Tag: Uncategorized

I Don’t Care that He Has Cancer, Just Fire Him

Biden Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo crossed some very bright red lines in his objection to reporting on his personal relationship with Axios political reporter Alexi McCammond.

The bullying and misogyny shown against Politico reporter Tara Palmeri* is completely beyond the pale.

Threatening to “destroy” her and saying that she was acting out of jealousy because of some man that Palmeri, “Wanted to F%$#” is grounds for firing, particularly for someone whose title has the words “Press Secretary” in it.

Also, quite frankly, even with his stage 4 lung cancer diagnosis, the Biden administration cannot let this slide:

A White House official tried to quash a story about his relationship with a reporter by issuing threats and using derogatory language to another reporter pursuing it, according to two sources familiar with the incident. In a sympathetic profile Monday, People revealed that White House Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo is dating Axios political reporter Alexi McCammond, who covered the Joe Biden campaign. But behind the scenes, Ducklo had previously lashed out at Politico reporter Tara Palmeri, who was reporting the story, exhibiting behavior that led to tense meetings between the Washington news outlet’s editors and senior White House officials.

After Vanity Fair published this account, the White House announced that Ducklo would be suspended for one week.

The confrontation began on Inauguration Day, January 20, after Palmeri, a coauthor of Politico’s Playbook, contacted McCammond for comment while one of her male colleagues left a message for Ducklo, according to the sources. Ducklo subsequently called a Playbook editor to object to the story, but was told to call the Playbook reporters with his concerns. But instead of calling the male reporter who initially contacted him, Ducklo tried to intimidate Palmeri by phone in an effort to kill the story. “I will destroy you,” Ducklo told her, according to the sources, adding that he would ruin her reputation if she published it.

During the off-the-record call, Ducklo made derogatory and misogynistic comments, accusing Palmeri of only reporting on his relationship—which, due to the ethics questions that factor into the relationship between a journalist and White House official, falls under the purview of her reporting beat—because she was “jealous” that an unidentified man in the past had “wanted to fuck” McCammond “and not you.” Ducklo also accused Palmeri of being “jealous” of his relationship with McCammond. (Palmeri had no prior relationship or communication with McCammond before calling her to report on the Playbook item, which was a story that she was assigned and had not independently pursued.)


Palmeri declined to comment. Psaki and Ducklo did not immediately respond to requests for comment. After publication, Psaki issued a statement: “TJ Ducklo has apologized to the reporter, with whom he had a heated conversation about his personal life. He is the first to acknowledge this is not the standard of behavior set out by the President. In addition to his initial apology, he has sent the reporter a personal note expressing his profound regret. With the approval of the White House Chief of Staff, he has been placed on a one-week suspension without pay. In addition, when he returns, he will no longer be assigned to work with any reporters at Politico.”


Ducklo’s alleged response to Politico’s reporting raises serious questions about behavior that is tolerated in the Biden White House. “I am not joking when I say this: If you are ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot. No ifs, ands, or buts,” Biden said during a virtual swearing-in of appointees on his first day in the White House. Playbook highlighted those remarks on January 21 under the heading “Biden Sets Standard for Professional Behavior,” and asked, “Serious question on our minds this morning: Does this standard apply to how mid-level press aides treat reporters?”

What to do here is very simple.  You fire him.

I understand that you want to do right by him, he has been a good soldier, and he has stage 4 lung cancer that has metastasized, but as a matter of integrity, this is a promise that Biden should keep.

As a matter of tactics, he is toxic for the next few years anyway.

If you want to thread the needle, and he is getting cancer treatment, promise to keep covering his insurance.

As an aside, with Medicare for All, this would not be a problem.

*I never thought that I would have to defend a reporter from Tiger Beat on the Potomac. (TBOTP)

Not Sure What to Say About This Passing

Larry Flynt, the publisher of Hustler magazine, has died at 78.

A self described, “Smut peddler and 1st Amendment activist,” he was profoundly sleazy, but a significant part of the judicial precedent on free speech.

Also, where the rubber met the road, he had integrity, arguing against the execution of the man who shot and paralyzed him, and famously offered a million dollar bounty on sexual misconduct of members of Congress.

I have mixed emotions about him.

Oh, Yeah, Before I Forget

Trump’s Crack Impeachment Lawyers Misspelled ‘United States’—Again

Former President Trump’s legal team seems to think proofreading is overrated. 

Hardly a week after submitting a legal brief for Trump’s looming Senate impeachment trial that misspelled the words “United States,” they made exactly the same blunder again on Monday in the pre-trial brief laying out their defense.

The 78-page brief referred to the country Trump used to lead as the “Unites States” on page 7. While falling short of perfect, the misstep still marked something of an improvement from their last go, when the team screwed up the name of the country twice, including on the first page.

“President’s Trump speech on January 6, 2021, was not an act encouraging an organized movement to overthrow the Unites States government,” the new document reads.

This is so surreal that Salvador Dali is shaking his head.

Amazon Union Vote in Alabama Proceeds

Despite Amazon’s calls for a delay, and in person voting, the NLRB has ruled that the vote to unionize its Bessemer, Alabama warehouse is beginning now via mail.

Truth be told, Alabama is one of the least union friendly states in the nation, both by law and by culture, but it appears that Jeff Bezos and his merry band of psychopaths have been awful enough for long enough that there is a decent chance that the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) will win this.

Of course, even if they do, I expect Amazon to keep this in court for years: 

It might be the most tracked shipment in Amazon history: 5,800 mail ballots are being sent out to the union-eligible workers at Amazon’s Bessemer, Alabama, fulfillment center on Monday. In the coming weeks they’ll be used to decide the largest US union election at the 26-year-old company, the country’s second-largest employer. It’s an unlikely vote, coming from an unlikely site, but if the labor organizers win, the Bessemer warehouse, not yet a year old, will become the country’s first unionized Amazon facility and potentially a bellwether for the industry nationwide.

Alabama isn’t exactly known as a hotbed of labor organizing; it’s a right-to-work state with a union membership rate of 8 percent, nearly three points below the national average (itself near an all-time low). The Birmingham suburb of Bessemer, however, has a deep history of strong unions that haven’t been shy about striking. The Amazon facility sits atop land once owned by US Steel, a major employer in the region until the industry’s decline in the latter half of the 20th century. Workers at the mills there belonged to United Steelworkers, the largest industrial union in North America.

These days, the state is home to 12,000-plus poultry workers represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. When the pandemic hit, the RWDSU became a regular feature of local news reports about the safety protections it won for its workers. The group from Amazon who first contacted the RWDSU over the summer included workers who had been union members at previous jobs; some had friends and family in the RWDSU. “I truly believe that if we win,” says Joshua Brewer, an RWDSU organizer in Alabama who’s working on the Bessemer campaign, “it will be because grandparents and uncles and parents talked to these young folks who work out here and said, this helped me, and it’s a good thing.”

Employees at Amazon fulfillment centers are tasked with retrieving products from miles of shelves and quickly packing them into boxes that eventually make their way to customers’ doors. Part of the job stress, workers say, stems from the company’s highly automated tracking system. Cameras blanket the warehouses, and the company’s Time Off Task (TOT) system tracks every second workers aren’t picking, packing, and stowing to meet quotas, or “make rate.” Too much TOT is grounds for termination. Workers fear that if a family member falls ill or some bad lunch meat necessitates extra bathroom breaks, that could be it for their job. Human frailty seems “like a kink in their system,” says Brewer. Grievance procedures, which would allow workers due process and union representation in responding to discipline, rank high on workers’ list of demands, as do more frequent, scheduled rest periods.

I really hope that they win, but Amazon is going to the wall over this, so I am pessimistic.

