Odds and Ends (Open Thread)

Something tells me new indictments may be forthcoming:

This follows an extended rant about unfair treatment in the press, doubling down on the press as the “Enemy of the People,” and threats to shut down the government this fall because Democrats (who don’t control any branch of government) won’t give him money for the wall Mexico was supposed to pay for.

It’s a good thing we’re paying tens of millions of dollars to shuttle Hair Furor back and forth between self-branded golf resorts. Imagine how much more deranged he’d be if he didn’t relax on the links!

In other news, Jake Tapper sure can be a cockwaffle sometimes:

Fuck you, Jake.

Lastly, we were checking out some property in the country, and we took Badger along to 1) give Daisy a break from his constant harassment, and 2) ensure he learns to be a good road trip dog. The property we were inspecting had a pasture next to it that was occupied by an emu:

As a small breed pup, Badger weighs around 10 pounds currently. He’ll likely max out at around 20-25 pounds. My guess is he’ll grow wider rather than much taller than he is right now. He’s used to eye-balling chickens through a fence. I wish I had video of him processing the sight of this giant bird. It looked something like this:

But he charged at it to the limits of his leash and barked his head off because he’s a foolish boy. I kept him from getting within striking distance. The bird was neither afraid nor impressed, not even a little bit.

Open thread!



What if it’s worse than we think?

First, something nice: a roseate spoonbill flew over my house a while ago. I happened to be looking out the window when it flew by, and as usual, I scrambled to get outside with my camera, but NOT as usual, I actually got a photo:

The only reason I was able to get the shot is because the bird was circling, probably preparing to land in one of the nearby ponds or canals. It’s not a great shot, but I’m still psyched to have captured a photo of one of my favorite birds on the wing.

Secondly, something depressing: Jon Chait published a piece in New York mag yesterday called “Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler? A plausible theory of mind-boggling collusion.” The whole (longish) thing is worth a read, but here’s an excerpt that lays out the premise:

The media has treated the notion that Russia has personally compromised the president of the United States as something close to a kook theory. A minority of analysts, mostly but not exclusively on the right, have promoted aggressively exculpatory interpretations of the known facts, in which every suspicious piece of evidence turns out to have a surprisingly innocent explanation. And it is possible, though unlikely, that every trail between Trump Tower and the Kremlin extends no farther than its point of current visibility.

What is missing from our imagination is the unlikely but possible outcome on the other end: that this is all much worse than we suspect. After all, treating a small probability as if it were nonexistent is the very error much of the news media made in covering the presidential horse race. And while the body of publicly available information about the Russia scandal is already extensive, the way it has been delivered — scoop after scoop of discrete nuggets of information — has been disorienting and difficult to follow. What would it look like if it were reassembled into a single narrative, one that distinguished between fact and speculation but didn’t myopically focus on the most certain conclusions?

Probably 95% of us here are already convinced Trump (and other Republicans) conspired with Russia to swing the election. But still, reading the narrative Chait lays out is chilling. He’s right about how the way we’ve received “discrete nuggets of information” has a “can’t see the forest for the trees” effect.

Thirdly, another depressing thing: Trump was on Twitter earlier teasing tonight’s prime-time SCOTUS pick reveal, and he apparently ordered that woman who runs the RNC, Mitt’s niece, to hype it up too. It’s all so tacky and gross, like a reality TV nightmare in which the stakes are your civil rights.

I will most definitely NOT be watching. Will have to remember to turn off alerts on my phone too. It doesn’t matter who he picks. The candidates are all uniformly awful Federalist Society/Heritage Foundation shit-birds.

Someone text me if he picks Judge Jeanine from Fox News. There would be entertainment value in that since her affect is that of a braying drunk at the end of the bar with whom every other patron avoids making eye contact. She would even make Alito, Gorsuch and Roberts squirm. (I suspect Thomas is used to similar displays from his wife and would thus be unfazed.) But otherwise, I don’t give a shit.

Open thread!



Thursday Evening Open Thread

This is a good-looking white-winged dove (sings a song sounds like she’s singing):

Those feets, though:

Here’s a Badger close-up that captures the progression of his ears:

They stand up on their own now, and they oscillate like fans.

He doesn’t know it yet, but we’re off to the vet tomorrow for his last round of puppy shots and a check-up, which means a thermometer up the poop-chute.

Open thread!



Hop on Pop (Open Thread)

We’ve got a family of purple house finches in the yard with three fledglings. The fledglings are still a bit awkward in flight but do well enough; they can land on our feeders and gorge themselves, as they do pretty much all day.

But they still harass their parents for food. Here’s Father Finch being importuned by a baby, which is flapping its wings and screeching to demand that food be stuffed directly into its maw — just a few feet from a 24/7 all-you-can-eat buffet:

So, Papa feeds the little screecher:

But that just makes the little bird flap harder and screech more loudly:

So he feeds it some more:

It STILL won’t shut up, so Dad says, “Fuck it, I’m out.”

But another hungry chick awaits him on the next branch. Poor Papa Purple.

Open thread!








