Category Archives: Political Crack

Rising Anxiety

Fear is almost as contagious as the virus. It’s everywhere on social media, which is why I’m rationing my use. I’m also tired of listening to know-nothing amateur epidemiologists who think they know it all. Access to the internet doesn’t make you a scientist, it makes you someone with too much time on their hands. Oops. That’s all of us right now.

The old NOLA Bloggers email list has been resurrected. I’ll explain why in a moment but a comment there gave rise to this post title. Cliff Harris asked if there would be a Rising Tide Social Distance Conference, Karen Gadbois replied that it should be called Rising Anxiety. I have no interest in a conference reboot, but I like the phrase Rising Anxiety, so I stole it.

Back In The Saddle: The OG NOLA bloggers are rising from a protracted slumber. After Maitri the Magnificent announced the return of her VatulBlog, George Loki Williams asked aloud if he should revive Humid City. In response, I quoted this passage from my recent Bayou Brief column Love In The Time Of Coronavirus:

I started blogging a few months after the levees broke. I didn’t expect to still be writing on the internet 15 years later, but I found my voice. I’m glad that I’m still at it: It’s therapeutic and reduces my anxiety level during this unprecedented crisis. I’d hate to be reduced to venting on social media like some other OG NOLA bloggers. I wish more of them would resume writing. Consider that an invitation, y’all. If you do, I’ll spread the word hither and yon.

I’m a man of my word. Loki announced the comeback at Zuckerville:

Good luck, y’all. Not sure about that whole blame thing but it gives me an excuse to post this Del Amitri song:

The Fantastic Florida Flim Flam: Trumper Governor Ron DeSantis followed the lead of his hero President* Pennywise and announced his state “borders” were closed to cars from New Orleans. Too many people took this illegal, unenforceable, and unconstitutional order seriously. It’s a clumsy attempt to divert attention from this:

The flap is based on a “blame New Orleans for having Mardi Gras” controversy that raged online. I’ll let my friends Stephanie Grace and Clancy DuBos shoot it down. I prefer to save my ammo for higher hanging fruit.

I do, however, agree with the parade route book signer and Herriman biographer:

The Tweet Heard Round The World: Athenae’s boyfriend John Kerry is obviously not planning to run for office again:

I’ve always heard that Big John could be salty in private. Glad he’s shown off his “out of fucks to give” side in public.

That reminds me of a song. I know what you’re thinking: everything reminds me of a song.

Unimaginable: Gal Gadot and some other celebrities have collaborated on a quarantine version of John Lennon’s Imagine. I hate Imagine. It’s one of Lennon’s worst songs.

Here’s a better tune for these trying times:

Bored Boris: The British Prime Minister’s anti-pandemic efforts were just as feeble and late as those of the Impeached Insult Comedian. Adding insult to the injury he inflicted on his country, Bozza is afflicted with the 21st Century plague. Karma is a bitch.

I hadn’t planned to write about the oafish PM until I got a text from my good friend and Spank krewe mate, Greg Hackenberg: “If you aren’t working on a post about Boris Johnson that does not include Peter Gabriel’s I Have The Touch, I’m not sure I know you anymore.”

You still know me, Greg:

Shake those hands, shake those hands…

Finally, Project Novel will begin in earnest at 3 PM today. There’s enough interest in my legal murder mystery, Tongue In The Mail, for me to proceed. I’ll be posting two chapters at a time on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It even has its own category, Project Novel: TITM.

Pondering Boris Johnson’s bad karma gave me an instant earworm. The last word goes to Warren Zevon and John Lennon with another song that’s much better than Imagine:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Time To Kill

The Gross Clinic by Thomas Eakins.

This week’s featured image is one of the most famous American paintings of the 19th Century. I’ve posted it to honor all the medical professionals who are fighting the good fight against COVID-19 but who wear masks and gloves unlike Dr. Gross and his cohort. Thanks, y’all.

I prefer to keep this weekly feature light but it’s hard to do in these tough times. The second act is kind of heavy, but the jokes return in our third act. Laughs are precious right now when fear is abroad in the world and our government in the hands of an evil clown, President* Pennywise. Oy just oy.

At the risk of being a pest, a reminder to support Chef’s Brigade NOLA for all the reasons set forth in this post. Thanks again, y’all.

This week’s theme song was written by Robbie Robertson in 1970 for The Band’s third album Stage Fright. It’s a joyful tune with a somewhat dark lyrical subtext.

We have two versions of Time To Kill for your listening pleasure:  the Todd Rundgren produced studio original and a live version from the Summer Jam at Watkins Glen: a 1973 festival starring The Band, The Dead, and the Allman Brothers Band.

The title certainly resonates in our era:, we all have time to kill. One of my mottos as a blogger is: When in doubt, post a Kinks song:

Now that we’ve killed time, let’s jump to the break. It won’t kill you.

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We’re All Milo Minderbinder Now

A brief update from the contagion belt. You may have seen this last night on The Rachel Maddow Show:

We’re sixth in the nation BUT we’re the lone non-New York state hotspot in the top 11 with Jefferson Parish chiming in at #15. Believe me, that’s not where we want to be. Apologies for using one of the Impeached Insult Comedian’s tells: believe me = I am lying like a cheap flea market rug.

My latest at the Bayou Brief will be published either today or tomorrow. It’s, in part, inspired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez but I prefer to keep it shrouded in mystery. Suffice it to say that every day feels surreal; like a chapter out of a magic realist novel.

Spring has sprung but we will not be sprung from our internal exile any time soon. Let President* Pennywise rant: I’m staying home, staying put, staying out of mischief. I will not be swayed, which reminds me of a song:

In case you were wondering about the post title. Dr. A went to three groceries and CVS to piece together our supply chain yesterday. Milo Minderbinder was the mess officer and master scrounger in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, which is one of the books that most impressed my young, impressionable self. If you’ve never read it, there’s no time like the present. It was magic realism before the term was coined.

Life is not a Cabaret old chum, it’s an extended Catch-22 situation. Here’s how the Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes Catch-22:

The original catch-22 was a governmental loophole involved in Joseph Heller’s satirical novel Catch-22. Heller’s novel follows the exploits of a bombardier in World War II, and in doing so shines a light on the relentless and circular bureaucracy of war and wartime governments. The term is introduced to describe the apparent loophole, or catch, that prevents a pilot from asking for a mental evaluation to determine if he’s fit to fly:

“There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane, he had to fly them. If he flew them, he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to, he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.”

The second paragraph was Joseph Heller speaking. We’re all more or less in a Catch-22 situation in 2020. We’re all Yossarian. We’re all Major Major Major. We’re all Milo Minderbinder now; forever refighting the Toilet Paper Apocalypse. Heaven help us.

That concludes the inaugural edition of Life Imitates Catch-22.

