We begin with Harry Truman in Detroit in 1948:

Truman in Labor Day Detroit 1948.

I couldn’t find a decent picture of Adlai Stevenson parading on Labor Day but here’s a shot of him with AFL-CIO chief George Meany and UAW President Walter Reuther. We’ll see both Meany and Walter later:

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The year is 1960. The candidate is Jack Kennedy. The place is Cadillac Square in Detroit:

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Lyndon Johnson marching in Detroit with Walter Reuther in 1964:

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Next up is Hubert Humphrey on a New York reviewing stand in 1968 with ILGWU boss Louis Stulberg to his left and George Meany to his right:

1968

We skip forward to 1984 to HHH’s protege, Walter Mondale with his running mate Geraldine Ferraro marching in the New York Labor Day parade:

1984

Saturday Odds & Sods: Lament For The Numb

Pandora’s Box by Rene Magritte.

It’s been a rough summer in New Orleans. I’m ready for it to end without another flash flood or tropical system. That remains to be seen but one thing is certain: the heat will persist until early October. I’m hoping  my ennui will not.

Thanks, Ashley. I needed that. FYYFF.

We’re staying Down Under with this week’s theme song. Kiwi rock deity Dave Dobbyn wrote  Lament For The Numb for the 1993 album of that name. But it applies equally to America circa 2019. We’re all numb from the antics of our idiot president*.

Here’s another Dave Dobbyn song. It has no deep social significance. I just like it:

Now that we’ve gotten numb and danced with the belle of the ball, let’s jump to the break.

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Wicked & Cruel

Keeping up with the Trump Regime’s scandals and misdeeds is exhausting. Another shoe or empty umbrella drops every day. The Insult Comedian is not an ideologue, unless self-love counts, but the administration is honeycombed with Teabaggers bound and determined to dismantle the regulatory state. They should be bound and gagged instead, but it’s unclear if there’s enough rope and duct tape to get the job done. We’re swimming in a sea of malakatude, y’all.

The worst thing done by Team Trump recently is the repellent and inhumane effort to run sick immigrant children and their parents out of the country. Kindly Doc Maddow has been all over this story and the NYT chimed in yesterday with a story about Maria Bueso who is suffering from a rare genetic disease:

Now 24, Ms. Bueso, who had been told she likely would not live past adolescence, has participated in several medical studies. She has won awards for her advocacy on behalf of people with rare diseases, appearing before lawmakers in Washington and in Sacramento. Over the years, her parents have paid for the treatment that keeps her alive with private medical insurance.

But last week, Ms. Bueso received a letter from the United States government that told her she would face deportation if she did not leave the country within 33 days, an order described by her doctor, lawyer and mother as tantamount to a “death sentence.”

This moves beyond cruelty into the realm of sadism. In this case, Maria Bueso and her family are assets to the community and are paying their own way. This makes no sense in a rational and humane world but perfect sense in the twisted world view of President* Pennywise and his barbaric henchman Steven Miller. Their goal is to deter immigration both legal and illegal. That gives them the power of life and death over people such as Maria Bueso. How can anyone be so wicked and cruel?

Making matters worse, Team Trump has once again formulated a policy without an action plan. The White House has dumped this responsibility on DHS but it’s unclear who’s in charge, which reminds me of this line by late Gret Stet Senator Russel Long:

Maria Bueso is not the only victim of the Trump Regime’s eerie combination of incompetence and cruelty but her case is perhaps the most dramatic. She will die if she is cut off from her current treatment. What’s next? A Eugenics revival? This is the path that the Trump-Miller junta is leading us down. It’s government by malice and impulse. How can anyone be so wicked and cruel?

The wicked and cruel refrain and post title is inspired by a Difford and Tlbrook song. Squeeze gets the last word:

Friday Catblogging: The Bow Tie Is Back

Paul Drake’s old bow tie/bell collar vanished a while back so he’s been naked. We’ve finally remedied that because he’s once again interested in bolting out the front door. The bell is an early warning system, the bow tie is purely decorative.

The last word goes to the Mothers Of Invention:

 

The Spirit Of ’05 Revisited

Root Beer Blues. Photograph by Dr. A.

Last year I decided to do something different on the Katrinaversary. I’m posting it again on the 14th anniversary:

I hate to go Dickensian on your asses but the period after Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood was indeed the best of times and the worst of times. My Katrina experience was nothing compared to many people but it has stayed with me in a way that few life experiences have.

Each Katrinaversary gets a bit less painful. Today almost feels like an ordinary Wednesday but I still have the survivor’s guilt I wrote about last year when parts of New Orleans flooded on my birthday:

It’s a common malady for those of us who live in what has come to be known as “the sliver by the river.” We did not flood in 2005, so I do not like arguing with those who did. It makes me uncomfortable and uncharacteristically deferential. In the year immediately after the storm, I  cringed every time I had to tell *our* Katrina story to those worse off since we were so lucky. We did have $20K worth of damage and were in exile for 7 weeks but that was nothing compared to what so many others went through. Hence my survivor’s guilt and this weekend’s survivor’s guilt flashback. I re-posted my account of Dr. A and my sneaking into the city at First Draft in 2015. Here’s the link.

As bad as that period was for all concerned, there was an esprit de corps that I miss. Everyone was in the same leaky boat so we helped one another out. Spontaneous and random acts of kindness were commonplace. I recall a day when we helped our neighbors duct tape their dead refrigerators and drag them to the curb. It was dirty, stinky work but it felt good to help.

Cajun Tomb. Photograph by Dr. A.

The Spirit of ’05 endured for several years, which looking back is remarkable. It could not last forever but those were heady days. I wish we could recapture the camaraderie but crisis brings out both the best and worst in people. And when the crisis ends, everything changes.  I met many people after the storm, made some enduring friendships and others that were more fleeting. But I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything, it has made me who I am in 2018.

The lasting impact of the storm on my life is that I started blogging. I never expected to still be at it thirteen years after the day that everything changed, but here I am. I landed at First Draft because of Scout Prime who not only wrote about her experiences helping in New Orleans after the storm, but came up with the idea for the Rising Tide conference. My friendships with Scout and Athenae are two that have endured over the years. Thanks for letting me tell jokes here, y’all.

Speaking of enduring friendships, here’s an apt tweet from my dear friend Julie:

In past years, the blog has stayed dark for the entire Katrinaversary thereby allowing this solemn image to dominate:

I decided it was time for a change. I also wanted to mention my empathy for the people of Puerto Rico where  2,975 American citizens died as a result of Hurricane Maria. It’s what happens when you have bad leadership: in our case it was the Bush-Cheney gang, with Maria it’s the Trump-Pence regime; both of whom lost the popular vote, then lost the thread when it came to hurricane relief. It’s what happens when you give power to people who hate government. Heckuva job, Trumpy.

The Spirit of ’05 is a touchstone for all that’s good about human nature. It’s still lurking in a city that has changed radically since the storm and its aftermath. Here’s how I put it in a post five days before the 10th Katrinaversary:

After the water receded, there was a second inundation of people flooding into the city. Some were do-gooders, some were hipsters seeking the next trend, still others were here to make a buck. Very few of them understood the essence of New Orleans and what makes the city and its inhabitants tick. Many of them, especially on social media, have come up with an orthodoxy of what it means to be a New Orleanian. That has come to be known as copping a NOLAier than thou attitude, a swell phrase that was coined by Karen Dalton Beninato.  Some of the NOLAier than thou set seem to have spent way too much time watching Treme. Instead of a Cabaret, life is apparently a second line, old chum.

On the 13th anniversary, we continue to struggle with what happened that August day. There’s still a special feeling among those of who went through it together. If only we could fully recapture the Spirit of ’05.

The last word goes to Peter Gabriel with a song that’s been on my mind and in my head thirteen times over:

Bedbugging Out

The bedbug is perhaps the perfect metaphor for the Trump era. The word has certainly been tossed around a lot lately. Failing New York Times columnist Brett Stephens took umbrage over a tweet by a college professor describing him as a bedbug. Stephens famously wrote the George Washington University and ratted out the bedbug guy. They swatted him away like, well, a bedbug.

The Stephens story is bizarre: he’s an anti-Trump right-winger so he’s surely been called worse. His whole “this is language they use in totalitarian regimes” defense rings hollow. Does the NYT require their writers to be easily offended? Stephens is not the only one to have his feelings hurt on the tweeter tube. It’s just twitter, y’all. Nothing that happens there matters.

