Money Messaging Open Thread: Trump Stole Your Tax Refund & Gave It to His Rich Cronies

(Jack Ohman via

If that isn’t part of the Democratic messaging for 2020, shame on the campaigners. I know that financial planners advise that it’s best not to overpay one’s taxes, but lots of Americans (I’ve been among them) still prefer to treat an annual refund as a form of savings account. And the GOP’s ‘tax cut’ scam means that a lot of us are going to get smaller refunds — or be required to pay money we don’t have.

Eric Levitz, at NYMag, “Trump Tax Cuts Are (Probably) About to Become a Political Disaster”:

Even with (allegedly) light withholding, the the tax bill’s breaks for middle-class people weren’t large enough to attract much notice. Between changes in salaries, health-care premiums, and 401(k) contributions, most Americans didn’t detect much tax relief in their paychecks. The Trump tax cuts actually became less popular after they took effect. And, of course, Paul Ryan’s majority drowned in a blue wave.

Now, the bill for the GOP’s (reported) withholding shenanigans is coming due: The average American’s tax refund was 8.4 percent lower in the first week of 2019 than it was one year ago (under the pre-Trump tax code). And while Americans have trouble noticing tax changes when they’re dispersed across 12 to 24 separate paychecks, they do typically pay very close attention to the size of their refunds. About three-quarters of the country typically qualifies for a tax refund most years — and for many of those households, that check from the IRS is the largest lump sum they’ll receive all year…
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TV shows are the REAL collusion…

As some folks in these parts are fond of pointing out, “collusion” isn’t the right word to apply to the multinational criminal conspiracy to rig the U.S. presidential election in 2016. If the clown currently driving a cart over greens at his tacky-ass Florida golf resort keeps this shit up, the word will cease to hold any meaning at all:

Nothing funny about tired Saturday Night Live on Fake News NBC! Question is, how do the Networks get away with these total Republican hit jobs without retribution? Likewise for many other shows? Very unfair and should be looked into. This is the real Collusion!


“Retribution” would be seriously chilling if uttered by a more competent, focused villain. In the Bizarro World we inhabit, it’s just another data point contributing to a pervasive low-grade anxiety, like the approach of a flock of diarrhetic pigeons at a post-apocalyptic outdoor food court.

Open thread!

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Seeds of Dreams

Once again, commentor Ozark Hillbilly comes through, giving us a springboard for dreams of spring growth and summer bounty:

I got seeds!

Tomatoes: I have Pink Brandywine, German Johnson, Amana Orange and Amish Paste seeds left over from last year but I gots to have my Green Zebra. My wife loves big red beefsteak types so I got the Brimmer and Mushroom Basket for her. I have to have Yellow Pear every year to go with all my other grape and cherry tomatoes. The Mallorcan Winter Tomatoes I have been looking for ever since my wife first told me about them. Baker Creek says,

The rambling vines about 24 inches in height produce an abundance of round, pinkish-yellow fruit with rose-pink centers. The fruits are generally about 2 to 2 ½ inches in diameter and are not full-flavored when they appear vine-ripe. They attain their most intense flavor thorough aging. The tomato should be treated as determinate because at the end of summer, the fruit production peaks and then stops. The plants defoliate and at this point the Mallorcans either harvest the fruit for sun drying (which improves their flavor), or the vines are pulled up whole and hung upside down in a protected place (such as a barn) so that the tomatoes can ripen slowly over the course of the winter. The tomatoes are then pulled off the vines as needed. They will keep this way for several months.

I am excited.

Melons: Every year i grow a nice crop of melons for the groundhogs. The Golden Jennies I am going to try and grow in containers so I can get some. I am hoping the Groundhogs enjoy the Honeymoons so much I can get a taste of Sweet Passion because who doesn’t like passion?

Cucumbers: My wife does not like cucumbers but she loves dill pickles. Seeing as I recently purchased a 10L pickling crock I had to try these. The Dar cukes grow well in containers and the Miniature Whites are supposed to do well in them too.

Eggplants: I love eggplant and have grown Rosita and Diamond before and done OK with them. I have tried the Rosa Bianca before and utterly failed but they are so beautiful and so highly recommended that I’ve decided it’s all my fault and I’m going to try again. The Mtoyo is a Japanese variety and is new to me. That alone is worth giving it a shot.

