Saturday, March 25, 2017

Weekend Open Thread


chuck said...

Does anyone know whatever happened to the blog Stop Me Before I Vote Again?

Karen Garcia said...


No idea. I believe it "went dark" during the primaries. I'd kept it on my blog roll for at least six months after the last post, as is my "policy" here, because blogs come and go all the time. The exception is the Obama Scandals List, because it is such an exhaustive piece of history invaluable for purposes of explaining our current mess.

I loved "Stop Me" mainly for its humor and I referenced it often in my own work. Who can ever forget his riff comparing Clinton concern trolls to the tiny ankle-biting gremlins in the "Barbarella" movie?

voice-in-wilderness said...

I wish the major media had an effective way to deal with fake outrage from politicians. While most politicians are capable of fake outrage, it is part of the central nervous system of the modern GOP.

I'm fantasizing, imagining that everything that spews from the Trump administration could be treated as he would have treated Hillary during the campaign. So, we would have constant cries of "Lock him [Trump] up!" To routinely call him "Crooked Donald". And expand on his habit of bullying nicknames to come up with some for his henchpersons, such as "The Hydrant" for Spicer. I leave it to others to nickname Conway, Sessions, Tillerson, etc.

Zee said...

My most current thought—

It’s my understanding that the Republi-clowns campaigned pretty much across the board on at least one issue: pledges to repeal ObamaCare, and to [possibly] replace it with something ever-so-much-better.

They failed completely at their single most important pledge, at a speed faster than that of light.

In the previous thread, @Jay—Ottawa wondered if this presaged “the revolution we've been waiting for?” Well, I always use the word “revolution”—along with the word “justice”—with extreme caution, worrying that I just might get what I wish for—to my dismay.

But no, I don’t see a “revolution” in the offing.

What I see is that the Republi-clowns—from Trump on down—have proved with blinding speed that they are incapable of governing at even the most elemental of levels. What I foresee is a Trump presidency now knee-capped from the get-go, with absolutely no “signs” whatsoever that it will ever be able to regroup sufficiently to implement its more grandiose plans for tax reform, infrastructure repairs/improvements, and the like.

The only likely significant accomplishment that Trump and the Republi-clowns will be able to show their electorate is the successful ascension of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, one way or another.

Will that be enough to forestall a Democratic sweep of the House and the Senate in 2018?

I just don’t think so.

And that will be the extent of the “revolution” that I see coming.

New boss, same as the old boss.

Erik Roth said...

Another egad?!? op-ed from Egan ~

Best posted comment:

New York 8 hours ago
One day we're asking Ivanka to save us, the next we're asking Donald Jr. We are not family members trying to stage an intervention. We are citizens of a democracy. Mr. Trump is not a well-meaning but misguided loved-one who only needs a good talking to. He is a corrupt and self-interested businessman whose new business is politics. Reason and information are available to him, but they do not serve his purposes. His purposes are his own bottom line--not the country, not the planet. If he is misinformed, it's because he realizes, like Breitbart & Fox & the other fake news outlets he follows, that misinformation serves his purposes. If he is stupid, he has learned to use his stupidity for political ends. Dreams of changing his "mind" or educating him, only give credence to his pretense that he shares any interests with us. He does not. His only interest in us is picking our pockets. The sooner we realize that the better.


Neil said...

The American Bar Association reports the Koch family foundation is giving millions of dollars to law schools. Trump better watch his back. In my view V.P. Pence, a judicial branch lawyer now in the executive branch, is a threat to Trump and the American people.

"Penn law school gets $2.2 million from Koch family foundation
ABA Journal Daily News
By Stephanie Francis Ward
Posted Mar 10, 2017 07:00 am CST

The Charles Koch Foundation has donated $2.2 million to the University of Pennsylvania Law School. The money reportedly will help fund a center focused on fairness in criminal justice.

The foundation, founded by and named for conservative billionaire Charles G. Koch, also gave $3.25 million in October to the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

In March 2016, the foundation gave $10 million to the George Mason University School of Law. That, plus a $20 million donation from an anonymous donor, reportedly was tied to the school changing its name to the Antonin Scalia Law School.

The Penn offering, known as the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice, initially was funded in 2013 with $15 million from the Frank and Denise Quattrone Foundation. The couple are Penn graduates.

Charles Koch and his brother, David, lead Koch Industries, an energy company their father started, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported. Both brothers are billionaires and have spent some of their money supporting the Republican Party. They’ve also given more than $1 billion to causes including public television, medical research and environmental stewardship, US News reported in 2015."

Jay–Ottawa said...

If you read between the lines of what you're reading, you may catch on when a writer is leading you to admire a person you ought to despise. That could be said much more directly, but under the circumstances I prefer not to. Because what follows is another episode in the placement of a pale halo on very visible horns.

With that introduction out of the way, who the hell am I talking about? Jeff Bezos and, to a lesser extent, Casey Affleck.

Jeff Bezos, Mr Amazon, is the guy who walks around with about $50-70 billion in his wallet. The nice thing about being so rich is that you can't avoid doing some nice things once in a while, even though the rest of the time you're busy screwing people. (See John D. Rockefeller and Henry Ford bios.) I digress; I came here not to condemn Bezos and Affleck but to praise them.

Did you know Jeff Bezoz started off as an actor? And that he's a mechanical whiz? Of course not; that's why you depend on me to dig up these recondite factoids and to string them together to sell you something you don't want to buy. After Bezoz got rich underselling everything to everybody, he made his move on opinion shapers like TED, 60 Minutes and The Washington Post.

Bezos's Amazon is not only a giant Five and Dime, it has suddenly become the MGM, RKO and 20th Century Fox of the 21st Century. Overnight, with Amazon Studios' very first movie, 'Manchester by the Sea,' his company won two important Oscars, best original screenplay (Kenneth Lonergan, who was also directed) and best actor (Casey Affleck, he of the serial sexual harassment settlements, so bad that the actress MC who handed him the Oscar refused to shake hands with him).

This weekend, forget sexual crimes, crooked business and dirty politics, at least for 2h 17mn. Download 'Manchester by the Sea.' Bezos and the Oscars got it right.

Anonymous said...

I get almost all of my news from you these days. Thank you.

Pleeease include the link to TUC radio on your blog.

One of my favorite recent TUC programs is on The Project for the New American Century.

Here are direct links to the 2-part radio show: Part 1:

Part 2:

What is so striking is how exactly both Bush and Obama followed the plans from the 2000 document, commissioned by Cheney and Rumsfield, from the Project for the New American Century.

From the TUC website:

Project for the New American Century (PNAC)
A reading from the document by Mime Troupe founder R.G. Davis
Introduced by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti

The paper was commissioned by Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and others in the year 2000, before any of them were in government. The think tank, the Project for the New American Century, produced a blueprint for a system of world-wide US military dominance and intervention. The document remained secret until 2002 when it was discovered by the Scottish Sunday Herald.

The program opens with the peace poem: "Speak Out" by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, features General John Allen's endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president with Bernie Sanders supporters shouting "no more war"; and ends with a reading by SF Mime Troupe founder R.G. Davis from the bone chilling neo-con plan for US global military dominance.

The document has become important today because Robert Kagan was appointed as an adviser by Hillary Clinton when she became Secretary of State. Clinton also hired Kagan's wife, Victoria Nuland, as her spokesperson. Nuland had previously served as a top aide to Vice President Cheney. Victoria Nuland, by her own admission, was personally involved in the recent regime change in Ukraine. In February 2016, Kagan gave Clinton his formal endorsement for President. Both are expected to take on important roles in a Hillary Clinton administration.

“Superpowers Don’t Get to Retire: What Our Tired Country Still Owes the World.” by Robert Kagan


Anonymous said...

Forgot to add, what struck me most in the PNAC document from 2000 is the part where they say Americans will never accept the plan for U.S. global military expansion and domination without a "modern day Pearl Harbor". Ugh.

Also, Jay, as a woman, I don't exactly have the luxury of forgetting sexual crimes, as you recommend. I actually can count on one hand all the women I know who claim to have never been sexually assaulted. I prefer not to support men who assault women, whenever possible. I'll live without seeing 'Manchester By the Sea'. I pretty much appreciate your comments though.

Neil said...


In response to your question on an earlier post, "Like you—or so I infer from your comments—I am quite happy with Medicare, as are most of the people that I know who are currently on it."

In my view, public interest style Blue Cross / Blue Shield (not for profit) was the best healthcare coverage I had. The worst were Medicare/HMOs. Original Medicare is in between. Medigap insurance is beyond my ability to pay. Part D drug coverage cost me more than paying cash, so I dropped it.

But I am not a representative heathcare consumer. I needed craniofacial surgery at birth. Some related procedures are classified as dental, and not covered. Treatment is for a lifetime. Some procedures fail over time, such as bone grafts. Getting full treatment usually required paying tens of thousands of dollars for non-covered services like periodontics, prosthodontics, orthodontics, and more. There was also travel expenses to see maxillo-facial surgeons and other specialists across the county, and extended stays for treatment. So I would advocate for separate birth insurance converge, to cover in utero events.

I don’t see any attempt to lower the cost of the treatment component of healthcare, such as requiring end of life care counseling. You mentioned "the Sarah Palins of the world shrieking "Death panels! Death panels!"" I am surprised no politicians attempted to refute that nonsense. In my view it would be not be to difficult to refute Sarah Palin. Is Katie Couric available?

Sarah Palin Can't Name a Newspaper She Reads

BTW, one concern while listening to Gymnop├ędies, ambient, or repetitive music while driving a vehicle may be an increased likelihood of falling asleep at the wheel, exacerbated by "rhythmic procedures ostinato [which] closely resemble the schema of catatonic conditions."

Jay–Ottawa said...

Hi Anon Without a Handle,

Sorry. Maybe if I had said 'put them out of mind just for a couple of hours'––"them" being sexual harassment, business and politics––that might have gone down better. Point taken. Sexual harassment, to include all the offensive behavior short of rape, is not something to forget about.

I'll not defend Casey Affleck, although I understand he should not be lumped on the far end of the sexual harassment spectrum with Nate Parker, Bill Cosby, Roman Polanski, Sean Penn, Woody Allen and Michael Jackson, among others. Too many of those characters walk free after rape and sexual harassment done serially because they can afford dazzling lawyers who bedazzle juries or know where to place fat envelopes. Like you on occasion, for this and other reasons, I have gone way out of my way to avoid boosting a celebrity or buying a ticket that would end up as another coin in his or her bucket of royalties.

It's an important discussion always: should this artist be treated differently from his or her work of art? Don't ever again look at a Picasso or a Caravaggio? Don't ever read "Alice in Wonderland." Don't see a remarkable movie starring a certified jerk?

Maybe if you were to "incidentally surveille" (h/t James Clapper) a pirated version of "Manchester" you would have a chance to appreciate the fine work done by so many people, behind the camera as well as in front of the camera, one of them being Affleck of course, without paying Affleck a penny as a form of punishment. But how to be fair with the rest of the cast? As usual, good and evil are tangled beyond comprehension. Too bad Matt Damon had too many scheduling conflicts when filming began; he was to have had the role Affleck got.