In case you missed it, Louisiana Sen. John N. Kennedy made a fool of himself again yesterday when he made the mistake of trying to put one over on Stacey Abrams. He asked her to explain what is so racist about the Georgia voter suppression law.
The Democratic voting rights activist has been an outspoken critic of the law, arguing it will have a disproportionate effect on voters of color. At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, she came prepared to make her case.
When Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) asked Abrams to clarify which provisions of Georgia’s new voting law she opposed, she didn’t hold back.
Another lesser blowhard, John Cornyn of Texas, also tried it.
At another point during the four-hour meeting, Abrams got into a tense exchange with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who suggested states controlled by Democrats with similar voting laws hadn’t been subjected to the same criticism as Georgia.
Cornyn pointed to New York and Connecticut, which require that voters provide an accepted excuse ― such as being away from home or having a disability ― to be able to vote by mail, whereas Georgia has no such provision. Noting that laws in many states “need to be improved,” Abrams stated that she believed it was how laws target certain communities that make them racist.“The intent always matters, sir, and that is the point of this conversation,” she said. “That is the point of the Jim Crow narrative. That Jim Crow did not simply look at the activities, it looked at the intent. It looked at the behaviors and it targeted behaviors that were disproportionately used by people of color.”
But getting back to fake good ol’ boy John N. Kennedy, I came across this great 2019 piece at NOLA.com: Who said it: Sen. John Kennedy or Foghorn Leghorn? It’s includes a quiz where you have to guess which blowhard uttered a colorful descriptive phrase.
John Neely Kennedy is the junior U.S. senator from Louisiana who was a key member of Gov. Buddy Roemer’s staff before being elected to five terms as the state treasurer.
Foghorn J. Leghorn is an animated chicken who appeared as a featured character in Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons for Warner Bros. Pictures.
Kennedy graduated magna cum laude in political science, philosophy, and economics from Vanderbilt, where he was president of his senior class and elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He received his law degree from the University of Virginia and his Bachelor of Civil Law degree from Oxford University in England where he was a First Class Honors graduate.
Leghorn starred in 29 cartoons from 1946 to 1964 in what is considered the Golden Age of American Animation, usually tormenting a dog named Dawg while fending off attacks from a feisty young chicken hawk named Henery Hawk.
There is practically no way to get the two confused … unless you are just reading what they have said. Then, it gets a little tricky.
Some sample questions:
“He’s about as sharp as a bowling ball.”
“That’s as subtle as a hand grenade in a bowl of oatmeal.”
“She has a billygoat brain and a mocking bird mouth.”
I urge you to take the quiz and see how you do.
While we’re talking about blowhards making fools of themselves, have you seen any of the tweets about Tucker Carlson’s show lately? The guy seems to have gone off the deep end.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson cackled at, then dismissed the opinions of a New York City law enforcement veteran who strayed from the far right-wing pundit’s narrative on Tuesday’s murder conviction of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Carlson’s interview with Former New York City Deputy Sheriff Ed Gavin began with the host leading Gavin with the question “Who’s going to become a cop going forward, do you think?”\Gavin didn’t appear to see police officers as the victims in the killing of George Floyd, where video showed Chauvin kneeling on the victim’s neck for nearly 9½ minutes.
“Well, I think people will still become police officers,” Gavin said. “This really is a learning experience for everyone. Let’s face it, what we saw in that video was pure savagery.”
Carlson crunched his eyebrows as Gavin said that based on his experiences, the “emotionally disturbed” Floyd had been successfully contained — and more — during the “excessive” May 2020 traffic stop that cost him his life. Gavin also said he’d like to see more training for police.
“I’ve used force on literally over 500 people in my 21-year career in the New York City Department of Corrections, and in the New York City Sheriff’s Department,” Gavin said. “I’ve never had anybody go unconscious. That was truly an excessive, unjustified use of force.”
After a bit more of this, Carlson flipped out and claimed that American cities are locked down and boarded up because of nonviolent Black Lives Matter protests.
“Well, yeah, but the guy that did it looks like he’s going to spend the rest of his life in prison so I’m kind of more worried about the rest of the country, which thanks to police inaction, in case you haven’t noticed, is, like, boarded up,” Carlson complained before letting loose a shrill, maniacal laugh.
“So that’s more my concern. But I appreciate it, Gavin, thank you,” Carlson quickly added.
The flummoxed officer tried to further illustrate his point, but Carlson ended the segment.
“Nope, done!” the host exclaimed before moving on to his next guest — an author who’d penned a book called “The War on Cops.”
Greg Sargent wrote about Carlson’s weird fantasy about America being shut down by the protests: Opinion: The disturbing link between Tucker Carlson and Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Greene and Carlson agree that Armageddon is gripping U.S. cities and that protests against police brutality are causing it.
Yet Greene’s depiction, too, is false. As Philip Bump demonstrates, Tuesday in D.C. was generally normal despite people feeling tense over the coming verdict, and any police presence in D.C. is a holdover from the threat of right-wing violence after Jan. 6.
Read the rest at The Washington Post.
Alan Dershowitz is also upset about the treatment Derek Chauvin is getting. The Daily Beast: Dershowitz Wants Derek Chauvin Free on Bail: ‘He’s Not Going to Endanger Anybody.’
Appearing on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle on Wednesday night, Dershowitz—who is currently advising pro-Trump pillow magnate Mike Lindell as he faces a billion-dollar defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems—first took issue with the White House saying that the “bar for convicting officers is far too high” and reform is still needed.
“We need to apply the same standard to police and ordinary citizens except we have to understand that ordinary citizens have no obligation to risk their lives to prevent an ongoing crime,” he said, adding: “So the rules have to defer and understand and recognize the risks that police take. When it comes to the elements of actual crimes, you can’t bury them. You can’t raise the bar for certain groups of people over other groups of people.”
Host Laura Ingraham then turned to Chauvin, expressing concern that it’s been reported that he’s currently in solitary confinement while also wondering aloud why he’s even in prison.
“Do you think that given what the judge said about an appeal that he probably shouldn’t have even been remanded back into custody?” Ingraham asked, referencing Judge Peter Cahill’s criticism of Rep. Maxine Waters’ protest remarks as potential grounds for appeal.
Acknowledging that “different states have different rules” when it comes to bail for convicted murderers, Dershowitz said that the judge provided “good appellate issues” to the defense.
“He should be released on bail,” Dershowitz declared. “There is no reason why he should be remanded. He’s not going to flee. He wants to have an appeal. He’s not going to endanger anybody. His face is well known.”
How many people who have been convicted of murder get out on bail pending appeals? Is that a regular practice?
People who actually had to deal with Chauvin in the past feel differently, according to this piece from Reuters, via Yahoo News: ‘No sympathy’ for Chauvin, say those who had run-ins before Floyd.
MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) – For some of those who encountered Derek Chauvin’s policing or witnessed his use of force as an officer there is no sympathy for the man convicted of killing George Floyd.
Chauvin was the subject of at least 17 complaints during his career, according to police records, but only one led to discipline. Prosecutors sought permission to introduce eight prior use-of-force incidents, but the judge would only allow two. In the end the jury heard none.
Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s lawyer, has defended his client’s use of force as appropriate in potentially dangerous situations.
“I don’t have no sympathy for him. I think he got what he deserved,” Julian Hernandez, 38, a carpenter now working in Pennsylvania, told Reuters.
Hernandez said he never heard anything from the Minneapolis police after submitting a complaint about Chauvin, who he said “choked him out” during an encounter in a Minneapolis night club in 2015. A spokesman for the Minneapolis Police Department declined to comment.
According to Chauvin’s police report, Hernandez failed to follow orders and resisted arrest when Chauvin, who was working as an off-duty security guard, tried to escort him out of a night club. Chauvin’s report said this prompted him to apply “pressure toward his Lingual Artery” to subdue Hernandez.
Hernandez said Chauvin picked him out of the crowd for no reason and quickly escalated to violence. He said Chauvin should have been removed from the police force.
Read more examples at the link.
Sorry this is such an unserious post. That’s just the mood I’m in today, I guess. As always, this is an open thread.
Today is the fifth anniversary of the death of Prince.
I wonder what he would have done, and what music he would have produced, had he been alive for the the murder of George Floyd.
Cartoons from cagle.com :
There is now no way to work around and use classic editor in WordPress, the only option is block editor. So adding media like photos is annoyingly difficult. Because of this terrible editor, I will add the images in a gallery format.
I had a dream last night that I was being hunted by one of these T-Rex 🦖…
This is an open thread…
I’ve been really dragging lately–partly because of health problems, but very likely also because of the exhausting events of the past year. Am I “languishing”? Are you?
Dakinikat pointed me to this New York Times article by organizational psychologist Adam Grant: There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing.
At first, I didn’t recognize the symptoms that we all had in common. Friends mentioned that they were having trouble concentrating. Colleagues reported that even with vaccines on the horizon, they weren’t excited about 2021. A family member was staying up late to watch “National Treasure” again even though she knows the movie by heart. And instead of bouncing out of bed at 6 a.m., I was lying there until 7, playing Words with Friends.
It wasn’t burnout — we still had energy. It wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. It turns out there’s a name for that: languishing.
Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.
As scientists and physicians work to treat and cure the physical symptoms of long-haul Covid, many people are struggling with the emotional long-haul of the pandemic. It hit some of us unprepared as the intense fear and grief of last year faded.
That sounds familiar. Of course I was already completely exhausted by the horror of 2016 and three years of Trump insanity when the pandemic hit. I’ve also been dealing with an autoimmune disorder called polymyalgia rheumatica. Despite seeing a Rheumatologist and taking multiple medications over the past year, I’m still struggling with chronic joint pain and stiffness. That has added to my sense of emotional exhaustion. I know I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed by everything that’s been happening.
More from Adam Grant on “languishing:”
In the early, uncertain days of the pandemic, it’s likely that your brain’s threat detection system — called the amygdala — was on high alert for fight-or-flight. As you learned that masks helped protect us — but package-scrubbing didn’t — you probably developed routines that eased your sense of dread. But the pandemic has dragged on, and the acute state of anguish has given way to a chronic condition of languish.
In psychology, we think about mental health on a spectrum from depression to flourishing. Flourishing is the peak of well-being: You have a strong sense of meaning, mastery and mattering to others. Depression is the valley of ill-being: You feel despondent, drained and worthless.
Languishing is the neglected middle child of mental health. It’s the void between depression and flourishing — the absence of well-being. You don’t have symptoms of mental illness, but you’re not the picture of mental health either. You’re not functioning at full capacity. Languishing dulls your motivation, disrupts your ability to focus, and triples the odds that you’ll cut back on work. It appears to be more common than major depression — and in some ways it may be a bigger risk factor for mental illness.
The term was coined by a sociologist named Corey Keyes, who was struck that many people who weren’t depressed also weren’t thriving. His research suggests that the people most likely to experience major depression and anxiety disorders in the next decade aren’t the ones with those symptoms today. They’re the people who are languishing right now. And new evidence from pandemic health care workers in Italy shows that those who were languishing in the spring of 2020 were three times more likely than their peers to be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Part of the danger is that when you’re languishing, you might not notice the dulling of delight or the dwindling of drive. You don’t catch yourself slipping slowly into solitude; you’re indifferent to your indifference. When you can’t see your own suffering, you don’t seek help or even do much to help yourself.
Read the whole thing at the NYT and see what you think.
Now for today’s news . . .
Walter Mondale died yesterday. From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Walter Mondale, who rose from small-town Minnesota to vice presidency, dies at 93.
Walter F. Mondale, a preacher’s son from southern Minnesota who climbed to the pinnacle of U.S. politics as an influential senator, vice president and Democratic nominee for president, died on Monday. He was 93.
