Friday Reads and a Penchant for the Macabre

Good Afternoon!161027_cbox_diabolique-jpg-crop-promo-xlarge2

So, those of you that read my occasionally weirdish posts know that I have a thing for old grave yards and historical sites that are mysterious and ookie. There’s a distinctly granular feel to these places. It’s in the air and it’s in the dust that kicks up when you walk around. Bits and pieces of the past can be tangibly felt. I like the feel of the tingle and chill. I came to the realization that I love horror movies a little bit late in life but now I relish this time of year more than any.  Maybe it’s because I can feel the power surge of my inner crone. Maybe because I know that there is no dearth of places to indulge my need to feel creeped out by imaginary things.

I’m not alone in this fascination with how humanity deals with its mortality. Not by a long shot. Stories, art, and the entire religious thing have always dealt with such topics.  We created burial rituals and tools to cope with life and death early on.  October Horror movie binges just go right along with the roots and rites of our cave dwelling ancestors who lit fires and counted on the stars to help them.  My friend and fellow blogger Pete shared this link to Donald Fagan describing his early fascination with those black and white horror movies that rocked Saturday matinees back in the day of double features and bad special effects.  I thought I’d pass it on.

Fair Lawn, New Jersey, late ’50s. I must have been 9 or 10 when my Uncle Al surprised my cousin Jack and me by announcing his intention to take us to a midnight showing of Diabolique, the French thriller. The choice seemed odd, since Al, a burly luncheonette operator from Passaic, wasn’t the type you’d expect to harbor a taste for French cinema. Then again, it was no secret that an intermittently active strain of sadism ran in Al’s branch of the family. I guess he didn’t want to miss out on a rare opportunity to watch the kids squirm.

Shot in cadaverish black and white, Diabolique is about these two hot babes, the wife and mistress of a cruel boarding school headmaster, who conspire together to murder their tormentor. They drug him, drown him in the bathtub, and dump his body in the swimming pool. When the pool is drained, though, there’s no corpse to be found. The two women freak out for the rest of the movie. At the end, there’s a scene where the (supposedly) murdered headmaster inexplicably rises out of the bathtub with only the whites of his eyes showing. That’s when I started screaming. Jack, his body quaking from head to toe, slid off his seat and ended up on the sticky theater floor in tears. When we got home, Uncle Al, who’d had a merry old time, had to endure a tongue-lashing from my aunt for permanently damaging our heretofore immaculate sensibilities. We both had nightmares for weeks.

But movie terror is seriously addictive. As soon as we were sufficiently recovered, we started taking the bus to the HyWay Theater every Saturday afternoon to see the horror double feature. At 50 cents plus the price of the popcorn (or a bit more if you wanted a box of the race-regressive Chocolate Babies), it was a bargain.

I started out on the Addams Family and the Munsters and tamer fare.  But, TV in the 1960s and 70s also included its Friday night horror shows and that’s where I got exposed to the good stuff.  BTW, the “cool ghoul” has passed for any of you that might know the work of Joe Zacherle. Every big city had its horror host back in the day.

The great John Zacherle, known to generations of horror fans as Zacherley, “The Cool Ghoul,” has passed away at 98. The news came tonight as author Tom Weaver, a close friend of the Zacherle family, began informing colleagues of the the sad news, and an outpouring of tributes has already begun across the internet.

A veteran of World War II, Zacherle started working at WCAU in Philadelphia in 1954, and in 1957, he got the job of being Philly’s first late night horror movie host on Shock Theater, creating the character of Roland (pronounced Ro-LAND), who talked to his dead wife in her coffin. An association with Dick Clark, whose American Bandstand was based in Philadelphia, led to the recording of “Dinner With Drac” in 1958. He moved to New York’s WABC in ’59, became known as Zacherley and his show was renamed Zacherley At Large. He later hosted the Newark teenage dance show Disc-O-Teen, and was a DJ on WNEW and then WPLJ, where he stayed for ten years.

Considered by many to be the greatest TV horror host of all-time, Zacherele has spent the last several decades appearing on TV, radio, and film and making personal appearances at conventions and special events.

His horror-themed novelty records have remained perennial Halloween favorites, and you will surely hear them played on WFMU and elsewhere over the course of the next week. So, instead of posting those, I’ve decided to share the REAL DEAL, actual episodes of Shock Theater and Zacherley at Large as they were originally broadcast in the late 1950s. What we have here are three classic poverty row horrors: two Bela Lugosi features – The Devil Bat and Bowery At Midnight, and Rondo Hatton as The Creeper in The Brute Man. This is how original Monster Kids in the Northeast first saw these movies, and I’d recommend taking them all in for a great Halloween triple feature this weekend, just make sure you raise a glass of blood in honor of the Cool Ghoul himself before you’re done.  He gave his all!


annex-adams-julie-creature-from-the-black-lagoon_01Now, I’m totally enjoying SYFY channel that  really rocks October. My current favorites are ZNation and the ubercreepy Channel Zero.  I think what I like best about this season of the year as we head towards Halloween, the election, and my birthday is that movie horror can be so obviously campy and fun that it gives you a sense of control over the real nightmarish fiends and ghouls.  Of course, this is a Donald Trump reference.  It had to be.   Horror movies spin yarn and tales but not quite the way Trump does.

Donald Trump actually said this on the campaign trail late yesterday:

“What a difference this is. Just thinking to myself right now, we should just cancel the election, and just give it to Trump, right? What are we even having it for?”

Whether or not Trump was joking, his supporters greeted that remark with lusty cheers. But here’s the thing: Even as Trump supporters continue to lap up his various suggestions that the only legitimate outcome of the election would be a Trump victory, the broader American public is completely rejecting the story he’s telling.

Indeed, there’s new evidence this morning that Trump’s ongoing effort to undermine faith in our democracy has been accompanied by a strengthening of confidence in it. And there’s also new evidence that majorities see Trump as fundamentally disrespectful of our democratic institutions.

The new Washington Post/ABC News tracking poll finds Hillary Clinton leading Trump by four points nationally. (There may be a tightening, but that would not be surprising; it probably represents Republicans who had been alienated by the awful headlines about his sex tape and allegations of unwanted advances coming back to him).

Now that’s a suggestion that really should strike terror in the souls of all peace and democracy-loving people.  

I’m glad our national nightmare will soon be over but we should take nothing for granted.  First Lady Michelle Obama gave another inspirational and wonderful speech yesterday along side Secretary Hillary Clinton.  All of her words were wonderful but I really want folks to take this message to heart.

Because here’s where I want to get real. If Hillary doesn’t win this election, that will be on us. It will be because we did not stand with her. It will be because we did not vote for her, and that is exactly what her opponent is hoping will happen. That’s the strategy, to make this election so dirty and ugly that we don’t want any part of it.

So when you hear folks talking about a global conspiracy, and saying that this election is rigged, understand that they are trying to get you to stay home. They are trying to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter, that the outcome has already been determined, and you shouldn’t even bother making your voice heard.

They are trying to take away your hope. And just for the record, in this country, the United States of America, the voters decide our elections, they’ve always decided, voters decided who wins and who loses, period, end of story.


And right now, thankfully folks are coming out in droves to vote early. It’s amazing to see. We are making our voices heard all across the country. Because when they go low…

AUDIENCE: We go high!

OBAMA: And we know that every vote matters. Every single vote. And if you have any doubt about that, consider this. Back in 2008, and I say this everywhere I go, Barack won North Carolina by about 14,000 votes.


