Dec 01 2020

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Paul Krugman: How Will Biden Deal With Republican Sabotage?

He needs to make the G.O.P. pay a price for obstruction.

When Joe Biden is inaugurated, he will immediately be confronted with an unprecedented challenge — and I don’t mean the pandemic, although Covid-19 will almost surely be killing thousands of Americans every day. I mean, instead, that he’ll be the first modern U.S. president trying to govern in the face of an opposition that refuses to accept his legitimacy. And no, Democrats never said Donald Trump was illegitimate, just that he was incompetent and dangerous.

It goes without saying that Donald Trump, whose conspiracy theories are getting wilder and wilder, will never concede, and that millions of his followers will always believe — or at least say they believe — that the election was stolen.

Most Republicans in Congress certainly know this is a lie, although even on Capitol Hill there are a lot more crazy than we’d like to imagine. But it doesn’t matter; they still won’t accept that Biden has any legitimacy, even though he won the popular vote by a large margin.

And this won’t simply be because they fear a backlash from the base if they admit that Trump lost fair and square. At a fundamental level — and completely separate from the Trump factor — today’s G.O.P. doesn’t believe that Democrats ever have the right to govern, no matter how many votes they receive.

After all, in recent years we’ve seen what happens when a state with a Republican legislature elects a Democratic governor: Legislators quickly try to strip away the governor’s powers. So does anyone doubt that Republicans will do all they can to hobble and sabotage Biden’s presidency?

The only real questions are how much harm the G.O.P. can do, and how Biden will respond.

Michelle Goldberg: On Pandemic Schooling, de Blasio Is Actually Leading

The mayor so many love to hate is doing more than most to get kids back in class.

Sometimes it seems like the single point of consensus in America’s fractured politics is contempt for New York City’s mayor, Bill de Blasio.

Even before Covid, animus against him was a widely recognized phenomenon. (“Why Bill de Blasio is so hated, explained,” said a Vox headline from last year.) During the protests set off by the killing of George Floyd, the left — including many of the mayor’s current and former staff members — excoriated him for refusing to stand up to the New York Police Department. In a failed bid to save his House seat in a pro-Trump district, the Democrat Max Rose ran an ad in which he simply faced the camera and said, “Bill de Blasio is the worst mayor in the history of New York City.”

But if de Blasio has often been a bad mayor, when it comes to educating kids during the pandemic, he’s been one of the best big city leaders in the country. That’s both to his credit and to others’ disgrace.

Eugene Robinson: Trump is an ego monster. Republicans, don’t let him consume you.

Maybe Trump is having a genuine existential crisis. That’s his problem.

The weeks until Inauguration Day will be dangerous for our democracy, and there’s nothing we can do about that fact. It would be reasonable to expect even the most disgruntled loser to accept reality after the electoral college makes it official, but why should anyone expect Trump to suddenly listen to reason? He will of course vacate the White House; he could never abide the indignity of being forcibly escorted from the grounds. But if he truly sees the world as divided between “killers” and “losers,” he will likely continue to loudly maintain that he “won” an election he clearly lost.

The GOP officials who enabled and abetted Trump will ultimately have to ask what they’re willing to put up with if they can’t bring themselves to marginalize him. Do they want him controlling the party for another four years? Do they want him keeping potential 2024 presidential contenders from gaining any traction? Most urgently, do they want him discouraging Georgia Republicans from voting in the Jan. 5 runoff elections that will determine control of the Senate?

That’s the problem with indulging an ego monster. You might get eaten.

Amanda Marcotte: Trump and his allies won’t drop claims of stolen election — because they’re cashing in

Trump will leave office on Jan. 20 — but in the meantime, right-wing grifters make bank by pretending otherwise

On Sunday morning, Donald Trump let loose with what may be his most unhinged performance yet — which is really saying something — of his extended effort to pretend the election was stolen from him by President-elect Joe Biden. In a 45-minute interview on Fox News with host Maria Bartiromo, which was more like an uninterrupted dramatic monologue, Trump unloaded an absolute truckload of lies. He lied about ballots and voting machines, claiming that millions of fake votes were recorded. He suggested the FBI was “involved” in the imaginary conspiracy against him. He even said he “came up” with the coronavirus vaccines, a claim that is utterly ludicrous but will be swallowed without complaint by all the people who still mock Al Gore for claiming to have “invented” the internet — which Gore never actually said.

What’s especially weird about this whole situation is that Trump is doubling down on these false claims in the face of an epic failure to get his attempted coup off the ground. The recount that Trump demanded in Wisconsin — although his campaign only paid for a recount in two overwhelmingly Democratic counties — not only affirmed Biden’s win in that state, but increased the president-elect’s total by 87 votes. Meanwhile, Trump’s losing streak in the courts only got worse over the weekend, with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissing one Trump lawsuit with prejudice (meaning he can’t sue again regarding this matter) and another suit failing in the Third Circuit federal appeals court.  [..]

There are multiple reasons for this. Trump’s black hole of an ego makes it impossible for him to admit he lost the election, first of all. Most right-wing pundits are increasingly consumed by an authoritarian ideology that’s opposed to democracy, and they view these lies as a good way to undermine public trust. Republican politicians are eager to delegitimize Biden’s presidency, and also to lay the groundwork for more voter suppression tactics. By falsely accusing Democrats of cheating, in other words, Republicans create cover for their real-life cheating.

Catherine Rampell: Trump lays the groundwork for a massive government purge on his way out the door

The president is trying to transform the professional civil service back into the spoils system of the 1800s.

Again and again, outgoing Trump officials have demonstrated their intention to salt the earth.

They’ve tried to jam through Senate confirmations of partisan cranks while planting regulatory time-bombs scheduled to detonate after President Trump leaves office. They’ve clawed back funding for emergency lending programs and then placed that money out of reach of the next treasury secretary. After years of swelling federal deficits, they’ve suddenly remembered their aversion to debt. And they’ve sown mistrust in the integrity of U.S. elections.

The latest sign of sabotage, though, has flown largely under the radar: Trump has been quietly dismantling the entire federal civil service — and possibly laying the groundwork for a massive, government-wide purge on his way out the door.

Trump signed a technical-sounding executive order in October that invented a new category of government employees, called “Schedule F.” Career civil servants whose jobs include “policymaking,” the order said, should be newly reclassified under Schedule F — a designation that would strip them of long-held civil service protections and allow them to be fired with little demonstrated cause or recourse.

Including, presumably, for showing insufficient loyalty to Trump.

Dec 01 2020

Cartnoon

Peanut Needs Wi-Fi – Jeff Dunham’s Completely Unrehearsed Last-Minute Pandemic Holiday Special

TMC for ek hornbeck

Dec 01 2020

The Breakfast Club (Thin Line)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

This Day in History

Rosa Parks is arrested in Montgomery, Alabama; Former communist official Sergei Kirov is assassinated in Leningrad; Beatlemania arrives in America; Actor and director Woody Allen is born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

There’s a thin line between to laugh with and to laugh at.

Richard Pryor

Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 30 2020

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Robert Reich: Beware going ‘back to normal’ thoughts – normal gave us Trump

Fatigued by the coronavirus and Trump, the idea of going back to normal is seductive – we must guard against it

“Life is going to return to normal,” Joe Biden promised on Thursday in a Thanksgiving address to the nation. He was talking about life after Covid-19, but you could be forgiven if you thought he was also making a promise about life after Trump. [..]

Given the road we were on, Trump and Covid were not aberrations. They were inevitabilities. The moment we are now in – with Trump virtually gone, Biden assembling his cabinet, and most of the nation starting to feel a bit of relief – is a temporary reprieve.

If the underlying trends don’t change, after Biden we could have Trumps as far as the eye can see. And health and environmental crises that make the coronavirus another step toward Armageddon.

Hence the paradox. America wants to return to a reassuring normal, but Biden can’t allow it. Complacency would be deadly. He has to both calm the waters and stir the pot.

It’s a mistake to see this challenge as placating the progressive wing of the Democratic party. It’s about dealing with problems that have worsened for decades and if left unattended much longer will be enormously destructive.

So the question is: in an exhausted and divided America that desperately wants a return to normal, where will Biden find the energy and political will for bold changes that are imperative?

Amanda Marcotte: Forget about “moving on” from Trump — the nation can’t heal without accountability

Forgiveness and unity? There can be no forgiveness without apology, and no unity without genuine accountability

Donald Trump’s coup was still ongoing when the takes preaching the value of forgiveness and letting bygones be bygones started to come out.

“We would remain bitterly divided,” law professor Randall Eliason wrote in a Washington Post op-ed arguing against prosecuting Trump for his many likely crimes. “[C]riminal prosecutions can’t bind up this country’s deep political and social wounds.” [..]

