Late-Night Open Thread: Access! Hollywood!

Fahrenthold didn’t hesitate. Within a few moments of watching an outtake of footage from a 2005 segment on “Access Hollywood,” the Washington Post reporter was on the phone, calling Trump’s campaign, “Access Hollywood” and NBC for reaction.

By 4 p.m., his story was causing shock waves…

Fahrenthold, a 16-year veteran of The Post, said he knows who pointed him to the “Access Hollywood” video, but he will not reveal the identity because he promised anonymity to his tipster. But like many readers, he said he was surprised and shocked by what he saw on the tape…

Fahrenthold’s story proved to be the most concurrently viewed article in the history of The Post’s website; more than 100,000 people read it simultaneously at one point on Friday. The interest was so heavy that it briefly crashed the servers of the newspaper’s internal tracking system…

To be honest, I don’t think Trump’s boasts were about sex — they were about establishing his superior power/potency to a younger (better-looking, higher-status) young man. Of course, most sex crimes are less about sexual urges than about establishing the criminal’s “power” over another person, but Trump turns every human interaction into another simple-minded display of primate dominance. I could fuck her, if I wanted to, believe me! Because I’m a powerful hard-driving guy, with lots of money — a STAR!

Meanwhile, at the same paper, Chris “Mad Bitcher” Cillizza:

Mr. Cillizza: Delete your account. Fuck it — delete your career.



On Monday, according to an NBC source, one of the entertainment newsmagazine’s producers remembered Trump’s 2005 taping session with former “Access” co-host Billy Bush…

By mid-week, executive producer Rob Silverstein and his producing team had taken a look at its contents…

By Friday morning, Silverstein had decided to broadcast it, and a script had been written. The story was not slated to air on Friday night’s edition of the show, however.

That means the earliest it would have aired is Monday night — after Sunday’s presidential debate.

Another NBC source confirmed that “Access” was working on a story, and that NBC News knew about it, but said that as of Friday morning the story “wasn’t quite finalized.” …

Sounds to me like NBC was dragging the process out until they could see who “won” the debate Sunday night. If Clinton does well (as even the haterz are assuming she will), they’d have a little nugget of tribute to indicate their good intentions. If things weren’t so clear-cut, well…

And speaking of political criminals, yes Billy is one of THOSE Bushes…

Bush, 44, is the nephew of George H.W. Bush and cousin of George W. Bush. He got his start in radio before landing a job at the NBC affiliate in New York. He joined NBC’s syndicated entertainment program “Access Hollywood” as a correspondent in 2001 and has been a constant presence on NBC platforms ever since; he was eventually promoted to “Access Hollywood” co-anchor and frequently reported for the “Today” show, from award shows to Olympics coverage…

Bush was presumably added to the “Today” show roster to improve ratings for the 9 a.m. hour. But on Friday, as the Trump video circulated the Internet, comments flooded in, many from women — the “Today” show’s target audience….

who hangs around Donald Trump comes off unscathed. Even the Bush crime clan can’t keep the stench off, and their founding father was a Hitler profiteer.

Surviving Hurricanes and Other Unthinkables

This seems like a good time to recommend Amanda Ripley’s excellent book The Unthinkable, which examines why (and how) some people survive catastrophes and others don’t. She examines 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, a hotel fire, a stampede at Mecca, and the Virginia Tech mass shooting, among other incidents. It’s a fascinating book, and also hugely practical.

Katrina seems most relevant now, with Hurricane Matthew bearing down on us. Ripley reports that, although a lot of the press coverage of the victims focused on poverty: “The victims of Katrina were not disproportionately poor; they were disproportionately old. Three-quarters of the dead were over sixty, according to the Knight Ridder analysis. Half were over seventy-five.”