The bedbug infestation spread to the G-7 where President* Pennywise was hard selling his Miami resort as a site for the next global confab:

The bedbug rumors are bad for the business Trump is trying to drum up:

The bedbug controversy did not discourage Trump from promoting his property for the next G7 even in an apparent violation of rules against profiteering from the presidency.

But the president claimed he won’t profit off the event. “In my opinion I’m not going to make any money,” Trump said. “I don’t want to make money. I don’t care about making money.”

That may be the funniest thing I’ve heard in ages. The Kaiser of Chaos doesn’t care about making money? Was he under anesthetic after his Doral surgery? Come on, admit it, you knew that pun was coming.

The whole notion of any president profiting off an international summit is obscene. It’s crazy corrupt even for this crazy crooked administration. Holy emoluments clause, Batman.

Trump decided to flip the bedbug thing on its buggy head by turning on Brett Stephens this morning:

I’ve been trying my damnedest not to post the Insult Comedian’s tweets BUT it was necessary to capture the sixth-grader-ness of it all. As always, Trump sounds like a schoolyard bully who’s ready to bolt at the sign of any resistance. Not nice. Believe me.

The White House is going to need fumigation after the Trumpian bedbug infestation ends. They should burn all the mattresses in a dumpster fire worthy of this administration.

I used Trump tossing paper towels in Puerto Rico as the featured image as a reminder that Tropical Storm Dorian is heading in that direction. And that Team Trump stripped money from the  FEMA  budget to pay for their detention/concentration camps. I suspect Puerto Ricans wish Trump had traded their island for Greenland. They could be Danish right now and Denmark would give a toss about their fate unlike the Tosser-In-Chief.

That concludes this edition of Your President* Speaks. Nite, nite, don’t let the bedbugs bite.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Filet Of Soul

For the second straight week, we have a contractual obligation album: Jan & Dean’s 1966 LP Filet Of Soul, which I selected for the punny title. The original record was rejected by the Liberty Records and was not released until 2017 as Filet Of Soul Redux.

Here are the covers side-by-side:

What I’ve heard of both albums is terrible so I’ll spare you any music. Some of the songs are available on the YouTube. I would have rejected the original masters as well. Ugh.

Donald Trump Is Mentally Ill

Image by Michael F.

I realize I’m preaching to the choir, if, that is, an agnostic has a choir to preach to but that’s an issue for another day. I’ve found that the other posts in what has turned into a series featuring blunt titles-Donald Trump Is A Criminal, and Donald Trump Is A Racist-have made an impact. I promise to get to Donald Trump Is A Misogynist the next time he uses the word nasty to describe a woman who won’t buckle to his will.

I’m not sure if the cause of Trump’s mental illness is organic and degenerative-his father had Alzheimer’s-or a lifelong case of narcissistic personality disorder and/or both. Whatever it is, it makes him the poster boy for the 25th Amendment, which allows an unfit president to be removed from office. The process must start in the executive branch, which is full of sycophants so it’s not going to happen. Hell, it didn’t happen when a drunk Tricky Dick was talking to portraits of dead presidents and he had a cabinet full of heavyweights. Of course, Spiro Agnew as Veep was a deterrent until he resigned in disgrace. Beware of Greeks with bag men.

Last week’s display of lunacy has revived talk of Trump’s mental illness and the story about his wanting to nuke hurricanes is certain to accelerate the concern among rational people that:

I’m an amateur shrink, here’s what a real one, Dr. Lance Dodes, has to say about the madness of King Donald:

He told MSNBC that Trump had “a fundamental need to be all-powerful and all loved and can’t stand challenges.”

“He can’t stand anything that disagrees with him, and the more you challenge him, the more unhinged he becomes, the more paranoid, and the more violent, potentially,” Dodes said

“He doesn’t really love anyone except himself. That’s not a slur, that’s a psychological fact. People like him are about him. If he’s not useful to him, he stops loving him. That’s part of the essential emptiness of Donald Trump. He doesn’t have real relationships with people.”

When Trump looked toward the heavens and bragged about being “the chosen one,” Dodes said it was another example of Trump’s grandiosity.

“There’s something fundamentally different about him from normal people. It’s a psychotic-like state. The more you press him, the more you see how disorganized and empty he is. The more he flies into a disorganized rage.”

White House flacks made like David Letterman and said the “chosen one” comment was just a joke: I halfway expected them to say “that’s why we call him the Insult Comedian.” If it’s a joke, it’s not funny ha-ha, it’s funny strange like the idiotic notion of nuking hurricanes.

