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Wednesday :: August 17, 2022

Liz Cheney Concedes Wyoming Republican Primary

And just like that, she's gone.

Republican Liz Cheney, who has seemed to be the dominant force behind the House committee hearings over the January 6 violent melee by Trump supporters lost by a landslide in the Wyoming Republican primary yesterday and has conceded.

She gets no sympathy from me. That she recently released a campaign commercial starring her father, who in my opinion, was the most horrid and ignoble VP in history, says it all.

Democrats praising her for doing what any rational human being would do remind me of those Democrats who praised the Lincoln Project, overlooking the fact that Steve Schmidt and George Conway were among its founders/leaders. Who is Steve Schmidt? John McCain's former campaign manager who was largely responsible for McCain choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate. George Conway, may be a slightly more familiar name than Schmidt, but he is also comes across to me as a less likable, somewhat shifty human being who happens to be the conservative lawyer-husband of Ms. Most Unimportant Person in the World (the mother of the beleagured teen Claudia Conway who took to Tik-Tok to promote her request for emancipation from what she alleged to be parental abuse).

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Tuesday :: August 16, 2022

Tuesday Open Thread: Coastal Grandmothers

I've been reading about the "Coastal Grandmother" trend since April.

You know the Coastal Grandmother. She wakes up early in her white linen-covered bed, seaside sunlight streaming in. “Siri, play ‘The Big Chill’ soundtrack,” she commands, listening to it in her marble bathroom while applying Vintner’s Daughter face oil.

Eager to get to the farmer’s market—it’s peony season, after all—she puts on a crisp light-blue button-up shirt, white jeans and a straw hat. Oversized, the shirt qualifies as a “shent,” .... With a Provençal market basket, Coastal Grandmother is good to go. She hops into her vintage Range Rover and heads out to begin her satisfying, Sancerre-punctuated day.

I haven't played music from "The Big Chill" since the year it was released, But Diane Keaton (and her beach house in the Hamptons) made "Something's Gotta Give" one of my all-time favorite movies.

The New York Times doubles down on the Coastal Grandmother trend today in its review of the new film starring (who else?) Diane Keaton, called Mack and Rita, with a headline proclaiming "Boomers Are All the Rage".

I'm not so sure that's true, but I've definitely been adapting some Coastal Grandmother habits lately. And I can't wait to see Mack and Rita.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Monday :: August 15, 2022

Did Rudy Strike Out With Georgia Grand Jury?

The New York Times reports that Robert Costello, one of Rudy Giuliani's attorneys, has told the media that he has been informed that Giuliani is a target (not a witness or a subject) of the grand jury investigation into Trump and his advisors and lawyers attempts to overturn the Georgia election results in 2016.

One of Mr. Giuliani’s lawyers, Robert Costello, said in an interview that he was notified on Monday that his client was a target. Being so identified does not guarantee that a person will be indicted; rather, it usually means that prosecutors believe an indictment is possible, based on evidence they have seen up to that point.

How does Rudy get out of an indictment? He can testify (and risk a perjuryor obstruction of justice charge if they have evidence he lied to the grand jury). It worked for Karl Rove (who had a great lawyer in Robert Luskin). Rove testified four times before the grand jury investigating the leak of the identity of CIA Agent Valerie Plame. [More...]

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Thursday :: August 11, 2022

Garland Presser on Trump and Mar-a-Lago Search

Attorney General Merrick Garland gave a two minute press conference today on the search warrant that was issued and executed at Mar-a-Lago last week.

The transcript of his remarks is here.

This is not a historic disclosure. DOJ's filing a motion to unseal the warrant (but not the affidavit with the sworn facts supporting it) and the receipt for the property taken, copies of which were left at Mar-a-Lago at the time of the search, are unlikely to disclose anything that hasn't already been in the public arena.

It's the affidavit that bakes the cake (or causes its center to sink). And that's not being released.

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Wednesday :: August 10, 2022

R.I.P. Olivia Newton-John

Singer and Actress Olivia Newton-John, who has suffered from cancer for 30 years, has died at age 73. She died peacefully at her home in California, surrounded by her family. All the U.S. obituaries I've read focus only her career.

