The Leopards Finally Ate Shep Smith’s Face

*headline reference

Just spare me the eulogies for Shepard Smith’s career, please.

Twitter on Friday was full of fawning takes about how he was the best person at Fox, which is like being the least slutty person at Caligula’s last orgy. You’re still there while the watersports and bestial bukkake are happening, my dude, and it’s not like the doors were locked behind you.

Let’s review some of things Fox and its creatures engaged in during Shep’s principled time there, which did not outrage him enough to quit his job.

Bill O’Reilly, all by himself:

  • Said he “didn’t hear a word” Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) was saying because he “was looking at her James Brown wig.”
  • Leered at a female black employee at Fox News and called her “hot chocolate.”
  • Was surprised and amazed when he went to a restaurant in Harlem and found it was a normal restaurant where people weren’t screaming “M-Fer, I want more iced tea.”
  • Questioned how Trump would help black people get jobs when most of them “are ill-educated and have tattoos on their foreheads.”
  • Blamed Freddie Gray’s “lifestyle” for his death.

Here’s Glenn Beck:

Glenn Beck, the host of an eponymous afternoon commentary show, stated in 2009 that he believes President Obama is “a racist” and has “a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”[155] These remarks drew criticism, and resulted in a boycott promulgated by Color of Change.[156] The boycott resulted in 80 advertisers requesting their ads be removed from his programming, to avoid associating their brands with content that could be considered offensive by potential customers. He later apologized for the remarks, telling Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace that he has a “big fat mouth” and miscast as racism what is actually, as he theorizes, Obama’s belief in black theology.[156][157][158][159][160][161][162][163] Beck left Fox News in June 2011 after 29 months with the network.[164][165]

Here’s a good video review of how even the cooking shows were racist:

These were the actions of a company from which Shepard Smith was just fine cashing checks. These were the actions of his colleagues, his comrades in journalism, his friends. This was the operation to which he was in no way, and at no time, morally opposed.

At least, not enough to tell them to take this job and shove it.

So now Shepard Smith is gonna go write his book about being the Last Honest Man, or start a Twitter feed of all the ways in which the modern conservative movement disappoints him and betrays its high-minded ideals and is just so Very Coarse These Days. He will be lauded for it across Totebag Nation, at academic events and debate venues throughout the land. And anyone who points out that he was in fact for decades a pleasant face of the racist, fascist, GOP-run NRA-banked propaganda operation that has done incalculable damage to what was once our democracy will be derided as some silly, strident, impractical leftist.

I’ll be screaming it outside the Aspen Ideas Festival, nonetheless. I know you’re all good for the bail money.

Much was made of his work after Katrina, his moment of moral clarity calling out the catastrophic failure of Republican-run America to fulfill the promises it made to its citizens.

But I’d like to know. Why wasn’t that enough for him to quit?

Why wasn’t that moment, or a thousand thousand like it, enough for him to say, I will no longer be a part of what is obviously a force for evil? It was obvious, even then, to viewers watching at home that Fox was conservative-run and conservative-backed; why wasn’t the exposure of the ugly underbelly of what conservatism had done to America and would continue to do reason for him to jump ship?

Why wasn’t any of the unhinged nonsense during the Obama years enough to encourage him to bail? The Tea Party and the white nationalism it encouraged? Why did he not look at “terrorist fist jab” or “do you make Kool-Aid” or “Santa Claus is white” and say fuck you guys, man, this isn’t okay? Why did it take Trump for this to come to a head? Where has he BEEN all this time?

Shepard Smith has spent 23 years at the behest of an organization that has made America worse, and now we’re supposed to publicly grieve his leaving it? Because he wasn’t as bad as the rest of them? We’re supposed to feel sorry for him because his boss, a known ratfucker, fucked him, a rat?

Sorry. I’ve got immigrant kids in cages to feel sorry for, fresh out of sympathy around here.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Something’s Gotta Give

Piazza d’Italia by Giorgio di Chirico.

It’s election day in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. As I stated in my last Bayou Brief column, I plan to affix a clothespin and vote for Governor John Bel Edwards. Here’s hoping that we don’t have a run-off with more visits from the Trumps and Mike Liar Liar Pence On Fire. They’ve held events in small-ish venues but there have still been empty seats. A good slogan for Pence’s next event would be: Empty Seats For An Empty Suit.

We’re having our first cool front of the year. Fall hasn’t exactly fallen but we’ll take what we can get. The only seasons you can depend on in New Orleans are summer and carnival. I forgot football season: LSU and Florida are squaring off tonight in Red Stick. Here’s hoping the Tigers feast on Gator.

I have a new motto: Surreal times call for Surrealist art. This week’s featured image is by the Italian Surrealist, Giorgio di Chirico who was originally a Futurist. That gives me an excuse to quote Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto: “Oh, maternal ditch.”

