Category Archives: Twitter

Family Smackdown Day

We all have relatives whose politics we dislike. These family ties have become increasingly strained with the advent of the crude dictator wannabe, Trumpberius aka the Kaiser of Chaos. There seems to be something in the air today that led two men I’d never heard of go after two relatives that we know and loathe.

First, Stephen Miller’s uncle Dr. David Glosser wrote a scathing article about his nephew for Politico. It may be the best thing I’ve ever read in that deservedly ridiculed online publication. After detailing their family history, Uncle David let his hypocritical nephew have it:

I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, who is an educated man and well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country.

I shudder at the thought of what would have become of the Glossers had the same policies Stephen so coolly espouses— the travel ban, the radical decrease in refugees, the separation of children from their parents, and even talk of limiting citizenship for legal immigrants— been in effect when Wolf-Leib made his desperate bid for freedom. The Glossers came to the U.S. just a few years before the fear and prejudice of the “America First” nativists of the day closed U.S. borders to Jewish refugees. Had Wolf-Leib waited, his family would likely have been murdered by the Nazis along with all but seven of the 2,000 Jews who remained in Antopol. I would encourage Stephen to ask himself if the chanting, torch-bearing Nazis of Charlottesville, whose support his boss seems to court so cavalierly, do not envision a similar fate for him.

Dr. Glosser has a future as a polemicist. It took a lot of guts to go after his sister’s son like this. It seems as if he’d finally had enough of his nephew’s wicked wicked ways. Thanks, Doc.

Then there’s Bobby Goodlatte who is the son of retiring Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte who we last met when he ran the Strzok hearing with all the style and finesse of a Kangaroo Court judge. The Good Goodlatte took to twitter to announce his support for the Democratic woman who is running for dear old dad’s seat:

Then he confessed his shame over his father’s handling of the Strzok hearing:

I’m blown away by the intestinal fortitude shown by the Good Goodlatte *and* Dr. Glosser. I hope we see more of it amid the infamy of the Trump administration and the 115th Congress. It’s time for people to speak out and save the Republic from the likes of Stephen Miller.

The holidays should be very interesting for the Miller-Glosser and Goodlatte families.  Just thinking about it tops this great scene in Barry Levinson’s ode to “chain immigration” Avalon:

Saturday Odds & Sods: The Calling

Tales from Topographic Oceans by Roger Dean.

Summer colds are the worst. I’ve been laid low by one. Achoo. My nose looks as if it belongs to Rudolph and I sound like Froggy in The Little Rascals. Shorter Adrastos: I’m going to keep this introduction concise lest writing it winds me. Hopefully, the rest of the post will make sense: I’m blogging hurt. Make that wheezy. Jeez, that sounds like an episode of The Jeffersons.

This week’s theme song is the stirring album opener from 1994’s Talk by Yes. Like many other fans, I call the Trevor Rabin-era band, Yes West. They moved their base of operation to Southern California in the 1980’s, and had a different sound than classic Yes; pop-prog as opposed to pure prog. Hence Yes West. The Calling was written by Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, and Chris Squire and it rocks like crazy.

We have two versions for your entertainment. First, a video featuring a goofy cosmic introduction by Jon Anderson. Second, a live version from the Talk tour that commences with an instrumental Perpetual Change.

While we’re on the subject of Yes, the featured image is Roger Dean’s cover of Tales from Topographic Oceans without the lettering.

Now that I’ve gone all art rocky on your asses, let’s jump to the break.

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Not Everything Sucks: Hey Luc At Me Now

Since so much bad shit happens on the tweeter tube, I reckoned I should share some rare good news about everyone’s favorite French Star Fleet Captain with a Yorkshire accent:

Jean-Luc Picard has been on hiatus so long that I’ve been unable to pun on his name during my time as a blogger. It’s one of many reasons I’m tickled about the return. The name seems to inspire me to break out in punny show tune memes:

It’s more like the Stern Luc Of Love. It’s what authority figures do, y’all.

The next one is more menacing. It’s when Picard was assimilated and became Locutus of Borg.

At this point, we’ve gone from make it so to make him stop. The last word goes to David Byrne who was also born in Scotland but was never assimilated as far as I know:

GOP SOP

It’s human nature to want to think the best of people. Hell, even I give *most* people the benefit of the doubt, and I was first called a curmudgeon in my teens. But I don’t think this presumption should be extended to Republican politicians and anyone with the last name Trump.

Since the president* is on “holiday” at his golf club in Jersey, he’s had an itchy twitter finger. He’s made several admissions against legal interest and also slammed two high-profile African-American gents:

I thought the Kaiser of Chaos never watched “fake news” CNN. Guess he’s lying about that. Go figure.

The occasion for LeBron’s interview was the opening of a school for at risk kids in his hometown of Akron, Ohio that the hoops legend is funding. An act of generosity equivalent to his style as a “make everyone look good” basketball player. LeBron made a few mildly critical remarks about the Insult Comedian. I’m sure you’ve heard the details so I’ll skip them. It wasn’t as strong as this earlier LeBronism:

U Bum. How short and sweet it is.

The reasons, such as they are, behind Trump’s tweet are multi-faceted: projection of his own intellectual inferiority on to others and, most importantly, racist red meat for his idiot base. Trump has a habit of calling black people “dumb” or “low IQ” when, in fact, he’s the dumbass. It’s all a part of his pandering to the worst instincts in white America while dog howling (the whistle has been traded in for a larger model) his own bigotry.

The most interesting thing about the LeBron affair was the press and social media reaction to Melania Trump’s reaction. Melania’s people issued a statement that mildly praised LeBron:

“It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation and just as she always has, the First Lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today.”

In a spurt of the sort of human generosity I alluded to at the top of post, people gushed praise of FLOTUS* including those who should know better. This is the same reaction that greets many of Ivanka Trump’s mild disagreements with her monstrous father when, in fact, she’s Agrippina to his Tiberius. (I guess that makes Junior, Nero.) Here’s how my pal Dakinikat put it in a post about the Sam Bee flap a few months back:

 I’d like to remind y’all that vaginas are deep and warm and Ivanka Trump is neither so I suggest we think of a better set of words to describe KKKremlin Caligula’s daughter than “feckless cunt”.  We could adopt Demoness reincarnation of Diva August or good ol’ Aunt Livia to keep it all in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Historically, Livia was the mother of Tiberius and if you know anything about Roman history of the time, you’ll know he was as perverted and evil as the rest of them. Remember, Rome was still supposed to be a Republic at the time but that dreadful set of ghouls–including the fiddling Nero–ruined nearly everything within a few generations.  We could give her a nick name based on Agrippina but that would be a weirder sexual dynamic than I’m prepared to put through my mind.  However, I am praying for a few good men with lean and hungry looks to end our Trumpvian nightmare.

I know that was a long-ass quote but I think good writing should be rewarded.

Back to the post title: it’s SOP (standard operating procedure) in the GOP for female relatives of a leader to soften their image. It’s been going on for years, most notably in the Bush family, as Slate’s Christina Cauterucci explains in a wonderfully titled piece, Make-Believe Mutiny:

In 2001, Laura Bush famously departed from her husband’s stance on abortion by saying she thought Roe v. Wade should stand. The first lady was contradicting her president spouse on an issue of great import, and at the time, I thought it was a gutsy move that could have a positive impact on GOP abortion politics.

<SNIP>

And before Laura, Barbara Bush criticized the GOP during George H.W. Bush’s second presidential campaign for enshrining a “fundamental individual right to life” for “the unborn child” in its party platform. The strategy neatly aligns with the right-wing model of a heterosexual partnership: The big tough man makes big tough decisions from a place of rational judgment and patriarchal authority, while the woman respectfully registers a slightly different opinion, borne of feminine emotion. He is free to take or leave her suggestion, which carries no meaningful weight or influence. If he does modify his stance to lean towards hers, he can claim that his hypermasculine immunity to empathy—a quality Republicans fetishize in their leaders—blinded him to the nuances of an issue that needed a female touch.

This is particularly important when the Republican president* is an asshole of epic proportions like Donald Trump. It’s well-nigh impossible to humanize Trumpberius but they’ll continue trying. The media and public should be leery of this because it’s just spin. In fact, it’s the only slightly skillful spin to come out of the Trump administration. So everyone should treat it as what it is: disinformation calculated to distract and divert attention from the evil incompetence of the Insult Comedian and his team of sycophants.

So, the next time Melania or Ivanka slightly deviates from the Trump line, just remember: it’s GOP SOP.

Life Imitates The Untouchables: Scarface Paul Manafort?

The Kaiser of Chaos was a busy boy with an itchy twitter finger yesterday. The tweets dripped with flop sweat and palpable panic.  He “ordered” Jeff Beau to end the “rigged witch hunt” and praised Paul Manafort for his work for Ronald Reagan and Bob Dole. Those tweets arguably constitute witness tampering by tweet since Trumpy hands out pardons like Oprah doles out cars.

Ending the “rigged witch hunt” could bring the Manafort trial to a screeching halt, which would be a pity: I want the jury to hear more about Paulie’s lavish wardrobe. It’s also a pity that Judge Ellis has barred the use of the term oligarch. I believe in calling an oligarch an oligarch. Ole Garch sounds like a Swedish architect to me. I wonder if he had anything to do with the theft of the Swedish crown jewels? It could have been an angry Norwegian outraged over 91 years of Swedish domination of his homeland. If revenge is a dish best served cold, ain’t nothing colder than a Scandinavian winter or an angry and bitter Norwegian.

Enough of my weirdness, the weirdest of Trump’s recent tweets was this one:

Does this mean Manafort is a syphilitic murderer? He’s certainly a tax avoiding motherfucker like Scarface. Speaking of the gangster, the Insult Comedian misspelled his name: it’s Alphonse with a PH, not Alfonse with an F. That proves that Rudy Giuliani didn’t write this tweet: he’d spell a paisan’s name correctly. Remember when Rudy used to be anti-gangster? Now he’s a mob lawyer working for Don Donaldo Il Comico Insulto. Many of us become what we hate.

I think Josh Marshall nailed *why* Trump used this seemingly bizarre analogy:

To Trump, Capone was a winner. He was rich. Everybody gave him respect. But he was brought down on BS charges, mundane financial crimes. He was treated very unfairly, to use the President’s signature phrase. This isn’t hyperbole or a mere attack. Over a forty-plus year career, Trump was deep in business with some of the most notorious and violent mobsters of the late 20th century. Trump managed not to get in to trouble first because he had the right friends but just as much because he kept the relationships largely passive. He laundered their money. His main overt act was willful obliviousness. Trump Tower itself was a notorious haven for all sorts of organized crime figures, mostly from other countries. Mostly from Russia and the former Soviet Union.

There have been many fine movies and teevee series over the years featuring Alphonse with a PH. I should thank the president* for giving me the latest in a series of Life Imitates post titles. First, there was The Sopranos, then The Americans, and now The Untouchables. Cue an extended version of the theme music, which was written by the great Nelson Riddle:

Now that I think of it, Ennio Morricone’s theme music for Brian DePalma’s 1987 film is pretty darn swell as well:

Al Capone *was* a fascinating character, which is why he remains such a famous gangster 71 years after his death. It is disturbing however that POTUS* identifies with him, not Eliot Ness. One would think he’d like comparisons to the best-known screen Nesses, Robert Stack and Kevin Costner. Hell,Costner is even a Republican; at least he used to be until the advent of the Trump regime. Good on ya, Kevin.

