Vernal.

And just like that, spring has kissed us on the forehead, blessed us with her favor, coaxed the first green shoots out of the thawing earth.

All this by way of saying we saw a couple of squirrels fucking in the driveway the other day. The male was having a hard time getting his lady to hold still, and we lost track of them in the higher branches, so I don’t know if the deed got done. I imagine it doesn’t really matter; there’s never a shortage of squirrels in these parts. Wendy managed to catch one the other day; its pea-size brain told it to outrun her, which was very bad braining. It got away, but I suspect it was mortally wounded, so score one for Wendy.

If you’re sensing I don’t care for squirrels, you’re right, but hey — they’re part of the kingdom. I don’t poison or shoot them or anything. Live and let live.

What a glorious weekend, though. Got a lot done. Got a bike ride in. Got over my first vaccine’s side effects (a sore arm) and the first truly warm weather got me fantasizing about a summer of outdoor socialization without fear of death. What a concept.

Couple bits of bloggage today:

This is the local Covid-related dustup: Another recalcitrant Michigan restaurant owner collides with The Book, thrown by a judge who is just not havin’ it:

A 55-year-old Holland restaurant owner operating in defiance of a court-ordered closure and the state’s COVID-19 restrictions, including Michigan’s mask mandate, will remain in an Ingham County jail for up to 93 days.

The story is not paywalled, and reading it, you get a sense of the judge’s impatience. This paragraph, though? Chef’s kiss:

During Friday’s hearing, Aquilina also ordered a man attempting to represent Pavlos-Hackney as “assistance of counsel” to be arrested for contempt of court because he allegedly had represented himself as a lawyer when he was not licensed to practice. Richard Martin, who described himself as a constitutional lawyer and is the founder of the Constitutional Law Group, was ordered to serve 93 days in jail.

It’s worth a google to see the Constitutional Law Group website, especially the video, showing Martin in action.

Here’s video of him getting arrested, and sounding like a dolt:

This is the judge who allowed the extraordinary Larry Nasser sentencing hearing, by the way. It took the better part of a week for every assaulted woman to make a statement.

Also, since we were talking about Josh Mandel here just last week, here’s his latest blurtage. What a dick.

But let’s not let that ruin this lovely day! Let’s get it under way — oh wait, it already is.

Posted at 11:41 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 97 Comments
 

Twelve steps.

Anyone who’s ever been a young man, or been the sex partner of a young man, knows one obvious fact: Young men like to have a lot of sex. (So do young women, but a young man will outdistance her almost every time.) Three, four, five times a day is not unheard of, if only for the honeymoon period before abrasion or urinary tract infections (usually in the partner) kick in.

So tell me that a 21-year-old man considers himself a “sex addict,” and that killing prostitutes will “remove temptation,” at least in his mind, is lunacy. A pair of sunny-side-up eggs on a plate will buzz his nuts. Get the hell out of here with that crap. Someone put that idea in his head, that somehow a normal sex drive constitutes “addiction.” The racism too, most likely.

There’s a vigorous school of thought that holds there is no such thing as sex addiction. I’m not a therapist, so I speak only from my own observation, but I’m not entirely sure about that. If you define addiction as a form of compulsive behavior that interferes with the course of one’s daily life, then I’ve certainly seen and heard a few cases that suggest it does. Men with perfectly willing and receptive partners who masturbate incessantly or hire prostitutes, to the point they get fired or arrested, mostly. Women who use anonymous sex to fill a bottomless well of affirmation, need, whatever. Compulsive sex that doesn’t just put your relationship in peril, but also breaks the law, or endangers others — that’s addiction, to me. And I realize my assessment may be entirely wrong.

I’ve also heard of people who are essentially just assholes use S.A. to excuse bad behavior. So there’s that.

What I do know is, this guy in Atlanta is full of shit. Of course, a man who shoots and kills eight people, then lights out for another state to kill more, all in the name of squelching temptation, isn’t playing with a full deck. But to hear police dispassionately relate his stated motivation at a press conference, followed by “he had a bad day, and this is what he did,” is maddening. Brother, I thought, you need a better comms team. Police aren’t hired for their communications skills, but by the time you’re the guy behind the podium giving the briefing, you should know better.

