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Take Five (Dave Brubeck memorial edition)
12-08-2012, 07:52 PM
Post: #1
Take Five (Dave Brubeck memorial edition)
Read the full article on the blog.

ONE: Alle Menschen werden Brüder…

Suffused with bipartisan good vibes, Republicans greeted Barack Obama's re-election with smiles and outstretched hands… firmly withheld. Grapes actually don't get any sourer than the ones Republicans have been angrily stomping into whine – uh, wine, since the evening of November 6. The 2012 Grand Old Vintage will long be remembered for its pronounced acidity, robust historical revisionism and almost maddeningly insistent notes of cattle droppings.

The sheer volume (in both senses of the word) of Republican angst, anger and anxiety in the wake of the election has been a challenge to keep up with, but out of many dozens of conservative tantrums I've read and bookmarked over the past few weeks, here are some examples I thought worth highlighting.

It was no surprise that one of the first querulous voices raised was that of tufted pink windbag Donald J. Trump. Trump took to Twitter on election night and, as he is wont to do, made an utter jackass of himself:
Trump began tweeting before the election was called that it was "a total sham and a travesty." After news outlets projected that Obama won the election, Trump tweeted, "Well, back to the drawing board!" He posted more than 10 angry tweets, declaring "our nation is a once great nation divided" and "the world is laughing at us…"

"The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy," fumed the celebrity mogul…

He [later] deleted some of Tuesday night's tirade, including tweets calling for revolution and incorrectly saying that Obama had lost the popular vote…
Hinge-less commentary of a different sort was served up by William Murray, chair of the Religious Freedom Coalition. Murray is convinced that the President won a second term because he promised to put a chicken, or something, in every pot:
… millions of people… voted for Obama because of “what’s in it for me.” Some feared welfare payments would be cut or unemployment payment periods reduced by a Republican. Still others voted for Obama because they were promised more union jobs with higher pay. Most Obama voters had no interest in the “fiscal cliff” or the huge deficit, or the declining economic and military power of our nation. They voted for Obama’s race, his image and for their hope of personal gain.

Barack Hussein Obama received millions of votes from people who have little command of the English language beyond that needed to shop at Wal-Mart and who have no concept of our form of government. Millions more cast their ballots for Obama for purely racial reasons.
No question, Mr. Murray. Now that you mention it, I distinctly remember filling out my absentee ballot for Barack Obama and drooling at the idea that I'd just voted for a guy of mixed race. Take that, whitey!

Others, such as Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips, quelled their disappointment by adopting an activist approach. Phillips had the bright idea to advocate for a de facto Electoral College coup:
We have one last, final chance to save America. We have one last, final chance to stop Barack Obama. One final chance…

According to the 12th Amendment, for the Electoral College to be able to select the president, it must have a quorum of two-thirds of the states voting. If enough states refuse to participate, the Electoral College will not have a quorum. If the Electoral College does not have a quorum or otherwise cannot vote or decide, then the responsibility for selecting the president and vice president devolves to the Congress.
Except, of course, that Phillips is full of crap, as WorldNutDaily itself tersely acknowledged a day later:
Editor’s note, Nov. 20, 2012: Since this column was posted it has been discovered that the premise presented about the Electoral College and the Constitution is in error. According to the 12th Amendment, a two-thirds quorum is required in the House of Representatives, not the Electoral College.
Wow! Barack Obama hasn't even begun his second term yet and somebody over at WND honest-to-God actually bothered to read at least part of one amendment to the Constitution. And yet there are still some who refuse to admit that this presidency is transformational.

Michael Reagan was equally stroppy about the election results, but took a road less traveled in his desperate search for a scapegoat:
For four years Barack Obama has blamed the Great Recession on [George W. Bush] and used his presidency as his excuse for why the economy is taking so long to get fixed.

