Steve Bell covers Thatcher’s resignation in 1990 (click to enlarge).
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
I despaired this morning when I heard the news that Margaret Thatcher was dead at 87. Not because her passing upsets me. I’d already celebrated that in late 1990, when her party finally realized the old bat was potty, the wheels had long fallen off the Iron Lady, and she was growing even more unpopular than her historically record-breaking low approval ratings might have anticipated, and she needed to be removed from office for their own good before she took them down with her.
I recall walking round the streets of Greenock that day, in something of a daze, overhearing a couple of old guys on a street corner in conversation: “She’s gone, then.” “Aye.” It had been a long, difficult era from her election in 1979, when as a politically inexperienced 19-year-old I barely realized what she was about to usher in, through the horrible early 1980s, protesting against the Falklands War and the UK and US’s saber-rattling in the face of the “Soviet threat,” then the Middle East adventures that were a pale prologue to those of the 2000s, and being subjected to none too subtle state surveillance for my troubles, to standing on my doorstep one morning faced with a court official who was threatening to send the bailiffs round to confiscate what little property I had.
That last event happened because Ms YAFB and I had had the audacity to do as we’d been encouraged by the government and set up a small business in the teeth of a recession, our industry—publishing—was being more than decimated, work had dried up, we’d submitted accounts the local council needed to decide whether we were eligible for some benefit to help pay our Council Tax (a.k.a. Poll Tax), and they’d somehow lost the papers we’d sent in (not for the first time). No court date for a hearing. A sheriff somewhere had heard our case among a slew of others some time earlier. We were never offered the opportunity to attend and put forward our side of the case. The first we knew was a lunatic demand in the post for immediate payment of an absurd amount of money we had no prospect of finding. And so I stood there as this besuited, rather shifty guy threatened me with sending round the heavies.
That was Thatcher’s Britain. Or a small series of snapshots of it. And we got off lightly compared to many. We survived. Survived to see Thatcher leave office in tears.
There’s so much seasonal WTF in this clip from FilmOn TV Networks (via Battlecam TV) which is going viral.
There’s a fairly graphic trailer near the beginning for their stunt at the weekend, when they plan to crucify a guy identified by a usually reliable source (Daily Mail) as Robert Garrison, “a 30-year-old sado-masochist from Florida,” so presumably as long they’ve found some card-carrying sadists to do the nailing, everybody’s cool with that.
Then there’s the increasingly tetchy mobile unit interview between Joe Fioranelli of FilmOn TV and David Phelps—which, for the by now no doubt growing increasingly nervous, I’ll excerpt below, but sounds like it’s an outtake from SNL.
As the scene begins, Phelps—who starts off the interview as grumpy as Hell, and doesn’t get any sweeter as it progresses—kicks off with the charming opener, “I’m David Phelps. And God hates fags. If you hear nothing else I say, I need that message to get out.” Then Fiorelli cites biblical reasons for some skepticism about Jesus’ heterosexuality, which doesn’t go any way toward making make him Phelps’ BFF.
Phelps: This is a mockery. It’s been a mockery from the very beginning. Is this what you plan for your mock crucifixion as well? Fioranelli: It’s not a mock crucifixion, we’re actually crucifying the guy. I mean, he is actually gay. Phelps: Do you have any idea, do you have any idea what it is to receive the payment for your sins from a wrathful, an angry God? Romans 12 says He will pile it on your head like hot coals from a fire. ... May God bring His wrath in a way that all will know it comes from Him.
Things don’t get any better from there on in for Phelps as he makes a bid to abandon the interview, and the fate that awaits him may have made him pray for a visitation from a nice cozy bushel of hot coals. Whatever, he will verily have been in no doubt that It hath come from Him, who moveth in mysterious ways.
For at this point (at 1:30 for the impatient), yea, a 500-pound stark naked ex-wrestler MC by the name of Billy the Fridge emerges from the closet (imagery!) where he’s been waiting and lurches ominously toward Phelps.
Phelps: What do you want?
Now, in the circumstances, most of us might agree that’s not the sort of leading question you want to be asking. Never mind, since Billy ignores it anyway.
Billy the Fridge: THE LEVIATHAN! WE WILL GET YOU! LEVIATHAN! THE LEVIATHAN! WE WILL GET YOU!
At this point Phelps makes an extremely rapid getaway through the door, with Billy in hot, hot pursuit. Over to the Mail again:
An eye-witness later claimed that he saw Phelps being pursued down the street outside the mobile studio by a naked fat man.
