Category Archives: Twitter

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.

The Latest Trump Dignity Wraith

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: everyone who gets involved with Donald Trump gets slimed. The latest example is Admiral/Doctor Ronny Jackson who had a reputation as a competent doctor and a nice guy during the Bush and Obama administrations. That began to change when he gave a preposterous briefing about Trump’s health. Then came his nomination to run the Veterans Administration, which is a nearly impossible job given the competing interest groups and the size of the agency.

Tonight there’s breaking news that could derail the nomination altogether:

The ranking Democrat on the Senate Veterans Affairs committee is reviewing allegations he’s hearing about Ronny Jackson, the White House physician and President Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. It was unclear late Monday whether the Senate panel would postpone Jackson’s confirmation hearing, which was scheduled for Wednesday, in light of stories about the nominee told by current or former White House medical staff.

Sources familiar with the tales say that Tester’s staff is reviewing multiple allegations of a “hostile work environment.” The accusations include “excessive drinking on the job, improperly dispensing meds,” said one of the people familiar, who was granted anonymity to speak frankly about the situation. The other people familiar with the stories also confirmed those details.

If proven true, “it’ll sink his nomination,” said one of the sources.

This is what happens when you nominate someone without any vetting. There was no interview, no nothing, just a presidential* gut instinct that he liked Admiral/Doctor Jackson and that somehow made him qualified to run a massive bureaucracy. Trump’s gut may be large but his instincts are terrible. The incompetence, it burns.

I considered stealing a line from a tweet by Steven Beschloss, brother of historian Michael, but decided that was too Trumpian:

Excessive drinking can definitely make one hostile. The irony is that none of the post-Nixon presidents have been known as heavy drinkers. The last presidents to drink with their White House physician were FDR and Harry Truman and they were only occasionally hostile. Hostility is Trump’s speciality.

It looks as if Admiral/Doctor Jackson is the latest Trump dignity wraith. Stay tuned.

Tenure: Thanks for fucking it up for everybody else

I’ve written before here about the fundamental misunderstanding most people have about tenure, including why it matters, how it works and what it’s supposed to provide. The simplest explanation is that tenure guarantees educators and scholars at institutions of higher education the right to fearlessly challenge convention within a field, seek scholarship in areas that might not jibe with social norms and conduct research in ways their expertise dictates is necessary and valuable.

It’s not meant to protect you when you act like a dick.

Unfortunately, the public seems to think that tenure does this, which is why they’re constantly looking for ways to eliminate it. The term “life time employment” is bandied about whenever tenure is discussed, as is the idea of ivory towers, elitism and generally haughty assholes.

And, again, when people like Randa Jarrar and John McAdams are in the news, it’s easy to see why the public thinks this way.

Jarrar, a creative-writing professor at Fresno State, took to Twitter in the wake of Barbara Bush’s death to call her “racist” and accuse her of having raised “a war criminal.” (I’m assuming she meant Millie, but I could be wrong.)

barbara

She then followed up with this gem:

In another tweet, the professor wrote: “I’m happy the witch is dead. can’t wait for the rest of her family to fall to their demise the way 1.5 million iraqis have. byyyeeeeeee.”

Of course, everything is subtle and nuanced on Twitter, so she completely solved the problem of a grieving nation in less than 280 characters…

Or, a large group of angry Twitter users started spreading this dung pile like Nutella all over the place, allowing CAPS LOCK NATION to come flailing at this educator.

And of course, because Twitter is a place of reason, logic and decency, Jarrar said she understood their point, she did not wish to continue the argument and she quietly let the issue die…

OR, she decided to fuck with each and every one of them over and over again, including posting what was supposedly her private phone number, but actually turned out to be a suicide prevention hotline in Arizona. This led to CAPS LOCK NATION flooding the center with threatening calls and preventing actual work from getting done, so that was helpful…

Still, of all the stupid shit that came out of this, the one that really had me considering a CAPS LOCK NATION MEMBERSHIP CARD was her mention that she had tenure and then this:

“I will never be fired.”

Fresno State says it’s “looking into the matter” which means that six people are now in a room going, “So… that happened…” Still, it’s better than what Marquette University is dealing with this week, thanks to an angry tenured professor on the other end of the political spectrum.

John McAdams is the poli sci prof and “everybody’s asshole grandpa in every bad comedy film” who used his blog as a cudgel against colleagues and foes alike. The university had a stack of paper on this guy dating back to the Clinton administration, all of which basically demonstrating he’s the exact reason people think tenure is a “Designated Asshole Pass.”

