Only in America Open Thread: The Waffle House Killings

Needless to say, this drew a ton of questions (you can click on the tweet to see some of them). Even from those of us who oppose the death penalty, because if walking into a restaurant wearing only your bullets-holder and shooting down multiple strangers in cold blood doesn’t qualify for the death penalty, what does?

(Yeah, I know: Being wilfully not-white in a public — or, if the wrong ‘authority figures’ get involved, private — space.)

And I’ve seen tweets saying Reinking’s father has been charged as an accessory for giving those guns back to his obviously incompetent-to-handle-them-safely son, but I haven’t found a proper news report.

Be that as it may, here’s a genuinely positive response to the tragedy:

Reporter Yashar Ali is raising money for the man who pried the gun away from a shooter at a Waffle House.

James Shaw Jr. wrestled the weapon away from the gunman during a mass shooting on Sunday in the Nashville restaurant. On Monday, Shaw started a GoFundMe account raising money for the families of the shooting victims…

Ali said that the money will be given directly to James and that the funds could be used for his daughter’s education.

“But I’d be just as happy if James used some of this money to take his family on a nice vacation,” he added.

More than $61,000 had been given to the GoFundMe as of Tuesday afternoon, more than the goal of $60,000.

Shaw has been hailed as a hero after fighting back against the shooter. His GoFundMe for the victims’ families had raised more than $98,000 as of Tuesday afternoon.

Shaw suffered a gunshot wound and burns from grabbing the assault-style rifle from the gunman. Four people were killed and at least three others were injured in the shooting…

Direct links to the GoFundMe pages:

Victims Of Waffle House Shooting

Help The Waffle House Hero

Trump Crime Cartel Open Thread: The Friends of Mikey Cohen

Vanity Fair, “Under Siege, Michael Cohen Is Vacillating Between a New Level of Exasperation and Trumpian Business-as-Usual”:

As much as the raid has spooked President Trump, and in contrast to the breezy, cigar-smoking images portrayed, it has also weighed heavily on Cohen. In the days since the raid, according to two people familiar with his thinking, Cohen has grappled with the seriousness of his legal situation and the impact it has had on his family, and the fallout that may follow in the weeks, months, and perhaps years to come. These people explained that Cohen feels as though he is a means to an end—as “collateral damage” and a “disposable” element being used to get to his old boss.

Cohen, according to these people, has vacillated between this new level of exasperation and his typical Trumpian chest-beating manner. He has suggested to people close to him that perhaps he should act as his own attorney, because he may be the most apt person to defend himself. He has expressed anger at the lack of outrage over the fact that his legal office and private residence were searched when he says he was willing to cooperate with any subpoenas. “Where is the A.C.L.U?” he has said; at times, he has jokingly asked whether there is going to be a “Million Michael March”—a reference to the renowned 1995 African-American display of unity—to retrieve his documents. Cohen, according to these people, has also been dismayed by the silence from Trump’s inner circle in Washington, many of whom he expected would have his back. One person familiar with his thinking said that he’s gotten messages from thousands of people since last Monday, but “it’s been a ghost town from D.C.,” other than from the president…

Sunday Evening Open Thread: Everything Old Is… Still Pretty Stale

Not that the Repubs won’t keep trying

But unlike professional ratfvckers such as Ari Fleischer, Trump is an old-school grifter:

Friday Morning Open Thread: Repubs Just Want the Dirty Details


Okay, fair warning…

Apparently Ed Meese’s ridiculously comprehensive Pornography Report back during the Reagan years gave some professional Republicans a taste for voyeurism that hasn’t been adequately slacked since Ken Starr spent all those millions of taxpayer dollars in pursuit of The Clenis. Cuz they seem to be desperate for a fresh fix…

[Warning: NSFW. Seriously. You have been warned.]

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Excellent Read: “The YouTube shooter fits the most important narrative of all”

Something to take the taste of wingnut stupidity out of our metaphorical mouths. Molly Roberts, at the Washington Post:

Few would have guessed the next shooting to make national news would be carried out by a female animal-rights activist enraged at YouTube for demonetizing her fitness videos. And because YouTube shooter Nasim Najafi Aghdam doesn’t fit into the familiar narratives of the gun epidemic, those on the right have taken to Twitter to create narratives of their own…

The fact that Aghdam doesn’t match the common profile of a shooter who captures this much media attention underscores the one thing that does unite every instance of gun violence: guns.

Aghdam stirred such a frenzy in part because she chose to attack one of the highest-profile workplaces in the country. But the FBI counts 220 “active shooter” events between 2000 and 2016; stories similar to this one simply don’t often inspire such feverish coverage or conspiracizing….

Visualize a society where “Whew, just another workplace shooting / domestic-violence situation!” would seem as barbaric as nonchalant historical notes like “This week’s public hanging drew a fair crowd” or “Souvenirs from the latest lynching are now being circulated”…

Market Schadenfreude Open Thread: “Trade Wars Are Good, and Easy to Win”


Wrong again, Donald!

