Americans just seem to have a soft spot for cranks, especially if they wear cowboy hats, sidearms and talk reeeaaaal sloooooow, like Mitch McConnell.
And, for a certain cross-section of American society, it’s even more attractive if that crank is ignorantly eloquent about flouting any and all authority, from crossing guards to POTUS, because . . . . U.S.A. RUGGED INDIVIDUALISM, Yo? seasoned with a dash of arrested development.
Cliven Bundy is one such “Give Me Liberty or I’ll Take It,” kind of guy. It takes a special kind of man to raise cattle in the desert and it “takes a village” to feed those suckers. Our village. That our taxes pay for. But, unless you show up combat-ready, Cliven’s going to take whatever he can get his hands on. Because he’s pretty convinced that that kind of behavior is what made America exceptional. Plus he has a fairly unregulated militia to cover his back while he’s stealing . . . think Prairie Mafia.
Those are the makings for some tense stand-offs because no one really wants to shoot the old bugger, they just want him to pay his grazing fees . . . maybe out of the farm subsidies he collects
from the federal government that he refuses to recognize?
Still at an impasse, though, along comes creative life-affirming genius, and old hippie Sean Shealy, of Burning Man fame to offer a workshop in radical, yet peaceful land management practices that he calls—BUNDYFEST!
And since he’s so good at marketing these things and so passionate about celebrating Cliven Bundy’s contribution to our understanding of our fine American selves, let’s let Sean pitch it:
Last year’s Burning Man attendance was 61,000. And, so, how big is Bundy’s Army, again? And how likely are they to open fire on unarmed, naked stoners dancing in the mud? Or the Los Angeles Gay Men’s Choir?
As Farmer Bundy would say, sometimes you just have to face ‘em down.
Okay—that title is lifted from a tweet from Jonathan Capehart, who documents the silliness of the “Shoe Truthers” with a trace of the exasperation any sane person might feel when examining the actual serious thought processes of people who might be a wee bit paranoid a lot.
I’m kind of an uptight thinker who seldom strays into the fanciful except to atomize a yet-more out-there notion—so let me boringly put a damper on this thing: there is obviously no way for any person to aim a shoe that they were wearing at a public figure and then hobble off scot-free. They are certain to be apprehended—any fancy of flight would prove, well, bootless. Any collusion to plant a person in an audience to launch a shoe would involve some connecting factor, because once charged with a federal offense (and a savvy lawyer like Hillary Clinton would have known this much) any stooge paid off to, for some kind of reason, launch a shoe at her, would roll like the mighty Mississippi. Who would bargain away their freedom for X-untraceable amount of funds for a PR scheme? The sane folks who’d go for that are few and far between, and there are many limiting factors involved in employing someone who would not be classified as mentally fit.
And let’s consider the PR downsides, which are numerous. Getting smacked upside the old bean with a sneaker would be ungraceful, so one might study to avoid head to tennie contact. Ducking is, itself, a kind of submissive posture. The actual fact of anyone launching an athletic shoe at one implies unpopularity—there is no good reason anyone would want to portray that level of unpopularity. A “lone shoe-er” is a poor representative of anything like a “vast, right-wing conspiracy”, so activating sympathetic historical memes is out…leaving what exactly? A footwear fetish?
So fine, you are left with the spectacle of a former First Lady, US Senator, and Secretary of State ducking and covering from a podalic projectile because that’s the way she likes it. Uh huh? Uh huh. That is some serious stupid. I do not know what to make of anyone who would stupid that hard.
Rand Paul is doing what all earnest young job-seekers do—padding out and fluffing up his resume, an item that, let’s face it, is a little thin if Senator Paul is serious about the Oval Office. Twenty years an ophthalmologist; head of the Baylor U chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas; Best Boy on Dad’s presidential campaign; and half a US Senate term probably wouldn’t make it off a headhunters’ desk if we did anything as sensible as professionally vetting candidates for one of the most demanding jobs on the planet.
One of several executive experience areas in which Paul the Younger is noticeably lacking is foreign policy, so Sen. Paul has been toiling away at foreign policy op-eds, interviews and world leaderish big ideas sound bites.
Yesterday, for the benefit of Fox News’ dwindling audience, Paul closed his eyes, held his nose and took a deep dive into the shallow end of “if I were President” foreign policy wonkery and came up dazed:
I would do something differently from the president,” Paul said. “I would immediately get every obstacle out of the way for our export of oil and gas, and I would begin drilling in every possible conceivable place within our territories in order to have production we can supply Europe with if it’s interrupted from Ukraine.
What a boyishly endearing but naive and foolish idea that is. First of all, to get the job done in our lifetime, I have to assume that President Paul would be forced to use his “pen and phone” to circumvent the hundreds of “laws of the land” that address such autocratic impulses to rape the environment to score geopolitical points.
And then, of course, there’s the “executive powers” fallacy in which President Paul learns, to his utter dismay, that presidents don’t get to direct export destinations to the Free Market and, if they did, they would probably choose the much more profitable Asian markets because . . . duh.
Solve that glitch and then you’re faced with logistics. Moving usable gas is not like sending data packets over fiberoptic networks.
