Category Archives: Language

Defending a Nazi Won’t Get You Into Free Speech Heaven

Angus Johnston, who you should be reading if you are not:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Here’s why I’m not defending them.

I don’t care about them.

And I think most of the people who do, with the exception of true, TRUE civil libertarians like the fucking saints at the ACLU, are just showing off.

Here’s my problem with wanking all day on Twitter about if we should punch Nazis or not, if Milo should be allowed to yell incoherently and incite mobs to attack trans students on university campuses and whatever: I almost never see the “defend to the death your right to say it” absolutism being preached by anybody who’s not a straight white comfortable dude.

I would respect the argument that we should let Milo yell his yelling if that argument came from a trans student in actual physical danger from Milo’s idiot army. I would respect the argument that we shouldn’t punch Nazis if the argument came from someone who the Nazi thought was subhuman. If people who are gay, trans, Muslim, minority, poor, want to tell me that they will get in the street to support the right of total assholes to exhort others to exterminate them, then hand me a damn sign and show me where the pro-Nazi protest is.

What I will not listen to is one more person with zero skin in the game deploring the tone in the room.

Because that’s always what it comes down to, from the Internet Constitutional Lawyers who scold everyone else for applauding a protest that shut someone down. Some airy, detached examination of “the real issue” which is, naturally, the speaker’s making himself sound superior to those who get all uncouth and het up about their impending deaths in gas chambers.

It’s not that I don’t see the opportunity for academic debate, mind. Or for study. It’s that I don’t actually give a fuck right now about being scolded, not by people who are not in any kind of danger.

“Well, what would you say if it was YOUR campus homophobe protest that was being shut down, HUH? HUH!?” I would say the grown-ups are talking right now, hie your whitebread ass head to some sophomore college coffeehouse and see if the kids there will tolerate your snide shit because no one here cares.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Trouble In Mind

Woodruff Underground RR

The Underground Railroad by Hale Woodruff, 1942.

Another week, another mural as the featured image. Hale Woodruff is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice. If you don’t recognize Trump’s Frederick Douglass quote, I have failed as a blogger.

It has been a Krewe of Spank-centric week at Adrastos World HQ. We’ve been helping with the float, buying costume bits, and even went to a pizza-n-shirt-iron-on party. Bet you’ve never done that. We also drank beer. Bet you’ve done that.

This week’s theme song was selected with our politically chaotic moment in mind. I am mindful of the fact that Trouble In Mind was written in 1924 by jazz pianist Richard Jones. It has been recorded oodles of time by oodles of artists. I have selected worthy versions by Big Bill Broonzy, Nina Simone, and the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the post only without the dirt or the band. That’s right, this post will be unbroken…

Emmett Till: Every social movement requires a spark. For the Civil Rights movement, the spark was provided by the lynching of Emmett Till in 1955. In fact, Jesse Jackson describes a conversation with Rosa Parks that confirms the importance of Emmett Till:

“I asked Miss Rosa Parks [in 1988] why didn’t she go to the back of the bus, given the threat that she could be hurt, pushed off the bus, and run over, because three other ladies did get up. She said she thought about going to the back of the bus. But then she thought about Emmett Till and she couldn’t do it.”

There’s a new book about the murder of Emmett Till wherein author Timothy Tyson got the woman who was allegedly the target of unwanted attention by Till to admit that nothing much really happened. Vanity Fair’s Sheila Weller has the details.

It’s abundantly clear that the Current Occupant has no knowledge of the Civil Rights movement or how important it is to many of us. It didn’t involve him directly so it’s off his radar screen. I suspect Trump and his dreadful, racist daddy regarded the movement as a nuisance. It made it harder for them to discriminate against black folks in their apartment buildings in the outer boroughs, after all. So it goes.

We go from the crime that inspired the Civil Rights movement to a look at how Hollywood is taking on the  Insult Comedian.

The New Culture War: We tend to think of Pats Buchanan and Robertson when we think about the culture war. Buchanan’s 1992 GOP convention speech scared the living shit out of middle-American and was a factor in Poppy Bush’s defeat. Thanks, Pat.

The culture war used to be a right-wing thing. It no longer is. The Guardian’s Stuart Jeffries takes a look at how Hollywood and others on the left are standing up to the Insult Comedian. My favorite bit involves the divine Julia Louis-Dreyfus:

At last Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild awards in Hollywood, barely anyone who got to the stage failed to denounce Donald Trump’s immigrant ban. Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, for instance, accepting her award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a comedy series with her portrayal of a (with all due respect) venal and useless president, said: “I am the daughter of an immigrant. My father fled religious persecution in Nazi-occupied France, and I am an American patriot … I love this country. I am horrified by its blemishes. This immigrant ban is a blemish, and it is un-American.”

Her speech came from the heart and was clearly not written by Selina Meyer’s staff. They would have found a way to fuck it up and elect Hugh Laurie President…

There’s already a backlash over comments like Julia’s and Meryl Streep’s but, frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. The rank hypocrisy on the right about celebrities in politics is breathtaking. The GOP elected an actor President, sent Gopher from The Love Boat and Sonny Bono to Congress, and now they complain about free speech from Julia and Meryl. As the Cowardly Lion would surely say, DA NOIVE.  I fed Siri that sentence and she had a nervous breakdown. It was most amusing.

Speaking of the culture wars, our next segment takes a look at cursing. Hmm, I wonder if we still have a fuck quota at First Draft.

Fucking Around: There’s a motherfucking good review at the New York Review of Books by Joan Acocella of two bloody buggery bollocky books about swearing. You should read the fucker. Fuckin’ A.

Speaking of people who got fucked over, here’s a look back at Grateful Dead’s 1970 arrest in New Orleans. They did not return to the Crescent City until 1988.

Busted Down On Bourbon Street: The Grateful Dead were “set up like a bowling pin” in New Orleans on January 31, 1970. The city fathers were terrified that hippies would overrun the city and interfere with their drinking. They simply could not have that.

There’s a fun look back at Live For Live Music.com. I can say fun because nothing much came of the bust except for semi-lurid headlines and this mug shot of a certain lead guitar player:

man_file_1055638_jerry-mugshot-1970

Notice that Jerry had the good sense to smile, not glower in his mugshot. Never let the bastards see you sweat.

