Category Archives: Uncategorized

ELECTION NIGHT CRACK VAN

Van closed. Thank you all for being here and I’m sorry the interface was so glitchy.

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Sunday Catblogging: Ada & Her Nemesis

The next-door neighbors put pumpkins out, and a particularly noisy squirrel went to town on them shortly before Halloween. Ada likes to sit on the stairs watching him and muttering darkly about what she’ll do once she finally escapes her unjust captivity:

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Go Ahead and Celebrate, Wingnuts. Me and Mine Have Work to Do.

You got what you wanted now.

He’ll overturn Roe.

He’ll side with businesses against unions. With wealth against powerlessness.

He’ll help politicians cut your goddamn sacred motherfucking TAXES.

Who cares if he’s a rapist?

WHO CARES IF HE’S A GODDAMN RAPIST, right?

Who cares how many women he hurt?

Who cares enough to even FIND OUT how many women he hurt?

You got what you wanted. You got what you wanted so why even bother.

You got what YOU wanted. You screamers outside the clinics. You affluenza-riddled tourists to the idea of America, policing the grocery carts of food-stamp recipients, angrily yelling MAGA at undocumented children. You got YOUR wish.

You selfish bastards. You support this man? You think he’s an imperfect tool of a perfect God? You think all of this is worth it for you to get your heart’s desire?

What even is that desire? To outlaw abortion? You’re outlawing abortion, fine. You’re not ENDING abortion. Only ending poverty and desperation and an enduring habit of treating women like dogs will end abortion. You’re just outlawing it.

Is that desire to save the unborn babies? You’re not doing that. Women will have abortions at the rate they always have. You will just not have to know about them. You will have an easier time pretending everything is fine. You will be more readily able to close your eyes.

Is that worth a few rapes? To keep YOUR precious conscience clear?

You’re willing to overlook a few rapes, ample and extensive evidence that this guy is an unsuitable, partisan douchebag, for … your moral comfort? So that you can say you were a part of making abortion illegal? So you can … like what do you get out of that? So you can fatten your bank account? Do you even hear yourselves?

Jesus God, do you hear anybody? There wasn’t even a criminal investigation. This was a job interview, for probably the highest job there is, and all anyone asked you to do was NOT PUT A PROBABLE RAPIST in that job.

“Don’t rush to judgment.” We’re not the ones demanding a vote before the elections.

“Innocent until proven guilty.” This isn’t a court of law.

“Anyone can be accused of anything!” She swore under penalty of perjury and you won’t support a call for witnesses to either confirm OR refute her testimony.

“It’s ruining his life.” It’s our court, we have a say in who sits there. We don’t have to hire anybody we don’t like.

I saw a friend get rape-splained on her own goddamn Facebook after she posted about her assault. You like being one of the people who does that? You like those people, hang out with them, want to be on their side? You’re out here screaming about due process, about abstractions, to people who’ve been assaulted. Physically assaulted, not just asked questions in a hearing room. You’re out here screaming about abstractions in the face of their reality. You want to be with those people?

FINE. You go do that then, and as for me and mine we will serve the Lord.

We have served the Lord before.

The Court upheld internment, and slavery, and forbidding women the vote. It turned a blind eye to the abuses of the war on terror. The Court has been ruled by monsters before, and may again, and is now. And there have always been those, since the beginning of time, who opposed it. Who worked to change it.

They lost and lost and lost, far more than they won, and they sharpened their teeth and died hard for it, and they will again. We will, again, while you celebrate with your rapist clown and his enablers. The world is always ending, and we are always beginning it again, and nowhere have I ever seen any contract says it isn’t supposed to hurt.

That’s the difference, between you and me. I’m not in this for peace.

More tomorrow.

A.

Not Everything Sucks: C-SPAN Edition

This hero: 

One of the things that we do best as a network is ― you know, we don’t have pundits. We don’t have talking heads. We just hear from the American people. And that was 27 years ago, but I do remember when we took calls then, and when we took calls after 9/11, the emotion just came pouring out. You had so many people ― they just had to speak. People wanted to be heard.

And we’re the one network that allows people to have a voice and share it with people around the country. You’re always going to get the emotion. But this one was a little bit different just because of the intensity of the calls that we were receiving.

It takes a lot to eat all that ugliness every single day and not spit it back out.

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Not Everything Sucks: Aaron Rodgers Edition

Watching this on Sunday night I screamed so loud Ada ran upstairs and refused to come back down no matter how many treats I offered her:

This offensive line, I’m amazed Rodgers can cut his food anymore, but here he is, having spotted the Bears 20 points, playing on one good leg, with receivers who treat every incoming football like it’s made out of bees, and the Packers still pull it off. McCarthy should be put in the stocks when this season is over, but Rodgers should be knighted.

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McCain & Vietnam

I went back to this story about the normalizing of relations between the U.S. and Vietnam last night hearing about McCain’s death, thinking that though we’re now pretending the Vietnam War never happened, it might be his (and Kerry’s) most significant accomplishment as lawmakers: 

In January, 1994, a Kerry-McCain-sponsored Senate resolution urged the President to lift the embargo. A few veterans mobilized in opposition, drawing the support of the American Legion and the Republican leadership. McCain’s sponsorship persuaded twenty Republicans to vote for the measure, which passed by a vote of sixty-two to thirty-eight. McCain said, “The vote will give the President the kind of political cover he needs to lift the embargo.” The fact is, however, that the President’s real cover was coming from Kerry and McCain. The one had come to represent the United States government’s long-overdue determination to tell the truth about Vietnam; the other was the military hero become a figure of healing. Together, their credibility on the question was absolute.

On February 4, 1994, a Times headline read “clinton drops 19-year trade embargo on vietnam.”

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Not Everything Sucks

People have a phenomenal capacity: 

The welcoming committee is trying to ensure that families make their initial check-in dates, something they feel the government should be helping with but isn’t. But they’re also trying to show another face of America to the victims of the family separation policy. “The American public is going to step in where the government has failed,” said Alida Garcia, the coalitions and policy director for FWD.us, on a press call Tuesday. “It’s going to provide comfort and love and care to these families.”

Sometimes comfort looks like an airplane ticket. Sometimes it’s an impromptu “Happy Birthday” sing-along — complete with a Hostess birthday cupcake — for a 7-year-old who’s just been reunited with his mom.

In a world where no one profits from selling hate to America, we are all like this. Given the opportunity, we are like this. Given the leadership, given the path forward that is this and nothing but, we are kind and decent and brave and true.

Remember that as we get closer to November.

A.

No Excuses

God, THIS: 

This new racist is cast as sympathetic, an inevitable byproduct of a culture of white supremacy in the South or a remote homogenous life that has left him ill-prepared for this terrifying new world where people speak Spanish sometimes, or where she’s the only white person in the room. They aren’t heroes. But, the Times and the Post tell us, they’re people with compelling backstories that forced them to be like they are. They were raised to it, or maybe they’re just poor.

It is paternalistic infantilizing nonsense.

Poverty doesn’t make you racist. It’s more that the exhaustion strips you of the ability to dissemble for long, so if you were inclined toward racism already, it shows. A life lived close to tears of sheer fatigue and stress is not one in which you can expend the energy to stop yourself spouting your resentments or wielding your fears as a weapon. The constant dull weight of oppression—and it is oppression—makes you resentful and distrustful. The anger makes hate seem reasonable, and each person must individually decide what to do with that.

It reminds me of the dodge we use with old people, too: Oh, it was a different time, everyone was a sexist creep who couldn’t help but grab ass and yell slurs all the time. You know what? My grandfather was born not long after the turn of the 20th century and he’d have died before he treated a woman with disrespect, any woman at all. I never heard a single racist word out of his mouth, and he worked in a factory. He talked to every single person he ever met like they were royalty until the day he died. Get on out of here with this nonsense. 

Yes, customs change and habits change and terminology, especially, changes, and sometimes people have a hard time keeping up but there’s nothing about getting old that makes you a bully if you weren’t one to begin with. There’s nothing about being poor that makes you unkind or selfish. You were that way before, it’s just now your excuses changed is all.

Stop making excuses for my racist neighbors. It is not true that people from where I’m from have no choice but to continue the same deadly cycles of the generations before us, that we are too simple or unsophisticated to tell right from wrong when the choice between them is so astonishingly clear. There is bravery and right in places where we have been told we will not find them, and we are all responsible for our own moral decisions.

Damn right.

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The Center Can’t Hold if You Don’t Know Where It Is

When people say “I’m a centrist” they are basically just jerking off: 

It is reasonably clear that Bernie Sanders and his distinct movement (joined on the campaign trail by the new Democratic Socialist megastar from New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), had a rough night on Tuesday, when candidates they had backed in person, Michigan gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed and Kansas congressional aspirant Brent Welder, both lost races many expected them to win, against (respectively) Gretchen Whitmer and Sharice Davids. But were those defeats for “progressivism” or victories for “centrism”? That depends on whom you ask.

Yeah, because we’ve somehow defined “centrist” to mean “reasonable, adult, speaks-in-a-soothing-voice” and divorced it entirely from the policy positions it’s supposed to entail. Most Democratic leaders have no idea where the center of this country actually is because they’re too busy listening to Chuck Todd fervently muttering “both sides, both sides, BOTH SIDES!”

If we define “the center” as a set of policy initiatives favored by the majority of Americans, here’s what we have: legal abortion with some restrictions, marriage equality, economic parity, regulation of health care, restrictions on gun ownership, a smaller military budget, higher minimum wage, and taxes on the wealthiest corporations.

Turns out we already have a party that supports all that.

That’s the Democratic Party. Sorry, but if you’re looking for the center it’s right there.

I know. I know the past 40 years of listening to Limbaugh and his lesser lights scream that the Democratic Party is full of homosexual peace-freaks who want to take your money and give it all to welfare drug addicts in wherever the “inner city” is.

I know you can’t say the word “liberal” without making it sound like you just said “moist,” and I know you’ve spent the past 10 years at dinner parties glaring and adjusting your wizened testes whenever trans rights came up because you were so, so oppressed by political correctness.

I know it makes a lot of people feel squishy to have to side with dastardly liberals, but if you believe what you say you believe, you accept the box you’re sorted into even if you don’t like its color.

Think women are people? You’re over here with us. Think you deserve overtime and Jeff Bezos should pay his taxes? Yup, saved you a seat.

You can say “I’m really more of a centrist” because you want to sound mysterious or smart or differentiate yourself from all those BORING ASS PEOPLE who’ve succumbed to PARTY LABELS and you, of course, are too special to ever be defined by something so pedestrian. You can say you’re a centrist because it’s not cool to be a Republican anymore, but it’s not cool to be a Democrat, either. You can say that you’re a centrist because you want everyone to like you, or you don’t want to have a fight, or you’re genuinely ignorant of everything in politics except what Good Morning America or The View tell you. You can say it all you want.

What you are is a coward. The center of America is squarely within the confines of the Democratic Party which is also, these days, THE LAST LINE OF DEFENSE AGAINST A BUNCH OF ARSONISTS. And you’re gonna pretend you’re too cool to sit at the table? You’re too special? Go to hell, with that.

The center isn’t somewhere between Republicans and Democrats, these days. The moderate position isn’t half a Nazi. The compromises, deals, accommodations, are all being made within the Democratic Party as they try to run this godforsaken gerrymandered mess we call a government. They’re doing all the work and having all the struggles and there’s a left wing and a right wing but they’re all the same party. They’re trying to work while Republicans are in the corner burning ants with a magnifying glass.

So, in the words of our Lord and Savior David Milch, declare or shut the fuck up.

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Happy Birthday Adrastos!

Adrastos is a relentlessly kind and generous human being who is a great blog partner. And it’s his BIRFDAY so we wish him a happy one!

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Stop Expecting Shame To Do the Job Votes Will

By the framework of politics pre-Bush administration, most of this would have ended somewhere around “lock her up” or the pussy-grabbing tape or on day one where he called Mexicans rapists so the fact that it hasn’t should really tell you something:

There is no shame anymore. That was the real Bush doctrine. A woman named Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Bush’s bullshit war, asked to meet with the president and when he refused she parked herself outside his dumb fake ranch and said she was gonna sit there until he came to meet her.

He never did, and now he’s our lovely “even Bush wasn’t this bad” uncle who goes on talk shows and talks nicely about his paintings and we’re all nostalgic about him. Fuck him. We are where we are because he figured out that once in office, he could do whatever he wanted no matter how low his approval ratings got.

That’s it. That’s the whole damn secret. He killed Washington shame dead, and no scandal would force him out. Whole war is a lie? Ignored warnings about 9/11? Let hundreds of people die and drown because ya can’t be bothered during a hurricane and besides, government sucks? NONE OF THAT had to matter unless he thought it mattered and he didn’t.

There were thousands of people in the streets against him. I was one of them. And he didn’t care.

He didn’t have to. He was in office. So what if his approval ratings were bad? There’s no law that says if you dip below 40 percent you gotta call an election. There’s no law that says you have to answer questions from the press if they’re not kissing your ass.

If Congress is on your side, or cowed and weak, there’s no law requiring you to answer to anyone. Bush explicitly argued in court that the executive didn’t have to answer to the judiciary. In 2003. They’ve been setting things up this way for a long, long time.

And yet we keep expecting shame to reassert itself. Kids in cages: Anybody gonna quit over that? Nah. They don’t have to. Trump’s approval worse than Nixon’s? So what? We keep posting videos and repeating the very obvious facts that they have subverted our democracy and stole two presidencies and two Supreme Court seats and saying THIS IS A SCANDAL and they know. They’re not ashamed of themselves. They have no reason to be.

The only thing that matters is voting them out, from the state house to Congress. No shame will do the job the votes will. No shame will do the job unemployment will.

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Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Cave

I mentioned this book in my post about the Thai cave rescues. It’s one of those books that lodged itself in my consciousness when I read it many years ago. It’s the story of a young man trapped in a cave in Tennessee. I won’t tell you what happened since the book is well-worth reading for both the tale and the telling.

A point of order: my LSU friends are likely to object to a Warren book popping up in this feature. The Cave is literary fiction but the paperback covers are on the pulpy side. Besides, its my party and I’ll cry it I want to.

