Late Night Decompression Open Thread: Blame the GOP, They’ve Earned It

To reiterate:

Depressing Open Thread: Frank Luntz Gives ‘Em What They Want

On the one hand, Deplorables gonna be deplorable. On the other hand, Frank Luntz — having made a very prosperous living out of encouraging the worst Repubs to act out their worst fantasies — always gives the customer what they want. And I suspect he thinks Vice, not to mention his next client(s), wanted a slope-browed troupe eager to virtue-signal the world and each other about their depraved misogyny / racism “Christianity”. Either way, not an optimistic view of American politics at the moment!

Mocking Laughter Open Thread: “When Will Us Men Feel Safe Again?

(Ted Rall via

We have to laugh, or we’d never stop crying. And the Washington Post‘s Alexandra Petri (here, with Christine Emba) remains a national treasure:

The allegations that have brought down powerful men in Congress and Hollywood are making things around the workplace uncomfortable. Men wonder: Is it still okay to hug a woman? Okay, well, is it still okay to hug a woman and whisper in her ear, “I have $5 million for you if you’ll let me put a child in your child-receptacle, whatever your name is?” Some men are looking back over their own past behavior, terrified they may have, unknowingly, made a woman feel uncomfortable. They want to know where the line is…

Some have lost their jobs for grotesque activity spanning decades, others for a simple query such as, “Okay, Rhonda, how MUCH money for me to rent your womb?” or, “What do you mean, you do not want a box of dildos?” It is those latter cases that have men sweating at their desks. Will they lose their jobs? Should they have offered money for sex instead? Or asked a male colleague to bear their offspring?

“My guy friends are all very alarmed,” says Angela, who asked that her last name be withheld on the grounds that she might have to interact with men again in the course of her life, although she hopes not. “They keep saying, ‘If I can’t ask my subordinates to bear my children, then what can I even say to women?’ and I’m like, ‘Literally anything but that is fine.’”

Some young men worry that courtship is dead. What of the tender, delicate dance, that old ritual “where you invite her into your office, push the door-locking button, and let things take their course?” Tim (who asked that his last name not be used) mused: “What of the unsolicited picture-sending that is the first step in any romance?”…

Last-Minute PSA: If You Know Any Dem Voters in Huntsville…


Give Doug Jones full credit, he’s gonna fight for every vote.

Peggy Olson’s blues

I watched the first season of Handmaid’s Tale. I kept telling people “I know that this sounds crazy, but this show feels real to me, it honestly taps into how a certain portion of the right thinks.” Well, Trent Franks.

My prediction as all these Congressional sex scandals come out is that there will be a roughly equal number of Democrats and Republicans involved, but that the Democratic scandals will involve run-of-the-mill fucked up behavior, while the Republican scandals will involve more exotic stuff. I won’t be surprised if wetsuits and dildos make their way into the storyline. I sincerely hope that we don’t hear about any hanging or eye-gouging, but I’m not sure I’d bet against it.

Look, I know that outside the elite liberal Acela corridor, people bear their bosses’ children all the time. Go to any exurban Panera Bread west of the Hudson and you’ll hear folks talking about it. But this thing just got rolling and we’ve already got one pedophile and one character from the Handmaid’s Tale. The media’s going to have a tough time spinning all the perversion that comes out as reg’lar heartland behavior.

Something to Think About During Today’s Army/Navy Game


Three weeks into the 2014 school year, Lewis, who was still on crutches and needed surgery, says she met Ahmad Ali Bradshaw, a West Point quarterback who was best friends with her roommate.

One night, as Lewis later told West Point investigators, she came back to her room after a shower. Bradshaw was there and, she claimed, he raped her.

Bradshaw denied having any sexual contact with Lewis at all, according to an internal investigation report obtained by The Daily Beast. Bradshaw also chose to not render an official statement and invoked his right to remain silent.

West Point’s internal investigation concluded that a consensual sexual relationship between the cadets had occurred, and a second investigation, by the Army Criminal Investigation Division and the Staff Judge Advocate, found there was “insufficient evidence” to charge Bradshaw with sexual assault.

Bradshaw declined to comment on the allegations when contacted by a Daily Beast reporter, and West Point denied an interview with Bradshaw, saying in an email that it was a “really busy time given the classroom environment and the upcoming Army Navy activities.”

Read the whole thing. I wonder if this has caught Gillibrand’s attention.

GOP Fustercluck Open Thread: The Donald Went Down to Georgia Pensacola

(McEntee, according to Politico, is Trump’s “body man”.)

He wasn’t gonna campaign for Roy Moore, because Moore could still lose. (Luther Strange? Who he?) He couldn’t not make some kind of show of support, because Moore just might win, and if that happens Trump plans to take 110% of the credit. So, Pensacola’s not that much of a detour from Mar-a-Largofvckyourself and its well-groomed golf greens…
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Saturday Morning Open Thread: Already Exhausted With 2017

This year in one tweet!