The last word goes to Talking Heads; a song in which “heaven is a place where nothing ever happens.” Sounds a lot like social distancing to me, y’all.

The Day I Get Home

The post title is my feeble attempt to prove that irony isn’t dead, it’s just on lockdown. I awakened with a start yesterday with these lyrics in my head:

“The news is on, it isn’t good. I see the trees but not the wood.”

Those prescient words come from the 1991  Difford and Tilbrook song The Day I Get Home. Short-term thinking and failure to understand the big picture have characterized the entire Trump regime, particularly its pitiful response to this pandemic. We’ve all been worried about what would happen in a crisis and it’s as bad as feared.

Before moving on, here’s today’s theme song:

First, a hearty welcome back to Tommy T. I was up way too late last night and was relieved to see that Freeper madness had driven him to write. I’d give him a virtual slap on the back but social distancing, man; not to mention his back surgery. Get well, my friend. We need you.

Let’s stir the potpourri, if such a thing is possible.

Don’t Watch Trump’s Pressers Live: I’ve had a hard time watching President* Pennywise live for several years. He is incapable of telling the truth even when it’s imperative. There’s little information to be gleaned from watching a mentally ill man meltdown on live teevee. Read about it, watch the clips, but don’t watch it live. I agree with Rachel Maddow and Charlie Pierce who have urged the networks to pull the plug on the briefings. Things are scary enough without listening to the Impeached Insult Comedian brag.

Trump is beginning to remind me of former Venezuelan strong man Hugo Chavez who would commandeer hours of teevee time for his own amusement. This is not a comparison anyone should welcome. After a few days of trying to be normal, Trump is back to his old tricks of demonizing the media, dismissing expert advice, and telling the world how smart he is. If he were really that smart he’d STFU and get the fuck out of the way. Enough already.

Senator Aqua Buddha Can Go Fuck Himself: Rand Paul is the first Senator to test positive for the 21st Century plague. Since he’s a libertarian, he carried on with his normal routine; spreading the virus on Capitol Hill by going to the gym and swimming in the pool. Freedom, man.

Thanks to Aqua Buddha, Willard Mittbot Romney has been obliged to self-isolate. It’s a loss when one of the few sane Republican office holders will be out of action for 2 weeks. I never thought I’d say that. Pandemics have a way of altering the way you think.

I hope that Aqua Buddha’s illness will convince wingnuts that this is some serious shit, not a beer virus. Freedom, man.

Speaking of Freedom, man:

Of course, Richie’s notion of Freedom was radically different from that of Aqua Buddha who can go fuck himself. Freedom, man.

I got all riled up by that segment. Time to take a musical chill pill, Traffic-style:

Let’s all go to the lobby; six feet apart, of course.

Movie Corner: I’d always heard 1953’s Battle Circus derided as minor Bogart. We’re on kinda sorta lockdown so when it popped up on TCM, I recorded it. It was a pleasant surprise.

First some lobby cards:

Love In Hell? I like the Spanish language title too.

Battle Circus tells the story of a Korean War era MASH unit. Sound familiar? Bogie plays a grizzled, cynical, and horny surgeon who’s tired of the war and the pressures of surgery. Sound familiar? Dr. A and I are huge MASH fans so the comparisons were flying as we watched. Bogart as Hawkeye? It’s easy to imagine. Here’s looking at you, Hot Lips.

There’s also a beautiful blonde nurse played by June Allyson. She stole the movie. Bogie was in his prima donna phase at that point so he rarely allowed that to happen. Perhaps it was mutual respect shown by one Philip Marlowe to the spouse of another: Allyson was married to Dick Powell who played Marlowe in Murder, My Sweet. Allyson was stuck in thankless roles for most of her acting career: ingenue, wife, mother. It was good to see her have a meaty role for a change.

Battle Circus was a big budget film with two major movie stars. So, they had the co-operation of the Army and showed us *how* a Korean War era MASH unit “bugged out.” The scenes in which they took down and reassembled the tents were spectacular. They gave the movie its title too. The image of a MASH unit as a Battle Circus is a good one.

Here’s the trailer:

Battle Circus is still lurking on several TCM platforms and is available for rent on Amazon Prime. Much to my surprise, I give it 3 1/2 stars and an Adrastos grade of B+.

That’s it for today. Remember to stay home. Hunkering down and waiting for this thing to pass is all most of us can do right now. Repeat after me: Better Bored Than Dead.

The last word goes to Talking Heads:

Shecky’s Bleak Week In Review

I added my nickname to the post title as a signal that my satirical mojo appears to be rising. What the world needs now is to live up to Chuckles the Clown’s motto: ” A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down the pants.” But at a safe distance.

When times are tough, it’s time for the tough to get going. I have no idea what that means but it sounds like inspirational coach speech to me. It’s time for some random and scattershot observations about the latest week from hell.

Insider Trading: The news about 3 GOP Senators selling stocks after a January COVID-19 briefing has resulted in a well-deserved epidemic of condemnation. North Carolina’s Richard Burr is the best known culprit, Oklahoma’s Jim Inhofe is the dumbest, and Georgia’s Kelly Loeffler is the richest. Dollars to doughnuts that when Trump is asked about this story, he’ll comment on Loeffler’s looks.

ProPublica described Burr’s action as a stock dump. He took such a big dump on the country that even Tucker Fucking Carlson is calling for his head on a platter:

I’m unsure if this is the sort of insider trading covered by the securities laws but if it is, Burr and his colleagues are in deep shit. My friend Kevin Allman has a novel notion about how this should be treated:

Using my best Ted Allen voice, Senator you have been chopped.

The last word of the segment goes to Van Fucking Morrison:

Kung Flu Fighting? Republican racists are at it again. Following the lead of the Impeached Insult Comedian, they’re calling a stateless bug the Chinese Virus. Past malaka of the week and infamous asshole Texas Senator John Cornyn’s comments were typical:

“China is to blame because the culture where people eat bats and snakes and dogs and things like that,” Cornyn told reporters. “These viruses are transmitted from the animal to the people, and that’s why China has been the source of a lot of these viruses like SARS, like MERS, the swine flu, and now the coronavirus.”

That’s why I call him Senator Cornhole. Go eat an armadillo or a rattlesnake, asswipe.

An unknown White House staffer made like the Unknown Comic and called it the Kung Flu.

The origins of the following proverb are in dispute but it surely fits a party whose leader is President* Pennywise:  A FISH ROTS FROM THE HEAD DOWN.

The last word of this segment is beyond obvious:

Let’s close things out with something positive even if it’s a teevee series based on a dystopian work of what-if historical fiction.

The Plot Against America: I read Philip Roth’s brilliant book when it came out in 2004. The David Simon-Ed Burns 6-part adaptation debuted on HBO this week. The first episode is as good as it gets. No, not the Jack Nicholson flick…

Roth’s premise was that FDR lost the 1940 election to Charles Lindbergh. Lucky Lindy’s  fictional win turned out to be bad luck for America. The premise is plausible: the GOP did not nominate an isolationist to run against FDR. The Barefoot Boy from Wall Street, Wendell Wilkie, was an avowed internationalist with few differences on foreign policy with the incumbent. I think Lindbergh would have lost in the real world BUT he might have done much better than Wilkie.

I considered recapping the series but the only show I could do that for was cancelled in 1994: Short Attention Span Theatre.

Finally, please consider contacting your local blood bank about donating blood. I’m not sure what the pandemic process will be but they’re bound to need your blood but not your sweat or tears.

The last word goes to Pete Townshend and David Gilmour:

Saturday Odds & Sods: The Game Pieces

The featured image is of Max von Sydow playing chess with Death in the Ingmar Bergman classic, The Seventh Seal. Von Sydow had a long acting career in America; often playing in horror movies. He died earlier this week at the age of 90. This is the first time I’ve ever started a Saturday post with an obit. I like to change things up.

The Seventh Seal is set during the Black Plague. It was an era with clueless and ignorant leaders; much like the US&A in 2020. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

This week’s theme song continues our board game theme. The Game Pieces was written by Chris Leslie and Nigel Stonier for Fairport Convention’s 1999 album, The Wood and the Wire. Here’s a woody and wiry live version:

I’m a lousy chess player but I know a good song about chess when I hear one. Just say Yes:

Now that we’ve established that we’re all good people, let’s take a straight and stronger course to the break.

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Bayou Brief: Ode To Elizabeth Warren & Other Strong Women

Warning: No COVID-19 content. Promise.  Instead, I write about Elizabeth Warren, Mary Landrieu, Lindy Boggs, and my late mother.

Ode is one of my favorite words. I’m quite partial to this song as well:

Keep Your (Safe) Distance

Last night, Dr. A and I made groceries for the first time store since the first New Orleans COVID-19 cases were announced. It’s been a week of firsts as well as worsts. It was like a preview of hurricane season but twice as frantic. One could even call it the TOILET PAPER APOCALYPSE. For some reason, people are convinced that if the world ends, there will be no TP. Locally, there’s always this:

Krewe of Tucks riders also throw plungers in case you overuse their terlet paper. Glug.

Okay, no more toilet humor. Promise. I’m not Mike Myers, after all. Or Friday the 13th’s Michael Myers for that matter. I seem to have misplaced my hockey mask…

In addition to Pulp Fiction Thursday, it was cancellation Thursday yesterday as most major sports leagues and events pulled the plug on 2020. I have some friends who are going to have withdrawal symptoms any time now. My suggestion: read a book or watch a sports movie. Bull Durham has been known to lift one’s spirits.

It’s time to slice this post into segments like an orange. Hopefully, nothing is overripe. It’s hard to keep up with events, y’all.

The Politics Of COVID-19: President* Pennywise’s Oval Office address laid an egg, bombed, and flopped. It led to mass confusion and the stock market tanking. Heckuva job, Trumpy.

One of my friends insists that Trump snorted coke before the speech. I don’t think so. He was too low energy for that; much like Jeb Bush during the 2016 GOP primary race. My hunch is that the Impeached Insult Comedian would test positive for the super crud. He’s been exposed to carriers at least twice. He should be tested and quarantined in a rubber room for his own safety and that of the country.

The COVID-19 clusterfuck is the most graphic illustration yet of the OTT incompetence of the Trump regime. They had no pandemic plan and were caught with their pants down. This criminal negligence is in stark contrast to the way Team Obama handled the Ebola Virus. It was contained in Africa and we helped impacted areas with our dollars and medical expertise. We still have the latter if only the White House would get out the way. Heckuva job, Trumpy.

Repeat after me: Incompetence Kills.

A Coronavirus Primer: A piece by Tomas Pueyo at Medium has been making the rounds on social media. It’s one of the things that convinced me to practice social distancing. If you haven’t read it, there’s no time like the present:

View at Medium.com

The image/link thing showed up when I previewed this post. If it doesn’t on your device, this link works.

Tweets Of The Day:  First, some historical perspective:

Boo to Philly in 1918. Hurrah to St. Louis in 1918.

Our second tweet comes from a beloved member of the First Draft family:

They must be people who have never lost anyone close to them. I watched someone die when I was 28 years old. I have a dark sense of humor, but I don’t make jokes about randos dying. Talk about bad karma.

I’m already on the record about this generational strife shit:

People have been asking me if I planned to write at length about the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock. The answer is no. Why? Too many people focus on things other than the music and mud. Too many get bogged down in generational politics; one of the dullest subjects on the planet. It’s dull because it’s cliche laden: not all Baby Boomers sold out, not all Gen-Xers are slackers, and not all Millennials are twitter obsessed airheads. More importantly, not all members of the greatest generation were all that great. I often thought that my late father’s motto could have been, “We won the war so we don’t have to listen.” That concludes my rant about generational stereotypes.

Another day, another self-quote.

Finally, the featured image with Richard Widmark and Paul Douglas comes from Elia Kazan’s classic contagion movie, Panic In The Streets, which was set in New Orleans. I have another one in the hopper but it’s for when things get even worse:

I have it on DVD, but this stone cold 4 star classic can be rented from Amazon Prime. Besides, we’re all going to have time on our hands as we try to get through this crisis.

The last word goes to Richard Thompson:

Knowledge Isn’t Always Power

When I was younger, I was easily flustered and had a temper to match. In Star Trek terms, I was something of a Klingon; only without the bellicosity, bad food, and rotten opera. I spent years trying to Vulcanize my temperament and have largely succeeded. I pride myself on being calm, rational, and never panicking. Better a Vulcan than a Klingon: I’m just glad that my ears aren’t pointed.

My resolve to stay calm has been sorely tested by the COVID-19 crisis. And not just by the insane reaction of a president* who thinks that ignoring the problem will make it go away. After an extended bout with a more conventional bug, the news has me jittery and on edge. My Vulcan resolve is shaken but I refuse to let it slip away.

Being well-informed is usually my armor against the crazy. The viral virus news has left me jittery and uneasy.  And the reaction of people who should know better has shaken me to the core. Denial is in, realism is out. There’s a fine line between underreacting to a problem and freaking out. It’s called the happy medium and we’re not achieving it as a society.

The first cases of coronavirus in New Orleans were announced yesterday. The city had a big weekend planned; full of large public gatherings including the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Parade. That parade is known for riders throwing veggies from their floats and walking groups of drunken men kissing women along the route. Mayor Cantrell quite wisely pulled the plug on this parade and other events. We’ll just have to buy our own cabbages.

The reaction to the Mayor’s decision flooded social media with a noxious gas of self-righteousness and downright stupidity. I’m not a fan of this Mayor but I am a fan of rational public health measures intended to limit the spread of this contagion. If it can be limited early, we have a chance to avoid becoming the Seattle of the South; something that in another context would be a good thing.

Watching the people in Washington state struggle to contain the epidemic is, to be blunt, unnerving. It’s a wealthy state with more competent state and local governments than we’re accustomed to in New Orleans, Louisiana. If it can hit them this hard, it can happen here. We need to learn from the mistakes of others, not repeat them. The virus doesn’t care that we survived Katrina and the Federal Flood and the daily hardships of living in TFC: This Fucking City. In Star Trek terms, it’s the Borg; only without the crazy rubberized outfits.

The only rational fears expressed yesterday on social media were about the impact of this public health crisis on service industry workers and the poor. Something must be done to help them on a state, local, and national level. Bailing out the oil companies and hoteliers simply won’t do. The latter strikes me as another slush fund for the Trump clan. Nice work if you can get it.

In the short run, I’m planning to hunker down and limit my social contacts. This virus is highly contagious, and I have no desire to be either an infector or infectee.

In the end, the post title is ironic. I still believe that information is power, but a surfeit of information presented hysterically is not. Beware, take care.

The last word goes to my main man, Mr. Spock:

The Shadow Of Incompetence

First, I’d like to second what Athenae said yesterday about focusing on the big picture. The real enemy is Donald Trump, not Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders; not even their more obnoxious supporters. A reminder that the Impeached Insult Comedian has been undermining our democracy and the rule of law whenever possible. Incumbents are always the issue when they run for re-election, especially in 2020. The issue is Trump, Trump, Trump.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming. The Trump regime has been trying and failing to lie its way through the COVID-19 crisis. It’s been their modus operandi since 2017, after all. They don’t know any other way to cope with a problem. They’ve been lucky so far: none of their past crises directly threatened the lives and health of the vaunted Trump base. This time is different.

The NYT’s Charles Blow nails it in a column titled You Can’t Gaslight A Virus:

Whereas his supporters can be lied to and gaslighted, a virus cannot. A virus is going to do what a virus does. Viruses are not thinking and aware. Technically, they’re not even living things. They are like an army of androids, multiplying as they attack and infect living things.

So none of the tricks that Trump has learned and deployed will work against this virus. Only science, honesty, prudence and genuine concern for public safety will work now.

President* Pennywise is still trying to use his characteristic combination of bluster, braggadocio, and bullshit. It seems that he knows more about the contagion than eminent scientists such as Francis Collins and Anthony Fauci. There was a group shot the other day of Trump with those two men; both of whom were looking down, not at the Kaiser of Chaos. I feel terrible for them and for everyone who has tried to bring expertise and common sense to bear on the problem.

In his frantic attempts to gaslight the public, Trump keeps pouring petrol on the fire. His self-appointed role as commentator-in-chief exposes his fatal inability to STFU. Trump’s motto seems to be, when in doubt babble. It’s something he has in common with Joe Biden. Team Trump is playing with fire in discussing Biden’s “cognitive decline” when their candidate is mentally ill.

The 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic established that lying one’s way through a public health crisis was the worst possible way of handling it. The Great War had put governments, including our own, in the habit of lying. In a public health crisis, the truth is the best disinfectant.

The inevitable comparisons between the COVID-19 catastrophe and the Bush administration’s inept handling of Hurricane Katrina have been drawn. Partisan politics played a role in that crisis as well: Karl Rove oversaw the White House response. He and Congressional GOPers demonized Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco. Trump followed suit by calling Washington Governor Jay Inslee “a snake.” More snake oil from the liar-in-chief.

Another thing these two seemingly disparate episodes have in common is historian John Barry. He has written two books applicable by analogy: Rising Tide and The Great Influenza. On January 31, Barry wrote an op-ed for the WaPo in which he argued that the government’s efforts to contain the virus were doomed to fail. The events of the last few weeks have proven Barry right. Again.

This is a tricky time. Lives are at stake, so we wish our government’s response was honest and competent. Unfortunately, those are two qualities that the Trump regime lack. This public health crisis is shadowed by their incompetence; even the stock market gets it. It’s a pity that the White House does not.

Repeat after me: In a public health crisis, the truth is the best disinfectant.

The last word goes to Jackson Browne:

Veepstakes 2020

The 14 Veeps that became President.

I’m writing my quadrennial Veepstakes post early this year. I typically call it Veepstakes, Lowstakes but this year is different. Politically, I stand by the opening graph of my 2016 post:

I am on the record as believing that the second slot on any national ticket is worth what FDR’s First Veep, Cactus Jack Garner, said about the office itself: “It’s not worth a bucket of warm piss.” Vice Presidential speculation is strictly a parlor game for the media and political junkies. Geographical balance is irrelevant, as is ideological balance or imbalance for that matter. The only reason the pick is of any significance is as an example of the nominee’s judgment. J Danforth Quayle was a terrible pick but Poppy Busy won 426 electoral votes in 1988. And Sarah Palin didn’t lose the 2008 election, Senator Walnuts did a bang up job of that himself.

The reason the Vice Presidential pick is more significant in 2020 is the age of the Democratic frontrunners. Joe Biden is 77 and Bernie Sanders is 78. It’s a bit depressing that our choice is so geriatric but life sucks, then you die. So it goes.

Some people persist in thinking that a running mate can help win an election. With the possible exception of Lyndon Johnson, it’s never worked out that way. People vote for the top of ticket and/or the party, not the Veep.

Two of the better Democratic picks of my lifetime sent a signal to the party and voters. In 1976, Jimmy Carter selected Fritz Mondale to reassure liberals that they could trust a Southern Governor. In 1992, Bill Clinton selected Al Gore to send a generational message. Ironically, both Clinton (73) and Gore (71) are younger than Biden and Sanders.

Twitter can be useful in focusing your thoughts. There, I said something nice about the tweeter tube. Here’s what I said there after the Super Tuesday Biden surge:

The president in waiting bit is the key to the 2020 selection. There’s a decent chance that  Biden or Sanders will only serve one term; either voluntarily or for health reasons. That’s why my first choice for Veep is Kamala Harris. She’s tough, experienced, and a helluva public speaker. She’s the obvious choice if Biden is the nominee. I know the arguments against Senator Harris but the pluses far outweigh the minuses. Plus, black voters rescued Biden’s campaign, which is another argument for the junior senator from California.

Team Sanders floated a bizarre and unserious list a while back. I say unserious because it included Nina Turner and Tulsi Gabbard. Neither is remotely qualified to be president and they’re both a bit nutty. I’m would hope that the Democratic party would be unwilling to accept a running mate who voted for Jill Stein in 2016.

Since Senator Professor Warren is dropping out of the race, a masterstroke for Sanders would be to ask her to be his running mate. He’d have to overcome irrational Bernie Bro sentiment against her but it makes more sense than Tulsi Fucking Gabbard.