Rob Cutler, from Topeka, Kansas, where the church is based, said: ‘I was amazed, first I see David run out of a motor home and the next thing I know he’s been sat on by this giant naked man who is screaming “who’s your daddy now Davey?”’
The way the Phelpses have been bailing out of the hitherto lucrative family cult over the past few years, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Davey—his cherry now well and truly popped, possibly along with some vital organs—and Billy are an item. Happy Easter.
We’re not here to re-brand a party, we’re here to rebuild a country. We’re here to restore America and the rest is just theatrics. The rest is sound and fury. It’s just making noise.
The next 37 long minutes were indeed taken up with sound and fury—the familiar gurns, squawks, shrieks, and dribbling, punctuated by the novel sound of slurping, to rapturous applause. It’s 2013. It’s CPAC. And it’s Sarah Palin.
Yep, the Grifta from Wasilla, having added Fox News pundit (failed) to her résumé, is BACK. And she’s still totally bonkers. And not in a good way.
Lord knows, when the éminences grises behind CPAC booked her, they knew what to expect. It’s an easy call, because whatever else she’s been doing in her copious spare time since bombing out of the ‘08 election in tears, in between lush speaking gigs and boring the pants off Greta van Susteren she hasn’t come up with much new material.
I’m very grateful to Jim Newell, now liveblogging in the unlikely environment of The Guardian, for keeping tabs on the parade of fail at this year’s Gathering of the Indescribables as I really wasn’t feeling up to it. Also to my co-bloggers marindenver and Vixen Strangely, who’ve been taking up the slack. However, when somebody as absolutely desperate for attention as Sarah Palin bobbles along, it would be downright cruel of me not to indulge her at least a little, so here goes.
Her turn wasn’t totally lacking in some semblance of political gravitas, as she insisted that enough with the navel-gazing already, Republicans just need to hit the streets and get persuadin’:
They’re not our enemies. They’re our sisters and our brothers. They’re our neighbors, they’re our friends. It’s imperative to reach out and to share that conservative message of liberty and less government and lower taxes.
So double-bolt your doors and bar your windows before you turn in tonight, just in case.
Boob jokes. They featured, as Jim notes:
Palin sets up a quite extraordinary breasts-and-ammo joke by telling the crowd that for Christmas, her husband had bought her a rack to hold guns on the back of her truck. Then comes the sexy punchline:
He’s got the rifle, I’ve got the rack!
As attendants carried the coronary casualties in the audience out to the waiting fleet of ambulances, as an example of “less government” Palin chose Mayor Bloomberg’s War on Soda (this is where the slurping comes in), ostentatiously sucking on a mammoth serving through a straw in a manner which suggested that if there was a baseball in there, goshdarn she was havin’ it. If she followed it up with a burp, the networks cut it and the written record is silent. But it did lead to a new party game:
The crazy was on at CPAC today. Some of the more bizarre doings for your reading, ah, pleasure, I guess:
Because the Tea Party is so totally not racist, the Tea Party Patriots group put on a session called “Trump The Race Card: Are You Sick And Tired Of Being Called A Racist When You Know You’re Not One?” Well, after all, who wouldn’t be? The session was led by a black conservative named Carl Smith who urged attendees accused of racism to refer to themselves as “Frederick Douglass Republicans”. Unfortunately things went downhill when the audience started shouting back with accusations of “white disenfranchisement” (because nobody is discriminalized against as much as white males!) and support for slavery because, hey, free food & shelter and stuff. So we know for sure now that Tea Partiers are totally NOT racist.
Even a little crazier was a speech given by none other than The Donald. Apparently the crazed ramblings were so epic even his audience left scratching their heads. I, for one, am certainly looking forward to seeing that great ballroom addition to the White House that Trump’s completely gonna build!
Last, but not least, Rick Santorum (and to paraphrase Charlie Pierce, have we mentioned recently what a colossal dick the guy is?) chose to politicize the tragic death of his nephew the day before from an unnamed disease.
“Yesterday he was not the one in pain,” Santorum said, describing the “surreal” scene at the hospital. “Medicines were effectively blocking all his physical pain — we were the ones in pain.”
And he considers this an effective segue into a condemnation of gummint for wanting to block the pain of ordinary citizens who are just trying to get by in this world. In fact big gummint has robbed us of so much suffering and pain that we are in greater suffering and pain because of it! Because we have been robbed of the “why” of America. And so in conclusion government must . . . give us more pain?
