On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!

Submissions from commenters are welcome at tools.balloon-juice.com

Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the pictures!


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GOP Clown Car Open Thread: Steve King’s Demand & Sulk ‘Diamond & Silk’ Act

Rep. Steve ‘Pigmuck’ King’s saying-the-quiet-parts-out-loud antics have grown sufficiently egregious that even the Racist-in-Chief’s staff decided he couldn’t mooch a ride home on Air Force One (not even in the back, as some twitter wag noted). So King felt called on to break out the big guns…

Per NYMag, “Steve King, Diamond, and Silk Deflect Racism Charges by Unveiling Racist Legislation”:

Iowa Republican and white supremacist U.S. representative Steve King unveiled the “Diamond and Silk Act” on Wednesday. Officially dubbed the End Sanctuaries and Help Our American Homeless and Veterans Act, the legislation seeks to redirect federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities — jurisdictions that decline to help federal authorities arrest and deport undocumented immigrants — to programs that aid homeless people and veterans.

The act’s unofficial title is inspired by its unofficial co-sponsors: Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, better known by their stage names, Diamond and Silk. Together, the pair hosts a conservative video series on YouTube aimed at ridiculing Democrats and boosting Republicans, especially President Donald Trump, for whom they left the Democratic Party to support in 2015.

Diamond and Silk’s appeal to Republicans — the vast majority of whom are white — is that they are black women willing to exonerate the GOP of its racism. They conducted themselves accordingly on Wednesday when they joined King on Capitol Hill to announce their partnership. Reporters asked what they thought of the congressman’s retweeting white supremacists. “I’m tired of you all playing the race card,” Hardaway retorted. “It’s time to start working for Americans. And stop calling everybody a racist.”…

It remains unclear how much longer Republicans will persist in the charade that allegations of racism can be waved away by the contrarianism of any random black person. But King seems willing to see how far it will carry him. The dishonesty underlying this approach is something of a turnaround from the openness with which he broadcast his white supremacism in the Times profile earlier this year. But if nothing else, it suggests that he learned his lesson from the Republican fallout: You can be a white supremacist as long as you lie and claim you are not one.

Portland, OR Friday 14 June 2019 Meet Up Details

Mnemosyne Muse emailed asking if I’d do an update with the details for tomorrow night’s meet up in Portland, OR. So here are the details she provided:

It looks like we’ll be meeting at 7 pm on Friday 6/14 at the Rookery Bar above Raven & Rose at 1331 S.W. Broadway. If someone local could volunteer to bring some green balloons, that’s always helpful in allowing the group to locate each other. I’ll be wearing my black “Hamilton” Los Angeles t-shirt since that usually makes me easy to identify.

Here’s a link to the Rookery Bar and the Raven & Rose Restaurant for those looking for further details.

Here’s what the t-shirt looks like:

As a teaser, for those of you in St. Louis, new home of Lord Stanley’s Cup – Mazel Tov! by the way – please save the date of 27 June 2019 as commenter OpieJeanie will be in town and wants to do a meet up there. I’ll do a dedicated post for this over the weekend, but here’s what she’s sent me. She’ll also be in KC on 23 June 2019, in case anyone there would also like a meet up. Here’s what she’s sent me so far

We are traveling on Sunday the 23rd to Kansas City and will be there until the next morning, when we head down to the Ozarks to visit cousins. We will be in St Louis on the 27th and wonder if jackals in either city would like to meet with us for supper.

So if you’re in KC and are interested in a meet up on the 23rd, or St. Louis and interested in one on the 27th, save the dates and look for a dedicated post on this over the weekend.

Open thread!

This movie seems familiar…

Trump is underwater in the polls, under fire for confessing on national TV that he’d welcome reelection assistance from foreign governments, flailing in trade wars that threaten to undermine the economy, and besieged by subpoenas in a widening series of investigations that may blossom into a full-flown impeachment inquiry. Think he wouldn’t like a “splendid little war” to take the focus off this fail parade?

In other news, you won’t have Sarah Sanders to kick around come July. Per The Post:

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders will leave the job at the end of the month, President Trump announced in a tweet Thursday.

“She is a very special person with extraordinary talents, who has done an incredible job! I hope she decides to run for Governor of Arkansas — she would be fantastic. Sarah, thank you for a job well done!”

She didn’t do her job at all — they may as well convert the press briefing room back into a swimming pool for all the use they’re getting out of it. Anyhoo, good riddance, Sarah — may all your cheese plates be comped!

PS: Who do you think will replace her? Speaking of cheese, ambulatory cream cheese sculpture Hugh Hewitt has been auditioning for the job for a couple of years…

Social Democracy vs Democratic Socialism

So, I tried to watch Bernie Sanders’ big speech yesterday, which was entitled “How Democratic Socialism Is the Only Way to Defeat Oligarchy and Authoritarianism.”

The speech was touted (preposterously, IMO) by at least one pundit as akin to then-candidate Obama’s famously effective “race” speech in Philadelphia. Obama’s speech, if you’ll recall, allowed the candidate to put the Reverend Wright flap behind him. Sanders’ speech was allegedly delivered to quell the specter of “socialism” that hangs over Sanders’ campaign.

I think Republicans are defanging the negative connotations associated with the word “socialism” by slapping the label willy-nilly on everything that benefits a non-corporate person. But while there’s zero chance I’ll vote for Sanders in the primary, I was interested to hear what he had to say about democratic socialism because I figured he’d use the occasion to stake out a difference between himself and a candidate I am interested in voting for: Elizabeth Warren.

I’ll level with y’all: I got bored and wandered off early in the speech. But I did read the transcript, and you can too here, if you’re interested. I can’t really recommend it, though, because it was basically a recycled stump speech from the 2020 race, which is basically a recycled stump speech from the 2016 race.

Americans in general have a hazy understanding of what the word “socialism” means. I am no exception, but here’s my definition: The distinction between social democracy as practiced in, say, Sweden, and democratic socialism has to do with ownership of the means of production. Democratic socialists want the people to own the means of production — eventually, and by democratic consensus — whereas social democrats are mostly focused on regulating capitalism and ensuring its fruits are shared more equitably.

If that’s the correct definition, Sanders is a social democrat, not a democratic socialist, according to his speech yesterday, as was FDR, whose political heir Sanders says he aspires to be. Elizabeth Warren is also a social democrat by that definition, and so is every candidate who wants to transform the way wealth is distributed in the United States in a truly significant way.

Anyhoo, since Sanders failed to make a case for himself over Warren in a definitional sense, the job was left to his paid and unpaid media spokespeople, including one perched over at The Post, Elizabeth Bruenig, who had to resort to misrepresenting Warren’s views in a column entitled “So, what’s the difference between Warren and Sanders?” Bruenig accuses Warren of tinkering around the margins in the conclusion:

But for those who see our political moment as a crisis greater in breadth and content than a few unenforced or misbegotten laws, Sanders’s wide-ranging, historical approach may have greater appeal on its second try than its first.

Ms. Bruenig shouldn’t count on that. The real difference between the two is getting clearer by the day.