Well. That was Weird.

What an utterly weird appearance was Megyn Kelly, formerly of Fox “News,” formerly of NBC News, on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, which everyone just calls “Bill Maher.”

It is useful to prelude by remembering why Kelly is now a podcast host instead of a major network news anchor. It’s not because of the “bombshell” stuff. She went to NBC after all that. Then, she asked in a roundtable session, what’s the big racist deal about white people wearing dark makeup to look like black people?

Yeah. NBC fired her three days later.

So on Bill Maher, first she says CNN’s Don Lemon is “committed to his hard left partisanship.” Funny how she mentions Don Lemon, who had this to say of Kelly’s brilliant analysis of blackface in 2018: “Listen, I know Megyn. Sometimes you say stupid things when you’re live, but I’m just gonna be honest. Megyn is 47 years old – she’s our age. There has never been a time in that 47 years that blackface has been acceptable.”

This is true. Actor Ted Danson is fortunate to have recovered from the backlash when he appeared in blackface at the Friar’s Club in 1993. Megyn Kelly is two years younger than I am, and I remember that story vividly. Blackface has not been okay for a long, long time.

To his credit, Maher tried to call out her false equivalence and in fact called it that to its face.

Maher: I agree there’s crazy on both sides, but that’s a false equivalency, don’t you think? Because what Lou Dobbs believes is that the election was stolen. I mean, I don’t agree with Don Lemon on everything, but he’s not living in an alternative reality.

Kelly: Oh, I don’t know about that.

I don’t watch Don Lemon, nor do I watch CNN much. But I don’t see his show getting canceled over a $2.7 billion lawsuit for spreading lies about election fraud.

Then, Kelly takes a swipe at Rachel Maddow.

Kelly: But look at Rachel Maddow and Russiagate, right? I mean, she went totally down the rabbit hole and was embarrassed by that. Lou Dobbs same thing on the crazy election claims. So, there’s plenty of blame to go around.

Dismissing Russia’s role in American politics in the last several years is dangerous revisionism. It is an established fact that Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had been in contact almost daily with Russian agent Konstantin Kilimnik during the campaign; this was established by the then Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee. Trump eventually pardoned Manafort.

The Mueller Report told us that Russian interference in the 2016 election was “sweeping and systemic” and that there were “numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump Campaign.” It did not exonerate Trump; in fact, it directly states that if the Special Counsel’s Office felt they could clear the president of wrongdoing, they would have said so. It directly states that the President was not exonerated.

Unlike Megyn Kelly’s comments on Maher last night, Maddow’s reporting regarding Russia connections were salient and supported by specific examples. For instance, we know Trump liked to parrot Russian propaganda, as now do many Republicans. Here is a good example of a key Maddow report on this tendency of Der Cheeto:

Part 1 | Part 2

Is it going down a rabbit hole to report that the President of the United States is floating the completely unheard of and weird notion that Russia invading Afghanistan in 1979 was a marvelous idea? Which rabbit hole is that, Megyn? Because from where I’m sitting (and as Maddow indicates in her reporting here), that’s an Emo Philips weird thing for a Preznit to say.

Then the interview gets really weird.

This is when Maher asks Megyn Kelly about the decision to withdraw her kids from New York City schools. Here is what she says, and I am not making this up.

“We loved our schools. We were in the New York City private school system. Our boys went to an all-boys’ school and our daughter to an all-girls’ school. Loved our teachers, loved the students and the faculty and the parents. And they were definitely leftists. You know, we’re more center-right, but that was fine. You know, my family are Democrats, it’s not like I was bothered by the fact that they leaned a bit left. But then they went hard-left. Then, they started to take a really hard turn toward social justice stuff. And, at our boy’s school in particular, it started with when our son was in third grade, they unleashed a three-week trans experimental education program on these 8-and-9-year-old boys. And it wasn’t about support. It was about—we felt like it was about trying to convince them. Like “hey, come on over!” And the boys started to get confused. And they had to implement this system where they raised their hand if you’re really confused, put up a one. If you’re just a little confused…”

Maher interjected, asking how old the kids were. 8 and nine at the time, she said. She said she and her husband and others had objected to this, and that the school had apologized. Then, she said her kindergartner was told to write a letter to the Cleveland Indians objecting to “their mascot,” who I believe was ol’ Chief Wahoo, a character who was retired in 2018 because, c’mon, that thing was just plain offensive.

Then it just got worse and is not actually worth trying to think about for another minute. Oy gevalt.

Idol Highlights, Season 19, episode 2

Season 19, episode 2

Amanda Mena – sung “Golden Slumbers”

Anthony Guzman — weird guy dressed up as Thor. But he sang “Cry Me A River.”

Hannah Everhart – 17 years old from Canton Mississippi, started with “Wayfaring Stranger” and tanked. Then took on “At Last” and did better.

Calvin Upshaw. I don’t know what the fuck he sang, but it was good.

Casey Bishop. Mötley Crüe – Live Wire then Sara Vaughan. This was a brilliant audition, in that she took a hokey metal song and recognized its roots. She sang it as blues. And she did this with this incredible insight at age 15. This was the audition of the night.

Cassandra Coleman — “The Way It Was” by the Killers and then they made her play some shit on the piano

Willie Spence “Diamonds” by Rihanna

Headrush

The phrase “does superman shit” can be either a question or an answer to a question. Discuss.



I have had the band Django Django in the back of my mind since I’ve been redoubling my efforts this year to become familiar with new releases in 2021 that don’t suck. I had listened to some of the band’s previous releases and was kind of digging them, but then tonight in Spotify, I clicked on the latest release, Glowing in the Dark, and I liked it right away. This does not happen often.

This band’s press says they’re a real genre-bender, and they aren’t kidding. This opener, “Spirals,” connects the sparse emo of Robert Smith’s Cure but smacks of the Hollies’ “Stop Stop Stop” or The Byrds. If I had to draw a straight line from them to any other band I’ve enjoyed, it might be Of Montreal or Poster Children. Maybe Love & Rockets without so much of the rockets. INXS with a bit of the excess shaken off. But sometimes, this band spouts its inner Beach Boys.

So far…

  • Revolutionary Love — Ani DiFranco
  • Welfare Jazz — Viagra Boys
  • OK Human — Weezer
  • Human — Shai Maestro
  • I Told You So — Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio
  • Glowing in the Dark — Django Django

So, there’s snow again, might be 7 inches by morning. It’s enough that I wish there were a market for the stuff. If we could sell snow by the pound, we’d all be rich and the roads would be clear.


Anyway, I actually watched and, yes, enjoyed the season opener of American Idol.

The highlights…

Alex Miller, the 17-year-old country singer who ended up dueting Merle Haggard’s “Big City” with Luke Bryan.

Jason Warrior, dude who previously yelled at Meghan Trainor on some other singy talent show. He sang “What’s Goin’ On.”

Anilee List, who has Tourette’s. She sang “Blue” by Aaron Taylor.

Nia Renee, 17, who sang all the juice out of “Chain of Fools” and therefore didn’t need a stupid story.

And, Grace Kinstler, who it sounds like she lost her Pop to Covid, though they don’t say that on the TV. She double-wowed with “Midnight Train to Georgia” (in which one does not even mind that one must hear the Pips in one’s head alone) and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”

The lowest lowlight: Claudia Conway, who is the daughter of George Conway and KellyAnne “Alternative Facts” Conway, auditioned. Among the other things this 11-minute segment accomplished was to help make KellyAnne seem more relatable. You know. As a weird gigantic blurry hologram on the wall. Vince Lombardi at the Super Bowl was more lifelike.

One American Idol. Two singers performing Aretha Franklin songs and doing them well. That’s not bad.

Still No Mothers

Rock Hall inductions today.

Carole King
Chaka Khan
Devo
Dionne Warwick
Fela Kuti
Foo Fighters
The Go-Go’s
Iron Maiden
Jay-Z
Kate Bush
LL Cool J
Mary J. Blige
New York Dolls
Rage Against the Machine
Tina Turner

I have long given up on The Mothers getting inducted (my perennial whine). But it ought to happen. Carole King was more prolific than anyone else on this list. And that “Tapestry” just turned 50 certainly gives her nod some heft. Dionne Warwick was one of Burt Bacharach’s greatest finds whose list of hits reads longer than some legislation does. And, New York Dolls is the most rock & roll thing on this list and should be a no-brainer vote.

Super Bowl LV

Well, that was an exciting game.

NOT.

The most exciting thing about it was watching my Dear Old Dad’s reaction to two “pass interference” calls in a row that were complete nonsense.

Yes, my Dad came over to watch the big game. He has been vaccinated. I have not, not yet. I know this doesn’t make it safe as houses, but at least I can’t kill him with the Covid.

I was already planning a menu and mentioned to him that I’d purchased a huge pork shoulder. Yeh, he heard “pulled pork” and wanted in. It was nice to watch the game with him, even if it wasn’t the best game. (Super Bowl games seldom are.)

But I got to cook. So, that was nice.

This was pulled pork on a cornbread waffle with Marty’s Carolina BBQ Sauce (which Dad said was some of the best sauce ever–good news, Dad, this stuff is local, though it currently shows as “out-of-stock”), macaroni and cheese, and slaw.

I Told You So

Dear Delvon Lamarr: You had me at “Organ Trio.”

This crew is everything you’d expect them to be just from the moniker “Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio,” sometimes hash-tagged to DLO3. Delvon Lamarr on organ. Jimmy James on guitar. Dan Weiss on drums. Think Meters. Think Booker T and the M.G.s. Think Wham!

Eh?

Yeah. These fellas rip up “Careless Whisper.”

Suffice it to say: The Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio’s new album I Told You So is as cool as you think you look shooting pool.

Blood Libel for Fun and Profit

One strange development personally from the era of Former Preznit Carnage One-Term Loser Twice Impeached Inciter of Insurrection is that it has forced me to reassess the impeachment of President William J. Clinton.

For most of my life following that event, I had classified it as an impeachment “just for a blow job.” Living through the Carnage Era, however, has changed my thinking dramatically. I mean, it’s downright hypocritical to speculate and ponder the incredible capacity presidency 45 might have had to have been compromised without also thinking that, perhaps, a president who had an inappropriate affair with an intern and lied about it might also be considerably open to compromise.

So. While I still think there was considerable overreach by the Starr investigation—and we’re going to discuss another bit of that in a moment—I find that, in this, the Post-Carnage Era, the impeachment of President Bill Clinton doesn’t look that askew after all. I can no longer honestly spit that Clinton was impeached over a mere BJ.

Because as long as Clinton was arm-in-arm with his lie, anyone who knew about it, say, Linda Tripp, could really jack him up. Capacity for being compromised is a real danger of that office. And Clinton invited it in like it was a pretty girl. Aside from the considerable mission creep in his practice, Ken Starr may have done us a favor. It almost makes me regret wishing I had a huge spitball on me that one day when I walked past him on 18th Street that one day.

So. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Talk about a person who became a household name right quick. QAnon adherent and U.S. representative for Georgia’s 14th district. She’s said that “Q” is a “patriot.” She has said that the United States is experiencing a “Muslim invasion” because some of that faith had won national office. (For those who did not get the memo, the United States Constitution explicitly bars any religious test for holding office. Article VI. Clause 3. “…no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”) She’s said that Democrats are “trying to keep black people in a modern-day form of slavery.” She has said that if she were black, and she walked by a statue featuring a figure from the Confederacy, “I would be so proud.”

And this is just the stuff she plays on the Borscht Belt.

I read this morning that this person believes in something called “frazzledrip.” And I am not going to explain to you what that is except to tell you that it is hideous blood libel. And, as we have just gotten done observing Holocaust Remembrance Day, I do not mind that what little hair I have left is on fire that BLOOD LIBEL is what got us THE HOLOCAUST. And this country is just playing with it like it’s a paddle-ball. It is horrifying.

But this didn’t just start last week. Oh, no. These Untied States of America has been been up to its belly button in this muck for decades. Remember when I was writing about Ken Starr and that spitball I wished for?

On July 20, 1993, a man named Vince Foster was found dead in Fort Marcy Park off the George Washington Parkway in Virginia, outside Washington, D.C. If you know the parkway, you know that one could probably find some isolation on that road pretty easily. It winds around a lot, and the traffic is whizzing by and doesn’t care. Many convenient pull-offs. This tragedy quickly spun up conspiracy theories, mainly and ridiculously placing Foster’s death at the feet of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Vince Foster was a friend of Bill Clinton’s since childhood. I cannot imagine having to face these lies on top of facing a friend’s self-inflicted end. Losing someone one cares about to suicide is incomprehensible enough on its face without having to face horrific lies implicating you as the culprit. How un-peaceful. How horribly cruel.

Starr’s predecessor Robert Fiske had included mention of Foster in his interim report, concluding that Foster had committed suicide. In fact, as a piece by Sean Wilentz reported in September 2018 in the New York Times: “Official accounts by the National Park Service in 1993 and by a Republican congressman, William Clinger, the ranking member of the House Government Affairs Committee in 1994, came to an identical conclusion, as did a bipartisan report of the Senate Banking Committee early in 1995.”

As Wilentz continues to report, there was a fellow in Starr’s office who was still interested in pursuing this lie, despite it now being rebuffed by the previous investigator, the National Park Service, and a congressional committee. Wilentz reported at the time that this fellow wanted a “‘full-fledged’ investigation of the Foster matter.”

And that fellow now sits as a United States Justice on the Supreme Court. His name is Brett Kavanaugh.

Look. I’m sure Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony held weight for many folks. But I would have preferred to hear more during those hearings about Kavanaugh’s involvement in pursuing this horrible blood libel against the Clintons.

Which gets me back to ol’ frazzledrip. A word of advice. Do not google this unless you have a strong constitution. It is a horrific scenario. I have framed for you how horrifying I find the Vince Foster lies to have been. This is worse. Much, much worse. And Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is in the United States House of Representatives, is reported to believe it is true.

This did not start with Marjorie Taylor Greene. It did not start with Brett Kavanaugh. This stuff may be as old as the dirt that grows your potatoes. And it is wicked and injuring. But of my examples here, one of its proponents is a lifetime appointment on the highest court in the land. The other is 1/435th of the power of the purse.

Why do we keep rewarding this?