Lancelot Links postsFriday March 24, 2017
Lancelot Links Confirms ‘Incidental Surveillance’ on Big Boy Driving Truckie Wuckie
Thursday March 16, 2017
This also happened: The president of the United States got into a parked truck on the White House driveway and made vroom vroom noises. Not embarrassing at all.
- Nazis in a beer hall in Portland, Oregon. Thanks, Trump.
- Anthony Kuhn has been a journalist in China for years, but this month he became a viral sensation for asking a question about President Xi Jingping's megaregion plans around Beijing and the relocation of businesses/residents there. Also because his Chinese is so good. I wrote more about it here.
- In hearings before the Intellgience Oversight Committee this week, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) laid out the Russia/Trump connections. This is just the stuff we know and they stuff the representatives can say. He acted responsibly.
- Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) did not act responsibly. He condemned the leaks more than what they revealed, then, the next day, went to Trump, whose administration he's investigating, and gave up the goods. Then he staged a press conference on the White House lawn and gave out tidbits of more information—information Schiff didn't even have—and which amounted to smoke for Trump's idiotic charge that Pres. Obama wiretapped him. But it's only smoke. U.S. intelligence “incidentally” picked up communications from Trump's transition team because (unspoken), they were calling foreign officials we‘re investigating. Attempting to unethically clear Trump’s team, he actually provided further evidence of its culpability. More than resign from the comittee, Nunes should be investigated himself.
- More on Trump/Russia from Pasquino. “Remember, Remember/The 8th of November.” Like I could forget.
- Actually this is better: Mother Jones gives us the long history of connections and deals between Trump and Russia.
- A more pointed version from earlier in the week, courtesy of David Leonhardt: “All the President's Lies.”
- RIP Jimmy Breslin, who died earlier this week. Any man who runs with Norman is OK by me. Here's Breslin's column from Dec. 9, 1980. The day after the day the music died.
- A reason you shouldn't be behind Neil Gorsuch for SCOTUS (besides Merick Garland)? The NRA is for him.
- Q&A with my man Jim Walsh on the beautiful inexplicability of music, and the experience of sitting with Prince who is going over your column on him line by line.
- Bodybuilder Oliver Lee Bateman takes on the nerd-to-he-man mythos of everyone from Charles Atlas to Arnold Schwartzenegger, and discovers the true purpose in “making a man out of Mac”: “to create a suit of armor behind which one might conceal a real self, in the hopes that no one would ever bother inquiring its whereabouts.” Cf., “Moonlight,” Act III.
- Sometimes I think Eyal Press should be the conscience of our nation. We certainly need one.
- I think this new Frank Rich column, “No Sympathy for the Hillbilly: Democrats need to stop trying to feel everyone's pain, and hold on to their own anger,” is a turning point in a good way. Or maybe he's just saying what I've long felt.
Wednesday February 22, 2017
- My nephew, Jordy, 15, has put together his “Top 15 Films of 2016” list. Expecting “Star Wars” or “Dr. Strange”? Try “Cameraperson,” “Loving,” “Paterson,” “Certain Women,” “I Am Not Your Negro.” Torch, passed.
- The Chicago White Sox don't look too good this year, but their tickets do.
- Joey Poz calls Cubs' 2B Javier Baez the greatest tagger in baseball history, in part because “Nobody even knew that was a thing before he came along.” Check out that no-look tag during the World Baseball Classic. Makes me smile.
- Good piece by Sam Tanenhaus in The Atlantic: “Who Stopped McCarthy?” (Chase-cutter: Ike.) But this is an egregious line: “The villain was undone, ultimately, by methods like his own.” Really? By Tanenhaus' own description, McCarthy used lies and innuendo in a scattershot method to destroy lives; Ike planned carefully, leaked factual data, and let McCarthy hang himself. Seems the opposite method to me.
- A synagogue in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood—one of the most liberal in the country—was vandalized last week with graffiti reading: “Holocau$t i$ Fake Hi$tory.” Fake news/Fake history. They're learning from their masters. It's beyond sad. I'd like a couple of minutes with these cowards.
- East-siders: Don't forget that your rep, Dave Reichert, voted the GOP's godawful ACA replacement through committee, risking the health care of millions (24 million to be precise, according to the Congressional Budget Office). Vote this turd out of office in 2018.
- David Remnick is very smart on why there is no “Deep State,” another Trump admin locution that the press has to report and then disprove. Remnick ends with a flourish: the problem is not a deep state but “a shallow man—an untruthful, vain, vindictive, alarmingly erratic President.”
- Jelani Cobb uses Ben Carson's idiotic comment comparing slaves to immigrants as a jumping off point on how the optimism of American warps our view of our history.
- Bravo, Netherlands! Their Donald Trump, Geert Wilders, bleach blonde and xenophobic, who was leading in the polls recently, came in second in their election yesterday—although his party still gained six seats and now holds 20 of 150 in Parliament. The ruling party, the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (all bases covered there) lost seven seats but holds 33. Two more parties, one right-leaning, another left-leaning, have 19 seats each.
- It took three New Yorker writers (Remnick, Evan Osnos, Joshua Yaffa) to put together the must-read piece (thus far) of 2017: “Trump, Putin and the New Cold War.” Read it all. I think I may re-read it today.
Tuesday February 14, 2017
- I think I like Joe Posnanski's defense of “Field of Dreams” more than I like “Field of Dreams.”
- Nathaniel Rogers is bringing the Oscar trivia. Example: Can you name the 12 actors who have won both a lead and supporting Oscar? Six men, six women. I used to be really good at that.
- A woman at the Sante D'Or Adoption Center in L.A. gave the cats likes/dislikes to help them get adopted. Sylvia's dislike is classic.
- David Denby examines Steven Spielberg at 70. I was hoping for more insight, actually. Feels leaden. Maybe Molly Haskel's book is better?
- There's a great description of Michael Keaton's acting at the beginning of Anthony Lane's review of “The Founder.”
- The Yankees didn't make the playoffs last season but they still won 84 games, and they got a big boost from Gary Sanchez and his amazing two-month-callup. So a sunnier outlook this year? Thankfully, no, at least according to Fan Graphs, who project mediocrity for the Bronxers.
- John Oliver breaks down the horror of the Putin/Trump connection. Love the “La La Land”/“Human Centipede” analogy. Also the grizzly bear analogy. Also the dance number in the end. But the key line is this: “Trump is basically the propagandist of Putin's dreams.” So how do we stop him?
- Chris Vance, former Washington state GOP chair, on what the GOP can do to stop Trump.
- Michael Moore, filmmaker, on what you and I can do to stop Trump.
Lancelot Links Goes Shopping at Nordstrom
Monday February 06, 2017
- Trump aide (& abet) Kellyanne Conway told Fox & Friends viewers to buy Ivanka Trump's clothing line, apparently breaking federal law. (“An employee shall not use his public office for his own private gain, for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise,”) Why nothing, most likely, will happen to her.
- Unless it's California's AG Xavier Becerra. Fingers crossed. What isn't in doubt, according to the Post, is that “the president and his aides are inviting corruption.”
- Jason Chaffetz went to a town hall of his constituents, and all he got was some major flak. Which he totally deserved. Because he's a major douche who's helping bring down the country.
- Bye-bye National Security Adviser Mike Flynn after only 24 days. A new record.
- Dueling protests at a Planned Parenthood in St. Paul, Minn., drew an estimated 6,000 people total: 500 pro-lifers and 5,500 pink-clad pro-choicers.
- How does SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch seem to you? Scott Turow, the best-selling novelist as well as a highly regarded practicing attorney in Illinois, suggests he's to the right of Antonin Scalia. Also, how the Dems can block his nomination.
- For those nostalic for a POTUS with class, Obama's official photog, Pete Souza is posting great shots on Instagram.
- Speaking of: The Atlantic lays out the winners of the 2017 World Press Photo Contest. Not to get all click-baity, but I particularly liked No. 7 from Jonathan Bachman: the upright calm of the woman in the dress offering herself up for arrest; the seeming panic of the armor-clad officers confronting her. It's otherworldly but it's our world.
- Great piece by Lili Anolik of Vanity Fair on Pauline Kael in LaLa Land.
- Nathaniel Rogers on the BAFTA winners.
- Joe Posnanski is knocking down judgmental baseball stats, starting with the pitcher's win.
- Via my cousin Kristin, 101 websites that pay writers.
- From CJR, how The Washington Post is turning newspapers around.
- What the fuck just happened? Day 26.
All previous entries
- Love this comic strip (Friendly Atheist?), which someone posted to Facebook recently: the hypocrisy of a religious conservative in nine panels.
- The New York Times reports on the turmoil inside the Trump White House. The shocker: Trump didn't know he was signing an order that put Steve Bannon on the National Security Council.
- A New York Times sportswriter ran into Steven Bannon at the airport after the election in November, and guess what he was reading? I doubt he learned the right lessons from it. Maybe he thought it meant Trump needed to hire the worst and the dimmest?
- Longtime WA state Republican Chris Vance on why he's marching against Trump. He also has a good rundown of the anti-immigration executive order, its dog whistles, and its longterm potential consequences.
- Trump displays autocratic tendencies (dismissing voters and protesters), while his media mouthpiece, KAC, insists he deserves better coverage no matter how much he (or she) lies. Jonathan Chait is on it.
- Adam Gopnik on Trump's anti-Americanism, and how Trump's incompetence is a feature not a bug. Gopnik also tosses in some necessary words from James Madison: Federalist No. 51 rather than “We are engaged in a battle for our nation's very soul/ Can you get us out of the mess we're in?” Although that works, too.
- An oral history of Lena Dunham's “Girls.”
- My former editor for book reviews at The Seattle Times, Mary Ann Gwinn, bids farewell to the newsroom.
- Great exchange between my man Ricky Gervais and my man Stephen Colbert about religion. Stephen's Catholic, Ricky's atheist/agnoistic. I'm with Ricky. It's always posited as not believing in God but that's not the issue; it's people I don't believe.
- Another year, another Patriots victory in the Super Bowl. Blech. Thankfully, The Onion is on our side.
- It's no longer Democrats vs. Republicans but people in the reality-based community vs. propagandists and liars. For the former group, here's Randy Rainbow singing “Fact-checker, Fact-checker” to KAC but for us.
- My name is Erik and I work from home.