What’s on the agenda as we grind down towards year-end?

Thoughts & prayers (yes, I know exactly how useless that sounds) for those on the Wildfire Coast. It seems miraculous that “only” one death has been attributed to these fires, as of now.

NB: There will be a separate post about the Pensacola rally later today, because ugh.

Late Night Creepshow Open Thread: Grifters Applaud Their Own

“United in Purpose” has an even lower profile than Ginni Thomas’ main grift, “Liberty Central”, whose main purpose seems to be keeping Ginni too busy to drunk-dial Anita Hill again. But if you assume UiP’s real purpose is to provide a conduit from “conservative” suckers with too much money to “activists” with more greed than sense…


The “heroes” honored by United for Purpose had to meet certain criteria laid out on the website for the Impact Awards. These are people who show “tenacity, courage and perseverance even under hostile attacks” and are “respected among their peers,” among other things. O’Keefe, who just made a fool of himself in an attempt to stick up for a sexual predator, apparently meets that criteria in the eyes of right-wing activists.
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Massachusetts Man: Donuts! Edition

The Boston Globe reports:

Former state senator Brian A. Joyce collected about $1 million in bribes and kickbacks that he laundered through his law firm, according to a sweeping 102-page indictment that accuses the Milton Democrat of turning his public office into a criminal enterprise — even accepting hundreds of pounds of free coffee from a Dunkin’ Donuts owner.

Joyce, once the Senate’s assistant majority leader, was taken from his Westport home in handcuffs early on Friday morning and escorted by federal agents to be booked and fingerprinted, and face federal charges of mail fraud, corruption, money laundering, and embezzlement, among many others.

Acting US Attorney William Weinreb said prosecutors launched the investigation of Joyce after a series of stories by The Boston Globe that began in January 2015 looking at Joyce’s mingling of public and personal business.

Weinreb said investigators estimated that Joyce’s many illegal schemes have netted him about $1 million since 2010. Prosecutors say, among other things, Joyce extorted a Jeep from a Milton developer and collected more than $100,000 in phony legal fees from a Dunkin’ Donuts store owner in exchange for using his influence to help them.

Harold Shaw, special agent in charge of the Boston FBI office, was more blunt: “We believe Mr. Joyce was greedy, plain and simple.’’

Ya think?!?!?

Anyhow the donut reference, yes I know it was coffee from Dunkins, and the Boston reference trigger the following obligatory entries.

Open thread!

Estonia’s James Bond

It’s twenty years ago this month that I was given an assignment that, in six weeks, landed me in a place I had barely heard of. I can only recall the sleety dark streets of Tallinn with joy and love.

What I didn’t know was that part of the time I was walking past the apartment of Jaan Kross, a very important Estonian author. I didn’t know about him then either, but learned as I kept traveling to that country, often in better weather.

Politico had a profile this week of Jaan Kross’s son, Eerik-Niiles Kross, who presents a swashbuckling image.

No one — least of all Kross — denies that his work has required him to move in shadows and operate on the edge. “His background is quite controversial,” says Urmas Paet, an Estonian member of the European Parliament and minister of foreign affairs from 2009-2014 who, like Kross, is in the liberal Reform Party. “He is often close to, or crossing the limits.”

Kross’s nemesis, of course, is Vladimir Putin. But NATO troops now in the Baltics help him feel a little safer.

He speaks in perfect English but with one of those European accents that is impossible to place — educated, vaguely but then definitely not British, most assuredly not American.

I’m guessing this is from his perfect Estonian vowels. I love that language.

The whole profile is very worth reading. I particularly appreciated learning he is Jaan Kross’s son. I very much enjoy Kross’s novels that have been translated into English. I have three:

The Tsar’s Madman

Professor Martens’ Departure

The Rock From The Sky

I haven’t read the third, particularly enjoy the first.  I also have Wikmani Poisid, in Estonian, but I’m not up to reading a whole novel yet.

And I’m gonna ask that we give some of the topics of the past week a rest.

I Wanna Get Freaky With You

When we last discussed GOP Rep. Trent Franks, he was announcing his his retirement on 31 January for the following:

I have recently learned that the Ethics Committee is reviewing an inquiry regarding my discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates, making each feel uncomfortable. I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress.

We are in an unusual moment in history – there is collective focus on a very important problem of justice and sexual impropriety. It is so important that we get this right for everyone, especially for victims.

But in the midst of this current cultural and media climate, I am deeply convinced I would be unable to complete a fair House Ethics investigation before distorted and sensationalized versions of this story would put me, my family, my staff, and my noble colleagues in the House of Representatives through hyperbolized public excoriation. Rather than allow a sensationalized trial by media damage those things I love most, this morning I notified House leadership that I will be leaving Congress as of January 31st, 2018. It is with the greatest sadness, that for the sake of the causes I deeply love, I must now step back from the battle I have spent over three decades fighting. I hope my resignation will remain distinct from the great gains we have made. My time in Congress serving my constituents, America and the Constitution is and will remain one of God’s greatest gift to me in life.

Today we learn his resignation is taking place immediately. Wonder why? Oh:

Arizona Rep. Trent Franks allegedly made unwanted advances toward female staffers in his office and retaliated against one who rebuffed him, according to House GOP sources with knowledge of a complaint against him.

The allegations, which reached Speaker Paul Ryan and top GOP leaders in recent days, led to Franks’ sudden resignation this week. Franks originally announced that he would resign on Jan. 31, 2018. But just hours after POLITICO inquired about the allegations, he sped up his resignation and left office Friday.

The sources said Franks approached two female staffers about acting as a potential surrogate for him and his wife, who has struggled with fertility issues for years. But the aides were concerned that Franks was asking to have sexual relations with them. It was not clear to the women whether he was asking about impregnating the women through sexual intercourse or in vitro fertilization. Franks opposes abortion rights as well as procedures that discard embryos.

A former staffer also alleged that Franks tried to persuade a female aide that they were in love by having her read an article that described how a person knows they’re in love with someone, the sources said. One woman believed she was the subject of retribution after rebuffing Franks. While she enjoyed access to the congressman before the incident, that access was revoked afterward, she told Republican leaders.

Life comes at you fast.

It Ain’t Murder If You Got a Badge

Another day, another cop gets away with murder:

Police in Mesa, Arizona released disturbing body camera video on Thursday hours after a former officer was acquitted of a murder charge in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man.

The verdict cleared Philip Brailsford, 27, of criminal liability in the 2016 death of Daniel Shaver, of Granbury, Texas. He was also found not guilty of reckless manslaughter, reports CBS Phoenix affiliate KPHO-TV.

The shooting occurred at a hotel in the Phoenix suburb where officers responded to a report of someone pointing a gun out of a window. The video, obtained by KPHO, shows Brailsford pointing a gun at Shaver as Shaver lies on the ground, holds his hands in the air, cries and begs the officer not to shoot.

I don’t know how jurors could watch that and not convict of at least reckless manslaughter.

What’s the story, morning glory?

I guess the email to Trump Jr. just gave a link to already public knowledge about Wikileaks emails:

A 2016 email sent to President Trump and top aides pointed the campaign to hacked documents from the Democratic National Committee that had already been made public by the group WikiLeaks a day earlier.


The full email — which was first described to CNN as being sent on Sept. 4, 10 days earlier — indicates that the writer may have simply been flagging information that was already widely available.

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded

I’ve always hated “when they go low, we go high”. I prefer this (from The Untouchables): “They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue.”

While I don’t know if that’s exactly the right attitude for Democrats to take, there’s no doubt that Dahlia Lithwick (via rikyrah) is certainly onto something:

This isn’t a call to become tolerant of awful behavior. It is a call for understanding that Democrats honored the blue slip, and Republicans didn’t. Democrats had hearings over the Affordable Care Act; Republicans had none over the tax bill. Democrats decry predators in the media; Republicans give them their own networks. And what do Democrats have to show for it? There is something almost eerily self-regarding in the notion that the only thing that matters is what Democrats do, without considering what the systemic consequences are for everyone.


In the event that you doubt that the war is asymmetric, ask yourself how long it took for the same GOP that was disavowing Moore a month ago to embrace him, and to embrace him again in the face of new evidence. Ask how long it took from when Trump made it clear that he would wage war on Robert Mueller for Hugh Hewitt—purporting to speak on behalf of “a large swath of responsible center-right observers”—to call for an investigation into Mueller. This because a former FBI official sent pro-Hillary texts that now raise, according to Hewitt, “the possibility of shattering public confidence in a number of long-held assumptions about the criminal-justice system generally and the FBI and the Justice Department specifically.” The president just claimed the FBI is “in tatters,” but it’s the former official, who Mueller pulled off the investigation for the texts, who shatters confidence in the agency?


Unilateral disarmament is tantamount to arming the other side. That may be a trade worth making in some cases. But it’s worth at least acknowledging that this is the current calculus. It’s no longer that when they go low, we get to go high. They are permanently living underground. How long can we afford to keep living in the clouds?

I think some of the nasty shit Republicans are doing is short-sighted and will bite them in the ass. Democrats are now winning the 18-29 age group by 30 points in elections. It could be that in ten years, the national Republican party will be in the kind of shape the California Republican party is now, and that Democratic supermajorities are commonplace at many levels of government.

But, even if that’s true, will our country still be here after Republicans are through with it?

I’ll tell you this: when Democrats get control of states in 2018 and 2020 — and they will — they need to gerrymander back, not turn things over to a panel. And I’d like to see some measures taken to make it so that older people are less likely to vote. Maybe schedule a Matlock marathon on A&E on election days.