The U apparently found the straw that broke the camel’s back in McAdams’ post about a grad student teaching a class, in which a conservative student voiced an opinion the instructor found to be homophobic. McAdams posted about her by name and apparently encouraged people to “let your voice be heard,” which is a great code phrase for “break out the caps lock and call her a whore.” He apparently also was hostile to her, to the point where she dropped out of her program and finished elsewhere.

MU suspended McAdams and he’s now at the state’s Supreme Court, suing to get his job back. His argument is that tenure protects him and that his “free speech” on the blog should not allow for retaliation. (Point of order: Marquette is a private school, so this gets even weirder, as the court is clearly figuring out…)

So, to recap, two people who have diametrically opposing belief systems and who teach in two fields that just scream to John Q. Public “If my kid majors in this, he’s never getting a fucking job,” are espousing their rights to be assholes. They also are arguing their dickish behavior is protected by tenure so, “neener, neener, neeeeennnerrr…”

And academics wonder why people hate us…

Tenure is supposed to be a shield against the encroachment of external forces as we use our expertise to find out greater truths and research complex problems that may go against the societal grain. Running your mouth on social media and then hiding behind your “big friend” isn’t what anyone had in mind for this thing. Even more, all it does is really fuck over the rest of us who are actually doing those things and understand there is a concept called objective reality, something you bypassed long ago.

We’re like the people who are in a fraternity who have good GPAs, do good philanthropy work and then have to explain, “No, we’re not those idiots from Syracuse.” No matter what we say, people are still giving us the stink eye.

So, on behalf of the actual working scholars, academics and people who teach without managing to say shit like “y’know what’s wrong with the Coloreds these days,” I’d like to thank professors Jarrar and McAdams and others who think tenure is a lifetime “get out of fuckups free card,” thank you for fucking this up for the rest of us.

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Shoot Out The Lights

Deux Fois du Noir by Yves Tanguy

We resume our regularly scheduled programming after my Wag The Dog Incoherently post. Somebody’s gotta be normal in these abnormal times.

It’s been an interesting week in New Orleans. A 4,200 gallon oil spill isn’t huge by oil industry standards but it’s stinky enough that residents are raising a stink about it. A good thing: minor oil spills are way of life on the Big Muddy, which could be re-nicknamed the Big Oily or Big Greasy. Either way it’s not good. It’s actually diesel fuel. Vin Diesel was unavailable for comment…

The big local story this week was the sale of Gambit Weekly to the Advocate. Because of savvy management by owners Margot and Clancy DuBos, Gambit is one of the few alt-weeklies that has thrived in the internet era. The deal includes retention of Gambit’s crack editorial team including my friend Kevin Allman as editor. (In the interests of full disclosure, Clancy is also a friend.) Kevin helped bring the publication into online era, which made it an attractive proposition to the Advocate. One reason for the staff retention is that Advocate publisher Dan Shea was purged by the Picayune and has some empathy for other journalists. Imagine that. Besides, the Gambit staff is as talented as all get out. As far as I’m concerned, this is good news as it will allow Gambit to survive in a tough environment for alt-weeklies. Here’s hoping that the Advocate people will keep their word about letting Gambit be Gambit. So far, the signs are good.

This week’s theme song is the title track of one of the greatest break-up albums of all-time. It’s eerie to hear Linda Thompson sing sad songs written by her soon-to-be ex-husband. Shoot Out The Lights has developed into one of the signature songs of Richard Thompson’s live set. We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the original and a swell cover by Los Lobos.

Now we’ve shot out the lights, let’s take a shot at jumping to the break.

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Tweets Of The Week: Laura Ingraham Edition

I usually dislike the new-ish twitter feature that places items liked by your followers on your timeline, but there’s an exception to every rule. This exchange landed on my feed courtesy of my buddy Monkeyfister:

I considered just stealing the jokes, but I didn’t want to shock the Monkeyfister to life.

Stormy Sunday: An Interesting Anticlimax

The tweeter tube was wild before Anderson Cooper’s interview with Stormy Daniels aired. They were impatient with the Kansas-Duke overtime whereas I was thrilled to watch Coach Buy-A-Vowel suffer after screwing up at the end of regulation by not calling a time-out. Coach K struck out.

The hype over AC/Stormy was overwhelming. There was no way it could have lived up to expectations greater than Pip’s and it did not. I was underwhelmed by the hype. I hate hype and always view it with skepticism.

People were hoping that the Stormy/Stephanie interview would be the magic bullet that would slay the monster. It was not, unless that is, Michael Cohen is the monster you had in mind. CBS has reported Trump and his Fixer dined at the White House the night before the interview. Presumably, Cohen ate well-done steak and kissed Don Donaldo Il Insulto Comico’s ring as well as his copious rump. Cohen will continue to maintain his Don had nothing to with the hush money. Nobody will believe him. He’s the perfect patsy.

As to the interview itself, not much new news was made but Stormy/Stephanie was very impressive. She came off more like the madam in a Western than a stripper/porn actress. I’m not sure if she was more  Joanie Stubbs in Deadwood or Miss Kitty in Gunsmoke:

Whatever she is, Stormy/Stephanie was impressive and, more importantly, credible. Her portrayal of Trump as a buffoonish blowhard rang true and she didn’t overstate. I suspect some people hoped that she’d denounce him as a monster and the worst president* ever but that would not have been as effective.

Trump comes off as pitiful. He’s definitely got the worst and creepiest pickup line of all-time: “You remind me of my daughter.” He deserved the spanking he got from her just for that line.

I admit to hoping that Stephanie/Stormy would show a bill from an abortion provider that was paid for by Donald Trump. The only new news was this description of the wise guy style threat she received in Vegas, baby:

Daniels said she was on her way to a fitness class with her infant daughter in Las Vegas when she was accosted in the parking lot.

“A guy walked up on me and said to me, ‘Leave Trump alone. Forget the story.’ And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, ‘That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.’ And then he was gone,” she said.

This sounds like something Cohen would hire someone to do but he’s denied it and she, quite rightly, did not tie it to Trump’s Fixer. The Fixer’s lawyer sent a cease and desist letter to Stormy/Stephanie, which will be ignored. Along with flawed non-disclosure agreements, cease and desist letters are a dime-a-dozen in Trumpworld,

I’m not sure where this story goes next. Team Stormy was wise to put her on 60 Minutes, which shows that she’s not in it for a quick pay-off. I don’t think it’s going to cost Trump the support of the horny louts who comprise a slice of his base base. It’s part of the steady drip, drip, drip of scandal. It’s certainly easier for people to understand than Kremlingate. Up to now, the volume of scandals has helped Trump but in the long run, the fog of scandal may prove to be his undoing.

Finally, my favorite part of AC/Stormy fest was when she described Trump watching Shark Week on teevee during their second meeting. I’d like to thank the good people at Slate’s Brow Beat for figuring out which episode it was.

I’m pretty sure Trump identifies with the shark. The problem for him is that the real shark in this case is Team Stormy’s Michael Avenatti, not Michael Cohen who is a fixer, not a litigator. This brings to mind a classic lawyer joke:

Why won’t a shark attack a lawyer swimming in the ocean?
Professional courtesy.

First Draft Potpourri: Carrey On, Wayward Sons

There’s something about Surrealist art that fits our moment in time. Surrealism came of age during the 1920’s and ’30’s in Europe. They were crazy times with rampant political instability after what one historian called The Fall of Eagles, I’d call it the overthrow of stupid hereditary monarchies who lost the Great War. Of course, what followed was worse: Nazism in Germany and Bolshevism in Russia. Things can always get worse, y’all. They can also get better. It’s why I’m a political surrealist nowadays. It’s a survival tactic.

Surrealism was not an overtly political movement: there were right-wing surrealists-Dali and di Chirico-and left-wing surrealists such as Max Ernst who came to America as a political refugee from Nazi Germany. That’s a long-winded explanation for why I’ve used an Ernst collage as the featured art for this feature in the past, and today am using a Magritte painting that I’ve nicknamed the Dumbbell Caveman, which is perfect for the Current Occupant. Believe me.

I should apologize for going down that rabbit hole but I enjoyed it too much to grovel in the gravel as it were. Or was it a Bungle In The Jungle? Now that we’ve reached daylight, let’s get on with it. We begin by kinda sorta explaining the post title.

Carrey On, Wayward Son: I’ll explain the plural “sons” in the next segment. Jim Carrey won the tweeter tube this week. The boneless comedian turns out to be a pretty good artist: human toon as cartoonist. His caricature of dread White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, raised some hackles on the right:

Carrey captured Huck’s horrible spawn’s inner ugliness quite well. Wingnuts and the flying monkeys of the right were not amused. Fuck them sideways, they’re the ones who are forever commenting on people’s appearances.

Speaking of flying monkeys:

It’s a pity that the body politic can’t melt its way out of this mess. Alas, Trumpy still has the ruby slippers on or, in his case, the overlong red tie. I guess Fred Trump was too busy practicing housing discrimination to teach Donald how to tie a necktie. Dude, it’s way too long and points at your teeny tiny weenie. Not a good look.

Before ending this segment, let’s take a trip to Kansas:

I always thought the title of this tune was Carry On My Wayward Son. My, my, my. Unlike the Insult Comedian, I learn something new every day. My, my, my.

It’s time to explain the plural “sons” in the post title, as if anyone but me gives a shit. Hint: it involves the Biden-Trump mishigas. They’re the wayward sons in question. My, my, my.

Septuagenarian Smackdown: The president* was in full-tilt WWE wrestling villain mode this morning in response to comments by former Veep Joe Biden:

The most amusing aspect of this stupid spat is that the Failing New York Times covered it in vintage Gray Lady fashion:

Mr. Biden, speaking at a University of Miami rally to combat sexual assault, said, “A guy who ended up becoming our national leader said, ‘I can grab a woman anywhere and she likes it,’ ” according to an Associated Press report. Mr. Biden was referring to an Access Hollywood audio recording in which Mr. Trump is heard boasting about kissing and groping women without their consent. Mr. Biden continued, “If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.”

The back-and-forth blustering between two men in their 70s comes a day after Mr. Trump criticized two of his predecessors, Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, for not being able to improve relations with Russia. And Mr. Trump is facing revived sexual misconduct accusations after a New York state judge ruled that a defamation lawsuit from a woman who has said Mr. Trump made unwanted sexual advances could go forward.

Remember when the right-wing media called Barack Obama’s tan summer suit unpresidential? Not only is this tirade unpresidential, it’s straight out of Dumb and Dumber  or is that Stupid and Stupider?

It’s not exactly presidential for Joey the Shark to talk about opening a can of whoop ass on Trumpy but he’s *our* grumpy old man. I guess that makes him Jack Lemmon. That means Walter Matthau is Trump. I’d like to apologize to the late actor’s family for that analogy. Perhaps I can make up for that by re-posting this image from The Sunshine Boys:

Speaking of unvicepresidential, this 1976 picture of Nelson Rockefeller still floats my boat:

I believe the MSM referred to this as an “untoward gesture.” Rocky was flipping off right-wing hecklers.  And now we have a cartoon villain for president* who panders to the folks who hated his fellow wealthy New Yorker. Oy, just oy.

Let’s circle back to my wee essay on Surrealist artists and give Paul Simon, Rene and Georgette Magritte and their dog the last word:

When Scandals Collide

I’ve considered starting a regular feature: the scandal of the week. The problem with that notion is that it’s more like the scandal of the day, hour, or second. There are so many Trump administration* scandals, that my head is spinning like Linda Blair’s in The Exorcist:

We’ll skip the projectile vomiting GIF even though Team Trump makes me wanna hurl.

One of the funnier minor scandals is brain-dead retired brain surgeon Dr. Ben Carson’s $31K table at HUD. He’s acting like a character in a sitcom and blaming his wife. You cannot make this shit up, y’all.

This tweet from a Herriman biographer and Laissez Boy Michael Tisserand sums it up:

Of course, Ralph Kramden was smarter than Ben Carson. I’ve decided Dr. Ben is a surgical savant. The man is a blithering idiot in the rest of life. He should heed my advice in this post from 2015: Brain Surgeon, Heal Thyself. I lied about the advice thing. I mocked him relentlessly in that piece. Trumper mendacity appears to be contagious.

Looks like I got sidetracked by what is best described as a brain surgeon fart. The focus of this post is *supposed* to be the two scandals that are consuming the president*: Kremlingate and the Stephanie Clifford Shitstormy. You can tell that Trumpy has retreated to the panic room of his mind when he attacks Hillary Clinton and tweets WITCH HUNT, WITCH HUNT. Insult Comedian meet Kaiser of Chaos.

Trump knows from witch hunters, his mentor the dread, as well as dead, Roy Cohn was Tailgunner Joe McCarthy’s sidekick. Cohn may have been an evil asshole but he was an excellent lawyer as opposed to the misfits, has-beens, never-wases, and wannabes Trump has assembled.  There’s been tremendous turmoil and tumult on Trump’s legal team: they’re playing T-Ball while Team Mueller is playing hardball. It’s been hilarious to watch Dowdy, the Mustache Man, and company bumble. Making matters worse, Trump has added Fox News conspiracy theorist Joseph  diGenova to the team; mostly because he saw him lying on Fox and Friends or some such shit. Shit meet storm.

In the Stormy Daniels case, Trump’s mouthy fixer, Michael Cohen, is up against a superb lawyer, Michael Avenatti. Cohen and his idiot client have stumbled into every trap laid by the cunning Avenatti. The non-disclosure agreement was supposed to keep Trump out of it by calling him David Dennison: chili magnet. Instead, Trumpy filed a massive counter-suit thereby outing himself. Dumbass.

Like Putin, Stormy/Stephanie must have some serious dirt on Trump or he wouldn’t be fighting back so hard. We all know that the overgrown, brain addled frat boys who make up much of Trump’s base envy his affairs with porn stars and Playboy playmates. My hunch is that he’s one of those rich guys who’s submissive and likes his bum bashed. That would not go down well with his debased base who mysteriously think this whiny baby man is a stud. Once again, weak lawyering makes Trump’s situation worse: Michael Cohen is a fixer, not a litigator. He’s in quite a fix right now.

The Stormy/Stephanie shit storm is a mere sideshow to the main event: Kremlingate. Trump is thrashing about, threatening people, and acting like a methy teenager. For the moment, he seems to have abandoned the “be nice to the wolf at your door” approach preferred by Cobby and Dowdy. That does not mean he plans to fire Bobby Three Sticks. Plan is a word that is not in the Insult Comedian’s vocabulary. Anyone who tells you that the Kaiser of Chaos is either going to fire or not fire Mueller is talking through their hat as a character in a Thirties Warner Brothers film would surely say at this pont. Nobody knows. Deranged people are unpredictable. He’s likely to do anything. Right now, he’s dangerous because he’s cornered. I have studied this president* very closely and cannot say for certain what will happen next. Believe me.

We had something confirmed last week with the firing of Andrew McCabe. In addition to liking blondes with big boobs, Donald Trump is a sadist and Jeff Sessions is a weakling. Firing McCabe at 10PM right before he planned to retire is an act of petty vengeance that will backfire. It’s called witness tampering and it’s something that Roy Cohn and your basic mob lawyers are adept at. Cohn would not have done it openly and never would have bragged about it on twitter. Of course, he died in 1986 but maybe they have social media in hell.

The Congressional Republican leadership continues to pretend all is well and that Trumpy is normal and worthy of defending. If the president* were not guilty, he would not be trying to derail the Mueller investigation both publicly and privately. He’s acting guilty because he is. The good news is that his efforts are clumsy and stupid. The bad news is that this criminal was elected at all.

Watching scandals collide is not pretty. It’s what Gret Stet Senator John Neely Kennedy would call “as ugly as boiled sin.” Stay tuned. The worst is yet to come.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Love For Sale

At The Moulin Rouge by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

It’s been a relatively uneventful week at Adrastos World HQ. My cold has gone; only to be replaced by allergies since we’ve gone from winter to late spring without skipping a beat.  It’s hard to believe how damn cold it was just a few weeks ago when we’re slowly moving into air-dish season.  The good news is that a cool front just arrived. It won’t last long but we can dream, dream, dream.

The Toulouse-Lautrec featured image was inspired by a local news story. Last month, some Bourbon Street dancers staged a protest after a police crackdown on strip clubs in the Quarter. They had a lot of support in the community because New Orleans has always had strip clubs and always will. We’ve also always had people who wanted to close or tightly restrict the clubs. The beat goes on.

I suppose I should apologize for using a Cole Porter song for the second time in a month. I decline to do so: Cole was the master. Love For Sale was my earworm when I wrote the Senator For Sale post last Monday. That’s why it’s the theme song. I hope you won’t give me a Cole shoulder for being repetitive…

We have two radically different versions of Porter’s Love For Sale. First,  Anita O’Day’s torchy and sultry version recorded in 1959 with Billy May and his big band. Second, Miles Davis from Kind Of Blue featuring some of his best sidemen: Trane and Cannonball among others.

I should have mentioned the great Bill Evans but he didn’t have a colorful nickname. He was merely a brilliant pianist and arranger.

It’s title disambiguation time. That’s a big word but I bet the brainy members of Talking Heads know it:

Now that I’ve sold you love or some such shit, let’s jump to the break before you demand a refund.

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Tweet Of The Week: Senator For Sale

Like the rest of you, I’m thrilled by the Parkland students’ activism. They’re pretty darn good at snark too:

Admittedly, Marco Rubio is an easy target. He’s as soulless, inauthentic, and robotic as Willard Mittbot Romney. The NRA has bought and paid for his thoughts and prayers.

Florida is a fascinating place for the gun control/safety (whatever you want to call it) debate to happen. Justice Brandeis famously called the states “laboratories for democracy” and Florida is where the NRA carries out its nuttiest experiments. That’s why it’s so bloody easy to buy a “Marco Rubio” in the Sunshine State.

NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer is often called the real governor of Florida. Her power and influence with the lege is based on money and the power of single issue voters. Here’s how Mike Spies describes it in the New Yorker:

Hammer is the National Rifle Association’s Florida lobbyist. At seventy-eight years old, she is nearing four decades as the most influential gun lobbyist in the United States. Her policies have elevated Florida’s gun owners to a uniquely privileged status, and made the public carrying of firearms a fact of daily life in the state. Daley was referring to a law that Hammer worked to enact in 2011, during Governor Rick Scott’s first year in office. The statute punishes local officials who attempt to establish gun regulations stricter than those imposed at the state level. Officials can be fined thousands of dollars and removed from office.

Marion has the hammer and she uses it. The struggle between the NRA and the passionately aggrieved Parkland students will be a wonder to behold. Florida is holding statewide elections this year and it’s an excellent opportunity for voters to  break the NRA’s spell. If they can defeat pro-NRA members and elect pro-gun control legislators, it would go a long way to breaking the NRA’s hammer lock on the Florida lege.

The NRA more resembles a cult than a special interest group. Its members, pet politicians, and leadership recite stale talking points about freedom and the Second Amendment; instead of Hail Marys, one could call them Hail Gunnies.

The NRA’s deep pockets have helped them sell a lot of toxic Kool-Aid to members of Congress and state legislators across the country. The spell will not be broken by some companies bailing out on doing business with Wayne LaPierre and company. It can only be broken at the ballot box.

Here’s hoping that the Parkland students have as much persistence as pluck. They have a golden opportunity to spill the NRA’s toxic Kool-Aid by breaking the hold of the gun lobby over the Florida lege and governor’s mansion.  It’s time to take the hammer away from Marion Hammer and bring some sanity to Florida politics. I know that’s a tall order but the kids are alright.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Papa Was A Rolling Stone

Hesitation Waltz by Rene Magritte.

It’s been a frustrating week at Adrastos World HQ. Every time I think my pernicious and persistent cold is getting better, I backslide. I would have preferred to be really sick for a few days and then better. Make up your mind, cold.

In local news, the lame duck New Orleans City Council has been up to all sorts of mischief: voting to approve a new power plant for Entergy that won’t solve our blackout  problems and allowing taller buildings to be constructed alongside the Mother of Rivers.  I suspect that the presence of Mayor-elect Cantrell on the Council is one reason they feel free to take such votes. It does not bode well for those who hoped the incoming Mayor would be more neighborhood/citizen friendly. Score another win for real estate developers who are the worst people in the world. Exhibit A for this argument currently lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

This week’s theme song is a tribute to Temptations singer Dennis Edwards who died earlier this month at the age of 74. Papa Was A Rolling Stone was written by Norman Whitfield and Barret Strong and was a monster hit in 1972. Here are two versions for your enjoyment: the Temps and David Lindley.

Now that I’ve dissed real estate developers and my stupid cold, it’s time to roll over to the break. I’m too enfeebled to jump.

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Your President* Speaks: Dumbbell Caveman Edition

It’s President’s Day. The Current Occupant is currently at his Florida pad and there’s a tweet storm brewing. Who am I kidding? He’s been watching Fox News, hanging out with his idiot sons, and whining about the cards life dealt him all weekend. Self pity is never pretty and when it comes from an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria atop his head it’s uglier than Steve Bannon’s wardrobe. What’s the deal with the shirt layering, Steverino?

