Late Night Open Thread: Catholics, No Charity

Well, that went well… assuming you weren’t Donald Trump. He said himself that he’s been attending these dinners ‘for years, with my father, since I was a young man’, and he still hasn’t picked up a feel for what would be acceptable? Does the man listen to anything other than the sound of his own voice?

What began as the expected ribbing of presidential candidates at the white-tie Al Smith Dinner Thursday turned to boos as Donald Trump described Hillary Clinton as “corrupt” at the event, which is a major fundraiser for the Catholic charities connected to the Archdiocese of New York…

… Trump was quick to take some campaign trail attacks with him to the dais at the annual dinner. He called Clinton “so corrupt she got kicked off the Watergate Commission” and lobbed his usual line that Clinton has been in politics for 30 years and accomplished little. “I can fix it, she says,” he deadpanned as the crowd’s mood noticeably shifted.

As the boos rolled in Trump wondered who they were booing. “I don’t know who they’re angry at Hillary, you or I?” he said. Someone in the crowd yelled out “you!”

Trump’s next line struck a nerve. “Here she is in public, pretending not to hate Catholics,” Trump said, referencing an apparent email exposed by WikiLeaks in which a Clinton spokeswoman seemed to joke about Catholics and evangelicals…

The Democratic nominee, for her part, poked fun at herself while also taking searing jabs at her opponent. Clinton didn’t hesitate to slam Trump for his past comments on women and his ambivalence about accepting next month’s election results.

In contrast with Trump, Clinton also made a point of acknowledging both the purpose and the history of the Al Smith dinner and closed her speech with a big-picture campaign message that was tied to the positive focus of Thursday’s Catholic fundraiser…

Me, I think this was the most interesting photo from the evening:

Now, Timmy Cardinal Dolan is not a good man — to steal a Donald Westlake line, I’d trust him alone all night in bed with a ten-year-old, as long as the kid didn’t have more than five dollars cash on them — but he has a nose for power like a pig for truffles. If he’s willing to put aside his public histrionics over baby-murdering lesbian feminist God-denying Democrats who don’t care about suffering women to suck up to Hillary Clinton in public, that’s another leading indicator as to which party will be on the podium at the inaguration in January.
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Cubs V Dodgers Late Innings Open Thread

As we move to the bottom of the 8th, its 8-1 for the baby bears. Regimented, Group Physical Activity Open Thread!




Here’s a Better Video than More Trump

This has been going for a half hour. Thurston pulled all the blankets down on to the floor, placed a bone between him and Rosie, and has been goading her to play.

Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner Live Feed: Its All Good Fun Until…


In Defense of the Stay At Home Mom or Dad

Rather than write another really good (in my opinion) post and have some fuckwit lobotomize the entire thread in the third comment, let me discuss something I have been thinking about a lot lately. I have no idea how married couples who both have fulltime jobs and kids do it. Period. End of story.

I have spent the last couple months thinking about shit that I NEVER imagined thinking about, and were it not for my father, who knows this shit, I would be in so far over my head I would probably be ready to throw myself off a roof if I weren’t terrified of heights. There is just so much shit you have to know to make all these decisions about your house, and none of it is simple or easy. One of the big downfalls of the modern economy is that there are so many choices, simply picking out a mattress sends you down an endless black hole of choices. I mean, fuck me running. I just want a god damned bed. I don’t want to have to learn a physics.

So I imagine, in a simpler time, having one person going to work and earning money while the other spent time doing this kind of thing would have been nice. Until you factor in the kids, and then, fuck that.

Whatever. Flooring and whatnot probably starts this weekend, plumber midweek next week, then electrician.

From the History Archives: When Rudy Met Hillary

So tonight is the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, one of those anodyne quasi-political events which become news only in years when the politics are particularly inflamed. Since His Eminence Cardinal Timothy Dolan is a notorious trimmer who, some people say, was rewarded by Pope Benedict with the plum NYC residency for hiding Church assets from lawsuits by survivors of clerical abuse, and who has since made a prominent pest of himself encouraging hardcore fellow Talibangelicals to resist civil laws protecting reproductive rights and same-sex marriage, reportorial hopes are high for this year’s event. Per the NYTimes:

On Thursday night, Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump will appear together again for a ritzier gathering, delivering remarks at the white-tie Al Smith charity dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan.

In most presidential campaigns, the dinner, which benefits Roman Catholic charities, functions as a welcome respite, a forum for levity and self-deprecation in the throes of a heated election.

This year’s may be more complicated.

Convened less than 24 hours after the caustic final debate on Wednesday, the event would appear, on paper, to be nothing less than a high-society nightmare for Mr. Trump…

The Clinton campaign has in recent days been forced to navigate its own turmoil after the hacked correspondences of top aides appeared to include messages criticizing Catholic conservatism…

Which reminded me that I wanted to share a remarkable Gail Sheehy article from back in 2000, a Vanity Fair piece on a related NYC event, “When Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani Did Battle for a Senate Seat”:

Tonight is Rudy’s night. It is the annual New York spectacle known as the Inner Circle, where reporters skewer the mayor in cute, amateurish skits, and Hizzoner has the chance for rebuttal with his own skit. Since nobody upstages Rudolph Giuliani, his will be a Broadway-class show, perhaps his final bravura performance before November 2000, when he hopes to be turned out of the mayor’s office by virtue of his election to the United States Senate.

