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Hello Widdershins!

It’s a bananas world out there. Let’s stay on top of it, but let’s also chillax a little with some music. Our theme today is: favorite covers. Sometimes the cover is better than the original! (I think that’s basically true of everything Bob Dylan’s ever written.) Sometimes the cover is different enough that they both work. Sometimes a song’s been covered so many times (Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” must be in the dozens at this point.) So what are some of your favorites? Here are a few of mine. This is not exhaustive and will be amended in the comments!

 

The first show Letterman hosted after 9/11 featured Tori Amos singing Tom Waits’ “Time.”

Boy George and The Pet Shop Boys recorded a brilliant cover of Dave Berry’s “The Crying Game” for the movie of the same name (which was named after the Berry song).

Madonna made a powerful cover of Marvin Gaye’s “I want you” with the British electronic duo Massive Attack.

Sophie B. Hawkins’ magnificent cover of Bob Dylan’s “I want you” (not to be confused with Gaye’s) impressed Dylan himself.

The Civil Wars’ surprising cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” is a work of genius.

Gavin Friday made a wonderfully spooky cover of U2’s “The Fly.”

Adele’s cover of The Cure’s “Lovesong” is wonderful.

A ravishing cover of Queen’s “These Are The Days of Our Lives” by George Michael, Lisa Stansfield and Queen.

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It’s a mess. All of it. The whole damned thing is a disaster. Dump nukes NATO, issues an executive order to fire some judges, nominates a hyper-partisan former Bill Clinton hunter and Bush White House torturer to be the new SCOTUS (which justice Kennedy might have used some unethical backchannel shenanigans to make happen), Roe is on the chopping block, etc. etc. I don’t need to make a full list, you already know. So where the bloody hell is the Democratic leadership? Chuck? Nancy? Bueller? I think we have all been asking this question for a long time. Why are the national Democratic leaders not leading protests and rallies to oppose Trump? Why is Maxine Waters the only member of Congress to seemingly be an avowed member of The Resistance? They may not have the votes to stop him and McConnell/Ryan – but why are they not making any noise to make it seem like they give a damn? It’s demoralizing, yes? I’ve been raging at them for some time, I know you have too. A few days ago The Hoarse Whisperer wrote an interesting thread on twitter that attempted to answer that question. And I think he made a very compelling argument for why Nancy and Chuck are not on TV every day screaming at Trump and McConnell and generally wreaking havoc, and why it may actually be the correct strategy.

The Hoarse Whisperer argued that by placing themselves in front of the camera as “leaders of the Resistance” Chuck and Nancy and Kamala, etc., will make every single election around the country about the Democratic leadership, not about the specific Democratic candidate, and that would be a disaster for Democrats. Imagine San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi every day on TV calling Trump a dumbass. One reason Democrats have managed to flip almost every special election, even in deep red states, is that although Republicans keep trying to tie Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer or Kamala Harris to each candidate, the “establishment” leaders of the party – by staying largely out of the way – allow each candidate to disown them and run on local issues…and then win. (Pelosi actually said recently that she doesn’t care if Democrats like Connor Lamb bashed her as long as they win their elections.) The public thinks their absence a sign of weakness or lack of determination to fight Trump. (It may actually be with Schumer, who is a wuss, but definitely not with Pelosi, who is a legislative warrior.) The public wants to see Pelosi storm the barricades because it will feel like she’s doing something even though legislatively there is nothing she can do at the moment. But in reality all Nancy Pelosi storming barricades would do is make each special election, in every red state, about Nancy Pelosi, the San Francisco liberal. So it’s not a sign of weakness; it is a strategy for Democratic party leaders to stay out of the way and let others be the faces of the Resistance. And the special elections results so far are evidence that the strategy is working.

What do you think about this? I actually was convinced by this argument.

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Another question: this photo of Melanie Trump is from Brussels. Does it look like she had kidney surgery?