And where’s G.W. been? MIA or AWOL, take your pick…

The 2012 campaign was all about “the economy, stupid.” Obama blamed G.W. and Republicans. Plus, he had Clinton and Carter bashing G.W.’s record with their bully sticks every day and countering Romney’s arguments that Obama was to blame.

We should have had G.W. standing up and saying, “This is bull. I’m tired of this. This is what I did or did not do with the economy as president. The real culprits are Dodd & Frank and four years of Obama’s failed policies.”
Nobody with any credibility has ever accused Michael Reagan of being smart, but it's a little stunning that even as witless an observer of current events as Reagan could be unaware of how George W. Bush was swept under the rug by the Republican Party long before Barack Obama was sworn into office. Bully sticks, indeed.

For some fretful scapegoat hunters, however, there's no place like home:
A Mesa woman was arrested [November 10] after she allegedly chased her husband around a Gilbert parking lot in an SUV during an argument over the presidential election.

The woman finally ran over her husband, leaving him with critical injuries.

According to a Gilbert police report, the argument started over her husband's lack of voter participation in the recent election…

Solomon's husband, Daniel Solomon, told police his wife "just hated Obama" and was very angry he was re-elected and blamed the President for problems her family is going through.
But there's taking it hard and then there's taking it really hard, as http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/13/30...rylink=cpy " target="_blank">the late Henry Hamilton did:
A Key West man who told his partner that "if Barack gets re-elected, I'm not going to be around" was found dead on Nov. 8, with the words "F--- Obama!" scrawled on his will and two empty prescription bottles nearby.

Henry Hamilton, 64, owner of Tropical Tan off Duval Street, was "very upset about the election results," his partner Michael Cossey told Police Officer Anna Dykes.
Super Mario doppelganger and chair of the Maine Republican Party, Charlie Webster, didn't kill himself, unfortunately. Instead, he went on TV and angrily blamed the President's garnering of the state's four electoral votes on – gasp!suspicious black people:
"In some parts of rural Maine, there were dozens, dozens of black people who came in and voted on Election Day," he said. "Everybody has a right to vote, but nobody in (these) towns knows anyone who's black. How did that happen? I don't know. We're going to find out."

Webster said he has identified five "pockets" of the state where he has concerns about voting irregularities. He would not identify those areas, but said he plans to mail "Thank You" cards to all of the newly registered voters. If a large number of cards are returned because the addresses are invalid, Webster said, he will know he is on to something.
Within 48 hours, Webster was on the phone to Portland's WSCH again, eager to clarify his remarks ("clarify" being the term conservatives like to use to describe the pathetic flailing around they do after people take offense at the objectionable things they say):
Charlie Webster says he is not a racist, and that he regrets using the words "black people", but he says he feels his comments are being taken out of context. He says his point was that voter fraud occurs in Maine.

"I still believe there are people who vote in Maine who are not residents in some of the towns and that was my point. It wasn't that they were black or Chinese or they were obese, it wasn't like that. It's that if you live in a small town and someone comes in and weighs 400 lbs, you usually know who that person is."
That same day, Webster cranked up the cringe-worthy in an interview with Talking Points Memo:
“There’s nothing about me that would be discriminatory. I know black people. I play basketball every Sunday with a black guy. He’s a great friend of mine. Nobody would ever accuse me of suggesting anything,” he said…

Webster hopes his investigation will settle his concerns.

“One of the things I’d like to do is nip this in the butt (sic) for good, and that’s why at my own expense I will do something after I’m no longer chairman,” Webster said. “I’m sick of hearing about it. Maybe there’s not a problem, maybe there is. I believe there is.”
As it happens, however, Webster won't be nipping any butts:
In a statement issued late Thursday by the Maine Republican Party, Webster said it was “my intention to talk not about race, but about perceived voting irregularities. However, my comments were made without proof of wrongdoing and had the unintended consequence of casting aspersions on an entire group of Americans. For that, I am truly sorry.”

… after the controversy that followed his comments, Webster said Thursday he would not send the postcards.
Webster's term as chair ended on December 1. Where the Maine Republican Party will find someone with feet big enough to fill his clown shoes is anyone's guess.

