Smokin’! Gary Clark Jr. Performs “The House Is Rockin”

Gary Clark Jr. performs “The House Is Rockin” as tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan at the 2023 CMT Music Awards.

Smokin’ hot. What a great rendition.

Fox News Settles with Dominion for $787 Million, Averting Defamation Trial Over its 2020 Election Lies

John Gruber at Daring Fireball nails it, as usual:

Fox News addicts justify their continuing viewership on the grounds that, more or less, “everyone does it” — that MSNBC, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the BBC, etc. all blatantly lie to their viewers/readers in the same way Dominion proved that Fox News lies to its viewers. They’re all liars and thieves, every system is rigged, and everyone in a position of power or authority is crooked. It’s a form of nihilism that, I think, explains exactly how Trump got elected and how he still has significant electoral support. If you believe everyone is a corrupt liar, you might as well vote for the corrupt liar who (a) is on your side in the culture wars, and (b) wears his corruption and dishonesty on his shirtsleeve. And might as well keep watching the cable “news” network that’s on your side in the culture wars, proven liars or not.

How Tennessee Became the Poster State for Political Meltdown

Jonathan Martin reporting at Politico:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Standing in the sun outside Tennessee’s Capitol Monday afternoon, and hoisting a sign that had the words “thoughts and prayers” crossed out in red, Karen Carter explained why she drove nearly two hours from her hometown of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., to confront most anybody who looked like they could be a lawmaker.

“We look like tin-pot dictators in this state and it pisses me off as a citizen of this state,” Carter said, alluding to the Republican expulsion of a pair of Democratic state representatives last week. “I’m angry and I’m embarrassed, and I’m humiliated.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

She was something else, too, though: nostalgic.

“The state would swing left-right, left-right, Republican-Democrat, Republican-Democrat,” Carter recalled about Tennessee’s political tradition, before turning away from me and raising her voice toward a group of official-looking people in suits headed into the Capitol who perhaps could address gun violence: “Guys, think about the children!”

Yeah, I too am old enough to remember when the people of this once great state would elect the most qualified candidate, or the candidate with the more compelling vision for the state, rather than just carry water1 for their own party.

The coalition that backed the lottery, which has poured over $8 billion into education funding, reflected the state’s political makeup: There were Black lawmakers, a few moderate Republicans, an exurban conservative who knew her Nashville area constituents wanted more money for schools and a rural conservative Democrat who was nudged along with the promise of some road projects by the state’s Republican governor, Don Sundquist, who signed the bill. That exurban conservative was Marsha Blackburn2 and the rural Democrat was Lincoln Davis, both of whom would join Cohen in Congress.

Through this period, Tennessee was drawing international attention for its success luring auto companies to the state, a bipartisan effort that transformed the state’s agriculture-heavy economy and is well told in Keel Hunt’s “Crossing the Aisle.”

“A bipartisan effort,” boy those were the days. I can remember when bipartisan efforts were common in Tennessee; all the two parties seem to be able to do today is fight and bicker.


yeah, in a minute…
1 The Free Dictionary’s Idioms tab defines carry water as: “2. To support a person, organization, or cause that one would not in reality endorse, as due to pressure, force, or pragmatic reasons.”

2 Yeah, though it would seem that she’s never had a particulary good grasp on ethics and conflict of interest, she was once a fairly rational politician, more than able to “cross the aisle” if it was in the best interest of her constituents.

Clarence Thomas and the Billionaire

Joshua Kaplan, Justin Elliott and Alex Mierjeski reporting at ProPublica:

IN LATE JUNE 2019, right after the U.S. Supreme Court released its final opinion of the term, Justice Clarence Thomas boarded a large private jet headed to Indonesia. He and his wife were going on vacation: nine days of island-hopping in a volcanic archipelago on a superyacht staffed by a coterie of attendants and a private chef.

If Thomas had chartered the plane and the 162-foot yacht himself, the total cost of the trip could have exceeded $500,000. Fortunately for him, that wasn’t necessary: He was on vacation with real estate magnate and Republican megadonor Harlan Crow, who owned the jet — and the yacht, too.