One article, The brave words with which Olivia Newton-John faced death and reassured her family, from InfoBae, google-translated, adds these details from her niece:

"It wasn't just the cancer, but other complications, being in a hospital and having a very sensitive immune system ," Totti Goldsmith told an Australian channel. “ She had secondary infections. She fell apart in the last five or six days.”

The woman shared that Olivia had turned to medical cannabis to cope with the illness before her death, but her pain level continued to escalate and the medication provided little relief by the end. “ It really helped her, but then it wasn't enough ,” she explained. and she added that Olivia " really struggled through a lot of pain."

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Tuesday :: August 09, 2022

Feds Search Mar-a-Lago

This is news I wasn't expecting. The feds got a warrant to search Mar-a-Lago. Donald Trump must be seething.

The search for evidence related to Trump's handling of classified information -- whether he improperly removed classified documents to Mar a Lago. It was not about January 6.

Trump lawyer Christina Bobb, who was present during the FBI search, confirmed federal agents “seized paper.”

Trump was at Trump Tower in New York when news broke of the raid.

Trump and the Republicans are sure to use this search as a rallying cry against the F.B.I. and Democrats in their bid to win the November mid-term elections.

But didn't Trump once want Hillary indicted for allegedly mishandling classified information?

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Thursday :: July 28, 2022

Thursday Open Thread

I've been an absent blogger this month. I have been busy at work, not too interested in domestic news, and planning my first international trip since 2008 - well before COVID.

With the whole world my oyster, where did I pick? Istanbul for a week in September. In another post I'll explain why, but I'm ticketed, I have my pre-TSA pass and I am very excited about it.(Also, some friends of mine have provided me their condo to stay at on the Asian side, which is the side I want to stay at).

Has anyone seen the plans for "The Line", (the vertical glass city Saudi Arabia thinks will be the future of the world in 2030? It is 180 degrees
from what Istanbul, London, New York, Shanghai and other large cities offer. I find the homogeneity of the planned city dwellings depressing. Actually, I think the whole concept is depressing, even the mountains they are building.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Monday :: July 11, 2022

Joe Biden: Too Old to Run?

The New York Times reports Joe Biden wants to run for President again in 2024 but polls show Democrats don't like the idea.

I thought he was too old when he ran in 2020. He'll be ancient in 2024. Can he even make it to 2028 when his term ends?

Maybe if he was an inspiring, engaging, full of life leader who fostered a heightened sense of patriotism in us, I would care a little bit. But he isn't and I don't care for him or his politics or his leadership, so I hope he does the right thing for the country and gracefully exits.

Why have the Democrats avoided having a discussion about Biden's replacement candidate for so long? Republicans like Ditsy Doozy Donald Trump (and his offspring) are chomping at the bit to get back that desk in the oval office so they can make some more millions playing monopoloy with real estate deals from Saudi Arabia to South Florida - and look for new loopholes to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

Can't anyone think of a Democrat who would be good for progressive issues and under the age of 80? If not, maybe my write-in candidate will be Mick Jagger. (Yes, I know he can't be President because he's a British citizen but at least he acts alive and can stay up past 9:00 at night.)

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Sunday :: July 03, 2022

Fourth of July Open Thread

Three weeks ago, the Stones had to postpone their show in Amsterdam because Mick, at 78, tested positive for COVID-19. Here he is today, three weeks later, dancing and prancing at Hyde Park.

I'll have what Mick's having. [More...]

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Saturday :: June 25, 2022

Saturday Night Open Thread

Happy 80th Birthday to Paul McCartney. He gave a concert last week at New Jersey's Metro Life stadium and who showed up to lead the audience in singing Happy Birthday? Jon Bon Jovi.

He also brought out Bruce Springsteen and they sang Glory Days.

Tonight (U.K. Time) Paul is headlining at Glastonbury. He's the oldest performer ever to headline the show. He's already brought out Dave Grohl (they sang "And I Saw Her Standing There") and Bruce Springsteen. And he performed a tribute to the Rolling Stones. Here is the full schedule and information on how to watch live.