And a bit of literature trivia: The Booker Prize is a prestigious British literary award, given each year to an English-language work of fiction published in the UK. To commemorate their 50th anniversary the Bookers decided to create a special award this year, to recognize the best novel out of its past 50 winners. It’s an impressive list made up of Salman Rushdie, William Golding, Hilary Mantel, Kazuo Ishiguro, Margaret Atwood

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Michael Ondaatje

and many other writing geniuses. The judges narrowed the list down to 1 title from each decade and then they let the big words loving public vote on the ultimate winner. And the prize was given to….Michael Ondaatje’s “The English Patient.” I’m sorry to our friend Pat, a former member of our blog, who detested Anthony Minghella’s movie adaptation with every fiber of her body. It’s a shame because I consider it to be one of the top 10 best (English language) movies ever made. And Ondaatje’s novel – quite different from the movie in some key story points, but breathing the same fire in spirit – is truly a masterpiece of words. When I read it I would go back and re-read entire pages because of the beauty of Ondaatje’s language. It is poetry in prose. And the characters he created are magnificent and rich with life. From the title character, the “English” patient – a man who betrayed everything he believed in for a woman he loved; to the young nurse, Hana, who tries to give him comfort in his final days because he reminds her of her loved dead ones and she is desperate to hold on to her memories for as long as she can; to the young Indian sapper Kip, whose life is consumed with finding bombs to diffuse and if he misses one – he knows people will die. “He spends all day searching,” Hana says at one point, “and at night he only wants to be found.” One of the most beautiful passages in the book – read in its entirety in the movie – is from a journal the Patient’s beloved, Katharine, left behind in a cave where she died alone.

My darling, I’m waiting for you — how long is a day in the dark, or a week? The fire is gone now, and I’m horribly cold. I really ought to drag myself outside but then there would be the sun. . . I’m afraid I waste the light on the paintings and on writing these words. We die, we die rich with lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have entered and swum up like rivers, fears we have hidden in, like this wretched cave. I want all this marked in my body. We are the real countries, not the boundaries drawn on maps with the names of powerful men. I know you will come and carry me out into the palace of winds. That’s all I’ve wanted — to walk in such a place with you, with friends, on earth without maps. The lamp is gone now, and I’m writing in the darkness.

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It will be here sooner than we think. Trump announcing his pick to replace Justice “I really don’t care, do you?” Kennedy on the Supreme Court. McConnell says he wants to schedule hearings in September. I suspect the process will be quick. McConnell wants this victory as much as Trump does. The ongoing degradation of America and a functioning government by Mitch McConnell is, well, ongoing and will keep going until he’s all dead. There’s nothing really Democrats can do to stop him. There are no secret rules that they can whip out. Josh Marshall published a letter he received outlining the danger of Trump’s pick, dangers outside of Roe v. Wade and whatever other established laws Republicans want to kill. The danger is Mueller’s investigation. I’ll just link to the article and you should read it in its entirety (it’s not very long.)

I think the only two options Democrats have going forward are 1) change the number of justice on the Court and pack it with liberals and 2) impeach and remove the justices Trump appointed because an illegitimate and criminal President should not appoint anyone. Of course chances of Democrats doing that are about negative 100%. They are always civil to Republicans. (Far more civil to Republicans than they are to fellow Democrats.) So what does it mean for the future? Does anyone know a really good psychic??

MadamaB is busy with her move (post move actually), work and is also sick! So this is an open thread (as always.)

 

Yesterday, Wednesday, June 27, 2018 was a bad day. A very bad day. A shitty fucking day. I can’t even begin to process the news about Justice Kennedy’s resignation. And yet – why are we surprised? We knew he was ready to go. Supreme Court vacancies were on the ballot in 2016. We talked about it. Hillary Clinton talked about it. Some of us considered that to be a really big deal. And others did not. Others dismissed our concerns as hysterics and fear mongering. We all know who they were: Bernie and Jill Stein voters. I know some of them personally. I got yelled at repeatedly for fear mongering. Funny enough, I got yelled at yesterday on Facebook for the same thing. A former colleague I haven’t seen in about 10 years declared that I was toxic by posting so much negative news, that no doubt I thrive on all the bad stuff and he was unfollowing me because I was making him anxious. He then sent me a private message reiterating his position. I told him to fuck off and then blocked him. It’s interesting to see this come full circle.

Some smart people with big platforms really thought Trump wasn’t going to be that bad.

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Lizza and Hayes were far from alone from holding those positions. And I’m yet to see any person in the media come out and say: “You know what? I was actually wrong, I fucked up, holy shit, I’m sorry.” Not one. Each and every person either defends their position (see the entire NY Times political desk, plus…well, everyone everywhere actually.) Those that don’t defend their positions pretend they never held them (like Chris Hayes; he doesn’t think Trumps left of Hillary on anything, but he doesn’t acknowledge entertaining that thought in the past.)

I am worried about the fallout from this. McConnell has already said he wants to vote on this in early autumn. Remember he earlier cancelled August recess. (Question to ponder: did McTurtle know about Kennedy’s retirement and cancel the August recess for this reason?) I’m worried about what Democrats will and will not do about it. Truthfully, there’s nothing they can do. There are no hidden levers of power they are not pulling. They are sitting ducks. But I hope at the very least they make a stink of such intensity that people will talk about it in history books. That’s what we need, it’s what the electoral wants. I’m not convinced Schumer and Pelosi understand that. Certainly Schumer has shown himself to be too weak and accommodating in these Trump times to inspire any confidence. Pelosi is a better fighter, but both she and Schumer just threw Maxine Waters under the bus because of “civility.” That tells me we have a lot to worry about. Since our Democrat leaders still consider “civility” to be so important, do we really expect that they will wreak havoc in Congress? They can’t block McConnell – but it doesn’t mean they must roll over and be civil about it. We are living through time of pure, raw political power. Republicans made that. Somehow Democrats still haven’t recognized this reality.

One reporter tweeted that he ran around Congress trying to get Republicans to comment on their desire to overturn Roe v. Wade with the new Justice and he said not one Republican would talk about it. Each one downplayed the significance of Roe v. Wade, if they agreed to discuss it at all. This is clearly coordinated. Republicans will vote to confirm whatever right wing nut job Trump nominates because they want to fulfill their lifelong dream of overturning Roe v. Wade. But they don’t want to talk about it. Our last hope rests on Collins and Murkowski. Collins said she supports Roe v. Wade and considers it settled law, but she has lied to us on ACA before. Murkowski also says she supports Roe v. Wade, but it’s only one of many considerations. So, our last hope is most likely fool’s hope.

Our last last hope is that if Democrats ever retake control of Congress and the Presidency, they might increase the number of justices to re-balance the court. They should do this. I’m afraid that they will not. We will just live with what we have for generations. And everything is on the table: from Roe. v. Wade to gay marriage to Trump prosecution. Where we go from here…

Speechless

Posted on: June 21, 2018

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I have spent the last 2 days thinking about what the subject of my weekly post here would be. Honestly – I’m just at a loss for words. The revelations about the concentration camps Donald Trump is building for children – including babies – just kind of takes my breath away and leaves me speechless. Over the last couple of years, as we have watched Trump rise, many of us began comparing him to the Nazis, seeing parallels between his rise to power and Hitler’s. There are many who really believe in Godwin’s law that comparisons to Hitler are inevitable and once you compare someone to Hitler you’ve lost the argument. Except we’ve now jumped the shark and even Mike Godwin himself has cancelled his own law. “By all means, compare these shitheads to Nazis. Again and again. I’m with you,” he tweeted in August 2017. I don’t think you need to have millions of people burn in ovens before you say: “You know, maybe it’s not too early to call them Nazis.” As awful as Trump has been, I just was not ready for “concentration camps for babies” awful. Though it should be noted Hillary Clinton warned us about that too: in one of the debates she said Trump intended to take children away from their parents. But who would believe such a thing was possible! All the pundits who laughed at Hillary, called her “over prepared,” and openly shilled for Trump are now dismayed that Trump would do such a thing. Well, she tried to tell you. When Hillary said “I’m the last thing standing between you and the apocalypse” – perhaps the hyperbole wasn’t that big.

So here we are, with baby concentration camps courtesy of Donald Trump. Kirstjen Nielsen, who was at the center of Dubya’s catastrophic Katrina response, has thrown herself into this with body and soul. Trump will wrap this disaster around her neck and throw her overboard soon. She will be the latest casualty of Trump’s magical ability to grind people and their reputations into dust. People like Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, General MacMaster, Rex Tillerson, James Comey, etc. etc. Don’t feel bad for them. Each and every one was a willing participant in this charade. So it will be with Kirstjen Nielsen when Trump blames her for everything and fires her. The disgraced secretary who had no idea most people in Sweden were white will crawl away licking her wounds and not peep a bad word against Trump. And let her crawl away all the way into hell. I am not a religious man, but times like these make me hope there is, in fact, a God who damns evildoers to hell. Because that’s where people like Donald Trump and Kirstjen Nielsen belong: in the fires of hell, for all eternity, amen.

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When SCOTUS handed down their ruling in “The Baker” case on June 4, it was argued by apologists that the ruling was not intended to be viewed broadly as a referendum on gay rights. Perhaps some of the justices (Kagan voted with the majority) intended their ruling to be applied narrowly, specific to the Masterpiece Bakery case only and not to any other business and not to LGBTQ+ rights broadly. But if they truly believed that their decision would be viewed as narrowly as they claim they intended it – I’d like to sell Justice Kagan a bridge.

On June 5 a CrossFit gym in Indianapolis called CrossFit Infiltrate cancelled a previously planned special workout in honor of Pride Month. As a member of the CrossFit community for close to 6 years this case interested me greatly. This special workout in honor of Pride Month isn’t especially special. Every CrossFit affiliate hosts these sort of workouts for any occasion they decide on. At my CrossFit we occasionally do them for departing long-time members, big holidays (like Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas, New Year), fundraiser workouts like breast cancer or bone marrow donor drives. The most famous CrossFit workout is done on Memorial Day when all US based CrossFits do the Murph, a grueling workout named after a fallen Navy Seal Michael Murphy. (Subject of the movie “Lone Survivor.”) So on memorial day everybody runs 1 mile, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats, run 1 mile to honor Murphy and all others who have served in the armed forces. If you really want to do this right you are supposed to wear a 20 lbs vest through the ordeal (the weight of the backpacks Marines wear.) And yes, many CrossFits will do special workouts for Pride because it’s a good reason to play an hour of Madonna and ABBA, and wear colorful outfits. But truly, it really isn’t that special because these things can be done for many occasions and often are just an excuse to go out drinking afterwards.

So when coaching staff and members of CrossFit Infiltrate scheduled a Pride workout they couldn’t have expected controversy. But controversy arrived on June 5 (the day after SCOTUS’ Masterpiece Bakery decision): the owners of the gym wrote in a letter:

Our underlying goal for the staff and members at CrossFit Infiltrate and our other gyms CrossFit White River and University Ave CrossFit, is total health and well-being for the individual and the community. Total health involves the body, the emotions, relationships, and the spirit. At the foundational detractor from health, as we believe God sets the parameters for, is pride. We believe that true health forever can only be found within humility, not pride. Humility is seeing oneself as they truly are, and as God truly defines them to be. As a business we will choose to deploy our resources towards those efforts and causes that line up with our own values and beliefs.

Do you think the SCOTUS decision the day before had something to do with it? I think so, yes. What followed was a social media nuclear explosion. It led to the coaching staff to quit and many members to cancel their memberships in protest. The owners announced they would close the gym.

But it wasn’t over. On June 6 a name familiar to all CrossFitters came to Infiltrate’s defense. Russell Berger is an owner of a CrossFit gym in Huntsville, Alabama. He works for CrossFit headquarters as its spokesman and attack dog. He is notorious for going after and verbally attacking and humiliating anyone who dares to criticize CrossFit. He has a talent for vicious insults. Naturally, he is a deeply religious Orthodox Christian and pastor in a church, as well as a former Marine. Berger decided to wade into the controversy by tweeting in support of Infiltrate.

As someone who personally believes celebrating ‘pride’ is a sin, I’d like to personally encourage #CrossFitInfiltrate for standing by their convictions and refusing to host an @indypride workout. The intolerance of the LGBTQ ideology toward any alternative views is mind-blowing.

I tweeted back at him almost immediately, asking if his statement was the official position of CrossFit headquarters and founder and CEO Greg Glassman. I also tagged about a dozen well-known CrossFit athletes to get their take. Berger responded to me, accusing me of being a bully and an authoritarian by silencing his differing beliefs. “The tactics of some in the LGBTQ movement toward dissent is an existential threat to freedom of expression.”

This is the most common right-wing trope these days: they call for discrimination and attack a group of people, and when people fight back they accuse this group of being bullies and silencing the poor, suffering white heterosexual Christians. Berger and I went back and forth a few times. Others dove in as well. Berger dug in and reiterated his opposition to the sinful lifestyle and that anyone arguing with him was a fascist.

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Through it all many members of the CrossFit community waited for a response from HQ and founder/CEO Greg Glassman personally. Finally HQ tweeted that Berger’s statements do not reflect the values of the company and they have placed him on unpaid leave while they investigate and Glassman released a statement: “I am crazy proud of the gay community in CrossFit.” Glassman also told Buzzfeed that he was appalled by Berger’s comments and:

“He needs to take a big dose of ‘shut the fuck up’ and hide out for awhile. It’s sad,” Glassman said in an interview. “We do so much good work with such pure hearts — to have some zealot in his off-time do something this stupid, we’re all upset. The whole company is upset. This changes his standing with us. What that looks like, I don’t know. It’s so unfortunate.”

Berger’s tweets were deleted. But soon HQ announced that Berger was fired. Eric Erickson – who does not CrossFit, but who did attend seminary school with Berger – came to Berger’s defense and attacked homosexuals and liberals in general. I told Erickson to “eat a bag of rat assholes.”

But don’t feel too bad for Berger. I have no doubt he will become a pariah and will go on a speaking tour to talk about how badly he was treated by those horrible, mean, prideful, sinning homosexuals.

“It became way too difficult to discern between me making statements of personal opinion, and me speaking as a voice for CrossFit,” he said.

He said that he should have anticipated that his comments would be interpreted as him speaking on behalf of CrossFit. “I should have realized that, and I didn’t until it was too late,” he said. “I do regret it.”

But, he added, he stands by his original sentiment: “My actual point I was making, I still affirm it.”

I am glad to say as the controversy broke the owner of my CrossFit Hell’s Kitchen posted on instagram:

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A few years ago we had a float in New York’s Pride March. It really was an extraordinary afternoon; one of the most memorable days of my life. That’s our heterosexual owner on the left looking at the camera. Allies are important.

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Happy Pride Month! This is an open thread.

MLOTUS

Posted on: May 31, 2018

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Good morning Widdershins,

This will be a brief post, work is keeping me busy. Our threads are, as always, open and we will try to keep up with the latest news.

The burning question of the week (more important than what the fuck happened in Puerto Rico?) is:

Where in the world is Melanie Trump? Since she ended up in a hospital with kidney problems, and a procedure I’m told is an outpatient type of deal that kept her in the hospital for 5 days, she hasn’t been seen since May 10th.

Asked about the first lady’s health before he boarded the presidential helicopter on the South Lawn, Trump pointed to the second floor of the White House and said: “She’s doing great. Right there. She’s doing great. She’s looking at us, right there.”

Despite Trump’s assurances, reporters didn’t see any sign of the first lady watching from above.

Earlier today Melania tweeted a tweet no one believed was written by her. People found many Trump tweets with the words “working overtime” in them however, so it looks like Trump now has Melania’s phone.

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Now, if Hillary Clinton had disappeared from the White House under such mysterious circumstances you can be certain the entire press corps would have been hounding the administration about it. They would have parked on the front lawn demanding to see her. But with Melania’s bizarre disappearance, they see it as a minor curiosity. Those wunderkinds at the NY Times with their amazing access don’t seem to have a clue either. Or – maybe – they are just choosing to help with the cover-up to keep their access. So what do you think? Did Melania run away with the butler? Is she cooperating with Mueller? Did she get a face lift? Is she in witness protection? Donde Melanie?

This is an open thread.


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Blog Archive

July 2018
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Kellyanne Conway’s new job

Take the kids to work? NO!

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph

“The” Book

Nice picture of our gal

Time till the Grifter in Chief is Gone

Hopefully soonerJanuary 21st, 2021
2.5 years to go.

Mueller Time!

Wise Words from Paul Ryan

B-I-N-G-O!

Only the *best* politicans bought by the NRA

Marching for their lives

Perfect Picture

Rudy: oh shit the pee tape IS real!

Need Reminders?

Never too early to shop for Christmas

“Look this way”

Manafort’s Jail Photo

Indeed who?

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