Category Archives: Books

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Our Flesh Was Cheap

The image is bog standard pulp, but the title made my skin crawl.

Bayou Brief: Backrooms and Bayous

Russell Long. John Breaux, and Bob Mann.

My latest 13th Ward Rambler column for Bayou Brief is a review of Robert Mann‘s swell new book, Bayous and Backrooms: My Life In Louisiana Politics.

Here’s the whole damn tagline: “Is Bob Mann the Zelig or Forrest Gump of Louisiana politics? Find out in Peter Athas’ review of Mann’s memoirs.”

Since I made the Forrest Gump reference, the last word goes to Jackson Browne with a song that was in the movie.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Killers Are My Meat

This book is NOT about cannibalism. It’s a part of the Chester Drum series, which is NOT about drums.

 

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Monkees Go Mod

I realize this is pulp non-fiction but I could not resist these covers.

Another Bright Shining Lie

I’ve often written that Watergate was my formative political experience. I hereby amend that to primary formative political experience. Recent events have reminded me that the Vietnam War also shaped my worldview. It’s the ultimate cautionary tale: wars should only be fought in the national interest and should not be entered into lightly. That was the original sin of the Afghanistan War: we intervened in a hurry without thinking things through. The bill finally came due in 2021.

My family was divided during the Vietnam conflict. My father was a hawk. My mother was a dove. She wasn’t crazy about the hippie protestors as they offended her Scandinavian sense of order and decorum, but she still quietly supported the anti-warriors.

I recall a fierce argument between my parents over one of mom’s bridge playing buddies. Betty was a Quaker and a pacifist. She strenuously objected to all wars but once Richard Nixon, who was raised a Quaker, was president she became an anti-war activist because of his blatant hypocrisy.

My memory is hazy, but I recall that Betty and her fellow Friends staged a sit-in at a military installation somewhere in the Bay Area. They were arrested. Betty was the spokesperson for the group and appeared on the local news. My father thought this was a bridge too far and demanded that my mother bar Betty from their home. He argued that it would be bad for her real estate business to associate with a radical peacenik. Mom stood her ground and refused to go along. Her dovish hippie wannabe son was proud of her.

That brings me to the post title. Last night, Lawrence O’Donnell opened The Last Word with a segment comparing Vietnam and Afghanistan. He lamented that his dream guests, David Halberstam and Neil Sheehan were no longer alive. They wrote the best two books about the American misadventure in Vietnam. Sheehan’s book, A Bright Shining Lie inspired the title of this post. I only steal from the best.

A Bright Shining Lie told the story of American counter-insurgency guru John Paul Vann who was a true believer in the Vietnam mission. Vann loved the country and its people and became frustrated with the military brass who saw them as pieces to be moved around as if in a game of Risk. Hence the featured image.

The bright shining lie told to the American people during Vietnam was that the war was winnable and worth the sacrifice. The same lies were repeated by the Bush-Cheney administration and their supporters in the media about Afghanistan and Iraq. In the aftermath of 9/11, the Washington Post and New York Times became cheerleaders and apologists for Team Bush’s mendacious war effort. The past is prologue as both news organizations dusted off their pom-poms and went into action over the Afghanistan mishigas without, of course, mentioning their complicity in the initiation of our endless wars. Why ruin a sensational story with the facts?

The collapse of the Afghan government and army confirms the truth of a phrase attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson: “”Events are in the saddle and ride mankind.”

That’s truer now than in Emerson’s day. They didn’t have to deal with hot takes on the Tweeter Tube.

Continue reading

Pulp Fiction Thursday: No Bones About It

That is one scary looking pitchfork. I wouldn’t want it near my head.

Book Review: My Father When Young

This Tisserand tome was my birthday present from Dr. A. Thanks, babe.

Michael Tisserand is the author of The Kingdom Of Zydeco, Sugarcane Alley, and Krazy: George Herriman In Black and White as well as a charter member of the NOLA Twitter Pun Community. He’s better known at First Draft as the Parade Route Book Signer. I might as well share the historic Twitter exchange:

Sometimes Twitter can be fun.

Michael’s latest book is a collaboration with his late father Jerry Tisserand. An alternate title for My Father When Young could be What I Did During The Lockdown.