If you expect me to explain that quote, you’re out of luck. I’m feeling cryptic like a proper Surrealist if there is such a thing. There were more than a few improper Surrealists if you catch my drift.

The title of this week’s theme song aptly describes our current national situation: Something’s Gotta Give. It was written by Johnny Mercer in 1955 for the Fred Astaire movie, Daddy Long Legs.

We have three versions for your listening pleasure: Fred Astaire from the movie, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald.

Lets make like Daddy Long Legs and crawl to the break.

Continue reading

Friday Night Music: I Want You To Want Me

I haven’t done a stand alone music post for quite some time. It’s time to change that.

I Want You To Want Me was written in 1977 by Rick Nielsen for Cheap Trick’s In Color album but is best known for the version on Live At The Buddokan. It was one of the songs that Ashley Morris requested be played at his funeral so it has extra resonance for his family and friends.

We have two versions of I Want You To Want Me for your listening pleasure: Cheap Trick live and a cover by Dwight Yoakam, country singer and Cheap Trick fan:

 

Adventures In Trumper Lawyering

I started this post earlier this week but there’s a new example of crazy Trumper lawyering every day. I gotta give them credit for creativity as well as chutzpah for making some uh, inventive, arguments. The client is driving the train and it’s Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train; either that Casey Jones is at the wheel. Driving that train, high on cocaine…

ALL ABOARD THE LEGAL CRAZY TRAIN.

The Trump v. Vance case led off the week. The Insult Comedian’s lawyers were suing to prevent Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. from obtaining the holy grail of Trumpistan: the tax returns. The case should have been filed in state court since it involved an issue of state law, which is where the judge tried to bounce it back to before Team Trump appealed in federal court. I had a great conflicts of law professor, that’s why I remember this stuff. Hats off to the late Luther Love McDougal.

The craziest argument in this case is that a sitting president CANNOT BE INVESTIGATED. Judge Victor Marrero (not to be confused with the Louisiana town) wrote an opinion that was a giant fuck you to Team Trump:

The president asserts an extraordinary claim in the dispute now before this court.  He contends that the person who serves as president while in office enjoys absolute immunity from criminal process of any kind.

Bared to its core, the proposition the president advances reduces to the very notion that the founders rejected at the inception of the republic and that the Supreme Court has since unequivocally repudiated that a constitutional domain exists in this country in which not only the president, but derivatively, relatives, and persons and business entities associated with him are in fact above the law.  This court finds aspects of such a doctrine repugnant to the nation`s governmental structure and constitutional values.

Repugnant? That’s some strong stuff for a federal judge. Repugnant arguments result in indignant opinions.

You’ve all heard about the White House counsel Pat Cipollone’s nutty letter to the House leadership denouncing the impeachment inquiry. It read more like a campaign screed than a legal opinion. The effective bottom line of this remarkable document is that the constitution is unconstitutional. I shit you not: the impeachment inquiry is unconstitutional even though it’s in the document itself. So much for originalism.

The next lunatic argument comes from the Department of Justice. You know, the place where Bill Barr orchestrates the Trump cover up. DOJ lawyers argued that the 1974 Watergate grand jury case was wrongly decided. They did everything but invoke the Nixon-Barr doctrine:

On Thursday, two of Rudy Giuliani’s criminal associates were indicted by the Southern District of New York. The crazy came from one of their lawyers: former Trump mouthpiece, John Dowd. He claimed executive privilege before Congress because of their work with Rudy in Ukraine. Seriously?

You cannot make this shit up:

Only days ago Dowd told congressional investigators that his clients would not cooperate in their impeachment inquiry. But beyond that blanket resistance he said that there were specific issues which would make any discussion of cooperation take a long time untangle. The key one was attorney/client privilege. With the client being the President of the United States.

<SNIP>

Dowd explained that Parnas and Fruman worked with Rudy Giuliani on his representation of President Trump and thus were shielded (at least on some topics) by the Attorney/Client privilege between Giuliani (Attorney) and Donald Trump (client).

Oops, it wasn’t executive privilege, it was derivative attorney-client privilege. Is this like when Paul Drake (not the cat) worked as a shamus for Perry Mason? Does Hamilton Burger know about this? How about Lieutenants Tragg, Anderson, or Drumm?

My mind is still reeling from the legal crazy of the week. I mentioned two rock songs at the top of the post: Ozzy Osbourne and Warren Zevon & David Lindley get the last word.

 

Friday Catblogging: Too Cool For School

Dr. A bought a large cloth tiger head. I had hoped that it would be of interest to Paul Drake. He wasn’t having it. PD was all like: “I refuse to co-operate with your pitiful scheme, human.”

This is the first in a series. When it comes to messing with my cats, I’m persistent.

New Tea About The Tillerson

Image by Michael F.

Texas oil tycoon and former Trump Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is back in the news. I’ve missed Rex and was thrilled to see this bombshell story about another potential impeachable offense:

President Donald Trump pressed then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to help persuade the Justice Department to drop a criminal case against an Iranian-Turkish gold trader who was a client of Rudy Giuliani, according to three people familiar with the 2017 meeting in the Oval Office.

Tillerson refused, arguing it would constitute interference in an ongoing investigation of the trader, Reza Zarrab, according to the people. They said other participants in the Oval Office were shocked by the request.

Tillerson immediately repeated his objections to then-Chief of Staff John Kelly in a hallway conversation just outside the Oval Office, emphasizing that the request would be illegal. Neither episode has been previously reported, and all of the people spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the conversations.

You know something is sleazy when the former CEO of Exxon-Mobil refused to follow presidential* orders. It’s scary when a story makes one nostalgic for the Tillerson-Mattis-McMaster-Kelly era. They all had lines they wouldn’t cross. There’s nobody like that at the White House right now, which is why Trump’s poorly coiffed head finds itself in the impeachment guillotine.

It’s time for the fearful foursome to break their silence about the perfidious conduct they witnessed in their time in the administration. Their reputations have already been damaged, it’s time to retrieve some respectability from the mire of the Trump regime.

The last word goes to Cat Stevens with a song from Catch Bull At Four:

The NBA’s Chicom Sitcom

The Trump regime has been good for satirists, but I have Trump fatigue. I swore that I’d write about something, anything other than the Insult Comedian at least once this week. You’re probably fatigued by this expository paragraph. I certainly am but there’s a bit more to be said about the Insult Comedian before getting down to the matter at hand.

As you’re well aware, Trump is a fake tough guy. He’s been waging an “easy to win” trade war with China. The biggest losers thus far have been American farmers and consumers.

I remember when American conservatives disliked the Chinese Communist government for its repressive nature, not its trade policy. Who would have thought that aspect of the Cold War would qualify as the good old days?  Before Nixon’s trip to China in 1972, right-wingers referred to members of the ruling party as Chicoms. It was a political, not racial slur. When not conflating the two, conservatives used to hate commies more than liberals.

Now that I’ve emulated Rachel Maddow’s A block, on with today’s post:

I’ve been closely following the China-NBA mishigas. Last week, Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted in mild support of the Hong Kong protesters. The Chinese government flipped out, then demanded and received an apology. Morey nearly lost his job before the NBA placated the Chinese government. Apparently, the A in NBA stands for appeasement, not association.

This Chicom sitcom exploded because the Rockets are one of the most popular NBA teams in China. The greatest Chinese hoops player of all, Yao Ming, played for Houston from 2002-2011. Yao is currently China’s basketball honcho and NBA commissioner Adam Silver described him as “extremely hot” over this mishigas.

In recent years, the NBA has presented itself as the “woke” sports league, especially in contrast to the NFL. This claim is under pressure from the Chinese government, which cannot abide any criticism from its business partners. It’s a reminder that while China’s economic policy is capitalistic, they’re still Communists when it comes to human rights. Free markets have not translated to freedom on the home front and never will if entities such as the NBA kowtow to the Chinese government.

There was such a backlash to the NBA’s initial supine stand that Commissioner Silver felt obliged to defend freedom of speech but when push comes to shove, the almighty dollar will prevail. The Bubba Gump guy who owns the Houston Rockets will insist.

The Maddow Doctrine clearly applies to this unsporting sports fracas:

I agree with Slate’s Tom Scocca who wrote:

What are you going to do, after all, turn your back on 1.4 billion people? Or 1.399 billion, if you don’t count the 1 million Uighurs reportedly held in prison camps where their culture is trained out of them by force (in a territory where the NBA established a training camp)?

Yes. That is what to do. Especially for the NBA, whose relationship with China is chiefly monetary. NBA China is reportedly worth $4 billion. That’s a lot of money to walk away from over one tweet. And that’s exactly why the NBA should walk away now.

China has already played its hand. If Hong Kong is nonnegotiable, there’s nothing to discuss. The subject will become more sensitive, not less, if the Hong Kong police move from tear gas and rubber bullets to the routine use of live ammunition, or if the People’s Liberation Army moves in. Would the NBA muzzle its employees then? Would the players and staff of a globally prominent American company censor their own feelings to protect the Chinese market? Why not take the stand before it gets to that?

Ironies abound in this story. The Trump regime is not interested in Chinese human rights abuses and cozies up to the vicious Communist dictator in North Korean while resorting to red baiting in domestic politics. It also shows the shallowness of the NBA’s claims of “wokeness.”  To paraphrase Smokey Robinson and Bobby Rogers, first they look at the purse.

