Saturday Evening Cheap Shots Open Thread: Further Adventures of Milo Y, Boy Provocateur

Well, that was quick — and on a weekend, too. Turns out that Tucker “Walking Proof That the Best Schools Can’t Fix Stupid” Carlson may not have “standards”, as the term is usually recognized, but he’s getting quicker at spotting a publicity disaster in the making:

The Daily Caller has fired its opinion editor amid controversy over the site’s publishing of a column by right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, the editor-in-chief confirmed to a CNN reporter Saturday.

Geoffrey Ingersoll, the right-leaning news site’s top editor, confirmed Saturday to CNN’s Oliver Darcy that opinion editor Rob Mariani was fired. The confirmation came shortly after Yiannopoulos posted about his column ending on Facebook…

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And here I’d been saving this little amuse-bouche for a late-night larf. Points to ThinkProgress and Mr. Legum…

In the letter announcing his resignation, Mercer specifically calls out Milo Yiannopoulos, a popular, controversial former Breitbart senior editor, saying he has only caused “pain and divisiveness.”…

Yiannopoulos served as a key intermediary between white nationalists and Breitbart. He published a lengthy feature piece that served as a guide to so-called “alt-right” that he allowed prominent white nationalists to edit before publication, and was caught on video in the company of known white nationalist Richard Spencer as he signals a “Sieg Heil” salute in front of a crowd — both of which were revealed in a recent Buzzfeed expose.

These revelations and Mercer’s disavowal hasn’t hurt Yiannopoulos’ reputation in some circles, however, as he was just given a new weekly column at The Daily Caller, a conservative publication ran by Fox News host Tucker Carlson…

Yiannopoulos resigned from Breitbart in February following outrage over past comments he made regarding pedophilia.

And what was Yiannpoulos’ first column for The Daily Caller? An article titled “A Round Of Applause For Kevin Spacey,” a reference to the recent allegations made by men who claimed Spacey preyed on them sexually when they were minors. In it, Yiannopoulos claims that Spacey’s response to come out as gay rather than take responsibility for his actions is the reason why “identity politics” is bad for the country, which Yiannopoulos frequently blames on the left…

And it gets “better”…



Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

I saved a screenshot of this morning’s CNN home page the way my mother once squirreled away newspapers covering events like the Kennedy assassination, the moon landing and the Watergate denouement:

We’re not there yet. But to me, anyway, it feels like something historical is afoot, that I must not only bear witness but maybe save clippings for posterity. (At least my news pack-rattery won’t demand drawer space from my descendants!)

Twitler was on a tear this morning. Maybe he has that “history in the making” feeling too. It might be wishful thinking, but I could swear I detected a faint whiff of flop sweat and desperation emanating from the pixels below:

Tell me that most recent tweet doesn’t sound like something Greenwald would say. And the fuck of it is, I would normally agree: We don’t want the intel community mucking around in our politics.

It was an outrage when Comey stuck his big, fat, morally upright thumb on the scales in the waning days of the election. So why cheer the intel community on now, hoping they dump enough dirt to bury the Trump admin?

Because this isn’t a normal administration. Trump referred to me and the 65 million other Americans who didn’t vote for him as “enemies” in his New Year “message.” He’s done nothing to reach out to anyone other than his rancid fan base. He’s stocked the government with racists, misogynists and bigoted kooks, and his top advisers are openly fomenting a global white nationalist effort to undermine Western democracies.

The Republicans who control Congress are willing to go along with Trump’s anti-American agenda if doing so will allow them to cut taxes for billionaires and take away people’s access to affordable healthcare. They’ve said so outright, so they can’t be trusted to do their job and keep our government from being controlled by a hostile foreign power.

The judicial branch is the last leg on the wobbly-ass stool of American democracy, but Trump is doing his best to saw that off too and has real power to shape it for the future. Anyone think he’ll ensure its independence?

So, spooks it is. No, I don’t trust them completely. No, I don’t think it’s a good idea for the intel community to manipulate domestic politics (and I wish we’d mind our own business abroad too).

But desperate times call for desperate measures. If it takes leaks to force the Republicans in Congress to work with the Democrats and do their goddamned jobs, then bring on the drip, drip, drip.

PS: The media is unanimously reporting that Dense Pence was in the dark about Flynn’s actions. Are y’all aware of any independent corroboration of that? I haven’t seen it.

It looks like they’re taking the administration’s word on that, and this administration lies constantly and shamelessly. On camera. All the fucking time. We shouldn’t take their word for anything.



WASF, Part ∞

If we can’t see it, it won’t happen, climate change edition:

Donald Trump is poised to eliminate all climate change research conducted by Nasa as part of a crackdown on “politicized science”, his senior adviser on issues relating to the space agency has said.

Nasa’s Earth science division is set to be stripped of funding in favor of exploration of deep space.

After all, we can’t have any of that nasty left wing bias that reality imposes:

There is overwhelming and long-established evidence that burning fossil fuels and deforestation causes the release of heat-trapping gases, therefore causing the warming experienced in recent decades.

[Trump campaign advisor Bob] Walker, however, claimed that doubt over the role of human activity in climate change “is a view shared by half the climatologists in the world. We need good science to tell us what the reality is and science could do that if politicians didn’t interfere with it.”

Walker is, as one expects from Trumpistas, simply lying. Half of the world’s climatologists do not doubt the fact of human-driven climate change, unless you include those who got their advanced degrees at the University of Exxon’s Koch School of Science.  Ostriches and sand ain’t in it.

carl_eytel_and_george_wharton_james_in_a_horse-drawn_wagon_on_the_butterfield_stage_road_in_the_colorado_desert_ca-1903_chs-2280

This is a hugely consequential move.  There are two technologies that are essential to modern climate science: large scale numerical modelling made possible by the insane advances in computing power and associated computer science over the last several decades…and remote sensing, the ability to monitor earth systems on a planetary scale.  That’s what NASA — and for the forseeable future, no one else, brings with its earth science programs.  Kill that and we not only lose data going forward, we degrade a capability in an intellectual infrastructure that will take a long time indeed to restore:

Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said as Nasa provides the scientific community with new instruments and techniques, the elimination of Earth sciences would be “a major setback if not devastating”.

“It could put us back into the ‘dark ages’ of almost the pre-satellite era,” he said. “It would be extremely short sighted.

“We live on planet Earth and there is much to discover, and it is essential to track and monitor many things from space. Information on planet Earth and its atmosphere and oceans is essential for our way of life. Space research is a luxury, Earth observations are essential.”

This is a call your representative kind of issue.  It’s going to be difficult, certainly, if Trump really does go down this path, but NASA is enough of a pork barrel, and some GOP senators, at least, are not wholly clueless on this issue, so it might be possible to avoid the worst outcome.  It’s necessary to try.  If and as I hear of organized campaigns on this, I’ll bring the news (and feel free to email me with any info you might gather.)

Feh.

PS: that laser like media focus during the campaign on issues like climate change sure was impressive, wasn’t it?

C. C. Pierce, Carl Eytel and George Wharton James in a horse-drawn wagon on the Butterfield Stage Road in the Colorado Desert, c.1903. (Eytel was a painter associated with the “smoketree school” of artists working on desert subjects; James was a journalist and photographer.)



Texas, Jake

 

ETA: Annnnnndddd….always read the fine print.  I was taken in by a fake news story at a parody site.  Mea culpa.

I’ll leave this up as (a) a warning to self not to be an idiot, and (b) as a reminder of how hard it is (at least for me), in this election year of our discontent, to tell the difference between what should be obvious parody, and what is.

***************

I’ll start by saying that no state could withstand a characterization drawn only from its most batsh*t crazy denizens.  So I apologize in advance for painting the great, diverse and fascinating state of Texas with a broad brush.

I’ll also note that it does matter a bit that so many of the most batsh*t insane Texans seem to end up in state government.  What this says about the too many of their fellow citizens* who put them there I’ll leave as an exercise for the reader.

Today’s Texan OMG S/HE SAID WUT???!!!! comes from TX state rep. Debbie Riddle (R-Planet Ten), who’s got a problem with the idea of one particular subset of her fellow double-X Americans doing their ladybusiness in public:

Rep. Debbie Riddle requested that the bill be modified to contain some conditions that not all mothers are going to like. Namely, the modified bill states, among other things, that “only women who possess the breast size C-cup or smaller shall be allowed to breastfeed in public areas.” Asked to comment on the discriminatory clause in the bill, Riddle simply stated, “Nature knows what it’s doing.”

I have to say that I really hope that this is somehow a hoax, that Riddle really didn’t say what she’s reported to said.  Because here’s where she is described as going next:

She also added, “It’s for the greater good. We already have more than enough distractions when walking the streets, and we don’t need this one as well.”

Lucas_Cranach_d.Ä._-_Madonna_mit_Kind_(Budapest)

You know that old line, “when you hit bottom, stop digging?”  Riddle apparently does not:

“…everybody knows what happens when a woman with a D-cup size breasts starts breastfeeding her child in the park or on the street. Everybody immediately stops and starts staring.

Riddle also added that“studies have shown that women with bigger breasts are not commonly associated with modest behavior.”

 

Alright.  If the Texan legislator really did say all that (and more! — check out the link!) I got nuthin.  Or perhaps, as our legal beagle friends might say, res ipsa loquitur.

Ladles and Jellyspoons, have at it.  For me, I despair of the Republic.  Or at least that part of it that gave us the Honorable Riddle.

*Somewhere Rousseau — and Jefferson — are weeping.

Image:  Lucas Cranach the Elder, The Virgin Giving Suck c. 1515

 



NC GOP “Bathroom Bill” Is A Steaming Load Of Crap

So North Carolina state Republican lawmakers called a special session of the General Assembly yesterday to stop Charlotte’s LGBTQ anti-discrimination law from going into effect on April 1, and it turns out it’s not just Charlotte’s ordinance they want to outlaw, but any real progressive change sought by cities and counties in the Tarheel State.

WBTV obtained a copy of the proposed bill, entitled “An Act to Provide for Single Sex Multiple Occupancy Bathroom and Changing Facilities in Schools and Public Agencies and to Create Statewide Consistency in Regulation of Employment and Public Accommodations,” Tuesday night.

The legislation requires that multi-occupancy bathrooms be limited to just one gender, using anatomy and birth certificates as a guide and applies to executive branch agencies controlled by the Governor as well as Council of State members and the UNC System.

A provision in the five-page bill allows school districts to use single occupancy bathrooms to make accommodations for students in special circumstances.

DOCUMENT: Click here to read the full bill

In addition to the provisions of the bill seeking to repeal the bathroom-related portions of Charlotte’s non discrimination ordinance, the bill also addresses several workplace issues.

The second part of the bill is referred to as the Wage and Hour Act. Under the act, local governments would be prohibited from setting their own local minimum wage.

The next section of the bill seeks to declare that the regulation of discriminatory practices in employment is an issue of statewide concern and, as such, must be left to the General Assembly.

Finally, the last section of the bill is referred to as the Equal Access to Public Accommodations Act, which places issues of public accommodation in the jurisdiction of the General Assembly.

So in addition to killing Charlotte’s anti-discrimination law, with this stupid bigoted bathroom bill, the NC GOP is looking to undo all local anti-discrimination, minimum wage, labor protection and equal physical access laws. because smaller, more responsive government, right?

Which just proves again that Republicans don’t care about government that works, they care about government that punishes those people whenever possible so that they become somebody else’s problem.  The best part?  It’s a combination of “bathroom bill”, home rule elimination, and “workplace protection” bill all rolled into one steaming pile of toxic GOP diarrhea.

By the way, the bill passed the NC General Assembly overwhelmingly, 83-24, the NC Senate 32-0 (as all NC Senate Democrats walked out) and GOP Gov. Pat McCrory signed this travesty into law last night.  Total time on this legislation from start to finish: about 10 hours.

They had this ready to go, in order to steamroll any opposition to it and to prevent the kind of boycott backlash from building that Georgia is facing now over similar legislation.  Blindside the opposition and dare them to react.

It’ll be up to the courts now to get the ball rolling on this.

One big hurdle, which reportedly killed South Dakota’s bathroom bill: Banning trans students from using the school bathroom that comports to their gender identity could violate federal law, particularly Title IX. The Justice Department and Department of Education interpret the law not just to ban sex discrimination in federally funded schools, but also ban anti-trans discrimination. So by passing an anti-trans bathroom law, North Carolina could risk big federal funds for public schools.

And my home state is well on its way to a complete disaster.



3-5-2-2-3-2-4-2-3-2-4-2-3-2

Apparently we’re supposed to be impressed that Rubio came in second to Trump in South Carolina.  Here are the numbers, per Google:

results

I guess if you assume that the others will drop out (why?) and that Rubio will pick up most of their support (citation needed), and if you squint the right way and hold your tongue at the right angle, you can see a path to victory for Rubio based on Saturday’s results.  So, for example, Rubio barely beats Trump (at a couple of points over 50%, not by a landslide) if you assume that he would get roughly half of Cruz supporters (my guess is a lot lower), half of crazy Carson’s (again doubtful) and almost all of Bush and Kasich’s lemmings (probable), only if all of those candidates decide to commit political seppuku as quickly as possible.

But, this scenario is not credible.  First,  most of those grifters aren’t going to drop out until well after Super Tuesday, so the anti-Trump vote will be split between the hateful 5.  After March 1, there are primaries in states like New York and Connecticut where Trump might be more popular than Rubio.  And, most importantly, Rubio is weak sauce.  He hasn’t taken the full brunt of Trump’s bullying, and he doesn’t strike me as someone quick enough on his feet to take on Trump one-on-one.

It’s too early to call but if you’re a member of the DC GOP establishment, you’re definitely chewing Xanax and downing martinis like an asteroid is about to impact the planet, because, for those dinosaurs, it looks like an extinction-level event is coming.








Live Suicide Watch

Jebus help me I’ve fallen into the black hole of listening to the last hold-out at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, the clearly mentally ill David Fry, talk to some Christian nutbags on the live stream. He has threatened suicide many times, and these people are keeping him talking, and arguing with him, diverting him from talking with the FBI negotiator.
“UFOs are real. You know the little alien things that fly around…The secret inventions act of 1951…We should be dependent on solar, not oil…”

If you’ve ever had a doubt about the amount of mental illness involved in these militia movements, listen for a few minutes, if you think you can stomach listening to a suicide attempt broadcast live.

Update: The awful people on the call are KrisAnne Hall, “Constitutional Attorney, Author, Speaker, Radio Host” [and worst suicide hotline operator on earth], and Gavin Seim, “Pictorialist, Portraitist, Civil Liberty Activist, Speaker, Christian”.

“So you guys [Gavin and KrisAnne] are Obama lovers now? … I should have called one of those Muslim Clerics … I wish I had the chance to talk to a real Muslim Cleric”

Update2: He turned himself in.