Peppers: Several years ago I grew the Heirloom Sunset Mix from Renee’s They were very productive and very sweet. After trying several other types, I am going back to them. I have so many dried and smoked hot peppers from last year that the only ones I’m growing this year are Jalapenos because I have to have stuffed jalapenos. The Magyar Paprika is new to me (I usually grow the Leutschauer) so I thought I’d give it a try even tho I have plenty of the L’s dried and smoked. The Padron Peppers, what is a half Spanish household with out tapas?

Beans: Last year was a dismal failure with beans for me. First time I ever had a problem, not sure what went wrong. This year will be different. The two Filet beans from Renee’s are my “go to’s” for fresh beans. Good Mother Stollard, Greasy Grits, and Cherokee ToT’s are all old standby pole beans for drying but the Haricot is new. The Snowcap and Hidatsa are half runners I thought I’d try along the fences. The Ojo de Tigre I tried for the first time last year so I gotta try again.

Bonus from last years shade garden. I forget their name, “Tri-something” or other (can you guess why?) I bought them at Lowes, and am pretty sure they came as roots. A stunningly beautiful surprise.

Last year was a total rout in what passes for my garden — two patio-block raised beds, a couple of badly overgrown patches next to the doorway, a welter of mismatched planters and containers, plus the annual collection of mail-order tomatoes in rootpouches. Well, I’ve ordered this year’s tomatoes, and one impetus to keeping the batch (relatively) small was so that I could haul enough 30gal bags of planting mix from the local garden center to fill fresh new pouches and still have some strength left to cope with digging up and reviving the rest of the beds. Fingers crossed for a clement spring, so I can start tearing out the Spousal Unit’s overexuberant vinca transplants without damaging the daffodils and creeping phlox, and separate the failing daylilies and Siberian irises before the tomatoes and annuals take up all the time I can bear to spend outside…

What’s going on in your garden plans (dreams), this week?

Saturday Night Open Thread- LA Cat Bleg

Any of you fine people in the LA area looking for some feline companionship?

Hi there –
Trying to re-home 2 cats that belonged to our neighbor who died last week. Black-er is Sadie and Orange-er is Kiki. No idea about their vet records but we think they are around or less than 10 years old. Sadie is nicer than KiKi. Can split them up if we have to – he actually took in one of the cats from a neighbor who was evicted a year ago.

Even if anyone knows a rescue that would take them – anything before the manager takes them to the city shelter this weekend.

Thanks for any help –

I am a total dick and was supposed to put this up two days ago but hopegully we can still get Sadie and Kiki.

Saturday Evening Mockery Open Thread: IS This Donald Trump?

I’m not 100% convinced… but if so, Adam’s right that the bulletproof vest really *does* add considerable girth to the Oval Office Squatter’s business attire!

(Also, for once the subject is standing like an adult male, not sticking out his rear like an elderly lady balancing her heavily corseted breasts.)

Not so unsure that I won’t enjoy a Saturday night snarkfest…

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Who Got Adopted???

This guy!

Baby won the lottery. Great family. Kids. Another dog. Work at home folks. Did all the right things while meeting him. Then I let them meet Scout – because he’s going to look a lot like Scout when he’s back in shape.

THEN I had them meet Bixby, just so I could say, no he won’t be that big. LOL  Bixby is a total kid magnet.

Baby jumped in the car, didn’t even look back to say goodbye. I’m okay with that.

Thanks to all of you who offered financial support! And emotional support.  Meant the world as we went through this difficult and chaotic week. And it turns out Baby’s anonymous vet bill donor is his new mom. So I know it’s going to work out great.

The World Laughed At The Black Guy, They Said. Friends and Foes Will Respect Us, Again, They Said

Or not: Vice President Pence, speaking today at the Munich Security Conference, told our allies that he brought greetings “from the 45th president of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.”

He paused.

He waited a little longer.

And then one beat more.


Four seconds in, Pence gave up, and picked up his speech.

Video here.

American power can be measured in all sorts of ways — including the degree to which we are valued, trusted and respected by our allies.

