Friday Afternoon Open Thread

Gotta admit this is genius:

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May this young man’s taste in booze someday catch up with his brilliance in the art of subterfuge.

As of today, I am on vacation — woo! We’re supposed to grill some steaks tonight. It’s raining hard at the moment, but that shan’t dampen my spirits.

What’s up in your neck o’ the woods?








Rats Ahoy!

Trump has to win Florida or it’s all over. He has a shot here; this is a state that elected certified crook and possible alien life form from Planet Reptar Rick Scott as governor twice (albeit with less than 50% of the vote both times).

So given the stakes, if there’s anywhere in the country where the Trump campaign should be staffed with the “best people,” flush with supplies and chugging along on all cylinders, it’s Florida, right? Nope:

A Florida Trump aide resigned Monday because she said she’s uncomfortable with the lack of progress in the campaign. “It is clear the campaign is now going in a direction I am no longer comfortable with and I have decided to move on,” said Healy Baumgardner, who had established herself early on as a public face of the campaign on TV, then saw her role shift to Florida following several campaign shake-ups.

Baumgardner, a 20-year political operative who has worked on four presidential campaigns, said she looks forward “to honorably casting my vote for Mr. Trump on Election Day.”

Clinton is 4 percentage points ahead of Trump in Florida, according to a Mason-Dixon Polling & Research survey taken after the debate.

The campaign’s Trump Talk phone banking system is experiencing technical difficulties, said Florida campaign workers who requested anonymity out of fear of getting fired for speaking publicly. The lack of basic campaign staples such as yard signs and bumper stickers forces staff to repeatedly turn away excited Trump backers who want to show their support. There’s disagreement about spending $40,000 to wrap an RV in campaign advertising for a women’s bus tour in Florida.

Healy Baumgardner doesn’t understand the meaning of the word “honor;” she is a rat deserting a sinking ship in a cowardly bid to preserve her employability in future contests. She has an inside view of what’s happening to the campaign, and she doesn’t want to be associated with it.

I have a feeling we’re going to see that pattern repeated many times in the coming weeks. Other party hacks who’ve fastened themselves to Trump like remoras on a bloated orange shark will detach their lips from that foul carcass and suddenly rediscover their “principles.”

They’ll probably get away with it too, given this country’s short attention span and endless capacity to tolerate fools and knaves. Hell, the Republican Party recovered from the Bush 2.0 debacle in just a couple of years.

But those of us who understand the magnitude of what these fuckers have done — their attempt to hook an unhinged demagogue up with the nuclear codes — should never, ever forget it. Not just the party hacks, the voters who support Trump. They’ve shown us who they are. We can’t unsee it. Ever.

ETA: Link to live stream of Hillary Clinton speaking in Florida. She coughed. We’re doomed, DOOMED, I say!



Trump on a Wee-Hours Twitter Tear (Updated)

This fucking guy:

Well, Trump would know from a con. But in this scenario, he is the mark. The D-list political operatives in the Trump organization who are capable of comprehending voter demographics must have been begging their asshole boss to zip it about Machado. But he just can’t shut the fuck up about her. He waited until his handlers fell asleep and then went on a rage-tweet tear.

I think on some level, Trump realizes Clinton outfoxed him during the debate. She laid a rake in his path, and he stepped right on it. But his Hindenburg-sized yet fragile ego is unable to process such a scenario, so he’s desperately trying to alter reality by stepping on the rake over and over, just as he did in his inexcusable feud with the Khans.

It’s difficult to imagine a framing more perfectly suited to alienate the suburban moms whose votes Trump desperately needs than clips of the candidate fat-shaming Miss Universe, rating women’s bodies like the leering creep he is and cruelly bullying female employees. Maybe Clinton can set him up to denounce infants, puppies and kittens next.

The beauty of this scenario is that Trump seems determined to flail around and make things worse for the next week and a half. Then he’ll stomp into the October 9th debate loaded for bear, a serial adulterer and documented sexist itching to tear into Clinton for her husband’s behavior.

And it is a town hall-style debate with questions coming directly from voters, so chances are he broaches that subject with maximum ham-handedness. Popcorn futures are sky-high.

ETA: Also, kudos to CNN for finally mentioning the fact that Trump’s “brain trust” comprises gross old sexist pigs who have no standing to criticize Bill Clinton, let alone Hillary:

2016-09-30

An excerpt:

Days after patting himself on the back for not invoking them on a debate stage, Donald Trump and his campaign are attempting to use Bill Clinton’s sex scandals to cast a shadow on Hillary Clinton.

For any candidate trailing by around 20 points with women in most national polling, this plan of action might seem, at best, curiously wrongheaded. But Trump is a special case — the twice-divorced nominee, who carried on a long affair that disintegrated his first marriage in a howling tabloid spectacle, is uniquely unsuited to finger-wagging.

Still, the irony does not seem to have resonated with his campaign brain trust. On Wednesday, they put out talking points encouraging surrogates to chat about Monica Lewinsky, Gennifer Flowers and Paula Jones. A day earlier, Trump (who is overweight himself) hit back at claims he’d body-shamed a former Miss Universe by noting to Fox News that “she gained a massive amount of weight.”

Odd, but not surprising. Especially when you consider the rogues gallery of advisers Trump has drafted in over the past few months — a pasty collection of older males, mostly media executives and politicians, with a long rap sheet of marital infidelities, sex scandals and worse.

I’ve been astonished at how the Trump camp got away with bringing revolting sexual predator Roger Ailes into the inner circle without much blow-back. Glad to see some coverage of this.



Moving target Open Thread

If I was an assistant referee on that game, at the end of the clip I would be concerned first for the health and safety of my center and secondly, I would be devoting quite a bit of time as to what type of beer he is buying the crew. Traditionally in my college group, getting hit by the ball means the center owes the crew a drink. I’m thinking that this incident would be at least a three beer hit.

My biggest problem with the entire sequence is positioning. I can’t figure out why the referee is on the AR-1 side of the field with the corner kick on the AR side. His back is to his best and nearest place of help, he can’t see a significant chunk of the mixer and if the ball is punched wide to the far side, he is out of position. Getting ten yards to the far side of the penalty arc would have cleared the space.

Oh well…. Open Thread








Friday Morning Open Thread: Not THIS Guy

Even the devoutly ‘nonpartisan’ USA Today:

In the 34-year history of USA TODAY, the Editorial Board has never taken sides in the presidential race. Instead, we’ve expressed opinions about the major issues and haven’t presumed to tell our readers, who have a variety of priorities and values, which choice is best for them. Because every presidential race is different, we revisit our no-endorsement policy every four years. We’ve never seen reason to alter our approach. Until now.

This year, the choice isn’t between two capable major party nominees who happen to have significant ideological differences. This year, one of the candidates — Republican nominee Donald Trump — is, by unanimous consensus of the Editorial Board, unfit for the presidency…

We’ve been highly critical of the GOP nominee in a number of previous editorials. With early voting already underway in several states and polls showing a close race, now is the time to spell out, in one place, the reasons Trump should not be president:

He is erratic…
He is ill-equipped to be commander in chief…
He traffics in prejudice…
His business career is checkered…
He isn’t leveling with the American people…
He speaks recklessly…
He has coarsened the national dialogue…
He’s a serial liar…

Where does that leave us? Our bottom-line advice for voters is this: Stay true to your convictions. That might mean a vote for Clinton, the most plausible alternative to keep Trump out of the White House. Or it might mean a third-party candidate. Or a write-in. Or a focus on down-ballot candidates who will serve the nation honestly, try to heal its divisions, and work to solve its problems.

Whatever you do, however, resist the siren song of a dangerous demagogue. By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump.

When you read the whole thing, you have a nice laundry list of Trump’s various flaws & criminalities, well suited for forwarding to GOP-fixated or Trump-curious acquaintances. (For what little it’s worth, the sidebar poll What do you think of this editorial? currently has ‘strongly agree’ at 81%.)
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Apart from the ongoing battle for truth justice & the American way, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the week?

Goal Thermometer


Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: “This was not a bad performance”

Adam Gopnik, in the New Yorker, “The Problem with Trump Isn’t His Debating Skills“:

… Talking, again, about President Obama’s birth certificate, he displayed not only the usual pathological inability to admit to an error—any error, ever—but an underlying racism so pervasive that it can’t help express itself even when trying to pass as something else. There was, after all, never any doubt or controversy about Obama’s being born an American—never any actual “controversy” about his place of birth, any more than there is about Trump’s or Clinton’s. (And Clinton never said there was.) It was a settled matter from the time Obama began running for office. What there was was a racist conspiracy theory, invented by various people on the fringe right, that Trump brought into the center of attention. By 2011, Trump had simply succeeded in making this racist conspiracy theory so prevalent that Obama, who had released his birth certificate three years earlier, concluded that it was more efficient to end it for all time by asking Hawaiian officials for special permission to let him give out the “long form,” archival version than to let it go on. What Obama may not have realized was that in Trump’s world, since he is never wrong, it couldn’t end.

Yet Trump continued last night his self-congratulations for compelling the President to do this, along with the grotesquely racist notion that it was “good for him” (i.e., for the President). It slowly dawned on the listener that this was all of a piece with the rest of Trump’s racial attitudes: he believes that, as a rich white man, he had a right to stop and frisk the President of the United States and demand that the uppity black man show him his papers. Stop-and-frisk isn’t just a form of policing for Trump; it’s a whole way of life. The idea that he had a right to force a black man to go through what Obama rightly saw as the demeaning business of producing his birth certificate showed his fundamental contempt for any normal idea of racial equality. It was of a line with his equally bizarre notion that owning a country club that doesn’t actively discriminate against black people is not a minimal requirement of law but a positive achievement of the owner. This isn’t the case of someone misarticulating an otherwise plausible position; it was just a case of someone repeating, once again, not only a specific racist lie but also the toxic underlying set of assumptions that produced it…

… His cruelty to Alicia Machado was unleavened by any apparent respect for her as a human being in any role other than as an envelope of flesh—an attitude he only doubled down on the following morning by complaining that she presented what he saw as an obvious problem as a reigning Miss Universe: she had gained “a massive amount of weight” (by Trump standards, that is). Again, this wasn’t a problem of how he chose to present his beliefs; the problem is with the beliefs. This wasn’t a question of preparation. It was that the things he actually believes are themselves repellent even when coherently presented. This was not a bad performance. This is a bad man.



Open Thread: Some of Us Don’t Deserve Nice Things

Third-party challengers: First, as tragedy

I actually feel sorry for Bill Weld, who’s probably the last surviving Honorable Republican Pol.

(He’s hoping for Secretary of State in the Trump administration.)

And then as farce…
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The Trials of Snack Team 6: The Embezzling!

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While the Prosecution has rested in the Trial of Snack Team 6 and the Defense has begun to present their case, including calling Franklin Graham to the stand, we have news relating our intrepid heroes that originated outside the courtroom. The Idaho Statesmen is reporting that Brandon Curtiss, the leader of the Idaho III% Militia, took $2,901 of donations meant to assist four Idaho III% members who have been charged in the 2014 Bundy family led Bunkerville standoff (h/t: TPM). As a result 36 members of the Idaho III% Militia have resigned because Curtiss has allegedly taken this money and spent it on a variety of items that have absolutely nothing to do with funds to assist the four of his members and their families as they wait for their upcoming days in Federal Court.

The group’s PayPal account was in Curtiss’ name. PayPal records show Curtiss paid $295 on Aug. 7 to Rollin Smoke Diesel, an Indiana company that supplies aftermarket parts that allow pickups with diesel engines to produce thick clouds of black smoke in what has become a fad in some areas. The next day, the company credited $13 back to the account.

On Aug. 8, the account was billed $30 from Mister Car Wash in Nampa. Other payments that month for which the business purpose wasn’t clear include $37.50 to Adele’s Storage in Clarkston, Wash.; $30 to Spyfly.com, an online company that provides criminal records, personal financial information and contact information for people; $18.55 to a Taco Bell in Ontario, Ore.; and $71.59 to a Maverik store in Fruitland, where Curtiss resides.

