April’s Fools (Hint: Republicans)Posted: April 1, 2022
I’m not much of a prankster–certainly not a merry one–but I do know a fool when I see one. I can remember wanting to take the day off school a lot when I was a kid because boys do dumb things on April Fools Day if the powers that be let them. I’ve embraced the French Celebration more because it’s as close as we can get to the day’s origination. It’s an interesting back story.
For one thing, we do know that April Fools’ Day customs date back to at least Renaissance Europe, but it’s likely the tradition originated long before then.
Some historians have linked April Fools’ Day to the ancientRoman festival of “Hilaria,” where at the end of March, people would come together to commemorate the resurrection of the god Attis. It was a celebration of renewal in which revelers would dress up in disguises and imitate others.
It’s also possible that the medieval celebration of the Feast of Fools, where a mock bishop or pope was elected and church customs were parodied, could have inspired the day.
Other historians believe April Fools’ Day has its origins in the 16th century, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar.
The Julian calendar began in March with the spring equinox and was celebrated until April 1. By switching to the Gregorian calendar, the new year would now begin on Jan. 1.
News traveled slowly back then, and not everyone knew about or was willing to change when to celebrate the new year. Those who continued to celebrate in the spring were often ridiculed and made the butt of jokes.
Some pranks included having a paper fish placed on a person’s back as they were called “poisson d’avril,” or “April fish.”
One of the first knownreferences to this term, “poisson d’avril,” is found in a 1508 poem written by Eloy d’Amerval. The phrase itself doesn’t necessarily mean there was a holiday on April 1, but the idea of the “April fish” is that fishwere more plentiful in the spring and thus easier to catch. In other words, an “April fish” was more gullible than fish caught in other seasons.
Here’s a group that has my votes for today’s Fools. I think Ted Cruz wins the cup though.
Our Hillary sisters in San Francisco introduced me to both the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park and its 100-year-old National Park Service Ranger Betty Reid Soskin who retires today. Ranger Betty provided an interpretive program to the public based her life experience.
“Being a primary source in the sharing of that history – my history – and giving shape to a new national park has been exciting and fulfilling,” said Soskin. “It has proven to bring meaning to my final years.”
“The National Park Service is grateful to Ranger Betty for sharing her thoughts and first-person accounts in ways that span across generations,” said Naomi Torres, acting superintendent of Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park. “She has used stories of her life on the Home Front, drawing meaning from those experiences in ways that make that history truly impactful for those of us living today.”
Soskin’s interpretive programs at Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park have illuminated the histories of African Americans and other people of color, and her efforts demonstrate how her work has impacted the way the NPS conveys such history to audiences across the United States. Learn more about Betty’s story and watch one of her recorded programs.
I only wish I could’ve visited before this big day for her!
Okay, The King of the April Fools is in the spotlight for that gap in the White House Call Log during Insurrection Day. Reporters and the DOJ are doing the due diligence.
You may read that Twitter conversation or take a look at the Axios article. Swan thinks he has a ‘new clue’.
On Jan. 6, 2021, during an apparent seven-hour gap in White House call logs that the House select committee investigating the attack is now trying to piece together, then-President Trump’s executive assistant, Molly Michael, was absent for most of the day, three sources with direct knowledge tell Axios.
Why it matters: Though sources said the Trump White House’s already spotty record-keeping operation had virtually collapsed by the final weeks of his presidency, Michael’s absence is a previously unreported detail that may play a role in explaining the incomplete records for a key stretch of time.
- Her absence — coupled with the already shambolic state of record-keeping in the Outer Oval — also could complicate efforts to piece those details back together 14 months after that fateful day.
What we’re hearing: Keeping handwritten notes on Trump’s unscheduled meetings and callswas part of Michael’s duties when she took over as executive assistant from her predecessor, Madeleine Westerhout.
I guess we’ll start hearing more on that. In other legal trouble for Trump news: “D.C. attorney general expands Jan. 6 lawsuit. The suit is one of a handful of major efforts by those affected by the Jan. 6 Capitol riot to seek damages from its most prominent participants.”
This is from Politico‘s Kyle Cheney.
The attorney general of Washington D.C. has expanded his lawsuit against members of the Jan. 6, 2021 mob that played leading roles in the attack on the Capitol — including Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes.
Karl Racine announced Friday that he had added six new high-profile figures to the district’s lawsuit, which already featured more than 30 defendants connected to the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.
“Over the last few months, we have learned more about the horrors of January 6—including more about how the leaders of the two groups behind the attack urged members to use violence to overturn the outcome of a lawful presidential election,” Racine said in a statement. “We are seeking justice for the District, our democracy, and the brave law enforcement officers who risked their lives that day.”
In addition to Rhodes, Racine added Oath Keepers Edward Vallejo, Joseph Hackett, David Moerschel and Brian Ulrich. He also added Matthew Greene, a member of the Proud Boys who recently pleaded guilty for his role in the riot and is cooperating with prosecutors.
Racine’s suit is one of a handful of major efforts by those affected by the Jan. 6 Capitol riot to seek damages from its most prominent participants. Several Capitol Police officers have sued former President Donald Trump, his top aides and leaders of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys as well. About 10 members of Congress filed lawsuits against Trump and his inner circle as well.
You can read more at the link. Okay, more on the Republican Fools.
From Trumpland at The Daily Beast: “Inside Ginni Thomas’ ‘Insane’ Hiring Memos for Trump. Ginni Thomas’ suggested hires included known bigots and at least one suspected foreign spy, sources say.”
Years before she became one of then-President Donald Trump’s most prominent coup supporters, Ginni Thomas was already notorious in his West Wing for, among other things, ruining staffers’ afternoons by working Trump into fits of vengeful rage.
“We all knew that within minutes after Ginni left her meeting with the president, he would start yelling about firing people for being disloyal,” said a former senior Trump administration official. “When Ginni Thomas showed up, you knew your day was wrecked.”
Ever since she became a welcome guest at Trump’s residences, Thomas—an influential and longtime conservative activist, and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas—had perfected a proven formula of enthralling and manipulating the president’s emotions and mood. On multiple occasions throughout the Trump era, Thomas would show up in the White House, sometimes for a private meeting or a luncheon with the president. She often came armed with written memos of who she and her allies believed Trump should hire for plum jobs—and who she thought Trump should promptly purge—that she distributed to Trump and other high-ranking government officials.
The fire lists were particularly problematic, as they were frequently based on pure conjecture, rumor, or score-settling, where even steadfastly MAGA aides were targeted for being part of the “Deep State” or some other supposedly anti-Trump coalition, according to people who saw them during the Trump administration. The hire lists were so often filled with infamous bigots and conspiracy theorists, woefully under-qualified names, and obvious close friends of Thomas that several senior Trump aides would laugh at them—that is, until Trump would force his staff to put certain names through the official vetting process, three sources familiar with the matter said.
During the Trump years, these memos would astonish various administration officials, including those working in the White House Presidential Personnel Office (PPO). Some of these officials noticed that as the Trump term went on, the Thomas lists would increasingly feature a disproportionate share of names more suited to an OAN guest line-up than any functional government. (To be fair, well before Ginni Thomas became a recurring visitor, Trump would routinely hire people because they had entertained or excited him, via Fox and other cable-news appearances.)
Well, isn’t that special? There’s a lot more out there so go ahead and read it! Between Ginni Thomas and the fetus hoarder, we ought to have a lot to learn about Republican women gone Mad.
However, we should focus on other things like Uncle Clarence Thomas himself and Mad Mitch. This is from MSNBC’s Steve Benen. “The problem(s) with Mitch McConnell’s defense of Clarence Thomas. Why is Mitch McConnell so eager to defend Clarence Thomas? It’s because the senator sees the far-right justice as an ally.”
One need not be a liberal ideologue to recognize that this is a legitimate ethics controversy. If the political dynamic were reversed, and the matter involved a left-wing justice and the jurist’s radicalized spouse, it’s a safe bet many of McConnell’s Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill would be calling for that justice’s impeachment.
So why is the Senate minority leader pretending this dynamic is benign? McConnell has already effectively told us why.
In fact, as we discussed in October, the GOP lawmaker appeared with the sitting justice at the Heritage Foundation and celebrated Thomas’ “jurisprudence on unborn life.”
These were difficult circumstances to defend. A conservative political group hosted an event for a conservative Supreme Court justice, who was in attendance for the celebration of himself. Congress’ most powerful Republican official — a man who has personally spearheaded a years-long campaign to politicize the federal judiciary — not only delivered a keynote address, he also specifically praised the justice’s work on a controversial issue that the Supreme Court will be considering this term.
Every time the high court considers abortion cases, McConnell said, “Justice Thomas writes a separate, concise opinion to cut through the 50-year tangle of made-up tests and shifting standards and calmly reminds everybody that the whole house of cards lacks a constitutional foundation.” The audience at the Heritage Foundation applauded in approval.
With this in mind, why is McConnell so eager to defend Thomas? It’s not because the senator sees the far-right justice as a neutral arbiter of unimpeachable integrity; it’s because McConnell sees Thomas as an ally.
Perhaps it is because they both love that dark money?
So, have a good start to the weekend! Hopefully, we can all get some good spring weather going and take a few relaxing moments in the sun!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?