Which sounds like a lot, but when you break the number down, the difference between winning and losing this state was a little over two votes per precinct.

See, I want you all to take that in. I know that there are people here who didn’t vote. Two votes. And people knew people who didn’t vote. Two votes. If just two or three folks per precinct had gone the other way, Barack would have lost that state and could have lost the election.

And let’s not forget back in 2012, Barack did actually lose this state by about 17 votes per precinct. 17. That is how presidential elections go. They are decided on a razor’s edge.

So each of you could swing. In this stadium, just think about it. Each of you could swing an entire precinct and win this election for Hillary, just by getting yourselves, your friends and your family out to vote.


That’s me at St Louis #1 for a funeral a few months ago. See, I do actually live by some historically creepy cemeteries. We love and cherish them down here in Swampland.

The Season of Horror should end here in October except on my favorite TV days.  Let’s all get every one out to vote so we can look forward to a New Year and a New Day with Madam President.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

Thursday Reads: Polls, Polls, Polls!


Good Morning!!

In just 12 days, the election will be over and Hillary will be on the way to becoming our first woman POTUS. I can’t wait to vote for her! And yes, I’m convinced she will win. Very soon, that glass ceiling is going to shatter into a million pieces, and Donald Trump will be headed for more embarrassing failures with ruined brand.

Huffington Post Associate Polling Editor Janie Valencia: The Polls — All Of Them — Show Hillary Clinton Leading. Which means Donald Trump is losing.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is either slightly ahead or way ahead of Republican Donald Trump with just 13 days until Election Day, according to new polls released Wednesday.

An AP-GFK poll shows Clinton leading by an astonishing 14 points, 51 percent to Trump’s 37 percent, in a four-way race. In a two-way heat, Clinton’s lead narrows to 13 points.


A new Fox News poll finds Clinton ahead by a much smaller margin― just 3 points ahead in a four-way race, 44 percent to 41 percent. She also leads by 3 points head to head with Trump.

Other recent polls show Clinton with a lead ranging from 2 points to 12 points.

It’s best not to freak out just yet over which of Wednesday’s polls are right. Instead, consider the aggregate of recent polls for a more sober look at the race.

According to the HuffPost Pollster aggregate, Clinton is leading by about 7 points in the four-way race, 46.6 percent to 39 percent.

Here’s a new national poll, out this morning: Clinton nearly doubles lead over Trump in latest CNBC survey.

With only a dozen days to go before the election, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has ratcheted up her lead over Republican nominee Donald Trump to 9 points, according to the latest CNBC All-America Economic Survey, nearly doubling her advantage from the last poll.

After weeks and months of what many Republican strategists called verbal and strategic missteps by Trump, and despite potentially ruinous revelations from leaked Clinton campaign emails, the Democrat leads the Republican nominee by 46 percent to 37 percent among registered voters in a two-way race and by the same margin among likely voters. In June, Clinton led by just 5 points.

The CNBC survey of 804 Americans around the country, including all age and income groups, was conducted by Hart Research Associates on the Democratic side and Public Opinion Strategies on the Republican side. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 points, meaning Clinton’s lead could be as large as 16 points or as small as 2 points. It was conducted Oct. 21 to 24.

What about the big swing states?


Nate Cohn at the NYT: Hillary Clinton Leads by 7 Points in Pennsylvania Poll.

If Donald J. Trump has a path to the presidency with big gains among white working-class voters, it has to run through Pennsylvania — a disproportionately white, blue-collar state with few Hispanic voters.

But a New York Times Upshot/Siena College poll released Thursday indicates that Pennsylvania remains out of reach for Mr. Trump.

Hillary Clinton leads him by seven percentage points, 46 percent to 39 percent, in a four-way race. And in a contest that could decide control of the Senate, the Republican senator Pat Toomey trails the Democratic challenger Katie McGinty by three points….

Mr. Trump’s message does seem to be playing well among the white working-class voters that Republicans have coveted for a decade. Over all, he leads among white voters without a college degree by a 17-point margin, 51 percent to 34 percent.

It’s better than Mitt Romney’s 12-point victory with that group in the state in 2012, according to Upshot estimates. Mr. Trump appears to be especially strong in northeastern Pennsylvania, including the Scranton and Wilkes-Barre area, where Mr. Trump leads by 16 points. Mr. Romney won the region by four points in 2012.

But these gains would not be sufficient for Mr. Trump to win the state, even if he matched Mr. Romney’s standing among other voters — something he is not pulling off.

Mr. Trump has the support of just 76 percent of Republican voters and trails among white voters with a college degree by nine points, 47 percent to 38 percent. He has nearly no support among black and other nonwhite voters.

Yesterday Bloomberg released a poll that showed Trump leading by 2 points in Florida, but that poll also showed Clinton getting only 51 percent of the Hispanic vote. I find that hard to believe and so does Latino Decisions.

Four other recent polls showed Clinton winning Florida, and a new one came out this morning: UNF Poll: Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump in Florida.

Hillary Clinton is edging Donald Trump among Florida likely voters, according to a University of North Florida poll released Thursday, more good news for the former Secretary of State as Democrats are also cheering strong early-voting numbers across one of the nation’s most important swing states.

The poll of 836 likely voters, however, gives one down-ballot Republican good news of his own: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio leads U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy by a 6-point margin.

Clinton leads Trump by four points — 43 percent to 39 percent — which is just outside the poll’s 3.39 percent margin of error. Third party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein garnered 6 percent and 3 percent support respectively….

“(I)n this election Democrats are outperforming their historical norms in absentee and early voting. If this trend continues through Election Day, Clinton could expand this margin and easily win Florida,” said Michael Binder, a UNF political science professor and director of the school’s Public Opinion Research Lab, which conducted the poll.

The survey was conducted Oct. 20-25.


Hillary is going to win Pennsylvania and I think she will win Florida because of the Latino vote. Mainstream pollsters just don’t seem to understand how to poll Latinos. Here’s an interesting article on Latino voters at NBC News:

With early voting already underway in key battleground states, outreach and education organizations focused on the Latino community are responding to surveys of early voters with a mix of cautious optimism and concern over the disproportionate turnout numbers between states.

The National Association of Elected and Appointed Officials and conducted by the polling firm Latino Decisions conclude in a report that, “Latino voter contact rates in California, New York and Texas [are] much lower than in battleground states of Arizona, Florida, Nevada and North Carolina.”

With competitive states ripe for picking in a tumultuous Republican campaign headed by Donald Trump, Democrats and the Clinton camp appear to be focused on putting pressure on the GOP in Latino-heavy states that have the greatest potential for electoral gains.

The Clinton campaign sent Bernie Sanders, Chelsea Clinton, and Michelle Obama to Arizona last week. Among their hopes were to mobilize the young Latino population.

Heavy investment in battleground states appears to be paying off in votes in Nevada, North Carolina, Arizona, and Florida.

With the Democratic Party practically conceding the election in Texas, state party officials continue to struggle with Latino turnout throughout the Lone Star State. The report finds that 70 percent of Latinos in Texas have yet to be contacted with just two weeks to go before Election Day.

I hope the Clinton campaign is paying attention. Check out this Texas poll: UT/TT Poll: In Texas, Trump holding narrow lead over Clinton.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump held a three-percentage-point lead over Democrat Hillary Clinton on the eve of early voting in Texas, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, had the support of 45 percent of likely Texas voters, compared with 42 percent for Clinton and Tim Kaine; 7 percent for Libertarian Gary Johnson and William Weld; and 2 percent for the Green Party’s Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka. The remaining 5 percent said they would vote for someone else for president and vice president.

“This is the trend that we’ve been seeing in polling for the last two weeks,” said Jim Henson, co-director of the UT/TT Poll and head of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin.

In spite of the closeness of the race and the margin of error, the number of polls showing similar distance between the candidates, with Trump in front, “is probably a telling us where this race really stands,” Henson said. Close, with a Trump lead, in other words.

The survey was in the field from Oct. 14 to Oct. 23; early voting in Texas began Oct. 24.


CNN: Can Hillary Clinton win Texas? (Yes, Texas). She probably could, but I suppose it was smarter to focus her resources on other states she is more likely to win, like Colorado, Nevada, Florida, and even Arizona.

“I think this is the year Texas could have gone blue,” said Matt Angle, director of the Lone Star Project, a political action committee aligned with Democrats. “But you don’t win a state like Texas unless there’s a real, aggressive and engaged campaign to win it.”

Still, many here believe Clinton could draw a greater share of the vote than even Obama did in 2008, when he won nearly 44% of the vote to Republican nominee John McCain’s 55.5%.
Looking to appear on offense, the Clinton campaign placed a six-figure ad buy in Texas this month highlighting the endorsement of her campaign by the Dallas Morning News — the first time the paper backed a Democrat since 1940. But the low-dollar investment in an exorbitantly expensive state was largely a symbolic gesture.
A strong Clinton showing on Nov. 8 “could reinforce the argument that Texas doesn’t have to wait for demographics,” Angle said. “One of the biggest myths about Texas is that Democrats always get stomped on here.” The reality, he said, “is just that we seldom have the resources to compete statewide.”

But what if pollsters are overlooking Latino votes?

If Texas doesn’t turn blue this year, maybe it will in 2020.

So . . . I thought I’d focus on the good polling news for Hillary in this post. I’ll add a few more links in the comment thread and I hope you will too!


Wednesday Reads: Are we there yet?


Hey ho, just a couple of more weeks to go…

and now that the swinging dicks of DC have come to the conclusion that their rapey tangerine-tinted fascist is getting his bigly answer coming Nov. 8th…”WRONG” (Tradmark, haha)… it seems they are focusing their eye of Shitfire, I mean Sauron, on Hillary.

A few days ago, this came out of John McCain’s mouth:

An issue that has been mostly absent from this year’s Senate campaigns — the fate of the Supreme Court — suddenly erupted Monday after Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., indicated during a talk-radio appearance that Republicans would move to block any high court nominee made by a President Hillary Clinton should the Democratic nominee win.

McCain made his remarks on WPHT-AM radio in Philadelphia, during an interview in support for fellow Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa.: “I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up,” he said. “I promise you. This is where we need the majority, and Pat Toomey is probably as articulate and effective on the floor of the Senate as anyone I have encountered.”

img_1032Of course, he backed down later in the day…John McCain backs off promise Republicans would block Clinton Supreme Court nominees – Chicago Tribune

The remark immediately raised hackles of Democrats, who have complained about GOP treatment of President Obama‘s judicial nominees — most prominently, Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, whose nomination has sat in limbo for more than six months after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., resolved to save the pending vacancy for the next president.

McCain’s comments raised the prospect that the vacancy could extend much longer than that, particularly if Republicans maintain their control of the Senate. Even if Democrats win the majority, they would still need a handful of GOP votes to confirm any Supreme Court nominee — current Senate rules require 60 senators to close debate and move to an up-or-down vote.

If Republicans were in fact “united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton . . . would put up,” that could mean the Supreme Court would remain an eight-member body indefinitely — and perhaps force a change to Senate rules allowing for simple-majority confirmation of Supreme Court nominees.

McCain’s office issued a statement Monday afternoon backing off his pledge of blanket opposition.

“Senator McCain believes you can only judge people by their record and Hillary Clinton has a clear record of supporting liberal judicial nominees,” spokeswoman Rachel Dean said. “That being said, Senator McCain will, of course, thoroughly examine the record of any Supreme Court nominee put before the Senate and vote for or against that individual based on their qualifications as he has done throughout his career.”

Y’all must keep in mind this swinging dick is facing some competition in his current run for the senate.

But this notion that the senate will block yet another president from nominating (yeah…not appointing ya Trump bastard) is something that makes me sick…in a pissy sort of way.

I mean like come on…

Wasn’t it enough that the GOP handed Trump his golden ticket as nominee of their fucking fucked up party?

If that wasn’t a pure example of the dysfunctional party’s complete lack of credibility, this latest Freudian slip is just the tip of what could become another political bed of impotent alpha males banging their chest while the people don’t get served.

img_1028Take a look at these words from Evan Culbertson, over at Paste Magazine: John McCain’s Supreme Court Obstructionism is Tantamount to Treason ::: Paste

It was less than two hours after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death was reported in February that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell began his crusade to prevent the appointment of his replacement on the Supreme Court. From the outset, McConnell’s insistence was that the next president—by the will of the American people—would have the privilege of selecting a new ninth Justice. This outstanding vacancy, as well as the potential for several other vacancies to open up over the next few years, has become a major issue in the presidential election. Meanwhile, President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, has languished in limbo awaiting a confirmation hearing.

This stall tactic was offensive enough, but all of the Senate Republicans’ bluster may have spun into something much more sinister. Last Monday, Senator John McCain made a bold and injurious claim: that the GOP “will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up.” In other words, McCain, McConnell, and Co. have changed their tune—President Obama’s “lame duck” nomination isn’t the problem at all; instead, they refuse to allow any nominee from a Democrat that will, as McCain put it, “change this country for decades.” And with most polls pointing to a likely Clinton presidency, Republicans appear to be scrambling to salvage any party unity they can from the scorched earth Donald Trump is leaving in his wake.


…McCain’s promise that Republicans would indefinitely blockade any SCOTUS nominations made by a President Clinton isn’t just irritating, it’s downright dangerous. If only Republicanpresidents get to select Supreme Court justices, then the implication here, of course, is that a Democratic president is not a legitimate president. And if you’re disquieted by that last sentence, you should be: It challenges the very fundamentals of our democracy.


The fact that McCain (a well-respected 30-year Senator who has formally unendorsed Trump for his behavior) is trying to undermine the authority of the President is far more terrifying. If we take McCain at his word, then the GOP’s new strategy appears to be dismantling the government from the inside out. Much has been made of the Senate’s refusal to hold hearings for Merrick Garland over the past seven months, but now, they’re actively refusing to do their jobs for another four-to-eight years.

As you could probably imagine, this is unprecedented: the longest vacancy in Supreme Court history came during the Tyler and Polk presidencies and lasted 841 days (or a little over two years, from April 1844 to August 1846). The longest in modern history was during the Nixon administration, and lasted “only” 391 days before Harry Blackmun was sworn in. McCain has now promised to leave the seat vacant for at least five years, and possibly longer, depending on the outcome of the 2020 election.

