Desperate daring devils.

Thirteen years ago we took our first and only trip to Niagara Falls. Never say never – I guess circumstance could bring me back one day – but once is enough for that place, and having seen Iceland’s great waterfalls, none of which have a casino overlooking them, I see no reason to go back to Niagara.

Of course we checked out the gift shop. I believe I bought a tacky spoon rest which has never been used, and a book. Not much of a book, more like a fat pamphlet, self-published and titled something like “Daredevils of the Falls.” It might have been the only item in the store that addressed the thing everyone knows about Niagara Falls: People have been trying to “conquer” them forever. The falls generally remain unconquered.

I read the book on the drive back to Toronto, and a theme quickly emerged: The people who take on Niagara, almost to a man or woman, are desperate. They’re out of money, out of options, and think that one spectacular stunt will lift them out of their rut once and for all. Even the town itself has a certain desperation to it (the casino, just so no tourist dollar remains un-angled-for). It’s as though they arrive at the falls thinking here’s where the road ends for you, but maybe it doesn’t, and if it doesn’t, won’t you have a story to tell. There was a little tourist boom in the 19th century, when people were amused and amazed at daredevils who would cross the river gorge on a tightrope. Then that got old, and the devils had to get more daring. They began to grapple with the falls themselves.

Humans have dreamed up and built all sorts of conveyances meant to carry them over the drop and let them live through it. We speak of “going over Niagara Falls in a barrel,” but that was only the beginning. Barrel after barrel has smashed on the rocks below, killing the occupants, as humans tried to improve the concept.

That’s not to say some people didn’t make it. A few did, and the Wikipedia entry is sort of a Cliff’s notes of “Daredevils of the Falls,” starting with Annie Edson Taylor in 1901, the first to do it and live.

The list of attempts reads like grim comedy:

1920 – On July 11, Charles Stephens from Bristol went over the falls in a barrel. Bobby Leach and William “Red” Hill, Sr. urged Stephens to test his barrel over the falls before attempting the stunt, but he refused. When the barrel was recovered at the foot of the falls, the ballast had pulled Stephen’s body out of the barrel, leaving just his right arm in the safety harness.

1930 – On July 4, George Stathakis, a Greek immigrant working as a chef in Buffalo, New York, went over the falls in a barrel. Upon impact, the barrel was stuck behind a curtain of water and could not be recovered for 18 hours. Stathakis had an air supply of up to eight hours – although he had survived the initial fall, he died of suffocation. Stathakis took the plunge with his pet turtle, which was said to be around 150 years old. The turtle survived the ordeal.

1990 – On June 5, Jessie Sharp went over the falls in a kayak. He intended to continue paddling downriver after the fall, and had made dinner reservations at a restaurant in Lewiston, 4 miles downstream. After beginning the plunge he quickly disappeared into the falls and although his kayak was later found, his body was never recovered. Sharp decided not to wear a life jacket in case it impeded an escape should he get trapped under the falls, and refused to wear a helmet in order to keep his face recognizable to cameras.

My all-time favorite, though, was Karel Soucek, a career stuntman. He crafted a special, high-tech barrel, and made it in one piece and with only a minor injury, caused by his own wristwatch hitting his face. He sought to capitalize on his fame with a tour re-enacting the feat. How do you do such a thing away from the falls? He rented the Houston Astrodome and installed a tank on the field, that’s how, and then had himself and his barrel winched 180 feet up to the ceiling, about the height of Niagara. Thirty-five thousand people bought tickets to watch this spectacle. The barrel started to spin as it fell, clipped the edge of the tank and killed its occupant.

Yes, he survived Niagara Falls, but not the Houston Astrodome. This was in 1985. I have to assume video of it exists somewhere, but it’s not immediately available on YouTube.

I was studying screenwriting at the time, and thought these stories would make a wonderful movie. A Robert Altman movie, to be precise.

I also recalled that a few months before our trip, right after we moved to Ann Arbor, a Metro Detroit man named Kirk Jones had gone over the falls and lived. He claimed it was a suicide attempt, although some dispute this, but it wasn’t his turn to die, and he lived through it without maiming or serious injury, only the second person to do so without any protective gear or conveyance. (The other was a boy who’d fallen from a fishing boat in 1960.) Within a few months he had joined a traveling circus. Adrianne? Fort Wayne peeps from the ’80s? He joined the Toby Tyler Circus, which is a whole other story. He didn’t have to drop from the top of the tent or anything, but was featured in a segment where he basically just told his story and, if I’m remembering correctly, gave the glory to God.

(I’ll tell the Toby Tyler Circus story some other day. Promise.)

So this long story brings us up to Thursday, and guess what I read yesterday morning: Kirk Jones is dead, killed by Niagara Falls. And because this is Niagara Falls, the story is extra-weird:

A man who died going down Niagara Falls in a plastic ball may have taken a seven-foot snake down with him.

The body of Kirk Jones was discovered below the falls on June 2, and authorities now believe he may have put a boa constrictor inside an inflatable ball with him.

Following Jones’ death, police discovered a website called “Kirk Jones Niagara Falls Daredevil” in which he shared his plans for going down the falls with the seven-foot snake named Misty, the Associated Press reported.

Who knows, maybe Misty killed him. I’d be one pissed-off snake if I knew some unstable asshole had sealed me into a plastic ball and intended to take us both over a 200-foot waterfall. I might give him a good squeeze and hope he cushioned the blow for both of us.

If I’d met an actual Icelandic person at Gullfoss or Go∂afoss or one of their spectacular falls, I might have asked if that country had a tradition of idiots and famewhores trying to conquer their natural beauty. Somehow, I doubt it. This seems a peculiarly American pursuit.

So, a little bloggage beyond Kirk? Rex Tillerson threw a fit at the White House recently, but it doesn’t matter because the State Department is pretty much screwed, anyway.

And finally, a note about Trump’s tweets about Mika Brzezinski: I think these are flat-out lies. Not that a TV newswoman would never have a facelift, but when women in her position do have that sort of thing done, they don’t go out to dinner, even at a private club, when they’re still “bleeding badly,” or whatever. There are high-end spas and recovery centers for just this purpose, where you lie around in a robe and maybe get your toenails painted and eat dinner in your suite. Have you ever seen a woman’s face immediately after a lift? They look like they’ve been in a car accident — black eyes, puffy everything, the works. No woman would risk having her photo taken by a Mar-a-lago guest, or a paparazzo. I speculated on Facebook that maybe she got caught by Joe’s backswing on the golf course, and the president just made an assumption.

OK, then. Long weekend ahead for many of us. Enjoy.

Posted at 12:01 am in Current events |
 

124 responses to “Desperate daring devils.”

  1. David C. said on June 30, 2017 at 6:37 am

    Niagara Falls is a one and done place, but I’m glad I went. I’ve never seen so much tacky in one city. I was amazed thinking who would spend a dime in some of those places, but there they were. I was there before the casinos though which is probably a whole new level of tacky.

  2. Jolene said on June 30, 2017 at 6:48 am

    That was my take too: Nobody is going to Mar-a-Lago (or anywhere) with a fresh facelift. Here, Mika and Joe regret the sorry state of the WH occupant, and Mika denies a facelift, but admits to a bit of tightening under her chin. What a world, what a world.

  3. alex said on June 30, 2017 at 7:00 am

    I think Trump said she was bleeding out of her facelift because he caught holy hell the last time he said a woman was bleeding out of her “wherever.”

    Here was some startling news: Colonial Williamsburg is going bust and part of the reason is the decline in teaching of American history in schools. (Wonder if that explains the rise in places like the Creation Museum and the Noah’s Ark Museum.) What a shame. Seeing Williamsburg for the first time as a six-year-old is what ignited my lifelong passion for learning about history and I’ve returned there at various times throughout my life because it never ceases to fascinate.

    An incidental bit of knowledge: In the 1990s the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation successfully fought off an effort by Busch Gardens to build an adjacent Williamsburg-themed amusement park. It was feared that this tacky enterprise would dwarf Colonial Williamsburg, siphon off its business and cheapen its reputation as a national treasure, defiling it with the sort of tackiness that surrounds the American side of Niagara Falls.

  4. coozledad said on June 30, 2017 at 7:21 am

    There’s nothing that pisses libs off like extrajudicial killings!

    https://twitter.com/bradheath/status/880434121788534786

    I’m sure this punches all Mousechiller MacGoo’s idiot buttons. I’ve never met a member of the junior fascist league who wouldn’t rip due process out of the Constitution. It’s the way dumbshits roll.

  5. Julie Robinson said on June 30, 2017 at 7:29 am

    Trump just likes to talk about women bleeding, because he thinks it’s an insult. It’s not. It’s just something that happens once a month for 30 years or so.

  6. coozledad said on June 30, 2017 at 7:36 am

    Haha. Us libs really know how to piss off Fascists. We send their little rug shitters to Mars and make them work in the bubblegum mines.
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/nasa-denies-that-its-running-a-child-slave-colony-on-mars

    When the little fuckers get done mining that bubblegum, we’ll put them to work at the Irish themed bar at Magic Kingdom Mars, Padraig O’ MeFuckingHair’sonFire.

  7. Connie said on June 30, 2017 at 8:08 am

    I visited Niagara from the Canadian side, did not see the Niagara you describe. Then drove up to Niagara by the Lake, stopping at several wineries along the way. Ice wine!

  8. Andrea said on June 30, 2017 at 8:53 am

    I thought you might be alluding to the most recent story of people desperate for fame: the 19-year-old girl who shot and killed her boyfriend as a YouTube stunt meant to make them famous. Well, it did, but not in the way they intended. I assume no need to link as I saw the story widely yesterday.

    It’s hard to know how to order my thoughts and feelings after such an event. Empathy? Certainly for the family and the couple’s two children (one as yet unborn). I cannot imagine what it must be like to lose a loved one for such a stupid and avoidable reason. Disgust? At the rampant ignorance and recklessness displayed by both, and also by those who gathered in person to watch. Contempt? For the NRA and its ilk, including Hollywood, that glamorize guns as a fun part of American life, and an accessory to fame. Schadenfreud? Too bad he reproduced before leaving the gene pool. Sadness? That we don’t have better options for young people who are not on a obvious path to an ordinarily successful life…Irony? well, they are certainly famous now.

  9. Mark P said on June 30, 2017 at 8:57 am

    We’re living in an alternate reality. The old rules we’re familiar with no longer apply. I wonder how this will end. Not well, I fear.

  10. coozledad said on June 30, 2017 at 9:10 am

    We’re living in an alternate reality.

    It’s the reality of the South when confronted with desegregation. It’s all old bitter white fucks grousing in the barbershops and around the dinner table about their lost hegemony over the state. But now those rotten ass old corpses have levered themselves up out of the grave and shuffled into power, with the active assistance of a foreign enemy.

    Racism and its adherents were always the soft underbelly of this country. They were always ripe for treason.

    You can keep trying to talk to these people all you want, but you might as well be talking to a mausoleum wall. They’re fucking dead, and they’re not coming back.

  11. Kristen said on June 30, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Yes, the idiots and famewhores of America are in a league of their own

  12. Suzanne said on June 30, 2017 at 9:13 am

    We wnt to Niagara Falls once. It was in the fall, it was cold, our kids were little, and it wasn’t that great. The Falls are lovely, but once you’ve stood there and watched it for a while, what else is there to do? We didn’t do the Maid of the Mist.

    Someone I know on Facebook posted an article this morning from The Federalist about how VBS programs have backfired and made millennials flee churches. Well, that and people like Sarah Huckabee & other good Christians defending the foul garbage that spews from Trump’s mouth.

  13. Deborah said on June 30, 2017 at 9:29 am

    Great post today Nancy, you made a point worth thinking about in a very entertaining way. People having good judgement seem to be devolving, or maybe it’s always been a problem and we didn’t hear about it as much before the internet.

    I read this and thought some of you might be interested https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/29/opinion/sunday/the-problem-with-participatory-democracy-is-the-participants.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&referer=https://m.facebook.com/

  14. Danny said on June 30, 2017 at 9:36 am

    My only visit to Niagara was as a child in the dead of winter. I was amazed at the partially frozen falls and the street lamps encrusted in several inches of ice. Very beautiful.

  15. Sherri said on June 30, 2017 at 9:40 am

    Suzanne, that rant on VBS was unintentionally hilarious, like so much that appears on the Federalist. So I took a look at the rest of that writer’s oeuvre, as the late great Molly Ivins would say, and found the following gems:

    “The West Began Its Decline When Artists Stopped Putting Halos On Jesus”

    “How Denying Infant Baptism Leads to Leftist Politics”

    “How Denying Christ’s Body and Blood Leads to Progressive Politics”

    And the current favorite of conservatives everywhere

    “Why You Can Expect Increased Violence When The Left Is Out Of Power”

    https://thefederalist.com/author/peter-m-burfeind/

  16. Jenine said on June 30, 2017 at 9:42 am

    @Deborah: my theory is that humans have always had terrible judgment. But now we’re so thick on the ground we get to see examples of it all around us. I also wonder if the human population density is making us go crazy here and there, like lemmings. It’s my current explanation for the gun laws of my country.

  17. susan said on June 30, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Speaking of Mika and Joe, did you see this? JFxrist. Dolt 45’s running a blackmail gig. Among other skeevy enterprises. As cooz hoped in previous thread, nail meet coffin??? Nah. Ain’t no nail strong enough, apparently, to keep Republican pustulence from oozing out of the lid.

  18. Suzanne said on June 30, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Jenine I think you are correct. As a wise, old, now departed maintenance guy at a former work place of mine used to say, ” There’s just too many people in this world and they are drivin’ each other nuts!”

  19. Peter said on June 30, 2017 at 10:51 am

    NIIIIAGGGRA FALLLLS! Slowly I turned – inch by inch, step by step….

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYP1OBZfFK0

  20. coozledad said on June 30, 2017 at 11:07 am

    And there ain’t a Republican piece of trash out here who wouldn’t have slopped at her arse:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/marine-le-pen-charge-expenses-scandal-french-parliament-funding-lawyer-fn-leader-president-france-a7817066.html

    It’s a multinational tribe of racist grifters.

  21. brian stouder said on June 30, 2017 at 11:17 am

    I nominate the last sentence of Cooz’s post at #6 for the coveted 2017 Nallee! (Still chuckling!

  22. Sherri said on June 30, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    I’m still enjoying the afterglow from spending time in San Francisco. I loved the fact that everywhere I turned, there was somebody speaking a different language. The street musicians in San Francisco were at a whole other level; I saw a busker with a stripped down spinet piano, for example. Everything that wasn’t essential for structural integrity and sound had been removed, and I don’t know how he transported it, but there he was on the sidewalk, playing away.

    We didn’t make it to SFMOMA, choosing a Roz Chast exhibit at the Contemporary Jewish Museum instead. We climbed up Nob Hill to attend Evensong at Grace Cathedral, which was hosting a (sold-out) Summer of Love dance party later that evening.

    We peered down at the hole in the ground where the underground light rail extension from the Caltrain station is being built, and talked to one of the guys working on it, who had previously worked on Bertha and the recent big tunnel dig in Seattle.

    The panhandlers and street people in San Francisco are notorious for being aggressive, but we generally didn’t encounter that. Most were friendly. There was, however, one woman who walked right up to me, mumbling in what sounded vaguely German, spit right in my face and walked off. I have no idea what I did to piss her off; she didn’t ask me for money, at least not in any way I understood. I cleaned my glasses, wiped my face, and moved on. There were no shortage of obviously mentally ill people on the streets. Further cutting health care will help this, I’m sure. They’ll just get a job! I’m sure the Koch Borthers stand ready to hire them!

  23. Bitter Scribe said on June 30, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    There’s a classic Bugs Bunny cartoon in which Bugs, for some reason, sets out to become a national nuisance. One of his stunts is shutting off the water at Niagara Falls. When he does, the bed below is littered 28th shattered barrels.