I obviously have to post a version of Truckin’ at this juncture. This is a good ‘un complete with tight musicianship and sloppy vocals, both trademarks of the good old Grateful Dead:

Let’s move on to a sporadic Odds & Sods feature:

Separated At Birth? I added a question mark because I’m not 100% sure this works but it cracked me up when I saw it on the Tweeter Tube.

Instead of being leery of the idea, Leary responded without so much as a leer:

Just imagine it: Denis Leary in The Bowling Green Massacre. He really needs to wear Kellyanne Liar’s inauguration day outfit:

conway-meme

Let’s move from the ridiculous to the sublime.

Saturday Classic: I posted the Queen of Soul earlier, it’s time to listen to the King of Soul, Otis Redding. Note that the album begins with Ole Man Trouble. It has nothing to do with the Insult Comedian but we do have more than our share of trouble right now.

That’s it for this week. We’ll be back with more hijinks and shenanigans next week. Who better to have the last word than three Jokers? Heath, Jack, and Cesar beat the hell out of the joker in the White House. Figuratively, not literally.

jokers-memejpg

Philip Roth On Trumpism

Roth

There’s been a lot of chatter about dystopian novels of late. I cannot imagine why. I’ll save my take on 1984 for another time, but if you haven’t read Philip Roth’s 2004 novel The Plot Against America, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. In the book, Charles Lindbergh is nominated by the GOP in 1940 and defeats Franklin Roosevelt on a platform of  isolationism and appeasement with the help of Nazi Germany. In the real world, the Nazis were paying off prominent isolationist Senators who, despite the rhetoric, put America second and their wallets first. It all sounds painfully familiar, doesn’t it?

The 83-year-old Roth has retired from writing but shared his views about Trumpism via email with the New Yorker’s Judith Thurman. Below are some excerpts of their electronic epistolary exchange. Try saying that four times. Dare ya.

Roth wrote in the Times Book Review that “The Plot Against America” was not intended as a political roman à clef. Rather, he wanted to dramatize a series of what-ifs that never came to pass in America but were “somebody else’s reality”—i.e., that of the Jews of Europe. “All I do,” he wrote, “is to defatalize the past—if such a word exists—showing how it might have been different and might have happened here.”

Last week, Roth was asked, via e-mail, if it has happened here. He responded, “It is easier to comprehend the election of an imaginary President like Charles Lindbergh than an actual President like Donald Trump. Lindbergh, despite his Nazi sympathies and racist proclivities, was a great aviation hero who had displayed tremendous physical courage and aeronautical genius in crossing the Atlantic in 1927. He had character and he had substance and, along with Henry Ford, was, worldwide, the most famous American of his day. Trump is just a con artist. The relevant book about Trump’s American forebear is Herman Melville’s ‘The Confidence-Man,’ the darkly pessimistic, daringly inventive novel—Melville’s last—that could just as well have been called ‘The Art of the Scam.’ ”

It’s hard to argue that point. Trump has become the most successful flim-flam man in American history. In fact, his white nationalist regime has stolen our history and put it on a perilous path of putrid populism. I love the smell of alliteration in the morning.

Another quote from the great novelist:

“It isn’t Trump as a character, a human type—the real-estate type, the callow and callous killer capitalist—that outstrips the imagination. It is Trump as President of the United States.

“I was born in 1933,” he continued, “the year that F.D.R. was inaugurated. He was President until I was twelve years old. I’ve been a Roosevelt Democrat ever since. I found much that was alarming about being a citizen during the tenures of Richard Nixon and George W. Bush. But, whatever I may have seen as their limitations of character or intellect, neither was anything like as humanly impoverished as Trump is: ignorant of government, of history, of science, of philosophy, of art, incapable of expressing or recognizing subtlety or nuance, destitute of all decency, and wielding a vocabulary of seventy-seven words that is better called Jerkish than English.”

That’s a tremendous analysis of a very, very bad dude. Believe me.

I would love to hear Roth’s take on the brown eminence behind Trump, Steve Bannon. I’ve been shouting from the rooftops about Bannon since last summer. I’m glad people are finally taking notice of this sinister albeit rumpled figure. Trump is not only Putin’s useful idiot, he’s Bannon’s as well.

I’ll give Philip Roth the last word:

“My novel wasn’t written as a warning. I was just trying to imagine what it would have been like for a Jewish family like mine, in a Jewish community like Newark, had something even faintly like Nazi anti-Semitism befallen us in 1940, at the end of the most pointedly anti-Semitic decade in world history. I wanted to imagine how we would have fared, which meant I had first to invent an ominous American government that threatened us. As for how Trump threatens us, I would say that, like the anxious and fear-ridden families in my book, what is most terrifying is that he makes any and everything possible, including, of course, the nuclear catastrophe.”

 

Quote Of The Day: H.L. Mencken Edition

Mark my words, I had a lot of fun with last week’s Twain post so I decided to Menckenize First Draft. Henry Louis Mencken may not have created snark but he was one of its earliest masters. His politics were sort of a mishmash; one might call him a Jeffersonian libertarian conservative with a mean streak. He hated government. Actually, he hated everything except for beer.

Mencken would not be surprised by the advent of Donald Trump. He regarded most Americans as dolts and members of the booboise. He once memorably called the South: the Sahara of the Bozart, which is a swell pun on beaux arts. There is one quote, however, that stands out as being applicable to our troubled times:

As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

It’s hard to argue that point given that the Insult Comedian is about to begin his misrule. I know what you’re thinking, they elected a moron in 2000. But Bush was a genial moron whereas Trump is a moron who is proud of his assholery. There seems to be a pattern: morons lose the popular vote and eke out a win in the electoral college. So it goes.

Welcome to the New Gilded Age.

The Fog Of History: Mark Twain On The First Gilded Age

jb_gilded_subj_e

In 1873 Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner published a novel called The Gilded Age: A Tale Of Today. It was one of the few times Sam Clemens worked in a band and not as a solo artist. End of tortured musical analogy. The book was not merely a “tale of today,” like much of Twain’s best satire it remains applicable to *our* today.

The Gilded Age was not specifically about the political culture of the era, but the term has come to be associated with the excesses of the one-party pro-plutocratic Republican rule of the postbellum age. I believe that the-ugh-Trump Era will be a New Gilded Age with the Darnold as robber baron-in-chief. We’ve had other Gilded Ages, but I expect the next four years will be among the most corrupt in our history. The fish rots from head, after all, and nobody is rottener than the Insult Comedian. Imagine the stench when the nutria pelt atop his head begins to melt. It’s bound to smell like cotton candy piss.

