One of young Claire Trevor’s many quirks is the way she stretches before leaving her ottoman. It took awhile for Dr. A to capture this phenomenon. The resulting picture makes her green eyes look blue. I think it’s the rug, which is mostly blue.
The post title is a play on Crystal Gayle’s hit song Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue. She gets the last word.
On October 7, 2001, President George W. Bush announced the start of American military operations in Afghanistan.
On April 14, 2021, President Joe Biden announced US withdrawal from Afghanistan effective September 11, 2021. He delivered his exit address in the same place in the White House that Bush kicked off what Biden called the “forever war.”
After nearly 20 years, our longest war is about to end. Finally.
American objectives were achieved in 2011 with the death of Osama Bin Laden but we stayed and stayed and stayed.
The military has a term for what happened in Afghanistan: Mission Creep. We moved from fighting terrorists to nation building. We haven’t been adept at nation building since the Marshall Plan. It did not go well in Afghanistan.
Biden was one of the dovish members of the Obama administration when it came to Afghanistan. He favored withdrawal after Bin Laden’s death. We stayed, we surged, we stayed.
No foreign power has ever won a war in Afghanistan. Its mountainous terrain means that there will always be insurgents in the mountains shooting at the government. Same as it ever was.
In the 19th Century great power tussling over Afghanistan was called “the great game.” It was strictly for losers. The Soviet Union learned that the hard way between 1979-1989.
The Taliban are horrible but American military might was only able to hold them at bay. It’s an unwinnable war.
I know there are many who will loudly insist that diplomacy cannot succeed without a robust US military presence to stand as leverage. We gave that argument a decade. It’s never proved effective, not when we had 98,000 troops in Afghanistan and not when we were down to a few thousand. Our diplomacy does not hinge on having boots in harm’s way, US boots on the ground. We have to change that thinking. American troops shouldn’t be used as a bargaining chip between warring parties in other countries. That’s nothing more than a recipe for keeping American troops in Afghanistan indefinitely.
I also know there are many who’ll argue that we should stay, stay fighting in Afghanistan because withdrawal would damage America’s credibility and weaken America’s influence in the world. I believe the exact opposite is true. We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago. That cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) fumbled an effort to catch out Assistant Attorney General nominee Kristen Clarke on Wednesday about an opinion column she’d written while she was a university student at Harvard.
“Miss Clarke, Martin Luther King famously said that he had a dream of the day when his children would be known by the content of their character and not the color of their skin,” Cornyn opened his questioning at the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing. “Do you agree with that?”
“Absolutely, Senator,” Clarke replied.
“Well, maybe there’s a misprint, but I’m sure you can clear it up for me, dating back to your days in school when you seemed to argue that African Americans were genetically superior to Caucasians. Is that correct?” Cornyn asked.
“No, Senator,” Clarke replied. “I believe you are referring to an op-ed that I wrote at the age of 19 about the Bell Curve theory, a racist book that equated DNA with genetics and race.”
“As a Black student at Harvard that time, we took grave offense to this book,” she continued. “It was co-authored by a Harvard professor. We held a number of events to speak out against the book, and this op-ed opened with a satirical reference to the statement that you just noted.”
The revelation that Army Lt. Caron Nazario was pepper sprayed last December by Windsor, Virginia police got me thinking of a scary encounter my family had with a small town cop many years ago.
Windsor is as small as it gets with a population of 1,902. Its police force had only five cops at the time of the traffic stop. The number is down one because Officer Pepper Spray was fired. The only reason that happened is that Lt. Nazario sued over what may well be business as usual for that police force.
When I was a kid, my father thought nothing of hopping into the family car to spend weekends with relatives in Salinas or Los Angeles. He grew up in the mountain West where distances are great, and people drive really fast. In fact, my Aunt Mary had a radar detector in her car when she was in her 80’s. That side of the family were fast drivers. Perhaps that explains my affinity for actor/race car drivers such as Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, and James Garner.
There was a notorious speed trap on Highway 101 in those days, Gilroy. It’s now part of the San Jose/Silicon Valley urban sprawl but back in the day, it was a very small town in the middle of nowhere or so it seemed to me as a kid.
We were pulled over by the Gilroy police at least five times over the years. Every time we approached that benighted little town, my mom would warn Lou to slow down. He waved her off every time convinced he could talk his way out of anything.
We were lucky. We only received two tickets. Lou’s charm offensive usually worked. On one occasion, it did not. Lou was nearly arrested and cuffed on the spot. We were stopped by a cop who was impervious to his charm and didn’t care that he was related to Los Angeles County Sheriff, Pete Pitchess. This was Gilroy whose only claim to fame was its garlic festival and status as a speed trap.
The officer was infuriated by Lou’s name dropping and ordered him to get out of the car. He complied but didn’t stop talking. Bad idea as all it did was make the cop angrier. He started to pull out his handcuffs, which was when my mother intervened.
She apologized to the officer and offered to accompany him to the station where we would gladly pay the fine on the spot. She added, “We’re just trying to get home so our son can go to school tomorrow.”
It worked. The wannabe brutal cop turned out to be corrupt and asked for a $100 bill to let us go. He insisted that mom drive saying, “You’re a nice lady, but your husband has a big mouth. He should learn to keep it shut.”
