“Whatever Mike Moon does with a chicken in the privacy of his home is his own business. But we will not let him use the rights of women across Missouri as some kind of political prop. His call to ban abortion is disturbing and dangerous, no matter what he does with that chicken.”
The Donald Trump Show (Blood & Cannon)
It is not entirely certain just how we ought to take James Oliphant’s headline for Reuters, “Trump may have stopped the bleeding, but not the worrying”. The lede is one of those double-takes, not because it is unbelievable but because it seems worth checking to make certain you read it correctly:
Donald Trump may have done just enough in Sunday’s presidential debate to keep his leaky presidential campaign afloat―and that may have put Republicans considering abandoning him in an even tougher position.
It is, in fact, a reasonable thesis but not exactly reflective of the headline. Indeed, the most curious thing about bleeding is just how the Trump campaign is bleeding, or not, might well be the section header, “Red Meat for the Base”, describing the last third of the article, and here Oliphant brings the point home:
Against this backdrop of panic and condemnation, Trump on Sunday sought to rally the party’s base with a fresh barrage of provocative attacks on Clinton that will give the media something other than the tape to talk about.
He offered a blistering critique of her handling of foreign policy while the country’s chief diplomat and brought his rally cry for her to be jailed to the debate stage. He also carried out a threat to make an issue of her husband’s sexual history.
In doing so, Trump may have stopped the bleeding, but he did nothing to stop the worrying.
The base. Donald Trump stopped the bleeding, but not the worrying, among his base? Suddenly the lede, with Mr. Trump having “done just enough” to “keep his leaky presidential campaign afloat”, seems nearly an overstatement. That is to say: What counts as afloat?
Not the Worst Thing Budweiser Has Ever Done, But Still
It is my regret to advise that Jen Sorensen is actually not joking. Well, not about that part, at least, but what’s a cartoonist to do?
Sadly, though, no, it’s not a joke. InBev is actually doing this:
The America labels are only going on 12-ounce bottles and 12-ounce cans, said Nick Mills, general manager at the Baldwinsville brewery. Other sizes―such as 24- and 16-ounce cans―will be in patriotically-themed case boxes and packages, but will not be labeled as America.
“We do summer patriotic packages every year,” he said, noting past labels and artwork that featured the Stars and Stripes or the Statue of Liberty. “This one seems to be getting more attention.”
It has raised eyebrows from those who question the use of the word “America” by a brewer not based in the United States. A-B InBev was formed in 2008 when InBev, itself a merger of Belgian and Brazilian brewing interests, acquired Anheuser-Busch in a $50 billion takeover. A-B had been founded in 1876 in St. Louis, which remains its U.S. headquarters.
Certes, ’tis unspeakably crass, but let’s face it, this is hardly the worst thing “America’s Rape Brewery”™ has ever done. Generally speaking, Budweiser ought to be disqualified from being “America’s beer”.
Image note Detail of cartoon by Jen Sorensen, via Daily Kos Comics, 24 May 2016
Cazentre, Don. “‘America’ rolls off the bottling line at Upstate NY’s Budweiser plant”. Syracuse.com. 25 May 2016.
Responsible Gun Ownership (Rubbish Remix)
So, this is what we’ve got:
→ Man drives van onto garbage fire in attempt to quell flames.
→ Van happens to be loaded with guns, ammunition, and full tank of gas.
↳ Vans don’t put out fires.
Or, as Ian Cummings explains for the Kansas City Star:
The deputy learned that the owner had been burning garbage in the field and accidentally let the fire get out of control. In an attempt to put the fire out, he drove his van back and forth over the flames.
This made matters worse, as the tires of the van caught fire. Realizing that the van was loaded with firearms ammunition and a full tank of gas, the driver evacuated the area for safety.
And to make sure we cover the really important stuff, Clay County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Jon Bazzano pointed out that the owner did not make a report for an insurance claim because, “It seems like he’s just going to have to take a loss on that vehicle because I don’t think they’re going to cover it”, and that’s all well and fine, but there is another aspect worth considering.
Something about responsible gun ownership goes here; the van owner was not cited for criminally dangerous stupidity, and perhaps that’s just how the law works and such, but, you know, really. Responsible gun ownership. What part of driving a van full of firearms and ammunition into a garbage fire coincides with the idea of responsible gun ownership, and what does that intersection actually look like?
Image note: Composite ― Two images from Clay County (Missouri) Sheriff’s Office, 13 October 2015. A local resident inexplicably attempted to put out a garbage fire with a van full of firearms and live ammunition.
Cummings, Ian. “Man tries to put out garbage fire by driving over it in a van loaded with ammunition”. The Kansas City Star. 13 October 2015.
Parma (¡expletive!) Missouri
To put it bluntly: What the hell am I supposed to do with this?
Most of the police force and several officials resigned after the small town of Parma, Missouri elected its first African American woman as mayor, reported KFVS.
Tyrus Byrd, a former city clerk, was officially sworn in as mayor on Tuesday after beating incumbent Randall Ramsey. Ramsey had served as mayor of Parma for 37 years under two terms.
