I don’t want to get trapped into focusing on a single band or artist but this weekend I happen to have 2 pieces like that.

“Behind The Wheel” and “Route 66” was something we played quite frequently as a mix because my DJ buddy loved it. Others? Well, the bar appreciated that we had a break so they could make some money. Me? I like it just fine and think it totally danceable. Depeche Mode? I like Cyndi Lauper better than Madonna and the Beatles better than the Rolling Stones. Likewise I prefer Ultravox but there is no arguing who has depth of catalog.

Behind The Wheel – Depeche Mode

Route 66 – Depeche Mode

I Feel You – Depeche Mode

The Breakfast Club (Curiosity)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Congress authorizes military force to expel Iraq from Kuwait; Soviet forces begin large offensive against Nazi Germany; First woman elected to U.S. Senate; Writer Agatha Christie dies; ‘All in the Family’ debuts on CBS.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

The first and simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind, is curiosity.

Edmund Burke

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Urgent Emergency

Well, actually the title is just “Urgent”. Foreigner-

Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio has just announced that he’s not going to declare a “National Emergency” so he can build his Vanity Project Penis Wall O’ Racisim…


Hat tip to Scarce @ Crooks & Liars. 1958 beats the Simpsons by 42 years.

As the Cato Institute (hardly a hotbed of Open Border Lefty Communists) reports, the Office of Management and Budget estimates the Vanity Project Penis Wall O’ Racisim will cost at least $24.4 Million per mile. The Institute applies a 50% cost overrun to the project and comes up with this estimate-

Building a steel fence along the remaining 1,637 miles of Mexican border not covered by pedestrian fencing would cost approximately $59.8 billion, excluding any maintenance costs.

There are a few caveats about the above estimate.

First, the 50 percent cost overrun estimate is conservative. A small sample of large construction projects selected by my colleague Chris Edwards shows that cost overruns boost total project costs by an average of 3.3 fold. The cost of the border fence is thus very likely to be more than double what I estimate above.

A Billion here and a Billion there and pretty soon you’re talking about real money, and of course that doesn’t account for the costs of land acquisition and litigation. Not many land owners in the path of this development are happy about the prospect of the Federal Government siezing it at below market value.

Here’s a shuffleboard court on the Mexican border-

Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio asserts that not only are they enthusiastic supporters (Bottomless Pinocchio, eh?) but, if he invokes a “State of Emergency”, the Military can simply walk in and take over with no compensation at all.

The 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 8th Amendments kind of say differently along with several sections of the Constitution as originally adopted (Amendments and Treaties are co-equal with the primary document legally).

This, along with the prospect of President Warren declaring a “National Gun Emergency” the next time some racist terrorist shoots up a Church or a Synagogue or a School or a Clinic or a Federal Building or a…

Well, you get the picture.

Anyway the Teabagger crowd is not altogether happy with the precedent that would be set and their Representatives in the Freedom Caucus have started to try and apply the brakes on the whole “National Emergency” thing despite the fact that they hate Brown people just as much or even more than anyone else.

Freedom Caucus members tell Trump to back off wall emergency

A core group of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus is urging President Donald Trump against the explosive step of declaring a national emergency to build his wall.

Multiple Republicans in the conservative group have privately raised their concerns with the Trump administration, fearing it would lead to a years-long legal standoff that Democrats could win while setting a dangerous precedent for the presidency, according to more than a dozen lawmakers and GOP aides. They want Trump to hold out for a deal with Democrats, regardless of how long the partial government shutdown drags on.

Trump’s possible pursuit of an emergency declaration on the border divided the caucus during an animated meeting Wednesday night, according to lawmakers who attended the meeting. Members wrestled with constitutional concerns. GOP Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan was reportedly particularly outspoken. Searching for an alternative, the group kicked around other, more legally sound ways for Trump to raise revenue for the wall.

“[Trump] has more options on the table than what I have read about,” said Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), who has sponsored a bill allowing private citizens to make contributions toward building and maintaining border walls. “We shared some of those ideas.”

But while conservatives are uneasy with the prospect of an emergency declaration, many acknowledge they would ultimately line up behind the president if he pulls the trigger — a scenario that is increasingly expected on Capitol Hill as the shutdown barrels into its fourth week.

“I do see the potential for national emergencies being used for every single thing that we face in the future where we can’t reach an agreement. That’s the slippery slope that I’m concerned about,” Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a top Trump ally, told POLITICO on Thursday. “The administration is well aware of the ability to use national emergency [powers] and the reluctance to do so from House members.”

“And yet, I think the president would find broad support if it’s determined that ultimately he has to do it,” Meadows added.

So they’ll squish ultimately but even among Republicans support is rapidly diminishing as the latest polling shows.

Napoleon said, “Lorsque l’ennemi fait un faux mouvement nous devons prendre bien soin de ne pas l’interrompre,” which roughly translates as “When your enemy is in the process of destroying himself, don’t interrupt.”

Why we have the FDA and the Pure Food and Drug Act.

Upton Sinclair

When Jurgis had first inspected the packing plants with Szedvilas, he had marveled while he listened to the tale of all the things that were made out of the carcasses of animals, and of all the lesser industries that were maintained there; now he found that each one of these lesser industries was a separate little inferno, in its way as horrible as the killing beds, the source and fountain of them all. The workers in each of them had their own peculiar diseases. And the wandering visitor might be skeptical about all the swindles, but he could not be skeptical about these, for the worker bore the evidence of them about on his own person–generally he had only to hold out his hand.

There were the men in the pickle rooms, for instance, where old Antanas had gotten his death; scarce a one of these that had not some spot of horror on his person. Let a man so much as scrape his finger pushing a truck in the pickle rooms, and he might have a sore that would put him out of the world; all the joints in his fingers might be eaten by the acid, one by one.

Of the butchers and floorsmen, the beef-boners and trimmers, and all those who used knives, you could scarcely find a person who had the use of his thumb; time and time again the base of it had been slashed, till it was a mere lump of flesh against which the man pressed the knife to hold it. The hands of these men would be criss-crossed with cuts, until you could no longer pretend to count them or to trace them. They would have no nails,–they had worn them off pulling hides; their knuckles were swollen so that their fingers spread out like a fan.

There were men who worked in the cooking rooms, in the midst of steam and sickening odors, by artificial light; in these rooms the germs of tuberculosis might live for two years, but the supply was renewed every hour. There were the beef-luggers, who carried two-hundred-pound quarters into the refrigerator-cars; a fearful kind of work, that began at four o’clock in the morning, and that wore out the most powerful men in a few years.

There were those who worked in the chilling rooms, and whose special disease was rheumatism; the time limit that a man could work in the chilling rooms was said to be five years.

There were the wool-pluckers, whose hands went to pieces even sooner than the hands of the pickle men; for the pelts of the sheep had to be painted with acid to loosen the wool, and then the pluckers had to pull out this wool with their bare hands, till the acid had eaten their fingers off. There were those who made the tins for the canned meat; and their hands, too, were a maze of cuts, and each cut represented a chance for blood poisoning. Some worked at the stamping machines, and it was very seldom that one could work long there at the pace that was set, and not give out and forget himself and have a part of his hand chopped off.

There were the “hoisters,” as they were called, whose task it was to press the lever which lifted the dead cattle off the floor. They ran along upon a rafter, peering down through the damp and the steam; and as old Durham’s architects had not built the killing room for the convenience of the hoisters, at every few feet they would have to stoop under a beam, say four feet above the one they ran on; which got them into the habit of stooping, so that in a few years they would be walking like chimpanzees.

Worst of any, however, were the fertilizer men, and those who served in the cooking rooms. These people could not be shown to the visitor,–for the odor of a fertilizer man would scare any ordinary visitor at a hundred yards, and as for the other men, who worked in tank rooms full of steam, and in some of which there were open vats near the level of the floor, their peculiar trouble was that they fell into the vats; and when they were fished out, there was never enough of them left to be worth exhibiting,–sometimes they would be overlooked for days, till all but the bones of them had gone out to the world as Durham’s Pure Leaf Lard!

It was intended as a screed against the scandalous exploitation of the working class by Gilded Age Oligarchs but most people read it and said-

Ooh. Ick.

Trump’s Big Libertarian Experiment
By Paul Krugman, The New York Times
Jan. 10, 2019

“Government,” declared Ronald Reagan in his first Inaugural Address, “is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” Republicans have echoed his rhetoric ever since. Somehow, though, they’ve never followed through on the radical downsizing of government their ideology calls for.

But now Donald Trump is, in effect, implementing at least part of the drastic reduction in government’s role his party has long claimed to favor. If the shutdown drags on for months — which seems quite possible — we’ll get a chance to see what America looks like without a number of public programs the right has long insisted we don’t need. Never mind the wall; think of what’s going on as a big, beautiful libertarian experiment.

Seriously, it’s striking how many of the payments the federal government is or soon will be failing to make are for things libertarians insist we shouldn’t have been spending taxpayer dollars on anyway.

For example, federal checks to farmers aren’t going out ­— but libertarian organizations like the Cato Institute have long denounced farm subsidies as just another form of crony capitalism.

Businesspeople are furious that the Small Business Administration isn’t making loans — but libertarians want to see the whole agency abolished.

If the shutdown extends into March — which, again, seems entirely possible — money for food stamps will dry up. But Republicans have long been deeply hostile to the food stamp program. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, has denounced the program for “making it excessively easy to be nonproductive.”

The shutdown has drastically curtailed work at the Food and Drug Administration, which among other things tries to prevent food contamination: Routine inspections of seafood, vegetables, fruits and other foods have stopped. But there’s a long conservative tradition, going back to Milton Friedman, that condemns the F.D.A.’s existence as an unwarranted interference in the free market.

Strange to say, however, neither the Trump administration nor its congressional allies are celebrating the actual or prospective termination of government services their ideology says shouldn’t exist. Instead, they’re engaged in frantic administrative and legal maneuvering in an attempt to mitigate those program cuts. Why?

O.K., we shouldn’t be completely cynical (cynical, yes, but not completely so). Even where there’s a government-free solution to a problem, you might worry that it would take time to set up. Maybe you believe that private companies could take over the F.D.A.’s role in keeping food safe, but such companies don’t exist now and can’t be conjured up in a matter of weeks. So even true libertarians wouldn’t necessarily celebrate a sudden government shutdown.

That said, the truth is that libertarian ideology isn’t a real force within the G.O.P.; it’s more of a cover story for the party’s actual agenda.

In the case of the party establishment, that agenda is about redistributing income up the scale, and in particular helping important donor interests. Republican politicians may invoke the rhetoric of free markets to justify cutting taxes for the rich and benefits for the poor, or removing environmental regulations that hurt polluters’ profits, but they don’t really care about free markets per se. After all, the party had little problem lining up behind Trump’s embrace of tariffs.

Meanwhile, the philosophy of the party’s base is, in essence, big government for me but not for thee. Stick it to the bums on welfare, but don’t touch those farm subsidies. Tellingly, the centerpiece of the long G.O.P. jihad against Obamacare was the false claim that it would hurt Medicare.

And as it happens, many of the spending cuts being forced by the shutdown fall heavily and obviously on base voters. Small business owners are much more conservative than the nation as a whole, but they really miss those government loans. Rural voters went Republican during a Democratic midterm blowout, but they want those checks. McConnell may have trash-talked food stamps in the past, but a sudden cutoff would have a catastrophic effect on the most Republican parts of his home state.

The one piece of the shutdown that Republicans seem fairly calm about is the nonpayment of federal workers. Maybe the party believes, like Trump, that these workers are mainly Democrats. But when the effects of nonpayment start to bite, even that indifference may disappear.

In any case, while the gap between Republicans’ supposed ideology and their actual reaction to the shutdown is understandable, that doesn’t make it innocent. If a party is going to claim, year after year, to believe that government is the problem, not the solution, then complain bitterly when the government stops handing out checks, attention should be paid.

And if you have libertarian leanings yourself, you should ask whether you’re happy with what’s happening with government partially out of the picture. Knowing that the food you’re eating is now more likely than before to be contaminated, does that potential contamination smell to you like freedom?

Or, as Atrios (who is also an Economist, just not a Nobel Prize winning one) says-

There are some things that rich people can’t realistically protect themselves from, without an absurd amount of inconvenience. Sure you don’t have to live next to a superfund site, but living in a bubbled dome, solely, even if affordable, is pretty inconvenient. Gotta breathe the air the rest of us do, sometimes, unless you want to be bubble boy. Kinda hard to establish an alternative food supply system, too.


Jenny Nicholson

The Breakfast Club (Populism)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

U.S. government warns of smoking risks, Amelia Earhart becomes first woman to fly solo across Pacific, Major League Baseball introduces designated hitter.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Populism is not a style, it’s a people’s rebellion against the iron grip that big corporations have on our country – including our economy, government, media, and environment.

Jim Hightower

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You know the thing about Chaos? It’s fair.

Chaos is usually defined as a situation where things are changing rapidly in unpredictable ways.

Alas Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio is all too predictable.

Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it!

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Robert Reich: Trump is using the government as a bargaining chip – like a dictator would

“I have the absolute right to do national emergency if I want,” Donald Trump told reporters Wednesday.

The wonderful thing about Trump’s presidency (I never thought I’d begin a sentence this way), is he brings us back to basics. The basic difference between a democracy and a dictatorship comes down to means and ends.

Democracy is about means, not ends. If we all agreed on the ends (such as whether to build a wall along the Mexican border) there’d be no need for democracy.

But of course we don’t agree, which is why the means by which we resolve our differences are so important. Those means include a constitution, a system of government based on the rule of law, and an independent judiciary.

A dictatorship, by contrast, is only about ends. Those ends are the goals of the dictator – at a minimum, preserving and accumulating personal power. To achieve those ends, a dictator will use any means necessary.

Which brings us back to Trump.

Gail Collins: Trump Hits the Wall

We need to look at the bright side of Donald Trump’s border wall fixation.

Sure, he’s shut down the government and thrown the nation into chaos. But it could be worse. He could be demanding a fiery moat between us and Canada. Or building a 36,000-foot-deep barrier across the Pacific Ocean to drive home his commitment to tariffs.

See? There’s always a silver lining. [..]

Maybe all this wall obsessing makes Trump tired. He certainly seemed low-energy during his Oval Office address. “He makes Jeb Bush look like a combination of Mighty Mouse and Bruce Springsteen,” a friend of mine said after the president finished his nine-minute speech to the American people.

For every viewer whose response to the talk was “Wow, we should do something about immigration!” there must have been a hundred whose first reaction was “Why does this man keep sniffing?” Deviated septum? Nasal polyps? Trump’s breathing has actually sounded strange for a long time, but most of us have chosen to ignore it rather than engage in a national conversation about the president’s nose.

If you watched the address — and really, you could have, it was only about as long as it takes to microwave popcorn — you saw a 72-year-old guy squinting at the teleprompter and making rather alarming breathing sounds while reading a speech about how we need a wall to protect women who are “sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek up through Mexico.”

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Boo Boo

I’m sitting here trying to think of things Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio is smarter than.

A rock? No, he’s dumber than a Box of Rocks.

A hammer? No, he’s dumber than a Bag of Hammers.

He’s dumber than surfing in Nebraska.

If he had another brain, it would be lonely. He has less going on upstairs than a one story house. The wheel’s spinning, but the hamster’s dead. He fell out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down. An intellect surpassed by garden tools.

He makes Lloyd and Harry look like Einstein.

I don’t know, people think Eric is the stupid one.


Briggs Meyers

INTP through and through.

“How does it feel to live in a world of idiots?”

Seriously, I was sitting around with a bunch of friends and we took the test for giggles. When the Moderator (he owned the book) came around to me that’s what he said.

I’ll stick to Tarot and the Ching, they’re much more reliable (BTW it’s all fun and games until you meet someone as smart as you are. Then it’s more fun and games.).

The Breakfast Club (Fear And Hate)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Thomas Paine publishes Common Sense; London’s Underground opens; The Beatles first album released in US hits store shelves; Rod Stewart born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Fear of something is at the root of hate for others, and hate within will eventually destroy the hater. George Washington Carver
Read more at: Fear of something is at the root of hate for others, and hate within will eventually destroy the hater.

George Washington Carver

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Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio Holds Breath, Stomps Feet

And in other news, dog bites man. Film at 11.

Sigh. I was hoping to spare you any further discussion of last night’s pitiful performance but this afternoon Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio, during a meeting with Pelosi and Schumer to discuss “compromise” on his Vanity Project Penis Wall O’ Racism, sat down, turned to Pelosi and said-

“So, if I restart Government tomorrow will you give me my Vanity Project Penis Wall O’ Racism (another one I really like and will repeat at every opportunity)?”


“Well then there’s no point in further discussion.”

And with that he stood up and slunk back into the bowels of the West Wing to throw a Twit Tantrum about how unfair it is that he can’t eat cake and ice cream all the time.

And the usual suspect toadies and liars came out and said- ‘Ooh, Nancy was so belligerent and shrill.’

Screw you say I.

Fact– Polling shows an overwhelming majority of voters don’t want his Vanity Project Penis Wall O’ Racism.

Fact– Polling shows an overwhelming majority of voters blame him and the Republican Congress for the Government Shutdown.

Fact– Pitiful does not begin to describe the awful lameness of his presentation last night (though Ma and Pa Kettle need to drag out another lectern and pound some Red Bull before the next time).

Fact– He is hemorrhaging Republican support with 4 Senators and counting publicly committing to vote in favor of the House package to re-open Government.

Now, if you want to keep us from talking about your treason by pummeling us with outrages I suppose this has some momentary ‘shiny object’ effect on the Corporatist Media (though it is rapidly sinking like a stone).

It will certainly not move Pelosi or Schumer who are winning, nor should it.

Why won’t you give me any monies for my Vanity Project Penis Wall O’ Racism?

Well, because it’s morally repugnant and a stupid waste that won’t work and you can hold your breath until you pass out.

Be my guest.

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