State Dinner (Open Thread)

Here’s a non-state dinner happening outside my window this morning:

Don’t you hate it when someone takes a picture right when you’re shoving a big piece of food into your mouth? Happens to me all the time. Sorry, birds.

Anyhoo, French President Emmanuel Macron arrives in DC today for the first state visit of the Trump administrophe. There’s a state dinner tomorrow to which no Democrats were invited. Fox News personalities will likely be on hand to manage policy discussions.

Via ABC News, Nicholas Dungan, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a professor at Paris-based institute Sciences Po, said:

“Emmanuel Macron has characteristics that are more classically American than French. He is professional, rigorous and understands the value of work.”

I wonder what the French would make of that characterization? Regardless of how “classically American” those characteristics allegedly are, the orange fart cloud does not possess them. He embodies the polar opposite of them.

So, how will Trump embarrass us during this state visit? Will he do the weird handshake thing again? Leer inappropriately at Brigitte Macron and tell her she looks great “for her age?” Or strike out in a new direction and blaze fresh trails in national humiliation?

In other news, the naked white guy who shot and killed four people at a Waffle House in Tennessee is still on the run. A diner, James Shaw Jr., rushed the shooter and disarmed him, almost certainly preventing further carnage. Unlike in the aftermath of the Texas church massacre, Trump hasn’t tweeted about this hero, probably because Shaw was an unarmed black man, and thus doesn’t fit the narrative.

It turns out the shooter had a history of psychiatric problems and had no business owning a gun of any type, let alone an AR-15. Authorities took his guns when he approached the White House some months ago babbling about meeting with Trump. The authorities gave the guns to the suspect’s father, who returned them to the nutjob son. It probably wasn’t even illegal to do so.

And now four young people are dead for no reason. Damn, this is a fucked up country.

Open thread!

ETA: I have been reliably informed that there WILL be a Democrat at the state dinner: Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. No Democrats from Congress though, which is unprecedented in modern presidencies, or so I read.



Back, and to the left…

A depressing thought occurred to me recently. Those of us who experienced the 2016 election as a national and personal trauma could be forever doomed to live with the mysteries and what-ifs associated with it, in the same way my parents’ generation is still haunted by the Kennedy assassination and the horrors that unfolded from that.

Am I being a drama llama to compare the two events — an assassination and a fucked-up election? Possibly. In 1963, a sitting president was murdered — a shockingly violent act. The violence associated with the 2016 election has thus far been indirect and mostly out of sight: people dying of treatable diseases, hurricane victims left to fend for themselves, people brutalized by emboldened rogue cops, folks murdered by re-energized white supremacists, etc.

In the future, the 2016 election’s body count may very well be increased by women who die from back alley abortions, children silently poisoned by polluted water and air, cities drowned by rising seas, a higher suicide rate among LBGTQ youth and victims of a war John Bolton is itching to start. Horrific results are already here, and more definitely await us; only the magnitude is in question.

James Comey’s current halo-polishing tour inspired this depressing line of thought, specifically his struggle to explain his decision to insert himself into the election at critical inflection points, which arguably set the current nightmare into motion.

Among Comey’s rationales was his perceived need to counter Russian bullshit about Loretta Lynch controlling himself and the FBI on Clinton’s behalf. So, Comey was the biggest fly by far caught in the “fake news” web Putin’s operatives spun. We’ll live with the consequences of that, one way or another, for the rest of our days.

Maybe that’s why I’ve felt compelled to watch the bastard’s “aw shucks, I’m just a big ol’ Boy Scout” book tour. It’s horrifying and fascinating to watch him explain why he did what he did — kinda like watching the Zapruder film. You know the outcome is catastrophic. But you watch it anyway, wondering how things might have turned out differently, marveling that so much turned on such insignificant things, like one man’s massive ego.

Eh, fuck it — let’s watch something more pleasant, like these birds on my hanging feeder. They’re house finches, maybe?

That feeder hangs from a tree and is located about four feet from the window where my my workstation is. When we have high winds like we did the other day, I take the feeder down because I’m afraid it will start swinging hard enough to bust through my window — possibly with squirrels attached to it, which would obviously result in chaos.

Anyhoo, open thread?



Sunday Afternoon Open Thread

If you’re wondering why we’ve gone a while without a post, a few of us have posts brewing in the backroom, but, seeing that others are editing posts, we’re reluctant to hit publish for fear of big-footing. Yes, the co-bloggers I’m referring to all happen to be women — why do you ask?

Anyhoo, woodpeckers were in the bottle-brush tree again. There was a pair flitting all over the yard around 9 AM while I was having coffee on the veranda. Here’s one of them:

Here it is hanging out with a mockingbird pal:

This particular bird calls a lot, and when it does, it vibrates like a paint mixer:

Terrible things are happening in the world, but I’m pretending not to know about them for the afternoon. You?

ETA: Okay, the most Balloon Juice thing ever just happened: Anne Laurie and I both published posts at the exact same minute. Then we both took them down. I put mine up again, damn it, and up it stays! :-)