Category Archives: Sexism

What I Meant To Say Was…

A Tour Guide On A Bus

Not me, but an amazing simulation of me.

In real life outside the world of internet punditry, my profession is that of a tour guide. I take people from all over the world on tours of any and all of the sights around Northern California, from as far south as Monterey up to the Napa-Sonoma wine country. The wife (Cruella) also is a tour guide. She’s the one who got me into the profession for which I am forever grateful. I love doing it.

After all how many professions can say the job is to pick up strangers at elegant hotels and show them a good time? OK, yeah, there is that other one as well. My job doesn’t pay nearly as well as the other one but I do get to keep my clothes on for which my guests are forever grateful.

I recently took a group of Texans for a tour to some of the Napa wineries. Along the way we passed by the notoriously expensive ($350 per person without wine for a pre-fixe tasting menu) restaurant The French Laundry. That particular restaurant has been on the minds (and thus on the tongues) of conservative media lately as Gavin Newsom had a misstep early in the pandemic of being photographed having dinner there right after he enacted strict COVID restrictions on all restaurants. Mind you, The French Laundry was adhering to all those restrictions when the picture was taken. Also the picture had been cropped to make it appear he was dining indoors when in fact that room is open on two sides. Nevertheless, bad optics and it was a rallying cry used in the catastrophically lopsided recall election that kept Newsom in office and may have destroyed the Repugnicant Party here in the Golden State.

Now I bring this up because as we drove past, the gentleman seated in the front seat of the bus snickered “Bet Nancy Pelosi eats there”. We’ll forget for a moment his mixing up of liberal California Democrats. My response was a simple “to be honest, I wouldn’t know” and a quick moving on to other subjects. I reserve my liberal snarck for my dear readers.

But here’s what I meant to say:

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A Confederacy of Dunces

The crap that American women have been dealing with got even worse on Tuesday. Not content with ending abortion in Texas, Greg Abbott assured everyone that women in Texas who were raped didn’t have to worry about any resulting pregnancy because he was going to “end rape” in Texas.

I don’t know about you, but that wasn’t a particularly reassuring statement, given how little most men in power care about rape in this country. In fact, my first thought was that he was just going to decriminalize rape. My second thought was the same thing. Ugh.

Because Abbott is the gaffe that keeps on giving, today he also revealed his complete ignorance about a woman’s reproductive cycle. See, he confidently told everyone that 6 weeks was more than enough time for a woman who was pregnant to get an abortion. I mean, it’s a whole month and a half, right?

Well, here’s the thing:  the 6 week marker (or the 1 month marker, or the 3 month marker), is measured back from the first day of the woman’s last period. And since menstruation (if you’re not on hormonal birth control) is erratic for most women, lots of women wouldn’t even know at 6 weeks that they’d missed a period.

This reminds me of this story:

An Idaho lawmaker received a brief lesson on female anatomy after asking if a woman can swallow a small camera for doctors to conduct a remote gynecological exam.

The question on Monday from Republican state representative Vito Barbieri came as the House State Affairs Committee heard nearly three hours of testimony on a bill that would ban doctors from prescribing abortion-inducing medication through telemedicine.

Dr Julie Madsen was testifying in opposition to the bill when Barbieri asked the question. Madsen replied that would be impossible because swallowed pills do not end up in the vagina.

“Fascinating. That makes sense,” Barbieri said, amid the crowd’s laughter.

The more I read men’s comments about abortion, the more I realize that a lot of men have no idea of how a woman’s reproductive system works. It’s peak Dunning Kruger at work.

And there is some hope that there is a legal basis to undo the Texas law. I’ll let Laurence Tribe explain it:

In the Grendel’s Den case, the unbridled veto power interfered not with a service to which anyone had a constitutional right, like abortion, but just with serving liquor. It was simply being governed by someone unaccountable to nobody that offended the Constitution. In the Texas case, even a judge or justice convinced that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and that there is no constitutional right to end a pregnancy would need to confront the long line of precedent establishing that due process of law, enshrined in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not permit, to quote the court in Grendel’s Den “delegate[ing] to private, nongovernmental entities power to veto … a power ordinarily vested in agencies of government.”