We hit the road home. Lou tried to get mom to pull over so he could drive. It was one of the few times I recall her yelling at him: “Shut up, Lou, just shut up.”
She was magnificent.
This is not a story either of my parents ever told as far as I know, a rare thing in my father’s case. I wasn’t sworn to silence but never wanted to embarrass them over something that could have easily gone terribly wrong.
Imagine if we’d been a black family. The story wouldn’t have concluded with a bribe and our departure. I hesitate to think how it would have ended but that was one angry small town cop who was ready to kick my father’s ass or worse. A nice black lady’s intervention wouldn’t have been treated so indulgently.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: There’s never any reason for the police to draw their weapons during a traffic stop. In Lt. Nazario’s case, it was allegedly over a temporary license tag. He wisely delayed pulling over until he was in a well-lit area. It could have been much, much worse.
Driving While Black should not be dangerous. If this can happen to a soldier in uniform, it can happen to anyone. I’m glad that Lt. Nazario had the presence of mind to record the incident on his phone camera. The small town cops expected him to be grateful that they didn’t arrest him. So much for supporting our troops.
I told my story about a traffic stop that nearly went sideways, not to equate Driving While Greek with Driving While Black. It’s an example of how police training does not work. A citizen should be able to speak freely with the police, not fear for their safety when pulled over. Not every encounter with the public is life threatening but police are trained to fear those they supposedly protect and serve, especially if they’re people of color. It has to stop.
I’ve assumed that Matt Gaetz’s pervy little friend Josh Greenberg would rat him out. The NYT confirmed yesterday that Greenberg has flipped like a flapjack or whatever your preferred name for a pancake is:
Mr. Greenberg began speaking with investigators once he realized that the government had overwhelming evidence against him and that his only path to leniency lay in cooperation, the people said. He has met several times with investigators to try to establish his trustworthiness, though the range of criminal charges against him — including fraud — could undermine his credibility as a witness.
Unlike the Gray Lady, the thought of a criminal testifying against another criminal doesn’t give me the vapors. Most witnesses in federal criminal cases are, well, criminals. Federal prosecutors are always looking for the biggest fish in any investigation. A congressman trumps a local tax collector with delusions of grandeur any day.
Speaking of delusions, Matt Gaetz has torn out a page from the Impeached Insult Comedian’s scandal manual and is on the attack. Of course, Trump was president* when he went after Team Mueller, which means the bully had the bully pulpit and the pardon power to dangle. All Gaetz has is big hair and an even bigger mouth.
It’s much harder to be Mini-Me than Dr. Evil and, at best, Gaetz is the former. His lord and master had the full-throated support of congressional Republicans whereas Mini-Me only has Gym Jordan and Marjorie Taylor Greene. In a word, pitiful.
Call it a harmonic convergence. Or simply too good to be true.
There are some indications that two scandals roiling Florida politics may actually be connected, tying the federal probe of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) to a slate of sham candidates that cropped up across the state in 2020.
Could that possibly be? This may not be the scandal we want, but is it possibly the one we deserve?
And in the other, there’s an equally bizarre but perhaps more typical political scheme: a plot to run sham candidates across Florida to siphon votes away from the Democratic Party candidates.
It’s not clear how closely the two are connected. But what may bring them together is a confluence of money, Gaetz’s political connections, and a man loudly bragging at a Florida bar.
There’s always a man bragging in a bar with Trump scandals. My disgraced countryman George Papadopoulos’ loose lips eventually led to the Mueller probe, criminal charges, and a pardon from the Kaiser of Chaos. Trumpers do not know how to STFU.
The post title is a play on the Chuck Berry song, Roll Over Beethoven. That’s why Chuck, The Beatles, and ELO get the last word.
The prosecution in the Derek Chauvin case rested after 11 days. The streets in nearby Brooklyn Center, Minnesota are restless after another senseless shooting during a traffic stop. We’ll get to that wrinkle a bit later.
The state’s prosecutors have built an impressive case. It was in three acts: the eyeball witnesses, the police, and the medical experts, Yesterday, they closed with a cardiologist, George Floyd’s grieving brother, and a cop turned law professor who’s an expert on police use of force.
George Floyd’s brother Philonise painted a portrait of his brother as a loving man and mama’s boy. Their mother died not long before George did, and he had her on his mind as he died with Derek Chauvin’s leg on his neck.
George Floyd’s crime was to pass a $20 bill that he may or may have not known was counterfeit. Nobody should die because of a minor non-violent offense such as that or a traffic stop. Pesky and annoying defense lawyer Eric Nelson did not cross-examine Philonise. Wise choice.
I saw the entirety of Professor Seth Stoughton’s testimony. He methodically explained why Derek Chauvin’s use of force violated the reasonable police officer standard. Once Floyd was cuffed and subdued, Chauvin’s actions were unreasonable by this standard. I’d add ruthless, vicious, and cold-hearted. How can you listen to someone beg for their life and not relent? That’s some cold shit, y’all.
Watching Eric Nelson cross-examine Stoughton was fascinating. It was like watching a golden retriever try and fail to catch a Frisbee. Stoughton is a much better lawyer and smarter man than Nelson. He visibly flinched whenever Nelson ended a question with “right” or “agreed.”
