Month: December 2015

The Ted Cruz Show (Holiday Special)

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) responds to the 2015 State of the Union address in an online video, 20 January 2015.

Amid the holiday panic and cheer it is easy for small things to slip past unnoticed. Like, say, on Christmas Eve, when Ellie Shechet informed us that, “This Ted Cruz Holiday Erotica Is Fucking Weird”.

And, you know, I see no reason to doubt her. And the Bulwer-Lytton moment with a head of lettuce should have been enough of a specimen to make the point, but why stop reading? Shechet offers her critique of the first paragraphs:

This is an extremely strong and promising beginning. The setting: Ted Cruz’s retirement party, after which he believes he will be leaving political office. IRL, I have a creeping feeling that our pal Ted would push me, you, and all of his loved ones into a hole in a frozen lake and sprint away before relinquishing one inch of his extremely unlikely and hard-earned influence, but this is fan fic! We are going with it.

Right. Downhill from there. All that.

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The Tree, and Something About Roses

Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey breaks another big play against the University of Arizona Wildcats, 3 October 2015, at The Farm in Stanford, California.  (Detail of photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo)

Sometimes we might wonder whence comes a question.

Stanford has the Rose Bowl routine down pat.

The Cardinal are doing it all for the third time in four years — starting with the trips to Disneyland, Lawry’s restaurant in Beverly Hills, the Improv comedy club in Hollywood, followed by media day at a downtown hotel and the team photo at the stadium the day before the game, and culminating with the annual clash between Pac-12 and Big Ten opposition on Jan. 1.

Stanford University quarterback Kevin Hogan talks to reporters during the teams media day in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015. Although Stanford is playing in the Rose Bowl for the third time in four years, the weeklong experience doesn't get old for Hogan and the Cardinal. They also know the importance of leaving Pasadena with a win after losing to Michigan State two years ago. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)But Stanford players and coaches swore off the idea that any Rose Bowl fatigue has set in.

“Never gets old, I guarantee it,” said defensive line coach Randy Hart, who is participating in his 11th Rose Bowl and 10th as a coach.

“It’s probably a better feeling that you’re a fifth-year senior because you appreciate it more,” defensive back Ronnie Harris said.

Dan Greenspan’s look ahead to the Rose Bowl might beg a question about how one might complain about repeated trips to one of the most prestigious contests in American football.

The answer is actually kind of obvious, but also a bit specialized; one needs to follow college football in general, and the Rose Bowl is of particular interest to the west coast; it’s our bowl game.

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The Panacea

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 28 December 2015.In truth, my advice is to not actually try to figure out just what it is you’re looking at. Better to just blame Adam, which in turn really ought to be a t-shirt slogan of its own.

No, really; imagine the possibilities. Blame Adam. There is not a bug in your martini that couldn’t be justified on a shirt alongside the obvious slogan.

Bad memory? Blame Adam. Fretting over Nazi bikini girls? Blame Adam. Gendertyping in the twenty-first century got you down? Or maybe Great-Grandpa’s ball gag? Blame Adam, though admittedly I didn’t for that latter, instead somehow finding that it had nothing at all to do with Adam. Oh, wait. Forgot to carry the two. No, wait again. Wrong joke. It was attraction that has nothing to with Adam. What? Oh, right. Gravity. Never mind. Adam has nothing to do with gravity.

Hmph. That’s still wrong.

Right. Blame Adam.

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Image note: Detail of Bug Martini by Adam Huber, 28 December 2015.

What Law Enforcement Calls Justice

Seal of the Philadelphia Police Department.

This is what it gets us:

Currently, the Defender Association of Philadelphia is seeking to have more than 500 convictions involving Officer Christopher Hulmes reopened and tossed out. In 2011, Hulmes admitted to lying in open court in a drug-and-gun case against two black men who claim they were framed. He did so in front of a judge and prosecutor. But he was not charged with perjury until this April ....

Reporter Daniel Denvir brings to Salon reporting he has been working on all year, including an April article for the Philadelphia City Paper explaining:

Last Thursday, District At­torney Seth Williams an­nounced that Phil­adel­phia Police Officer Christopher Hulmes, a narcotics cop who admitted in open court to lying under oath, had been charged with perjury and other offenses.

It only took more than three years.

During that lapse, Hulmes continued to patrol the city’s bustling drug markets and to testify in criminal trials that likely sent many defendants to prison. Some of those convictions could end up being overturned and costing the city in civil settlements.

That Hulmes admitted in 2011 to lying multiple times in a drug-and-gun case is without question. But precisely what he intended to cover up, and why it took an August 2014 City Paper investigation to prompt prosecutors to file charges, is much more complicated.

It always is.

More complicated, that is.