This evening, however, the ravening city media corps is not his chief target. Instead, it is Hillary, formerly Hillary Clinton. The two have been circling each other with the wary menace of prizefighters in the opening round, but it’s been a year now, and still they have not been in the same room. Tonight’s spectacle at the Hilton in midtown Manhattan has drawn an unusually large crowd, 1,300, including poohbahs representing every fissure in New York’s unstable political ground. They are all packed into the grand ballroom, hoping to witness the combatants touch gloves for the first time.
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Funk to Wash Away That Trump FUNK

Is it cool? Is it cool? Yes. Yes it is.

Open thread!

How We Got to Trump


One of the more vexing things about the current election has been the fact that the now, all of a sudden, principled conservatives who are #NeverTrump are basically being given a free ride by the media to absolve themselves of any responsibility for their party nominating Trump. This didn’t just happen. This took years of effort, years of unprincipled playing to the mob, decades of subtle and not so subtle racism and otherism, years of chipping away at facts and logic, pretending tea party candidates and Sarah Palin were serious people, and to borrow a phrase from the C+ Augustus reign, years of “creating their own reality.” To borrow a more recent wingnut phrase, you built it, GOP.

At any rate, if you want a striking example of how we got to Trump, look no further than the spin from the Republicans, including the #NeverTrump frauds after Donald Trump refused to state he would accept the election results:

There is a fundamental difference in refusing to accept the results of the process before a vote has even been cast, de-legitimizing the election before it even happens, and contesting an election using pre-existing election law. What Donald Trump is doing is the former, what Gore did was the latter. It’s a fundamental distinction, and it is why people who know things are horrified by what Trump did last night:

Contesting an election does not de-legitimize it. Asking for a recount and pursuing your rights as LAID OUT IN ELECTION LAW does not de-legitimize elections. These polices are argued over, debated, and passed into law to make sure that we keep elections legitimate and fair and that everyone knows the rules. Individuals on twitter still being pissed about the election outcome does not de-legitimize elections. Candidates refusing to accept the outcome, before and after, de-legitimizes the election. Gore did neither.

And for the record, if anything in the 2000 election de-legitimized things, it was the Supreme Court making shit up and passing a ruling that was so obviously shite that they made sure it COULD NEVER be used as precedent:

omentous Supreme Court cases tend to move quickly into the slipstream of the Court’s history. In the first ten years after Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 decision that ended the doctrine of separate but equal in public education, the Justices cited the case more than twenty-five times. In the ten years after Roe v. Wade, the abortion-rights decision of 1973, there were more than sixty-five references to that landmark. This month marks ten years since the Court, by a vote of five-to-four, terminated the election of 2000 and delivered the Presidency to George W. Bush. Over that decade, the Justices have provided a verdict of sorts on Bush v. Gore by the number of times they have cited it: zero.


Even at the time, Bush v. Gore was treated as a kind of novelty item, a one-off decision that applied only to the peculiar facts then before the Justices. The majority itself seemed to want it that way. In the most famous sentence from the decision, the Justices wrote, “Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities.” (Unlike most weighty decisions, Bush v. Gore had no single author and was delineated “per curiam,” or by the Court, a designation the Justices usually reserve for minor cases.) In light of all these admonitions to leave the case be, might getting over it be the best advice?

Actually, no. To return briefly to the distant world of chads, hanging and otherwise, it’s worth recalling what Bush v. Gore was about. The pervasive uncertainty about the results of the election in Florida—at the time, Bush led by five hundred and thirty-seven votes out of nearly six million cast—prompted the Florida courts, interpreting Florida election law, to order a statewide recount of all undervotes and overvotes; that is, ballots that indicated no Presidential preference or more than one. (Chads were the tiny paper rectangles that voters were supposed to push through punch-card ballots.) That recount had already begun on Saturday, December 9th, when five Justices—Scalia, William H. Rehnquist, Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony M. Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas—issued a stay, barring the Florida authorities from continuing their labors. Three days later, the same five issued the per-curiam decision that stopped the recount once and for all.

What made the decision in Bush v. Gore so startling was that it was the work of Justices who were considered, to greater or lesser extents, judicial conservatives. On many occasions, these Justices had said that they believed in the preëminence of states’ rights, in a narrow conception of the equal-protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and, above all, in judicial restraint. Bush v. Gore violated those principles. The Supreme Court stepped into the case even though the Florida Supreme Court had been interpreting Florida law; the majority found a violation of the rights of George W. Bush, a white man, to equal protection when these same Justices were becoming ever more stingy in finding violations of the rights of African-Americans; and the Court stopped the recount even before it was completed, and before the Florida courts had a chance to iron out any problems—a classic example of judicial activism, not judicial restraint, by the majority.