Several times Stoughton calmly upbraided the pesky and annoying counsel for the defense by saying, “That’s not my testimony.” I kept hoping that Stoughton would say wrong when Nelson said right. He didn’t but I can dream. Oh well, what the hell.
I’m not sure how much of Nelson’s defense presentation I can stand watching. He’s an annoying little bugger who has already shown his hand. He’ll claim that Chauvin’s fear of the crowd fed his paranoia, but he didn’t cause Floyd’s death anyway. His experts will blame it on drug use, heart problems, anything but the heartless cop who killed him by using unreasonable force.
I’ll be shocked if Chauvin testifies. He’s a cold fish who has been remorseless since he killed George Floyd. There’s very little upside to his testimony. The downside is that the 18 complaints filed against him for excessive force will come out in court. Never gonna testify, my friend.
As to the victim’s drug use, I had this exchange on the Tweeter Tube:
Let’s travel ten miles away from the Hennepin County courthouse to suburban Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.
Another case of police overreaction occurred last Sunday night. It cost Daunte Wright his life. He was pulled over for an allegedly expired license tag, but it was really for DWB: Driving While Black.
The police chief of that suburban burg called it an accident. I call it manslaughter. A veteran cop thought she was about to tase Wright, but she shot and killed him instead. It was a traffic stop. There was no need to use weapons. In this case, I believe that the officer is sorry, but people are punished every day of the week for things they regret doing. She should be fired and tried.
This latest incident shows that police need to be demilitarized and trained not to shoot to kill. Lethal force is not just unattractive as Eric Nelson characterized it, it’s usually unnecessary. These grotesque errors of judgment are driven by fear and bigotry. When a cop makes a mistake, it can be lethal as it was in this case.
Repeat after me: Nobody should lose their life during a traffic stop.
I watched some of the amazing coverage by Ron Allen on MSNBC last night. He did a good job in getting people to calm down and state their case. Eventually, that was impossible because of the advance of a line of police marching as if they were soldiers in a Napoleonic battle.
Stop the madness.
I got an earworm while watching Ron Allen cope with the crowd. The last word goes to Bruce Springsteen:
INSTANT UPDATE: The Brooklyn Park police chief and the officer who shot Daunte Wright have been forced to resign.
It’s a warm sunny day here in Northern California, the kind of day when you sit out on the porch with a cool beverage in hand, some tunes on the phone, and just marvel at the wonders of nature.
Hard to believe just two years ago we were hunkered down, fearful of going out into a public place, fearful of coming in contact with anyone else, fearful of even breathing without a mask on. Fearful, fearful, fearful.
It was all about the fear. And making sure to wash your hands.
Not that today we are without fear. I don’t see anyone clamoring to get on board a cruise ship or travel to any of the countries where the now downgraded to an epidemic COVID-19 still lingers. Shaking hands still occurs, but fist bumps are the standard now. You still see folks walking around with masks on, but I think that’s just going to be normal for years to come, especially since the report came out about how regular flu, stomach flu, hell even the common cold all dropped precipitously when everyone, or at least most of us, were masked up.
I guess we’re all turning Japanese.
There have been adjustments to the “new normal” which is a phrase as obnoxious as any Madison Avenue ad slogan ever was. There is no “new normal” just as there is no “old normal”. There is just normal, the usual for the time. Yes, back before COVID it was not common to work from home or do most of your shopping via the internet or talk to relatives via Zoom, but many people did all of those things. Now more people do.
And it’s normal.
That initial surge of people going to movies, concerts, sporting events, the theater, has slowed down a bit. It was natural there would be a rush to be with others once the pandemic was declared under control. Humans are by nature a societal species, we need contact with others of our kind to survive. Now it’s even hard to remember those days when the lady in line ahead of you at the supermarket barked to stay six feet away even though between your cart and hers there had to be a least a seven foot buffer zone.
Speaking of which, remember running to buy up toilet paper? Everyone bought so much of it now stores can’t give it away.
Some things that were a product of those times are now standard.
People seemed to enjoy outdoor dining so the parklets created from parking spaces in front of restaurants have remained making even the most Midwest American city look like Paris in the 1920’s (sans stinky cigarettes).
Retail mall parking lots have been redesigned to accommodate the surge in drive up/pick up services most retailers are continuing to offer. I do think there will be some rethinking of that idea once those same retailers begin to notice the drop in per ticket revenue, a factor of fewer impulse purchases at the register.
Zoom is still going great guns but now faces competition from the advent of specialized video meeting apps, from RomperRoomz for kids to BrideNGroom for wedding planners to Bloom for gardening enthusiasts to GloomNDoom for depressives.
Of course one of the biggest changes was the advent of the Live/Work office building. Challenged by companies bugging out of downtown skyscrapers because their work forces were happy to trade in long commutes for virtual meetings and being able to spend more time with their families, developers worked to remodel their buildings into hybrid apartment-office spaces. Office workers can now have an elevator commute to their jobs, if they even need to go into the office at all. In addition it seems like every building has one floor or more dedicated to rent by the hour conference rooms, an easy and economical way for far flung work forces to occasionally meet face to face.