Some things that aren’t getting talked about much:

Have you noticed how many media outlets are still referring to these places as “spas?” And tiptoeing around the idea that they’re places where sex work happens? And while I am absolutely down with “sex work is work” and that women who do it willingly should have their choices respected (assuming they made the choice), I don’t see it as a career path, for a million obvious, common-sense reasons. How much better it would be if young female immigrants got the language and job training they need, in order to get work that doesn’t involve giving hand jobs. There’s not a lot of work you can do fresh off the boat that will pay as well as prostitution, if you’re young and even moderately pretty. And it doesn’t pay all that well, once the house gets its cut.

And for all the talk about the race of the victims, there hasn’t been much, at least as of today, about this detail: Authorities also said that Long legally purchased a 9mm handgun gun he used in the killings on Tuesday. I long, long, looooong ago lost my patience with people who can’t support so-called common sense gun laws, but if this isn’t a case for them, I don’t know what is. Impulse purchase, impulse murder, “addiction” excuse. I can’t fucking stand it.

Oh well. Not a good mood to take into the weekend. Especially now that I am half-vaccinated. Halfcinated, if you will. Hope spring eternal. I feel like maybe we’ll be OK, if we can stay away from sex addicts.

Posted at 8:46 pm in Current events | 92 Comments
 

Doubleheader.

Two good things happened Tuesday.

First good thing: I got a vaccine appointment for Thursday, without having to lie, even a little bit, although I admit some confusion at the scheduling end may have worked in my favor. Word got around that the state had decided “media” were essential workers, and I saw my opening. My opening, I should add, was only three days ahead of another opening, i.e., the 55+ with no complications opening. But man, the days are lengthening and getting warmer, and I need to get this over with.

When I called, I was able to get an appointment in 48 hours. I don’t think I’m taking a spot from someone more deserving. But the guy who booked the appointment seemed confused about whether I was essential, and couldn’t find it in the most recent guidance.

“I’ll put you under….’other,'” he said. Good enough.

So that’s great. The other good thing is, Kate has a lead on a job — running the board at a local jazz club. Which is a gig, granted, but the first gig actually related to her field that she’s had since the pandemic started. So maybe, in small baby steps, we’re getting there.

What a concept: The AfterTimes, within reach. It’s been so long.

More Kate news: Last month, she and her band did a very fast trip to Los Angeles, not to perform but to be, get this, models. Long story short, when she was living there in late 2019, the other two came out to visit and on their perambulations around town met a woman there with a vintage clothing store. That woman was branching out into something a lot of vintage people seem to be doing these days — buying deadstock fabrics, i.e., odd lots no longer in production, and designing their own clothes using them.

So they did a quick photo shoot then, it went well, and this year she has a new line coming out, and hired them back. They spent three days striking poses around Oceanside, California, and now the pix are rolling out on the ‘gram:

I lived through the ’70s once, and none of this stuff is for me. But I guess the kids like it. Here’s Kerri, the drummer, and the one with the longest stems in the group, showin’ ’em off:

They’re doing it for many reasons, but raising their profile on social media is a big one. I told her hey, Rihanna sells a lot more lipsticks and bras than records these days. More power to ya.

Time to get Wednesday under way. Have a good one.

Posted at 8:23 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 46 Comments
 

The mute button.

I know some people, maybe some of you, were able to relax at 12:01 p.m. January 20. It was a trendlet on Twitter to say you’d had the best sleep in four years, that night and thereafter. It didn’t happen that quickly for me. But I cracked my third novel in a month and realized, Holy shit, I have an attention span for this stuff again.

It’s been a minute. It’s been a lot of minutes. For a long time — four years, to be exact — it was hard to concentrate on anything other than the brewing shitshow in Washington. I had trouble sleeping. I still have trouble sleeping, but not as much. I’ve decided to go limp on my insomnia. No more melatonin, no more cannabis; I just accept that sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and don’t get back to sleep for an hour or two, and that’s OK, because the same world that gives us insomnia also gives us black coffee, which is delicious. Little by little, it’s getting better.

The great unclenching, like most transitions, didn’t happen all at once. But the world feels a little less clenchy at the moment.

Honestly, stuff like this helps:

We’re having a challenging discussion of late about our responsibility in how we cover the candidacy of Republican Josh Mandel for the U.S. Senate in 2022.

This is from the Cleveland.com (RIP, Cleveland Plain Dealer) executive editor, and Josh Mandel is the former state treasurer. He is, shall we say, cut from the Trumpian cloth. Chris Quinn goes on:

Usually with political campaigns, we cover where the candidates stand on various issues and report what they say. They lay out how they would improve the lives of constituents and attack their opponents’ failings. It’s pretty straightforward.

The issue is that Mandel has a history of not telling the truth when he campaigns – he was our PolitiFact Ohio “Pants on Fire” champion during his first run for Senate because of the whoppers he told. More recently, he is given to irresponsible and potentially dangerous statements on social media. He’s proven himself to be a candidate who will say just about anything if it means getting his name in the news. We have not dealt with a candidate like this on the state level previously.

What an excellent question for a journalist to ask. You can click through and read the whole thing — it’s not long — but here’s the tl;dr:

As we get closer to election time, what Mandel says might be news, and I don’t believe the right approach to covering dangerous statements by candidates is the traditional “he said-she said.”

A round of applause for Editor Quinn! It took four years of hell, but we’re starting to get it.

I trust everyone’s weekend was good? Mine was fine, although I spent a chunk of it working, which chaps my ass. But I got a good book from the library (“The Sympathizer,” Viet Thanh Nguyen) and, well, see above. Also, saw our pot of chives stirring to life, so even though it’s still fucking cold, it’s less fucking cold, and that’s good.

Bloggage: Like my insomnia, it’s going to take a while to rinse these tinpot con men out of the system, because there’s a sucker born every minute, and sometimes they converge in a state legislature:

In early October, Kris Kobach, Kansas’ former Secretary of State, and Daniel Drake, a Wichita-based venture capitalist-turned-CEO, made a sales pitch to Kansas legislators. The duo wheeled in what looked to lawmakers like a “refrigerator” — a shiny metal box Drake called a “revolutionary” device that would “kill COVID” and bring “several hundred jobs back to Wichita.”

“This stuff is very cutting-edge,” Kobach said. The local development of such exciting technology was why, he told lawmakers, he wanted Kansas to get the “first bite at the apple.”

During their pitch, Drake explained that his company, MoJack Distributors, had developed a line called “Scent Crusher” that uses aerosolized ozone, a tri-oxygen molecule, to sanitize hunting and sports products, “only to realize that we weren’t here today to be able to get hunters or sportsmen to be better athletes or better hunters, but to kill COVID.” He told lawmakers the sample product next to him was part of a new line called “Sarus Systems.”

See if you can guess how well this miracle device works:

There is no evidence Sarus Systems has made material steps toward rehoming hundreds of jobs to Kansas, and shipping records show products are currently being manufactured in China. There is also scant evidence their machines, or ozone in general, can safely eliminate SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. And while the pair have hyped the products’ popularity, claiming a three-month backlog and international interest, we were unable to verify any purchases — from the state of Kansas or otherwise.

Kris Kobach, I remind you, used to serve as Secretary of State in Kansas, and did the GOP thing of implementing strict voter ID laws, purging voters from registration rolls, etc. Presumably his post-officeholder career is as a petty grifter. As I said on Twitter, the Trump era is sort of a rancid remake of “The Music Man,” only no one can sing. And Marian the Librarian is a villain now.

Oh, well. It’s Monday, and we can all do better. So let’s.

Posted at 9:42 am in Current events | 62 Comments
 

One more hour, but not.

By the next time we gather here, it’ll be Daylight Saving Time. What used to be a transition barely worthy of a Monday-morning — or Sunday-morning at church — comment now seems to yield a week of whining and, lately, policy re-examination.

After years of this, I’ve come to realize it’s all about where on the time-zone line you live. The three main states I’ve lived — Ohio, Indiana and Michigan — are all on the west-ish part of the Eastern zone, and so I don’t have that early-darkness extra winter sucker punch that…New Yorkers and Chicagoans have to endure. When we went to London for an insanely low package price in December one year, we got a clue that the insanely low price might have had something to do with darkness lowering around 3:30 in the afternoon.

But sorry, year-round DST is not the answer. Who wants to confront winter with a late-rising sun contributing to the misery? A girl in my high school got hit by a car walking to school in 1970-something, the year Congress decided the way to confront the energy crisis was to adopt DST in, like, January.

There are only so many hours in a day, and only so many of them are daylight. Trying to stretch the clock to fit over them is like pulling a too-small T-shirt over a pot belly; pull it down, you’re gonna show too much chest, pull it up then someone’s gonna see your gut. Winter is a prison term, and the only way through it is through it, so: Get through it. Enjoy DST when it arrives and brings those long summer evenings. If you’re going to whine about it, then never take a vacation that takes you across time zones again. Three days, maybe four, and you’ll be adjusted.

Why didn’t anyone tell me Geraldo Rivera had moved to Ohio? When did he do this? And now he’s talking about running for the Senate? (I don’t take that part seriously, but honestly — an Ohioan. I’m amazed.

Oh, here comes the weekend. Warm spell is over, but the next one won’t be forever arriving. Spring, soon. Finally.

Posted at 8:17 pm in Same ol' same ol' | 91 Comments
 

They were SO mean.

So I didn’t watch Meghan and Harry and Oprah. From the Twitter reaction, I believe a bomb has been detonated in Buckingham Palace. I read the highlights and lowlights, and I’ve come to — jumped to — a couple of conclusions.

Conclusion No. 1: Meghan was never going to kill herself. Depression, sure, but she strikes me as a striving and ambitious woman. She could have exited her marriage if it were that bad, and honestly, I’m not sure I even believe she was denied help for her despair. Diana saw a therapist, and royals see medical professionals of all sorts. But saying one had “thoughts of suicide” is a neat way of getting the attention and sympathy without having to actually do it. Hell, probably all of us have at least had thoughts of suicide; what would I do if I were diagnosed with a terrible disease and all hope was gone? I’d think about suicide, yes I would.

Conclusion No. 2: The racism is offensive, and not surprising, although I really want to know who wondered idly about the skin color of the unborn Archie. Prince Philip came up in the Empire days, is a million years old, and racism is in his DNA. Charles I’d be more disappointed by, as it seemed he is, relatively speaking, the progressive of the family. But I guess we’ll have to wait for a follow-up special to see that.

Did we see Archie at all last night? Has anyone? Is he a cute baby? I expect so.

Of course this will reanimate the Diana Cult, but at this point, who really cares. The Firm will survive the way it always has: By keeping calm and carrying on.

And that’s as much attention as I plan to devote to this.

You could read my story about Detroit’s Covid anniversary, written oral history-style, which is one of my favorite ways to do pieces like this. (I submitted the transcripts to all the subjects for approval, and only one told me to fix his grammar, which was a matter of changing two adjectives to adverbs.) I was struck, again, by how little we knew a year ago, and this is why I cannot abide those who now complain “these doctors, they don’t know anything, they keep contradicting themselves.” Oh, fuck you.

My favorite single quote from that story: When the governor shut down everything, you know, I live at the top of Lafayette Tower and I looked down at the streets where no one was out, it just looked deserted. I told my wife, this must be what Passover was like.

OK, then. Monday. Let’s take this bull by the horns, but first: The crossword puzzle.

Posted at 10:01 am in Current events, Detroit life | 85 Comments
 

The gray.

In our foolish faith that one day, HBO will get good again, Alan and I have been watching “The Investigation,” a Danish series. It’s a dramatized version of the painstaking police work it took to imprison the killer of journalist Kim Wall, in 2013.

Wall went for a ride in a Peter Madsen’s submarine and never came back. Madsen lied and lied and lied, first claiming he put her ashore, then saying she was killed by a falling hatch cover, then switching his story to suffocation, and that’s as far as we’ve gotten. (His dismemberment and dumping of her body was harder to explain, but it was something like, “I panicked and wanted to bury her at sea, but I couldn’t carry her up the ladder to the exit hatch, so, y’know, I parted it out.”)

Anyway, I like to think of myself as a fairly sophisticated consumer of filmed entertainment. I don’t mind subtitles, I respect artistic choices even if they are not what mine would be, and I enjoy foreign films, if only for the glimpses they provide of life in other countries. But man, is “The Investigation” ever slow.

And by “slow,” I mean I said this the other night, as the main character left his office for the day: “You watch. We’re going to follow him all the way down this long hallway, and out the doors,” and we did. About 30 seconds of screen time, an eternity, all to say: He’s leaving work now.

One episode consisted of the police shuttling between various undecorated offices. All the walls were white, lightly tinged with gray. All the officers have the same Scandinavian efficiency in their speech, movement and dress. No one talked about a partner at home, or their children or dogs. No one goes out for a drink after work. No one swears or throws a file folder down on a desk in disgust. No one is particularly good- or bad-looking. The only gun fired is a shotgun, because Jens, the main character, shoots skeet and duck-hunts. The search for the remains by divers is about the only break from tinged-gray white walls we get, and even that is agonizing. They dive, and find nothing. They dive again. They dive again. Etc.

Jens is the most well-rounded, if only because the writers tacked on a subplot of him trying to connect with his adult daughter, who is drifting away from him because he works so hard and is never there for her. They have short, tense conversations in which much is unspoken. Jens expresses sadness through his wide-set eyes. It looks a lot like all his other expressions.

And yet, still we watch. I did some outside reading, and learned that all these choices were deliberate, that the intent was to concentrate on the work it took to bring Madsen to justice, not the lurid crime itself; in fact, Madsen’s name isn’t even spoken aloud. Journalists hear that a lot: Why do you even tell us the bad guys’ names? You’re glorifying them. And no, that’s not true, unless you think having your photo all over the news under headlines like SPREE KILLER constitutes glory. I guess it’s good for the casual viewer to learn that police work, like most work, can be a slog, that it’s interviews, lab testing and diving again and again in hopes of finding human remains. But man, talk about Scandinavian bleakness.

Will I finish watching it? OF COURSE.

What else to report at week’s end? Not too much. I made a spinach soufflé for dinner last night, with roasted potatoes on the side. It turned out OK:

People act like soufflés are alchemy, but it’s all about folding egg whites. I could teach you, I promise.

So, have a great weekend, all.

Posted at 8:11 am in Television | 72 Comments
 

The coolest dude.

I attended a meeting of some government-related board in downtown Detroit a few years back. It was my day off, so I was dressed casually, which I believe that day was clean dark-wash jeans, Frye boots, blouse and a blazer. I mention this only because I started noticing the clothing others were wearing. Most of the people in the room were men, so I concentrated on them. They fell into three distinct groups.

(I have probably told this story before, because I’ve told all my stories before. I’m out of stories, sorry.)

At the bottom, the full-slob cohort, were the journalists. A writer from one of the dailies rolled in sporting hair that could have used a cut three months ago, an untrimmed mustache that no doubt captured food and some sort of got-dressed-in-the-dark shirt/pants combo. Another well-paid reporter came in jeans, a ratty sweater and a pair of sneakers I might choose to wash my car. Of the photographers from the TV stations we will say little, because they always dress like slobs, but at least they have an excuse — their next assignment might be a working fire, and you don’t need, or want, to wear your best outfit for that. Their on-camera partners were the only reporters in the room who wore what I would have considered the uniform for men in my business, when I started in it a million years ago — khakis or khaki-adjacent pants, shirt with a collar, maybe a tie but OK if not, and a jacket of some sort.

The second group were the white men on the board, or serving the board somehow. They looked fine. Their clothes were off the rack and untailored, but clean and appropriate, if unremarkable.

The last were the black men, who looked fiiiiiine. Not Sunday-church fine, but really good. Grooming was impeccable; they all looked like they’d had haircuts and shaves five minutes ago. Suits, good ones. Shirts in beautiful colors, ties of creamy silk that matched in interesting ways, picking up the shirt or pinstripe color in a subtle echo. And the accessories, oh my — cool eyeglass frames, tie bars, fancy wristwatches.

I mention all this because I chuckled over this Robin Givhan appreciation of Vernon Jordan, who died this week:

Over the years, it was impossible to miss Jordan in a crowd. Often that was because he was the only Black person in it. But he was noticeably well-dressed. His suits were attentively tailored and he had a love for Turnbull & Asser shirts, Charvet ties and fedoras. His style was full of European élan, Adam Clayton Powell flair, Wall Street pinstripes and Sunday morning going-to-church polish. His aesthetic drew upon the collage of influences that make this country exceptional but that connect us on common ground. Years ago, after writing about his style — a story for which he did not return my messages — Jordan called to express his gratitude after it was published.

If you live in a city with a sizable black population, you know that nothing about the meeting I described is particularly unusual. It’s pretty commonplace for powerful or well-off black men to dress well, and racists will snicker about some preacher’s purple suits, but fuck them. I think it’s notable that another fancy dresser in Washington, Roger Stone, ends up looking like a Batman villain when he leaves the house in the morning, but Jordan, in every photo I ever saw of him, just looks completely relaxed and natural. He wears his clothes, but Stone’s costumes wear him. Stone is a fop. Jordan had style.

Fort Wayne people remember when Jordan was shot by a would-be assassin there, in 1980, I believe. The shooter was Joseph Paul Franklin, who did the same to Larry Flynt, and escaped punishment for both, although he got the needle in 2013 for another murder. The story in Fort Wayne was that Jordan was brought into the ER and no one knew who he was until a black surgeon recognized him on the gurney and got him the top-level treatment that perhaps saved his life. Jordan, in town for a speaking engagement, was shot while returning to his hotel with a white woman who was not his wife. She was his driver/handler for his visit, and while many inferred what you’d expect from her presence, I don’t know that there was anything untoward about the fact she walked with him to the door of the hotel. They said Jordan was a charming man and a smooth talker, and who knows, maybe he was giving her career advice. But Franklin was enraged by interracial couples, too — it’s why he shot Flynt, after seeing an interracial photo spread in Hustler.

I recommend Givhan’s story. She captures not only his style, but his magnetism:

In public, as an eminence grise, Jordan used charm to batter down doors. His style reflected the words of Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston: “Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.”

…As a college student, he worked as a chauffeur and his employer regularly used the n-word. This elderly White man, after discovering that Jordan spent down time reading in his library, announced with condescending dismay to his family that “Vernon can read!” The phrase later became the title of Jordan’s memoir.

“When I have told this story to younger people, they often ask why I was not more angry at Maddox. How could I have continued working for him under those circumstances?” Jordan writes. “Each of us has to decide for ourselves how much nonsense we can take in life, and from whom we are willing to take it.” In other words, this small, old man didn’t matter. He was not someone to slay. Instead of fanning his racism with outrage, Jordan doused it with pity.

Ah well. A life well-lived.

What else should you read? The final of no fewer than 250 separate election audits has been completed in Michigan. Stand by for news:

Among the more prominent of the reviews was a hand count of every ballot cast for president in Antrim County, which found a net gain of 12 votes for former President Donald Trump’s 3,800-vote victory there, and a hand count of 18,000 randomly selected ballots across the state to ensure tabulated results matched the paper ballot.

The city of Detroit also was able to confirm that the clerk’s office, while it made some clerical errors, properly counted 174,000 valid absentee ballots that corresponded to signed envelopes for registered voters, Benson’s office said.

Auditors were able to bring into balance or explain imbalances in 83% of counting boards, up from 27% at the close of the canvass, Benson said. The total number of ballots out of balance accounted for 17 of the 174,000 absentee ballots counted in Detroit.

Tell your Republican friends, not that it will make a difference.

And hello Wednesday. Alan’s getting a vaccine tomorrow. I hope to follow him one of these days.

Posted at 6:24 am in Current events, Detroit life | 56 Comments
 

Fruit from the poison tree.

I guess we’ve known who the heirs to Trumpism are for a while now, but with the fat man out of the way, they’re starting to come into their own.

Politico dropped a major profile of Marjorie Taylor Greene on Friday. If you didn’t read it, I recommend it, but please — remove all razors, sleeping pills, firearms and hanging rope from your immediate area. Here’s the passage that jumped out at me:

Greene declined to comment for this article, but Nick Dyer, her communications director, responded in a terse email: “You are a scumbag, Michael.”

This is the way these people talk to the media, of course. When I tried to tell Mellissa Carone that there was zero proof of the assertions she made about the Michigan absentee count, and pointed out that even one of the more notorious county canvassers admitted she’d seen no evidence of fraud, she replied with, “You are lying.” (Reader, I was not lying.) I believe there was a line about the fake news media, etc., too. But then, why should they care what the so-called MSM thinks of them? They have their own alternate reality media ecosystem that will present them as the heroes they consider themselves to be.

Anyway, the Politico piece is long, but good. It’ll make you yearn for the days when a term in Congress was preceded by an apprenticeship in a state legislature, or even a city council. And yeah, AOC skipped this step, too, but at least she’s not aggressively stupid or a liar, like so many of these people. Liiiiike, for instance, this guy:

Madison Cawthorn was a 21-year-old freshman at a conservative Christian college when he spoke at chapel, testifying about his relationship with God. He talked emotionally about the day a car accident left him partially paralyzed and reliant on a wheelchair.

Cawthorn said a close friend had crashed the car in which he was a passenger and fled the scene, leaving him to die “in a fiery tomb.” Cawthorn was “declared dead,” he said in the 2017 speech at Patrick Henry College. He said he told doctors that he expected to recover and that he would “be at the Naval Academy by Christmas.”

Key parts of Cawthorn’s talk, however, were not true. The friend, Bradley Ledford, who has not previously spoken publicly about the chapel speech, said in an interview that Cawthorn’s account was false and that he pulled Cawthorn from the wreckage. An accident report obtained by The Washington Post said Cawthorn was “incapacitated,” not that he was declared dead. Cawthorn himself said in a lawsuit deposition, first reported by the news outlet AVL Watchdog, that he had been rejected by the Naval Academy before the crash.

Big, big Trumper, I don’t need to tell you. Also, like his role model, quite the handsy guy with the ladies. That story’s been breaking of late, too.

And so we begin to see the rotten fruit of the worst president in the country’s history. Add to that the shenanigans the party is pulling with quote election integrity unquote oh god what a joke, and you can see this is wreckage we’ll be cleaning up for quite some time.

Hope you all had a good weekend. We were kissed by the promise of spring, but by the time many of you read this, it’ll have been beaten back by more winter. Still, it was nice to go for a walk in a light jacket. Beyond that, not much happened; with new strains, we’re just waiting on our vaccines and the chance to walk in the sun again and not be quite so tuned in with what’s streaming this weekend.

So we don’t leave you with nothing but bummers to start the week, here’s some pretty-pretty: The recent cold snap came down pretty quickly and froze off a few areas of the upper Midwest quickly. As these are usually “severe clear” cold fronts, i.e., without precipitation, we had some places with clear, open ice with no snow atop. which made for near-ideal ice skating. Here’s Marquette, in the U.P., where the whole community had room to do their thing, and here’s a solitary speed skater working out on the ice off downtown Milwaukee. Nice video, won’t take up much of your time. Enjoy.

So. Monday. Bring it on.

Posted at 7:18 pm in Current events | 80 Comments
 

Preview of coming attractions.

Wednesday was the warmest day of the year so far. I think the temperature passed 50 degrees. I’d already arranged to peel off work for half the afternoon, to go to the Detroit Institute of Arts. To limit capacity, you have to make an appointment to visit, and the weekends are booked through the middle of March, so we did a weekday. There was a photography exhibit I wanted to see, and the usual — it’s a pretty great museum. But this being Detroit, of course there was a car thing.

Truth be told, it was just meh, a few concept cars from past auto shows with no unifying theme other than Detroit design. However, I did find the Buick interesting, because it appears to have a cloaca:

Look it up.

Afterward we had one beer in a tent outside a brewhouse before the sun went behind a cloud, the temperature dropped by five degrees and our brief hint of spring became less pleasant. Came home and ordered carryout.

But man, it was nice to get out of the house and go somewhere other than food shopping.

And now, at week’s end, I feel a bit tapped out. There are some good links to follow in the comments from yesterday, and I recommend them, but if you’re tapped out, too? Join the club. Have a good weekend, all.

Posted at 9:37 pm in Same ol' same ol' | 75 Comments