Known as “Fritz” to family, friends and voters alike, Mondale died in Minneapolis, according to a statement from his family.
“As proud as we were of him leading the presidential ticket for Democrats in 1984, we know that our father’s public policy legacy is so much more than that,” read the Mondale family statement.
Former President Jimmy Carter, who chose Mondale as his running mate in 1976, called his friend “the best vice president in our country’s history.”
“He was an invaluable partner and an able servant of the people of Minnesota, the United States and the world,” Carter said in a statement. “Fritz Mondale provided us all with a model for public service and private behavior.”
After serving four years under Carter, Mondale was the Democratic nominee for president in 1984. He lost to the incumbent, President Ronald Reagan, in a historic landslide.
“A night like that is hard on you,” Mondale wrote in his 2010 memoir, “The Good Fight.”
Even in defeat, Mondale made history by choosing as his running mate Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to run for vice president on a major-party ticket. It followed a series of political landmarks in a public career that spanned seven decades.
A protégé of Hubert H. Humphrey, another Minnesota politician who rose to the vice presidency and lost a presidential election, Mondale served as a U.S. senator from Minnesota for a dozen years. He played a lead role in the passage of social programs, civil rights laws and environmental protections that defined President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society.”
As vice president from 1977 to 1981, Mondale transformed the office from what had historically been a punchline into what both he and Carter called a true governing partnership. Mondale’s role as chief adviser and troubleshooter, working from a West Wing office near the Oval Office, became a model for successors including George H.W. Bush, Al Gore, Dick Cheney and Joe Biden.
“The first person I called was Fritz,” Biden once said about the time President Barack Obama offered him the No. 2 position.
At The Washington Post, Karen Tumulty wrote about how Mondale changed the vice presidency: Opinion: Walter Mondale reinvented the vice presidency. Both Biden and Harris should thank him for it.
Read more at the WaPo.
The Derek Chauvin trial wrapped up yesterday, and now the nation awaits the jury verdict. Here’s an interesting op-ed by former federal prosecutor Jennifer Rogers at CNN: Chauvin trial is ‘believe your eyes’ vs. ‘hey, look over there!’
Prosecutors treat closing arguments as an opportunity to make things simple for the jury and to keep them focused on the critical issues. Thus we heard state prosecutor Steve Schleicher’s mantra to the jury to “believe your eyes,” and his repeated references to the video evidence as well as his use of visual aids through which Schleicher listed and then checked off each legal element of each offense as he reminded the jury of the evidence proving them. This was a very effective technique, giving jurors who walked into the jury room inclined to vote to convict some ammunition to use in convincing more reluctant fellow jurors.
Defense lawyers have a different checklist, and Chauvin’s lawyer Eric Nelson hit all of his marks. Defense lawyers use closings to distract the jurors, to pull them away from the focus encouraged by prosecutors, and to provide as many reasons as they can muster as to why the prosecutors’ theory of the case fails.
Nelson embraced this tactic, spending almost an hour showing body camera footage of and arguing about the period before Chauvin restrained Floyd, a time when other officers were trying to cram a resisting Floyd into the squad car, while virtually ignoring most of the 9 minutes and 29 seconds that Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck. Nelson then tossed out all of the alternate causation theories he had cultivated throughout the trial — Floyd’s preexisting heart condition, his consumption of fentanyl and methamphetamine, the paraganglioma tumor, and possible carbon monoxide poisoning — claiming that with all of these possibilities out there, prosecutors couldn’t possibly prove causation beyond a reasonable doubt.
Jurors would be forgiven if their heads were spinning a bit from this rapid fire of legal theories — and that is exactly what the defense was aiming for.
Read the rest at CNN.
One more big story from yesterday at The Washington Post: Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who engaged rioters, suffered two strokes and died of natural causes, officials say.
Good Day Sky Dancers!
I’m watching the crazy Republicans in the Lousyana Lege start pushing a no permit necessary carry law for guns while I am still reeling from reading about all the gun violence over the weekend and this month. There were three mass shoot outs here this weekend including one in Shreveport.
It also included a shoot out at a 12 year old’s birthday party in the garage of the family home in an extremely comfortable, quiet, suburban La Place in St. John the Baptist Parish between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. It’s your typical bedroom commuter exurb so wipipo cannot talk about urban violence without owning the weekend’s shoot outs!
No one was killed but 6 children were shot. Let that sink in. And, of course, no one saw a damned thing because it’s possible that one shooter was a kid.
An exasperated St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre said his detectives were working hard to make arrests after a Saturday night shooting at a 12-year-old child’s birthday party in LaPlace left six people injured, but so far they’ve struggled to secure cooperation.
“We have not one witness, not one person that saw anything yet. So we’re trying to solve it on our own right now,” Tregre said in a telephone interview Sunday afternoon. “I’m going to be polite — it’s more than frustrating.”
The shooting happened about 8:30 p.m. Saturday as a large crowd gathered for the child’s birthday party at a house in the 600 block of Golfview Drive, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Detectives believe that two groups of young men with an ongoing feud met up at the house, began arguing and gunfire broke out, according to Tregre. He said crime scene evidence shows that more than one firearm was fired.
The Sheriff’s Office hasn’t released a full list of victims and their injuries, but Tregre said one victim was 12 years old. Several of the victims had what Tregre described as “superficial” injuries, but three required surgery for more serious wounds.
Today’s artwork is from The Smithsonian and mostly from this piece written in its magazine. “How Portraiture Gave Rise to the Glamour of Guns. American portraiture with its visual allure and pictorial storytelling made gun ownership desirable” I know we have a gun fetish in this country, I know some how the whole Wild West thing played into it but I hestitate to think of any of this as glamourous.
Officers found Broderick, 41, along a rural road around shortly after sunrise in Manor, an Austin suburb, after receiving reports of a suspicious person matching the description of the suspect in Sunday’s shooting, Manor Police Chief Ryan Phipps said. He said Broderick had a loaded pistol in his waistband.
“I’m truly heartbroken that a former Travis County Sheriff’s Office Deputy is the suspect in such a horrific incident,” Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez said in a statement.
The shooting in Austin was not the the sole mass shooting of Sunday.
This is an epidemic. This is a public safety issue. The politicians captured by the fetish and the NRA need to be held to account. This level of violence and murder is only seen in countries with active wars or intense drug cartel activity. This is not the way a civilized country should look.
It’s America’s heritage and it’s time to change it. From the Smithsonian article:
Early portraits of African-Americans have been rendered similarly pacifist. An 1868 wood engraving of Harriet Tubman by John Darby shows Tubman dressed as a scout for the Union Army holding a large rifle with her hands curiously placed over the barrel of the gun. A similar hand-over-the-gun-barrel stance resurfaces in a portrait of cowboy Nat Love around a decade later; as if to indicate that if the weapon was to fire, it would harm him first. Similarly, in an 1872 advertisement for Red Cloud chewing tobacco, the figure’s hand is also placed over the gun barrel.
At the same time, guns are used to illustrate the idea of defense of land, hunting literature begins to describe a more intimate relationship with being “armed.” Loving descriptions of guns as “well-oiled,” “sleek” and “gleaming;” and being “cradled,” “caressed” and “hugged” by their owners proliferates. In The American Farm Hand of 1937 by Sandor Klein, a farmer seated in a cane chair looks directly at the viewer and clutches a shotgun halfway down the barrel. The rifle is closest to the viewer and the polished wood handle and steel barrel sensuously echo the sinewy arms and bare torso of its owner.
This is an opinion cartoon.
Another day, another mass shooting superspreader event.
NPR discusses the recent weekend violence and the tremendous level of gun deaths we’re experiencing.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, a total of at least 19,394 people lost their lives due to gun violence in 2020. Including suicides, that number jumps to 43,550 people.
As of Sunday, the group tallied at least 5,517 non-suicide deaths in 2021, on track for a similar total to 2020.
The country as a whole saw about a 25% increase in non-suicide gun deaths in 2020 over 2019, though some places such as New York saw a much more pronounced increase.
Dr. Sonali Rajan of the Columbia Scientific Union for the Reduction of Gun Violence told NPR in January that one of the things that could have played a role in the increase was a diversion of public health resources due to the pandemic. She said that led to “violence interrupters, social programs and support services not being as readily available.”
Another possible cause: the uptick in gun sales. 2020 marked the best year for gun sales ever.
The rush for firearms began with the first coronavirus lockdowns and continued through the summer’s racial justice protests. At least 20 million guns were sold legally, up from about 12.4 million in 2019.
Experts, though, say that it can be a challenge to isolate any single cause, particularly during the pandemic with mass unemployment and closed schools.
Washington’s capacity for a legislative response to gun violence remains limited. Though Democrats control both chambers of Congress and are broadly in favor of more stringent gun control legislation, their ability to get legislation through the Senate would require cooperation of at least 10 Republican senators to overcome an inevitable filibuster — something that has essentially no chance of happening on a gun bill.
President Biden has taken some executive action as well as appointing a Gun Safety Advocate to lead ATF. This is also from NPR.
President Biden on Thursday will announce initial steps his administration plans to take on firearm safety, along with the nomination of a prominent gun safety advocate to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The moves, which were previewed Wednesday evening by a senior administration official, come after recent high-profile mass shootings put added pressure on Biden to act on gun violence.
Biden will announce that the Justice Department will pursue two new regulations: one to curb the proliferation of so-called ghost guns, weapons that lack serial numbers and, in some cases, can be constructed at home; and a second that would regulate stabilizing braces, accessories that can be used to make pistols more like rifles.
Additionally, Biden plans to nominate David Chipman as ATF director. Chipman, who was a special agent at ATF for 25 years, is a senior policy adviser at Giffords, a gun safety group led by former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who became an advocate after she was seriously injured in a 2011 mass shooting.
The White House has issued a fact sheet on their policy priorities in the Gun Safety area. This was on April 7, 2021: “FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Initial Actions to Address the Gun Violence Public Health Epidemic.”
You may remember Parkland Parents continuing to fight for Gun Safety. Fred Guttenberg notes this about the FedEx Gunman who easily got his Rifles after Police had already seized a gun from him.
Dr.Fauci, unleashed from the censorship and bullying of the previous guy, has spoken out Sunday. This is from The Hill: “Fauci calls surge in gun violence a public health crisis. “When you see people getting killed, I mean, in this last month, it’s just been horrifying what’s happened. How can you say that’s not a public health issue?” President Biden had this to say.
President Biden released a statement in the wake of the shooting at an Indiana FedEx facility last week, saying he is urging Congress to “hear the call of the American people” and to “enact commonsense gun violence prevention legislation.”
“Too many Americans are dying every single day from gun violence,” Biden said. “It stains our character and pierces the very soul of our nation. We can, and must, do more to act and to save lives.”
Megan Ranney, an emergency physician, and Associate Dean of Strategy and Innovation at the School of Public Health at Brown University, wrote in a piece for Time in March that deaths resulting from gun-violence are preventable and should be treated as a matter of public health rather than a political issue.
“It’s time to flip the narrative. These mass shootings, and the 1000s of daily tragedies behind them, are not inevitable,” Ranney wrote. “We can reduce gun deaths, just like we did for cars, by acknowledging that firearm injury is, at its root, a health problem—and that solutions are within reach.”
We see Republicans balk at any sensible gun safety regulation every time we see what we think is the absolute worst mass shooting in the country and expect some legal action. School shootings are not enough. Workplace shooting are not enough. Clinic, spas, beauty salons and all violence aimed at women are not enough.
And sooner or later, we’ll hear from Joe Manchin and it will not be at all helpful.
Enough is enough!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Lots of cartoons today…from cagle.com…
This is an open thread…