The US under Republican misrule has squandered an enormous amount of that informal power.  We are not an irrelevant nation — any more than the United Kingdom was after the half a century in which its empire dissolved.  And we haven’t gone all the way to the position Britain found itself in by, say the late 1950s, an unmistakably second rank power.

But any delusions about an American 21st century are pretty well exploded now, as indicated by the utter disdain for the President of the United States felt by everyone sentient observer — and for the political party and movement that still, against all reason, stands by him.

We won’t see an America that can persuade as well as bully the world until the Republican Party rubs shoulders with the Whigs.

Image:  Umberto Boccioni, Laughternot later than 1916.

Repost / Update: Helping Out Jacy

This is just one example of jacy’s amazing artwork.

Re-upping an abbreviated version of TaMara’s original bleg, because we’re *so* close…

Friend and fellow jackal jacy, as many of you know, has battled cancer and other health issues. She’s run into a bit of a problem and has set out a plan to get herself back on her feet.

Once she has it organized, she’ll be doing an art sale, which John or Betty will front page under our Artists In Our Midst series. She can do custom pet pictures…I’ve seen some of her samples and they are beautiful -, plus she has some beautiful things ready to go.

Link to her Etsy page

And finally, she has set up a GoFundMe, to help her get caught up.

Since having chemotherapy for ovarian cancer, I’ve had cognitive difficulties. It’s been very hard, because I run my own business and care for my children and my elderly mother alone. Over the past year there was an increase in my problems with fatigue, memory, and organization. An undiagnosed thyroid condition made things worse. I’ve been working hard with doctors and therapists to adjust to the problems with my brain and have developed strategies to make up for those deficits and I have new medication regimens. But while I was getting increasingly sicker I couldn’t take care of everything — including medical expenses and fighting for custody of my youngest child — and I got behind on bills.

Most of all, I think she can use some kind words of support.

Going Out Of Business To Own The Libs

So I guess he showed them?

“I didn’t give in to big Nike and big dollars. I didn’t give in. I did it my way,” he told News5.

“That part of the military respect that’s in me just cannot be sacrificed or compromised, as I believe Brandon Marshall and Colin Kaepernick both did. I don’t like losing a business over it, but I rather be able to live with myself,” he added.

This is Colorado Springs – home of Focus on Family and probably the most conservative area of the state. Go figure.  Between this and the bakery guy, so much winning going on here.

We are getting ready to meet Baby’s prospective new family. I talked with her at length last night and they’d all be lucky to have each other if it works out.

Open thread

“Emergency” Open Thread: President #Flopsweat

And it was hardly a last-minute impulse decision! From the Washington Post, “How President Trump came to declare a national emergency to fund his border wall”:

President Trump knew that lawmakers were unlikely to ever give him the billions of dollars he wanted to build a wall on the southern border, so in early 2018, he gave aides a directive: Find a way to do it without Congress.

It was hardly an easy assignment. The White House had some flexibility to spend money the way it wanted, but could not move the necessary billions at will. Trump could declare a national emergency, but White House attorneys repeatedly warned him the risk of failure in court was high.

On Friday, Trump did it anyway. Stepping to a microphone in the Rose Garden, the president told reporters he was invoking his powers to declare a national emergency, then acknowledged what his lawyers had been warning him: He will get sued and, at least initially, will probably lose.

The remarkable moment, people familiar with the matter say, marked the culmination of months of heated internal deliberations between the White House Counsel’s Office, the Justice Department, the Office of Management and Budget, lawmakers and the president over how to fund the wall…

Keep track of the rogues’ gallery here:

The tension came to a head in a March meeting in the White House residence, when Trump learned that his aides had secured only $1.6 billion for border fencing in an omnibus spending bill.

Trump fumed to then-House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) that the funding was a fraction of what he would need and threatened not to sign the measure, according to two people with knowledge of the conversation.

“We gave you what you wanted!” Ryan shot back, the people said.
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Saturday Morning Open Thread: Sisters Are Doing It…

Stacey Abrams continues to impress!


And it looks like Kamala Harris is very popular with the people who count (so I added a fresh new category for her):

Late Night Diversions Open Thread: Run, Bill, Run!