That same month, the Mountain West Bank statement shows a $98.44 charge for an Idaho Parks and Recreation camping reservation and a $5 iTunes music download. There were also $292 in gasoline and food charges in Winnemucca, Nev., and Roseville and Sacramento, Calif., on Aug. 3 and 4, along with an Aug. 3 Walmart purchase in Sacramento.

By Sept. 13, the bank account showed a balance of $12.58. Six days later, the account was closed. It’s unclear whether 3% of Idaho has another existing bank account or what financial resources it still has.

Also, Curtiss appears to be a general, all around deadbeat. He was fined for not paying the Workman’s Comp premiums earlier this year for his Bail Recovery Agency, the Sons of Liberty Fugitive Recovery Service.

Tune in tomorrow for more updates. Same Bundy time, same Bundy station.

(I am not sure if it is kosher to mix Roman numerals with a % sign. But that’s how these guys do their name/symbol. I apologize if this is shaatnez.)



Emergency Kitten Bleg – Pasadena Area

From “long time BJ lurker” Chaz:

My kids just discovered that a stray cat that hangs out around my house had 3 kittens. We caught them and will clean them up but we’re looking for owners. Not sure about the sexes – I’m not getting too close until they’ve been deloused and such. We live in Altadena, CA which borders Pasadena to the north. Any advice on tiny kitten care and also catching the mom (to spay her) is also welcome.

I’m sending Chaz links to the Alley Cats Allies site — and also, of course, to Werebear at her Way of Cats blog — but any advice would be gratefully accepted.

If you want to contact Chaz directly, send me a message at annelaurie (dot) verizon (dot) net, and I’ll forward it to him.








Worse than Worthless (alternate working title- “OWW MY BALLS”)

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These guys:

The Senate’s top Republican Thursday warned that legislation enacted over President Barack Obama’s veto to allow families of Sept. 11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts may have “unintended ramifications” and that lawmakers should discuss fixes to the measure.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the White House was too slow to warn about the “potential consequences” of the measure. Both the House and Senate overwhelmingly overrode Obama’s veto of the measure on Wednesday.

McConnell said he told the president recently that the 9/11 victims bill “was an example of an issue that we should have talked about much earlier.”

***

“Everybody was aware of who the potential beneficiaries were but nobody really had focused on the downside in terms of our international relationships,” McConnell said.

McConnell said that the dynamic involving the bill — in which it barreled through both chambers before and proved unstoppable — was what happens when there is “failure to communicate early about the potential consequences of a piece of legislation that was obviously very popular.

It’s almost like he doesn’t know it’s his fucking job in the Senate to write bills and schedule debate to “talk about” and discuss “potential consequences.” Beyond that, it’s not like it was super hard to predict there would be consequences. In fact, a certain injury prone D-list blogger with an ice cream fetish and an animal hoarding problem thought of them pretty quick:

Also, there’s a particular somebody, gosh, what’s his name- Soetero something or other- WHO FUCKING VETOED THE GOD DAMNED BILL:

Congressional leaders plan to hold override votes in the coming days and supporters of the legislation say they are confident they can succeed in overturning the president’s action. It would be the first time during Obama’s presidency that Congress has overridden a veto.

The legislation would allow U.S. courts to waive claims to foreign sovereign immunity in cases involving terrorism on U.S. soil. The administration contends that this would break a longstanding practice that sovereign nations are protected from these types of legal threats. The result, according to the White House, is that American officials could now be sued in foreign courts over U.S. military or diplomatic actions abroad, which administration officials said poses a threat to national security.

“I recognize that there is nothing that could ever erase the grief the 9/11 families have endured. My Administration therefore remains resolute in its commitment to assist these families in their pursuit of justice and do whatever we can to prevent another attack in the United States,” the president wrote in his veto message to Congress. “Enacting [this legislation] into law, however, would neither protect Americans from terrorist attacks nor improve the effectiveness of our response to such attacks.”

