The Curious First Amendment

I don’t understand the angst over this at all:

Steven Crowder can still say whatever the fuck he wants. The first amendment is still a firmly entrenched right. No one’s free speech is harmed. It’s just that Steven Crowder doesn’t have a right to make youtube pay him for calling someone a lispy queer.

This is much ado about nothing.

Today in Headlines Mad Libs

May you live in interesting times, they say:

I hope we get some better writers for Season 2020.

Late Night Culinary Horrorshow Open Thread: Nope, Not A Taco

Apparently some half-bright assignment editor at the NYTimes is looking to replicate the 2015 ‘put peas in your guacamole’ wars — hey, clicks are clicks!

I believe potatoes are the true staff of life, and that broccoli is a cruelly misunderstood vegetable. But you can’t wrap them in a tortilla and pass the result off as a “taco”, because there are limits, people. I mean, I can remember the 1970s, when the college cafeteria tried to pass off a cheese-free version of ‘Johnny Marzetti‘ as ‘an Italian favorite’ — we’re supposed to have made culinary progress since then!

(P.S. Yes, a version of that casserole was a staple of my Bronx childhood, but we knew it was related to ‘Italian food’ only in the sense that I am related to Serena Williams. Also, we grade-school coastal elitists knew it by the name ‘Highway Fatality Cleanup’, which gave it at least some rhetorical spice… )

Despite John Bolton’s Statement, the US Has Not Escalated Its Forces in the CENTCOM Area of Responsibility

(The USS Kearsarge sinks the CSS Alabama off the coast of Cherbourg, France)

Earlier this evening, Assistant to the President-National Security Advisor (APNSA or NSA) John Bolton issued the following statement:

So what exactly is actually going on with US Naval deployments in the US Central Command (CENTCOM) Area of Responsibility (AOR)? Fortunately, the US Naval Institute has a Fleet Tracker. The most recent update is from 22 April 2019, it tells us the following:

Carrier Strike Group 12 (USS Abraham Lincoln/CVN 72, Carrier Air Wing 7/CVW 7, Destroyer Squadron 2/DESRON 2, and USS Leyte Gulf/CG 55):

deployed from Norfolk on April 1 and is now operating in the 6th Fleet area of responsibility in the central Mediterranean Sea. Last week, the CSG stopped in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, on April 15 and departed April 20.

They join the USS John C Stennis Carrier Strike Group (USS John C Stennis/CVN 74, Carrier Air Wing 9/CVW 9, Destroyer Squadron 21/DESRON 21, and USS Mobile Bay/CG 53), which:

transited the Suez Canal on April 20 and is now in the Mediterranean Sea in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations. Last week, the CSG exercised operations with French Navy aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle (R 91) in the Red Sea.

Finally, the Kearsarge Amphibious Group – USS Kearsarge/LHD 3 with the embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Fleet Surgical Teams 2 and 8, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26, and Tactical Air Control Squadron 21; USS Arlington/LPD 24 (amphibious landing dock); and USS Fort McHenry/LSD 43 (dock landing ship) is in the Persian Gulf.

Despite Bolton’s statement there is no additional Naval or Amphibious deployment. The Abraham Lincoln and the other vessels and units in its carrier group where already in the CENTCOM AOR and have been for some time. Almost as important is this simple reality: the Iranians know this! They know where US forces are deployed in relation to Iran. All Bolton has done with this announcement is make a lot of noise to hear himself make a lot of noise.

Thank you for joining us for this special first Sunday in May edition of John Bolton’s mustache’s saber rattling kabuki theater.

Open thread!

* There is not, unfortunately, a similar tracker for US bomber task forces, but I expect the bomber task force was already either on station or scheduled for deployment to CENTCOM’s AOR.

Late Night Clown Shoes Open Thread: “Stephen Less” Is Out

Small potatoes, and few in the hill. Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving Rethuglican: