Thursday Morning Open Thread


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Despite the 22F temperature, the biting wind, the unexpectedly heavy light pollution from passing traffic, and the clouds scudding in at great speed, Spousal Unit & I saw at least half a dozen bright Geminid meteors flash across the sky, so we’re satisfied with our expedition.

Apart from resolutely staying positive, what’s on the agenda for the day?
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Strong contender (in a year full of them) for Best Internet Protest of the Year, as reported by David Roth at Deadspin

On Wednesday, a number of prominent Native American activists began tweeting a statement purporting to announce that Washington’s NFL team would, next season, be changing its name to the Washington RedHawks…

If you were scrolling through Twitter with your mind in energy-saver mode, which is really the only safe way to do it, this looked like more than just an attempt to hustle a hashtag. It looked for all the world like news, albeit of the unlikeliest kind. Not just in the sense that it was good news, although there’s obviously that, but in the sense that it was being covered everywhere.

Or, more accurately, it was being “covered” “everywhere.” There were what appeared to be links to what appeared to be stories from what appeared to be major sports publications—the Washington Post, Bleacher Report, ESPN, and Sports Illustrated—that reported, in a rough simulacrum of those venues’ house styles, various angles on the story. The team issued no such statement, and the stories were all fakes that appeared on rather shockingly artful spoofs of each of those publications’ pages. Each of the hoax pages had been registered last month, through the French web registrar Gandi SAS by a registrant named Mark Jones. There is a field for “registrant organization” on Gandi’s form, but Jones left it blank…

The ghoulish bile-baiting tone of most Fake Sports News was nowhere to be found in these stories, each of which told the story of a team belatedly doing the right thing at the end of another lost season and of Native American activists belatedly seeing their advocacy turn into a hard-won reality. More than that, these stories told the story well, with quotes from all the appropriate corners…

It is so easy to admire the technical deftness and general craftsmanship behind the RedHawks hoax that it’s worth taking a moment to consider how slashing the satirical intent is, here. It emerges gradually as you click across the various spoof sites, as the realization builds that all this decency and equanimity just sounds wrong coming from the people it’s coming from. There is no more devastating assessment of how Daniel Snyder has handled his team’s shameful name than imagining him saying, as he’s “quoted” in the Sports Illustrated spoof: “[The RedHawks] is a symbol of everything we stand for: strength, courage, pride, and respect—the same values we know guide Native Americans and which are embedded throughout their rich history as the original Americans.” It’s all the more so when you realize that this is an exact quote from an actual statement that Snyder made in 2013, in defense of continuing to call his team the Redskins



Thursday Morning Open Thread: Ride, Sally — Rise!


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Buzzfeed has a saner take…

“I am so proud” was the subject line on Weissmann’s email to Yates, sent at 9:50 p.m. on Jan. 30. The body of the email read: “And in awe. Thank you so much. All my deepest respects, Andrew Weissmann.”

A spokesman for the special counsel’s office declined to comment on behalf of the office as well as Weissmann. Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement that Weissmann’s email was “astonishing and disturbing.”

“How much more evidence do we need that the Mueller operation has been irredeemably compromised by anti-Trump partisans?” Fitton said. “Shut it down.”

Kathleen Clark, a legal ethics expert at Washington University School of Law, told BuzzFeed News that she didn’t think that Weissmann’s email presented a conflict of interest with his work on the special counsel’s team. Weissmann expressing admiration for Yates was not necessarily evidence of bias, Clark said.

“Weissmann wasn’t taking a swipe at Trump,” Clark said…

In the hours after Yates alerted the Justice Department about her position on the first travel ban and after she was fired, messages continued to come in from DOJ attorneys and staff. “I am 100% behind you and your decision today,” an assistant US attorney in California wrote her.

Another attorney in Pennsylvania wrote, “God bless you!”

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Apart from applauding all who resist, what’s on the agenda for the day?



Media Idiots Open Thread: O’Keefe & the Power of a Truly TERRIBLE Example


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Maybe I’m just a wide-eyed optimist, but O’Keefe’s latest failed “prank” feels like it might be some kind of media tipping point… he’s just such a clown luzer, like a wafer-thin mint after Mr. Creosote’s dinner…


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Even the Establishment Wingnut Wurlitzer apparatchiks are embarrassed / annoyed!
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Saturday Morning Easy Layups Open Thread: Three Great American Pastimes, Spoiled

Pizza, football, and arguing about value for money — there is nothing John Schnatter can’t make nastier. Since my life ethos has involved never living where there wasn’t adequate pizza delivery available, my only prior knowledge of “Papa John’s” involved its founder making a public fool of himself over the Affordable Care Act back in 2012…

According to “Papa” John Schnatter, the cost of providing health insurance for all of his pizza chain’s uninsured, full-time employees comes out to about 14 cents on a large pizza. That’s less than adding an extra topping and a third the price of an extra pepperoncini. If you want that piping hot pie delivered, the $2 delivery fee will cost you 14 times as much as that health insurance price hike.