Enough Elliot Nessery. It’s time to post a rogue’s gallery of actors who played Alphonse with a PH. We begin with a two-fer: Ben Gazzara from a decent 1975 bio-pic, Capone, and Robert DeNiro in the DePalma/Mamet take on The Untouchables.

Next up from left to right: Neville Brand in teevee’s The Untouchables, Stephen Graham in Boardwalk Empire, and chewing a cigar as well as the scenery, Rod Steiger in 1959’s Al Capone. Steiger was a walking slab of prosciutto in this role. He’d be in the hammy actor hall of fame if such a thing existed.

There’s bound to be a white-collar gangster movie about Paul Manafort at some point in time. I’ve already made a casting suggestion in the form of a Separated at Birth segment:

Chazz Palminteri has played more than a few wise guys in his career including Big Paul Castellano, boss of the Gambino family before he was whacked by John Gotti. The Trumps, of course, had ties to the Gambinos and Rudy is the one whose team brought them down. It’s a small fucking world, after all.

Tweet Of The Day: The Sound Of Mueller

The New Orleans Advocate’s Walt Handlesman is justifiably proud of his Walt Toons. This one is best described as Rodgers and Hammerstein meet Kremlingate. It’s so good that I set aside a lifetime of loathing The Sound of Music to post it.

If you enjoyed The Sound of Muller, please donate to First Draft’s annual fundraiser.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Sweet Dreams

Any Eye For A View by Paul Fleet.

I vowed not to complain about the heat this week. It’s always hot in New Orleans in July, after all. Besides, much of the world is having a heat wave so we’re not alone. Suffice it to say that even people who like warm weather are complaining about it. I’m trying my best to be stoical in the face of it all. I’m not sure if I’ll succeed in this but who the hell wants to hear a grown man whine about the humidity?

A big local story was the anointment of Zach Strief as the new play-by-play announcer of the New Orleans Saints. He has huge shoes to fill: Jim Henderson was to the Saints and their fans what Vin Scully was to the Dodgers. I’m skeptical that the inexperienced Strief is up to the job: he’s a recently retired Saints offensive lineman, and while he’s a bright, articulate guy, he’s unqualified to be a play-by-announcer.  Of course, this is the age of the unqualified.

Our theme songs this week are variations on a dreamy themey. Patsy Cline’s Sweet Dreams was written by Don Gibson who recorded it 8 years before Patsy. Her version is the one we remember. Sweet Dreams was also the title of the fabulous Jessica Lange starring 1985 bio-pic.

Yes’ Sweet Dreams comes from their second album, Time and a Word. They were still finding their way in the musical world at that point.

Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) was a monster hit for the Eurythmics in 1983. There was an epidemic of teenage girls who cut their hair very short because they wanted to be Annie Lennox. Who could blame them?

That concludes this foray to Disambiguation City. It’s time to awaken from your dreams, sweet or otherwise, and jump to the break.

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Ron Rosenbaum On TRONC: Destroyer Of Newspapers

I realize that Athenae walks the TRONC beat around here but I felt like taking a few shots at them myself. In this case by posting two tweets from the great Ron Rosenbaum who hates everything about TRONC, especially that stupid name:

TRONC recently sold off the Los Angeles Times. The new ownership is moving the paper out of the gorgeous art deco building erected when the Chandlers owned the paper. One reason cited for the move was high rents. As a part of their asset stripping strategy, TRONC sold the building two years ago, which is why the rent got too damn high. Once they’re done firing people, they’ll do the same thing at the Daily News. Asset stripping is what these fuckers do.

That concludes this post about TRONC: Destroyer of Newspapers.

The Fog Of Scandal: The McFaul Guy Gambit

Wednesday is often referred to as Hump Day. Yesterday, Wednesday, July 18, 2018 will be remembered as a day that America was humped by its idiot president* and his criminal administration. Fuck it, strike the word humped, we were fucked. The only way the situation can be un-fucked is with massive turn out at the polls this fall. We seem to have finally hit the much ballyhooed constitutional crisis. Believe me.

The president* spent the day sowing confusion over his remarks at the infamous Helsinki presser. That’s why I call him the Kaiser of Chaos. He inches up to admitting that Russia interfered with the 2016 election but adds qualifying language because a full admission means that the Mueller probe is NOT a witch hunt. It’s why he cannot go there. His endless denials and denunciations of the investigation are signs of guilt. People with nothing to hide do not act like this.

The Failing New York Times broke a monster story on Hump Day eve. It shows why former CIA director John Brennan’s hair has been on fire. Make that would be on fire if he had hair. I still detect a faint whiff of burning edges…

Here’s the money quote:

Two weeks before his inauguration, Donald J. Trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had personally ordered complex cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election.

The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation.

Mr. Trump sounded grudgingly convinced, according to several people who attended the intelligence briefing. But ever since, Mr. Trump has tried to cloud the very clear findings that he received on Jan. 6, 2017, which his own intelligence leaders have unanimously endorsed.

By my estimation as a lapsed lawyer, this makes Trump an accessory after the fact to a criminal conspiracy. It’s time to ditch the word collusion. It’s not a legal term and it has been used to envelop the Mueller probe in the fog of uncertainty. C is for Conspiracy, not Collusion. C is also for Cover Up and Constitutional Crisis.

It’s been abundantly clear for quite some time that the president* has been compromised by the Russians. That view has finally gone mainstream after the Helsinki summit. Welcome to the fight, y’all. The acknowledgment that Trump is a wholly owned subsidiary of Vladimir Putin is more important than the details. We may not learn the nature of the kompromat for a while but once again: actions speak louder than words. I say money, you say pee tape. Let’s call the whole thing off. What would I do without Ira Gershwin?

There was a brief flurry of condemnation from GOPers after the “I don’t know why it would be Russia” outrage. Once again, it involved words, not action. Trump’s  follow-up statements were made to allow Republican office holders to crawl back under their beds and hide. There *is* political collusion between them and their dear leader. Republican Senators, even those not up for re-election, are terrified of their base, so they fall in line when they should heed Athenae’s advice and CAUCUS WITH THE DEMOCRATS.

Speaking of spineless Republicans. If former Indiana Senator and current Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coates, had any gumption he’d resign after months of disrespect from his boss. They seem to have banned gumption for the duration of the Trump era. Gumption is another word I’m trying to revive. Use it and pass it along.

One of the most sinister things to happen at the Helsinki summit was the private meeting between Trump and his spymaster. The Russian side are talking up various “agreements” between Putin and his puppet. We’ve already heard about the “incredible offer” to exchange law enforcement information. I call it the “let the fox investigate the chicken coop” offer. It’s truly an incredible offer per the second definition offered by Dictionary.com:

  1. so extraordinary as to seem impossible: incredible speed.
  2. not credible; hard to believe; unbelievable:The plot of the book is incredible.

This entire story is incredible. A book publisher would reject it out of hand as totally (another favorite Trump word) incredible.

Things got even more bizarre yesterday when Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to rule out allowing the Russians to interrogate American citizens such as former Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul. Sanders declined the offer and gave her stock ignorant reply: “I’ll get back to you on that.”

The State Department later ruled it out BUT this was a no-brainer except for this brainless administration. We do not hand over our former officials to the Russian secret police just because Putin hates them and they did not vote for Trump. As of this writing it’s unclear what the Trump regime policy is.

Hopefully, they won’t make Michael the McFaul guy. You were probably wondering when I’d circle back to the post title. I like to keep y’all off balance.

Despite Putin’s McFaul guy gambit, the Ambassador is nobody’s patsy. He’s not going down without a fight:

Upon hearing of the McFaul guy gambit, I had a shot of bourbon and tweeted this out:

The Daily Beast’s crack national security reporter, Spencer Ackerman, surveyed past and present American diplomats about the McFaul atrocity. The last word went to a current US official who used what the Grey Lady would call undiplomatic language:

The current U.S. diplomat said the openness to turning over McFaul capped off a shocking week for U.S. geopolitics.

“The president has first and foremost his interests at the top of his mind, as opposed to the government’s. That’s very clear over the past week and a half, between shitting on our NATO allies and kissing Putin’s ass,” the diplomat said. “He cares more about himself than the nation and any of us who serve it.”

The diplomat continued: “Either he’s compromised by Putin or he’s a pussy, in which case he should grab himself.”

I wish I had thought of that.

My last word goes to my countryman, Toronto Star cartoonist Theo Moudakis, who is not a malaka unlike this organ grinder and his monkey:

Projection Thy Name Is Donald

It’s tricky writing about something like the NATO summit in the Trump era. One never knows whether he’ll be satisfied with sowing chaos or will get down to some real destruction. As of this writing, it appears to be the former BUT that could change if he gets an itchy twitter trigger finger. This is no way to run a railroad, let alone an alliance.

The president* trotted out two of his personas at the summit: the Kaiser of Chaos and the Insult Comedian. He attacked Germany for having business dealings with a Russian oil company. Uh, Donny, Germany doesn’t have any oil. That’s one reason they lost World War II, which was a good thing in case you forgot what side we were on. Better yet, the Russians were our allies in that conflict. Who knew? Not Trumpy.

It was in his comments about Germany that the Insult Comedian did his projection trick. I’ll let a tweet from a friend of mine explain:

Thanks for the definition, o hairy one. Trump also said that Germany was in “Russia’s pocket.” It must be crowded in there, Donny. Perhaps Putin has a huge overcoat with massive pockets. It gets cold in the former Soviet Union even for spies who have come in from the cold and become presidents.

Getting offended is fashionable in 2018. I don’t offend  easily. But I *was* offended on behalf of Chancellor Merkel who grew up in East Germany, which was a vassal state of the Soviet Union. Why? Trump also referred to Germany as a “captive of Russia.”

Merkel’s public response was meek, which is her strategy in dealing with the Kaiser of Chaos:

“I myself experienced a part of Germany that was controlled by the Soviet Union, and I am very happy today that we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany. We decide our own policies and make our own decisions.”

I wonder if someone on Team Trump told their master that the Warsaw Pact countries were often called “captive nations” during the Cold War or if he just stumbled into that infelicitous phrase. We all know that he “don’t know much about history.”

Merkel’s handling of Trump reminds me of Muhammad Ali’s rope-a-dope strategy when he was an older boxer. Merkel is trying to wear Trump out and outlast him. It’s obvious that he has the attention span of a puppy who isn’t house broken. The stupid fucker pisses on everything in sight, after all.

Trump hasn’t the foggiest notion as to how an alliance works. Slate’s Fred Kaplan nailed it in his piece about the summit:

Trump is wrong, and dangerously so: He displays no understanding of how NATO works, no appreciation for the inherent value of the alliance, and—when it comes to his most solid complaint, the failure of most members to spend 2 percent of their GNP on defense—no awareness of what that target really means.

Trump seems to think that the members of NATO are like the tenants in one of his apartment buildings. They owe a certain amount in rent; they haven’t been paying the full amount; he’s been filling the gap; so now they need to pay him back—or else. I am not exaggerating.

Real estate developers are the worst, y’all.

The next leg of Trumpy’s travels takes him to the United Kingdom, a country with enough problems of its own as the Tory government melts down over Brexit. A normal US president might try to buck up beleaguered Prime Minister Theresa May *or* mind their own business. But the Kaiser of Chaos wants to meet with Boris Johnson who just resigned as Foreign Secretary over May’s attempt to execute a “soft Brexit.” Bozza compared selling that policy to “polishing a turd.” Perhaps he should give Sarah Huckabee Sanders some tips. Her job is all about turd polishing.

It’s scary that the NATO summit could have been worse. Trump signed the communique and declared victory even though it’s unclear what he won. He’s all about “winning.” I wonder if he’ll taunt Queen Elizabeth about England’s loss in the World Cup?

I have a suggestion for NATO member states. Remind Donald that the 2% defense spending solution was proposed by the Obama administration in 2014. It’s the surest way to get him to change what passes for his mind.

The last word goes to Athenae’s boyfriend:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Get Together

Flying Eyeball by Rick Griffin.

To say that New Orleans is a football town is a grotesque understatement. Between the Saints and LSU Tigers, gridiron love runs deep in the Crescent City. But last Monday, local sports fans were talking about the NBA Pelicans. Our local hoopsters lost 2 players to free agency: Rajon Rondo and DeMarcus (Boogie) Cousins. The latter Boogied to the Warriors and the surly Rondo signed with the Lakers. I was one of the few  local hoops fans to take this in stride. Rondo was a team leader last year after 12 years as a locker room cancer and occasional gay basher. Boogie Cousins had a torn ACL, which is an injury that usually diminishes big men when they return. I had a torn ACL myself. It ended my unpromising career as a little leaguer. So it goes.

In other local news, new Mayor LaToya Cantrell continues her incomprehensible PR campaign:

I still haven’t the foggiest notion as to what “being intentional” means. Of course, I may just be unintentionally dim. I had an intentionally amusing twitter exchange inspired by the Mayor’s tweet. Two of my twitter friends evoked the image of Matt Foley, Chris Farley’s failed motivational speaker, culminating in this tweet from my old pal Liprap:

This week’s theme song is a bona fide hippie anthem. Get Together was written by Dino Valenti who is best known as lead singer for Quicksilver Messenger Service. Valenti was a man of many names: he was born Chester Powers and also wrote songs as Jesse Orris Farrow.

We have three versions of Get Together for your listening pleasure. First, the Youngbloods, a band so hippie dippy that their keyboard player was nicknamed Banana, followed by the pre-Grace Slick Jefferson Airplane, and a recent live version by Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore.

In case you’re wondering, the featured image is by Rick Griffin who was one of the legendary Sixties rock poster artists. The image itself was originally on a poster for a Youngbloods show at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco.

Now that we’ve discussed the Flying Eyeball, let’s make like Evel Knievel and jump to the break.

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Civility Is Overrated

Anyone with a pulse should recognize that we’re going through another IOKIYAR moment. Republicans and their allies in the MSM as well as some spineless liberal pundits are lecturing us about manners and civility. It’s particularly rich when the party in power is led by the crudest and rudest president* since Andrew Johnson. We’re being told that manners are for Democrats and that it’s RUDER for Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be refused service in an eatery than for the Trump regime to imprison children. Once again: IOKIYAR.

I, for one, refuse to be lectured by the followers of a president* who sucks up to dictators while attacking our friends and allies. The rationale for tariffs against the best neighbor in the world, Canada, is national security. Justin Trudeau is a threat to our national security? Imagine if Barack Obama had insulted Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper in this manner when they were both in office. The outrage on the right would have exceeded Tan Suitgate. Once again: IOKIYAR.

The Insult Comedian’s persistent racism has inspired his supporters to go after religious, ethnic, and racial minorities. It’s become commonplace to hear of insults being thrown at people of color but when Maxine Waters attacks Donald Trump that’s out-of-bounds incivility. Once again: IOKIYAR.

Some intrepid soul on twitter dug up an article detailing how Paul Ryan celebrated a baker who refused to serve Joe Biden during the 2012 election.  The same Paul Ryan is lecturing us about civility. All hail the Miss Manners of Wisconsin. Once again: IOKIYAR.

Then there’s former Nixon and Reagan aide David Gergen who I thought had been put out to pasture long ago,

Since rampant both-siderism has broken out, I have an example from each side back then. On the right, Bull Connor sicced dogs on children protesting for civil rights in Birmingham, Alabama. On the left, a favorite chant of anti-war protesters was: “Hey, hey, LBJ. How many kids did you kill today?”

Sounds like incivility to me, but what do I know? I didn’t write dog-whistle laden speeches for Tricky Dick, which somehow makes Gergen an expert on civility.

I am in favor of civility in the abstract. I used to be able to discuss politics with conservative friends and relations without drawing blood. That started eroding when Bush the younger was president and ground to a full-stop when those folks wouldn’t admit racism was a factor in Obama derangement syndrome on the right.

There’s been plenty of incivility from the right in my lifetime. Those of us who opposed the Iraq War were accused of siding with terrorists and opposing the troops. The same bunch wants us to be civil in the face of children being torn apart from their parents; a policy that even Laura Bush finds rude. As they say across the pond, BOLLOCKS.

The MSM, Republicans, and their fellow travelers among the liberal punditocracy are using the word civility as a wet blanket to smother dissent. Genuine civility is based on mutual respect as opposed to unilateral verbal disarmament.

