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Lighter Notes

Jaysus this week has been depressing. Let’s lighten things up around here.

For those of you who are Serial fans, Adnan Syed may be getting a new trial. Based on the evidence that was presented in a hearing a few months ago, his conviction was vacated. I think that’s a fancy way of saying, “technically, you’re innocent but we’re not done with you yet”. It’s hard to believe he could have been convicted in the first place based on such flimsy evidence -and that’s probably why I have never been selected as a juror. I’m just a f&*(ing pain in the ass with questions and not going along with the crowd. Anyway, hope he’s home soon.


It’s hard to believe that anything about Hillary’s email can be considered light hearted but it always amuses me when I listen to Poltical Gabfest where David Plotz, John Dickerson and Emily Bazelon twist themselves into knots over them. You can hear the frustration in their voices over the 8 years of a very secret presidency where the press that elected Obama has been fed nothing but eensy-weensy nuggets of nothing. It’s a bit ironic that the only person who we have any tinge of scandal about is Hillary and that only because the Republicans have been relentless over Benghazi. I’m sure everyone who is anyone in Washington has a private email account where they squirrel things away and it probably comes with a lot of encryption and poison pills these days.

Bazelon was uncharacteristically flummoxed over the legal reasoning why James Comey did not pursue Hillary for “gross negligence”. But I think we can all logic this out.

1.) There was no criminal intent and no evidence of any legal wrongdoing.

2.) Comey, knowing he was on the hook to deliver the goods, gives an unprecedented press conference to discuss his findings and why he isn’t going to indict. It’s the best he can do for Gowdy’s committee. There’s nothing to charge her with but he can smear her for carelessness and make her behavior look negligent and inexcusable.

3.) The problem is it wasn’t even gross negligence, which is why he was trying so hard to signal this to Gowdy et al during the hearing. He was telling them that the attack ad he gave in the press conference was as far as he could legally go. As I understand it, the State Department’s probe is going to pick up where it left off before it was so rudely interrupted and the truth about the emails is going to come out. Comey’s pronouncements were purely subjective statements that indicated the borders of his abilities to prosecute. He can’t get her for doing anything illegally with criminal intent AND he can’t get her for “gross negligence” because it doesn’t even make that threshhold either.

There’s nothing there.

Emily Bazelon, legal scholar, is smart enough to figure this out so I don’t know why she sounds so mystified about it. It’s staring her right in the face but she doesn’t want to admit it. The Comey press conference was a political hit job. It was a PERSONAL email server with nothing important on it and while the State department might have rules and guidelines, no laws were broken and no one even knew it existed until Benghazi went looking for gotcha emails.

Why do we need to see what’s in her personal email anyway, Emily? I mean, if there’s nothing classified in them of any interest, not even for the Chinese, why do we need to be snooping? I don’t think Emily has a good reason for this except that Hillary made it harder for them to do it and avoided FOIA requests. But then, the whole administration has been avoiding FOIA requests and has zipped it good and have left the media kicking the curb. They didn’t get any juicy scandal to report about for 8 long years. Later on in the podcast, they discuss a White House released description of Obama’s evening routines and note that there’s not even mention of Michelle and the girls in it. There are, however, details of exactly how many salted almonds Obama eats each evening. It’s exactly 7. It’s hillarious how the White House jerks the media’s chains especially after they were so extremely helpful getting him elected in the first place.

We tried to warn them but did they listen?

At one point, Bazelon likens Hillary’s behavior to that of Chelsea Manning’s. This shows just how disconnected the media has become over Clinton’s email. There’s no comparison between Manning and Clinton. Manning, regardless of how you feel about her motives, intentionally broke the law and leaked undeniably classified information of national importance. It’s not like apples and oranges, it’s like apples and platypuses. They’re not even in the same kingdoms.

Give it up, guys. If you pursue this, it’s going to depress your ratings. I guarantee that the only people who want this to come up in a debate between Trump and Clinton are the diehard Trump supporters and a small group of Bernie supporters experiencing a temporary psychogenic fugue state. The rest of us won’t watch the debates or will switch them off the minute the emails come up. There’s a resistant conspiracy culture growing around this issue that’s unhealthy and counterproductive going into the general election. The media has great power but it hasn’t been very responsible lately.