In the end, voters cast their ballots for the top of the ticket and the party, not the vice presidential candidate. That’s why either septuagenerian contender needs to pick someone qualified to be the 47th president. We’ve experimented with an unqualified president*. Look where it got us.

The last word goes to The Who:

 

INSTANT ANALYSIS: JOEMENTUM

As much as I hate to quote the dread Joe Lieberman in a post title, it works. Before South Carolina, the punditocracy had declared it a two-geezer race between Sanders and Bloomberg with the former as the likely nominee. My candidate, Elizabeth Warren, had a terrible night but it’s still refreshing to see the wind knocked out of the pundits’ sails. Nobody saw the Biden surge coming and if they claim they did, they’re lying.

I knew I would not be alone in using the phrase Joementum but as Bob Marley said, “who the cap fit, let them wear it.” At least I’m not claiming that I saw this coming. I did not. It shows the importance of having 100% name recognition and close ties to a popular former Democratic president. It also shows the importance of ignoring the posers of political Twitter who were certain that nobody would vote for Biden because nobody in their echo chamber supported him. Never mistake social media for the real world.

I’m not exactly celebrating this morning because Biden is not my first choice. MSM sexism and the voters’ fear of losing to Trump gutted the Warren campaign. I remain convinced that she would be the best nominee and general election candidate, but I’ve felt the same way about past candidates who weren’t nominated. She proved her mettle with her brilliant and savage takedown of Bloomberg. Team Warren is making brave noises about continuing but finishing third in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts makes their argument a weak one. I still plan to vote for Senator Professor Warren in the Louisiana primary.

Team Sanders and its mouthiest supporters are already playing last night as a triumph for their candidate, despite losing Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Maine. He *did* win California and thus far has 33% of the vote with many ballots to be counted. Biden’s come from behind victory in Texas was quite frankly gobsmacking since Team Sanders has made substantial inroads into the Hispanic vote; something they’ve failed to do with black voters. Nobody without substantial African American support can or should win the Democratic nomination.

In retrospect, it shouldn’t shock people that voters want a safe hand to replace Trump. Suburban college-age women drove the Democrats victory in 2018, not “woke” Twitterati. Btw, I hate the term woke: it’s pompous, pretentious and a plethora of other P words.

People are tired of waking up and learning about the latest outrage or scandal perpetrated by this president* and his people. Many want a calm and normal person as their next president after 4 years of the Trump freak show. I don’t think Charlie Pierce completely nails it but there’s something to his Biden-Harding comparison.

An even more interesting analogy comes from my friend Joe Casale’s Facebook feed:

Joe Biden is the 1996 version of Joe Torre with the Yankees. Torre was a baseball lifer like Biden is a political lifer.

Torre had some success as a manager. Like Biden, Torre never won the big one. The World Series.

The day Joe Torre was hired as manager of the Yankees, the NY Daily News headline was, Clueless Joe.” Sound familiar?

What happened? Under Torre, the Yankees became a dynasty. They won 4 World Series in 5 years.

Joe Torre was the right guy at the right time for a team that was ready to win. The perfect fit.

In many ways, so is Joe Biden. If you look around, you can assemble a pretty good team of policy makers among Democrats. Assembling the right team around Biden (with his VP choice being the most important decision) will be vital for his chances to win.

Done right, Joe Biden could be the country’s version of Joe Torre with the Yankees.

For the country’s sake, that should make everyone a Yankees fan. At least for one day.

Not gonna happen, my friend. I may hate the Dodgers more than the Yankees but I’m only willing to bend my principles so far. I’m not running for office, after all.

I’ll have something tomorrow about the Veepstakes, which will be more important than usual since the two leading candidates are both septuagenarians. I wanted to publish this post quickly because when I say instant analysis, I mean it.

The last word goes to Jimi Hendrix and Ella Fitzgerald with a couple of Joe songs:

Burst Bubble

I spent most of February in the Carnival bubble. On Ash Wednesday we hauled our ashes out of town to the Dallas area-Plano to be exact-to visit my seriously ill cousin, which placed us in the travel bubble as more news about Coronavirus bubbled to the surface.

We were on the road on Leap Day so here’s a belated shout out to Leap Day William:

My cousin has been battling cancer for 25 years. It finally seems to be winning. She’s in a nursing home now: The Healthcare Resort of Plano. I am not making this up. They resorted to calling a satisfactory nursing home a resort. Holy misnomer, Batman.

One oddity of my cousin’s condition is that, after a lifetime of being low maintenance, she’s become high maintenance. She’s turned into her mother who was a boss; not something I expected to happen. It’s okay. She deserves the extra attention after taking Dr. A, Pogo, Oscar, and me in after Katrina.

We finally met her grandchildren who are 15 and 13. They’re smart and funny kids who enjoyed the bag of Carnival throws we bestowed on them. They were particularly taken with the Tucks terlet that squirts water. It inspired a session of dark humor that convinced me that the 15-year-old could be the next Steven Wright. The kid is that deadpan.

This may be the last time we see my favorite cousin so it was worth spending two full days in the car. And in the Dallas metroplex, one must drive everywhere. Sidewalks are rare in Plano.

On the way home, we stopped for lunch at the Collin Street Bakery in Hideaway, Texas. It was a somewhat ironic stop because we’re not fruitcake lovers, which is what they’re famous for. Their sandwiches and other baked goods are awesome so I hope that Calvin Trillin will forgive me for spending time in close proximity to fruitcake.

I seem to have picked up a stomach virus during our trip. It’s not that bad if you don’t mind having a fever and the night sweats. At least it’s not Coronavirus, which means that the Impeached Insult Comedian won’t lie about it. The man is incapable of telling the truth even when it’s in his best interest. What can you say about a president* who puts Mike Pence in charge of this mishigas instead of Dr. Anthony Fauci. The doc’s an expert, what the hell does he know? Pence is ready to pray it away.

 

I didn’t look at political twitter while on the road. When I looked I saw Berners saying that Biden would lose in a landslide and Biden supporters saying the same about Sanders. They’re both wrong: Trump isn’t winning in a landslide against anyone. His path to re-election is a narrow one that likely involves winning the electoral college and losing the popular vote again.

The bubble has burst so things should be getting back to normal here at First Draft. Did I say normal? Make that normally abnormal. I don’t want to make any false claims. I’ll leave that to the Trump regime.

The last word involves some bubble songs. Mr. Bubble was invited to the party but declined.

Disbar Barr/The Pardon Bender

Leave it to the Impeached Insult Comedian to ruin a perfectly good original post title (Disbar Barr) by going on a pardon bender. He may not drink but he’s drunk with power. I’m not sure what Bill Barr’s problem is other than his deranged boss. A big problem indeed.

