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Friday, February 3, 2017

What you hear.

Man, it's windy again today. That's what I'm hearing, right? Oh, okay ... Anti-Lincoln is just practicing his bass clarinet. Right. Sounds like wind. Lots of wind.

Hey, look .... I know living with other people can be annoying. But we try to be tolerant around the abandoned Cheney Hammer Mill and let one another live up to his or her true self. And when they achieve that hard-won moment of self-realization, we all point fingers at them and laugh derisively. Particularly when they take up some wind instrument they have no hope of mastering. (Happens more often around here than you might suppose.) That's what we call "positive reinforcement."

I don't want to give the impression that we of Big Green have something against innovation and initiative. Lord, no. The fact is, we rely on other people's innovation and initiative to make up for our woeful lack of those qualities. We've made plenty of recordings that have random horn-like instruments honking in the background or someone plunking on a banjo in a lackluster way. Naturally, we don't hire session musicians for this. (Very few of them are willing to work in ThereThere's a multitude in this place!exchange for discarded hammer handles from the last century.) So naturally we are left to forage for talent a little closer to home. And when I say "talent", I'm using the word in a very generic, denatured sense. Bodies with working digits is what I mean.

Take Cowboy Scat: Songs in the Key of Rick. (Please.) Little known factoid: Many of the horn parts on that album were played by Marvin (my personal robot assistant) and Anti-Lincoln. We used trained monkeys for some tambourine parts. And when I say "trained", I'm using the word in a very generic .... oh, never mind. Actually, I played the freaking tambourine. I just made it sound like I'm a trained monkey. Though frankly, most people playing the tambourine sound like trained monkeys. Not that there's anything wrong with that. The point being .... we may look like a band of three people, but there's a virtual multitude involved in everything we do. (Now by "virtual", I mean literally "in essence or effect, but not in fact".)

Got all that? Good. Maybe you can explain it to me (and the virtual multitude).

No justice.

Trump has named his nominee to the Supreme Court, with a reality show-like flourish, and we spent a couple of days hearing about how eminently qualified the honorable judge Gorsuch is, how pleasant a man he is, what a great colleague and ... and ... fuck all. Frankly, his qualifications are irrelevant. Much as the Republicans would like to pretend that time began Tuesday evening at 8:00pm, we all know what happened over the last year after the unexpected passing of Justice Scalia - basically, Mitch McConnell and the Senate GOP invented a new obstructionist rule, saying in essence that President Obama had no right to name a replacement justice in the final year of his second term.

I agree with Oregon Senator Jeff Merkely on this. That seat on the Supreme Court was stolen by the Republicans on the then-long chance that they might win the 2016 election. Now they expect everyone to just forget all that and proceed with the swift confirmation of a man who is significantly to the right of the reactionary justice he would be replacing. I am not alone in saying, fuck that. Eight is a nice, round number - let's just stay there, shall we?

Favorite photoThe notion that the Democrats need to allow this one to go through unchallenged is truly a case of playing by the last decade's rules. Here's the argument: Give Mitch McConnell his vote and he won't blow up the filibuster on Supreme Court nominees. If you don't, he'll invoke the "nuclear option" and you won't have the filibuster should another vacancy - this time perhaps left by a more liberal justice - comes up in Trump's tenure. That is just magical thinking. If the filibuster can be shot down that easily, what's to stop them from doing that next time around? The suggestion that they would somehow refrain out of collegiality or gratitude is laughable. At least filibustering Gorsuch would demonstrate to the majority of people that you're willing to stand for something. Do nothing and not only will their man be seated on the Court, but next time you try to use the filibuster they'll just toss it out. You gain nothing - and lost much - by being accommodating.

Now for what really irks me. Who knew that the filibuster was so easily disposed of? I had a suspicion when the Republicans threatened the "nuclear option" during the Bush years, but almost all the way through the years of Democratic Senate majority they wouldn't touch it. You mean to tell me that in 2009-10, all the Dems had to do to get (1) the public option, (2) card check, (3) a bigger stimulus and more was to do a rule change in the Senate? What. the. fuck. That is a titanic political fail, and we are all the losers for it.

luv u,

jp