Category Archives: Adrastos

Jon Gruden’s Macaca Moment

Bruce Allen and Jon Gruden.

As a white guy of a certain age, I’m never shocked to learn that one of my peers has written or said something racist, sexist, or homophobic. I’ve been obliged to listen to my share of bigoted bullshit over the years. I stopped putting up with it years ago and started calling people out on this sort of shit. Make that men, it’s almost always men, especially when the language is homophobic.

Football coaches and executives tend to be manly men who reinforce their manly man-ness by throwing around homophobic slurs. Oakland/Los Angeles/Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden quit his job on Monday because of some emails exchanged with his friend and former co-worker Bruce Allen.

They’re both pro football lifers: Bruce Allen is the son of former NFL coach and noted wingnut George Allen. His big brother George Jr. was a Republican Governor of Virginia and a one-term US Senator who lost his 2006 reelection race, in part because of an ethnic slur. He called an Indian American guy a macaca, which is Portuguese for monkey. It went down in political history as the Macaca Moment.

Bruce Allen and his pal Jon Gruden had their own Macaca Moment when a series of emails they exchanged were leaked to the New York Times. As a Saints fan, I’m no admirer of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell but the Gruden/Allen exchanges made him almost sympathetic:

 In the emails, Gruden called the league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, a “faggot” and a “clueless anti football pussy” and said that Goodell should not have pressured Jeff Fisher, then the coach of the Rams, to draft “queers,” a reference to Michael Sam, a gay player chosen by the team in 2014.

In numerous emails during a seven-year period ending in early 2018, Gruden criticized Goodell and the league for trying to reduce concussions and said that Eric Reid, a player who had demonstrated during the playing of the national anthem, should be fired. In several instances, Gruden used a homophobic slur to refer to Goodell and offensive language to describe some N.F.L. owners, coaches and journalists who cover the league.

The emails came out because of an NFL investigation into the Washington R******s. Bruce Allen used to be President/General Manager and all-around lackey to the Washington Football Team’s bigoted and creepy owner Daniel Snyder. FYI, Jon Gruden’s kid brother Jay used to coach the Washington No-Names.

This is some incestuous shit. You know what they say: Bigots of a feather flock together.

Bruce Allen won’t be frog marched out of the NFL alongside Gruden this week because he was fired by the Washington No-Names in 2019. But I thought he deserved an equal share of the obloquy over the bigoted emails. Gruden knew he was sharing his hateful thoughts with a receptive audience.

There were two waves of leaked emails. The first one involved racist slurs, which led Gruden to issue the bigot’s standard disclaimer: “I haven’t got a racial bone or blade in my body.”

That’s racist, Coach. Where he got blade from beats the hell outta me: grass, shoulder, knife?

The source of the leak is likely within the NFL itself. The NFL is all about the owners and Roger Goodell is their boy. Messing with the Commissioner will get your ass fired pronto. It could also be odious Washington No-Names owner Dan Snyder hoping to take some heat off himself.

It’s ironic that this genuine email scandal involves two Republican football men. One would have thought that they’d learned something from the Hillary Clinton email mishigas, but guys like Gruden and Allen are arrogant and entitled. White privilege anyone?

White privilege breeds Macaca Moments. Just ask George Allen.

If Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen were students of political history, they would have known of this admonition from former Gret Stet Governor Earl Long:

That’s the last word. Uncle Earl is a hard act to follow.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Picnic Suite

Jazz-Classical crossovers were the rage in the 1980’s. This album features jazz pianist/composer Claude Bolling and classical flautist Jean-Pierre Rampal and guitarist Alexandre Lagoya. The three players had something in common: they were all French. Perhaps that explains the weird menu at their picnic.

The cover art is by the prolific illustrator Roger Huyssen who executed nearly 100 album covers in his career.

Here’s the whole damn album via Spotify:

Ashli Babbittry Revisited

I’m sick of writing about Donald Trump. I had a lot of fun mocking him for 5 years, but much of the fun went out of it with the 1/6 Dipshit Insurrection. He was always a menace but the threat amped up over 100 decibels on that day. Ever since then, the Impeached Insult Comedians and his followers have minimized what happened. Their motto is: When In Doubt, Lie.

One of most dangerous lies they’ve told about the Dipshit Insurrection is that Ashli Babbitt was a martyr to the MAGA cause. They’ve turned a deeply disturbed woman into their very own Horst Wessell. I explained that in the first Ashli Babbittry post:

Like most right-wing populist movements, Trumpism is based on grievances, real and imagined. Such a movement requires martyrs. The Nazis had Horst Wessel a Brownshirt who allegedly died in a street fight with Communists. The truth was more complicated but his death led to an anthem of the Nazi movement, Horst Wessel Lied. Lied is of course the German word for song but it describes the modus operandi of both Nazism and Trumpism better known as the BIG LIE.

It Can’t Happen Here and Babbitt have converged in the name of Trumpism’s latest martyr, Ashli Babbitt. She was one of seven people to have died as a result of the Dipshit Insurrection. The Trumpers, however, have chosen to honor a troubled woman instead of the police officers who died defending the Capitol from attack. So much for law and order.

Yesterday would have been MAGA martyr Ashli Babbitt’s 36th birthday. The MAGA Maggots celebrated her sad, pathetic life as if she were a hero instead of a victim of the Big Lie.

From his gilded Florida exile in Mar-a-Dorn, the Kaiser of Chaos recorded a propaganda video. The MAGA morons love to be lied to and the former president* did not disappoint.

“My heart and the hearts of millions of Americans across the country are with everyone — everyone — who knew and loved her,” Trump said, after wishing Babbitt a happy birthday.

“Together we grieve her terrible loss,” the former president said toward the end of the brief video. “There was no reason Ashli should have lost her life that day. We must all demand justice for Ashli and her family. So on this solemn occasion, as we celebrate her life, we renew our call for a fair and nonpartisan investigation into the death of Ashli Babbitt. I offer my unwavering support to Ashli’s family, and call on the Department of Justice to reopen its investigation into her death on Jan. 6.”

Her death *has* been thoroughly investigated. The actions of Officer Michael Byrd have been vindicated by the DOJ. The reason he’s been singled out is that he’s Black.

It’s a racist trope straight out of The Birth of a Nation, a dangerous black man harmed an innocent white chick.

Former President* Pennywise made his feelings clear at a rally in July:

“If that were on the other side, the person that did the shooting would be strung up and hung.” At least one person in the crowd responded by shouting “Hang him!”

Robert Kennedy once said that “Richard Nixon represents the dark side of the American soul.”

Nixon was a piker next to Donald Trump. Nixon was a racist and a criminal, but he was smart and slick. He played on racial fears but never advocated lynching. Nixon was a seething pit of resentment and grievances, but he had a hardscrabble childhood to explain it. Trump grew up in a mansion wanting for nothing. His grievances reflect his greed for more, always more.

Trump not only represents the dark side of the American soul, he brings out the worst in people. He’s the reason that Sinclair Lewis’ dark vision in It Can’t Happen Here remains a threat to our polity. All the lies and Ashli Babbittry in the world cannot explain that away.

The last word goes to Billie Holiday:

The Big Lie: The View From The Gret Stet Of Louisiana

My old “buddy” Steve Scalise of Metry was placed on Chris Wallace’s grill yesterday. He was asked three times about the 2020 election results by the only decent host at Fox News. He declined to admit to a simple truth: that Biden won, and Trump lost.

Scalise is cynical, not stupid. He blows with the wind and the prevailing breeze comes from Mar-a-Dorn. Scalise would rather look like a stupid hack than face an angry Kaiser of Chaos. I think Scalise is afraid of hearing jokes about his hair. It does look like an early-stage chia pet, after all.

Scalise doesn’t mind looking like a hack because he is one. He’s a loyal party man. He waited his turn for the Congressional seat vacated by David Vitter in 2004. He yielded to Bobby Jindal who used it as a stepping stone to a second run for Gret Stet Governor.

Scalise is currently the number 2 GOPer in the house. He’s biding his time waiting for KMac to slip. Scalise has been urged to slit the incoherent one’s throat, but he’s a patient man: if he could wait for PBJ, he can wait for KMac.

As a loyal party man, Scalise is selling the Big Lie and all its variations. He doesn’t believe any of it, but he’s sticking with Trump because he represents the most Republican district in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. He’s another weakling pretending to be a tough guy.

Speaking of fake tough guys, there was a raucous argument on the Tweeter Tube last week started by Never Trump Republican Rick Wilson. He claimed that Democrats were folding on the Dipshit Insurrection investigation. Later that same day, the White House announced that it was REJECTING the Impeached Insult Comedian’s assertion of executive privilege. Wilson then took credit:

I am not making this up.

Rick Wilson has always been a puffed-up chump and a lying sack of shit. He was the campaign consultant behind the smearing of Senator Max Cleland in 2002. Cleland was a genuine American hero who lost three limbs while serving in Vietnam. Wilson concocted the campaign against him on behalf of empty suit Saxby Chambliss. Cleland was “with the terrorists” so he lost his reelection bid. It was the political equivalent of this scene from Kiss Of Death:

Wilson has been invited to repudiate these tactics but has refused to. As a result, he cannot be trusted. Despite his detestation of Trump, Rick Wilson is a good party man who still enjoys owning the libs. That’s why I will never trust him. I know how to hold a grudge, y’all.

Steve Scalise and Rick Wilson are opposite sides of the same Republican coin. They’re both what John Dean called “conservatives without conscience.” Scalise is putting his hackery to use in service of the Big Lie whereas Wilson still supports the GOP smear tactics of the aughties: “You are either with us or the terrorists.” Thus spake George W Bush who is also a Never Trump Republican.

To be fair to guys like Rick Wilson, they’re still in the conservatives without conscience phase. His fellow puffed-up chump and lying sack of shit Steve Scalise long ago moved on to the radicals without remorse phase. Power is what he wants and if lying for Trump will get him there, so be it.

And that’s the view from the Gret Stet of Louisiana, home of Steve Scalise one of the hackiest hacks who ever hacked me off.

The last word goes to Randy Newman from whom I stole the puffed-up chump line. I only steal from the best.

Biography: Vincent Price

There’s no such thing as too much Vincent Price. His life story is every bit as interesting as his movies.


Saturday Odds & Sods: People Are Strange

Twin Sisters by Diane Arbus.

Things are slowly returning to normal in post-Ida New Orleans. The trash problem seems to have abated somewhat, but there’s still a lot of tree and construction debris about. It’s time to take the debris out of Debrisville.

I usually only have a Spring allergy problem, but that’s no longer true. I suspect it has something to do with the dust in the air after the storm. Whatever it is, I wish it would relent. Achoo.

I’m getting my Pfizer booster shot at noon today. Unlike Gary Cooper in High Noon, I won’t beg for help. I can take a jab with the best of them.

This week’s theme song was written by Jim Morrison and Robbie Krieger for the Doors’ 1967 album Strange Days. It was originally credited to the whole band. That’s what hippies did; not that Morrison was a hippie. He was one of the original goths.

We have two versions of People Are Strange for your listening pleasure: the Doors original and a cover by Echo & the Bunnymen from the 1987 movie, The Lost Boys.

That was almost as strange as the Diane Arbus featured image. Those twins have always given me the heebie jeebies.

Now that I’ve creeped you out, let’s join arms and jump to the break.

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You’re The Top

As you can tell from the featured image, Cole Porter was the cat’s pajamas. Make that a cat in pajamas: the critters involved are equine in nature. Oh well, what the hell.

Porter wrote You’re The Top in 1934 for the smash hit musical Anything Goes. It’s the listiest list song ever written. Who among us can forget the lines about the Taj Mahal or the Great Durante’s nose?

We begin with a clip from the 1956 film version of Anything Goes with Bing Crosby, Mitzi Gaynor, Donald O’Connor, and Zizi Jeanmarie.

Ella Fitzgerald’s take on You’re The Top is one of the best and most beloved of the bunch. That’s a lotta Bs, baby.

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Malaka Of The Week: Chuck Grassley

Judge Judy Koh and Senator Grassley.

Senator Chuck Grassley is 88 years old. He was first elected to the senate in the 1980 Reagan wave election. He recently announced that he was running again. This week, he made an ass out of himself at a confirmation hearing. You know what they say: Old bigots never die, they just run for reelection. And that is why Chuck Grassley is malaka of the week.

Grassley is the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee. As Chairman, he was the cranky cuss presiding over the Kavanaugh freak show. When Malaka Chuck is vexed, his lips purse and his head veins throb. That happened a lot during the Kavanaugh mess. Unlike Justice Bro, Grassley never told us whether he likes beer. I do too. How about you?

Grassley is not known for thinking before he speaks. He’s something of a gaffe machine. He once said that women didn’t want to serve on the Judiciary Committee because the work was hard, and the hours long. He crawfished on that gaffe by urging women to serve on that Committee:

“…because women as a whole are smarter than most male senators. And they work real hard, too.”

That’s nice, I guess.

Malaka Chuck is one of those people who thinks trafficking in ethnic stereotypes is okay as long as they’re positive stereotypes. That brings me to the confirmation hearing for Judge Lucy Koh, a Biden nominee, who will be the first Korean American to serve as an appellate court judge.

I’m fond of how Nicole Lafond described the action at TPM:

Koh, who was born in Washington, D.C., had just finished giving a statement about her heritage and her mother, who escaped from North Korea. She also spoke at length about her childhood growing up surrounded by poverty in Mississippi, according to HuffPost, which was the first to report on the exchange.

Grassley then responded telling Koh that her story reminded him of something his daughter-in-law, who is also Korean American, had told him — that Korean people have “a hard work ethic” and “can make a lot out of nothing.”

“So I congratulate you and your people,” Grassley said.

Koh, who has served as a district judge in California for more than a decade, replied by saying, “thank you.” Sigh.

That’s called a backhand compliment or damning with faint praise. Trafficking in *any* kind of stereotype is pernicious and racist. It’s like the Philo-Semitism I described the other day.

Here’s what Judy Chu the chair of the House Asian Pacific American Caucus told the Huff Post after the Grassley gaffe:

“Treating all members of a group as the same invites mistreatment when one person can be held accountable for the actions of someone else. It may not be the same incitement to violence seen in other slurs, but it is harmful none the less,”

At least Malaka Chuck didn’t tell Judge Koh how much he liked Kimchi even though it gave him gas. Food is often raised in this context. Someone once asked me how “my people” were able to work with filo, which is thin and tricky. One could call that Filo-Hellenism…

Senator Grassley had a busy week on the malakatude front. As the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, he’s responsible for the minority report on Trump’s attempt to coerce the Justice Department into supporting the Big Lie. Their verdict can be summed up as follows: No Harm, No Foul. The coup plot failed so it was no big whoop. Oy, just oy.

Former senate staffer Lawrence O’Donnell said it best:

The tragedy of the Republican staff report is that it shows you how deep the cancer is in the Republican Party. It has not just spread to men in their 70s and 80s like Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell and Chuck Grassley. It is now completely consuming Republicans in Washington who are half the age of those men and younger. There could be future senators working on that Republican committee staff, future members of the House, future White House chiefs of staff.

Chuck Grassley has repeatedly gotten a pass over the years for his ignorance and insensitivity. When he was younger, it was written off because he was a “blunt and plain-spoken” Iowan. In 2021, it’s because he’s elderly. Besides, bigotry is big in the GOP. And that is why Senator Chuck Grassley is malaka of the week.

The last word goes to a song from The Music Man:

Friday Catblogging: The Claire Stare

Claire Trevor has been with us for 13 months. Her Gotcha Day happened during the post-Ida mishigas so I didn’t write about it. Sorry, kitty.

Dr. A took Claire to the vet for the first time this week. She got a clean bill of health as well as a sedative. She’s a biter so we played it safe. It took 24 hours before she was back to her normal self.

This picture was taken before she got jabbed but the stare is real.

Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces Of Billy Milligan

Netflix’s original programming is a mixed bag. What they do best is true crime. Netflix’s latest true crime docuseries is one of the weirdest and most disturbing yet, Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces Of Billy Milligan. It tells the twisted tale of serial rapist Billy Milligan who initially claimed to have ten alternate personalities. He later upped the ante to 24. Many are skeptical of Milligan’s claims. I am among them.

I vaguely remembered the Billy Milligan saga. It was a sensational news story of a male Sybil. Milligan made Sybil look like a piker: she only had 16 alters. Of course, she was played by Sally Field on teevee, and Billy’s story has yet to become a feature film as we learned in the final installment of this 4-part series. Milligan and his people got greedy and wanted $1.5 million for the film rights. James Cameron and Fox were only willing to pay $250K. So much for Leo DiCaprio playing this mook.

The story began in 1977 when convicted rapist Billy Milligan was arrested for raping 3 Ohio State students. Not long after his arrest, Milligan’s alters started popping up: a snooty Brit named Arthur claimed to run the show.

The alter that set off my bullshit detector was Ragen who was allegedly Yugoslavian. It was later established that Ragen spoke gibberish instead of Serbo-Croatian. Making things weirder was the claim that a female alter named Adalana was the rapist.

The case caused a sensation and Dr. Cornelia Wilbur was summoned to help the Ohio shrinks looking into Milligan’s claims. Dr. Wilbur had treated Sybil, which made her a rock star in the psychiatric firmament. Her expert testimony helped Milligan beat the rap with an insanity plea.

Milligan was in and out of various state mental hospitals for the next 10 years. Sometimes, he was under the care of doctors who bought his story, other times by skeptics. Some of the most interesting talking heads were those who knew him during that period. One of the attendants described the staff as split down the middle on Milligan’s 24 faces. Most of them never met a Milligan alter.

Milligan’s weird celebrity gave him a special status while institutionalized: he cooperated on a book project with Daniel Keyes. Keyes was one of the most gullible true believers who bought every detail that Milligan was selling.

Milligan was suspected of sexually assaulting some patients during his time in the Ohio system. The women later recanted their claims, but it’s unclear if they were capable of consenting. The filmmakers don’t go into that.

Milligan eventually escaped from his commitment and led authorities on a wild goose chase across the country. He was aided by his brother and a deeply gullible friend. Milligan is suspected of having murdered a man he was conning, but there was insufficient evidence to charge him. He was the luckiest unlucky man I’ve ever heard of.

The filmmakers present both sides but lean in the direction of skepticism as does Milligan’s sister, Kathy Preston. She’s the most interesting talking head in the series. She wants to believe her brother’s story but agrees that much of it makes no sense. That doesn’t matter now: Billy Milligan died in 2014.

I agree with Dr. Alan Jacobs who views the diagnosis of what was then called multiple personality disorder as medical trend hopping. MPD was the diagnosis du jour. I think the disorder exists, but it can be faked by a clever con man such as Billy Milligan. He was also a talented artist as you can see from the featured image, which purportedly depicts his alters.

Here’s the trailer:

One of the most disturbing things about the Milligan case is how the psychiatrists minimized his crimes. Rape is still not taken seriously enough, but then many thought of it as a sex crime, not a violent crime. We’re not there yet, but we’ve made progress. A serial rapist should have spent time in jail not become a celebrity.

Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces Of Billy Milligan was produced by French filmmakers who miss some of the nuances of American life. They also never mention the impact the Hinckley verdict had on the insanity defense. Having said that, I give it 3 stars and an Adrastos Grade of B.

The last word goes to The Who:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Mansion Of Evil

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to live in a Mansion Of Evil. Dead bodies and men with thin mustaches give me the creeps.

Quote Of The Day: The Sinematic Senator Meets Holy Joe

While I’m glad he’s no longer in the senate, I miss having Holy Joe Lieberman to kick around. I felt oddly nostalgic when I came across the QOTD.

It comes from the latest column by the NYT’s Michelle Goldberg:

In 2003, Joe Lieberman, at the time one of the worst Democratic senators, traveled to Arizona to campaign for his party’s presidential nomination and was regularly greeted by antiwar demonstrators. “He’s a shame to Democrats,” said the organizer of a protest outside a Tucson hotel, a left-wing social worker named Kyrsten Sinema. “I don’t even know why he’s running. He seems to want to get Republicans voting for him — what kind of strategy is that?”

A good question from an unlikely source. Veda Pierce Sinema has raised Lieberman-style malakatude to a new pinnacle. She’s so inaccessible to her constituents that they’ve taken to following her into public terlets.

Sinema’s numbers in Arizona have tanked over the course of the year. At one point she had a 65% overall approval rating at home, it’s below 50% now. Any gains she has made with Republicans have been offset by pissing off the people who put her in office.

Holy Joe Lieberman was an expert at alienating the Democratic base. He put personal friendship above party in 2008 by supporting McCain over Obama.  That was the last straw for Nutmeg State Democrats who had rejected him in the 2006 primary obliging him to run as an independent. He narrowly won that race and withdrew from the 2012 race because he knew he was a stone cold loser.

The Sinematic Senator has gone from being a critic of Democrats like Holy Joe to being one of them. What is she thinking? Is she thinking at all? Beats the hell outta me.

A final quote about Veda Pierce Sinema from CNN numbers guy Harry Enten:

It’s been reported that Sinema holds up former Arizona Sen. John McCain as a role model. McCain was, of course, a thorn in former President Donald Trump’s side and didn’t always vote in-line with his party.

If she’s trying to copy McCain’s ways, Sinema isn’t doing a great job. McCain usually voted with his party. In his final full year in the Senate, he voted with his party more than 90% of the time on party unity votes (i.e. those where at least 50% of one party voted a different way from 50% of the other party). This was about on par for him. McCain voted with his party less than the median senator, but not that much less.

Sinema is an entirely different legislator. She votes against her party far more than the median legislator on party unity votes, according to the CQ Almanac. From 2013 to 2019, she’s never voted with her party more than 75% of the time.

There is one way though in which Sinema is similar to McCain: She’s upsetting her party’s base.

The Sinematic Senator is more like the man she once picketed, Holy Joe Lieberman. The end of his career should serve as a cautionary tale for her, but she seems to be a slow learner as well as a bad listener. Stay tuned.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Gallery

I’m on the record as a Vincent Price fan. I posted a top ten list of his movies last fall.

One of Price’s greatest attributes as an actor was his beautiful speaking voice. He put that voice to good use on this album that featured his great passion: art.

I couldn’t unearth any clips from this album, so here’s Price introducing Sherlock Holmes on PBS’ Mystery series:

Kangaroo Tales

Australian artist Bill Boyd spars with his pet kangaroo, Kanga Joe, 1923.

The only current world leader who is as mendacious and muddle-headed as Donald Trump is British Prime Minister Boris Johnson aka Bozza or BoJo. The new book by former Trump aide Stephanie Grisham tells some odd tales about what Donald and Boris discussed when they met:

The British prime minister was “one of the few European leaders Trump seemed to tolerate”, Grisham writes.  “Conversations between those two, both pudgy white guys with crazy hair, redefined the word random.”

“Johnson once told us over breakfast that Australia was ‘the most deadly country – spiders, snakes, crocodiles and kangaroos’. Then they discussed how powerful kangaroos were at considerable length.”

As you can see from the featured image, Kangaroo boxing used to be a thing in Australia back in the day. There was also a 1978 movie about this “sport” starring Robert Mitchum and Elliott Gould:

Bobby, Elliott what were you thinking? Were you punch drunk? Oy, just oy.

America did not love that winner. Matilda bombed at the box office.

Finally, one of my father’s Greek relatives presented my parents with the weirdest host present ever: a Kangaroo paw corkscrew. I am not making this up. I thought my mom was going to vomit when she saw it.  Oy, just oy.

The last word goes to Men At Work:

A Nose For Gold? Oy, Just Oy

The WaPo editorial board typically stays out of state legislative races even in their local readership area. They made an exception in a Virginia House of Delegates race. The answer is as plain as the nose on the flyer’s face.

Dan Helmer is a first term delegate who was narrowly elected. His challenger, Harold Pym, is stooping to conquer the seat with the nauseatingly anti-Semitic flyer at the top of the post. The Virginia Republican Party paid for the flyer and denies that it’s anti-Semitic.

I think the flyer is as anti-Semitic as Alec Guinness’ performance as Fagin in the 1948 film version of Oliver Twist. That’s as bad as it gets. And that movie was at least artfully done as opposed to this ham-fisted flyer.

Here’s how the Post describes the target of the bigoted flyer, Dan Helmer:

The mailer, authorized by Harold Pyon, a GOP candidate for the House of Delegates, was paid for by Virginia’s Republican Party. Its target is first-term lawmaker Dan Helmer, an Army veteran who was an armor officer in Afghanistan and Iraq, and is now a management consultant as well as an instructor at West Point, his alma mater.

Mr. Helmer is a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve and the only current member of the military in Virginia’s legislature. He is also the descendant of Holocaust survivors. One of them, Edith Shapiro, now 86, his maternal grandmother, spoke movingly at his 2020 swearing-in about having come through trauma as a child in wartime Poland — she and her family were hidden from the Nazis by good Samaritans — to see her grandson elected to public office in the United States.

Remember when Republicans demanded we support the troops and attacked anyone who opposed Team Bush’s wars as unpatriotic? I certainly do.

This subterranean anti-Semitism has become increasingly common since 2016. The same GOP that professes blind support for the Israeli right as personified by their former guy, also traffics in this sort of bigotry. If a flyer containing stacks of gold coins and an augmented nose isn’t anti-Semitic, I’m Turkish, not Greek.

Four Jewish Virginia GOPers sent a letter to the WaPo claiming that the flyer isn’t as on the nose as the paper claimed:

We have each seen the mailer and do not view it as antisemitic. It is a hard-hitting piece that described the truth: Democrats’ policies have increased the cost of living in Northern Virginia, and we need new politicians with new ideas to deal with that heavy burden without increasing taxes and spending. The mailer’s photo of Del. Dan Helmer (D-Fairfax) did not alter his features in any way.

Oy, just oy.  Notice the separate image above the flyer. They gave him a schnozz worthy of the man Cole Porter called the Great Durante.

Flyspecking mailers for penumbras of antisemitism or racism to declare legitimate arguments out of bounds and smear a good man such as Mr. Pyon is antidemocratic. Particularly when prominent Democrats such as members of the “Squad,” Fairfax County School Board member Abrar Omeish and Del. Ibraheem S. Samirah (Fairfax) pay no price for their overt antisemitism. As Jewish Republicans, we are offended by the double standard, which we believe demonstrates Democrats’ concern over antisemitism is situational, mere cover for bare-knuckle politics. It is shameful to weaponize our religion for such base political purposes.

Oy, just oy.  After the Dipshit Insurrection, it’s ludicrous for *any* Republican to call anyone anti-democratic. Schmucks.

The Impeached Insult Comedian and his ilk are guilty of the same sort of Philo-Semitism espoused by Archie Bunker who described his favorite law firm as “seven savage Jews.” Ironically, the name of the law firm was Shapiro, Shapiro, and Shapiro. I’ve heard that name somewhere before…

The next time a Republican disclaims bigotry of any kind, remember the Helmer flyer. Oy, just oy.

The last word goes to Robbie Robertson with the national anthem of Whataboutism:

The Many Saints Of Newark

We begin with Sunday dinner at the Sopranos. The baby is Christopher who is a bit afraid of his Uncle Tony. Does he know something that nobody else does? Beats the hell outta me. I’d be more afraid of Livia yelling in my ear if I was Baby Chris.

As our readers know, I’m a hardcore Sopranos fan. I even watched season 1 for the umpteenth time to prepare for the movie. I am not, however, the kind of Sopranos fan that spends their spare time speculating about the series finale: I think it’s brilliant and don’t care if the Anthonys were killed. I do, however, have a soft spot for Carmella and Meadow. You gotta pity a kid with a name so awful that Dr. Melfi thought it was Fielder.

Another fan spec favorite is: who killed Dickie Moltisanti or ordered the hit? An answer to *that* plot line is supplied in The Many Saints Of Newark. More on that anon.

Since internet people are obsessed with spoilers, we’ll let The Rolling Stones play us to the break.

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SMV: Talking Sopranos with Steven Van Zandt

Sopranos weekend continues at First Draft with Michael Imperioli, Steve Schirripa, and Little Steven:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Thru and Thru

Target by Jasper Johns.

It’s fall in most places, but summer is tenacious in New Orleans. We had our annual autumnal tease last weekend. It was a good thing because Dr. A and I masked up and went to an outdoor wedding last Saturday. It was an interesting mixture of cultures: the groom was Egyptian-American, the bride from Monroe in North Louisiana. As a guest the important thing was that the food was good and there was an open bar.