That has lead to a decrease in traffic, especially in once highway jammed metropolitan locations like Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. Not that anyone is complaining about the downturn in traffic accidents, air pollution, or noise but there is worry that this will lead to fewer auto sales, less gasoline consumption, and fewer auto insurance policies or in other words a possible hit to the economy. It hasn’t happened yet and there are still plenty of people driving cars but the signs are there.
One thing that happily went back to what it was before is school. Happily for parents that is. Also for kids if they want to be honest. After class activities have returned, sports, music, theater, and the feeling of community a school engenders will never be taken for granted again by any student who went through the pandemic. Not to say it’s completely the same. Virtual teaching brought about the end of absenteeism and truancy. No excuse to miss class is accepted since class can be beamed into your bedroom. And if you’re not signed on, you’re busted.
We still have the divide between those who took the precautions, believed the science, listened to the experts, etc. and those who didn’t. That rift is healing slowly but should be aided by the start of Trump’s criminal trial and, hopefully, conviction. Plus the benefits of the Biden rescue bill and infrastructure bill are now becoming so evident even the capitol insurrectionists still not in jail are having to admit they were wrong. Those combined with national polling that shows total disgust with Republican voter suppression laws has Democrats salivating over an increase in their congressional majorities this November.
It’s been a long two years that are unlikely to ever be forgotten by anyone who has lived through it. We mourn those we lost, but we look forward to the new world ahead. And we will remember that that world will have come from this one, good and bad.
Exene Cervenka, masked up even when it wasn’t fashionable.
It’s been swell taking a Trump break. I made a conscious decision to reduce the number of former guy posts. All he’s done since leaving office is lie about the election and everything else. He hasn’t made any news, fake or otherwise until last weekend.
The RNC had its winter retreat at Mar-a-Doorn, if only they’d retreat from their 2016 and 2020 nominee. The joint was jumping with party luminaries and potential 2024 candidates who are Trumpier than the original model.
The keynote speaker was the Kaiser of Chaos. It was a litany of familiar grievances, attacks on fellow GOPers, and lies but he added something new:
The former president said, without saying who, that someone recently suggested to him that the coronavirus vaccine should be called the “Trumpcine.” He bragged about his handling of the pandemic, dismissing the widespread criticism of his approach and not mentioning the more than 500,000 who have died of covid-19.
The Trumpcine? Uh, Donald they name vaccines after living viruses, not living people or monsters in your case.
Just imagine people calling it the Trump Harumph instead of the Fauci Ouchie. Ugh, just ugh.
If the Kaiser of Chaos wants a vaccine named for him, it would be nice if he’d actively promote its use. Never gonna happen, my friend. I’m stealing Paul Reiser’s catchphrase since we’re rewatching Mad About You. I only steal from the best, my friend.
We could, however, use a vaccine against Trumpism and all the forces that former President* Pennywise has unleashed.
If only there was a jab that could cure white supremacy, anti-Semitism, QAnon delusions, and the other maladies that exploded during the Trump Regime. I’d love to jab away my memories of his presidency* as if it were one of those movies or teevee shows that turns out to have been a dream like St. Elsewhere. Now, that would be a happy ending.
In other Trump related news, the investigations in Atlanta and Manhattan are heating up. The Manhattan DA’s office seems to be mounting a full court press to flip the man who knows where Trump’s financial bodies are buried, Alan Weisselberg. Circling around his son, who seems to have lived large and largely tax-free on Trump’s dime, is a classic prosecution tactic. There are no pardons to dangle this time. Break a leg, y’all.
I have a dream that sometime this year, I will augment my original nickname for the former guy and call him the Indicted Impeached Insult Comedian. Make it so, prosecutors, make it so.
Let’s circle back to the Trumpcine with a last word from Roseanne Cash:
Sarah Palin has tested positive for COVID-19, and she’s urging others to continue taking the pandemic seriously.
The former governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee-turned-TV personality confirms in a statement to PEOPLE that she contracted the coronavirus as did some of her family members, including 12-year-old son Trig. Of her diagnosis, Palin explains that it began when “one of my daughters awoke to having lost her sense of taste and smell [and] immediately had a positive COVID test, then was quarantined in isolation.
“I then observed symptoms in my son Trig, who curiously is the most enthusiastic mask-wearer, and after our numerous negative tests over the year, he tested positive,” Palin says. “Children with special needs are vulnerable to COVID ramifications [Trig was born with Down syndrome], so with a high fever he was prescribed azithromycin, which really seemed to help, and I increased amounts of vitamins I put in his puréed food.”
Palin says she and her son “buckled down in isolated quarantine” and she “still tested negative.” However, “symptoms started overnight with a slight fever and sore muscles.”
She adds that she had some of the “bizarre” symptoms characteristic of the virus, like a loss of taste and smell, leading her to assume it was “unmistakable COVID caught me.”
Palin tells PEOPLE that COVID-19 can “really knock you down,” encouraging everyone to remain vigilant about public health amid the ongoing pandemic.
Palin, who announced in January that her mother, Sally, had died, says that dad Chuck Heath “just got” his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I’m more concerned about him and his peers, and this beautiful older generation’s health and quality of life should be a national focus and priority,” she says.
“Through it all, I view wearing that cumbersome mask indoors in a crowd as not only allowing the newfound luxury of being incognito, but trust it’s better than doing nothing to slow the spread,” Palin says.
I caught a bit of a fever looking at her picture, and had other bizarre symptoms we had better not discuss here.
