Today’s Word: Spicule

I had a long overdue dental appointment today, which was scheduled not because it was long overdue, but because I had a sore on my gum in the floor of my mouth down my my lower right molar on the gum underneath where my wisdom tooth used to be. It didn’t hurt that bad, as you all know I am pretty good with physical pain, but what actually forced me to go is that I am the world’s biggest hypochondriac when it comes to the unknown.

Basically, I can and am walking around with bone spurs in both shoulders and it doesn’t really bother me, but I cough twice and I convince myself I emphysema or lung cancer and so on. So, of course, I was convinced I had oral cancer, gum disease, herpes, HPV, scurvy, and everything else gum related I could find on WebMD.

Turns out it was none of those things. In 1991, while I was stationed in Fulda, I had my wisdom teeth extracted, and it was done with all the precision and care one might expect to receive from an Army dentist in a small barracks in a foreign land. Apparently, they left a shard of my tooth attached to a jaw, which is known as a “bone spicule,” and it took 26 years for it to work its way to the surface.

My doctor, whom I love (Jann Barber- Caring for People Not Just Teeth!) futzed around with that sharp hook-shaped device for a while and bled me, all the while apologizing and then jamming me again with it, told me what it was, and as we were scheduling an appointment to get a cavity filled and have that removed, I reached in, confident it was not cancer, gum disease, herpes, HPV, or scurvy and just a stupid piece of painful bone in my gum, and dug around for a while with my fingernail and pulled it out, saving us both some time and me some money. “Well, I’ve never had anyone do THAT before,” she stated. She’s pretty cool.

So I am pleased to report that I will not be dying of cancer, gum disease, herpes, HPV, scurvy, at least any time soon, and I have to report back to Dr. Jann in a few weeks to have a crown replaced (btw- Dr. Sasseen- that crown you put in in 1987 when I went through the windshield and bit a molar in half finally went bad, and Dr. Jann says she was impressed with your handiwork) and a cavity filled. I also went ahead and scheduled another cleaning in six months and now that I am an adult (WITH A HOUSE! And a GF!) I am going to start going to the dentist regularly like I should.

Unless I get scared and convince myself I have cancer, gum disease, herpes, HPV, scurvy, and then I will cancel my appointments and stay at home paralyzed with fear thinking I am going to die. Because that is how I roll.

I said hey, hey hey, what’s going on

What’s happening here?

If he resigns tomorrow, he went from being a powerful committee chair to a lurking presence in the 2020 Utah governor’s race to a schmuck in a week or so.

What is going on here?

The health policy implication is that this would be one less guaranteed Yes vote for whatever healthcare bill that hits the House Floor. Right now, it looks like there is a minimum blocking coalition of the Tuesday Morning Group members without any House Freedom Caucus members needed. One less Yes vote makes holding that blocking coalition together easier as there is a touch more wiggle room and more deals that lose support at the other end of the caucus would need to be made.

But that all might be irrelevant as there is again talk that there will be no vote on Wednesday. Let’s keep calling just to make sure Congress knows what we think.

Finally, assuming Chaffetz does resign, does it make sense to back the Democrat who was gearing up to challenge him in November, 2018 or does it make sense to back McMullin as a more probable anti-Trump vote in the House? Can both be backed? I don’t know.

Reefer Madness

How many centuries until we recover from the Puritans? This country would be so much more pleasant if more people smoked pot. At least a helluva lot less stressed out and potentially a bit more introspective.

That would be nice.

Sunday Night Open Thread: Holiday Wrap-Up


May you always be the bunny, and never the shocked baby.

Turn the Page

This guy cracks me up:

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski acted as conduit between Carter Page and campaign policy director Sam Clovis, the Daily Caller reports. Lewandowski’s introduction eventually led to Page joining the campaign as a foreign policy adviser.

Despite once insisting he has “never met or spoken to Carter Page in [his] life,” Lewandowski actually introduced Page to Clovis in New York City “in late 2015 or early 2016,” the Daily Caller reports.

In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Wednesday, Page declined to say who brought him into the Trump campaign. Pressed by Tapper over whether it was Clovis, Page replied, “He was not the first person that brought me in. I can assure you of that.”

On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported the FBI last summer secured a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant against Page as part of its ongoing investigation into possible collusion between the campaign and Russian operatives. That warrant means a FISA Court judge found probable cause that Page “was acting as an agent of a foreign power,” in this case Russia.

If this guy is the weak link, I would be sweating bullets right now. You really need to see him talk to get the full effect:

I’d say that the biggest argument that there is nothing there with Page is that the Russians still allow him to live.

Tuesday Evening Open Thread: EGG-ROLL-GATE!

Old standard: That guy could screw up a two-car funeral if you spotted him the hearse.

Trump standard: That guy could screw up the Easter Egg Roll if you spotted him a legion of parents, fans, and local-color media-droids eager to help out.

The Grey Lady takes the Wider View [warning: autoplay]:

By that time, the ovoid uncertainty had raised a question perhaps not as consequential as investigations into Russian interference in the presidential election, a legally dubious travel ban and a collapsed health care bill, but no less a window into the inner workings of the Trump administration: Could this White House, plagued by slow hiring and lacking an on-site first lady, manage to pull off the largest, most elaborate and most heavily scrutinized public event of the year?