Yes, Emily, John and David, I’m talking about YOU and your colleagues. Grow up already.


Joy Womack, principal dancer for the Kremlin Ballet, is going to the International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria. Ballet fans know that Joy was one of the first American students to graduate from the Bolshoi ballet academy and then joined the Bolshoi itself as a soloist. But she never really got an opportunity to dance at the Bolshoi. She was in the company in the year when the director was splashed in the face with acid, an attack that was arranged by another dancer over the treatment of his girlfriend, an up and coming dancer. Joy herself was told that if she ever wanted to dance on stage, she would have to pay for the privilege. So, she left, and the Kremlin Ballet picked her up. In the last few years, she’s been working hard on classical repertoire, which bores me to tears, but whatever. She’s good at it. She’s gone through a lot of ups and downs, like alcoholic partners and unpleasant co-workers who take their anti-Americanism out on her. Plus, the pay sucks. She supports herself on her little company that makes Prima Bars.

Varna may change that. If she does well, it could give her more opportunities to dance as a guest artist for companies. I think that’s what she’s shooting for here.

Here’s one of her rehearsals for Varna with one of her more reliable and complementary partners, principal dancer Misha Martynuk and her ballet teacher, Zhanna. She’s the seated woman shouting corrections in Russian. They’re rehearsing the pas de deux for Le Corsaire first, followed by Diane and Acteon. Keep an eye out for the lift at about the 5:30 mark.  I’ve watched a lot of youtube videos of this pas and have never seen it done so effortlessly. Not even Vishneva and Acosta are this breathtaking.

37 Responses

  1. Yes, I can’t imagine there are not too many people who are beyond sick about the email and the reporting has been just abysmal on this whole issue.

    • Whenever I want to hear what journalists are really thinking, I listen to Political Gabfest. These three must think that only their friends are listening.

  2. Dear RD – found this link by Carolyn Kay in a reply on Bob Sommerby’s Daily Howler blog. It has a wealth of good links to articles either defending or explaining Hillary’s actions. In all cases, you can see the side of the arguments that NEVER get aired in the MSM.


    Abbe Lowell’s defense of the Secretary on the July 6, MTP Daily show was very powerful even though brief.
    I sent this link to Mark Shields, who does the Friday PBS Newshour analysis with David Brooks. Mark has been a wimp liberal lately when it comes to defending Ms Clinton against the never ending
    “nothingburgers” that the rightwing and the press have been throwing at the Clintons for a quarter century.

    We liberals really need to stand up ferociously for Secretary Clinton as the stakes in this election are enormous. Unfortunately, we will not be able to count on the mainstream press (with few exceptions)
    not to get caught up in the both sides do it meme.
    Past time to start playing the refs the same way the Republicans have been for years.

    • The Republicans will do anything to win. That is all they care about. I don’t watch enough sci-fi shows to have the best analogy, but perhaps they are like the Daleks, whose only goal is to exterminate. Republicans would lie, and dissemble, and try to make it impossible for someone from the other side to govern, as long as they could get some kind of win out of it. They are relentless, impervious to argument; have no other inherent value system outside of “whatever it takes to win.”

      Democrats, particularly liberal Democrats, are much different. Many of them agonize over everything. They want some kind of imagined purity of nature in their candidates. They often seem as if they would just as soon lose, if they can feel virtuous about it. Nothing is quite good enough for them. They want their heroes to be some kind of imagined combination of Jesus, Martin Luther King, John Kennedy, Morgan Freeman’s movie roles, and Mother Theresa. This leads to all sorts of fantasy projective candidates like Jesse Jackson, and Tsongas and Dean, and Edwards, and Sanders. And of course Obama, the greatest of those. They often drop them when they are disappointed, and cast around for another one.

      They just can’t understand what Hillary was doing, or thinkingI It seems bad to them! The fact that nothing was leaked, nothing was hacked; and the emails didn’t amount to much, anyway, is not the point to them. Maybe it would be better, they thimk, if we lose this election, and then we can start fresh with someone else; Warren or Chris Murphy; or maybe Sanders will run in his 80’s. These kind of people are easy fodder for the singleminded and amoral Republicans. I remember friends who seemed to have more fun making fun of, and feeling superior to, Reagan and Bush, than in actually winning the White House. Then, after two decades of being hammered in elections, it was 1992; and I had an attorney friend in a law firm I worked at, and he was a pretty decent liberal. After the Gennifer Flowers story came out, he told me that he wanted Bill Clinton to withdraw; that he didn’t want to hear an entire campaign on “family values.” Fortunately, Bill didn’t take this advice. But that’s pretty much representative of the ‘”Progressive wing” of our party. 1972 was a wonderful year for them; we lost big, but with honor. Politically, at least, I find these kind of people sanctimonious, naive, and infuriating. The other side has the Morlocks, and ours is filled with Elois waving flowers.

      • Azumanga Dalek

      • I read this. Thank you so much. Author says exactly what I have said all these years – misogyny. I sent it to my Bernie friend and my Indie one. The BS supporter won’t be convinced but… can only try. The hardest to watch in 2008 were all the women in public life against her. Even now, it is evident all around me that women can be the hardest on other women. I saw recently that Pelosi (one of those) could not resist chastising H about the emails. Thanks again. A truly amazing catalogue.

      • Did the media spend this much time on how Obama had a fundraiser done by a domestic terrorist? Did your friend think that Obama should drop out because he made an incredibly stupid mistake by doing that? And Obama spent years going to that church with the crazy pastor and his stupid statement about clinging to their guns and religion. If I had a dollar for every time a Republican talked about that I would have quite a nest egg.

  3. Ok, this came out almost a month ago, so I may be late seeing it, but I believe it might be the best thing written in 10 years regarding the media’s perception of Hillary and the damage the GOP has done to her: http://m.dailykos.com/story/2016/6/11/1537582/-The-most-thorough-profound-and-moving-defense-of-Hillary-Clinton-I-have-ever-seen

    Plus, it just made me very, very happy to read. Ah! Sanity. Wisdom.

  4. 1. I do not understand why Hillary is bending over backwards to give Bernie her Dem platform. I know, in theory, that it is not binding but Bernie will be a thorn in her side her whole presidency if she wins (I don’t like to count on anything). It has become more a Bernie platform than a Hillary one. He will harp on it the whole 4 years. She does not really need him, in my view.

    2. Re the comment on Mark Shields, PBS. I think he hates her. I watch every Friday night and he has been negative on her the whole campaign. David Brooks gives her more positives than he ever does. Not that that is saying much for Brooks.

    I sent a message to the hrc campaign (not that they will read it) that Hillary should write a ‘white paper’ on the email issue, responding to key issues, and from that point onward point to the paper and not ever again answer any questions about it. If she keeps responding to questions, they will be asked in every press conference and every public appearance forever. I am sick of it and surely there are others who are too, I hope.

    • I agree.

    • 1.) Bernie’s people comprised a significant amount of the votes during the primary. It is not negligible. It’s a good idea to make sure they are represented in the platform. She *is* the nominee. She is negotiating from a position of strength. In 2008, the Obots pretty much cut the Clintonistas out of the convention. Oh sure bill and hill gave speeches. But her influence was not proportional to her percent of elected delegates. Indeed, there was a concerted effort by the Obots and the media to make it look like Obama had elected delegates in a landslide and this was absolutely not true. They were essentially tied. Hillary could have made much more of a protest than she did but the Obots stifled her and pretended we didn’t exist.
      It looks like she’s not going to let that happen with the Bernie contingent. That’s ok with me especially if it drags the party back to its base. It never should have been in the hands of the country club upper class “moderates” in the first place.
      2.) I don’t watch PBS Newshour anymore. The Republicans have succeeded in destroying my favorite shows since 2000. I used to watch Nova and Masterpiece theater and listen to Morning Edition faithfully for more than 20 years, since I was a student in college. Growing up, PBS was one of my family’s go to channels for all kinds of excellent content you couldn’t find anywhere else.
      But the Republicans dismantled all that. The columnists who appear on shows like News Hour now know who butters their bread. Remember what happened to Bill Moyers and Bob Edwards. Now Nova is sponsored by the Koch foundation and there are a lot more episodes on missing war ships and crap like that instead of whether the universe we live in is just a slice of a multi-universal loaf. There’s nothing mind bending about it anymore. And don’t even get me started on the “wealth management” sponsors of NPR. There’s a reason Mark Shields talks like he does. Well, multiple reason. For one thing, he might actually be a jerk when it comes to Hillary. For another, republicans simply will not tolerate PBS becoming a refuge for Democrats. They’ve got the corporation for public broadcasting by the balls. Step out of line and the budget ax will finish off what’s left.
      If I were the incoming Democratic majority, may it happen again in my lifetime, I wouldn’t squander my first two years. First thing I would do is restore the CPB budget and liberate PBS and NPR and see if there is anyone still around to would like to work for them.
      Until that day comes, the role of Alan Colmes will be played by Mark Shields.

  5. Phooey. My reply under William was meant to be under Lady V comment. I know I hit reply under the right place…or was certain I did. Sheesh.

    • I’m glad you read it. It’s so awesome, so rational and well supported, and I love the tone. Now, tonight I found the author just wrote a follow up, because the response was so overwhelming. It is even better. I tried to tweet it but it wouldn’t post. Enjoy! https://apple.news/AoGoh_tNvMdyVzkyGgYdVHQ

      • I read the first one. It might be the only DailyKos diary I recommend on my front page.
        It was 8.5 years ago that DailyKos forced me out because I came to Hillary’s defense and the defense of her supporters over there. I’ll never trust the site again. It’s not trustworthy for many different reasons, not least of which is that it is designed to enforce herd behavior and uses several techniques described by Stephen Hassab in his BITE model that high control groups used. Believe me, if Kos didn’t think that diary was useful to him for prestige or monetary gain, it wouldn’t be up or recommended.
        So, I’m going to make an exception but in general, I avoid that place like the plague. It gave itself over to the worst political operatives in 2008 for non-stop advertising money in 2008 and exacerbated the very sexism that is condemned in this diary.
        No, we should not rehabilitate DailyKos even if some of the diaries are good. It’s the underlying structure of the site that is manipulative and I haven’t seen that change in the last 8 years.

        • My focus was on the facebook post, which was truly worth it. I went to the Michael A facebook page and will be checking it from time to time (if I can keep spelling his last name correctly!) He has a sense of humor too.
          But, I also understand your issue, RD, with dailykos. I still have issues with lots of educated people who should have known better in ’08. Tho not equivalent to your reason. I have to do the proverbial “noseholding” to watch Rachel, for example.

          • Who is Rachel?
            I don’t watch much TV. {{hanging head in embarrassment}}
            I think I can sum up my objection to Obama this way, he was The Harvard MBA’s President. Let’s leave it at that.
            I have to say I am really enjoying his posts. I’m reading the one on Facebook. He lays it all out. And he’s straight with the Bernie people. I can point to specific, televised, independently documented episodes in the 2008 primary where Clinton was disadvantaged by her own party and accused of racism to shut her and her supporters up. Remember the accusation that her campaign intentionally darkened a photo of Obama to make him look blacker than he was? Just putting aside how stupid that smear was, it says much more about the over educated so-called creative class champions for civil rights that frequented DailyKos in 2008 who did not substantially try to move the ball for African Americans in the past 8 years. I think that’s what irritates me the most about places like DailyKos that I once belonged to and wanted so badly to succeed. I live in a healthy, racially diverse city in a racially diverse suburb right outside the city limits. And I see everyday the effects of racism and see who is working hard to do something about it. Obots are not among them. Those voters are rapidly gentrifying East Liberty and shopping at whole foods while enjoying the percs that a nice mass transit system and safe city provides them while sending their kids to mostly white private and catholic schools.
            They need to walk the talk and embrace public education and their hard working neighbors. But the Harvard mba president gave them an excuse to feel virtuous while doing precisely nothing.
            Mr. Rogers, who called Pittsburgh his home, would never approve.

