Friday, June 29, 2018

Flashback Friday -- Pride month edition

I almost let all of  Pride Month go by without a tribute to some of the great LGBT musicians I have loved over the years. That would have been a damn shame. 
Let's cue some up, in no perticular order.

Well, I'm off to California for a week to visit family. See you in July!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Random Thoughts

1. I am running out of ways to say that these people are shameless, soulless ghouls with the morals of  demon-possessed sewer rats. There just is no bottom to the depths to which they will sink.

Sean Hannity Blames Maxine Waters, Obama for Newspaper Shooting

 Jon Levine,The Wrap 2 hours 57 minutes ago 

“I’ve been saying now for days something horrible will happen because of the rhetoric. Really Maxine?” said the Fox News host. “Get in their faces, call them out, call your friends, get protesters to follow them into restaurants and shopping malls and whatever else she said.”

You know it would be one thing to try to blame Maxine Waters if this shooting hadn't followed months of Il Douche slamming the press as the "enemy of the people" and a threat to the nation. And if the day before this shooting Milo Whatever-his-name-is hadn't called for vigilante squads to start executing journalists. It would still be stupid, shitty, and dishonest to claim that Ms Waters' call for the verbal harassment of government officials somehow led some fuckwit to commit murder of several private citizens, but given what preceded this latest mass murder, it is just beyond the pale.

terrible typography GIF

The Department of Homeland Security sent out a press release with a headline consisting of exactly 14 words:

We Must Secure The Border And Build The Wall To Make America Safe Again

If you're not familiar with neo-Nazi scumbag symbolism, let me tell you that the number 14 is very symbolic for them. You will often see skinheads with "14" tatooed on their skin somewhere.

 "14" refers to the "14 words" that make up the white supremacist -- I don't know what to call it -- motto? Mission statement?
Anyway those notorious 14 words are as follows:

We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children

Which is probably just a coincidence! I mean, it's not as if there would be white supremacists at the department responsible for tearing Hispanic children out of their mothers' arms! Right?

Oh, you know what other number skinheads like to tattoo on their worthless hides? 88.
See, H being the 8th letter of the alphabet, "88" represents "HH," or, "Heil Hitler."
So it's also probably just a weird coincidence that the DHS managed to awkwardly wedge the number 88 into their text.

  • The increase in claims filed is not associated with an increase in meritorious claims. As of FY 17, the asylum grant rate for defensive applications in immigration court is approximately 30%. On average, out of 88 claims that pass the credible fear screening, fewer than 13 will ultimately result in a grant of asylum.
I mean, seriously, who does percentages like that? When you're talking about percentages, you say "X out of 100 ." Nobody says hmm, 15 percent, you say, eh? How many is that out of 88?"


Oh, hey here's some news from Tennessee:

• If you’re a doctor, you can now accept barter of goods or services from an uninsured patient as payment for providing healthcare services in certain circumstances. 

Jeez Louise! I always thought that Republicans wanted to drag us back into the 1950's. Not the actual 1950's where unions were strong, marginal tax rates were high and the minimum wage was a living wage. Just the parts where women only ventured out of the kitchen long enough to vacuum in high heels and pearls, gay men were "life-long bachelors," and black guys wouldn't make eye contact with a white man.

Now I see it's actually the Eighteen-fifties they want to go back to. A time when no one had health insurance because communism hadn't been invented yet, but everyone always had a spare chicken or a bushel of apples to trade for whatever medical help the local sawbones could provide. Oh, and slavery was still legal.

It's weird, though, that they had to legalize this. Before today, if you went to your doctor and said "I don't have enough money to pay you to set my broken leg, and I don't have insurance because the black president was in favor of it, so how about I give you my tv set and this pan of delicious brownies my wife just baked?" and the doctor would go "Hey, now. I'd love to help you out, but I am NOT going back in the joint! Not for you, not for anyone!"

You know what? That last bit wasn't horribly depressing and infuriating. I'm gonna quit while I'm ahead.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

You know what we don't need right now?

More of these bullshit calls for "civility."

We're supposed to not have noticed that this:

Tea Party Racism

never prompted a single call for "civility" or for "disagreeing respectfully."

We're supposed to have forgotten that no one was asked to tone down the rhetoric because of this:

or this

or this

charlottesville white supremacists tiki torch

So when I see these feckless conventional-wisdom beltway-insider moderate centrist idiots spewing bullshit like this:

or this

or this:

I just want to scream.
Like people are saying with a straight face that Sarah Huckabee and Stephen Miller should be allowed to eat in peace and how dare people bother them when they're just going about their daily lives, but apparently this:

is a satisfactory level of etiquette.
So if you're keeping score at home, remember: DSA activists shouting at Kirstjen Nielsen = They're the real fascists. Crowd of white trash screaming at Jim Acosta while he tries to do his job? Um. . . Inadvertent whistle, no foul on the play.

Here's the thing. It doesn't matter if we are polite to these people, if we are rude to these people, if we scream in their faces or recite love sonnets to them. They hate us. They will always hate us. There is no level of politeness that will make them behave in a civil way towards us. (And by "us," I'm speaking as a cis/het white dude. For anyone who is female, LGBT, black or brown, that goes at least double.)

No matter how many lunkheads on your Twitter feed spout the "gosh, this rudeness on the part of the left is making me want to support Trump" line, that line is bullshit. That person was always going to support Il Douche. That person was never on the fence until Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant and then thought "well, gee, if the liberals are going to be this ill-mannered, I don't see that I have any choice but to throw my support behind President Pussy Grabber, the guy who mocks handicapped people and encourages violence at his Junior Varsity Nuremburg Rallies and insults the IQs of anyone with whom he disagrees! I just have to take a stand for civility!"

Now, is making it uncomfortable for these horrid people to appear in public going to help anything? I don't know. I don't imagine they are capable of feeling shame, and if one of them was somehow shamed into quitting, there'd be a dozen other soulless ghouls lined up to interview for the vacancy. But it can't hurt. It can't get any worse. And if I remember my History classes, we didn't defeat fascism last time by being polite to it. We stormed their fucking beaches.
Fuck their "civility."

Friday, June 22, 2018

Flashback Friday -- Cowboy Junkies

I don't know if it's true, but I always suspected that the name "Cowboy Junkies" came from a pseudonym used by Nick Cave on the "Honeymoon in Red" album. O ne track, he is listed as "a drunk cowboy junkie." This record came out in 1987, by which time Cowboy Junkies must have already been formed, but maybe he used it earlier? I don't know and I guess it doesn't matter. Anyway, enjoy a few selections from CJ's first two regular albums "The Trinity Session" and "The Caution Horses" as well as a collection of demos that was released under the awkward title "Whites Off Eartn Now."

And, of course, the song that really got them famous, their cover of the Velvet Underground's Sweet Jane. When Lou Reed heard their version, he is supposed to have remarked that this was the way he had always intended the song to sound. I don't know if that story is true, because VU's version doesn't sound at all like they're trying to sound the way this sounds. But either way, it's a darn fine version.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

So sick of this.

I am so sick of this trend in columnisting. I am so sick of all the column-inches wasted on telling "liberals" that if only they would reach out to Trumpanzees and get to know them and try to understand them, then. . . I don't know, we'd all join hands and sing My Country, 'Tis of Thee and work togather for the greater good or some such bullshit. I have yet to see a single word written telling Conservatives that they should go out and shake hands with some real progressives and see that they're just like you in so many ways! No, it's always assumed to be incumbent on us, those of us on the leftward side of the spectrum, to be the ones to reach out and try to understand and make common cause with people who are literally fine with tearing children away from their parents and locking them in cages.

Here's the latest example I came across by someone named Salena Zito in the New York Post:

Check out this headline:

These Harvard kids got the lesson of their lives in the Heartland

Honestly, it sounds like the tagline for a sequel to Deliverance.
What the hell happened to these poor kids out on the "Heartland?"
Let's find out, shall we?

On a blustery afternoon in April, I filed into a van along with 10 students from Harvard. We had just spent the last two days in Chicopee, Mass.

Woah, woah, hold on a second. You never left Massachussets? And you think you were in the "heartland?" You gotta go to like Kansas or Nebraska or, you know the heart is in the center, right? Okay, so what did you all do on your adventure into the forbidding hinterlands of Massachusets, a daunting 85-mile trip?

We had just spent the last two days in Chicopee, Mass., where we had chatted with the police chief and his force, the mayor and his staff, small-business owners, waitresses and firemen about their struggles living in small-town America.

The mayor, the police chief, cops, mayoral staff, business owners. . . you know - reg'lar folks!

The undergrads were buzzing with their impressions. Chicopee is about 90 miles west of their prestigious university in Cambridge, but when it comes to shared experience, it might as well have been 1,000 light years away.

HOW? You didn't go to fucking Borneo, you went to the 'burbs. It's not like the people in Chicopee don't have paved roads or indoor plumbing. It's not even like they don't get the same cable channels.. They live in Massachusets. All you have to do is talk about the Sawx or Tom Frickin Brady. It's not like you needed a translator or anything.

“So,” I said, “who do you think most of the people you just got to know voted for president?”
None of the students had an answer. It hadn’t come up in their conversations and they didn’t know I had privately asked each person whom they’d voted for.
So I let a minute pass and told them.
“Nearly every one of them voted for Trump.”
My students at first looked stunned.

Oh my God this is such bullshit.
We're honestly expected to believe that these Harvard students, these scions of old-money dynasties and internet libertarians, were completely unfamiliar with Trump-voting Republicans. Because, of course, we're meant to assume that the wealthy "elites" are all limousine liberals and only the salt-of-the-Earth small town proles voted for trump!

We were only a few days into a new course I had developed with Harvard’s Institute of Politics, called the Main Street Project, where students are immersed in small-town America. Even though these kids had almost all been raised in the United States, our journey sometimes felt like an anthropology course, as though they were seeing the rest of the country for the first time. 

See, but no one would ever suggest that maybe the good people of Chicopee might benefit from a trip to Boston or New York or San Francisco. It's perfectly fine that small-town Americans are completely unfamiliar with the locales where the majority of Americans live, it's only the city slickers who are assumed to be missing out by not having visited the "heartland."