The [Energy] department could speed up its review of export applications, and Congress could help by easing restrictions on exports to American allies. But even if the government approved more exports, setting up more facilities to liquefy and ship gas would take years and cost billions of dollars. Moreover, unlike Mr. Putin, American officials will not be able to dictate to energy companies where they sell their gas and at what price.
It’s also unlikely that Comrade Putin would pack up his gas and go home if President Paul suddenly jumped into the ring with cheap Liberty Gas to save Europe. Putin would simply discount his prices to hold onto his market share like any other self-respecting free marketeer.
. . . you have to admire Sen. Paul’s can-do spirit, which would literally drill every conceivable possible place to get oil and gas to Europe right away within a couple years of this crisis, after which there had better not be any more international crises involving fossil fuels, because then we’d have to start drilling in the inconceivable places.
Of course, one of Sen. Paul’s main objectives in bringing this up was to demonstrate how ineffectual the current president is for not attempting any of this unhelpful silliness, himself. Sometime soon Sen. Paul will realize that, if nominated [a HUGE “if” BTW], he will not be running against Barack Obama.
Should he find himself running against the presumptive Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, well, see that’s a problem, too . . . because Secretary of State Clinton actually set up a Bureau of Energy Resources to do something like what Paul suggests—only in a real world way and better—so this particular issue might not be a terrific choice for future debate
No one can say that New Jersey’s Lt. Gov, Kim Guadagno is not a woman of her word.
According to Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, she met with Guadagno five days after Hoboken’s planning board rejected the recommendations of a study that would have advanced a redevelopment project and alleges she was was told by Guadagno:
It [the development project] is very important to the governor. The word is that you are against it, and you need to move forward or we are not going to be able to help you. I know it’s not right — these things should not be connected — but they are and if you tell anyone, I will deny it.
I know I’m coming a bit late to the party regarding commenting on the Ted Cruz coloring book, but I think it’s in part because it isn’t really…that weird to me? To explain, when I was six (!), I was a recruit to the Kiss Army, because they were not just a band, but an obviously swag-generating operation. I saw the Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park tv movie, and decided I was going to grow up and marry Ace Frehley. I had the Colorforms. I had some trading cards. What other bands had Colorforms and trading cards? None. So who was the number one favorite of headbanging first-graders? Exactly. You have to give it up for a band that merchandises for the milk and cookie crowd, although, I admit, by Animalize my tastes had just about matured out of them.
So it goes, right?
But that leads me to the question—who is US Senator Ted Cruz to The Future for? I figure the upper age for kids who actually color is what—ten? So the kids coloring Senator Ted today would be more concerned with entering high school than voting booths when 2016 rolls around.
I know. It could just be kind of a hipster-fun thing to have a political coloring book, and I might be overthinking this a little, but I don’t doubt that Cruz probably does have his sights on the White House (probably in 2016,* too) and that although he says he had no involvement with the creation of the coloring book, it definitely has the fingerprints of some “friends of Ted” (note the “Ten Commandments” branch on that tree). Am I being goofy if I think this is aimed at planting a seed with “Generation Joshua” (some of whom are definitely in the process of being softened up for the TX GOP politicians of the future)? That way, if 2016 doesn’t fly, maybe 2020? 2024?
(*I know I have claimed not to be interested in talking about 2016 yet. “Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds” and all that.)
You know what? I’ll even spot Rep. Trey Radel (FL-R) his weak, borrowed from Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, excuse that he only did cocaine because he was such a drunk, because sure. It’s not like the sting that busted him was perpetrated because he already had a history of purchasing coke (it was), and in any event, I can’t talk about what drunk people might get up to. I am only an indifferent drunk myself. I do know I can’t afford $250 bucks worth of blow if I had that much to spend on bourbon. That is some fucking stupid drunkonomics. But maybe being wasted on microbrews made him wonder if he shouldn’t maybe be doing lines, just like I interrupt a wine binge with espressos (I do no such thing). Sure. That’s logical. (By which I mean “NOT”.)
What isn’t logical is being well aware that people acquire substances to help them through the bitter pain of their day to day existence and get dependent on them, and then thinking that it would be A-OK to penalize the poor for their propensity to self-medicate against the horror of a crappy reality by piss-testing people to qualify for their benefits.
Do I think Rep. Radel was maybe in the midst of getting high his ownself when he thought this would be a nifty exercise to spring on the poor? Yeah. I think so. Do I think he thought he was fundamentally different from some wasted SOB who couldn’t catch a job because he himself had a good one in Congress, and therefore, he was morally better than that other kind of substance-user? Yes, indeed. I think he believes he is morally and substantively different from some person who might use drugs, but does not have money.
In other words, he is a real prick. Now, there is drug and alcohol rehab, but I do not know that there is any successful “being a real prick” rehab. But he could use that kind. He surely could.