To be perfectly frank about it, this threat is tantamount to treason—Congressional Republicans are refusing to recognize the legitimacy of a democratically-elected President and crippling the effectiveness of the Judicial branch in the bargain. Imagine what could happen if, as many anticipate, two or three additional Justices retire in the next four-to-eight years. There seems to be no valid reason for Republicans to continuously refuse legitimate appointments made by a President Clinton, other than a purely selfish attempt to hold onto some semblance of power. Looking ahead in this scenario, if the Republicans do manage to win the Presidency in 2020 or later… why wouldn’t Democrats return the favor? It’s not that difficult to imagine the left retaliating with similar pettiness, leaving our country in perpetual constitutional crisis. Even if the scenario doesn’t end up being so grave, this effort will only serve to neuter the Supreme Court and diminish its authority, throwing our already-delicate legislative balance of powers into complete disarray.

img_1029All of this doomsday prophesying aside, the fact is that Congress has a constitutional obligation to maintain the Supreme Court, whether they like it or not. If Senate Republicans refuse to do the jobs for which they were elected, then not only are they stalling our nation’s progress—they’re delegitimizing the very Constitution that they’re sworn to uphold.

I can tell you, obstructionism from the GOP is treason in my opinion. That goes back to Grover Norquist (Remember that fuckwad?)… and further still to the meeting the GOP members had while Obama was being sworn in.

Well, fuck them. Those Fuckers!

Yeah, this is a fucking open thread…post whatever the fuck you want!


Tuesday Reads: RIP Bobby Vee and Tom Hayden


Bobby Vee

Bobby Vee

Good Afternoon!!

Two notable deaths hit home for me yesterday. One was 1960s activist Tom Hayden, and the other was one of my teen idols, singer Bobby Vee. I’ll start with him.

RIP Bobby Vee

I was in 6th grade on February 3, 1959, when three pop stars, Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and JP “The Big Bopper” Richardson died along with their pilot Roger Peterson in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa. They were on their way to a concert in Moorhead, Minnesota.

Holly’s band members Waylon Jennings, Tommy Alsup, and Carl Bunch, stayed behind with their broken-down tour bus. The Big Bopper had the flu, so Jennings gave up his seat, and Richie Valens won a coin toss to get his. Years later, that tragic day became known as “the day the music died.” after the Don McLean song.

Moorhead is just across the river from Fargo, North Dakota, my birthplace. Bobby Veline (later Bobby Vee) was a 15-year-old rhythm guitar player from Fargo who had recently joined a garage band. The awful crash led to Veline’s big break. The call went out for local bands to fill in for the lost stars. From The Fargo Forum: How ‘The Day the Music Died’ launched Fargoan Bobby Vee into music stardom.

Fifteen-year-old Fargoan Bobby Vee and his new band The Shadows stepped up to fill the bill at the Moorhead Armory show. With that, the singer/guitarist took his first step into rock history….

Robert Thomas Velline was born April 30, 1943, to Sydney and Saima Velline of Fargo. Raised in a musical household, young Bobby followed suit and started playing saxophone at Central High School.

“I wanted to rock out. We were playing all the standard band pieces, but I wanted to play ‘Yakety Yak,'” Vee recalled on his website biography….

The shadows

The Shadows

When his older brother, guitarist Bill Velline, started playing with bassist Jim Stillman and drummer Bob Korum, Bobby begged to join, but they thought he was too young. He won them over with a velvety smooth voice. The group hadn’t played together much and didn’t have a name until just before taking the stage at the Moorhead Armory that fateful night.

“I remember being petrified when the curtains opened,” Vee told The Forum 19 years later. “I was blinded by the spotlight and just numb all over.”

The nerves didn’t last. That June he and The Shadows recorded “Suzie Baby” and the song was on the radio later that summer. Hits like “Devil or Angel” and “Rubber Ball” kept coming. In 1961 he would release his only No. 1 song, “Take Good Care of My Baby,” written by Carole King and Gerry Coffin. The follow-up, “Run to Him,” peaked at No. 2 and in 1962 he would reach No. 3 with “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes.”

Velline’s band didn’t even have a name when they went on stage. The emcee asked him for a name, and he looked at his bandmates and saw their shadows in the spotlight; so he told the emcee their name was “The Shadows.” Afterward, an agent gave Velline his card and the rest was history.

When Bobby Vee’s hit song “Take Good Care of My Baby” (written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin) came out in July 1961. I bought the 45 rpm record and played it over an over again. When I found out that the singer came from Fargo, I became his number 1 fan. I bought all his albums for the next couple of years before I moved on to more sophisticated rock music.

In this Dec. 18, 2013 file photo, Bobby Vee poses at the studio console at his family's Rockhouse Productions in St. Joseph, Minn. (AP Photo/Jeff Baenen, File)

In this Dec. 18, 2013 file photo, Bobby Vee poses at the studio console at his family’s Rockhouse Productions in St. Joseph, Minn. (AP Photo/Jeff Baenen, File)

One thing I never knew until yesterday was the connection between Bobby Vee and Bob Dylan (then Bob Zimmerman). Dylan grew up in Duluth, Minnesota–not that far from Fargo, and Dylan’s first paying gig was as a member of The Shadows.

Despite the sad circumstances, the Shadows’ gig was considered a success, with Vee calling the Moorhead show “the start of a wonderful career.”

Vee and the Shadows soon recorded a regional hit with “Suzie Baby,” which resulted in Vee signing a record deal with Liberty Records. Minnesota native Bob Dylan, who called Vee in 2013 “the most meaningful person I’ve ever been onstage with,” would later cover “Suzie Baby” in concert [Vee was in the audience].

Dylan, who played in the Shadows with Vee in 1959, also praised the singer in his Chronicles, Volume One. Vee “had a metallic, edgy tone to his voice and it was as musical as a silver bell,” Dylan wrote. “I’d always thought of him as a brother.” Dylan briefly joined Vee’s backing band as a pianist after Vee’s brother brought Dylan, who called himself “Elston Gunnn,” in for an audition. “He was a funny little wiry kind of guy and he rocked pretty good,” Vee said.

More about Vee and Dylan’s connection from

Dylan and Vee both “escaped” the Midwest, as Dylan wrote in Chronicles. Vee was born in Fargo, North Dakota, and Dylan was born in Duluth, Minnesota. Vee was still playing in the region when his backing group, The Shadows, thought they needed a pianist. Dylan met Vee in a record store in Fargo and heard they wanted a piano player. He introduced himself as Elston Gunnn (with three n’s).

According to Expecting Rain, Vee told Goldmine in 1999 that Dylan claimed he just came off the road with Conway Twitty. They were impressed, but later learned that he could only play in the key of C. They hired him for $15 a night, but the job didn’t last long. As Vee explained:

It was ill-fated. I mean, it wasn’t gonna work. He didn’t have any money, and we didn’t have any money. The story is that I fired him, but that certainly wasn’t the case. If we could have put it together somehow, we sure would have. We wished we could have put it together. He left and went on to Minneapolis and enrolled at the University of Minnesota.

Years later, Vee and Dylan met in Greenwich Village.

Dylan was now a folk singer and Vee was a pop star. According to Vee, they met again in a record store.

“I was walking down the street. There was a record store there, and there was an album in the front window. And it said, ‘Bob Dylan.’ And I thought to myself, ‘Looks a lot like Elston Gunnn,’” Vee recalled.

In Chronicles, Dylan sounds like he regretted seeing Vee go from rockabily singer to pop star. He wrote that “Take Good Care of My Baby” was “as slick as ever.” Dylan wrote:

He’d become a crowd pleaser in the pop world. As for myself, I had nothing against pop songs, but the definition of pop was changing.