“It’s the single most high-profile event that takes place at the White House each year, and the White House and the first lady are judged on how well they put it on,” said Melinda Bates, who organized eight years of Easter Egg Rolls as director of the White House Visitors Office under President Bill Clinton. “I’m really concerned for the Trump people, because they have failed to fill some really vital posts, and this thing is all hands on deck.”…

The Washington Post, as the local paper, is more in the lack-of-constituent service mode. If it’s true that no big-city mayor can successfully recover from a failure to keep the streets plowed or the garbage picked up, the Trump Mis-Administration has lost whatever part of the Beltway vote it might’ve retained. “How Trump turned a White House Easter Egg Roll devotee into a political activist“:

Before Trump, Rebetsky was known as the colorful chair of the English department at Linganore High School in Frederick, Md., whose only involvement with the White House was a mild obsession with the annual White House Easter Egg Roll — the largest annual public event at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., with 35,000 people attending last year.

She has almost two dozen commemorative White House Easter eggs on display in her Sykesville, Md., kitchen. You can touch anything in her Easter egg collection. Just not the White House ones.

When March came around, the time folks usually start making their Easter Egg Roll plans, the White House had yet to announce it was holding the event. The folks who make those commemorative eggs began egging on the administration over Twitter, begging it to submit its plans. They even began to worry that Trump wasn’t going to hold the annual event.

Rebetsky looked at the egg collection, wondering if there would be a 2017 egg. And that was the first time she realized she would have political feelings about a Trump egg. Would she even want one this year?

That gave her an idea. What if she made an alternative egg? And her life as the alt-egg lady began…

So she talked to a marketing guy the family knows. Her heart was pounding in her chest when she called him with her scheme: What if she sold an alternative Easter egg to raise funds specifically for PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts, two organizations on Trump’s budgetary chopping block?…

There’s a big photo of Rebetsky’s eggs at the link. Frankly, they’re a lot classier than what seems to be the Trump-ficial version:

Three Full Shifts Running Round the Clock At the Bullshit Factory

Great piece by Alex Pareene on the result of decades of profitably telling lies to stupid people:

But the complete and inarguable disaster of the Bush administration—a failure of the conservative movement itself, one undeniable even to many consumers of the parallel conservative media—and his abrupt replacement by a black man, caused a national nervous breakdown among the people who’d been told, for many years, that conservatism could not fail, and that all Real Americans agreed with them.

Rather rapidly, two things happened: First, Republicans realized they’d radicalized their base to a point where nothing they did in power could satisfy their most fervent constituents. Then—in a much more consequential development—a large portion of the Republican Congressional caucus became people who themselves consume garbage conservative media, and nothing else.

That, broadly, explains the dysfunction of the Obama era, post-Tea Party freakout. Congressional Republicans went from people who were able to turn their bullshit-hose on their constituents, in order to rile them up, to people who pointed it directly at themselves, mouths open.

Now, we have a president whose media diet defines his worldview, interests, and priorities. He is not one of the men, like most of those Tea Party members of Congress, whose existing worldview determined his media diet—who sealed himself off from disagreeable media sources. He is, in fact, something far more dangerous: a confused old man who believes what the TV tells him.

If you want to see this in action, yesterday I tweeted up a string about the whole Susan Rice unmasking nonsense:

Basically, it works like this. Some lunatic (in this case, Mike Cernovich, but it could be literally anyone- Jim Hoft, an anonymous poster named IHATEBLACKS at the Free Republic, some random at Red State, the Confederate Wanker Bob Owens, one of the retrograde morons at the Powerline- anyone, really) pukes up some utter nonsense about Susan Rice. It is quickly picked up and amplified by the wingnut noise machine of inplace media sites like the Daily Caller, Red State, Breitbart, WND, etc., ad nauseum.

Then someone in the media will pay attention, in this case Eli Lake, and cover it and give the claim a veneer of respectability. Lake, who last week had to tell his readers he was a fucking idiot for believing the load he swallowed from Devin Nunes has either apparently learned nothing is just a fucking easy lay with a healthy thirst for choad.

From there it creeps into the “respectable” media, like Fox News, the NY Post, the WSJ, etc. That’s when the MSM really has no choice but to cover it, but since they have fired all of the reporters who cover beats and have a deep but narrow purview, it takes them some time to get caught up to speed. Meanwhile, the puke funnel keeps blowing out chunks, and Jake Tapper only has one foot in his HAZMAT suit and is already up to his knees in bullshit.

Additionally, this is another ripe target, for several reasons. First, Susan Rice is a professional and did nothing wrong, but we’re dealing with territory that not a lot of people understand, so it’s super easy to turn “unmasking” into some sort of nefarious deal. Second, civil libertarians tend to be absolutists, so even though Rice did nothing wrong, they’re just pissed she’s doing it at all. Third, the hard left has hated Susan Rice and Samantha Power from the get go. Fourth, Rice is, as we said, a professional, and isn’t going to go spewing top secret stuff to defend herself so the charges will just linger. Fifth, the Obama admin is no longer in power, so there is NO ONE to defend her. And finally, as is often the case, she is a woman and a person of color.

So that’s where we are, as the unmasking puke assault rolls over us. Sure, there are some rear guard actions. Ryan Lizza has a great piece, as doess Brian Beutler, but at this point it’s akin to charging a machine gun nest alone when the rest of your platoon is already dead- we’ve already moved on to Trump claiming Rice is a criminal.

That’s good, in a sense, that Trump is now involved, so this will continue until it has actually been debunked and Rice has been vindicated. But it will just happen again with something new tomorrow, because the bullshit factory never sleeps, and its workers are well payed and highly incentivized. The other day it was released the nutters at Breitbart make six figures, and Cernovich’s punishment for his latest sin against truth? A massive profile piece in the NY Times.

See also this excellent Media Matters rundown.