Sunday, August 30, 2020


So posting is going to be even more infrequent than it has been. Not only does it seem like I will continue to be working a lot of overtime for the foreseeable future, I have started taking guitar lessons, something I have been promising myself I would do for years now, but my anti-depressants were never working well enough for me to actually follow through. Until now. (thank you, Abilify!) Anyway, I took guitar lessons briefly when I was around 12 years old but I never krpt up with them, and I'm trying to re-start from scratch (the Carter Scratch that is. Ha! See what I did there?)Anyway, I signed up with the Frank Hamilton School of Folk Music right here in Decatur, GA. (If you're not familiar with Frank Hamilton - and I wasn't until recently - He is a guy who has lived a pretty interesting life. He traveled the country with Pete Seeger, taught Roger McGuinn how to play guitar and toured with Rambli' Jack Elliot among other notable acheivements. You can check out his bio here:
Anyway, on that note, I thought I would present a brief collection of some of my favorite guitar pickers and folks I would like to emulate. Here in no particular order.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

How the Republican Party Became the Party of Trump



Opinion Columnist

The Revolt of the Republican Strategists

What the Trump era has revealed about the people who used to run Republican campaigns.

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Ooh, Ooh, I know! Is it "that they have no morals, principles or human decency?"

Last week I found myself reading “It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump,” the new book by Stuart Stevens, the longtime Republican operative

Oh, man I could've saved you some time there. The Republican Party has always been Trump. It was just waiting for him to ascend the throne. If you need a book to show you the through-line from

Liberals now love Barry Goldwater, but his 1964 loss won the GOP's ...  to

 Christian Nightmares a Twitter: "Video: Never forget what assholes ...  to

Ronald Reagan - Quotes, Death & Movies - Biography

to  The man behind the golden EIB microphone - YouTube

 to Fox & Friends' Makes New Bid for TV's Morning-Show Ad Dollars ... 

to  Business Insider

to  President Trump bear hugs Old Glory - CNN Video

then I don't think any book is going to really give you a lot of insight.

Stevens belongs to one of the notable sects in the church of NeverTrump, consisting of figures who once held prominent posts in Republican campaigns — Steve Schmidt, John Weaver and Rick Wilson, most notably — and now have reinvented themselves as the Trump-era party’s would-be scourges. 

Yeah , that's the only "sect" of "Never-Trumpers."  The people known as "never-Trumpers" are Republican operatives and pundits who mis-read the room. They assumed, as did most of us, that if Trump were the nominee, he would go down in flames and take the party with him. Then he won the nomination. Once that happened, they had two choices, either grovel back to Trump on their hands and knees and try to attach themselves to him like a Remora (also known as "going full Lindsey) and hope he won't be too petty and spiteful (ha!) or stay the course hoping to be proven right in the general election. Once Trump won the general, they were pretty much in permanent exile from the party (or at least until 2024) so their next move was to wave the "never-Trump banner and try to sucker centrist Democrats into welcoming them into the Dem's oversized tent. Hence the Lincoln Project.

I turned to Stevens’s book because I thought it might supply an answer, since it’s billed as an examination of conscience, in which the author takes responsibility for various moral compromises that led to Trump’s rise. But the book only deepens the mystery, because “It Was All a Lie” doesn’t give you any sense of why its author spent his entire adult life (Stevens is in his 60s) in the service of a party whose supporters he mostly depicts as rotten frauds and hypocrites and racists, just as bad as liberals always suspected, if not worse.

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Why indeed? I mean, it's almost as if money, power and prestige were more important to Stevens than any moral or ethical consideration. Quell surprise! He's a political operative, he has no conscience!

Stevens would probably reply that he was led astray by the fact that the Republicans he tried to get elected, from Tom Ridge to George W. Bush to Mitt Romney, were good and decent public servants who tried to rescue conservatism from its own worst impulses. 

Did The Danny Thomas Show really invent the spit take?


George W. Bush a "good and decent public servant?" 

Are You Kidding Me Another Period GIF by Comedy Central - Find ...