        • Yeah, they forced me out, too. It was a rabid time. I thought of just linking directly to the Facebook post, but got a certain sort of grim satisfaction at reading the Kos comments about it. Thanks for the ballet video. It’s gorgeous!

  6. Rachel Maddow, Rhodes Scholar pundit at 9pm EST on msnbc. She was for Obama in 08 and started out leaning Bernie this time but her head finally kicked in and she continues to have both on her program but stated it was clear, a few weeks ago, that Hillary had it. Though since she said that, I am not sure Bernie has been back but his wife was once or twice.

    I am not sure how or if all of us groups will ever get out of our silos again. Speaking of Obots and Bernie and Trump supporters. I guess the problem is that I truly think that my perspective is the most logical and humane! And I presume others must think the same about their opposite views. I am sick that many in our nation have become puritanical and judgmental again and every day we have to watch some poor soul being pilloried on TV and all other social media. Every group is certain that it has the correct view. Though Hillary is probably the most pilloried person in our country’s history.

    For example, I have an eclectic group of about 10 friends who have monthly dinners at different restaurants. We can’t talk politics or religion. We range from far left to far right. I am amazed that we have done this for 8 years. But I really miss not being able to talk politics with someone with similar thoughts (after losing partner 3 yrs ago) which is why I am a news TV and online junkie. TMI, I know, but it helps explain my rabid focus on media. I try not to post here too often, but fail, as my posts are more pragmatic and not as intellectual as most here. You can always delete my posts though. I will not take offense. Well, maybe, but would not tell you!! (smile)

    • Oh THAT Rachel. Yeah, Rachel is ok on some things, not ok on some things. It doesn’t matter. I don’t watch TV or cable news. I did until 2008 then I couldn’t get past the manipulation and word smithing and narrative shaping anymore. It made my ears bleed. Now I just listen to Anderson cooper occasionally on cnn. That’s about all I can handle.

    • Oh you silly cotton headed ninny muggins. I wouldn’t delete your comments. You should know by now that we’re pretty diverse and not all that egg heady.
      You fit in fine here.

  7. I will send that to my executor for my obit (which I don’t intend to have). “She was once called a ‘silly cotton headed ninny muggins.’ She looked it up and lo and behold…dang it all…it pretty much fit. Though she did think she could make at least 86 etcha sketchas rather than 85 unlike the elves who made 1000.” 87 on a really good day. “Of course, once she was also called a joshua tree.” Figure that one out.

  8. Why do we need to see what’s in her personal email anyway, Emily?

    Because she was using it to conduct official business, in iieu of her government email account. The Inspector General report makes that quite clear. She doesn’t get a pass just because I (mostly) agree with her on policy (although I think she’s too far to the right, at least she’s not as bad as Obama).

    I’ve had a clearance – and if I’d routed my emails to an outside account I would never be able to get one again (and I’d count myself damned fortunate not to be in Leavenworth).

    • Oh, for Pete’s sake. http://dailysignal.com/2015/03/08/high-ranking-federal-officials-history-using-personal-email-government-business/ “High-level federal executives routinely use personal email for business, in likely violation of the Federal Records Act. That’s according to a recent survey of federal employees.” ROUTINELY. End of story.