As the court said, it is difficult in such situations to imagine “any ‘effective means of guaranteeing’ that the delegated power ‘will be used exclusively for secular, neutral, and nonideological purposes.’ ” As one of us wrote in 1973 in defending the court’s Roe v. Wade ruling, abortion is particularly fraught with deeply religious as opposed to secular concerns and commitments. Just because the religion clauses are not directly implicated by the Texas scheme, it doesn’t follow that the long line of decisions into which Grendel’s Den fits becomes irrelevant in the effort to legally defang the Texas abomination.

Let’s see what happens next.

 

If I Were King of the Forest

I’m going to cut to the chase:  the Republican Supreme Court justices are cowards. Their order came out under the cover of night—and on a night where much of the country was riveted by the complete havoc the remnants of Hurricane Ida were wreaking on the East Coast—and it was unsigned.

They didn’t hold a hearing or consult with legal and medical experts. They didn’t address the substance of the Texas law or even attempt to identify any constitutional issues. They gave an unsubstantiated and unrelated reason to deny the request to block the enforcement of the law, and then they skittered back into the darkness like the intellectual cockroaches they are.

People who have the courage of their convictions don’t do stuff in the dark, anonymously, and while everyone else is focused on something else. People who believe in their ideas present them in public, with facts, and take questions and criticism. People who are proud of what they do seek publicity for their actions.

I hate cowardice. I hate it so much when people do something they know is wrong and then they hide away instead of defending their actions.

It’s been a rough week and seeing how much Republican men hate women has been the main reason for it. I don’t know if men can understand how demoralizing, frightening, and infuriating the last few days have been. Right now in Texas a woman who is raped or is the victim of incest has to carry any resulting child to term unless she has a cycle that is 100000% regular.

There is no logical explanation for this apart from an extremely pernicious expression of sexism. I think Adam Serwer had the right take on it and his tweet can have the last word:

 

 

The American Taliban is Ascendant

There’s a new milepost on the country’s journey to be the American version of A Handmaid’s Tale. Last night the Supreme Court allowed a new Texas anti-woman law to take effect. This law prohibits abortions after 6 weeks, and so effectively outlaws most abortions in Texas.

I say “anti-woman” because that is what the anti-choice movement is these days. It’s not actually about stopping abortion. It’s about actively punishing women for being women, and especially for being sexually active without their permission. The movement went mainstream when TFG casually said that if abortion were made illegal, women who had abortions should be prosecuted.

His communications team later told us that he meant the doctors who performed illegal abortions should be prosecuted, of course. And of course TFG, who paid for abortions right and left, isn’t actually opposed to abortion. He was merely parroting the far right hate speech of the dregs of humanity who advised him, and he deliberately said that as a signal to his reprehensible followers.

The anti-woman movement currently holding the GOP in thrall is rooted in the forced birth movement, which itself is centered not on the baby that is born, but on punishing a woman for her sexuality. This in turn is rooted in the legalization of birth control.

There has been a century-long battle for women to regain a modicum of control over their reproductive health. Abortion was legal in this country until 1880 when the efforts of the AMA, coupled with fears of white “race suicide”, and the suffrage movement led–male–doctors to take abortion out of the hands of pregnant women and midwives and move it into the newly emerging “professional” realm. Female reproductive issues were moved from the home to the doctor’s office, women lost their previous autonomy over their own bodies. It’s also important to note that abortion has existed in all cultures since the beginning of humankind.

Part of the rationale the AMA provided for its push to take over women’s reproductive health was how dangerous abortion was, but instead of working to find safe ways to help women to terminate pregnancies, it instead chose to push to ban the practice altogether. This makes sense against a context of where gynecologists–men–were doing things like arbitrarily removing women’s uteri to cure their “hysteria”; i.e., their growing willingness to stand up for themselves. An uppity woman was a “hysterical” woman, and the cure, obviously, was to remove her uterus. Abortion wasn’t legalized again until 1973. Remember, birth control between married couples was ILLEGAL until 1965, and illegal between unmarried couples until 1972.

The introduction of The Pill, and the subsequent decriminalization of birth control, were watershed moments for women (and just think for a moment that birth control was illegal for a long, long time). On a social level, it allowed women to control their sex lives in an entirely new way. No longer afraid of a nearly inevitable pregnancy, single women turned the tables on men and began to make their own sexual choices, shattering the previous dynamic. The ripples from this transformation are still being seen now. It’s the basis for the increase in slut-shaming sexually active women, only now it’s moved from just single women, to now include married women as well.

On an economic level, delaying motherhood allowed women to get college educations and to begin to compete with men in the larger workforce, and not just the pink collar ghetto. The reactionary movement to ban birth control–because that is where the anti-woman movement wants to end up–is rooted in 2 things:  the desires to wipe out the economic gains of women over the last 50 years and to restore the previous sexual dynamic.

Feldt says, “When you peel back the layers of the anti-choice motivation, it always comes back to two things: What is the nature and purpose of human sexuality? And second, what is the role of women in the world?” Sex and the role of women are inextricably linked, because “if you can separate sex from procreation, you have given women the ability to participate in society on an equal basis with men.”

And today we’re a day closer to that goal.

Coda:  Some commentators are pointing out the bounty aspect of the Texas law and positing that the law will be overturned because that’s clearly illegal. That provision is a Trojan horse, the Harriet Miers dangled in front of you so you don’t smell the poison of the Samuel Alito. The American Taliban is fine with cutting that part out. For now.

And so here are. Bowie gets the final thought.

No, No, Cuomo

Cuomo with Captain. Nixon with Checkers.

I admit to being surprised that Andrew Cuomo resigned yesterday. I was not, however, as gobsmacked as the cable news pundits. The ones I saw on MSNBC came up with all sorts of elaborate scenarios as to why it happened. As always, I looked for the simplest answer: He did not have the votes in the lege to stay in office, so he went albeit grudgingly and gracelessly.

The tone and content of the speech reminded me of Tricky Dick’s resignation speech on 8/8/74. I considered doing  a side-by-side analysis but New York Magazine’s Ed Kilgore beat me to the punch. Suffice it to say, both Tricky Dick and Handsy Andy stressed the politics of resigning not the ethics or morality. It’s a good thing because to say both men were ethically challenged is an understatement.

This is the money quote from Cuomo’s speech:

I have been too familiar with people. My sense of humor can be insensitive and off-putting. I do hug and kiss people casually, women and men. I have done it all my life. It’s who I’ve been since I can remember. In my mind, I’ve never crossed the line with anyone, but I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn. There are generational and cultural shifts that I just didn’t fully appreciate, and I should have. No excuses.

I have to give Handsy Andy credit for ending that passage with some unintentional levity. No excuses? Really? The previous sentences are chock-full-o-excuses. I halfway expected him to break out in this song:

Cuomo and Nixon share some negative qualities: egotism, self-pity, and sexism. They also share a redeeming characteristic: they love dogs, which makes both of them better than the Impeached Insult Comedian.

The featured image shows Cuomo with a younger Captain and Tricky with legendary scandal dog Checkers. I wonder where Pat’s “Republican cloth coat” was when this picture was taken.

Otherwise, Cuomo and Nixon are very different. Cuomo is the cocky son of a famous man. Nixon was the insecure son of a nobody. Cuomo is a touchy-feely New York ethnic. Nixon was a hands-off California WASP. Both were forced to resign high office because of scandal. That’s the most important thing they have in common.

As a resident of the Gret Stet of Louisiana, I’d like to point out how many scandals there have been in the Empire State. Former Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned because of his predilection for prostitutes. Former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigned amidst charges of sexual assault and general kinkiness. Now it’s Andrew Cuomo who also served as AG before becoming Governor. These creeps make Louisiana pols look like pikers with the exception of Diaper Dave Vitter.

Cuomo’s exit makes Kathy Hochul the first woman governor of New York. I wish her well, but she has a mess on her hands.

I’m glad Cuomo will be leaving office in two week. My only regret is that I didn’t call him Handsy Andy until today. I guess it’s because Andys tend to be nice guys, not arrogant pricks. As far as I know, nobody calls Cuomo Andy not even his idiot kid brother Chris. Why risk being pantsed, stuffed in a locker, or getting a swirly? Those are things that bullies do. In the end, Andrew Cuomo is a bully. He can go fuck himself.

The last word goes to Ringo Starr:

Creepy Cuomo

I woke up this morning in a charitable mood and changed the post title. The original title was Creepy Crespi Cuomo. Frank Crespi is the guy on the left. He played 2B for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1938-1942. He was only a regular for one season: the war ate the rest of his career. The 1930’s were a time described by Bill James in his Historical Baseball Abstract as when “nicknames got nasty.”

There’s no indication that Frank Crespi was called Creepy because he was a groper. It seems to have been an alliterative play on words. Creepy Crespi is the one I felt charitable towards since he seems to have been an okay fella. As to Andrew Cuomo, he can go grope himself.

The first post title that came to mind was: Careful What You Wish For. It was Creepy Cuomo’s idea for New York AG Letita James’ office to investigate his misconduct. Since she had been a Cuomo supporter, she farmed it out to some independent lawyers.

The report was expected to land like a hand grenade, instead it exploded like an H-Bomb. It was that bad, y’all.

The good people at New York Magazine provided an excellent summary of the report. I was among those who was struck by this new revelation:

Trooper No. 1

Was the allegation previously known? No.
Did Trooper No. 1 work for the state? Yes.
Summary of Trooper No. 1’s allegations: Trooper No. 1 says that after Cuomo encountered her during an event on the Triborough Bridge in 2017, he arranged to have her join his Protective Services Unit, though she did not meet the qualifications. She says that after she was assigned to his personal protective unit, he sexually harassed her multiple times. She says that during one incident he ran his hand across her lower stomach while she held a door open for him, and that during another he ran a finger down her back and said “Hey you” in an elevator.

Hey you, you’re an entitled asshole.

Creepy Cuomo even wanted this state trooper to wear a dress: the better to leer at her. I don’t wear frocks, but I would imagine that it would be hard to pack heat in a skirt. She was there to protect and serve, not to protect and service Creepy Cuomo.

Creepy Cuomo’s first defense was to release a video in which he said he was creepy with everyone:

It’s not generational and cultural, it’s creepy.

Creepy Cuomo has been in tight spots before. He’s survived them all. He’s used to being hated and feared, so that doesn’t bother him. This time the reaction is best described as disgusted. His few remaining allies have either turned against him or are hiding under the bed with his idiot kid brother, Fredo. I mean Chris. It’s time to repost my favorite Chris Cuomo image:

Creepy Cuomo considers himself to be a master deal maker. Now that he’s likely facing impeachment, he’ll want to cut a deal with the lege. His hopes of topping his father’s three terms have been dashed and he doesn’t want to be impeached and convicted.

Team Creepy is likely to propose a deal that will include prosecutors and the AG’s office. As those of us who watch Billions know, the state AG has limited prosecutorial powers. It’s unclear if prosecutors in Albany and Manhattan will go along with any deal that involves ruling out criminal charges against Creepy Cuomo. It’s what he’ll want. Stay tuned.

Another pressing question is whether Creepy Cuomo’s dog Captain will forgive him:

I’m sure the pooch will forgive him if he gives him treats and promotes him to Admiral.

Back to the post title. I changed it because I didn’t want to offend any of Frank Crespi’s relatives. His baseball career was short, but he played on a team that went 106-48 and beat the Yankees in the World Series. What’s not to love about that?

I kept the featured image because I spent way too much time on it. Time is money even when you work for free.

I gave myself an earworm while working on this post. It’s the Beach Boys song Funky Pretty, which fittingly was co-written by rock creep Mike Love: I’ll leave his cousin Brian Wilson out of it. I find myself singing Creepy Cuomo, Creepy Crespi in lieu of “funky pretty, pretty funky.” It’s weird but it works.

The last word goes to the Beach Boys:

Simone Biles All American

Simone Biles

Just in case you have been living under a rock the past week, Simone Biles, preeminent women’s gymnast, considered by many the gymnastics GOAT (that’s Greatest Of All Time) withdrew from the 2020(1) Olympic competition because of mental health issues.

Like everything else these days, it quickly became a political issue. Liberals cheered her decision as a matter of personal sacrifice in the face of truly difficult circumstances. Conservatives jeered her as unpatriotic and unwilling to do whatever is necessary for the USA to chant “USA USA USA”.

Unwilling to do whatever is necessary for the USA to win. Of course all you conservatives are also vaccinated because that’s doing whatever is necessary for the USA to win against COVID.

But I digress.

I think Simone Biles is doing what a lot of Americans are doing coming out of this pandemic. She spent a good amount of time the last year and a half with nothing else to do but ponder what she wanted out of life. And she came to the conclusion that the mental strain of being the GOAT wasn’t worth it. Just like an awful lot of people around this country are coming to the conclusion that working for minimum wage in a job they hate is not quite a fulfilling life. For Biles, all those commercial endorsements have cushioned the financial strain she will perhaps take for her decision. For the rest of us, the government cheese (as the wife, Cruella, calls it) has given a small lifeline allowing many to ponder their life choices.

And what exactly is wrong with that?

For possibly the first time in their lives many Americans have taken this mandatory time-out to really THINK about their lives. So many of us just try to get through the day, make enough money to keep ourselves in food, clothing, and shelter (with a little WiFi thrown in). Suddenly there was nothing but time to delve into our own psyches, to ask ourselves just what do I want out of life.

I think that’s terrific.

But conservative media isn’t buying that. It’s people taking advantage of a free handout they cry. Cause you know, conservatives never get free handouts. Well we won’t count corporate welfare. Or a tax system that allows them to pay little if any taxes. Or a gerrymandered voting system that allows the minority of voters to block the will of the majority. Oh and shall we talk about Tucker Carlson?

Sorry, I digressed again.

What they’re really worried about is having to give up some of that money they so carefully horde in order to get people to work for them. Nothing gets a rich conservative to shout SOCIALISM faster than having to take a ten cent a share dip in earnings in order to properly compensate the people actually doing the work.

So Simone Biles says she’s had enough of it and conservatives go nuts and say she’s just a quitter. Hmm, a young black woman “couldn’t hack it” according to them. This will make it so much easier to pass on the African-American female candidate interviewing for a job. “Look, if Simone Biles can just up and quit, what’s to say this woman won’t do the same thing”. And you know that is the thought going through a lot of hiring managers heads right now.

If, dear reader, you happen to be a young black woman trying to advance in the world of business, and even if you are not, know this: Simone Biles has a kind of courage and fortitude those hiring managers will never have.  You don’t want to work at a company that would have them in that position because that company is going to fail. Work for someone who will be willing to take your life experience and use it for the betterment of all. Show them you are the hero of your own story.

Just like Simone Biles, All American.

If only we had had a chance to hear more of what would come from his own personal time out.

Shapiro Out

The Thumb On The Scale

So yeah, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court let Bill Cosby out of jail. I’m not going to discuss the legal issues because they don’t matter to me—it’s not as if the justices are going to change their minds.

What struck me was the idea that Mr. Philly-Delphia, the dreadful Bruce Castor, would make a deal with a forking rapist to not prosecute him for rape. I mean here’s someone who was credibly accused of rape by 60 women, and at least 1 of the attorneys involved (who knows if it was a deal that also involved Cosby’s attorneys, too) decided to protect…the rapist.

I should be used to the pervasiveness of rape culture in US society. But I’m not. Cosby being let out of jail is a gut punch. Cosby being let out of jail because a pathetic human like Castor deliberately protected him is enraging.

And here’s another upsetting thing:  there are people who think Cosby’s freeing is funny. When the release was posted to the online community I frequent, one male poster responded by repeatedly posting gifs from The Cosby Show of Cosby and cast dancing in celebration. The vast majority of the nearly all male membership there has been silently approving of his celebration of rape culture.

And then the judge in the Britney Spears case refused her request to remove her father from her conservatorship. It wasn’t a great day for women’s rights in America.

Leave Britney Alone

I don’t follow celebrity gossip, I only know 1 Britney Spears song (“Oops I Did It Again”, which by the way is an excellent pop song), and I misspelled her first name throughout the first draft of this post. Nevertheless when I read about this part of her recent testimony I got sick to my stomach:

Spears, who is the mother of two teenage boys, told the court that her father and the group of people who control her affairs do not want her to have any more children. She said she was not allowed to go to the doctor to remove her IUD, or intrauterine device, a small birth control device implanted in the uterus.

It’s heart-breaking that a grown woman is being denied the opportunity to have another child. But what really upset me was her father being so obsessed with her reproductive system.

And then there was this:

On medication: Spears said on Wednesday that she was put on lithium against her will. “I felt drunk. I couldn’t even stick up for myself. I couldn’t even have a conversation with my mom or dad about anything. I told them I was scared and they had six different nurses come to my home to monitor me while I was on this medication that I didn’t want to be on to begin with.” Lithium is commonly used to treat bipolar disorder, which often causes episodes of depression and mania, a feeling of uncontrolled irritability or excitement. It can also be used to treat depression. In court today, Spears did not mention any possible medical condition.

One of the hallmarks of US society is the obsession men have with the uteri of women, whether they know those women or not. And this isn’t a recent phenomenon. At the turn of the 19th century, US women’s reproductive health began to move from the care of midwives to the care of “credentialed” medical doctors during a movement to “professionalize” some of these newly-christened “professions”,

One of the things male doctors did was to give hysterectomies (literally removing the “hysteria” from women) to uppity women seeking the vote and equality because they thought the uterus was the loci of that disruptive behavior. See, an uppity woman was a “hysterical” woman, and the cure, obviously, was to remove her uterus. Surgery was primitive and many women who survived it spent the rest of their lives as convalescents. And because there were no antibiotics, women died from infection. This is still an operation that can be debilitating for women, and it takes the option to have children from women of child-bearing age.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Hmmm.

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

Last week the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops took a step toward publicly humiliating President Biden by denying him Holy Communion. This action is short-sighted, mean-spirited, and stupid, which means it’s completely on brand for the USCCB.

It’s no secret that the deeply misogynistic Roman Catholic Church is opposed to abortion. I was raised Catholic and had the full anti-abortion indoctrination of grotesque photos of purportedly aborted fetuses (who knows if any of that stuff was real or fake—propagandists use whatever they have available to push their message).

After I was free of parochial education, I started thinking for myself. As an adult, I saw the issue of abortion—and pregnancy—differently than I did as a teenager. I thought about what decision I would make if I found myself pregnant. And I had empathy for women who had to make that decision.

(I know that the anti-choice people love to yell “ADOPTION!!” when discussing abortion, but the reality is that many women just cannot afford to carry a child to term. In addition to the medical appointments, being pregnant still can get a woman fired, or cost her a promotion. If there are complications, it may require her taking unpaid leave.)

I don’t know what Joe Biden thinks deep in his heart about abortion. But I do know that as a politician he is supposed to represent the people who elected him. The Pew Forum says that 55% of people in Delaware support abortion being legal in all or most cases. And Pew also says that 59% of Americans support abortion being legal in all or most cases. And given the makeup of the electorate who elected him, there is a clear mandate for him to support women’s reproductive rights. That’s his job.

It’s ironic that the big fear about JFK’s Catholicism was that he’d be controlled by Rome. And now we have a bunch of Catholic bishops trying to act as if they were Rome to control Biden. This crazy plan might have worked, except that the Vatican has already weighed in on this issue and told the USCCB to back off.

In the end, the USCCB won’t explicitly say that pro-choice politicians must be denied Holy Communion. That’s not how Pharisees work. They’re cowards who hide behind a wall of words which they then twist to suit their purposes.

Naturally the chance to flaunt misogyny under the guise of morality attracts a lot of fellow travelers, and conservative Catholics are out there making the most of it. And they’re being cowards about any challenges to their obvious hypocrisy:

Karen Tumulty is right—there is a monomaniacal focus on abortion, but no public shaming for Catholic politicians who gleefully support the death penalty, and the Vatican has been very clear about the stance of the RCC on that issue. (Also on display in that exchange—the typical shift to the demand of a public debate when a conservative “thinker” has been shown to be intellectually naked. Pharisees gonna Pharisee.)

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The Friday Fishwrap

Herb Caen Column Heading

Once upon a time there was a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle (that was a newspaper) named Herb Caen. His column ran in the paper six days a week, but his Friday column was called the Friday Fishwrap. A convenient reminder that that morning’s paper would be used in the evening to wrap up and dispose of the remains of the no meat on Fridays throw aways. Thus he filled the column with throw away items, thoughts, flotsam and jetsam.

In his honor I’m going to try that today.

The Democrats missed an opportunity last week with the 1/6 investigation vote in the Senate. They should have let the Repugnicants filibuster, really filibuster, the Jimmy Stewart in MR SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON type filibuster, where all work in government comes to a stop. The public would have gotten a look at what the filibuster really is. Then the Dems could have gone on a media blitz tearing up the Repugnicants for bringing the federal government to that halt. It could have built a groundswell of support into a tsunami of criticism, the kind of criticism that would prevent the Repugs from trying to filibuster the For The People Act or the Infrastructure Plan.

On HBO Max right now is a film of the play OSLO. It’s about the back channel negotiations that led to the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993 between Israel and the PLO. The key takeaway from the film is that the Norwegians who acted as facilitators between the two parties insisted that each day when the meeting ended all the participants would then sit down and have dinner and drinks together and talk only of their families and friends. In other words humanizing each side to the other. If the Israelis and the Palestinians can do that, surely those of us on the left can have a meal with those on the right.

The San Jose rail system is still down, a week after the proverbial disgruntled worker killed nine. The reason? He had planted bombs at his house and bomb making materials were found in his locker at the yard. The VTA is taking no chances and methodically going through everything looking for explosive material. Maybe if they had combed his employment record as keenly as this, nine of his fellow workers would be alive today. Just saying.

The Army won’t investigate Herr Obermeister Flynn’s comments on the appropriateness of a “Myanmar style coup” here in the country all members of the armed forces swear an allegiance to protect. They say it’s because they never investigate retired officers. OK then, call him back to duty and court martial his ass for insubordination, treason, and any other crime you can think of that he’s committed.

There’s an old saying in politics: If you’ve got the votes, call the roll. Gavin Newsom has the votes to overcome this insipid recall vote so it looks like we will have the election in early September. Once that is finished, can we please talk about making it more difficult to qualify a recall vote? Ten percent of the electorate should not have the power to force a wasteful and unnecessary recall election.

More after the break

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The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia

Tuesday night a man whose name I will not use murdered 8 people; 6 of them were Asian Americans. Seven of the dead were women. Earlier that evening Donald Trump, while on live television, used a slur to refer to COVID-19. What did the media fixate on? That he had told everyone to get vaccinated. Somehow the year long rise in violence against Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, that began because the same racist former president consistently used racist language to describe a virus, wasn’t worthy of conversation.

Wednesday morning the Cherokee County, GA’s Captain Jay Baker told us that these murders did not constitute a racially-motivated hate crime. You see, the murderer was upset about sin and his “sex addiction”. And also? He’d had a bad day. And then we we found out that this same sheriff trafficked in anti-Asian memes. At that point I just couldn’t anymore with the hot takes that it wasn’t a hate crime, but someone mad at sex workers, with the undercurrent that while this was—you know—bad, it was pretty understandable. UGH UGH UGH.

And then Wednesday evening we learned more about 4 of the victims. It took us so long to find out about them because it required people who spoke Korean. These 4 women were in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. The narrative completely changed. The murderer wasn’t a young Christian struggling with sin and lashing out at the women he felt had led him astray. He was just a racist loser who lashed out at people he hated. He had a social media presence that was anti-Asian. He literally said on Tuesday night, as he was killing people, that he wanted to kill Asian Americans.

I thought I knew what I wanted to write about this tragedy:  a loser murders 7 young women because he has sexual hang-ups and had been indoctrinated into a pseudo-religious ideology that holds that sexually active women need to be strictly controlled. But the first 4 women we learn about are…like me. They are middle-aged to elderly. They most likely weren’t sex workers. This wasn’t about sin or sex addiction. This was about straight up racism and misogyny.

It’s the same behavior that happens on Native American reservations, where angry white men go to rape Native American women because they know they won’t be held accountable for their terrible deeds. This murderer was taken into custody alive and unharmed. The sheriff, himself a despicable racist, as we found out today, offered up excuses for the person he identified with. As it turns out, so did a lot of America.

Also on Wednesday the House of Representatives reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act, and even after these terrible murders 172 House Republicans voted against it. Now we wait to see if it can pass the Senate. It is beyond infuriating that the passage of this bill in doubt, but abusers protect their fellow abusers, and they see no reason to break that cycle.

Andrew Cuomo: Public Sector Trump

A blanketed Andrew Cuomo and his dog, Captain.  

There’s a whole lotta stupid happening on political Twitter about Andrew Cuomo’s possible fate. There are those who think the “campaign” against him is a Republican conspiracy to install a Governor who will pardon Trump, which ignores the fact that the Lt. Gov is a Democrat, Kathy Hocul. Besides, there’s no conspiracy against Cuomo: his wounds are self-inflicted.

The other foolishness involves those who think the three-term Governor of New York can be pressured into resigning. I’m not an expert on New York politics but you don’t have to be to know that Cuomo is never resigning. He’s survived previous bouts with unpopularity and one of his goals is to win a fourth term, which his father was unable to do.

There are three paths to his exit: impeachment and removal; not running for re-election or defeat at the ballot box preferably in a primary. He’ll never take the easy way out and resign even if it’s in his state’s best interests. Cuomo is about Cuomo.

The voters don’t seem to be as pissed-off at Cuomo as the political class. His numbers are down but not entirely out. His reputation with voters is as a competent asshole. They didn’t vote him in because they loved him. They know he’s a self-centered creep. In some ways, he’s a stereotypical New Yorker: an asshole and damn proud of it.

There’s been much ridicule of this comment by Cuomo:

“Part of this is that I am not part of the political club. And you know what? I’m proud of it.”

On the surface the comment is preposterous because Andrew Cuomo is a politician to his fingertips. But I’m not one for groupthink. Being a member of a club involves having friends, not just allies. Cuomo is a veteran pol but he’s friendless, which is both a strength and weakness. He’s always governed by fear and assholery, which means that nobody is sticking up for him right now. The upside is that he’s used to having no friends so what others say about him is less important than his enormous ego.

One of the many ironies of 2020 was Andrew Cuomo being held up as the anti-Trump. Like the former president* he was an asshole, but a competent one unlike the Kaiser of Chaos. That aura of competence has been exploded by a nursing home scandal and his mishandling of the sexual harassment mishigas.

Instead Andrew Cuomo and Donald Trump are almost the same guy: angry, sexist, horny, and self-absorbed. Cuomo is, of course, much smarter than the Impeached Insult Comedian, but they’re both brash assholes from Queens who are fond of “locker room talk.”

Andrew Cuomo is the public sector Trump. Their main differences are that Mario Cuomo was much smoother than Fred Trump, and that Andrew has a dog. His name is Captain. In the picture I used as the featured image, he even seems to like the Governor. Woof.

As Tricky Dick would surely say at this point, let me make one thing perfectly clear. I am in no way defending Cuomo’s loutish lechery. There’s a strong case for his ouster but he’s not going to make it easy for his critics by resigning. He’s going to hunker down and try to weather the storm. It’s not in the best interests of the people of the Empire State but it’s what self-absorbed creeps like Andrew Cuomo do.

I have some unsolicited advice for Cuomo’s Democratic enemies. They should coalesce around a primary challenger and start raising money pronto. He’s survived past primary challenges, but his number could be up in 2022.

There have been some great pieces written about Andrew’s tyrannical reign as Governor. I’d like to commend three to your attention:

Rebecca Traister at New York Magazine, Inside Andrew Cuomo’s Toxic Workplace.

Jessica Bakeman at New York Magazine’s The Cut, Cuomo Never Let Me Forget I Was A Woman.

Michael Shnayerson at Vanity Fair’s The Hive,  Andrew Cuomo’s Biographer On The Governor’s Brutish History.

In the last piece, Shnayerson describes how Cuomo dangled an interview at him, then reneged on his promise:

By the time I was about to hand in my manuscript, the governor had a book of his own in the works. It was titled All Things Possible. And his intention was to beat me to market. But I was ahead. Back came word that if I would let his book appear first, he would grant me all the interview time I wanted. So I agreed. But the governor pulled a fast one. I never did get that interview; his book came out in October 2014, a full five months ahead of mine. And there was, after all, no longer anything he needed from me. It was a quintessential Cuomo move: underhanded, stealthy, self-serving, and hard-ass.

Remove the word stealthy and who does that sound like? Donald Trump, that’s who. Believe me.

That’s why I call Andrew Cuomo the Public Sector Trump.