Disbar Barr: The legal profession as a whole has finally noticed that Bill Barr is acting as Trump’s personal lawyer, not as the public’s lawyer. They should have understood that when he sat on the Mueller report, then spun it incorrectly. Barr may be shitty at dispensing justice but he’s good at cover ups. He’s like one of Rene Magritte’s non-descript men falling in line behind his president*.

A petition has been signed by 2000+ former DOJ lawyers over Barr allowing Trump to pretend to be the nation’s number-one law enforcement officer when he’s really the nation’s number-one lawbreaker. It’s unclear if Trump thinks he’s George III or Judge Roy Bean who was the law west of the Pecos. It is clear that among the actors who played Roy Bean, Trump resembles Edgar Buchanan or Walter Brennan more than Paul Newman.

The MSM hasn’t been much more acute than lawyers about Barr. When Barr said that Trump’s comments made his job harder, he meant his job covering up the crimes of the president* and associates. It’s what he’s dedicated his tenure at DOJ to, after all.

Barr isn’t the first corrupt Attorney General. Nixon henchmen John Mitchell and Richard Kleindienst went to jail over their roles in Watergate. Barr makes them look like pikers. The former AG he’s most like is Gamaliel’s guy, Harry Daugherty who was indicted on corruption charges then acquitted. The indictment did ruin Harry’s career as a bag man so there is that.

There’s a chorus of voices demanding that Barr resign. He will only listen to his master’s voice, alas. I’m not buying the leaks that he’s thinking of hanging it up; not Judge Roy Bean style.

I, too, think Barr should resign. Additionally, he should be disbarred for egregiously unethical conduct. Repeat after me: Disbar Barr.

The Pardon Bender: There are still people who think that President* Pennywise had a logical political reason for issuing 11 pardons in one day. He issued them because he has the power and was getting antsy over Mike Bloomberg getting more pub than him for a few days.

Pardoning Blago ain’t gonna help in Illinois or Western Indiana. Illinois House GOPers should be up-in-arms but they’re so afraid of their feudal suzerain that they’re biting their tongues until they bleed. And now for the obvious musical interlude:

It appears that personal lobbying and Fox News viewing explain the pardon bender. Fox News contributor Bernie Kerik is Rudy’s stooge, so the Kaiser of Chaos pardoned his stooge’s stooge. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

There was a Gret Stet connection to Tuesday’s pardon bender. Former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo testified against the man he bribed, former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards. DeBartolo cut a deal but was a convicted felon until the Impeached Insult Comedian pardoned him at the behest of Jerry Rice and other former players. Dollars to donuts that Trump will claim he did this for black folks.

While this *could* be the prelude to pardoning the “very unfairly treated” Roger Stone, Mike Flynn, and Paul Manafort, Trump does not think that far ahead. He lives in the moment and doesn’t mind the denunciations: he’s the center of attention where thinks he belongs. It’s not unlike the guy who was asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest and said, “Because it’s there.” With Trump and pardoning, it’s “Because I can.”

The WaPo revived one of the Impeached Insult Comedian’s greatest hits in its pardon piece:

“He’s been in jail for seven years over a phone call where nothing happens — over a phone call which he shouldn’t have said what he said, but it was braggadocio, you would say,” Trump told reporters last year. “I would think that there have been many politicians — I’m not one of them, by the way — that have said a lot worse over the telephone.”

Blago’s call was perfect as was his hair when he wore a toupee. I wonder if his rug was in storage at the prison or at home with his family. Enquiring minds want to know.

It’s time to Rufusize the last word:

U Is For Unpredictable

I started using the image of Harold Lloyd hanging from a clock in Safety Last during the 2018 campaign. It captured my worries and concern for that election, which turned out well. The 2020 election is feeling even more fraught as Democrats seem hell bent on pulling defeat from the jaws of victory.

I was in the Carnival bubble all weekend, which is a lovely place to be. We had a small group of friends over yesterday to cheer on friends who rode in the King Arthur parade. When I came back to reality this morning, I wished I hadn’t pulled that pesky sword from the stone.

Donald Trump is a historically unpopular president* who is rightly seen as a menace by more than half the populace. He is beatable but he’s an incumbent with deep pockets and a willingness to cheat. He may well blow things up but Democrats are back to slashing at one another and sabotaging their chances in the fall. Once again, they’re missing the big picture. Campaigns are about themes and stories. While a positive message is needed, it need not be detailed. Take a look at FDR’s platform in 1932. He knew that the only issue was the failings and failures of the incumbent. In 2020, the most important issue is TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP.

I am, however, enjoying the takedowns of Mike Bloomberg. A 78-year-old misogynist and racist with a habit of changing parties when it’s expedient should not be the Democratic nominee. The guy supported Bush in 2004 fer chrissake.

I had high hopes for the Democratic field last year but the winnowing process has been brutal. I remain frustrated that Elizabeth Warren’s campaign has floundered. Here’s how I put it on the tweeter tube in a response to Herriman biographer and parade route book signer Michael Tisserand:

I’m going to emulate my pal Dakinikat and present some Monday Reads, since on the whole I’d rather be in the Carnival bubble.

First, a piece by former Harry Reid aide, Adam Jentleson: Why Don’t We Know Which Democratic Candidate Can Beat Trump? A reminder that Harry Reid urged Senator Professor Warren to run for president time around. Here’s hoping that Nevada Democrats know that.

NYT Op-ed columnist David Leonhardt poses a haunting question given the caliber of some  of the candidates who dropped out of the race: Did Biden Scare Off Our Next President?

New York Magazine’s Gabriel Debenedetti takes a trip to Obama World: What Obama Is Saying In Private About The Democratic Primary.

Finally, the Washington Monthly’s David Atkins on my preferred candidate: Warren Is Paying The Price for Her Honesty. And Her Gender.

Finally, a message from Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush to despairing Democrats:

Biden/Muskie

Original photo via Salon. 

I don’t usually take requests but this one came from Our Scout Prime. It wasn’t actually a request but a question posed via twitter DM: “You see parallels between Biden and Muskie?”

I do indeed. They were both ratfucked by sitting presidents. Muskie’s ratfucking was more successful: it destroyed his candidacy. He was driven to tears by vicious attacks on his wife Jane. That was long before Cryin’ Speaker Boner and it did not go down well with voters. Muskie won the New Hampshire primary but not resoundingly enough for a New Englander. Sound familiar? It should.

Ed Muskie’s ratfucking, however, was done by Nixon’s underlings, not by Tricky himself. Donald Segretti for one. Roger Stone for another. The latter skated. Sound familiar? It should.

Both Biden and Muskie were frontrunners who lost big leads in the polls. I think Muskie would have been a more formidable general election candidate than Biden. He knew how to STFU. Joey the Shark does not.

Muskie was ratfucked in 1972 because Nixon wanted to run against George McGovern. McGovern was a fine man who was captured by his more extreme supporters. The climate on the left was so anti-military that McGovern could not run as who he was: a war hero who opposed the Vietnam War as a dreadful mistake.

