Saturday Morning Open Thread

A far more pleasant story, via commentor Aleta — from the NYTimes, “Opening the Heart’s Floodgates, With a Paw”:

The quiet young man had come to me looking for love, ideally at first sight. I asked my usual questions about his work, where he lived, how he spent his free time. I asked about his great loves of the past, what had worked, or not worked, in those relationships. Then I asked how he felt about being jumped on, slobbered on or getting mud all over his couch.

“I’m O.K. with that,” he said. “Can I meet Chance?”

Ah, Chance. The young lab-mix, with a puppy’s zeal for life, who loved to chew on the shelter volunteers’ hands as we leashed him.

“Behave yourself for once,” I urged Chance as I opened the kennel.

He was quiet as I slipped on a harness, but when we turned to leave he began to buck wildly. My heart sank. Then I saw the face of the young man waiting by the door. He’d gone all moony. He only had eyes for Chance.

Much to my surprise, I have become a matchmaker. On Saturday afternoons I pull on my gray T-shirt and head to the Animal Rescue League of Boston, where I help people find their canine soul mates amid the barky din. Doing this work, I’ve not only learned how to pair up people and canines, I have received a master class in the expansiveness of the human heart, a lesson that I very much needed…


What’s on the agenda for the beginning of the (for some of us, three-day) weekend?

Late Night Open Thread: All Fall Down

Every day, the Republican Party acts less like a political organization and more like a cult…

Late Night LOL NOTHING MATTERS Open Thread: “Not Naked! Alternatively Clothed!”

Politico (of course) reports that some people liked the President-Asterisk’s performance:

It was Trump’s decision to hold such an extended news conference and it was made Thursday morning, according to a White House aide briefed on the matter. After weeks of getting pounded by the media — something the president has privately and publicly fumed about — he made it clear to advisers that he wanted to speak in an unfiltered way…

One person close to Trump said he showed an “unusually long” attention span they hadn’t seen often in the White House. And two sources close to the president said he was happy with his performance — and that he felt he was seizing back control of a narrative of his presidency he had lost.

The reviews outside the White House were more mixed. “The guy up there seems crazy,” said one senior GOP aide. “I’ve thought that the whole time.”

The aide acknowledged, though, that the audience wasn’t necessarily Washington. “But how does this play outside the Beltway? It might play pretty well. I can’t say if he killed it or if he was terrible. I just know I was watching the whole time, the whole hour and 20 minutes,” the aide said.

“We were all riveted. Were you not? Have you ever seen a press conference like that from a president?…

The president said he wasn’t “ranting and raving” even as he ranted and raved. “Drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars,” he said, without specifying what drug or what candy bar. He said “80 percent” of a court’s rulings were overturned and admitted there was no proof for the number, saying that he heard the number somewhere.

He torched the intelligence community for leaking damaging information about his administration and said the reporting was “fake” from the news media. “The leaks are absolutely real,” he said, complaining about them. Seconds later, he said: “The news is fake.” It was difficult to understand how both could be true…

There are other audiences…

Read more

It’s the Puz that refreshes in the corridors of power

I wonder if there’s any truth to the rumor that whenever Trump publicly humiliates a fellow winger that winger is instructed to shout “thank you, sir, may I have another?”

Trump’s decision to not release a statement about Puzder’s withdrawal says a lot about his leadership style. He always wants to wash his hands of things that reflect poorly on him. He didn’t even tweet out well wishes. He just pretended like it didn’t happen.

In all seriousness, I do think there’s some side of the winger psyche that craves being hurt and dominated by a strong man (or woman, I’m sure they’re all lining up to be abused by Sarah Palin on Earth 2).

Oh, Yay, We’re Gonna Relitigate Watergate Now

Sensible people understand that Gerald Ford pardoning Richard Nixon — and thereby eliminating any chance of airing the true extent of the nitwitted criminality of the entire Nixon Administration and its GOP supporters — was a national tragedy. It allowed all the low-level CREEPsters to scurry away into wingnut-welfare hidey-holes from which they would reemerge, stronger and ever more venal, first during the Reagan Adminstration (aka ‘Iran-Contra’), and later during the Cheney Regency. What the country needed in 1974 was the equivalent of South Africa’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission, where amnesty might be granted, but only after a full examination of the crimes and their impact on civil society.

Of course the criminals in the permanent Republican Party, and their nitwit courtiers among the Media Village Idiots, persist in their self-defensive fantasies that Watergate was a cruel and misguided assault on a great man and his loyal acolytes. Since paranoia, racism, and a lust for cruelty are never out of fashion in the authoritarian fringes of the far right, whole generations of would-be Haldemans and Ehrlichmans have nursed ambitions to avenge Tricky Dick… and it seems that they may be seizing upon the President-Asterisk and his klown klavern as their last best hope.

As a leading indicator, Drum-Major-General and Bothsider-in-Chief David Brooks meeps out a preemptive call for Truth and Honor, once again, to submit to the needs of The Narrative. After hastily dismissing both the Democratic tactic of actual resistance to Trump’s no-longer-hidden attempts to subvert our democracy, and the #NeverTrumpist withdrawal into their think-tank boltholes, Brooks declaims that “we” need… another Gerald Ford:

… The third possibility is that the primary threat in the Trump era is a combination of incompetence and anarchy. It could be that Trump is a chaotic clown incapable of conducting coherent policy. It could be that his staff members are a bunch of inexperienced second-raters…

If the current reign of ineptitude continues, Republicans will eventually peel away. The Civil Service will begin to ignore the sloppy White House edicts. The national security apparatus will decide that to prevent a slide to global disorder, it has to run itself.

In this scenario, the crucial question is how to replace and repair. The model for the resistance is Gerald Ford, a decent, modest, experienced public servant who believed in the institutions of government, who restored faith in government, who had a plan to bind the nation’s wounds and restored normalcy and competence.

Personally, I don’t think we’re at a Bonhoeffer moment or a Benedict moment. I think we’re approaching a Ford moment. If the first three weeks are any guide, this administration will not sustain itself for a full term. We’ll need a Ford, or rather a generation of Fords to restore effective governance…

… and “we” will find them, never doubt, among the comers at the Heritage Institute, the young sprigs of the National Review, and whichever statehouse seatwarmers the Kochs and Mercers decide are ready for a bigger platform.

Read more

Open Thread: Trumpstuntin’ Status, Moving From SNAFU to FUBAR


Meanwhile, in another part of the galaxy…

Splodey Mammal Open Thread

Axios, an online media outlet founded by Politico alums Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen, manages to outdo its founders’ former employer in vapidity on a regular basis, and by God, that’s saying something. But sometimes, they publish something unintentionally amusing, such as this dramatic lede:

It made me laugh not because I give a shit about whether Bannon and Priebus are really friends despite reports to the contrary but rather because it reminded me of an exploding whale incident brought to my attention many months ago by valued commenter Aimai. The explosion occurred in 1970, and there is grainy footage:

It would have reminded me of this incident even if Priebus had been described as the exploder, BTW, so I am NOT fat-shaming anyone. Anyhoo, open thread.