Sportsball & Politics

A while back in an early morning thread, I mentioned that one of my Trumpster uncles texted a meme about the take-a-knee protests. It was a photo of Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump, and the caption was, “And just like that, 63 million Americans said ‘Fuck the NFL.'”

I responded to the text with something snarky, along the lines of, “Who could have foreseen that when liberal and conservative America divorced, the libtards would get custody of the NFL?”

My uncle then huffily informed me that it was HUMOR, not a political debate. I dropped it, but this was at the beginning of Trump’s hissy fit about the NFL, so I found the claim that the meme wasn’t political disingenuous.

But one of y’all (can’t remember who, sorry) replied that my uncle may have really not seen it as political. Turns out, you were right. There are vast swathes of folks who see taking a knee during the national anthem as tantamount to pissing on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and pooping on Mom’s apple pie.

Trump, who is a moron just as Tillerson said, does have a demagogue’s talent for exploiting wedge issues, and he used his weekly address to gin up more outrage among the base on this issue. After blathering about the military he never bothered to join, Trump said:

Before watching a football game, you want to see those players be proud of their country. Respect our country. Respect our flag. And respect our national anthem and we think they will. We certainly hope they will.

Like most of what Trump does, this is a dominance thing with racial overtones. The majority of NFL players are black, and there’s only one owner who isn’t white. Some folks are crediting Trump with a victory over the NFL here, but I don’t think the story is over, not by a long shot.

Virtually all the stakeholders are rich men — players, owners, broadcasters, etc. And while the owners and networks have exponentially more money than the players, the players are the product. Will they allow themselves to be bullied into silence by the likes of Trump?

I read this morning that a couple of networks carrying today’s games don’t plan to broadcast the anthem. The NFL and networks desperately want the issue to go away. But will the players use it to assert their own independence and, hopefully, counter the bullshit narrative Trump is pushing about the nature of the protests?

If they do, will anyone hear them? My uncle won’t, but he’s not among the reachable, IMO. However, if Trump takes the bait (which he seems genetically incapable of NOT doing), could public perceptions shift when the highest elected official in the land makes ever more overt demands to mandate patriotic displays?

I don’t know. But it should be more interesting than some of today’s games.

Another One for the “Ivanka Privately Opposed” File

Trump — a leering, thrice-married degenerate who used to invade dressing rooms to ogle underage beauty pageant contestants and is on tape bragging about sexually assaulting random women — is addressing the Values Voter Summit today. But let’s beg Irony to come down from the ledge because the organization running this shindig, the Family Research Council, is actually a hate group, so it all makes perfect sense.

Via BuzzFeed’s David Mack, here’s a sample of the swag the “Values Voters” receive before hearing the orange shart-cannon’s remarks:

The pamphlet makes the case that hordes of promiscuous gay people are endangering public health by spreading STDs. This may be the one topic Trump could address with authority since he once said STD avoidance was his “personal Vietnam.”

Walking Jack T. Chick tract Roy Moore is also addressing the assembled hypocrites. That the event won’t end with a precision meteor strike is further proof of an amoral universe, in my book. Open thread!

More On MoronGate

So now we know what prompted Mr. Tillerson to label his boss “a fucking moron.” Via TPM:

According to NBC, at a meeting last summer with top national security officials, President Trump said he wanted a tenfold increase in the size of the country’s nuclear arsenal.

Apparently Trump was shown a chart something like this.

As you can see, the size of the US arsenal has declined dramatically since its high in the 1960s. The reasons for that, which President Trump had apparently never heard of, are several. Major reductions came into effect through the late 60s and 1970s, in part tied to a series of arms limitations treaties with the USSR. There was a major drop at the end of the Cold War, codified in other treaties, and another significant reduction early in this century.

The nuclear weapons of today are significantly more advanced than the ones we had in the 1950s and 1960s. We also have agreements which keep key adversaries (specifically Russia) capped at rough parity with the US at the five or six thousand level. There are debates about modernization of the nuclear arsenal. Hardly anyone thinks we should go back to having thirty or thirty five thousand nuclear weapons. It serves no purpose (you can destroy a lot of the world with 6,000), it is highly destabilizing and costs astronomical sums of money. It’s the kind of comment you’d expect from an ignorant and aggressive clown looking at a chart he knows nothing about.

Emphasis mine. In the linked piece, Josh Marshall also discusses the alleged Mattis-Kelly tag-team arrangement to stop Trump if he “lunges” for the nuclear “football” and concludes that our worst fears about putting a malignant narcissist in the White House were wholly justified. Yeah, pretty much.

Wig-Snatch 2017

Thought I saw a commercial for a “Dynasty” reboot the other day. Can that be true? It might as well be; seems we’re doomed to relive the worst of the 1980s, what with Blake-Biff Ewing in the White House and all. Via CNN:

President Donald Trump’s first wife, Ivana Trump, called herself “first lady” in an interview Monday ahead of the release of her memoir, “Raising Trump.” Now his current wife, first lady Melania Trump, is firing back, slamming her comments as “attention-seeking and self-serving noise.”

