Friday, June 23, 2017

Weekly Finale: Juke Joint Jezebel

Welcome to the weekly musical finale, where I end the blogging week on a musical note.

This week, I am journeying into the industrial rock genre, and specifically KMFDM's "Juke Joint Jezebel" from 1995:



KMFDM stands for "Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid", which translates as "No Pity for the Majority". Although the band was formed in Hamburg, Germany, they moved to the United States in 1989, and has gone through various convulsions, split-ups, and re-formations since then.

As for "Juke Joint Jezebel", I will offer my own journeyman's interpretation of the song. It is from the point of view of a man being seduced by a "jezebel" (a deceptive woman) from a musical bar of some kind (juke joint). The song is dripping with his regret, even as the protagonist allows the seduction to proceed to its inevitable conclusion. The lyrics use the classical symbolism of sex equating to death throughout. However, the protagonist expects some kind of revelation from this experience, although that may just be an exaggerated way of saying "carnal bliss". Your mileage may vary.

That is all from me this week. This juke joint is closed for the weekend, but returning Monday with more blogging. Enjoy your weekend!

GOP's Broken Health Care Bill: Today's News for June 23rd

Fox News:
Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a draft version of their healthcare reform bill that cuts Medicaid, ends penalties for people not buying insurance and reshapes subsidies to low-income users.

The bill, revealed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, could go to a vote as early as next week. Senate Republicans made the proposal public in a bid to stem criticism that they have been slow to respond to a House version of an ObamaCare overhaul.
In other words, they rushed some trash out so it looks like they did something.

Even their own senators aren't buying this garbage:

NBC News:
Four Republican senators say they will not vote for the GOP health care bill unless changes are made, putting passage of the bill at risk just hours after it was unveiled.

With Republicans holding 52 seats in the Senate and no Democrats expected to support the legislation, GOP leaders can only afford to lose two votes among their own ranks.

The four conservative GOP senators — Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Ted Cruz of Texas — released a joint statement Thursday afternoon outlining their concerns:

"Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor. There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current healthcare system but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their healthcare costs."

"It looks like a reiteration or a keeping of Obamacare," Sen. Paul told reporters Thursday afternoon. "I'm a 'no' on the bill currently."

Paul said the group came out together because they'd have more negotiating power to move the bill in a more conservative direction.

Their displeasure includes the amount of subsidies given to people to purchase insurance, the Medicaid expansion continues for another three years and the $15 billion per year to prop up the insurance companies providing insurance in the individual Obamacare market for the next three years.
This seems all very reasonable on the surface.

And then there is the Left's objection:

Salon:

The headline alone tells you what to expect, but here is the first paragraph in case you enjoy Soviet-style propaganda:
In the hellish months since Donald Trump’s inauguration, a dark parlor game of sorts has cropped up in liberal circles that I like to call “Would an Impeachment Even Be Worth It?” With the full acknowledgment that it’s unlikely to happen as long as Republicans are in charge, participants still sip cocktails and ponder out loud the question of whether booting out Trump on his butt would be enough to save our democracy, considering the fact that the Republican slimeball taking his place would invariably sign a bunch of retrograde legislation setting back this country decades.
In fact, the Republican health care bill isn't mentioned until the third paragraph.

Amanda Marcotte, the author of this Salon editorial, is delighted to point out the evils of the Republicans, even as she spews venom at them. When this much venom is used, one has to question which side is truly evil. Or as Shakespeare wrote, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks".

The TRUTH is the Left's objection comes down to they are still having their temper tantrum. We may as well let them hold their collective breath until they pass out.

In other political news...

Politico:
President Donald Trump on Thursday said he did not make and does not have any “tapes” or recordings of his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey, ending a nearly six-week saga he kicked off by suggesting in a tweet that such tapes existed.

“With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings,” Trump stated in a pair of tweets on Thursday afternoon.
Unless somebody has evidence to the contrary, end of discussion.

Finally...

St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
ST. LOUIS • An off-duty officer was wounded by "friendly fire" as police looked for suspects after a stolen vehicle fled police and crashed late Wednesday.

