Barbara Bush: 1925-2018

I read yesterday that Mrs. Bush refused all medical intervention except bourbon. There’s bravery in that. She was a formidable old lady. That’s all I’ve got to say. Open thread!

RIP Kuma

My sister’s dog, Kuma, had to be put down the other day after a rather aggressive cancer. She’s just devastated, and I thought I would share some pictures. I only met him a few times (she lives in Connecticut), but he was a sweet boy although he hogged the god damned couch and drooled like no one’s business.

I asked Annie for some action pics, but the simple fact is there are none- he lived to sleep. AND I AM NOT JUDGING.

Every time my mother visited Annie, when she came home her back hurt for several days because Kuma insisted on sleeping with her. Big galoot. RIP, Kuma.

Stephen Hawking, RIP

Dead at 76.

Night Owls Open Thread

Okay, it’s not an owl, it’s an oriole. It was sketched by extremely talented lurker Triplet, who used one of the oriole photos I posted this weekend to draw it. Beautiful job, Triplet!

I was on a rare weeknight out with a friend this evening, eating Thai food and drinking sake. So I missed the news. Looks like Conor Lamb won narrowly, which is fantastic!

On a more somber note, physicist Stephen Hawking has died, and on Pi Day, no less. What a remarkable man he was, and what an amazing life he led. Rest in peace.

As I’ve mentioned in comments, we cut the cable cord a while back. I got Sling TV, so I have CNN but no MSNBC.

That sucks on a night like this, where I’d like to watch election coverage without being subjected to obnoxious wingnuts. I know MSNBC gives a platform to some idiots, but it really is worse on CNN.

Anyhoo, open thread!

John Mahoney RIP

He was much more than Frasier’s dad, but here’s a clip from his favorite episode of that series. Open thread.

RIP, John Anderson

Anderson got my first presidential vote (because you had to be 21 to vote in 1976, and my 21st birthday fell a week too late). In my defense, those were more innocent days; I was outraged at Jimmy Carter’s cynically abandoning women to court “heartland” anti-choice voters, and besides, my individual vote didn’t mean much in then-dependably-Democratic Michigan.

What happened next convinced me (and should have convinced younger voters, IMO) that there are only two possible choices in American presidential elections, and the Democratic one is always preferable. The ensuing, increasingly suicidal, embrace of Ralph Nader by “progressives” only reinforced my conviction that too many leftists are less interested in actual political progress than in performative virtue-signalling.

We may not have fully appreciated it in 1980, but John Anderson marked the last bastion of Liberal Republicanism. Per Ed Kilgore, at NYMag

John B. Anderson of Illinois, who died today at the age of 95, served in Congress for 20 years. But what gave him national fame was a briefly sensational independent candidacy for president in 1980, running against President Jimmy Carter and soon-to-be-president Ronald Reagan. By doing so, Anderson represented two milestones in modern political history: He was the most conspicuous of early conscientious objectors to the conservative movement’s takeover of the Republican Party, and he was the prototype for the kind of centrist third-party presidential candidate that so many pundits and billionaires long for in today’s era of partisan polarization.

Anderson was not, of course, the first moderate-to-liberal Republican to oppose the rightward drift of his party. But he was the first to take an unsuccessful presidential primary candidacy right out of the GOP and into an independent ballot line. He took that fateful step in part because of the low regard he had for Ronald Reagan, his vanquisher in the primaries. But he also realized his brand of socially liberal, fiscally conservative politics had a stronger constituency outside his own party…

For a while, Anderson’s campaign was quite the phenomenon. In June his National Unity Party ticket (with running mate Pat Lucey, a Democratic former governor of Wisconsin) was polling at 24 percent according to Gallup. But as is typically the case, voters returned to the two major parties as the election approached. And in fact, Anderson largely abandoned his centrist positioning in order to poach liberals from Jimmy Carter, whose Evangelical background, fiscal conservatism, and cool relationship with Israel alienated a lot of usually Democratic voters. I recall seeing Anderson speak in San Francisco in the fall of 1980, by which time he was emphasizing his progressive social views, including what was then an unusual attitude of support for gay rights.

In the end, Anderson won only 7 percent of the vote, and his National Unity Party vanished without a trace. By 1984, Anderson was endorsing Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale. And so he was the prototype for millions of other relatively liberal Republicans who trended Democratic as even larger numbers of conservative Democrats joined the GOP. He had a distinguished later career as chairman of the electoral-reform group FairVote, which promotes a national popular vote and ranked-choice voting…

RIP Bailey, a Good Dog

Horrible news from Tamara this morning, as her beloved Bailey has died in her sleep. I will let Tamara fill you all in when she has more information, but we believe it was due to a ruptured diaphragm that was punctured and repaired during surgery when she was a puppy.

I spoke with Tamara this morning and she is devastated, so please send some good vibes in her direction and keep her in your thoughts.