Seriously, I have no doubt that anyone could in theory catch this and get either a bit run down or have a near death experience, it’s designed that way and as to the loss of taste, caribou steaks were never that great anyway, think of it as a win-win.
23 posted on 4/1/2021, 12:22:19 AM by Peter ODonnell (Pray for health, economic recovery, and justice.)
Tanya: “Well, on this episode of Sell This House, we’re looking at Tommy’s duplex. It’s been on the market for 8 months, and there are only 12 other comparable properties on his block, so why won’t it smell…err, sell?. Let’s look at the videotape, Tommy!
Voice on videotape: “Christ! Did a cow shit in here??”
Tanya: “Ok,- with two big dogs and three cats in a 1,190 square foot ½ duplex, I can understand how carpet cleaning and deodorization isn’t going to make a fart in a whirlwind’s worth of difference (sorry, Tommy), so let’s turn to Roger for some ideas. Roger?”
Roger: “Well, we can eliminate some of the pet odor by eliminating some of the pets. BJ, your Bulldog is a cute boy, but he’s gotta go. (Roger produces a large handgun and fires two shots into BJ, looks closely and then fires one more. He looks satisfied) All right! (claps hands together) now while you guys start digging a hole in the backyard, I’ll run to the supply store for some quicklime. Nothing puts off potential buyers like a charnel pit smell in the backyard. Your other dog Morrie seems to have made quick work of that bowl of antifreeze I set out, and I’ve already strangled your cats Sunny and Kingsford with the strength in my amazingly-muscled forearms! Precious Kitty might be a bit of a problem, as she seems to have disappeared after watching me dispatch Sunny and Kingsford, but moving the furniture in the spare bedroom should take care of that.
Tanya: “See why we call him the miracle worker? You’re amazing, Roger! What a MAN!!” (starts to remove clothes)
Roger: “Let’s DO it!”
And then I woke up.
Remind me not to eat spicy foods any more before going to bed.
I skipped the Sunday Morning Video today because we have something special for you. Last December, I published a guest post by my friend Paul McMahon aka Paul McRambles: A Yat In Queen Isabella’s Court.
In that post, Paul described his plan to leave New Orleans and move to Seville, Spain. He is not, however, a barber or an opera singer.
Paul has finally gone and done it. This is the first part of a trilogy of sorts, which will grace First Draft on Sundays this month.
The first part is about Paul and Ms. Pmac’s struggle to cross the pond. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll yell at Delta. Whatever you do, don’t stay in Kenna, Brah.
-Adrastos Out. If it’s good enough for Shapiro, it’s good enough for me.
Pmac’s Big Adventure, Part 1 by Paul McMahon
So, its Thursday morning and instead of sitting on our balcony in Seville, I’m at a hotel in Kenner, La.
Back up the time machine, and here’s what has transpired over the past 48 hours.
Tuesday morning we go to a local pharmacy for a Covid test. Timing is crucial, since we need to show the authorities in Spain, a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival. Told results will be emailed before our flight on 4pm Wed.
On way back from the test, get a call from the company buying the now lone car we own, my wife’s 25-year-old Mazda. They are at our house now, ready to get it. Several hours early, but other than the trip to the airport, we only need one other trip, so why not (cue the violins from the Psycho shower scene).
Get home, car transaction complete. I call an Uber and go to the internet company provider’s office to turn in the box, back home and we’ll be off to the hotel for the night (no longer have a bed, so we opted to stay at a hotel next to the airport).
Call the Uber again, start to get our small dog into his carrier. Go to pick it up with him in it, and, the bottom of the carrier and the dog stay firmly on the ground, while I am holding the rest of the dry rotted carrier.
So, cancel the Uber, call the local pet supply place, and eureka, they have a carrier. Call another Uber and get to the store to discover that the employee was mistaken – no carrier there. Redirected (with another Uber) to a store across town that actually does have one. Grab it, another Uber ride back home, and then another Uber ride to the hotel with our 4 pieces of luggage, dog in a carrier, guitar in a case and 4 carry on pieces, for a restful night prior to departure.
Wednesday morning awaken to no news from the covid lab. Email them and am again assured results will be in prior to departure. Get to the airport with our 4 pieces of luggage, dog in a carrier, guitar in a case and 4 carry on pieces, go to check in and am told we actually can’t even board a plane without the results. So, we cool, our heels in the lobby of the airport. One hour later, the email hits. Open it and read that no test was performed because the tech who took our samples forgot to label the specimen container. Yeah, fuck me large.
So, back to the Delta (oh, and a double fuck you to Delta as you will shortly see) counter and the friendly attendant says no problem and gives us directions to a place that will do the test and provide results within 2 hours. She also advises that she will book us on the same flights tomorrow, at no extra cost. Our guardian angel (so we thought).
Grab our 4 pieces of luggage, dog in a carrier, guitar in a case and 4 carry on pieces and grab another Uber, to yet another hotel. Drop off the bags and the pup, and then yet another Uber to the testing company. Sure enough for $300 apiece, they will test and give results in 2 hours. And, 2 hours later, we have our written proof of being Covid free and Uber yet again to a hotel with thoughts of Seville dancing in our exhausted brains.