George W. Bush, the man who illegally bombed invaded and occupied a country that had never done anything to us, a good and decent yada yada something. . .? 
The man who authorized the use of torture and indefinite detention? The man who along with Tom Ridge (another good and decent blah blah blah) ushered in the surveilance state with the Department of Homeland Security? The man who let the city of New Orleans drown? That's thew man you think "tried to rescue conservatism from its own worst impulses?"The man who created ICE? That's what you consider "good and decent?" 

And one could imagine a more interesting version of this book that leaned into this narrative, portraying an American right torn between its better angels and its devils, and Trump’s rise as a defeat in a battle that could have easily gone another away.
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There are no better angels in the American right! It's a battle between evil devils and more evil devils.

What if Trump had been defeated? Do you think the GOP was going to nominate a Teddy Roosevelt? Or even a Bob Dole or Gerald Ford? It would have been a sociopathic  right-wing nutjob like Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio or even Ben Carson. This is what the Republican Party is. They have purged every halfway-decent human being from their ranks. The entire party is dedicated to using the power of government to further enrich the already wealthy and to make people they don't like suffer. 

But Stevens is so determined to emphasize his party’s total depravity that his only answer to the hard question of why Republicans swung from Romney’s technocratic decency to Trump’s know-nothing flamboyance is that Trumpism was the beating heart of conservatism all along

Do you think he's wrong? Look at the three previous Republican presidents.

Ronald Reagan - WikipediaGeorge H. W. Bush - WikipediaConfused Bush by William-Black on DeviantArt

See any intellectuals in there?

This is the party that has embraced Louie Gohmert, Michele Bachmann, James Inhofe, and Rand Paul. Anti-intellectualism has been one of the major tent-poles of the Republican Party since they invited the evangelicals into their ranks.

“What does a center-right party in America stand for?” Stevens asks, in the closest thing to an ideological statement his book contains. “Once this was easy to answer: fiscal sanity, free trade, being strong on Russia, personal responsibility, the Constitution.”

Well, since the closest thing to a center-right party this country has would be the Democrats, I'm not sure why this question is germane to the subject at hand. But okay, let's look at this. "Fiscal sanity?" In my lifetime, the REpublican Party has presided over nothing but outlandish defecits which they keep claiming can be cured by having the government collect LESS revenue while shoveling unimaginable amounts of our money into the Pentagon sinkhole. What about that would be considered "fiscal sanity?"

Most Debt Growth Came Under Republican Presidents, But ...

Free trade? Well, other than free trade deals being the legacy of the Clinton Administration, I guess I won't argue that Republicans also favor so-called "free trade."

Being "strong on Russia?" I mean, that's just stupid. Who gives a shit about Russia anymore? The Cold War has been over for 30 years.

"Personal responsibility?" Only for the little people. Certainly not for the crooks at Enron or Arthur Anderson or Tyco or AIG or any of the banks, savings & loans, mutual funds and anyone else who helped crash the world's economy.

And "the Constitution?"
Do you not remember George W. Bush? Warrantless wiretapping? Scrapping habeus corpus? Torture?

Republicans/conservatives never believed in any of those things. That's why they can spend 8 years of a Democratic administration howling about the imminent doom being brought down on us by the National Debt, then switch directions on a dime once a Republican is in the Oval Office. That's why they can spend 8 years accusing Bill Clinton of every crime under the sun from drug trafficking to murder, insult him, insult his wife, even insult hos daughter, then the moment W is inaugurated start insisting that the President is owed respect and loyalty eben if you don't like the man, you have to respect the office. Then turn right around and spend 8 years calling Barack Obama a secret Muslim who pals around with terrorists who is weak and ineffectual but also an iron-fisted fascist whose wife is really a man and whose children were not fathered by him.

That's really all you need to know about how the Republican party "became" the party of Trump. They have always been this party. Much as Jack Torrance has always been the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, Donald Trump has always been the leader of the Republican Party. A party of nihilists run by a sociopath for the benefit of oligarchs. Trump just took the mask off.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Is this guy for real?


I thought this was a joke when I saw it referenced on Twitter this morning.

But here it is on Amazon:

How To Date And Marry The Right Black Woman: A White Man’s Perspective by [Jeff Brandon]

Setting aside, for the moment how offensive this already seems, I can't help but wonder - who is the target market for this book?

I assume that there ate plenty of white men who want to date and/or marry a particular black woman. And if there was a book entitled "how to get Sheena from accounts payable to go out with you," I would think that at least one white guy would buy that book. But are there a lot of white men out there thinking "I would like to meet a nice gal and settle down and maybe raise a family, but not if she's fuckin' white! I am only interested in black women!"  Again, it is perfectly meet, right and salutary to be attracted to black women. It is perfectly normal and natural for a white man to fall in love with a black woman. It's just the idea that there are white men out there who are thinking "I know how to get white women to love me, but what kind of special tricks are there to attract a black woman?" that feels a bit far-fetched.

That being said, who the FUCK does this guy think he is that he's going to explain what the "right" kind of black woman is? Like he's some kind of 18th Century anthropologist just returned from a research trip to Borneo here to explain the cultural and ethnic peculiarities of some tribe he just "discovered." 

You may be thinking, at this point, that there is actually no such thing as the "right" or "wrong" kind of black woman, just as there is no "right" or "wrong" sort of white woman, or white man, or whatever. But that is because you are what doctors refer to as "normal" and "not a weirdo."

D'oh! adventures in the DSM | DefineMind

The same can not be said, however, of Jeff Brandon.

This is the title page of his book:

"For those who can see beyond the surface." And he somehow doesn't grasp that "I want to date a black woman" is pretty much the most surface-level statement one could make. Skin color is the definition of a "surface" quality. I don't know how no one explained this to him.

So I'm certainly not foing to pay to download this dullard's dumb and distasteful disquisition, so I went to his website to see what I could learn about this guy. Like is this guy for real, and seriously, is this guy for real?

Interracial Dating with THE RIGHT BLACK WOMAN

Black women are some of the most beautiful women in the world but choosing the right one to date long-term can be tricky. I'll teach you how to gracefully navigate your way through the wrong ones and get you on the fastest track to the right one, for a successful interracial relationship.

Oh, God I'm already regretting my decision.

I've made a huge mistake" gifs - Album on Imgur

Why Black Women?

Women come in all shapes, sizes and racial backgrounds. Asian, Black, White, Hispanic—I’ve dated many different types over the years. 

[Ron Howard voice] "He hadn't."

As a white man, ironically, many of my most enjoyable dating experiences were the times I spent dating black women. There was something different about it—for some reason it was more fun and intriguing to me. Once acknowledging my dating preference, I focused my attention solely on interracial dating, and have spent the majority of the last 10 years dating mainly black women.

Yeahhhhh, I wouldn't count on that continuing. Not if any of them read this. I am not a black woman, but I feel fairly confident that if I were, I would not be real comfortable dating a white guy who only dates black women because he finds them "fun and intriguing." I mean, that's like one step away from "exotic and mysterious."

With the help of online dating, I was given the opportunity to date black women from different parts of America, and from different parts of the world.

Ohhh, different parts of the world. That makes sense. Listen, Jeff, that's not "dating." That's "mail-order brides." That's women who want so badly to come to America that they are willing to suffer the attentions of a creepy little wormweasel like you.

These experiences introduced me to unique personalities, ideas and cultures—it gave me the chance to explore dating habits and behaviors of black women from many different walks of life. 

Oh my God. Dating is not supposed to be an anthropological survey. You're not supposed to be cataloging the various cultural idiosyncrasies and peculiarities of the various ethnicities of the women you're dating. Do these women know that you're looking at them the way Charles Darwin looked at finches?

 These experiences quickly showed me the positive things that a relationship with the right type of black woman could bring. The experiences also showed me the turmoil that dating the wrong type of black woman could bring. 

Arrested Development Uff GIF - ArrestedDevelopment Uff OhFuck ...

Oh for the love of. . . That is not something that is unique to black women. If anyone, of any race and any gender, dates the wrong person, they're going to experience "turmoil." Conversely, if anyone, of any race and any gender, dates the right person, they will experience, as you say "positive things." (you sure you're a professional writer?)

As Ry Cooder taught us years ago: 

If you marry the wrong kind of woman
And you get where you can't agree
Well, you just as well could get your hat
And let that woman be

Mmmm, oh, no
It's not hard for you to understand
True love can be such a sweet harmony
If you do the best that you can

So how are you supposed to know if she's the "right kind" of black woman? Well, Jeff has a handy and not at all demeaning checklist!

The Right One Checklist

The Right One Checklist

Make sure she meets these requirements before entering a long-term relationship.

What points are on the checklist? You'll have to buy the book if you somehow find yourself giving a rat's ass what this simpleton has on his list.

Lucky for us, we don't need to buy the book to mock it, because has posted some excerpts. 

Yes, I too have noticed how the media tends to portray white men as shy, timid, or nerdy. Never as "strong."

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FULL MATCH - John Cena vs. R-Truth - WWE Title Match: WWE Capitol ...

Okay, first of all, you have never heard any woman say anything about "feeling 'more feminine'" around white guys. Second, masculine energy? You don't think black men have "masculine energy?"

We're Not Saying That Drake Got Six-Pack Abs Surgery, But Other ...

He Is Showing His Chest, Six-Pack & Abs For The Ladies: Romeo's ...

Does LeBron James really have a photographic memory? - BBC News

But you think that white men are "naturally strong and masculine?"

Top 30 Frasier GIFs | Find the best GIF on Gfycat

So basically, this is just racist. This is just a book about how white men are awesome and black men suck and so of course all the black women want to date us white fellas becdause, as we all know, most black men are the product of fatherless homes and wear their jeans really saggy and that's why you never ever see a guy like that dating any women.  


Yeah, you know it really is unfair how the media constantly portrays white men as the big bad bully.
And also as shy timid and nerdy, anything but strong.

White men just can't catch a break in today's society. If only there were white men in positions of power in the media!

Friday, August 7, 2020

News from the Georgia Legislature

 Our local bird-cage liner, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, had this very odd headline on its front page yesterday:

Bill That Protects Police Is Now Law

Which makes sense because if there's anyone who needs protection, it's the guys wearing body armor and carrying firearms, billy clubs and pepper spray.

There's Nothing More Dangerous than an Unstoppable, Well ...

So fragile, so vulnerable.

Gov. Brian Kemp signed a proposal into law Wednesday that Republicans pushed to grant police new protections despite stiff opposition from critics who said it creates a messy tangle of legal problems.

In a statement, Kemp said he took action because he has attended the funerals of too many law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, and he called the measure a “step forward as we work to protect those who are risking their lives to protect us.”

Yeah. . . I don't know how to tell you this, governor, but killing police officers was already illegal.

As part of a compromise to win approval of the hate-crimes bill, Senate Republicans demanded the passage of a separate proposal that would create the new offense of “bias motivated intimidation” of a police officer or other first responder.

Because, you know, guy like these

When Will They Shoot?

are so easily intimidated.

This does raise an interesting question, though. If I intimidate a police officer, as one does, but my intimidation of that officer is based on something other than my bias against law enforcement officers - say I just don't like anyone who shoots unarmed black men whether they're cops or not - am I in the clear? Does my intimidation of this cop not violate the rule because it was based on something other than anti-cop bigotry?

What if I'm just walking down the street, and I strike up a conversation with a local constable and he feels intimidated by my mighty brawn through no fault of my own? Even though I had no intention of doing so, I  have, by dint of my powerful physique and raw untamed masculinity, intimidated the unfortunate officer. Then what? Should I expect to be cuffed and read my rights? And by whom? Certainly not the policeman cowering before me, all intimidated and whatnot.

The measure was passed by the Legislature with little vetting. From our AJC colleague Maya Prabhu:

According to the bill, anyone found guilty of the death, serious bodily harm or destruction of more than $500 worth of property of a first responder, specifically because of his or her occupation, would face between one and five years in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000.

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Woah, woah, slow down there a minute.

Are you telling me that someone could literally murder a cop, get caught and if that murderer says "I killed him because he's a cop and I hate cops," he would be looking at ONE TO FIVE YEARS? And a fine? How is this not an invitation to kill cops? This is insane.Normally, murdering a cop would get you life in prison or the death penalty, but under the "Police Protection Act," it gets you five years and a fine?

So, let's say someone is robbing a liquor store, the police show up and the robber shoots and kills the cop. If he can say "I didn't kill him to avoid being arrested, I shot him because he was a cop," he could seriously get five years in prison and have to pay a fine?

It's almost as if Georgia Republicans didn't think this thing through clearly before they passed it.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The Federalsit Takes On the Teachers' Unions.

Um, this is the Federalist. In your world, every day is the day that it's time to break up the teachers' unions. What's the particular reason now?

In an abject show of selfishness and political bias, teachers unions are trying to hold the country hostage over baseless COVID-19 fears. 

Oh, those bastards are selfishly refusing to expose themselves to a deadly disease? And they selfishly are refusing to send your children home to you with that virus? Oh, yeah. Let's fire them all!

It’s not enough that public school teachers and the college professors who train them are increasingly prone to teaching leftist absurdities like “2+2=5” or . . .

gif 1k bruno mars James King phil lawrence uptown funk brunos-mars •

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Hold on. Who's teaching that 2+2=5?

I have a couple of friends who are teachers, one in Indiana, one in California, so I called them and asked them about this and they both said "Of course, comrade! How can we destroy capitalism if we do not destroy the foundations of arithmetic that the capital owning classes use to calculate their profits?" Then they said a bunch of stuff about "praxis" and "dialectical materialism," you know, regular teacher stuff.
Anyway, where were we?

. . . or presenting the mendacious 1619 Project as legitimate American history. 

Oh, the 1619 Project. You know I have heard a lot of people complaining about the 1619 project, I have heard people call it "propoganda," "misleading," "anti-American," and now "mendacious." But I have never heard anyone point out one thing in it that is factually incorrect. Just an oversight, I'm sure. Obviously, the material must be chock-full of factual errors. It's not as if the intellectually honest brokers of America's right would object to a curriculum solely on the basis that it mentions unpleasant truths about the United States.

 Teachers unions are now trying to blackmail the entire country into meeting a set of leftist political demands for reopening the schools this fall, using COVID-19 as their excuse.

Well, that doesn't sound fair. What demands are they making? 

Of course, the pandemic certainly presents challenges for re-opening schools, but other sectors of society have managed to rise to the occasion over the past several months to keep the country running. Grocery stores clerks, truck drivers, warehouse workers, and of course police, firefighters, doctors, and nurses—all have kept working, sometimes under tough conditions and sometimes at great personal risk.

And it's just a coincidence that Covid cases have been spiking again. 
For instance, here in Georgia, back in April, when we had a "shelter in place" order in effect, we were averaging around 300-400 new cases per week. Currently, we are reporting, oh let me check the latest figures. . . about 3500. So obviously, everything is fine now!

Also, if Police, firefighters and hospital personnel are going to be made to put their lives and health at risk, why shouldn't schoolchildren? I say these kids have been coddled long enough!

California schoolkids in harm's way | Pesticide Action Network

Look at 'em! Soft, weak little freeloaders! In my day, half of these kids would have already succumbed to polio!

And That's the way it was and we liked it! - Dana Carvey (Grumpy ...

Then there are teachers unions. More than any other group during this pandemic, teachers unions have shown themselves to be abjectly selfish, hyper-political, and totally intransigent about teaching during the pandemic. They are willing to lie about the science behind COVID-19 transmission and shamelessly stoke fear to advance their partisan agenda. Just about the last thing these unions seem to care about is educating children or helping the country get back on its feet.

It's like all they care about is "keeping children safe" and "not dying." 

Chris Farley AIR QUOTES Guy SNL Classic Weekend Update GIF | Gfycat

It's like they don't even care about the economy!

On Monday, an alliance of teachers unions and leftist groups in dozens of states staged a “National Day of Resistance,” issuing a series of demands that they say must be met before their members will return to the classroom. What do they want? Rents and mortgages canceled, a “massive infusion of federal money” from “taxing billionaires and Wall Street,” moratoriums on new charter schools and voucher programs and standardized tests, and of course “police-free schools,” among other things.

Oh no. Not those things. How horrible.

I Was Being Sarcastic GIFs | Tenor

Okay, I clicked on your link to see the list of demands. Here is the first demand:

  • No reopening until the scientific data supports it

Oh my God, how unreasonable! Who could ever meet such an impossible standard? If we wait until the scientific data shows that it is safe, I mean, that could prove inconvenient to parents! 

  • Police-free schools

Why would anyone want to remove cops from the schools? If there are no cops in the schools, who would do this?

HD New Angle Cop Violently Attacks Peaceful Female Student Sitting ...

And just think of the tragedy that might have unfolded at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School had there not been an armed Sheriff's deputy on site to boldly. . . panic and do nothing. Okay, bad example.

What other outrageous demands are these union goons making?

  • Safe conditions including lower class sizes, PPE, cleaning, testing, and other key protocols Equitable access to online learning

Oh my God, it's as if they actually don't want to allow any of these children the opportunity to die from a preventable illness! You know, the last time I checked, I thought this was still America!

Some teachers unions have gone a step further. In New York City, one group is demanding teachers not be required to return to school until a minimum of 14 days have passed after any new COVID-19 cases, claiming their lives are at risk if schools open (despite evidence to the contrary in Europe and Asia).

Yeah, I mean if they can re-open schools in Europe and Asia, they can do it here. The only difference between the US and European or Asian countries is that they shut everything down for a while until they got the pandemic under control before they re-opened their schools. All we're sayinbg is why not skip that one little step and just start packing children and teachers back into overcrowded classrooms before we actually do anything to slow the spread? I fail to see how that one tiny difference could cause any. . .wait, what?

Students at school touted by Pence for reopening must quarantine due to COVID-19


Well, okay ONE school might have had a little. . . wait, what?

All These Schools Reopened and Then Had COVID-19 Outbreaks

Tara Santora
  • School Name: Corinth High School

    • State: Mississippi

    • Date: 8/3

    • COVID-19 Cases: 3

    • Details: 3 students tested positive within a week or so of school reopening despite extensive precautions.

    • School Name: Gwinnett County Public Schools

      • State: Georgia

      • Date: 8/2

      • COVID-19 Cases: 260 teachers positive or potentially exposed

      • Details: The teachers were preparing for the start of the school year.

      • School Response: Two days later, the school district announced it would start classes online and phase into in-person instruction

      • School Name: Alcoa City Schools

        • State: Tennessee

        • Date: 8/1/2020

        • COVID-19 Cases: 5

        • Details: 3 people tested positive at Alcoa High School, 1 at Alcoa Middle School, and 1 at Alcoa Elementary School.

        SNES Game Collecting (Tips, discussion, and info for like minded ...

        All this amounts to political blackmail. The teachers unions know that millions of parents can’t afford to stay home from work to educate their kids, nor can many afford private school or private tutors. They think they have leverage—and in many places they do, if only because city and state elected officials are unwilling to stand up to them.

        Gawd, I can't believe these wimpy elected officials won't just force these teachers back into thc classrooms so that parents can finally send their little ones into the petri dish atmosphere of a normal school day, then come home to expose their loving parents and grandparents and babysitters to a deadly disease.

        I mean,.look we're doing it in Georgia and I fail to see any problems with this plan.

        Georgia Schools Reopen To Packed Hallways And Students Testing ...

        I mean, do these kids look sick to you? Do you see any of them dropping dead in the hallways? No you don't. And do you know why? Because as long as we refuse to acknowledge that the virus is a threat, everything is fine! 

         It's just basic science.