Pondering the man I insist on calling Sam Clemens (we’re old literary friends and brothers in satire) resulted in a Google search for quotes that are applicable to both his time and our own. History *always* repeats, y’all.

Below are a few Twain nuggets that I have excavated from the recesses of the internet mine. I’m all about tortured analogies today and they’re mine all mine. I am, however, neither a miner nor a 49er and don’t have a daughter named Clementine…

If you think income inequality is a recent phenomenon, Sam begs to differ:

“The external glitter conceals a corrupt political core that reflects the growing gap between the very few rich and the very many poor.”

Twain was the greatest satirist of his time. He was as fond of food analogies as I am:

“The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter, they are an entire banquet.”

We’re inclined to think Trump is sui generis to our day and age.  But Sam knew the type only too well:

“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure. ”

“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”

The Insult Comedian is not only insulting, he’s an habitual, almost obsessive liar:

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”

Trump, alas, doesn’t even try to keep his lies straight. He counts on the short-term memory of his followers. It’s what fake populist strong men do.

The next Twain bon mot illuminates the difficult position those of us in the resistance find ourselves in:

“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”

Nobody likes to admit to getting conned. The country is littered with people who fell for Trumpian flim-flammery. Many are still sleepwalking. It’s going to be ugly when they wake up and realize they’ve been had. Bigly.

Finally, I believe that the best way to undermine this illegitimate mountebank is with ridicule. Who can forget how he attacked SNL after Alec Baldwin nailed his cotton candy piss hair to the wall. Sam is in accord:

“Only laughter can blow [a colossal humbug] to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”

Ain’t no bigger humbug that the Insult Comedian. Believe me, he’s a tremendous gasbag.

Welcome to the New Gilded Age.

Vive les Maquis.

The Fog Of History: Taiwan On

time china-1time china-2

It turns out that the phone call from the President of Taiwan to the Insult Comedian was a deliberate-as opposed to accidental-fuck up. The Trumpers want to be disruptive and shake things up. That’s how they’d characterize it. I’d call it dick waving or undiplomatic diplomacy. One thing we’ve learned from this episode is that the Trumpers plan to export their penchant for impulsive, poorly thought-out gambits to the world scene. Heaven help us; make that son of heaven since we’re talking about China policy.

I’ve seen some on the right argue that United States China policy makes no sense. The whole “One China and Taiwan is part of it” has been policy since the Nixon to China days. It’s a way to finesse Taiwanese independence without unduly pissing off the Kleptocrats who run China in Communist drag. I agree that it makes no logical sense.

Here’s the deal: American China policy has never made sense. In the late 19th and early 20th Century, we posed as benevolent benefactors trying to “Christianize” China whilst exploiting the hell out of it. Then we mindlessly supported Chiang Kai-shek and his Kuomintang government until they fled the mainland to Taiwan in 1949. After the advent of “Red China,” we allowed the China Lobby personified by Time-Life’s Henry Luce, to control Chinese policy from 1949-1972. In that era, we pretended that Mao’s China did not exist and that tiny Taiwan was the true Republic of China. Repeat after me: American China policy has never made sense.

One reason that Tricky Dick was able to do the Nixon to China thing was that Henry Luce died in 1967. Luce’s parents were Presbyterian missionaries. He was born in China and lived there until he was 15 years old. Luce was the most important GOP press baron for decades. He was convinced that Chiang was the Chinese George Washington and that Mao was Satan. Neither was true but Luce dominated US China Policy for many years. He was also the dominant force in the Dewey-Eisenhower-Nixon internationalist Eastern establishment wing of the GOP. A wing that is well and truly extinct. Poppy Bush was its last gasp.

The current “One China” policy is a way to keep the peace between the PRC and Taiwan. In the late 1950’s hostilities nearly broke out. It was even a hot issue during the 1960 Presidential campaign: Nixon and Kennedy spent time discussing Quemoy and Matsu, which were flashpoints in the 1958 crisis.  I bet most of you have never heard of Quemoy and Matsu. Why? Because of the “One China” policy. It makes no sense but it’s kept the peace. That’s what really matters.

There’s a certain irony that a man who rarely makes sense about anything has allowed ambitious staffers to shake things up in an area of the world that’s relatively stable right now. The idiomatic expression “bull in a china shop” applies here;  both literally and figuratively.

  1. an awkward or clumsy person.
  2. an inconsiderate or tactless person.
  3. a troublemaker; dangerous person.

That’s Donald Trump in a wingnut shell. Stirring things up between China and Taiwan can only cause trouble. It will not lead to an American China policy that makes sense. It never has and likely never will. I’ll take polite fictions or diplomatic niceties over macho posturing any day.

Since I opened the post with Time Magazine covers featuring Chiang Kai-shek, I’ll let the post-Luce Time have the last word, uh, cover:

1101720306_400

 

He Who Sups With The Devil Should Have A Long Spoon

The expression may date from the late 14th Century, but it perfectly describes Willard Mittbot Romney’s dinner with the Insult Comedian, and the Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver’s creature Reince Priebus. It’s a pity that neither of the principals drink: I would have needed at least 2 stiff belts of Bourbon to cope with Trump and his lackey.

It will be interesting to see if this leads anywhere. The submission ritual seems to be underway:  Trump has gotten Romney to say vaguely nice things about him after this blistering March speech:

Donald Trump tells us that he is very, very smart. I’m afraid that when it comes to foreign policy he is very, very not smart.

I am far from the first to conclude that Donald Trump lacks the temperament of be president. After all, this is an individual who mocked a disabled reporter, who attributed a reporter’s questions to her menstrual cycle, who mocked a brilliant rival who happened to be a woman due to her appearance, who bragged about his marital affairs, and who laces his public speeches with vulgarity.

<SNIP>

Think of Donald Trump’s personal qualities, the bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third grade theatrics. We have long referred to him as “The Donald.” He is the only person in America to whom we have added an article before his name. It wasn’t because he had attributes we admired.

And now Willard is reconsidering Trump’s attributes. Pitiful but typical. It’s what happens when you sell your soul to that old devil called power.

tr-meme

I’m not sure if Willard still has a soul. I’ve been advised that bots don’t have souls but Mr. Data did. You say bot, I say android. Let’s call the whole thing off, but first some music:

 

 

That’s Why I Call Him The Insult Comedian: Charting The Insults

The New York Times has been making up for lost time in going after Donald Trump. They coddled him during the GOP primaries, then engaged in both-siderism at the start of the General Election before realizing this is not your ordinary Presidential candidate. Better late than never, y’all.