The outgoing mayor said five of the city’s six police officers submitted their resignation, citing “safety concerns.” Parma’s city attorney, clerk and water treatment supervisor also quit.
No, really. What the hell?
Chen, Kelly. “Police, Officials Resign After Small Missouri Town Elects First Black Female Mayor”. The Huffington Post. 19 April 2015.
A Real-Time Note in Which Confusion Rises, Then Gives Way to Mild Embarrassment
I think we’re all aware that (ahem!) This Is a Small and Insignificant Corner of the Internet. That does not trouble me; it’s a free-hosted blog written by a middle-aged nobody with too much time on his hands. And some days the numbers are puzzling, like when they actually climb. There was the time This Is saw thrice its usual attendance simply because of a post about a crazy elected official in Missouri calling for a coup against President Obama, for instance.
Then again, sometimes they’re puzzling in other ways, and it takes a moment to settle the thought: Ah, I’m getting hits from Bahrain because I use the word Daa’ish. Well, that or someone is interested in the fútbol match ‘twixt England and Germany. You know, weird things like that. Or the time WordPress lost track of the United Kingdom, which was just plain funny.
You know what would get really good ratings? A fútbol match between this year’s World Cup winner and whatever team Daa’ish can field.
Seriously, that would end the war. The ladies would strip off and oil up, and win the game, anyway, leaving Daa’ish broken and humiliated, and probably cut to pieces by their superiors, who would in turn be broken and humiliated, and then we’d get a year off from the war because they were trying to field a new team, with hostilities only resuming after Daa’ish returns to the pitch and finds themselves devastated by the winner of the Gay Olympics.
Ratings would be down for that one. But they’d be up again for the bombing campaign that would start the next week.
Oh, right. Our ratings. This Is occasionally gets German readership, and it’s not impossible when bagging on Daa’ish to draw a hit from Syria. But six countries in addition to my own U.S.? Nine hits from Lebanon? Four hits from Iceland?
Now I find myself wondering what the hell I did. The diverse range was already established before I made the joke about Doctor Who mashups, so that can’t be it.
Seriously, I spent all day whining about homophobes and Republicans, even when those two terms weren’t redundant.
Oh … that’s right.
Damn, and here I was getting on with some serious self-gratifying humor. Then I had to go and ruin it by remembering the answer to the question.
Okay, okay. Look, to my neighbors in Liban, I really didn’t mean to bait you. It’s true I named my cat Liban, but that’s short for Libane, which in turn is the name of a fish spirit from Irish folklore. But that’s beside the point; in this case, Lebanon refers to a Japanese cartoon transvestite.
And, yeah, it’s true, I did actually get one of those self-gratifying grins from breaking the news. To the other, you already knew about the cartoon transvestite, since you clicked, and saw, and … right.
But thank you for stopping by. All of you. Lebanon, Iceland, France, Syria, Germany, Japan. And, of course, my American neighbors. It is one thing to say it’s not about the raw numbers; I’m certain I would feel differently if the blog drew five hundred hits a day or something. But I only rant like this because I cannot stop, and it is very kind of you to waste a few minutes out of your day discovering that fact for yourself.
Be well, and stop by whenever. We’re always happy to see you. Or not, you know, actually see you, I guess, since this is a virtual sort of thing, but, damn it, you know what I mean.
Image note: Top―Lebanon cooks for Suou and July at Noah’s Ark in Sapporo. (Detail of frame from Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor, episode 5, “Gunsmoke Blows, Life Flows …”.) Right―Daily statistics for This Is, 7 April 2015.
More Missouri Madness
It … it happened … again.
For the second time in a month, Missourians struggled Monday to understand the unfathomable — why a leading political figure in the state would take his own life.
Robert “Spence” Jackson, a prominent Republican spokesman and media liaison for more than a decade, was found dead Sunday night in the bedroom of his Jefferson City apartment.
He died from a single gunshot from a .357 Magnum revolver, police said. He left a note. Authorities consider the death a suicide.
They were unwilling Monday to officially tie Jackson’s death to that of his boss, former Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich, who shot himself Feb. 26. But politicians and consultants easily connected the two events.
Rachel Maddow hosted Kansas City Star reporter Dave Helling on Monday, in hopes of trying to put at least some of the pieces together.
The Missouri GOP verges on coming apart; Mr. Helling describes in his interview with Maddow calls for the proximal players in this awful chapter to simply step away in order for the party to save itself. One might also wonder if that would have any real effect; will a handful of closely associated Republicans choosing to depart change enough about the Grand Old Party in the Show-Me State? After all, the looming question here is what, exactly, is going on with Missouri Republicans?
Image note: Top―Rachel Maddow interviews Dave Helling regarding the apparent suicide of Robert “Spence” Jackson, 30 March 2015, on The Rachel Maddow Show for msnbc. Right―Robert “Spence” Jackson. (Photo via Kansas City Star)
Helling, Dave and Jason Hancock. “Tom Schweich spokesman Spence Jackson found dead of apparent suicide”. The Kansas City Star. 30 March 2015.
Maddow, Rachel. “Second suicide shocks Missouri Republicans”. The Rachel Maddow Show. msnbc. 30 March 2015.
