August 19, 2015 archive

In Memoriam: Julian Bond 1940 – 2015

Civil Rights activist died August 15 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida due to complications of cardiovascular disease. He was 75. Mr. Bond is survived by his wife, Pam Horowitz; sons Horace Mann Bond II, Jeffrey and Michael Bond; daughters Phyllis Jane Bond McMillan and Julia Louise Bond; sister Jane; brother James; and eight grandchildren.

His family announced that he will be buried at sea according to his wishes:

“We are honoring his wishes that his body be cremated and his ashes be committed to the Gulf of Mexico,” the family said in a statement Tuesday. “This will be a private, family only service. The final request will be carried out at sea on Saturday, August 22, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time.”

The statement went on to express that the family understands that many “loved and admired” Bond and invited the public to share in the ceremony.

“We invite you to gather at a body of water near your home and precisely at 2:00 p.m., CDT, spread flower petals on the water and join us in bidding farewell to Horace Julian Bond. This gesture will mean a great deal to us as a family and also provide some comfort in knowing that you share our loss.”

Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman was joined by Taylor Branch, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Benjamin Jealous and Richard Cohen to remember Mr. Bond.

Transcript can be read here

Not Funny At All

Some people misunderstand my relationship with Donald Trump.  I think he’s a privileged asshole who doesn’t care about anyone except Donald Trump.

I also think he’s astute in his marketing and I’ve worked with the kind of pollsters that businesses buy and they sneer at the politicals.  They work with much larger samples so the demographics are at least 95% confidence (Want to slice them finer?  Get a bigger sample.).  They are not Frank Luntz faux focus groups (there is a whole other art to that I’ll maybe tell you about someday).

Anyway this has less to do with the accuracy of metrics than it does to Trump’s ability to spot an under served market and fill it.

In this case the market is true Teabagger Republicans, the ones that genuinely hate government nearly as much as they hate the Mexicans and other unworthies and think they’ve been disenfranchised and betrayed by their elected representatives.

And this is what I think is the true Trump appeal, the willingness of even the Reds to revolt.  He throws them meat on occasion whether he means it or not.  He’s an actor (or a con man, but they’re basically the same).  On other things he is remarkably libertarian for which they fault him not at all.  This is because he is expressing their fundamental rage with the current regime and refusing to apologize for it.  They feel the Villager Media is completely corrupt (except Faux) thus their genuine outrage at the poor treatment Trump is getting (including Faux).  I think this is a great development.

Trump has shut down the Republicans and exposed the also rans as the corporatist shills they are.  I’m not sure they can ever recover and there’s no reason for him to quit.  He’s running a remarkably frugal campaign based on free coverage.  As long as the polls don’t get embarrassing and they sure aren’t yet, why stop?

I say to you, dismiss Trump at your peril.  Consigning him to the ‘Entertainment’ section does you no credit at all, it merely highlights how badly you’ve missed the point.  Even idiots like E.J. Dionne are starting to get it (the most pretentious piece I’ve read in a while).

The Donald Trump show: 24 hours with the Republican frontrunner

by Paul Lewis, The Guardian

Tuesday 18 August 2015 06.00 EDT

“Fifteen series of The Apprentice has made Trump a polished television performer,” Stone says. “If you look at the show he looks like a decisive, tough leader, in the high-back chair, perfectly lit, perfectly made-up, making decisions.”

Stone, who used to work for Ronald Reagan, recalls how in 1980 a reporter asked the then presidential candidate how an actor could possibly occupy the White House. Reagan replied: “How can a president not be an actor?”

Stone adds: “The voters don’t distinguish between reality TV and politics.”

To the extent to which it can be summarised into a coherent narrative, it is that America is in decline, losing jobs and industry to China and Mexico, and losing oil to the Middle East. Barack Obama is stupid. The other presidential candidates are also stupid, or boring.

They’re all controlled by wealthy donors who pay for their campaigns and are the dark forces pulling the strings. Money is the real puppet-master in America, and Trump knows this because he’s rolling in it, and he’s been controlling politicians all his life.

Now only Donald Trump, a smart, successful, property tycoon and TV celebrity so rich he is beholden to no one, can fix the problem. He will bring jobs, take care of veterans and the elderly, and be the most militaristic person in the room.

The audience loves every second of it, especially those parts that parody the political establishment, such as when Trump does an impression of a stiff politician. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he says, in the mock drone of a monotone politician. His shoulders are hunched, his eyes squinting at an imaginary script near the podium. “Hello,” he says. There are howls of laughter.

“You don’t want a scripted president!” he tells them, as people rise to their feet for a standing ovation and the loudest applause of the night. As the crescendo builds, he adds: “And you don’t want a politically correct president!”

For decades presidential contenders have been coming to the fair to eat corn dogs and slap the backs of farmers, but veterans of the festival will say they’ve never seen anything quite like the pandemonium sparked when Trump turns up.

He is supposed to visit a life-sized cow carved out of butter, but his entourage quickly realise it will be impossible to make a path through the mob. Instead, for close to an hour, Trump and the crush of people around him just meander through the fair in the searing heat.

People are laughing and reaching forward to shake his hand or take his photo. They shout things like “We Love You Donald” and “Bring It Home Donald” and “Money, Money, Money, M-o-ney”, the tune of The Apprentice theme song.

It takes five minutes for a Guardian reporter to squeeze through the scrum and ask a question. “You said voters don’t care about policy. Why do you say that?”

Trump looks tickled. “The voters know I have good decision-making abilities,” he says. “They trust me.”

Welcome to the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption

We are all familiar with the televangelical  preachers that flood the airways telling their believers that they have the cure for everything from cancer to a hang nail if you just send them your money. They prey (pardon the pun) on those who can least afford to send them money while they live in the lap of luxury.They also don’t pay any taxes on their bounty.

To demonstrate the absurdity of these charlatans, John Oliver, host of “Last Week Tonight,” opened his own church with the assistance of a tax lawyer.

To expose the industry’s fraudulent activity, his team got close with leading celebrity televangelist Robert Tilton of Word of Faith Worldwide Church. After mailing Tilton $20, with a request to be added to his church’s mailing list, a correspondence was reportedly struck up, which resulted in the televangelist requesting larger and larger sums of money.

As Oliver said: “As of tonight, I’ve sent him $319 and received 26 letters – that’s almost one a week. And again, this is all hilarious until you imagine these letters being sent to someone who cannot afford what he’s asking for.”

Oliver wrapped up the segment in fitting fashion: he formed his own church. He claims to have filed paperwork for establishing Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption last week, a process he called “disturbingly easy”.

The church is now open to the public and has its own site. On it, Oliver encourages people to send cash, check or money orders to a New York PO box. The fine print states that should the church choose to wind down and dissolve in the future, “any assets belonging to the Church at that time will be distributed to Doctors Without Borders, a non-profit charitable organization that is tax-exempt under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (EIN: 13-3433452) and which provides emergency medical aid in places where it is needed most”.

Bless you, John Oliver


The Breakfast Club (Touch The Sky)

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 10:30am (ET) 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.

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This Day in History

Soviet hard-liners mount a coup against Mikhail Gorbachev; Nazi Germany ratifies Adolf Hitler’s powers; U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers convicted by Soviet tribunal; Comedian Groucho Marx dies.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

There are those who say fate is something beyond our command. That destiny is not our own, but I know better. Our fate lives within us, you only have to be brave enough to see it.

Princess Merida, Brave

On This Day In History August 19

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

August 19 is the 231st day of the year (232nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 134 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1909, the first race is held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, now the home of the world’s most famous motor racing competition, the Indianapolis 500.

The rectangular two-and-a-half-mile track linked four turns, each exactly 440 yards from start to finish, by two long and two short straight sections. In that first five-mile race on August 19, 1909, 12,000 spectators watched Austrian engineer Louis Schwitzer win with an average speed of 57.4 miles per hour. The track’s surface of crushed rock and tar proved a disaster, breaking up in a number of places and causing the deaths of two drivers, two mechanics and two spectators.

The surface was soon replaced with 3.2 million paving bricks, laid in a bed of sand and fixed with mortar. Dubbed “The Brickyard,” the speedway reopened in December 1909. In 1911, low attendance led the track’s owners to make a crucial decision: Instead of shorter races, they resolved to focus on a single, longer event each year, for a much larger prize. That May 30 marked the debut of the Indy 500–a grueling 500-mile race that was an immediate hit with audiences and drew press attention from all over the country. Driver Ray Haroun won the purse of $14,250, with an average speed of 74.59 mph and a total time of 6 hours and 42 minutes.

Just The Nightly Show (Bureau of Land Management)

Tonightly our panel is Mike Yard, Christan Greer, and Lil Duval and we will be talking about #BlackLivesMatter.

The Whitely Show


Oh, you want to know what Jon is doing?