The fine folks at the NYT’s Upshot have compiled a comprehensive list of the 281 things, people, and places the Insult Comedian has insulted on the Tweeter Tube. Here’s a link to the dictionary of malakatude. There’s an accompanying article as well. What’s a soloist without an accomplished accompanist? What’s an insult dictionary without a dick? Trump is the guy who puts the dick in dictionary, after all. Believe me or be a sleepy-eyed dope with dog breath. Time for a musical interlude with Frank Zappa and the Mothers featuring Flo and Eddie:

I saw Tony Schwartz on AM Joy yesterday. He said that Trump has about a 200 word vocabulary and the dictionary of malakatude proved that he’s right. There are many recurring slurs and insults. Believe me.

Trump claims to be trying to woo Berners. Here’s the Bernie Sanders entry complete with links to the original tweet:

The Upshot’s Encyclopedia of Trump’s Twitter Insults reminds me of a book I had as a kid. I was book shopping with my mom one day. I was a yuuuge fan of the Borscht Belt comedians who appeared on teevee when I was young: Henny Youngman, Jack Carter, Fat Jack Leonard, Alan King, Don Rickles and, of course, my nicknamesake, Shecky Greene. I saw this book and had to have it:

2000 Insults

My mother acquiesced and that’s why they call me Shecky.

Tweet Of The Day: Don The Spawn’s Skittles Scandal

It was the tweet heard round the world on Monday. Don the Spawn aka the Insult Comedian Jr. aka Patrick Bateman aka Donald Trump Jr. shared another alt-right white supremacist meme:

Then our old buddy the Other Joe Walsh chimed in with a side-by-side tweet:

Imagine wanting the credit for this shit? Perhaps he was way Rocky Mountain high or something. Of course, the Real Joe Walsh gave up intoxicants 20 years ago.

The original meme involved poisonous M&M’S but you can pick your poison as it were. Plain or peanut? It has also been aimed at homegrown minorities, which is why the poisoned candy of choice morphed from M&M’S to Skittles. One could call it the Trayvon Martin effect. I call it sick. I agree with the makers of Skittles: “Skittles are candy. Refugees are people.”

Twitter first played a major political role during the 2012 campaign. It’s playing a yuuuuuge role this time around as the vehicle for alt-right white “nationalists” to mainstream their hate, which has been cynically picked up by Trump and his spawn. The Tweeter Tube is the ultimate echo chamber since all the media types use it to supplement their coverage. It’s an interesting, but occasionally nauseating, way to follow the freak show that is campaign 2016.

I don’t have to tell you that this is the ugliest national campaign in recent memory. The way Team Trump has mainstreamed  hate groups makes the 1988 mudbath look like a crawfish boil. It’s gotten to the point where even a political junkie like me cannot wait for the campaign to end. I’ve never felt that way before.

While we’re on the subject of Twitter, I did have a semi-clever  retort to Trump’s latest imbecilic overstatement:

“We’re going to rebuild our inner cities because our African-American communities are absolutely in the worst shape that they’ve ever been in before Ever, ever, ever.”

You may have noticed that I have kept the so-called “Jewish cowbell” around my Twitter handle. It’s known in alt-right circles as an echo. Here’s how it’s described at knowyourmeme.com:

(((Echo))) is a symbol used by anti-Semitic members of the alt-right to identify certain individuals as Jewish by surrounding their names with three parentheses on each side. The symbol became a subject of online discussions and media scrutiny in June 2016 after Google removed a browser extension that automatically highlights Jewish surnames in the style.

According to an article on the news site Mic,[1] the (((echo))) symbol originated in “Merchant Minute” segments on the podcast The Daily Shoah, launched by the right-wing political news blog The Right Stuff[12] in 2014. During the show, Jewish surnames would be played with a reverberating echo sound. On The Right Stuff’s lexicon page,[2] the word “Echoes” is listed along with the description “All Jewish surnames echo throughout history.”

Lovely stuff, no? The Daily Shoah? Oy, just oy.

I first surrounded my handle with the echoing cowbells in June after reading an article at Slate. I did it out of solidarity with my Jewish brothers and sisters who have to put up with this sort of shit. I’ve considered removing them because they look kind of clunky but after seeing a tweet from the Huff Post’s Sam Stein, they’re staying:

Who does things like that? I know the answer: Trump supporters. That’s why Hillary called them a basket of deplorables. It’s a label that has been embraced by many of these basket cases. They should be repudiated by all decent people. It’s even too much even for the likes of Poppy Bush to swallow.

Team Trump has a built-in response to the wave of  anti-Semitism their campaign has unleashed: Ivanka married a Jew and converted. It’s the classic bigot’s dodge “some of my best friends are…” But it doesn’t excuse the way they’ve brought hate groups out of the shadows and into the light with a nod, wink, and an echo.

UPDATE: Digby has a swell piece about Don the Spawn’s pattern of alt-right malakatude ar Salon.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Birdland

Matisse Birds

Polinesia, the Sky by Henri Matisse.

It’s been a  bloody and smoky week in New Orleans. Gang warfare seems to have erupted in Central City and there was a big ass fire in the Broadmoor neighborhood on Thursday. In short, it’s still hotter than hell here and tempers remain, well, short. We’re still waiting on our September cool front tease. It cannot come soon enough after a fucking hot summer.

This week’s theme song is an instrumental composed by Josef Zawinul for Weather Report’s 1977 album Heavy Weather, which was featured on Album Cover Art Wednesday in 2013. Birdland has become one of Weather Report’s most enduring songs. I’ve even heard it played by marching bands during Carnival. I suspect that’s because of the third version below by Buddy Rich. We start the Birdland festivities off with the original Weather Report version followed by a cover by country dobro wizard Jerry Douglas.

Now that I’ve convinced you this post is for the birds, it’s time for the break. I’ll see you when we land on the other side or as my homeys the Radiators would surely put it:

Continue reading

Every Flim-Flam Man Needs A Sucker

Have y’all heard that the Trump campaign has rebooted and is reaching out to African-Americans? The MSM is so desperate to have a horse race to cover that they’re buying this horseshit. As I’ve said before, there is no New Trump, he just has a new set of advisers. One of whom, Kellyanne Conway, is a member of the club so the media is cutting her some slack. She’s supposedly the “nice” face of Team Trump even though she’s best known for working for Tailgunner Ted. The things the MSM will believe to whip some life into a race that’s largely decided; the only question that remains is the margin.