I think Amanda Marcotte summed it up nicely on the tweeter tube:

Civility is overrated. I’ll take honesty over hypocritical “niceness” any day.

Repeat after me: IOKIYAR.

Saturday Odds & Sods: The Day I Get Home

Fantastic Landscape (Volcano Erupting) by David Alfaro Siquerios.

Our visit to Virginia was a quickie. One of the highlights came on the return trip when we met longtime First Draft readers Lex and Carroll Alexander for lunch. We rendezvoused at Stamey’s in Greensboro, NC and ate the food of their people: barbecue. The meal included perhaps the best peach cobbler I’ve ever had. A good time was had by all but I’m afraid Carroll and I did most of the talking. She has family roots in the Gret Stet of Louisiana and I was eager to untangle them. Nosy might be a better word, but it’s always fun to learn someone has Momus/Comus/Proteus old line krewe types in the family. You never know what happens when you give someone’s family tree a shake. All sorts of oddities are likely to fall out.

On a weird note, I got into a twitter slagging match last week with a Gret Stet legislator’s wife. My crime was criticizing her hubby’s voting record. She was not amused and he contacted me by DM. “Perfection” is a terrible burden and they don’t carry it well. #sarcasm. I wound up inviting them to a “block party” so the fight would end. I’m not sure why they think fighting with citizens is a good move but they do.  I’m not the first person to have this experience and won’t be the last. Weird, weird, weird.

This week’s theme song wedged itself in my head on our trip home. The title is a minor misnomer  as we got home last Sunday. The very Beatlesque The Day I Get Home was written by Difford and Tilbrook for 1991’s Play album. We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the original studio recording and a swell live performance.

Now that we’ve trekked home, it’s time to jump to the break without crash landing. Knock on wood or some such superstitious shit.

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Scott Pruitt: Chickenshit Grifter

I’m sure you’ve all heard about Scott Pruitt having an aide badger Chik-fil-A into giving his wife a franchise. Hey, they’ll need an income when Scotty stops grifting the EPA. It’s gotten so bad that Gret Stet Senator John Neely Kennedy publicly urged Scotty to “stop acting like a moron.” The national media has learned what the Louisiana press has known for years: Neely likes spouting off on teevee and usually has a corny one-liner saved up. If he weren’t a Republican, I might offer to supply him with some Neelyisms but he is so I won’t. Besides, I’m not adept at Hee Haw humor.

Back to Scott Pruitt. The reason I call him a chickenshit grifter is that he’s fond of grifting relatively small amounts aka chickenfeed or chickenshit. He’s even been asked to stop messing up the White House mess by eating there so much. Yo, Scotty: pay your tab, it’s only 400 bucks.  In short, this is chickenshit grifting at its smallest and pettiest. Avarice thy name is Scotty.

I was astonished when this tweet landed on my timeline:

I checked to make sure this was an genuine Fox News feed. It is indeed and it’s actually “fair and balanced.” I didn’t know they were allowed to criticize Scotty. This could be a signal to the Insult Comedian that it’s time to stop watching Scotty grift. Grift, Scotty, grift.

One would think that, as a major criminal, Trump would be offended by the picayune and penny-ante antics of Scotty. They’re both grifters but Scotty is strictly small time. He’s hanging on because the president* likes his terrible policies but he can turn on a dime; just ask Trudeau or Macron. I wonder when Scotty will ask for a pardon. Let’s start the countdown…

Whenever I think of Chik-fil-A, I think of this masterful float by the Krewe du Vieux sub-kreme, Seeds of Decline, as well as this photo by my erstwhile nemesis, Michael Homan.

Photograph by Michael Homan.

Since I refuse to give Homan the last word, I might as well expel this disgusting earworm from my head.

One of these days I’ll write new lyrics and transform that horrendous tune  into Watching Scotty Grift. There could even be an alternate version, Watching Scotty Blow.

The answer, my friend, is grifting in the wind, the answer is grifting in the wind.

You Say Jungle Primary, I Say Open Primary

There’s even a third alternative used to describe electoral systems such as California and the Gret Stet of Louisiana: top two. I prefer open but hate the system itself. It led to much advance agita about yesterday’s election in California. There is rare good news: Democrats were NOT locked out of any Congressional primaries. A collective sigh of relief was heaved, otherwise we might have hurled.

I admit that I was surprised when California adopted an open primary system via ballot initiative in 2011. No state should emulate Gret Stet politics but they did. At least the California lege can pass a budget, which ours cannot do as I pointed out on the tweeter tube:

The premise of the open/jungle/top two primary is that the role of political parties should be limited. It’s a deeply silly goo-goo notion. Repeat after me: You can’t take politics out of politics. It’s the system that gave Louisiana the run-off from hell in 1991: the Charming Crook versus the Kreepy Klansman. Mercifully, things turned out well yesterday despite this goofy system. The best way to check the Kaiser of Chaos is to retake the House and unleash the subpoena power. Then Scott Pruitt will really have to go to the mattresses.

The teevee punditocracy insist on calling the open/top two system the jungle primary. It has the virtue of being dramatic, it certainly beats the hell out of a *fourth* term of art: non-partisan blanket primary. I hate to be a wet blanket but that sounds like a dull and wonky slumber party.

Jungle primary is a meaningless term that must have been dreamt up by someone who watched too many Tarzan movies on teevee as a kid. I watched a few of those fakakta flicks on TCM recently and I cannot decide if they’re from hunger or campy fun. Tarzan even fights the Nazis in a couple of war-time entries. Tarzan good, Nazis bad.

The news from New Jersey was also pretty darn good. Democrats have an excellent chance to flip four seats held by the GOP. There’s even a rising star in the bunch:  former Navy pilot Mikie Sherrill who’s also a graduate of the Naval Academy.

It was a another good night for Democrats. Turn-out was good and the enthusiasm gap was visible; something the inside the beltway pundit class continues to have a hard time spotting. I think Nate Silver nailed it:

They’d rather beat the drums for jungle primaries. You say jungle primary, I say open primary. Let’s call the whole thing off.

What would I do without Ira Gershwin? Or Ella and Louis for that matter:

It’s Good To Be Kaiser

The Kaiser of Chaos was feeling feisty this morning. He tweeted out a preposterous assertion of executive authority:

So, why tweet this if you’re a not guilty man? (Like “collusion,” “innocent” is not a legal term of art: please substitute “conspiracy” and “not guilty.”) Something big is going on behind the scenes right now. This is the latest in a long line of panic tweets sent by the man who thinks he’s dictator. He’s a dictator in his mind only but the public needs to pay careful attention when he gets like this.

Trump’s plan is to live and die by the tweeter tube so it’s only fitting to post a twitter riposte to the president*:

I’ve complained before about amateur internet and cable teevee lawyers. Trumpy is by far the worst of the bunch. Frankly, his real lawyers aren’t much better after that fakakata memo they sent to team Mueller asserting that it’s legal for the president* to shit on the constitution and wipe his ass with the bill of rights. And of course Mayor Noun Verb 9/11 has been all over teevee belching and farting smoke. I’ve come to the conclusion that Rudy and Trumpy are the same dude. Heckuva job, Rudy.

Very few genuine legal eagles think that Team Trump’s claims hold any water. If they did, we’d already be living in a dictatorship instead of watching a pre-Great War style autocratic hereditary monarchy creep up on us. There are signs of it every day; particularly in the admonitions to exempt Trump’s family from criticism and scrutiny. His son-in-law and daughter are White House aides so they’re fair game. Junior and Eric have big mouths so they are too. I feel sorry for Melania and cannot blame her for disappearing. Lord, what a family.

Back to legal scholars. I’d like to direct your attention to two op-ed pieces in today’s Failing New York Times. The first by a Democrat: former Deputy Attorney General and US Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Harry Litman. The second piece is by former Reagan and Poppy Bush White House counsel, Douglas Kmiec. who deftly lays out precedents on executive power. Holy bipartianship, Batman.

There are also some swell pieces at Slate. The first by Jed Shugerman posits that Trump’s lawyers seem to have admitted that he obstructed justice. It’s a detailed essay so you should read it for yourself but it’s as convincing as hell. We already knew that a legal team featuring Jay Sekulow, Rudy Giuliani, and the departed John Dowd was not ready for prime time. The Shugerman piece confirms that belief.

Finally, the divine Dahlia Lithwick conducts an extended interview with Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe; known to our readers as Larrrr-eeee Tryyyyyy-buh. Tribe and Dahlia both urge Democrats to avoid “magical thinking” and understand the limits of what can be accomplished by Team Mueller, impeachment, and the 25th amendment.

These are perilous times. We have a petulant president* who believes that he is above the law. He’s surrounded by yes men and women who only tell him what he wants to hear. He conducts himself like a medeval monarch dispensing justice to his followers and denying it to his opponents. I’m fond of the Kaiser Wilhelm II analogy because *that* fucking moron was deposed at the end of the Great War. Like Trump, he was an arrested adolescent who fled to Holland to avoid being arrested. I wonder if they’d take Trumpy in? Not bloody likely.

One more tweet before we go. If only the Kaiser of Chaos would listen to Jerry Ford:

For the record, Ford’s Attorney General, Edward Levi, was the one who cleaned house at the Justice Department after Watergate. It’s his legacy of apolitical justice that’s under attack by the Kaiser of Chaos and the Duke of Deception, Rudy Giuliani.

The last word goes to the late Tom Petty. All you have to do is substitute Kaiser for King:

What About Me?

The president* has broken his silence about the Roseanne shitshow. He’s demanding an apology from ABC for every time they hurt his feelings. I am not making this up:

He even had his horrible press secretary demand an apology from Disney and ABC.  I’ve mocked this president* many times at First Draft so I have an apology for him. I’m sorry for saying that you wear a dead nutria pelt atop your head. The apology is to nutrias. I should be careful about the whole guilt-by-association thing.

In many ways, Trump is the ultimate twitter person. One of his few talents is an eerie ability to make everything about himself. We learned on Monday that Memorial Day is all about him.  Today it’s the Roseanne mishigas. What’s next? Independence Day? Yom Kippur? Ramadan?

It’s time to drop Ambien and play some Robert Cray in order to thwart the racist side effects of that drug.

Ambien Tweeting With Roseanne

I realize that some readers are rolling their eyes because I’m writing about the Roseanne freak show instead of more important matters. There’s been much tut-tutting about this on twitter, the home of overblown outrage and serial dumbassery. I’m multi-tasking: I *could* write about the latest wave of Trump scandals or horrible behavior by the president* but that’s what he wants us to do. As a creature of the New York tabloids, he thinks that all publicity is good. He’s a news cycle shark, convinced he’ll die if he’s not on page one every minute. I don’t feel like playing right now. I suspect I will soon enough. Like Levi Stubbs, I can’t help myself.

Yesterday’s psycho drama was both surprising and not surprising at all. Roseanne Barr has *always* been a horrible person. It’s why I rarely watched her original sitcom despite my fondness for John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, and Darlene Gilbert. It’s why I haven’t watched the reboot. Additionally, her voice is annoying and she isn’t funny. Nobody should be surprised that she had a public meltdown and fired off a racist tweet about former President Obama’s right hand woman, Valerie Jarrett. In typical Roseanne fashion, it was the crudest insult imaginable as well as the stalest stereotype possible. Repeat after me: she’s not funny.

The surprise yesterday came from ABC. I *assumed* that high ratings would trump everything else and that they’d muddle through after the self-described “domestic goddess” apologized on twitter. I was wrong: ABC fired her bigoted ass. Score one for diversity: ABC President Channing Dungey, who is an African-American woman, wasn’t having it.  Given Barr’s dreadful track record, it was obvious that this would happen again and again and again. Her racism is the gift that keeps giving. Racism isn’t funny and neither is Roseanne Barr.

While ABC deserves kudos for giving the reboot the boot, they shouldn’t have brought Roseanne back in the first place. In the pre-social media era, the star’s malakatude was containable. In 2018, this sort of meltdown was inevitable. Besides, she’s not funny.

My favorite part of the Tuesday shitshow was Barr’s claim that she was leaving twitter, which was followed by a tweet and retweet storm. This instant classic was deleted by the former teevee star:

The tweeter tube is a dangerous place for people without impulse control. If you’re either well-known enough or a big enough asshole, it doesn’t matter if you delete, it will be screen shot and live forever. One thing I agree with Roseanne on, she *is* an idiot as well as a selfish creep: 300 people associated with her show were laid off yesterday. That’s not funny and neither is Roseanne Barr.

Saturday Odds & Sods: A Mess Of Blues

The Star by Benny Andrews.

There’s a system forming in the Gulf, which has led to the inevitable widespread panic on social media. And I’m not talking about the jam band either. It’s a bit early for this but when did the weather care what I thought? I do wish people would stop Chicken Little-ing. That never makes anything better.  Ya heard?

Dr. A and I celebrated our anniversary at one of our favorite local eateries, Gabrielle Restaurant. It’s a reboot of the beloved restaurant owned and operated by Greg and Mary Sonnier before Katrina. They revived it some 12 years after the original Mystery Street location flooded. The food is fabulous and the new space on Orleans Avenue is warm and inviting. Grace and I know Mary and her charming daughter (some would say clone) Gabie aka the girl for whom the joint is named. Put it at the top of your list the next time you’re looking for a great meal and fabulous service in New Orleans. Greg is one of the best chefs in the Gret Stet of Louisiana and that’s saying something. That concludes this brief commercial announcement. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

This week’s theme song was written in 1960 by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman for Elvis Presley. It was the b-side of It’s Now Or Never but it also charted at number 32 in the US and number 2 in the UK. It was recorded at the same time as Elvis’ post-army comeback LP Elvis Is Back but was not included on the original album, a common practice in those days: you wanted the kids to buy both the 33 and 45. Colonel Parker knew how to shake down the suckers, y’all.

We have two versions of A Mess of Blues for your listening pleasure: the Elvis original and a 1995 cover from the great John Hiatt.

Now that we’ve messed around with the blues, let’s jump to the break.

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The Latest Etiquette Food Fight

You’ve surely all heard about the latest Trump administration controversy. There was a leak of a bad “joke” by a communications staffer, Kelly Sadler, who said that what John McCain thought about the Haspel nomination was irrelevant because “he’s dying anyway.” The national knickers immediately went into a twist because of this latest example of bad manners by Team Trump. Hence the post title.

Here’s the real question about the latest etiquette food fight: why is anyone surprised and why should anyone expect an apology from an administration headed by the vulgarian-in-chief? There’s a reason I call the president* the Insult Comedian: he spends most of his time saying and doing horrible things. It’s contagious and has spread down the chain of command like herpes. This isn’t the first time someone on Team Trump has violated the unwritten rules of human decency and it won’t be the last. But this isn’t even close to the worst thing they’ve said or, more importantly, done.

Let me make it clear: I don’t think it’s funny to mock a dying man. It’s beyond gauche, but it’s nothing compared to past things said on the record by Republicans about *another* war hero as these tweets from Athenae in response to Steve Schmidt made clear:

This exchange pinpoints one of the problems with Never Trump Republicans such as Schmidt and the Mittbot. They spend most of their time complaining about Trump’s manners. I agree that they’re horrible. He reminds me of an unfixed male dog marking the national living room, culminating in an exuberant dump on the rug. BUT that’s not the worst thing about this administration, it’s their policies, stupid. Watch what they do, not what they say. They lie like a shit-stained rug, after all.

Everyone seems to have forgotten that the unfunny wisecrack was prompted by McCain’s opposition to Haspel’s nomination as CIA director because of TORTURE sanctioned by Team Bush-Cheney. By all accounts, George W. Bush has good manners but he lied his way into war, crashed the economy, vilified his opponents, and generally made a mess of things. The mere fact that he knows which fork to use is irrelevant. Watch what administrations do, not what they say.

In addition to advocating the return of torture, Team Trump wants to take health care away from millions of Americans, separate immigrant children from their parents, slash disability payments, privatize the VA, destroy the EPA, and on and on and on. It’s a parade of policy horribles that most Never Trump Republicans support. Remember: Trump does not give a shit about policy, that has been sub-contracted to the hard right-wing of the GOP. That’s why “nice and polite” Paul Ryan still supports Trump: he’s furthering Ryan’s Randian agenda.

Even if the Sadler-sack communications aide apologizes, it shouldn’t matter. The etiquette food fight will go on as long as the Insult Comedian’s rude misrule continues. He may end up being replaced by “polite” Mike Pence but the rude policies will endure. Watch what they do, not what they say.