I sympathize fully with his family. I too lost a family member to a disease that caused him a lot of pain and I was also grateful that, thanks to Medicare, he had the pain medications that kept him from suffering. I simply can’t conceive of using this as a platform to say other people should suffer pain. And that Medicare and Medicaid should not be there for them, that they should not have the safety net that keeps people from sleeping in the gutters and begging for a living. But I guess that’s why Santorum is a colossal dick and I am not.
Stay tooned folks. The crazy can only accelerate from here. Klondike Barbie is coming up!
UPDATE: Jim Newell chronicles the crazy today. Highlights include Sarah Palin’s boobs joke and Breitbart’s panel of the uninvited - those so far out there that even CPAC doesn’t want to be associated with them, famously including Pammy Shrugs.
You know, I really don’t want to be back talking about 2016, but Jeb was all over the Sunday shows, and it was hard not to look at it as being possibly just as much about 2016 as about peddling his book. And yes, maybe it’s a little bit like being a “crack addict” to speculate about this—but really? Are we going to shrug off the legacy of big bro’ as “not baggage”?
Heavy sigh. The last quarter-century is all about Bushes. There is no escape here. How to explain?
That outsider artist reinventing himself as a premier puppy painter? Is forever linked with an Administration that oversaw a war in Iraq that will always be associated with gross abuse. (I wonder if there isn’t something in W that makes him uniquely suited to capturing the soul of puppies. They, too, are scolded for making messes they don’t entirely understand and aren’t sure what they should do to fix.)
But Jeb himself isn’t quite ready to articulate a vision for the future, at odds with his book, at odds with interviews of mere days ago. He can invoke the Reagan Administration of which his own father was a part as a time of less partisanship—but it doesn’t help him begin to explain how to arrive at a less-partisan future—anymore than his brother’s “compassionate conservatism” did. Not when the 1988 campaign of his father against Dukakis was one of the most wedge-issue-tainted smear-jobs. Not when the first Gulf War has so much to do with a very specific vision of power and patriotism. That is what W inherited—and it’s Jeb’s legacy, too, like it or not. Which is why he’s spinning like a tire in a damp rut over immigration. Does he, like his father, supposedly lack “the vision thing”? Or has he only seen too much?
No matter. Na’gonna happen. Not even if folks in the Beltway bubble want to make it happen.
During last year’s election, we and many others remarked on the possibly disastrous consequences of politicians believing the BS that the rightwing blogosphere and other online media peddle and parroting it in public, where occasionally more stringent evidential standards apply. It cost Mittens dear during the second Presidential Debate when his attempt to bully President Obama about when precisely he characterized the Benghazi attack as an act of terrorism backfired catastrophically and left him scraping egg off his coif.
On February 7, Breitbart.com’s Ben Shapiro reported that Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel (according to “Senate sources”) received money from a group called “Friends of Hamas.” The report spread quickly through the conservative media as damning of Hagel, until Dave Weigel at Slate.com pointed out a salient fact—there’s no evidence that “Friends of Hamas” exists. Now, New York Daily News reporter Dan Friedman is claiming that a joke he shared with a GOP source is the provenance of “Friends of Hamas.” In response to their story falling apart, Shapiro and Breitbart.com—who angrily and self-righteously demand accountability from the rest of the media for every slip-up, real or imagined—are lashing out and refusing to accept responsibility for publishing a report based on a falsehood.
If Shapiro deserves credit for anything, it’s introducing us to a new meme about his oeuvre—”accurate and clearly caveated,” which translates as, “I pulled this out of somebody else’s ass, and I warned you it was probably bullshit at the time.” (It’s also led to much Twitter punnery on the lines of “Friends of Hummus” etc., to which the title of this post is a humble contribution.)
Meanwhile, the unspeakable John Nolte has been wearing out his iPhone in a desperate CYA campaign on Twitter. You can always tell when they’ve screwed up particularly badly because he goes postal.
Malkin’s Twitchyite horde have also been trying to comfort each other, distracting and covering their embarrassment by picking up on a brief minor omission by BuzzFeed’s Cat Correspondent Andrew Kaczynski.
There’s a conspicuous silence and lack of support for Shapiro on this issue from the rest of the RW blogs, some of whom, like Hugh Hewett, were also caught out, the buffoonery also ensnaring Rand Paul. Others are crediting the ‘bartlets et al. for fouling the pitch for their conspiracymongering and virtually ensuring Hagel’s appointment next Monday.
I may be premature and overly optimistic here, but the era of knitting your own reality seems to be drawing to a close. Will Republicans ever learn to factcheck before shooting their mouths off on the basis of the nonsense their online organs churn out? I hope not.