  24. Bitter Scribe said on June 30, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    That’s “littered with.” Damn autocorrect.

  25. coozledad said on June 30, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    Trump’s going to try and impose martial law in Chicago, in concert with his voter suppression program. He says there are to many illegal guns.

    Well suck on this. Brought to you courtesy Republican subhumans and their masters at the NRA:
    https://twitter.com/nowthisnews/status/880464645806374912

  26. Dave said on June 30, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Should I confess, after reading all the remarks, that I’ve been to Niagara Falls four different times, starting at about age 12, when we stopped by on a family vacation, again when I was 18, on our high school senior class trip, once before we had children because where we lived, it was only about a four hour drive and we thought it might be neat to see them frozen, and the last time because I had to attend some seminars and meetings and that’s where it was, on the Canadian side.

    Yes, it’s tacky, and the time we went in late winter, it was a very empty spot, we had the feeling that we were the only guests in the hotel and it appeared that other hotels were closed for the winter. The American side seems like a slum, even more so than that Canadian side, there’s nothing else to go see there. I don’t think that there were any casinos the last time we were there, which was in 2001, I think, and no, never once did I go on the Maid of the Mist.

    The Florida secretary of agriculture is bragging locally about his reduction of the cost of the concealed carry permit, as if there aren’t already enough armed nuts in Florida. He wants to run for governor next so I’m sure he’s got the NRA endorsement. http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/gunning-for-governor-adam-putnam-drops-by-clearwater-for-a-special/2328923

  27. LAMary said on June 30, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/06/30/alex_jones_trump_endorsed_infowars_site_exposes_nasa_s_martian_slave_colony.html

    Has anyone shared this already?

  28. Deborah said on June 30, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    Jenine, interesting theory, except to some degree people in large densely populated cities (like Chicago, NYC, LA etc) tend to be more progressive, there is more diversity etc. whether that means there is a smaller percentage or larger percentage of people with bad judgement, I think the former is true, but I have no proof of that and could be totally wrong. When I happen upon “hold my beer” videos and whatnot, they usually seem to come from south Podunk sparsely populated America. Again, I Am probably wrong, but it seems that way to me.

  29. coozledad said on June 30, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    LA Mary: The dumb motherfuckers lapped up that Benghazi charade like a bunch of yokels at a carnival. They’ll believe anything.

    You could make a living off of them, but they’re the primary recipients of welfare. They don’t have, and never will have jack shit, because they hand it all over to the first jakeleg pastor who wants to trade their trailer for a jet.

    Racism fucks the mind.

  30. LAMary said on June 30, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Ah, Cooz beat me to it with the Mars article. It’s worth reading two versions of that story.

  31. LAMary said on June 30, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    According to Slate, Trump is casually mentioning that he can tell the publisher of The Enquirer what to print and that the whole Mika and Joe feud started with Joe asking Trump to ask his buddy at The Enquirer to pull the story about Mika and Joe fooling around while they were still married to other people.

    This is so cheesy. This and the fake Time cover.

  32. David C. said on June 30, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Bitter Scribe @ 23. Buggs was angry because the bounty for a fox is $50, for a bear, it’s $75, and only 2 cents for a rabbit. Entirely understandable. He also saws off Florida, which then and now, strikes me as a good idea.

  33. Julie Robinson said on June 30, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    Not while my kids live here, please!

    We watched the video of musket loading at the St. Augustine fort. It took about four minutes. Really, I’d be okay with everyone having a gun if was a single shot musket.

    Sherri is in a SF glow and I’m in a beach glow. The ocean, she is magical.

  34. David C. said on June 30, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    OK Julie, I won’t do it now. Please let me know when they move. That’ll give me time to find the right saw.

  35. LAMary said on June 30, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    I’m in the “I gave all my old towels, sheets and blankets to the animal shelter and I ordered new ones,” glow.

  36. Dave said on June 30, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    Julie at 33, you reminded me to look for this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LORVfnFtcH0

  37. Julie Robinson said on June 30, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    Nice, Mary!

  38. Julie Robinson said on June 30, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Dave, absolutely.

  39. Sherri said on June 30, 2017 at 11:29 pm

    Can we stop talking about the pipeline now?

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/30/technology/women-entrepreneurs-speak-out-sexual-harassment.html

  40. Sherri said on June 30, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    I’m not sure that even well-intentioned men understand how relentlessly degrading this presidency is for many women. Having a man who does not recognize the humanity of more than half the population in a position of such power is a daily insult; it never really goes away.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2017/06/29/trump_s_misogynist_tweets_about_mika_brzezinski.html

  41. Sherri said on June 30, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2017/06/30/horizon_air_is_canceling_hundreds_of_flights_because_of_the_pilot_shortage.html

    Companies seem to have forgotten what to do when fully-trained workers willing to work for whatever they’re willing to pay aren’t standing around waiting for them to deign to hire someone.

  42. Dexter said on July 1, 2017 at 3:07 am

    The Karel Soucek tale is as ironic as this story I read in The Examiner as I spent a day off in San Francisco during the Vietnam war: A Marine finishes an entire year in the worst of the war and gets back to California to have a hard partying night before getting home to his family back east. Bar hopping, he is accosted in North Beach and gunned down to death for his separation pay.

    My niece and her wife and their little twins recently returned from among other spots, Yosemite . They were there to witness the most fantastic waterfall displays in what was reported as 140 years. Falls dry over a century began flowing spectacularly into Yosemite Valley. I was there in a dry summer..I was so jealous of niece Jennifer and Trish and the kids!

  43. coozledad said on July 1, 2017 at 7:30 am

    Just a matter of concluding their formal alliances with Nazi trash now.
    http://www.wweek.com/news/2017/06/30/multnomah-county-republican-party-approves-oath-keepers-and-three-percenters-as-private-security/

    About time the military just cuts this white trash shitshow short.

  44. coozledad said on July 1, 2017 at 7:49 am

    It’s the bible thumping country dumbfucks who slaughter their neighbors. No medieval idea dies beyond the reach of literacy and the requirements of basic social decency. These civilizing amenities are always negligible in the bumfuckistans.
    http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/features/new-case-study-explores-role-of-polish-peasants-in-holocaust-atrocities.premium-1.503742

  45. coozledad said on July 1, 2017 at 8:35 am

    The entire Trump team. And the Republican party is suborning perjury:

    it wasn’t initially clear to me how independent Smith’s operation was from Flynn or the Trump campaign, it was immediately apparent that Smith was both well connected within the top echelons of the campaign and he seemed to know both Lt. Gen. Flynn and his son well. Smith routinely talked about the goings on at the top of the Trump team, offering deep insights into the bizarre world at the top of the Trump campaign. Smith told of Flynn’s deep dislike of DNI Clapper, whom Flynn blamed for his dismissal by President Obama. Smith told of Flynn’s moves to position himself to become CIA Director under Trump, but also that Flynn had been persuaded that the Senate confirmation process would be prohibitively difficult. He would instead therefore become National Security Advisor should Trump win the election, Smith said. He also told of a deep sense of angst even among Trump loyalists in the campaign, saying “Trump often just repeats whatever he’s heard from the last person who spoke to him,” and expressing the view that this was especially dangerous when Trump was away.

    Over the course of a few phone calls, initially with Smith and later with Smith and one of his associates—a man named John Szobocsan—I was asked about my observations on technical details buried in the State Department’s release of Secretary Clinton’s emails (such as noting a hack attempt in 2011, or how Clinton’s emails might have been intercepted by Russia due to lack of encryption). I was also asked about aspects of the DNC hack, such as why I thought the “Guccifer 2” persona really was in all likelihood operated by the Russian government, and how it wasn’t necessary to rely on CrowdStrike’s attribution as blind faith; noting that I had come to the same conclusion independently based on entirely public evidence, having been initially doubtful of CrowdStrike’s conclusions.

    Towards the end of one of our conversations, Smith made his pitch. He said that his team had been contacted by someone on the “dark web”; that this person had the emails from Hillary Clinton’s private email server (which she had subsequently deleted), and that Smith wanted to establish if the emails were genuine. If so, he wanted to ensure that they became public prior to the election. What he wanted from me was to determine if the emails were genuine or not.

    It is no overstatement to say that my conversations with Smith shocked me. Given the amount of media attention given at the time to the likely involvement of the Russian government in the DNC hack, it seemed mind-boggling for the Trump campaign—or for this offshoot of it—to be actively seeking those emails. To me this felt really wrong.</i.

    https://lawfareblog.com/time-i-got-recruited-collude-russians

  46. beb said on July 1, 2017 at 10:53 am

    Speaking of “desperate daring Devils” is the story of the couple who were trying to increase traffic to their YouTube channel by testing a myth that a book can stop a bullet. So without stopping to test out the idea he grabbed a book and she discharged a gun at it. Sadly he had already father a child so he can’t be a Darwin Award winner….

    The details get only worse because the gun she used was a Desert Eagle 50, a handgun that makes Dirty Harry’s gun look weak. As Ars Technica writes, “The gun, a Desert Eagle .50 caliber pistol, was not hindered by the book.”

    The NRA successfully lobby to have a law preventing mental patients in some state from owning guns repealed. It’s weird they would do that since they argue that more mental health care is need to deter gun violence rather gun restrictions. I think we ought to campaign for one simple rule for gun owners: do something stupid with your gun–lose the right to own guns for life. By ‘stupid’ I mean anyone who has accidentally dischanged an ’empty’ gun, or shot themselves with their gun or let their children get their gun and fire it. Or kill someone trying to booster their YouTube rating. How can you argue against a bill that bans stupidity?

    I’ve finished reading Al Franken’s book about his life in politics, “Giant of the Senate.” In addition to being a very funny book there is a lot about the work of campaigning that people thinking of entering politics needs to know. And the strange rules of the Senate where it’s OK to call the President a liar but it’s not OK to roll one’s eyes while another member is lying. It is a great book.

  47. coozledad said on July 1, 2017 at 11:55 am

    https://twitter.com/amjoyshow/status/881170893141135360

    Malcolm is spot on here. Trump will hump Putin’s leg like some toy dog. The Republicans will cream themselves over the vulgar display of self abasement. That’s what they are talking about when they talk about “character.”

  48. coozledad said on July 1, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Ambulance jams into reverse, backs over attorney:
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/29/donald-trump-russia-lawyer-marc-kasowitz-jared-kushner?CMP=edit_2221

  49. brian stouder said on July 1, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    Malcom Nance is great; he’s been spot-on on all of this national security stuff from the get-go.

    A point he made a few months ago (with regard to the ongoing Russian election interference scandal) is one that I think should be repeated and repeated and repeated, now that Trump and his narrow faction have power.

    He says – forget “collusion”; the word to be concerned about is “infiltration”

  50. Deborah said on July 1, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    I’m not sure what prompted me to do this but I’m home alone maybe that’s it, LB is with her boyfriend and my husband is back in the Chicago area to deal with his uncle for a few days. I’m here outside in beautiful weather in Santa Fe and decided (?) to look up Prpsperos old comments, next I’m going to look up Moe’s. Such a wonderful archive that Nancy and JC have provided to make this possible. Nice.

  51. brian stouder said on July 1, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    Good ol’ Indiana!!

    If you’re gonna make a mistake, it’s gotta be doubly good to have the boo-boo set in stone!

    http://wane.com/2017/07/01/spelling-mistake-brings-attention-to-new-war-memorial/

    Aside from that, a genuine pillar of society in Fort Wayne, Ian Rolland, has passed away. We won’t be seeing another like him around here, in my lifetime (except maybe Chuck Surack….)

  52. susan said on July 1, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Indiana, also the home of Dan Potatoe-head Quayle. Or is that Quail?

  53. coozledad said on July 1, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    “Merry Christmas” people can kiss my ass. A good portion of them will be blowing their families through the walls of their trailer with a shotgun on Christmas day anyway. The most relentlessly depressing holiday of the capitalist death cult.

    https://twitter.com/FoxNews/status/881318055216906240

    This was usually the one where my southern family broke the bottles and went for each other’s throats. Baby Jesus is obviously into WWA.

  54. coozledad said on July 1, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    I see “modern day presidential ” trending on twitter and I think “How many names can they come up with for “Turd on your chest.”

  55. brian stouder said on July 1, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    Susan – I’ve been past signs for the Dan Quayle vice presidential museum (or whatever) dozens of times –

    http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/9788

    but I shall probably never wander into that place – unless there’s a tornado and I’m on foot and it’s the closest shelter – or something!

    I’d sooner go to the Creation Museum, and the chances of that are somewhere between 0.00000000001 and 0.000000000001

    Cooz – Lawrence O’Donnell had a pretty good take-down of President Trump’s ridiculous press agent (that Huckabee person) – who is the daughter of a preacher man -and who went on about how the president is RIGHT to “hit back harder” whenever anyone criticizes him

    https://twitter.com/Lawrence/status/880597684322803714

    Because, of course, Jesus Christ was kidding when he said ‘turn the other cheek’.

    Forget fake news; what about fake faith?

  56. coozledad said on July 2, 2017 at 7:54 am

    Blue states should find a way to take over collection of federal tax dollars and place them in escrow. The part of the country that supports Trump is a burden and a national disgrace.

    https://newrepublic.com/article/140948/bluexit-blue-states-exit-trump-red-america

    As someone put it recently, without government spending in rural areas, there is no spending. There aren’t enough people. I’d just add that federal money is disproportionately and wastefully spent in suckerburgs. it needs to stay in urban areas where people care about education and aren’t fucked up with that inbred deviant urge to set everything worth a damn alight. Let them burn their shit down, but don’t pay the stupid fuckers to do it.

  57. coozledad said on July 2, 2017 at 8:43 am

    White trash helped the Russians elect a puppet regime.
    https://twitter.com/NatashaBertrand/status/880469151223091201?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.balloon-juice.com%2F

  58. Sherri said on July 2, 2017 at 9:18 am

    The town doctor in a tiny Midwestern town is Muslim. He feels like a stranger in his own community since the election.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/in-a-midwestern-town-that-went-for-trump-a-muslim-doctor-tries-to-understand-his-neighbors/2017/07/01/0ada50c4-5c48-11e7-9fc6-c7ef4bc58d13_story.html

  59. Deborah said on July 2, 2017 at 10:36 am

    I noticed that the comment section of that story in Sherri’s #58 link was closed. Why do you think that is?

  60. coozledad said on July 2, 2017 at 10:37 am

    This is what the Republican party was always headed for. You could hear it in the rank apologetics that were indulged here: the mashup of overtly sentimentalist trash coupled with the homoerotic yearning for a strongman; fervent anti intellectualism mud wrestling with the torturer’s reptilian cognitive empathy, it was all here, coded awkwardly at times, but at all times unremittingly.

    Deborah is right about this blog being a resource. You can literally trace the developmental framework of Republican cocksucking from “hick moral panic” to the full embrace of Marcocista Fascism.

    https://twitter.com/NormEisen/status/881511472987295744

    Is this a good time to remind people that real Americans kill Nazis?

  61. Sherri said on July 2, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Having grown up in a conservative family, I agree with Lakoff’s description of the conservative moral hierarchy. He says that we must understand it to begin to attack the problems that are splitting the country apart. I do understand it, deeply. It’s ingrained in me, even if I’ve rejected it. I just don’t see what to do with that understanding.

    https://georgelakoff.com/2017/07/01/two-questions-about-trump-and-republicans-that-stump-progressives/

    I can’t talk to my conservative family about any of this. I’m a woman (low hierarchy), too liberal to be really Christian in their eyes, and despite belonging by birthright, really an outsider by this point. Hell, I can’t even talk about my depression with my family; the one time I had to, my mother got angry to the point of abusive.

  62. coozledad said on July 2, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Sherri: Between reading about a lynching carried out in Roboro and a book that discusses the persistence of belief in apotropaic magic in isolated rural communities, I’ve decided the feudal period never ended in rural white communities. The political right, when it is fully able to manifest its will, always leads directly to the pogrom. Everywhere you have a nucleus of stupid white bastards, you have the potential for a witch burning.

    When white ethnonationalist societies are isolated from federal control, they frequently resort to local terror as a means of shoring up their inbred power structure. It’s becoming clearer, as orthodox histories crumble before rediscovered mountains of primary source materials, that the naif’s faith in a rural heartland value system is a flagrant denial of the truth, and an impediment to understanding the feudal calculus of white America.

    It’s now understood that whites were heralding the dawn of a new, rational age, even as New Englanders were burning their neighbors at the stake, and southern entrepreneurs were using rape and torture to maintain a vast concentration camp that exhausted the fertile tidewater soil of Virginia and the Carolinas before creeping to to the Mississippi and beyond. The Dark Ages never ebbed in rural white communities. It persisted along with the early Enkightenment, and continues to break out in rural pockets where a hereditary politics , coupled with a belief in the dark unknowable result directly in etiolated communities and spasms of ritualized white tribal violence.

    Person County is a good place to begin the study of an educationally strangled demographic making minimal effort to keep in step with the age of information, and lagging in every indicator of economic well being, public health, education and ultimately, functional literacy. The resistance to education and an abject failure to come to terms with its own mortifyingly recidivist class experiment, has condemned the entire county to a shitpot economy, where vast tracts of land are poised to be converted into regional trash pits. This should be viewed less as an aberration than the inevitable result of a medieval, tribally enforced regime of openly sanctioned public corruption , and sometimes extrajudicial murder.

  63. Sherri said on July 2, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    This thread: https://twitter.com/JonathanMerritt/status/881513550547759104

  64. Sherri said on July 2, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    The context for the above thread: https://twitter.com/jeffmason1/status/881311736883806209

  65. basset said on July 2, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    I was in Cadillac last week and saw what I believe was the same “We Love Our President” billboard that Nancy passed a few weeks ago… on M-115 headed north on the way out of town, right? Couldn’t bring myself to take a photo of it.

    Meanwhile, this: http://thehill.com/homenews/media/340292-russian-radio-takes-over-local-dc-station

  66. Suzanne said on July 2, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    The super conservative mindset model explains it. Or, in a nutshell, even if you don’t like him, you have to vote for and support Trump because a vote for a Democrat is a vote for Satan and baby killing. When you see it that way, Trump, Pence, & Ryan are not so bad.

  67. Deborah said on July 2, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    But it seems sooooooo obvious to me when you read Lakeoff that the progressive way is the right way, if you’ve studied the teachings of Christ. So I don’t get how the right wing Christians twist it around otherwise? I even got my early learning from a pretty ultra conservative wing of the Lutheran Church, so how does my only sister, only 16 months older than me see it completely differently than I do? I watched about 5 minutes of that disgusting Trump in Dallas wretched event. I switched over to On Demand and binge watched the last 6 or so episodes of Girls, instead. I know that Lakeoff says our brains are different, but how did they get that way when we came from the same family?

  68. Rana said on July 2, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    Sherri, you’re expressing a lot of my frustrations over the past year. Over, and over, and over again, I’m admonished that I need to be willing to understand how conservatives think, to grasp their worldview, etc. The problem, though, is two-fold: what the eff am I supposed to do with this understanding? I’m not a politician, I’m not a person with power beyond my immediate network, and, to be honest, I don’t see how knowing why some random dude is racist and sexist is useful… which brings me to the second half of the equation.

    Say I do listen, and think, and keep an open and sympathetic mind, even with people who preach violence against me and those I love… well, then what? They are certainly not doing the same on the other side, especially since a lot of that whole worldview is predicated on the idea that difference is a threat, not something to accept. (That’s why I found that piece about the Muslim doctor amazing – there was actually an attempt to reach out and understand someone else by people who voted for Trump.)

    It feels like so much work and it’s inevitably couched as work that liberals and progressives should be doing, and that’s deeply problematic. First, it’s not going to work if only one side is doing it. Second, it reinforces the whole division inherently, as if we’re missionaries reaching out to the troubled savages to bring them to the light (or anthropologists studying the strange foreign people). It also reminds me too much of how it’s women’s job to make men comfortable when we discuss sexism, or people of color’s job to coddle white fragility and control themselves in front of white lack of control.

    It’s no wonder that people are giving up at this point.

  69. coozledad said on July 2, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Hate is stronger than you, it can insinuate itself into you by wrapping itself in Jesus and fake community service. They’ve studied this shit. It took a long game to give us this shite drawers, and it demanded your willing ignorance.

  70. coozledad said on July 2, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    Note the absence of the usual Republican shites on this thread. They’re trying to figure out how to convince you they aren’t mere Trump dicksukers. But that’s all any of them are.

  71. coozledad said on July 2, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    this is what your cheese ass Ohio cunts think. Their Jesus is a racist monstrosity.
    http://www.joemygod.com/2017/07/02/ohio-republican-just-let-drug-addicts-die-video/

  72. susan said on July 2, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    Big Butter Jesus.

    Ohio.

  73. coozledad said on July 2, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    susan; I’m still waiting on Jeff tmmos apologia on the health care bill that will murder his beloved hicks. he ain’t got shit, and he ain’t shit.

    What a fucking charade, and the dupes who eat his shit? Pffft.

    Don’t need to listen to those sadasses anymore.

  74. coozledad said on July 2, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    Like Elvis Costello, I’m an enduring fan of the Laurel Canyon phase of American music. I don’t even know why. But “where there’s nowhere to stay” seems to be a republican model for human settlement:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1d2y4wGZmc

  75. Deborah said on July 2, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    I watched the Wolverine movie “Logan” tonight on On Demand. Holy cow was that a shitty movie. As I said earlier the only reason I wanted to watch it was because part of it was filmed in Abiquiu, not far from our cabin where some friends of ours live. That was one of the most violent films I have ever seen. The set that they built for the movie is visible in maybe the last 5th of it and it makes no sense in the story line geographically. It is completely wrong in every way. I’m reeling about how bad it was, and how damaging it is. Wow, just wow.

  76. basset said on July 3, 2017 at 12:32 am

    Well, ol’ Cooz has apparently read an English novel recently… I see he is now spelling “shit” as “shite.”

    Meanwhile, some more artful turns of phrase:

    “hicks”
    “dupes”
    “sadasses”
    “cheese ass Ohio cunts”
    “Trump dicksukers”
    “Republican shites”
    “stupid white bastards”
    “suckerburgs”
    “turd on your chest”

    And that’s just today. Somebody get that boy an Iowa City MFA… I still want to see the birth certificate first, though.

  77. Jakash said on July 3, 2017 at 1:00 am

    Well, I suppose I’ll incur the wrath of Cooz once again by pointing out that Jeff (tmmo) did not vote for Dolt 45, and, by all indications, cares much more about the health and well-being of “his beloved hicks” than a tax cut for one-percenters. As for being absent from this thread, anybody taking a break from the usual cyber-bullshit over this long holiday weekend is to be applauded, as far as I’m concerned. (Clearly, I’m not, and that’s not to say that I don’t appreciate the participation here by the folks inclined to do so.)

    I just don’t see what satisfaction you get, or who you think you’re convincing with your repeated “all Republicans are shite,” “they’re all traitors” diatribes. I thought part of what makes us different from them is that we don’t tar a whole category of people with the same brush. There are surely enough traitors and complicit weasels worthy of disdain without ignoring the fact that there are also plenty of Republicans who are not on the Trump train, Mr. MMO included.

    Believe me, I appreciate most of your fine posts and links, Coozledad, but have yet to wrap my head around your explosive animus toward a reasonable guy like him. Perhaps you just want somebody to tangle with, and I realize that the pickings for that purpose are slim around this particular bit of pixel estate. Don’t know if that qualifies me a shit-eating dupe, or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised…

  78. Dexter said on July 3, 2017 at 2:50 am

    I guess the Trump lovers are saying we “snowflakes” are “pussies” for saying Trump, with his video of him beating a photoshopped CNN logo is a barely disguised permission and encouragement to go after journos like Trumpites beat protesters last summer at campaign rallies. Trump still says almost all news outlets purvey fake news, except Breitbart & Drudge, of course.
    Years ago I saw a list of extremely dangerous towns and cities in the U.S.A. I am thinking Fort Wayne was on the list but Little Rock was close to the top. Now Little Rock has had a “non-terrorist” mass murder shooting. “Just gang violence, no terror action”. Just life in the U.S.A. Bullshit. That motherfucker is a terrorist.

  79. coozledad said on July 3, 2017 at 8:23 am

    He’s pro torture. You can call that reasonable if you want. Talk to me when you’ve had a couple of masked hicks waltz into a place where you’re handing out candy to children, and they threaten your life. Or tending a grill at a Democratic cookout when a guy rolls up in a truck and starts spouting some shit about Soros and makes a show of reaching for his crotch.

    There is no daylight between Trump and any other Republican. You might think North Carolina is an aberration, but they’re coming for your right to vote. Once they’ve stolen that, those lovely hicks will be up in your face, too.

    And Basset, you petty old thing, this is my current reading list:

    Lynching in North Carolina: A History, 1865 1941
    Vann R. Newkirk

    The Holocaust: A new History
    Laurence Rees

    Civil War in the North Carolina Quaker Belt
    William T. Auman

    The Oxford Illustrated History of Witchcraft and Magic
    Ed. Owen Davies

    The True Flag: tTheodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire
    Stephen Kinzer

    Richard Nixon: The Life
    John a. Farrell

    Go stroke your geetar some, you relic.

  80. coozledad said on July 3, 2017 at 8:36 am

    Republicans are in fact traitors. If they weren’t actively engaged in defending Putin’s US satrapy, you might be able to make an argument to the contrary. But they’ll be with him when he hands Putin the keys at the G20 summit.

    I can understand how someone who thinks Chuck Todd is a journalist might think the US hasn’t been compromised by its racist white trash, but you just go ahead and suck on that pacifier while the shithouse goes up in flames. Next thing you’ll be telling me that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are honest brokers.

    https://twitter.com/sarahkendzior/status/880911323932000256

  81. Sherri said on July 3, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Cooz @71, my old high school boyfriend who’s always been a extreme conservative, thinks we ought to poison the drug supply to kill off the addicts. I used to think he was exaggerating, but eventually I realized he was completely serious.

    He’s not some uneducated hick; he’s a well-off lawyer. He’s just been reading National Review since he was a kid.

  82. Judybusy said on July 3, 2017 at 9:29 am

    Thanks, Jakash at #77.

  83. coozledad said on July 3, 2017 at 9:45 am

    Sherri: That’s the authoritarian mind in a nutshell. They’re prone to seize on moral panics to establish torture regimes because it legitimizes their natural sadistic bent. I’ve found that people who espouse the use of torture are the most likely people to engage in it. It may seem contradictory to some people that a torturer can move easily in society, and appear friendly or calm, but that’s a fundamental character of sociopathy.

    The torturer’s personality is so diverse that at one moment they will beat you, yet, at another time they are placidly interacting with co-workers, family members, and others. Their personalities are compartmentalized. Yet, there is one common element among torturers: sadism. A sadistic personality, basically, gets some type of gratification from inflicting pain or suffering on others, of a physical or psychological kind. Sometimes torturers show anger, sometimes they enjoy the role of being an aggressor; sometimes it is an issue of control, power and authority. Some torturers rationalize and justify their behavior by saying that they were under orders or simply were following orders.

    https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1G1-90682849/understanding-torture-and-torturers

    When you see people who otherwise might shun authoritarian personalities or torturers start to gravitate toward them, it’s because there are a class of people who are vulnerable to the sociopath’s charisma. They may share some prejudices or authoritarian tendencies. You see people hoping they can find a nice Republican daddy all the time. It’s become a tropism among our center right media, so much so they didn’t document the swing to outright fascism. There’s also an inherent misogyny in the authoritarian mindset.

  84. basset said on July 3, 2017 at 10:12 am

    Pretty good freshman summer reading list there, Cooze… must be a private school.

    And I’ve been told the cat from hell is doing fine with a new family.

  85. coozledad said on July 3, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Go shoot a quadruped, Basset. It’ll make you feel better.

  86. Sherri said on July 3, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Cooz, don’t forget that I’m a woman raised in the South. I know all about the inherent misogyny in the authoritarian mindset.

    Before she turned to novels like The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd wrote a powerful memoir about her spiritual journey from a religious practice that was authoritarian and sexist to a more feminine perspective, The Dance of the Dissendent Daughter. It is a challenging journey, because in rejecting that mindset and that belief system, you also reject your tribe, because those beliefs are not separable from the tribe. Even if you can separate them, your tribe can’t; they will regard rejection of the belief system as rejection of them.

    That’s, I think, a big part of what makes bridging the divide so hard. I don’t regard disagreement with my ideas and beliefs as personal rejection, but I’ve certainly experienced that response among conservative family members.

  87. coozledad said on July 3, 2017 at 10:43 am

    I’ll have to get that book, Sherri.

    I found it essential to the stability of my marriage and my happiness to divorce my southern family. There were letters from siblings telling me I MUST see my father, and I couldn’t help but think of the partnerships and marriages he sabotaged among them. They were his willing victims.

    I sometimes regret not seeing them and sharing the vanishingly small number of things we had in common, but there was always that aura of threat, and the memory of violence. I have vivid recurring nightmares of violent interactions with my parents. I don’t want to subject my wife to the disdain my father had for any of his children’s spouses, and he particularly had it in for her. She graduated magna cum laude at Duke. He flunked out in the 50’s. You could almost sense the intrafamily maneuvering against her beginning to take shape about the time we decided we didn’t want to hear “nigger” at a Thanksgiving dinner anymore.

    My wife has no desire to see her surviving parent, either. Her mother has never been able to accept that her daughter has gone farther in life and excelled in a field she thinks is more properly the sphere of men.

    We’ve found a closer kinship group with our local chapter of the NAACP and the Democratic party. There are some whackjobs in the party, of course, but they’re a hell of a lot more fun than a monochrome gathering of old bigots.

  88. Sherri said on July 3, 2017 at 11:27 am

    My family’s biggest fear was that I would divorce them, and believe me, I have considered it. In the end, I chose not to. Being 3000 miles away helps, as does having learned better how to not be manipulated by them and not feel guilty about being who I am. I am able to maintain a relationship more on my terms now. And now that my daughter is grown, I feel even less of an obligation.

    My closest ties are with friends. They are the people I share everything with, who I spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with, who really know me and accept me.

  89. Judybusy said on July 3, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Separating myself from certain family members has been wonderful, but my mom still doesn’t get why I won’t be around my dad. He “disowned” me when I came out and every interaction since then has sucked. (I’ve shared some of that here.) His sister and her husband are celebrating their 60th anniversary this summer, and there is going to be an open house. My mom asked if I were going and I told her no, because dad will be there. She said I shouldn’t let him control my life. I had to tell her three times, it’s very painful to see him and I refuse to expose myself to that. She then changed the subject to our new-ish cats, as she can’t tolerate any discussion of honest emotions. She gets a pass, because I get my emotional support elsewhere, and at 77, she’s not going to learn how to do it.

    There is also something weird going on with my younger brother, but it’s too long and I really do have work to do!

  90. coozledad said on July 3, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Charles Blow.