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A Philosophical Musing (Unfleek)

Huang reflects on a mission barely accomplished. (Darker Than Black, ep. 14)

It just seems as if there really ought to be some sort of moral lesson buried in the proposition that we might review the latest additions to a book by watching a video.

Couldn’t tell you what it is, though.

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Parker, Asha. “Facepalm, fleek and feels: 10 most outrageous words added to the dictionary this year”. Salon. 28 December 2015.

Something About Progress (Something About Pride)

Detail of photo by Carlos Barria/AP Photo

This seems important:

A Russian ship left Iran on Monday carrying almost all of Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium, fulfilling a major step in the nuclear deal struck last summer and, for the first time in nearly a decade, apparently leaving Iran with too little fuel to manufacture a nuclear weapon.

(Sanger and Kramer)

This is what the #GOP47 wanted to prevent.

You know. Just something to keep in mind.

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Image note: P5+1 negotiating partners gathered in the United Nations Office at Vienna, Austria, 14 July 2015. (Detail of photo by Carlos Barria/AP Photo)

Sanger, David E. and Andrew E. Kramer. “Iran Hands Over Stockpile of Enriched Uranium to Russia”. The New York Times. 28 December 2015.

Dick on Goats

The only reason I’m running with a juvenile, insensitive, obviously overused joke for a headline like that is because there just isn’t much to Jason Dick’s note on Beltway colloquialisms insofar as quoting enough of it to tempt you to click and read would pretty much require reproducing the post. Nonetheless, if you ever felt screwed like punch-line livestock for taking part in our civic process, well, nobody can actually answer the question, though there are certainly table scraps in the trough of the public discourse.

Say what?At least I didn’t say, “Don’t let it get your goat.”

Oh.

Damn.

Right. Anyway … I mean … never mind.

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Dick, Jason. “HOH Word of the Week: Goat, Goat Food”. Heard on the Hill. Roll Call. 28 December 2015.

Something About the Bill and the Beard

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) holds a news conference, on Capitol Hill in Washington, 16 December 2015. (Zach Gibson/The New York Times)

So it goes that Scott Wong of The Hill should report on conservative dissatisfaction with the recent spending omnibus Speaker Ryan managed to push through the House:

Outside the Beltway, the right is livid with new Speaker Paul Ryan’s trillion-dollar spending deal with Democrats.

Conservative pundit Ann Coulter says Ryan, just seven weeks on the job, is ripe for a primary challenge. “Paul Ryan Betrays America,” blared a headline on the conservative site Breibart.com. And Twitter is littered with references to the Wisconsin Republican’s new “Muslim beard.”

Sounds about right.

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Image note: Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) holds a news conference, on Capitol Hill in Washington, 16 December 2015. (Zach Gibson/The New York Times)

Wong, Scott. “Fury of the right falls on Ryan”. The Hill. 26 December 2015.

How We Do It (Freedom Forfeit Fried)

United States Department of Justice

So, you know, irony doesn’t really do any good for the people who have been hurt―

The Department of Justice announced this week that it’s suspending a controversial program that allows local police departments to keep a large portion of assets seized from citizens under federal law and funnel it into their own coffers.

The “equitable-sharing” program gives police the option of prosecuting asset forfeiture cases under federal instead of state law. Federal forfeiture policies are more permissive than many state policies, allowing police to keep up to 80 percent of assets they seize―even if the people they took from are never charged with a crime.

The DOJ is suspending payments under this program due to budget cuts included in the recent spending bill.

(Ingraham)

―but for the rest of us, that’s gotta be worth something. There are some days when we take what we can get, and if budget constraints will accomplish what justice cannot, well, what else do we expect? This is your federal government. These are your United States of America.

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Ingraham, Christopher. “The Justice Department just shut down a huge asset forfeiture program”. The Washington Post. 23 December 2015.

Either Significant or Not

Evangelist Franklin Graham speaks before the Festival of Hope at Bartow Arena in Birmingham, Alabama, 14 August 2015. (Detail of photo by Frank Couch)

This is interesting …

Evangelist Franklin Graham announced Monday that he left the Republican Party and is now an independent over the GOP’s failure to defund Planned Parenthood in last week’s omnibus spending bill.

(Koplowitz)

… I think. Maybe. Possibly.

Still, though: And?

You know. Like―What now?

Oh, right. Go on tour.

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Image note: Evangelist Franklin Graham speaks before the Festival of Hope at Bartow Arena in Birmingham, Alabama, 14 August 2015. (Detail of photo by Frank Couch)

Graham, Franklin. “Shame on the Republicans and the Democrats for passing such a wasteful spending bill last week”. Facebook. 21 December 2015.

Koplowitz, Howard. “Franklin Graham quits GOP over not defunding Planned Parenthood; ‘I have no hope in the Republican Party'”. AL.com. 22 December 2015.