As to the “minority outreach” efforts they’re a sham as pointed out by Josh Marshall:

There’s a long history of Republican candidates making nominal ‘outreach’ to African-American voters not for the purpose of attracting African-American voters but to signal to moderate and/or educated white voters that they’re not racist. This isn’t always as cynical as it sounds. African-Americans are a strong Democratic constituency. On a generous read this can sometimes be non-racist candidates who know they have little shot at making inroads with African-American voters nonetheless wanting to signal to white supporters the non-racist nature of their candidacy. For present purposes, let’s simply stipulate that this is a well worn part of the Republican playbook with various shades of cynicism behind it. It’s a standard script, not difficult to execute.

Over the last week, this has been the new message from Trumpland, the fauxist sort of outreach to African-American voters. As with everything Trump, it’s of the most cartoonish variety, a tour of major urban centers where Trump picks an outlying all-white exurb and ‘appeals’ for African-American votes by railing at the post-apocalyptic urban hellholes in which he imagines they live their lives. For Trump, black life in America is living in a bombed out urban housing project circa 1977.

That’s why I call him the Insult Comedian, he pats you on the back with one hand and slaps you with the other. The MSM should recognize this sham for what it is: an attempt to convince college educated Republicans that he’s not a racist. It’s not genuine outreach. It’s a flim-flam much like the 49 seconds he spent handing out Play-Doh in the Gret Stet flood zone.

Sociopaths project their neuroses onto others. The Insult Comedian is a past master at projection. In addition to being insulting,  the line “what have you got to lose” applies to the whole misbegotten Trump campaign. The entire campaign boils down to throwing shit against the wall and hoping some of it sticks; much like the Breitbart Dude’s white nationalist web site.

It amazes me that the MSM continues to believe in the white whale of “the pivot” even after Trump himself said he’s not going to do that. Sure, he lies all the time but he may be telling the truth in that instance: anything can happen. The MSM are the ultimate mark for Trump’s con game: they’re so eager for a close race that they fall for it every time. They’re not just suckers but all-day, everyday suckers.

The key to understanding Trump is that he’s a real estate developer and they always have a bridge or oasis in the desert to sell you. Team Trump’s latest shell game has gotten the MSM to take their eye of the ball, which is the Breitbart Dude, not the supposedly likable Ms. Conway. To say that they’re gullible is an understatement. I have an oasis in the Sahara desert full of pink unicorns for sale if the MSM is interested. Sure, the oasis is a mirage and the unicorns are camels spray-painted pink with a plastic horn on their heads but if you get in on the ground floor, you can get a helluva deal. I think it might just work with some of the dimmer people at CNN or Politico.

About the post title. The consensus among people with a pulse (and Marco Rubio) is that Trump is a con man. As you know, I’m fond of arcane language and engage in sporadic attempts to revive certain words and phrases. That’s why I’m calling the Donald a Flim-Flam Man. The term flim-flam is defined by Merriam-Webster as:  deceptive nonsense or deception, fraud. There was even a 1967 movie called The Flim-Flam Man starring George C. Scott who was almost as big of an asshole in real life as Trump. That’s right, Scott was typecast in The Hustler and Patton.

Repeat after me: Every Flim-Flam Man needs a sucker.

Speaking of the Sahara, since the 1980’s seem to be in vogue right now, I’ll give the Police the last word:

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Poison Love

Texas Bluebonnets by Porfirio Salinas.

Texas Bluebonnets by Porfirio Salinas.

It’s been a wet week in the Gret Stet of Louisiana complete with flooding in outlying parishes and Red Stick. A low front has stuck around for days, keeping it damp, rainy, and cloudy. I like the cloudy bit: it keeps the temperatures down. It’s bloody hard to wake up when it looks like midnight outside. The cats are constantly confused by that but they’re usually confused about something. Just give them a box and they’re happy.

The big story in New Orleans is the City Planning Commission’s vote on short-term rentals. It was a partial albeit temporary victory for those of us opposed to unregulated STRs. Hmm, that sounds like STDs; an apt analogy as they’re nearly as contagious. The CPC voted to ban full-home STRs but opened the floodgates for other forms. The City Council has the power to override the vote. Nothing is ever permanent in New Orleans politics. It’s one reason I’m less involved than I used to be. When one pounds one’s head against the wall long enough, you draw blood. I’m tired of bleeding, y’all.

This week’s theme song is a country classic. The choice is partially inspired by the Porfirio Salinas painting that’s our featured image this time around. Btw, Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson collected their fellow Texan Salinas’ work. And the first version I ever heard of Poison Love was by uber-Texas artist Doug Sahm. It’s a venerable song, but let’s start with Doug’s 1973 version followed by bluegrass great Bill Monroe.

Time to slip in a live rendition by Allison Krauss and Dobro deity Jerry Douglas:

I’ll have more poison pen love after the break.

Continue reading

Thursday Night Music: Losing My Religion

Family by choice is the best kind of family as far as I’m concerned. Last Friday, we were at our friends Cait and Dave’s place to celebrate the third birthday of their son Nate. Nate’s father Dave is also a Leo. His birthday was yesterday. Happy Birthday to ya.

Cait is a zealous REM fan. I think she knows more about them than any of the members. She was playing some live REM stuff and one of the band’s biggest hits, Losing My Religion, became lodged in my consciousness where it remains. Btw, the song isn’t about Jesus, Buddha, Moses, or any of those Holy Joes. It’s a common phrase in the South. Here’s the top definition at the Urban Dictionary:

Southern term for losing one’s temper, “flying off the handle”, etc. Note that the R.E.M. song of this title has nothing to do with religion, despite the common misinterpretation of the phrase.