    There is something insidious and corrosive about trying to evaluate the severity of every offense, trying to give each an individual grade on the scale of absurdity. Trump himself is the offense. Everything that springs from him, every person who supports him, every staffer who shields him, every legislator who defends him, is an offense. Every partisan who uses him — against all he or she has ever claimed to champion — to advance a political agenda and, in so doing, places party over country, is an offense.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/03/opinion/trump-hijacked-american-presidency.html?smid=tw-nytopinion&smtyp=cur

  91. Jeff Borden said on July 3, 2017 at 11:44 am

    I’m reading “After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split” by Lesley Hazelton, which was published in 2009. It’s a very clear and useful history book about the aftermath of Muhammad’s death, complicated because the prophet never clearly named a successor. At base, it’s really about the hatred between Aisha, a teenager who was Muhammad’s youngest but childless wife, and his son-in-law Ali, and how it threw the fledgling religion into bloody and never-ending chaos.

    Since the Orange King has thrown his not inconsiderable weight behind the Sunni Saudis vs. Shia Iran, it’s a timely read, too, though I doubt I’m going out on much of a limb in believing no one in his inner circle has much of a clue about these two branches of Islam.

  92. coozledad said on July 3, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    Jeff Borden: Tamim Ansary’s Games Without Rules is good, too. He’s written some lively exegesis of the various flavors of Islam. Games is pertinent now, because it discusses the way our new Russian overlords conduct warfare against children. Now that we’re partners in evil, it’s worthwhile to get a preview of how we’re going to help them fuck up the world.

    Oh, and here’s more of Charles Blow. He doesn’t use fecal imagery as much as I do, but he gets paid for his work, and rightly so. One day, the Republicans might claim they never supported him, because that’s the nature of cowardice. A whole class of suckers will believe them, because if there’s one thing the US is really good at making, it’s middlebrow bothsiders.

    Republicans have bound themselves up with Trump. His fate is their fate. They have surrendered any moral authority to which they once laid claim — rightly or not. If Trump goes down, they all do.

    It’s all quite odd, this moral impotence, this cowering before the belligerent, would-be king. A madman and his legislative minions are holding America hostage.

  93. susan said on July 3, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    Meanwhile, in the Hamptons. Fucking Chuck Schumer.

    Truly, them and us.

  94. Sherri said on July 3, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    Why “well he didn’t harass me” isn’t a defense:

    https://medium.com/@espiers/yeah-but-heres-the-thing-9a091db45448

  95. LAMary said on July 3, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    I want to note that I appreciated the Abbott and Costello reference.

  96. Jakash said on July 3, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Neil Steinberg is featuring his post from 4 years ago on the side of his blog today. His ruminations on, uh, colorful language after having attended a lecture about it.

    “Fuck is the best word,” Riggle enthused at the University of Chicago, “because it means everything. ‘I was fucking furious.’ ‘I lost my fucking laptop…'”

    He also discusses “moist” which I know many here hate, but which he has only positive associations with, the N word just quoted by Cooz a couple hours ago, which Neil grudgingly decides not to actually use, while arguing “The past is often a bad place; it shouldn’t make us comfortable to contemplate it. We whitewash history at our peril.” and “oriental,” which he doesn’t “mind losing.” This must have been shortly after the Paula Deen N-word affair, which calls forth this swell observation:

    “Besides, Deen wasn’t hounded out of her livelihood by black outrage but by corporate cowardice. Wal-Mart might not be able to cure its own institutional racism, but it sure can fire Paula Deen, as if you need moral purity to force feed sticks of butter down the throat of an ever-fatter nation.”

    Anyway, interesting to me, YMMV. I appreciate the nod @ 82, Judybusy.

    http://www.everygoddamnday.com/2013/07/talking-dirty-in-rockefeller-chapel.html

  97. coozledad said on July 3, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    There’s a deeply misplaced sense of what is vulgar. Republicans are filthy, immoral beings.
    https://twitter.com/RevDrBarber/status/881884447414648832

  98. coozledad said on July 3, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Nazi shite:
    https://twitter.com/JYSexton/status/881619803080986626

  99. Jeff Borden said on July 3, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Hey Jakash,

    One of my friends once asked a buddy who knew a lot about cars to look under the hood of his auto. “Fuckin’ fucker’s fucked,” was the guy’s assessment. Beautiful in its simplicity.

  100. susan said on July 3, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Jeff Borden, along those lines…

  101. Deborah said on July 3, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    susan, I can’t get you link to work.

    We’ve been doing yard work in Santa Fe, or I should say LB is doing all the work, I’m just supervising because of my back. Great excuse. Even though I wish to high heaven that I could dig in and get my hands dirty, sigh.

    My husband is helping his uncle move out of his marital home. Uncle J is so excited, he said at one point with his arms spread wide and a big smile on his face “I’m leaving!”. He sheepishly admitted that he had married a few years after his second wife died (the love of his life) that he was lonely and horney and he knew shortly thereafter that he’d made a huge mistake when he married his gold digger third wife. Oh well, too late now, she’s poised to get it all and nothing anyone can do about it. We’re just trying to make the last few months or years he has left being cognizant, to be as happy as they can possibly be. There’s nothing in this for us except the knowledge that he’s happy.

  102. susan said on July 3, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    Hmmm, well dang, er, uh, oh fuck.

    (Sure wish there were a way to preview comments before showing oneself to be a doofus.)

  103. coozledad said on July 3, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    Traitors. Now featuring Trump team member Newt Gingrich.
    https://thinkprogress.org/know-about-peter-w-smith-fd05b9284cbd

  104. coozledad said on July 3, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    susan: I always thought fuck came from the French fuchere: to drill or auger. In Gravity’s Rainbow, Tyrone Slothrop yells “Fickt nicht mit dem Raketemensch!” which I’m guessing is a reverse English to German construction. Maybe Germans have reclaimed it, or just adopted it because it’s a good verb to anchor a sentence.

    It could have come about entirely as some sort of idiomatic fluke. Who the fuck knows?

  105. David C. said on July 3, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    Is your back improving, Deborah?

  106. beb said on July 3, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    In a race to the bottom, Chris Christie has taken the lead…
    http://www.politico.com/states/new-jersey/story/2017/07/03/christies-private-beach-jaunt-becomes-latest-scandal-113204

    no beach for you! What a douche.

  107. coozledad said on July 3, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    Gutting Medicaid. Those nice, friendly Republican daddies.
    https://twitter.com/ASlavitt/status/881941502875881473

  108. Deborah said on July 3, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    David C, yes thanks for asking, my back is improving every day.

    MichaelG, how are you doing?

  109. Dexter said on July 4, 2017 at 2:41 am

    For a while there, about twenty years ago, I was going to be a Volvo man for life. Then the repairs came, and I realized I had not researched, and the repairs began to drain the bank dry. I drove it to the junkyard and that was that. Still perking up when I saw “Volvo” in print, I learned Gen. Powell’s hobby was restoring old Volvos…he’s had a lot of them. So this is in reply to J.Borden’s post about street mechanic-helpers…a Twitter follower of mine lives in Brooklyn and was driving in Manhattan a couple years back, and her Volvo conked out. She was lucky enough to be on a street where she had room to pull over just before it died. She raised the hood and called a wrecker…sometimes a long wait she said in NYC. Then a friendly man approached offering to take a look, he said he has had this very model and currently drives a Volvo, and does minor maintenance himself. The woman thought she recognized him, but then was not sure. The man told her what the problem was but could not fix it there on the street, but he said he would stand with here until the wrecker service arrived. They made small talk for the waiting minutes, and the wrecker came. “Thanks so much …my name is Mary” “Lester.” It had been NBC anchor Lester Holt. He didn’t say the fuckin’ fucker was fucked, but it definitely was. And Lester went back to 30 Rock.

  110. basset said on July 4, 2017 at 5:47 am

    We had a Volvo 940 for awhile… 940 being the amount of money you were supposed to bring every time a mechanic opened the hood.

  111. ROGirl said on July 4, 2017 at 6:04 am

    “Va te faire foutre” means go fuck yourself in French.

    “Je m’en fou” means I don’t give a fuck.

    Foutre is a reflexive verb, so you have to add the reflexive pronoun that agrees with the subject (myself, yourself,him/herself, etc.). The reflexive pronoun is placed before the verb.

