Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Truest statement of the week

The American media paid only perfunctory attention to the Iraq War anniversary. What has been said is aimed at covering up for the colossal scale of the crime, and of the media’s own role in it.

The cynicism, as always, found its most perfidious expression in the pages of the New York Times. A news analysis by Max Fisher under the headline, “20 Years On, a Question Lingers About Iraq: Why Did the U.S. Invade?” treats the motives of the Bush administration in launching the war as uncertain and even “fundamentally unknowable,” in the words of one “scholar” interviewed by Fisher. 

The Times article flatly rejects the “once-prevalent theory: that Washington invaded to control Iraq’s vast oil resources,” without referring to the prominence of former oilmen like Vice President Cheney and Bush himself in driving the decisions for war. And it attributes the systematic lying about Saddam Hussein’s possession of “weapons of mass destruction” to a form of groupthink, in which “[a] critical mass of senior officials all came to the table wanting to topple Mr. Hussein for their own reasons, and then talked one another into believing the most readily available justification.”

The Times’ “analysis” carefully avoids any discussion of the role of the Times itself as one of the main promoters of the “weapons of mass destruction” campaign. 

-- Patrick Martin, "Twenty years since the US invasion of Iraq" (WSWS).




Truest statement of the week II

The motivations for the war are not “unknowable.” Indeed, they were known at the time, with tens of millions throughout the world participating in demonstrations in advance of the invasion, rejecting the lies of the administration and demanding “no blood for oil.” The size and breadth of the demonstrations were so large that it prompted the New York Times to comment that there were “two superpowers”: The United States and “world public opinion.”

-- Patrick Martin, "Twenty years since the US invasion of Iraq" (WSWS).



A note to our readers

Hey --

Monday night. 

Let's thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen, Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with? 


Patrick Martin got a truest.

In fact, he got two.

For Iraq, we're reposting C.I.'s piece on NPR.

Ava and C.I. review two new spy shows.

A parody of what Jonathan Turley could write if he wrote an autobiography.

Ava and C.I. speak with Kat and Isaiah about books.

It is a war on the LGBTQ+ community and drag queens as well.

Conflict?  I just used the title for the last time C.I. spoke about something no one wanted to talk about.

A list of books reviewed so far this year in the community.

A list of notable passings so far this year.

We went with Amy Goodman who did some outstanding work on Iraq last week.

Repost of Isaiah's book review.

Repost of Kat's  book review.

What we listened to while working on this edition.

 What we listened to while writing.




-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.


NPR disgraces itself with War Porn

Reposting this by C.I.:

Tom Bowman acts our War Porn while NPR pushes for the money shot

NPR's cancelled four podcasts.  (See Ruth's "NPR created their own problems.")  They should make it five.  TAKING COVER needs to be cancelled as well.

Tom Bowman's always been more of an idiot than a journalist -- but he really let his stupidity shine last week with a 'report.'  Bowman and company wasted 49 minutes and over 7,500 words to tell you nothing.  NPR should be ashamed of themselves.  They gave your war porn while claiming it was reporting.  

Here's how it started: A tip to Tom about the US military (when? This year? we're never told).    The tip was  about events on April 12, 2004 in Falluja.  The US military lied.  They concealed details of a death.  They didn't just conceal it in real time.  When Bowman and NPR made an open records request, they were told that there were no records.  

This should have been big.  It should have been huge.

A report like this should have ended with the family of the dead Marine -- or his friends -- speaking about how disgusting it was that the US military concealed his death for 'optics.'   It should have had a comment from Senator Jack Reed who is the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee. 

It didn't.  Instead we got a lot of nonsense.  Including the fact that no one ever needs to hear NPR reporters tossing around the term "man" as though they're buddies with the veterans.  Graham Smith and Tom Bowman aren't part of the Marines.  They are journalists -- someone should have reminded them of that.


They use the 49 minutes  to serve up war porn.  

And to make themselves the stars.

You can listen to the report and find out about how what books and documents the two 'reporters' went through.  As though that's the story?  Because that is what they made the story.  

Not the death, not the cover up.  In fact most people listening to this garbage may not grasp at the end, after 49 minutes, that Bowman and Smith never revealed what the story needed revealed.

Here's Tom Bowman yammering away early in the porn:

 I might run into a colonel I knew in Afghanistan or a general visiting from his overseas command who can tell me what's really going on. But there are some things, well, people just don't want to talk about in the building. So I might call them at home at night, or...


BOWMAN: ...We might meet up at a bar, which is what happened one night at a whiskey bar in D.C. Actually, this very bar, a guy who spent a lot of time in Iraq told me a story very few people knew. He told me that early in the Iraq War, there'd been this tragedy. U.S. Marines had dropped a mortar or a rocket on their own people. That's what they call friendly fire. Now, in this case, he said, one Marine was killed and another seriously wounded. Friendly fire deaths - they happen. They happen in every war throughout history. That's not what made his story shocking. Here's the thing - he said that the Marine brass had actually covered it up, burying the truth about this terrible incident because, he said, the son of a powerful politician was involved in the screw-up.

"SOUNDBITE OF DRINK POURING"?  That was needed to drive home that the two are trying for entertainment not not news.

A death was covered up.  And it was covered up because "the son of a powerful politician was involved in the screw-up."

We need to know why the cover up and we need to know son of a politician.  

They can add sound effects and they can brag on themselves but Bowman and Harris can't deliver the basic facts.

This is shameful.

You can be sure this isn't the only death that got covered up in Iraq.  In real time, we used to know the helicopter 'crashes' -- they were under investigation, the US government insisted.  Then we'd either find out that they were shot down or there would be no information released on them.  But when they happened, despite what was reported by news outlets, the US military would say that it was probably mechanical issues.

No, they were being shot down and shame on the government for lying to the American people.

And shame on NPR for thinking we needed to hear about Tom Bowman and G Smith cock-knocking around with the Marines and asking if reworking a BLACK & WHITE cigar is like making a spiff -- as though that has a damn thing to do with what they're supposed to be covering.

They pad their garbage with stuff that should be on the cutting room floor.  For example, "Ben was traveling in South America with his girlfriend, a musician, when I reached him. I set up a time to talk. And a week later, I called him from a studio here at NPR."  Who gives two s**ts and what does this have to do with the powerful politician NPR never names.

We don't need 'reporter' Smith sharing, "Yeah. I mean, I've spent a lot of time with Marines over in Afghanistan. I went in 2009 with 2/8 out of Lejeune on the whole, like, insert into the Helmand River Valley and, you know, dropped in with them on the helicopters."  That doesn't have one damn thing to do with Iraq or with the April 12th incident.  But garbage like that -- where 'reporters' try to make themselves the story -- keeps popping up throughout.

Nor do we need this from NPR 'reporter' Smith, "Yeah. Yeah. And let me preface this whole thing by saying I, you know, like - even after talking to Carlos, you know, I was, like, back in the zone for, like, a week. And my wife was like, why are you being such a b****? And..."

No one needs it.  You are not the story.  You're nothing but a piece of garbage using 49 minutes of NPR's time -- and the public's money -- to make yourself a star of a report that should be focusing on facts regarding an April 12, 2004 explosion in Falluja.

Brad Shuder is apparently the one the US military lied about.  When?  When he died April 12, 2004.  When did they get honest?  I don't know but his correct cause of death (what they lied about) is listed in MILITARY TIMES' HONOR THE FALLEN  database:

Marine Lance Cpl. Brad S. Shuder

Died April 12, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

21, of El Dorado, Calif.; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; killed April 12 by friendly fire in Anbar province, Iraq.


Brad S. Shuder signed up for the Marine Corps soon after his 18th birthday, making for a dramatic change in lifestyle: He was a gourmet cook who wanted to open a bakery, a man who wore designer fashions and took dates to the opera. “He was a genuine person,” said his longtime friend Kurt Hall. “He was someone who you could trust to be a real friend when you needed one.” The 21-year-old Camp Pendleton Marine from El Dorado Hills, Calif., was killed April 12 by friendly fire in Iraq’s Anbar province. Shuder seemed to know he might die on his second tour in Iraq. “He told us that he felt he wouldn’t be coming back,” his father, Glenn Shuder, said. But he wouldn't listen to his family’s pleas to request a change in assignment. He felt it was his duty to return, his parents said. “From the time he was a youngster, he always wanted to be in the military,” his father said. “He always said it was every American's duty to serve in the military.”

— Associated Press

The original DoD press release lied:

DoD Identifies Marine Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two Marines who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lance Corporal Brad S. Shuder, 21, of El Dorado Hills, California, died April 12, 2004,  from hostile fire in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.  He was assigned to EchoCompany, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California.

It was not hostile fire, it was friendly fire.  A bombing was called in by the US military and it hit the Marines instead.

From a 2011 Laura Newell report that GOLD COUNTRY MEDIA ran:

“It’s never the same,” said Rose Shuder, Brad’s mother. “I guess for me, I wonder what he would be doing now at the age of 29. What would he look like and be doing? It never stops. Time makes it not as difficult, but it never stops.”

Rose said the El Dorado Hills community has been supportive and helpful during the time after her son’s death.

“When Brad died, the support was unbelievable, the community was so supportive for our family,” Rose said. “Everyone was so helpful. It was a great honor for Brad’s memory.”

Brad was adopted from Korea at 18 months old into the Shuder family including Rose and her husband Glenn. They also have a younger daughter Chelsey, 26.The family moved to El Dorado Hills in 1993.

“Brad went through the El Dorado County School system and graduated from Oak Ridge in 2001,” Rose said. “He was very well liked. … He always wanted to be in the military. Upon his graduation, Sept. 11, 2001 happened, so he signed up for the Marines.”

After graduating boot camp, Brad went to Iraq in 2003.

In those six paragraphs, Newell provides more information about Brad Shuder than Bowman and Smith did in their 49 minute 'report.'

Bowman and Smith can't be bothered speaking to Brad's parents.  Strange because NPR's DAY BY DAY spoke to his father back in 2006:

MIKE PESCA: We're joined by his father, Glen Shuder. Thanks for coming on, Glenn.

Mr. GLENN SHUDER (Father of Slain Marine): You're welcome.

PESCA: Glenn, in the past three years, or maybe two and a half, since your son died, has your attitude on the war itself changed?

Mr. SHUDER: Probably more so to the point where I just don't think it's a worthwhile cause anymore.

PESCA: And in the beginning, what did you think?

Mr. SHUDER: I really had really strong reservations about invading a country that I don't think we belong there. Since then, I just think it's deteriorated to a point where we've done more harm than good.

PESCA: Now, in the beginning, did you find yourself saying to people that phrase, I support the troops, in fact my son is one but I don't support the war?

Mr. SHUDER: No, I didn't say that. I would just say, you know, I support all the troops and the military and we need to keep on with that. I never said anything against or - for or against the war at that time. 

TV: We spy something good and something sad

For months  now, we've waited with anticipation for RABBIT HOLE to debut on PARAMOUNT+ but then it did.  

This weekend also saw THE NIGHT AGENT released on NETFLIX.  We thought it might make a good comparison/contrast.  So Friday, we sat down to watch the first episode.  We are not bingers.  We are too busy to spend that kind of time or to deal with the next day where we're lagging because we watched eight episodes of a NETFLIX show.


Not eight, ten.  That's how many THE NIGHT AGENT stars.  We know that because we watched them.

One right after the other with no break.

We do not like binge viewing; however, the series is so involving that we had no choice.

THE NIGHT AGENT series is based upon the book of the same name by Matthew Quirk.  Shawn Ryan created the series and his previous work includes THE UNIT, THE SHIELD -- indicating that he has a long history with titles where the first word is an article.  The show has a slew of other producers but we'll just note Seth Gordon who also directed the ten episodes.   

The first episode opens with FBI agent Peter Sutherland (Gabriel Basso) on a subway train with a bomb about to go off.  He manages to get people off the train but is knocked down in the explosion.  Moments later, he sees the man who left the bomb and chases after him.  As the two fight, the man's hoodie slips up to his pecs and Peter sees he has a tattoo of a snake along his the right side of his upper torso.

It's a year later in a jump cut and Peter's got a job at the White House where he answers a phone that should never ring.  It's his shot at redemption.  Meanwhile Rose Larkin (Luciane Buchanan) has just lost everything -- including her computer tech company -- and goes to her aunt and uncle's home to rethink her life.  Not much time for thought, let alone lengthy contemplation.  No sooner does she try to sleep then noise pulls her downstairs.  Her aunt and uncle are in a panic.  There's a threat.  Someone in the White House is involved.  She hears all of this standing on the stairs.  When she joins them, she tries to ask questions but her aunt tells her to stop and listen, there are people outside, there isn't a lot of time.  They give her a number and a list of words to say.  Her uncle tells her to go out the back but her aunt says that they may be watching the back, go out the side door on the bedroom.  

As she does this, her aunt and her uncle are killed and she is seen.  She runs and breaks into a home to use the phone.  The number?

Peter's the one answering.  And he almost hangs up because she clearly does not know anything about the number she called.  But he stays on the phone with her and sends help to her.  

That is the first minutes of the episode.

It pulls you in.  And it does so quickly.  There is no flab, every moment is needed and used well.

By contrast, RABBIT HOLE opens with a lot of nonsense.  Even if it later pays off, it wasn't worth it.  

Glenn Ficarra has written, directed and/or produced a lot of failures -- including WHISKY TANGO FOXTROT.  Why is that?

The answers very clear in the first 30 minutes of RABBIT HOLE: Glenn doesn't know what decade it is.

For example, it's not the 1980s.  No middle aged man is watching the screen with one eye while he uses the other to make sure the wife's not about to walk in.  Nor is any middle-aged man in 2023 going to be excited by the nothing sex scene -- actually before and after sex scene -- just because a blond woman is in it.  She's not sexy in the scenes.  She's not given much to do so don't blame the actress.

But this is a paint-by-number script that would've have aired in 1983.  And it only gets worse after.  He fights with her accusing her of spying on him.  Then he argues with this person.  Then with that.  35 minutes into the program the scene that probably should have opened the episode takes place.  For the first time, we finally feel a sense of danger.  

But did most people stick around that long?  

We don't blame them if they didn't.

A spy thriller can't afford indulgence.  It needs to move and, in fact, it needs to hit the ground running.  That's why REACHER worked.  It's why THE NIGHT AGENT works.  And it's why -- thus far (we've seen three episodes) RABBIT HOLE doesn't.  

Again, this is the show we were expecting to like.  We were expecting thrills and surprises, twist and great acting.  Instead, it only delivered boredom.  

THE NIGHT AGENT is the one that offered thrills and surprise and, yes, great acting.  Hong Chau is President Travers' chief of staff Diane Farr and she's spellbinding.  Basso and Buchanan deliver strong performances as does Fola Evans-Akingbola.  Phoenix Rael and Eve Harlow are so good in their roles -- as ruthless assassins -- that you even feel some sympathy for them.  With RABBIT HOLE, you just feel sorry for Kiefer.  Yeah, he slept with stripper Celeste (who had bad eczema all over her shoulders) on the eve of his wedding to Julia Roberts.  But even that doesn't warrant getting stuck in this bad show.


Turns out he's having to self-publish but noted transphobe Jonathan Turley has written his memoir.  Hot off the presses, an excerpt of his new book, due out Tuesday, SLEEPING ON THE RIGHT SIDE.

From the intro "Toilet Training and Predestination, PLESSY V FERGUSON and All That Jazz:"


I don't have an anal fetish.  I don't.  It's not my fault that so many conservatives are getting butt hurt these days.  My kissing their rear ends to make it better doesn't give me an anal fetish.  And if I'm already down there and decide to toss their salad, well that's just free speech rights.



Gas leaving the anal lips is a form of speech.


I think my anal fondness began as a small child when mother used to tell me I was a butt baby.  Father would say she just meant I was end of the line -- fifth out of five -- but I knew what mother meant, I was something she squeezed out her sphincter -- hence my full name: Jonathan Sphincter Turley. 


Mother left me diapers until I was 17 and sprouted my first hair.

"J-J Sphincter Turley," she said to me, "that's just one hair, soon there will be many more.  And Mommy can't keep changing your diapers.  Icky poo-pooh's going to get in those hairs and task is just too much for an aging woman like me."

Mother was wrong.  Two weeks later, during my monthly bath, the 'hair' fell loose.  It was a dingle berry.  However, by then, I had already been toilet trained.  I missed my soggy diapers but, since I was a senior in high school, I felt I was getting too old for them anyway.  At least full time.



From the chapter "College Dreams, Dirty Schemes and ASHCROFT V FREE SPEECH COALITION:


After my scholarship to Clown College fell through, I went to the University of Chicago because it had a reputation for inhibiting the sexually repressed and for fostering War Criminals.  Surely, I'd learn a lot about the law there!

I certainly hadn't learned a thing in Congress!  It was my time in the House of Representatives that drove home the point that timing -- not foreplay -- is everything.  I was a Congressional page from 1977 to 1978.


As such, I had the horror of never knowing if Mark Folely might have found me attractive.  Oh, sure, I could send him childhood photos now -- and often do -- but I'll never know if his kind words ("Sit on my face, Junior!") are heartfelt or just his way of being kind.


Moments missed.  A lifetime of them.  




I had the misfortune of following  

As a legal expert, I weigh in constantly with both blog posts and erotic fan fiction.  I really do believe that if Bill Kunstler were arrive today, he'd be doing erotic HART OF DIXIE fan fiction and that this realization is what originally led Darren Star to come up with the concept for SEX AND THE CITY.

But I digress, back to the most important legal decision of our time, HINGST V MELBOURNE CONSTRUCTION ENGINEERING . . . 


Books (Isaiah, Kat, Ava and C.I.)



We're again increasing book coverage in the community.  Kat's "Elton John and Whitney Houston" reviews Elton John's ME ELTON JOHN and HOURLY HISTORY's WHITNEY HOUSTON: A LIFE FROM BEGINNING TO END and Isaiah's "DON RICKLES: THE MERCHANT OF VENOM," a biography written by Johnny Heller.  So, Isaiah, why this book?  What interested you?


Isaiah: I knew of Don Rickles -- mainly from TV talk shows.  I saw it in KINDLE UNLIMITED while looking for something to read.  I was really looking for a comic  book collection but I saw the book on Rickles and it interested me.


Do you recommend the book?


Isaiah: Yeah, but there has to be better one.  This was a good jumping off point for me but there wasn't enough in there -- plenty of pages, but just not enough.  Way too often it was sentences like "Only Don knows what really happened."  If you don't know if he dated a woman or not, don't include it.  There are things he did that we know, so focus on those.  I also felt him living with his mother wasn't properly addressed.  No adult male wants to hang a sheet to create two bedrooms for themselves and their mom.  Come on.  There was conflict there but it's not in the book.  And I have an LGBTQ+ issue to bring up in a moment but I'm thinking how this is sounding and want to be clear that I'm not suggesting that Don Rickles was gay.  He himself talked about how, when he wanted to go into the entertainment industry, his uncles all thought he was gay.  My point about the affairs is if you don't know if it was an affair and can't find anyone to talk about it or anything written about it, don't bring it up if two or three paragraphs later you're writing that no one knows what happened.  As for his mom, she was his biggest fan and he'd lost his father when she started going on the road with him.  They were close.  But don't pretend that they didn't have issues especially when he wanted to have sex with a woman.


Sure.  What was the LGBTQ+ issue?


Isaiah:  We got a heads up -- from C.I. -- when James Caan died where you said basically "write whatever you want but the man was a raging homophobe so don't be surprised if there's pushback."  No one noted the death in the community.  And I'm glad for the heads up on that.  But guess who shows up in the Rickles' book?  James Caan.  When Don's wife gives birth to a son, Caan shows up with $2,000 worth of sports equipment and told him, "This is to make sure your kid grows up straight."

That sounds exactly like something James Caan would do, he was disgusting.  He also prevented Sal Mineo from being cast in THE GODFATHER saying he would quit if they hired that f**got.  There are many, many more examples.  Anything else you'd like to note?


Isaiah: Barbara Eden.  He was an insult comic.  She was surprised when she went to one of his gigs because he insulted every celebrity in the room except for her.  Backstage, he hugged her and told her he couldn't insult her, it wouldn't be right. 


Thank you.  Kat, you did two books.  Let's start with Whitney.


Kat: Yeah, I'd advise everyone to stay away from any book published by HOURLY HISTORY unless they're obsessed with the individual and can't find anything else to read.  These are very bad books.  At every turn, you'll find that WIKIPEDIA did a better job covering the topic than an HOURLY HISTORY book does.  Everything else I want to say on that book is in the review I wrote.


 Okay, the Elton John book?

Kat: I don't know if he got slammed for it or not, maybe no one pointed this out when the book came out, but when I said it and started reading, my first thought was, "ME's already been a book title."

Right, Katharine Hepburn.

Kat: And she got criticized for the vanity but I doubt he did.  He tends to skate by everything.  He's superficial and I don't like him.  I don't like how he applauds Eminem throughout the book.  Because he's gay, he thinks he can give Eminem a pass.  He does the same with Axl Rose.  On that, f**k you, Elton.  He even brings up "One In A Million" but just notes that it was seen as anti-gay.  F**k you, Elton.  He doesn't point out the racism -- and that song has the n-word in it -- or the attacks on immigrants.  Elton is Chaz Bono on the set of BRAVEHEART telling the press that Mel Gibson has no problem with gay people because he had no problem talking to Cher's child.  I'm tired of these celebrities rehabbing homophobes and insisting that because the homophobes are nice to them, they aren't really homophobes.  

Do you recommend either book?

Kat: Not at all.  There's a reason Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics to Elton's big hits -- Bernie knows words. 


Thank you both for speaking with us.




Previous book discussions this year:




The war in the US

There is a war going on in the United States.  Crazed hate merchants have declared war on equality.   BUSINESS INSIDER reports:

Florida's push to axe gender-affirming care for minorsrestrict discussions of gender identity in schools, and, more recently, revoke a hotel's liquor license after hosting a drag show have repeatedly been painted by GOP state leaders and Gov. Ron DeSantis as an urgent crusade to protect children. 

But LGBTQ rights groups and communities are skeptical and maintain that the latest actions in Florida further marginalize a minority community that makes up less than 5% of the state's population.

"On the surface level, these pieces of legislation limit job opportunities for drag entertainers, reduce resources for transgender individuals, and prevent students (both children and adults) from being educated about LGBTQ+ topics," a drag performer who goes by the name of Venus Envy told Insider in an email. "All of these outcomes are harmful in their own right, but the greater impact of these bills is already being seen in the increase of hatred toward the LGBTQ+ community and the harmful rhetoric that drag queens are predatory."

Instead of rational and practical, we get lies and hysteria.  FOX NEWS can't help but offer lies -- they're talk show hosts' texts, for example, revealed that they hated Donald Trump but Tucker and Laura lied to viewers and pretended otherwise.  If you're hosting a talk show and you can't even be honest about your opinion, you're not a talk show host.  So FOX NEWS has its panties twisted in knots over poor little Layla Jane.  The 18 year-old is suing the hospital that started her transition to male.  She should be suing her parents.  First, she should be suing them for not using that money to fix her face -- ew, best in show is in her future.  Second, she was 13 which means no doctor proceeded because of her. wants and desires  No, her parents had to want that surgery.

But Layla Jane's going after the hospital and FOX NEWS is burying the part of the story where Layla Jane's parents signed off on the surgery.  Nothing was done to Layla Jane without her parents signing off -- she was 13-years-old -- and if she has a problem she needs to take it up with her parents. 

You got what you wanted and now you're not happy.  Sounds like a typical spoiled brat.  Sorry your parents didn't raise you better and that you're so ungrateful and so unwilling to take responsibility for your own actions.  Cry babies, if FOX NEWS didn't have them, who would host their programs? Mother Tucker is always accusing others of "playing the victim."  But on FOX NEWS, it's the hosts and the guests playing the victims,

Meanwhile, in the battlefield,  Nicholas Nehmas and Ana Ceballos (MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS) report that Florida governor and noted homophobe Ron DeSantis is cracking down on drag revues despite what his own investigators are finding:

But while agents took photos of three minors — who appeared to be accompanied by adults — at the Orlando drag show, they acknowledged that nothing indecent had happened on stage, according to an incident report obtained exclusively by the Miami Herald.

“Besides some of the outfits being provocative [bikinis and short shorts], agents did not witness any lewd acts such as exposure of genital organs,” the brief report stated. “The performers did not have any physical contact while performing to the rhythm of the music with any patrons.”

Still, the state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation proceeded to file a complaint against the nonprofit that runs Plaza Live, claiming the venue had illegally exposed children to sexual content. The complaint, issued Feb. 3, seeks to strip the small, nonprofit theater of its liquor license — a serious blow that would likely put it out of business.

[. . .]

Carlos Guillermo Smith, a former Democratic state legislator from Orlando, said the report from state agents proves that the “moral panic” about drag shows is a “hoax.”

“What you see here is the governor sending in investigators and then dismissing what the investigators have to say because it doesn’t fit into his narrative,” said Guillermo Smith, who now works for Equality Florida, an LGBTQ rights group. “It’s more evidence that all of this … is contrived, it’s politically motivated. And it’s not about protecting children. It’s part of an ongoing effort to marginalize LGBT people and their allies because that’s the vehicle that will get him to … the GOP nomination.”


 As Jon Stewart recently pointed out on CNN, the GOP has run out of ideas -- even bad ones.





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