After his father’s funeral in 2008, Michael brought a bunch of boxes home to New Orleans, which he didn’t open until the pandemic. One box contained a treasure trove of slides:

“I pulled a few slides at random and held them to the light. Then a few more. At first, I didn’t understand what I was seeing. Then I realized: the photos had been taken by someone I never knew—my father when young.”

Michael had no idea that Jerry’s hobby had been photography. Tisserand the Elder stopped snapping pictures when he became a family man. Not only was Jerry a photography buff, he had an uncanny eye for a compelling image.

I recall when Michael first started posting his father’s pictures on his Facebook feed. I believe my initial reaction was: Damn, these are good. Others encouraged him to do something special with his father’s treasure trove. A book was born.

The most startling revelation to the son was that the father had visited New Orleans during Carnival 1959. Jerry’s pictures of the French Quarter on that long ago Mardi Gras day document a lost world. He also inadvertently stumbled into members of one of the first gay carnival krewes, Yuga. Jerry’s pictures of gay Mardi Gras don’t judge, they document. That’s the essence of good street photography.

The book is divided into three parts. The first, Taking Leave features pictures taken when Jerry was in the Army and stationed in Europe. My favorite European snapshot was taken in Barcelona and is called Children and Pigeons. Its centerpiece is a toddler dressed in a white church dress. I hate pigeons but I love this picture.

The second part of My Father When Young documents Jerry Tisserand’s return home to Evansville Indiana, which he called E-Town. I have conjoined favorites: pictures called Lighter and Smoke. They depict some Hoosier ladies lighting up cigars. I’m not a fan of cigar smoke but I am a fan of these images. They remind me of this Cole Porter song:

Anything Goes fits the third part of My Father When Young as well. I mentioned Jerry Tisserand’s Mardi Gras trip earlier. It’s the grand finale of the book in a segment named for a Professor Longhair song: Go To The Mardi Gras.

My favorite Mardi Gras photo is called Searching For A Zulu Coconut. In part, because it shows how much smaller Zulu’s floats were in 1959. The guy begging for what remains Zulu’s signature throw isn’t stretching or jumping, he’s hoping to be handed a prized coconut. I like smaller-scale Carnival. It’s one reason I’m in Krewe du Vieux.

My Father When Young is a work of love. Michael’s introduction tells the story of the father he knew and the gifted photographer he discovered. That makes Michael a lucky man. I’ve had friends who learned less salubrious things when they went through their parents’ possessions. Instead, Michael learned that, for a brief moment, his father was the Robert Frank of E-Town.

I mentioned that My Father When Young was a birthday present from Dr. A. That led to another exchange with the author:

He also threatened to make me recreate the book cover when it’s re-autographed. I couldn’t do a headstand when I was young and thin let alone now. Never gonna happen, my friend.

It’s time to grade Michael’s lockdown homework. I give My Father When Young 4 stars and an Adrastos Grade of A. Well done, sir.

You’re probably expecting the last word to go to Ringo Starr with George Harrison’s Photograph. I like to keep my readers off balance, so the last word goes to Gary Louris with the opening track of his new album, Jump For Joy. Its alternate title could be: What I Did During The Lockdown. Well done, sir.

Not Everything Sucks: Viva Vindman

I took a shine to Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman during the first impeachment hearings. As an immigrant serving our country, he personifies the best of America. The “Trump is perfect” crowd didn’t see it that way and took special pleasure in demonizing him.

Doing the right thing took a toll on Vindman. He was frog marched out of the White House, denied a well-deserved promotion, and obliged to retire from the Army at the age of 45.

The playwright Lillian Hellman wrote a book about the second American Red Scare called Scoundrel Time. She described how some groveled to people in power who were pursuing a destructive and dishonest agenda. I thought of Scoundrel Time during Alexander Vindman’s time in the barrel. Instead of cowering before the likes of Gym Jordan and Devin Nunes, he stood his ground confident that “here, right matters.” It no longer matters to right wing scoundrels but it’s a helluva book title.

I just finished reading an excerpt from Vindman’s book at the Atlantic. Like the author, It’s thoughtful, cogent, and honest. He describes his reaction to Trump’s “perfect phone call” to a Ukrainian president who was desperate to please. One of Trump’s few talents is one he shares with many mob bosses: he can sense fear and desperation. He knows how to exploit it.

Vindman’s riveting description of listening to the “perfect phone call” with his fellow future witnesses Tim Morrison and Jennifer Williams convinced me to order a copy of Here, Right Matters from Barnes & Noble. My sister-in-law always gives me a gift card for my birthday and this time I’m spending it on the odd combination of Alexander Vindman and Los Lobos.

The country was lucky that Alexander Vindman listened to the “perfect phone call.” He knew what he had to do, and he did it regardless of the personal cost. Here’s how the Atlantic excerpt concludes:

Regardless of any impact on the president, or of the domestic- and foreign-policy consequences, or of personal costs, I had no choice but to report what I’d heard. That duty to report is an important component of U.S. Army values and of the oath I’d taken to support and defend the U.S. Constitution. Despite the president’s constitutional role as commander in chief, at the apex of the military chain of command—in fact, because of his role—I had an obligation to report misconduct.

Yevgeny, who had the highest security clearances, was therefore uniquely positioned to advise me on the proper procedures, and I knew that he would support my doing my duty. He would protect, at all costs, my telling the truth. He would never be swayed by any institutional or presidential interest in covering it up.

I made sure to close the door behind me. “If what I just heard becomes public,” I told my brother, “the president will be impeached.”

It’s been a year of turmoil for the country, and for my family and me. I’m no longer at the National Security Council. I’m no longer an officer in the U.S. Army. I’m living in the great unknown, and so, to a great degree, is our country.

But because I’ve never had any doubt about the fitness of my decision, I remain at peace with the consequences that continue to unfold.

Thank you for your service Col. Vindman, that’s not just boilerplate, I mean it. Standing up to the scoundrels isn’t easy but it has to be done.

In the interests of perfecting the oddball combination of Vindman and Los Lobos, the last word goes to the guys from East LA with a song about America:

Viva Los Lobos. Viva Vindman.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Curse Of Drink

This week’s entry is not pulp fiction per se. It’s a 1904 temperance propaganda novel based on an “ethical melodrama.” I am not making this up.

That lurid image screams out for a musical last word. It goes to The Kinks with a song about the demon you know what.

The Truman Myth

I was present at the creation of the Truman myth. It came in response to Watergate. The straightforward 33rd president was seen as an antidote to the slippery and crooked Richard Nixon.

The Truman myth began in earnest after the man’s death on the day after Christmas in 1972. The bible, as it were, of the myth was published the next year: Plain Speaking by Merle Miller. This oral biography grew out of a failed teevee project. The interview tapes had more or less sat in a closet for a decade before hitting the best seller list and staying there for months on end.

My mother liked to give me books for my birthday. Plain Speaking was my birthday book in 1973. It was enormously entertaining, so I devoured it. Even then I understood that Merle Miller’s Harry Truman was an embellished version of the real man.

I come from a long line of storytellers. My father’s business colleagues insisted that he was scrupulously honest. I believed them but I also knew he liked to embellish his stories to make them funnier and more interesting. I recognized the same traits in Merle Miller’s Harry Truman.

Plain Speaking Harry Truman was the hero of every story, especially in his dealings with enemies such as Gen. Douglas MacArthur. He was an erudite auto-didactic expert on world history and geography. He was loyal to a fault to the man who made his political career, Kansas City political boss and convicted felon, Tom Pendergast. Truman’s defensive refrain about Boss Pendergast was, “He never asked me to do a dishonest thing.”

It was hard not to be entertained by the sassy and feisty former president as he cussed out his enemies. His favorite word to describe Gen. MacArthur and others was counterfeit. Teenage me knew that nobody was *that* courageous in the face of their opponents. Merle Miller’s Harry Truman always sounded like the stuff we say to ourselves *after* an argument. You know, I shoulda said this that or the other.

The Truman myth went on the road with James Whitmore’s one-man show Give ‘Em Hell, Harry. I saw it and liked it. Like Plain Speaking it was enormously entertaining and provided the role of a lifetime for a journeyman actor such as Whitmore. The stories were embellished, but that’s entertainment.