I'll be back later this weekend with my thoughts on yesterday's Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade, and a post on Ghislaine Maxwell's imminent sentencing and the absurd amount of time the Government has asked the Court to impose on her, and the battle over whether women not involved in the case or the charges she was convicted of have standing to speak at her sentencing.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Roe v. Wade Decision Fallout

During Olivia Rodrigo's set today at the Glastonbury Music Festival, she brought out Lily Allen. Olivia denounced yesterday's Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade which she tells the crowd will put the lives of so many women at risk because they won't be able to get a safe abortion.

Olivia dedicates the next song to the five Supreme Court Justices who voted to overturn Roe. She calls out their names individually and says,"We hate you". The crowd cheers. Lily Allen repeats "We hate you" and Olivia and Lily launch into a 2009 song by Lily called "F*ck You". The crowd gleefully joins in the refrain.

Here is a version of Lily singing the song accompanied by the lyrics. (In 2014, she performed the song dedicating it to Donald Trump. She also has performed it before at Glastonbury.) Here's an account of their performance today in the Guardian.

I'm still writing my thoughts on the court's decision, it will be up soon. In the meantime, here's a place to discuss the decision.

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Thursday :: June 16, 2022

Jan. 6 Hearings: Trump's Rejected Scheme involving Mike Pence

The Jan. 6 hearings continue today. It will be in four parts and focus on Trump's failed plan to pressure Mike Pence into acting unilaterally to reject state electors and block the vote certification. The committee will try to make the case that Trump's pressure on Pence contributed to the violence at the capitol and put Pence at physical risk.

I hope people watching today's hearing don't forget that while Trump is the villain, there's no reason to make Pence into a victim or hero. Mike Pence is no friend to democracy. At a speech in Arizona on Monday, he called for a return to Trump's immigration policies and completion of Trump's ridiculous border wall. (I wonder if he also said Mexico would pay for it).

We need to keep our eye on the ball -- eviscerating any remaining support Trump has prior to the 2022 midterm elections.

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Wednesday :: June 15, 2022

Dr. Fauci and Mick Jagger Have Covid-19

COVID-19 keeps on barking at us. Dr. Anthony Fauci has tested positive with "mild symptoms." He is 81.

Monday, Mick Jagger was in Amsterdam for a Stones concert. He tested positive for COVID when he arrived at the venue to rehearse, and the concert was postponed until July 7. A concert in Berne, Switzerland was also postponed. He is 78. He's doing better now he says. Here is his 5 year old son, Devereaux, who is staying with Mick (and his mom, Mick's girlfriend Melanie Hamrick) in Amsterdam. Could he be any cuter or look more like Mick?

Best wishes to both Dr. Fauci and Mick Jagger for a speedy recovery.

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Sunday :: June 12, 2022

Sunday Open Thread: In Other News

The Washington Post this week has two long-form news articles that contain far more detail than any of us need to know. The first is (in my view) a clear example of just how far off the deep end some Americans have jumped. Irrational and uncivilized behavior seems not only to be the norm for these people, but they are teaching and promoting it to their young children, passing the violence off as a "sport."

If it didn't contain the names of American cities, I would have thought the article was referring to Brazil, El Salvador, or Indonesia. This is no sport -- it's savagery. It's the kind of violence you would expect from caged animals. Only it's children who are in the cages.

The parents who not only endorse, but pay for their kids to engage in this violence, and who attend and cheer on their kids, don't deserve to raise kids. Maybe we could ship them all to El Salvador to live for a year, after which authorities check in with them and see if the kids still think that beating the sh*t out of another kid is cool, and if the parents are still cheering when watching their kid get their as* kicked by a gang member with no training. [More...]

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Tuesday :: June 07, 2022

Johnny Depp Finally Clears His Name

(Not yet proofed for spelling and grammer, but I promised this post and here it is. I'll correct later tonight).

Last week, actor and musician Johnny Depp finally won his 6 year battle to clear his name of accusations that he physically abused his ex-wife Amber Heard during their relatively brief but very toxic marriage. You can watch the court deliver the verdict here.

Here is Johnny's post-verdict statement of gratitude, issued by his publicist as he remains in Europe touring with Jeff Beck at performances where he is treated by fans to standing ovations.

The jury gave Johnny a home run on all three statements he claimed were false, defaming and made with malice. For each statement, the jury had to answer 6 questions. [More...]

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