Unfortunately, Biden is living up to every stereotype of the quisling Democrat and taking this advice seriously. Reports suggest that in the interest of national “unity,” Biden is discouraging the idea of prosecuting Trump.

This is a serious mistake. Words like “unity” and “forgiveness” sound great in the abstract, but are utterly meaningless in the current political context for one reason: The sole responsibility for all this healing is being foisted, once again, on the backs of liberals. Conservatives can’t be bothered. They’re too busy working on their next moves to undermine democracy, sow division and create chaos.

This pattern — Republicans screw everything up and are allowed to get away with it in the name of “unity,” and take that as permission to go even further the next time — has been playing out since Richard Nixon first snagged his post-Watergate pardon.

Arwa Mahdawi: Systemic racism cost 14-year-old Honestie Hodges her life

Honestie, who was handcuffed at age 11, died from Covid. Her story isn’t an aberration – it’s part of a tragic trend

Handcuffed at gunpoint by the police when she was 11. Dead from Covid-19 complications when she was 14. Honestie Hodges, a young black girl from Michigan, tested positive for Covid-19 on her birthday and died on Sunday. She wasn’t so much the victim of a virus as she was the victim of systemic racism. Her death isn’t an aberration – it’s part of a tragic trend. [..]

Ethnic minorities aren’t dying from the coronavirus at greater rates than white people because the virus is racist, but because of institutional racism. Black and Hispanic people in the US are disproportionately exposed to air pollution and more likely to develop asthma. They’re more likely to live in food deserts, without easy access to fresh produce. Black people are systemically undertreated for pain because of racial biases in healthcare. Race affects everything from the air we breathe to the food we eat. This has always been the case but the pandemic has made it impossible to ignore. [..]

Honestie was robbed of her childhood and then robbed of her life. She was born in the richest country in the world and died with a GoFundMe for her medical expenses. Her death is more than a tragedy, it’s an indictment of America.

Simon Tisdall: Was scientist’s killing the opening shot of a Trump-led war on Iran?

The assassination of the country’s top nuclear expert raises fears that the outgoing US president is determined to take further action

The assassination on Friday of Iran’s leading nuclear scientist has heightened suspicions that Donald Trump, in cahoots with hardline Israeli and Saudi allies, may be trying to lure the Tehran regime into an all-out confrontation in the dying days of his presidency. Trump’s four-year-long Iranian vendetta is approaching a climax – and he still has the power and the means to inflict lasting damage.

Speculation that Trump might soon initiate or support some kind of attack on Iran, overt or covert, kinetic or cyber, had swirled across the Middle East in the wake of last weekend’s unprecedented meeting in Saudi Arabia between Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

What the three men discussed remains a closely guarded secret, a fact that has only served to encourage conspiracy claims. In the absence of an official statement, it’s suggested they may have agreed to intensify efforts to provoke and weaken the Tehran regime. Any ensuing retaliation by Iran might then potentially be used to justify an attack on its nuclear facilities before Trump leaves office on 20 January.

Nov 30 2020

Cartnoon

“Peanut: The Night Before Christmas” | Jeff Dunham’s Very Special Christmas Special

TMC for ek hornbeck

Nov 30 2020

The Breakfast Club (What We Give)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

This Day in History

Pink Floyd releases its best-selling album “The Wall”; Winston Churchill, Mark Twain, Dick Clark born; World Trade Organization’s meeting met by 40-thousand protesters.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

Winston Churchill

Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 29 2020

Today’s News Rundown

This is brief rundown of the news so you don’t have to watch cable news. It’s just the facts with maybe a little snark.

This is day 22 of the Squatter- in-Chief’s refusal to admit he lost to President-Elect Joe Biden. There are 52 days left of his occupation of the White House. The Squatter did a phone interview, his first since losing the election, with Fox Business News Maria Bartiromo. As per usual it was filled with fact free accusations and lies with Ms. Bartiromo nodding in agreement at times contributing to his delusions.

The Wisconsin recount is done confirming what we already knew President-Elect Joe Biden won. Mr. Biden’s lead expanded by 87 votes. Each new vote in Biden’s lead cost the Trump campaign around $34,000.

The Pres.-Elect sprained his ankle playing with his dog, Major. Out an abundance of caution, he will see an orthopedist to make sure nothing is broken. This week Mr. Biden will name his economic team, with three women in top roles to help build recovery.

As the rate of CoVid-19 infections surpassed 13 million with a rate of about 4 million a month, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that it will get much worse before it gets better. He agreed that schools should be open but bars, restaurants and gyms should be closed. New York city will reopen it elementary schools on Monday much to the relief of harried parents with young children.

In the sports world, the Denver Broncos will play the New Orleans Saints without a quarterback. All four QB’s are infected with the virus and in quarantine.

The Saints and the New England Patriots were both fined for violating CoVid-19 rules.

At the Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix, driver Romain Grosjean walked away unscathed from the flaming wreck of his car after it crashed, at 137 mph, into trackside barriers, his car splitting in two. He did suffer some burns to his hands and is the hospital for observation. The fact that he was not killed or seriously injured is a testament to the safety rules of the sport. Oh, yes, Lewis Hamilton won, of course.

Boxer Mike Tyson comeback fight with Roy Jones Jr. ends in a draw. The 8 rounds were two minutes instead of three, they used 12 ounce gloves with no protection and the judging was done with a remote scoring system. The fight was sanctioned by the California State Athletic Commission.

As we bid farewell to the record breaking hurricane season, the east coast is bracing for snow, heavy rain in first major storm system of the fall.

Above-average temperatures will surge northward from the Gulf of Mexico in advance of the weather maker. The system’s unstable air will lead to the threat of damaging winds, isolated tornadoes and heavy rain. Rainfall amounts will add up to 3 inches for many, with isolated higher totals, which could lead to flash flooding in areas.

The system will further strengthen on its trek up the eastern seaboard on Monday, spreading the threat for severe storms into the Mid-Atlantic and heavy rain into the Northeast.

“It will even produce snow for parts of the US as we start the new work week. We expect widespread 2 to 4 inches of snow for the Great Lakes, with 8 inches possible near Lake Eerie. Light snow and flurries are in the cards down the Appalachians and into parts of the Southeast, too. It won’t be confined to just the Great Lakes,” said (CNN Meteorologist Haley) Brink.

I got the text alert this AM to batten down the hatches for gusty winds and thunderstorms. Expect power outages and downed wires and trees. Do Not Touch Downed Wires

It’s still clear here in NYC tonight with sky lit by the full Beaver moon. There is a lunar eclipse, too that may or may not be visible at the time it occurs.

ake a break from online holiday shopping this weekend to enjoy the full moon and a penumbral lunar eclipse.
Both events will be visible early Monday morning.
Lunar eclipses can only occur during a full moon, but a penumbral lunar eclipse is different from a total lunar eclipse.
A penumbral eclipse occurs when the moon moves into Earth’s penumbra, or outer shadow. This causes the moon to look darker than normal.

During a total lunar eclipse, the change is more dramatic because the entire moon appears to be a deep red color.  [..]

This is the last penumbral eclipse of the year and will be visible to those in North and South America, Australia and parts of Asia. Check Time and Date to see when it will occur in your area.

The mysterious Utah Monolith has disappeared as mysteriously as it appeared.

A tall, silver, shining metal monolith discovered in the desert in southeastern Utah — which prompted theories of alien placement and drew determined hikers to its secret location — has now disappeared, the state’s Bureau of Land Management said Saturday.

The monolith was removed by an “unknown party” sometime Friday night, the agency said in a Facebook post.

“We have received credible reports that the illegally installed structure, referred to as the ‘monolith,’ has been removed” from BLM public lands, the post said.

“The BLM did not remove the structure, which is considered private property.”

Somebody has an expensive sense of humor.

David Prowse, the original actor who portrayed Darth Vader, dark lord of the Sith, in the original Star Wars trilogy, died after a short illness. He was 85. May the force be with him, always.

Nov 29 2020

Rant of the Week: Vic Dibitetto – Eat Like a Human Being!

Our profane friend from Brooklyn Vic Dibitetto has a beef about table manners. He doesn’t expect people to have the manners of the Queen of England. If you want to put your elbows on the table, go ahead, just make sure they’re clean.

Nov 29 2020

Cartnoon

Another classic repeat.

WKRP Turkey Drop

As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

True Story Behind WKRP in Cincinnati’s Turkey’s Away Thanksgiving Episode

…It begins with station manager Arthur Carlson (played by the late Gordon Jump) feeling left out when Andy Travis, the new Program Director (Gary Sandy), starts making changes to their format. He decides to prove his worth with a special Thanksgiving promotion – throwing turkeys out of a helicopter not knowing that the birds can’t fly.

Clarke Brown a real radio exec who worked on the show says the Turkey drop was based on a real event from his days in the biz. The difference was their turkeys were thrown from a truck but they still went splat and much like WKRP their staff were ridiculed.

Brown says WKRP was based on the real station WQXI in Atlanta and some of the characters were inspired by the staff including modeling salesmen Herb Tarlek (Frank Bonner) after himself. “Not to that extreme, but I was kind of known for dressing wildly, mod clothing and so forth. But he was making fun of me.”

On “Turkeys Away,” Tim Reid who played late night DJ Venus Flytrap said, We’d get the script a day or so before table read, so you know going in whether or not you’ve got something that’s going to be a lot of fun to do. And we all just couldn’t wait to get there. I think it’s one of the first times in four years that we were all ever on time for a table read.”

The sweet spot in the episode came with newsman Les Nessman (Richard Sanders) witnessing the turkey bloodbath and echoing his play-by-play as if it was the Hindenburg. Production Associate Max Tash said “Turkeys Away” showed the direction that the series was eventually going to go in.”

The cast and crew were never sure how much of the audience would get the Hindenburg connection but it was intended from day one. Reid says, “We all sat in the room and we watched the actual crashing of the Hindenburg as it was recorded [in newsreel footage], over and over, and we sat there as he [Sanders] did it. And he did it so well. If you look at him and look at the guy who gave the report on the Hindenburg, you’ll see the similarities.”

wkrp_turkey_drop_002This was one of many shining moments for Sanders playing Les Nessman. Sandy says, “He was my favorite character on the show. I thought Richard was incredible in that part of Les Nessman. He knew what he was doing every single second, every moment that he was on camera.”
Who could forget Les describing the birds landing and shouting “the turkeys are hitting the ground like bags of wet cement.”

Reid said it was the hardest episode for the actors not to burst out laughing. In the end Mr Carlson came back to the office with Herb Tarlick looking shell shocked and delivers the famous line, “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly,” …

BobbyK for ek hornbeck

Nov 29 2020

The Breakfast Club (Pecan pie)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club!

AP’s Today in History for November 29th

President Johnson names commission to investigate JFK’s assassination; U.N. passes resolution calling for the British Mandate of Palestine to be partitioned; First flight over the South Pole; Natalie Wood, Cary Grant and George Harrison die.

Breakfast Tune Beatles’/George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun” on 5-string Banjo

Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below

Something to think about over coffee prozac

Will the World Community Condemn the Murder of Iran’s Nuclear Scientist?
Medea Benjamin, Ariel Gold, Common Dreams

…The European Union, as well as some important US figures have already condemned the attack. Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy pointed out the risks involved in normalizing assassinations, how the killing will make it harder to restart the Iran Nuclear agreement, and how the assassination of General Soleimani backfired from a security standpoint. Former Obama advisor Ben Rhodes tweeted that it was an “outrageous action aimed at undermining diplomacy,” and former CIA head John Brennan called the assassination “criminal” and “highly reckless,” risking “lethal retaliation and a new round of regional conflict,” but rather than putting the responsibility on the U.S. and Israel to stop the provocations, he called on Iran to “be wise” and “resist the urge to respond.”

Many on Twitter have raised the question of what the world response would be if the roles were reversed and Iran assassinated an Israeli nuclear scientist. Without a doubt, the U.S. administration, whether Democrat or Republican, would be outraged and supportive of a swift military response. But if we want to avoid escalation, then we must hope that Iran will not retaliate, at least not during Trump’s last days in office.

The only way to stop this crisis from spiraling out of control is for the world community to condemn the act, and demand a UN investigation and accountability for the perpetrators. The countries that joined Iran and the United States in signing the 2015 nuclear agreement —Russia, China, Germany, the UK and France—must not only oppose the assassination but publicly recommit to upholding the nuclear deal. President-elect Joe Biden must send a clear message to Israel that under his administration, these illegal acts will have consequences. He must also send a clear message to Iran that he intends to quickly re-enter the nuclear deal, stop blocking Iran’s $5 billion IMF loan request, and begin a new era of diplomacy to dial back the intense conflict he inherited from Trump’s recklessness.

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