In short, this is how we got to Trump. Yes, Republican, you built this. And if you read this “DEMOCRATS ARE WORSE” gibberish from Bre Payton, graduate of the “Patrick Henry School of Political Journalism,” which I googled and is an actual place andnot a quip made up in the Free Republic comments section, they are still building it. Or demolishing it. Your call.

Almost blue

Something interesting is going on in this election that hasn’t got much discussion: Hillary is doing the same as Obama (in 2012) in blue states, about two points better in swing states, and about nine points better in red states.


This is a very health development, because one of the real dangers for our political system going forward is extreme regional polarization. If Republicans continue to hold the Senate (which disproportionately represents red states) while Democrats dominate the overall popular vote, that could be a huge source of political dysfunction. (Yes, for now the House is the real problem, but I think that will start to change after the next redistricting.)

Hillary losing Texas by 7 points instead of 15 doesn’t make a whit of difference in terms of this year’s election. But in a sense that’s halfway to winning the state in a future election

Quick Tech Note Regarding Comments

I just fixed an issue that made some comments disappear for a user or two. And that made me want to reach out to everyone so that I can improve your Balloon Juice commenting experience.

So – when/if a comment disappears or goes into moderation, please use the contact form to send me a note and let me know:
1) Your nym
2) the time the comment was made
3) the words used
4) the email address you used with your nym for the comment

I’m finding that comments that disappear don’t really disappear – they trigger the blacklist and go into the trash. Which gets filled up with real junk and then emptied. This is triggered by keywords; some made things go to moderation, some to the trash. If you let me know what you said, I can try to fix this annoying issue.

So really, it hasn’t been FYWP some of the time, it’s been poorly-constructed blacklists to stop spam and assholes, mostly assholes.

ETA: Omnes/Steeplejack/Adam, I think I fixed the issue from yesterday but should you re-encounter it, please let me know!

Additional information: I removed sheeple last night; I just removed Watson. So both should work now. Rejoice!

Where we are at


I think this election needs a mercy rule. Chat about whatever.

Puffball Envy

Check out the puffball on this guy!


I’m feeling, I don’t know, kinda inadequate.

Also found in Michigan, btw. (As I mentioned, we’ve had a megaton of rain.) And the comment thread is filled with people showing off their puffballs. The clever ones have kids holding them up (their tiny bods increasing the apparent size of the ball), but there are also puffballs measured against beer cans and dogs.

Also, puffs wearing hats, and one (that I saw) Puffball-O-Lantern.

So we—and when I’m talking about cooking, you should always assume the royal we—cut up the puffball into slices and fried them. Then we crumbled it up, ate some, and froze the rest. It has a simple, okay flavor–not fantastic, but not bad–and is kind of the texture of a very light crumbly cheese. We’ll probably use it in soups and as a side dish and some other stuff.

Open thread to talk about puffballs, the election, or anything else.

Thursday Morning Open Thread: Relieved to Be A Democrat

It can honestly be said that both candidates had their best debates last night. Unfortunately for the Republican party and its candidate, twenty minutes of ‘not acting completely unhinged’, followed by seventy-five minutes of ‘more greatest hits from the Breitbart/InfoWars archives’ can’t effectively match ‘consistently demonstrating why her experience and depth of understanding makes Hillary Rodham Clinton uniquely qualified to serve as President for the next four years.’

If his final petulant refusal to face reality once (when) he loses wasn’t so completely outside the norm, there were at least a dozen other Trump statements that would be sparking discussion this morning. Since moderator Chris Wallace was determined to feed red meat to his Fox News base, his first question was about SCOTUS and whether the candidates believed the Constitution was ‘a living document’ or ‘settled by the Founding Fathers’ (as is an item of doctrine among the wing-iest wingnuts, such as the late Antonin Scalia). Trump seized the opportunity… to complain that Justice Ginsburg had been very mean in her comments about him, before babbling about ‘states’ rights’ to prevent ‘babies being ripped from the womb, three, four days before birth’. (He did not, however, attest that he’d overturn Roe v Wade, so the nosiest part of his intended audience won’t be placated.)

He vowed to prevent Clinton ‘overturning the Second Amendment’. He claimed that ‘all those women’ who accused him of assaulting them ‘had been debunked, every one’ — as Clinton campaign plants. He once again defended Putin as ‘a strong leader, smarter than her’ and refused to accept that Russia might have had anything to do with the Wikileak hacks. He said that ‘millions of people who shouldn’t even be allowed to vote’ were giving Clinton an unfair advantage. He babbled about ‘bad hombres’ coming across the border — with Clinton’s collusion — to ‘poison our children with their drugs’. He didn’t protest when Clinton accused him of not paying federal income taxes, but he did insist that Warren Buffett and George Soros took advantage of the same loopholes. (Buffett has gone on the record explaining that he hasn’t, and will probably say so again today.) And that’s just the low-lights!

Late Night Open Thread


Creepy sheepy!

I can’t sleep for some reason. I’m happy that Clinton kicked Trump’s ass all over the debate stage. But the whole spectacle has been deeply disquieting.

The only acceptable outcome is a beat-down of historic proportions. Let’s make it so.