The last word goes to the J. Geils Band:

The Kurds Weren’t There When The Germans Bombed Pearl Harbor Either

normandy_2_trump

It’s pretty clear Trump’s not even trying to, what’s the expression, reach out, or act even vaguely presidential — his stategery, to the extent he has any, is to play cult leader to the base. Truth to them is whatever he says (hence his recent ad insisting promises made, promises kept — warning, Fox news video). Hope the media is sufficiently cowed to push enough of his narrative that it fouls the waters. If he can eke out any kind of victory, watch out.

I think it’s not a bad idea to revisit these two pieces. The first is from Jack Holmes, who cites reporter Masha Gessen in the NY Review of Books.

Holmes

It has long been clear that the president is attempting to build a genuine authoritarian movement over which only his word has any power, and which he can use to ride roughshod over the institutions of democracy. So far, this attempt has been an unmitigated success, as his supporters inhabit the same infotainment vortex he does and other members of the Republican Party…bow to him out of craven fealty.

Lies that are not merely lies, but instead serve to destroy the very concept of truth, are a cornerstone of any authoritarian playbook.

Gessen

Lying is the message. It’s not just that both Putin and Trump lie, it is that they lie in the same way and for the same purpose: blatantly, to assert power over truth itself. Take, for example, Putin’s statements on Ukraine. In March 2014 he claimed that there were no Russian troops in newly annexed Crimea; a month later he affirmed that Russians troops had been on the ground. Throughout 2014 and 2015, he repeatedly denied that Russian troops were fighting in eastern Ukraine; in 2016 he easily acknowledged that they were there. In each case, Putin insisted on lying in the face of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, and in each case his subsequent shift to truthful statements were not admissions given under duress: they were proud, even boastful affirmatives made at his convenience. Together, they communicated a single message: Putin’s power lies in being able to say what he wants, when he wants, regardless of the facts. He is president of his country and king of reality.

Trump has exhibited similar behavior, apparently for the same reason: when he claims that he didn’t make statements that he is on record as making, or when he claims that millions of people voting illegally cost him the popular vote, he is not making easily disprovable factual claims: he is claiming control over reality itself.

The campaign is only beginning. By the time it’s in full swing, Trump might well insist he stormed the Normandy beaches. His minions will cheer along, and I don’t doubt there will be pressure on the media (with expressed or at least implied violence) to “not show any librul bias” in calling lies out for lies.

The question will be whether it works. If it does…

 

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Fall Guy

The Fall Guy theme continues. This time without Lee Majors or Rick Perry.

Mandate Of Heaven? Regicide?

Trump’s supporters are becoming as unhinged as their dear leader. They’re having a hard time dealing with impeachment of the man who would be king. They’re increasingly incoherent as one of them shows signs of defecting from the MAGA cult. Can one undrink the Kool-Aid? That’s an existential question best left for another day.

We begin with teevee evangelist Pat Robertson. He’s distressed over the betrayal of the Kurds. He described his distress in rather colorful terms:

“I believe … the president of the United States is in danger of losing the mandate of heaven if he permits this to happen,”

Mandate of heaven? Is Trump the emperor of China now? They need to make up their minds as to whether Trump is Pu Yi or George III. They both had swell movies made about them: The Last Emperor and The Madness of King George. Life under Trump is truly stranger than fact-based fiction. As far as I’m concerned, he’ll always be the Kaiser of Chaos:

Speaking of kings, one of Trump’s nuttier fans, lawyer Joseph DeGenova was on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show and defended his demented liege:

“What you’re seeing is regicide. This is regicide by another name, fake impeachment. The Democrats in the House want to destroy the President.”

Impeachment is real, only your king is fake, Joey, baby. Given that you’re up to your eyeballs in the Ukraine mess, you might want to STFU. Silly me: that’s as impossible for Trump apologists as it is for Trumpberius himself.

Speaking of deranged Roman emperors, veteran biblebanger Ralph Reed has a new book in which he makes the case for the religious right’s continued obeisance to the Insult Comedian.  The original title is what Archie Bunker would have called a Real Pip:

According to the book’s description, obtained by POLITICO, the original title for the book was “Render to God and Trump,” a reference to the well-known biblical verse, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” The message from Jesus in Matthew 22, has been used in contemporary politics to justify obedience to government — or in the case of Reed’s book, to Trump.

Blind obedience is just as dangerous as blind ambition. Ralph Reed has exhibited signs of both pathologies in his long career as a wingnut.

What’s next? Will they call Trump a Pharaoh? His border wall is a monument to himself much like the pyramids, after all.

The last word goes to Richard Thompson:

 

Larry Tribe On Impeachment

It may sound presumptuous to call the distinguished Harvard Law professor by his nickname but, as I explained in 2017, I cannot help myself. It’s down to one of my law school professors who was one of Tribe’s greatest admirers. I called him Con Law:

One of the names Con Law dropped was Laurence Tribe. He never called him by either his full name or title and surname, he was always Larry Tribe. Con Law turned both names into a multi-syllabic pronunciation extravaganza. There would come a point in most classes that I’d nudge a friend and whisper, “here IT comes.” The IT in question was a Larry Tribe name drop; usually about how they’d discussed an issue and agreed on it. It was Con Law and Larry Tribe against the world, y’all.