It seems that whenever there is a Republican setback lately, whether electoral or politically in general, there are a spate of thinky pieces about what’s going wrong in the Republican Party and how they might fix it. I don’t despise the impulse, even while I find it overly optimistic and paradoxical. Many of the premature postmortem-writers aren’t ostensibly fans of the Republican party, to begin with. And rather than consider how whatever rupture between the party and the mainstream can be repaired, I know my gut instinct is to reach for a lever and pull like a mad mother. Political writers are, for the most part, I think, bright people and problem-solvers at heart. We are generally not rooting for armageddon. There is a code of honoring bar tabs and not kicking even bastards in the slats when they are down.
And I am a political writer and not immune to the zeitgeist, so why don’t I carve into this still-wriggling corpus and see what political wisdom may be extracted? (Let’s get it down first. And maybe a kick to the slats? And while we are here, a shiv and that lever. Thank you.)
This is a clip from an interview with Juror B37 from the Zimmerman trial who was given a pretty soft interview by Anderson Cooper. She has a book deal lined up to discuss a variety of things, like, I guess, how she made up her mind before the trial, and how she thinks that peaceful demonstrations that actually got a trial to come about were “riots”, how this trial was certainly not about race (Heavens!)and a whole lot of other odd foolishness compelling details.
In America, one can sometimes be assured of getting a jury of one’s peers.
I think it’s interesting that she referred to the defendant in the trial as “George” throughout the interview and that she wholly believed the testimony of a man who did not testify. I will look forward to seeing her story on the remainders table at the 99Cent Store.
James Gandolfini, the actor who created gangster Tony Soprano, died today. James and Tony were practically joined at the hip. Nobody could have brought the complex character of Tony Soprano to the screen as well as incredible actor James Gandolfini did. I was totally addicted to The Sopranos while it was on. Not that I related to any of the characters - it was more like watching an ant farm (except they were all scorpions) to see what would happen next. But something about Tony made it all more than that. Gandolfini projected a humanity into his character that was hard to ignore. And this despite the frequent times he was called on to either murder someone individually or assign it out to someone else.I’m not a psychologist so I don’t know exactly what quality in James Gandolfini that I reacted to that made me care about his character despite the obvious faults. But whatever it was makes me so sorry that he is gone. Guess if they’re really going to make a Soprano’s movie now it will have to be from the perspective that Tony did die in that diner. Bummer. RIP to a really great and hugely talented guy and sincere condolences to his family and friends who must be devastated now by this news.
No doubt about it: falling off a horse is as easy as falling off a horse. And no amount of fake Amerindian Juju can save you. In yesterday’s scene from the new Lone Ranger film, Johnny Depp played iron-jawed sidekick Tonto wearing pancake make-up, black leather chaps and a stuffed crow on top of his head…but none of that was enough to coax love and mercy from the skittish pinto he was navigating through the Western Plains.
This was the first news story I heard today. I didn’t find out until 5 PM that the Deppster not only survived the fall and the hoof-dance, but courageously appeared on Letterman later in the day (wearing a tasteful wardrobe selectton from the 80s’ TV series “Maude”) to review the miraculous circumstances of his surprisingly non-tragic undemise.
God bless and vaya con Dios, Johnny D. You were the best Hunter S. Thompson since the real one. I’m hoping against hope that the new Silver Bullet Express completely erases my memory of the last Lone Ranger movie from 1981…except for the part where Christopher Lloyd was his arch-foe Butch Cavendish.
Driving home last night, I caught a track by cellist Calum Ingram on Paul Jones’s BBC Radio 2 Rhythm & Blues show, and was pretty blown away. This is a different song—an incendiary cover of Hendrix’s “Red House” on electric cello—see what you think.
Once upon a time, Jesse was one of the Youngbloods. Later, he became the official spokesperson for the emptiness and hopelessness of 4 AM. At times, he was rays of hope breaking through that 4 o’clock rain…at least when he wasn’t channeling the false sincerity of the concerned cockroach.
My brother loved this guy, so much so that he and I spent spent 5 summers tracking down hard-to-find vinyl pressings of Jesse’s work. At times, we were amply rewarded with treasure troves of inspired, lint-free musical genius like this.
You craved it. You begged for it. Parts of your brain stayed awake at night to call the Warner Brothers 1-800-FILMS-WE-NEED hotline.
Now, at last, it’s here: a Kryptonian strongman with no pants battles a Kryptnian villain with practically no history in the comic book world. PS: Russell Crowe appears as the first ever Jor-el with the dramatic star magnitude to bore us more intensely than Marlon Brando. This, truly, is the Superman epic we’ve all been waiting for. So, naturally, it’s no surprise that Superman’s not only from Krypton, he’s a Brit. Way to go, U.K.!
Apparently, some of the “values” of the Party of Family Values need a little re-tooling. How else to interpret the fact that, in one week, two separate spawn of the GOP—Tanner Flake (aka N1ggerKiller), son of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Joey Heck, son of Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV)—are outed as social-media-opaths? Two All-American white, Christian paragons (ok, ok one’s Mormon), sons of All-American white, Christian paragon fathers, spend their leisure time just frothing, fuming and twittering hate at anyone who isn’t an All-American white, Christian paragon i.e., faggots, niggas, women, Jews, Obama, Messicans, Obama, Indians, Obama, Muslims, etc. [in their words]. These kids, if nothing else, are equal opportunity bigots, they pretty much hate every one who isn’t a white male.