Interestingly enough, the APA’s so-called Goldwater Rule was promulgated because of the 1964 GOP nominee’s loose talk about nukes, which led to this Democratic slogan:

The Goldwater Rule rule was wise in Barry’s case because he wasn’t crazy. He was sane enough to urge Nixon to resign in 1974, and I’m old enough to remember when he said this:

“I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass.”

Barry Goldwater was the John McCain of his generation: a straight-shooting, plain-spoken conservative who was willing to criticize his own party. Holy extinct species, Batman.

Goldwater may not have been crazy but President* Pennywise is. If he weren’t the Current Occupant, I might feel sorry for him but he is so I can’t. He’s a menace.

Repeat after me: THE BOY AIN’T RIGHT.

The last word goes to Aimee Mann with the track that inspired her Mental Illness album:

Luck Out

I like watching others play football. I never wanted to play the sport because it’s painful and I’m not a masochist. That’s why I refuse to judge those who play or when they choose to hang it up. For NFL players, it should be called working football, not playing. It’s hard and dangerous work.

That brings me to the case of recently retired Indianapolis Colts quarterback, Andrew Luck. Luck is only 29 but here’s a litany of the injuries he’s suffered as a pro:

… a lacerated kidney, injured ribs, at least one concussion, torn cartilage in his throwing shoulder and, most recently, a calf and ankle injury.

His retirement leaked during a preseason game and Luck was booed mightily by his Hoosier fan base. He was also attacked by observers for lacking the intestinal fortitude to take a beating for a living:

This bozo is a Fox Sports loudmouth. Thanks for trotting out an imbecilic generational cliche, fuckhead. I’m on the record as hating generational stereotypes:

Too many get bogged down in generational politics; one of the dullest subjects on the planet. It’s dull because it’s cliche laden: not all Baby Boomers sold out, not all Gen-Xers are slackers, and not all Millennials are twitter obsessed airheads. More importantly, not all members of the greatest generation were all that great. I often thought that my late father’s motto could have been, “We won the war so we don’t have to listen.”

Perhaps Mr. Fox Sports Loudmouth envies Luck for attending Stanford and having done more than play football. It’s his body and his choice to retire. Playing pro football is a tough way to make a living, talking about it is easy. Watching it and judging the players on their “toughness” is easier still.

It’s easy to see football players as gladiators but they’re people, not chess pieces. I don’t know about you but I’m not fond of pain. I’ve had to live with minor aches and pains for most of my life. I cannot imagine having a lacerated kidney and continuing with the activity that caused such an injury. If that means I can’t “man up” sufficiently, so be it.

The reaction to Luck’s retirement is particularly horrific because we’ve learned so much about the deleterious impact playing pro football has on the players. If Luck wants to walk away from the sport while can still walk, that’s his choice; just as it’s Drew Brees’ choice to keep playing at age 40. It’s up to the players, not the fans or sportscasters. They don’t feel the players pain, they just think they do.

Sunday Morning Video: Etta James Live In 1991

If you need some pep in your step, this set by the great Etta James should do the trick:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Deeper Water

Gulf Stream by Winslow Homer.

Since we have something of a nautical-as opposed to naughty-theme I thought we’d dive right in without any dockside formalities. I won’t invite you into my stateroom because this might happen:

I would never take a cruise. The thought of doing so reminds me of the not so great Poop Cruise of 2013. Hell, I get seasick contemplating the Winslow Homer painting above.

Let’s move on to this week’s theme song. Singer-songwriter Paul Kelly is often called the Bob Dylan of Australia but he never broke through stateside. Kelly co-wrote Deeper Water in 1994 with Randy Jacobs of Was (Not Was) in case you was (not was) wondering.

We have two versions for your listening pleasure. First, the 1995 studio version that was the title track of Kelly’s tenth album. Second, a 2013 live version from a show Kelly did with Neil Finn. For some reason it’s listed as Deep Water but it’s the same tune. Wow, that’s deep, man.

I hope we’re not in over our heads. Let’s mount the diving board and jump to the break.

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Jay Inslee Is Out, The Other Joe Walsh Is In

Regular readers will recall that I used this image of Harold Lloyd in Safety Last to count down the 2018 mid-terms. Tick tock, motherfuckers.