She then launches into a discussion of how bad most of us are at risk assessment. You know: how we dread sharks and terrorist attacks when we really should be dreading car crashes and household accidents. She also talks about the perils of arrogance (“about 90 percent of drivers think they are safer than the average driver”) and overconfidence:

When it comes to old-fashioned risks like weather, we often overestimate ourselves. Of the fifty-two people who died during Hurricane Floyd in 1999, for example, 70 percent drowned. And most of them drowned in their cars, which had become trapped in floodwaters. This is a recurring problems in hurricanes. People are overconfident about driving through water, even though they are bombarded with official warnings not to. (This tendency varies, of course, depending on the individual. One study out of the University of Pittsburgh showed that men are much more likely to try to drive through high water than women—and thus more likely to die in the process.)”


Hurricanes are especially tricky because we have to respond to them before things get ugly. We have to evacuate when the skis are clear and blue….It’s hard to image the violence to come. Without any tangible cues, denial comes easily.

In general, she reports, elderly people don’t like to evacuate: “In 1989 1979, after the accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania, retirees and people over age seventy were least likely to evacuate—regardless of how close they were to the reactor.”

Also, elderly people are at particularly risk for over-valuing past experiences (relative to current conditions) in their decision-making. This appears to be a particular trap in highly complex and variable events like hurricanes. Ripley reports on an elderly Katrina victim who, when his kids urged him to evacuate, quite reasonably pointed out that his house had survived thirty years of hurricanes and so should also survive Katrina. But what he—and pretty much everyone else—hadn’t counted on was that decades of technohubris-fueled, under-regulated development and “starve-the-government” GOP policies had decimated the wetlands and levees that had previously protected the city from big hurricanes. And so, like so many others, he drowned.

Best to all Juicers who are in Matthew’s path. Please evacuate EARLY and check in as best you can throughout the weekend. And here’s a thread for sharing everyone’s hurricane-related experiences and suggestions and good wishes. (After Matthew has piddled out, I’ll post another thread with some of Ripley’s more general survival tips – plus my own experience with an earthquake in Japan.)

Reminder Open Thread: Trump’s Undercard Mike Pence Is Also Deplorable

What with one thing and another, I didn’t get to post this draft last week, but Pence’s latest LAWN ORDURE! news conference reminded me…

The more out-of-control Trump acts, the more the “establishment” Republicans try to pretend he’s some kind of unpredictable phenomenon that came down upon their beleaguered party like a new version of Ebola. Let’s not let them get away with this, because the standard GOPers on offer are no better:

Read more

Late Night Small-Minded Open Thread: Lest We Forget

Late Night Open Thread: The Bush Family Once Again Demonstrates Its Principle

Because, let’s be honest, they have but one: Whatever keeps the Bush clan in the game.

Patrick Svitek reports for the Texas Tribune:

Land Commissioner George P. Bush, who has not endorsed Donald Trump, is now asking Texas Republicans to support the party’s presidential nominee.

Addressing state GOP activists Saturday, Bush said it was time to put aside any lingering animosity from the primaries — where Trump defeated Bush’s dad, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, among others — and get behind Trump.

“From Team Bush, it’s a bitter pill to swallow, but you know what? You get back up and you help the man that won, and you make sure that we stop Hillary Clinton,” Bush said, according to video of the remarks provided by an audience member.

Bush was speaking in his capacity as the Texas GOP’s victory chairman, who is responsible for overseeing the party’s statewide campaign in November. Bush had been criticized for taking the role without backing the party’s presidential nominee…

Since the end of the primaries, many members of the Bush family and its network have declined to offer any support for Trump. They include Jeb Bush, former President George W. Bush and former President George H.W. Bush.

The old bulls have run their last races. George P. is the rising star; he’s no doubt sad that Trump pantsed his dad so brutally, but business — after all — is business.

Remember that brief happy moment when we allowed ourselves to believe that ‘Low Energy’ JEB!’s public embarrassment at the hands of a manic carnival barker meant we might never hear from the Bush Crime Syndicate again?


Wednesday Morning Open Thread: The RNC Clown Show Continues

gop 2016 convention condolences davies

(Matt Davies via

The people responsible for writing the 2016 GOP platform are… divided. Per Buzzfeed:

[A] growing number of delegates — unofficially labeled as “the brevity caucus” — [have become] frustrated with the volume and complexity of its party’s platform. These delegates believe the more than 60-page draft platform is straying from its original purpose of communicating the party’s principles to voters and veering off into unnecessary, wonky debates.

“There’s two main camps right now: There’s a small group, who want to use this for door-knocking,” said Ben Barringer, a delegate from Iowa. “The other groups wants to use it to holding legislators accountable. They want to be more verbose.”…

Graves later told BuzzFeed News in an interview that the platform committee included “frustrated policy wonks” and that the platform was getting too long and complicated to share with the average voter.

“It needs to be more of a communications tool and not the Magna Carta,” she said. “I don’t know who reads these many, many pages.”…

Checking off every single ideological box is a trademark of parties whose members feel doomed to minority status, and this year’s Repubs have a long, long list of boxes to check.

Per the Washington Post:

The Republican Party on Tuesday moved closer to firmly embracing a series of staunchly conservative positions on abortion, gay rights, gun rights and immigration reform in a platform document that takes sharp aim at Obama administration policies and reinforces long-standing party orthodoxy on major issues.

Among the specific policies the platform committee endorsed here is a “border wall” that would cover “the entirety of the Southern Border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”…

There was widespread agreement on the party’s position on economic and national security issues and the tougher stance on social issues reinforced the party’s conservative view despite Trump’s calls for relaxed abortion restrictions and his support for some rights for gay and transgender Americans.

Trump was barely mentioned by the 112-member platform committee, composed mostly of longtime conservative activists. The candidate and his team had little presence during the discussions, ceding the details of the platform to party faithful…

And then the last Republican president showed up on everybody’s social media feeds, just to remind us how bad things were, and could be again…

(via The Hill)

Solemn, formal occasions have always been difficult for Dubya to endure, but trying to start a line dance at a memorial service is… special.

Chilcot Drops


This is something I hope Adam will take up in earnest, but we should probably have a thread for the Chilcot report on Tony Blair and the British rush to war in Iraq.  Here’s a link to the Guardian’s coverage.

In brief, and in my reading of the press reports only, it looks like Sir John Chilcot has produced a devastating body of work that effectively condemns both Blair and Bush — and by extension the many more who enabled them in their catastrophic rush to war.

That’s obviously going to hurt, and we’ve already got a taste of the derp to come in David Frum’s claptrap, discussed below.  We’ll see a lot more ass-covering, excuse-bandying, and outright bullshit from all the usual suspects over the next few days.

But what struck me most in the immediate reaction to Chilcot’s report was one snippet from the few minutes of Tony Blair’s press conference that I managed to catch.

There, he admitted the failure to plan for what to do after an initial military victory (you think?) — but he said he stood by his decision to go to war and would make the same decision now, given the intelligence at the time.  He admitted that the intelligence was faulty, but noted that leaders have to decide based on what they know at any given time, which is certainly true.

The problem with that pivot to “bad intelligence” is that it is bullshit.

Those in a position to know understood at the edge of war that Saddam did not have weapons of mass destruction as generally understood.  I give you a speech that should be much better known than it is, Robin Cook’s personal address to the House of Commons to explain his resignation from Tony Blair’s government:


Here’s a text version.

Our leaders knew that the stated reason for war in Iraq was false.  They did it anyway.  There’s plenty of blame to go round — and while it’s not clear how much individual members of Congress or Parliament knew, compared to the heads of government and the cabinets in both the US and the UK, some of that responsibilty certainly accrues to those legislators who went along to get along.

But the central villains of this piece are the leaders who made the choice to cajole and coerce their colleagues and their countries into war.

One last thought:  the upcoming election is between someone who’s learned from the Iraq disaster, and someone who just yesterday hearts him some murderous Saddam.

Image:  A. Y. Jackson, A Copse, Evening 1918, 1918