The Truman myth was set in stone in 1992 by David McCullough’s Pulitzer prize-winning biography, Truman. McCullough is one of our finest non-fiction writers and he buffed and shined the Truman myth until it sparkled. He did comment on some of the less savory aspects of his subject’s political career, but they were outweighed by tales of the mythic Truman. What’s not to love about the story of the 1948 campaign? It’s when Truman became the patron saint of underdogs.

I know that there are many other Truman books, but Miller and McCullough are the mythmakers. One could even call the mythic Truman Miller-McCullough Man.

Now that I’ve taken some of the shine off the Truman myth, on balance I think he was a good president. He accomplished some major things such as the Marshall Plan and made a start on treating black folks as full citizens. He just wasn’t David McCullough or Merle Miller’s Harry Truman. He was a mere mortal.

That brings me to the reason for this post. Law professor and Lawyers, Guns, and Money blogger Paul Campos has published a bombshell piece in New York Magazine: The Truman Show.

Continue reading

Book Review: Forget The Alamo

You’re not seeing double: I did write a Saturday Odds & Sods segment about Forget The Alamo. I’m doubling down and reviewing this terrific tome by Bryan Burrough, Chris Tomlinson, and Jason Stanford; hereinafter BTS, not to be confused with BLT or BTO. They do, however, take care of business.

To some degree Forget The Alamo answers this question: what did the authors do during their COVID lockdown? They used the time productively by grinding away on this book. They knew it would be controversial and it is: the Alamoheads are up in arms over this latest revisionist history. The Alamo myth is important to Texans and Walt Disney, John Wayne, and Lyndon Johnson brought it to the whole damn country.

If they were more self-aware, the Alamoheads would agree with this quote from John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance:

I put the quote over a picture of the Alamo as an extra twist of the Bowie knife. Everything the Alamoheads believe about what happened in 1836 is a legend. It’s the Texas creation myth that BTS call the Heroic Anglo Narrative.

BTS do an excellent job deflating the Alamo myth. The Texian rebellion against Mexico was not about freedom but about slavery. Mexico had abolished slavery and wanted it gone from the province. Anyone surprised? Everything was about slavery before the War of the Rebellion settled the issue of human bondage but not of white supremacy. It’s still with us like a pernicious tumor that defies eradication.

Tejanos have long viewed the Alamo as a symbol of white supremacy. Their voices are finally being heard despite attempts by Texas Republicans to mute or gag them. Anyone surprised? The Texas GOP is on the wrong and most extreme side of every issue. That goes for their own history as illustrated by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick ordering the state museum to cancel a panel discussion of Forget The Alamo. I guess he forgot he was against cancel culture.

I referred to Forget The Alamo as revisionist history earlier. That’s not exactly so. It’s historiography, which is defined by Merriam-Webster as:

the writing of history based on the critical examination of sources, the selection of particulars from the authentic materials, and the synthesis of particulars into a narrative that will stand the test of critical methods

Historiography is my jam. I love the clash of ideas, facts, and myths. While I’m on the subject I have some historiographic recommendations: Explaining Hitler by Ron Rosenbaum and John Wayne’s America by Garry Wills.

Wills has made a career out of historiography. I wish BTS had relied on Wills’ take on John Wayne’s 1960 cinematic ode to the Alamo myth, which he coupled with the Cold War. Who knew that Santa Ana was a proto-Commie? I always thought he was a shameless opportunist whose redeeming characteristic was loathing slavery.

BTS do an excellent job of explaining the Alamo myth before demolishing it with a flurry of facts and satire. BTS are funny; another reason Forget The Alamo rocks.

It turns out that Genesis drummer turned pop star Phil Collins is a fanatical Alamohead and collector of Alamo artifacts. He’s also an easy mark for unscrupulous dealers peddling spurious objects including Jim Bowie’s “own” Bowie Knife, which appears to date from the 1970’s, not the 1830’s. Collins maintains that it’s genuine after spending $1.5 million on the knife. That makes Collins a walking drummer joke.

As you may have noticed, I loved Forget The Alamo, I give it an Adrastos Grade of A and 4 stars.

The last word goes to Phil Collins with a video that may explain why he’s such an easy mark for Alamo grifters.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Don’t Let Go The Coat

The Concert by Johannes Vermeer.

July has been wet, wet, wet in New Orleans. As long as it’s not flood-level precipitation I don’t mind it. It keeps the heat down. That’s summer in the Crescent City: too hot, hot, hot or too wet, wet, wet. My needle seems stuck, stuck, stuck…

Pete Townshend wrote this week’s theme song for the Who’s 1981 album Face Dances. It’s a criminally underrated record that I’ve loved since the first time I gave it a spin. It was the soundtrack of my life in the year I moved from San Francisco to Washington DC.

Don’t Let The Go was inspired by Townshend’s guru Meher Baba who urged his followers to “hang fast to the hem of my robe.”

We have three versions for your listening pleasure: the studio original, Townshend’s demo, and the Who live on German teevee.

Don’t let go the coat as we jump to the break.

Continue reading

Run Through The Milley

I’m debuting a new featured image meme today. I’ve used the above image with the Fog of Scandal, but the ultimate scandal of the Trump Regime deserves its own meme.

Books about the disastrous final year of the Impeached Insult Comedian’s reign of error are flying off the shelves. As my mother used to say, it was “uglier than boiled sin” in public and even worse in private. I asked Mom to explain this Midwesternism. She told me to try boiling sin to see what it looked like. It was a non-answer but a funny one, so I let it slide. I guess she had a feeling inside that she couldn’t explain:

Mom never did Roger’s mike toss or Pete’s windmill. I would have paid to see either…

Back to the Dipshit Insurrection. General Mark Milley is a central figure in I Alone Can Fix It by the WaPo’s Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker. (The book should really be called I Alone Can Wreck It.) We’re going to focus on the General’s reaction to the Trump regime’s end game and my reaction to Milley’s reactions. Sounds reactive…

As he showed in responding to Matt Gaetz’s CRT question, Mark Milley is an erudite and well-read man. I was appalled when he joined the Kaiser of Chaos on his bible waving jaunt but pleased when he apologized. It takes a big man to take responsibility for their mistakes. Something Donald Trump has never done in his Lilliputian life.

General Milley’s antennae began tingling right after the election:

… the general’s worries grew rapidly as the president plunged the nation into chaos following Election Day. Seven days later, Milley got a call from “an old friend” with an explicit warning that Trump and his allies were trying to “overturn the government.” Milley was confident that any attempts by Trump to hold on to power would be thwarted, because the military wouldn’t go along. “They may try, but they’re not going to fucking succeed,” he told aides. “You can’t do this without the military. You can’t do this without the CIA and the FBI. We’re the guys with guns.”

That is, of course, the classic definition of a coup. A definition I agree with. What happened on 1/6/2021 was a riotous insurrection. Whatever word you use, it was some serious shit that should never be forgotten.

I long ago discarded Godwin’s Law in discussing Trumpism. So too did General Milley.

…Milley was disturbed by the sight of Trump supporters rallying to his cause in November, calling them “Brownshirts in the streets.” Leonnig and Rucker wrote that Milley “believed Trump was stoking unrest, possibly in hopes of an excuse to invoke the Insurrection Act and call out the military.” The general likened the U.S. to Germany’s fragile Weimar Republic in the early 1930s. “This is a Reichstag moment,” he said, referring to the arson attack on Germany’s Parliament that Hitler used as a pretext to assume absolute power and destroy democracy.

And that was before the Dipshit Insurrection. The aftermath of 1/6 is where the Reichstag Fire analogy works best. They’re trying to whitewash the event and pretend that, in Trump’s recent phrase, “it was a love fest.” Oy just oy.

This was Milley’s reaction to the crowd watching Trump’s 1/6 screed:

“These guys are Nazis, they’re boogaloo boys, they’re Proud Boys. These are the same people we fought in World War II.”

I’ve said the same thing myself: my uncle died fighting Fascism. The shame of the thing and its follow-up are staggering. Of course, former President* Pennywise’s picture is in the dictionary next to shameless.

There’s been a controversy as to whether General Milley should have done more to counter Trump. I understand those who think he should have, at the very least, testified at the second impeachment trial or spoken out publicly. It’s a close call, but I think it’s more important to preserve the principle of civilian control of the military.

If Milley had spoken out, he would have had to resign. I’m glad a General who understood that Trump was “preaching the gospel of the Fuhrer” was in place. Unlike Trump, Milley has heard of the Nuremberg Principles and would have refused to obey illegal orders to involve the military in a coup.

