My greatest post of the year

Unquestionably this nugget.

[…] By Halloween the only way you still hear about Trump is if he takes his National Front fan base and runs third party.


I guess that in the future everyone gets to be Dick Morris for fifteen minutes. Aside from Dick Morris of course, who has to be Dick Morris all the time. And Bill Kristol.

Do you have any least greatest hits of 2015 that you want to share? I could use some company.

Open thread.

Update from Rolling Stone

What initially started as claims that the author had never attempted to contact the accused (which I still think there is no need for- they’re going to deny it, and in this case no one was named so no one could claim harm) despite the fact that she had, has now morphed into an overall question as to whether any of the story is true:

To Our Readers:

Last month, Rolling Stone published a story titled “A Rape on Campus” by Sabrina Rubin Erdely, which described a brutal gang rape of a woman named Jackie at a University of Virginia fraternity house; the university’s failure to respond to this alleged assault – and the school’s troubling history of indifference to many other instances of alleged sexual assaults. The story generated worldwide headlines and much soul-searching at UVA. University president Teresa Sullivan promised a full investigation and also to examine the way the school responds to sexual assault allegations.

Because of the sensitive nature of Jackie’s story, we decided to honor her request not to contact the man she claimed orchestrated the attack on her nor any of the men she claimed participated in the attack for fear of retaliation against her. In the months Erdely spent reporting the story, Jackie neither said nor did anything that made Erdely, or Rolling Stone’s editors and fact-checkers, question Jackie’s credibility. Her friends and rape activists on campus strongly supported Jackie’s account. She had spoken of the assault in campus forums. We reached out to both the local branch and the national leadership of the fraternity where Jackie said she was attacked. They responded that they couldn’t confirm or deny her story but had concerns about the evidence.

In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced. We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault and now regret the decision to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account. We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story.

Will Dana
Managing Editor

And please spare me the “if this is a hoax, no one will take rape seriously” nonsense. The only people who won’t take rape seriously because of a case of a hoax were not predisposed to take rape seriously in the first place. We’ll see where it goes from here.

Man, I Blew That

Just watched a back episode of Real Time where Maher interviewed Kareem, and after watching the interview, all I could think was “Man, I’m a reactionary asshole with a short fuse.” I still find the quotes I highlighted to be obnoxious and offensive and bordering on slut shaming when the real issue should be Sterling, but after I saw the piece on Real Time, I re-read the whole piece, and holy shit, talk about missing the forest for the trees. Sorry Kareem, I’m a dick.

One thing that I will still state bothers me about the whole Sterling thing is that this guy is a lifelong asshole, but he is still a successful businessman. At what point does your racism trump your business instincts? If I was an NBA owner, in Los Angeles, there would be NO ONE I would want sitting courtside with me and my gf more than Magic. It’s fucking Magic. Mr. Laker. And he’s at a Clippers game. How could this be bad for your bottom line?

Shut Up, Lew Kareem

Blaming the victim is always fashionable:

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar suggested on Monday that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s racist rant is at least partially his girlfriend’s fault.

“And now the poor guy’s girlfriend (undoubtedly ex-girlfriend now) is on tape cajoling him into revealing his racism,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote in a blog post for Time. “Man, what a winding road she led him down to get all of that out. She was like a sexy nanny playing ‘pin the fried chicken on the Sambo.’ She blindfolded him and spun him around until he was just blathering all sorts of incoherent racist sound bites that had the news media peeing themselves with glee.”


*** Update ***

I stand by the comments regarding his blaming the victim bit- that quote speaks for itself. However, many of you have stated I was being a total asshole using Lew instead of his real name, and after some thought, you are right. Sometimes you try to write a clever title and don’t think things through, and this is one of those cases. You’re right, I am wrong, and I apologize. I’d change the title of the post, but then that would be revisionist, so I’ll keep it the same and hope you read my apology and accept it.

I was just really pissed off (and yes, I read the whole piece he wrote for Time), but I just found that quote to be really offensive, even in the service of a point, and I regrettably responded by being a total asshole. Not surprising, but I am still ashamed.

Again, sorry.

Quit Shit Hits Lit Twit


Perhaps this is a silly personal pet peeve, and lord knows it’s the least of Politico’s sins. But if I see this headline, I want to read an account of Sarah Palin flooring Peggy Noonan with an uppercut to the jaw. (It would also be cool if Noonan rose up from the mat, kneed Palin in the cooch and executed a pile-driver.)

That’s what “hit” means, not opening up a rarely closed piehole and letting more stupid dribble out. I also hate the term “baby bump,” but in defense of those who use it, there aren’t that many short, snappy substitutes. The same cannot be said of “hit” used in the context above: insults, taunts, heckles, jeers, etc. — all better choices, Mr. Byers.

If you were Language Emperor, what common expressions or usages would you banish from the English language?

Why do you keep passing the open windows?


Scoff if you must (and some of you will), but this blog is a community of sorts, and many of us have had a tough time lately. One thing that continues to amaze me, not just at Balloon Juice but in life generally, is the range and diversity of how people deal with anger, sorrow and pain.

Some people drink themselves into a stupor. Some people eat or smoke too much. Some people loll in front of the TV until they nod off. Some people read all the time. Some people create – food, art, prose, poetry, needlepoint, knitting, etc. Some people focus on their families or pets. Some people shop. Some people pursue romance or at least sex. Some people drive around aimlessly in a car or on a bike or wander around in the dark on foot.

With the exception of knitting, I’ve engaged in every single one of those activities at some point as a way to convince myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Obviously some of these activities are more healthy than others, but I’m not sure it’s the activities themselves that are important as a way to get through a shitty time but rather the distraction they provide.

Those are all ways to stay occupied and/or distracted, so “stay occupied and/or distracted” is the underlying strategy. Maybe every coping strategy is a species of this, but I’m not convinced that’s true. For example, I’ve been on a few heinous hamster wheels of suck in my life where I had to force myself to stop just occupying my time and make a radical change to disembark. I had to leave that horrible job or get out of that toxic relationship, etc., even though it was scary as hell at the time.

That was the only way back to (relative) mental health. I’m not suggesting that making a radical life change can cure clinical depression, which I believe is a chemical imbalance that is just as much a medical condition as diabetes. But I think we do have the power, in some cases, to change our lives in a way that can jolt us out of feeling so sad or angry or downtrodden or ashamed. And doing so can improve our overall mental health, just as lifestyle changes can mitigate the course of certain types of diabetes.

So even though I’m afraid of where this thread might go, I’m going to ask anyway: Have you ever found yourself languishing on some horrible hamster wheel of suck and found a way to change your thinking and/or actions enough to get off of it? In a world that is so filled with sadness, impermanence and pain, what makes you keep passing the open windows?


It wasn’t a gas well explosion, just another senseless tragedy:

A 16-year-old girl was killed late Tuesday night after the vehicle she was driving slammed into a tree, then flipped over on Brush Run Road a few miles east of the West Virginia state line. Four other people were seriously hurt in the crash. All five were from Washington, Pa., and range from 15 – 21-years-old. Two people were taken by medical helicopter to UPMC Presbyterian, a third was taken to Washington Hospital.

My parents refused to let me get my driver’s license when I was 16 because I was too immature. They let the other kids get them at 16.

Their judgement probably saved my life I was so out of control as a teen. Thanks, mom and dad. I wish more parents realized their kids are just too immature, reckless, and irresponsible to be behind the wheel of a couple ton guided missile. We’d read far fewer of these stories.

When I was a volunteer fireman, the worst part of these accidents was going from the chaos of the trapped accident victims screaming to the total silence (comparatively) when you stand there hosing the blood and glass and car shrapnel off the road into a ditch. I still have nightmares about the night the guys in a camaro hit a tree head on and the two back passengers had their legs broken in multiple places as they slid up underneath the front seat on impact, and we had to sit there and listen to them scream as we cut them out.

Don’t drink and drive people. Ever.