Open Thread

When I yell “Who wants a treat?” I am seriously the most fucking powerful man in America. Or so I feel.








Wednesday Evening Open Thread: Good News…

Wyoming. “Where men are men, and the sheep are nervous” (sit down, Sen. Cochran*).

*corrected
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Apart from wishing all the happy couples well, what’s on the agenda tonight?








Open Thread: Pay Your Debt, Thad

Alex MacGillis, at TNR, has a couple suggestions for the Senator from Mississippi:

It is hard to overstate the significance and historical ironies of black Mississippians crossing party lines to rescue a senior member of the state’s Republican establishment. Voting patterns are more divided by race in Mississippi than anywhere else in the country, to a degree that is reminiscent of ethnically-based parties in the developing world. The state’s black voters are as reliably Democratic as anywhere, but there are also more of them than in any other state—more than 37 percent of the population—making their monolithic voting tendencies all the more conspicuous. Meanwhile, white voters in Mississippi have become nearly as monolithically Republican in national elections. (And yes, there is a correlation between the size of southern states’ African-American population and the extent to which their white voters flock to the Republican Party.) In 2008, Barack Obama won a mere 11 percent of white voters in Mississippi; John Kerry did barely better than that four years earlier…

In reaching out to black voters in recent days, Cochran touted his support for the farm bill, for federal education funding, for the food-stamp program. But the GOP establishment’s debt requires a grander statement of gratitude than that. There’s the John Conyers bill calling for a study of slavery reparations—what measure is more suitable than that to be linked to an election in the state that was the headquarters of King Cotton? But if that’s a bridge too far, here are two other possibilities. Mississippi has rejected the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, thus leaving uncovered 300,000 of its residents, most of them African-American—a classic example of the ways in which the state’s large racial minority has suffered at the hands of the state’s monolithically white and Republican power structure. Might Cochran and, more importantly, Haley Barbour call on their allies in Jackson to rethink that rejection of gobs of federal funds just waiting to be deployed in their impoverished state?

Or this: There is a movement afoot in Washington to pass new protections for the voting rights of minorities in the wake of the Supreme Court’s overturning of key elements of the Voting Rights Act. Is there any more fitting way for Thad Cochran to express recognition of the role that African-American voters played in his survival—in the face of threats of voter intimidation from his Republican opponent—than to guarantee that black voters in Mississippi and elsewhere are unencumbered in their access to the polls? I don’t recall Cochran speaking up loudly in opposition when Mississippi passed a stringent voter ID law not long ago. Better late than never, Senator.








Long Read: “Tupac and Murray Kempton”

One of the weirder byways of the Sixties, from Michael Daly at the Daily Beast:

Tupac Shakur was still in his mother’s womb when she served as her own lawyer against charges that she and a dozen fellow Black Panthers had conspired to conduct a series of bombings in New York.

And as she did so, nobody admired Afeni Shakur more than the supremely insightful and devoutly decent newspaper columnist Murray Kempton. “No man who saw Afeni Shakur in those days could fail to be half in love with her,” Kempton later wrote….

Kempton lost touch with her as she fell deep into drugs. Two decades had passed when he encountered her in another Manhattan courtroom, this time as the mother of a defendant. The son she had fought so gloriously to keep from being born in prison now faced being sent there. Tupac was charged with weapons possession as well as sodomizing and sexually abusing a 19-year-old fan who had come to his hotel room and ended up being set upon by some of his entourage.

The Mouse King had become a rap star. Kempton noted that Tupac had told another journalist, “My mother was a revolutionary Black Panther and all that. But I also saw my mother as a crack addict. So I answer to no one. I follow my heart.”

Kempton now suggested in purest Kempton-esque terms, “The child is well-advised to distrust any heart that instructs him to answer to no one.” Tupac, he went on to say, “has the privilege, if scarcely the right, to improve his image as one born to be a thug with the myth of a crack addict mother.”…

Kempton had proven so right in so many ways that he should not have been surprised when Afeni asked him to begin visiting her son in prison and assume a role that struck him as dauntingly improbable…








Open Thread: The Goofening

Is this a goofy-ass dog, or what?

patsy_sleeping_tongue

She sleeps like that all the time, with her eyes partially open, her tongue hanging out and snoring like a band-saw. She has an active dream life; quite frequently she’ll start twitching her paws, then begin to flail around wildly, kicking pillows off the sofa and raking any creature within reach with her claws. Stop disturbing the peace, Patsy!

Here’s a story from Gawker (I know, I know) about a failed carjacking. Summary: A group of teenage boys took a 71-year-old woman’s car keys at gunpoint but could not make a getaway because the jacked vehicle had a manual transmission and the stupid shits didn’t know how to drive a stick. They were forced to flee on foot instead.

I learned to drive on a stick and taught my 15-year-old to drive on a stick too. Recently, I traded in my manual transmission car, and the salesperson tried to ding me on the trade-in value by saying he had trouble unloading sticks, which may be the case, but that ain’t my problem.

Anyhoo, my daughter’s first car, a family hand-me-down, will also be a stick, and it gladdens my heart to know that her dumb little friends probably won’t know how to drive it, nor would dim-witted thieves know how to steal it. One less thing!

Please feel free to discuss whatever.