You were literally planning to hold an override vote without holding any debate as he was telling you about the fucking unintended consequences, YOU STUPID CONFEDERATE HUMPING RETROGRADE IGNORAMUS.

If the media let these guys get away with this or try to pin this on Obama, they are as bad as McConnell.



Wasn’t Me

Jake wants you to know this was not him:

Local police notes this week:

A cat was injured at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday by a dog in the 1600 block of Sixth Avenue. Further investigation revealed the cat started the fight and the dog owner was not at fault.

I’m not getting a lot of work done today. That needs to change. How are you wrapping up your afternoon?

Open thread.








Et tu, Marcolito?

Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald dropped a bombshell on the Trump campaign this morning:

Documents show that the Trump company spent a minimum of $68,000 for its 1998 foray into Cuba at a time when the corporate expenditure of even a penny in the Caribbean country was prohibited without U.S. government approval. But the company did not spend the money directly. Instead, with Trump’s knowledge, executives funneled the cash for the Cuba trip through an American consulting firm called Seven Arrows Investment and Development Corp. Once the business consultants traveled to the island and incurred the expenses for the venture, Seven Arrows instructed senior officers with Trump’s company—then called Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts—how to make it appear legal by linking it after the fact to a charitable effort.

The payment by Trump Hotels came just before the New York business mogul launched his first bid for the White House, seeking the nomination of the Reform Party. On his first day of the campaign, he traveled to Miami, where he spoke to a group of Cuban-Americans, a critical voting bloc in the swing state. Trump vowed to maintain the embargo and never spend his or his companies’ money in Cuba until Fidel Castro was removed from power.

Sounds legit. The Trump Foundation operates as Trump’s personal piggybank / tax evasion scheme, so why not use a charity as a cover for an embargo-busting business expense?

This latest Trump scandal could have huge implications in Florida. Even Marco Rubio, who acknowledged that Trump is a conman but endorsed him for president anyway, issued what passes for a tough statement from that quarter:

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said Donald Trump will have to “answer some questions” about a Newsweek story reporting that a Trump-owned company allegedly violated the United States’ trade embargo with Cuba in the late 1990s.

“This is something they’re going to have to give a response to. I mean, it was a violation of American law, if that’s how it happened,” Rubio said on the ESPN/ABC “Capital Games” podcast.

A real profile in courage, is our Marcolito. But the vote in Florida is on a knife’s edge, thanks in part to an aging bloc of voters who reflexively vote Republican because of hostility toward the Castros. This might complicate that a bit.



Quit Being Part Of The F-ing Problem, Jerk-Off

National treasure, Samantha Bee:

Here is Michelle campaigning for Hillary yesterday. I’m about ready to watch it. Heard she managed to surgically destroy Trump without ever mentioning his name. So that should start my work day off with a smile.

Open thread…



Breaking the broker business model

I’m not a broker. I’ve never personally sold a single dollar’s worth of insurance to anyone unless you want to count a condom I sold to a buddy for two beers back in grad school. The broker/agent side of the business is one where I’m curious about how it works as the insurance agent selling policies is usually the most public facing side of the insurance universe. The broker/agent model is broken on the individual market.

The fundamental problem is how brokers get paid and who pays them. Brokers who work the individual market and the very small group market are paid by the insurance carriers. Their commission can be a flat fee per covered life per month, it can be a percentage of commission, it can be a combination of a head fee and a percentage. The actual payment structure varies. At the same time, a good broker should be seeking to find the best situation possible for the person who is looking for insurance. And this is where the problem lies.

A good agent will place people into insurance products that are very appropriate for them. We looked at this in March:
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Thursday Morning Open Thread: Who Are You Gonna Believe?

… the record, or my lyin’ ego?

Someday we’ll all get tired of mocking the Debacle, but zingers like “Trump’s face looked like someone making a fist inside a sock puppet” are too good not to share…

Also, because this is 2016, the wearing of clothes seems to have become an election meme:

What’s on the agenda for the new day?