I feel no shame in admitting I voted for Governor Bill Weld, and not just because the alternative was John Silber. As I remember it, Bill Weld was denied his hoped-for promotion to Ambassador mostly because Jesse Helms was a vicious little bigot. I suspect that Weld looks at current Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and sees the same fat, fatuous, self-satified Southern hypocrisy squatting on the corpse of the American Dream. Per The Root:

As America watches developments in Robert Mueller’s investigation, Trump’s national emergency has just begun. Weld, the former Libertarian VP candidate who supports legal abortion, has a no chance of securing the nomination. Even the #NeverTrump contingency of the GOP would be hard-pressed to throw their support behind the comparatively liberal Weld.

Still, Weld’s presence may prove damaging despite his uphill climb to the RNC. Trump, frequently provoked by slights real and imagined, would be likely to embarrass himself in response to a Weld quote via social media. In the especially unlikely event of a televised debate, Trump would be likely to find himself out of his depth. Weld, the federal prosecutor turned two-term governor who missed out on an ambassadorship to Mexico during the Clinton administration due to his support for needle exchanges and legal marijuana.

Weld is banking on fond memories of New Hampshire voters who remember him fondly from his time running the Bay State. The Libertarian who ran alongside Gary Johnson might find support in a state without motorcycle helmet laws.

The last two incumbents to face a serious primary challenge wound up losing. Here’s hoping history repeats itself.

There are problems with his record. His time as U.S. attorney coincided with some of the bloodiest moments in the unholy alliance between the late gangster Whitey Bulger and the Boston office of the FBI. And he does tend to, well, lose interest in things. But he has one thing that is a pre-requisite for anyone planning to run against El Caudillo del Mar-A-Lago—Bill Weld truly doesn’t give a damn.
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Open Thread: Look At This Face


Who’s a good boy?

Can you believe he’s the same dog from a week ago?

He had his vet visit yesterday and his bloodwork came back today. He’s a-okay! And we are all guessing he’s about four. For what he’s been through, he’s a very healthy 100 lbs.

The past week has brought to light many things, and first and foremost, before he was neglected, Baby was definitely loved.  There’s a full update and more photos here.

With all that, I must tell you he is ready for adoption, so spread the word. There were a few people interested but they have not followed through. And unfortunately, we will have to explore long term foster or sending him to Big Bones rescue if we can’t find him a family soon. Now that he is stable, I have a few more days in me, but then I need to get my family back to normal.

I don’t know about you, but I could use a politics-free open thread.

Trump Crime Cartel Open Thread: Roger Stone Update

Politico‘s take:

[T]he judge said [Stone] could keep talking about the case with the caveat that she could change her mind and amend her order “if necessary.”

She also lumped Stone in with all the parties in the case and potential witnesses when they are around the D.C. courthouse. In those circumstances, Jackson cautioned that any comments must not “pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case” and cannot be “intended to influence any juror, potential juror, judge, witness or court officer or interfere with the administration of justice.”

Jackson concluded her ruling with a warning that Stone should consider that any excessive public comments may come back to bite him.

“While it is not up to the court to advise the defendant as to whether a succession of public statements would be in his best interest at this time, it notes that one factor that will be considered in the evaluation of any future request for relief based on pretrial publicity will be the extent to which the publicity was engendered by the defendant himself,” Jackson wrote…

To paraphrase comedian Ron White: Stone has the right to remain silent, but does he have the ability?

Related reading, from Jeffrey Toobin for the New Yorker, “Roger Stone’s and Jerome Corsi’s Time in the Barrel”:

The Stone indictment reads like a political black comedy. It stars a pair of mismatched operatives, Stone and the right-wing author Jerome Corsi, who, without formal connections to the Trump campaign, went on a transatlantic quest for dirt. Mueller’s indictment does not charge Stone with any involvement in the hacking, but accuses him of lying to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence about his (and Corsi’s) efforts to pry loose the hacked e-mails from WikiLeaks. Read more

Things Other Than This Bullshit Open Thread

You know which bullshit I’m talking about.

I’m a little more aggro than normal right now because the expert consultant we’ve hired is being mad condescending, and I definitely don’t have it in me to read more about… this bullshit.

Some folks have been asking how Samwise is adjusting:

Would that we all could be so well-adjusted.

Open thread!