The War Isn’t Over

It amazes me that we make movies about wars like we know what they are, like we know all the stories already: 

A stash of wartime bank notes worth the equivalent of £1.5 million has been found under the floorboards of a shop that is believed to have been a branch of Winston Churchill’s tailors.

Bundles of decaying notes, dog-eared and caked in dirt, were discovered by builders renovating a shop in Brighton. There is speculation that the money was part of an escape plan in case of Nazi invasion.

Sussex police have taken the £5 and £1 notes with a total face value of £30,000 into safekeeping while they investigate the find.

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Tuesday Catblogging

Slade, living the life:

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Keep Bashing Craigslist, It’s Sure to Work Any Day Now

Just stop it:

So Craig Newmark gave a squillion dollars to CUNY’s J-school, which is more than any wealthy media organizations have ever done, and the Internet is full of Very Serious Journalists dunking on him like “thanks for destroying the industry and then giving us peanuts, asshole.”

IT IS 2018. It is the year of our lord 2018 and Craigslist went online in 1995 and in 23 years the only solution to online advertising that newspaper geniuses have come up with is bitching even LOUDER about it.

2003 called. It wants its blame game back, and also possibly those cropped cardigans because that was a nice look on long-waisted girls.

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Not Everything Sucks: Gandalf and Magneto Edition

Ian McKellen, human treasure: 

The younger Dumbledore isn’t explicitly gay in the new ‘Fantastic Beasts’ movie. Why do you think there are so few gay characters in blockbusters?
‘Isn’t he? That’s a pity. Well, nobody looks to Hollywood for social commentary, do they? They only recently discovered that there were black people in the world. Hollywood has mistreated women in every possible way throughout its history. Gay men don’t exist. “Gods and Monsters” [1998], I think, was the beginning of Hollywood admitting that there were gay people knocking around, even though half of Hollywood is gay.’

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Color Blindness

I remember the first time Kick directly identified someone’s race. It wasn’t long ago. I’d waved to a neighbor through the window while we were having breakfast and she asked who I was waving at.

“Mr. M-, honey. He’s out in his yard.”

She turned, waved to him, and asked, “He’s a black man, right?”

“Right,” I said, trying to within three seconds identify if her intonation implied she thought this was a negative, something to be afraid of, something to mock, that would need to be corrected. It sounded neutral, a descriptive, the way she’d say the baby next door was a boy or Grandma has brown hair.

She’s been around families of any number of races and ethnic backgrounds since she was born, and while she’d noticed differences — that man is tall, that woman has curly hair — she’d never before asked if someone was black or Hispanic or Asian. We’ve read books about Rosa Parks and Ella Fitzgerald and Maya Angelou, about Frida Kahlo, and most recent children’s books include depictions of children of color, though fewer of them as protagonists than they should.

It’s not enough that she has a diverse environment and lives and learns with students of all races, when in our house we’re all so Caucasian as to be nearly transparent. There are still conversations to be had, about why Rosa Parks couldn’t sit at the front of the bus, or why people were mean to Maya Angelou, or what we are protesting next Saturday, or what someone down the street said to someone else.

White parents don’t get to be lazy about marking and honoring the differences between people, not when so many people use those differences to divide. Not when kids notice EVERYTHING, all the time, including how we talk about people of other races when we think they aren’t listening.

That morning, Kick was attacking her toaster waffle with gusto and I’m not sure was paying much attention to my subsequent explanation that Mr. M- has a skin color people call black even though it’s more of a dark brown, and we have a skin color people call white even though it’s more pink. By the time I got to the part about how skin color can be passed down in families sometimes but not always, she was off playing with My Little Ponies and I was basically lecturing to the cats. Race Conscious has good advice but it doesn’t always track with a 4-year-old’s attention span.

What talks do you remember having with your parents about race, and what did they tell you?

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Basing Your Party on Misogny Has Consequences

It’s almost like three years of telling your voters that women should be in the kitchen making sammiches instead of running the country is … bad, or something: 

McMorris Rodgers is campaigning like she has a contest and a competitive one at that.

In addition to the strong fundraising numbers, she has held multiple town halls: four alone during the last Congressional recess, for a total of 38 since August 2013, according to her campaign.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a powerful GOP super PAC supported by Ryan, has opened an office in the district to aide McMorris Rodgers.

The non-partisan Cook Report recently changed the rating of the race from a solid Republican seat to a lean Republican seat. It may sound like a small change but it sent waves through the political community given the district’s previous deep red ranking.

“They’re either very prepared or very scared or both,” Ridout said of McMorris Rodgers’ campaign.

Aww, poor baby.

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Sunday Morning Video: Harry Anderson’s Hello Sucker

Here’s the late Harry Anderson in a 1986 Showtime special: