Friday Morning Open Thread: Whispering & Ranting


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Rant of the Day award goes to Timothy Egan in the NYTimes, discussing “Bill O’Reilly’s Gift for the Ages”:

It’s been nearly two weeks now since Bill O’Reilly’s interview with President Obama on Super Bowl Sunday, and in the No Spin Zone of the host’s pretend world he’s still spinning the chat as the greatest conversation since Winston Churchill dined alone.

His sit-down with the president, he said, “is going to go down in journalistic history as what should be done.” And in case historians are late to the same conclusion, O’Reilly is auctioning off the notes of his questions — “they are obviously one of a kind,” he says.

Let us now praise the Bombastic One’s gift to posterity. His interview, his notes, all the ephemera should be preserved and studied. The sickness that infects news and politics, and its commensurate cynicism, can be directly traced to the creation of Fox News — “a political operation that employs journalists,” in the words of Gabriel Sherman, author of the new book on Roger Ailes, “The Loudest Voice in the Room.” There is no bigger media story in the last 50 years than the creation of a news network run by political hacks, says Sherman. I’m inclined to agree.

But just as important, civility itself took a dive with the rise of Fox, and has never recovered. The shouters, the boasters, the haters who show up at town hall meetings or pollute the Web with dark fantasies get their behavioral cues from Fox. O’Reilly is famous for telling guests to “shut up,” for cutting off people he disagrees with, for smugly praising his own performances and bringing on sycophants to do the same. By comparison, Ron Burgundy is a model of humility…

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Apart from Amateur Night (I’ve been sleeping with the same person for thirty-five years and counting, so everything I know about romance is too idiosyncratic to be generally useful), what’s on the agenda as we wrap up another week?








On the Value of Knowing When to Shut the Fuck Up

Or just apologizing and recognizing that you were being a jackass.

Apparently, one of the biggest problem for our Tory immigrants in the media sector is learning when to shut the fuck up. Last night, Piers Morgan had Janet Mock on, which means that one person I wish I had never heard of was interviewing someone I had never heard of, and apparently Piers made a total ass of himself on twitter after the interview:

Last night, Piers Morgan had trans activist Janet Mock on his program. It did not go well. And today, when confronted about it by various trans activists and allies, he threw a Twitter temper tantrum for the ages.

Cliff’s notes version of the dramz: Morgan is upset that he’s being accused of transphobia and insists that during the interview, Mock seemed fine with his line of questioning. But today, Morgan would have been better served to step away from the computing machine and prep for a revisit of that discussion tonight rather than engaging like a jackass on Twitter. It’s hard to pick a moment that’s the most over the top and childish, but here are a few good ones.

Part of his twitter meltdown included calling her formerly a man, which really got a number of people pissed off. I was initially sympathetic, because I really know fuck all about the topic. If forced, at gunpoint, to accurately describe the difference between transgender and transsexual, I can guarantee I would fuck it up every time and dig myself into a hole because my only personal experience anywhere in the genre is being kissed in the mid 90’s by a drag queen dressed as Marilyn (she serenaded me with Diamonds, and my gay friends were all hysterical and one actualy has a picture he claims he is saving for if I ever run for office) at a gay bar in Morgantown (the Class Act). And at that point, having answered incorrectly, they would probably just shoot me out of sympathy. I do know that for some fucked up reason I will not comprehend, I remember a number of high profile bloggers who are basically all gay rights oriented but who don’t want trans to get included in the progress, and that makes no sense to me, because rights are rights regardless of who you are.

And that lack of insight isn’t because I am a hater, it’s because it just isn’t part of my routine daily existence- there really is not a very big trans community in my town of 300. I tend to not know about things I don’t have to deal with or are not exposed to, like most of you. And that isn’t a crime or an issue or even a problem if you are not being judgmental- which I am not, as I have long prided myself on being a “whatever blows your trumpet” kind of guy. What you do that you do because you like to do it ain’t my concern, and I am not going to give a shit if it isn’t something I don’t do.

Plus, the things I do not know in this world so vastly exceed the things I do sort of know by, well, a lot. Knowing that, though, means that I am infinitely more self-aware than Piers Morgan. He couldn’t even be bothered to use the google before his interview, made an ass out of himself on tv, and then went to the twitter, where he immediately did more damage.

But he didn’t stop there with one stupid tweet as he just couldn’t shut the fuck up about it, and just went for the gusto, and invoked Jared Leto, demanded an apology from Mock, the person he insulted, and then just went totally insane. The whole thing kind of reminded me of me on this blog from 2002-2005.

I also think I am going to tag everything I write with OLD MAN YELLS AT CLOUDS because I have been feeling so splenetic lately.








Privilege Continues Into Death

If anyone ever tries to tell you with a straight face that justice is blind and that the rich and the poor are treated equally, just go back to this story:

Four people were arrested in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday evening with more than 350 bags of heroin as part of the investigation into the death of the actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, the authorities said.

Narcotics investigators executed search warrants in three apartments in a building at 302 Mott Street on Tuesday evening, the police said. Three men and a woman were arrested, and the investigators recovered the bags of heroin inside the apartments.

Information stemming from the investigation into Mr. Hoffman’s death led the police to the building, a law enforcement official said. None of the people arrested have been charged with the sale of drugs and a firm connection to Mr. Hoffman has not been established, officials said.

I am sure it is standard operating procedure for the NYC police department to immediately convene a high profile task force every time they find a dead junkie with a needle in his arm. The dealers didn’t kill Hoffman, he killed himself. Read between the lines. They found him lying on his bathroom floor wearing shorts and socks with his glasses resting on his head and the needle still in his arm. Put it together. He knew what he was doing. He wasn’t at the sink and fell because he got a bad dose or laced dose- he deliberately chose to lie down on the floor, rest his glasses on his head, and ride the tiger. He had done this many times before…

It’s a tragedy, and it is horrible, but the only difference between Hoffman and every other junkie that overdoses is that Hoffman died on expensive tile in a multimillion dollar apartment, while most junkies die on a cum and body fluid stained couch in a flophouse or under a ratty blanket under a highway overpass. And I assure you, NYC’s finest aren’t knocking down doors and grabbing surveillance video for those people.








This is Kind of a Big Fucking Deal

It really is:

China’s Communist state is hardly known for its transparency. So when environmental groups appealed to the government last year to disclose official data on air pollution, they were not expecting much.

“Way beyond our expectations, the government actually said yes,” said Ma Jun, head of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs in Beijing. “I am quite amazed.”

Since Jan. 1, the central government has required 15,000 factories — including influential state-run enterprises — to publicly report details on their air emissions and water discharges in real time, an unprecedented degree of disclosure that is shedding light on the who, what, when and where of China’s devastating environmental problems.

The reporting requirement is part of a striking turnaround by China’s government, which is also publishing data on the sootiest cities and trying to limit the use of coal. The country’s appalling air is blamed for more than a million premature deaths a year, for producing acid rain that damages the nation’s agriculture, for driving away tourists and even for encouraging the brightest students to study abroad. Perhaps just as important, Beijing’s bad air has been making its Communist leaders lose face.

I have a number of thoughts about this, first and foremost of which is that is if China decides to start limiting imported American and other coal, you can fully expect the current hysterical equation of mild EPA efforts to regulate the air to turn into even more heated plaintive wails about communism and Obama and the war on coal and socialism and WHY THE FUCK DO STUPID PEOPLE HAVE SO MUCH INFLUENCE? On the upside, I am tired of the imagined fever dream Muslim Obama, so maybe Mao Obama will at least be new for a while. Or Che Obama. It’s all good.

The second thought is that if China does decide to kill the market for coal, and while no economist, if they transition off it or make mention of transitioning off of it, I would bet they could totally disrupt the market, create a glut and a total fucking mess in the commodities markets, and kill off coal mines all over America with a vengeance that would give every Greenpeace member in the world a sizable erection. Additional, they are perfectly positioned to be the new green energy leaders of the globe, since they are already kicking our ass in solar and if you mention clean energy in Ameriduh you get my Senator Joe Manchin shooting a rifle at something while fellating a brick of coal and a thousand wingnut websites all scream SOLYNDRA in unison so that it is the first fucking thing talked about on Morning Joe or, well, every other cable news broadcast.

Hi, my name is John Cole and I am cranky for some reason.








Out of the Ashes, a Phoenix Arises

Just spent the last hour and a half watching the drunks stream out of the bar, and I am pleased to announce that while I did drink tea while holding a walking stick, I did not yell at any one, none of the girls were in any danger that I could tell (I mean the college girls, not Lily and Rosie, as no one was being “escorted” back to the frat houses after having obviously had too much to drink- you all know what I mean and what I am keeping an eye out for, so stop making me explain myself), and people seemed drunk and tired and not drunk and rowdy.

Back to the point of this post, which is to bring you pictures of one fucking special cat who has taken to his cat tree like it was his job. Here he is in all his glory, living up to the standards of Tunch beyond my wildest expectations:

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Presence, he has it. He’s more magnificent in person.