Maybe the First and Third Ladies can don massive shoulder pads and stage a pay-per-view steel-cage death match in the Rose Garden. They could raise a ton for cyber-bullying charities.

Blaaarrrgh! (Open Thread)

I was going to say something about how Kellyanne Conway demonstrated the Platonic Ideal of the concept of “shamelessness” this morning when she called out Senator Corker for “irresponsible” and “demeaning” tweets at President Crazypants. I thought maybe I’d note that we’ve come to a pretty pass when blood-gargling autocrat Vladimir Putin suggests maybe Twitler should dial it back a notch on the saber rattling at North Korea.

Or maybe we could discuss the hypocritical, stupid and expensive (to taxpayers) stunt Pence pulled this weekend to further the blatant lie that black NFL players are disrespected the flag, anthem, troops, first responders, mom, or apple pie rather than peacefully protesting the senseless slaughter of unarmed black people by bad cops. Or talk about the fact that Nazis held another tiki torch rally in Charlottesville.

Then there’s the tax “reform” smash-and-grab. The endless attempts to steal healthcare access from millions. The plot to shiv the Dreamers and ongoing demonization of immigrants. The “thoughts and prayers” and nothing more on gun control. The chipping away of civil rights. The war on women. The degradation of the environment. All of this and more, happening right now. Someone should bear witness, but there are only so many eyes. What a catastrophuck.

Open thread.

Return to The Villages of the Darned

Interesting piece in the Tampa Bay Times this week about the growing political clout of The Villages, a massive retirement community in Central Florida that, like so many of its ilk, seemed to spring up overnight in local pastures like psilocybin mushrooms on cow patties after a summer rainstorm:

For several consecutive years, The Villages has been the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the United States, drawing retirees to an area northwest of Orlando with endless recreation, relative affordability and an almost jarring level of cleanliness and order. Now more than 124,000 people live in the metro area.

The Villages proper has soared from 8,300 residents in 2000 to more than 66,000 today, with a median age of 67. There are two Republicans for every Democrat…

Overwhelmingly white and Republican, The Villages and surrounding areas have offset the rise in Hispanic residents in Central Florida, part of the vaunted I-4 corridor where elections are decided. In a state with a history of bitterly close elections, small shifts matter greatly and this one played a key role in Donald Trump’s narrow victory.

I’ve complained in this space before about these retirement communities, and like a cranky old aunt who repeats the same story at every family gathering, I’m going to do it again. In a way, I understand the attraction. I don’t particularly enjoy sharing my town with yowling toddlers and skulking teens either.

But walling oneself off like that is avoiding real life. It’s choosing to live a Fox News bubble made manifest, an alternate universe of modular villas where you can drive a golf cart everywhere and rarely encounter someone who doesn’t share your background, skin pigmentation and opinions, let alone a person under age 55 who isn’t paid to serve you.

I don’t think it’s healthy for the people who live there, and I don’t think it’s healthy for the communities they leave behind or even the Florida towns that surround and serve them. All that wisdom and life experience entombed behind stucco walls, where too often it curdles.

But unlike so many of the ills that currently beset us, this will be a self-correcting problem. Even Florida Republicans can see that:

Democrats live here but maintain a lower profile, outnumbered 2-to-1, more so if right-leaning independents are counted. After Clinton’s loss, Democrats nationally bemoaned their sliding grip on the kind of white voters flocking to The Villages.

But the GOP faces its own issues for relying so heavily on white voters in a diversifying country and a state like Florida.

“The Republican Party is becoming an all-white party, unfortunately,” said GOP strategist Mark Zubaly of Tallahassee. “We need to wake up to that,” he added. “Eventually the rush of baby boomers from the north will end.”

Yes, it will end. And ironically, it will be the greed of the corporate parasites who benefit so mightily from The Villagers’ political leanings that kills the Republicans’ golden goose. The vast majority of people born in the 60s or later won’t have the option to retire in Florida with a nice pension and spend their golden years golfing and bitching about Kids Today.

Anyhoo, as a grizzled native, I tell fellow liberal Floridians who complain about retirees blighting our political prospects that previous influxes of folks from “up North” are what made this state not-Alabama. The worm will turn again. Our retirement might be a hobo adventure, but the future, such as it is, is ours.

Sillamäe Again


Here’s a light but crabby post for a Saturday. Fits my mood.

I’ve spent a fair bit of time in Sillamäe, Estonia, and more thinking about it. So when a publication screws up the facts, I feel a need to respond.

This time, it’s Atlas Obscura doing a remarkable job of stuffing errors into a short article. Read more