I haven’t mentioned my head injury since the destapling. It’s healing so well that I barely have a scar. Oh well, what the hell.

This week’s theme song was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards for the Rolling Stones’ 1994 album Voodoo Lounge. It’s pure Keith; one of his best songs. David Chase certainly thinks so: it was featured in the season-2 finale of The Sopranos.

We have 3 versions of Thru and Thru for your listening pleasure: the studio original, the Stones live, and The Sopranos edit.

Sopranos aficionados will recall that that was the hallucinatory episode in which Big Pussy not only met his maker, but appeared to Tony as a talking fish.

Speaking of fishy songs:

Now that we’re through with fish, let’s jump to the break.

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It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference

Cocktail Hour Todd Darryl

This week’s song has followed me around all week. It’s one of the most persistent earworms, I’ve ever had. All I can do is surrender and post it.

Todd Rundgren wrote It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference in 1972 for the Something/Anything? album. It was his peak pop period and he was churning out songs at a rapid pace. This is one of the best of the bunch.

We begin with the studio original.

Next up a Bossa Nova version from the With A Twist album:

Here are Todd and Daryl Hall live from Todd’s Hawaiian digs:

Finally, a swell cover by Alison Krause:

That’s it for this week. Pour yourself a drink and toast the end of the week. It’s what Bogie, Betty, and Frank would want. Never argue with them.

Where’s The BIF?

BIF is short for Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. It was passed by the Senate what seems like years ago. It was paired with the RIF aka the Reconciliation Infrastructure Bill.

The two bills are the subject of intense negotiations between the vast majority of Democrats, two errant senators and a dozen congresscritters. Despite the prominence of the House Progressive Caucus, it’s not liberals versus moderates except to the lazy MSM. For example, Dianne Feinstein, Tom Carper, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders all support both the BIF and the RIF. Kudos to Bernie for his leadership on the RIF.

I think both the BIF and the RIF are important. As much as some House members deride the former, our hard infrastructure is a fucking mess. Look around and you’ll see wobbly bridges, crumbling roads, and ancient sewerage systems such as in New Orleans. The country needs both bills even if Willard Mittbot Romney and Double Bill Cassidy groove on the BIF.

The RIF is dearer to the hearts of most Democrats than the BIF. Here’s why: it addresses the sort of human infrastructure and climate issues that have been on the back burner since 1980. Perhaps I should acronymize them as HIF and CIF. I personally think we should prioritize them all be it the BIF, RIF, HIF, or CIF.

I’ve been very impressed with Pramila Jayapal’s leadership of the House Progressive Caucus. While we’re at it, let’s give them an acronym: HPC.

Ms. Jayapal has refused to roll over and let the miniscule band of moderates win the day. She reminds me, I daresay, of Nancy Pelosi who privately is apt to agree with the leader of the HPC. People sometimes forget that Nancy Smash represents one of the most liberal districts in the country. She compromises because she believes in getting shit done.

Repeat after me: it’s not liberals versus moderates except to the lazy MSM.

I disagree with those who think any delay in the process is a disaster. Getting two good bills is more important than passing the BIF today. A reminder that this is President Biden’s agenda and the HPC are in his corner. It’s a far cry from 2010 when Team Obama was vexed with the left of the party. It helps having Ron Klain as White House Chief of Staff instead of Rahm Emanuel.

The MSM, of course, thinks this is a game hence the post title and featured image. It’s not: the future of the country is at stake. If the bills fail, there will be a Speaker KMac in the next Congress. Do we want that mook and McConnell in charge of Congress? Failure could make 2022 the 1994 of 21st Century off-year elections. Hmm, The Mook & McConnell sounds like a 1980’s network teevee show.

I’m writing this in the morning so I could turn out to be wrong about the fate of the BIF and RIF. Expect an update at the bottom of the post if there are any major developments.

Hopefully, we’ll have a happy ending, so we won’t be obliged to pose the eternal question: Where’s The BIF?

I tried to find a song with beef in the title but they’re all hip-hop numbers using the word as a synonym for argue or fight. But I found a swell song with riff in the title. The last word goes to the Nat King Cole Trio