Monday Afternoon Open Thread

Here’s a beautiful photo of some clam-digging ibises from faithful reader cope:

Ibises aren’t strictly shore birds. I see them sweep the neighborhood frequently, moving from yard to yard in small groups while digging for bugs. They’re such a part of the daily landscape that I scarcely notice them anymore, but I’m going to pay more attention in the future.

Saw news alerts about that despicable Milo creature getting the boot from CPAC (the annual conservative circle-jerk that takes place soon). Just a couple of weeks ago, wingnuts were bewailing the abridging of his “First Amendment rights” after an appearance in Berkeley was met by protests and then black bloc rioting.

Now that video has emerged of the creep defending pederasty in no uncertain terms, the wingnuts have dumped him. Wonder if he’ll lose his book deal and perch at Breitbart? Maybe. He sure sounds worried in this Facebook post.

It’s comforting to know there are still lines someone who defames liberals for profit cannot cross. Racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc., are all well and good, but modern conservatives WILL draw the line at child molestation. Good to know.



Small Ray of Sunshine Open Thread: Is Trump Making Reporting “Sexy” Again?

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Unhappy is the land that needs a hero.”
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During “normal” times, people tend to regard the press as, at best, a bunch of prying busybodies, and at worst a pack of tattle-tales. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!) But for a brief shining moment after Watergate (and not, I would add, necessarily to the benefit of the profession), investigative reporters were swashbuckling young rebels who brought down an evil cabal which had threatened the very foundations of our democracy. Since some people mistook the movie version of All the President’s Men for a documentary, earnest suburban youngsters with adequate SATs dreamed of becoming the next Robert Redford Bob Woodward or Dustin Hoffman Carl Bernstein. Journalism became a credential-requiring career, not just a job for oddballs too literate for the factory floor and too stubborn or damaged to climb into the better white-collar ranks.

But if Trump and his handlers, on both sides of the Atlantic, are determined to reenact Watergate (second time as farce!), maybe we’ll at least get an influx of bright young minds interested in actual investigative reporting, as opposed to cocktail-party scrumming to join the ranks of the Media Village Idiots…


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Late Night Early Reviews Open Thread: Different Month, Same Old Trumpstuntin’

CNN [warning: autoplay]Trump gets what he wants in Florida: Campaign-level adulation“:

Trump, who just months ago finished campaigning for the office he now holds, was both selling what his administration has done in its first 30 days and trying to change the subject after a chaotic month. The President was forced to fire his national security adviser, struggled to roll out his travel ban and strained to explain a growing story about how members of his 2016 campaign made repeated contact with Russian individuals known to US intelligence…

What was unclear Saturday was what exactly Trump was campaigning for. The event was being run by Trump’s 2016 campaign, Donald J. Trump for President Inc.

Before taking the stage, Trump was asked if it was too early to do another campaign event. His response: “Life is a campaign.”

“Making our country great again is a campaign,” Trump added. “For me, it’s a campaign. To make America great again is absolutely a campaign.”…
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Saturday Morning Open Thread

A far more pleasant story, via commentor Aleta — from the NYTimes, “Opening the Heart’s Floodgates, With a Paw”:

The quiet young man had come to me looking for love, ideally at first sight. I asked my usual questions about his work, where he lived, how he spent his free time. I asked about his great loves of the past, what had worked, or not worked, in those relationships. Then I asked how he felt about being jumped on, slobbered on or getting mud all over his couch.

“I’m O.K. with that,” he said. “Can I meet Chance?”

Ah, Chance. The young lab-mix, with a puppy’s zeal for life, who loved to chew on the shelter volunteers’ hands as we leashed him.

“Behave yourself for once,” I urged Chance as I opened the kennel.

He was quiet as I slipped on a harness, but when we turned to leave he began to buck wildly. My heart sank. Then I saw the face of the young man waiting by the door. He’d gone all moony. He only had eyes for Chance.

Much to my surprise, I have become a matchmaker. On Saturday afternoons I pull on my gray T-shirt and head to the Animal Rescue League of Boston, where I help people find their canine soul mates amid the barky din. Doing this work, I’ve not only learned how to pair up people and canines, I have received a master class in the expansiveness of the human heart, a lesson that I very much needed…

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What’s on the agenda for the beginning of the (for some of us, three-day) weekend?



Open Thread: Moving the Goalposts on Leaks, or Rearranging the Deckchairs on the Titanic?

There’s a portion of the Republican Party that’s been trying since the mid-1970s to get a “reset” on Watergate — people convinced that if not for one or two bad breaks, the American people would’ve totally understood that President Nixon only treated us like that because he loved us and knew better than we did what America really needed. The Iran-contra scandal didn’t satisfy those GOPers, because the international criminality involved was so brazen that it needed to be swept under whatever Persian rugs were available. The Cheney Regency wasn’t good, because Dubya was such a blatant fvck-up that everybody laughed at him. But time keeps passing, the original keepers of the flame are gone — President-Asterisk Trump is their last hope, dammit!!!


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Immigrants Get the Job Done*

The AP reports that the Trump regime floated a proposal to activate 100K National Guard troops to round up undocumented immigrants.

The Trump administration is considering a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, according to a draft memo obtained by The Associated Press.

The 11-page document calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana.

Four states that border on Mexico are included in the proposal — California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas — but it also encompasses seven states contiguous to those four — Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the AP report was “100 percent not true” and “irresponsible.” ”There is no effort at all to utilize the National Guard to round up unauthorized immigrants,” he said.

The denial issued by the slab of Spam with eyes that Melissa McCarthy occasionally impersonates on SNL isn’t very convincing since the Trump regime, from its titular head on down, lie all the time. And AP has a memo.

Valued commenter Ajabu had an idea for a response to the so-called president’s constant fear-mongering about immigrants: a photo array featuring select immigrants and “real Americans.” He edited a ton of photos that illustrate the foolishness of Trump’s “ooga-booga” act. Here’s a sample:

Dennis Hastert, Real American

Khizr Khan, Immigrant

Ted Kaczynski, Real American

Albert Einstein, Immigrant

I think I’ll make this a recurring feature until I run out of photos from the cache Ajabu sent, rather than just publishing the whole array in one fell swoop. Sadly, I’m confident we’ll have many more opportunities to respond to scaremongering on immigration in the coming months.

*Yes, I know this is a line from “Hamilton.” I’m still not joining your stupid cult! :)



Open Thread: Things Are Progressing Not Necessarily to the Trump Administration’s Best Advantage

The great blogger Billmon used to remind us, when official sources tried to obfuscate the consequences of their own incompetence, that the Emperor in 1945 is supposed to have announced Japan’s unconditional surrender by saying something like “The situation has progressed not necessarily to our kingdom’s best advantage.”

The GOP, and its handmaidens in the management suites at the Grey Lady, are attempting a similar circumlocution. The NYTimes reporters are starting to edge towards the exits, though:

For days, a frustrated and simmering president fumed inside the West Wing residence about what aides said he saw as his staff’s inadequate defense and the ineffectiveness of his own tweets. Over the objections of some top advisers who wanted to steer him away from confrontation, Mr. Trump demanded to face the media, determined to reject the narrative that his administration is sinking into chaos, scandal and incompetence.

In a rowdy, free-for-all news conference hastily staged in the East Room, Mr. Trump attempted to deflect attention from news coverage about Russian intelligence, the resignation of his national security adviser, the defeat of his labor secretary nominee, and deepening questions about his ability to govern.

“I turn on the T.V., open the newspapers and I see stories of chaos,” Mr. Trump said as he attempted — with little discipline — to read from prepared remarks listing his accomplishments since being inaugurated one month ago. “Chaos. Yet it is the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine.”…

For his supporters, the performance was certain to be energizing. Mr. Trump turned sober questions from journalists into, at times, mesmerizing television. He attempted to reassert his command of “dishonest” journalists at a time when the news media is questioning his capacity to lead. It all made the brooding boss feel better, people close to Mr. Trump said…

Still, it is unlikely that Mr. Trump’s 77-minute performance will divert much long-term attention from questions about his campaign’s relationship with Russia, or reassure wavering Republicans on Capitol Hill that their agenda is on track. Yet Mr. Trump’s close allies said he had met his more immediate goal of soothing himself with a sense of control over his own administration…

Even the NotSoLiberal Fox News!