For more than two decades, Thomas has accepted luxury trips virtually every year from the Dallas businessman without disclosing them, documents and interviews show. A public servant who has a salary of $285,000, he has vacationed on Crow’s superyacht around the globe. He flies on Crow’s Bombardier Global 5000 jet. He has gone with Crow to the Bohemian Grove, the exclusive California all-male retreat, and to Crow’s sprawling ranch in East Texas. And Thomas typically spends about a week every summer at Crow’s private resort in the Adirondacks.

The extent and frequency of Crow’s apparent gifts to Thomas have no known precedent in the modern history of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Code of Conduct for United States Judges contains, among others, the following restrictions and admonitions:

  • A Judge Should Avoid Impropriety and the Appearance of Impropriety in all Activities
  • A judge should comply with the restrictions on acceptance of gifts and the prohibition on solicitation of gifts set forth in the Judicial Conference Gift Regulations. A judge should endeavor to prevent any member of the judge’s family residing in the household from soliciting or accepting a gift except to the extent that a judge would be permitted to do so by the Judicial Conference Gift Regulations.
  • A judge should make required financial disclosures, including disclosures of gifts and other things of value, in compliance with applicable statutes and Judicial Conference regulations and directives.

I guess some people just aren’t good with paperwork, huh?

Trump’s Arrest and Republican Outrage

Donald Trump, the former Reality TV host and President, whose “brand” has become synonymous with both losing and shit 1, was processed and arraigned yesterday in New York, due to his having been indicted on 34 felony counts for falsification of business records — the first former President of the United States to be indicted and arrested2.

I have friends who are Democrats and/or Liberals3 and many of them are rejoicing, although I’m not really sure why they’d be rejoicing at this early stage of criminal justice.

I also have friends who are Republicans and/or Conservatives4, or as I call them “so-called Conservatives.”5 Many of them are outraged. Really? I mean, really? I just don’t see what’s so hard to get your head around.

Put aside everything we’ve learned about Trump in the last eight or so years, since he first announced his 2016 presidential bid. This is a man who had been engaged in New York City real estate development for nearly half a century! At the very least, this means he routinely had to “do business” with the mob6, and routinely had to “grease some palms” in order to get things done.

And yet, my Republican and “so-called” Conservative friends consider this man to be so meticulously scrupulous, that he would never even consider cutting some corners on business records! Phooey!

Or, they feel that he is somehow being “targeted.”7 But I submit that this is still a “government of laws and not of men”8. Besides, the United States Extreme Court has long approved selective enforcement of laws and selective prosecution, provided however, that the enforcement or prosecution is not based on an arbitrary reason such as race or religion, or some other reason that is forbidden by the Constitution.

yeah, in a minute…
1 As in, “excuse me for a moment, I have to go take a Trump.”

2 “He’s number one! He’s number one!” We all know how much Trump loves being number one!
All I know is that for the first time in my life — and probably ever — Democrats and Republicans both are chanting “four more years” about the same person!

4 Not all Liberals identify as Democrat.

4 Not all Conservatives identify as Republican.

5 As I’ve said time and time again, you can call yourself whatever you like. Hell, I can call myself 7 foot tall. But simply calling yourself something does not make it so. You can call yourself a “Conservative” but if you are not actually practicing Conservatism, then you are not a Conservative. For more on this subject, see: On Conservatives and Conservatism.

6 According to multiple sources, including Trump biographer Wayne Barrett, “he went out of his way not to avoid” contacts with the mafia, “but to increase them.” See, e.g., Netflix’s Fear City Hints at Trump’s Mob Connections. The Real Story Goes Even Deeper.

Trump himself has even described mobsters as “very nice people”. Ibid. Sound familiar?

7 Isn’t it interesting how die-hard Democrats and die-hard Republicans always feel that people on their ‘side of the aisle’ are being targeted, but always feel that people on the other side of the aisle are being fairly and justly accused/prosecuted? This is called hypocrisy. And it’s worth noting that hypocrisy and good character are mutually exclusive concepts. A person with good character is never a hypocrite. See: What is Character? for the universally accepted definition of “character”.

8 John Adams, Founding Father and Second President of the United States, “Novanglus Papers” no. 7 (1774).

Nashville School Shooting and the Metro Nashville Police Department

The Nashville school shooting is awful. Horrendous. What can you say, except that you feel for the victims and families.