That night before turning off the lights we notice that we haven’t received an email confirming our new flights and log into the Delta web site. Nothing there either. Call Delta customer service, and after literally being on hold for 2.5 hours, am told that we missed our flights today (yeah, what a revelation) and that there are no other flights booked for us. And, while there are seats available for Thursday’s flight to Seville, it will cost us an extra $5k for that luxury. After an expletive filled fuck you fest of epic proportions, I was connected to the customer service supervisor, who despite not having been at the Delta counter earlier that day with us, advises that no Delta rep would have so booked us and that we were lying. Another fuck you rant ensues, with a full refund from Delta, and a promise that my sorry ass will never fill one of their seats again.
So, it’s now Thursday morning, we are still stateside, and still in a hotel room. We have a flight booked for Friday morning with United that should get us to Seville on Saturday, a scant 2 hours prior to the 72-hour expiration of our Covid test results. Yeah, it’s an adventure.
My second jab side effects were worse than the first but only lasted for 3 days then vanished. It was weird to walk like a drunk when stone cold sober, which is why I spent most of my time on the couch.
When did the furniture people start calling a couch a sofa? I can go either way, but sofa potato isn’t as evocative as couch potato. I wonder which one the man who couldn’t spell potatoes, J Danforth Quayle, uses. Ah, the small mysteries of life.
I’m still watching bits and bobs of the Chauvin trial. My dislike for defense lawyer, Eric Nelson grows daily. If I were devising a drinking game for the trial every time he says “right” “correct” “agree” you take a shot. A surefire way to get shit faced drunk, right?
Despite the album cover featured image, it’s Saturday, not Wednesday. I didn’t mean to confuse anyone; that was a lie, I take great joy in sowing confusion across the land instead of either sleeping like a log or working like a dog.
This week’s theme song was written by Lennon and McCartney in 1964 for the movie of the same title. It has always been one of my favorite Beatles tunes. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
We have four versions of A Hard Day’s Night for your listening pleasure: the Fab Four, Perez Prado, the Smithereens, and Miss Peggy Lee.
Peggy Lee? Yes, Norma Engstrom herself. Paul McCartney was a big fan and gave her a song to record after seeing her perform in London in 1974.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Since that’s my favorite Beatley quote, here’s the song it comes from; in German too.
The featured image is of the Cab Calloway big band in its heyday. Cab was a larger-than-life character and performer who would have insisted that I mention him before moving on to the song itself.
I’ve Got The World On A String was written in 1932 by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler for the Cotton Club series. It was, of course, the legendary Harlem night spot at which Black performers played to all-white audiences. The Cotton Club was also the subject of an ill-fated 1984 movie by Francis Coppola.
It’s time to stop stringing you along and play some music. We begin (where else?) with the great Cab Calloway:
I’ve Got The World On A String was something of an underrecorded song until Sinatra pulled the string. Where Francis Albert led others were sure to follow.
It’s the 156th anniversary of the glorious surrender at Appomattox Court House. My sympathies are obvious even after living for decades in the Gret Stet of Louisiana, which was not only part of the Confederacy but voted for Strom Thurmond in 1948 and George Wallace 20 years later.
Today’s quote comes from a writer who has been quoted more than once on First Draft, TPM’s Josh Marshal:
April 9th is a glorious anniversary: the day Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, Commanding General of the US Army, received the surrender of Robert E. Lee, a renegade US Army Colonel who was a leader of a violent rebellion against the United States, which killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. Grant offered generous terms to Lee and the other traitors making up his army. Six days later President Lincoln was assassinated in Washington, DC.
Lee was an able tactician but lacked the strategic genius that made Grant the towering military figure of the US Civil War. His Memoirs are one of the great works of American literature, quite apart from his fame and prominence as General and President. Certainly it is the greatest work of literature written by an American political figure. I wrote about both here.
The reality of the past is unchanging, as immutable as time proceeds only in one direction. But our perceptions of it, our understanding of its meaning and the stories we tell about it are perpetually in flux. Humans are story-telling creatures. Many of the great artifacts of human intellection are analytic, mathematic, visual. But at the deepest and most penetrating level we understand the world through stories, narratives. The production of these narratives become histories in themselves.
Nowhere is this more viscerally apparent than in the century of valorization of the traitors who led the pretended state called the Confederate States of America. This even goes down to the deep valorization of Southern military culture and the Confederacy’s top generals. This goes for Lee himself, a very skilled tactician but a highly conventional commander. This applies equally to the denigration of the commanders and common soldiers of the North whose reputations were downgraded as an offering to the wounded pride of the South.
That was a longer quote than I typically use but it sums up my own views quite neatly. There was, of course, nothing neat about the aftermath of the War of the Rebellion. Reconstruction ended with a whimper with the “compromise” over the disputed Hayes-Tilden election of 1876. General President Grant did not approve, but as we were reminded recently Congress had the final say.
Great fallings will be onto you if you uncheck the box!
Wonderful greetings. I wish upon you peace and happiness on this beautiful day.
Please allow me to make my introduction. I am Great Honorable Leader Member of Glorious Senate Mitchell McConnell and I have a great and prosperous message for you please.
Here in my country the Republican States of American (g-d be praised) we are under attack from hideous outside force called Demoncrats. They intend to prey on all the innocents unborn and otherwise with their Satanic thoughts and way of life.
Their grandmaster the most dishonorable Joseph Hussein Biden wishes to undo all progress made toward our glorious and pure rebirth by the most splendid and definitely re-elected leader Donald Trump (blessed is his name).
He will bring forth a day when all you earn is given to those who do no work and live only for the convenience of the corner store and a pack of six liquored malt.
He will cleanse the air of your job and the water of your child’s and force you to take work for which you are untrained and unwilling to train.
He will force upon you more of the wicked Obamacare and make it more difficult for honest insurance companies to properly and majestically disapprove drugs and procedures “doctors” say are required.
He will send his murderous thugs to remove from your home your legally bought and honorably paid for AR15 which you use to protect your family only and has never been used nor will ever be used to commit the crime.
He will use his “justice department” to expel from the Congress the many defenders of the cause such as Her Rightness Margery Taylor Green, Her Eminent Lauren Boebert, and the very sexy and not at all creepy Most Definitely Not A Predator Matt Gaetz.
He wishes to bring us a great tithe called Increased Corporate Tax which shall take from those with no voice in Washington and give to those who do not look or sound like you. Why is it fair to tax our Corporate brethren so much when it should be Demoncrats who should pay the tax!
He wants to “rebuild” infrastructure. Of what use is that? We have all the bridges we need, all the roads, all the sewers. Even our unfailing electrical gridiron works perfectly, especially in states that rarely see snow or cold weather.
And worst he will make the elections by which our power is flowing impossible for us to win by allowing all the many infidels who follow him to vote as they please with no chance for us to properly determine if such votes are valid and real which of course they are not.
You MUST NOT allow these things to happen. It is only through your contributions to the cause of freedom that we are able to prevent such disaster.
Please I beg of you to take a moment and send a contribution to us so we can continue to do the great work of preserving our Republican way of life.
We have made it super easy simple for you by already checking the yellow box above so you need not uncheck it. Remember IF YOU UNCHECK THE BOX OUR LEADER WILL BE ANGRY WITH YOU! You do not want to make our leader unhappiness. If you UNCHECK this box, we will have to tell the 45th(tm) you’re a DEFECTOR and have gone over to the Demoncrats.
Hoping that is never the case please feel the free to contact me with any ideas you may have. I am always in the love of hearing from good honest Republican citizens such as yourself.
Dr. A and I just finished binging the fabulous British TV show, Vera. We’ve fallen under the spell of Brenda Blethyn and use several of her catchphrases when addressing Claire Trevor. That’s why we call her the Wee Bairn, which is a Northern English and Scottish expression for a baby and a wee one at that. Beats the hell outta calling her the Terror of Tiny Town.
The junior Senator from the Gret Stet of Louisiana is the man I love to hate. I considered two Sue Grafton inspired titles for this post, P Is For Phony or H Is For Hypocrite, before settling on this one. It would take a crack detective such as Kinsey Milhone to locate Neely’s integrity, after all.
Neely loves to go on teevee and denounce the liberals; one of whom he used to be. That was before he lowered his political IQ and became a Fox News favorite. He did it again the other day but first some background snark about Neely’s hick schtick.
As Treasurer of the Gret Stet of Louisiana for seventeen years, Neely was a publicity hound, but his brand was as a skinflint guarding the public coffers against both Democrats and Republicans, not the rabid wingnut of today. He was every bit as hard on Bobby Jindal as on his Democratic predecessor, Kathleen Blanco. Of course, he was a Democrat until 2007.
Neely didn’t start hicking up his accent and speaking style until he changed parties. Before then, he was not ashamed of being well-educated and articulate. The dumbing down began in his second run for the US Senate in 2008 against incumbent Mary Landrieu who had also served as Gret Stet Treasurer.
Neely perfected his hick schtick in his successful run for the Senate in 2016. Having secured the prize he’d spent his entire life chasing, he became one of the loudest Trump sycophants and enablers in a Republican party full of them. I wrote a long piece for Bayou Brief in 2018 about what I called his Neelyisms: the cornpone “wisdom” he dispenses on the boob tube.
The Neelyisms stopped being funny when he started using them to defend retrograde, racist, and downright stupid policies. After the slaughter in Boulder, Colorado he said that what America needed was idiot control, not gun control. He’s not really an idiot, he just plays one on teevee.
Forget Mars. We need to search for intelligent life in the Major League Baseball commissioner’s office. I have never seen anything like this. Commissioner Manfred has a fiduciary responsibility to Major League Baseball. His job is to do the very best that he can not to suck. He has failed at that. Think about what he’s done. Major League Baseball is losing popularity to football and other sports. His job is to grow it. So what is the first thing he does? He decides to get involved in national politics and alienate hundreds of millions of Americans who actually like the Georgia bill and think that it is an honest effort for election security.
The commissioner hasn’t explained why he thinks these hundreds of millions of Americans who support the Georgia effort are a bunch of racists. He hasn’t bothered to explain why he thinks the bill is racist. The only excuse I can think is he made all of these decisions after his morning beer. I have never seen anything like it. It costs $150 to attend a major league baseball game in some cities. Is this going to encourage people to go? I just don’t think so.
This has nothing to do with Jackie Robinson. It has nothing to do with race.