The injured off-duty officer was treated at a hospital released on Thursday. The suspect was also treated, and released into police custody.

At Barnes-Jewish Hospital early Thursday, Interim Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole told reporters the off-duty officer had come out of his home to help after the stolen car crashed nearby, and was hit in the crossfire between officers and suspects who had been in the car.

But police now say the off-duty officer was shot by a fellow cop who did not recognize him as an officer, in a separate encounter away from the initial crash.

According to a department summary of the incident released later Thursday, two officers who encountered the armed off-duty officer ordered him to the ground. He complied. When they recognized the off-duty officer, they told him he could stand up and walk toward them.

Another officer just arriving at the scene saw the off-duty officer get up and, not knowing he was an officer, fired his weapon once at the man. He hit the off-duty officer in the arm, the department said.
I was originally going to give the St. Louis police the face-palming bear for this, but I decided another reaction was more appropriate:


If you ever needed a reminder that the police are more about "enforcement" than "justice", look no further than this story. Even cops aren't safe around other cops.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thursday Thought: Frank Herbert

(hat tip to Wikipedia for the pic)

"What do such machines really do? They increase the number of things we can do without thinking. Things we do without thinking — there's the real danger."--Frank Herbert, from the novel God Emperor of Dune

Trump's Immigration Proposal: Today's News for June 22nd

Fox News:
President Trump announced Wednesday night that he will soon ask Congress to pass legislation banning immigrants from accessing public assistance within five years of entering the U.S.

“The time has come for new immigration rules that say ... those seeking immigration into our country must be able to support themselves financially and should not use welfare for a period of at least five years," Trump told a campaign-style rally in Grand Rapids, Iowa.

Trump's proposal would build on the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, which allows federal authorities to deport immigrants who become public dependents within five years of their arrival. Many of that law’s provisions were rolled back during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, but Trump's proposal would make more categories of federal benefits off-limits to immigrants.
...In requesting these changes, the White House will cite a 2015 report from the Center for Immigration Studies that found 51 percent of households headed by an immigrant are using some form of public assistance, compared to 30 percent among non-immigrant families. That report has been disputed by critics who say it does not take into account the nuances of many immigrant families. 
If immigrant households only used 10%, would that make this proposal a bad idea? Not at all. People shouldn't come to this country to collect welfare.

Regardless of where you stand on this issue, it is politically touchy for the Left, considering Bill Clinton was the first to sign it into law, and it took true Leftists like Bush and Obama to backtrack on it. The fact CNN gave this proposal a bare mention on a video tells you how sensitive it is.

So what was CNN's lede in the absence of the Trump proposal?

CNN:
President Donald Trump's son-in-law and top aide Jared Kushner should "absolutely" have his security clearance suspended, Rep. Mike Quigley told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in an interview Wednesday afternoon.

Appearing on "The Situation Room," the Illinois Democrat said Kushner "shouldn't have clearance at this point," echoing a letter from House oversight committee ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings and citing a "whole series of activities," including "concerns about Mr. Kushner's activities prior to the Inauguration."
Kushner's crime? He contacted Russia during the Trump team's transition. Of course, he also contacted other countries, because that was his job.

So is there something specific behind this?
In his interview with CNN, Quigley indicated there were additional concerns about Kushner's security clearance, referencing "a whole series of activities that I can't get into at this point in time, but they raise concerns about his judgment and his ability to keep our nation's secrets." When pressed by Wolf Blitzer, Quigley said, "I can't get into details, because some of those things were also discussed in classified settings."
Maybe there is something there, but if they cannot discuss it, then there is nothing there. Which means this isn't a story. The fact it is being promoted by an obviously partisan Democratic representative adds to the lack of substance. At best, this should get a mention in a political rumor column, not a lede story.

In other news...

Raw Story:
Officials in Ohio have recommended a 1-day suspension for Columbus police officer Zachary Rosen after he was caught on video kicking a man in the head.

In a video that was published on social media earlier this year, an officer can be seen handcuffing Demarko Anderson, who appears to be complying with demands.

“I am, sir,” Anderson says repeatedly as he lays face down on the sidewalk.

Suddenly, officer Rosen is seen charging into view of the camera and delivers a kick to Anderson’s head.

Rosen was reassigned to non-patrol duty pending the outcome of an investigation.

On Wednesday, the Columbus Police Department revealed that Chief of Police Kim Jacobs had recommended a 24-hour suspension for Rosen.
Really Jacobs? A one-day suspension? Zachary Rosen shouldn't be a police officer anywhere in this country, period. Personally, I wouldn't hire him as a mall guard.

Fortunately, the chief of police doesn't have the final say in this:
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther noted in a statement on Wednesday that the Director of Public Safety will have the final say about whether to uphold the suspension, fire Rosen or choose another outcome.
Seriously, the one-day suspension admits that Zachary Rosen did do this (as if the video isn't enough proof). By admitting that his officer did this reprehensible act, and then giving the equivalent of a slap on the wrist, Chief of Police Kim Jacobs has earned himself a shark:

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wednesday Wisdom: Babylon 5

(hat tip to AJBaker for the pic)

Vir Cotto: I thought the purpose of filing these reports was to provide accurate intelligence!
Mollari: Vir, intelligence has nothing to do with politics!
(from the tv show Babylon 5)

Democrats 0-4 in Trump Era: Today's News for June 21st

Fox News:
Republican Karen Handel on Tuesday night defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s record-spending, special-election House race, according to the Associated Press.

With all precincts reporting, Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, led Ossoff 52 percent to 48 percent -- a margin of nearly 11,000 votes out of more than 250,000 ballots cast.
Seems pretty straightforward. Yet the CNN story veered into more news analysis than reporting:

CNN:
Democrats tried an inoffensive moderate message in Georgia. They ran a banjo-strumming populist in Montana. They called in the cavalry in South Carolina and tried to catch their foe sleeping through a long-shot in Kansas.

None of it worked.

In the special elections for House seats vacated by Republicans who wound up in President Donald Trump's Cabinet, Democrats went 0-for-4.

Now, party officials, strategists and candidates are pondering what went wrong -- and how they can turn it around in time for the 2018 midterm elections.

Jon Ossoff's loss Tuesday night in a hyper-competitive Georgia race -- the most expensive in history -- "better be a wake up call for Democrats," tweeted Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, an emerging Democratic leader.

"We need a genuinely new message, a serious jobs plan that reaches all Americans, and a bigger tent," he wrote, "not an smaller one. Focus on the future."
It is hard to disagree with the TRUTH of that analysis, but let's try? Note the races were all in districts which Republicans held previously. Strike one against the Democrats.

Strike two against the Democrats came in the following:
But before the 2018 midterms, Democrats must grapple with the party's need to drive its base to the polls while also convincing some independents and moderate Republicans to reject Trump.
This was why Mitt Romney lost to Barack Obama in 2012 (and many of the Republican campaigns against FDR as well): You cannot run a campaign "against" somebody. If you don't represent something, if you don't believe in something, you can never win. In other words, you have to present an alternative. The Democrats are overly focused on "not Trump", but they have no ideas of their own, other than the tired ones of the last 8 years under Obama. Trump's election was a wake-up call against those policies, but the Democrats are still hitting the snooze button.

Finally, here is the Democrats' third strike:

CNBC:
The two campaigns and outside groups supporting and opposing the candidates shelled out at least $36 million as of May 31, including more than $22 million from Ossoff's campaign. The election easily set a record for spending in a House race, according to NBC News.
This presents one inherent flaw in political thinking in general, although Democratic Party thinking in this particular case: You can fix any problem if you throw enough money at it. This doesn't work when the government does it, and it doesn't work in the private sector either. Some problems require more than money. Some of them require thinking.

(hat tip to Political Vel Craft for the pic)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tuesday Motivation: John Wayne


"There's a lot of things great about life. But I think tomorrow is the most important thing. Comes in to us at midnight very clean, ya know. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday."--John Wayne