Biden was ratfucked in 2020 because Trump wants to run against, and red bait, Bernie Sanders who has some supporters who continue to damage his reputation.  He deserves better than the Bernie Bros and those supporters whose main goal is to burn down the Democratic party.  We’ve had enough arson in out politics courtesy of the Impeached Insult Comedian. I will support whoever wins the Democratic nomination. Our future depends on it.

Muskie was a better man, candidate, and senator than Biden. He was as steely and stolid as any Mainer. Biden is warm and garrulous, and there’s always been a disconnect between his brain and mouth. It’s been made worse by age.

Finally, anyone who mentions Hunter S. Thompson’s ibogaine canard will have their comment deleted. It was either a sick piece of parody or an act of journalistic ratfucking. Hence my unpopular opinion that HST is overrated. He was the Rick Wilson of the left: funny but sleazy. Teenage me would have disagreed.

The thought of Edmund Sixtus Muskie crying in the snow gave me an earworm. The last word goes to The Police;

 

Still There’ll Be More

pennywise_3_trump

Image by Michael F.

Some of President* Pennywise’s evangelical supporters, including Rick Perry, claim that he’s the chosen one. They’re big on Old Testament wrath so they’re happy with Trump’s revenge campaign. Apparently, Christian charity is reserved for Trumpers.

The post title comes from Keith Reid’s lyrics for a Procol Harum song. Here’s the least offensive verse:

I’ll bathe my eyes in a river of salt
I’ll grow myself right up to the sky
I’ll sing in the forest, tear down the trees
I’ll foul all the fountains and trample the leaves
I’ll blacken your Christmas and piss on your door
You’ll cry out for mercy, but still there’ll be more

I come from a long line of grudge holders but I still agree with George Orwell who wrote an essay called Revenge Is Sour. I believe in justice, not vengeance but President* Pennywise disdains the former and lives for the latter.

I was in the Krewe du Vieux bubble when Trump’s Friday Night Massacre happened. When the bubble popped, I was appalled but not surprised to learn that the Impeached Insult Comedian went on a firing spree against those with the cojones to testify; even smug major donor Gordon Sondland. Trump’s treatment of Col. Vindman was particularly sadistic:

Friday’s developments were dizzying, even by recent standards. President Trump ordered dismissed from the National Security Council staff a key impeachment witness, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, and—even more inexplicably—his twin brother, an ethics attorney on the NSC legal staff. That action was followed within hours by the firing of Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, another key impeachment witness, who reportedly refused to resign. The Vindman brothers were publicly escorted out of the White House, a method that current and former officials readily understood as a form of stigma rather than any decent expression of appreciation for their service. In case there were any doubt about the motivation for all of this, a series of tweets by the president and his son made clear that Lt. Col. Vindman’s ejection was a direct response to the testimony he provided Congress that pointed to the president’s wrongdoing.

President* Pennywise doubled down by urging, but not ordering, the Army to punish Vindman.

This is the second time Trump has intervened in the military’s disciplinary procedures. The first time was to rescue a war criminal from well-deserved ignominy. This time, he’s urging the Army to punish an officer who did his duty and reported wrongdoing. There’s no offense to punish so presumably the Army will show more intestinal fortitude than Senate GOPers.

Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski claimed that Trump would learn his lesson from the impeachment process. As I said earlier today: “The only lesson the Impeached Insult Comedian has learned is that he can get away with anything as long as his party backs him up.”

Thanks Lisa and Sue. You should have known this was coming. If you didn’t, you’re idiots as well as enablers. I hope Sara Gideon opens a well-deserved can of whoop-ass on the Senator who should be called Runaround Sue. And now for a brief musical interlude:

In other Trump Unbound news, he intervened in the Roger Stone case. The line prosecutors, who take election fuckery seriously, wanted to throw the book at Ratfucking Roger. President* Pennywise made his displeasure clear and DOJ backpedaled like Ginger in an Astaire-Rogers movie.

DOJ supervisors have claimed that they were “blindsided” by the sentencing recommendation. That’s nonsense. The line prosecutors were Bob Mueller’s people who do everything by the book, which means the supervisors are lying.  All four line prosecutors have resigned from the case in protest. Judge Amy Jackson Berman is unlikely to be amused.

Trump’s subjugation of the Justice Department is one of the most sinister things he’s done. Bill Barr should be impeached and/or disbarred for acting like the Impeached Insult Comedian’s personal lawyer. Barr has brought DOJ to its lowest repute since Watergate. The DOJ’s reputation took a huge hit during the Nixon years: two of Tricky’s AGs, Mitchell and Kleindeinst, went to jail. Order was restored by Jerry Ford’s AG Edward  H. Levi and the department has largely dispensed impartial justice ever since.

It’s astonishing how much damage Trump has done since the so-called adults in the room left government. Things are so bad that John Kelly and Jeff Bo Sessions look good in retrospect. Unlike Barr or Trump, Jeff Sessions at least had some ethical boundaries.

Back to the post title. I posted the less offensive verse of Still There’ll Be More earlier. It’s easy to imagine President* Pennywise singing this verse in his Trump Unbound mode:

I’ll put a blight in the orchard
I’ll run wild through the fields
I’ll waylay your daughter and kidnap your wife
Savage her sexless and burn out her eyes
I’ll blacken your Christmas and piss on your door
You’ll cry out for mercy, but still there’ll be more

The only mercy we’re likely to get is from the voters on November 3rd.

Repeat after me: The national house is on fire and the arsonist lives in the White House. The only issue in 2020 is TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP.

 The last word goes to Procol Harum:

 

Taken For Granite

I usually love elections as much as MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki. He has his big board whereas I’m a bit bored by the early stages of the 2020 Democratic race. Some of the candidates who excited me dropped out: Booker, Harris, and Castro. And the candidate I support, Senator Professor Warren is still in the race but gasping for breath after a dismal performance in the Granite State.

Perhaps it’s not boredom but the fact that what’s going on in the nation’s capital is more captivating as well as frightening. The only lesson the Impeached Insult Comedian has learned is that he can get away with anything as long as his party backs him up. More on that later today.

Bernie Sanders was the winner last night but given his spectacular performance in the 2016 Granite State primary, his victory feels a bit underwhelming. He polled about half the number of votes as in 2016 and won with the lowest percentage of the vote of any candidate since Jimmy Carter in 1976. He’s going to need a big victory somewhere to overcome the animosity his supporters have sown among Democrats. If he looks like a winner against Trump, people will come around. That’s what really matters, y’all.

I still don’t get former Mayor Pete’s appeal. He has a great comms staff and strategy and buckets of billionaire bucks. Otherwise, he’s the least qualified Democratic candidate in recent memory. Of course, the GOP topped us when they nominated Trump. That should serve as a cautionary tale as to why Democrats need a qualified nominee. And there’s a helluva mess to clean up after Trump shat in the national bed for four years.

Amy Klobuchar’s support had a growth spurt and she finished a solid third. Her speech was the best of the evening. She wisely aimed it at the country, not at the people in the room. It will be interesting to see how she handles the attacks that will be forthcoming now that she’s done well at the ballot box.

Biden had a terrible night. The man with universal name recognition finished fifth. Biden’s campaign considers South Carolina their firewall but he’s slipped everywhere, and it will happen there as well. The third time is not the charm: it’s slip sliding away.

Despite her fourth-place finish, Warren is a fighter and will soldier on. Her supporters on social media are in denial about how bad last night was. Massachusetts pols have traditionally done well in the Granite State including the least charismatic Greek in history, Paul Tsongas. It’s going to be hard for her to raise money after her single digit finish. If you’re a hardcore Warren supporter, donate today. I plan to.

I hope the candidates will learn something from Bloomberg’s anti-Trump media blitz. They’ve spent too much time in the weeds debating the details of their health care proposals and whatnot. Elections are not won on policy details; they’re won with themes and stories. Besides, there’s only one issue in this campaign: TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP. That’s the story, morning glory.

Repeat after me: The national house is on fire and the arsonist lives in the White House. The Democratic nominee needs to douse the fire, win, and rebuild our democratic institutions.

A final note about the process. The Iowa clusterfuck should lead to the abolition of caucuses. They exclude everyone who cannot devote an entire day to caucusing, which is inherently anti-democratic. The results from Iowa remain murky whereas they’re clear in New Hampshire. That’s a difference that shouldn’t be taken for granite.

Since I gave myself an earworm, the last word goes to Oasis:

Your President* Speaks: The Scalise Files

There aren’t any Scalise Files that I know of, but the Impeached Insult Comedian made some bizarre comments about the mendacious minority whip from Metry at his unhinged acquittal celebration. Here are some excerpts via TPM:

“A man who is braver than me and braver than all of us in this room, he got whacked. He got whacked. My Steve, right? I went to the hospital with our great first lady that night — right, honey? — and we saw a man that was not going to make it.”

“A lot of wives wouldn’t give a damn. A lot of wives would’ve said, how is he doing? She couldn’t even talk, she was inconsolable. Most wives would say, not good, listen I’m going home now. The doctor came in and the wife was a total mess. She was really devastated. It really looked like he had a 20, 25 percent chance.”

“You’re more handsome now. You weren’t that good-looking. You look good now. He looks better now, can you believe it? I don’t know what the hell that is. It’s true. Better now.”

As always. Trump’s remarks are about him; one could even call him President* Projection but I have enough nicknames for him already.  The comments about “most wives” are sickening but typical of the Misogynist-in-Chief. It’s why the gender gap has turned into a gender canyon.

Steve Scalise is not now nor was he ever handsome. He looks like he’s wearing a chia pet on his head.  He does, however, make an excellent butt plug:

Perhaps President* Pennywise could give Steverino some combover tips. As I’ve said before, Trump’s hairdo resembles a dead nutria only without the scary orange teeth. There are tons of the little fuckers in the Gret Stet of Louisiana but they’re an invasive, not native species. At one point they were so prevalent in Scalise’s home parish of Jefferson that then Sheriff Harry Lee had his deputies shooting them in the canals. I am not making this up.

That was a non-sequitur worthy of the Impeached Insult Comedian, but I won’t insult his wife or anyone else’s for that matter. I’m shocked that he didn’t use Henny Youngman’s classic line:

I wonder if Trump has ever read Henny’s book? Even his oldest, stalest jokes are better than Trump’s material. Who am I kidding? Trump read a book?

Perhaps the Impeached Insult Comedian’s remarks about “most wives” were intended to ensure Melania’s presence if something bad happens to him. Nah. That’s giving him too much credit.

Take my president* please.

 

Willard, I Hardly Knew Ye

I’ve had a lot of fun at Willard Mittbot Romney’s expense over the years. I’ve made jokes about his stiff robotic manner, and opportunism on the issues. I take none of that back BUT I’m impressed with his vote to remove the Impeached Insult Comedian from office. Romney was the first Senator to ever vote to remove a president of their own party. I didn’t know he had it in him.

Crises bring out either the best or worst in people. We’ve seen that ever since Speaker Pelosi announced the opening of an impeachment inquiry. The worst is personified by the president* and his lackey, the senior Senator from South Carolina, whose name will not cross my lips or be typed by my fingertips. Mitt Romney and Doug Jones personify the best. Hell, even Joe Manchin should get credit for doing the right thing.

The Romney vote did not change the outcome but it’s still a big deal. The 2012 Republican nominee turned his back on a president* of his own party. That means going against his friends, colleagues, and donors. Plus, he took the leap without another Republican senator along for the ride. In a word: Impressive.

The Mitt Romney who addressed a nearly empty Senate chamber was emotional and passionate. I asked myself: who is that guy and what has done with Willard? He would have been a more formidable presidential candidate if we’d seen him like this:

While Senator Romney showed grace under pressure, President* Pennywise has been melting down; giving the lie to the senators who claimed he’d learned his lesson. One of his sycophants, Senator Aqua Buddha, gave a reprehensible speech in which he named the whistleblower while protected by the speech and debate clause. I dare him to do it when he doesn’t have congressional immunity, but he doesn’t have the balls.

My father grew up in Utah surrounded by Mormons. I’ve known many LDS-ers over the years. They’re wrong about many things politically, but personal honor and rectitude are important to the Latter Day Saints. That’s why it was despicable for Trump to mock Romney’s faith: it’s one thing he’s always been sincere about. It should shake Trump’s evangelical supporters, but it will not. This evil con artist brainwashed them long ago.

I disagree with Romney on 85% of the issues facing our country. He was, however, right about Russia in 2012 and his views on immigration reflect those of his church: immigrants are souls to be harvested, not insects to be crushed,

I used to have many conservative friends with whom I enjoyed discussing politics. That ended with the racist attacks on President Obama that perfected the Gingrichification of our politics. Mitt Romney proved that he’s a throwback to old school conservatives with whom we share  some goals while differing on methods. That goes for Justin Amash as well. Other GOP elected officials have sold their soul to President* Pennywise for a tax cut and judicial appointments. History will praise Romney while damning this president’s* enablers.

As to Senator Romney and me, I’m not forsaking my nickname for him. Willard Mittbot Romney is mine, all mine. I will, however, stop using the weathervane cartoon as well as the picture of him dining with Trump both of which I used in one of my best posts from last year, The Wind Cries Willard.

The post title is inspired by the traditional folk song Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye, which shares a melody with When Johnny Comes Marching Home. The last word goes to the Irish Rovers: