Behold my dear, deceased, ferociously talented old friend Jan Leighton—a classically-trained actor who secured Guinness Book of World Records recognition for mastering more than 3,000 historically significant personae. These included George Patton, Fidel Castro and the Greek philosopher Plato…as well as Margaret Thatcher and nearly a dozen of America’s most iconic (or tic-ridden) presidents.
It’s a long tape. However, as it says at the beginning, it is the last, best demo reel for a genuinely skilled fellow who sharpened his bag of tricks again and again over the course of 60 years. I miss him every day. But watching this tape reminds me that more than 3,000 parts of him will never truly die.
Every now and again, it’s fun to watch somebody over at Rupert N’ Roger’s Wacked Manufactory bumping up against an uncomfortably solid reality that doesn’t melt away under the soothing fog of Reagan worship and a fat paycheck,,,particularly when it’s Megyn Kelly realizing that she’s surrounded by a couple of real Family Units, especially the living Toby Jug on the right, whose pinkly smug visage visibly irks her into melvining him with Science:
**UPDATE: Below the fold, now with even more Woolly Mammoths!
Eat our tusks, Russians.~~we’re trying to figure out how to UNclone ‘em.
For a “post-racist” society, America certainly has a lot of overt and covert racial stuff on its mind, lately. Personally, I think that the rumors of American Racism’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. One black man taking up residence in the Oval Office may feel like an apocalyptic event to some but most evidence indicates that we’re not really any closer to a true “Kumbaya moment” than we we were in, say, 2007.
Actually, the idea of “Post-racist America” is as screwy a fairy tale as “American Exceptionalism” or “America’s Christian Founding Fathers.” And history provides plenty of examples of countries that embrace screwy fairy tales in their national mythos behaving very oddly before they go completely off the rails. In most cases, screwy national fairy tales often arise as a moral justification for bad behavior and are designed to comfort the perpetrators and assuage their guilt.
For example: of course it’s OK for Americans to kidnap people off foreign streets, ship them to other countries for imprisonment, torture them, deny them due process and keep them imprisoned for indefinite periods of time. And the reason that it’s OK is because America has been designated by God [the Christian one] to lead the world’s people and keep them honest and pure and protected from evil.
We are the Lancelot of Nations and things that are crimes if other mere mortals commit them are sanctioned and, indeed, sanctified by the God that chose us to run his planet. We Americans are Exceptional! And we know we are exceptional because we have more and better stuff than any other people. We have nothing to learn or earn from the rest of the world and, whatever they have, they got it from us, one way or another
Every day I commute three miles by jitney to a Blind Rehab facility on the outskirts of Pittsburgh. Invariably, I wear another man’s pajamas, issued to me by the nursing home that serves as my overnight domicile and semi-permanent address. If there’s good news here, it’s that I also get to wear an ultra-expensive pair of Oakley sunglasses (just like the ones Roger Daltrey used to sport in music magazines).
Given my new wardrobe, it would be easy for me to convince myself that my biggest disabilities are accidents of fashion. But, of course, my real disability is much much worse: I’m a totally blind man, approaching age 65, and I live inside an empty skull which is populated these days by random, uncatalogued sound effects for which I have no visual reference to provide context or meaning. My world is dark and noisy and—often— a baffling place where formerly-reliable senses either don’t work at all or provide me with only unreliable data regarding my environment.
That’s why I danced a jig (metaphorically) when I heard this song on the local Vend-O-Mat of Top 40 tunes and enduring Soft Rock. With their punchy percussion, lilting guitar and repetitive Ho-Hey mantra, these guys remind me of the creative goof I used to be back before I lost my eyes. And that’s particularly true ever since Mrs. Polly described their outfits to me—white T shirts, black suspenders, and pork-pie hats. The Lumineers are dressed for a long walk on the Boulevard Of Dreams, somewhere on the Left Bank of Wackiness.
God love the Lumineers for making complex music with simple tools. My heart leaps with joy when I hear them…and I hope all my ‘Roaster buddies will share the bon temps with me!