“We’re not supportive of Obamacare, like most businesses in our industry,” Schnatter said on a conference call with shareholders last week, as reported by Politico. “If Obamacare is in fact not repealed, we will find tactics to shallow out any Obamacare costs and core strategies to pass that cost onto consumers in order to protect our shareholders’ best interests.” …

Twitter users were quick to respond to Schnatter’s latest tantrum:

David Roth, at Deadspin, “The NFL’s Stupid Pizza Wars Were Always Coming”:

If Trump has one single accomplishment as President, it is how thoroughly he’s revealed extremely rich people as being not somehow braver or smarter or more disciplined than the rest of us but somehow exactly the opposite—consumed by pettiness, enslaved by vanity, and perfectly willing to fuck important things up in order to make some point to themselves and their rancid peers.

If you understand this, then there was nothing really that surprising about flame-retardant Italianate foodstuff impresario Papa “John” Schnatter blaming his company’s declining profits on the NFL’s inability to successfully quash its nascent protest movement. It was a little startling, of course, because of how ridiculous it was, but it was less startling than it would have been two years ago. That the statement happened to be obviously incorrect should have been taken as a given.

The speculation that Schnatter might have been put up to this gambit by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones seems like a bit much at first, until you remember that the phrase “a bit much” no longer applies. So, sure: Schnatter, the boss of the NFL’s Official Pizza Sponsor, took a shot at the leadership of the NFL commissioner at the behest of the vengeful Petro-Creature that owns the Dallas Cowboys, who is of course also Schnatter’s personal friend and an owner of at least 100 Papa John’s franchises, because the aforementioned Petro-Creature is upset about Goodell’s suspension of his star running back. Sure. Absolutely. Everything is this stupid, now…

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AND YET IT GETS EVEN STUPIDER!

Truly, we are living in the dumbest timeline.



The Military Stand Up For Their Principles

It’s been remarkable how the generals have continued to stand up for equality and respect under the torrent of bigotry pouring from Trump’s mouth. Here’s one more, the Superintendent of the Air Force Academy.

Watch the whole thing. This guy really means what he says.

And open thread.



Monday Morning Open Thread: The Toddler Files

As I mentioned Sunday morning, I’ve got an old friend visiting from out of town, so my participation here is liable to be (even more!) spotty and unreliable this week. Think of it as a chance to rack up some TBogg comment units (500+ on a thread), and to read some of the longer projects available:

The point of the [original April 25] tweet was to push back on the occasional impulse by Very Serious People to claim that some speech or act by Donald Trump proved that he was “growing into the presidency.” The hard-working staff here at Spoiler Alerts has been examining Trump’s words and actions for the 2016 presidential campaign and thought this was nonsense. Hence the tweet.

The thing is, it quickly became clear that the evidence that Trump was not growing into the presidency was hiding in plain sight. Barely a week or even a day could pass without someone with access to Trump telling the news media in no uncertain terms the ways in which he was unfit for office. So I decided to keep adding to the thread…

… While Twitter followers can find the thread when I add to it, the functionality of Twitter is not ideal for finding it. Therefore, I have decided to curate this thread here at Spoiler Alerts as well. Below are all the tweets in this thread, in order. Every week I will update this post to include any additional tweets…

One last point: All I’m doing is curating these stories. The real credit goes to the myriad reporters who have wrested these anecdotes and quotes from individuals who, in all likelihood, genuinely want this president to succeed. Yet, in their heart of hearts, they know that the commander in chief of America’s armed forces has the oppositional nature of a 3-year old…

Most recent, so far:


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Apart from being eternally grateful to the Republican Party for wishing this stunted monster on the rest of us, what’s on the agenda as we begin another (hopefully slow news) week?



Late Night Open Thread: The Higher Climbs the Monkey…

the more he shows his arse. Back when Trump was just another NYC real estate developer, he could make noisy promises of generosity — even muscle his way into a ceremony intended to honor actual donors to a nursery for children with AIDS — and never have to spend a dime of his own ill-gotten loot.

But now that he’s “President”? The Hounds of Media Hell are forever all up in his business, led by the Washington Post‘s fearless David Fahrenthold. Note the extremely legalistic wording —“Trump announces recipients for his $1 million donation for Hurricane Harvey relief”:

President Trump gave $1 million of his own money to charities helping the Houston area recover from Hurricane Harvey, splitting the gift among 12 nonprofits, the White House announced Wednesday.

The gift had been promised late last week. In a statement, the White House said that Trump and first lady Melania Trump had witnessed some of these charities at work firsthand during their two visits to areas of Texas hit by the hurricane, which was the biggest rainstorm recorded in the history of the continental United States.

The White House said other recipients were “recommended, at the invitation of the President, by members of the White House Press Corps,” the White House statement said.

The two biggest individual gifts were given to large, mainstream charities: the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army would get $300,000 each, the White House said.

The next-largest gifts went to charities associated with Christian ministries.

The White House said Trump would give $100,000 to Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical Christian aid agency run by Franklin Graham, the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham. Franklin Graham has been a key political supporter of Trump’s

It was not immediately clear, from the White House’s statement whether the charities had received the donations or whether the checks would arrive in the coming days.

Before last summer, Trump had a long record of making pledges to give his personal money to charity but an uneven record of fulfilling them…

Since I can’t have my first wish — that Trump disappear from public purview and is never heard of again, except by the unfortunates who have to guard his cell and/or share his golf outings — I will enjoy every single second as Trump gets prodded to put his money where his mouth is. Solely for (my) entertainment purposes, some timeline-via-tweets below the fold..
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