“I was close losing my religion with the kid wrecked the BMW.”
 My personal synonym is “losing my shit.” Enough with the linguistic gymnastics, time for some music:

Putting The Bully In Bully Pulpit

3000

Via The Guardian: Stavros Metropoulos, 6, sits with a sign protesting an appearance by Donald Trump in Birch Run, Michigan. Photograph: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

The phrase bully pulpit can be traced to Teddy Roosevelt. TR used the word bully as later generations used swell, groovy, cool, or awesome. Over time it has become a noun as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary “a prominent public position (as a political office) that provides an opportunity for expounding one’s views.” Expounding is the only thing Donald Trump knows how to do. The Insult Comedian talks and talks and talks. The content is often vacuous and incoherent but is typically laced with ethnic, racial, and religious slurs. Did I say that expounding was the only thing he did well? Scratch that, he’s also (as he would say) so very very very good at slurring:

Tracey Iglehart, a teacher at Rosa Parks elementary school in Berkeley, California, did not expect Donald Trump to show up on the playground.

This was, after all, a school named after a civil rights hero in a progressive California enclave, with a melting pot of white, African American, Latino and Muslim students.

That has not stopped some children from channeling and adopting the Republican presumptive nominee’s xenophobic rhetoric in playground spats and classroom exchanges.

“They said things like ‘you’ll get deported’, ‘you weren’t born here’ and ‘you were born in a Taco Bell’,” said Iglehart, 49. “They may not know exactly what it means, but they know it’s powerful language.”

Hearing it in Rosa Parks elementary, of all places, came as a shock. “Berkeley is not an area where there are Trump supporters. This is not the land of Trump.”

Yet the spirit of the GOP presidential candidate has surfaced here and, according to one study, in schools across the country.

An online survey of approximately 2,000 K-12 teachers by the Southern Poverty Law Center found toxic political rhetoric invading elementary, middle and high schools, emboldening children to make racist taunts that leave others bewildered and anxious.

“We mapped it out. There was no state or region that jumped out. It was everywhere,” said Maureen Costello, the study’s author. “Marginalized students are feeling very frightened, especially Muslims and Mexicans. Many teachers use the word terrified.” The children who did the taunting were echoing Trump’s rhetoric, she said. “Bad behavior has been normalized. They think it’s OK.”

Trump is *already* setting an example for American youth: a bad example. If it can happen in Berkeley, it will play in Peoria. The Insult Comedian should be pantsed, given a swirly, and stuffed in a locker for giving a green light to schoolyard bullies and bigots. I’d like to build a wall around his mouth.

Make sure you read the rest of the article. It has inspired me to suggest a Trump campaign theme song. Its protagonist is a braggart, con artist, and all-around malaka, Warren Zevon’s Mr. Bad Example. Here’s a taste of the lyrics:

I’m Mr. Bad Example, intruder in the dirt
I like to have a good time, and I don’t care who gets hurt
I’m Mr. Bad Example, take a look at me
I’ll live to be a hundred, and go down in infamy

Of course I went to law school and took a law degree
And counseled all my clients to plead insanity
Then worked in hair replacement, swindling the bald
Where very few are chosen, and fewer still are called

WZ even mentioned a hair replacement swindle. Holy weave, Batman:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Rave On

RR NOMAjpg

Melic Meeting (Spread) by Robert Rauschenberg, 1979. Via NOMA.org

It’s been a long, hot week in New Orleans. My head cold lingered but finally faded. The termite swarms have abated but it’s hotter than hell. And the heat leads to short tempers; when the hotheads have guns, it brings a murder wave. I hate it but it happens every Memorial Day weekend. Eventually, things will calm down but despite all the talk, murder remains the hardest crime to deter. It’s often spontaneous and ego-driven. I hate to sound fatalistic but as long as the wider culture resorts to violence to solve its problems this will keep happening. So it goes.

How was that for a cheerful way to start your Saturday morning? Let’s talk about the Robert Rauschenberg artwork that’s this week’s featured image. It’s part of the permanent collection at the New Orleans Museum of Art in gorgeous City Park. I always spend more than a few minutes studying it and pick up on something new every time.  I hope you’re feeling better but in case you’re not, here’s a pre-theme song tune to cheer you up:

Thanks Carlos and Greg Rolie. The world may have stopped tilting on its Abraxas after that rousing song.

Now that I’ve thoroughly confused you, it’s time rave about this week’s theme song. Rave On was recorded by rock pioneer Buddy Holly in 1958 and is one of the few hits he didn’t write himself. Bad me. I decided to use it-sans explanation point-because of the second version below.

While we’re on the subject of raving, here’s some Van Morrison:

Now that we’ve raved on about poets and crazy feelings, I’ll have some Words of Love for you after the break.

Continue reading

Speaking In Dudebromides

This was the week that Dudebro Nation ramped up its effort to alienate everyone who disagrees with them. I’ve been measured in my criticism of Team Sanders because I prefer a unified Democratic party, and it’s such a pain in the ass to criticize them at all. The whining is cacophonous. The worst of the Sanders supporters speak in cliches, talking points, and bromides. Hence the post title. Btw, the term Dudebromides was coined by Dr. A.

Let’s see, this week I’ve been called condescending because I actually know something about politics and history. I’ve been called a neo-liberal dupe because I don’t think some of the junior Senator from Vermont’s proposals are realistic, and I must be a dupe because I feel heartburn, not the bern, when dealing with Dudebros. I’ve been called a corporate shill as well. That’s my favorite, a shill is someone who’s paid to advocate for a person or product. I *wish* someone would pay me to express my opinions. I haven’t sold out because the “establishment” hasn’t attempted to bribe me. The list of Dudebromides goes on and on. It should be familiar to anyone who spends time on Twitter interacting with Dudebro Nation.

It’s vexatious (a word I’m trying to revive) that they think the way to win support is by insulting and bullying people. As a man I haven’t been subjected to the “your a man hater” line of attack. The misspelling is deliberate: spelling isn’t their strong suit. I guess that’s for the corrupt establishment types. You don’t need to be able to spell when you speak in Dudebromides. Here’s a typical exchange:

I did not know that I was responsible for Wendell Pierce. Who am I now? Jimmy McNulty?

That long Maddowesque introduction brings me to the point of this post. Although I never supported Senator Sanders, I was impressed by the early stages of his campaign: his focus on policy and refusal to indulge in petty personal attacks. That changed when Team Sanders thought they had a chance to win the nomination. That’s when the tone shifted and some of their supporters began spewing conspiracy theories and bile. It’s gotten to the point that a number of non-MSM pundits who were originally pro-Sanders either dropped their support or stopped defending the excesses of Dudebro Nation. Come on down, John Cole, Boo Radley, Manny Schweitz, Markos Moulitas and Josh Marshall. Here’s how that “establishment stooge” Charlie Pierce put it after the Nevada fiasco:

That being said, this whole mess was over four freaking delegates, and the Sanders people should know better than to conclude what has been a brilliant and important campaign by turning it into an extended temper tantrum.