Since American democracy is hanging by a thread as long as President* Pennywise is in office, it seemed fitting to re-purpose it for 2020. Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of the presidential race.

OUTS: Jay Inslee exited the race with the same class, grace, and substance that he entered it. His focus on the crucial issue of climate change made a positive impact and prodded the leaders of the pack to respond. He was always my favorite among the no-hopers. I’m glad he’ll be running for re-election for Governor of Washington state.

Seth Moulton pulled out after I wrote the post title. His impact was minimal. It struck me as a vanity campaign, which like that of Tim Ryan was essentially an extended fuck you to Speaker Pelosi. He can return to the Hill to annoy Nancy Smash. My hunch is that he’ll be joined by Ryan sooner as opposed to later.

The presidential race knocked the former Governor of Colorado for a Hickenlooper so he exited. He just declared his candidacy to challenge the most vulnerable Senate GOPer, Corey Gardner, thereby morphing from a political minnow to a whale.

The last word of the segment goes to Stephen Stills and Manassas, which is in Virginia but the song is about Hickenlooper’s home state. Go figure:

INS: The Other Joe Walsh came to our attention as an unhinged Tea Party Republican. He served one term in the House before losing to Tammy Duckworth who is now the junior Senator from Illinois. Walsh is a strident opponent of Barack Obama turned strident opponent of Donald Trump. His twitter feed is highly entertaining.

The Other Joe Walsh is on the verge of entering the presidential race where he’ll join Bill Weld as a GOP no-hoper. I still think Weld will do fairly well in New Hampshire but I welcome anyone who’s willing take on Trump from the right. Thus far, the Never Trump Republicans have been all talk, no action.

I like what Slate’s Jim Newell wrote about the GOP “race” in The Surge:

Joe Walsh, Mark Sanford, Jeff Flake, John Kasich

Let’s get slaughtered and be legends.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’re cheating by lumping four candidates together. But (a) the greatest trick the Surge ever pulled was convincing you there were rules, and (b) each of these four Republicans considering a primary challenge to President Donald Trump amounts to roughly ¼ of a legitimate presidential contender, so the math checks out. As the Washington Post reported this week, “the anti-Trump movement inside the Republican Party—long a political wasteland—is feeling new urgency to mount a credible opposition to Trump before it’s too late.” This “movement,” which appears to be the usual gang of Bill Kristol and a couple of his interns, has been displeased with the lack of enthusiasm out there for the existing Republican primary challenger, boring patrician Bill Weld, and is working the phones for a new candidate to also elicit zero enthusiasm. The idea is that only one of them should run to unify the anti-Trump conservatives. Much like Weld, though, this idea is boring and makes the primary challenge easier for Trump to ignore. All of them should get in, and there should be televised Republican primary debates, tempting Trump to participate.

The Insult Comedian loves shooting off his big fat bazoo and showing off his “very good brain” so that’s actually a possibility. Run, Republicans, run.

The last word goes to the Real Joe Walsh:

Tweet Of The Day: Grim Reaper Edition

Tea Party tycoon David Koch is dead. I was raised not to speak ill of the dead so I’ll let lawyer and pundit Elie Mystal do it for me:

The last word goes to Blue Oyster Cult:

Friday Catblogging: On The Job

Private eye Paul Drake turns psychic investigator. Not really: the specter you see is Dr. A taking this picture.

You Say Culvert, I Say Canal

I’ve lived in New Orleans for more than half of life. I’m used to our being a news of the weird capital but this story by Jeff Adelson surprised me:

At this point, it’s no surprise when workers pull loads of trash — even literal tons of Mardi Gras beads — out of New Orleans’ clogged drainage pipes.

Entire cars, however, are still a bit of an unusual find.

An underwater camera employed by the Sewerage & Water Board on Tuesday revealed what appeared to be at least one, and possibly more, vehicles crammed into a drainage culvert known as the Lafitte Canal that runs under Jefferson Davis Parkway near the Lafitte Greenway.

The cars, embedded in a pile of other debris, are clogging up one of the key pipelines used by the pump station that drains parts of Mid-City. That station is also an important link to portions of the drainage system that cover other areas that have seen repeated flooding.

Oy just oy. Last year’s Spank theme was It Came From The Catch Basin but our focus was on beads, not automobiles. I suspect one of my krewe mates will suggest a sequel but I prefer to keep things lemony fresh.