“Anyone ever hear of pocket tweet, pocket dial? I mean it was pretty simple, you know. I have an iPhone 5. If anyone has an iPhone 5, the keys are small,” Brown told Boston’s FOX 25. “It’s very, very sensitive.”
He said his daughter had been teaching him how to use Facebook and Twitter, but “there are some areas that I didn’t really understand.”
“It was after her concert, we were here right in the living room and I responded to a couple of people. And then I put it in my pocket,” he said.
One of the tweets — “bqhatevwr” — quickly became a meme and was widely mocked.
“The next thing, I wake up and I said — it trended worldwide. Worldwide trending on a pocket tweet,” he said.
FOX 25’s Maria Stephanos then asked whether the tweets were just a mistake. “What else would it be?” he replied.
Okay, player—what else could they be? Let’s stipulate you were sober, because, really, I don’t care who drinks and who doesn’t, because I get ‘faced now and again, my ownself. Maybe you just had a case of the fumblefingers, typo’d, and then made Tweets you didn’t have to explain because, duh, just Tweets.
Instead, we get an explanation about asspocket-dialing. On an iPhone 5. Now, I have an Android phone myself, but it does have one of those touchpad deals. It doesn’t even recognize my dry-skinned fingers unless I’ve used a little lotion. They aren’t so weirdly receptive that you can post nonsense handsfree—and even if you could—it would be nonsense. Although there was this one time I nearly texted pi to the tenth decimal place with my butt. It was all like:
And I’m like “That’s random—except if that was pi, it would be ‘3.1415926535’—I thought my ass knew math!” and it was when I had a phone with an actual, not virtual keyboard, and I might have been tipsy like erryone else in the club, oh yeah, and I made that up because you can’t ass-dial a nearly statistically improbable series of numbers anymore than you could a nearly-English language Tweet. So, like, why front, Brown?
Unless, as is the contention of, I believe, most of us here at Rumproast, this Scott Brown guy just ain’t bright. Thus, “Bqhatevwr” has become one of our tags to symbolize not-bright things conservatives say. And I thought I would throw this down about the legend of Brown because he may resurface as a gubernatorial candidate in MA or something. And our auld acquaintance with this knob shouldn’t be forgot. So bqhatevwer for auld lang syne, my dears. His ridicule is just and deserved.
Bill Maher reports on The Donald’s decision to sue him for $5 million for alleging on air that Trump’s the progeny of his mother and an orangutang. (There’s a short ad at the beginning, but you can skip it after 5 seconds or so.)
Donald Trump has made it clear ... his legal war with Bill Maher isn’t just about the money ... it’s personal—telling TMZ the comic CROSSED THE LINE when he suggested Trump’s mom banged an orangutan.
Trump just appeared on “TMZ Live” and explained why he’s confident he’ll emerge victorious in his $5 million lawsuit against Maher ... claiming he doesn’t believe Bill was joking when he appeared on Leno earlier this year and challenged Trump to prove he isn’t the “spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan.”
Donald says he vows to defend his parents’ honor—telling us, “What he said about my father is disgraceful ... and what he said about my mother, who’s deceased, was in a certain way, even more disgraceful.”
“I’ve never heard anything like that said about my parents ... who were truly great people.”
Despite the fact that he remains popular in Massachusetts, the highly negative tone of his campaign against my hero Elizabeth Warren probably hurt him. There are also speculations that he might be looking at a shot at the governor’s office. That would be interesting! Not sure that Scott’s prior experience posing nude for Cosmopolitan, working as a hand model or sashaying down the couture runways in pink leather shorts will necessarily provide the skillz set for a high pressure administrative job.
I don’t know why Adam Ant’s signature video, “Goody Two-Shoes” and the happy-happy stomp dance made me think of Sarah Palin, except to note that nothing else makes think of her at all anymore.
Certainly, there had to be some significance in Adam Ant’s retro-couture Napoleonic settings and costumes, apart from the lightning-fast assumption that Adam was going to usher in the second coming of Paul Revere and the Raiders, featuring Mark Lindsay.
Whether or not Adam was singing about Sarah Palin in 1982, it goes without saying that whatever about her was ever truly unique, one-of-a-kind, name-brand or timeless, has wound up where it was always destined to be—somewhere between Clark Kent’s costume closet and Al Capone’s Vault.
You don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do you do? Nothing to see here. Move along.
Who knew that two years ago I’d shoot myself in the head, go blind, rack up a two-million dollar hospital bill, suffer the non-fatal effects of cold-turkey withdrawal from cigarettes and alcohol, die a half-dozen or so non-clinical forms of clinical death, and resurrect myself months later in a world where Sarah Palin wasn’t even running for magistrate of the sanitation division, and the GOP had just placed all of its mismatched irreplaceable sulphur-stenched eggs in Mitt Romney’s spectacularly ill-woven basket.
What can I tell you? Time flies when you’re dead.
Here’s what else I can tell you: God bless the Pips for taking up the gauntlet of being fired by Gladys Knight with a stunning medley of And The Pips top 40 hits, entirely driven by toasty harmonies and occasional woo-woo! sounds, and unencumbered by the usual, predictable, elevator-worthy one-mike stand. This was a memorable moment from Richard Pryor’s summer TV variety series in the late 1970s.
Given the fact that I don’t remember 90% of what happened last week, the fact that I thought to include it in this post is testimony to Pryor’s uneraseable presence in American minds.
I like this post from Adele Stan on Alternet about as much as I like anything that highlights the disarray into which the House Republicans appear to have fallen, but the bit that jumps out at me is the titillating concept considered by conservative thinker, Norman J. Ornstein, that the replacement for John Boehner needn’t necessarily come from the House itself.
Now, to give some background—there was an interesting footnote that occurred right after the elections, when TX Rep. Louie Gohmert suggested Newt Gingrich be the Speaker of the House, again. Because there’s no reason why we shouldn’t party like it’s some time prior to 1999, I guess. He wasn’t entirely off base though, in that there really is no Constitutional reason why the Speaker of the House has to be a member of the House. The problem, though, is in getting enough members of the House to go along with you as to which outsider you want to fulfill that office.
I think getting House Republicans to move together on someone like Jon Huntsman or Mitch Daniels would be a pretty hard sell, no? Wouldn’t that be like, first they have to admit there is a problem? And then they would move on to acknowledging there’s an answer outside themselves? I don’t see them taking those steps. The folks who have the knives out for Boehner would, in actuality, probably be the least likely people to say, “Hey, let’s get a somewhat reality-based deal-maker up in here to whip our asses into a deal we don’t like!” They would be more likely to want Eric Cantor or someone who they feel listens to the “true conservative” side of things.
This is why, if there was a kind of coup (hopefully a non-armed coup—unlike the Freedomworks situation recently described), I would guess the lucky candidate would be a Tea Party kind of GOP-er. Except I don’t think all the GOP would get behind that. And no Dem would. Which leaves us with Boehner—the default-mode.
The simpler problem is math. The fault in GOP leadership has nothing to do with Boehner’s character or flaws or anything else about him—it’s the numbers. No matter who is in charge, that person would still be dealing with the Louie Gohmerts, Paul Brouns, and Michele Bachmann’s that make John Boehner’s job the thankless thing it is.
I could be proven wrong. But if the GOP majority chose anyone but Boehner, it wouldn’t be an outsider, and certainly not anyone you could, however laughably, call a moderate (a RINO), or even reasonable (an appeaser). And it would probably make zero difference in how any vote turned out going forward (probably still disappointing and clusterfuck-ish). The debt ceiling and the fiscal cliff have, in a late echo of the Mayan pseudo-prophecy, coincided. A pretty serious tone for the next two years of wrangling is about to be set. If the GOP is about to do whatever they will with a weak Speaker—the die is already basically cast.
And FWIW, can anyone see a knight in shining armor seriously riding in on his white horse and piercing the RW “bubble” with his trusty lance? It strikes me as fairy-tale stuff.
First, he was a crooner in his brothers’ choral group. Then, he was Daniel Boone’s frontier BFF when he lost the audition for Mr. Spock to Leonard Nimoy. Finally, he ended up playing Johnny Carson’s late night talk-show mohel in a historical demonstration of puberty rituals. It doesn’t matter how much worse the Brazilian wax version of this is. You’re better off getting yanked than bladed.
No, it’s actually just a stinger scene from Trey Stone and Matt Parker’s X-rated comedy classic Orgazmo. In it, Parker’s character Elder Young is mistaken by porn film producer Maxxx Orbison for that famous hunka-hunka burning love memorialized by Elvis Presley (or was that William F. Burroughs?). In the same dangerous moment of misinterpretation Young’s junior missionary partner Ben Chepleski (Dian Bachar) is errantly ascribed the cheerful disposition and dual-purpose plumbing gear you’d expect from a fishnet-stockinged Robin.
Enjoy! If you get time and the opportunity, please treat yourself to three other South Park movies—Cannibal, The Musical; Team America: World Police; and South Park—Bigger, Longer, And Uncut.