16 Tons

Musical Accompaniment

Legislators in Nevada are proposing legislation to allow tech companies to create their own company owned towns

Needless to say, the morons suggesting this needs to read up the history, or at least listen to the damned song.

It’s like they looked at the New Hampshire Town that went libertarian and was infested by bears, and said, “Here, hold my beer”.

If you’ve got enough money, acres upon acres of undeveloped land and an “innovative technology,” you soon could form a new local government in Nevada.


According to a draft of the proposed legislation, obtained by the Review-Journal but not yet introduced in the Legislature, Innovation Zones would allow tech companies like Blockchains, LLC to effectively form separate local governments in Nevada, governments that would carry the same authority as a county, including the ability to impose taxes, form school districts and justice courts and provide government services, to name a few duties.

Sisolak pitched the concept in his State of the State address as his plan to bring in new companies that are at the forefront of “groundbreaking technologies,” all without the use of tax abatements or other publicly funded incentive packages that had previously helped Nevada bring companies like Tesla to the state.

During his speech last month, Sisolak specifically named Blockchains, LLC as a company that had committed to developing a “smart city” in the area east of Reno that would run entirely on blockchain technology, once the legislation passes.

Run a f%$#ing city on blockchain?

Yeah, like that is going to end well.

Even without the dubious history of the company town.


The draft language of the proposal says that the traditional local government model is “inadequate alone to provide the flexibility and resources conducive to making the State a leader in attracting and retaining new forms and types of businesses and fostering economic development in emerging technologies and innovative industries.”

It adds that this “alternative form of local government” is needed to aid economic development within the state.

Yes, by all means, let the grifters from block chain and the like dictate the form of government.

Given the dubious history of company towns, and the fact that their test case is for a company that doesn’t actually make anything (blockchain, seriously), does not bode well.

You Cannot Blog Without Memes

The Original

The Final Frontier


Bernie Sanders showed up at the inaugeration as ……… well ……… Bernie Sanders, in a coat and mittens that he has worn for quite some time and a high order meme detonation occurred:

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is a fierce advocate of fair wages and a former presidential candidate who lost the Democratic nomination to now-President Biden. And thanks to his practical clothing choices he is also now the center of a seemingly endless flood of altered pictures that dominated some corners of the internet in the hours after Mr. Biden’s socially distanced inauguration on Wednesday.

Amid the dark suits and bright coats dotting the Capitol steps, Mr. Sanders was photographed sitting masked, cross-legged and bundled up in a bulky coat and mittens against the frigid weather in Washington, D.C. Soon after, the image, taken by the photographer Brendan Smialowski for Getty Images, began to circulate on social media inserted into a wide array of photographs and scenes from movies and artworks.

On a day all about Mr. Biden, it was in some ways appropriate that Mr. Sanders, whose strongest political support in the presidential race came from young voters, would nonetheless be the star of the day’s biggest meme by doing nothing but sitting and crossing his arms. In their primary competition, Mr. Sanders enjoyed a significantly larger online following than Mr. Biden, especially among those who often communicate through memes.

Though other memes starring Mr. Sanders were often used to say something — he wore what appears to be the same coat in a 2019 fund-raising video in which he is “once again asking for your financial support,” a line that has been repurposed in a litany of ways — there was no such deeper meaning to the newest meme. Instead of using his image to make an argument, he was simply placed into new contexts, with his pose, outfit and expression themselves serving as the joke.

Just a quick note, if you think that those mittens are fabulous, and they are, don’t contact the teacher who made them as a gift asking for some, she has a day job.

BuzzFeed News reported that Mr. Sanders got his mittens from Jen Ellis, a second-grade teacher in Essex Junction, Vt., who made gloves on the side. She said she sent him a pair after he lost a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.

Ms. Ellis tweeted that the mittens were made from repurposed wool and lined with fleece.

In an interview with CBS, Mr. Sanders laughed off the attention.

“In Vermont, we dress, we know something about the cold,” he told Gayle King. “And we’re not so concerned about good fashion. We just want to keep warm. And that’s what I did today.”

The reason that  this meme has exploded is because, as Bradley Whitford notes, “They know he would have worn exactly the same thing if he had won the presidency. “

Good Bye 2020

2020, What the F%$#

So, 2020 is over.

Thank whatever deity that you worship, or not, as is your preference, that you have made it through a thoroughly bad year.

It’s not the worst year, 1346-1353 has us thoroughly beat, as does 1914-1918, 1939-1945, 1520 in the Americas, 536, and probably a few others that I’ve missed.

Still, 2020 sucked, and I’m hoping that 2021 will be a smidgen better, but I’m not optimistic.

Still, I am glad to have this year over.

Tweet of the Day

My boyfriend got his covid vaccine yesterday and I can tell you the most prominent side effect is the inability to shut up about getting the covid vaccine

— Emaperidol (@Emaperidol) December 16, 2020

As amusing as this is, it is made perfect by this response:

Vegans, cross fitters, and now vaccine recipients 🤦🏼 we will never hear the end of it.

— Mistah Mugatu (@j_melancon) December 17, 2020

This is truer than taxes.

Not a Good Thing to Do on Bail

Steve Bannon, conservative activist and under-bridge troll, is out on bail following being charged with fraud.

Well now, his legal team has quit after he publicly announced that he wanted to behead Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI directory Christopher Wray.

First, public death threats against government officials is never a good look, and this goes double when you are on bail, and your behavior can justify a judge to revoke bail.

Really stupid, and I really hope that the judge takes umbrage at his behavior:

Stephen K. Bannon, the former adviser to President Trump who is known for his right-wing extremism, suggested on Thursday that the F.B.I. director and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci should be beheaded, and Twitter responded by banning one of his accounts.

On Friday, a prominent lawyer who was defending Mr. Bannon against fraud charges in federal court in Manhattan abruptly moved to drop him as a client, one person familiar with the matter said.

“Mr. Bannon is in the process of retaining new counsel,” the lawyer, William A. Burck, said in a brief letter to the court, giving no explanation.


The loss of his white-shoe representation was just the latest setback for Mr. Bannon, 66, who has struggled for political relevance since losing his job at the White House eight months after Mr. Trump’s inauguration.


Since August, Mr. Bannon has been fighting the criminal charges lodged against him by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, the case in which Mr. Burck has been his lawyer.

Mr. Bannon was arrested on charges of defrauding donors to a campaign to privately fund a wall on the United States’ border with Mexico, one of Mr. Trump’s signature political promises.


The video showed Mr. Bannon calling for violence against Dr. Fauci, the government’s top infectious diseases specialist, and Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director. Both officials have become targets of pro-Trump pundits who accuse them of undermining the president.

Mr. Bannon, in his comments, invoked punishment from the medieval era.

“I’d actually like to go back to the old times of Tudor England,” Mr. Bannon said. “I’d put the heads on pikes, right? I’d put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats: You either get with the program or you’re gone.”


Mr. Burck gave no reasons for seeking to sever ties with Mr. Bannon in the two-paragraph letter he submitted on Friday to the judge, Analisa Torres of Federal District Court, who must approve a change in lawyers.

Stephen Gillers, a legal ethics expert at New York University School of Law, said speaking generally, “Lawyers will withdraw when a client’s behavior sabotages the lawyer’s work on the client’s behalf.”

In a just world, he’d be in lockup already, but he’s rich, and white, so probably nothing will happen.

Who Would Have Him?

Trump has been saying that he might leave the country if he loses the election.

This raises an obvious question:  When is revealed to be both a criminal and broke, and this is clearly the endgame, who would actually not just put his sorry ass back on the the next plane to the Southern District of New York?

There are doubtless some tin-pot dictators out there who would be inclined to host him for ideological reasons, but the costs, both in terms of domestic unrest and foreign pressure.

I’m wondering what the over and under is on Trump ending up in prison.

Well, That was Quick

They just can’t resist stepping their own dicks to kowtow to the rich:

Democrats are backing away from vows to reverse President Trump’s tax cuts if they take control of the Senate and White House.

Senate Democrats had suggested they could move quickly on the issue, but now say they are likely to delay stand-alone tax legislation if Democratic nominee Joe Biden is elected president and their party controls the House and Senate.


Democrats realize they need to tread carefully on taxes and the economy. While Biden is leading Trump in the national polls, voters still give Trump higher marks on handling the economy.

There are also divisions among Democrats over how far to go with taxes on corporations and the wealthy, which makes it difficult to move quickly on the issue.

The Blue Dogs, the New Dems, and the rest of their “Third Way” fellow travelers want to make sure that they can continue to deliver inequality and corruption for their corporate and moneybags clients.

“I think we ought to make the decision when we have a better sense of where the economy is going,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who added “there’s an element of truth” to the argument that policymakers shouldn’t raise taxes during a recession.

My second cousin once removed being a classic example of this.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee and one of Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) closest allies, said she has “no idea” when Democrats would move a tax package next year if they win control of the White House and the Senate.


“I’m sure a tax piece will be in there somewhere, but No. 1 priority will be COVID,” she added.

That means never, at least not in a meaningful way.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said Democrats will need to “balance” the need to raise revenues with the overall health of the economy, which has slowed dramatically as a result of the pandemic.

Also, never.


Some Democrats are pushing for ratcheting up taxes on millionaires and billionaires immediately if their party wins big in November.

Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America, a liberal political action committee, said waiting to raise taxes on the rich is a “terrible idea.”


Progressive leaders such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are pushing for a wealth tax, but Schumer is more focused on lifting the cap on deductions for state and local taxes (SALT), a top priority in New York and other states with high costs of living.

Schumer is pushing for tax relief to the already very well off.


Biden’s tax plan does not include a wealth tax. Instead, he would raise revenue by raising the top income tax rate on individuals from 37 percent to 39.6 percent, subject earnings over $400,000 to Social Security payroll taxes, and tax capital gains at the same rate as other income for people who earn more than $1 million.

Half measures.

The between the corporate Democrats, and the relentless hippie punching against anyone who wants to help ordinary folks, seems almost calculated to demoralize the base.

It’s Primary Night

Actually primary morning, because I was (and still am) waiting for some results.

Despite a significant amount of Democratic Party money, Kris Kobach lost the Republican Party primary for Senate.

Dems figured that Kobach would be the weaker candidate, because his immigration hysteria based snake oil show has clearly passed its “Sell by date”, as evidenced by his continuous failures both as Kansas Secretary of State and as a part of Trump’s voting commision.

The Justice Democrats racked up another scalp as Cori Bush upset incumbent Lacy Clay.

That seat had been in the Clay family since his dad first won the seat in 1968.

Finally, in the race for the House in MI-14, Rashida Tlaib, one of the 4 members of the, “Squad,” is leading by a roughly 2:1 margin but only about  15% of precincts have reported, so it’s still up in the air.


It’s been called, and Tlaib walked away with it.

About F%$#ing Time

As a Mississippi senator, John C. Stennis signed the infamous “Southern Manifesto” decrying integration. He fought black equality in the Navy and, as a prosecutor, sought execution for three black men who’d been tortured into confessing.

For several decades, his name has graced an aircraft carrier currently based in Norfolk — the only senator to have that honor.

Now, amid a national reckoning over America’s racist roots, some are pushing for that to change.

“Today’s sailors, Marines, and officers should not have to make the psychologically damaging choice of speaking up or serving in silence in a vessel named for an ardent segregationist and white supremacist, who condoned beating the skin off black people until they either confessed or died,” retired Lt. Cmdr. Reuben Keith Green wrote in a recent piece for the U.S. Naval Institute. “It is incompatible with American values and the recent directives from the Navy to expect for them to have to do so.”

This is why the military should be prohibited from naming anything after anyone until they have been dead for at least a decade.

Bumpy Employment Ride

The US gained back 4.8 million jobs in June.

BUT there’s a big asterisk. Take a look at the chart below. The Labor Department’s jobs survey were done in mid-June just before the big surge in covid-19 cases.https://t.co/48xohZeGGl h/t @andrewvandam pic.twitter.com/TvxxTF2yCT

— Heather Long (@byHeatherLong) July 2, 2020

The Scariest Jobs Chart Ever

It’s Thursday, which means that initial jobless claims for last week has has been released, and because the first Friday of July is a holiday, they also released the Kraken June unemployment rate.

Unemployment (U3) fell to 11.1%, though the more expansive (and IMHO more accurate) U6 measure remained above 18%.

Unemployment over 10% is catastrophic, and the weekly job losses of 1.4 million would have been considered apocalyptic in pre-2020 days, though they are a significant improvement over what has been going on since March.

It should also be noted that the week that was used for the unemployment sample, it’s always the week containing the 12th almost surgically cuts off before the explosion of Covid-19 cases:

The U.S. economy added a record 4.8 million jobs in June, according to federal data released Thursday, but a surge in new infections and a spate of new closings threatens the nascent recovery.

Two key federal measurements showed the precarious place the economy finds itself in three and a half months into the pandemic as the country struggles to hire back the more than 20 million workers who lost their jobs in March and April.

While companies have continued to reopen, a large number of Americans are finding their jobs are no longer available. The unemployment rate in June was 11.1 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said, down from a peak of 14.7 percent in April but still far above the 3.5 percent level notched in February.

And another 1.4 million Americans applied for unemployment insurance for the first time last week and more than 19 million people are still receiving unemployment benefits, stubbornly high levels that show how many people are struggling to find or keep work.

The Congressional Budget Office on Thursday said the coronavirus pandemic gave such a shock to the labor market that it would not fully recover for more than 10 years. 

The economy is still in a dire condition, with the only good news being that the continuing cratering in hotel occupancy is likely to destroy Trump’s highly leveraged hotel empire.

Firefox Just Gave the Fox the Keys to the Henhouse

Specifically, they have approved Comcast as the default DNS over HTTPS provider for customers of that ISP, which means that the Comcast will be collectiing and reselling of information to advertisers, pedophiles, and serial killers.

This was exactly what DNS over HTTPS was supposed to prevent.

Comcast has agreed to be the first home broadband internet provider to handle secure DNS-over-HTTPS queries for Firefox browser users in the US, Mozilla has announced.

This means the ISP, which has joined Moz’s Trusted Recursive Resolver (TRR) Program, will perform domain-name-to-IP-address lookups for subscribers using Firefox via encrypted HTTPS channels. That prevents network eavesdroppers from snooping on DNS queries or meddling with them to redirect connections to malicious webpages.


At some point in the near future, Firefox users subscribed to Comcast will use the ISP’s DNS-over-HTTPS resolvers by default, though they can opt to switch to other secure DNS providers or opt-out completely.


Incredibly, DNS-over-HTTPS was heralded as a way to prevent, among others, ISPs from snooping on and analyzing their subscribers’ web activities to target them with adverts tailored to their interests, or sell the information as a package to advertisers and industry analysts. And yet, here’s Comcast providing a DNS-over-HTTPS service for Firefox fans, allowing it to inspect and exploit their incoming queries if it so wishes. Talk about a fox guarding the hen house.

ISPs “have access to a stream of a user’s browsing history,” Marshall Erwin, senior director of trust and security at, er, Mozilla, warned in November. “This is particularly concerning in light of the rollback of the broadband privacy rules, which removed guardrails for how ISPs can use your data. The same ISPs are now fighting to prevent the deployment of DNS-over-HTTPS.”

Comcast is pinky swearing that it won’t misuse the data, which means about as much as their statement about when their service tech is supposed to show up.