The Affordable Cow Act
Missouri is the “Show-Me State”―
Touted by sponsor Rep. Bill Reiboldt, R-Neosho, as the Dairy Revitalization Act, the measure earned a second nickname Thursday: “Obamacow.” The name stems from a provision of the bill that would subsidize federal dairy insurance for up to 70 percent of farmers’ premium payments.
Before voting in favor of the bill, Republican Sen. Ryan Silvey of Kansas City questioned helping provide dairy insurance while the majority party has resisted growing a federal health care program for low-income adults. Silvey is one of the few GOP members who this session has joined Democrats in calling to expand eligibility for Medicaid.
Silvey called the bill “Obamacow,” drawing a parallel with the term “Obamacare.” That term is used by some Republicans to describe President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, under which states can receive enhanced federal funding if they raise eligibility for adults earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level — or $33,465 for a family of four.
―and what they’re showing is not quite inexplicable.
And it’s almost funny.
Ballentine, Summer. “Bill to help Missouri’s dairy industry heads to governor”. SFGate.com. 19 March 2015.
LaFaver, Jeremy. “The MO Senate is now debating the Affordable Cow Act”. Twitter. 19 March 2015.
A Disaster in Missouri
That elections should not have death tolls is itself a grim enough statement insofar as there exist circumstances in the human endeavor requiring such reminders; but these are the United States of America, and, really, elections should not have death tolls.
• Rachel Maddow tries to summarize the circumstances surrounding the apparent suicide of Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich.
• Tony Messenger, editorial page editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Had I not ignored his phone call to me at 9:41 Thursday morning — I was doing a thing at my kids’ school district — I might have been the last person to talk to the man who wanted to be governor. It made for a chilling day in which I decided to do something I’ve never done before as a reporter: reveal the contents of off-the-record conversations with a source. That source is now dead. I believe it’s what he would have wanted.
• Mr. Messenger again, in an official statement released via the Post-Dispatch.
The story itself is unbelievable, not for any implication that this is something other than a suicide. Rather, the question of how and why things got so far out of hand.
• Steve Kraske and Dave Helling of the Kansas City Star bring us a statement from Missouri Republican Party Chairman John Hancock that pretty much makes the point:
I would like to set the record straight, once and for all: Until recently, I mistakenly believed that Tom Schweich was Jewish, but it was simply a part of what I believed to be his biography—no different than the fact that he was from St. Louis and had graduated from Harvard Law School. While I do not recall doing so, it is possible that I mentioned Tom’s faith in passing during one of the many conversations I have each day. There was absolutely nothing malicious about my intent, and I certainty was not attempting to “inject religion” into the governor’s race, as some have suggested (in fact, I have never met with donors or raised money on behalf of the Hanaway campaign).
If words seem to fail, there is a reason.
This is apparently the scandal at the heart of it all. This is apparently the reason Tom Schweich has killed himself.
Elections should not have death tolls. What is happening in our society that we are seeing these outcomes? How does having Jewish ancestry even come into play in the first place? And how is it that this is the second year in a row we have seen a suicide in a primary election?
Maddow, Rachel. “A shocking death in a harsh Republican primary in Missouri”. The Rachel Maddow Show. msnbc. 27 February 2015.
Messenger, Tony. “From voicemail to voicemail: The short political life and times of Tom Schweich”. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 27 February 2015.
—————. “Statement of Tony Messenger, Post-Dispatch Editorial Page Editor, on Schweich Death”. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 26 February 2015.
Kraske, Steve and Dave Helling. “Missouri GOP chairman denies spreading rumors about Tom Schweich’s religion”. The Kansas City Star. 27 February 2015.
An Angel Giving You the Finger, and Other Notes
“Garterbelt, you keep slappin’ my butt around. Answer line: Freaky girl coming your way.”
―TeddyLoin featuring Debra Zeer
You know, some days you just don’t feel like you’re in the groove, so you end up saying, “Here’s a list, read this.”
Here’s a list. Read this.
• Sally Kohn on “How the GOP Invented Elizabeth Warren”. (The Daily Beast)
• If you ever wondered how long Chris Christie would remain in consideration as a serious GOP presidential contender, Perry Bacon, Jr., explains how “Christie Faces Growing Doubts Within GOP About his 2016 Campaign”. (NBC News)
• Amanda Terkel notes that “Apple Breaks Ties With Anti-Gay Alabama Lobbyist”, which seems almost inevitable, when you think about it. (Huffington Post)
• Shaun King reports on the Lone Star Republic values after “Texas students flash ‘White Power’ signs at rival team, may have defecated on rival team bus”. (Daily Kos)
• Conservative family values advocacy takes another hit “MO’s Country Club Committee Meeting Goes Wrong for Republicans, Get Caught on Camera talking Choice”, and we know that one doesn’t work out quite right as a sentence; deal with it. (Daily Kos)
• And speaking of things that don’t work out quite right, Caitlin Dewey explains why “Pinterest deleted Rand Paul’s sexist and unfunny Hillary Clinton ‘parody'”. (Washington Post)
And now, Anarchy, just because: