Late Night Culinary Horrorshow Open Thread: Nope, Not A Taco

Apparently some half-bright assignment editor at the NYTimes is looking to replicate the 2015 ‘put peas in your guacamole’ wars — hey, clicks are clicks!

I believe potatoes are the true staff of life, and that broccoli is a cruelly misunderstood vegetable. But you can’t wrap them in a tortilla and pass the result off as a “taco”, because there are limits, people. I mean, I can remember the 1970s, when the college cafeteria tried to pass off a cheese-free version of ‘Johnny Marzetti‘ as ‘an Italian favorite’ — we’re supposed to have made culinary progress since then!

(P.S. Yes, a version of that casserole was a staple of my Bronx childhood, but we knew it was related to ‘Italian food’ only in the sense that I am related to Serena Williams. Also, we grade-school coastal elitists knew it by the name ‘Highway Fatality Cleanup’, which gave it at least some rhetorical spice… )

Thursday Evening Open Thread: ‘Dumb’ vs. ‘Willfully Ignorant’

I first read Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi when I was 9 or 10 (my English-teacher mother gave me a copy when I told her Tom Sawyer was a terrible book, and I was having doubts about Twain’s literary stature). That book made explicit one of the great ‘secrets’ of American life: There’s a considerable percentage of our fellow citizens who genuinely admire con artists, thugs, and those who ‘know how to get what they want, whatever it takes.’

The number of such secret fellow-felons has certainly grown no less, here in our second Gilded Age. It’s not necessarily that all Trump voters are stupid (although many of them *are* plenty stupid; look at the Fox talking heads!), but they choose to insist on being ignorant enough to believe the crap Fox / Trump / the entire GOP ladles into their gaping maws…

As another great American artist once said, You can’t cheat an honest man…

Read more

Late Night Creepshow Open Thread: Nobody “Needs” Mark Halperin

… except for a handful of his fellow Media Village Idiots, and the Pale Male Oligarchs who enjoy his very special attentions.

But they have money! So — bygones?


Creeping Authoritarianism Watch

Authoritarian kleptocracies typically maintain a democratic facade, but the strongman and his cronies ensure that institutions ostensibly created to represent the people serve the regime instead. I’ve always thought Trump, a Dollar Store-brand Putin wannabe, is too dumb and incompetent to completely subvert our democracy to the extent more capable autocrats have achieved. But recent developments leave me less confident about the saving grace of stupidity and ineptitude.

Barr’s disgraceful handling of the Mueller report and assertions during his audition for the AG gig that the president is above the law are one example of creeping authoritarianism. But Barr’s willingness to abuse his office to eliminate Trump’s enemies is equally alarming because it’s not about covering up past misdeeds; it’s about eliminating political opposition in the future. Read more


So here’s a center-left white dude of somewhat more consequence that Seth Moulton about to render the latter’s candidacy yet more risible:

Former Vice President Joe Biden will join the crowded Democratic primary field with an online video announcement on Thursday, followed by an event with union workers in Pittsburgh on Monday, NBC News reported Tuesday.

I think Joe’s making a big mistake here.

He’s the Muskie of this year’s cycle (I’m an old) — the instant front runner whose candidacy will not survive much contact with the primary process.

The dynamics are fascinating, if likely depressing. Does the media now treat the D race as Biden v. Sanders? Some will…though I think that the narrative frame that so many in the elite political press have labored so long and hard to preserve is beginning to fracture.  In my hopeful moments, I see this as a cage match between those two that allows the best of the others to rise.

I should add — there’s lots I like about Joe, and lots I don’t, and while I’d be fine with him as president in place of the incumbent, we can do better.

Right now, for me, that’s Warren, though Harris is impressive as hell too.  I’m interested in Castro, and really will walk over broken glass for any of them (barring Gabbard) come the day.

But Joe, Joe, Joe…you had a chance to be a queenmaker.  You’ve given it up for a third, likely doomed bite at the apple yourself.  Alas.

Image: El Greco, St. Peter in Tears, by 1596