It has everything to do with race, Senator. In fact, Jackie Robinson was born in Georgia, but his family fled Jim Crow and moved to California in search of a better life.
Republicans are afraid that they’re losing their grip on power in Georgia, so that state’s lege passed an atrocious bill that overwhelmingly effects black voters who are overwhelmingly Democratic. It might as well be called the Beat Raphael Warnock Bill. One would think that logic would reach a man who was an adjunct professor at LSU law school for 14 years, but he’s only interested in the next election. His election.
Neely is also fond of mocking diversity and claiming that racism is not systematic. Our old pal Deep Blog saw the faux idiot on Faux News the other day and got a bellyful of his pseudo ignorant spiel. He sent me a screen shot of Vanderbilt University’s yearbook from 1973. John Neely Kennedy is second from the right on the top row:
The observant among you have surely noticed that, except for two Asian dudes, everyone on this page is of one race. It explains a lot about John Neely Kennedy. He not only mocks diversity, he’s uncomfortable with it. Imagine that.
Presumably, Vanderbilt is considerably more diverse in 2021 than it was in Neely’s day, which was a mere 9 years after that pricey private school was fully desegregated. In the Seventies, Black Commodores were still rare on the University’s Nashville campus unless some students owned records by the band then fronted by Lionel Richie.
John Neely Kennedy is a cornpone con man who thinks diversity is for suckers. To paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt, Neely talks loudly and carries a hick schtick. I look forward to voting against him in 2022.
Since Neely is so fond of guns, the last word goes to The Commodores with the title track of their debut album:
(That’s my vaccination card. Yes, it’s hot pink. I’m not sure why, although I will say it’s a great prompt to keep me from inadvertently throwing it away.)
When the pandemic began I was struck by the singularity of the moment. I studied history, after all, so while the United States was already in the middle of a historic catastrophe of a presidency, that event wasn’t immediately apparent to everyone.
The pandemic declaration wasn’t as easy to discount and it made its mark on our national consciousness. Early on my family was on a group call that was part of our effort to keep my 80something parents in good spirits when my middle sister started talking about how incredible it was to be living through something we had all learned about in history class.
I thought that since most of us were so keenly aware of being in a pandemic that as a nation we’d have a shared experience, and because we were all having more or less that same experience our conversations about that experience would reflect a common struggle. Boy, was I wrong, huh?
Now I did understand that people whose jobs were essential—medical personnel, police/fire/emergency services, grocery store workers, home improvement store workers, etc.—were not going to be able to shut themselves up at home. But what I failed to imagine was how many of the rest of us weren’t so keenly aware of being in a pandemic, and that national shared conversation never emerged.
But a national conversation has now emerged, and instead of being about the struggle of isolation, it’s about the promise of hope. We’re now finally talking about the same thing: being vaccinated. Social media is full of vaccine selfies, vaccination cards, and everyone sharing information about where to get that elusive and lifesaving jab.
(Now I know that there are a lot of people–too many people–who won’t get vaccinated. I know I’m supposed to say that people believe different things and we just need to let them be and to respect their choices. Well, I don’t respect their choice because I don’t respect things rooted in pure ignorance. These same people are going to be complaining when they are barred from movie theaters and other indoor spaces because they couldn’t make the smallest possible effort to fight Covid. That’s going to be my last mention of them because as the Polish proverb goes, “Not my circus, not my monkeys”.)
Beyond the hope, relief, and joy of being able to safely move in the world again, we are also united over a dominant question: “What side effects did you have?” Getting the vaccine is a balancing act between the fear of a new kind of vaccine that is an incredible medical accomplishment but which can also make you feel awful, and a deadly disease. OK, when I put it that way, I guess it’s not really a balancing act. But I do think that despite how safe and incredible all of the vaccines are, especially the exotic-sounding mRNA vaccines, in our small way we’re pretty brave for stepping up and doing our part to end this nightmare. Then again, I hate needles, so that could just be me talking.
And although all our stories of hope, relief, and joy are part of this uplifting national conversation, for me it’s the stories from the people who have been as locked down as much as I have been that resonate the most. My spouse has special risks and so I have been the front line person in our family. We will get our second shots Saturday. I have had to be extremely cautious since last February and so haven’t been anywhere except pressing medical appointments. He has had to completely shut himself away in the same way, and as he’s an extrovert this has been so much worse for him than it has for me (the rare female INTJ). I love him so much—being together for a year has brought us closer—and all our joint sacrifice has weirdly been an unexpected joy as well.
But I’m also going to look forward to other joys in the upcoming weeks: my first haircut (and color!!) in 14 months, being able to do my own grocery shopping, eating a hot meal in a restaurant (well, outside dining only for the next few months), and eventually being able to see my 80something parents whom I haven’t seen in person in 2 years.
And while I write all of this I am accutely aware of all of the suffering caused by Covid here in the US–the deaths I mourn every day, the injustice that is our healthcare system (I was uninsured for too many years for my comfort), the risks so many people have had to take to keep businesses open because their jobs could not be done remotely, the toll on healthcare workers, and so many other sorrows. I am really hoping these important issues will be addressed both right now and in future pandemic planning.
I close with a song that I like for its Sondheim-borrowing, from a show I absolutely loathed all the way through when I saw it live. Joy be with you all.