But Charlie Webster's asshattery hardly begins to illustrate the virulence of the re-election variant of Obama Derangement Syndrome. Within days of the election, maniacs in Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, New York, New Jersey, Alabama, Colorado, Oregon, Georgia, Montana, Florida, Mississippi, North Dakota, North Carolina and Indiana had filed petitions at We the People to have their states secede from the Union. Petitions for all 50 states have since been posted, which begs the question of what these states – were they ever to successfully sever their ties with the nation – would collectively call themselves. The Disunited States of America? The Spoilsport States of America? We're with Stupid?

The Oregon petition, created by a fellow named Kristopher W. Tillamook, is not only a splendid example of the "thought processes" of the secessionistas, but a solid contender for this year's most egregious misuse of apostrophes in pointless furtherance of a lost cause:
With the Federal Govenrment increasing it's size much larger than our Founding Father's intended, and it's abuse of power trumping over the rights of State constitutions, and the forcing of unconstitutional laws over it's own citizens, the people of Oregon would like the chance to vote on leaving the Union immediately. The Federal Government has imposed policies on Oregon that are not in Oregon's best intrests, and we as citizens would respectively and peacably seperate ourselves from a tyranical Government who cares nothing about creating a sustainable future for our children. At any time that the citizens of Oregon felt the Federal Government was no longer imposing on the Constitution we could re-vote to again join the Union under a new agreement.
As of this writing, 14,991 people, untroubled by the petition's linguistic high crimes and misdemeanors, have signed it.

TWO: Laughter is the Best Medicine

Along with all the post-election rancor have come some terrific new opportunities for that perennial soul tonic, laughter. Two instances in particular come to mind.

Charlotte Allen's November 18 op-ed in the Los Angeles Times is one of the stranger artifacts left in the wake of the GOP's election night drubbing. Picture Peggy Noonan on ecstasy and tequila shooters and you're halfway there (an ironic bonus is that Allen even takes a swing at Noonan in the piece). What's Allen's prescription for a party searching for a way out of the wilderness? Sarah Palin. No, seriously:
Palin can more than keep up with the Democrats in appealing to voters' emotions. Hardly anyone could be more blue collar than Palin, out on the fishing boat with her hunky blue-collar husband, Todd. Palin is "View"-ready, she's "Ellen"-ready, she's Kelly-and-Michael-ready.
Yep, nothing says "White House-ready" like being "Kelly-and-Michael-ready," as all political junkies know. Allen doesn't just want to lecture the hoi polloi, though. She also has some advice for the putative party savior she's putting forward:
If she were smart, Palin would recruit a member of her impressive gay fanboy base — yes, she has one — to help run her campaign. I nominate Kevin DuJan of the widely read gay conservative blog HillBuzz, a Palin stalwart since 2008.
If Palin were smart, well, I expect there are many things she might do that she doesn't do now, but never mind. Allen has a lot more wackiness in the pipeline:
Furthermore, looks count in politics, and Palin at age 48, has it all over her possible competition, including Hillary Rodham Clinton, who will be 69 by election day 2016 and who let someone talk her into adopting the flowing blond locks of a college student, making her look like Brunnhilde in a small-town Wagner production. Men love Sarah Palin, and she loves men.
Bring it home, Charlotte, bring it home:
Some Republicans will say Palin has too much baggage from 2008, and we need to look for a new Sarah Palin. But I don't see what's wrong with the one we've got. Ever since the 1990s, Republicans have been looking for the next Ronald Reagan. Reagan is now revered in bipartisan circles, but during his presidency he was, like Palin, ridiculed by liberals. They cited "Bedtime for Bonzo" and sneered at his no-name college degree.

Sarah Palin is the new Ronald Reagan: charming and affable and unwilling to back down if she's right. I can't see what's wrong with that.
No. Evidently you can't. Thanks for the chuckles.

Elsewhere on the post-electoral comedy circuit, we find Dean Chambers, the "brains" behind UnSkewedPolls.com, the website that famously purported to counter essentially every reasonably statistically sound prognostication of Mitt Romney's chances on November 6. The site's "final projection" gave Romney 51% of the popular vote and 275 electoral votes to the President's 263, a "final projection" so comprehensively mistaken even Dick Morris would be ashamed of it. Evidently "unskewed" means something entirely different to Chambers than it does to those of us here on Planet Earth. But the spectacularly wrong anti-Nate Silver pivoted quickly to a new project, which he calls Barack O'Fraudo. While it sounds like it might have something to do with Peter Jackson's forthcoming The Hobbit, it's actually yet another lame Chambers website, this one devoted to how "they" stole the 2012 election.

Chambers believes, or wants you to believe he believes, that the 80 EVs of Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio were pilfered. His evidence? Well, he doesn't really have any, but that's never stopped him before, any more than his lack of web design skills has prevented him overseeing a whole bunch of websites. See you in '16, Dean, for more of your fine unskewing.

THREE: Squirm Limit

It hasn't all been cheap laughs since November 6, though. Arizona progressives were greeted with some grim news recently; Jan Brewer might just decide to stick around:
Brewer recently told the Arizona Republic that she's still thinking about challenging the state constitution to run for a third term.

At a public event on Tuesday Brewer said, "Of course, I've been encouraged from people in the state and elsewhere to at least consider it, but you know, I haven't given it that kind of consideration. I love what I'm doing. I think I could continue…"

The Arizona Constitution limits governors to just two terms in office. But Brewer's lawyers say the law doesn't apply in this case because Brewer took over for Gov. Janet Napolitano in the middle or her second term…

The constitution, however, says even serving part of a term counts.
Enter a most unlikely hero, Ken Bennett, Arizona's notorious birther Secretary of State:
… Bennett said he understands Brewer believes that the two years she spent finishing off Democrat Janet Napolitano's term do not count toward the two-term limit voters mandated in 1992…

Bennett, who was appointed to his post in 2009 when Brewer became governor, said he has not studied the legal arguments about a third term being advanced by Joe Kanefield, the governor's former legal counsel.

"But we read the constitution on its face that any portion of a term counts as a full term," he said. "And both of us will therefore have served two terms by the time the 2014 election occurs."
Gosh. If Brewer decides not to challenge the law, wherever will Arizona Republicans find a worthy successor who can carry her myopic rightwing agenda forward? Well, let's see:
Bennett's interest in Brewer's legal options in 2014 is more than academic: He already has formed an exploratory committee for governor for the 2014 election.
FOUR: Trouble at the Mill

A vivid hint of what Arizonans might experience if Brewer tries to run again was provided by a Serbian village called Zarozje:
Get your garlic, crosses and stakes ready: a bloodsucking vampire is on the loose.

Or so say villagers in the tiny western Serbian hamlet of Zarozje, nestled between lush green mountain slopes and spooky thick forests. They say rumors that a legendary vampire ghost has awakened are spreading fear — and a potential tourist opportunity — through the remote village…

Sava Savanovic, described by the Zarozje villagers as Serbia's first vampire, reputedly drank the blood of those who came to the small shack in the dense oak tree forest to mill their grain on the clear mountain Rogatica River.

The wooden mill collapsed a few months ago — allegedly angering the vampire, who is now looking for a new place to hang his cape.
Which should be a lesson to Arizona, and the other 49 states besides: neglect your infrastructure at your peril.

FIVE: Time Out

Wednesday morning, a day shy of his 92nd birthday, Dave Brubeck succumbed to heart failure in Norwalk, Connecticut, and American music lost a giant.

Here's "Bluette" performed by the "classic" Dave Brubeck Quartet, with Paul Desmond, Eugene Wright and Joe Morello:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoKmh1S6qnc

Thanks for everything, Dave.
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