Is it worth 8 minutes of your time to hear Michele Bachmann announce that she’s quitting her House seat? Probably not, but here it is anyway.
Nope, this is nothing to do with the multiple investigations into her and hubbie’s alleged grifting, including misusing congressional campaign funds for her spectacular 2012 run for president, nor the fact that she only squeaked back into her seat last year and the polls aren’t looking at all good for her at the moment. She’s just past her sell-by date:
The law limits anyone from serving as president of the United States for more than eight years, and in my opinion—well, eight years is also long enough for an individual to serve as a representative for a specific Congressional district.
This will no doubt lead to widespread redundancies among the media’s factcheckers. Unless ...
There is no future option or opportunity, be it directly in the political arena or otherwise, that I won’t be giving serious consideration if it can help save and protect our great nation.
How is this being greeted among the wingnutry? Well, there’s some speculation from the RW blogs that (assuming she’s not in pokey by then) Bachmann might run against Al Franken for his Senate seat, which would certainly be a battle worth breaking out the popcorn for.
Actually, it might be a stretch to call this a retirement. Rep. Michele Bachmann announced last night that she would not seek a fifth term in the House from Minnesota’s 6th Congressional district in this nearly nine-minute valediction. As The Week notes, however, Bachmann doesn’t say she’s retiring from politics or even electoral politics, which means she may have something else in mind already ...
Indeed. If not a run against Franken, there seem to be indications that she hopes to don the mantle of Palin II:
... she promises not to fade away, continuing “to work vehemently and robustly to fight back against what most in the other party want to do to transform our country into becoming, which would be a nation that our founders would hardly even recognize today.”
The announcement that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) will not run for re-election in 2014 means that the Tea Party will lose one of its most outspoken—and controversial—congressional leaders, just as the movement is gaining new momentum from public discontent with big government and the revelations in the IRS scandal. At the same time, the Tea Party will benefit from the emergence of new, and perhaps more effective, voices.
William Teach at RightWingNews, on the other hand, is in full-on denial and seeking to anoint her with the precious Oil of Victimhood:
NBC Makes Up Quote For Michele Bachmann: “I’m quitting my House seat in 2014″
Nowhere in the story is that headline verified. Nor, if one listens to the 8+ minute video from Bachmann will you hear that phrase. A bit of bias, eh?
For Max Baucus NBC had the headline Max Baucus heeds the call of Nature. And Harkin won’t seek 6th Senate term (for Tom Harkin-D). And Senate banking chair Johnson to announce retirement (Tim Johnson-D). Even most other Republicans were treated decently. Seems that NBC News has a bit of a War On Women going on in regards to Bachmann.
The reception for this news in the comments sections is pretty subdued and mostly philosophical.
Is there enough room for two Divas of Daft on Twitter and Facebook (there does seem to be a vacancy for vacancy on Fox, of course)? Will this spark an entertaining rivalry—Griftzilla versus Michegriftzilla? I guess we’ll have to stay tuned ....
As any oppressed minority will tell you, winning civil rights that put one on a more even footing with the rest of society usually comes at a pretty hefty price—and the bills keep coming in long after the celebrations and victory parties are over. It’s no surprise, at least to the gay community, that more legalized gay weddings are triggering more gay bashing backlash around the world.
We LGBT people are used to this. In my lifetime [which includes pre-Stonewall days], we have gone from literally cowering in the closet to marching in Pride parades down the streets of our home towns. That’s quite a leap, in under a century, but each step of the way has been hard-fought and exacted huge costs in terms of career options, family life and isolation. Favorable public opinion and community support are only very recent boons to my community.
Given all of that, I hope that at least some of you will forgive my cynicism regarding the recent spate of “mystery posters” (see below) appearing on the streets of at least two cities in the state of Washington which also, just happens to be a state that recently legalized gay marriage.
So far, no one has actually taken credit for anything other than the photo of the “Annies that got their gun.” That photo, by “Oleg Volk: An American”, is in the public domain, sans text, and his reaction on learning of the posters using his photo was:
The photo poster is my design, the line drawing isn’t. I encourage re-posting of my graphics, so I approve of the use in general. The specific use wasn’t coordinated with me but that’s just fine, pre-approval is not necessary.
I have no idea who posted them but they acted as my allies in the cause. I want everyone -— especially people who have been traditionally facing discrimination and danger — to be more secure and independent. Minorities of all kinds are in that exact predicament.
The QR code links to Volk’s pro-gun website a-human-right.com. The funny little flag next to the QR code is known as The Doug Flag [for Douglas Fir] and is the official flag of Cascadia, a secessionist notion whereby parts of Canada and the Pacific Northwest become an independent country—a sort of eco-topian pipe dream that’s been kicking around for over a hundred years and just adds that little soupçon of crazy to the whole thing.
The line drawing of the male guntoters is signed by a “Nale Dixon” who is off the GoogleGrid.
These posters, as amateurish and lacking in 21st century realSHOCK!!1! value as they are, have set off quite a flurry of political debate having mostly to do with the rightful “ownership” of American political ideologies.
Don’t forget that as of this weekend, it’s perfectly comme il faut to wear white shoes—or in these people’s case, white snow shoes.
Everybody out to make snow-wingnuts! We at Chez Polly are welcoming Mama-San, her baggies of discouraged tomatoes and bananas, and her relentless pursuit of bad grammar, for the holiday, by making almost hourly wine runs. Our boy Strange is resting up from his first week going to Adaptive Living School at last, at last, about which more later, depending on how he feels, but suffice it to say it has been the first really good week for him in a very long time.
Until yesterday, I have to admit, I was blissfully unaware that Andrea Tantaros lived and breathed. Nor did I know that she was part of a FoxNews gang that call themselves “The Five” - dundundun. Whatever.
This morning, however, I woke to the news that this same Andrea Tantaros was calling on my community to search me out and punch me in the face for voting for Barack Obama. Now I’ve been voting for longer than Ms. Smarty Pants has been alive so I didn’t take it all that well. Turns out that, despite her sophomoric mentality and social skills, this chick has her own talk radio show and on Thursday night she was busy holding forth on the James Rosen Affair. Shheeeeesh.
MEDEAMEDEAMEDEA! You are so vocal and full-throated, that even the guy at the podium has to admire you, even though you want him to close Gitmo and he—uh, wants to close Gitmo. And now he says it’s important to pay attention to you, so congratulations, conveniently formerly Susan B, inconveniently non-all-powerful Barry O has just endorsed you! You are now tainted, co-opted meat. I’m sure it was his diabolical plan all along.
In other news besides Medea Benjamin, the Guardian live blog, as usual, has a wonderfully succinct rundown of the President’s speech today. Perfect for Dana Perino-length attention spans!
This speech is so long. How long was it? Longer than the state of the union address.
Here’s Mr. Obama on his way to the senior prom (Time, via Gawker). Considering that he graduated in the late 70s, the outfits are far less embarrassing than one could have hoped. My husband is only a bit younger than the president, and the suit he wore to the prom once prompted someone who saw his prom photo to laugh and ask if it was a Halloween costume.
In his first major speech on counterterrorism of his second term, Mr. Obama hopes to refocus the epic conflict that has defined American priorities since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and even foresees an unspecified day when the so-called war on terror might all but end, according to people briefed on White House plans.
Could the war on a noun really end? The report says Obama will announce new limits on the use of drone strikes and launch a new effort to close Gitmo. I expect the reaction will range from “worse than Bush” to “worse than Neville Chamberlain.”
Last week a curious little news item surfaced that might have attracted more focused attention if it hadn’t been lost in the sturm und drung of Scandalpalooza. It had to do with a letter from Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action for America, schooling House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor in how to do their jobs. Needham’s advice boiled down to forget about legislation, it’ll only make us look bad; focus on your one true mission: destroy Obama.
I guess, tactically, that’s not bad advice for several reasons: a) destroying Obama is pretty much the only unifying ideology left among Republicans and b) Republicans have no intention of legislating anyway so why not make that look like a shrewd political ploy.
You can read the entire letter here but here’s my personal favorite bit:
To that end, we urge you to avoid bringing any legislation to the House Floor that could expose or highlight major schisms within the conference. Legislation such as the Internet sales tax or the FARRM Act which contains nearly $800 billion in food stamp spending, would give the press a reason to shift their attention away from the failures of the Obama administration to write another ‘circular firing squad’ article.
[Not the only “circular” activity going on with the GOP these days, I might add]
May Robert Gibbs find solace someday, after the savaging he received at the wit of Bill Clinton’s ex-wife Maureen Dowd.
“I don’t normally read Maureen,” Gibbs, now an MSNBC contributor, said during an appearance on the network. “I don’t largely because it’s sort of largely the same column for the last, like, eight years.”
what does seem somewhat novel—to me, at least—is the brazen callousness in today’s breed of Republicans
Meanwhile in the annals of brazen callousness, Sen. Coburn’s fellow coprolite OK Sen. James Inhofe has tried to get around their stonewalling aid for Eastern states by calling the Sandy aid bill a “slush fund:”
“they were getting things … in the Virgin Islands, fixing roads there, and putting roofs on houses in Washington, D.C.”
Evidently the good senators are unaware that both Washington and the Virgin Islands are U.S. territories. But what does that matter? It’s not like they have senators to deny aid to anybody.
Just to amplify an issue related to Mistermix’s post at Balloon Juice about austerity peacock Tom Coburn’s announcement that he would seek to offset federal disaster relief funds to Oklahoma with budget cuts elsewhere (Pentagon exempted, naturally). Let’s pause to consider what it means that Coburn issued this statement while bodies were still being pulled from the rubble in his home state, an activity that is ongoing.
A spokesman for the senator claimed that Coburn was merely being consistent about his position on federal disaster aid. That’s a lie: Mrs. Polly provides links to accounts of Coburn questioning and delaying disaster relief to other states while accepting funds for Oklahoma below. It’s no surprise that Coburn is a liar and a hypocrite: That’s what we expect from politicians. It’s what our grandparents expected, and their grandparents too.
But what does seem somewhat novel—to me, at least—is the brazen callousness in today’s breed of Republicans, a rigid orthodoxy combined with a rich man’s insulation from trouble that renders them utterly indifferent to the fate of others, even those who look like them and share their origins and cultural pretensions.
Coburn is retiring after his current term: Maybe he’d be less quick to rush before the cameras to display his austerity plumage if he had to stand for another election. But I don’t think that’s necessarily true anymore. His real political masters, Koch Industries, et al, will applaud his haste to emphasize what’s really important in the face of a natural disaster, which is to keep corporate tax rates low and gut regulations on industries that contribute to extreme climate events.
And even if voters remember some other austerity peacock’s callous disregard for an unfolding disaster in some future election (doubtful thanks to the flood of corporate money that swings most elections), the heartless pricks who are voted out of office can transition seamlessly into cushy private sector influence-peddling gigs.
There’s really nothing new to see here, I suppose, but I can’t help but feel that something has been lost nonetheless: basic human decency, fundamental accountability—or at least the need to pretend that these quaint notions are relevant.
Still red-faced from deploring Newtown parents’ strange commitment to furthering an anti-gun agenda, right wingers are disgusted that Rhode Island Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse would be so callous as to use Monday’s devastating monster tornado to highlight his global warming agenda.
Yes, Senator Whitehouse, the beset members of the GOP will long remember your shameless rant against them, particularly the parting shot:
So, like it or not, we’re in this together.
As is usually the case in disasters of this sort, the best and fastest way to help is with cash.. Go to:RedCross.org or text REDCROSS to 90999. Other suggestions for where to send donations are welcome.