Now, right up front I need to tell you I am, in general, no fan of police. Because of my race, sex, gender and age, most people assume I am, but I am not. I tend to think of the police in much the same way that I think of the proctologist1: most of the time you don’t even want to think about them, but in those rare occasions when you have no other option, you will reluctantly call and just hope against hope that you get a good one.

Now, that being said, I have to praise the Metro Nashville Police Department for their performance on Monday, and I think we all should.

My god. From the time the 911 call was received, police were dispatched, arrived at the scene, entered the building — even as the shooter was shooting at them from a second story window — located the shooter, and took the shooter down — in 14 minutes2.

Fourteen minutes from 911 call to shooter down. I know this term gets thrown around a lot in situations where it doesn’t really apply, but that is fucking heroic.

Our thoughs and well-wishes are also with all those officers who responded, and all the other first responders.

yeah, in a minute…
1 Yes, I know the term “proctologist” is outdated, but the term “colorectal surgeon” just doesn’t conjure up images of a doctor forcefully shoving his or her finger right up your ass the way the the term “proctologist” does.
2 We all remember the tragedy of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas nearly a year ago, which I don’t have to detail.

Nashville School Shooting

NewsChannel5 (WTVF) in Nashville:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Seven people are dead — including three children — at The Covenant School on Monday morning after a shooting inside the building.

Three adult staff members are also dead. The shooter, who is also dead, is identified as Audrey Hale, 28. This person had no criminal history. At one point, the shooter was a student at the school.

By now, the world knows of the horrific school shooting in Nashville. Like most crime, you never think this is going to happen in your community.

All right, what’s next?

At the end of The Bourne Identity (2002) there’s a very interesting scene

Ward Abbott: [Testifying before a congressional intelligence committee] The Treadstone project has actually already been terminated. It was designed primarily as a sort of advanced game program. We’d hoped it might build into a good training platform, but quite honestly, for a strictly theoretical exercise, the cost-benefit ratio was just too high. It’s all but decommissioned at this point.

Committee Member: All right, what’s next?

Ward Abbott: Okay. This is… Blackbriar. Blackbriar is a joint D.O.D. communications program that we really feel has good traction to it. It’s got legs, it’ll run and run…

— The Bourne Identity (2002) at 1:49:33

I think of this scene every time we hear of some unbelievably invasive intelligence program enacted in the wake of that faith-based initiative knows as “9/11” being “shut down.”

Of course, the most egregious of all (that we know of), PRISM, has never been shut down, and probably never will be.

Land of the free…

Elon Musk puts $20 billion value on Twitter

MSN ‘reporting’ on a story by Erin Woo and Martin Peers at The Information (Sorry, I can’t afford to subscribe to The Information…):

Twitter CEO Elon Musk has offered the social-media company’s employees stock grants at a valuation of nearly $20 billion, The Information reported on Saturday. The valuation is half the amount he paid to buy Twitter. In October last year, Musk paid $44 billion to acquire the micro-blogging site. The report said it was an acknowledgment of how much Twitter’s value has dropped since the deal — but it is still well above public market valuation levels for Twitter’s rivals.

Or, as Mike Masnick (‪‬) so apt pointed out on Mastodon: “Alternate headline: Elon Musk admits he’s set $24 billion on fire… so far.”


In January this year, a research firm reported that advertising spending on Twitter had dropped by 71 per cent in the previous month, December. The decline came as top advertisers reduced their spending on the social media platform following the takeover by Musk. Twitter ad spending saw a 55 per cent drop in the month of November from the previous year. Another report said Twitter’s revenue was down 40 per cent year over year.

I just don’t see how anyone can think Twitter is going to make it, and if it does make it, what will it be? By all reports, Twitter has become a cesspool of anti-semetic and other hate speech. Sad.

Personally, I’ve moved to Mastodon. It’s great — it’s like Twitter was 15 years ago.

The One Thing Every Influential Guitar Tone Has In Common

Nashville guitarist and country musician Jim Lill on YouTube:

My name is Jim. I’m a musician in Nashville and I’m pretty sure I’ve figured out the one thing every influential guitar tone has in common. About a year ago, I was confused by all the conflicting opinions out there about guitar tone, so I started from scratch and tested a bunch of things myself.

Fantastic video with plenty of critical analysis.

More like this, please.