Now that I’ve made this about myself, it’s time to get to the point of this exercise. Larry Tribe has written a typically elegant and persuasive op-ed about impeachment for USA Today.

Tribe’s core argument is that, given Trump regime stonewalling, the House should move quickly to write and vote on articles of impeachment. He concludes the piece thusly:

The impeachment power was envisioned by the Founders as an emergency mechanism, one to be deployed in the event of grievous and continuing harm to the nation caused by an abuse of the power entrusted by voters to a high officer of the republic. Donald J. Trump is Exhibit A of what those who designed our Constitution had in mind. They believed they had provided the device we might one day need to preserve constitutional democracy. Yet with each day’s passing, as the walls close in ever more tightly, Trump grows ever more desperate and dangerous.

His more than shameful capitulation to Turkey and abandonment of our Kurdish allies is a case in point. Indefensible on its own terms even though not in itself impeachable, it illustrates what this cornered man might do to distract as the constitutional system blocks his every available exit. Every day he’s allowed to stall, evade justice and remain in power, the country is in still graver danger.

The House must move expeditiously to vote for articles of impeachment based on President Trump’s already evident “high crimes,” including abuse of power and obstruction of justice, even as it pursues the truth through relentless investigation that resorts as needed to the still independent judiciary.

Make sure that you read the whole piece.

A quick addendum. Cracks are appearing in the once solid wall of Republican support for Trump in the Senate, so the House should send over multiple articles to give wavering GOPers the chance to vote for at least one.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Ginger Baker’s Air Force

Legendary Cream drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80.  You’re probably wondering why this isn’t an R.I.P. post. Here’s why:

If you don’t believe me, check out the 2012 documentary Beware of Mr. Baker.

Here’s Martin Sharp’s front gatefold  for Baker’s 1970 aerial extravaganza:

Here’s whole damn album via the YouTube:

Jumping on the Express Train to Hell

Imagine signing on for this today. 

At this point in the last election, Trump’s campaign employed 19 consultants. Now, there are more than 200. When Trump had all but locked up the nomination by May 2016, he had spent $63 million. Thus far, pro-Trump committees have spent $531 million.

I mean, imagine signing on for it in 2016, when his opening statement was “Mexicans will rape your white daughters” and he followed it up with That Convention and Lock Her Up and Grab ‘Em By The Pussy. That’s bad enough, when he was just a crude old racist asshole and thus, if you were rich and white, kind of a joke.

But now that he’s all that plus — thanks to Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan — an imminent threat to the republic, a fascist presiding over concentration camps, the enemy of anyone who isn’t a suburban Caucasian dipshit, imagine who you’d have to be to say yeah, gimme a piece of that.

I get that we all have to eat, but there are sales on ground beef at the grocery store every week, guys, don’t any of you dare say you needed to resort to this. There’s a liquor store on the corner I’m sure you could halfway competently rob and at least then you’d have my respect.

One of the major solaces these days of having been raised with an understanding of capital-G, Old Testament Charlton Heston God, is imagining that there are in fact circles of Hell, literal physical ones, full of demons torturing people by ripping out their livers for eternity and shit. Everyone involved with this situation is clearly going there, but I choose to have faith in a hierarchy, and anybody who signs up NOW is gonna be a lot closer to the bottom of the pit.

A.

Layoffs Don’t Help Digital

Sports Illustrated has just announced it’s going to fuck the same chicken that legacy media has been fucking for two decades now, and you’d all better like it.

First up on the parade of How to Fuck up Online, we’re gonna PIVOT TO VIDEO!

Video. In a world of nearly unlimited thirst for video inventory from major advertising brands, SI must create real-time, distinctive content – and lots of it. We are investing millions in new hires, studio infrastructure, video hosts and talent. Central studios in Los Angeles and NYC will power all-day and evening news coverage, incorporating boots-on-the-ground local reports and authoritative national voices. Our editorial leadership, along with management and Maven’s engineers and designers, are building an entirely different way to empower SI’s newsroom.

Is there really an unlimited thirst for video inventory from major advertising brands? What does that even mean? Is he saying an audience exists for more Mountain Dew commercials? Or is he saying that Mountain Dew wants more videos to advertise in?

I gotta tell you I don’t think either one is really a problem. Mountain Dew has all of YouTube to monetize unboxing videos and teenage makeup advice and people who want to watch videos can go literally everywhere already to do it. I just:

We are investing millions in new hires, studio infrastructure, video hosts and talent.

Studio infrastructure. Jesus tits. In six months you’re gonna be hocking that equipment on Ebay and renting out the studio to high school students whose parents want to subsidize their Scorsese dreams.

Next up, HYPERLOCAL!

Local/team coverage. SI.com long ago abandoned team-specific coverage, and that decision neglects the heart and soul of a sports audience. Sports are tribal as well as national. SI will be a leader at both levels. Maven is investing millions in a digital platform to support over 200 local journalists—enough to cover every professional and major NCAA team in North America.

They’re investing millions in a digital platform. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND BILLY DEE WILLIAMS IT IS 2019. The world abounds in platforms of every kind, surely you can find one that mostly fits and then juice it up. Or you could just copy the one EVERY MAJOR NEWSPAPER BUILT AND THEN ABANDONED in the past ten years.

They’re building an APP, guys, which you may not have heard of but you can download it from the APPLE STORE.

Site performance has already improved, and native apps for iOS and Android with built-in community, social and video features are being designed today to keep fans coming back daily.

Please tell me this will have some kind of message board as its “built-in community,” because as long as we’re doing the greatest hits from the bad old days of the Internet, we should keep the one thing that actually worked which was the comments sections at Television Without Pity.

Sports changes by the minute.

I’m sure this comes as a shocking development to the STAFF OF SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.

Next up, content farms!

These entrepreneurs are independent, third-party businesses that are provided access to Maven’s digital platform to post their content and who receive a share of advertising and membership revenue. We firmly believe this model provides the most opportunity for talented local journalists to flourish in a changing landscape.

You know what helps people flourish in a changing landscape? Money. The kind of money they used to earn for doing the same job you’re asking them to do now. People fucking flourish like crazy when they get paid. They flourish in areas like “buying groceries” and “keeping the heat on in their homes.” It’s amazing.

The “changing landscape” line made a very tiny bit of sense back in like 1998 when nobody knew what the internet was going to be. Now that we know it’s the same four corporate weasels going ass-to-mouth in the parking lot of a P.F. Chang’s, there’s even LESS incentive to fall for it.

These third-party businesses have discretion to operate their businesses how they want. Since the businesses receive a share of the revenue their channel generates, the amount of total compensation is based on how well they run their businesses, and on their success in creating great stories and communities to attract a highly engaged audience.

Thus, the business model cannot fail. It can only be failed by people who thought they were gonna do the news, not sell the news or market the distribution of it.

They proceed with a bunch of other bullshit and nonsense, approaching sense occasionally when talking about how previous cuts haven’t worked, but diving right back into the sewers with insistence that firing people makes them nimble and agile and bendy and elastic and shit, as if sucking your own dick is something anyone should aspire to. Fuck this fucking game.

A.

Betrayal By Tweet

Image by Michael F.

President* Pennywise has been melting down for days. His Twitter feed gets crazier by the second. He wants to impeach people who are not subject to that process: Romney, Pelosi, and Schiff. He wants to jail Adam Schiff for being so damn articulate and right about everything. If only he’d threaten to hold his breath until he turns blue. That way he’d pass out and give it a rest.

The Insult Comedian has a nasty habit of agreeing with the last person with whom he speaks. He spoke to Turkish President Erdogan, then did his bidding by giving the Turks a green light to enter Syria and “deal with” the Kurds.

I’m not one of those Greek-Americans who pathologically hates and mistrusts the Turks BUT the Turkish strongman has those feelings about the Kurds. There’s a long history of enmity between the Turks and Kurds of which  President* Pennywise is ignorant. His ignorance could get people killed as well as ISIS prisoners released. It’s that bad, y’all.

Speaking of bad, President* Pennywise failed to consult with the military brass or any of our allies other than Turkey before firing off that Tweet. It’s madness. Speaking of which, this may be the craziest thing Trump has ever tweeted:

Great and unmatched wisdom? More like great and unmatched stupidity or great and unmatched lunacy. My hunch is that he’s parroting something Erdogan said on the phone. Turkish is a florid language. Trump speaks Jerkish, the only thing florid about him is his face.

An old friend of mine had an excellent response to that unhinged Tweet:

This isn’t the first time that the United States or another great power has betrayed the Kurds. BUT  in the past, it was done out of cynical calculation of national self-interest. This was done as part of a presidential* tantrum over impeachment. It’s President* Pennywise’s idea of notching a win that he can brag about at his next rally, which happens to be in the Gret Stet of Louisiana.

Repeat after me: Donald Trump is mentally ill. It’s time to fit him with a straitjacket, invoke the 25th Amendment, and remove President* Pennywise from office. I know it won’t happen but I can dream, can’t I?

The last word goes to the Kinks:

 

 

The Fall Guy?

It was a busy weekend on the fog of scandal front. The Insult Comedian is flailing, looking for a phone call fall guy. His minions leaked a story to Axios blaming a cabinet secretary who has been largely out of the spotlight: Rick Perry.  The former Texas Governor has not been an overly energetic energy secretary, which is something we can all be grateful for.

Back to the Axios story on Rick Perry:

President Trump told House Republicans that he made his now infamous phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the urging of Energy Secretary Rick Perry — a call Trump claimed he didn’t even want to make.

Trump made these comments during a conference call with House members on Friday, according to 3 sources on the call.

Per the sources, Trump rattled off the same things he has been saying publicly — that his call with Zelensky was “perfect”and he did nothing wrong.

But he then threw Perry into the mix and said something to the effect of: “Not a lot of people know this but, I didn’t even want to make the call. The only reason I made the call was because Rick asked me to. Something about an LNG [liquefied natural gas] plant,” one source said, recalling the president’s comments. 2 other sources confirmed the first source’s recollection.

It’s as if they looked for someone as dumb as Trump to blame for the “perfect call.”

It doesn’t appear that Perry is ready to jump back on the bus after being thrown under it: he’s planning to leave the cabinet and may be willing to talk to House investigators. Does anyone really think that this guy could talk President* Pennywise into doing something he didn’t want to do?

The ceiling appears to be caving in on the administration. People who are not in elected office have come to the realization that Trump has ZERO loyalty to his underlings and will throw them in a pond full of piranhas to save his ass. Exhibit One is Michael Cohen who once said he’d take a bullet for his dear leader. That misguided loyalty landed the former fixer in a fix and behind bars.

The notion of Rick Perry as Trump’s patsy evokes images of the old Lee Majors TV series: The Fall Guy. Majors played Colt Seavers, a movie stunt man who had a side hustle as a bounty hunter.

In this instance, the bounty appears to be on Rick Perry’s head. He should lawyer up and decline to take the fall for Trump. That would be the smart move. It’s unclear if the twice failed presidential candidate is capable of doing the smart thing. He does, however, look pretty good in a cowboy hat side-by-side with Lee Majors:

The Lee Majors character who could really help Perry is the Six Million Dollar Man:

Where have you gone, Steve Austin?

INSTANT UPDATE: My suspicions that Rick Perry is incapable of doing the smart thing have been confirmed. He says he’s not resigning. Way to mess up my post, Rick.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – random vandals edition

Morning, everyone! This one is going to be just random smatterings of crazy, since all the Impeachment threads are just too monotonous.  I can sum them up in a single meme:

TrumpSupporters (2)

There’s only so many ways you can say the same thing, dontcha know.

I’ve been wondering when there was going to be some sweet sweet Oat Keepers action in Freeperville.  Well, wait no longer!

Alert: Volunteers Needed to Protect Trump Supporters at Minneapolis Trump Rally!

Also – volunteers needed to proofread Freeper posts and fix random capitalization issues!


Oathkeepers ^ | 10/05/2019 | Stewart Rhodes

Posted on 10/6/2019, 1:10:21 AM by Kevin in California

ALERT: Security volunteers needed!

Oath Keepers, veterans, bikers, three percenters, and other capable patriots,

SpitTake

we need your help.

The violent communists of Antifa have issued a national call to action for Antifa and other radical, America hating leftists to converge on the upcoming Trump rally in Minneapolis on Oct 10 to “disrupt” the Trump rally with an Antifa black block “America is Canceled” protest against capitalism. We need to be there to provide volunteer security escorts for rally attendees as they walk to and from the rally.

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!!!

OatKeeper

I wished(sic) I could attend:-(
1 posted on 10/6/2019, 1:10:21 AM by Kevin in California
Well, that’s none, so far….
To: Kevin in California
Most violence happens at the end of events as attendees are heading away.
Remember Charlottesville! 

2 posted on 10/6/2019, 1:16:07 AM by lightman (Byzantine Troparia: The “praise choruses” of antiquity.)

HitlerKidding (2)
To: Freedom4US
In Minneapolis they are Somali, and they only kill the innocents. 

6 posted on 10/6/2019, 2:02:17 AM by D Rider

I think we’re getting to the bottom of this “Auntie Fa” thing.

To: D Rider

Somalis aka “skinnies” are known for having thin skull plates, the effect of generations of inbreeding.

Treat them as the savages they are.

8 posted on 10/6/2019, 2:36:46 AM by elcid1970 (“The Second Amendment is more important than Islam.”)

He seems nice.
More below the fold.

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Enabling

When I was post-collegiate first-job broke, I lived out of Steve’s day-old bagel bin.

Steve owned the coffee/ice cream/pastry shop across the street from my retail job at a bookstore and he and my boss were buds. They’d hang out in each other’s places and give each other shit, and Pat paid in books for what Steve gave him in treats. If we couldn’t find somebody who worked for one of them, chances are the missing employee was in the other’s shop. It was that kind of neighborhood and, by virtue of selling used books to Pat’s customers, I was presumed to be a member of their family.

So when Steve noticed I was skinny and drinking tea from home instead of buying coffee from him, because a bill was due or a freelance check hadn’t come, he gave me a huge bag of bagels.

“Nobody will buy them if they’re more than a day old,” he said, shrugging, but he was being kind. There’s no way to tell if something’s a day old or not, he could have sold them toasted and masked their staleness.

Six bagels, twelve meals: Toast half of one (these were real bagels, thick, big as a third of a loaf of bread) with butter and jam for breakfast, toast the other half with butter and green-canister “parmesan” cheese for lunch. If I stuck them in the freezer they didn’t mold during paycheck-cashing times when I could buy chicken or Pop-tarts or pasta or eggs, and I had them when the money got thin again.

Steve gave me his day-old bagels for a year, and to this day one of the most satisfying comfort foods for me is an everything bagel with butter and parm. The real stuff now, grated by hand at the cheese counter, bagel still hot from the bakery oven, but it still makes me think of Steve banging through the door of the bookstore, or handing the bag over the counter when I stopped on my way home.

I think of him whenever I read something like this:  

“We’ve recently learned that some employees have been giving away Vita gift cards, food, and coffee to homeless people in the neighborhoods we occupy,” Washington wrote in the email. “Although these were well placed intentions, please understand, it is our belief that feeding homeless people without comprehensive services actually enables, increases and promotes homelessness.”

Washington went on to write that “giving away products is theft and the grounds for immediate termination,” and then argued customers “will likely choose alternatives” if the cafe is “filled with homeless people.” The email concluded with an invitation to “discuss opportunities to volunteer or donate” to the company’s “charitable efforts aimed at homelessness” if employees wanted to “make a meaningful impact.”

I work now in a rich area with a shitload of heroin problems and I’m not ever going to shame you for giving money to an organization working for affordable housing instead of a fiver to a twitchy guy whose sign says HUNGRY AS FUCK. I am sure as shit going to shame you for shaming other people for giving food to the homeless out the back of a store where they’re not bugging anybody:

In an interview, former Capitol Hill manager Hannah Delon, who worked for the company at multiple locations for five-and-a-half years before getting fired for “failure to enforce protocol,” said for “at least the last ten years” baristas have given “pastry waste” to a homeless man they believe distributes the confections to other people experiencing homelessness. Delon also said baristas sometimes give away drip coffee dregs to homeless people who offer to help bring in tables and chairs at the end of the night.

Like God forbid people, even twitchy dudes with drug problems, are just people and you can be kind to them. There are cures for homelessness and addiction but no cure that I know of for being an asshole.

I looked Steve up the other day. I know I thanked him for the bagels but I couldn’t remember if I ever thanked him for what he was really giving me: The knowledge that someone cared about me, just for a moment, when I was living alone and scared and needed something warm.

A.

Sunday Catblogging: Lick Lick Lick Edition

Slade HATES being brushed. Just hates it. He tries to bite the brush, runs away, yowls as if being tortured, whereas Ada will come running if I wave the Furminator and say “brushy brushy!” The result of which is that she has absolutely no hairballs and a lovely plushy coat and he sits in the corner angrily licking himself and making hork motions.

Dumbass. I love him so much.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: You Win Again

The Sources of Country Music by Thomas Hart Benton.

It was the hottest September in recorded history here in New Orleans. It’s still fucking hot: we had record highs the first four days of October. I complained about it in the Bayou Brief the other day so I thought I should here as well. We’re allegedly getting some relief next week but I’ll believe it when I see it.

We went to an event at the fancy new-ish Picvocate/Gambit HQ to see local pundits and Adrastos friends Clancy Dubos and Stephanie Grace. I considered heckling but Dr. A wouldn’t hear of it. They talked local and statewide elections. I’m still having a hard time deciding who to support for State Rep since there are 4444 candidates running in our district.

They only took questions via Twitter so I was unable to do my Eddie Rispone impression on the live stream: “Hi, I’m Eddie Rispone. I’m a conservative outsider and Trump supporter.” It’s their loss, y’all.

For the non-Louisianans out there here’s one of Rispone’s ads:

Moderator and Paul Drake fan Kevin Allman moved the questions to the Tweeter Tube because he did not want to have long-winded questions. A wise choice since I was in the audience. To placate me, he asked one of my tweeted questions and Clancy dropped my name so I guess I’ll survive.

Here’s the video of the live stream:

This week’s theme song was written by Hank Williams in 1952. We have two versions of You Win Again for your listening pleasure.: Hank’s original followed by the Grateful Dead. I discovered this and many other classic country song because of them. Thanks, Jerry

Let’s pay a visit to Disambiguation City and meet up with singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter. Her You Win Again was written and recorded in 1990:

Guess what? There’s also a 1987 Bee Gees song with the same title:

Now that we’re three-time winners, let’s jump to the break again and again and again.

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