 I have been a national political journalist for nearly 15 years. Whenever and wherever I travel in this country, I abide by a few simple rules: No planes, no interstates and no hotels.And definitely no chain restaurants.
No Interstates?
You literally travel the country via the back roads? Like some 1930s wandering troubadour?

And by the way, if you want to meet these real Americans of the heartland, the first place to go would be chain restaurants. Who do you think keeps shit-merchants like Applebee's and Chili's in business?

It's not big-city folks. We have our choice of many fine eateries from greasy-spoon diners to Michelin-star cuisine. I've lived in Atlanta for about 13 years now and it took me about 10 to figure out that once you get out into the sticks, you might as well look for an Outback or a Carraba's because all these tempting-looking little mom and pop restaurants - the ones who spell "Kountry Kookin'" with Ks, they almost universally suck. Hard. You'd think, you'd expect, that little local restaurants out in the country would have that good old fashioned southern cooking that you've heard so much about, but I have yet to find it. Anyway, I'm getting off topic here. Please do go on.

The reason is simple: Planes fly over and interstates swiftly pass by what’s really happening in the suburbs, towns and exurbs of this nation.

Nothing is happening.
People are watching sports on TV, playing Call of Duty or Fortnight or whatever on their X-boxes and posting memes to Twitter and Facebook, same as we're doing here in Metropolis.

 Staying in a hotel doesn’t give me the same connection I can get staying in a bed and breakfast where the first person I meet is a small-businessperson who runs the place and knows all the neighborhood secrets. 

Oh, yeah, that's totally something these Harvard kids wouldn't get. No rich person would ever stay in a quaint B&B in a small town in New England. That's something that only us reg'lar folk can appreciate!

Also, you have to spend time in a community to really report on it. Parachuting in for a few hours to interview the locals can lead to flawed evaluations. When you are short on time, your instincts can get blurred and you gravitate toward the shiny objects, the oddball people and conditions that make the most noise, instead of taking a broader focus on the bigger, fuller picture.

Yes, you have to take the time to get to know the mayor and the chief of folice to really get your finger on the pulse of the average small-town resident.

Those simple rules are what intrigued students at the Harvard Institute of Politics (IOP) after hearing me speak at a Pizza and Politics event on the school’s campus last fall.
Days after my speech, two IOP directors said the students wanted to learn more from me. I told them the best course would be a total immersion into the less-populated parts of the country, no different from the way I approach my daily job.
Your daily job? Your daily job is writing columns for the New York Post and Washington Examiner and appearing on CNN. So  it would seem that you are immersing yourself in New York, DC and Atlanta. And seriously, are you taking the back streets from New York to Georgia?

Chris Kuang, a 20-year-old sophomore from Winchester, Mass., and Sam Kessler, 21, a junior from Blue Bell, Pa., led the charge, recruiting 18 other students for the class, which began in February.

Okay, wait a minute. Blue Bell, PA is a town of about six thousand residents outside of Fort Washington State Park. Winchester is a Boston exurb with a population of around 20,000. You're taking them to a town of Fifty Five Thousand to teach THEM about life in small-town America?

“The best way to blow apart a stereotype is to challenge it,” Kuang, an applied math and economics major, told me.

Yes. That is exactly the way we humans speak. This is clearly a real thing that a fellow human has said out loud.

So, before we started traveling, we held several workshops to discuss their ideas about the “other” America.
They admitted they had been fed a steady diet of stereotypes about small towns and their folk:

Okay, I hate to keep harping on this point, but I notice that no one ever bemoans the fact that people in the rural south or midwest are fed a litany of stereotypes about the "coastal elites" in big cities. People from the flyover states have generally been led to believe that Southern California is Baywatch, San Francisco is RuPaul's Drag Race and Oakland is The Warriors. (the movie, not the basketball team.) And I get it. Before I moved to Atlanta, all I thought I knew about Georgia came from the Dukes of Hazard and Deliverance. I don't blame people for their misconceptions about blue state cities, I just wonder why it is that no one feels like they need to be disabused of their misconceptions the way we are always urged to get to know the "heartland."

 “backwards,” “no longer useful,” “un- or under-educated,” “angry and filled with a trace of bigotry” were all phrases that came up.

Whaaaaaat? Where would anyone get those impressions?

Related image

As my students took their seats in the crowded restaurant, they couldn’t help but notice a 37-member family seated nearby celebrating an 11th birthday for Jasmine Smith, complete with a sparkly unicorn cake.
Jasmine quickly struck up a conversation with the students and was thrilled when she found out they were from Harvard.
“Well, you know, I am going to go to Harvard,” she proclaimed confidently.
Her mother, Monique, smiled and shook her head in agreement. “That is all she has talked about doing for as long as I can remember,” she said.
After devouring her cake, Jasmine sat with the students to talk more.
“I want to go and be the best I can be at something that will help change my community,” she said. “I want to help make things work. I don’t want to leave and forget where I came from.”

Oh. Uh, Yeah. That is exactly how an 11-year-pld cjild speaks. This is obviously an actual person to whom you actually spoke and not a made up phony anecdote at all.

In our final week, the class attended Mass at St. Stanislaus, a Polish church in the Strip District of downtown Pittsburgh. Before then, only two of my students had set foot in a Catholic church.

Oh, yeah. Can't find a Catholic church in Boston! You really gotta go out into the boonies to fing Catholics! Oh, it must have been like observing the headhunters of New Guinea in their natural habitat. Actual living breathing Catholics, can you imagine?

You know, if you want to talk to some typical Trump voters, may I suggest a Pentecostal congregation in Alabama? Or a prosperity-gospel mega-church in any affluent suburb?

At the end of Mass, an older gentleman came up to me and said how nice it was to see young people dressed up and going to church. When I told him they were students from Harvard, he beamed.
“I have been reading for years that college kids these days are thin-skinned, what’s that word … ? Snowbirds, snowflakes, anyways … that they have no easiness with meeting someone new or trying something different or won’t be open to opposing opinions,” he said.
Oh, bullshit. If this was a real person with whom you had an actual conversation in real life, he would have known EXACTLY what the word was.

And not to go off on a tangent, but have you noticed that there are two kinds of articles conservatives write about college? The first is "Oh, these dumb liberal snowflake college kids want 'safe spapces' blah blah blah. . ."  And the second is "Waaaah! I don't feel safe expressing my coinservative views on campus!"

Anyway, the article pretty much ends there without it ever occurring to Ms Zito that perhaps the imaginary Catholics of Pennsylvania might want to pile on to a bus and shake a few hands in Manhattan or Philadelphia and maybe learn that their stereotypes of "coastal elite liberals" might be unfounded.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

People with serious misconceptions about who they are dealing with.

Person number one:

This lady who has worked for Rand Paul and Scott Walker, among others.

I'm sorry, have you ever met a "pro-life" Republican? When have they ever given a single fuck about a kid who has already been born?
Did you see a lot of "pro-life" activists demanding action after children were slaughtered at Sandy Hook? Or any of the other schools at which children have recently been slaughtered?
When US drone strikes kill children, do you see a lot of "pro-life" people demanding an end to the policy of indiscriminate bombing?
Did any "pro-life" Republican speak out after Tamir Rice was murdered by a cop? Or after any black or brown person was murdered by police?
Of course you didn't. Because they don't give a single good god damn about actual kids. They only care about forcing women to carry pregnancies through to term. If a Mexican child dies from heat exposure in a Trump tent city, they will ABSOLUTELY shrug their shoulders and say "meh." Then they'll lay out all the reasons why it was the child's own fault, or the fault of the parents, or Barack Obama's or anyone's fault other than Trump and then line up to vote for his re-election.
If you think "pro-life" people actually care about the life of anyone outside the womb, you are sadly mistaken. Delusional even.

Person number two:

Whoever keeps booking Rick Santorum on CNN

Look, CNN person, they are never going to like you. The right is never going to like you no matter what you do. They aren't even going to not hate you. Even if you keep trotting out 10 lbs of scum in a 5-pound bag Rick Santorum, they are not going to change their minds.
Did they like you when you hired loathsome conservative shit-poster Erick Erickson?
Did they like you when you gave Glen Beck his break on tv on your CNN Headline News channel?
How about when you made Republican campaign strategist Ana Navarro a fixture on your network?

And this isn't going to change. It won't change if you sold your network to Rupert Murdoch, gave Bill O'Reilly the 6am to 10pm slot and changed your name from CNN to the Heil Trump Network.

For two reasons.

One. The right's hatred of you isn't rational. It isn't something that can be addressed by making changes, by kissing their asses, by reaching out - nothing will change this because they have already decided that you are the enemy and nothing will ever make them reconsider that stance.
These are not rational people. You spent the entire 2016 election season fawning over Donald Trump like teenyboppers swooning over Elvis and what did it get you? Trump calling you "fake news" and his imbecile followers calling you the "Clinton News Network."

The other reason that there is nothing you can do to make friends with these people is that no matter who you allow to soil your airwaves, no matter how many Republicans you showcase, they won't know because they will never ever watch you. They don't need to. They have FOX. And every day, they sit there and listen to the FOX  troglodytes complain about how CNN has some sort of huge lefty bias and is dishonest and is fake news and is an enemy of the state, and so on and so on and so on. So you might as well start booking Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader and the Chapo Trap House crew, because the reaction from the right will be exactly the same as it is now that you're trying so hard to placate them.

Person number three:

Any of the countless people on Twitter and Facebook and other social media reacting to Trump's hideous family separation policy by saying "this is not America," or "this is not who we are!"

Oh, please. This is exactly who we are.

How can people stand there on land that was taken by force from Native Americans, that was tilled and harvested by generations of enslaved Africans, where police officers shoot unarmed black and brown people with impunity and, with a straight face, claim that child prison camps somehow violate "American values?"

You want to know if this ghastly policy is out of character for the US of A? Ask an Indian. Ask a black person. Hell, ask a Japanese American who was alive during World War II. This is exactly what we are.
And I'm not saying that to make a case for accepting this atrocity. We should absolutely be fighting tooth and nail for these kids. I'm just saying that it isn't realistic to pretend that race-based monstrosities don't reflect the fabric of our society. We should be working to ensure that they no longer represent who we are, not pretending that they don't.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Did Bill Clinton Seriously write a Novel?


Apparently, the former president has teamed up with James Patterson, he of the dime-store detective books, to pen a putative thriller called "The President is Missing." Is it any good? Oh, my - I wouldn't think so. But maybe? I wasn't about to buy it, and if the library even has it yet, it's probably wait-listed, so I went searching for excerpts on line. This is what I found:

So the titualr president, Jonathon Duncan, is also the first-person narrator of the book. His name is Jonathon Duncan because "Will Sminton" was nixed by Patterson. I assume. He is, as you would assume, meant to be a stand-in for POTUS 42, and he says very realistic, natural-sounding dialogue like "Everything I did was to protect my country. I’d do it again. The problem is, I can’t say any of that." 
 “All I can tell you is that I have always acted with the security of my country in mind. And I always will.”
"I lash out and whack the microphone off the table. I knock over my chair as I get to my feet."

Neil deGrasse Tyson Meme | UH-OH WE GOT A BADASS OVER HERE | image tagged in memes,neil degrasse tyson | made w/ Imgflip meme maker 

Referring to a potential cyber-attack from a terrorist organization, another character gives us this pearl of wisdom:

"One of the great ironies of the modern age ... is that the advancements of mankind can make us more powerful and yet more vulnerable at the same time.” And why? “The reason is reliance. Our society has become completely reliant on technology" 

Oh my God! I never thought of it that way! Is what I would say if I had just awakened from a 20-year coma and have no memory of the Y2K panic of 1999. 

There are timely references, like the description of a hacker who is  “a cross between a Calvin Klein model and a Eurotrash punk rocker”.

And this completely tone-deaf description of an assassin:
“Sexy”, and “allowing just enough bounce in her girls [sic]”, as she strides around in her knee-high chocolate leather boots, she names her favoured weapon “Anna Magdalena ... a thing of beauty, a matte-black semiautomatic rifle capable of firing five rounds in less than two seconds”.
Because now is exactly the time in our history that you want to be fetishising guns!

There's this proof that the fictional president is, after all, just a regular all-American guy at heart, when he attends a baseball game and says:

 “Ordinarily I’d be like a kid in a candy store here. I’d grab a Budweiser and a hot dog. . . there is no finer beverage than an ice-cold Bud.” 

SH Tags: oh for god’s sake/not amused/exasperated/huffy/sherlock
Looking for a particular Sherlock reaction gif? This blog organizes them so you don’t have to deduce them out.

Christ, this guy can monetize anything! A beer commercial in the middle of your novel? Part of me wants to applaud, part of me is nauseous.

But regular guy or not, this president is woke AF!

“I know that there are bad cops, just as there are bad actors in every profession. And I know that there are cops who think of themselves as good cops but, even if unconsciously, see a black man in a T-shirt and jeans as more threatening than a white man dressed the same way.” 

Woah. . .heavy! That's like a real like Marxist critique of the system or something, man! Although he feels it necessary to temper that scathing criticism of the biases in law enforcement with this bromide:

“I know that most cops, most of the time, do the best they can” 


Anyway, my computer is acting up, so let's skip to the conclusion of a review in the New Republic:

To boot, the book ends with the revelation that the villain all along was feminism. The following is a spoiler, so look away if you wish to read The President Is Missing with all bells and whistles intact. “How could you do this?” the president asks the traitor in his midst, once he’s figured it all out. The answer, when it comes, is a surprise to him. The traitor’s face is “twisted up in agony and bitterness,” full of resentment. “Says the man who gets to be president,” she replies. “Says the man who didn’t see his political career tanked” over one little mistake.

Oh, my God, the villain is Hillary!
This man wrote an entire novel in which his wife is the villain.
The woman who is resentful because she doesn't "get to be president?" 
The woman who is bitter that her political career was torpedoed by "one little mistake? (emails? 'Deplorables?' Killing everybody in Benghazi?)" 

That sounds like Hillary. Or a caricature of Hillary, anyway. A caricature that a shitty husband might make of his wife. This entire novel is just a setup and the punchline is "take my wife, please!"

I forgot the best part!

Re: yesterday's post, about the fake movie trailer designed to cajole Kim Jong Un into making some sort of a deal with the US, I forgot the best feature of the whole thing.

It's in English!

Every word is in English. Does Kim even speak English?

Do you know how easy it would be to find someone fluent in both English and Korean to translate the script and read it in Kim's native tongue? I mean, you might have to go to Los Angeles, but if you're making a foray into film production, you should probably go there anyway.

How do you not have it in Korean? It's mind-boggling!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Move Over, Plan 9 From Outer Space!

Sometimes a bad movie can be more fun than a good one. You get a group of friends together, have a couple drinks and mock a cinematic trainwreck like Anaconda, or A Gnome Named Gnorm.

  Snake eyes         A Gnome Named Gnorm (Upworld)  
Or any of the fine motion pictures featured on  "How Did This Get Made?"

But try as you might, I doubt you will ever find another movie as laughably bad as the one that someone made for President Cartman to give as a gift to Kim Jung Un.

It's hard to decide what I like best about this amateur-hour fiasco.

Is it the trite, overwrought language? "only a few will make a lasting impact!" "only a few are called upon to make a difference! But what difference will the few make?" "Two men. Two leaders. One destiny!"

The weird pseudo-religious overrtones? "out of the darkness can come the light!"

 Is it the narrator explaining Korean history to the President of North Korea?

The bizarre suggestion that most of the world has been living in "prosperity" the last several decades?

Is it the faulty logic?  "There can only be two results - one of moving back or one of moving forward!" (Or, things could, you know, stay the same as they have for the last 65 years?)
"The past doesn't have to be the future." (Literally, it can not be.)

The weird choices of words and phrases? "Their story is well-known. But what will be their sequel?"

Maybe it's the world's most inappropriate dramatic pause. "what will he choose? To show vision, leadership. . . [dramatic pause] . . . Or not?" Was that pause just the narrator trying to think of something insightful to say? Then just giving up and tossing out "or not?"

No, I think my favorite part is that the illustration for the reult of moving forward is literally film being run in reverse. Missiles leaving the sky, being sucked back into their silos.

Other highlights include "friendship and respect" being illustrated by a photo of Il Douche and Sly Stallone giving each other weird looks, the B-roll footage of random people and places - Big Ben! Machu Picchu! An . . .airport, I think?

Just the whole condescending attitude towards Kim - "will this leader choose to advance his country and be part of the new world?" (The New World, by the way, consisting of a waterslide and cross-country skiing for some reason). "Will he shake the hand of peace?" (Peace being personified by Cheeto Mussolini, obvs.)

Gawd, it's astounding. Watch it for yourself, it's only about 4 minutes long. You might want to have a drink before watching, you'll definitely want one after, but don't pass up this opportunity to see the Troll II of international diplomacy.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Megan McArdle will always stick up for the Overdog.

A defense of Roger Goodell

Because you know who really needs defending? A guy who makes $31 million dollars a year doing. . . nobody really knows what exactly he does, but he's sort of the president of football? Or something? Minly his job seems to be completely mis-handling the issues of domestic violence and player concussions. But you can always trust McArdle to stick up for the little guy!

Whatever you think of Roger Goodell, commissioner of the National Football League, you should recognize that he’s trying to solve a genuinely hard problem.

No, he isn't. It's only hard because he's making it hard. Easy solutions could be: let the players express their views as they see fit, or stop demanding shows of patriotism before sports games. It's a god dman football game, why is everyone expected to show their respect to the flag beforehand? It's not a swearing-in ceremony or a celebration for new citizens or something. It's a game.

. . . he’s trying to solve a genuinely hard problem. Or rather two problems. On one hand, he’s trying to maximize the audience for NFL games. At the same time, he’s also trying to negotiate the same fraught racial politics that our nation has been struggling with for centuries, but in miniature, and in prime time.

 Um, if you want to maximize the audience for NFL games, make the games better. Maybe don't spend twenty minutes arguing the finer technicalities of what does and doesn't constitute a catch? Or maybe don't have so many damn games on each week that you need to trot out annoyances like Jon Gruden or Phil Simms as front-line commentators?

And no one has asked Roger freakin Goodell to solve the problem of racism is this country. All he needs to do is nothing. Just stay out of it, let the players express their views or not express them as they see fit, and let fans react however they like. If they really like football, they aren't going to stop watching because of what happens during the national anthem. Hey, here's an idea - just don't televise the anthem! There, solved it. 31 million dollars, please!

Nearly 70 percent of NFL players are black. Why wouldn’t those players want to use their privileged position to highlight one of the most pressing problems facing their community today?

What? Megan, are you okay? Do you have a fever?
Something is clearly not normal with you if you are acknowledging the fact that the players actually have a legitimate beef. What's next? Acknowledging that racism exists?

But the last time the Nielsen Year in Sports report broke down the numbers, in 2013, football’s viewership was 15 percent black but 77 percent white. Only 35 percent of whites are sympathetic to the Black Lives Matter movement, which seems a reasonable proxy for their sympathy for the kind of in-your-face protest that refusing to stand for the national anthem represents.

Wow! That was a quick recovery. There's the old Megan McArdle we all know and loathe!
Look, your people may be getting gunned down on the streets for no reason, but have you ever considered that maybe white people don't want to hear about it? And if people are not sympathetic to your cause, you certainly shouldn't demonstrate to try to call attention to the injustice. You should only protest things that the majority already agrees with you about. That way you don't make people uncomfortable, and isn't that what free speech is really all about?

Let’s be clear: Whites should be more sympathetic to the problem of racial inequities in the criminal justice system. If cops treated whites the way they treat blacks, white people would not be arguing that crime is a real problem, and that profiling is just statistics; they’d be frantically calling their legislators and muttering about the Second Amendment.

Um, first of all, racist white people spent the last 8 years muttering, shouting and screaming about the Second Amendment. This is now the normal reaction for white people when they don't get what they want. Let's don't act as though this is somehting that could theoretically happen if white folks were treated as badly as black folks are by police. This happens when white folks don't like the outcome of an election.

Second amendment remedies Google Search




But few human beings of any color are as keenly alive to the suffering of others as they are to their own travails. So however desirable, it seems unlikely that white America en masse will suddenly muster towering outrage about a problem that doesn’t much affect them. Not even if they see athletes protesting it on national television.

So really, there's no point in even trying. If a problem doesn't directly affect a person, you really can't expect that person to give a shit. I mean, what is he supposed to do, care about a person that is not him? I mean, the very idea is laughable! I mean, if I don't personally have cancer, why would I ever donate to cancer research? What's in it for me? And when I see the commercials on TV about the starving children, well I just run toi my fridge and make sure there's food in it. As long as there is, I certainly have no reason to worry about hunger! Especially hunger in some far-off country that doesn't even threaten to affect me.

Which leaves Goodell with a problem. Some sizable fraction of his audience views American criminal justice overreach as less worrying than disruptive protests of same.

And those people must always be humored. Their feelings must always be taken into consideration, and no one must ever intimate that maybe those people are. . . wrong? A little?

Ku Klux Klan rally

And, by the way, what you call "criminal justice overreach," the rest of us call unarmed citizens being shot dead for no good reason. Or, more succinctly, murder.
Is it "overreach" to shoot a 12-year-old kid dead for playing with a bb gun? Is ti "overreach" to strangle a man to death for possibly maybe having sold loose cigarettes? Do you think "overreach" is an adequate description of an unarmed man being shot in the back for the crime of selling CDs?

Also, if your business is dependant on keeping happy the kind of people who are more offended by kneeling athletes than by innocent people being murdered by police, maybe it just isn't worth having that business. Or maybe you could just say "we'd rather make a couple million fewer bucks a year than cater to that kind of scumbag." You'd still be highly profitable, even if every one who was actually that bothered by peaceful protest decided to tune out or stop buying tickets, and it would probably be a bit easier to sleep at night.

They get very angry when football players hijack their leisure viewing to deliver an unwelcome political message.

They're fine having the Blue Angels fly over games. They're fine with military color guards presenting the stars n stripes. They're fine with salutes to returning troops before sporting events. But if they see a single god damn opposing view. . . well it's just too much to ask of these fragile flowers. How are they to enjoy 3 hours of crippling collisions if they know that some of the players are unhappy that guys who look like them are routinely targeted by law enforcement?

And even some who believe that police brutality is a large problem are made uneasy when protesting it involves refusing to honor a symbol of American national unity.

Is it? Is that what the flag symbolizes? National unity? I have to think that the flag symbolizes different things to different people. If you're Native American, for instance, it might symbolize the people who murdered your ancestors. If you're a black person, it might symbolize the people who enslaved yours. I don't know, it just seems like you're declaring it to be a symbol of a certain thing and then just assuming that's how everyone else sees it too.

Look, I'm a white guy. I'm the guy whose ancestors would probably have nothing bad to say about the US (except maybe the ones who were still in Germany during World War One.)  And you know what makes ME uncomfortable? Flag-waving patriotism. Demands that people "honor the flag." the worship of the "troops." That sort of thing has always made me uncomfortable. I don't like the fact that they sing the National Anthem at ballgames, and I certainly don't like the fact that everyone is expected to stand respectfully, had over heart, hat in hand, gazing solemnly at Old Glory before we can watch the game. But I suck it up and I buy tickets the one weekend the Giants come to town each year because I like baseball, and by the time the first pitch is thrown, I've forgotten all about my discomfort. If I can power through it, so can the assholes who are so terribly bothered by athletes kneeling.

And you know what else? I'm really sick of this whole "of course people have the right to protest, but not like that!" bullshit. Like, you certainly have the right to express your opinion, but not in a way that could possibly make any middle-class white people uncomfortable. You can certainly speak out against injustice, but not if you're going to inconvenience anyone.

Meanwhile NFL viewership is down 17 percent since 2015. Attendance and public perception about the NFL are also hurting.

Hmmm. I don't suppose that could have anything to do with the growing understanding that football players are suffering brain damage with every hit, every block, every tackle that is leading to early-onset dementia and suicides? It can't be that that is making it a bit harder to enjoy watching the games.
It couldn't be that the NFL is just completely over-exposed, with two games each Sunday afternoon, a Sunday night game, a Monday night game and a game every Thursday night. (And Saturday games once the college football season ends).
It couldn't be that expansion has watered down the talent pool.
It couldn't be because video games have gotten so good, so realistic, and so affordable that many younger people would rather play Madden 18 than passively watch a game.
No, it must be the fact that for about 60 seconds before each game, a few players kneel, showing less than the required amount of reverence for a nation in which they will always be treated as less than equal. That has to be it!

There’s a robust debate over whether the protests are contributing to the decline, but we’ll sidestep that, since I know little about the sport, and the opinions of people who do know something largely seem to be conveniently correlated with their opinions about the protesting players.

Oh for God's sake.
You've been writing this whole column and NOW you bring up the fact that you know nothing about the subject matter?

Suffice it to say that football is facing a lot of problems, all at once. Cord-cutters. A glut of football games that makes them less rare and special, and therefore, one less thing that millions of Americans still watch together. A CTE crisis that is cutting into youth play (and eventually into future viewership) and makes many adults queasy about watching healthy young men systematically destroy each other’s brains.
The decline of football may simply be inevitable. But even so, it’s probably a bit much to expect an NFL commissioner to say “I guess we’re doomed” and seek meaning in the impending death by sending the league on a suicide charge against racial inequality.

Wait, what?

Not penalizing players for expressing their views on racial inequality is, how did you put it - "sending the league on a suicide charge against racial inequality?"

What would you have said to Branch Rickey? "Sure, it would be the 'right thing' to do to call up Jackie Robinson to the the Dodgers, but do you really think it's a good idea to go on a suicide mission against racism? Because, as we all know, challenging racism is a pretty quick way to find your sport tossed aside onto the dustbin of history."

The solution that the league’s owners actually chose was the kind of mushy compromise America used to specialize in, designed to please no one but satisfy everyone.


Nope. That's not a thing.
There is no compromise that pleases no one but satisfies everyone. That's just a figment of centrist mythology that absolutely does not exist in the real world.

So what is this "mushy compromise" that you think should be satisfactory to everyone?

Teams will be fined if their players kneel during the anthem, but players are allowed to stay in the locker room if they don’t want to stand.

bob's burgers bobs burgers gif

That's it? That's the compromise? You are not allowed to silently, peacefully protest where anyone can see you, but if you really want to, you can just stay out of sight where no one has to see you so that there will be no chance that anyone accidentally has any sort of a thought about your message! THIS is what you think should satisfy everyone?

It won't.

Why in the hell would you think that the players should be satisfied with that? What do they get out of it? This would only make sense to someone who was stupid enough to think that the players were protesting the song, and no one is that stu. . .oh, right. Sorry, Megan. But seriously, this has no chance of being acceptable to the players, and if you think the anthem hawks are going to be okay with this, if you think they aren't going to keep track of which players stayed in the locker room, if you think for one second that these "flag hags" (h/t Simpsons) are going to pass up an opportunity to take umbrage at rich black men who aren't behaving in a way pleasing to them, you obviously don't know your own readership.

Except the America where that type of agreement once worked no longer seems to exist;

I, for one, have to think thatr's a positive development.
I, for one, have to think that it's a good thing that people are no longer willing to compromise on people's rights. You know, during the civil rights era, it was a common theme for well-intentioned liberals - "go slow." You can't expect to have ALL your rights at once. Baby steps! Eventually, maybe your children or your grandchildren will have the full rights of citizenship, these things can't be rushed, you'll make people uncomfortable!

Nina Simone wrote a song about it.

Don't tell me
I tell you
Me and my people just about due
I've been there so I know
They keep on saying 'Go slow!'
But that's just the trouble
'Do it slow'
Washing the windows
'Do it slow'
Picking the cotton
'Do it slow'
You're just plain rotten
'Do it slow'
You're too damn lazy
'Do it slow'
The thinking's crazy
'Do it slow'
Where am I going
What am I doing
I don't know
I don't know

But I know. You're going to insist on being on the wrong side of history. And you want to take the NFL with you. Fine. Good luck with all that.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

More Random Thoughts

1. It says a lot about President McCheese, probably all you would really need to know about him, that someone called his daughter a c**t on television and he spent the next several days demanding that a different network apologize to him. For saying "nasty" things about him. What more would you need to know about this guy?

2. Has the whole Roseanne - Samantha Bee thing blown over yet? Because I really can't take the sorry spectacle of Republicans pretending to be offended by the C-word. You don't get to embrace Ted Fucking Nugent and then act like you're morally outraged by vulgarity.

You can't be these people:

Trump that Bitch (Joel Pollak / Breitbart News)Two women show off their newly purchased t-shirts outside a Trump rally in Erie, Pennsylvania. (James McLeod)

And then head for the fainting couch when someone you don't like uses a four-letter word.

ohhh. . . That that word!

3. Is Melanoma Trump in witness protection? Seems like the most plausible explanation for her recent absence from the public eye.

4. Some asshole called the police and falsely reported a hostage situation at the home addresss  of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas shooting survivor David Hogg and got the SWAT team sent to his home. This has widely been described in various news source as a "prank."

Okay, a prank is calling Domino's and having them deliver a bunch of pizzas to someone's house. Ringing someone's doorbell and running away is a prank. "Swatting" is not a prank. This is an attempt to get a young man killed, wounded, or at least terrified and traumatized because someone doesn't like his point of view on guns. The media continues to coddle the extreme right to the detriment of us all.

5. Rest in peace, Dwight Clark


An icon of my youth passed away Monday at the age of 61 from ALS.

Not only was Dwight Clark the receiver who made the legendary "Catch" in the 1982 NFC championship game to send the 49ers to their first Superbowl, but he was a hell of a  nice guy too. I used to work at a KFC and Clark used to come in to get a bucket of chicken to eat on the plane when the team was traveling.  One time, he came to pick up his bucket and we didn't have it ready. "My wife called it in," he said. "Oh," says I, "if I'd have known it was for you, we'd have had it ready." And then Mr. Dwight Clark,  the Superbowl winner and guy I wanted to be when I grew up, apologized.  To me. He apologized to little pimply-faced 16-year-old me. He didn't have to do that. He was just a class act. Rest in peace, Dwight.