I voted for Bernie Sanders. I even wrote about why I did here at this very shebeen. But if anybody thinks that, somehow, he is having the nomination “stolen” from him, they are idiots.

They also think it’s the Sixties all over again with a hated Democratic President embroiled in an unpopular war. Wait a minute, Obama has a 90%+ approval rating with Democrats. The sour grapes and sore loserdom coming out of Dudebro Nation *are* reminiscent of the bitterness Gene McCarthy spent his post-1968 life wallowing in. He eventually supported Ronald Reagan. I suspect some of the worst of the Dudebros will vote for Trump to “blow up the establishment.” Come on down, VI Lenin.

Back to my disappointment with the tone of Team Sanders and their refusal to encourage supporters to stop throwing tantrums or to criticize them for doing so. I don’t want to get into the weeds about what happened at the Nevada mishigas. It’s confusing as hell. But I hope that decent people would criticize those who posted Nevada State Chair Roberta Lange’s cell phone number on Twitter and left the following voice mails:

MALE CALLER: Hi Roberta Lange. This is a citizen of the United States of America and I just wanted to let you know that I think people like you should be hung in a public execution to show this world that we won’t stand for this sort of corruption. I don’t know what kind of money they are paying to you, but I don’t know how you sleep at night. You are a sick, twisted piece of shit and I hope you burn for this!

Hey, a “progressive” who’s in favor of public executions. How nice. Here are two more samples of the wit and wisdom of Dudebro Nation:

MALE CALLER: Oh Roberta, Roberta, Roberta, you old, old hag. Oh, we watched the whole thing in Nevada. You’re really kinda screwed, lady. Um, yeah. Really stupid. Fuck you.

MALE CALLER: That was pretty terrible. You probably just guaranteed fire is in Philadelphia. I’m not a psycho Bernie supporter, but there are some out there and you may have made a bad decision by completely ignoring the democratic process tonight. Thanks.

It *should* be a no-brainer for Sanders to condemn this disgusting nonsense but thus far he has not. Either Sanders is afraid of his supporters or he has no problem with sexist hate calls. Some revolution. It’s what happens when you speak in Dudebromides instead of remembering that two wrongs don’t make a right.

The reason that this corporate shill for the evil establishment uses the term Dudebro is that I am well aware that the majority of Sanders supporters are not Lefty Insult Comedians. I prefer to paint with a narrower brush even though I agree with what Amanda Marcotte said in her piece Bernie Bros out of control. I guess she’s a condescending corporate lackey even though she’s one of the original net roots bloggers and works for the site that publishes Ha Ha Goodman.

I will be thrilled when this is over so we can focus our fire where it really belongs:  on the Trump Tower of Babble and the Republican party. I do, however, have a constructive suggestion before closing. It’s past time to abolish caucuses and hold primaries in every state. Caucuses are inherently undemocratic and lead to the sort of shenanigans that happened last weekend in Nevada. Let’s also try discussing things like adults instead of speaking in Dudebromides.

Oy, Just Oy

I didn’t watch the Wisconsin primary returns last night. I had a pretty good idea of what would happen on the Democratic side since Wisconsin fit the profile of the other primary states won by Sanders. On the GOP side, I didn’t feel like watching a seven-hour speech by Tailgunner Ted. Crazy Papa Cruz may hate Fidel but his son is equally long-winded.

In short, I didn’t think I’d miss anything. I was wrong. It turns out that I missed a Lyin’ Brian howler. I’ll let Charlie Pierce tell you about it:

The first thing we learned on primary night was that Brian Williams of the MSNBC electric teevee channel—as well as (possibly) Chris Matthews, though he may have been kidding, or suffering a terminal brain freeze after talking earlier with Ann Coulter—thinks “mishigas” is an old Irish Gaelic word for something. It’s not, dude. But “omadhaun” is. Look it up.

He mistook one of my favorite Yiddish words for Gaelic? Oy, just oy. Next thing he’ll mistake pastrami for corned beef.

Mishigas is Yiddish for craziness  as well as the name of a Krewe du Vieux sub-krewe. Here’s their 2016 float:

Mishigas 2016

Here’s a faux movie poster from the side of the float:

IMG_1246

Talk about cutting edge satire…

Just when you thought it was photo essay day at First Draft, here are some Yiddish curses for Republican Jews by Rabbi Aaron Spiegel from October 24, 2012:

  • May you sell everything and retire to Florida just as global warming makes it uninhabitable.
  • May you live to a hundred and twenty without Social Security or Medicare.
  • May you make a fortune, and lose it all in one of Sheldon Adelson’s casinos.
  • May you live to a ripe old age, and may the only people who come visit you be Mormon missionaries.
  • May your son be elected President, and may you have no idea what you did with his goddamn birth certificate.
  • May your grandchildren baptize you after you’re dead.
  • May your insurance company decide constipation is a pre-existing condition.
  • May you find yourself insisting to a roomful of skeptics that your great-grandmother was “legitimately” raped by Cossacks.
  • May you feast every day on chopped liver with onions, chicken soup with dumplings, baked carp with horseradish, braised meat with vegetable stew, latkes, and may every bite of it be contaminated with E. Coli, because the government gutted the E.P.A.
  • May you have a rare disease and need an operation that only one surgeon in the world, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine, is able to perform. And may he be unable to perform it because he doesn’t take your insurance. And may that Nobel Laureate be your son.
  • May the state of Arizona expand their definition of “suspected illegal immigrants” to “anyone who doesn’t hunt.”
  • May you be reunited in the world to come with your ancestors, who were all socialist garment workers.

It’s true that I stumbled into this on Facebook. It’s also true that it’s funnier than a hand grenade down your pants. Any of them *might* apply to Brian Williams who visibly leans right even though he’s a Goyim. Yeah, I know. I am too but I know what mishigas means.

Oy, just oy.

 

Oh Yeah, Why Aren’t You Praying for THIS?!!!

An explosion in a Pakistani park today, and instantly: WHY AREN’T YOU TWEETING ABOUT THIS OH YEAH THEY AREN’T WHITE: 

A suicide bomber killed at least 52 people, including many women and children, at a public park in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Sunday, according to government officials and police.

The blast occurred in the parking area of Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, a few feet away from children’s swings. Around 150 people were injured in the explosion, officials said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast. Pakistan has been plagued by a Taliban insurgency, criminal gangs, and sectarian violence. Punjab, where Lahore is located, is its biggest and wealthiest province.

This is probably a more concise and focused takedown of the “tragedy hipster” mentality than I’m about to deliver. In case you’re pressed for time.

Is there racism at work in the disproportionate amount of attention given to tragedies involving white people?

Absolutely.

Is there laziness, bias, stupidity, myopia?

Definitely.

Should we be thinking, always, about the weight of every life, and putting ourselves in others’ shoes?

Shit yeah.

Is any of that solved by yelling at your cousin on Facebook (or posting passive-aggressive shaming articles about how “we” don’t give enough of a shit about X part of the world) after he changes his profile picture to the color of the Belgian flag for a day or something?

Not really. It’s just changing the flavor of the narcissism to “Look at me, with my bigger understanding of the world than yours! How dare you be so small, when I am capable of being bigger!”

Here’s the thing. Of course people tend to focus on things they have personally experienced. Places they’ve been. Lives in which they can see themselves. That’s not a sign of anything but being human, and I’m not all that interested in tallying up the instances of “prayers up!” on Facebook and Twitter as the ultimate measure of whether we have a racist society.

Of course we do. We always have.

And it’s not letting us one iota off the hook for that, to say that using a tragedy to shame people for caring about another tragedy is the worst kind of jerking off and advances us not one bit. It ignores where we are, and how we react, as goddamn ordinary people. If you don’t start from where you are, if you don’t start from how the world works right now, you’ll never be able to move.

We all break the world apart in little bits and care about it that way, because it’s too much to try to swallow, the whole thing at once. It would choke you, if you loved it all. The only thing we call that capacity for compassion, ever, is God, because we cannot imagine anything else big enough for it. That’s where we are: with us and ours.

Growing from there, drawing the circle wider and wider, doesn’t come from stamping out the first impulse toward kindness and generosity because it’s not big enough. I don’t think anyone, caring about anything bigger than themselves in a way that’s unselfish enough to make even a tiny gesture, deserves to be slapped down. So long as they’re not making out like they’re one of the oppressed because they switched their blog’s font color, their status change hurts no one.

This has been a miserable, cold, dark, punishing year for a lot a lot a lot of people, and especially here in America, kindness is in pretty damn short supply. We have had two entire presidential campaigns and are about to have a third concentrating entirely on how mean we should be to poor people and immigrants. We DO have a profoundly racist society, and we ARE entirely too ignorant of things outside our own experience. For a lot of people I know Europe might as well be the moon, for all the chance they’ll have to get there, so while we’re raising people’s consciousnesses miles up, let’s try not to scream at them every inch.

Now, if you want to do something to help the victims of today’s attack, here’s an idea.

A.

Rawnsley’s New Rule Of Politics

The first thing I read online every Sunday is Andrew Rawnsley’s column for the Observer, which is the Guardian’s Sunday paper. Rawnsley is one of the most insightful political pundits in the English-speaking world and his prose style is clear and elegant; a rare combination. As y’all know, British politics is one of my odder hobbies and Rawnsley is DA MAN. He wrote the definitive accounts of the last Labour government and coined the phrase the TBGBs to describe the agita between the ultimate frenemies, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Holy heebie jeebies, Batman.

This post, however, is not about my hobby. It’s about a new rule of politics propounded by Rawnsley in a column about the UK’s EU referendum:

So I propose a new rule for assessing which side is struggling in a political contest. If you’re whingeing, you’re losing. Let’s apply the rule to the early engagements of the referendum campaign. Who is on the front foot? Who is in a defensive crouch? Which team sounds confident about its case? Which gang is expending most of its breath whining about how the other side is campaigning? On this test, the first fortnight has belonged to the In team. They have laid out their large themes about the risks that Brexit would pose to jobs, trade, investment, influence and security. This is exactly what you would expect them to do for both sides know that these are the arguments most likely to shift the uncertain voter towards the In column. How has the Out campaign responded? With some big themes of its own? No, the frontmen of the Out team have devoted most of their time to whimpering about the other’s side campaign.

Whingeing is, of course, a Britism for whining, and I know some folks who are whingeing about the end of Downton Abbey but that’s neither here nor there.  I personally prefer the word whinge to whine but if y’all want to Americanize it, that’s fine with me.

Rawnsley’s rule is just as applicable to American politics, and rumor has it there’s a Presidential election going on. So, the next time someone complains about “the establishment,” whatever the hell that means in either party, just remember this: If you’re whingeing, you’re losing.

Saturday Odds & Sods: These Foolish Things

Full title: Music in the Tuileries Gardens Artist: Edouard Manet Date made: 1862 Source: http://www.nationalgalleryimages.co.uk/ Contact: picture.library@nationalgallery.co.uk Copyright (C) The National Gallery, London

Music in the Tuileries Gardens by Edouard Manet via The National Gallery, London

It’s primary day here in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. I don’t expect surprises on either side unless Ted Cruz uses his proximity as a creep from Texas to beat the creep from New York. There aren’t enough white lefties for Bernie Sanders to do better here than in other Southern states as pointed out in this tweet:

After a closer examination, I spotted one African-American guy holding the R sign. I guess you can add Bernie Sanders to the list of things white people like.

I used the Manet painting as the featured image so I could tell a cat story. Really. While a college student, I named a black cat after the artist. I don’t recall why but I did. I’m one of those demented cat people who likes talking to my kitties. My shtick with Manet was to play comparative artists. I’d ask her, “who do you like better, Picasso or Manet?” The answer was invariably “Manet.” Admittedly, I supplied the answer but what cat wouldn’t prefer themselves to Miro, Magritte, or even Monet? End of crazy cat person story.

This week’s theme song was written in 1935 by the English songwriting team of Jack Strachey and Eric Maschwitz. Oddly enough, I discovered this wonderfully wistful tune as the title track and closing number of a 1973 album by Bryan Ferry. I’m posting that version along with a killer 1936 rendition by Billie Holiday with the Teddy Wilson Orchestra.

Here’s hoping these foolish things do indeed remind me of you, you, and make me feel like you do. We’ll learn if that’s the case after the break.

Continue reading