The Senator From Sonoma

Krysten Sinema Instagram Photo
Photo by Krysten Sinema, United States Senator, via Instagram

Yesterday El Grande Hefe de First Draft wrote about the early political obituaries for Arizona Senator Krysten Sinema. Today I come here, in the words of Shakespeare, not to praise her but to bury her.

In an American Oak wine barrel filled with Sonoma Chardonnay.

Sinema of course has gained fame and notoriety for basically telling all the folks who helped her get elected, both the political classes of the Democratic Party and the good citizens of Arizona who voted for her, that her idea of being a maverick is to do everything she can to prevent the implementation of laws designed to give people the certainty that elections will be held in fair and honorable means. She wants to muck up every chance her party has to turn the hatred of Trump into a solid watershed moment to beat down incipient fascism and create an America where all truly are created equal. She wants to in effect take a parliamentary procedure not mentioned in the Constitution, something not even codified till near 50 years after the Constitution was written, and make it a permanent fixture of congressional debate going forward.

In other words she just loves her some filibuster.

You shouldn’t be surprised. If you have followed her career in politics at all she is the winner of the “Most Likely To Say One Thing But Do Another” award. I mean this is the woman who ran as a moderate Democrat wanting to help the poor of her state then showed up on the floor of the Senate dressed like a teenager heading out to the mall to squash the $15 per hour minimum wage. Not that I have any statistics to back it up but I have a feeling many of the people who voted for her could have really used an upgrade in their minimum wages to help with things like, oh I don’t know, food, shelter, clothing. Especially in the middle of a global pandemic. But hey, she made all Gen Xers yearn for the good old days of Debbie Gibson.

Now I know it’s hard to believe, but we here in Sonoma have a tie to the peripatetic Ms. Sinema. One that is, to say the least, a bit strange. You see, back in the summer of 2020, the Senator from Arizona spent two weeks here in Sonoma as a paid intern at the Three Sticks Winery just a few blocks from my house. How I never ran into her I don’t know. It’s a small town and word of strangers with big names gets around quick.

Let that sink in for a moment. A United States Senator, making a salary of $170K a year, decided to take two weeks off and go learn how to scrub out wine barrels. Not only that, but she got paid $1117.40 per week for the privilege. A quick bit of math shows that means she was paid $28 per hour, nearly twice the minimum wage she voted against. She did it in the middle of a pandemic, five months before the rollout of the initial COVID vaccine, and in the middle of a presidential and congressional election that just might have been the most consequential in the history of the country. I’m sure some of her constituents would have liked her to have been working on programs to save their jobs or even their lives. I’m sure the Democratic Party would have liked her to have gone out stumping for congressional candidates to shore up their House majority or to swing into some swing states to help Joe Biden.

Instead with all that going on she decided to take a couple of weeks off to leave the humidity of Washington and the “but it’s a dry heat” of Arizona to come up to the warm during the day, cold at night temps of Sonoma to learn the ins and outs of winemaking. It shouldn’t be surprising though. Sinema had been called out before the pandemic for missing critical senate votes so she could compete in Ironman Triathlons in such nearby locales as New Zealand. At least the winery was in the US.

But she wore her Ironman garb even better than Tony Stark and that’s all that really matters in the end.

More on this rather strange story by clicking the link

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Conceding Is The Point

Great concession speeches

There was an election in Florida (why do these stories always come out of Florida?) last week. The winner, a Democrat named Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, won that election with 79% of the votes cast.

Back in the day, they used to call that a landslide victory.

It’s not surprising though. The district, Florida’s 20th, has a 5-1 Democrat to Repugnicant voter registration. Joe Biden won the district in 2020 with 77% of the vote, so Ms. McCormick actually outdid him. The Repugnicant candidate was perceived as a Boston carpetbagger. Third party candidates picked up enough of the vote so that he actually got less than 20% of the vote which means he couldn’t even get some of the registered Republicans to vote for him. In the past his status as a perceived carpetbagger would have been the attributing factor in his shellacking, but not in 2022 America.

Well you know where this is headed. The Repugnicant refuses to concede the election.

Now they called the race, I did not win, so they say, but that does not mean that they lost either, it does not mean that we lost

Forgetting for a moment his inability to speak the English language clearly, this has become the Repugnicant playbook with all elections. Never concede, send in lawyers, try to get the vote overturned. Use, I would say abuse, the system in any way you can. In a fractured political environment where most elections are decided by narrow margins, you just might get the right judge or the right secretary of state or the right governor to hand your candidate a victory the voters didn’t award to them.

Under those conditions the noted dumb play callers the Dallas Cowboys could petition Roger Goodell to just hand them the Lombardi Trophy as Super Bowl Champions every year.

What I really want to talk about is the importance of conceding; formally, graciously, and with a sense of tradition and humility that is entirely necessary for the idea of the peaceful transition of power to become a reality.

John McCain once said

I didn’t like the outcome of the 2008 election. But I had a duty to concede. A concession isn’t just an act of graciousness. It is an act of respect for the will of the American people, an act that is every American leader’s first responsibility.

Respect. Wow, there is a word you don’t hear in connection to politics much these days. Respect the process. Respect the institutions. Respect the history. Hell, respect your opponent and what he or she had to do in order to come out on top. Take your lumps, leave with your head held high, and make sure your election district, your state, or your country can come together to work on the great problems we face in this world.

One political party seems to do that pretty well. The other, not so much. The problem is we can’t even agree on which party is which in that scenario. Well I’ll tell you which one is in the wrong, it’s the Repugnicants. It’s always the Repugnicants. It’s always them because the only way they can win elections is to rig the game ahead of time. They gerrymander districts. They impose ridiculous voting restrictions (I want to be the first guy to go to jail for giving someone a bottle of water while they stand in line to vote in Georgia). In counties they control they make it easy for white voters to cast their ballots by having plenty of voting precincts in the areas where whites live and hardly any in areas where blacks live. In states where early voting is allowed (most of them) they have restricted when or how those early ballots can be dropped off.

Don’t concede, keep reading by clicking the link

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This Is A Fine Mess You’ve Gotten US Into

Duston Stockman, Chris Hayes, Jennifer Lawrence

So there I was the other night sipping my pre-dinner cocktail and multitasking back and forth from my phone to the TV. Chris Hayes of MSNBC was interviewing Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lawrence (no not that one, the other one), aka, the Bonnie and Clyde of the MAGA world, about their involvement in the January 6th attempted overthrow of the United States government. You can watch the entire interview right here:

Before I go any further, what is it with Trumper women and makeup? Is it their belief that if some is good, more is better, and using a spackling trough as an applicator is best?

But I digress.

Stockton and Lawrence were in the news because they had played a large part in organizing the January 6th so-called “Save America” rally that ended up with the attack on the Capital. Unlike so many others in that group, these two had decided to come clean to the congressional committee investigating the attack and have been handing over texts, emails, and all other kinds of juicy tidbits. A lot of people are worried about what they have said. A lot of congress type people.

Of course in typical Trumper fashion their claim is “we did nothing wrong”. They claim to only have been the organizers of the rally outside the White House that day and only found out the mob was going to march down to the Capital when their chief cook and bottle washer Herr Oberfuhrer Drumpf told them to from behind the cloak of White House and Secret Service safety.

So setting the table means you have nothing to do with serving the dinner. OK, gotcha.

They were shocked, shocked I tell you to discover that Donald Trump would throw them under the bus by pardoning everyone else and leaving them hung out to flutter in the winds of justice. This even after Lawrence says she’d known Trump for a decade.

You’ve known him for a decade and hadn’t figured out he does that to EVERYONE?! It’s just occurring to you that Donald Trump only cares about Donald Trump?! The rest of the non-Trumper world knew that was the case, but it was only after your failed attempt to keep him in power and his subsequently throwing you under a multi axle vehicle that you realized, “hey maybe he’s not such a nice guy”.

I shouldn’t be surprised. A con man is always gonna be a con man. And the biggest defenders a con man can have are the people he conned. It might be because they are still under the influence of the con or it might be because they are subconsciously attempting to justify to themselves the fact they were conned. Whatever the reason, and whatever the evidence mounted to prove the con, they will only under the most demanding of pressure admit to their folly.

So little Dusty, even while he attempts to throw Trump under that multi axle vehicle, also tries to do the “but what abouts” with Hayes over MSNBC’s coverage of the Trump/Russia investigation. Credit Hayes for not buying into that and keeping the interview on as even a keel as could be hoped for. He did what Chris Wallace at the first 2020 Presidential Debate should have done, but then again Wallace had to deal with a crazy person high on anti-COVID drugs (and whatever else he uses) while Hayes only had to deal with a disgruntled man child who had lost his reason for being.

Come to think of it, maybe they were both dealing with the same thing.

Press this little link to see what else these scamps were into

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Saturday Odds & Sods: A Hazy Shade Of Winter

Houses Of Parliament, Fog Effect by Claude Monet.

It’s been foggy this week in New Orleans. I love the fog as long as I don’t have to drive in it. It’s a by-product of growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Monet loved the fog too. Perhaps I should have named my black cat Monet instead of Manet. Oh well, what the hell.

It’s runoff election day. If you’re in New Orleans, please vote. I’m eager to see the backs of several candidates, but even if they prevail I’ll be glad it’s over. No more lying fliers. Huzzah.

There’s a measure on the ballot in nearby St. Tammany Parish that would bring a casino to the dull suburban burg of Slidell. Both sides are spending buckets of money on teevee ads and making extravagant claims about the impact of a casino. It cracks me up: casinos are never as beneficial as their proponents would have you believe or as bad as opponents claim. So it goes.

A reminder that you can hear my views on today’s election by listening to The Ryne Show.

This week’s theme song was written by Paul Simon for 1968’s Simon & Garfunkel album, Bookends. It’s my favorite S&G record. It’s both arty and garfunkelly at the same time.

We have three versions of A Hazy Shade Of Winter for your listening pleasure: The S&G original, followed by the Bangles, and Hugo Montenegro:

If you’re feeling hazy, let’s shake it off by jumping to the break.

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Would My Home State Really Elect Dr. Oz?

I love my home state (or actually, commonwealth). Pennsylvania is a good place to live. We have two wonderful cities; if you have jokes about Philadelphia and Pittsburgh as dumps, all you’re telling me is you are basing that on old information. There are beautiful natural areas, and many of the denizens are friendly. However, we are of course not immune from making bad decisions. Trump won our state, for example. We had Rick Santorum as our senator. And now we have an opportunity to make another awful decision – Hearthrob Snakeoil Salesman Dr. Oz has thrown his hat in … Continue reading Would My Home State Really Elect Dr. Oz?

A Good Night For The Party Of Stupidity & Sedition

I agree with everything that Cassandra said this morning. Glenn Youngkin is about to make Virginia safe from Critical Race Theory and Beloved. It’s racism pure and simple. It’s what the party of stupidity and sedition does. Let’s move on … Continue reading A Good Night For The Party Of Stupidity & Sedition

It’s the Racism, Stupid

As I write this it looks like Glenn Youngkin is going to be the next governor of Virginia. The Democratic Party’s recriminations are of course in full swing. Let’s end all the nonsense:  it’s the racism, stupid. Don’t get me wrong:  Terry McAuliffe was a terrible candidate but nothing in this campaign season was about policy. Our broadcast TV stations are from the Washington, DC market, so I saw ALL of Youngkin’s campaign ads. His only issue was racism and he was helped by a ginned-up astroturf protest movement against the fictional teaching of critical race theory in public schools. … Continue reading It’s the Racism, Stupid