By John Walters
Tweet Me Right
Back in the old days that right-wing Christian evangelicals give more creedence to than modern science, events such as these would portend God’s anger with mankind, no?
Lowering The Barr
Unlike most outlets we’ve seen, we’re going to give Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) a B-plus but no higher on her questioning of Attorney General William Barr yesterday. While her strategy was on-target, she did not follow through on execution as well as she might have.
Watch the first two minutes, the important part, below:
She goes vintage 1987 Mike Tyson on William Barr, landing a knockout punch right at the opening bell. Where she errs, however, is in that instead of letting Barr fall on his own, she continues to toss a flurry of softer blows (“seems you’d remember something like that…”) that actually help keep him on his feet.
The question was a solid strike. Barr’s very inability to answer it quickly and directly is more important than the answer itself. Her interruptions only distract us from that point. Harris’ ego got the better of her here and she started grandstanding (“hinted”….”inferred”…..once again, this is improper usage of the word inferred, which is an action by the receiver of a comment, not the commenter himself; she meant to say “implied”).
Remember being in school and not knowing the answer and the teacher just let you twist in the wind for a few moments? That’s what Harris should have done. Watching Barr squirm as he attempted to evade and/or obfuscate her direct question, that was far more important than anything she could add or any other question she might ask. The point was to illustrate that Barr has forfeited his integrity. Why she kept interjecting is beyond us.
There’s much, much more to unpack on Barr’s day before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but frankly it’s all just the same episode on repeat now (this, the Kavanaugh hearings, etc.). What we have here is a party, the Republicans, who for decades hailed themselves as the protectors of law, of integrity, of values. Now their leaders (Barr, Graham, etc.) are only too eager to debase themselves in hypocrisy for what they see as an even higher value: keeping Republicans in power.
So the question is Why? and the answer is simple: In their minds Republicans are the only ones who understand/appreciate American virtue. What they have warped, of course, is the idea that America is only America if white males, preferably upper middle class or wealthier, are in charge. Whether they consciously or subconsciously adhere to this, that is their highest if not only value.
Two further observations: We watch, as you know, a lot of TCM. These are the films many of these troglodytes grew up on and you know what: every major character in a film made before 1960 was white. Every one. Even those that were not white were often played by white people. If Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball in 1949, it would be nearly 15 years before Sidney Poitier did the same in Hollywood. Yes, there were blacks before Poitier, but I can’t think of one in a leading role.
Second, in the past two months we’ve read three books relating to World War II that described either POW conditions or the worst of combat conditions in the Pacific—
—for the record, The Jersey Brothers, With The Old Breed and The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz.
One thing that becomes hauntingly clear is that when conditions deteriorate to the point where the only question is survival or death, then for all but the most extraordinary individuals scruples and ethics and character fly out the window. Almost no one is sharing a found piece of bread in a concentration camp.
And so this is where the Republicans find themselves. They see a nation that demographically is only going to become less white-male dominated and at this point it’s every man for himself. It doesn’t matter how they get the votes, or how they remain in power, or what past statements they’ve made that they now completely turn their backs on. All that matters is that they remain in power. Some of them, such as William Barr, probably even consider themselves patriotic.
It’s funny. Barr had an excellent previous working relationship with Robert Mueller, and even considered him a good friend (he told Donald Trump as much when he appointed him to AG), and yet yesterday in front of the nation he referred to a letter Mueller wrote him as “snitty.” He even sold his friend out for power.
Last point, and maybe I’m straying too far afield here, but maybe it’s just this simple: Could it be that the reasons Republicans are not tougher on the Russians is because the Russians funnel campaign funds to them through donations to the NRA, which in turn donates heavily to Republican pols? Follow the money, indeed. Could it be as simple as that?
For much of the first 75 of so minutes of Barcelona’s semi-final match (first leg) versus Liverpool yesterday at Camp Nou, genius striker Lionel Messi almost appeared apathetic. At one point he simply took a rest near the side of the pitch during live action. At least two other times he was offside and didn’t make the slightest move to move into an onsides position even though Barca had reclaimed possession.
When Messi decided to punch the time clock, however, everything changed. With Barca clinging to a 1-0 lead in the 75th minute, and with Liverpool seeming to outplay Barca, Messi gained possession and dribbled into a mini break that led to a Luis Suarez shot that ricocheted off the crossbar and right into Messi’s torso. He punched it in for an easy goal.
A few minutes later, with Liverpool reeling, the Argentine native took a free kick from 27 yards out and did the world’s best Bend-it-like-Beckham impression we’ve seen in years. Honestly, though, who was even surprised by this point? It was the 600th goal in a Barcelona uniform in Messi’s unrivaled career.
The odds-on favorite for this Saturday’s running of the Kentucky Derby, Omaha Beach, has been scratched due to a “trapped epiglottis.” As FOTB Jamie Reidy noted, “Trapped Epiglottis will be playing an all-ages show in Williamsburg on Saturday night” (we mildly massaged your line, Jamie; hope you don’t mind).
If college hoops is March Madness, horsey racing is May Hem.
You Know Nothing, Joe Jonas
Chaos is a ladder, and Joe Jonas may need a step ladder in order to kiss his new bride, Sophie Turner. We all know her better as Sansa Stark, who unfortunately in real life appears to have reverted to her King Joffrey-obsessed ways. The couple were apparently married by an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas yesterday.
We don’t object to the idea of Sophie with a shorter man, of course. We just prefer that man be a Lannister. The realm is reeling this morning.
Finally, A Tennessee Suspension Not Related To Bruce Pearl or Memphis Hoops
The longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the USA, the Gatlinburg SkyBridge in eastern Tennessee, is set to open on May 17. The aerial walkway will measure 680-feet across and we’ll check back after the first selfie-related death from the bridge occurs.
Venus and Mars/Rock Show
One can get lost in the sheer number of post-Beatles iconic tunes that Paul McCartney has written and recorded. We searched for this tune for 5 minutes this a.m. based on our atavistic memory of the chorus, having no idea that it was a Wings tune. The single reached No. 12 on the Billboard charts here in the States in 1975.
College Football: Alabama Spring Game
10 p.m. ESPNU
Also known as “NFL Combine, 2.0.” If you are watching this you either know the call-in number to Finebaum or you’re an NFL scout. But that’s okay. See tomorrow’s stars today. And let’s face it: this is the stiffest competition the Tide’s starters will face until they meet Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.