A note about the featured image/meme. I was searching for a Magritte painting for Odds & Sods when I came across Perpetual Motion. This image of a caveman with a dumbbell head screams Donald  Trump. The analogy breaks down somewhat since the caveman dumbbell is svelte and fit but what’s not to like about the bone in his hand? Trump is boning the country, after all. Bigly.

The Kremlingate indictments obtained by Team Mueller have the Kaiser of Chaos flailing and ranting. His is not the leadership that doesn’t let one see him sweat. The flop sweat has been rolling in rivulets across the Tweeter Tube.

I picked three of the Trumpiest tweets ever to quote and dissect. By Trumpiest I mean self-serving, self-pitying, and reprehensible as he blames everyone but himself for his latest woes.

This tirade is factually challenged even for Lyin’ Donny. The FBI’s Miami office is the one that dropped the ball on Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooter. It has nothing to do with investigating Kremlingate. The president* claims to love local law enforcement, especially those who beat the shit out of suspects, but they fucked up in this instance as well.

More importantly, the murder of 17 students and teachers is not about Donald Trump. He thinks he’s the sun, the stars, and the moon when he’s really just a black hole of suck. If Trump were a planet, he’d be Uranus. Believe me.

The main event on Trump’s twitter feed this weekend was, of course, Kremlingate. Trump’s national security adviser may not be the McMaster of his domain but he seized upon the indictments to tell the truth about Russian interference in the 2016 election. His boss was not happy with his statement. McMaster forgot to lie, which is a Bozo no-no in the Trump administration.

I doubt if the Insult Comedian read the indictment but I did. It makes a plausible case that the election results were influenced by the drumbeat of anti-Clinton propaganda. We all know ostensibly liberal people who swallowed whole what turned out to be Russian disinformation. The most gullible among them sat out the election or voted for useful idiot, failed folkie, and Crunchy Granola Machiavelli, Jill Stein.

The charge of collusion between Democrats and Russia is absurd but predictable in the fact free zone that is Trumpworld. The Russians were out to get the former Secretary of State and help the Kaiser of Chaos. Speaking of chaos:

Trump *is* the chaos the Russians were hoping to create. The federal government is dysfunctional, understaffed and at war with itself. They helped elect a president* who has so many scandals going that some of them cannot break through the wall of white nationalist noise and corruption erected by Team Trump. It’s the only wall they’ve built thus far.

As a veteran political observer, I still believe the country can move past this catastrophic presidency*. We’ve had terrible presidents before but none of them deliberately set out to damage the country and its institutions; not even Tricky Dick. Once again, Trump is worse than Nixon.

Ever since finding the dumbbell caveman painting, Perpetual Motion, I’ve had a classic Yessong in my head. Perpetual Change is what we need right now as an antidote to the selfish nihilism of Trump and what I dubbed the Me Party in 2013. They need to be drubbed up and down the ballot in 2018 to give the country a better chance to recover from the misrule of the Dumbbell Caveman and his wrecking crew. Believe me.

Yes gets the last word:

NOLA Snow Day

It’s 20 degrees as I write this. It wasn’t exactly a blizzard but we had snow last night. My front stairs are treacherously icy and I’m too comfortable in my study to take a picture of them. The smallest room in the house is the warmest by far. Yay, warmth.

New Orleans is cut off right now as most of the bridges and elevated highways are closed. I kind of like it when we’re an island. It keeps the riff raff out except for those who are already here. I’m more raffish than riffish myself…

Here’s a spectacular de facto ice sculpture picture from the news director of WWL-TV:

The local media once again has a raging snow boner. I should trademark the phrase, but only a bonehead wants a t-shirt or cap with Snow Boner on it.

One positive of the extreme (by New Orleans standards) cold is that new kitty, Paul Drake, joined us in the bedroom last night in order to worship the space heater. Della Street was a bit grumpy about it but it’s too cold to chase him so all she did was hiss. It’s slow progress but progress nonetheless.

I realize that the hardcore ice people out there are rolling their eyes but it’s cold here, y’all. I never said I could live through a Wisconsin winter: I’d wind up like the Donner Party only without the cannibalism. My late mother grew up on a farm in rural Wisconsin and she *hated* the snow and ice and was thrilled to live in California. She was too nice to gloat about the winter weather to her relatives in Cheeseland but every time it snowed back home she’d smile and say: “Don’t miss it at all.”

That concludes this brief meteorological foray. Repeat after me: wintry mix.