As a young man. I heard stories from my Greek relatives of tanks rolling through the streets of Athens in 1967. Thanks to General Milley, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and other senior military commanders, it didn’t happen here. It was, however, a close call.

I chose a punny title for this post because Mark Milley was indeed run through the mill by the Trump regime. I’m glad someone who knows history and understands the nature of Fascism had a seat at the table during the bleak final days of the Trump administration. Besides, what’s not to love about a guy who told Stephen Miller to “shut the fuck up” during the BLM protest season?

The last word is inspired by a punny title I discarded, Walk A Milley In My Shoes. That’s why it goes to an unlikely trio: Joe South, Bryan Ferry, and Billy Eckstein.

 

 

Ashli Babbittry

Sinclair Lewis is back in fashion because of his parable of American fascism, It Can’t Happen Here. I’m not sure how many people have read the novel as opposed to posting pictures of the cover on social media. That’s more common than you might think. It’s gotten to the point where I ask errant social media commenters if they’ve read the post of mine they’re attacking. They usually have not.

I had a high school English teacher who was kin to Sinclair Lewis. I don’t recall the consanguinity, but her stock line was “Sinclair Lewis, not Upton Sinclair.”

People were just as easily confused in the 20th Century as they are now. I wish I could say that Twitter birthed mass stupidity, but its been with us forever. Hell, when I ran a Google search for Sinclair Lewis, Upton Sinclair’s name came up almost as often.

That brings me to another Sinclair Lewis novel Babbitt, which is a fine example of satire circa 1922. It was the story of a Midwestern real estate developer named George Babbitt. He was the epitome of vapid conformity and banal boosterism.

It’s every writer’s dream to coin a word or phrase that makes the dictionary. That happened with Babbitt, which is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as:

“a person and especially a business or professional man who conforms unthinkingly to prevailing middle-class standards.”

A mini essay at Merriam-Webster.com adds this thought about Babbittry:

The values, attitudes, and mores associated with the American middle class in the 1920s can be summed up in the word Babbitry. It derives from the protagonist of Babbitt, a satirical novel by Sinclair Lewis published in 1922. George F. Babbitt epitomizes the unimaginative and self-important businessmen that Lewis found typical of the provincial cities and towns of America. Despite his evident prosperity and status, he remains vaguely dissatisfied with life and makes tentative attempts at rebellion; however, in the end, he finds his need for social acceptance greater than his desire for escape.

To a great extent that describes the conformism that is Trumpism. Trumpers tend to trumpet the cliches they’ve heard on Fox News, Newsmax, Breitbart, and other wingnutty web sites. Trumpism is a conformist creed that relies on talking points instead of independent thought hence the anti-intellectual attacks on science and education. Who among us isn’t tired of hearing about cancel culture?

The anti-intellectualism of Trumpism is nothing new. George Wallace was fond of attacking “damn pointy-headed intellectuals who can’t park their bicycle straight.”

The Impeached Insult Comedian was never that witty.

Continue reading

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Beat Not The Bones

This is a highly regarded book that I haven’t read. I picked it because of the title and bony bongo fingers on the cover.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Magic

William Goldman was one of the best screenwriters of his era. And he had a lucrative sideline as a novelist.

Here’s a triptych of one of Goldman’s most successful books, Magic. It was a swell movie too.

 

Running Scared

It’s been a jam-packed day at First Draft with fine posts from Shapiro and Cassandra. I hope everyone is enjoying our new writers. It’s proof positive that cronyism can be a good thing. Cronyism and nepotism are essential components of Greek culture, after all.

Since the senate will be voting soon on whether to debate the voting rights bill, we begin with a poorly written and illogical op-ed “written” by Senator Krysten Sinema.

Sinema’s Lack Of Scope: It’s astonishing that I haven’t previously used this pun on the senator’s name and the Cinemascope process. Perhaps it’s because Cinemascope brought new depth and scope to movie going whereas the Arizona senator specializes in narrow-mindedness.