  112. David C. said on July 4, 2017 at 6:18 am

    I wonder what being Chinese owned will do to or for Volvo. A year or so back, the head of Geely criticized the design of Volvo’s new line of cars as being too Scandanavian. Having access to the Ford parts bin didn’t seem to help or harm them, and I don’t imagine the Geely parts bin will do them much good either. Owning small specialty automakers has never seemed to work out well for either the owned or the owner.

  113. coozledad said on July 4, 2017 at 7:37 am

    Happy 4th. Have yourself a long suck on that broken promise, that baldfaced lie.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOTtXKSFhqM

  114. basset said on July 4, 2017 at 9:15 am

    Volvo pretty much lost its character under Ford, I don’t see how that can get anything but worse with the Chinese. I miss the days when cars from different companies looked different.

    Mrs B and I went to the Gilmore auto museum outside Grand Rapids last week and would definitely recommend it… now I just have to find some way to get her a ride in an Auburn.

  115. Deborah said on July 4, 2017 at 10:14 am

    I like Volvo’s when they looked like this https://www.google.com/search?q=volvo+544&client=safari&hl=en-us&prmd=isvn&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiWwe_O5-_UAhVI64MKHQKYDU8Q_AUICSgB&biw=1024&bih=1270

  116. Mark P said on July 4, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Deborah my brother had a black Volvo of that vintage. I still love them. My wife likes the square Volvos. My advisor in grad school drove a Volvo. He said anytime any little thing went wrong it wouldn’t run. He said the Volvo shop told him that’s what they’re supposed to do. It was a safety feature.

  117. coozledad said on July 4, 2017 at 11:36 am

    A doggerel for the grills

    Terraced thousands died, shaking scythes at cannon.
    The hillside blushed, soaked in our broken wave.
    They buried us without shroud or coffin
    And in August… the barley grew up out of our grave.

    Seamus Heaney

    E. D. Furnam, of the Washington Regiment, writes of the battles of February 4th and 5th:

    We burned hundreds of houses and looted hundreds more. Some of the boys made good hauls of jewelry and clothing. Nearly every man has at least two suits of clothing, and our quarters are furnished in style; fine beds with silken drapery, mirrors, chairs, rockers, cushions, pianos, hanging-lamps, rugs, pictures, etc. We have horses and carriages, and bull-carts galore, and enough furniture and other plunder to load a steamer.

    N. A. J. McDonnel, of the Utah Battery, February 22d:

    The enemy numbered thousands and had courage, but could not shoot straight. People can never tell me anything about the Rough Riders charging San Juan. If these natives could shoot as accurately as the Spanish, they would have exterminated us. Fighting goes on all along the lines, many natives are killed, but we capture very few rifles, as they seem to have men to take them. Official reports say over four thousand two hundred natives have been buried by American troops. How many they have buried themselves and how many more are dead in the brush no one knows.

    Frank M. Erb, of the Pennsylvania Regiment. February 27th:

    We have been in this nigger-fighting business now for twenty-three days, and have been under fire for the greater part of that time. The niggers shoot over one another’s heads or any old way. Even while I am writing this the black boys are banging away at our outposts, but they very seldom hit anybody. The morning of the 6th a burying detail from our regiment buried forty-nine nigger enlisted men and two nigger officers, and when we stopped chasing them the night before, we could see ‘em carrying a great many with them. We are supposed to have killed about three hundred. Take my advice, and don’t enlist in the regulars, for you are good for three years. I am not sorry I enlisted, but you see we have had some excitement and we only have about fourteen months’ time to serve, if they keep us our full time, which is not likely. We will, no doubt, start home as soon as we get these niggers rounded up.

    Anthony Michea, of the Third Artillery:

    We bombarded a place called Malabon, and then we went in and killed every native we met, men, women, and children. It was a dreadful sight, the killing of the poor creatures. The natives captured some of the Americans and literally hacked them to pieces, so we got orders to spare no one.

    Get the charcoal lighter fluid
    Spray it on the whole damn bag
    Dance and weep, you flaming druid
    Pissed up, wrapped up in your flag
    Burn that meat and half choke on it
    Drink until you weave and drop
    Bet someone else’s blood upon it
    There’s no one can make us stop.

  118. Sherri said on July 4, 2017 at 11:55 am

    The Republicans know that their agenda is unpopular. It always has been. They’ve always been obsessed with restricting voting.

    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/doj-asks-washington-state-elex-boss-how-she-keeps-ineligible-voters-off-rolls/

    Unfortunately, the candidate who ran against SoS Kim Wyman last fall basically ran on a platform of “I’m a Democrat and she’s not” and that wasn’t good enough to defeat an incumbent. Tina Podlowski did have other ideas, but she didn’t run a good campaign. So we’re stuck with the only statewide elected Republican on the West Coast as the person in charge of our elections.

  119. Deborah said on July 4, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    I unfortunately have an honest to god, unapologetic Trump supporter as a FB friend now. This guy that used to work at the architecture firm where I worked in St. Louis asked to be my friend a couple of weeks ago. He comments positively on pro-trump sites and they show up on my feed. He started his own company a couple of decades ago which did pretty well but eventually went belly up. He was a strange guy but I had no idea he was such a right winger. I’m going to have to mute him, because I find those articles repulsive, I probably won’t unfriend him but I have certainly lost respect for him.

  120. beb said on July 4, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Jolene @2: “Mika denies a facelift, but admits to a bit of tightening under her chin.”. I’m sure plastic surgeons were argue that there’s a lot of difference between a “face lift” and “a little tightening under the chin” It all seems the same to me — surgery to provide a youthful appearance. But Nancy is right that people in Mika’s class have places to go to to recover from the operation. But Trump have an issue with women and bleeding. I wonder he he makes Melania stay in a Menstruation House away from him during her periods?

    Lakeoff’s discussion of the moral differences between liberals and conservatives doesn’t explain why conservatives don’t follow the “Good Steward” parable when it comes to clean air and water and conservation in general. Jesus was pretty clear that while God gave man dominion over the earth he was supposed to take good care of it. There’s a level of meanness to conservatism that seems to go beyond the needs of patriarchalism.

  121. coozledad said on July 4, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    There are any number of reasons why the black holocaust is swept under the rug in this country, but the political alignment of the Republicans with the Fascist south, and the spread of a creeping racist myopia among members of the Bernie left is rapidly closing the window on a chance for white Americans to come to terms with their multigenerational evil. Some self proclaimed “Democrats” will run over hot coals to pick peanuts out of some white welfare sponge’s shit.
    https://twitter.com/CharlesMBlow/status/882254344879341568

    Whites always circle the wagons when the truth starts to raise its head. It’s not even a conscious move. It’s hardwired in that nasty little Northern European brain and its insatiable greed for other peoples’ things. Their silence on these matters betrays the sullen arrogance of privilege.

  122. coozledad said on July 4, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    Berniebros complete their amalgamation with the Fascists. This is a natural phenomenon, but one that has a more glaring history in American politics. It virtuallyduplicates William Jennings Bryan’s political suicide over the free silver issue, paired with his bid for the racist southern electorate. A man past his own usefulness becoming a tool of those he claims to oppose.

    https://twitter.com/GaryLegum/status/882310626013478912

  123. Deborah said on July 4, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Can I just say that selling fireworks in NM is nuts. June is the driest month of the year in the state and July 4 is just as dry. I’m not sure that it’s legal to set off fireworks in Santa Fe, but I certainly hear them on the nights leading up to the 4th and a few nights after. At least our cat is no longer with us and we don’t have to deal with her terror on those nights anymore. In a few hours I have to drive to Albuquerque to pick up my husband at the airport returning from his SOS trip for his uncle. He goes back in a week to deal with more stuff. Tomorrow we go out to Abiquiu for a few days again, I have missed it. I’m not looking forward to driving on this holiday night, drunk driving is bad here.

  124. coozledad said on July 4, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    https://twitter.com/EricBoehlert/status/882381644027580416

    He must have shot himself in the leg because he was stepping on his own dick. Common Republican error.

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