    • Well, then there was bloody little business email of any interest in those 55,000 emails or we would have heard about it by now. The Benghazi committee would have been all over that. And yet… {{crickets}}
      I’m guessing that most of this email consisted of the typical office BS: scheduling meetings, trying to track down shit for meetings, agendas for upcoming visits to a destination. Very, very boring. It makes me wonder why the committee didn’t ask for her IMs. Those might have been more like actual conversations. In the end, they found 113 out of 55000 emails that had classification marks on them.
      So, what is it that the media wants to see? They just want to go on a fishing expedition to find stuff she might have sent to Sidney blumenthal or “pathetic” emails that show she has no friends and eats by herself at the empty table in the school cafeteria. That’s what they really want- humiliation.
      Let’s ignore for a second that this is a personal email account where very, very, VERY rarely a classified piece of information or classified in error piece of information made it into the bin. Did she cooperate? Yes. Did she lie to the FBI? No. Did they get everything they wanted? Unknown. Were any state secrets revealed? No. This was not a secure state department system for the transmission of sensitive information. And if you are as knowledgeable as you say you are you know that the state department may still use an antiquated system of communications that are apart from email.
      This is a big nothing and we haven’t even discussed how secretive the Obama administration has been. That’s what really has the media’s knickers in a twist. They have been unable to submit successful foia requests on anybody in the Obama administration about ANYTHING. They’re frustrated and bored. The only person who has had to open their kimono is Hillary. So they are unleashing all this pent up frustration in her. She’s symbolic of this overly secretive administration that has prevented the media from cooking up a nevervending list of faux scandals of things taken out of context or reported in the worst possible light. Do you think Hillary is the only person in the Obama administration with a personal email server?
      You seem smarter than that.
      So, i have to come to the conclusion that the media want to humiliate her. And they’re not going to take no for an answer. She will never be able to satisfy them. There’s no point in apologizing. They won’t accept it. This email thing will haunt her forever and they willingly slander her that she’s not trustworthy when what they’re really saying is “we have the power to make your political life miserable- forever”. Plus, she gets to be the whipping boy for the rest of the Obama administration.
      There’s no winning with these people. They’re in a feeding frenzy. They’d prefer to let trump get elected than give up tearing her to pieces.
      This is what it is like to be a woman who wants power. There will be a bloody obstacle course for any woman who wants to try. And you will not find anyone like her for decades because it will take decades for any woman to come close to her level of experience. No one is in the pipeline now.
      So, you can pick on this and focus on it with white hot laser like intensity but it all comes down to nothing but a bunch of men (usually) who feel extremely uncomfortable having this country being lead by a woman.

  9. Off topic: One of my fellow otaku on the anime forum which I frequent calls himself “TornadoAdvisory”. The 11th is his birthday, so I found him a picture of this amazing cake.

  10. Declaration of conventions: I am not voting for hillary. Or bernie. BUT…….the people who are going to the convention hoping to change bernie’s mind are NUTS. Like obsessives whose object of obsession has left and whose every thought and emotion is still clinging to the idol. bernie has done his job, this is where it was always going to end up, GROW UP.

    My god, they don’t even know the man and they’re sure he’s THE ONE, THE SAVIOR. Adults should know better: this is a completely do-it-yourself world and that includes politics/policy. Screw bernie, get into the mix yourself, be the change you want.

    • I don’t know. It’s not as crazy as voting for Trump for any reason whatsoever.
      Their vote is their own to use or not as they choose. This primary was not a nail biter like 2008 where we really did have a reasonable expectation that the Elected delegates would be allowed to honor their voters and their candidate. It’s not even close this year. So, I would just give it up if I were them but whatever. They can’t change the outcome this year and it’s pointless to try.
      But Trump voters are batshit crazy so, you know… There’s that.
      I’ll take our crazies over his any day.

    • You know what’s sad? These people are perfect examples for the evangelicals to use as people need religion. Because you see here these people have created their own Bernie religion.

      • yep

      • But that’s ok. Just leave them alone. What do you gain by obsessing on their obsession?
        They’ll come down eventually.

        • Actually not obsessing about it. Just think it’s sad that people look to any politician as a “savior”. I mean Obama had the same thing going on.

          • That I find really bizarre. He never tried to hide who he was and that was a moderately conservative “Democrat”. Actually, he is more like a country club Republican, which is partly why he wasn’t criticized by the press very much. He was one of them.
            But great liberal messiah he most certainly was not and never pretended to be. So, his crazy fan base was seriously deluded.

  11. Lighter notes? OMG! When will it stop?

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