Sinema reiterates her opposition to filibuster abolition in a WaPo op-ed with a revealing title: We Have More To Lose Than Gain By Ending The Filibuster. It’s a Sinematic ode to fear of the unknown and change. It’s an odd stance for the senate’s only bisexual member, who claims to admire John Lewis, to take. Rights are secured by the bold, not the risk averse.

Sinema’s opposition to filibuster reform is particularly odd because her state is going through the Fraudit and she’s a co-sponsor of the For The People Act, which has no chance to pass without filibuster reform.

I’m not going to go as far as some who have said that Sinema has “toxic white lady energy” or hinted that she’s a Green Party double agent bent on wreaking Jill Stein-style havoc on the Democratic party. Instead, she’s an opportunist who blows with the wind and only cares about being reelected.

I’m not going to quote her op-ed. However, I wonder why she doesn’t have a staffer who can write better than that. Ugh just ugh.

It’s time for a brief cinematic musical interlude:

Our next segment is about the douchebag who has replaced Bill-O as my Fox News hate object.

Mothertucker: NYT media writer Ben Smith has done it again. This time, in a piece about why the MSM is so soft on Tucker Carlson.

No matter how much the Mothertucker lies or slanders the media, they’re soft on him because he’s a good source:

And Mr. Carlson’s comfortable place inside Washington media, many of the reporters who cover him say, has taken the edge off some of the coverage. It has also served as a kind of insurance policy, they say, protecting him from the marginalization that ended the Fox career of his predecessor, Glenn Beck, who also drew a huge audience with shadowy theories of elite conspiracy.

I realize that reporters dislike burning a source but allowing this creep to skate is reprehensible. The Mothertucker is the worst sort of phony as it’s unclear if he believes in the bile he spews on the air every weeknight.

I’m glad that Ben Smith finally decided to burn the Mothertucker. Perhaps it’s because he described the media at large as “cringing animals who are not worthy of respect.”

Who’s cringing now, Mothertucker?

Speaking of animals:

My Complaint About Portnoy: Snotty, know-it-all teenage me loved Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint. It was a genuinely funny book that was turned into a painfully unfunny movie.

Alexander Portnoy was a fictional character who made me laugh, Dave Portnoy is a real person who makes me cringe. There’s nothing worse than someone who thinks they’re funny but is not.

Portnoy is the jerk behind Barstool Sports, which specializes in frat boy sports talk radio style humor. He’s becoming a power to be reckoned with in the Trumpified GOP aka the Gross Out Party. That’s the argument made in an excellent piece in Politico Magazine by Derek Robertson.

Robertson opines that the Republicans have become the Barstool Party. I think he’s on to something. Here’s how Dave Portnoy described his support for the Impeached Insult Comedian in 2016:

“I am voting for Donald Trump. I don’t care if he’s a joke. I don’t care if he’s racist. I don’t care if he’s sexist. I don’t care about any of it. I hope he stays in the race and I hope he wins. Why? Because I love the fact that he is making other politicians squirm. I love the fact he says shit nobody else will say, regardless of how ridiculous it is.”

He sounds like a hybrid of Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern. Rush was the original Barstool Republican. Dave merely puts the Oy in Portnoy. Schmuck.

Our third musical interlude circles back to the post title and the fearful word of Senator Sinema. The last word goes to Roy Orbison:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Is Anybody Goin’ To San Antone

The Long Line Of Texas. Near Dallas by Dorothea Lange.

It’s Juneteenth. It marks the day in 1865 that enslaved people in Galveston, Texas learned that they’d been freed two years earlier. It’s been a Texas holiday for decades and just became a federal holiday over the objection of 14 Republican congresscritters.

The featured image is a photograph by Dorothea Lange when she worked for the WPA documenting the ravages of the Great Depression. The number at the top is its Library of Congress reference number. I’m not quite sure that I get the title, but the picture was taken in Texas.

This week’s theme song was written in 1969 by Glenn Martin and Dave Kirby. I’ve always associated it with Doug Sahm, but it was first recorded by Charlie Pride.

We have three versions of Is Anybody Goin’ To San Antone for your listening pleasure: Charlie Pride, Doug Sahm, and the Texas Tornados.

Since I mentioned Galveston, let’s run this Glen Campbell-Jim Webb song up the flagpole and see who salutes:

Now that we’re done saluting, let’s jump to the break.

Continue reading