Bobby Vee and Bob Dylan in 2013

Bobby Vee and Bob Dylan in 2013

Despite their different career paths after that one meeting in Greenwich Village, Dylan said he still thought of Vee as a brother since they came from the same part of the country.

“I wouldn’t see Bobby Vee again for another thirty years, and though things would be a lot different, I’d always thought of his as a brother,” Dylan wrote in Chronicles. “Every time I’d see his name somewhere, it was like he was in the room.”

Isn’t that great story? Vee died after a five-year struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. The Associated Press: 

Vee was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011, and performed his last show that year.

Vee had been in memory care at The Wellstead of Rogers & Diamondcrest in Rogers, about 25 miles northwest of Minneapolis, for the past 13 months and in hospice care in recent weeks, his son said.

Vee died peacefully surrounded by family, Velline said, calling it “the end of a long hard road.”
He said his father was “a person who brought joy all over the world. That was his job.”

RIP Tom Hayden

Tom Hayden led an amazing life. The New York Times obituary: Tom Hayden, Civil Rights and Antiwar Activist Turned Lawmaker, Dies at 76.

Tom Hayden, who burst out of the 1960s counterculture as a radical leader of America’s civil ri(ghts and antiwar movements, but rocked the boat more gently later in life with a progressive political agenda as an author and California state legislator, died on Sunday in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 76….

During the racial unrest and antiwar protests of the 1960s and early ’70s, Mr. Hayden was one of the nation’s most visible radicals. He was a founder of Students for a Democratic Society, a defendant in the Chicago Seven trial after riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, and a peace activist who married Jane Fonda, went to Hanoi and escorted American prisoners of war home from Vietnam.

Tom Hayden

Tom Hayden

As a civil rights worker, he was beaten in Mississippi and jailed in Georgia. In his cell he began writing what became the Port Huron Statement, the political manifesto of S.D.S. and the New Left that envisioned an alliance of college students in a peaceful crusade to overcome what it called repressive government, corporate greed and racism. Its aim was to create a multiracial, egalitarian society.

Like his allies the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who were assassinated in 1968, Mr. Hayden opposed violent protests but backed militant demonstrations, like the occupation of Columbia University campus buildings by students and the burning of draft cards. He also helped plan protests that, as it happened, turned into clashes with the Chicago police outside the Democratic convention.

Read the rest at the NYT link.

Tom Hayden, beaten by white segregationists in McComb, MS, October 1961

Tom Hayden, beaten by white segregationists in McComb, MS, October 1961

After the 1968 protests, Hayden stood trial in Federal court as one of the Chicago 7, along with Bobby Seale, Abby Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Rennie Davis, Dave Dellinger, John Froines, and Lee Weiner, accused of conspiracy, inciting to riot and other charges. The Chicago Tribune:

With Rennie Davis, Abbie Hoffman and other radical leaders, Hayden went on to plot the massive antiwar demonstrations that turned Chicago’s streets into a battleground for five days in August 1968.

“Let us make sure that if our blood flows, it flows all over the city,” he told throngs of young protesters in the city’s Grant Park on the day Vice President Hubert Humphrey became the Democratic presidential nominee.

Confronted by Democratic Mayor Richard J. Daley’s 12,000 Chicago police in addition to 6,000 Army troops and 5,000 National Guardsmen, Hayden exhorted the demonstrators to “turn this overheated military machine against itself.”

After arrests and injuries ran well into the hundreds, Hayden and seven others were charged with conspiracy to incite violence. The Chicago Eight, as they were initially known, became the Chicago Seven when Black Panther leader Bobby Seale was separated from the case. Hayden was found guilty but the conviction was overturned in 1972 by an appeals court, which cited improper rulings by an antagonistic trial judge.

Hayden went on to become a traditional politician, serving as a California legislator. The LA times:  ‘The radical inside the system’: Tom Hayden, protester-turned-politician, dies at 76.

Hayden later married actress Jane Fonda, and the celebrity couple traveled the nation denouncing the war before forming a California political organization that backed scores of liberal candidates and ballot measures in the 1970s and ’80s, most notably Proposition 65, the anti-toxics measure that requires signs in gas stations, bars and grocery stores that warn of cancer-causing chemicals.

Hayden lost campaigns for U.S. Senate, governor of California and mayor of Los Angeles. But he was elected to the California Assembly in 1982. He served a total of 18 years in the Assembly and state Senate.

During his tenure in the Legislature, representing the liberal Westside, Hayden relished being a thorn in the side of the powerful, including fellow Democrats he saw as too pliant to donors.

“He was the radical inside the system,” said Duane Peterson, a top Hayden advisor in Sacramento.

Defendants in the Chicago Seven conspiracy trial hold a news conference in Chicago on Jan. 5, 1970. Standing are, from left, John Froines, Tom Hayden, Jerry Rubin, Lee Weiner and Abbie Hoffman. Seated are Rennie Davis, center, and David Dellinger. (Chicago Tribune)

Defendants in the Chicago Seven conspiracy trial hold a news conference in Chicago on Jan. 5, 1970. Standing are, from left, John Froines, Tom Hayden, Jerry Rubin, Lee Weiner and Abbie Hoffman. Seated are Rennie Davis, center, and David Dellinger. (Chicago Tribune)

In April of this year, Hayden endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in a piece at The Nation: I Used to Support Bernie, but Then I Changed My Mind. Here’s what he had to say about Hillary:

Hillary is, well, Hillary. I remember seeing her on Yale’s green in 1969, wearing a black armband for peace while a kind of Armageddon shaped up during the Panther 21 trial and Cambodia invasion. Even then, she stood for working within the system rather than taking to the barricades. Similarly, in Chicago 1968, she observed the confrontations at a distance. If she had some sort of revolution in mind, it was evolutionary, step-by-step. In her earlier Wellesley commencement speech, she stated that the “prevailing, acquisitive, and competitive corporate life is not the way of life for us. We’re searching for more immediate, ecstatic, and penetrating modes of living.” But from there it was a determined decades-long uphill climb through those same institutions that had disenchanted the young Hillary.

There are two Hillary Clintons. First, the early feminist, champion of children’s rights, and chair of the Children’s Defense Fund; and second, the Hillary who has grown more hawkish and prone to seeking “win-win” solutions with corporate America. When she seems to tack back towards her roots, it is usually in response to Bernie and new social movements. She hasn’t changed as much as the Democratic Party has, responding to new and resurgent movements demanding Wall Street reform, police and prison reform, immigrant rights and a $15-an-hour minimum wage, fair trade, action on climate change, LGBT rights, and more.

Hayden had grown more supportive of Hillary’s “evolutionary, step by step” approach and was concerned about Bernie’s all-or-nothing policies as well as his ability to deal with an all-out assault from the GOP and the media. In the end though, it came down to race.

I intend to vote for Hillary Clinton in the California primary for one fundamental reason. It has to do with race. My life since 1960 has been committed to the causes of African Americans, the Chicano movement, the labor movement, and freedom struggles in Vietnam, Cuba and Latin America. In the environmental movement I start from the premise of environmental justice for the poor and communities of color. My wife is a descendant of the Oglala Sioux, and my whole family is inter-racial.