There’s a raging debate as to whether we should call this car cemetery a culvert or a canal. The former could lead to headlines such as this: CULVERT ACTION NEEDED. But culvert is too specific for my taste, I prefer canal because it has anal connotations and cars in the canal is an asinine thing to contemplate.

The Sewerage & Water Board claims that things are getting better but it appears to need a root canal. Move the fucking cars, y’all. Things are weird enough without cars in the canals. Oy just oy.

The last word goes to Mike Perlstein of WWL-TV Eyewitness News:

 

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Hippie Doctor

The guy on this cover looks like a regular guy circa 2019. Times have changed.

I wonder if the Hippie Doctor was at Woodstock? They needed help with the brown and flat blue acid, man. He looks tough enough to subsist on apples, gruel, and JCC sammiches, man.

The last word goes to CSNY, man:

Political Performance Art

The Insult Comedian has been giving his big fat bazoo quite a workout. It’s all smoke and mirrors: an attempt to obscure his latest cave to the NRA on gun control, a drooping economy, and dire re-election prospects. I halfway expect him to open carry a long gun to reassure the gun nutterazzi that he’s still with them.

The Kaiser Of Chaos has thrown three stacks of raw meat to divert attention from his failures and to throw the hounds of the MSM off the scent. (They’re all bark and no bite despite being called “fake news” by Trump.) Two diversions are funny, the other loathsome. It’s quite literally the cherry on his hissy fit shit sundae.

DIVERSION-1: Trump has engaged in a word of words with Denmark of all countries over Greenland of all islands. Who the hell feuds with Denmark? The Danes are great. Perhaps Trump is confusing the people with the dog breed. We know he hates dogs. Who the hell hates dogs?

Initially, I thought the “I wanna buy Greenland” story was either a hoax or a prank.  It turned out to be neither. Trump took to twitter to blast the Danish government and cancel a trip there. I expected him to call it the land of porn and cookies but he pulled his punches. Those cookies are like butter, I tell ya.

The good people at the New York Daily News came up with a banner headline for the ages:

Is anyone surprised that I love that Ford/Fjord pun? The only thing I don’t like it about it is that I didn’t think of it first.

The best thing I saw on social media came from my pal Kat of Sky Dancing fame:

 

Thanks for giving me a swell post title, Kat.

DIVERSION-2: Trump has also been feuding with the Mooch. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Mooch started the “feud” to augment Trump’s own personal smoke machine. I don’t think the Mooch has done a sincere thing in his life. Why start now?

I’m not buying this unctuous creep’s reformed sinner shtick. The only thing I like about it is that it gives me a pretext to post this soundie:

What’s a Trump diversion without some bigotry in the mix?

DIVERSION-3: Trump’s despicable comments about American Jews have caused a tremendous amount of agita and anger:

“Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they’re defending these two people over the state of Israel? And I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat — I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty, alright?”

If President* Pennywise ever read anything, I’d swear this was straight out of the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion. That bigoted tract was, of course, the product of Tsarist Russian intelligence and we know how Trump loves Russian spooks.

The reaction has been swift and furious. The Insult Comedian trotted out a sycophant on the tweeter tube to rebut the critics:

So, he’s the messiah now? Oy just oy.

I had to google this Wayne Allyn Root bozo to learn that he’s a wingnut radio shouter and writer. I feel unclean after typing his name. Ugh.

Only Trumpberius would divert attention from his failures by making racist comments. Note to the MSM: this is not normal, stop covering him as if he were a normal person, not a deranged bigot. In the immortal words of Hank Hill:

That’s a book Trumpy might be able to read. It’s got lots of pictures. Besides, Hank’s neighbor  Dale (Bug Man) Gribble is bound to be a Trumper albeit a fictional one.

I think the Insult Comedian should stick to fat shaming his supporters instead of calling the majority of an ethno-religious group traitors. It may thrill his shrinking base, but it appalls the rest of the world. Of course, it’s just political performance art at its most artless.

Repeat after me: THE BOY AIN’T RIGHT.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Wooden Head

I disappeared down an internet rabbit hole and emerged not only unscathed but with an interesting cover. Wooden Head is best described as the Turtles contractual obligation album. They had broken up and owed their record label an album. The result was Wooden Head, which was a somewhat sketchy compilation album of out-takes and the like.

Frontmen Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan had left the band to work with Frank Zappa. Until Wooden Head was released in 1970, they were obliged to use a pseudonym, the Phlorescent Leech and Eddie; later shortened to Flo and Eddie.

The first time I saw the cover I immediately thought of the 1989 Crowded House album Woodface. Whether or not Nick Seymour’s cover was inspired by this one, is a mystery for the ages.

The cover was done by Kittyhawk Graphics aka DeanTorrence of Jan and Dean fame. It’s unclear if the Little Old Lady From Pasadena was involved.

Here’s the whole damn album via the YouTube playlist format:

 

American History Is A Mixed Bag

Like Athenae, I’m fascinated with the NYT’s 1619 project and appalled by some of the wingnuttier online responses to it. An exchange I was involved in this morning inspired this post:

This particular Benny should cool his jets. I think President* Pennywise is doing an excellent job of delegitimizing, dividing, and demoralizing our citizenry. In his case, I would add a third D: dumbing down, dammit.

People have a hard time with complexity. It’s just more obvious (oblivious?) in the social media era. Ronald Reagan was a master oversimplifier. It was one reason he defeated the overcomplicator, Jimmy Carter. Reagan was a creature of the Golden Age of Hollywood, and his vision of our history was impacted by the movies he’d seen. In fact, the man Gore Vidal dubbed “the old TV president” was known to conflate movie plots with real life. Reagan also believed in the World War II slogan, KISS or “Keep It Simple Stupid.” In 1980 Reagan ran circles around Carter who thought and spoke like an engineer.

Life is complicated, American history even more so. Thomas Jefferson co-wrote the Declaration of Independence and was an unrepentant slave owner. The greatest liberal president of them all, Franklin Roosevelt, went along with the internment of Japanese-Americans without due process. There are thousands of similar examples but those are the best examples of our history at its worst and its finest.

Our history has involved a constant tension between our highest ideals and our worst impulses. It’s why I cannot stand with either the “America is pure evil” or “America: love it or leave it” crowds. They’re both wrong and guilty of egregious oversimplification.

Repeat after me: American history is a mixed bag. It’s what makes our national story so damned interesting as well as maddening.

The last word goes to Elton John:

Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, R.I.P.

The first, and thus far only, woman elected Governor of the Gret Stet of Louisiana, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, has died at the age of 77 after a long battle with cancer. It’s often forgotten that Blanco was a strong, effective, and popular Governor on her way to re-election until Hurricane Katrina struck. It was a life changing event for all concerned and, unfortunately, led eventually to the election of Bobby Jindal who ran the state into the ground.

Much of the post-K criticism of Blanco was unfair. The storm was expected to hit the Florida panhandle until the 10 PM advisory on August 26. There wasn’t much time to prepare for a massive evacuation but it could have gone far worse. It *was* a mess but most of that was down to panicky and inept New Orleans Mayor C Ray Nagin. The subsequent flood was a federal affair.

The Bush administration, in conjunction with Nagin, chose Blanco as their political patsy. That was made obvious when the White House made Karl Rove its Katrina point man. Turd Blossom left his partisan stink all over the recovery effort and our Democratic Governor took the fall for Bush and Nagin’s mistakes. She stood her ground and won many battles, but lost the PR war.

Kathleen Blanco was a kind, compassionate, empathetic, and warm human being. She was “pro-life” but, unlike our current Governor, insisted that there be exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother in an anti-choice bill passed by the lege during her term as Governor. Her record otherwise was sterling, big-hearted, and liberal for a Blue Dog Democrat.

Blanco’s reputation has grown since leaving office. She was so effective in her dealings with the lunkheads in the lege that she earned the nickname, The Queen Bee. And the term steel magnolia seemed to have been invented for his charming, kindly but tough woman.

Other than shaking her hand at a public event, I never had the chance to meet Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, so I’m linking to three friends who had the pleasure of her acquaintance: Bob Mann, Clancy DuBos, and Lamar White Jr.

Finally, it was a rough weekend in New Orleans. Beloved local anchorwoman, Nancy Parker, died in an airplane crash while doing a story on the pilot. I’ve enjoyed her work over her 26 years as lead co-anchor at WVUE, but I’m a WWL news viewer. It’s a tribute to Parker that the competition has devoted so much airtime honoring her. Like Kathleen Blanco, Nancy Parker was famous for being nice. They will both be missed.