If it weren’t for all our 401(k)s and other retirement accounts, I’d be just as happy to watch Steve “Pig Muck” King trying to explain to his pork- and soybean-raising voters that those wiley ChiComs just have more experience at this whole international trade stuff than the Party of Smoot-Hawley Mk. II…
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Late Night Palace Intrigue Open Thread: Conway vs. Schlapp — Root for the Crook, It’s Important!

Just posting this is gonna infuriate some of y’all, but still: Kellyanne Conway wants to be Trump’s next communications director, because she wants the money and power. Mercedes ‘Mercy’ Schlapp, with the backing of her repulsive husband CPAC director Matt Schlapp, wants to be Trump’s next communications director because she wants the money and power, and they believe their God has anointed them to do anything they want to get it. As a religious person myself, I find Conway’s simplicity preferable.

Olivia Nuzzi (yes, I know she’s probably a terrible person, but she’s also a professional), at NYMag, reports from “Inside the Cutthroat Battle to Be the Next Hope Hicks”:

The race to fill the Hicks void is a clandestine parade of all the worst human impulses. Among the potential hires mentioned by Trump in conversations with aides in recent weeks are former Fox News executive Bill Shine, who reportedly isn’t interested, and Kellyanne Conway, who reportedly is. But administration sources told New York that, whoever the job goes to, the real story is the bloodletting between two early frontrunners: director of strategic communications Mercedes “Mercy” Schlapp and Treasury Department spokesman Tony Sayegh, both former Fox News contributors.

White House officials told New York the view from the inside is that Mercy wants it most, and is campaigning for the job with the assistance of her husband, Matt Schlapp, a lobbyist and frequent presence on cable news who chairs the American Conservative Union, while Sayegh is a competitor because he was well-liked by Hicks, whose recommendation the president is expected to weigh heavily. When anonymous sources began sprouting weed-like in the conservative press to go after Sayegh, the Schlapps were blamed. And their perceived ruthlessness had a perceived profit motive: the year that Mercy joined the administration, Matt’s lobbying firm saw its income nearly double

When Hicks finally became vulnerable – amid her involvement in the various Russia investigations and Degrassi: The Next Generation-meets-Homeland drama in her personal life – Schlapp saw opportunity, sources said. Speaking to New York last month, Schlapp denied this characterization from her colleagues; she said she was hurt by the rumors. “I called Hope right away and was like, ‘This is ridiculous. You know where my heart is and where we work together.’ I mean, she is someone who I incredibly value,” Schlapp said. “I feel like Mother Hen here a lot of times, and I’m very protective of my little – you know, the team.” But a former White House official said that was laughable: “She went after Hope with a fucking full knife right away.” Beloved baby chick or Kentucky Fried, the maneuvering to fill Hicks’s position was cannibalistic from the start…

Sources inside and outside the administration said that the Schlapps suffer from a lack of subtlety that reveals not only the methods used to reach an end, but their motives for wanting the end in the first place. When Mercy entered the White House, she left Cove Strategies, the lobbying group where her husband remains a principal. From 2009 to 2016, according to data from OpenSecrets, Cove Strategies earned between $390,000 and $640,000 annually, lobbying on behalf of companies like Comcast, WalMart, Verizon, the Motion Picture Association of America, Dow Chemical, Koch Industries, and so on. In 2016, Cove Strategies earned $640,000 lobbying for five companies. But in 2017, the year Mercy Schlapp became a Trump official, those numbers almost doubled: Cove Strategies earned $1,030,000 from nine clients…

After telling New York that Schlapp and Sayegh wanted to be interviewed for this story, the White House instead provided New York with a statement from deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley: “This palace intrigue nonsense is all ridiculous. Like at any workplace, Tony and Mercy interact in an entirely professional manner. They work closely together and make great things happen for the President’s agenda – and will continue to do so.” The White House also told New York that Schlapp and Sayegh have plans for some kind of social interaction this week, but couldn’t say what those plans were or when exactly they would take place. First, they said it was a dinner. Then, it was a lunch.

But ridiculous nonsense matters a lot in the Trump era, and this episode of fighting has staffers in a state of existential crisis. “One component is always trying to do their jobs, and one component is trying to keep some semblance of peace, and one component is where all the chaos goes,” a White House official said. “At some point we’re all going to need therapists or psychiatrists.”

“In this White House, the comms shop is one hundred times more important than the policy shop. The comms shop is what Trump lives for – that’s why he’s on Twitter all the time. Policy is not relevant to him, he doesn’t care. What he cares about are stories,” a second former White House official told New York. “The president of the United States walked into lower press and put his head in there,” the former official added, referring to a recent incident when Trump walked into the briefing room to tell reporters he’d have an announcement soon. “The president of the fucking United States – he’s like an assistant press secretary!”…

The Way We Live Now!

Why am I ignoring the chances of (no doubt, skilled professional & possibly nice person) Tony Sayegh? Because I assume what Trump wants in a Hope Hicks replacement is The Perfect Office Handmaiden, and for once Sayegh’s position of a Y chromosome will lessen his chances; Trump famously doesn’t trust other males, and prefers to have women in those almost-family “support network” positions.

Also, there’s this:

Bonus reading, for those interested in the sausage-making process behind the news media: Elon Green at CRJ with a longish interview — “Olivia Nuzzi on how she got Hope Hicks to talk”