What would cause me to turn my back on all those people who have shaped who I am? That would be a transgression on my personal code. I have been on too many freedom rides, too many marches, too many jail cells, and far too many gravesites to breach that trust. And I have been so tied to the women’s movement that I cannot imagine scoffing at the chance to vote for a woman president. When I understood that the overwhelming consensus from those communities was for Hillary—for instance the Congressional Black Caucus and Sacramento’s Latino caucus—that was the decisive factor for me. I am gratified with Bernie’s increasing support from these communities of color, though it has appeared to be too little and too late. Bernie’s campaign has had all the money in the world to invest in inner city organizing, starting 18 months ago. He chose to invest resources instead in white-majority regions at the expense of the Deep South and urban North.

I know there is much more news out there, and I hope I haven’t bored you by writing about two symbols of the greatest passions of my youth–Rock ‘n’ Roll and Politics. I’ll leave it to you to post more links on any topic in the comment thread below.

Monday Reads

Good Afternoon!

hillary-clinton1I’m still a little tired and overwrought from the wedding stuff this weekend so you’ll have to excuse me if this is a little terse. I have to say that I’m getting really excited about casting my ballot and watching a lot of my friends take their pussies and bad hombres to the polls!  We all expect her to win.  The polls really are showing that Hillary Clinton has pulled way ahead  and many states are in play that really shouldn’t be.  Texas is now a toss-up! It’s also early voting starting today!! 

Actually, you can watch Hillary and Elizabeth Warren live this afternoon from New Hampshire!  That’s pretty exciting! Clinton’s concentrating on bringing the House and Senate along with her. They’re helping US Senate Candidate Maggie Hassan who is the current Governor.  What a stage full of impressive women!!!

S0 just like the eight years of the black man who really wasn’t “legitimate” in the eyes of many Republicans, will the white woman be seen as being an illegitimate president?  They can’t question her birthright and won’t since the issue is not her race.  But, what both Sanders and Trump have said is that she is essentially dishonest and has found some kind of miracle way to rig and steal elections.

My fellow Louisianan Charles M Blow really digs right into this and hits all the right points. Blow begins by talking about how Sanders basically framed his loss as a result of a crooked system that Hillary played. Trump has a much more massive conspiracy theory of rigged national elections. Both men would rather believe in imaginary voters, captured superdelegates, and computer bugs than admit they lost to a girl fair and square.

An NBC/SurveyMonkey poll released Friday found that 45 percent of Republicans definitely wouldn’t or were unlikely to accept the result of the election if their candidate lost, compared to 30 percent of Independents and 16 percent of Democrats who felt the same.

At this point, it’s not even clear if Trump would graciously concede if he lost. Indeed, grace may be beyond his grasp.

And while there are signs that Clinton is narrowing the enthusiasm gap with Trump, my sense is that Clinton’s current success is as much a repudiation of Trump’s abhorrence as it is an embrace of Clinton. It feels to me more like exhaustion than exhilaration.

We could be on the verge of something historic. So, why does it feel so much like acquiescence? Why aren’t more people rushing to the polls to vote for this immensely qualified woman rather than rushing to vote against this woefully unqualified man? One of the reasons is that her male opponents have successfully cast the race she may win as rigged.

I think it’s fair to say our electoral processes aren’t perfect. But they’ve never been. Nor has any candidate been perfect. So why must those imperfections be nullifying at the very moment that a woman is on the verge of victory? Clinton is a woman beating men at their own game. Deal with it.

Just this morning, Trump repeated his claims that the polls are phony.earlyvote03-ne-110114-rtw

Donald Trump is saying “the truth is that we’re winning” – and claims that “phony polls” are trying to suppress the vote.

Trump spoke Monday at a farmers’ roundtable in Florida. He insisted that his campaign is ahead, even though most polls show him trailing Hillary Clinton.

He told the crowd gathered next to a pumpkin patch in Boynton beach: “I believe we’re winning.”

He then, without evidence, blamed that several “mainstream” media polls for weighing their respondents with Democrats.

He also told reporters that he felt “very good” about his chances in Florida, a state that is essential for his White House hopes.

This followed a CBS4 Florida interview where he railed about rigged elections and how the press has too much freedom of speech.  Trump actually suggested that the First Amendment allowed “too much freedom of speech”.  Welcome to the latest bits of authoritarianism displayed by this ugly, stupid, little man.

If Donald Trump is president, he’d like to make some changes to the First Amendment.

In an interview with WFOR, CBS’ Miami affiliate, Trump was asked if he believes the First Amendment provides “too much protection.”

Trump answered in the affirmative, saying he’d like to change the laws to make it easier to sue media companies. Trump lamented that, under current law, “our press is allowed to say whatever they want.”

He recommended moving to a system like in England where someone who sues a media company has “a good chance of winning.”

If Donald Trump is president, he’d like to make some changes to the First Amendment.

Trump has recently threatened to sue the New York Times and the numerous women who say he has sexually assaulted them.

Trump is right that he would have a better chance of prevailing under English law where an allegedly defamatory statement is presumed to be false. There, it is up to the defendant in a libel suit to prove that their statements are true.

But even if U.S. law were more like England’s, Trump might still have difficulty in prevailing against his accusers or the New York Times.

Many of Trump’s accusers have witnesses who can corroborate their stories. The reporter for People Magazine who says she was assaulted by Trump, for example, has six different people supporting her version of events.

English defamation law was also amended in 2013 to add a “public interest” exemption. This change would potentially allow the New York Times to escape liability in England even if they were unable to definitely prove the truth of their reporting.

He continues to confuse the USA with his personal little dictatorship driven personal corporations which frequently fail.  While we can’t get his taxes released that show the extent of his failures and reliance on his father and the government, we have Wikileaks out there pilfering whatever they can from wherever they can to try to hurt Hillary and promote the Russian Agenda.  The New Yorker has gone over the transcripts of Clinton’s speeches and found one big nothingburger.early_voting_ohio_2012_ap_img_1_0

So far, the documents have contained a few embarrassing revelations for Clinton—but they’ve been mild ones. Certain e-mails have confirmed that her campaign has been carefully scripted, to the point where numerous aides weigh in on something as mundane as the text of a tweet. The speech extracts, collected in an internal campaign document, showed Clinton courting senior figures from Wall Street, sympathizing with them for the blame they shouldered after the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, and telling them she valued their counsel on policy issues. In one speech, she acknowledged that, given her life style, she was “far removed” from the concerns of middle-class Americans. In another speech, she made a case for the political necessity of adopting different positions in public and private.

But did any of this surprise anybody? The stage-managed nature of Clinton’s campaign has been obvious all along: this is a candidate who went almost nine months without holding a proper press conference. The perception that Clinton had cozied up to bankers in return for large speaking fees was one reason so many Democrats voted for Bernie Sanders in the primaries. The wealth that Clinton and her husband have amassed since he left office in 2000 was hardly a secret. And, from welfare reform to same-sex marriage to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Clinton’s willingness to tack with the wind on policy issues has been a recurring feature of her career.

The real value of the WikiLeaks documents is one the hackers may not have intended. The documents, particularly the speech extracts, portray Clinton as she is: a hard-headed centrist who believes that electoral politics inevitably involve making compromises, dealing with powerful interest groups, and, where necessary, amending unpopular policy positions. Addressing a General Electric Global Leadership Meeting in January, 2014, she said, “I mean, politics is like sausage being made. It is unsavory, and it always has been that way, but we usually end up where we need to be.” Answering a question in March, 2014, at an event organized by Xerox, she said that the country needs two “sensible, moderate, pragmatic parties.” These sentiments won’t win over many Sanders supporters. But they might actually reassure moderate Democrats, independents, and even some Trump-loathing Republicans who are thinking about crossing party lines.

For some reason, we’re all supposed to be shocked about this and wax poetic about Bernie or buy the Trumpertantrums.  I’m doing neither.  I’m taking this pussy to the poll.  I’m voting for Hillary Clinton and I’m telling any one who believes conspiracy theories about massive election riggings they should get a life.  Also, they should stop the comparisons to Bush v. Gore because that was heart-stoppingly close. Both the Obama elections and the upcoming Clinton election were and are anything but close.  Get over it boys!  They black man and the girl beat you fair and square!  You’re days starting every activity in life on third base are coming to a close.  Try to get to first base with the rest of us.

As Charles M. Blow says, “DEAL WITH IT”!

What’s on you reading and blogging list today?

Sunday Reads: Cracker Barrel Election

Good Afternoon



Oh yes, late again.

Well, last night Alec Baldwin gave another portrayal of Trump.  ‘Settle down, entire planet’: Tom Hanks kills it as Chris Wallace in SNL’s 3rd Trump/Clinton debate




On the serious note:

It only seems natural that we should feature this article after Hilary’s impassioned debate answer on abortion from earlier this week….Police launch inquiry into death of woman ‘refused’ an abortion by Sicilian doctors | World news | The Guardian

Italian police are investigating a dozen doctors at a Sicilian hospital after the family of a 32-year-old woman who died after a miscarriage claimed she was not given adequate medical attention. The family says that her doctor had professed moral objections to abortion.

The death of Valentina Milluzzo, who was five months pregnant with twins when she miscarried and fell ill, has reignited a debate across Italy about the high number of gynaecologists and obstetricians who refuse to provide abortions. As a result, women may not get the medical attention they require in emergency situations.

The investigation into the Cannizzaro obstetrics and gynaecology hospital in Catania on the east coast of Sicily was opened after the family of Milluzzo, who became pregnant through in-vitro fertilisation, said a doctor refused to intervene even though her life was at risk.

Milluzzo had been admitted to the hospital two weeks earlier, after going into premature labour. After the death of one of the foetuses, Milluzzo reportedly became very ill and her blood pressure dropped rapidly. Her family asked for the other foetus to be aborted but say her doctor refused. Milluzzo died within hours on 16 October of septic shock.

You can read more at the link. Warning, the discussion of how much pain this poor woman went through before she died is beyond anything you may want to read today.

Sticking with the theme of control over a woman. Here is something that should make your move from horrified anger to disgusted anger. Woman appeals ruling that 96 days in jail was constitutional – NY Daily News

A Mississippi woman who spent nearly 100 days in a county jail without an offer of bail or a lawyer is appealing a court’s decision that the lengthy incarceration was not an infringement on her civil rights.

Jessica Jauch was held in the Choctaw County jail for nearly three months on a drug warrant for allegedly selling $40 worth of Xanax to an informant.

Jauch was released from jail after finally obtaining legal representation and a secretly recorded video proved that she had been framed for the petty drug crime.

The 34-year-old mother sued the county jail and its sheriff, Cloyd Halford, charging that she was deprived of her constitutional rights to bail, legal representation, a speedy trial and liberty.

A federal judge dismissed the suit against the Choctaw County and Sheriff Halford, however, arguing that because Jauch had been indicted by a grand jury, she was not entitled to those rights.

Civil liberties advocates blasted the federal judge’s decision.

“At the end of the day, you’re an innocent person, being held in a jail, awaiting the opportunity to prove your innocence. The default position is release. And we’ve flipped it, we’ve turned it on its head.” said Cliff Johnson, an attorney with the MacArthur Justice Center who has sued Mississippi localities in similar cases.

More on this case here:

Jailed 96 days on bogus charge: It is no one’s fault? – The Washington Post

To put that into perspective, remember this story:

Father who ‘repeatedly raped his 12-year old daughter’ gets 60-day sentence. Fury erupts. – The Washington Post

As the judge in the Stanford rape case learned, along with the judge in the “affluenza” drunken driving case, the whole world is watching them. A crowd, an angry crowd, can form in a matter of days of people outraged by what they consider a lenient sentence for a heinous crime.

In the case of Judge John McKeon, as of early morning Wednesday, almost 20,000 people had signed a petition calling for his impeachment for the 60-day sentence he gave a Glasgow, Mont., man who pleaded guilty to repeatedly raping his prepubescent daughter.

“A father repeatedly raped his 12-year old daughter,” Valley County Attorney Dylan Jensen said during an Oct. 4 sentencing hearing.

“It’s time to start punishing the judges who let these monsters walk our streets,” read the petition.

Prosecutors had recommended a mandatory 25-year sentence, 100 years with 75 suspended, which is what state law calls for.

Instead, though, Judge McKeon handed down a far lighter sentence: a 30-year suspended prison sentence, which means the man will only serve it if he fails to meet the conditions of his probation.

Among those conditions, which McKeon called “quite rigorous,” was the requirement for the man to register as a sex offender, the Glasgow Courierreported. He also cannot access pornography and has limited access to the Internet.

In addition, the man will serve 60 days in jail, but McKeon gave him credit for the 17 days he already served, meaning he’ll only spend another 43 days in jail.

The Washington Post is not identifying the convicted man as it could expose the identity of his victim.

Montana Judge Faces Call For Impeachment After Incest Sentencing : The Two-Way : NPR

A state district judge in Montana is facing a call for his impeachment after sentencing a man who admitted to raping his 12-year-old daughter to 60 days in jail, of which he will serve 43.

A petition posted on the website calling for the impeachment of the Valley County, Mont., district court judge, John McKeon, has more than 55,000 signatures. The petition states, “Judge McKeon did not uphold the responsibility of ensuring justice as he is required to in his elected position.”

This is not the first time in Montana that outrage has followed a sentence for raping a child. Earlier this year, the state Supreme Courtleft intact a 10-year sentence for a man who raped a 14-year-old girl. He had originally been sentenced to just one month in prison by a different state judge.

According to the National Center for State Courts, to impeach a judge in Montana two-thirds of the state Legislature must vote for it, or the state’s judicial standards commission may recommend it to the state Supreme Court.

This article from NPR has more details on the sentencing requirements…so be sure to check it out for more “explanations.”

Then there was this, Trump says he’ll sue women who said he sexually assaulted them | Tampa Bay Times

Yet, even as Trump praised Abraham Lincoln for uniting the country, Trump laced his Gettysburg speech with familiar charges of a rigged election and corrupt media, and a new promise to sue 10 women who have accused him of sexual misconduct.

“All of these liars will be sued when the election is over,” Trump said to a small audience at the Eisenhower Hotel.

Trump’s aides previewed the speech as a policy address that would highlight his first 100 days in office. But almost all of the promises had been made before in other speeches and press releases.

Trump is really, a giant asshole.

Since this post is running late, I have a few other links to share.

We lost two actresses this week:

Kathryn Adams Dies; ‘Saboteur’ Actress Was 96 | Deadline

Actress Cecilia Hart, Wife Of James Earl Jones, Dies At 68 | Deadline

And, it appears…Researchers Discover Physical Source Of Depression : HEALTH : Tech Times

Researchers are making headway in understanding depression, allowing for the development of better treatments, especially now that the physical source of the condition has been found.

In a study published in the journal Brain, researchers from UK’s University of Warwick and China’s Fudan University showed which part of the brain is affected by depression, identifying the lateral orbitofrontal cortex. As this region is implicated in non-reward, activity within that part of the brain leads to a sense of disappointment and loss when a reward is not received.

The lateral orbitofrontal cortex is also connected to the brain region involved in one’s sense of self, so when that part of the brain is activated, it also has the potential to lead to thoughts of low self-esteem and personal loss.

Additionally, depression is associated with low connectivity between the brain’s reward area within the medial orbitofrontal cortex and its memory systems, which could help explain why those with the condition have a reduced ability to focus on happier memories.

More at the link too.

That is all I have for you. This is an open thread. Have a good evening.

Lazy Saturday Reads: The Constitution Protects Us From Trump


Good Morning!!

We’re living in a strange, chaotic world. As usual, I don’t know where to begin with all the craziness, so I’m going to open with the story of a wild car crash in Delaware County, Indiana, where I grew up. Two young guys were racing their souped up cars side by side on a country road near Albany, Indiana when they hit a railroad crossing and suddenly went airborne.

After landing 75 feet from the crossing, one of the cars — a four-door, 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix driven by 18-year-old Grant Christopher of Parker City — veered off the edge of the road, struck a mailbox, returned to the road and sideswiped the other car, a four-door, 2016 Chevrolet Malibu driven by Darrian Lee, 20, of Albany, according to police.

Both cars then skidded into the yard of a residence, one smashing a wooden-barrel flower container, the other knocking over a tree. The cars then skidded into another residential yard, where Christopher struck a parked pickup truck, after which his vehicle and the pickup truck tore down a fence, police say.

Meanwhile, Lee’s vehicle struck a horse trailer parked in a yard, damaging the trailer’s axles and body, before spinning into the side of a van parked in the driveway. The last thing Lee’s car hit was the corner of a pole barn.

No one was hurt.

I guess they must have been wearing seat belts.


Am I nuts, or could that dramatic crash be a metaphor for what’s happening right now in this crazy election campaign? We’re living through a chaotic period in which one of the candidates is an authoritarian populist psychopath and pathological liar who has blatantly encouraged racism, xenophobia, and misogyny among his followers for the past year-and-a-half. The other candidate is the first woman in history with a serious chance to become President of the U.S.–a candidate with 30 years of experience in public service and the brains and talent to be a great world leader who has been forced to spend much of her time educating the electorate about the dangers of a Trump presidency.

There has been lots of talk lately about what will happen if the ignorant, neo-fascist candidate Donald Trump refuses to accept the results of the November 8 election.

Will his followers–who have already demonstrated their willingness to be violent and threatening against anyone who disagrees with them–take to the streets in protest? Will Trump be able to weaponize his large following to delegitimize a President Hillary Clinton as he tried to delegitimize Barack Obama, the first African American president?

Or will the election build to a crescendo and end with a noisy crash that does some serious damage, but leaves our republic essentially unhurt–protected by a metaphorical seat belt, the U.S. Constitution?

I’m hoping for and expecting the second possible outcome. I have to thank Lawrence O’Donnell for that confidence. Last night he said he hopes Trump does not concede because it won’t matter. O’Donnell also predicted that Trump fans won’t violently revolt if he loses, because they know he has lied to them repeatedly; they will realize that he has been using them for his own purposes. Here’s O’Donnell’s argument.

If Trump refuses to accept the outcome of the election, he will only look like a sore loser and a fool. There is no need for him to concede; his lack of concession would only be one more bit of evidence that he has no respect for the norms of our democracy.

McClatchyDC: Whether Trump would concede an election loss doesn’t matter legally.

Though considered an essential act to foster a peaceful post-election political transition of power, concessions by losing candidates are a formality – not a legal requirement.

“Just saying the words ‘I concede’ have no legal effect,” said Richard Hasen, founding co-editor of the Election Journal and author of the Election Law Blog. “What would have a legal effect is if he filed for a recount or do some sort of election contest.”

“In short, we don’t have a constitutional crisis on our hands if we don’t have a gracious concession on election night, even if the result appears a blowout,” Edward “Ned” Foley, author of “Ballot Battles: The History of Disputed Elections in the United States,” wrote on his blog last Friday.

Still, Trump laying out the possibility of not accepting the results is unnerving, Hasen and other election analysts said, because it threatens a smooth transition and could help delegitimize a Clinton presidency in the eyes of Trump’s ardent followers.


Possibly. But that would happen regardless. We’ve already gone through 8 years of Republicans treating Barack Obama as if he’s not a legitimate president; why should we be surprised if they continue that behavior under our first woman president? That is all the more reason why they need to be soundly defeated so that Hillary Clinton will have a Democratic majority in the Senate–and maybe even in the House.

Politico on October 17: Democrats dream the unthinkable: Speaker Pelosi.

As Donald Trump’s poll numbers tank, dragging the whole GOP down with him, the possibility that Pelosi could return to the speaker’s chair after a six-year absence has suddenly grown very real. No one has done anything like this since the legendary Sam Rayburn did 60 years ago, and it is still unlikely to happen. Yet the House is definitely in play, according to experts on both sides of the aisle, which means the 76-year-old Pelosi could be wielding the speaker’s gavel again come January.

It would be a stunning, almost unthinkable, triumph for Pelosi. Democrats lost 63 seats in 2010, and many thought Pelosi would — or should — retire. But the California lawmaker hung on. Democrats won seats in 2012 as President Barack Obama was reelected, but then were wiped out again in 2014. House Republicans amassed their biggest majority in 80 years, and there was open grumbling from some rank-and-file lawmakers about whether Pelosi should step aside for a younger leader who could bring Democrats back to the promised land.


Pelosi resisted. She saw Republicans oust John Boehner last year and replace him with Paul Ryan, 30 years her junior. Watching the rise of Trump, she started saying months ago that Democrats could take the House. No one really believed her, seeing her comments as just ritualistic posturing by a political leader trying to rally her troops.

Yet now, with less than four weeks to go, Democrats are suddenly hopeful they can pick up the 30 seats they need to recapture the majority.

“It’s no longer, ‘Can we fight to win the House?'” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra of California. “It’s, ‘Can [Republicans] fight to keep from losing the House?’”

Let’s make it so. We can end the GOP obstruction in Congress and continue down the road toward greater freedom and inclusiveness, toward greater autonomy for women. We can fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court with a qualified candidate. We can stop the GOP war on voting rights. Yes we can! With Hillary at the helm, we can continue the work of the first African American president and move on down the road to even greater horizons for our country.

More news, links only


NYT: Hackers Used New Weapons to Disrupt Major Websites Across U.S.

Defense One: Denying Trump’s Denial, US Intel Chief Says There’s More Evidence of Russian Hacking.

Kurt Eichenwald at Newsweek: How I Got Slimed by Russian Propagandist Site Sputnik.

NYT: Hillary Clinton Makes Pitch for Mandate and a Swing-State Sweep.

NPR: At Al Smith Dinner, Donald Trump Turns Friendly Roast Into 3-Alarm Fire.

WaPo: Donald Trump is in a funk: Bitter, hoarse and pondering, ‘If I lose. . .’

WaPo: Antiabortion activists face headwinds with Clinton leading and Trump stumbling on women’s issues.

Bloomberg: Clinton Campaign Ponders ‘What If’ Trump Doesn’t Concede.

Don’t miss this one from The Cut: These Teen Girls Are Giving Donald Trump a Piece of Their Mind.

Raw Story: Damaged brand: New Trump hotels will no longer bear his name.

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread, and have a terrific weekend!